to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be
ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
(2 Timothy 2:15)
Word Of Truth
Greetings! Luke, chapter four, states: “he (Jesus) came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias.
And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.
And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears”.
Jesus was quoting from the book of Isaiah, chapter sixty-one, the first two verses which read: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me; he has sent me to preach glad tidings to the poor, to heal the broken in heart, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind; to declare the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of recompence; to comfort all that mourn.”
In the book of Matthew, Jesus says “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” In this instance Jesus is quoting from Deuteronomy, chapter six, verse five: “...thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy mind, and with all thy soul, and all thy strength.”
There are at least forty-five instances where Jesus quotes scripture from the Old Testament.
What is interesting to note is that Jesus as well as the apostles when quoting from the Old Testament were not quoting from a Hebrew manuscript but from a Greek manuscript which was known as the Septuagint, also sometimes called the LXX, or the AB, Apostles Bible.
As is pointed out below almost all translations of the Old Testament in the early days of Christianity were translated from the Septuagint and not Hebrew manuscripts.
The question arises as to what is the Septuagint and where did it come from?
The following is a very condensed version of a much longer article. If you would like to read the entire article click, The Septuagint.
History of the Septuagint
Here is a little background on the Septuagint. This is from the Preface and Introduction to the Septuagint itself written by Sir Lancelot C.L. Brenton in 1851:
"The Septuagint (from the Latin septuaginta, meaning "seventy," and frequently referred to by the roman numerals LXX) is the Greek translation of the Old Testament. The name derives from the tradition that it was made by seventy (or seventy-two) Jewish scholars at Alexandria, Egypt during the reign of Ptolemy Philadelphus (285-247 B.C.).
"The earliest version of the Old Testament Scriptures which is extinct, or of which we possess any certain knowledge, is the translation executed at Alexandria in the third century before the Christian era.
"The Septuagint version having been current for about three centuries before the time when the books of the New Testament were written, it is not surprising that the Apostles should have used it more often than not in making citations from the Old Testament. They used it as an honestly made version in pretty general use at the time when they wrote. They did not on every occasion give an authoritative translation of each passage de nova [which means anew], but they used what was already familiar to the ears of converted Hellenists, when it was sufficiently accurate to suit the matter in hand. In fact, they used it as did their contemporary Jewish writers, Philo and Josephus.
"The veneration with which the Jews had treated this version [the Septuagint] (as is shown in the case of Philo and Josephus) [because Philo and Josephus quoted the Septuagint], gave place to a very contrary feeling when they [the Jews] found how it could be used against them in argument: hence they decreed the version, and sought to deprive it of all authority. [Previous to this, it was the Word of God as they were concerned. But as soon as the early church started using it against them, they tried to discredit the Septuagint]. As the Gentile Christians were generally unacquainted with Hebrew, they were unable to meet the Jews on the ground which they now took; and as the Gentile Christians…fully embraced…its authority and inspiration.”
The Jews upheld the Septuagint very strongly for the first 300 years as the Word of God, but when the Christians took a hold of it, then the Jews rejected it. Then the Jews started rewriting the Septuagint in the 2nd and 3rd centuries to suit their purposes.
The following is from the introduction of the book called "Grammar of the Septuagint Greek" by Connie Bearer and Stock, written in 1905:
We are familiar with the constant appeal made by the writers of the New Testament to quote scripture, an appeal couched in such words as "it is written" or "as the scripture saith." In the great majority of cases, the scripture thus appealed to is undoubtedly the Septuagint. Seldom, if ever, is it the Hebrew original. We have seen how, even before the Christian era, the Septuagint had acquired for itself the position of an inspired book. Some four centuries after that era, Augustine remarks that the Greek speaking Christians, for the most part, did not even know that there was any other Word of God than the Septuagint.
"So, when other nations became converted to Christianity and wanted the scriptures in their own languages, it was almost always the Septuagint which formed the basis of the translation. This was so in the case of the early Latin version, which was in use before the Vulgate, and it was so also in the case of the translations made in Coptic, Ethiopic, Armenian, Georgian, Gothic, and other languages. The only exception to the rule is the first Syriac version, which was made direct from the Hebrew. This Syriac version, by the way, when translated into English, lines up harmoniously with the Septuagint when translated into English.
The reason the Septuagint came about is because in Alexandria, Alexander the Great had come through and conquered many of those nations, and Greek became the predominant language. So they took the original Law, and translated it into Greek for those Jews that no longer spoke Hebrew, and also to convert many of the Greeks over to Judaism. They translated the original into the Greek at approximately 285 BC. Basically, you see many of the quotes from the New Testament and they're direct quotes from the Septuagint, you don't find the same terminology in the original Hebrew.
Hebrew text which has come down to us as the present masoretic text.
"...the writers of the New Testament seem often to differ from those of the Old, because they appear uniformly to quote from some copy of the Septuagint version; and most of their quotations agree verbally, and often even literally, with one or other of the copies of that version which subsist to the present day." Clarke's Commentaries, The New Testament, Volume 5A, page 48.
Almost every bible in existence uses the Masoretic Hebrew (and not the Septuagint) for its Old Testament translation.
What is alleged to be Hebrew today, or is spoken as Hebrew, is the Masoretic Hebrew. Nobody really knows what the original Hebrew sounded like, or how it was pronounced.
The following quote is from Wikipedia concerning Isaiah 7:14 and shows the difference between the Masoretic Hebrew text and the Septuagint. This is just one of many differences. Read the entire article here.
“In the Early Christian Church, the presumption that the Septuagint was translated by Jews before the era of Christ, and that the Septuagint at certain places gives itself more to a christological interpretation than 2nd-century Hebrew texts was taken as evidence that "Jews" had changed the Hebrew text in a way that made them less christological. For example, Irenaeus concerning Isaiah 7:14: The Septuagint clearly writes of a virgin (Greek παρθένος) that shall conceive. While the Hebrew text was, according to Irenaeus, at that time interpreted by Theodotion and Aquila (both proselytes of the Jewish faith) as a young woman that shall conceive. According to Irenaeus, the Ebionites used this to claim that Joseph was the (biological) father of Jesus. From Irenaeus' point of view that was pure heresy, facilitated by (late) anti-Christian alterations of the scripture in Hebrew, as evident by the older, pre-Christian, Septuagint.”
The following is a link to Sir Lancelot C.L. Brenton's 1851edition of the English translation of the Old Testament from the Greek Septuagint.
PLUNGING TOWARD ARMAGEDDON IN ISRAEL
What has happened was precisely what everyone then knew was likely
Image Credits: Vice News
by WILLIAM R. POLK
JULY 9, 2014
The latest cycle of Israeli-Palestinian violence is pulling the region and the world deeper into a grotesque crime of religious-inspired slaughter, but U.S. politicians can’t see beyond their narrow self-interests, writes former U.S. diplomat William R. Polk.
With the killing of three Israeli teen-agers and the apparent revenge murder of a Palestinian youth – possibly burned to death – the hatred between Israelis and Palestinian has reached a new level of obscenity, and it looks like it will get worse. Much worse.
The major Israeli newspaper Haaretz wrote in an editorial: “There are no words to describe the horror allegedly done by six Jews to Mohammed Abu Khdeir of Shoafat. Although a gag order bars publication of details of the terrible murder and the identities of its alleged perpetrators, the account of Abu Khdeir’s family — according to which the boy was burned alive — would horrify any mortal.
“Anyone who is not satisfied with this description, can view the horror movie in which members of Israel’s Border Police are seen brutally beating Tariq Abu Khdeir, the murder victim’s 15-year-old cousin.”
Or, as Israeli columnist Gordon Levy wroteabout the recent atrocities: “The youths of the Jewish state are attacking Palestinians in the streets of Jerusalem, just like gentile youths used to attack Jews in the streets of Europe. The Israelis of the Jewish state are rampaging on social networks, displaying hatred and a lust for revenge, unprecedented in its diabolic scope. These are the children of the nationalistic and racist generation – Netanyahu’s offspring.
“For five years now, they have been hearing nothing but incitement, scaremongering and supremacy over Arabs from this generation’s true instructor, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Not one humane word, no commiseration or equal treatment. They grew up with the provocative demand for recognition of Israel as a ‘Jewish state,’ and they drew the inevitable conclusions.”
Loss of Civilized Men
My own observations are in accord with these remarks. Over the years since my first visit to what was then the Palestine Mandate in 1946, I have watched the disappearance of the generation of civilized men. Such great Jewish figures as Judah Magnes and Martin Buber flourished in the 1930s but are now forgotten or, if remembered at all, are thought of (by Israelis) to have been naive do-gooders and (by Arabs) to have been just front men for the real Zionists, men like Vladimir Jabotinsky, the spiritual father of Menachem Begin, Yitzhak Shamir and Benjamin Netanyahu.
The Palestinians now point out that what the most extreme of their spokesmen told the American investigators (in the King-Crane commission that Woodrow Wilson sent to the Levant in 1919), that they feared what has now happened.
In the words of the then senior British intelligence officer (Kinahan Cornwallis), the Palestinians hold “a deeply felt fear that the Jews not only intended to assume the reins of Government in Palestine but also to expropriate or buy up during the war large tracts of land owned by Moslems and others, and gradually to force them from the country.”
The British cabinet already thought something like this was inevitable. It was a price the British were willing to have the Palestinians pay since in 1917-1918 – as World War I dragged on – the British desperately wanted Jewish support in Germany (where they thought much of the Army was under Jewish officers), in Russia (where they thought Jews were the leaders of the Bolshevik movements for a separate peace that would release large German forces to fight on the Western front), and in America (where they thought Jews could provide financing for the war effort).
So, the British authorities courted Jewish support in the Balfour Declaration. In careful compromise, they stuck in the Declaration two qualifications – as I recount in two of my early books, Backdrop to Tragedy (with David Stamler and Edmund Asfour) and The United States and the Arab World. They specified their objective as being only “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people” and emphasized that this was not to denigrate the rights of the Arabs “it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of the existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine.”
Qualifications aside, what has happened was precisely what everyone then knew was likely what has happened was precisely what everyone then knew was likely, the transformation of Palestine into a Jewish state.
In a remarkably candid statement on Aug. 11, 1919, Lord Balfour, the titular author of the Declaration, admitted that “so far as Palestine is concerned, the Powers [The Allies, Britain and France] have made no statement of fact which is not admittedly wrong, and no declaration of policy which at least in letter, they have not always intended to violate.” (Quoted in my book The Elusive Peace: The Middle East in the Twentieth Century.)
The history of the past century of Palestine can be summed up in a few words: For their own interests, the British and then the Americans just closed their eyes to the developing tragedy; both were content to have a poor, defenseless Near East people pay the price for the historic crime of Western anti-Semitism.
Predictably, the Jewish community grew, appropriated most of the best land (largely by purchase from absentee owners), and benefited from massive infusions of foreign money (now totaling well over $100 billion, or more than all the aid programs for the rest of the world). Meanwhile, the Jewish fate in Europe moved toward the Holocaust.
