Saber-rattling: Naval drills, sanctions & weapon sales revive US tensions with China   
Preview The US and Australian navies kicked off their biggest-ever joint amphibious drills, described as a message to friends and foes alike, as Washington sanctioned two Chinese businessmen and a bank over North Korea and announced a sale of weapons to Taiwan.
Read Full Article at RT.com
          US slams Damascus as chemical weapons monitor says sarin used in April Syria attack, silent on blame   
Preview The US State Department is scolding the Syrian government, as the OPCW has reportedly determined that sarin, a banned nerve gas, was what killed dozens of Syrians in northern Idlib province on April 4.
Read Full Article at RT.com
          US sanctions Chinese bank, plans to sell $1.4bn worth of arms to Taiwan   
Preview The Trump administration plans to sell Taiwan just over $1.4 billion in weapons, while China's ambassador to the US has reportedly said the deal goes against the "spirit" of talks between President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Read Full Article at RT.com
          $700bn Pentagon bill funds US presence in E. Europe & weapons for Ukraine   
Preview A Senate committee proposal for the 2018 military budget would further boost Pentagon spending on troops and equipment, make the US presence in Eastern Europe a persistent feature, and supply lethal weapons to Ukraine, among other things.
Read Full Article at RT.com
          Destiny 2 scraps random rolls on weapons, “what it has on it is what it has on it. Period” says Bungie   
Destiny 2 won’t have random rolls on weapons anymore.
          GTA Online: Independence Day DLC is live – new supercar, star-spangled weapons and more   
Star-spangled weapons skins and free t-shirts, new racer Vagner available. GTA Online’s Independence Day content has been activated – login to the game and you’ll be able to access it right away. The Independence Day DLC includes skins and liveries for the Mobile Operations Centers and weapons. You can see prices for those right here. […]
          Suspect charged with gun violations in Rock Hill fatal shooting appears in court   
Timothy M. Holley, 20, appeared for a bond hearing on gun violation charges Monday in Rock Hill municipal court. Holley is charged with discharging a firearm in city limits and unlawful carrying of a weapon in connection with a Sunday night shooting in wh … Click to Continue »
          Entering Contest of Champions: Punisher 2099   

Bullets and blades blast and slice across Battlerealm as Jake Gallows, the Punisher of 2099, brute forces his way into “Marvel Contest of Champions” as the game’s 100th character.

We talked to Kabam Art Director Gabriel Frizzera and Character Designer Simon Cameron about what makes this particular Punisher tick like a time bomb.

Marvel.com: I gotta ask, how much effort does it take for The Collector to reach through the past and future to snatch up a specimen?

Gabriel Frizzera: The Punisher 2099 was captured in the original batch of Champions for The Contest. But it wasn’t necessary for Collector to reach through time, since Jake Gallows had travelled back to the 21st century to execute Carnage, as part of an initiative by the future Hydra regime to punish criminals in different timelines. They’re very proactive at the Secret Empire— they won’t let small things like the space-time continuum get in the way of their punishment!

Marvel.com: And what makes Jake Gallows so special that he gets to fight it out in The Contest?

Gabriel Frizzera: Gallows was one of the characters Marvel allowed us to redesign for the CONTEST OF CHAMPIONS comic book, and appeared briefly in the last issue—before being quickly dispatched by Frank Castle. We had plans to put him in the game for a while, and when the opportunity to do a Secret Empire tie-in came about, we decided to have him as the villain. Turns out he’s also our 100th playable character, so it worked out great that he’s one of our original designs!

Marvel.com: 100 characters is a super cool milestone, and outside of Angela, this may be my favorite looking combatant in “Contest of Champions.” Seriously, this Punisher looks absolutely awesome! What can you tell us about his design?

Gabriel Frizzera: We are fond of his ‘90s garish outfit and gadgets, but we wanted to push him to look more like a “futuristic shock-police on steroids.” The central piece of the design is the chest skull made of knives and guns—which teleport into his hands; not a second to spare in the future. His whole arsenal is white to contrast with the black and red suit, but also to speak to the nature of 2099’s technology: all weapons would be freshly formed and reconfigured on the spot by nanotechnology. His original concept had way more weapons—like mag-blades on his arms and an electro-baton—and a tactical helmet, which ended up having to be cut for memory reasons. But we kept his bad-ass disintegrating gun and “Grenazers”!

Marvel.com: Aside from his bad ass new look, what sets him apart from Frank Castle?

Gabriel Frizzera: We joke in the office that Jake Gallows makes Frank Castle look like a soft-hearted hippie! We had a lot of fun writing the contrast between the two, the same way other writers love to contrast Frank Castle among more “straight” heroes like Captain America. In the story, when placed between Jake Gallows’ and Steve Rogers’ radically different views of justice, Frank Castle is forced to admit he might be a bit closer to Cap than the fanatic Punisher 2099. It was fun for me to write dialogue where Gallows calls Castle a “half-measure,” the same way Castle called Matt Murdock [“Marvel’s Daredevil” on Netflix]. That shows how far Punisher 2099 has strayed into villainous territory.

Marvel.com: Tell me a little about Punisher 2099’s abilities…

Simon Cameron: Punisher 2099 gets much of his strength from his Nano-Tech, which is powered by the Nano-Tech Battery. This charge builds over time, and his Special 1 gives him an Overcharge Passive effect, giving him additional Nano-Tech charge for a few seconds. This charge is spent by a number of automatically triggered effects—things like: Triggering a Heal Block on an Opponent when they trigger a Regeneration Buff, Draining the Charge to Regenerate Punisher 2099 if his Health drops below a threshold, or adding a Stun effect to his Heavy Attack. He also enters an Overdrive mode if his Charge reaches 100%. This drains his Charge over time, but grants him additional Attack, and reduces the amount of Power his Opponent gains when they’re struck by Punisher’s attacks.

Marvel.com: And what’s Retribution 2099 all about?

Simon Cameron: Retribution 2099 is Punisher’s Signature Ability. It lets him start the fight with his Nano-Tech Battery partially charged; it also adds a new automatically triggered effect to spend his Nano-Tech Charge on. This ability triggers when his opponent hits full power, draining a small amount of it, and power locking them for a couple seconds. It’s a little like a Special 3 get out of jail free card.

Marvel.com: And when can we hope to bring the Punisher’s weapon mastery to bear on the bad guys?

Simon Cameron: Punisher 2099 opens fire on The Contest June 29!

Stay tuned to Marvel.com and @MarvelGames on Twitter for more “Marvel Contest of Champions” news and interviews!


          Spider-Man Returns as Vulture Attacks ‘Marvel Avengers Academy’   

Spider-Man and some of his spectacular friends swing back to “Marvel Avengers Academy” as Peter’s other school—the Midtown School of Science and Technology—prepares for their homecoming celebration. But the villainous Vulture has other ideas! He launches an attack on both learning institutions and it’ll take everyone at the Academy—plus some new pals Peter’s made over the last year—to thwart his plan and save the dance.

We sat down with Allen Warner, Lead Narrative Designer at TinyCo, to learn everything Spidey brings with him in this latest event.

Marvel.com: What’s bringing the web-head and his spider-powered crew back to “Avengers Academy”?

Allen Warner: At the end of our previous Multiverse event, we learned that someone had been scavenging Maestro’s collection of “trophies” for tech and weapons, along with various labs and superhuman battle sites across New York. Nick Fury tasked Spider-Man with finding the perpetrator, and he’s coming back to report what he’s found. It also coincides with the homecoming dance at the Midtown School of Science and Technology, so Spidey will be bringing the party to Avengers Academy, and bugging everyone for dating advice.

Marvel.com: Why is Vulture so set on laying waste to Midtown Sci-Tech and the Academy?

Allen Warner: Vulture is a brilliant scientist and inventor, but was turned down by both Avengers Academy and Midtown Sci-Tech after being accused of stealing other students’ tech and ideas to further his own goals. He feels like his fellow super-scientists don’t respect him, and the entire world is conspiring against him, so he starts using tech and weapons found in various superhuman battle sites to rebuild and repurpose mechanical monstrosities into things like an army of Vulture-ized Octobots. He wants power and respect, and he’ll destroy everyone and everything at both Avengers Academy and Midtown Sci-Tech to get it.

Marvel.com: The event district gives us a peek at Peter’s life outside the Academy; what new things will players discover?

Allen Warner: The event district is Midtown Sci-Tech itself, decked out for homecoming. It’s completely different than anything we’ve done before, and really cool because it brings a lot of fun, school flavor the campus. Unfortunately, Vulture shows up to ruin the party, so he’s perched atop the school with his prisoners and minions, plotting his attack on Avengers Academy.

Marvel.com: And the event building carves out a space for one particular Spider-heroine…

Allen Warner: Yes, we’re big Spider-Gwen fans over here too, so we wanted her to share the spotlight. The event building is a multi-tiered punk rock venue where Gwen and some surprise guests are going to perform, and throw their own brand of homecoming bash. The building represents Gwen really well with its gleaming white exteriors, colorful neon blue and pink graffiti, a unique stage and dance floor, and some other really cool surprises.

Marvel.com: How will players battle Vulture and his refurbished Octobot army?

Allen Warner: Players will battle Vulture’s tech on the campus as a team, while battling Vulture himself, and a couple of foes he’s tricked into fighting by his side. Part of his plan is to create chaos and keep the heroes busy by setting Symbiotes loose in New York, so your heroes will also battle in the streets of New York to protect the city.

Marvel.com: What new faces will join the Academy—and the fight against Vulture—as Peter calls on more of his friends from across the multiverse?

Allen Warner: A really cool collection of various Spider-Heroes, amazing friends, and one grumpy newspaper publisher. Players will be able to recruit Silver Sable, Spider-Girl, Agent Venom, J. Jonah Jameson, and Silk. J. Jonah Jameson was really popular as a cameo character during our first Spider-Man event, and I’d forgotten how fun he is to write until this event came around. His personality is great to bounce off of the students, and I can’t wait for everyone to see his visual upgrades. Silver Sable is one of my favorite Spidey characters. She looks amazing, and is a cool fit alongside some of the spies and mercenaries running around the school. Agent Venom is one of the most awesome Symbiotes, and he brings something completely unique to the table, and of course [his alter ego] Flash [Thompson] and Peter Parker have a classic rivalry. Spider-Girl and Silk are two of the coolest spider-powered characters in my opinion. They both were very close to making the cut in our first Spider-Man event, so I’m really excited to see them finally make it into “Avengers Academy.” As always, our art and animation teams have knocked it out of the park with everyone’s designs and actions, and I think players are going to love having all of these characters at their school.

Marvel.com: And there must be some cool new outfits on the way as well…

Allen Warner: Definitely. There are new outfits for Spider-Man, Spider-Gwen, Mary Jane, Venom, and Doctor Octopus. It’s a cool mix of some iconic looks, some seldom-seen but awesome outfits from the comics, and a couple of classics given fun Avengers Academy-style re-imaginings. It’s a really cool group that I think people will love.

Marvel.com: With the second Guardians of the Galaxy event, players were able to recruit the heroes from the previous event; will we see something similar here?

Allen Warner: Yes, we got a really positive response from players during the Guardians 2 event who enjoyed that opening week featuring characters from the original event because it gave them a first or second chance at characters they’d missed out on before, so we decided to do a similar thing here. The opening week will give new and longtime players the chance to get one of the outfits and a few of the characters from the original event, as well as a new character and outfit. Over the course of the event, players will have a chance to get every single character and outfit from the original Spider-Man event, including Miles Morales, Mysterio, Black Cat, Electro, Green Goblin, and many more.

Marvel.com: Once the Vulture is thwarted, what new adventures will players be able to look forward to?

Allen Warner: We’re going to find that Vulture isn’t the only person who’s secretly holding a grudge against Avengers Academy. He’s been sharing his scavenged tech and weapons with some faraway enemies, and they’re ready to go to war.

For all the latest on “Marvel Avengers Academy,” stay tuned to Marvel.com and @MarvelGames on Twitter!


          Rage   
Use a variety of weapons to beat down an army of stickmen
          Syria rebels have motive to use chemical weapons: ex-CIA officer   
The U.S. government has accused the Syrian government of planning a chemical weapon attack and warned it would pay a heavy price for such a move.
          A Proto-Environmentalist   
Andrew Wallace-Hadrill, "Pliny the Elder and Man's Unnatural History," Greece & Rome 37.1 (April, 1990) 80-96 (at 85-86):
It is a little bit tempting to represent him as a sort of proto-environmentalist. Certainly there is at points an unmistakeably green tinge to his ideas. He squarely accuses man of poisoning his environment. His contemplation of the variety of plants, their number, flowers, colours, scents, and juices, leads him to champion the cause of Nature. Are not poisons a design fault of Nature? But it is man who discovered poisons. Animals use their natural weapons (tusks, etc.), but only man uses poison. We poison our arrows, we poison our rivers and the very elements of nature, we turn the means of life to destruction (18.1-3). Even worse than the abuse of poison, in Pliny's view, is mining.
We excavate every fibre of the earth, and live above the cavities. Can we be surprised if it occasionally gapes open and quakes? As if this couldn't be a sign of indignation expressed by our sacred parent. (33.1)
Or again, he contrasts the rest of the natural world, which has been created for the sake of man, with the mountains, which nature created for her own sake, as a framework to give solidity to the guts of the earth, and to control the force of rivers and seas. Yet man by mining quarries away this protective frame (36.1).

Environmentalism is a useful analogy. It serves to remind us that the issue of man's relationship with nature is one which may properly engage a scientist, and which may indeed fuel some of the passion behind his work. But the Plinian framework is different. Pollution is not the issue, the ozone layer is not under threat. And though in part the antitheses are the same, of the natural balance of a self-regulating ecological system versus human greed, profit-making, and abuse, the key element in Pliny's equation is one of little importance to us, namely luxury.

          Center’s alarming findings on safety issues at nuclear labs drawing wide attention via The Center for Public Integrity   
‘Nuclear Negligence’ series highlighted by media outlets nationwide In the summer of 2011, Los Alamos National Laboratory presented a happy self-portrait to the public. The lab’s news releases bragged of promotions, awards, pacts with neighboring Native American tribes and great feats of science that spilled from the design of the nation’s nuclear weapons. But that […]
          Report Confirms That Chemical Arms Were Used on Syrian Villagers   
The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons concluded that the nerve agent sarin or a similar poison had been used in the April 4 attack.
          Ducati’s Secret Weapon: Carbon Fiber Öhlins Fork Tubes   

They are hard to spot, but if you look closely at the 2017 Ducati Desmosedici GP (a bevy of photos are after the jump) you will see something very unique going on with the front suspension. This is because Öhlins and Ducati have teamed up to develop new fork technology, […]

The post Ducati’s Secret Weapon: Carbon Fiber Öhlins Fork Tubes appeared first on Asphalt & Rubber.


          Shadow Brokers hike prices for stolen NSA exploits, threaten to out ex-Uncle Sam hacker   

Also starts mysterious VIP service for $130,000

The Shadow Brokers is once again trying to sell yet more stolen NSA cyber-weapons, raising the asking price in the process. And the gang has threatened to out one of the US spy agency's ex-operatives that it claims hacked Chinese targets.…


          1/48 Mikoyan MiG-21MF Weapon Combo Set for Eduard kit   
1/48 Mikoyan MiG-21MF Weapon Combo Set for Eduard kit

Buy Now
          1/72 MiG-29A Fulcrum Izdeliye 9-12 Super Detail Set for Trumpeter (Resin+PE+Paint Mask)   
1/72 MiG-29A Fulcrum Izdeliye 9-12 Super Detail Set for Trumpeter (Resin+PE+Paint Mask)The set contains:
ED CX433 MiG-29A Izdeliye 9-12 1/72
ED 672090 MiG-29 wheels 1/72
ED 672091 MiG-29A exhaust nozzles 1/72
ED 672094 MiG-29A Izdelye 9-12 cockpit 1/72
ED 672100 MiG-29A weapons set 1/72

Buy Now
          Police charge two teens after Sydney counter-terrorism raids   

Two teenagers are expected to appear before court today after being charged by counter-terrorism police in Sydney's southwest with weapons and drugs offences.


          Tlisli and Village Politics   
Tlisli took a moment to thoroughly survey the people. She didn’t see any further weapons, but was extremely conscious of the fact that she had missed the fact that the man she had just defeated was carrying a knife. At the moment, she couldn’t recall whether she had seen the knife, and not categorized it […]
          The videos that tell the story of chemical weapons attacks in Syria   
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          Watchdog confirms sarin gas used in attack that prompted US to strike Syria   
An investigation by the international chemical weapons watchdog has confirmed sarin nerve gas was used in a deadly April 4 attack on a Syrian town, the latest confirmation of chemical weapons use in Syria's civil war.
          Suspect goes to hospital with gunshot wound after struggle with victim   

A man in Deerfield Beach sought help at Delray Medical Center after he was shot during an altercation with another shooting victim who was wrestling for the suspect's gun, according to a Broward Sheriff's Office report.

Laquan Miller was arrested Thursday on a charge of attempted first-degree murder.

Deputies said Miller shot Willie Washington twice on the morning of June 22 at 216 NW First Terrace in Deerfield Beach.

Washington was found lying on the sidewalk with two life-threatening gunshot wounds, deputies said.

According to the report, a deputy was contacted by a member of the violent crimes unit to respond to the shooting. The deputy met with Washington at Broward Health North, where the victim was being treated.

Minutes later, Miller was dropped off at Delray Medical Center in Delray Beach. He gave a false name and stated that he shot himself, the report said. His involvement was unknown at the time.

During questioning, he told Delray Beach police officers his real identity and said that he had been shot during a physical altercation at a nearby park.

A few hours later, it was determined that Miller had a gun and shot Washington two times. As Washington fought back and struggled for the weapon, Miller was shot.

Deputies said that there was probable cause to charge Miller with attempted murder.

Follow this story


          6/29/2017: YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE: AGGRAVATED ROBBERY   
A man toting a sawn-off shotgun has had his robbery of an Auckland bank foiled. Detective Senior Sergeant Glenn Baldwin said the man pointed the weapon at staff in the ASB Bank on Blockhouse Bay Rd, who in response activated an emergency security...
          Star Wars Battlefront 2 loot boxes spark pay-to-win fears   

Earlier this week, Star Wars Battlefront 2 gameplay footage surfaced online that showed the sci-fi shooter's loot box system.

Unlike its predecessor, Battlefront 2 has randomised crates of Star Cards that offer gameplay-affecting power-ups.

These can give you more health, power up weapons, boost damage or grant other special abilities - such as a healing effect for nearby allies.

Read more…


          Someone's already beaten Zelda: Breath of the Wild DLC's tough new Trial of the Sword   

Someone has already beaten The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild's new Trial of the Sword challenge, released today as part of the game's big Master Trials DLC pack.

This 45-floor dungeon features rooms full of enemies Link must defeat only with the weapons and items he collects during the activity - you leave all your current equipment at the door.

YouTube streamer AbdallahSmash026 has just completed the dungeon in a little over four hours, and broadcast the whole thing. It looks hard.

Read more…


          Micro Machines World Series review   

A couple of years ago, Codemasters attempted to revive the top down racing genre with Toybox Turbos. It was essentially Micro Machines, but without the license to call it Micro Machines and although the gameplay was basic, it managed to capture the essence of what made the original games so special.

The success of that release must have paid off because Micro Machines: World Series sees Codemasters reclaiming that famous name, although with it comes a lot of extra baggage, including some rather odd in-game design choices that fundamentally change the spirit of the series.

While Turbos was a charming nostalgia trip, World Series often feels calculated and almost soulless. Whatever deals were made with Hasbro for the Micro Machines name seem to have come at a price and Nerf branding is slapped liberally over the scenery and the UI. Familiar weapons from Toybox, the Tommy Gun, the Hammer and the Mines are rebranded as Nerf products, while countless Nerf guns litter the tracks and arenas. It all feels a bit like you're playing an advert rather than a game.

Read more…


          365 Days of Defiance, Day 118: Rap Battle from Hell   
It's the Sandman and his cool slouch hat against the hell-demon who stole his hell-met. But they're not gonna arm wrestle or play chess or even Gnip-Gnop (funnest game on Earth!)...they have agreed to a battle of words. First off: "Yo' mama so fat..." Oh wait, it's a little more civilized than that.


Panels from The Sandman (1989 series) #4 (April 1989), script by Neil Gaiman, pencils by Sam Kieth, inks by Mike Dringenberg, colors by Robbie Busch, letters by Todd Klein

The purpose of the game is to name something that can destroy whatever the opponent says. Personally, I'm all for using Megaweapon, but Dream and Dreamon Choronzon are playing on a much more intellectual plane.


C'mon, somebody say "your mom" already!


OOH HE CAN'T TAKE IT THERE!


"Oh dear," says Choronzon, "I hadn't thought of that," and promptly vanishes in a puff of logic.

So remember: when you need the most powerful weapon of them all against the forces of hell, use HOPE!


Oh, and the other guy, too.


          Graal Online Classic   

Thumbnail464x348 Welcome to Graal Classic, an MMORPG with a retro-look. Play with hundreds of players world-wide, explore the world and use various weapons and tools. Customize your character, make friends, form guilds, explore, quest, build a house, and more!


          Bomb it 7   

Big Awesome bomb it squeal. New maps, skill, weapons, and power ups. Defend your homeland from villains, advance through the stages, and complete missions.


          Ubuntu 'weaponised' to cure NHS of its addiction to Microsoft Windows   

Take 750,000 smartcards, millions of PCs, mix in a week-long hackathon

Special report A quiet revolution has been rumbling in Leeds, in the north of England. It may not seem revolutionary: a gathering of software developers is scarcely going to get people taking to the barricades in these uncertain times, but the results of this particular meetup could shape access to NHS PCs in the coming years.…


          TECRO in the US - MK 54 Lightweight Torpedo (LWT) Conversion Kits   
The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) in the United States of MK 54 Lightweight Torpedo (LWT) Conversion Kits. This request provides the recipient with MK 54 LWTs in support of their LWT program. This sale will include LWT containers, torpedo support, torpedo spare parts, publications, training, weapon system support, engineering and technical assistance for the upgrade and conversion...
          TECRO in the US - MK 48 Mod 6AT Heavyweight Torpedo (HWT)   
The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) in the United States for forty-six (46) MK 48 Mod 6AT Heavyweight Torpedoes (HWT). This sale will include HWT containers, torpedo support, torpedo spare parts, publications, training, weapon system support, engineering and technical assistance. The total estimated program cost is $250 million. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the ...
          Urban Shield: a Federal Protection Racket   
In 2015, Berkeley, California City Councilor Max Anderson voiced this eloquent opposition to militarization of the police during the annual Bay Area Urban Shield war games and weapons expo:  The culture that’s cultivated by the type of training that you receive becomes the way you conduct yourselves . . . When I was in the More
          So Much Freedom to Spread: I Can’t Believe It’s Not War Crimes!   
Looks like Mordor-on-the-Potomac is psyching itself up to attack Russia and Iran. All-purpose ignoramus Sean Spicer is quoted in the Washington Post as saying, “The United States has identified potential preparations for another chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime that would likely result in the mass murder of civilians, including innocent children. The activities are similar to preparations the More
          Sarin used in Syria attack - watchdog   
The world's chemical weapons watchdog said the banned nerve agent sarin was used in an attack in northern Syria in April that killed dozens of people, a report from a fact-finding team seen by Reuters on Thursday showed. Scarlett Cvitanovich reports.

          Mattis: U.S. warning averted Syria chemical attack   
The U.S. Secretary of Defense says the Syrian military appears to have called off a chemical weapons attack, after the White House reported earlier this week that Syrian forces were preparing for one. Matthew Larotonda reports.

          MSNBC hosts say National Enquirer article a weapon in Trump feud   

"Morning Joe" hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, a couple onscreen and off, say the White House told them a damaging National Enquirer story about their relationship would "go away" if they called the president and apologized for harsh commentary.

President Donald Trump and Scarborough...


          RoadBlasters Blast into the Future - 10.26.2008   

RoadBlasters Blast into the Future - 10.26.2008

RoadBlasters Blast into the Future - 10.26.2008

Back of the original box for RoadBlasters for the Atari Lynx Portable Entertainment System. Description reads: Blast Into The Future In the distant future the ultimate race will occur. Half race and half battle. Grab the controls and accelarate to reach the rally points, Dodge mines and toxic spills, blast Rat Jeeps and Darting Cycles. Acquire weapons like Cruise Missles and U.Z. Cannons. Explore 50 levels of mind blowing authentic arcade action! Bottom right corner has the seal of the FBI with the message "WINNERS DON'T USE DRUGS William S. Sessions, Director, FBI


          You May Wear Pants   

The Morning Heresy is your daily digest of news and links relevant to the secular and skeptic communities.

Cardinal George Pell is the third-most powerful official in the Catholic Church as head of the Vatican’s finances. And he’s just been charged multiple sexual assaults in his native Australia. I think it’s time to play this song again.

Gov. Matt Bevin of Kentucky signs into law a bill allowing Bible classes in public schools. I’m sure that not far behind are classes on the Qu’ran, the Bhagvat Gita, Dianetics, and the Books of Bokonon. Any day now.

ProPublica reveals “a trove” of Facebook’s internal documents showing its secret guidelines for determining what is and is not hate speech, and thus able to be censored. And some of it is frankly disturbing:

One document trains content reviewers on how to apply the company’s global hate speech algorithm. The slide identifies three groups: female drivers, black children and white men. It asks: Which group is protected from hate speech? The correct answer: white men. ... White men are considered a group because both traits are protected, while female drivers and black children, like radicalized Muslims, are subsets, because one of their characteristics is not protected. 

Adi Robertson at The Verge notes that Facebook’s task is more or less impossible:

If the company decides to promote a positive social environment without taking clear political sides, it will trend toward a faux neutrality where “hate” is any negative opinion, punishing people who criticize the status quo. But if it admits to an ideological bent, it will have to start formulating political stances on which groups worldwide deserve the most protection from hate. The more social responsibility it accepts, the more liable it is for failing to police its users, and the more power it has to control speech — not just comments to other users, but personal timeline posts or photographs. 

Oh, hey hey hey, make sure you dig the latest Cause & Effect newsletter. It’s got international news, SCOTUS news, and not all of the news is bad!

CFI’s Benjamin Radford is on the panel for a discussion about psychics (along with a bunch of alleged psychics) on WNPR’s Colin McEnroe Show.

Another “psychic,” Michelle Marks of Dixon, Illinois, is arrested for “exploitation of an elderly person and multiple weapons charges.” Wow she was busy!

Researchers at the Catholic University of Louvain wanted to see if atheists in Western Europe were more or less closed-minded than the religious. And that’s what they found, more or less:

Atheists tended to show greater intolerance of contradiction, meaning when they were presented with two seemingly contradictory statements they rated one as very true and the other as very false. They also showed less propensity to be able to imagine arguments contrary to their own position and find them somewhat convincing.

A group of scientists and other figures sign on to an initiative called Mission 2020, intended to get greenhouse gas emissions to “curve downward” by 2020, because failing that, the goals of Paris become unattainable. While it’s noble, I am skeptical. Especially after my Point of Inquiry interview with Elizabeth Kolbert earlier this month.

Undaunted by my kind of despair, a “global covenant of mayors” pledging to meet the goals of the Paris accord has brought on board more than 7400 cities.

Cleve Wootson at WaPo introduces us to Michael Tate Reed, the guy who keeps ramming his car into Ten Commandments monuments, as he did in Arkansas yesterday:

[In 2014] He was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder and released under an agreement that required him to continue treatment. He sent a rambling letter to the newspaper apologizing and describing the voices in his head and his attempts to recover from mental health issues. 

Speaking of which, Joseph Frankel at The Atlantic looks at how the phenomenon of “hearing voices” in one’s head—which is sometimes what makes people think they’re psychic, and others say they’re psychotic—may be more common than once thought, and also may be more controllable:

These experiments suggest that auditory hallucinations are the result of the mind failing to brand its actions as its own. Watching what the brain does during these hallucinations may clarify how that works, and what differences in the brain create these experiences. ... Drawing a parallel with Autism Spectrum Disorder, the [researchers] are interested in the extent to which the psychics they saw “might occupy the extreme end of a continuum” of people who hear voices. 

The Mormon Church is taking bold strides into the latter half of the 20th century, offering paid maternity or parental leave to church employees and (hold on to your butts) allowing women to wear pants.

A California health department report says that 111 people have chosen to take their own lives in the first six months of the state’s right-to-die law. 

Uranus isn’t just odd because its name makes you chuckle (which is why I must pronounce it “YURen-uss,” not, you know, the other way). It’s on a crazy 98-degree axis, and its magnetic shield is all wobbly.

When there’s somethin’ strange…in the neighborhood…who you gonna call? The Royal Thai Police Force! They ain’t afraid o’no phi pob. 

Ken Ham’s Ark Encounter is a fun, scientific, educational museum experience for the whole family! Oh wait, the city wants them to pay a “safety assessment fee”? I meant to say, it’s a ministry. So, sorry. Exempt. Phew! I mean, “amen.”