A Tragedy Unfolds
If I were a Jew in Germany in the 1930s, I certainly would have gone to America and if I could not get in — some could not — to Palestine; if I were an Arab at almost any time from 1920 onward, I would have tried to stop the flood of immigrants encroaching on Arab land. Thus, the real culprit in this long-unfolding tragedy is neither the Jew nor the Palestinian. It is us. Anti-Semitism is a Western disease.
What we see today is that the people who really agree with the Jewish terrorists are the Arab terrorists — with the religious fanatics among both peoples increasingly taking the lead. Between them, there is little if any room for people of moderation, much less for decency. Tit-for-Tat is a game played with blood and steel in which no one is or will be immune. There is no end in sight.
So how have we viewed these events? I have listened for my whole professional life to a false dialogue. For years, policymakers and opinion leaders have argued over “solutions” that are unreal or at least tangential. We keep chanting the dirge — one can almost put it to music — one state or two states. Neither is realistic and even if feasible would not solve the fundamental problem. But we seem to believe that, if we can say one or the other often enough, one of them might become acceptable.
The Hard Choices
It is time to drop the nonsense and face the simple facts. They are these:
In the “one state,” the Arabs will be the subjugated minority with few rights and little or any security — they will be the “Jews” of an Israeli Germany or the “Jews” of an Israeli Imperial Russia, cooped up in ghettos, imprisoned, driven into exile or subjected to a final partition. They, their children and their grandchildren will sporadically resist. Their resistance will call forth more hatred and more reprisal. The cycle will continue.
In the “two states,” those living in the truncated remnants of Palestine (the West Bank and Gaza) will be condemned to perpetual poverty and humiliation. They will have almost no usable agricultural land and virtually no water. They will be cut off from possible markets for what little they can produce. They can have no hope of manufacturing because their draw on electricity will be squeezed.
Even the limited money they can earn will be closely controlled and often blocked by the Israeli Central Bank as it now is. They will have limited access to health facilities, educational institutions and even contact with one another, segregated as they are and will be by restricted zones, walls and standing security and military forces. They too would periodically resist or strike out in fury and so draw upon themselves reprisals. And so too the cycle of violence will continue or even escalate.
Even those who think of themselves as “Israeli Arabs” will remain, in the eyes of the real Israelis, just Arabs. They will have marginally better, but still limited, lives as they do today. As hatred grows ethnically they too will be drawn into the struggle. They are likely to lose what they have so far kept.
Shocking the World
Is there an alternative? Yes, there are three although they either would shock the conscience of the world or are themselves unrealistic. Which is worse depends upon who does the evaluation. But as the French political philosopher Montesquieu once observed that my task ”is not to make people read but to make them think.”
The one the Israelis really want is for the Palestinians to just leave. To go where? To refugee camps or wherever, the Israelis don’t care. A reading of all Israeli policies underlines the Israeli intention to make life as unattractive for the Palestinians as world opinion allows. Honest Israelis admit that the conditions they are creating are worse than South African apartheid was for the Bantu. And always the threat of ethnic cleansing hangs high.
The second alternative, which of course many Palestinians want, is for the Israelis “to go back where they came from.” The Arabs day-dream of their relations with the Israelis in parallel to the Crusades. The Crusaders stayed a long time but finally left. The more recent parallel is to the “French” (many of whom were not French at all) pieds noirs in Algeria. It took a century but they too finally left.
The Palestinians keep track of the immigration statistics and observe that in some years more Israelis leave than immigrants come. They also note that a large part of the Israeli population keeps dual citizenship which gives them the option of leaving. New York is said to have a larger Israeli population than Jerusalem.
The third alternative is Armageddon. Israel has a huge store of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and at least once in the past came close to using nuclear weapons. The Arabs, of course, don’t (now) have nuclear weapons, but at least two Arab states are thought to be capable of getting (producing or buying) them quickly. More immediate, the Palestinians, divided and relatively unarmed as they are, have the capacity to inflict pain on Israelis (and so to bring about retaliation). Sooner or later, that capacity will grow.
The Crusades Analogy
Here the analogy with the Crusades may make some sense. One can envisage a scenario in which acts by Arabs could either make life in Israel unattractive or, alternatively, cause the Israelis — in frustration, fear or fury – to destroy the Middle East and all its people. They have the means to do so.
Should we care? Forget the pious statements. If the past is any guide, we didn’t much care about anti-Semitism when it affected the Jews in Europe and don’t much care about it when today it makes life horrible for many Arabs in the Middle East.
There is much cynical (but covert) anti-Zionist feeling even among many U.S. politicians who rush to benefit from Jewish donations. Privately, many admit that much of what the Israelis are doing is illegal and even more is immoral, but it is the rare politician who says anything publicly. And those who have done so have usually paid a politically mortal price.
Meanwhile, as a nation, we Americans keep on doing what we know how to do — giving money and arms. And, in a destructive and self-defeating gesture to “even-handedness,” giving them to both sides, the Israelis and Arab states.
It is not so important that we don’t incur favor by this policy – neither side is smitten by affection for us and the Israeli government almost daily goes out of its way to humiliate our government. But it could be, and in my judgment eventually will be, significant that we are moving toward Armageddon.
Even the most hardheaded and cynical among us should be concerned since there is a considerable danger of a spillover of any Middle Eastern war into our lives — both abroad in other areas, particularly Islamic areas, and at home.
At minimum, long-term and perhaps escalating hostilities in the Middle East would hurt the U.S. economy. Additionally, they could further damage our already fragile ecology, possibly trigger a wider conflict and certainly damage the sense of law, morality and order by which we live. Even short of actual war, the contagion of instability, hatred and violence is likely to spread and so affect us in other areas and on other issues about which we care.
Perhaps, if U.S. leaders could even slightly raise their eyes above their immediate interests and pay a little attention to the turbulent river of events in which we float, we could grab onto a handhold and stop before we reach the waterfall.
Does anyone see any such leader anywhere? I confess I do not. I am afraid, not for me, since I am now 85 years old, but for mine and yours and everyone’s.
(There will be such a leader, “that man of sin the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. He shall confirm the covenant with many for one week,” [seven years.] 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4, Daniel 9:27)
William R. Polk was a member of the Policy Planning Council, responsible for North Africa, the Middle East and West Asia, for four years under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, He was a member of the three-men Crisis Management Committee during the Cuban Missile Crisis. During those years he wrote two proposed peace treaties for the American government and negotiated one major ceasefire between Israel and Egypt. Later he was Professor of History at the University of Chicago, founding director of the Middle Eastern Studies Center and President of the Adlai Stevenson Institute of International Affairs. He is the author of some 17 books on world affairs, including The United States and the Arab World; The Elusive Peace, the Middle East in the Twentieth Century; Understanding Iraq; Understanding Iran; Violent Politics: A History of Insurgency and Terrorism; Neighbors and Strangers: The Fundamentals of Foreign Affairs and numerous articles in Foreign Affairs, The Atlantic, Harpers, The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists and Le Monde Diplomatique. He has lectured at many universities and at the Council on Foreign Relations, Chatham House, Sciences Po, the Soviet Academy of Sciences and has appeared frequently on NPR, the BBC, CBS and other networks. His most recent books, both available on Amazon, are Humpty Dumpty: The Fate of Regime Change and Blind Man’s Buff, a Novel.
Why I'm on the brink of burning my Israeli passport
I can no longer stand by while Israeli politicians like Ayelet Shaked condone the deaths of innocent Palestinian women and children
MIRA BAR HILLEL
Friday 11 July 2014
She is young. She is pretty. She is a university graduate and a computer engineer. She is also an Israeli Parliamentarian - and the reason why I am on the brink of burning my Israeli passport. Because behind that wide-eyed innocent face lurks the Angel of Death.
Ayelet Shaked represents the far-right Jewish Home party in the Knesset. This means she is well to the right of Benyamin Netanyahu, just in case you thought such a thing was not possible.
On Monday she quoted this on her Facebook page: “Behind every terrorist stand dozens of men and women, without whom he could not engage in terrorism. They are all enemy combatants, and their blood shall be on all their heads. Now this also includes the mothers of the martyrs, who send them to hell with flowers and kisses. They should follow their sons, nothing would be more just. They should go, as should the physical homes in which they raised the snakes. Otherwise, more little snakes will be raised there.”
A week earlier, just before 17-year-old Mohammed Abu Khudair was snatched and burned alive, Shaked wrote: “This is not a war against terror, and not a war against extremists, and not even a war against the Palestinian Authority. The reality is that this is a war between two people. Who is the enemy? The Palestinian people. Why? Ask them, they started it.”
So even before the boy died horribly she declared him to be the enemy, and afterwards, without any apparent hint of guilt or remorse, she was calling for the deaths of innocent women and their unborn babies.
She made me think about my mother’s sister Klara and her three small children who were living in Krakow in 1939 when the Germans invaded. They decided that the Jews – all Jews – were the enemy and had to be eliminated, not least the women and the little snakes they were raising. “Why? Ask them – they started it”, as the Nazis would say if asked.
I never met Klara or her children who had perished by 1942. I did meet my uncle Romek, who survived by working in Oskar Schindler's factory, and his wife Yetti who survived because she spoke good German and was able to pretend she was a fine German woman who had kicked out her Polish Jewish husband, as she smiled prettily at every Nazi she came across.
My father’s brother Shmuel and his young family also perished before I was born, taken in Holland, to where they had escaped from Berlin, to the same camp Anne Frank died in.
I know what it is to have been helpless victims, living and dying under racist oppressors’ boots, and I know that today’s Israelis are no longer the victims but the perpetrators of the current crisis. Yes, Hamas are dreadful hate-filled killers and woe betide Israel had they had the wherewithal to carry out their intentions. But the fact remains that it is Israel which has the tanks, bombers, artillery, nuclear warheads and missile defences of Goliath, while ordinary Gazans had nothing a week ago and even less today, as even hospitals and schools were bombed.
Shaked got what she wanted: the death toll in Gaza is nearing 100, one in four being children. Hundreds more have serious injuries in a place where hospitals have also been bombed and medical essentials are running out.
In Israel, in spite of Hamas’s best efforts, not one death has been recorded, nor any serious injuries, although a wedding party was disrupted and got on the television news.
And, as the bombs rain on Gaza, Israeli teens have taken to tweeting scantily-clad selfies alongside their political sentiments. In two now deleted tweets, one wrote “Death to all of you Arabs you transfag”, while another proclaimed “Arabs may you be paralyzed & die with great suffering!” Another teen simply tweeted “Death to these f****** Arabs”, and attached a photo of themselves pouting alongside it.
Seeing these angelic faces of evil spouting such genocidal rhetoric, I pick up my Israeli passport and a box of matches. “Not in my name, people. Not in my name!”
Israeli leader Netanyahu vows to ignore international pressure to cease military campaign in Gaza as Palestinian death toll rises above 100
Fourth day of Israeli air strikes in Gaza Strip kill at least 11 more Palestinians, as the total death toll rises above 100
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that there was 'still more to go' in the conflict
International leaders including President Obama have urged Mr Netanyahu to halt the Israeli offensive
Palestinian militants today warned airlines flying in and out of Tel Aviv that they plan fresh rocket attacks
Mahmoud Abbas says Israeli land operation in Gaza is imminent, claiming plans already have government approval
Claimed Israeli army could move into area within hours during a meeting with representatives in the West Bank
News comes as fresh wave of rocket attacks strike Israel, this time fired from Lebanon and hitting northern towns
It is the first time missiles have been fired from Lebanon during four-days of rocket attacks by Hamas supporters
By JOHN HALL and STEPHANIE LINNING
PUBLISHED: 03:59 EST, 11 July 2014 | UPDATED: 20:11 EST, 11 July 2014
Gaza healthcare services on brink of collapse as death toll climbs
Published time: July 10, 2014 23:20
Edited time: July 11, 2014 03:42
Israeli soldiers gather in an army deployment area near Israel's border with the Gaza Strip on July 10, 2014.(AFP Photo / Menahem Kahana )
Air Force, Conflict, Human rights, Israel, Middle East, Security, Violence
Healthcare services in Gaza are on the brink of collapse as the death toll climbs amid a shortage of medical supplies and fuel for hospital generators, the WHO has warned. Ninety Palestinians have been killed so far, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.
As Israel escalated its airstrikes on Thursday, the Gaza Health Ministry reported that the death toll had reached 90 people, while the number of injured had climbed to 500.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday that Palestinian healthcare services are not able to handle the wave of people requiring medical attention.
"A hospital, three clinics and a water desalinisation centre in a refugee camp have also been damaged. More air strikes and missile attacks are likely," the WHO said in a statement.
"The recent escalation of violence in the Gaza Strip raises concern about the ability of the government and the Ministry of Health of the occupied Palestinian territory to cope with the increased burden of medical emergencies on the health system, given the high levels of shortages of medicines, medical disposables and hospital fuel supplies, and rising healthcare debt," it added.
The organization is calling on donors to contribute $40 million for essential healthcare supplies by the end of 2014 and another $20 million to repay the debt owed to East Jerusalem hospitals.
US willing to facilitate ceasefire
Meanwhile, international pressure has been increasing for both Israel and Hamas to deescalate the conflict.
US President Barack Obama told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Washington is willing to negotiate a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.
Speaking to the Israeli leader on Thursday, Obama condemned the rockets fired from Gaza and said that Israel has the right to self-defense. However, he also urged both sides not to escalate the crisis and to restore calm.
"The United States remains prepared to facilitate a cessation of hostilities, including a return to the November 2012 ceasefire agreement," said the statement.
Russian President Vladimir Putin urged Netanyahu to end the bloodshed immediately in a telephone conversation on Thursday, expressing concern over civilian casualties. UN chief Ban Ki-moon also called for an immediate ceasefire at an emergency meeting of the Security Council.
Earlier on Thursday, the UN confirmed that the Palestinian death toll had risen to 88 as Israel's Operation Protective Edge continued for a third day. At least 18 children have been killed in the Gaza Strip since the operation began.
Despite the mounting number of civilian deaths, the IDF claims that its military operation does not target the people of Gaza.
“This is not an operation in any capacity against the people of Gaza. This is an operation against Hamas, against organization that purposefully and specifically uses the civilian population of Gaza as human shields,” IDF spokesperson Libi Vice told RT.
Vice said the IDF is taking various precautions to protect the civilian population of Gaza.
“We made unbounded efforts to protect the civilian population in the Gaza Strip before any attack is taking against Hamas. We take measures that no other military or no other country take in the world, which include text messages to people in civil areas, phone calls to their homes.”
The damage to the Gaza Strip has been devastating, said journalist Harry Fear, who is reporting for RT from Gaza.
“Among the civilian population at large, hundreds of homes have been destroyed. And from the north to the south of the Gaza Strip, there has been aerial, naval, and land bombardment since the operation began,” he said.
Fear added that what remains to be seen is whether Israel will begin a ground operation as well, on top of the airstrikes. “The key question is whether or not there is likely to be ground escalation. Israeli military officials have eluded to the possibility of this. Whether or not this is just preparedness or actual strategy in the upcoming days is yet to be seen.”
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has called on Israel and Hamas to protect the lives of civilians and medical workers.
"The human impact of this vicious circle of armed violence is worsening by the hour," Jacques de Maio, head of the ICRC delegation in Israel and the occupied territories, said on Thursday. "Civilians must be protected. In all cases, ambulances, hospitals and medical workers must be ensured the conditions of safety they require to carry out their vital work.”
The organization also condemned the attack on the Palestine Red Crescent branch in Jabaliya, where a dozen staff members and volunteers were wounded and three ambulances destroyed on July 9.
Russia is the last barrier in establishing the power of Antichrist, ex-secretary of the Odessa Diocese believes
04 July 2014, 15:03
Moscow, July 4, Interfax - The Ukrainian Church is in the same situation as it was under fascists, ex-secretary of the Odessa Diocese, rector of the Holy Trinity Church at the Vorobyovy Hills Archpriest Andrey Novikov believes. "Events on Maidan, where uniates and autocephaly followers raged, genocide in Novorossia are continued struggle against Russia and Orthodoxy in Ukraine. These events are rooted in Polish-Lithuanian occupation, then they set up a project to tear the Orthodox Church in Ukraine from the unity with the Russian Orthodox Church and further triumph of the Unia and Vatican in the whole territory of Russia as the last bastion of the Orthodox civilization," the priest was cited as saying by the Pravoslavny Vzglyad (Orthodox View) website. "The creation of a single world state with anti-Christian values means the reign of the Antichrist, and so Russia is the last remaining barrier to the rule of the Antichrist," he said. "What is happening these days is what was happening during the Great Patriotic War - eventually, it's a fight for the future of the world. We are confronting the devil with all the pseudo-values - European values, subjugation to the West, hatred for Russia, open fascism - that are professed by the civilization to which [Ukrainian President Petro] Poroshenko and the Maidan are declaring enthusiastic allegiance," the priest said. He attacked "ideological traitors from among bishops of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate," who have been able to "paralyze thinking at general church level." "In 2007, the Bishops' Council of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate issued a disgraceful condemnation of political Orthodoxy, which in itself is heresy as the Council of the Russian Orthodox Church of 1917-1918 banned imposing any church punishment for political convictions," he said.
MailOnline (This article has been edited from a longer article.)
Shocking moment ISIS militants take sledgehammers to Mosul tomb of Prophet Jonah
ISIS militants filmed taking sledgehammers to tombstones in Mosul, Iraq
Donning balaclavas and black clothing, they swung weapons into tombs
One grave belonged to Prophet Jonah, revered by Muslims and Christians
Rebels believe special veneration of tombs is against teachings of Islam
By SOPHIE JANE EVANS and ASSOCIATED PRESS REPORTER
PUBLISHED: 07:00 EST, 9 July 2014 | UPDATED: 14:26 EST, 9 July 2014
The rebels, who are members of the Islamic State terror group, were filmed attacking centuries-old graves in the north-west city of Mosul in Ninevah province.
Donning balaclavas and black coats, they swung sledgehammers into the tombs, causing pieces of dust and stone to fly through the air.
One of the devastated tombstones belonged to the Prophet Jonah (Younis in Arabic) and was revered by Muslims and Christians alike, according to Iraqi authorities.
The prophet, who is the central figure in the Hebrew Bible's Book of Jonah, is best known for being swallowed by a fish or a whale, depending on translation.
The attack is the latest in the ISIS's violent rampage across Iraq.
Earlier this week, a series of images emerged showing the destruction of almost a dozen Shia and Sunni religious shrines in Mosul, Iraq's second largest city, and the town of Tal Afar, which is also currently under ISIS control.
ISIS militants believe giving special veneration to tombs and relics is against the teachings of Islam.
Speaking of the latest attack, Ninevah official Zuhair Al-Chalabi, told IraqiNews.com: 'The elements of ISIS [have] controlled the mosque of the Prophet Younis in Mosul since they invaded the city.'
'[They] engaged in the process of tampering with the contents of the Mosque. It is still held by them until now.'
The shrine of the Prophet Seth (Shayth) was also destroyed by rebels, according to reports.
Revered tomb: One of the devastated tombstones belonged to the Prophet Jonah (Younis in Arabic) and was revered by Muslims and Christians alike, authorities said. Another belonged to the Prophet Seth (Shayth)
The photographs of the destroyed churches and mosques that emerged last week were posted on a website which frequently carries official statements from ISIS.
War and sectarian conflict have shrunk Iraq's Christian population to about 400,000 from 1.5million before the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, they said on a visit to Brussels seeking European Union help to protect their flocks.
And now, even those who stayed are leaving for Turkey, Lebanon and western Europe, they claimed.
The three - Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako, Syrian Catholic Archbishop of Mosul Yohanna Petros Mouche and Kirkuk's Chaldean Catholic Archbishop Youssif Mirkis - are all Eastern Catholics whose churches have their own traditional liturgy but are loyal to the pope in Rome.
'The next days will be very bad. If the situation does not change, Christians will be left with just a symbolic presence in Iraq,' said Sako, who is based in Baghdad
'If they leave, their history is finished.'
NYPD Cop-Turned-Demonologist on Why He Believes Possessions Are on the Rise — and the Most Terrifying Thing He’s Seen During an Exorcism
Jul. 5, 2014 7:10am Billy Hallowell
Despite always believing in the existence of good, evil and God, ex-New York Police Department sergeant Ralph Sarchie didn’t consider himself a particularly religious guy — that is, until he began battling what he says are dangerous, supernatural forces.
Sarchie, a self-described demonologist who was once a cop for the 46th police precinct in New York City — and the inspiration for the new Hollywood film “Deliver Us From Evil” — told TheBlaze that he believes possessions and infestations are on the rise.
“It’s definitely on the rise. I hate to say it,” Sarchie said in an interview. “As society pushes God out, no one can deny that that’s happening. There’s a good portion of society that just cannot stomach Jesus Christ and when I see that, I have to wonder where that hatred comes from.”
Watch Sarchie discuss his uncommon career below (caution: disturbing themes and images):
(This video may not be suitable for everyone. Ed)
Of the many exorcisms he has participated in and assisted with, Sarchie — who became an independent part-time paranormal investigator while working with the NYPD — said the most terrifying thing he has seen occurred when he placed a crucifix next to a supposedly possessed individual’s head.
“We had a couple of relics in the church that day and mine was on the right side of this person’s head near the ear area … I usually stand in front,” he said. “I could see the eyes — that one eye looking over at the crucifix, but not turning the head. The head was like a statue … the eyes were going back and forth and that was a frightening thing to see.”