My home state of Maine gets its first case of measles in 20 years. Oh god I hope it’s not me! 

Quote of the Day:

I’m just gonna give this one to Colbert:

* * * 

Linking to a story or webpage does not imply endorsement by Paul or CFI. Not every use of quotation marks is ironic or sarcastic, but it often is.

Image by Chris&Rhiannon (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Follow CFI on Twitter: @center4inquiry

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News items that mention political​ candidates are for informational purposes only and under no circumstances are to be interpreted as statements of endorsement or opposition to any political candidate. CFI is a nonpartisan nonprofit.

 

The Morning Heresy: “I actually read it.” - Hemant Mehta

 


          Angel & Assassin bundle   
Angel & Assassin bundle
Angel & Assassin bundle Assassin Angel Victoria 4 Even the ones striking from the shadows prefer to look their best; dealing the deadly blow while being stylish – what girl can resist that? Support for Aiko 4, the Girl 4, Elite morphs, and numerous full and partial body morphs from the Morphs ++ pack. The Assassin Reloaded comes back with weapons deadlier than you can imagine. Support of Posermatic’s Natural Gravity Morphs for Victoria 4 and Natural Gravity Morphs for Victoria 4 Elite Utopian. As well as several new MAT poses to impress all the friends and foes. Execution for Assassin Textures Compatible Figures: Victoria 4, Aiko 4, Victoria 4 Elite, The Girl 4 Angel for V4 Included https://www.daz3d.com/angel-for-v4 https://www.renderosity.com/mod/bcs/execution-for-assassin-angel-victoria-4/77098/ https://www.daz3d.com/assassin-angel-victoria-4 https://www.daz3d.com/assassin-reloaded-for-v4
          Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare Absolution Coming First to PlayStation 4 on July 7   
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare Absolution Coming First to PlayStation 4 on July 7 New DLC Pack Features Four Diverse, New Multiplayer Maps Actress Cassandra Peterson Reprises Her Iconic Role of Elvira in New Zombies Experience “Attack of the Radioactive Thing!” set in a 1950s Creature Feature June 30, 2017 – Activision and Infinity Ward have unveiled the first official details of Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare Absolution, the third DLC Map Pack for 2016’s No. 1 top-selling console video game in the United States (excluding hardware bundle sales), Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. The map pack features four new, diverse multiplayer maps, and a new zombies co-op experience called Attack of the Radioactive Thing!, set in a ‘50s era beach town where a government science experiment has gone horribly wrong. Absolution is scheduled to release July 7, first on the PlayStation Network for the PlayStation 4 computer entertainment system, with other platforms to follow. “Our team couldn’t be more thrilled to introduce another wild, twisted zombies experience in Attack of the Radioactive Thing!, which continues the story and adds some awesome new gameplay,” said Dave Stohl, Studio Head of Infinity Ward. “For our multiplayer fans, we’re delivering four diverse maps that reward the different gameplay styles our community has embraced since the game launched last year. We can’t wait.” Attack of the Radioactive Thing!, the next action-packed chapter of the Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare zombies experience, once again features the return of Willard Wyler, the enigmatic movie director villain portrayed with voice and likeness by Paul Reubens (Pee-wee’s Big Holiday, Gotham). Wyler has trapped the four protagonists inside an all-new horror film, set in the 1950s and in the style of the Creature Feature films of the era. Players will fight a new array of zombie enemies across a ravaged beach town where a government science experiment has transformed the residents into flesh-devouring zombies and introduced a new biological menace into the city. Additionally, horror movie icon Elvira, played with voice and likeness by Cassandra Peterson (Elvira: Mistress of the Dark, Elvira’s Movie Macabre), will help players survive and give them gameplay tips and side quests with her unique Elvira style. New weapons, traps and more will augment the hallmark Call of Duty action, with Seth Green (Robot Chicken, Austin Powers) as “the Scientist;” Ike Barinholtz (Neighbors, Suicide Squad) as “the Rebel;” Jay Pharoah (White Famous, Saturday Night Live) as “the Soldier;” and Sasheer Zamata (Saturday Night Live, Inside Amy Schumer) as “the School Girl,” all making a return from the ongoing story in this all-new experience. In addition to Attack of the Radioactive Thing!, Absolution will also include four new multiplayer maps: Bermuda – A shantytown created around the remnants of a crashed ship, Bermuda allows players to duck, dive, and wall ride from the fish market to the lighthouse in this small to medium sized map that’s been water-wasted and sandblasted. Permafrost – Set within the chill of a frozen city skyline, Permafrost lets players stick to the ground and pick their plan of attack in one of three main lanes. They will traverse the map, moving from street side to train station, and hobo village to wrecked theatre house in this small, tight-quarters map. Fore – In Fore, the only thing miniature about this large map is the golf courses players will be fighting in. Fore features great visual variety as players swing around the sights and sounds of areas that brandish magical forests, giant creamsicles, and elevated castle walls. Ember – Located near an old town castle, Ember is a remake of the Modern Warfare 3 classic map Resistance, featuring old world aesthetics retrofitted with modern technology. The surroundings include lava, gallows and a torture room, where players will want to stick close to their teammates. Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare Absolution releases on July 7, 2017 first for the PlayStation 4, with other platforms to follow. The game is rated MA15+ for Mature (Blood, Intense Violence, Strong Language). For more information, please visit www.callofduty.com. Fans can also follow @CallofDuty on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
          Big Dial Dusty Pink and Gold Watch   
Big Dial Dusty Pink and Gold Watch

Big Dial Dusty Pink and Gold Watch

A statement watch is every fashionista's secret weapon and this oversized 38mm-wide Big Dial watch is a chic and easy to wear choice. This beautiful vintage inspired watch has an oversized Gold face and comes on a Dusty Pink soft leather strap.


          Big Dial Grey Lilac and Rose Gold Watch   
Big Dial Grey Lilac and Rose Gold Watch

Big Dial Grey Lilac and Rose Gold Watch

A statement watch is every fashionista's secret weapon and this oversized 38mm-wide Big Dial watch is a chic and easy to wear choice. This beautiful vintage inspired watch has an oversized Rose Gold dial and comes on a beautiful Grey Lilac soft leather strap.


          Big Dial Mink and Rose Gold Watch   
Big Dial Mink and Rose Gold Watch

Big Dial Mink and Rose Gold Watch

A statement watch is every fashionista's secret weapon and this oversized 38mm-wide Big Dial watch is a chic and easy to wear choice. This beautiful vintage inspired watch combines a Rose Gold face with a pale Mink soft leather strap.


          Big Dial Powder Blue and Rose Gold Watch   
Big Dial Powder Blue and Rose Gold Watch

Big Dial Powder Blue and Rose Gold Watch

A statement watch is every fashionista's secret weapon and this oversized 38mm-wide Big Dial watch is a chic and easy to wear choice. This beautiful vintage inspired watch combines a Rose Gold face with a Powder Blue soft leather strap.


          Chrono Detail Mink and Rose Gold Watch   
Chrono Detail Mink and Rose Gold Watch

Chrono Detail Mink and Rose Gold Watch

A statement watch is every fashionista's secret weapon and this oversized 38mm-wide Big Dial watch is a chic and easy to wear choice. This beautiful vintage inspired watch has an oversized Rose Gold case with a Silver sunray face, and comes on a Mink soft leather strap.


          Chrono Detail Nude Peach & Rose Gold Watch   
Chrono Detail Nude Peach & Rose Gold Watch

Chrono Detail Nude Peach & Rose Gold Watch

A statement watch is every fashionista's secret weapon and the oversized Big Dial watches are a chic and easy to wear choice. This beautiful vintage inspired watch has an oversized Rose Gold case and Nude Peach leather strap, making it the perfect style statement!


          Grey Dial, Dusty Pink & Rose Gold Watch   
Grey Dial, Dusty Pink & Rose Gold Watch

Grey Dial, Dusty Pink & Rose Gold Watch

A statement watch is every fashionista's secret weapon and the oversized Big Dial watches are a chic and easy to wear choice. This beautiful vintage inspired watch has a 38mm Grey dial which features alongside a soft Dusty Pink leather strap. The perfect addition to any wardrobe!


          Ranking The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild's Best Amiibo-Exclusive Unlocks   

As Brian Shea outlined in a recent opinion piece, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild's Amiibo implementation serves as showcase for how to to do something both interesting and worthwhile with Nintendo's little figures. None of the unlocks break the game or feel like required loot, but they are very cool, especially the possible bonuses connected to the non-Breath of the Wild Amiibos.

While worth using to grab more arrows, strong weapons, cooking items,etc., the Breath of the Wild Amiibos (seen above) offer items that you can find in the game without their aid. The previously-released Legend of Zelda Amiibos, however, offer the best loot as it can't be found otherwise in Breath of the Wild, and it's full of callbacks to past Zelda games. We decided to rank those items in order to create a functional resource to learn what stuff you can get from Amiibos, and also create a platform for all of use to argue about which unlocks are the best.

Note that while the clothing items are each awarded separately (cap, tunic, or trousers) we decided to rank each one as a set.

17. Sea-breeze Boomerang

All the weapon unlocks appear low on this list because they will break over time. The Sea-Breeze Boomerang is a fun callback to The Wind Waker, but is unremarkable otherwise.

16. Hero’s Shield

Much like the Sea-Breeze Boomerang, the Hero's Shield is mostly unremarkable, but fun for The Wind Waker fans. It edges out the boomerang by completing the Wind Waker look when held while wearing the Cap, Tunic and Trousers of the Wind.

15. Goddess Sword

Its low ranking may be surprising, considering it is essentially the Master Sword, but that's part of the problem – the Master Sword is in the game, and it's much stronger. In Breath of the Wild it doesn't stand out visually in any dramatic way, which makes its unlock underwhelming.

14. Sword of the Six Sages

The Sword of the Six Sages is one you might not immediately recognize. Link never held it himself (before now), but it was prominent in one of Twilight Princess' most memorable cutscenes. The Six Sages used the sword to banish Ganondorf to the Twilight Realm by poking him in the gut with it.

13. Biggoron's Sword

Ocarina of Time is known for many things, but sidequests is not one of them. It's biggest sidequest, however, involved getting this sword. The fact that it looks slightly low-poly in Breath of the Wild's engine makes it even cooler.

12. Fierce Deity Sword

The Fierce Deity ensemble (which appears later in this list) isn't complete without this sword. It's also powerful, and has a very distinct look, which puts in higher than most of the other swords on this list.

11. Wolf Link


Wolf Link is cool, but he's not really an item. Also, once you started building out Breath of the Wild's fast-travel points, he gets left behind often.

10. Cap of the Wind, Tunic of the Wind, and the Trousers of the Wind

The clothes are among our favorite unlocks in the game, but the Wind Waker outfit is the least remarkable of the available ensembles.

9. Sword

It's not a great sword in terms of combat, but the idea that this has the potential to be the very weapon offered to Link so that it would be less dangerous to go alone in 1987 is very, very appealing.

For the rest of the best of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild's Amiibo unlocks, head to page two.


           UN: Reintegrating ex-fighters is first challenge in Colombia    
UNITED NATIONS (AP) - The most urgent challenge in Colombia following the handover of the last weapons by leftist rebels is to reintegrate the 10,000 former...
          China Asks U.S. To Cancel Weapons Deal   
China on Friday strongly opposed a plan to sell weapons worth 1.4 billion dollars to Taiwan, and has asked the U.S. to cancel the deal.
          Jamaal Charles Says He's Cutting on Injured Knee, Is 'Back to the Normal Me'   

Jamaal Charles has played in just eight games over the past two seasons due to knee injuries, but the Denver Broncos running back told Troy E. Renck of Denver7 that he feels good and is ready to go. 

"I am doing everything. I have been cutting the last couple of days with the guys during the offseason workouts," he said. "I feel like the way I am cutting that I am back to the normal me, man. It feels good to be moving around again. I have been knowing this the whole offseason [that the knee was fine]. Nobody can take nothing away from me except God when my time is up. I am still 30 years old. I still have a lot of special stuff to do." 

Charles, 30, was one of the most dynamic playmakers in football before knee injuries slowed him down in recent years. He rushed for 1,000 yards five times and totaled 5,049 yards and 39 touchdowns between the 2012-14 seasons. 

He was also a four-time Pro Bowler and two-time first-team All-Pro. 

In Denver, Charles' role remains up in the air. If he can remain healthy, he'll give the team at the very least a dynamic third-down back. At best, he could give the Broncos an excellent thunder-and-lightning pair with C.J. Anderson. If he returns to his pre-injury form, the Broncos will have another thrilling weapon to pair with Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders.

Charles certainly has something to prove to those who don't believe he can make an impact. 

"I like proving people wrong," he told Renck. "It keeps the fire going, it keeps the spark going. I am excited about just getting back to where I was before."

He's also excited to play for the Broncos this upcoming season.

"I have that chip on my shoulder, man. But why am I still playing? It is to get that ring," he said. "I am on a nice team. I really think we can make a run. We have a nice schedule. Our defense is nice. Our offense is going to be nice. We've got the coaches. I know a lot of people are probably not counting us in. But we know behind the scenes. We are definitely counting ourselves in."

The Broncos have the offensive weapons and elite defense to make a deep playoff run, but their quarterback play will likely dictate whether they can return to the postseason. A healthy and effective Charles would go a long way toward that goal as well.

Read more AFC West news on BleacherReport.com


           MSNBC hosts say tabloid article a weapon in Trump feud    
NEW YORK (AP) - "Morning Joe" hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, a couple onscreen and off, say the White House told them a damaging National...
           Weapons watchdog finds sarin used in deadly attack in Syria    
THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) - An investigation by the international chemical weapons watchdog confirmed that sarin nerve gas was used in a deadly April 4...
          US Blacklists China Bank, Revving Up Pressure Over NKorea   

The United States has blacklisted a small Chinese bank accused of illicit dealings with North Korea, escalating the pressure on Beijing to rein in its wayward ally amid increased signs of frustration among President Donald Trump and his top advisers with China’s diplomatic efforts. The Treasury Department on Thursday declared the Bank of Dandong a “primary money-laundering concern,” proposing to sever it entirely from the U.S. financial system, pending a 60-day review period. Although Trump’s treasury secretary said the move didn’t target China, it comes a week after the president lamented that China’s promise to help with North Korea “has not worked out.” Calls to Bank of Dandong rang unanswered on Friday. Beijing, however, criticized Washington’s action, saying that unilateral sanctions outside the U.N. Security Council were inappropriate. “We also firmly oppose any individual country to exercise long-arm jurisdiction under its own domestic law,” said Lu Kang, spokesman for China’s foreign ministry. Lu added that Beijing will investigate possible wrongdoings by Chinese individuals and entities under Chinese laws. Trump had been leaning on President Xi Jinping to help stop the North’s development of nuclear weapons before they can threaten the U.S. homeland. A main focus of the coordination has been getting China to fully enforce international sanctions intended to starve North Korea of revenue for its nuclear and missile programs. The U.S. action is likely to anger China, which handles about 90 percent of North Korea’s external trade, and whose banks and companies are said to provide Pyongyang access to the U.S.-dominated international financial system. The sanctions bar Americans from doing business with Bank of Dandong, which is based in a northeastern Chinese city on the North Korean border that serves as a gateway for trade with the isolated nation. The U.S. also slapped sanctions Thursday on a Chinese shipping company and two Chinese people that it said have facilitated illegal activities by North Korea. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said the U.S. still wants to work with Beijing on combating the North Korean threat. “We are in no way targeting China with these actions,” Mnuchin told a White House news briefing. The punitive steps were presaged by a tweet from Trump last week reflecting dissatisfaction with Beijing’s efforts. “While I greatly appreciate the efforts of President Xi & China to help with North Korea, it has not worked out. At least I know China tried!” Trump tweeted on June 20. The Trump administration may be struggling to maintain international pressure on Pyongyang. The president was to meet for the first time Thursday with South Korea’s new leader, President Moon Jae-in, who has long advocated outreach to North Korea. His predecessor had staunchly backed Trump’s harder line. Mnuchin said the Bank of Dandong has facilitated millions of dollars of transactions for companies involved in North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs. Anthony Ruggiero, a sanctions expert and former Treasury Department official, described it as a small Chinese bank “sitting at the heart” of trade between North Korea and China. “This is a strong message to Chinese leaders that the Trump administration will act against North Korea’s sanctions evasion in China,” he said. The other targeted Chinese entities are: —Dalian Global Unity Shipping Co., which Treasury accused of transporting 700,000 tons of freight annually, including coal and steel products, […]

The post US Blacklists China Bank, Revving Up Pressure Over NKorea appeared first on Yeshiva World News.


          (Charlotte) INSURGENT TACTICAL ENHANCED DUTY CARBINE (EDC) - $ 1,299   
Check out our website at www.insurgenttactical.com

Insurgent Tactical is a Special Forces veteran owned and operated AR15 manufacturer demonstrating that quality can be affordable.

BARREL:
Insurgent Tactical 16" barrel made from 4150 Chrome Moly Vanadium (CMV) steel with QPQ Nitride finish and a mid-length gas system. Barrel is chambered in 5.56 NATO and features a 1:7 twist with M4 feed ramps. Sub-MOA accuracy guarantee with match grade ammunition.

GAS BLOCK: 4140 gun quality steel with a QPQ Nitride finish. Installed with knurled tip set screws.

GAS TUBE: Stainless steel mid-length gas tube and features a Melonite finish for increased heat and corrosion resistance along with a subdued appearance

RAIL: Insurgent Tactical's slim, free float rail machined from 6061-T6 billet aluminum with a Mil-Spec Type III hard coat anodizing finish. Full length 12 o'clock rail with machined rails at the 3-6-9 o'clock positions on the front of rail. T-marks are provided on all rail sections. Designed with both anti-slip and anti-rotation features. Magpul M-Lok attachment system throughout the rail for mounting accessories. 4x QD sockets throughout the rail.

UPPER RECEIVER: Mil-Spec 7075 T-6 aluminum with Type III, Class II anodizing finish. T-marks on top rail. Dry film lube interior finish

LOWER RECEIVER:
Mil-Spec 7075-T6 aluminum with Type III, Class II anodizing finish, beveled magwell

BCG: Insurgent Tactical AR15/M16 Carrier manufactured from 8620 steel and bolt from 9310 Vac-Arc Carburizing Steel for increased hardness and fatigue strength. 4340 steel cam pin. 4140 steel gas key. Tool steel extractor. Nitride finish. Shot Peened. Magnetic Particle Inspected (MPI). High Pressure Tested (HPT). Properly staked gas key to Mil-Spec standards. Grade 8 hardened fasteners. Extractor insert with upgraded Crane O-ring. Power spring kit.

TRIGGER: ALG Defense QMS. The ALG Defense QMS trigger pull is significantly smoother than a stock trigger. This is accomplished by honing the sear surfaces smooth while not removing metal below the valleys of the stock surface finish. The majority of the associated grittiness of the stock trigger pull has been removed while the well known reliability of a stock trigger remains. The pull weight is not lower than the M4/M16 minimum weight specification of 5.5 lbs.

BUFFER/BUFFER SPRING:
Carbine buffer (3 oz) with chrome silicon spring which is heat treated and stress-relieved providing increased resistance to heat and high-stress cyclic rates. Chrome silicon spring is rated to provide approximately 750,000+ cycles while eliminating that noticeable "twang" associated with standard Mil-Spec buffer springs.

FURNITURE/HARDWARE: Magpul MOE carbine stock; Magpul MOE+ rubberized pistol grip; Primary Weapon System (PWS) ratchet lock QD sling mount end plate and castle nut; ambidextrous safety; 7075 billet aluminum, oversized trigger guard with Mil-Spec hard coat anodizing; A2 flash hider

Rifles comes packaged in our durable, hard-plastic case which features: pre-cut Mil-Spec high density 2.2lb polyethylene foam, two layers of HDPE foam in the bottom of the case with thick "egg foam" in the lid, six holes placed around the case for multiple options for attaching locks, cut-outs in the foam can accommodate the rifle with optic, 4-6 magazines, suppressor, and several accessory slots. One Magpul PMAG is also provided.

Rifle weight: 6 LB 7 OZ.

Check out our website at www.insurgenttactical.com

           Moscow says 'questionable data' in chemical watchdog's Syria report    
Russia on Friday dismissed a report by the UN's chemical weapons watchdog that sarin was used as a chemical weapon in a April 4 attack in the Syrian town of...
          Second Time is NOT a Charm for the Nuclear Ban Treaty   
So the well-intended states and civil society groups in New York have produced a second draft of the nuclear weapons ban convention. The draft shows real work, and drafters deserve credit for some notable improvements. However, aside from questionable nature of the exercise to begin with, the second draft retains many of the specific problems …
           France says watchdog's report on Syria proves sarin gas used in April    
PARIS, June 30 (Reuters) - France said on Friday that a report by the world's chemical weapons watchdog that nerve agent sarin was used in an April attack...
           Russia says chemical watchdog's report on Syria attack is biased -agencies    
MOSCOW, June 30 (Reuters) - A report by the world's chemical weapons watchdog that the banned nerve agent sarin was used in an attack in northern Syria in...
           China 'firmly' opposes US arms sale to Taiwan    
China on Friday condemned a $1.3 billion US arms sale to Taiwan and called on the United States to stop any weapons deal with the island, which Beijing...
          LYRIC VIDEO: The Charm The Fury – Weaponized   
Fresh from their appearance at this year’s Download Festival, Amsterdam based heavy metallers The Charm The Fury have now debuted a lyric video to accompany their song ‘Weaponized’, the latest cut from their sophomore full-length effort, ‘The Sick, Dumb & Happy’. You can stream, watch, and sing/scream along to ‘Weaponized’ via the embed below: The […]
          Cornwall Ontario Police Blotter for JUNE 29, 2017   
ASSAULT WITH A WEAPON Cornwall, ON – Aaron Collins, age 29, of Cornwall, was arrested on June 28, 2017. It is alleged that on this date he engaged in a text message argument with two individuals who were known to him. The argument escalated when he attended a residence they were visiting and confronted them. […]
          Kansas Coach David Beaty to Ban Guns Despite Law Allowing Firearms on Campus   

Kansas head football coach David Beaty is going against a state policy that goes into effect on Saturday which makes it legal for people over the age of 21 to carry a concealed weapon on campus.

Beaty explained to CBS Sports' Dennis Dodd why he will ban his players from carrying concealed weapons on campus:

"It is a deal that I will be very adamant about in a way of banning [guns]. I don't want weapons around for our team. I know it's a bad, bad deal for us. 

"I understand the politics involved in it. I get that. But we're talking about kids with lives and kids getting pissed with each other and kids that are highly competitive with each other. I fear what it could blow into."

The Personal and Family Protection Act was originally approved by Kansas legislators in 2012 and went into effect the following year, but college campuses in the state were given a four-year exemption before students and staff had the right to carry a concealed weapon starting July 1, 2017. 

Jeff Sims, who is the head football coach at Garden City Community College in Garden City, Kansas, told Dodd his program has never had an issue with firearms on campus. 

"Guns and weapons have never been our issue on a college campus," he said. "Our issues are alcohol and marijuana."

In an effort to comply with the law, Dodd notes Kansas athletic officials are required to set up "elaborate detection devices" at all the entrances to Memorial Stadium and Allen Fieldhouse, as well as having an armed guard present. 

Beaty is entering his fourth season as head football coach at the University of Kansas. He took over the program from interim coach Clint Bowen, who replaced Charlie Weis early in the 2014 season. 

Read more Big 12 Football news on BleacherReport.com


          154: A Behind-The-Scenes Look at the Marketing Strategies of Multi-million Dollar Companies with Clate Mask of Infusionsoft   

Every entrepreneur at some point faces the dilemma of simply not being able to pour any more hours of work into their company. As a result, they get stuck.

That's where Clate Mask, CEO of Infusionsoft, comes in. In the 10 years Infusionsoft has been operating, Mask has helped hundreds of entrepreneurs use the power of email marketing to double their growth, triple their leads, even quadruple overall revenue.

For Mask, automated email marketing is the secret weapon for any business that's trying to scale. In today's podcast episode, he dishes on how to do it right.

"What happens in an entrepreneurial business, when you're running a small company, it's very, very difficult to follow up effectively with all your leads and customers, and things slip through the cracks," he says. "You're wearing 10 different hats trying to run the business, and ... you just can't keep it all straight when the business starts to grow and when you start to have some success."

At that point, you can either hire more people to handle the workload, which can be costly, or learn how to automate your business.

Mask has helped Infusionsoft's 125,000-plus users create their own automation campaigns by mapping out customer lifecycles, and pinpointing the best times and messages to engage customers and get as much of a return as possible.

In this week's episode, Mask tells us what the marketing strategies of his best users look like, and how you can incorporate them into your own business.

In this episode you will learn:

  • The one thing that most business owners don't recognize is stopping them from growing
  • A battle-tested, tried and true guide to getting the biggest return possible on every single customer
  • The three most critical points in the customer lifecycle and why ignoring them puts your business at risk
  • An exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at the email marketing strategies of Infusionsoft's top clients
  • How to combine automation and authenticity into one winning combination
  • & much more!

          Musical March Madness Heats Up!   

Prepare yourself for the music event of the decade - MTV News' Musical March Madness! The world's best bands will duke it out for ultimate rock supremacy. Will your favorite band be crowned the winner? It's up to YOU.
By

Related Artists

Source:
http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1680630/musical-march-madness-heats-up.jhtml

Cameron Richardson Camilla Belle Carla Campbell Carla Gugino


          MSNBC hosts say National Enquirer article a weapon in Trump feud   

"Morning Joe" hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, a couple onscreen and off, say the White House told them a damaging National Enquirer story about their relationship would "go away" if they called the president and apologized for harsh commentary.

President Donald Trump and Scarborough...


          U.S.-South Korea summit exposes spat on trade, resolve on North Korea   

President Donald Trump took South Korea to task over its trade surplus with the United States on Friday, demanding renegotiation of a bilateral pact, even as the close security allies voiced joint resolve against the nuclear weapons threat from North Korea.

Trump talked tough on North Korea, vowing...


          The Polish example   
This speech in Poland by the God-Emperor sounds promising.
President Trump will ask other European nations to “take inspiration” from Poland, which has rejected refugee resettlement, in a speech later this week.

National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster told reporters Thursday that President Trump will deliver a speech in Warsaw’s Krasinski Square, which symbolizes Polish heroism. He is flying to Poland next Wednesday and stopping there before he attends the G20 summit in Hamburg.

McMaster said that Trump will deliver a “major speech” in which he will “praise Polish courage” and its “emergence as a European power.” The nation is currently ruled by a nationalist Christian party that has rejected refugee resettlement and mass immigration.
Of course, the President's message would be more meaningful if he would follow the Polish example and reject refugee resettlement and mass immigration in the USA too.

The Czech example isn't bad either:
The Czech parliament is working to liberalize the country’s gun laws, allowing people to better defend themselves. The reason for this new policy is safety, as well as practicality; in light of recent attacks in neighboring countries, the Czech government recognizes that disarming people puts them in danger, and that broad European gun control policies are ineffective. The Interior Minister said it best when he asked parliament to “show [him] a single terrorist attack in Europe perpetrated using a legally-owned weapon”.

          Body Language Analysis No. 3982: Bangkok Police Officer's De-Escalation Genius - Nonverbal and Emotional Intelligence (VIDEO, PHOTOS)    



Recently a man entered a police station in Bangkok, Thailand wielding a knife. That's when Anirut Malee's instincts took over. Malee, a Thai police officer, deescalated the situation like a Jedi.























In this first image, Anirut Malee's gestures in a palms-up fashion - which is very wise. He is asking, not telling. He is open, not hyper-authoritative, nor threatening.























This next frame may, at first, seem trivial - but it's not. Anirut Malee's entire posture changes. Notice he puts a hand on the desk, his weight on his right foot, and his entire posture is more relaxed.
























Next Anirut Malee sits on the corner of the desk - lowering his stature and becoming even less physically dominant. Crucially, he "body-points" down the hallway - and NOT at the man holding the knife.























Officer Malee's repeated palms-up gesture - asking for the assailant to hand over the weapon - as he lowers his head/bends his neck, further de-escalates the situation.


























Even when he finally takes the knife, Officer Malee still remains sitting on the desk. If he stood up at this particular moment, it could very well backfire. 

























In this image, as gestures with his arms-wide and walks toward the man, Anirut Malee made the small mistake of not throwing the knife away before the hug. It would have also been a bit better if the officer's arms were lower in this moment. All things being equal, the higher the arms are positioned, the more threatening a person is felt to be.

























As he begins the hug, Officer Malee throws the knife away.





























For the second time, Malee waves off assistance. He's very aware that the man is emotionally decompressing.






























The act of allowing the man to rest his head on Anirut Malee's neck-shoulder, is particularly disarming.


Summary: Much too often, police officers escalate confrontations when they should be deescalating. Yet Officer Anirut Malee is an exception. He masterfully defused a situation, which could have very likely ended much worse.