Sarchie described the person as looking like a trapped animal who was scared but still very much a volatile predator attempting an escape.
“I’ve been a cop for a long time. I dealt with a lot of emotionally disturbed persons [and] I’ve arrested some pretty bad people and I have never, never in my life in the street seen anything like that,” he said. “A murderer’s look from a person is nothing like a person who is under possession.”
As for his work — a career that is certainly unconventional — the former cop broke his professional life down in simple terms.
Retired NYPD sergeant and film subject Ralph Sarchie attends a special screening of “Deliver Us From Evil,” June 23, 2014 in New York City. (Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for Sony Pictures Entertainment)
“Demonology is the study of demons. It’s like all your all other ‘ologies,’” Sarchie said. “I approach it from a religious point of view.”
While he wasn’t always the strong Roman Catholic he is today, Sarchie said that he realized that battling the forces of evil meant securing a good relationship with God.
“If I was going to get involved in battling the devil, I needed to get a strong religion,” he said. “I pray every day — I pray my rosary every day and I pray to God every day that what I’m doing in this life is pleasing to him. I can only do what I know he wants me to do.”
Sarchie recalled how he became involved in demonology: After getting married and having his first daughter, he connected with Ed and Lorraine Warren, real-life paranormal investigators who were depicted in last year’s horror flick “The Conjuring.”
“I became one of their students and I started to go out on cases with [the Warrens],” Sarchie told TheBlaze.
He described the signs of possession, including unnatural strength, speaking in different languages, having knowledge of events that one would have no way of knowing, a woman speaking in a man’s voice and a person making animal sounds.
Additionally, Sarchie, who said only ordained clergy should perform exorcisms, explained that possessed individuals oftentimes know information about the past sins of exorcists and assistants.
Despite making a name for himself as a prominent demonologist, Sarchie said he has never accepted a penny for his assistance, always offering his services free of charge. In fact, he said, cases often cost him money, as he must fund his own travel expenses to various localities.
The former cop says he knows there are many who doubt his claims, but he told TheBlaze he doesn’t pay them any mind.
“I get word of all these skeptics out there and some of them are getting real nasty,” he said. “I’m not interested in what they say, I’m not interested in what they think about me. I don’t care.
Mind-Blowing Image Shows The Sun During An 'Unusual' Solar Eruption
JUL. 7, 2014, 10:53 AM
This past January, scientists witnessed a series of strange solar eruptions and, lucky for us, they caught it all in the fantastic image above, which we first saw on Colossal.
Solar scientist Nathalia Alzatethe of the University of Aberystwyth in Wales discussed the source of the eruptions at the 2014 Royal Astronomical Society's National Astronomy Meeting in Portsmouth, England at the end of last month.
The photo above is a colorized composite image taken by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory. It is made up of photos taken in several different wavelengths and by different satellites at different angles.
In it, you can see the sun's outer magnetized atmosphere, which extends millions of miles into space, according to the observatory's Facebook page. The scientists observed the puffs exploding once every three hours, with a giant eruption of material released every 12 hours apparently caused by the smaller puffs, they wrote.
Alzate explained the source of the jets on the the observatory's facebook page.:
The jets are localized, catastrophic releases of energy that spew material out from the sun into space. These rapid changes in the magnetic field cause flares, which release a huge amount of energy in a very short time in the form of super-heated plasma, high-energy radiation and radio bursts. The big, slow structure is reluctant to erupt, and does not begin to smoothly propagate outwards until several jets have occurred.
Alzate said that while the jets appear to be the cause of the giant slow eruption, it is unclear how they cause it. She suggested the jets could either create shock waves or "magnetic reconfiguration" that could trigger the slow eruption.
(And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. Genesis 1:16)
BY “PUNISHING” FRANCE, THE US JUST ACCELERATED THE DEMISE OF THE DOLLAR
The head of the French central bank, and ECB member just issued a direct threat to the world's reserve currency (for now), the US Dollar
JULY 5, 2014
Image Credits: mikeporesky, Flickr
Not even we anticipated this particular “unintended consequence” as a result of the US multi-billion dollar fine on BNP (which France took very much to heart). Moments ago, in a lengthy interview given to French magazine Investir, none other than the governor of the French National Bank Christian Noyer and member of the ECB’s governing board, said this stunner at the very end, via Bloomberg:
NOYER: BNP CASE WILL ENCOURAGE ‘DIVERSIFICATION’ FROM DOLLAR
Here is the full google translated segment:
Q. Doesn’t the role of the dollar as an international currency create systemic risk?
Noyer: Beyond [the BNP] case, increased legal risks from the application of U.S. rules to all dollar transactions around the world will encourage a diversification from the dollar. BNP Paribas was the occasion for many observers to remember that there has been a number of sanctions and that there would certainly be others in the future. A movement to diversify the currencies used in international trade is inevitable. Trade between Europe and China does not need to use the dollar and may be read and fully paid in euros or renminbi. Walking towards a multipolar world is the natural monetary policy, since there are several major economic and monetary powerful ensembles. China has decided to develop the renminbi as a settlement currency. The Bank of France was behind the popular ECB-PBOC swap and we have just concluded a memorandum on the creation of a system of offshore renminbi clearing in Paris. We have very strong cooperation with the PBOC in this field. But these changes take time. We must not forget that it took decades after the United States became the world’s largest economy for the dollar to replace the British pound as the first international currency. But the phenomenon of U.S. rules expanding to all USD-denominated transactions around the world can have an accelerating effect.
In other words, the head of the French central bank, and ECB member, Christian Noyer, just issued a direct threat to the world’s reserve currency (for now), the US Dollar.
Putting this whole episode in context: in an attempt to punish France for proceeding with the delivery of the Mistral amphibious warship to Russia, the US “punishes” BNP with a failed attempt at blackmail (recall that as Putin revealed, the BNP penalty was a used as a carrot to disincenticize France from concluding the Mistral transaction: had Hollande scrapped the deal, BNP would likely be slammed with a far lower fine, if any). Said blackmail attempt backfires horribly when as a result, the head of the French central bank makes it clear that not only is the US Dollar’s reserve currency status not sacrosanct, but “the world” will now actively seek to avoid USD-transactions in order to escape the tentacle of global “pax Americana.”
And, the biggest irony of all is that in “punishing” France for dealing with Russia, that core country of the Eurasian alliance of Russia and China, the US merely accelerated the gravitation of France (and all of Europe) precisely toward Eurasia, toward a multi-polar (sorry fanatic believers in a one world SDR-based currency) and away from the greenback.
THE ALMIGHTY DOLLAR IS IN PERIL AS THE GLOBAL ‘DE-DOLLARIZATION’ TREND ACCELERATES
Prominent international voices are starting to question why the U.S. dollar should be so overwhelmingly dominant.
Image Credits: Public domain
by MICHAEL SNYDER
JULY 7, 2014
As the Obama administration continues to alienate almost everyone else around the entire planet, an increasing number of prominent international voices are starting to question why the U.S. dollar should be so overwhelmingly dominant in global trade. In previous articles, I have discussed Russia’s “de-dollarization strategy” and the fact that Gazprom is now asking their large customers to start paying in currencies other than the dollar. But this is not just a story about Russia any longer. As you will read about below, China and South Korea have just signed a major agreement to facilitate trade with one another using their own national currencies, and even prominent French officials are now talking about the need to use the dollar less and the euro more. John Williams of shadowstats.com recently said that things have never “been more negative” for the U.S. dollar, and he was right on the mark. The power of the almighty dollar has allowed all of us living in the United States to enjoy an extremely high standard of living for decades, but as that power now fades it is going to have profound implications for the U.S. economy. In future years the value of the dollar will go down substantially, all of the imported goods filling our stores will become much more expensive, and it is going to cost the federal government a lot more to borrow money. Unfortunately, with the stock market hitting all-time record highs and with the mainstream media endlessly touting an “economic recovery”, most Americans are not paying any attention to these things.
French oil giant Total is one of the largest energy companies in the entire world. On Saturday, Total’s CEO made an absolutely stunning statement. According to Reuters, he told reporters that there “is no reason to pay for oil in dollars”…
“Doing without the (U.S.) dollar, that wouldn’t be realistic, but it would be good if the euro was used more,” he told reporters.
“There is no reason to pay for oil in dollars,” he said. He said the fact that oil prices are quoted in dollars per barrel did not mean that payments actually had to be made in that currency.
If Gazprom’s CEO had made such a statement, it would not have really surprised anyone. But this came from a high profile French CEO. A decade ago, it would have been unthinkable for him to say such a thing. Wars have been started over less. Virtually all oil and natural gas around the planet has been bought and sold for U.S. dollars since the 1970s, and this is an arrangement that the U.S. government has traditionally guarded very zealously. But now that Russia has broken the petrodollar monopoly, the fear of questioning the almighty dollar appears to be dissipating.
And at this point even French government officials are not afraid to publicly discuss moving away from the U.S. dollar. Just check out what French finance minister Michel Sapin said to the press this weekend…
French finance minister Michel Sapin says “now is the right time to bolster the use of the euro” adding, more ominously for the dollar, “we sell ourselves aircraft in dollars. Is that really necessary? I don’t think so.” Careful to avoid upsetting his ‘allies’ across the pond, Sapin followed up with the slam-dunk diplomacy, “This is not a fight against dollar imperialism,” except, of course – that’s exactly what it is… just as it was over 40 years ago when the French challenged Nixon.
So why are the French suddenly so upset?
Could it be the fact that we just slapped the largest bank in France witha nearly 9 billion dollar fine?…
The remarks come a week after Paris-based bank BNP Paribas (BNP) SA was slapped with a $8.97 billion fine by U.S. authorities for transactions carried out in dollars in countries facing American sanctions. The fine spurred debate in France about the right of the U.S. in extending its regulatory reach beyond its borders.
This is yet another example of how the Obama administration is alienating friends all over the globe.
In fact, there doesn’t seem to be anyone that the Obama administration is afraid of crossing. Just a couple of days ago, the German press exploded in outrage when Germany arrested a U.S. spy. Why we feel the need to spy on our friends is something that I will never figure out.
And of course our relations with Russia are probably the worst that they have been since the end of the Cold War at this point. And as the Russians now rapidly move away from the U.S. dollar, they seem intent on bringing the rest of “the BRICS” with them. The following is a short excerpt from a recent Voice of Russia article entitled “BRICS morphing into anti-dollar alliance“…
However, in her discussion with Vladimir Putin, the head of the Russian central bank unveiled an elegant technical solution for this problem and left a clear hint regarding the members of the anti-dollar alliance that is being created by the efforts of Moscow and Beijing:
“We’ve done a lot of work on the ruble-yuan swap deal in order to facilitate trade financing. I have a meeting next week in Beijing,” she said casually and then dropped the bomb: “We are discussing with China and our BRICS parters the establishment of a system of multilateral swaps that will allow to transfer resources to one or another country, if needed. A part of the currency reserves can be directed to [the new system].” (source of the quote: Prime news agency)
It seems that the Kremlin chose the all-in-one approach for establishing its anti-dollar alliance. Currency swaps between the BRICS central banks will facilitate trade financing while completely bypassing the dollar. At the same time, the new system will also act as a de facto replacement of the IMF, because it will allow the members of the alliance to direct resources to finance the weaker countries. As an important bonus, derived from this “quasi-IMF” system, the BRICS will use a part (most likely the “dollar part”) of their currency reserves to support it, thus drastically reducing the amount of dollar-based instruments bought by some of the biggest foreign creditors of the US.