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See also:

Body Language Analysis No. 3980: Mitch McConnell Delays Health Care Bill Vote

Body Language Analysis No. 3978: Keanu Reeves, Chuck Spadina, Sincerity, and Empathy

Body Language Analysis No. 3976: Bill Conner bicycles 1,400 miles to hear his daughter's beating heart again

Body Language Analysis No. 3974: Elle Fanning, Robert De Niro, and Easter

Body Language Analysis No. 3972: Vladimir Putin, Oliver Stone, and a Facial Expression Red Flag

Body Language Analysis No. 3970: Kamala Harris and Jeff Sessions, Part II - Deception, Alpha, and Beta Behavior

Body Language Analysis No. 3968: The Grenfell Tower Fire, Empathy, and Emotional Processing

Body Language Analysis No. 3965: Manspreading, Madrid, and a Business Faux Pas

Body Language Analysis No. 3958: Vladimir Putin interview with Megyn Kelly 


_____________________________________________________________________________________

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          4 Hidden Dangers of Pork   
Pork is the most commonly consumed meat in the world, but may also be one of the most dangerous.

Among foods that inspire a cult-like following, pork often leads the pack, as evidenced by the 65% of Americans eager to name bacon the country’s national food.

Unfortunately, that popularity comes at a cost. Along with being the most commonly consumed meat in the world, pork may also be one of the most dangerous, carrying some important and under-discussed risks that any consumer should be aware of (1).

1. Hepatitis E

Thanks to the revival of nose-to-tail eating, offal has redeemed itself among health enthusiasts, especially liver, which is prized for its vitamin A content and massive mineral lineup.

But when it comes to pork, liver might be risky business.

In developed nations, pork liver is the top food-based transmitter of hepatitis E, a virus that infects 20 million people each year and can lead to acute illness (fever, fatigue, jaundice, vomiting, joint pain and stomach pain), enlarged liver and sometimes liver failure and death (23).

Most hepatitis E cases are stealthily symptom-free, but pregnant women can experience violent reactions to the virus, including fulminant hepatitis (rapid-onset liver failure) and a high risk of both maternal and fetal mortality (4). In fact, mothers who get infected during their third trimester face a death rate of up to 25% (5).

In rare cases, hepatitis E infection can lead to myocarditis (an inflammatory heart disease), acute pancreatitis (painful inflammation of the pancreas), neurological problems (including Guillain-Barré syndrome and neuralgic amyotrophy), blood disorders and musculoskeletal problems, such as elevated creatine phosphokinase, indicating muscle damage, and multi-joint pain (in the form of polyarthralgia) (678).

People with compromised immune systems, including organ transplant recipients on immunosuppressive therapy and people with HIV, are more likely to suffer from these severe hepatitis E complications (9).

So, just how alarming are pork’s contamination stats? In America, about 1 out of every 10 store-bought pig livers tests positive for hepatitis E, which is slightly higher than the 1 in 15 rate in the Netherlands and 1 in 20 rate in the Czech Republic (1011). One study in Germany found that about 1 in 5 pork sausages were contaminated (12).

France’s traditional figatellu, a pig liver sausage that’s often consumed raw, is a confirmed hepatitis E carrier (13). In fact, in regions of France where raw or rare pork is a common delicacy, over half the local population shows evidence of hepatitis E infection (14).

Japan, too, is facing rising hepatitis E concerns as pork gains popularity (15). And in the UK? Hepatitis E shows up in pork sausages, in pork liver and at pork slaughterhouses, indicating the potential for widespread exposure among pork consumers (16).

It might be tempting to blame the hepatitis E epidemic on commercial farming practices, but in the case of the pig, wilder doesn’t mean safer. Hunted boars, too, are frequent hepatitis E carriers, capable of passing on the virus to game-eating humans (1718).

Apart from total pork abstinence, the best way to slash hepatitis E risk is in the kitchen. This stubborn virus can survive the temperatures of rare-cooked meat, making high heat the best weapon against infection (19). For virus deactivation, cooking pork products for at least 20 minutes to an internal temperature of 71°C (160°F) seems to do the trick (20).

However, fat can protect hepatitis viruses from heat destruction, so fattier cuts of pork might need extra time or toastier temperatures (21).

Summary: Pork products, particularly liver, frequently carry hepatitis E, which can cause severe complications and even death in vulnerable populations. Thorough cooking is necessary to deactivate the virus.

2. Multiple Sclerosis

One of the most surprising risks associated with pork — one that’s received remarkably little airtime — is multiple sclerosis (MS), a devastating autoimmune condition involving the central nervous system.

The robust link between pork and MS has been known at least since the 1980s, when researchers analyzed the relationship between per capita pork consumption and MS across dozens of countries (22).

While pork-averse nations like Israel and India were nearly spared from MS’s degenerative grips, more liberal consumers, such as West Germany and Denmark, faced sky-high rates.

In fact, when all countries were considered, pork intake and MS showed a whopping correlation of 0.87 (p<0.001), which is much higher and more significant than the relationship between MS and fat intake (0.63, p<0.01), MS and total meat intake (0.61, p<0.01) and MS and beef consumption (no significant relationship).

For perspective, a similar study of diabetes and per capita sugar intake found a correlation of just under 0.60 (p<0.001) when analyzing 165 countries (23).

As with all epidemiological findings, the correlation between pork consumption and MS can’t prove that one causes the other (or even that, within MS-stricken countries, the most enthusiastic pork consumers were the most diseased). But as it turns out, the evidence vault goes much deeper.

Earlier, a study of inhabitants of the Orkney and Shetland Islands of Scotland, a region teeming with unusual delicacies, including seabird eggs, raw milk and undercooked meat, found only one dietary association with MS — consumption of “potted head,” a dish made from boiled pig’s brain (24).

Among Shetland residents, a significantly higher proportion of MS patients had consumed potted head in their youth, compared to healthy, age and sex-matched controls (25).

This is particularly relevant because — per other research — MS that strikes in adulthood might stem from environmental exposures during adolescence (26).

The potential for pig brain to trigger nerve-related autoimmunity isn’t just an observational hunch, either. Between 2007 and 2009, a cluster of 24 pork plant workers mysteriously fell ill with progressive inflammatory neuropathy, which is characterized by MS-like symptoms such as fatigue, numbness, tingling and pain (2728).

The source of the outbreak? So-called “pig brain mist” — tiny particles of brain tissue blasted into the air during carcass processing (29).

When workers inhaled these tissue particles, their immune systems, per standard protocol, formed antibodies against the foreign porcine antigens.

But those antigens happened to bear an uncanny resemblance to certain neural proteins in humans. And the result was a biological calamity: confused about who to fight, the workers’ immune systems launched a guns-blazing attack on their own nerve tissue (3031).

Although the resulting autoimmunity wasn’t identical to multiple sclerosis, that same process of molecular mimicry, where foreign antigens and self-antigens are similar enough to trigger an autoimmune response, has been implicated in the pathogenesis of MS (3233).

Of course, unlike pig brain mist, hot dogs and ham aren’t literally inhaled (teenage boys notwithstanding). Could pork still transmit problematic substances through ingestion?

The answer is a speculative yes. For one, certain bacteria, particularly Acinetobacter, are involved in molecular mimicry with myelin, the nerve-sheathing substance that becomes damaged in MS (3435).

Although the role of pigs as Acinetobacter carriers hasn’t been exhaustively studied, the bacteria has been found in pig feces, on pig farms and in bacon, pork salami and ham, where it serves as a spoilage organism (36373839). If pork acts as a vehicle for Acinetobacter transmission (or in any way increases the risk of human infection), a link with MS would make sense.

Two, pigs may be silent and under-studied carriers of prions, misfolded proteins that drive neurodegenerative disorders like Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (the human version of mad cow) and Kuru (found among cannibal societies) (40).

Some researchers suggest MS itself could be a prion disease, one that targets oligodendrocytes, the cells that produce myelin (41). And since prions — and their associated diseases— are transmitted by consuming infected nerve tissue, it’s possible that prion-harboring pork products could be one link in the MS chain (42).

Summary: A causative role of pork in MS is far from a closed case, but the unusually strong epidemiological patterns, biological plausibility and documented experiences make further research imperative.

3. Liver Cancer and Cirrhosis

Liver problems tend to trail closely on the heels of some predictable risk factors, namely hepatitis B and C infection, exposure to aflatoxin (a carcinogen produced by mold) and excessive alcohol intake (434445).

But buried in the scientific literature is another potential scourge of liver health — pork.

For decades, pork consumption has faithfully echoed liver cancer and cirrhosis rates around the world. In multi-country analyses, the correlation between pork and cirrhosis mortality clocked in at 0.40 (p<0.05) using 1965 data, 0.89 (p<0.01) using mid-1970s data, 0.68 (p=0.003) using 1996 data and 0.83 (p=0.000) using 2003 data (4647).

In those same analyses, among the 10 Canadian provinces, pork bore a correlation of 0.60 (p<0.01) with death from liver cirrhosis, while alcohol, perhaps due to an overall low intake, showed no significant link.

And in statistical models incorporating known perils for the liver (alcohol consumption, hepatitis B infection and hepatitis C infection), pork remained independently associated with liver disease, suggesting the association isn’t just due to pork piggybacking, as the case may be, on a different causative agent (48).

Beef, by contrast, remained liver-neutral or protective in these studies.

Liver cancer, too, tends to follow in the hoof steps of the pig. A 1985 analysis showed that pork intake correlated with hepatocellular carcinoma deaths as strongly as alcohol did (0.40, p<0.05 for both) (49). (Considering liver cirrhosis is often a prelude to cancer, this connection shouldn’t be surprising (50).)

So, what’s behind these eerie associations?

At first glance, the most likely explanations don’t pan out. Although pork-transmitted hepatitis E can lead to liver cirrhosis, this happens almost exclusively in immunosuppressed people, a subset of the population that’s too small to account for the global correlation (51).

Relative to other meat, pork tends to be high in omega-6 fatty acids, including linoleic acid and arachidonic acid, which may play a role in liver disease (525354). But vegetable oils, whose polyunsaturated fatty acid content blows pork out of the water, don’t dance the same liver disease tango that pork does, calling into question whether fat is really to blame (5556).

Heterocyclic amines, a class of carcinogens formed by cooking meat (including pork) at high temperatures, contribute to liver cancer in a variety of animals (57). But these compounds are also readily formed in beef, according to the same studies that indicated pork has no positive relationship with liver disease (5859).

With all that in mind, it’d be easy to dismiss the pork-liver disease link as an epidemiological fluke. However, some plausible mechanisms do exist.

The most likely contender involves nitrosamines, which are carcinogenic compounds created when nitrites and nitrates react with certain amines (from protein), particularly in high heat (60). These compounds have been linked to damage and cancer in a variety of organs, including the liver (61).

One of the biggest dietary sources of nitrosamines is processed pork, which, along with being a frequent visitor to the frying pan, typically contains nitrites and nitrates as curing agents. (Vegetables are also rich in naturally occurring nitrates, but their antioxidant content and dearth of protein help thwart the process of N-nitrosation, preventing them from becoming cancer-causing agents (62).)

Significant levels of nitrosamines have been found in pork liver pâté, bacon, sausage, ham and other cured meats (636465). The fatty portion of pork products, in particular, tends to accumulate much higher levels of nitrosamines than the lean bits, making bacon a particularly abundant source (66).

The presence of fat can also turn vitamin C into a nitrosamine promoter instead of a nitrosamine inhibitor, so pairing pork with veggies might not confer much protection (67).

Although much of the nitrosamine-liver cancer research has focused on rodents, where certain nitrosamines produce liver injury with remarkable ease, the effect appears in humans as well (6869). In fact, some researchers suggest humans may be even more sensitive to nitrosamines than mice and rats (70).

In Thailand, for instance, nitrosamines have been strongly linked to liver cancer in areas where other risk factors are low (71). A 2010 analysis of the NIH-AARP cohort found red meat (including pork), processed meat (including processed pork), nitrates and nitrites to be positively associated with chronic liver disease. Rubber workers, occupationally exposed to nitrosamines, have faced extremely high rates of non-alcohol-related liver disease and cancer (72).

Do nitrosamines prove a chain of causation between pork, liver-harming compounds and liver disease? The evidence is currently too patchy to make that claim, but the risk is plausible enough to justify limiting nitrosamine-containing (or nitrosamine-producing) pork products, including bacon, ham, hot dogs and sausages made with sodium nitrite or potassium nitrate.

Summary: Strong epidemiological links exist between pork consumption and liver disease. If these links reflect cause and effect, one culprit might be N-nitroso compounds, which are found abundantly in processed pork products cooked at high temperatures.

4. Yersinia

For years, pork’s precautionary motto was “well-done or bust,” a consequence of fears about trichinosis, a type of roundworm infection that ravaged pork consumers throughout much of the 20th century (73).

Thanks to changes in feeding practices, farm hygiene and quality control, pig-borne trichinosis has dropped off the radar, inviting pink pork back onto the menu.

But pork’s relaxed heat rules may have opened the doors for a different type of infection — yersiniosis, which is caused by Yersinia bacteria. In the US alone, Yersiniacauses 35 deaths and almost 117,000 cases of food poisoning each year (74). Its chief entry route for humans? Undercooked pork.

Yersiniosis’s acute symptoms are rough enough — fever, pain, bloody diarrhea — but its long-term consequences are what should really ring alarm bells. Victims of Yersiniapoisoning face a 47-times higher risk of reactive arthritis, a type of inflammatory joint disease triggered by infection (75).

Even children become post-Yersinia arthritis targets, sometimes requiring chemical synovectomy (the injection of osmic acid into a troubled joint) to relieve persistent pain (7677).

And in the less-common instances where Yersinia doesn’t bring the typical feverish, diarrheic unpleasantries? Reactive arthritis can develop even when the original infection was asymptomatic, leaving some victims unaware that their arthritis is a consequence of food-borne illness (78).

Although reactive arthritis usually subsides on its own over time, Yersinia victims remain at higher risk of chronic joint problems, including ankylosing spondylitis, sacroiliitis, tenosynovitis and rheumatoid arthritis, for years on end (798081).

Some evidence suggests that Yersinia can lead to neurological complications (82). Infected individuals with iron overload may be at higher risk of multiple liver abscesses, potentially leading to death (838485). And among people who are genetically susceptible, anterior uveitis, inflammation of the eye’s iris, is also more likely following a bout of Yersinia (8687).

Lastly, via molecular mimicry, Yersinia infection could also raise the risk of Graves’ disease, an autoimmune condition characterized by excessive thyroid hormone production (8889).

The solution? Bring on the heat. The majority of pork products (69% of tested samples, according to a Consumer Reports analysis) are contaminated with Yersiniabacteria, and the only way to safeguard against infection is through proper cooking. An internal temperature of at least 145°F for whole pork and 160°F for ground pork is necessary to decimate any lingering pathogen.

Summary: Undercooked pork can transmit Yersinia bacteria, causing short-term illness and raising the risk of reactive arthritis, chronic joint conditions, Graves’ disease and other complications.

In Conclusion

So, should health-savvy omnivores scrap pork from the menu?

The jury’s still out. For two of pork’s problems — hepatitis E and Yersinia — aggressive cooking and safe handling are enough to minimize the risk. And due to a shortage of controlled, pork-centric research capable of establishing causation, pork’s other red flags spring from epidemiology — a field rife with confounders and unjustified confidence.

Worse, many diet-and-disease studies lump pork together with other types of red meat, diluting whatever associations might exist with pork alone.

These issues make it hard to isolate the health effects of pig-derived products and determine the safety of their consumption.

That being said, caution is probably warranted. The sheer magnitude, consistency and mechanistic plausibility of pork’s connection with several serious diseases make the chances of a true risk more likely.

Until further research is available, you might want to think twice about going hog-wild on pork.

This article was originally published by Authority Nutrition.

 

 

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---

Following is Jim Irvine's proponent testimony on HB 233, delivered to the House committee on June 20:

Good afternoon Chairwomen Roegner, Vice Chairman Lipps, ranking member Leland and members of the House Committee on Federalism and Interstate Relations. I testify today in support of Sub H.B. 233.

We all enjoy many constitutionally protected rights. And we understand that the State may put restrictions on those rights. To properly do so, they must show a justifiable need for that restriction. You can’t yell “FIRE!” in a crowded movie theater.

No need has ever been shown to restrict the constitutionally protected, individual right to bear arms in most of the places that Ohio law restricts people from having a firearm available to defend their life.There is serious criminal activity in Ohio. We are suffering through a drug epidemic. Serious crimes deserve serious (felony) punishment. It is a waste of law-enforcement, prosecutorial, and judicial resources to criminalize an otherwise law-abiding citizen with a similar degree of crime for status offenses.

There is a huge difference between the crimes of rape, murder, arson, and a CHL holder walking into a church or library which happens to be a government building. The law should reflect that stark difference.

Sub. H.B. 233 makes the punishment fit the crime.

We have endorsed it and recommend its passage.


          US blacklists China bank, revving up pressure over North Korea   
WASHINGTON — The United States has blacklisted a small Chinese bank accused of illicit dealings with North Korea, escalating the pressure on Beijing to rein in its wayward ally amid increased signs of frustration among President Donald Trump and his top advisers with China's diplomatic efforts.

The Treasury Department on Thursday declared the Bank of Dandong a "primary money-laundering concern," proposing to sever it entirely from the U.S. financial system, pending a 60-day review period. Although Trump's treasury secretary said the move didn't target China, it comes a week after the president lamented that China's promise to help with North Korea "has not worked out."

Calls to Bank of Dandong rang unanswered on Friday. Beijing, however, criticized Washington's action, saying that unilateral sanctions outside the U.N. Security Council were inappropriate.

"We also firmly oppose any individual country to exercise long-arm jurisdiction under its own domestic law," said Lu Kang, spokesman for China's foreign ministry.

Lu added that Beijing will investigate possible wrongdoings by Chinese individuals and entities under Chinese laws.

Trump had been leaning on President Xi Jinping to help stop the North's development of nuclear weapons before they can threaten the U.S. homeland. A main focus of the coordination has been getting China to fully enforce international sanctions intended to starve North Korea of revenue for its nuclear and missile programs.

The U.S. action is likely to anger China, which handles about 90 percent of North Korea's external trade, and whose banks and companies are said to provide Pyongyang access to the U.S.-dominated international financial system.

The sanctions bar Americans from doing business with Bank of Dandong, which is based in a northeastern Chinese city on the North Korean border that serves as a gateway for trade with the isolated nation. The U.S. also slapped sanctions Thursday on a Chinese shipping company and two Chinese people that it said have facilitated illegal activities by North Korea.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said the U.S. still wants to work with Beijing on combating the North Korean threat.

"We are in no way targeting China with these actions," Mnuchin told a White House news briefing.

The punitive steps were presaged by a tweet from Trump last week reflecting dissatisfaction with Beijing's efforts.

"While I greatly appreciate the efforts of President Xi & China to help with North Korea, it has not worked out. At least I know China tried!" Trump tweeted on June 20.

The Trump administration may be struggling to maintain international pressure on Pyongyang.

The president was to meet for the first time Thursday with South Korea's new leader, President Moon Jae-in, who has long advocated outreach to North Korea. His predecessor had staunchly backed Trump's harder line.

Mnuchin said the Bank of Dandong has facilitated millions of dollars of transactions for companies involved in North Korea's weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs.

Anthony Ruggiero, a sanctions expert and former Treasury Department official, described it as a small Chinese bank "sitting at the heart" of trade between North Korea and China.

"This is a strong message to Chinese leaders that the Trump administration will act against North Korea's sanctions evasion in China," he said.

The other targeted Chinese entities are:

—Dalian Global Unity Shipping Co., which Treasury accused of transporting 700,000 tons of freight annually, including coal and steel products, between China and North Korea. It cited a U.N. expert panel as saying the company has violated a ban on trade in luxury goods with the North.

—Chinese national Sun Wei, said to have been running a cover company for North Korea's Foreign Trade Bank, which is already subject to U.S. sanctions.

—Chinese national Li Hong Ri, said to have established several front companies that end up benefiting Koryo Bank, a U.S.-sanctioned conduct for financial transactions on behalf of North Korea.


          Weapons watchdog finds sarin used in deadly attack in Syria   
An investigation by the international chemical weapons watchdog confirmed that sarin nerve gas was used in a deadly April 4 attack on a Syrian town, ...
          Russia says it found nothing suspicious at Syrian airbase   
The Russian commander in Syria sent the anti-ISIS coalition a letter saying Russians have found nothing to indicate the presence of chemical weapons at a Shayrat airfield

          COMMENTARY: White House Says It Will Fake “Chemical Weapon Attack” In Syria   

We have said this many times already, and it is happening before our own eyes, Israel and its puppets will not stop till they completely destroy Syria. Iran is next and then WWIII. Don’t believe for one minute that Russia is not involved in this Read More ...

The post COMMENTARY: White House Says It Will Fake “Chemical Weapon Attack” In Syria appeared first on ZIONIST REPORT.


          The Committee By: Raymond Buckland   

The Cold War is back in this psi-tech suspense thriller, where the weapons of power are psychic. Astral projection, psychokinesis, and otherworld means define the battle ground that claims the entire United States as its prize. When two routine commu...[Read More]
Our Price: $4.99 [Add to Cart]



          Derrick Williams Writeup   

Derrick Williams - So. SF/PF, Arizona

PER36min numbers against Quality Opponents (6 games):

24 pts, 11.1 rebs, 0.7 asts, 1.3 stls, 1.1 blks, 3.5 PFs, 3.1 TOs

53.4 FG%, 50.0 3pt% (5/10), 72.1 FT%, .93 FTA/FGA

Derrick Williams has a variety of opinions regarding how he’ll translate to the NBA level. Some think he has the tools to be a #1 option, some claim he’ll have to make the transition to SF to be effective, and some believe he’ll be like David West. What is not up for debate, however, is that he is an elite offensive weapon at the college level.


At 6’8, 241lbs Williams is a little undersized for a PF, however he is powerfully built and is relatively long. When projecting him to the NBA level, he possesses great athleticism for the PF position, while also being an above average athlete for the SF spot. I think it’s feasible that he could play either spot in the pros, though at this time he is far better suited for the PF spot due to his lack of shot-creation skills on the perimeter. He will, however, be a great source of energy and highlights because he can get up and finish.

Offensively, Williams is a great college talent. He gets flashes in the paint, seals, and gets position with the best of them which allows for him to get easy points against the smaller, less physical competition that he currently faces in college. His footwork around the hoop also can make his competition look silly, and is an area of strength which should translate well to the next level. He utilizes jab steps, spins, drop steps, and counter moves to get a good look at the hoop. Then, while looking to draw contact at every opportunity possible, his phenomenal touch around the rim allows him to convert at high percentages. This type of efficiency in the post allows him to draw an enormous amount of fouls and is the reason he boasts nearly a 1:1 FTA:FGA ratio, an incredible rate for someone as skilled as he is.

What balances his excellent post game is that he is also great spot up shooter who can hit 3’s at high efficiency. This will make him an extremely dangerous player alongside a competent PG, as when he screens he can both roll to the hoop to finish with authority, or pop out and nail the open jumper. He will, however, need to continue to advance his ball-handling skills as he cannot create his own looks on the perimeter, merely using his handle to drive to the rim when there is an opening in the defense. Another area which needs work is his recognition of open teammates flashing in the lane or open on the perimeter. To his credit, he does not force the issue if the defense is loaded on his side of the floor, but he also does not make the easy pass when it’s there - then again, when you are as efficient as Derrick is (he sports a very good 1.09 PPP) he is likely the best option on his college team unless triple teamed.

Onto what I consider one of his most prominent weaknesses: although Derrick possesses a nice combination of length and athleticism, he is not a quality defender. Frequently Derrick is seen “doing the wave” defensively, where he will stand straight up and put his arms in the air to deter his opponents shot attempt. While it’s better than committing a foul or doing absolutely nothing, this also makes him a relatively ineffective post defender who can be seen getting beat far too easily for a player who possesses the physical strengths he does. There are countless times I have seen guards attack the rim against Arizona and Williams will not contest but instead stand and watch - likely one of the reasons that the Wildcats are one of the worst defensive teams among the college powerhouses (they have a 91.2 adjusted D ranking according to kenpom.com, which places them 38th out of the top-50 teams). Although he is not a major threat around the rim, he does have relatively quick hands for a big and can be seen creating steals and then using his exceptional athleticism to run the floor and finish.

Lastly, his rebounding fundamentals could use quite a bit of work if he’s going to spend time at the PF spot. Although his numbers have picked up lately, Williams has serious flaws in his fundamentals where he uses his arms far more than his body to get position. Because he uses his arms, the guy he is attempting to box out can easily get around him and snatch the ball, while Derrick is left trying to use his athleticism to out jump his opponent. He should be a much more dominant rebounder than he currently is given his athleticism and the fact that he is usually playing PF and sometimes C for the Wildcats, but instead he is an average rebounder compared to the 15 PFs I have stats logged for.

Overall, there is plenty to like with Williams. While he is an undersized PF by NBA standards, he has the skills and athleticism to make up for the height advantage his opponents will have, while also having the ability to spend time at the SF spot (possibly full-time if he improves his handle). At his current pace, I believe he will be selected in the 7-15 range when draft time rolls around. The main things keeping him out of the top-5 discussion for me are his defensive shortcomings and his relatively average rebounding skills which I believe will keep him from being a force at the NBA level and instead will be looking at an upside of Antawn Jamison if he fulfills his potential.


          2010 NBA Draft - Big Board (Final)   
2010 Big Board: Rule - can go down one tier for need, makes tiers more flexible and blended

1. John Wall - Elite athlete who takes advantage of fast breaks and drives seams well. Great defensive potential and comes up with big plays on that end though sometimes has mental lapses. Can create his own shot with ease, but will need to work on refining his jumper to become a complete offensive player. Prone for handling errors and tends to force things at times, but can also do some spectacular things with the ball. Is a good mix of pure and scoring point guard tendencies.
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2. Derrick Favors - Physical specimen with rare combination of strength and athleticism. Could play either frontcourt spot offensively, but needs to work on his jumpshot if he’s to maximize his effectiveness at the ‘4’ and his post skills if he’s going to maximize his effectiveness at the ‘5’. Tends to lose his dribble when executing post moves, but has great hands and should be a monster in terms of efficiency. At his peak, he should be one of the best defenders and rebounders, but he might lack the desire or passion on the court to be a dominant offensive player.

3. Evan Turner - A complete prospect. He is a good playmaker, handler, and floor general from the wing spot and will create mismatches because of his array of talents. Needs to keep working on his long-range jumpers, but currently has one of the best mid-range games in the draft, while also being comfortable driving to the rim - however in this area he is turnover-prone as he is too loose with his handle. He should be a plus defender because of his effort, even though he’s not the best of athletes. Might be facing an uphill battle to be a superstar, as he lacks the tools normally seen in those players, thus his potential is limited.

4. DeMarcus Cousins - He’s a dominant player in the post, able to bull over most people guarding him, but also blessed with surprisingly quick feet. Uses his body to gobble up rebounds on both ends, and has the touch to finish shots around the basket even though he’s not an explosive athlete to throw them down with ease. Has problems with maturity on the court, but not off of it. This leads him to pick up silly fouls and sometimes be an indifferent defender. Sometimes his fire is a good thing, however, as it’s what causes him to be dominant at times.
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5. Wesley Johnson - Elite athlete on the wing with a very effective jumper with NBA 3pt range and quick release. Doesn’t look uncomfortable with the ball, but not relied upon to handle the ball and doesn’t use his dribble to attack the basket effectively despite his physical advantages. Because of this, it leads one to believe he’ll never be seen as a star in the NBA. Good rebounder that takes advantage of positioning and his leaping ability to be an asset in that area. Defensively, he has the tools, but tends to gamble - though playing within the zone makes it hard to see how he’ll translate.
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6. Ed Davis - Before his season ended with a broken wrist, he showed improvement on both ends of the floor. Able to create for himself in the post as well as establish position against bigger players. Showed good touch around the hoop, but needs to add a reliable jumper to be a dangerous offensive player. Defensively, he possesses great timing and is a plus in both man and weakside situations. Can guard face-up ‘4’s effectively on the perimeter. Tends to be a little passive on the court, which brings up questions if he can ever be “the man”.

7. Xavier Henry - Overshadowed by veterans, Henry still showed his ability to play at both ends of the court and the potential to be a deadeye shooter. Has a smooth jumper with effortless release, but had a midseason slump where it was extremely streaky. Deceptively good athlete, who isn’t explosive around the rim but is able to create for himself when the situation calls for it. Not the best handler or playmaker, if he’s going to be anything more than a scorer he needs to improve in those areas. Has the length, athleticism, and strength to defend either wing position.
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8. Greg Monroe - Spectacular playmaker in the frontcourt who plays more like a guard than a big. Because of that, he also sports a decent jumpshot and is comfortable handling the ball on the perimeter. The downside, however, is that he’s relatively soft when playing in the post and can be easily rooted from position. Defensively, his lack of great athleticism and length, combined with the absence of the mentality to own the paint, causes him to be a neutral-at-best player on that end.