Of course the key economic player in the BRICS alliance is China.
So will China actually go along with a “de-dollarization” strategy?
Well, the truth is that China has been making moves to become more independent of the dollar for a long time, and it has just been announced that China and South Korea have signed an agreement which will mean more direct trade between the two nations using their own national currencies…
China’s central bank has authorized the Bank of Communications, the country’s fifth largest lender, to undertake yuan clearing business in the South Korean capital, the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) said in a statement.
The announcement came as Chinese President Xi Jinping wrapped up a state visit to South Korea on Friday. China is seeking to make the yuan – also known as the renminbi – used more internationally in keeping with the country’s status as the world’s second biggest economy behind the United States.
Unfortunately, most Americans don’t care about any of this at all.
They don’t understand that more U.S. dollars are actually used outside the United States than are used inside the United States. Because most of the rest of the world uses U.S. dollars to trade with one another, this has created a tremendous amount of artificial demand for our currency. In other words, the value of the U.S. dollar is much higher than it otherwise would be, and this has enabled us to import trillions of dollars of products at ridiculously low prices. The standard of living that we enjoy today is highly dependent on this arrangement continuing.
And our ability to fund the federal government and our state and local governments is heavily dependent on the rest of the planet loaning our dollars back to us for next to nothing. If we actually had to pay realistic market rates to borrow money, the finances of the federal government would have already collapsed long ago.
So it is absolutely imperative for our own economic well-being that this “de-dollarization” trend not accelerate any further. The rest of the world could actually severely hurt us by deciding to stop using the almighty dollar, and the more that the Obama administration antagonizes both our friends and our foes around the globe the more likely that is to happen.
We live in very perilous times, and the almighty dollar is more vulnerable now than it has been in decades.
If it starts collapsing, it will take down the entire U.S. financial system with it.
Let us hope that we still have a bit more time before that happens, because once the U.S. dollar collapses it will be exceedingly painful for all of us.
EU's united front on Russia falling amid gas needs
TUESDAY JUL 08, 2014 | GEORGE JAHN FOR THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Credit: AP Photo/Darko Bandic
VIENNA (AP) — A clutch of countries is breaking ranks with the EU's efforts to put economic and diplomatic pressure on Russia over Ukraine and building a pipeline meant to carry huge amounts of Russian gas to their doorstep.
Their defiance of a European Union stop work order is more significant than just another missed chance for Europe to call out the Kremlin. Russian natural gas already accounts for around a third of the EU's needs. The South Stream pipeline could increase Russian supplies to Europe by another 25 percent, potentially boosting Moscow's leverage long after the Ukraine crisis fades.
Adding to the skein of Russian pipelines already ending in Europe, South Stream would go through Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Slovenia, Austria and Italy in one leg and Croatia, Macedonia, Greece and Turkey in a second. The European Commission, the EU executive, has ordered a construction moratorium over concerns with Russia's dual role as pipeline owner and gas supplier. It has also delayed some political talks on the pipeline amid the crisis in Ukraine.
"Developments in Ukraine and Russia have demonstrated that the EU's priority is to diversify its energy sources," says spokeswoman Sabine Berger of the EU Energy Commissioner's office.
But Austria, Hungary, and Serbia — the first two EU members, the third a candidate to join — have said they will build their sections of the project and others may follow, to the displeasure of the EU and United States. In the wake of Austria's decision last month, Washington urged it to "consider carefully" whether that contributed to "discouraging further Russian aggression."
Moscow says such arguments by the U.S. are driven by business concerns. In Vienna recently to lobby for Austrian support for South Stream, Russian President Vladimir Putin said "our American friends ... want to supply Europe with gas themselves."
In Slovenia Tuesday for discussions that included South Stream, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov challenged the EU Commission's moratorium as "not in accordance with norms of international law."
Slovene Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec cited North Stream, another Russian pipeline to Europe partially owned and supplied by Russia, as a precedent for South Stream.
European reaction has been generally muted. Many countries in central and eastern Europe already get much of their gas from Russia, making them ill-placed to criticize South Stream. Those further west, like France, have seen their lucrative business relations with Russia untouched by sanctions against Moscow.
And while individual countries are taking steps to diversify their sources, officials seem to recognize there are few near-term options to Russian gas.
Renewable energy projects are not close to meeting demand. Environmental concerns are fomenting widespread opposition to fracking — the disputed extraction of oil and gas from shale formations that has resulted in a U.S. gas boom. And it will be at least a decade before the U.S. can make sea-borne shipments of liquefied natural gas, due to technical and bureaucratic hurdles.
"Europe's energy dependence on Moscow seems to be in the cards for a long time to come," says Michael Klare, author of "Rising Powers, Shrinking Planet, the New Geopolitics of Energy." ''Moscow is not going to give up its dominant position easily."
Such prospects are forcing Western powers to see the threat from Moscow in a new, post-Cold War light. NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen last month accused Russian intelligence agencies of working directly with European environmental groups to fund anti-fracking campaigns.
Russia's annexation of the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine also has the potential of strengthening its energy dominance in Europe.
Moscow now has control over a large part of the eastern Black Sea, and with it potential natural gas deposits previously claimed by Ukraine that may be worth trillions of dollars. It can also reroute South Stream without having to skirt Ukrainian waters, making the project cheaper and simpler.
Some European criticism of the move to build the pipeline has come from countries that were formerly ruled by the Kremlin. Shortly after Austria agreed to build its section late last month, President Toomas Hendrik Ilves of ex-Soviet republic Estonia chided Austrian President Heinz Fischer, telling him that Moscow can in no way be considered a "strategic partner."
But most reaction is low-key. A statement to The Associated Press from the economics ministry of formerly Communist-ruled Poland said any decision to build the pipeline ultimately lies "in the hands of the interested stakeholders," even if South Stream fails to diversify "routes, sources and suppliers."
Such restraint could be explained by these countries' own deals with Moscow. A direct Russian pipeline to Estonia meets 100 percent of its gas needs. Ditto for Latvia and Lithuania, both former Soviet republics. And Poland covers more than 60 percent of its requirements through Russia, even as it works to diversify its sources.
This allows those needing South Stream to dismiss criticism.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban recently challenged "those who say we shouldn't build South Stream .... (to) make an alternative proposal about how we could live without energy." And Bulgarian Energy Minister Dragomir Stoynev said the idea of some countries benefiting from direct Russian gas shipments while expecting his country to wait out the Ukraine crisis is "unacceptable."
Associated Press writers John-Thor Dahlburg in Brussels, Vanessa Gera and Monika Scislowska in Warsaw and Jovana Gec in Belgrade contributed to this story.
Is America losing Germany?
By Michael Werz
July 11, 2014 -- Updated 1315 GMT (2115 HKT)
Editor's note: Michael Werz is a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, a progressive organization based in Washington. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.
(CNN) -- Germany may be America's most important European ally, but the relationship between the two countries is on the rocks.
On Thursday, Germany expelled a top CIA agent from Berlin, a highly unusual move for which the German government cited a "lack of cooperation" from the United States in clarifying recent spying cases. Those cases include revelation that the CIA tried to recruit a German secret service staffer to sell classified information, and the possibility that a German Defense Ministry employee had been working for U.S. intelligence.
German policymakers and journalists are up in arms, with U.S. diplomats struggling to contain the political damage.
In a recent poll, only 35% of Germans said the United States can be trusted. This is a stunning vote of no confidence amid continued public uproar about the NSA's tapping of Chancellor Angela Merkel's cell phone.
For those dedicated to the trans-Atlantic alliance, the current atmosphere is more depressing than during the height of the Iraq war, when Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and President George W. Bush made no secret of their antipathy. Long gone are times like when 200,000 Germans cheered for candidate Barack Obama as he spoke under Berlin's Victory Column in summer 2008. Gone, too, are Obama's 75% approval ratings among Germans.
The United States has very few friends in Berlin these days. Even traditionally pro-American policy- and opinion-makers keep a low profile, and almost no one is prepared to publicly defend the United States. Many say they are fed up with America's explanations and excuses, and it is hard to blame them.
In contrast, those in Germany who argue that the country should pursue an even course between the United States and Russia, instead of partnering with the United States, are in "I told you so" mode, saying that Americans are not worthy of a trusting relationship. Legitimate criticism of intelligence overreach is now solidifying into genuine anti-American sentiment, with deeply corrosive effects on bilateral ties.
Germans are very sensitive about data protection. This is rooted in Stalinist and Nazi traditions of comprehensive surveillance and terror. But that's only part of the story.
Many in the German business community are trying to protect their investments in Russia from U.S.-led sanctions. A new generation of Germans in their 20s and 30s know the United States only in its post-9/11 guise: Afghanistan, Iraq, surveillance, fingerprinting at the borders, spying on friendly nations and their leaders, renditions and targeted killings.
It is not uncommon to hear young Germans ask: "What makes the U.S. different from Russia or China?"
It is easy to dismiss such distorted perceptions, but they matter. America is increasingly seen as a paranoid society that cannot distinguish between friends and foes anymore. This perception is eroding America's standing in the world. As one Berlin policymaker suggested: "The U.S. is digging its own grave with regard to its global leadership aspirations."
In addition, there is a widespread
feeling among government officials, scholars and businessmen that the
United States "still doesn't get it" and is not prepared to
seriously discuss the rules of engagement when it comes to
surveillance of close allies.
We should not underestimate the damage this perception has already inflicted. During the Iraq war, many Germans rationalized their discontent with U.S. policy by separating the likes of George Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz -- bad apples in their minds -- from what they saw as the "good Americans."
This time, German disappointment and anger is proportionate to the high expectations of the Obama era. Many just say that the United States cannot and should not be trusted anymore, and that any special relationship is gone for good.
Germany has reacted this week partly from genuine anger and partly in response to public opinion. U.S. Ambassador John Emerson was summoned to the German Foreign Office just hours before the large annual Fourth of July reception at the American Embassy. It was "nothing that we liked to do but it was necessary," said one German official. Members of the governing coalition are openly asking to expel U.S. intelligence personnel from Germany and order the BND (Germany's foreign intelligence agency) to cease all cooperation with U.S. services. Even German President Joachim Gauck, usually a measured man, could not resist making a populist "enough is enough" statement.