9. Paul George - Great athlete with the size and length to create mismatch problems on either end. Streaky jumpshooter who was relied upon too much in college, may become much more efficient as a 2nd or 3rd option as he shows pure form on his shot and great efficiency in spot-up situations. Ability to make plays and handle the ball is a plus. Defensively, he tends to gamble more than he should.

10. Al-Farouq Aminu - An intriguing combination of great length, agility, and instincts makes him an outstanding defensive prospect that can guard either Forward spot. Has a nose for the ball when it comes to rebounding. Offensively, he’s raw, having an unreliable jumper and making odd decisions when trying to make plays for himself or teammates. He is effective, however, when set up with spot-up jumpers or off offensive rebound opportunities.

11. Ekpe Udoh - Great athleticism and the biggest shoulders known to mankind are likely huge influences in helping make him a great defensive player both in man and weakside situations. Makes good decisions with the ball when making plays, however dribbles it way too high when driving to the rim. Decent jumper and post-game, but should not be relied upon as one of the top options - upside is that of a role player.

12. Hassan Whiteside - Being an elite weakside defender but raw man defender makes him an intriguing prospect. Great athlete with the ability to effectively guard players on the perimeter. Has a surprisingly good jumper and a decent post-game, but has tunnel vision once he gets the ball. He needs to work on his game in the post (offensively, defensively in man situations, and rebounding) to realize his great potential. A huge boom or bust prospect.

13. Cole Aldrich - Ready-made player who is a great rebounder and post defender. Has decent touch and an adequate jumper. However, he is not a good athlete and doesn’t assert himself offensively, which limits his upside.
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14. Patrick Patterson - Very polished player who is good in just about every aspect you judge a PF on. Has good strength, athleticism, size, and motor which means the mismatches against him will be few and far between. Worked on his jumper so now he can spot-up out to the 3pt line with good efficiency. Lost the mentality to go after every board, and also still cannot handle or create for himself outside of the post which means he’s almost certainly a role player.

15. Devin Ebanks - Excellent defender who excels at shutting down great perimeter players despite only having decent athleticism and physical tools. He needs to bulk up to be a good post defender against the bigger ‘3’s and most ‘4’s in the NBA. Possesses a good jumper out to 15-18 feet, but efficiency drops off the map once he gets near the 3pt line even though he has good form. Passing ability is a plus, but should not be relied upon to handle the ball. Lack of athleticism and polished offensive game limit his upside.

16. James Anderson - Good athlete possessing a great jumper with unlimited range as well as the ability to finish at the rim through contact. Does not look comfortable handling the ball, almost always going left when he drives and sometimes unable to create for himself when guarded by a skilled defender. Uses screens well, however, which should help him be an effective 3rd option in the NBA - however he’ll need to continue working on his handle to be anything more. Is an above average defender who tends to stay home instead of gamble.
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17. Avery Bradley - Great athlete and elite defender. Only offensive weapon is his jumper, both off the dribble and spotting up - but he doesn’t effectively take it to the rim nor does he draw contact. Needs to work on his handle and playmaking ability to realize his potential.

18. Damion James - Nice athlete with good size and skills for a role-player SF. Tough-nosed defender who can defend most perimeter players and some post players. Has a decent jumper and can create for himself, but isn’t a guy you want handling the ball often due to his lack of playmaking ability and not being a good dribbler even when comparing him to other SFs.

19. Willie Warren - If he were two inches taller he’d be a great prospect even though he had a down year, however at 6’4 without great length he’s small for a SG and his weaknesses become magnified. Great dribbler and ability to finish around the rim, also possesses a streaky jumpshot which is money if it’s on. However, he is an indifferent defender and even though his team was dysfunctional last year, he wasn’t helping with his selfish mentality.

20. Larry Sanders - Very athletic frontcourt player with excellent length, but lacking the strength required to guard some of the bigger post players. However, he is a great weakside defender and has solid man defensive skills. Needs to crash the boards with more fervor, as he plays a bit soft. Has worked on developing a jumper, but could stand to improve both that and his post skills.

21. Darington Hobson - A versatile wing with great playmaking ability, good handles, and a nice jumper. Struggles with efficiency when guarded with long, athletic players; but at the next level he won’t be the focus of defenses as he was in his one year in the NCAA. He needs to work on his game off the ball, as well as defensive intensity to maximize his potential as a role player.

22. Gordon Hayward - Smooth player with surprising athleticism and a good jumper, however he appeared to be very streaky this year after a consistent freshman season. Plays tougher than he looks, and also is an effective defender when he’s focused. Can rebound the ball and make plays at an above average clip compared to most other SF prospects. Needs to improve his handle and become more consistent on both ends of the court.
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23. Kevin Seraphin - Intruiging player with a great package of size, strength, athleticism, and length in the frontcourt. Could play either spot offensively or defensively. Needs to keep developing his offensive repertoire.

24. Eric Bledsoe - Great athlete who was forced to play out of position for most of his minutes. Showed the ability to guard either backcourt spot and was extremely focused when doing so, having few lapses. Has a good jumper, but far too often takes bad shots and is wild when driving to the rim. His playmaking skills did not appear to be very good compared to most PGs, so he’ll need to work on that or play next to a ball-dominant player who can handle the ball.

25. Terrico White - Great athlete with good length for the SG spot. Possesses solid playmaking skills and can help handle the ball, though he showed far less of this his sophomore year. Can create for himself in the halfcourt and good at driving the seams, however can be a bit reckless in his decisions which leads to him taking a few too many contested jumpers. An indifferent defender, he needs to show more intensity on this end and make use of his tools to realize his full potential and possibly become a very good starter.

26. Luke Babbitt - Very good offensive skills. Able to create for himself despite only having average handles and playing as an average or below average athlete. Has range well beyond the 3pt line, and also is dangerous close to the hoop. Surprisingly good playmaker with good vision for a combo forward. Defensively he gives effort, but frequently looks overmatched when guarding players with NBA athleticism and thus isn’t an effective defender.

27. Artsiom Parakhouski - Skilled player with great size, decent athleticism, and the mentality people look for in a post player. Goes after every rebound and utilizes good positioning and effort to secure it. Not an explosive leaper, but still a good defender at the college level due to his size and positioning, though he struggled outside the paint. Plays below the rim, but shows good touch around the hoop and has a reliable jumper to help space the floor.

28. Quincy Pondexter - Great athlete who relies upon playing bigger and stronger than he is to overpower opponents. The lack of a reliable jumper and good handles could hurt him in the NBA, as his interior game will not be nearly as effective and thus he may be in for a harsh transition. Defensively, he’s very good as he shows effort and intensity so his tools are used to their fullest.
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29. Gani Lawal – Explosive, powerful player who has developed offensive skills in the post. Missing a reliable jumper to make him an extremely dangerous offensive player - FTs need help too. Blessed with great athleticism and length, with good length and motor. Crashes the boards well. Defensively he needs to focus more as he’s prone to picking up silly fouls and allows easy baskets a bit too often.

30. Lance Stephenson - Good playmaker and handler for a SG, also possesses a knack for creating separation and getting up tough shots. Overly confident in his abilities, pressing too hard and frequently taking shots which are too tough instead of pulling back and passing the ball. Defensively, he shows good intensity at times, but most of the time he’s an indifferent defender. If he continues to work on his game, he has high potential, but doesn’t seem to get it.

31. Craig Brackins - Skilled offensive player whose efficiency will increase when he’s not asked to carry the load. Has well developed post moves, a good midrange game, and has the ability to extend his range beyond the 3pt line in time to - when combined with his playmaking ability - become a dangerous offensive role player. Defensively, however, he is likely going to be a negative for his team, as he hasn’t seemed interested on that end.

32. Jerome Jordan - Athletic, long player with skills on both ends. Is inconsistent in his level of play which makes it hard to project where he could go in his career. Needs to work on his jumper if he wants to be seen as a starter.

33. Solomon Alabi - Nice athlete from the C spot who can make a significant impact defensively thanks to his timing and ability to harass opposing big and guards both in the post and when he’s forced out to the perimeter. Plays a little soft, however, and needs to assert himself more on the boards - hands need work as well. Has a nice jump hook and stroke from the line, which bodes well for his ability to become a decent option in the post if he continues to improve.

34. Stanley Robinson - Great athlete who uses this athleticism to be a quality defender as well as an exciting player in transition or when crashing the boards offensively. Has a decent jumper, but needs to continue to improve it to become a good role player. Lacks good handles and strength, thus tends to play outside far more than inside.

35. Elliot Williams - Good athlete who relies on his ability to drive to the rim and finish through contact, but needs to work on his handle to become ambidextrous with the ball. Possesses an improving jumper, but needs to keep working on it to make a smooth transition to the NBA. Solid playmaker, but prone to trying to be too fancy with the ball and thus be a bit turnover prone despite not being ball-dominant. Defensively, he is below average, but this should not be his focus as his role in the NBA will be that of a scorer.

36. Daniel Orton - He’s a body blessed with great physical tools. Right now he’s raw on both ends, showing glimpses of having a decent face-up game and defensive potential to go along with those tools. Knee problems may scare off some teams, as will his tendency to play like a thug and thus pick up lots of fouls. Has a lot of work to do to become a decent NBA player, but the potential is there.

37. Dominique Jones - A bull of a guard who loves driving to the rim and has good touch around the basket despite not being a great athlete. Decent handle and playmaking ability, can also create separation for himself, but his jumper isn’t reliable. Defensively, he puts forth good effort, but isn’t very effective.
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38. Jarvis Varnado - Great weakside defender with outstanding timing. As a man defender, he’s in for a tough transition as he’s too small to guard most post players, and not quite agile enough to guard some face-up ‘4’s. Quality rebounder despite his lack of strength, thanks to his fundamentals. Needs to continue to work on his jumper to make a successful transition to PF.

39. Da’Sean Butler - Streaky jumpshooter who comes up big in the clutch. Knee injury may knock his athleticism down a notch, but at WVU he was an average athlete. Very complete offensive player, able to handle and make plays while also being able to drive to the rim and create separation for himself in the halfcourt. Defensively, he was mostly hidden, and doesn’t seem to possess the ability to do more than put a hand up.

40. Lazar Hayward - Good athlete with legit size for a SF. Possesses a nice jumper with NBA range, but lacks good handles and playmaking to be anything more than a role player offensively. Defensively, shows very good effort and has the potential to be a plus defender.

41. Jordan Crawford - Volume shooter whose efficiency tailed off in bigger games. However, he can create for himself and is able to get off shots in tough situations. Playmaking and handling are there, but not a strength. On the defensive side, he looks indifferent much of the time.

42. Trevor Booker - Surprising athlete who is skilled and can rock the rim. Has worked on a jumper and has range out to 18-20 feet. Nice defensive skills, active down low and very physical. Needs to become more physical on the boards and learn better fundamentals.

43. Mikhail Torrance - SG with some very nice PG skills, however doesn’t have a takeover mentality nor athleticism which will wow anyone, thus is a classic tweener. Defensively he’ll be a liability.

44. Derrick Caracter - Big, strong post player with excellent post skills and touch around the basket. Tough-nosed rebounder and very physical defensively - however is relatively ineffective against skilled opponents and isn’t much of a weakside defender due to below average athleticism.

45. Miroslav Raduljica - Very skilled post player with legit size, range on his jumper, and decent court vision. Lacks defensive ability and toughness, and is also a subpar rebounder.
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46. Tyler Smith - Immaturity destroyed his NBA prospects, but outside of that is a solid prospect with good playmaking, average defensive ability, a decent jumper and solid physical attributes. If he can show that he’s matured, and can improve the range on his jumper out to the NBA 3pt line, he could be a solid player.

47. Greivis Vasquez - Was a star in college. Good size, handles, jumper, and playmaking. His problem lies with his poor athleticism, where it is a hindrance that he cannot get around defensively, and offensively will make his transition to the pros a bumpy one.

48. Tibor Pleiss

49. Armon Johnson - Explosive guard who is at his best attacking so he can create for himself or his teammates. Spot up jumper is suspect, as is the range on it - so if he’s going to make it in the NBA it will need to be improved. Defensively, he has the tools, but seems disinterested at times.

50. Sylven Landesberg - Smooth offensive player that can create for himself and others at the SG spot, however he’s still quite raw and doesn’t always make the best play. Athletically, he is average or below average; which, when combined with his mentality defensively, makes him a minus on that end of the floor.

51. Nemanja Bjelica
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52. Alexey Shved
53. Tiny Gallon
54. Ryan Richards
55. Brian Zoubek
56. Latavious Williams
57. Manny Harris
58. Jerome Randle
59. Dexter Pittman
60. Hamady Ndiaye
61. Marqus Blakely
62. Charles Garcia
63. Paulao Prestes
64. Vladimir Dasic
65. Luke Harangody
66. Matt Bouldin
67. Omar Samhan
68. Jacob Pullen
69. Dwayne Collins
70. Samardo Samuels
71. Andy Rautins
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72. Aubrey Coleman
73. Jerome Dyson
74. Elijah Millsap
75. Sherron Collins
76. Wayne Chism
77. Jon Scheyer
78. Deon Thompson
79. AJ Ogilvy
80. Ben Uzoh
81. Jeremy Lin
82. Scottie Reynolds
83. Jeff Foote
          June 2nd, 2010 - Big Board   
Been a little busy enjoying the summer, but I'm back working on this site again to get us all ready for the draft.

I just finished doing a major update to my big board, where instead of just having their name next to their rank, I now have a short synopsis of how I view the players and their attributes. Now, admittedly I am not an international expert, so those players will have shorter descriptions which may be far less helpful than looking at their respective DX, nbadraft.net, or ESPN page - but nonetheless I hope this is a helpful tool as you continue to get to know prospects strengths and weaknesses before the draft. In the coming weeks I'll be tweaking the descriptions more depending on the type of feedback I get.

Well, without further ado, the updated Big Board out to my 10th tier:
(As a reminder, the rule is that I would be able to go down one tier for need, this makes tiers more flexible and blended)

Tier 1:
1. John Wall - Elite athlete who takes advantage of fast breaks and drives seams well. Great defensive potential and comes up with big plays on that end though sometimes has mental lapses. Can create his own shot with ease, but will need to work on refining his jumper to become a complete offensive player. Prone for handling errors and tends to force things at times, but can also do some spectacular things with the ball. Is a good mix of pure and scoring point guard tendencies.

Tier 2:
2. Derrick Favors - Physical specimen with rare combination of strength and athleticism. Could play either frontcourt spot offensively, but needs to work on his jumpshot if he’s to maximize his effectiveness at the ‘4’ and his post skills if he’s going to maximize his effectiveness at the ‘5’. Tends to lose his dribble when executing post moves, but has great hands and should be a monster in terms of efficiency. At his peak, he should be one of the best defenders and rebounders, but he might lack the desire or passion on the court to be a dominant offensive player.

3. Evan Turner - A complete prospect. He is a good playmaker, handler, and floor general from the wing spot and will create mismatches because of his array of talents. Needs to keep working on his long-range jumpers, but currently has one of the best mid-range games in the draft, while also being comfortable driving to the rim - however in this area he is turnover-prone as he is too loose with his handle. He should be a plus defender because of his effort, even though he’s not the best of athletes. Might be facing an uphill battle to be a superstar, as he lacks the tools normally seen in those players, thus his potential is limited.

4. DeMarcus Cousins - He’s a dominant player in the post, able to bull over most people guarding him, but also blessed with surprisingly quick feet. Uses his body to gobble up rebounds on both ends, and has the touch to finish shots around the basket even though he’s not an explosive athlete to throw them down with ease. Has problems with maturity on the court, but not off of it. This leads him to pick up silly fouls and sometimes be an indifferent defender. Sometimes his fire is a good thing, however, as it’s what causes him to be dominant at times.

Tier 3:
5. Wesley Johnson - Elite athlete on the wing with a very effective jumper with NBA 3pt range and quick release. Doesn’t look uncomfortable with the ball, but not relied upon to handle the ball and doesn’t use his dribble to attack the basket effectively despite his physical advantages. Because of this, it leads one to believe he’ll never be seen as a star in the NBA. Good rebounder that takes advantage of positioning and his leaping ability to be an asset in that area. Defensively, he has the tools, but tends to gamble - though playing within the zone makes it hard to see how he’ll translate.

Tier 4:
6. Ed Davis - Before his season ended with a broken wrist, he showed improvement on both ends of the floor. Able to create for himself in the post as well as establish position against bigger players. Showed good touch around the hoop, but needs to add a reliable jumper to be a dangerous offensive player. Defensively, he possesses great timing and is a plus in both man and weakside situations. Can guard face-up ‘4’s effectively on the perimeter. Tends to be a little passive on the court, which brings up questions if he can ever be “the man”.

7. Xavier Henry - Overshadowed by veterans, Henry still showed his ability to play at both ends of the court and the potential to be a deadeye shooter. Has a smooth jumper with effortless release, but had a midseason slump where it was extremely streaky. Deceptively good athlete, who isn’t explosive around the rim but is able to create for himself when the situation calls for it. Not the best handler or playmaker, if he’s going to be anything more than a scorer he needs to improve in those areas. Has the length, athleticism, and strength to defend either wing position.

Tier 5:
8. Greg Monroe - Spectacular playmaker in the frontcourt who plays more like a guard than a big. Because of that, he also sports a decent jumpshot and is comfortable handling the ball on the perimeter. The downside, however, is that he’s relatively soft when playing in the post and can be easily rooted from position. Defensively, his lack of great athleticism and length, combined with the absence of the mentality to own the paint, causes him to be a neutral-at-best player on that end.

9. Al-Farouq Aminu - An intriguing combination of great length, agility, and instincts makes him an outstanding defensive prospect that can guard either Forward spot. Has a nose for the ball when it comes to rebounding. Offensively, he’s raw, having an unreliable jumper and making odd decisions when trying to make plays for himself or teammates. He is effective, however, when set up with spot-up jumpers or off offensive rebound opportunities.

10. Ekpe Udoh - Great athleticism and the biggest shoulders known to mankind are likely huge influences in helping make him a great defensive player both in man and weakside situations. Makes good decisions with the ball when making plays, however dribbles it way too high when driving to the rim. Decent jumper and post-game, but should not be relied upon as one of the top options - upside is that of a role player.

11. Paul George - Great athlete with the size and length to create mismatch problems on either end. Streaky jumpshooter who was relied upon too much in college, may become much more efficient as a 2nd or 3rd option as he shows pure form on his shot and great efficiency in spot-up situations. Ability to make plays and handle the ball is a plus. Defensively, he tends to gamble more than he should.

12. Hassan Whiteside - Being an elite weakside defender but raw man defender makes him an intriguing prospect. Great athlete with the ability to effectively guard players on the perimeter. Has a surprisingly good jumper and a decent post-game, but has tunnel vision once he gets the ball. He needs to work on his game in the post (offensively, defensively in man situations, and rebounding) to realize his great potential. A huge boom or bust prospect.

13. Cole Aldrich - Ready-made player who is a great rebounder and post defender. Has decent touch and an adequate jumper. However, he is not a good athlete and doesn’t assert himself offensively, which limits his upside.

Tier 6:
14. Donatas Motiejunas - Great athlete with a versatile game which allows him to play inside or out, play fast-paced or in the half-court. Needs to toughen up and work on his interior game to realize his great potential, otherwise he will need to be an extremely efficient offensive player to make up for the other areas in his game.

15. Devin Ebanks - Excellent defender who excels at shutting down great perimeter players despite only having decent athleticism and physical tools. He needs to bulk up to be a good post defender against the bigger ‘3’s and most ‘4’s in the NBA. Possesses a good jumper out to 15-18 feet, but efficiency drops off the map once he gets near the 3pt line even though he has good form. Passing ability is a plus, but should not be relied upon to handle the ball. Lack of athleticism and polished offensive game limit his upside.

16. Patrick Patterson - Very polished player who is good in just about every aspect you judge a PF on. Has good strength, athleticism, size, and motor which means the mismatches against him will be few and far between. Worked on his jumper so now he can spot-up out to the 3pt line with good efficiency. Lost the mentality to go after every board, and also still cannot handle or create for himself outside of the post which means he’s almost certainly a role player.

17. James Anderson - Good athlete possessing a great jumper with unlimited range as well as the ability to finish at the rim through contact. Does not look comfortable handling the ball, almost always going left when he drives and sometimes unable to create for himself when guarded by a skilled defender. Uses screens well, however, which should help him be an effective 3rd option in the NBA - however he’ll need to continue working on his handle to be anything more. Is an above average defender who tends to stay home instead of gamble.

Tier 7:
18. Avery Bradley - Great athlete and elite defender. Only offensive weapon is his jumper, both off the dribble and spotting up - but he doesn’t effectively take it to the rim nor does he draw contact. Needs to work on his handle and playmaking ability to realize his potential.

19. Willie Warren - If he were two inches taller he’d be a great prospect even though he had a down year, however at 6’4 without great length he’s small for a SG and his weaknesses become magnified. Great dribbler and ability to finish around the rim, also possesses a streaky jumpshot which is money if it’s on. However, he is an indifferent defender and even though his team was dysfunctional last year, he wasn’t helping with his selfish mentality.

20. Damion James - Nice athlete with good size and skills for a role-player SF. Tough-nosed defender who can defend most perimeter players and some post players. Has a decent jumper and can create for himself, but isn’t a guy you want handling the ball often due to his lack of playmaking ability and not being a good dribbler even when comparing him to other SFs.

21. Larry Sanders - Very athletic frontcourt player with excellent length, but lacking the strength required to guard some of the bigger post players. However, he is a great weakside defender and has solid man defensive skills. Needs to crash the boards with more fervor, as he plays a bit soft. Has worked on developing a jumper, but could stand to improve both that and his post skills.

22. Kevin Seraphin - Intruiging player with a great package of size, strength, athleticism, and length in the frontcourt. Could play either spot offensively or defensively. Needs to keep developing his offensive repertoire.

23. Eric Bledsoe - Great athlete who was forced to play out of position for most of his minutes. Showed the ability to guard either backcourt spot and was extremely focused when doing so, having few lapses. Has a good jumper, but far too often takes bad shots and is wild when driving to the rim. His playmaking skills did not appear to be very good compared to most PGs, so he’ll need to work on that or play next to a ball-dominant player who can handle the ball.

24. Darington Hobson - A versatile wing with great playmaking ability, good handles, and a nice jumper. Struggles with efficiency when guarded with long, athletic players; but at the next level he won’t be the focus of defenses as he was in his one year in the NCAA. He needs to work on his game off the ball, as well as defensive intensity to maximize his potential as a role player.

25. Gordon Hayward - Smooth player with surprising athleticism and a good jumper, however he appeared to be very streaky this year after a consistent freshman season. Plays tougher than he looks, and also is an effective defender when he’s focused. Can rebound the ball and make plays at an above average clip compared to most other SF prospects. Needs to improve his handle and become more consistent on both ends of the court.

Tier 8:
26. Artsiom Parakhouski - Skilled player with great size, decent athleticism, and the mentality people look for in a post player. Goes after every rebound and utilizes good positioning and effort to secure it. Not an explosive leaper, but still a good defender at the college level due to his size and positioning, though he struggled outside the paint. Plays below the rim, but shows good touch around the hoop and has a reliable jumper to help space the floor.

27. Terrico White - Great athlete with good length for the SG spot. Possesses solid playmaking skills and can help handle the ball, though he showed far less of this his sophomore year. Can create for himself in the halfcourt and good at driving the seams, however can be a bit reckless in his decisions which leads to him taking a few too many contested jumpers. An indifferent defender, he needs to show more intensity on this end and make use of his tools to realize his full potential and possibly become a very good starter.

28. Luke Babbitt - Very good offensive skills. Able to create for himself despite only having average handles and playing as an average or below average athlete. Has range well beyond the 3pt line, and also is dangerous close to the hoop. Surprisingly good playmaker with good vision for a combo forward. Defensively he gives effort, but frequently looks overmatched when guarding players with NBA athleticism and thus isn’t an effective defender.

29. Gani Lawal – Explosive, powerful player who has developed offensive skills in the post. Missing a reliable jumper to make him an extremely dangerous offensive player - FTs need help too. Blessed with great athleticism and length, with good length and motor. Crashes the boards well. Defensively he needs to focus more as he’s prone to picking up silly fouls and allows easy baskets a bit too often.

30. Quincy Pondexter - Great athlete who relies upon playing bigger and stronger than he is to overpower opponents. The lack of a reliable jumper and good handles could hurt him in the NBA, as his interior game will not be nearly as effective and thus he may be in for a harsh transition. Defensively, he’s very good as he shows effort and intensity so his tools are used to their fullest.

31. Craig Brackins - Skilled offensive player whose efficiency will increase when he’s not asked to carry the load. Has well developed post moves, a good midrange game, and has the ability to extend his range beyond the 3pt line in time to - when combined with his playmaking ability - become a dangerous offensive role player. Defensively, however, he is likely going to be a negative for his team, as he hasn’t seemed interested on that end.

32. Stanley Robinson - Great athlete who uses this athleticism to be a quality defender as well as an exciting player in transition or when crashing the boards offensively. Has a decent jumper, but needs to continue to improve it to become a good role player. Lacks good handles and strength, thus tends to play outside far more than inside.

Tier 9:
33. Jerome Jordan - Athletic, long player with skills on both ends. Is inconsistent in his level of play which makes it hard to project where he could go in his career. Needs to work on his jumper if he wants to be seen as a starter.

34. Daniel Orton - He’s a body blessed with great physical tools. Right now he’s raw on both ends, showing glimpses of having a decent face-up game and defensive potential to go along with those tools. Knee problems may scare off some teams, as will his tendency to play like a thug and thus pick up lots of fouls. Has a lot of work to do to become a decent NBA player, but the potential is there.

35. Solomon Alabi - Nice athlete from the C spot who can make a significant impact defensively thanks to his timing and ability to harass opposing big and guards both in the post and when he’s forced out to the perimeter. Plays a little soft, however, and needs to assert himself more on the boards - hands need work as well. Has a nice jump hook and stroke from the line, which bodes well for his ability to become a decent option in the post if he continues to improve.

36. Jarvis Varnado - Great weakside defender with outstanding timing. As a man defender, he’s in for a tough transition as he’s too small to guard most post players, and not quite agile enough to guard some face-up ‘4’s. Quality rebounder despite his lack of strength, thanks to his fundamentals. Needs to continue to work on his jumper to make a successful transition to PF.

37. Elliot Williams - Good athlete who relies on his ability to drive to the rim and finish through contact, but needs to work on his handle to become ambidextrous with the ball. Possesses an improving jumper, but needs to keep working on it to make a smooth transition to the NBA. Solid playmaker, but prone to trying to be too fancy with the ball and thus be a bit turnover prone despite not being ball-dominant. Defensively, he is below average, but this should not be his focus as his role in the NBA will be that of a scorer.

Tier 10:
38. Lance Stephenson - Good playmaker and handler for a SG, also possesses a knack for creating separation and getting up tough shots. Overly confident in his abilities, pressing too hard and frequently taking shots which are too tough instead of pulling back and passing the ball. Defensively, he shows good intensity at times, but most of the time he’s an indifferent defender. If he continues to work on his game, he has high potential, but doesn’t seem to get it.

39. Dominique Jones - A bull of a guard who loves driving to the rim and has good touch around the basket despite not being a great athlete. Decent handle and playmaking ability, can also create separation for himself, but his jumper isn’t reliable. Defensively, he puts forth good effort, but isn’t very effective.

40. Da’Sean Butler - Streaky jumpshooter who comes up big in the clutch. Knee injury may knock his athleticism down a notch, but at WVU he was an average athlete. Very complete offensive player, able to handle and make plays while also being able to drive to the rim and create separation for himself in the halfcourt. Defensively, he was mostly hidden, and doesn’t seem to possess the ability to do more than put a hand up.

41. Jordan Crawford - Volume shooter whose efficiency tailed off in bigger games. However, he can create for himself and is able to get off shots in tough situations. Playmaking and handling are there, but not a strength. On the defensive side, he looks indifferent much of the time.

42. Trevor Booker - Surprising athlete who is skilled and can rock the rim. Has worked on a jumper and has range out to 18-20 feet. Nice defensive skills, active down low and very physical. Needs to become more physical on the boards and learn better fundamentals.

43. Mikhail Torrance - SG with some very nice PG skills, however doesn’t have a takeover mentality nor athleticism which will wow anyone, thus is a classic tweener. Defensively he’ll be a liability.

44. Derrick Caracter - Big, strong post player with excellent post skills and touch around the basket. Tough-nosed rebounder and very physical defensively - however is relatively ineffective against skilled opponents and isn’t much of a weakside defender due to below average athleticism.

45. Miroslav Raduljica - Very skilled post player with legit size, range on his jumper, and decent court vision. Lacks defensive ability and toughness, and is also a subpar rebounder.

46. Pablo Aguilar - A below average athlete, he makes his living off his smooth jumper and being a smart offensive player. Defensively he’s active, but he lacks the physical tools to be a plus defender at the NBA level - only a pest.

47. Tyler Smith - Immaturity destroyed his NBA prospects, but outside of that is a solid prospect with good playmaking, average defensive ability, a decent jumper and solid physical attributes. If he can show that he’s matured, and can improve the range on his jumper out to the NBA 3pt line, he could be a solid player.

48. Lazar Hayward - Good athlete with legit size for a SF. Possesses a nice jumper with NBA range, but lacks good handles and playmaking to be anything more than a role player offensively. Defensively, shows very good effort and has the potential to be a plus defender.

49. Greivis Vasquez - Was a star in college. Good size, handles, jumper, and playmaking. His problem lies with his poor athleticism, where it is a hindrance that he cannot get around defensively, and offensively will make his transition to the pros a bumpy one.

50. Armon Johnson - Explosive guard who is at his best attacking so he can create for himself or his teammates. Spot up jumper is suspect, as is the range on it - so if he’s going to make it in the NBA it will need to be improved. Defensively, he has the tools, but seems disinterested at times.

51. Sylven Landesberg - Smooth offensive player that can create for himself and others at the SG spot, however he’s still quite raw and doesn’t always make the best play. Athletically, he is average or below average; which, when combined with his mentality defensively, makes him a minus on that end of the floor.
          Computer Security Specialist - BTAS - Dayton, OH   
Assist with technical security activities relative to the development, acquisition, and sustainment of aeronautical weapon systems, subsystems, and associated...
From BTAS - Fri, 21 Apr 2017 08:47:47 GMT - View all Dayton, OH jobs
          Duke Nukem Goodies    

A collection of Duke Nuke monsters and weapons based on the original Atomic Duke Nukem 3D series.

The original 3d mesh files used for many of the High Resolution Pack (HRP) were released under a Shareware license by the HRP fangroup so I've hopefully matched the correct license.


          Bloodshot: Salvation: Bloodshot Is The Weapon!   
Valiant’s Bloodshot: Salvation is a twelve-issue limited series that tells its story across two timelines: Now: In the arms of his beloved girlfriend Magic, Bloodshot has finally found hope for the future…in the form of the couple’s unborn child. But when Magic’s estranged family – a cruel and sadistic clan of homegrown criminals – re-emerge … Continue reading Bloodshot: Salvation: Bloodshot Is The Weapon!
          U.S. to Sanction Chinese Bank Over North Korea Financing   
The Trump administration said it plans to cut off China’s Bank of Dandong from the U.S. financial system, accusing it of facilitating financing for companies involved in North Korea’s weapons program.
          Reply by Anonymous Coward (UID 10267097)   
Or true. [/quote] Iran has Ballistic Missiles and are probably already nuclear... [/quote] yes they have also flying saucers and f35 fighter jets and stealth soldiers with laser weapons. [/quote] They have about 40 thousand suicide bombers in their service, nothing to laugh at...
          Reply by FubarMan (OP)   
Or true. [/quote] Iran has Ballistic Missiles and are probably already nuclear... [/quote] yes they have also flying saucers and f35 fighter jets and stealth soldiers with laser weapons. [/quote] They have about 40 thousand suicide bombers in their service, nothing to laugh at...
          Reply by Anonymous Coward (UID 10267097)   
Or true. [/quote] Iran has Ballistic Missiles and are probably already nuclear... [/quote] yes they have also flying saucers and f35 fighter jets and stealth soldiers with laser weapons.
          Do Neonics Hurt Bees? Researchers and the Media Say Yes. The Data Do Not.    

This story is being co-published with the Genetic Literacy Project.

On Thursday, Science published a large-scale study on the relationship between bees and a pesticide, neonicotinoids. It got quite a bit of pickup in the press—Nature touted that the “Largest-Ever Study of Controversial Pesticides Finds Harm to Bees,” while the BBC explained that a “Large-Scale Study ‘Shows Neonic Pesticides Harm Bees.’ ” The Scientist said the same, with “Field Studies Confirm Neonicotinoids’ Harm to Bees,” and PBS followed suit with “Neonicotinoid Pesticides Are Slowly Killing Bees.”

These headlines seem to reflect a line included in the abstract of the study itself: “These findings point to neonicotinoids causing a reduced capacity of bee species to establish new populations in the year following exposure.”

Sure sounds like a bummer for the bees. One problem: The data in the paper (and hundreds of pages of supporting data not included but available in background form to reporters) do not support that bold conclusion. No, there is no consensus evidence that neonics are “slowly killing bees.” No, this study did not add to the evidence that neonics are driving bee health problems.

Unfortunately, and predictably, the overheated mainstream news headlines also generated a slew of even more exaggerated stories on activist and quack websites where undermining agricultural chemicals is a top priority (e.g., Greenpeace, End Times Headlines, and Friends of the Earth). The takeaway: The “beepocalypse” is accelerating. A few news outlets, such as Reuters (“Field Studies Fuel Dispute Over Whether Banned Pesticides Harm Bees”) and the Washington Post (“Controversial Pesticides May Threaten Queen Bees. Alternatives Could Be Worse.”), got the contradictory findings of the study and the headline right.

But based on the study’s data, the headline could just as easily have read: “Landmark Study Shows Neonic Pesticides Improve Bee Health”—and it would have been equally correct. So how did so many people get this so wrong?

This much-anticipated two year, $3.6 million study is particularly interesting because it was primarily funded by two major producers of neonicotinoids, Bayer Crop Science and Syngenta. They had no involvement with the analysis of the data. The three-country study was led by the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, or CEH, in the U.K.—a group known for its skepticism of pesticides in general and neonics in particular.

The raw data—more than 1,000 pages of it (only a tiny fraction is reproduced in the study)—are solid. It’s a reservoir of important information for entomologists and ecologists trying to figure out the challenges facing bees. It’s particularly important because to date, the problem with much of the research on neonicotinoids has been the wide gulf between the findings from laboratory-based studies and field studies.

Some, but not all, results from lab research have claimed neonics cause health problems in honeybees and wild bees, endangering the world food supply. This has been widely and often breathlessly echoed in the popular media—remember the execrably reported Time cover story on “A World Without Bees.” But the doses and time of exposure have varied dramatically from lab study to lab study, so many entomologists remain skeptical of these sweeping conclusions. Field studies have consistently shown a different result—in the field, neonics seem to pose little or no harm. The overwhelming threat to bee health, entomologists now agree, is a combination of factors led by the deadly Varroa destructor mite, the miticides used to control them, and bee practices. Relative to these factors, neonics are seen as relatively inconsequential.

I’ve addressed this disparity between field and lab research in a series of articles at the Genetic Literacy Project, and specifically summarized two dozen key field studies, many of which were independently funded and executed. This study was designed in part to bridge that gulf. And the devil is in the interpretation.

According to the lead researcher Richard Pywell of the CEH:

We’ve shown for the first time negative effects of neonicotinoid-coated seed dressings on honeybees and we’ve also shown similar negative effects on wild bees. … Our findings are a cause for serious concern.

I agree that there might be cause for serious concern if the studies had shown convincing evidence of negative effects. But a review of the data—by the GLP and independent scientists—concludes differently. The European study focused on three types of bees placed in fields across three countries—Germany, Hungary, and the U.K. As Jenna Gallegos noted in her particularly nuanced analysis in the Washington Post:

[T]he results were not as clear-cut as experts had hoped. … The differences between bees in treated or untreated fields were largely insignificant, and many of the bees in both groups died before they could be counted.

Overall, the data collected from 33 different fields covered 42 analyses and 258 endpoints—a staggering number. The paper only presented a sliver of that data—a selective glimpse of what the research, in its entirety showed.

What patterns emerged when examining the entire data set? Here is a chart assembled from data supplied to the research funders by the CEH (but not released in the published study) with the findings summarized (light green indicates “no impact,” red points to “negative impact,” and dark green suggests neonics had a positive impact).

In sum, of 258 endpoints, 238—92 percent—showed no effects. (Four endpoints didn’t yield data.) Only 16 showed effects. Negative effects showed up 9 times—3.5 percent of all outcomes; 7 showed a benefit from using neonics—2.7 percent.

As one scientist pointed out, in statistics there is a widely accepted standard that random results are generated about 5 percent of the time—which means by chance alone we would expect 13 results meaninglessly showing up positive or negative.

Norman Carreck, science director of the International Bee Research Association, who was not part of either study, noted, the small number of significant effects “makes it difficult to draw any reliable conclusions.”

When pressed, even Pywell acknowledged the conflicting data.

The data were rife with other contradictions. Worker bees and drones in Britain struggled to survive the winter, but the same variety of wild bees increased in Germany. Egg production also increased in Germany but fell in Hungary.

The health problems seemed to have little to do with pesticides. A fungal infection ran roughshod over Hungary’s bees. In Britain, they were decimated by the deadly and unrelenting Varroa destructor mite—even the controls suffered losses 400 percent greater than the national average. These catastrophic loss numbers suggest the field experiments may have been poorly constructed—raising doubts about the standard of research for the entire research project.

The broader context of the bee health controversy is also important to understand; bees are not in sharp decline—not in North America nor in Europe, where neonics are under a temporary ban that shows signs of becoming permanent, nor worldwide. Earlier this week, Canada reported that its honeybee colonies grew 10 percent year over year and now stand at about 800,000. That’s a new record, and the growth tracks the increased use of neonics, which are critical to canola crops in Western Canada, where 80 percent of the nation’s honey originates.

Managed beehives in the U.S. had been in steady decline since the 1940s, as farm land disappeared to urbanization, but began stabilizing in the mid-1990s, coinciding with the introduction of neonicotinoids. They hit a 22-year high in the last count.

Global hive numbers have steadily increased since the 1960s except for two brief periods—the emergency of the Varroa mite in the late 1980s and the brief outbreak of colony collapse disorder, mostly in the U.S., in the mid-2000s.

So the bees, contrary to widespread popular belief, are actually doing all right in terms of numbers, although the Varroa mite remains a dangerous challenge. But still, a cadre of scientists well known for their vocal opposition to and lobbying against neonics have already begun trying to leverage the misinterpretation of the data. “In the light of this new study, continuing to claim that use of neonicotinoids in farming does not harm bees is no longer a tenable position,” David Goulson, a University of Sussex bee biologist, known in anti-neonic circles as a scientist-for-hire, told the U.K.’s Science Media Centre.

But other, less ideologically invested scientists were far more circumspect. “We learn again: It’s complicated,” said biologist Tjeerd Blacquière of Wageningen University in the Netherlands. The mixed findings are likely to intensify ongoing debates about restricting or banning the compounds, with both sides claiming vindication.

The study, while problematic and contradictory in its results, is not without value. It has underscored that it’s possible or even likely that exposure to miticides or insecticides—including neonics, which like all insecticides are designed to target insects—increases the vulnerability of bees to disease and other threats. But that could be said about any chemical, including organic treatments. In Europe, where neonics have been banned since 2013 (based almost entirely on disputed lab studies), farmers have turned to alternatives that are far more toxic to both bees and humans, such as Lorsban and pyrethrins. Canola production is down, and bee health has shown no appreciable change. Farmers are in open revolt, and bees are arguably the worse for it.

Within hours of the release of the study, advocacy groups opposed to intensive agricultural techniques had already begun weaponizing the misreported headlines.

“It shows that industry claims that neonicotinoids do not harm bees at field-relevant concentrations are baseless,” said a Greenpeace senior scientist, a marine biologist with no background in entomology.

“Pressure mounts for a complete ban on neonicotinoid pesticides as landmark study confirms these chemicals are harming bees,” wrote Friends of the Earth.

But viewing the date from the European study in context makes it even more obvious that sweeping statements about the continuing beepocalypse and the deadly dangers to bees from pesticides, and neonicotinoids in particular, are irresponsible. That’s on both the scientists, and the media.


          OSCE admits Ukrainian side violating agreement on transportation of heavy weapons   
Special monitoring mission of the OSCE has recorded a violation of the agreement on the withdrawal of heavy weapons from the contact line in the Donbass, by Ukrainian security officials. In the Ukraine government-controlled areas, the mission has noted that three towed antitank guns MT-12, caliber of 100 millimeters, are missing- as stated by a representative of the OSCE.
          Well-trained: US senators propose another $558M for Israeli missile defense   
A Senate committee markup of the 2018 Pentagon funding bill would give $705 million to Israeli "cooperative" missile defense programs, a $588 million increase from the budget request made by President Donald Trump. The Senate Armed Services Committee draft of the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) would allocate $268.5 million for research, development, testing and evaluation for "multi-tiered missile defense systems" and another $290 million for purchasing them. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) identified the systems that would benefit from the funding as Iron Dome, David's Sling, Arrow-2 and Arrow-3. "These funds will help Israel defend its citizens against rocket and missile threats, and contribute to America's missile defense programs," AIPAC said Thursday, in a statement thanking the Senate and House armed services committees. The David's Sling weapon system and the Arrow program would receive $120 million apiece, while $92 million would go towards Israeli procurement of Tamir interceptors for the Iron Dome short-range system through co-production in the United States, according to the Senate committee markup. The 2018 Senate proposal would be a $105 million increase over the funds approved for 2017, AIPAC noted. "As Israel faces dramatically rising security challenges, AIPAC urges inclusion of these vital funds in the final versions of the Fiscal Year 2018 defense authorization and appropriations bills," the lobbying group said. Comment: Israel would have little to no 'dramatically rising security challenges' if it minded its business, didn't force settlements on others' land, wasn't committing Palestinian genocide and didn't bomb Syria over false provocation. But that is just not how pathocrats operate.
          Saber-rattling: Naval drills, sanctions and Taiwan weapon sales revive US tensions with China   
The US and Australian navies kicked off their biggest-ever joint amphibious drills, described as a message to friends and foes alike, as Washington sanctioned two Chinese businessmen and a bank over North Korea and announced a sale of weapons to Taiwan. On Thursday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced sanctions against China's Bank of Dandong, Dalian Global Unity Shipping Co, and two Chinese business executives the US accuses of running front companies on behalf of North Korea. Washington also announced a $1.4 billion deal to sell weapons to Taiwan, a Chinese island ruled as a de facto independent country by the nationalist government ousted from power on the mainland in 1949.
          Seymour Hersh: Trump ignored own intel before bombing Syria airfield   
In an exclusive interview, veteran investigative reporter Seymour Hersh discusses his new report that President Trump bombed a Syrian military airfield in April despite warnings that U.S. intelligence had found no evidence that the Assad regime used a chemical weapon. Full Transcript: AARON MATÉ: It's the Real News. I'm Aaron Maté. When the US bombed a Syrian military airfield in April, the White House said US intelligence had confirmed the Assad regime used chemical weapons in the town of Khan Shaykhun. Well a new report says the opposite is true. Veteran journalist Seymour Hersh reports US intelligence actually warned president Trump it had no evidence that the Syrian military had used sarin gas. Hersh writes that Russia had warned the U.S. about a Syrian military strike before Khan Shaykhun was bombed, and he says that bombing set off secondary explosions that released poisonous gases on the ground. Seymour Hersh's article, "Trump's Red Line," was published by the German newspaper [Die Welt]. Earlier he joined me to discuss it. Welcome Sy. SEYMOUR HERSH: Hello. AM: Thank you for joining us. You're reporting that Trump ordered the attack on the Syrian military airfield, despite US intelligence doubts that it was in fact Assad who had used chemical weapons in Idlib. Can you explain what that intelligence was?
          US slams Damascus as OPCW says sarin used in April Syria attack, silent on blame   
The US State Department is scolding the Syrian government, as the OPCW has reportedly determined that sarin, a banned nerve gas, was what killed dozens of Syrians in northern Idlib province on April 4. Members of the UN's chemical weapons watchdog, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), reviewed the fact-finding mission (FFM) report at The Hague, Netherlands, on Thursday, but it was not released to the public, Reuters reported. The news outlet obtained a copy of the report that relied on eyewitness interviews and samples previously collected from the site of the alleged chemical attack in the town of Khan Sheikhoun. The FFM was reportedly unable to make it to the location in question because of security issues. "A large number of people, some of whom died, were exposed to sarin or a sarin-like substance," the summary of the report said.
          How JJ Volpe Ass-Kicked His Way from Vietnam to 34 WSOPs   

JJ Volpe's story takes us from a 22-year-old hustling poker on his first day in the Vietnam War to 34 years spent competing at the World Series of Poker.

Volpe's played poker professionally since 1981, in Las Vegas for 11 years and the rest in California, mostly at the Commerce Casino.

He's semi-retired now. He lives in Arizona where he bought some land.

The first entry on his Hendon Mob results page is a 1st-place finish in the 1984 Grand Prix of Poker at the Golden Nugget in downtown Las Vegas.

Now, almost three and a half decades later he's still playing at the WSOP. We caught him before the start of the $1,500 Seven Card Stud event.

Funnily enough, it was Stud they were playing in an officer's tent all those years ago in Vietnam.

PokerListings.com: How is poker different now compared to when you started in the 1980s?

JJ Volpe: Well, technically I'm an outspoken guy. I'm a Vietnam veteran and I'm an outspoken guy. The new guys, frankly, drink the Kool-Aid.

PL.com: What does the Kool-Aid represent here?

JJ: Well, if you create waves around here, they don't appreciate it. Don't make any waves, just be quiet.

PL.com: Is that your approach to the game?

JJ: No. I'm what you might call an asskicker so I don't like to take bull from anyone. Let's put it that way.

PL.com: What else bothers you about people today?

JJ: You know what really aggravates me? Nobody even watches the game anymore. They just watch their cell phones and their tablets.

JJ Volpe 2
"Then a goddamn mortar hits right outside the tent."

Concentration and focus is the biggest thing in poker and nowadays you sit at a table with nine players, at least six of them are on their phones.

PL.com: You mentioned you served in Vietnam. Did you play poker over there?

JJ: There were big games in Vietnam. I was 22 years old. I went right after college. My first trip up country I went in the officer's tent and there was a poker game on a bumper pool table.

There was all kinds of money on the table: Vietnamese, Laotian, Thai, American, IOUs. I didn't know what any of it meant. It was my first time up country. They were all sergeants and high-ups and they were playing Stud and I got in the game.

I won the first four hands in a row and then I picked up some garbage hands and thought to myself that they wouldn't think a young guy like me would be bluffing in that game so I put some bluffs out.

Long story short, I won the first seven hands I played.

I've got so many different currencies I don't even know how much it is, and also I don't have enough room for it because we're playing on this bumper pool table.

This game was my first day up country and it's now pushing like 4am and a goddamn mortar hits right outside the tent. I grab my weapon and jump in the bunker. By this time the entire tent has collapsed.

Afterwards we raise the tent and go back in. All the money was gone.



Visit www.pokerlistings.com


          Engineer-Mechanical Engineer-Space and Weapons Engineering - Marotta Controls, Inc. - Montville, NJ   
With over 200 patents and 70 year's experience, Marotta Controls supports the most demanding applications - whether manned or unmanned, military or commercial -...
From Marotta Controls, Inc. - Sun, 23 Apr 2017 09:35:06 GMT - View all Montville, NJ jobs
          A&T Cleaner II - Marotta Controls, Inc. - Montville, NJ   
Our portfolio includes pressure, power, motion, fluid, and electronic controls for weapon systems, shipboard and sub-sea applications, satellites, launch...
From Marotta Controls, Inc. - Tue, 30 May 2017 17:50:26 GMT - View all Montville, NJ jobs
          A&T Tech II - Marotta Controls, Inc. - Montville, NJ   
Our portfolio includes pressure, power, motion, fluid, and electronic controls for weapon systems, shipboard and sub-sea applications, satellites, launch...
From Marotta Controls, Inc. - Fri, 09 Jun 2017 23:51:43 GMT - View all Montville, NJ jobs
          [Eugene Volokh] Czech parliament’s lower house passes right of citizens to keep and bear arms ‘to participate in the security of the Czech Republic’   
[Existing provision:] (2) State authorities, territorial self-governing bodies, and legal and natural persons are obliged to participate in the security of the Czech Republic. The scope of duties and other details are set by law. [New provision:] (3) Citizens of the Czech Republic have the right to acquire, hold, and carry weapons and ammunition for […]
          Human Resources Generalist - Marotta Controls, Inc. - Montville, NJ   
Our portfolio includes pressure, power, motion, fluid, and electronic controls for weapon systems, shipboard and sub-sea applications, satellites, launch...
From Marotta Controls, Inc. - Fri, 28 Apr 2017 15:08:18 GMT - View all Montville, NJ jobs
          Sr. Electronics Packaging Engineer - Marotta Controls, Inc. - Montville, NJ   
Our portfolio includes pressure, power, motion, fluid, and electronic controls for weapon systems, shipboard and sub-sea applications, satellites, launch...
From Marotta Controls, Inc. - Thu, 29 Jun 2017 03:11:41 GMT - View all Montville, NJ jobs
          US Army fires laser 'cannon' from helicopter   
High-energy laser weapon developed with Raytheon tested on board Apache AH-64. - Source: optics.org
          Felon Charged After Posting Photos Online With Guns   
police car A convicted felon from Houston has been charged with illegally having guns and posting photos online showing him brandishing the weapons.
          Four People Plead Guilty To Help Run Drug, Weapons Ring   
Four people have pleaded guilty to helping run a violent Dallas-area drug and weapons ring.
          Man Sentenced To 14 Years In Houston Weapons Ring   
File photo of a judge's gavel. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)A man with ties to the Caribbean has been sentenced to 14 years in prison for sending guns bought in Texas to the U.S. Virgin Islands.
          Guns On Campus Bill Scheduled For Texas House Vote   
Monday for a House floor vote this weekend, and a top backer predicted approval there for the plan to allow concealed weapons permit holders to carry their handguns into college classrooms.
          Rocket Launchers Exchanged In Tampa Bay Gun Swaps   
Authorities say two rocket launchers were among roughly 2,500 weapons exchanged for cash and tickets in the Tampa Bay area.
          Brisk Sales Expected At Okla. Gun Shows   
File photo of people attending a gun show. (Photo by Christopher Capozziello/Getty Images)Oklahoma gun enthusiasts will have plenty of opportunities to stock up on weapons and ammunition over the next few weeks, with gun shows planned across the state.
          Getting To Know Redondo   

Dutch DJ duo, Redondo is on a path of world domination. Their weapon of choice is fresh and funky production of house music and tech house sounds. The lads are constantly trying to take things to the next level and […]

The post Getting To Know Redondo appeared first on EDMDroid.


          PAYDAY 2: Crime Spree - New Modifiers, Rewards and more...   


The police will be stepping up its war on crime with new challenges for any heister that is trying to commit a Crime Spree in their city. Any heister that wish to claim the new rewards added to the cosmetic item pool will surely have a challenge ahead of themselves. There will be new abilities and buffs for existing enemies and even some new unit variants to be deployed against them.

The Spree system has also gotten a bit of an update. The initial buy-in cost is gone for a level 0 Crime Spree. That means you only need to pay when skipping levels in the Spree.

The modifier selector is also different with the new update. After the update there will be three modifier intervals to work with.

Loud Modifiers every 20th Crime Spree Level
Stealth Modifiers every 26th Crime Spree Level
Forced Loud Modifiers every 50th Crime Spree Level.

Stealth and Loud Modifiers will have the player choose from a set of old and new modifiers that will change the gameplay in different ways. Forced Modifiers will always increase the enemies health and damage and will be automatically applied to the Crime Spree when the appropriate level is reached.

The heist selector will no longer be divided in long, medium and short heists like before. The choice will now be stealth, short or long heists. The stealth heist may be long or short.

Attention:
When downloading this update your current Crime Spree will disappear, we highly recommend claiming your rewards before downloading the update. Any unclaimed rewards will be lost when the update is installed.



Now it’s time for some good old fashioned lawbreaking.
OVERKILL_Tobias
OVERKILL - a Starbreeze Studio.


Update size: 129.1MB

The Desync Beta will be deactivated until we release a new beta update.

General
  • Made a slight visual update to Jacket
  • Fixed so that items will show their DLC lock again instead of "Ultimate Edition"
  • Players can no longer be downed while in casing mode
  • Fixed some advanced video options not resetting when defaulting video options
  • Players can no longer select "loud" tactic on stealth only heists like The Yacht Heist
  • Fixed players being refunded cash when default weapon parts were removed from their weapons during weapon validation
  • "Fixed some visual issues with the Beanies masks on lobby characters
  • Fixed an issue where Continental Coins on the end of heist screen wouldn't use thousand separators correctly while counting
  • Fixed a crash that could occur when switching profiles fast in the inventory

Levels
Aftershock
  • Fixed a portal issue
  • Fixed some floating graffiti
  • Fixed enemies running through the wall before you blow it up
  • Fixed a spot where the truck could get stuck
  • Moved a tent so that the player can't get stuck behind it
Biker Heist
  • Fixed host players being able to give the Mechanic the chrome skull, soda, or tools, even if somebody else was holding it
Diamond Store
  • Fixed so that cops can no longer shoot you through the wall in the alley
Election Day
  • The player can no longer grab the drill from another room in Breaking Ballot
  • Fixed some floating objects in Breaking Ballot
  • There are no longer 2 escape zones at the end of Breaking Ballot
  • Players can no longer get stuck between desk and chair behind the voting machines on Breaking Ballot
Framing Frame
  • Fixed so that the player can not throw a bag where he can't reach it
Goat Simulator
  • Fixed a crash when kickstarting the saw on day 1
Golden Grin Casino
  • Fixed so that there is cash in the vault on Mayhem and One Down
Hoxton Breakout
    Fixed a crash if Hoxton was on the bridge when it was blown up on day 2
New Safe House
  • Fixed so that the Goat trophy does not appear until you finish the trophy
  • Fixed a blue box in Scarface room on Tier 1
  • Fixed a sniper that would not shoot at the player during a raid
  • Fixed a lamp that was clipping with the wall in Scarface room
  • Fixed some floating money in Scarface room on Tier 2
  • Fixed so that players can no longer throw bags up on the roof
  • Fixed so that the butler no longer gets stuck
  • Fixed an issue where Dragan’s hands were clipping with the floor when he was doing push ups
  • Fixed so that Bonnie is no longer floating when she is next to the roulette wheel
  • Fixed a hole in wall between Sokol and Bodhi's rooms
Panic Room
  • Fixed an issue where one sniper could end up in a position where the player could not kill him
Scarface Mansion
  • Fixed a portal issue inside of the mansion
  • Fixed the HP of the Scarface boss
The Diamond
  • Fixed an exploit where 3 players could stand in one spot and let 1 player do the objectives without enemies
  • Fixed a floating camera

Skills
  • Fix incorrect ammo & stability values with akimbo skill and hitman perk deck

Skins
  • Fixed the icon for the "Spacegoat" skin for the Kross Vertex
  • Fixed an issue with the Santa's Helper skin on the Lebensauger
  • Fixed both barrels and the extra mag for Barbwire skin for Chimano 88 Pistol
  • Fixed so that the Donald compensator changes color depending on the skin being used
  • Fixed some issues with the color of the Flying Pelican Skin

Weapons
  • Fixed an issue with the RPG rockets sometimes not being accurate for clients

          Is Trump Making Up Syria-Sarin Claims?   
The White House claimed victory after it warned Syria not to mount a chemical weapons attack and nothing happened, but some experts are questioning the quality of these U.S. claims about Syria and sarin, says Dennis J Bernstein. By Dennis…Read more →
          MSNBC hosts say tabloid article a weapon in Trump feud   
none
          The Hunters   
Drago leaned back on his bar stool analyzing the newest bounty in his inventory. Arak Ta’an, pirate lieutenant. Wanted on multiple counts: extortion, homicide, piracy, theft, illegal possession of drugs, illegal possession of weapons, kidnapping, and blackmail. Classification: Changeling, able...
Read more
          Man awaiting trial for murder in Mattapan charged with second murder in Franklin Field   

Authorities today announced the indictment of Julian Troche, 24, for the murder of Dantley Leonard in Franklin Field on Nov. 12, 2016 - five days before he was arrested for the murder of Andrew Flonory earlier that year.

A Suffolk County grand jury this month indicted Troche on charges of first-degree murder, armed assault with intent to murder, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and unlawful possession of a firearm for Dantley's murder and the wounding of a second man on Ames Street, the Suffolk County District Attorney's office and Boston Police report. Dantley was a Kingston resident.

Officials did not have to go far to find Troche - he's already in custody awaiting trial for the June 18, 2016 murder of Andrew Flonory on Astoria Street in Mattapan. Flonory's sister, Eyanna Louise Flonory was shot to death, along with her young son, Amanihotep Smith, in the 2010 Mattapan Massacre.

Innocent, etc.


          Then vs. Now: Valiant's Secret Weapons #1   

Valiant Entertainment’s comic book universe is well-known as being one of the most accessible and high-quality shared universes in comics, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have some history to it. While the current incarnation began only five years ago, the original Valiant Universe began in the early '90s and, despite a few hiccups, ran for the better part of a decade. There’s a lot of material to mine, and so Valiant Entertainment has not only launched new versions of their heroes, they’ve also presented drastically different visions for old titles.