The current turmoil is reversing modest gains that have been made by the Cyber Dialogue established by the White House with the German government in the wake of the National Security Aagency revelations. The first meeting took place on June 26 in Berlin, ending a day before news broke that the CIA attempted to recruit a junior BND agent. So much for dialogue.
For the United States, references to ongoing internal review will not cut it this time. As annoying as public debates in Germany might be to American leaders, the United States cannot afford to ignore them.
The Germans require a serious conversation about national interest, the trans-Atlantic partnership, and intelligence gathering. This will be mutually beneficial, as it will force Germans to make up their mind as to what role they want to play and perhaps help the United States establish a true cost-benefit analysis of its intelligence activities.
MEXICO LOOKS TO BACK PESO WITH SILVER: “WOULD UNLEASH A GLOBAL POWER SHIFT”
New silver-backed currency in Mexico or any other country could be a boon for precious metals
by MAC SLAVO
JULY 11, 2014
For many Americans the country of Mexico conjures up images of a third world nation. The poverty, lack of basic services, and extreme violence has left the populace so desperate that thousands of people on a daily basis head to the United States for a better life.
But according to Future Money Trends, all that could change in the near future as key Mexican financial leaders and politicians have been working to institute sweeping monetary change that, if implemented, could unleash a global power shift of epic proportions.
“Take just three or four men out of the ‘anti’ group,” says Hugo Salinas Price, a Mexican multi-billionaire and the man behind the monetary push, “and we could practically get a unanimous ‘yes’ vote in both houses.”
Like recent monetary shifts in Russia, China and the middle east that aim to divest themselves of US dollar reserve trade requirements, the news of such a move in Mexico has been downplayed. And though it is being generally ignored as a serious possibility, a powerful consortium of influential people in Mexico believe it is a realistic possibility, and one that could be responsible for shifting the balance of world power.
This could be a major turn of events that will have global implications. The action’s set to unfold in Mexico, where many of its most influential and wealthy citizens are demanding the country abandon its fiat currency, the Peso, and return to a silver standard. … We know that many people are used to looking at Mexico as the violent, crooked, messed up country over the border… the one that sends all those illegals over here because even picking canteloupes for giant U.S. agri-businesses pays better than the job at home… it’s now time to rethink all that, because a silver standard in Mexico would unleash the biggest global power shift since Spain raided the Aztecs 600 years ago. It’s unavoidable. History repeats itself, especially when its exactly the same economic situation.
Coupled with a continued silver supply crunch and deteriorating conditions for fiat currencies around the globe, a new silver-backed currency in Mexico or any other country could be a boon for precious metals.
The real question is, will western central bankers allow such a move to happen? We know what happened in Libya and Iraq when their leaders tried a similar strategy that would have freed them from their dependence on U.S. dollars. They ended up under a no-fly zone that carpeted their countries with millions of pounds of ordnance.
But with Mexico working closely with China on economic matters and numerous super powers vying for control of the global economy and geo-political landscape, new systems of trade are sure to emerge. Those who catch the trends early and invest appropriately in hard assets could see their personal wealth increase significantly during the financial, economic and monetary upheaval to come.
Iran, Russia to join forces against terror in Iraq: Tehran
Sun Jul 6, 2014 5:43PM GMT
Iran and Russia have agreed to jointly help Iraq combat terrorism, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian says.
“Tehran and Moscow firmly support Iraq in its fight against terrorism and will strongly stand by the Iraqi nation and government to protect Iraq’s unity, independence and territorial integrity,” Amir-Abdollahian said in an interview with Iran's al-Alam Arabic-language news channel.
He added that Iran and Russia both oppose any conspiracy for the disintegration of Iraq into smaller entities.
The top Iranian diplomat further said, “Tehran and Moscow have close and in many cases common and coordinated stance on regional developments.”
Iran and Russia believe that Iraq, along with its fight against terrorism, should seriously focus on completing the political process in the country for convening the parliament to form a government. The first session of Iraq's newly elected parliament was adjourned on July 1 for a week without choosing a new speaker after Kurdish lawmakers boycotted the session over their conflicts with other lawmakers.
The members of parliament are tasked with naming a new unity government. After choosing the parliament speaker, the lawmaker will have to pick the Iraqi president as well as the prime minister within 45 days.
Incumbent Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is bidding for a third term, despite stiff opposition from his key rivals. On the future of Iraq, Abdollahian said Tehran will respect and support any coalition formed by Maliki’s State of Law coalition, which won the most parliamentary seats in recent elections.
“If Maliki is introduced as the prime minister and this agreement is reached inside Iraq, we will strongly support him; and if any individual other than Maliki is elected and approved within the framework of the recent election’s outcome, he too will be supported by the Islamic Republic of Iran,” he reiterated, adding, "This is an entirely internal issue for Iraq."
Iraq is currently witnessing a wave of violence, which escalated after militants from the ISIL terrorist group took control of large swathes of the country, including key cities last month.
(And say, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal: And I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed with all sorts of armour, even a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords: Persia...Ezekiel 38:3-5)
1,000-strong Syrian rebel brigade defects to Islamic State - report
Published time: July 11, 2014 03:41
Edited time: July 11, 2014 05:10
An entire 1,000-strong rebel brigade based in Syria’s Idlib province has reportedly defected to the Islamic State group, raising new questions as to whether other factions will rally behind the militant force that has swept through Iraq’s west.
The Dawud Brigade, which was based in Sarmin and fell under the umbrella of the anti-government Sham Army, arrived in the northeastern city of Raqqa last weekend, the main headquarters for the Islamic State (IS) – previously known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS/ISIL).
The rebel group arrived in a convoy of over 100 vehicles, including 10 tanks seized from Syrian government forces, McClatchy reported quoting anti-government activists as saying on Tuesday. Syrian journalist Ammar Abu Shahin said that an increasingly complex relationship between anti-government rebel groups prompted Dawun Brigade’s leader, Hassan Abboud, to head to Raqqa.
“Frankly speaking, people in the countryside of Idlib are in a real panic about the advancement of the Islamic State,” said Shahin.
According to the journalist, who is familiar with the dynamics between pro-Western Syrian rebels and more radical Islamist elements, the decision by the brigade to formally align itself with the Islamic State was “only a change in uniform,” suggesting that groups already sympathetic could well identify themselves and also head for its Raqqa headquarters.
Meanwhile there have been reports on Monday that several rebel factions affiliated with the FSA have pledged allegiance to the IS in the border town of al-Bukamal in eastern Syria. Sources and eyewitnesses told Zaman Alwasl newspaper that brigades of Ahl Al Athar, Ibin al-Qa'im, and Aisha have joined the IS.
The reports of the defections come as the Obama administration ratchets up efforts to arm the Free Syrian Army. Last month the White House asked Congress for half-a-billion dollars in aid to go towards the opposition fighters.
US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered the Pentagon to develop more detailed plans to train and equip moderate Syrian rebels, should Congress approve the requested funding.
Having already declared a “caliphate,” IS is said to be planning to fuse its controlled territories in Syria with those it has claimed in Iraq, eliminating the border and securing oil and gas interests in the process. The group’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, has called on Muslims throughout the world to travel and join the Islamic caliphate.
Despite territorial gains in Syria, IS does not appear to have gained much support from Syrian citizens – just four percent of those recently polled believe the Islamic insurgents represent their interests.
The situation in Iraq, however, may be decisively different. There, the group has preyed upon the sectarian rift between Sunni and Shia Muslims in the country, and has been joined by seasoned members of the former Baath ruling party.
Separatist leader: 'Ukraine rebels will not surrender'
11 July 2014 Last updated at 06:25 BST
One of the leaders of separatist rebels in eastern Ukranine has told the BBC that the militants will not surrender - despite increased pressure from Ukrainian government forces.
Ukraine's military has made significant gains in recent days, including recapturing the rebel stronghold of Sloviansk.
Oleg Tsaryov, the self-proclaimed head of the breakaway republic of Novorossiya (New Russia), told the BBC's Steve Rosenberg that he "knew the mood of the insurgents" and that they were "not going to surrender".
Chile Releases Official Study on UFO Photos
Leslie Kean Author, New York Times bestseller, 'UFOs: Generals, Pilots and Government Officials Go On the Record'
Posted: 07/04/2014 11:40 pm EDT Updated: 07/06/2014 5:59 pm EDT
The government office investigating UFOs in Chile has released an analysis of two high quality photos showing what appear be genuine unidentified flying objects above a remote copper mine. The office, known as the CEFAA (Committee for the Studies of Anomalous Aerial Phenomena), is located within the Ministerial Department of Civil Aeronautics (DGAC), the equivalent of our FAA, under the jurisdiction of the Chilean Air Force. It is responsible for the analysis of selected reports of unexplained aerial phenomena in Chilean airspace, most of them from pilots and aviation personnel.
The photos were taken at the Collahuasi copper mine, more than 14,000 feet above sea level in the Andean plateau in the far north of Chile. An extremely remote location with low oxygen levels and unusually clear skies, the area is desolate and inhospitable. The Collahuasi mine produces copper concentrate, copper cathodes and molybdenum concentrate from three open-pit mineral deposits.
Four technicians - professionals specializing in electricity, electronics, and fluid control - were working there in April, 2013. They witnessed a disc-shaped object which approached slowly and was present for more than an hour, moving around in different positions and hovering at about 2000 feet. One technician took pictures with his Kenox Samsung S860 camera. The strange object made no sound, and eventually moved away towards the East.
The witnesses decided not to tell anybody because of the negative associations they had with UFO sightings, and therefore had every intention of always keeping the sighting private. But some months later, the photographer casually showed the pictures to the chief engineer at the mine, who asked for copies. The engineer sent the images to the CEFAA in February, and provided the agency with information reported to him by the witnesses. He too has requested anonymity.
Chile's meteorological office at the DGAC confirmed that there was an absolute clear sky at that time, and that there was no possibility of lenticular clouds. All other meteorological phenomena have been ruled out by Chilean officials as a possible explanation.
CEFAA officials told me they determined that there were no drones operating near the mine. "People in that zone know about drones," said Jose Lay, international affairs director for the CEFAA. "Fishing companies use drones and they make a lot of noise. This was definitely not a drone." DGAC officials also ruled out any experimental aircraft, planes, weather balloons, or anything else that could explain the incident.
With all conventional explanations eliminated, the CEFAA staff determined that the photos were worthy of analysis. The results of this study, conducted by a leading CEFAA analyst at the DGAC Meteorological Office, was released on July 3rd and is posted on the CEFAA website.
The report states that the witnesses described the phenomenon as "a flattened disc, of brilliant color, with a diameter of 5 to 10 meters [16 to 32 feet]. It performed ascending, descending and horizontal movements in short lengths, about 600 meters above the ground." The witnesses had the impression that the object was under intelligent control.