          Titanfall 2's latest DLC is out now   

The War Games is the latest DLC for Titanfall 2. It's out now and free on all platforms. Some highlights of what's on offer: 

  • New (to Titanfall 2) Map: War Games – This map oringally appeared in the Expedition DLC in the first game, and now it is reappearing in the sequel.
  • New Live Fire Map: Traffic - From the press release: "A weathered test site where pilot positioning is pitted against mobility across two busy thoroughfares. Dense cover makes every corner a threat, with room for snipers to hide in the back fields."
  • A new Execution, Shadow Boxing that unlocks once you get 20 pilot kills with the holopilot ability active.
  • The 3rd weapon slot has returned. Now you'll be able to equip a primary, secondary, and anti-titan weapon, just like in the original Titanfall (I never understood why they removed that)
  • Titan Brawl has been added to the permanent list of game modes.
  • There's also a new game mode, Free Agents
  • And some other standard balancing, tweaks, and fixes.

More info about The War Games can be found on the official site. Enjoy the trailer below.

[age][/age]


          Ciera Foster on becoming Livewire, Ninjak Vs, and the Future (Toylab Exclusive Interview)   

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Toylab bloggers have made no secret that they are excited about the direction of Valiant Entertainment. With the launch of X-O Manowar comic, the upcoming Secret Weapons series and of course the upcoming live action Ninjak vs the Valiant Universe. We are thrilled to bring you an interview with one of the star's from Ninjak vs. the Valiant Universe, Ciera Foster. Ciera Foster is playing one of my favorite Valiant characters, Livewire. When casting for Ninjak vs was going on I openly wondered if they would find an actress who could portray the mixture of intelligence and bad assness that is Livewire and with Ciera they just flat out nailed it. She is intelligent, beautiful, and a good person as well. On top of all that she brings a legit athletic and martial arts resume to the table. Toylab's Marvel Matt sought out Ciera on questions about playing Livewire and she kindly answered.

If you love Valiant, if you are curious about Ninjak vs. The Valiant Universe then you need to read this interview. Ciera has an infectious enthusiasm for playing Livewire that has pushed my excitement for seeing her in action to 11.
Divinity #0 - Ciera Foster - Livewire Cover

As part of highlighting the Ninjak vs film Valiant is releasing a series of variant covers featuring the actors.  The Ciera Foster - Livewire cover will come out with Divinity #0.  It looks amazing!




Please Follow Ciera Foster on Twitter and Instagram:


Ciera we are very excited to see you play Livewire in Ninjak vs. the Valiant Universe.  What was the first thing that excited you as an actress about playing Livewire?

Firstly, thank you and the enthusiasm is certainly mutual!!! Thinking how to respond to that question is a bit tricky because it's a loaded answer. - The first thing that comes to mind is hands down the simple fact that I am a comic book, cartoon, video game fan. Yes, ME!!! I grew up with my older brother Nick and my guy cousins Keion and Cedric and we practically lived (and still do I might add) all things superhero,... seriously! But that's just the tip of the iceberg. I love playing Livewire not only because of what she is "a superhero" but because of WHO she is. Livewire is a natural leader with boundless compassion yet yields uncompromising strength. She's both admired and respected and hates wrongdoing particularly at the cost of the defenseless. Daily I'm blown away at the blessing of playing this character whose values are so aligned with my own. She continues to amaze me. With my background in athletics and my previous and current endeavors in the humanitarian field I couldn't have written a better character for me to play, which is a credit to the founding creators and the current exceptional team of writers working for and with Valiant.


 Speaking of Valiant I legitimately cannot answer this question without acknowledging how thrilled I am (Not to mention damn proud) to be a part of the Valiant Universe. I know I could easily sound biased but the fact is the more anyone delves into Valiant the more apparent it will be that there is no other major super universe with as much diversity in character, craftsmanship, and artistry plus overall badassness. From Harbinger, to Faith, to Bloodshot to one of my favorites Britannia (Just to name a few). I mean seriously it doesn't get more diverse than that! No slight on other comic universes but Valiant isn't creating a league of its own, it already is one. People are just seeing it on a larger scale and that makes me pretty damn excited to be your Livewire.


Livewire is the star of a comic series coming out called Secret Weapons have you been able to get a preview of that?

Valiant does a phenomenal job of providing us plenty of material. But it's no secret as Valiant continues to get bigger and bigger that our CEO Dinesh Shamdasani and VP of marketing Hunter Gorinson have made secrecy Valiant's "Secret Weapon" (See what I did there...) - I have a bit of a preview on the way from H.Q. but the hard hitting stuff I get to read with everyone else, which is cool with me. I get to share the journey as a fan and with the fans. I think that's important as an artist especially when playing a comic book character to be along for the ride at the same pace. Otherwise it's easy to project stuff onto to the scene or character that hasn't happened. Which I feel does everyone an injustice. - I've certainly done my research and since the book is about the emergence of the Harbinger program, I'm just as excited as the Valiant fans.

Livewire may seem like the star but I believe my character has the honor of being somewhat of a guiding force for some incredible new characters that will be introduced. I personally love that. It is my understanding Secret Weapons conceptually challenges the notion of being a "misfit". I believe the world could use a little more of that these days.

The Bat and the Sun is producing the series how did you meet them and get the part as Livewire?
Ciera Foster playing Livewire in Ninjak vs the Valiant Universe

Pure hustle. I went to audition almost two years ago for a role I submitted myself for. It was an extremely small, low budget, independent project. I have managers and agents of course but I like to search out new creative challenges for myself (Maybe that is the artist/athlete in me) because the role was pretty controversial and the project as I stated didn't pay much. I'd just gotten back from holiday, when I received the callback and I was pretty tired but I love what I do and I don't miss auditions so I went happily and did my thing. - I didn't get the part lol!

Apparently, I just wasn't right for the role, but the director liked my energy and work. He looked at my resume and said, "I gotta ask you about your martial arts and athletic background..." I filled him and the assistant CD in. Per usual I started geeking out over my love for superheroes. He told he might have a referral for me. I left and that was that. I had no expectations. I actually forgot until months later I got a phone call from Aaron Schoenke to play Storm for Bat in the Sun's Wonder Woman vs. Wolverine. After about 5 minutes of me talking about Ororo Munroe's history a little Street Fighter, Dragon Ball Z, Sailor Moon and a dash of Mortal Kombat I got the part. Almost a year later I got another phone call out of the blue from Aaron, I remember his exact words.

"Are you available next month to work? ... There is a thing...Its cool....really cool....you'll like it...I can't tell anything else but if you interested I think you should audition for it....that's all I can say.  I'll be in touch."

Yep, it was at that moment for exactly 17 seconds I thought I'd finally got the call to be a real life spy LOL. Auditioning for Livewire was actually not too far off. A week later I got another call then another with limited info. I was sent audition sides (1-2 pages of material) I was told to send them back the same day as soon as possible. Reading the small bit of information I was given about the character (Still almost nothing not even a mention of Valiant) I had to make choices based off of a combination of training and instinct. I even overrode some of the direction I was given. As I worked on it with my older brother Nick we let our knowledge and passion of superheroes guide us. We had so little info we worked on it all over about three hours straight (discussing it constantly) until it felt right. I sent in my taped audition to Aaron and Sean at Bat in the Sun. After that Bat in the Sun sent it to Valiant in New York. About ten minutes later Aaron texted me I got the part - No better feeling. I know I didn't know someone, there were no favors, just my hard work paying off step by step. The best woman got the job. I was (am) Livewire.

The Valiant Universe is full of bad asses and Livewire is one of the biggest bad asses of them all, what was it like to film action sequences in Ninjak vs. The Valiant Universe? 


What a fun question. It's literally a dream come true. As long as I can remember I've pretended to be a superhero, ninja, secret agent, etc. This is a lot cooler because its for real! I LIVE for this stuff! As you mentioned being such a powerful character one of the most powerful in the entire Valiant Universe especially as a woman is beyond exhilarating. When we film the fight scenes in particular I enter into a whole other zone. It's like a shark when they smell blood ...Was that too crazy LOL. I spent ample time on set not only on Livewire as a character but her characteristics in combat which is a huge part of the storytelling. As an artist but above all as a fan, I can tell a lot about character by the way they fight. I think a lot of comic hero heads would agree.

I fused my knowledge of the character with martial arts, artistry, and comics together to give Livewire an action personality that is so dynamic. I truly hope our fans and viewers enjoy watching it as much as I enjoyed portraying it. Ultimately, a large part of Livewire is her fighting because that’s when you see how powerful she is when it all becomes unleashed. It gives me chills just thinking about it!

None of it would be possible without the involvement of the Valiant heads Dinish Shamdasani (CEO) and Joshua Johns (Dir. of Digital Media / Development) giving me the freedom to be an artist and working so collaboratively with Bat in the Sun. All of the fights in Ninjak Vs would be a nothing without the full cast and crew (Seriously you've seen our cast, athletes for days.) Credit is especially due to our director Aaron Schenoke he was born to create epic fight and action sequences. The direction let alone the vision of Aaron and his father Sean Schenoke combined is priceless. Lastly, but certainly not least our special affects composer Nikolay Zamkovoy is just a beast and creative genius that kills it every time.

You were an NCAA athlete and have trained heavily in martial arts.  Can you go into you're training in martial arts and did that help you land this role.


My dad is a 7th degree black belt and Tang Soo Do master. He was also sparring partners with the legendary Chuck Norris. My father trained me in his dojo where I had to attend classes until I was about eleven. We also trained at the park outside of class. After a break my mother kept me involved in Taekwondo and Karate. When I was twelve I was recruited to play basketball. I traded theater club at the time for basketball practice in hopes of earning a scholarship. I played basketball for eleven years straight including competitive national and international summer leagues. As my skills developed I began to only play "up" on teams with athletes older than me. The same happened in high school by the end of my freshmen year I was on varsity already and playing in regional finals. Club or school ball I was always on regional, sectional, or state championship teams. I also played competitive softball two years, track and field for three years (undefeated), and was recruited to play volleyball at the collegiate level. More often than not I was the captain on many of my teams especially through college. I was a COAA California State Championship finalist. From there I was recruited to SoCal where I became an NCAA athlete and received a scholarship to play basketball.

Afterwards I returned to martial arts mainly Taekwondo testing for my black belt, while also pursuing my acting career. During both regular school and acting school I also attended two film fighting schools. I attended Theatrical Academy of Combat under the instruction of Dan and Jan Spreaker who choreographed the films Hook and Master and Commander. There I learned my film fighting foundation and weapons technique. My best weapons are the broad sword, quarter staff, and the cutlass. After that I attended Film Fighting LA under the instruction of Robert Goodwin who helped train Robert Downey Jr. in Iron Man. There was a big emphasis of the three points of Shaolin Kung Fu Martial Arts Method which I fell in love with. The school incorporated several art forms of camera fighting, stunt work, wrestling and firearms.   I've also had to do various training for a variety of roles and I still take classes and workshops. I will never stop learning and improving, I love this expression of the body and I'm blessed with the physicality to do something dynamic with it.

What does it feel like to join the ranks of Super Heroes? Playing Livewire makes you into a role model how does that change your mindset?

Playing Livewire doesn't change my mindset in regard to being a role model its quite the opposite, it affirms it. I've always had something inside of me pushing me to help others and to inspire. Its simple really, acting is my passion but helping others is my purpose. As I reflect on my career and life up to this point it adds up to this moment, this platform. When I was in college I was a paid activist for the CAA California Teachers Association I fought for educational rights, teacher rights and fair tuition costs. I was one of three student activist ambassadors hired by the CAA to represent SQE Students for Quality Education in which I was trained on activism techniques and school reform. My job was to bridge the gap between legislation and student rights.

In athletics as an NCAA athlete I was the captain and placed in charge of the team community service out reach programs. As an artist I've been to Haiti as an ambassador to Artists for Peace and Justice founded by writer/director Paul Haggis. I'm also an ambassador for the Water Underground Project and supporter of Children International. Now more than ever I feel these experiences have been part of a greater purpose which supersedes fame and popularity and has everything to do with passion. 
I say all this only to make the point that now I am Livewire,  I am just getting started. Be it a student athlete captain, activist, ambassador, acting class, or even growing up at home I've always been held to a higher standard. Livewire just raised the bar. I'm apart of something much bigger than myself.   As you stated I realize that makes me a role model, especially for little girls and young women. Challenge Accepted.

There have not been many black female super heroes in live action media?  Halle Berry comes to mind as Storm in X-Men but mind is drawing blanks on others.  At any rate it is a very small club of actresses that you are joining, does that add meaning to portrayal of Livewire.

I know what this means and I don't take it for granted. I'm humbled and honored, I think about it daily. People write me and post things about me regarding that very point. It's a blessing and a privilege. I always wanted to be a superhero but besides Storm there were no other heroes in all of the great universes that looked like me. It was a bit disheartening as a kid. Naturally, I assumed I'd play Storm if there ever were a Strom Origins film developed. This was my goal. By the way Alexandra Shipp is killing that role. But I realize now I was only thinking at the level of what I was shown possible. In the emerging age of the female lead heroine / superhero and with me as Livewire as a lead female superhero of color I take great pride and happiness in knowing that girls and boys of all races and backgrounds will see me and other upcoming heroes, and know that anything is possible. The best part is one day it won't even be a thought and the word "Black" or "Female" hero won't be a big deal. We will all just be superheroes from all walks of life representing everyone. That said let me clearly say in this moment in time I'm extremely proud to hold the torch for both female heroines and heroes of color until the goal of visibility amongst both is reached.

What is the future of Livewire?  We know that Valiant has a variety of film projects in the future.  Will Ninjak vs. The Valiant Universe lead to role in those projects?

All I can say is that I'm blessed to be a part of something very special. I'm the face of Livewire for the first time, ever. To be so well received playing a character that was seemingly physically designed for me and virtually my whole life has been preparing me to play is pure joy. I'm certainly enjoying every minute of it. Since my character reveal and trailer premier/panel discussion at NYC Comic Con reception and the over all presence of this remarkable character continuing to expand. As you noted for the first time since the dawn of Valiant a series highlighting Livewire is being released now in Secret Weapons. That's major. Additionally, you mentioned its no secret Valiant is developing films. Eric Heisserer the Oscar nominated screen writer for Arrival not only wrote Secret Weapons but is writing the Harbinger film as well. To me what that says for not only the future of my character but the future of Valiant Comics and comics period is not lost on me. Playing Livewire as an artist (Especially a woman) being considered a fan-favorite character and being a fan myself means the world to me. I would love to play Livewire in the Harbinger films. I am Livewire. I was born to do this. I also look forward to continue to expanding and growing with the fans. We have the best fans hands down, period. I feel we are in this journey together and I mean that with everything in me. - Ninjak is something special, the Valiant Universe is special. The fans are beyond special. Valiant Entertainment / Valiant Digital are doing amazing things in both entertainment and comics. Valiant is so creative they plan things out far in advance. I think we will just have to stay tuned to see what unfolds.

What is the coolest moment you have had at a Convention since becoming Livewire?

When Bobby Leet a father of two recognized me walking around Comic Con NYC during my press day. The trailer and character reveal were not until the following day but he was such a big Valiant fan that he already knew who I was and asked for a picture. That memory sticks out to me as clear as day. He was the first one, we still follow each other on Instagram. By far to me the most impactful moment was the next day at the trailer premier and panel discussion. A guy (granted he was dressed as Armstrong lol) came up to me with tears in his eyes. He said he'd grown up reading the original Valiant Comics when he was a kid. He was so overwhelmed he could barely talk. He said Livewire was one of his favorite characters and he was emotional because I was everything he'd imagined her to be and more. The man said my being Livewire and the entire Ninjak Vs. experience was overwhelming and surreal for him. He assured me his tears were that of joy. I could feel his emotion then and now. I gave him a hug and thanked him. I still have the picture we took. I have many incredible moments with Valiant fans but that one will always be in my heart. It was at that moment that I truly realized what it meant to be and "Stay Valiant".


As you can Ciera is already a real hero and doing great things with this role I recommend checking her out on social media and her website.  Also look for her at Cons as I expect her to be going to a few.

Learn more about Ciera Foster:

Please follow Ciera on her Twitter and Instagram 

          Livewire and Secret Weapons   

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Livewire is getting a series in Secret Weapons.  The Secret Weapons was one of the books highlighted at Fried Pie Comic Con Vol 2 where Valiant was on hand with a free preview.  I of course picked up one of those free previews and happy to say that this series is going to be really cool.

Secret Weapons #1 is out now!

Toylab Review 9/10
Review: Secret Weapons gets a solid 9/10 book.  Its smart heady Sci Fi with action with elements that remind of the X-Men back when the X-Men was cool.   It feels fresh, the new faces are interesting, Livewire is awesome and Rex-O is terrifying.  This is a great book to pick up if you are interested in getting into Valiant comics.


Update 5/31/2017 Secret Edition?
Valiant is releasing special Secret Edition versions of Secret Weapons that feature a special cover.  The cover is meant to look almost identical to the normal cover but with slight changes that relate to a codified puzzle.  Those that can solve the puzzle will learn a secret of the future of the series:
As reported through the Valiant Press Release:
Randomly inserted into the print run of SECRET WEAPONS #1’s A cover by interior artist Raul Allen, the SECRET WEAPONS #1 SECRET EDITION is indistinguishable from the A cover except for subtle differences that will not be revealed officially. Rather, eagle-eyed fans will have to crack the gamified elements to uncover the secrets. Readers that manage to obtain the randomly distributed SECRET WEAPONS #1 SECRET EDITION are challenged to decode a major secret at the heart of the Valiant Universe’s most important new series of the summer – one that will reveal the true long term importance of Livewire’s landmark solo debut and the epic events that will follow in its wake…
On June 28th, the secret is out in the Valiant Universe – and in a comic shop near you! Get ready to track the hidden code at the heart of Valiant’s next seminal series as the SECRET WEAPONS #1 SECRET EDITION brings the hunt for Livewire and her extraordinary new team of recruits off of the comic-book page and into the real world.


Comic Trailer



Update 5/5/2017 we have an interview with Livewire herself Ciera Foster!
We are excited to bring Valiant fans an exclusive interview with Livewire herself actress Ciera Foster! She is really cool check out this interview to learn how she has gone from a basketball player to a super hero also her connection with Chuck Norris.




Secret Weapon #3 Covers:
Really have liked all of the covers for this series.  Just found these images of the covers of Secret Weapons #3 and thought I would share them.







Update 4/26/2017 Return of Valiant Validated Signature Series

Secret Weapons is bringing back Valiant Validated Signature Series.
In the early 90s many Valiant comics had a special series of comic that came out with signatures from the creators that were then authenticated by the Publisher themselves. They were called the Valiant Validated Signature Series and they remain hot collector items today. The Valiant Validated Signature Series Comic of Secret Weapons will be signed by writer Eric Heisserer, have a special embossed seal on their cover (Declaring right on the cover the signature is legit) and also come with a Valiant Certificate of Authenticity itself signed by Valiant's Fred Pierce and Dinesh Shamdasani.

How the heck do you get one of these things?  Well retailers will get them if they place a qualifying order.  If you really want one I would reach out to your local comic shop and ask.  My guess is they will sell for more than the regular comic (That is kind of a duh statement).

Perusing online the more common original comics from this series go for around 30 dollars this includes Rai Future Force.  However, some rarer ones exist that have asking prices in the hundreds of dollars.  I would say overall it definitely increases the value of the comic and is something that is sought by fans.  I also think that the embossed logo could really increase the value of the new ones even further.

Another thing this says is that the company really believes in Secret Weapons and Livewire and are really trying to get as many eyeballs on this series as they can.  That is kind of an interesting thing in and of itself as it may indicate that Secret Weapons is part of a larger initiative.

In addition to the Signature Series they are also releasing the Prestige Format that comes with a lot of extra things.  Valiant is pushing the Prestige format for both Secret Weapons and X-O Manowar.  This is basically a reward to people who buy the comics in advance.  The time limit on Secret Weapons one is running out if you are interested I suggest clipping the coupon and taking it to your local store now.



About Secret Weapons:
The Secret Weapons series is written by the writer of Arrival, Eric Heisserer.  Eric worked with Valiant characters while working on the screen plays for Valiant film ambitions and said he fell in love with the Livewire character and excited to work with the character again on this project.

“Of all the writing I’ve done in the last year, my heart is most in SECRET WEAPONS and its collection of freaks, misfits, and outcasts. And I think a story of a woman who’s shouldered such great burdens, now trying to rescue some lost souls and form a surrogate family, may be one of the most emotional stories I’ve put to paper.

“And where this story goes? Oh man, buckle up.”

Part of Valiant's publishing plan that was outlined in the Valiant Summit was Icons theme in 2017.  The publisher felt that in 2016 it was a good time to pull their main characters off of shelves so they could focus on creating new characters.  This helped them catapult the character of Faith to being one of the most recognizable characters in comics.  In 2017 Valiant wants to bring back its Icons where it begins to launch its most recognizable names, X-O Manowar, Shadowman, Ninjak, Rai, Bloodshot and of course Livewire.


Valiant Store:

Toylab is a member of the Amazon Affiliate program and so we can bring you these awesome deals on Valiant products directly from Amazon to you.




Secret Weapons is going to be a series that focuses on Livewire but also introduces a variety of new Valiant Psiots.  These Psiots were discarded by Harada due to their powers being seemingly useless.  Livewire will find use for those powers and create a team to take on her former mentor.  I think part of the fun of this series is going to be how does Livewire find a use for the powers of these discarded Psiots where her former mentor found none.  The story will also unite the team very much against Harada and should bring Livewire's own past as one of Harada's chief lieutenants.

Rex-O who I know from his appearances in X-O Manowar is a villain in the series is hunting down this group of Psiots.  Why is he after them and how can they manage to defeat him?


Click for full size

Valiant Announcement of Secret Weapons written by Eric Heisserer.

Official Announcement:

SECRET WEAPONS #1 (of 4)
Written by ERIC HEISSERER
Art & Cover by RAUL ALLEN
$3.99 | 32 pgs. | T+ | VALIANT PRESTIGE | COMING IN JUNE!
The government has dispatched Amanda McKee – the technopath codenamed Livewire – to investigate the ruins of a secret facility formerly run by Toyo Harada, the most powerful telepath on Earth and her former mentor. In his quest for world betterment at any cost, Harada sought out and activated many potential psiots like himself. Those who survived, but whose powers he deemed to have no value to his cause, were hidden away at this installation. But Livewire, having studied Harada’s greatest strengths and learned his deepest weaknesses, senses opportunity where he once saw failure. A young girl who can talk to birds… A boy who can make inanimate objects gently glow… To others, these are expensive failures. But, to Livewire, they are secret weapons…in need of a leader. Now, as a mechanized killer called Rexo seeks to draw them out, Livewire and her new team of cadets will be forced to put their powers into action…in ways they never could have imagined…

“Much like Faith before her, Livewire is a comics icon in the making. She is beloved by fans and adored by creators,” said Valiant CEO & Chief Creative Officer Dinesh Shamdasani. “Finding the right stage for her to shine has been a top priority at Valiant for some time now and, with SECRET WEAPONS, Eric and Raul have crafted something truly special. Not only is this a story quite unlike any Valiant has told to date, but Eric and Raul have created a host of new characters unlike any others in comics. This series is the first step in a long-term plan that will be more than worth the wait, and will have major ramifications for all quarters of the Valiant Universe as we build toward HARBINGER WARS 2 in 2018.

“Without a doubt, Raul is one of the most talented artists in the industry, and every page he sends in leaves jaws on the floor,” he added. “Eric – one of the great storytellers anywhere in entertainment today and one of the sweetest people possible – is able to effortlessly jump between mediums with a passion and intensity that is virtually unrivaled. Together they make an amazing team, and we can’t wait to share their work with the world.”

In addition to his 2017 Academy Award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay for ARRIVAL, Heisserer has received a host of high-profile awards and nominations for some of the most prominent institutions in entertainment, including the BAFTA Awards, the Writers Guild Awards, the Humanitas Prize, the Broadcast Film Critics Association, the Chicago Film Critics Association, the Austin Film Critics Association, and more. His next projects will include a key role in shaping Valiant’s five-film slate of major motion pictures at Sony Pictures as the writer of the upcoming HARBINGER and BLOODSHOT feature films – currently scheduled for release in late 2018.

“My path to Secret Weapons is a bit wonky,” said Heisserer. “I started writing for characters like Pete, Faith, Livewire, and Bloodshot in the film adaptations of their stories. When I am given the opportunity to translate a property to screen, it’s like adopting someone else’s child for a while. I put in my time, try to respect all the hard work of the original authors, and sooner or later I’m on my way.

“The Valiant characters were different, especially Livewire. I kept thinking about her, long after my official writing services were complete. I wanted back into that world. I had crazy ideas for her powers, and the hard choices ahead of her. So, I asked to build a new book for Valiant, with a new group of faces, all led by Amanda. To my relief, Dinesh and Warren said yes.

“Of all the writing I’ve done in the last year, my heart is most in SECRET WEAPONS and its collection of freaks, misfits, and outcasts. And I think a story of a woman who’s shouldered such great burdens, now trying to rescue some lost souls and form a surrogate family, may be one of the most emotional stories I’ve put to paper.

“And where this story goes? Oh man, buckle up.”

Secret Weapons, Valiant Entertainment
Secret Weapons, Valiant Entertainment
SECRET WEAPONS #1

Written by ERIC HEISSERER
Art by RAÚL ALLÉN with PATRICIA MARTIN
Cover by RAÚL ALLÉN

Eric Heisserer – the Academy Award-nominated screenwriter of ARRIVAL and Valiant’s upcoming HARBINGER and BLOODSHOT feature films – joins Harvey Award-nominated visionary Raúl Allén (WRATH OF THE ETERNAL WARRIOR) for an all-new Valiant Prestige-format adventure…launching Livewire and an extraordinary new team of heroes into the fight of their lives!

The government has dispatched Amanda McKee – the technopath codenamed Livewire – to investigate the ruins of a secret facility formerly run by Toyo Harada, the most powerful telepath on Earth and her former mentor. In his quest for world betterment at any cost, Harada sought out and activated many potential psiots like himself. Those who survived, but whose powers he deemed to have no value to his cause, were hidden away at this installation. But Livewire, having studied Harada’s greatest strengths and learned his deepest weaknesses, senses opportunity where he once saw failure. A young girl who can talk to birds… A boy who can make inanimate objects gently glow… To others, these are expensive disappointments. But, to Livewire, they are secret weapons…in need of a leader. Now, as a mechanized killer called Rex-O seeks to draw them out, Livewire and her new team of cadets will be forced to put their powers into action…in ways they never could have imagined…

PRESTIGE FORMAT LIMITED SERIES | BEGINNING JUNE 2017


          Valiant Comics at Denver Comic Con   

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Valiant will be rolling deep into Denver Comic Con and they have a lot to check out!

Books: Will be selling specail variant cover of Secret Weapons with art by Katie Cook.

Special Guests at the Valiant Booth to include:
Jodie Houser (Faith)
Fred Van Lente (War Mother, Archer and Armstrong)
Bart Sears (Bloodshot & Hard Corps Unity)

Valiant 101 Panel:  There will be a panel on Friday called Valiant 101 which is meant to be a primer for new readers of the publisher to know where to start.  Toylab Bloggers should be there!


Official Message from Valiant for Denver Comic Con!
From Friday, June 30th to Sunday, July 2nd, Valiant is bringing its cross-country road show to Denver, CO for Denver Comic Con 2017 – and we’re bringing a star-studded line-up of exclusives, programming, and panels for a can’t-miss comics celebration!
All weekend long, join Valiant inside the Colorado Convention Center at booth #1546 to see why Valiant is the award-winning, chart-topping superhero universe to beat with a selection of paperbacks and deluxe hardcovers for critically renowned and award-winning titles including BLOODSHOT REBORNBRITANNIADIVINITY III: STALINVERSEFAITHNINJAKQUANTUM & WOODYSAVAGEX-O MANOWAR (2017) and many more!
And don’t miss the mountains of Valiant merchandise rolling into Denver, including the SECRET WEAPONS #1 DENVER COMIC CON VARIANT, featuring the art of fan-favorite artist Katie Cook (My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic)! THE MUST-READ NEW SERIES of the summer from Academy Award-nominated writer Eric Heisserer(Arrival) and visionary artist Raul Allen (WRATH OF THE ETERNAL WARRIOR) with Patricia Martin (BLOODSHOT REBORN) begins here as the technopathic hero Livewire steps into the fore to lead an extraordinary new team of Harbinger Foundation escapees…and reveals a hidden, high-stakes corner of the Valiant Universe never before explored…
Plus: Be sure to visit the all-star Valiant talent that’s charging into Denver Comic Con 2017 all weekend long, including:
  • Jody Houser (Writer, FAITH, FAITH AND THE FUTURE FORCE)
  • Bart Sears (Artist, BLOODSHOT & H.A.R.D. CORPS, UNITY)
  • Fred Van Lente (Writer, WAR MOTHER, ARCHER & ARMSTRONG)
Then: Your official introduction to Valiant’s award-winning pantheon of heroes begins on Friday, June 30th at 2:30 p.m. MST in room #501 for the VALIANT 101: THE STORY STARTS HERE panel presentation! New to the Valiant Universe? Jump on board right here with a concise and fun-filled introduction to the origins and adventures of Valiant’s greatest and most iconic heroes – from BLOODSHOT and DIVINITY to FAITH and HARBINGER RENEGADE to NINJAK and X-O MANOWAR! From The A.V. Club to Buzzfeed and Entertainment Weekly and dozens more, Valiant has been hailed as the premier superhero publisher in comics today… Now, look no further than this panel of Valiant all-stars to find out where to start!
Finally: Get the inside intel on the most devastating conflict to ever disrupt the Valiant Universe on Saturday, July 1st at 2:30 p.m. MST in room #501 for theVALIANT: THE ROAD TO HARBINGER WARS 2 panel presentation! The road to Valiant’s biggest, most ambitious and impactful comic book event of all time starts right here! Jump on board to find out what the future holds for HARBINGER RENEGADE, X-O MANOWAR, BLOODSHOT, FAITH, DIVINITY, NINJAK, and the rest of Valiant’s most powerful heroes… and how the coming of HARBINGER WARS 2 will soon be felt across the entire Valiant Universe!
We’ll see you in Denver! And don’t miss a moment of the incredible action as Valiant’s cross-country convention road show charges on through Hartford,WantaghSan Diego and more throughout the summer!