The first image, enlarged and filtered, shows a solid object reflecting the sunlight, the report states. It adds that the object could be emitting it's own energy as well, due to the high temperature shown in the image (the black area).
The second photo shows the object in a different position in the sky. (The CEFAA does not know the time sequence between the two images.)
The text on this diagram of the enlarged second image indicates lines where very soft rays were reflected from an "extremely luminous half sphere." The analyst concludes that the object "emitted its own energy that does not coincide with the natural sunlight which is also reflected off the object." At noon, the brightness underneath could not have been caused by the sun, which was reflected off the top.
The study concludes that "It is an object or phenomenon of great interest, and it can be qualified as a UFO."
Despite the strength of this analysis, the CEFAA staff recognize the limitations of the Collahuasi case. "The witnesses were not willing to cooperate," Jose Lay told me. "We tried to contact them, and we got no reply. So we treated the material just as we have treated several others of the same or similar nature: we file them for future reference or comparison purposes. That's all we can do in this case."
Retired General Ricardo Bermudez, director of the CEFAA, says "We recognize that this is the determination of only one CEFFA analyst among several. So we still must be cautious." He has called a meeting of the CEFFA scientific committee, composed of high level specialists from laboratories and universities, for next week. Although they are not expert visual photo-video analysts, the opinion of this distinguished group, which supports the work of the CEFAA and assists with investigations when needed, could shed further light on the case.
The South American media has shown great interest in these images. In the US, retired Navy physicist Bruce Maccabee, a well known photo analyst, has this to say: "In the second image there appears to be a very bright hemispherical shape, convex downward... possibly a UFO enveloped in a cloud of vapor." He notes that additional data is needed to determine more, but that it is clear that the object moved "a considerable distance" between the two photos.
"This is clearly not a normal thing seen in the sky (bird, plane, cloud, etc.)," added Dr. Maccabee in an email. "That makes it either the real thing - UFO - or a hoax, and it doesn't appear to be a hoax, although the inability to question witnesses does reduce the credibility. Certainly this case is worthy of further study."
It is indeed unfortunate that the four witnesses have not been willing to speak to the authorities, who could guarantee them anonymity. But even so, these images are important because they were studied by a government agency with access to the pertinent information needed for a proper analysis. That in itself is unusual. I commend the CEFAA for taking on cases such as this. The experts there conducted a serious investigation, and then released the information to the public, with no reservations about acknowledging the possible existence of a UFO, since that is warranted.
SUVs, handwash and FOMO: how the advertising industry embraced fear
Advertising is about selling 'freedom from fear' and targeting consumers' anxieties with products that alleviate those worries – whether it's fear of disease, attack or of missing out
Sunday 6 July 2014 12.00 EDT
The ride of your life? The Hummer H2 Limited Edition, marketed as a vehicle with security in mind. Photograph: Alamy
Sex doesn't sell, it's fear. In the first episode of Mad Men (Smoke gets in your eyes) Don Draper outlines the appeal of fear as a tool for selling with chilling clarity. "Advertising is based on one thing: happiness," he calmly tells his clients. "And do you know what happiness is? … It's freedom from fear."
This has been the simple quest of consumerism for the past half-century: to pinpoint with laser-like accuracy the anxieties of the consumer at any given moment, from the nebulous (economic insecurity) to the specific (bird flu). One former marketing executive from a soft drinks multinational even told me how they would brainstorm these anxieties on a "whiteboard of worry". The purpose? To brilliantly, cunningly hone a product that offers temporary "freedom from fear", temporary because a new fear and a new product will be on their way soon. Here are some of the ways it is done.
How 9/11 sold us the Hummer – as a suburban car
After the September 11 attacks, market research suggested the public were now terrified of "the outside", generally, and an opportunity was spotted by an extraordinary French anthropologist called Clotaire Rapaille, who lives in a big, spooky chateau. For more than 30 years, he's been advising companies such as General Motors, Kellogg's and Philip Morris on how to exploit what he calls, scarily, the consumer's "reptilian brain". This reptilian brain could be triggered to sell cars, and Rapaille believed a military vehicle designed for war could now be sold to bankers in golfing jumpers. Yes, the Hummer was coming to Clapham. "It's a weapon," he told me. "The message is: 'Don't mess with me. If you want to bump into me I'm going to crush you and I'm going to kill you.'"
With people fearful of the outside world, the car now needed to offer sanctuary. "It gives me superiority in a very dangerous world," Rapaille says. The aggressive Humvee mindset spawned a less antisocial alternative: the SUV (sport utility vehicle), with its high-up military-style vantage point, from which to spot approaching danger, and with macho bumpers signalling solidity and indestructibility. Even the cup holders, says Rapaille, are not really about holding cups: they reinforce a psychological signal of stability. SUV sales soared and in the early nineties accounted for more than 20% of all American car sales.
In reality, SUVs were the opposite of the message they sent out: far more likely to roll over than smaller, lower cars. But the illusion of safety is what mattered. Freedom from fear, even if that freedom is a chimera, sells the thing to us.
Where it all began: bad breath
"Jane has a pretty face. Men notice her lovely figure but never linger long. Because Jane has one big minus on her report card – halitosis: bad breath." (1950s advertisement for Listerine.)
Classic Listerine advert
Stanley B Resor took over the advertising agency J Walter Thompson in 1916 with a vision of humanity, as a writhing mass, jostling for food and safety, but united by one thing: fear, according to marketing expert Joel Sachs. Resor wanted to utilise the latest developments in European psychoanalysis (Freud) and believed constructing fear and then providing the product solution was the key to modern consumerism. So, when the producers of an obscure antiseptic called Listerine were looking for a new market, Resor had the answer.
Listerine was going to be the cure for an international epidemic of unimaginable proportions. What could this terrible disease be? It had a medical name and everything: it was halitosis and we've been gargling ever since.
How bird flu sold soap
There's virtually no difference between conventional soap and antibacterial soap. The traditional bar, which hasn't changed since the 1940s, kills almost as many germs as the antibacterial. But we don't believe that – and we have bird flu and Sars to thank. Before selling soap through fear of germs, it was sold as a luxury: Imperial Leather and the soap-suddy pleasure of the long bath taken by the blonde woman on a break from the Flake ad.
But antibacterial soaps changed all that: hygiene was the new war zone and the genius of the idea was to convince us that every domestic surface was teeming with salmonella, E coli and baby-threatening diseases of every kind, and so requiring manic spraying every 15 seconds. Soap went from the bathroom to the kitchen, and OCD had an unwitting enabler.
Barry Shafe, Cussons' former head of product development and the man behind Carex's launch in the UK, tells me the background noise of pandemic fear was all that was needed to drive consumers to antibacterial soap. They didn't need to ramp up the fear with advertising because real fear sells far better than invented fear. But it also helps if your soap is blue (medical-looking) and comes in a squirty, transparent square bottle (square and transparent equals, wait for it, honesty).
Jumping the shark: the Brickhouse Child Locator
Here is one you would think would never get past the Dragons' Den pitching stage, but it did. "Every parent's worst nightmare," begins the advert. A mum is darting frantically around the children's playground searching for her missing son. Paedomania is rife. But thank God! He is wearing an electronic tag, a Brickhouse Child Locator, to be precise. Some fear-stoking simply goes too far: we don't mind being scared (we actually enjoy the experience of a rollercoaster ride) but child abduction, no thanks. The kiddie tag never took off, thank heavens – the batteries alone would have cost a fortune.
The damsel in distress and the hero product
Everything from kitchen roll to chocolate bars has been cast in the role of hero, riding in to save the day and banish the fear. We are too knowing nowadays to buy the six-pack chiselled hero so the hero is now invariably semi-comic or ironic (the You're So Money Supermarket Dad, and the Juan Sheet kitchen roll Zorro).
Juan Sheet from the Plenty kitchen roll advertisements
Because the damsel in distress is the consumer, we can now be rescued from absolutely anything: roadside breakdown heroes rescue women (important that it is a woman) on dimly lit backstreets, sure, but beer can also come to the rescue of thirst, washing powder to the rescue of parents, gravy granules to the rescue of Sunday lunch. It is ridiculous but we fall for it.
'Consumers remember basically one thing and one thing only" – so make sure that thing is scary'
Bob Ehrlich helped launch the bestselling drug of all time: lipitor, a powerful statin used to treat high cholesterol. The reality of heart disease and stroke is that they have multiple, complex causes, but many of us believe cholesterol is the only one that counts.
So how did cholesterol get the rap? Because the drugs industry had developed drugs … that lowered cholesterol. And boy, they needed to sell them somehow.
"It's an interesting problem we had, which was we couldn't say lipitor prevents heart attacks," says Ehrlich. "So we decided to focus on what we could focus on, which was we're the best at lowering cholesterol. And we went out and advertised that."
A committee of the National Institutes of Health in the US subsequently lowered the threshold at which cholesterol was considered too high. Six of the seven committee doctors who made that key decision had financial ties to Pfizer – who made lipitor.
Of course, fear of risk is actually the bestselling tool of all: it is the basis of the entire insurance industry, whose profit base is predicated on the fact that fear is a very real emotion selling the product, but the statistical probability of anything actually happening, well, that is infinitesimal. Fear through risk sells us a product we don't even use. Genius.ter.jpg]
Vitamin Water can cure cancer
Rohan Oza went to Harrow School, but can now be found residing in his luxury hillside penthouse overlooking Los Angeles, thanks to the product that distills fear marketing into a single bottle of sugary water. It made Oza and his business partner, rapper 50 Cent, a lot of money. How much? "It's a new agreement we have. I don't tell people how much money he made and he doesn't shoot me," he says.
When Coke bought Vitamin Water, in 2007, says lawyer Stephen Gardner, extraordinary health claims were made. "It would inhibit growth of tumours, which is double-talk for prevent cancer, of the skin, lung, oral cavity, oesophagus, stomach, liver, prostate and other organs," he says. "Awesome. But not true."
Coke dialled down the health claims but in 2009, the Advertising Standards Authority said it couldn't even be considered "healthy" because a bottle had almost as much sugar as a can of coke. Vitamin Water had been sold to alleviate fear, but now ended up justifying it.
Fear of missing out
Not all fear-selling is about the horrors of bad breath and a potential terrorist attack. Some – indeed the most effective campaigns – target the plain old fear of missing out. Fear of missing out drives the upgrade culture around smartphones and technology but even applies to embracing danger. New technology (recording and posting your thrilling life – snowboarding, Rio carnival, bungee jumping) and adventure holidays that service these thrills, are about ticking off the bucket list before you are 21. Why? Because if you haven't looked fear in the face and enjoyed it, you haven't lived.
Human Skin Can 'Sniff' Odors
Human skin contains olfactory receptors capable of detecting odor.
JUL 7, 2014 12:00 PM ET // BY JENNIFER VIEGAS
May 17, 2012
Human skin can smell itself as well as other odors, according to a new study that also determined a common and pleasant-smelling odor promotes skin healing.