Comic Con News

          Forrester: Apple Should Buy IBM   
Why? It needs the company’s AI software Watson in its fight against Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Amazon. Apple is in a death match with these companies as they strive to trap consumers in their ecosystems via advertising monopolies, hardware lock-in, or no-profit commerce pricing. A critical weapon in this war is natural language processing, a […]
          Yes, Petty Idiocy Still Rules Society    

Late night loud yowls, most precious Big Cat Beauties... sheesh, geez, what a long busy-overwhelming week for this Big Cat... okay, really who cares about ENEMY-MSM Mika? However, petty idiocy still rules our society...sadly! But come on, Mika looks like a programmed android, and she is STUPID ... all you have to do is look at her, listen to her for a few minutes, and it's obvious--her IQ is not impressive, let's say... and let's get a dose of reality, how obvious is it that President Trump is just fish-hooking these brainless-wonder presstitutes into reacting crazily... MEANWHILE he's doing the real business of being president of these united states. BEHIND THE SCENES.

Yeah, the Kougar couldn't resist this political cartoon. ~smiles~

Okay, according to Sorcha Faal of ~whatdoesitmean.com~ there is a plot to possibly assassinate President Trump during the G20, when The Donald and Putin are supposed to meet... thus, to blame it on the Russians and cause a world war.