The paper, published in the latest issue of the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, strengthens prior research that found olfactory receptors -- proteins specialized to detect odors -- don't just exist in the nose.
"Only a tiny little amount of odorants are used by our receptors in the nose," chemist Peter Schieberle of the Technical University of Munich told Discovery News. "Odor might have secondary functions in the human body."
Schieberle and his team discovered that the human heart, blood and lungs all possess olfactory receptors. Yet another research group, led by Ester Feldmesser of the Weizmann Institute of Science, theorized that these odor-detecting sensors could be all over, and in, the body.
Now, with the new study, Daniela Busse and her team provide the first direct evidence that such cells exist within the epidermis, which is the skin's outermost layer.
Busse, a researcher in the Department of Cellphysiology at Germany's Ruhr-University Bochum, and her team not only identified five different types of olfactory receptors in human skin keratinocytes (the predominant type of cell in the epidermis), but they also cloned one of them, called OR2AT4.
The scientists next exposed the target smeller cells to the compound Sandalore, which is a synthetic sandalwood odorant. Busse and her team focused on sandalwood because, for at least 4,000 years, oil from the East Asian sandalwood tree has been prized both as a perfume and as a medicinal agent for the skin.
Busse and colleagues explained that they used a synthetic sandalwood odorant because, "In the past years, the development of synthetic sandalwood molecules has led to a series of substitutes that are often used in cosmetics, deodorants and perfumes because the essential sandalwood oil obtained from the East Asian sandalwood tree is quite rare and is therefore an expensive substance."
The researchers found that Sandalore activated the cloned smeller cells in skin, thereby inducing a calcium-signaling cascade that dramatically increased the proliferation and migration of cells. This process is characteristic of wound healing.
Busse and her team are not exactly sure why the synthetic sandalwood appears to be so beneficially potent, but they suspect that it somehow facilitates interaction between the predominant human skin cells and neurons (nerve cells), also found within skin.
Heart, Lungs May Be Able to Smell Food
Yet another study released this week, published in the Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics, found that in lab experiments East Indian sandalwood oil causes pre-cancerous cells in skin to die, leaving behind healthy skin.
Lead author Sally Dickinson of the Arizona Cancer Center at the University of Arizona and her colleagues explained that "sandalwood oils have many well-known health benefits due to their anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties, among others."
Yet another fan of the woodsy scent is Chandradhar Dwivedi, head of the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at South Dakota State University. He has been conducting research on the fragrant oil for years.
"This product has been very effective in preventing skin cancer caused by chemicals and by UV radiation," Dwivedi said. "It smells nice, and at the same time, it prevents chemically-caused or UV-induced skin cancer."
Tests are ongoing, so no one is yet urging anyone to run out and buy sandalwood-scented products.
Nonetheless, the new research demonstrates how sensitive the body and even its skin are to odors, and it opens the door to possible new skin problem treatments with few side effects, so long as the individual does not, in this case, mind smelling like a tree.
Cognitive mapping and how organic foods make you smarter
Thursday, July 03, 2014 by: S. D. Wells
(NaturalNews) A cognitive map is a mental map, model or representation that helps code, store, recall and even decode information regarding attributes of everyday phenomena. This includes metaphorical spatial environment. These maps are also mental representations of physical locations, helping humans and animals find their way by recalling important features, like back-tracking your way out of a maze. They provide insight into worlds where humans have sensory deficits or physical handicaps -- think of the blind navigating their way through familiar territory. Also, unimportant information is often excluded, so a cognitive map can be very different from an actual place. Cognitive maps can be constructed for spaces as small as your bedroom or as large as planet Earth. They are utilized in child psychology and emotional counseling. These conceptions also mature with us. Cognitive mapping evolves. Where does YOUR mind "go," and what are the "routes" you're taking? Could you also eliminate mental obstacles? Think of your brain as a huge tree, with thousands of tiny branches, and they all have leaves, which are like your new experiences that need watering. Your context via interaction with your environment designs the maps of physical, mental and spiritual realms. Highly nutritious food is the fuel and a major part of this to consider now.
Switch to organic!
"Junk science" is the study of food that makes people addicted to certain flavors and excitotoxins that disrupt your central nervous system. The entire fast food industry is based on junk science -- full of refined, processed GMO sugar and animal byproducts. The corporate money-making machine churns out cognition-killing foods that breed preventable diseases. This dampens all thinking, energy, motivation and, yes, cognitive mapping.
Best "brain foods" available...
The brain-boosting properties of ginger register off the charts, according to research published in Evidence-Based Complementary Medicine. Volunteers were given standardized ginger extract, 400 and 800 mg/day. The researchers documented "considerable increase in memory, while brain oxidative stress was reduced," as reported by Carolanne Wright for Natural News. Another study discovered that ginger root minimizes damage from MSG neurotoxicity.
Chlorella and Spirulina for Pure Protein!
According to the Health Ranger, Mike Adams, a brilliant scientific food investigator and nutritionist, chlorella and spirulina are the most "astounding food sources on planet Earth." Most people have no idea that spirulina contains 12 times the digestible protein of beef. A phytochemical found in chlorella is known to remediate nerve damage in the brain and nervous system. Plus, chlorella is used in the recovery of patients with Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. Both can reverse cancer!
Organic Beetroot Juice
A relatively new study published in Nitric Oxide: Biology and Chemistry, a peer-reviewed journal, is the first to link consumption of nitrate-rich beet juice to increased blood flow to the brain. Many studies have revealed that it lowers blood pressure, but now we know that it also increases "perfusion" -- or blood flow to the brain.
Want some brain food that protects against diabetes and arthritis? Studies published in Experimental Gerontology found that curcumin improved vascular health in aging lab mice by ameliorating artery stiffening. The mice experienced no oxidative stress according to scientists.
Celery, Cabbage and Spinach
High concentrations of nitrates are found in leafy green vegetables that turn to nitrites thanks to good bacteria in the mouth. These help blood vessels increase oxygen flow, specifically to places that are lacking oxygen!
Making the Brain and Gut Connection
Food we eat interacts with the gut, and the gut itself interacts with the brain by nerve and hormone signaling. This is why food choices are of major importance! When we're "starving" for a meal, we often grab what is convenient, and this unfortunately is manipulated by the Big Food (GMO/processed) industry in America.
Sources for this article include:
19 Super Foods That Naturally Cleanse Your Liver
Sunday, July 06, 2014
by Arjun Walia We live in a world where disease is constantly on the rise. This should come as no surprise as the environment we choose to surround ourselves with is extremely toxic i.e. our food, air, water etc. One great example is bleach, it’s one the most commonly used and relied upon cleaners in the world. But it can be very damaging to the respiratory tract just by inhaling the gases it emits from being used. Another example are pesticides, used en masse on our food, which have been linked to a number of health ailments. Scientists have been concerned about our toxic environment for a long time. Here is research showing how toxins commonly found in the environment can lead to a number of disorders, including autism. The list goes on; and the point remains, you do have a choice. Instead of surrounding yourself in a toxic environment, you can surround yourself in a completely natural, clean and chemical-free environment. The importance of detoxification is huge today, and there are a number of ways to clean out your body and its organs from the drastic accumulation of toxic chemicals they retain over a long period of time.
The Liver Is Very Important
This is about detoxing the body’s largest gland, the liver. Without a liver, a person cannot survive. It has a number of functions including, but not limited to:
Detoxifying the blood to rid it of harmful substances (like toxins, drugs, alcohol and more)
Stores vitamins and iron
Converts stored sugar to usable sugar when the body’s sugar levels fall below normal
Produces bile, a substance needed to digest fats
Breaks down hemoglobin as well as insulin and other hormones
Destroys old red blood cells
The liver performs so many vital functions, and as a result it is very prone to disease.
Detox Your Liver With These 19 Super Foods
1. Beets and Carrots: Carrots are rich in Glutathione, a protein that helps detoxify the liver. Both are extremely high in plant-flavonoids and beta-carotene. Eating beats and carrots can help stimulate and improve overall liver function.
2. Tomatoes: They have abundant amounts of Glutathione (see article above) which again, are a great detoxifier for the liver. As a side effect Lycopene in tomatoes will protect against breast, skin and lung cancer. (Source)
3. Grapefruit: Another source of the liver cleansing glutathione. It’s also high in vitamin C and antioxidants, this boosts the production of the liver detoxification enzymes and increases the natural cleansing process of the liver.
4. Spinach: Raw spinach is a major source of glutathione that triggers toxin cleansing enzymes of the liver.
5. Citrus Fruits: Lemons and limes contain very high amounts of vitamin C, which helps stimulate the liver and aids the synthesizing of toxic materials into substances that can be absorbed by water.
6. Cabbage: The isothiocyanates (ITCs) made from cabbage’s glucosinolates provides liver detoxifying enzymes that help flush out toxins.
7. Tumeric: Tumeric is the liver’s favorite spice and helps boost liver detox. It does this by assisting enzymes that actively flush out dietary carcinogens.
8. Walnuts: Walnuts are a good source of glutathione, omega-3 fatty acids and amino acid arginine, which support the normal liver cleansing actions, especially in detoxifying ammonia.
9. Avocados: The nutrient-dense superfood, avocado helps the body produce glutathione.
10. Apples: They are high in pectin and other chemicals essential to cleanse and release toxins from the digestive tract. Apples make it easier for the liver to handle the toxic load during the cleansing process.
11. Brussels sprouts: Brussels sprouts are high in sulfur and antioxidant glucosinolate, which forces the liver to release enzymes that block damage from environmental or dietary toxins.
12. Garlic: Garlic is loaded with sulfur that activates liver enzymes that help your body flush out toxins. Garlic also holds high amounts of allicin and selenium, two natural compounds that aid in liver cleansing.
13. Dandelion: Dandelion root tea assists the liver in breaking down fats, producing amino acids and generally ridding it of toxins. (Source)
14. Leafy Green Vegetables: Green veggies are extremely high in plant chlorophyll’s that absorb environmental toxins, increase bile production, neutralize heavy metals, chemicals and pesticides, which lowers the burden on the liver.
15. Cruciferous Vegetables: Eating broccoli and cauliflower will increase production of enzymes glucosinolate in your system that help flush out carcinogens and other toxins.
16. Asparagus: Asparagus is a great diuretic helping in the cleansing process and sharing the detox load of the liver and kidneys. (Source)
17. Green Tea: Green tea is full of plant antioxidants known as catechins, a compound known to assist liver function.
18. Olive Oil: Cold-pressed organic oils such as olive, hemp and flax-seed are great support for the liver, providing the body with a liquid base that can suck up harmful toxins in the body.
19. Alternative Grains: Gluten-rich grains such as wheat, flour, or other whole grains increase the load on the liver’s detox function and enzyme production. Switch to alternative grains like quinoa, millet and buckwheat.
next week...keep on believing.
made to spring up also out of the earth every tree beautiful to the
eye and good for food.”