MESSAGE TO THE SINISTER-FORCE GLOBALISTS: NO, YOU WILL NOT ASSASSINATE PRESIDENT DONALD J. TRUMP. NOT EVER. WHATEVER YOU ATTEMPT WILL MERELY BACKFIRE ON YOU WITH DEADLY CONSEQUENCES. AND SO IT IS!!! 

~~~~~~

PAUL JOSEPH WATSON DOES A BRILLIANT JOB EXPOSING THE IDIOCRACY HYPOCRISY OVER POOR LITTLE ATTACKED MIKA. 


Save Me The Feigned Outrage Over Trump’s Mika Brzezinski Tweet

Paul Joseph Watson | The media has spent the last 2 years viciously attacking Trump over his appearance.


IF YOU WANT ANY KIND OF FREEDOM AND PRIVACY AROUND YOUR MONEY, THIS BILL MUST BE STOPPED. IT IS MORE THAN HORRENDOUS AND VIOLATES THE CONSTITUTION SIX WAYS TO SUNDAY. 





FANNIE AND FREDDIE WERE LOOTED BLIND BY OBOZO AND CREW, AND THE CONGRESS SIMPLY IGNORES THIS MASSIVE CRIME. 

SENATE OPENS LEGISLATIVE SEASON ON FANNIE AND FREDDIE IGNORING THEFT OF SHAREHOLDER VALUE

Senate Banking Committee features Sen. Corker plan to hand mortgage market to Wall Street and big banks

THE PEDO EMPIRE IS CRUMBLING DAY BY DAY... THANK THE DIVINE ... THIS BIG CAT IS ENTIRELY GRATEFUL FOR THE INCREDIBLE EXPOSURE THAT IS HAPPENING NOW, AND FOR THE ROUND UP OF THESE PSYCHO-PERVERTS WHO RULE AND RUN AND RUIN OUR LIVES. 


BREAKING: POPE’S PEDOPHILE NETWORK IMPLODING AS HIS TOP AIDE IS INDICTED FOR CHILD RAPE

Catholic church involved in child sex once again 


JAMES O'KEEFE, WHAT A HERO REAL JOURNALIST!!! 

WATCH: CNN CEO ‘COWARDLY’ RUNS AWAY FROM JAMES O’KEEFE

Fake news ringleader hides from press 


YEAH, THANKS STUPID-BRAIN NIKKI HALEY ... WE SO NEED A BIG OLE NASTY, KILL OFF HUMANITY, *KILL OFF THE PLANET WAR* WITH RUSSIA [SNARK] BECAUSE OF A MCMASTER-ORCHESTRATED FALSE FLAG ... YOU TWIT-ZOID. 

https://www.infowars.com/russian-senator-warns-u-s-preparing-provocation-to-attack-syria 

RUSSIAN SENATOR WARNS U.S. PREPARING “PROVOCATION” TO ATTACK SYRIA

Trump admin could launch false flag blamed on Assad


Russian Senator Alexei Pushkov warns that the United States is preparing a false flag “provocation” as a pretext to launch a military assault on Syria.
Responding to a CNN report that the U.S. “has ships and aircraft in place to strike Syria,” if ordered to do so by the President, Pushkov cautioned that this could be the precursor to a staged incident.
“The United States put its Navy and Air Force on alert, and is just waiting for an excuse to strike Syria. Assad will not give them one.” This, Pushkov wrote, makes it “the perfect time for a provocation.”
США привели в готовность силы ВМФ и ВВС и ждут лишь предлога для удара по Сирии. Асад им предлога не даст. Идеальное время для провокации.
Earlier this week, the administration warned Bashar Al-Assad that the U.S. was aware of new preparations for a chemical attack and that he would pay a “heavy price” for any such action.
This was followed up by a tweet from Ambassador Nikki Haley in which she asserted, “Any further attacks done to the people of Syria will be blamed on Assad, but also on Russia & Iran who support him killing his own people.”
Any further attacks done to the people of Syria will be blamed on Assad, but also on Russia & Iran who support him killing his own people.
On Wednesday, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders indicated that the Trump administration’s warning to Assad had been “successful,” but Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova took the move as “a warning sign of an intervention.”
“The campaign, which was started by the US and is being backed by London and Paris, on the alleged chemical attack that is claimed to be prepared by Damascus, is not original, it’s a textbook script, which has already been used in several countries in the region,” Zakharova said.
“The situation seems to be a massive provocation, both military and information-wise, a provocation which targets not only the Syrian leadership, but also Russia,” she added.
Back in April, the Trump administration launched 59 cruise missiles against a Syrian airfield claimed to be the base for government aircraft that carried out a chemical weapons attack in Khan Shaykhun.
The decision caused a split amongst Trump’s base because he specifically ran on the promise of not getting the United States entangled in more Middle Eastern conflicts that lead to the overthrow of secular leaders.
SUBSCRIBE on YouTube:
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*********************

Paul Joseph Watson is the editor at large of Infowars.com and Prison Planet.com.

THE EARTHQUAKES ARE STILL SHAKING UP THE PLANET ... THE KOUGAR CANNOT EVEN POST THEM ALL HERE

OKAY, SUPPOSEDLY, TO UPDATE THIS ARTICLE, RAND PAUL HAD A VERY GOOD MEETING WITH PRESIDENT TRUMP WHICH HE FEELS WILL YIELD POSITIVE RESULTS ... LET'S HOPE SO! 

RAND PAUL: HEALTH BILL IS NOW ‘OBAMACARE-PLUS’; IT SUBSIDIZES THE DEATH SPIRAL”

Legislation is "propping up" insurance companies

Senator Rand Paul continued to voice stern opposition to the Obamacare replacement legislation Friday, saying it isn’t even ‘Obamacare lite’ anymore, and instead is more like ‘Obamacare plus’.
Appearing on “Your World with Neil Cavuto,” last night, Paul noted that the Republican legislation may actually provide more subsidies than Obamacare.
“[W]hen we look at the bill, we actually find that with the Obamacare subsidies, not only are we keeping them, we may actually be providing more subsidies than Obamacare has.” Paul exclaimed.
“Our early estimates on the bill are that the bill may spend more in the next year or two than Obamacare does.” Paul added.
“And so, it’s hard for us to get our mind around that this is a repeal bill if we’re spending more, keeping all the subsidies, and then we’re going to start a brand new federal entitlement program where we give insurance companies money.” the Senator explained.
“I keep reading it and…it sounds like Obamacare to me. It doesn’t even sound like Obamacare-lite. In some areas, it may be Obamacare-plus, on the subsidy side.” he urged.
Paul also warned that the bill “subsidizes the death spiral of Obamacare.”
“It dumps a bunch of federal money, taxpayer money, or borrowed money into the insurance industry and says, ‘Hey, please lower the prices if we give you money.’” Paul told viewers.
In a further appearance on Morning Joe Friday, the Senator said that the so called healthcare overhaul is actually centered around “propping up” insurance companies.

“The insurance companies make all the money; all of this is predicated upon still propping up the insurance companies.” Paul said, adding that “you should be able to get insurance for $1 a day. I mean, you really should.”
The Senator argued that the legislation will amount to more “bailing out” of insurance companies.
“I want the bill to look more like a repeal bill. I promised people I was going to repeal it; I didn’t promise people that I was going to replace it with a federal program of bailing out insurance companies,” Paul asserted.
“I mean, we could do this for cars,” he added. “New cars are expensive. We could have a car stabilization fund.” he further argued.
In an interview with Breitbart, Paul noted that “The bill keeps ten of twelve Obamacare regulations that causes the prices of premiums to spiral upward.”


AT LEAST, THEY RECOGNIZE SOME LEVEL OF REALITY ... BLESS YOU WHEREVER YOU ARE, HERO SETH RICH 

  • Late night big ole yowls,dearest and summer-dancing KitKats ... so, most of the news-info below is from a week or so past ... time flies way too fast, and this Big Cat just can't keep up at all.

    WHAT SHE CAN SAY: THE TIME OF THE EVILDOER IS UP. THE TIME OF DIVINE JUDGMENT IS HERE. LIKE DOMINOS, YOU WILL FALL, YOUR DESPICABLE CRIMES ARE REVEALED TO ALL. ANY REPREHENSIBLE ACT YOU ATTEMPT AGAINST ANOTHER, AGAINST HUMANITY WILL ONLY BACKFIRE ON YOU IMMEDIATELY. 

    ~~~~~~

    END THE FED BEFORE THE ENDS OUR ECONOMY AND ENSLAVES *WE THE PEOPLE*. 


    AT LEAST, MR. PITT IS BRAVE ENOUGH TO EXPOSE PEDO-HOLLYWOOD. THANK YOU! 

    THE 1967 WARNING AGAINST THE ROTHSCHILD INFILTRATION 


    June 27, 2017

    Stunning 1967 Dissertation Warns Infiltration of Rothschild Luciferians in US Government 2


    Between 1967 and 1968 Myron Fagan recorded three LP records: The Illuminati and the Council on Foreign Relations.  The dissertations document the activities of the house of Rothschild were  produced byAnthony J. Hilder – an American activist, author, film maker, talk show host, broadcaster and former actor.
    This stunning recording from 1967 speaks to the very problems we face today, including Fake News, government corruption, the Corrupt United Nations and infiltration of a Luciferian Rothschild cult who may have gained irreversible control of the US government.
    https://chemtrailsplanet.net/2017/06/27/stunning-1967-dissertation-warns-infiltration-of-rothschild-luciferians-in-us-government

    HELL, AT LEAST THEY'RE OUTDOORS ACTUALLY EXERCISING... 

    THE BRUTAL REALITY WE FACE AS AMERICANS...DO ALL YOU CAN TO PEACEFULLY PREVENT THIS *DIVIDE AND CONQUER* HORROR SOROS AND MINIONS ARE FOMENTING AGAINST WE THE PEOPLE. 






    HEROINE, LAURA LOOMER...THE WOMEN WARRIORS RISE UP! 

    https://www.infowars.com/journalist-shuts-down-trump-assassination-play

    JOURNALIST SHUTS DOWN TRUMP ASSASSINATION PLAY

    "Stop liberal violence!" Journalist screams

    A conservative journalist interrupted the Trump assassination play in Central Park, N.Y., on Friday, only two days after the politically-motivated shooting of Republican lawmakers.
    Laura Loomer of Rebel Media was arrested after rushing the stage, yelling that the production promoted violence against President Trump and his supporters.
    The play, which is sponsored by Time Warner and the New York Times, features a Trump-lookalike who is violently assassinated in the same manner as Julius Caesar.



    THIS IS ONE VERY BRAVE WOMAN, KUDOS TO HER!!! 






    THE INCREDIBLY BRAVE HEROINE, MONIKA WESOLOWSKI ... MAY SHE BE PROTECTED IN EVERY DIVINE WAY 

    http://www.thecommonsenseshow.com/2017/06/17/breaking-whistleblower-says-deep-state-in-control-of-state-department-ongoing-child-trafficking-cover-up-at-st-dept

    Breaking: Whistleblower Says Deep State in Control of State Department : Ongoing Child-Trafficking Cover-Up at St. Dept.


    Did you know that at the State Department they have an exorbitantly paid employee, of Middle East background, who is in charge of the sex-trafficking brochures for the State Department? Did you know that same person refuses to cover this issue as domestic issue? This plays right into the hands of the Deep State cover-up of their child-sex-trafficking practices at the highest levels of government? This is tantamount to overtly supporting and covering up child-sex-trafficking and the State Department is the willing accomplice. Did you also know that the State Department has 3 men, led by Deep State minion and close Obama ally, Larry Palmer, who controls all information coming in and out of the State Department and they control the FOIA’s for the State Department as well.
    State Department employee, Monika Wesolowski, has been unduly harassed and has had her life threatened for trying to expose traitors and overt practices of treason and sedition by State Department employees who are aligned with the Deep State motives and objectives. The following is an interview I conducted with Monika followed by objective, hard proof of the claims made by this whistleblower.
    Unlike a lot of sources,this interview names the names of the guilty.

    Monika “Begs” for Protection and Nobody From the State Department Will Help

    Monika has begged for protection from the death threats, violent attacks and constant harassment. As recently as last Tuesday, June 13, 2017, Monika took the issue to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s aides. As of the date of this publication, she has not heard back on this critical issue. I want to put the State Department on notice, you do not wait 5 days to investigate these kinds of allegations when someone’s life is in danger. This is an example of intentional/unintentional depraved indifference to the safety of of State Department employee, Monika Wesolowski (see the email communications at the bottom of the page).
    Previously, on The Common Sense Show,  I documented, with pictures, government vehicles that have stalked and harassed Monika. The Fairfax, VA. police have told Monika that it is not safer to go home and they cannot protect her.
    More recently, Monika has had animals poisoned to death. She, herself, has had to be treated for poisoning, some of which was uranium related. When I recently tried to interview Monika by Skype, ourcommunications were blocked for hours. Simultaneously, our cell phone communications were blocked as well. Here home has been invaded when she is not home. She was boxed in by two Muslim men, at the carwash, and stayed near until she called the police. This woman is the Deep State posterchild for political and personal harassment. In the following emails, please note the reference to CHILD-SEX-TRAFFICKING. I further want it to be known that Liz Crokin discovered a connection between the Virginia Shooter baseball practice shooter and child-sex-trafficking and that the primary shooting victim, Rep. Scalise had just sponsored a child-sex-trafficking bill eight days prior to being shot. This is no coincidence, the Deep State strikes again.
    Monika has backed out of previous interviews because she is in fear of her life. I have convinced her that if you are going to be on the list, you better be on top of the list. Because I know the fate of Breitbart and Hastings, I have shared this information with other journalistic outlets who are going to cover this case and we are going to turn up the heat significantly.
    I want to remind everyone, that in several earlier publications, I have tapped into two unnamed sources, one from the FBI and one from the State Department and was told that there is a Deep State purge underway. Monika confirms the assertion as her office is “like a morgue, people have either left or people have cleared out their desks and are awaiting their departure”.

    Crickets Chirping

    After numerous instances of being harassed and attacked, she reached out to Secretary Tillerson’s office, but to no avail. Here are the unanswered communications:
    From: Wesolowski, Monika
    Sent: Tuesday, June 13, 2017 1:39 PM
    To: Peterlin, Margaret JA
    Cc: Kenna, Lisa D
    Subject: RE: Personal and Confidential
    Ms. Peterlin and Ms. Kenna,
    The issue goes back deeper into 2013 and child trafficking. I have not seen my eight year old son in a year . I worry for his safety and mine. It is imperative I speak to you in person, I will not speak to anyone outside of Mr. Tillerson’s close administration for fear for my life and that of my son’s. Thank you for speaking to me on the phone. I have been wanting to send this email for several months but afraid to.
    Monika A. Wesolowski
    Visual Information Specialist
    United States Department of State
    Global Publishing Solutions (A/GIS/GPS)
    Phone: 202-xxx-xxxx voicemail
    Phone: 202-xxx-xxxx direct

    UNCLASSIFIED
    From: Wesolowski, Monika
    Sent: Tuesday, June 13, 2017 12:50 PM
    To: Peterlin, Margaret JA
    Cc: Kenna, Lisa D
    Subject: Personal and Confidential
    Importance: High
    Dear Ms. Peterlin,
    I proudly attended Secretary of State Tillerson’s swearing in ceremony and have faith that he will be successful at the State Department. I would like to arrange a meeting with your office with the Secretary of State Mr. Rex Tillerson. It is imperative I speak to Mr. Tillerson. I do not feel safe at my office or at home, I have been under constant attack. I have had things happen to my family, myself, and in the office that I cannot talk about in email. I feel my life and health, as well as that of my family and those close to me, is in danger because of where I work and the people I work with, and their connections. I do not know who to trust and cannot trust Diplomatic Security here at DOS, my coworkers or upper management, especially not Ambassador Palmer, who is Deputy Assistant Secretary for Global Information Services. I was informed by my HR that Ambassador Palmer pushed for the Hatch Act for my having a photograph and items of President Trump in my cubicle after the election. The situation at work has been hostile and I have been harassed. Please let me know if you could speak with me or arrange a meeting with the Secretary. Please expect a call regarding this email just to verify.
    Thank you kindly,
    Monika A. Wesolowski
    Visual Information Specialist
    United States Department of State
    Global Publishing Solutions (A/GIS/GPS)
    Phone: xxx-xxx-xxxx voicemail
    Phone: 202-xxx-xxxx direct

     Conclusion

     I believe Monika’s best protection is the light of day. On that note, I would ask that all forward this article to your contact list. Secondly, if Tillerson’s office will not respond to this grave situation, then I would ask that everyone send this article to President Trump AND Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Finally, we need to keep the heat on this issue.


    OBUMMER CARE... ONE MASSIVE CON GAME ... AND YOU'RE THE SUCKER





    WILL THIS STOP THE CLINTONISTA/DNC BODY COUNT??? SO, THE JUDGE REFUSED TO PROTECT THESE WITNESSES ... IF ANYONE IS HARMED/MURDERED, THE BLOOD WILL BE ON HER HANDS. 




    GOVERNOR MOONBEAM GOES FULL-TILT COMMIE LUNATIC ... CALIFORNIANS, YOU HAVE THREE CHOICES: RISE AND SAVE YOURSELVES, LEAVE THE GOLDEN STATE, OR BE SACRIFICED ON THE ALTAR OF SATANIC INSANITY 





    YEAH, AT LEAST, CALIFORNIA IS SAYING MONSATANO'S ROUNDUP/GLYSOPHATE IS CANCER-CAUSING
    Neil deGrasse Tyson now pushing Monsanto propaganda alongside wife abuser and convicted felon
    Mike Adams
    Why am I not surprised? Neil deGrasse Tyson, who has become a mouthpiece for the GMO and chemical agricultural industries that poison the global food supply, is narrating a new documentary called "Food Evolution."
    The film pushes the same pro-GMO propaganda as a violent wife abuser who used to write for Forbes. Another fake science front group -- the ACSH -- appears in the film and is run by a convincted medical fraud FELON who spent years in prison (and now runs biotech propaganda campaigns for a living).
    Neil deGrasse Tyson has become a shameful betrayor of humanity and nature and an insult to real science.
    THE QUAKES ARE STILL SHAKING, RATTLING, ROLLING MOTHER EARTH ... THIS IS JUST ONE RECENT EXAMPLE 


    HERE IT IS, PROOF OF HOW THE AQUARIAN CONSPIRACY [THE BOOK] WORKS. 


    AIN'T THIS GREAT, LYING AI ROBOTS, ETC. 

    POLICE STATE AMERIKA, ONE MORE NEFARIOUS FASCIST TOOL 

    CORPORATE MONOPOLY ... WHY IS THIS NOT SURPRISING? 

    GEE, HOW VERY HUMANE. AT LEAST, YOU COULD EUTHENIZE THEM ... YOU SICKO SOCIOPATHS
          Super Soaker Slut   

Release Year: 2017
Genres: pron tube dark chan extreme smplace com tor

Alexxxis is sunbathing in her backyard, when out of know where Bruno attacks her with a water gun. However, the tables turn when Alexxxis utilizes her tits and ass as weapons and gives Bruno a boob beat down.

Format: mp4
Duration: 25:59
Video: 720x400, AVC (H.264), 971kbps
Audio: 132kbps





File size: 211.3 MB






          Oregon Indictment Guaranteed to Enflame Patriot Paranoia   

Antigovernment extremists and militia-types looking to bash federal law enforcement just got a new drumbeat – one to replace the worn-out tropes arising from the 1990s tragedies at Ruby Ridge and Waco.

The new theme-card is this week’s indictment of an FBI agent – a member of the bureau’s elite Hostage Rescue Team – who is accused of an attempted cover-up during last year’s fatal shooting of an occupier at an Oregon wildlife refuge.

In a five-count indictment unsealed Wednesday in Portland, W. Joseph Astarita is accused of three counts of making false statements – lying to supervisors – and two additional counts of obstruction of justice.

“For an extremist movement whose bread-and-butter is conspiracy theories about governmental violence, overreach and deception, this case is like a lottery windfall,” Brian Levin, the director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, told Hatewatch.


The recent indictment of an FBI agent for lying will fuel fair-right conspiracy theories over the justified shooting of antigovernment activist LaVoy Finicum, seen here during the occupation of Oregon's Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. (AP Images/Rick Bowmer)

Astarita, a 40-year-old FBI veteran, was part of its specially trained hostage rescue squad deployed early last year to Oregon’s Malheur National Wildlife Refuge during the illegal, armed takeover of the federal preserve by Ammon and Ryan Bundy and assorted militia and antigovernment extremists. 

The Oregon siege came two years after an earlier standoff at Bunkerville, Nevada, involving the Bundys and their father, Cliven Bundy, and assorted militia players. They subsequently were charged with pointing firearms at federal agents involved in a failed attempt in April 2014 to roundup Bundy’s cattle for nonpayment of federal grazing fees.

During the 2016 siege in Oregon, occupier Robert LaVoy Finicum of Nevada was fatally shot by Oregon State Police as they and FBI agents attempted to stop three vehicles and arrest their occupants driving away from the refuge.

His death – caught on FBI surveillance video -- almost immediately seemed to further galvanize factions in radical right, antigovernment circles.

Astarita is accused of firing two shots that both missed as Finicum got out of his truck and attempted to reach for a gun after plowing the vehicle into a snow bank at the police roadblock.

After the shooting, the indictment alleges Astarita lied to three FBI supervisors and failed to disclose that he fired his weapon to the FBI’s Shooting Response Team.

The indictment was returned after an 18-month long investigation by the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Justice working with detectives from the Deschutes County, Oregon Sheriff’s Office.

Billy J. Williams, the U.S. Attorney for Oregon, said the alleged cover-up doesn’t call into question earlier investigative findings that Oregon State Police were fully justified in using deadly force against Finicum.

But already there’s evidence that antigovernment, militia extremists aren’t buying that official U.S. government line and, instead, are pointing to the Finicum shooting and its alleged cover-up as examples of what they call federal government excesses and corruption.

“What did I tell you?” Washington state militia organizer Gavin Seim posted on Facebook after the indictment was announced. He disputed claims by the FBI and the Oregon State Police that the shooting of Finicum was justified.

“The diversion indictment is not about justice,” Seim ranted, “rather it is designed to give them the narrative so they can spin it as if they are accountable.”

Finicum’s widow, Jeanette Finicum, a featured speaker at last weekend’s “Red Pill” gathering of assorted antigovernment extremists and conspiracy theorists in Montana, claims the federal cover-up in her husband’s death is much broader.

After the FBI agent was indicted, she told media outlets that she was “grateful,” but still believes “other officers were involved in the cover-up.”

Some in militia and antigovernment ranks continue to maintain, without any forensic evidence, that Finicum was “murdered” by FBI agents and state police.

Levin, who studies extremists and hate crimes in his position as a professor at the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University in San Bernardino, said the Oregon case serves up the perfect ingredients for antigovernment conspiracy buffs and bashers.

“Finicum already was on his way to becoming a new, folkloric hero in the extremist, Patriot movement,” Levin said, referring to Patriot-depictions of the Nevada rancher and foster parent as a quirky, horseback-riding, Constitution-and-gun-loving Patriot who was cut-down by murderous federal agents.

“What was missing was a real overt hook of government over-reach, violence and cover-up, and now, with this indictment, all those elements are there for the Patriots who want to believe this stuff,” he said.

Antigovernment extremists, as they did after Ruby Ridge in 1992 and Waco the following year, like to bolster their message by citing such “catalytic events” involving folkloric victims with any hint of federal law enforcement overreach or cover-up. 

In contrast, following the FBI’s 1996 standoff with the Montana Freemen, the longest siege in the bureau’s history, where there were arrests without gunfire and no casualties on either side, there were no legacy claims left for antigovernment proponents and fuel for the Patriot movement.

“After the Freeman standoff ended peacefully, it knocked the wind out of the movement,” Levin said.

“In any extremist movement,” Levin said, “you not only need heroes, you need villains, and here you have it wrapped all into one.”


          PLANET SOAP - VELVET HE1   
The Italian duo Planet Soap, consisting of Federico "dsm" Monguzzi and Luca "Spectrum" De Giuli, has released today a new EP - "VELVET HE1" on vinyl and in digital format on the French label Cascade Records. This is quite an eclectic selection of contemporary bass music exploring various music genres such as jungle, garage, techno, wonky, nu-beatz or dubstep, dipped in a cosmic sauce. Starting from fantastic and breathtaking, neon synth laden 'Rhynostatic', an ultimate crowdpleaser which would even make your mom dance :) Through my favorite tune of this EP - 'I'm approaching you tonight' reminding me of the spacefaring productions by the Russian duo Demokracy (actually, Planet Soap has released a super duper evil EP with Damscracy from Democracy under the nickname of Planet Terror) and more stomping cosmic beats in 'SYFY' and 'Virus' to jungle experiments in 'Thrialine'. The title track 'Velvet He1' takes the listener on a deep-space sonic trip, where you can meet an 8-bit 'Alien from KooleYay' playing on his nintendo to the friends. Classic techno 'Vectorama' sounds old-schoolish, but thanks to the all-time classic sample and good button work delivers quite a powerful experience. All in all Planet Soap has managed to create their unique sound, though comprising elements you all probably heard many times in the past. Definitely worth checking.



Bonus Free Track:

CR003 - Planet Soap "Rhynostatic" interview + free download + video by cascade records
          MSNBC hosts say tabloid article a weapon in Trump feud   
NEW YORK (AP) -- &quot;Morning Joe&quot; hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, a couple onscreen and off, say the White House told them a damaging National Enquirer story about their relationship would &quot;go away&quot; if they called the president and apologized for harsh commentary....
          Top 10 science anniversaries of 2017    

It’s time to celebrate pulsars, planets, Einstein, more Einstein and the laws of robotics

Context
Jocelyn Bell Burnell

This year marks the semicentennial of the discovery of pulsars, first observed by Jocelyn Bell Burnell, shown here in 1968 at the Mullard Radio Astronomy Observatory in Cambridge, England.

Second of two parts

Every year science offers a diverse menu of anniversaries to celebrate. Births (or deaths) of famous scientists, landmark discoveries or scientific papers — significant events of all sorts qualify for celebratory consideration, as long as the number of years gone by is some worthy number, like 25, 50, 75 or 100. Or simple multiples thereof with polysyllabic names.

2017 has more than enough such anniversaries for a Top 10 list, so some worthwhile events don’t even make the cut, such as the births of Stephen Hawking (1942) and Arthur C. Clarke (1917). The sesquicentennial of Michael Faraday’s death (1867) almost made the list, but was bumped at the last minute by a book. Namely:

10. On Growth and Form, centennial (1917)

A true magnum opus, by the Scottish biologist D’Arcy Wentworth Thompson, On Growth and Form has inspired many biologists with its mathematical analysis of physical and structural forces underlying the diversity of shapes and forms in the biological world. Nobel laureate biologist Sir Peter Medawar praised Thompson’s book as “beyond comparison the finest work of literature in all the annals of science that have been recorded in the English tongue.”

9. Birth of Abraham de Moivre, semiseptcentennial (1667).

Born in France on May 26, 1667, de Moivre moved as a young man to London where he did his best work, earning election to the Royal Society. Despite exceptional mathematical skill, though, he attained no academic position and earned a meager living as a tutor. He is most famous for his book The Doctrine of Chances, which was in essence an 18th century version of Gambling for Dummies. It contained major advances in probability theory and in later editions introduced the concept of the famous bell curve. Isaac Newton was impressed; the legend goes that when anyone asked him about probability, Newton said to go talk to de Moivre.

8. Exoplanets, quadranscentennial (1992)

It seems like exoplanets have been around almost forever (and probably actually were), but the first confirmed by Earthbound astronomers were reported just a quarter century ago. Three planets showed up orbiting not an ordinary star, but a pulsar, a rapidly spinning neutron star left behind by a supernova.

Astrophysicists Aleksander Wolszczan and Dale Frail found a sign of the planets, first detected with the Arecibo radio telescope, in irregularities in the radio pulses from the millisecond pulsar PSR1257+12. Some luck was involved. In 1990, the Arecibo telescope was being repaired and couldn’t pivot to point at a specific target; instead it constantly watched just one region of the sky. PSR1257+12 just happened to float by.

7. Birth of Marie Curie, sesquicentennial (1867)

No doubt the most famous Polish-born scientist since Copernicus, Curie was born in Warsaw on November 7, 1867, as Maria Sklodowska. Challenged by poverty, family tragedies and poor health, she nevertheless excelled as a high school student. But she then worked as a governess, while continuing as much science education as possible, until her married sister invited her to Paris. There she completed her physics education with honors and met and married another young physicist, Pierre Curie.

Together they tackled the mystery of the newly discovered radioactivity, winning the physics Nobel in 1903 along with radioactivity’s discoverer, Henri Becquerel. Marie continued the work after her husband’s tragic death in 1906; she became the first person to win a second Nobel, awarded in chemistry in 1911 for her discovery of the new radioactive elements polonium and radium.

6. Laws of Robotics, semisesquicentennial (1942)

One of science fiction’s greatest contributions to modern technological philosophy was Isaac Asimov’s Laws of Robotics, which first appeared in a short story in the March 1942 issue of Astounding Science Fiction. Later, those laws formed the motif of his many robot novels and appeared in his famous Foundation Trilogy (and subsequent sequels and prequels). They were:

  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

Much later Asimov added a “zeroth law,” requiring robots to protect all of humankind even if that meant violating the other three laws. Artificial intelligence researchers all know about Asimov’s laws, but somehow have not managed to enforce them on social media. Incidentally, this year is also the quadranscentennial of Asimov’s death in 1992.

5. First sustained nuclear fission chain reaction, semisesquicentennial (1942)

Enrico Fermi, the Italian Nobel laureate, escaped fascist Italy to come to the United States shortly after nuclear fission’s discovery in Germany. Fermi directed construction of the “atomic pile,” or nuclear reactor, on a squash court under the stands of the University of Chicago’s football stadium. Fermi and his collaborators showed that neutrons emitted from fissioning uranium nuclei could induce more fission, creating a chain reaction capable of releasing enormous amounts of energy. Which it later did.

4. Discovery of pulsars, semicentennial (1967)

Science’s awareness of the existence of pulsars turns 50 this year, thanks to the diligence of Irish astrophysicist Jocelyn Bell Burnell. She spent many late-night hours examining the data recordings from the radio telescope she helped to build that first spotted a signal from a pulsar. She recognized that the signal was something special even though others thought it was just a glitch in the apparatus. But she was a graduate student so her supervisor got the Nobel Prize instead of her

3. Einstein’s theory of lasers, centennial (1917)

Albert Einstein did not actually invent the laser, but he developed the mathematical understanding that made lasers possible. By 1917, physicists knew that quantum physics played a part in the working of atoms, but the details were fuzzy. Niels Bohr had shown in 1913 that an atom’s electrons occupy different energy levels, and that falling from a high energy level to a lower one emits radiation.

Einstein worked out the math describing this process when many atoms have electrons in high-energy states and emit radiation. His analysis of matter-radiation interaction indicated that it would be possible to prepare many atoms in the same high-energy state and then stimulate them to emit radiation all at once. Properly done, all the atoms would emit radiation of identical wavelength with the waves in phase. A few decades later other physicists figured out how to build such a device for use as a powerful weapon or to read bar codes at grocery stores.

2. Qubits, quadranscentennial (1992)

An even better quantum anniversary than lasers is the presentation to the world of the concept of quantum bits of information. Physicist Ben Schumacher of Kenyon College in Ohio unveiled the idea at a conference in Dallas in 1992 (I was there). A “quantum bit” of information, or qubit, represents the information contained in a quantum particle, which can exist in multiple states at once. A photon, for instance, might simultaneously be in a state of horizontal or vertical polarization. Or an electron’s spin could be up and down at the same time.

Such states differ from classical bits of information in a computer, recorded as either a 0 or 1; a quantum bit is both 0 and 1 at the same time. It becomes one or the other only when observed, much like a flipped coin is nether heads nor tails until somebody catches it, or it lands on the 50 yard line. Schumacher’s idea did not get a lot of attention at first, but it eventually became the foundational idea for quantum information theory, a field now booming with efforts to construct a quantum computer based on the manipulation of qubits.

1. Birth of modern cosmology, centennial (1917)

It might seem unfair that Einstein gets two Top 10 anniversaries in 2017, but 1917 was a good year for him. Before publishing his laser paper, Einstein tweaked the equations of his brand-new general theory of relativity in order to better explain the universe (details in Part 1). Weirdly, Einstein didn’t understand the universe, and he later thought the term he added to his equations was a mistake. But it turns out that today’s understanding of the universe’s behavior — expanding at an accelerating rate — seems to require the term that Einstein thought he had added erroneously. But you can’t expect Einstein to have foreseen everything. He probably had no idea that lasers would revolutionize grocery shopping either.

Follow me on Twitter: @tom_siegfried


          Visits to Proxima Centauri’s planet are probably millennia away    

Even alpha particle propulsion is too slow for trip to new world

Context
illustration of the distance to Proxima Centauri

Proxima Centauri, the nearest member of the Alpha Centauri triple star system, is just a little more than 4 light-years away from the sun. With a proposed propulsion scheme using alpha particle decay, travel time to the star's newly discovered planet would be no shorter than 4,000 years.

If you’d like to vacation at the newly found planet orbiting Proxima Centauri, you might want to reconsider. It’s nearby astronomically — a mere 4.2 light-years away — but still too far away for any plausible transportation technology to reach within the current millennium.

In fact, it’s a pretty safe bet the Chicago Cubs will win the World Series before any human steps foot on Earth’s nearest exoplanetary neighbor (known as Proxima b). Unless P. Centaurian aliens arrive soon with a “To Serve Man” cookbook, your chances of visiting Proxima b before you die are about the same as sainthood for Ted Bundy. By the time anybody from here goes there, years will have five digits.   

It took NASA’s New Horizons probe — the fastest spacecraft humans have ever launched — over nine years just to get to Pluto. At its top speed of 16 kilometers per second, New Horizons would need almost 80,000 years to get to Proxima Centauri.

Solar sail propulsion — in which lightweight craft could be accelerated by pressure from sunlight — would be a little be faster, but not by much, taking (by one estimate) 66,000 years to make the Proxima Centauri run.

Novel propulsion schemes have been proposed that could reduce that time substantially. A sail driven by alpha particle recoil, for instance, provides some serious advantages over solar sails, as Wenwu Zhang and colleagues point out in the August issue of Applied Radiation and Isotopes.

Ordinary rocket speed is limited by how fast the combusted fuel can eject exhaust; NASA has investigated a plasma engine design that can attain exhaust speeds of 50 km/s. But that approach requires huge energy input and high voltage, Zhang and colleagues point out (and so would be prohibitively expensive). Alpha particles emitted by radioactive substances, on the other hand, can speed away about 300 times faster. Therefore, Zhang and coauthors assert, “alpha decay particles … may be a potential solution for long-time acceleration in space.”

Usually, of course, a chunk of radioactive matter would emit alpha particles in all directions. So your craft would need a shield on one side to absorb the particles before they got very far. The rest would stream away in the opposite direction, pushing the craft forward (by virtue of the law of conservation of momentum). True, alpha particles are tiny and the effect of their recoil would be small. But it would add up. Shot into space with standard technology (thereby achieving a 16 km/s start-up speed), an alpha recoil spacecraft could eventually reach a speed in the range of 200–300 km/s or so.

It helps to choose the right alpha-emitting material. Uranium-232 would be ideal. It has a long enough half-life (almost 70 years) to last for an extended voyage, but it also decays into daughter nuclei that emit alpha particles more frequently, boosting the recoil effect. (You won’t find any U-232 in uranium mines, though — it would need to be produced in nuclear transmutation factories.)

Assuming a suitably light and thin absorption material, Zhang and colleagues envision an alpha-powered interstellar sail about 24 meters across. They calculate a travel time to Proxima Centauri between about 4,000 and 9,000 years (depending on the ratio of fuel mass to total spacecraft mass). That would easily win the race against a solar sail, but would far exceed most people’s available vacation time. “Interstellar travel definitely asks for even better propulsion technologies,” Zhang and colleagues understate. And surely within 4,000 years somebody will invent a faster technology that could pass the alpha-decay craft and get to Proxima b first.  

Other people already have ideas, as Science News astronomy writer Christopher Crockett noted in his story on the discovery of Proxima b. Philanthropist Yuri Milner recently announced a research project to explore the prospects of sending numerous nanocraft to Proxima Centauri’s neighborhood — the Alpha Centauri triple star system. (Proxima is the third star, presumably in orbit around Alpha Centauri A and B.) That plan envisions wafers weighing about a gram or so carried along by similar-mass light sails propelled by a powerful laser beam. If current technological dreams come true, tiny cameras and lasers on the wafer could capture and transmit information about Proxima b back to Earth.

Supposedly such nanocraft could reach 20 percent of the speed of light, allowing them to reach Proxima Centauri by maybe 20 years after launch. So there’s an outside chance of getting a message back from Proxima b before the Cubs win a World Series. But there’s no hope of hitching a ride on such a wafer, unless, perhaps, you’re a tardigrade.

Even if some futuristic technology permitted building a real ship, say the size of the space shuttle, that could fly 20 percent of the speed of light, it might not be a good idea. Such a ship could, in the wrong hands, become the most devastating weapon ever imagined. Flying 20 percent of light speed, a space shuttle would possess a kinetic energy roughly the equivalent of 1,000 hydrogen bombs (or millions of Hiroshima-sized bombs). Of course, it would be an expensive ship and probably nobody would want to crash it. Unless the people who took it to Proxima Centauri got really mad at the people back on Earth.

Follow me on Twitter: @tom_siegfried


          12 Healthy Ways to Wake Up Chicken   

          The next generation of weapons against antibiotic-resistant superbugs   
For the past 70 years, antibiotics have given us the upper hand against microbial invaders. Now the bugs are fighting back. Dyani Lewis takes a look at the next generation of ‘evolution-proof’ weapons being developed. 
          AMD Ryzen PRO butts heads with Intel vPro in the enterprise   
AMD is clearly out for blood. Intel’s blood, of course. In the almost distant past, AMD nearly overthrew Intel from its throne with its aggressive pricing and marketing. Now it seems to have gotten that aggression back and is hitting every market where Intel has a foothold, using its new Zen platform as its weapon. From high-end gaming rigs to … Continue reading
          This bill proposal seeks to send doxxers and swatters to prison   
A new bill proposal seeks to make the act of doxxing someone — that is, finding and then publishing their personal information on the Internet — a federal offense. Called the Online Safety Modernization Act, the bipartisan proposal seeks to stop individuals from using the Internet as a personal weapon, whether that involves releasing their enemy’s address to online mobs, … Continue reading
          Weapons watchdog finds sarin used in deadly attack in Syria   
THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) -- An investigation by the international chemical weapons watchdog confirmed that sarin nerve gas was used in a deadly April 4 attack on a Syrian town, but a report released Friday stopped short of saying who was responsible....
          Broccoli compound could offer obese diabetics a drug-free way to slash blood sugar levels   
Love it or hate it, Swedish scientists have found another reason for you to load up on broccoli, or at least finish what\'s on your plate. As it turns out, sulforaphane, a powerhouse antioxidant found in the vegetable, could be Nature\'s secret weapon against type 2 diabetes, offering...
          Scientists combine viruses and human antibodies to hunt down superbugs   
Researchers at The Rockefeller University have developed a new weapon in the war against antibiotic resistance, by creating a molecule that combines a virus and human antibodies to hunt down drug-resistant bacteria.  Our antibiotics aren\'t the only things that hunt down bacteria:...
          Don’t let them silence you   

But does misogyny really matter?

Sally Feldman at the New Humanist:

In their recent memoirs both [Harriet] Harman and [Jess] Phillips – the head girl and naughty first former of Parliament – not only offer impressive accounts of their formidable achievements, but also chronicle the endless sexism that poisons political life. And both are committed to making the path easier for the next generation.

But while Harman deplores the prejudices that women in public life have always had to face, Phillips rages against the newest weapon in the sex wars: internet trolling.

Revealing that she once received 600 rape threats in one day, she gives us a sample of the kind of abuse that comes tweeting her way.

Read the rest

          Episode 316 : It Somehow Came to Pass...   
On tonight's show, we talk about weapon sales and policies at Denver ComicCon and Anime Expo®, brand new Shokugeki no Soma, and a brand new ballroom dance anime! Anime Network Online closes up shop, and Magic Knight Rayearth cosmetics hit the stores. Also, the story of an animator paying a fee to quit, and a Dragon Ball Z jogging event! And on Strange News from Japan, assault and cork hunting, foreign girls needed for a maid cafe, and the scent of a sumo wrestler?!

          Secret Weapons – Ghost   
We introduced Brooklyn based pop duo Secret Weapons two years ago, with their debut single Something New, which also got a remix treatment from HAERTS. Gerry Lange and Dan Rocco spent 2016 touring alongside the likes of Weezer, Fall Out Boy and Panic! at The Disco, in addition to being […]
          US: No more chemical weapons activity observed at Syrian airbase   
The US military has seen no new activity near the chemical weapons installations at the Shayrat Airbase in Syria in the last 24 hours, two US officials told CNN.
          Comment on Threat fails to intimidate worshippers at Portland mosque by Charles Martel   
Just another non-story from the PPH. It is not uncommon for Muslims to commit fake hate crimes to gain sympathy within a community. “The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets and the faithful our soldiers...” Recep Tayyip Erdogan, PM of Turkey This is the same mosque where a teenager set off a homemade chemical bomb back in Sept., 2010. Did the Police Chief inspect this mosque for weapons?
          The "Crime of the Century" is Bad Journalism   

The latest propaganda piece from The Washington Post, "Obama's secret struggle to punish Russia for Putin's election assault," is based, as usual, mostly on anonymous sources determined to make former President Barack Obama look good. The gist is that Obama tried his best to punish Russia for alleged interference in the 2016 election, but he fell short and left the matter in the hands of President Donald Trump, who has done nothing.

So Trump is blamed for Obama's failure. How convenient.

The essence of the piece is that "intelligence" was "captured" that somehow proved that Russian President Vladimir Putin gave "specific instructions" that he wanted  to "defeat or at least damage the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, and help elect her opponent, Donald Trump."

Pardon me, but I don't believe this for a moment. This "intelligence" may be what the Post seeks to expose-Russian "active measures" or disinformation.

As we reported back in January, "Looking at the election objectively, it is possible to say that Russian leader Vladimir Putin may have had a personal vendetta against the former U.S. secretary of state for some reason, stemming from allegations of U.S. meddling in Russian internal affairs. On the other hand, Putin may have preferred that Clinton become the U.S. president because her failed Russian ‘reset' had facilitated Russian military intervention in Ukraine and Syria, and he believed he could continue to take advantage of her."

This makes far more sense than the Post story.

Remember that Obama won the 2012 election after dismissing his Republican opponent Mitt Romney's claim that Russia was a geopolitical threat to the United States. Obama had also been caught on an open mic before the election promising to be "flexible" in changing his positions to benefit Russia.

"These comments provide more evidence that Obama was never the anti-Russian figure he postured as in the final days of his second term," we noted.

The Post story by Greg Miller and others is an obvious response to the observation that, if Obama thought the Russian interference was such a big deal, what did Obama try to do about it?

One can read the entire article if you are interested in how pro-Obama propaganda is manufactured by the Post. Some parts of the article are more ludicrous than others, such as this paragraph:

"Throughout his presidency, Obama's approach to national security challenges was deliberate and cautious. He came into office seeking to end wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was loath to act without support from allies overseas and firm political footing at home. He was drawn only reluctantly into foreign crises, such as the civil war in Syria, that presented no clear exit for the United States."

The paragraph is designed to mask Obama's indifference to Russian aggression in places like Crimea, Ukraine and Syria. In regard to the latter, Obama failed to save Syria from Russian aggression and facilitated a conflict-through secret arms shipments to the region-that now stands at 500,000 dead.

Obama's alleged "cautious" approach in the Middle East was to support jihadist groups in Syria and Libya, and back regimes such as the Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt, which was overthrown by the military backed by the people.

The hero in the Post account is Obama's CIA director John Brennan, who joined the agency after admitting to voting for Moscow's man in the 1976 presidential election, Gus Hall of the Communist Party USA. Suddenly, we are led to believe, as CIA director, he became anti-Russian after discovering a Moscow plot in 2016 to disrupt the presidential election.

"In political terms," the paper said, "Russia's interference was the crime of the century, an unprecedented and largely successful destabilizing attack on American democracy."

This is complete nonsense. There is no evidence any votes were changed as a result of this so-called "interference."

The crime of the century is bad journalism based on anonymous sources who hide behind papers like the Post to spread their self-serving and partisan propaganda.

"This account of the Obama administration's response to Russia's interference is based on interviews with more than three dozen current and former U.S. officials in senior positions in government, including at the White House, the State, Defense and Homeland Security departments, and U.S. intelligence services," the Post said. "Most agreed to speak only on the condition of anonymity, citing the sensitivity of the issue."

One paragraph in particular tells you everything you know about the anonymous sources behind this story. "Those closest to Obama defend the administration's response to Russia's meddling," the Post said. Yes, indeed, those "closest to Obama" would certainly do so.

Then we're told that that "They believe that a series of warnings-including one that Obama delivered to Putin in September-prompted Moscow to abandon any plans of further aggression, such as sabotage of U.S. voting systems."

There is absolutely no evidence whatsoever for this dramatic statement. It's completely made up.

Remember, this is the same Obama who once assured Putin that after he won his re-election campaign in 2012, he would have "more flexibility" with the Russian leader and be able to offer more concessions.

Now, all of a sudden, Obama is rough and tough and gets things done with the Russian leader. What a joke.

The paper reported that "Obama confronted Putin directly during a meeting of world leaders in Hangzhou, China. Accompanied only by interpreters, Obama told Putin that ‘we knew what he was doing and [he] better stop or else,' according to a senior aide who subsequently spoke with Obama. Putin responded by demanding proof and accusing the United States of interfering in Russia's internal affairs."

Or else?

It sounds like the red line in Syria that Obama had warned the Syrian regime not to cross. But they crossed it anyway.

Obama's so-called "secret struggle to punish Russia for Putin's election assault" exists in the minds of Post reporters who are waging a not-so-secret struggle to rehabilitate the former president's disastrous foreign policy toward Russia and most of the rest of the world.

Let's not forget one more debacle-Obama's deal with Russian client state Iran to facilitate the regime's nuclear weapons program and world-wide terrorism.

That may end up being another crime of the century, on par with President Bill Clinton's deal with North Korea that was supposed to prevent the communist regime from getting its hands on nuclear weapons.

Speaking of North Korea, whose nuclear weapons program accelerated under Obama, hear the words of Otto Warmbier's father about his son being released after Trump took office: "I think the results speak for themselves."

Obama's "cautious and deliberate" approach was to let the young man languish in a North Korean prison while being tortured to near death.

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          With Iran's Profile Rising, Saudi Arabia Must Unite with U.S. on Terror   

In a Middle East country where terrorist attacks by suicide bombers are rare, Saudi Arabia suffered such an attack on June 23rd. Both target and timing were significant.

The target was Islam's holiest site - the Grand Mosque in Makkah; the timing was the last day of Ramadan, when attendance was unusually high as hundreds of thousands of worshipers gathered for afternoon prayers.

The good news was Saudi security, learning in advance of the planned attack, arrested five suspects. Closing in on the bomber forced him to detonate his explosives prematurely. The bad news was six foreign pilgrims were wounded.

As Riyadh launches an investigation into the attack, a betting man would take odds one country in particular-Iran-is involved, either directly or indirectly, to it. Investigators and legal authorities have linked Tehran to multiple attacks against the U.S., including the 1983 Beirut bombing of the Marine Barracks and the 9/11 attacks.

News of this attack undoubtedly causes some to think Saudi Arabia is finally getting its due for having exported Islamism for so long. Just like the U.S. made some bad decisions in the Middle East - President Jimmy Carter's support of Iran's Islamic revolution rather than the Shah, our long-time ally, and President Barack Obama's decision to provide Tehran with a path to nuclear weapons with his 2015 agreement are but two decisions quickly coming to mind - Riyadh too made a bad decision in exporting Islamism.

But while mutually bad past judgments have created a dangerous Middle East today, Saudi critics need understand now, more than ever, U.S. and Saudi interests must be aligned to confront the same threat. Failure to do so will only enhance Iranian efforts to establish a "Shia Crescent."

Ever since the mullahs came to power in 1979, they have been motivated by the goal to establish a Middle East caliphate that would enable them to expand globally.

For eight years, Obama gave Tehran a free pass to do just that, outrageously claiming it was important Saudi Arabia learn to "share the neighborhood."

For those doubting Iran's expansionist goals and evil intentions, two provisions of its own constitution make them clear.

The first mandates the Islamic revolution be exported outside Iran's borders. No other nation's constitution claims the right of such extra-territoriality.

We have borne witness of this mandate during the mullahs' 38-year reign, demonstrating that no country is safe from it. Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Venezuela - all these countries and others share an Iranian or Iranian proxy presence focused on expanding Tehran's ideological empire. Some seek to do it aggressively, others subtly.

But what should concern us even more than its extra-territorial application is the constitution's leadership succession provision. Why? Because it sheds light on the mullahs' real motivation for acquiring nuclear weapons.

Any well-conceived constitution provides a clear provision for a serving leader's succession should the unexpected occur, such as death or incapacity. In the case of Iran's highest office holder, the Supreme Leader, its constitution does that. But it also adds a third "otherworldly" contingency.

The Iranians believe that the "Twelfth Imam" or "Mahdi" disappeared in the tenth century at the age of five, entering into a state of occultation. They believe he will remain there until returning to Earth to lead Shia-Islam to global domination in an end-of-world prophecy.

The catch, however, is that the Mahdi's return must be triggered by world chaos. Unlike most believers in Mahdi's return, the mullahs believe mankind can be a catalyst in triggering that chaos. This should cause us serious concern about Iran acquiring nuclear weapons - concerns further reinforced by the constitutional requirement that upon his return, the Mahdi ("Wali al-Asr") will immediately replace the Supreme Leader.

A united and focused U.S.-Saudi alliance to check Iranian aggression has never been more timely. Both countries have been distracted from the Iran problem due to the Islamic State. But it appears the fall of ISIS is now "imminent" and the maneuvering of all parties involved in fighting ISIS in order to secure their goals in a post-ISIS world is already underway.

For the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, however, there is little ideological difference between confronting ISIS or confronting Iran. Both are Islamists seeking to create and control a caliphate. The only difference is, while ISIS did so as a terrorist Islamic movement, Iran seeks to do so under the protected status of a nation-state. Ironically, while Obama would never have considered negotiating a deal with ISIS for it to acquire nuclear weapons, he unwittingly willingly negotiated just such a deal with Tehran.

The post-ISIS battleground for the powers now involved there is Syria. Aligned on one side with Syrian President Bashar Assad are Iran, its Hezbollah proxy, and Russia. Confronting them is a less organized group consisting of the U.S., Saudi Arabia and its GCC coalition, pro-Western Kurdish and Arab anti-Assad rebels and, interestingly, Hamas, which lends its tunnel-digging expertise to the anti-Assad rebels they support. Also involved in a balancing act is Turkey which, while anti-ISIS, is also anti-Kurd.

Iran recognizes that how goes Syria, goes its Crescent, and is determined that nothing deter it from that goal. This undoubtedly is why Secretary of State Rex Tillerson recently acknowledged something Obama would not: Middle East stability can only be achieved by regime change in Iran.

And last month, Trump dared go where Obama would not. When an Iranian mechanized convoy entered a 34-mile deconfliction zone around the Syria-Iraq border nearing a U.S. garrison, U.S. aircraft attacked and destroyed it. It was a bold step but one that had become increasingly necessary in the face of repeated aggressive acts against U.S. forces at sea. Days later an Iranian drone was shot down.

There should be little doubt that defeating ISIS is merely the end of a phase, not the end of war in Syria. The only way that can happen on terms favorable to the U.S. is through a united U.S.-Saudi effort dedicated to countering each and every aggressive act by Iran with a firm response on the battlefield-wherever that battlefield is situated.

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A version of this piece also appeared on http://www.breitbart.com/


          Spider-Man: Homecoming Theatrical Review   
Spider-Man: Homecoming
Spider-Man made his debut in Marvel comics 55 years ago as a sidekick to the protagonist. He was a lonely teen who, like most kids his age, suffered anxiety and inadequacy. He became so popular there have been a number of comic books, merchandise, movies and television shows focused solely on him. In more recent years, we have had the movie series starring Tobey Maguire (Pleasantville) and 2012&#39;s The Amazing Spider-Man and its 2014 Sequel starring Andrew Garfield (The Social Network). While those were both seemingly more mature Spider-Man portrayals, this time around we have a younger version played by Tom Holland (The Lost City of Z) in Spider-Man: Homecoming.

When we meet young Peter Parker/Spider-Man he has already been bitten by his fateful spider, has powers and helped the Avengers. He is also a High School sophomore in the band and on the debate team. No one knows about his secret life, not even his best friend Ned (Jacob Batalon; North Wood), as he tells everyone he has an &quot;internship&quot; with Stark Enterprises. Really all he does is patrol his local neighborhood looking for bad guys and waiting for the day he once again gets called up to help Iron Man and the Avengers.

When Spidey suddenly discovers that there is an arms dealer in his neighborhood selling high-tech weaponry, he tries telling Iron Man but gets shut down at every turn. He then takes matters into his own hands, gets caught up in a mess of trouble and accidentally splits a Staten Island Ferry in half, requiring Iron Man to come to the rescue and stripping Spider-Man of the cool new spider suit Stark gave him. And all the while he tries to navigate the everyday trials and tribulations of high school and the homecoming dance.

Holland was a smart choice for Peter as he embodies that sense of high school geek with a small undercurrent of coolness sitting buried below the surface. He is the typical dorky guy in high school who later goes off to college and comes home for summer break having grown muscles and better looking than he ever was in high school (we all know someone like that!). Michael Keaton (Spotlight) is on fire lately in his film roles and this is no different. He plays the villain in this film and he does a convincing job of it. Zendaya, (Shake it up!), for all the controversy her casting caused, is well suited to this role as she makes MJ a little tougher and more of a loner than past films have portrayed her to be.

The graphics are pretty good for the most part, but there were a few times I rolled my eyes as they looked terribly fake. I also didn&#39;t need the &quot;Spider-Man swings in front of the camera&quot; shot as often as it occurred in this film, and my main complaint is the same complaint I have about every Marvel movie&hellip; it&#39;s too long. They could have cut the film down by easily 10-15 minutes and not lose any content of value. There was also too much &quot;Iron Man&quot; in Spidey&#39;s suit, with all the gadgets Iron Man enjoys in his. For purists, this will be a sour note in an otherwise solid film.

The script is a winner though, with humor strewn throughout the film. It seems the writers made a concerted effort to bring some laughs and it works. The movie was enjoyable and most definitely fun. With the young cast and feel of the film, it is certainly geared to appeal to a tween/teen audience along with the diehard adult Spider-Man fans. Also, be sure to stay through the credits for a fun end scene.

Perhaps Marvel is finally trying to lighten things up a bit and if so, this was a good start and paves the way to an already announced sequel.

Grade: B

About Allison Hazlett-Rose
Allison Hazlett-Rose has always had a passion for the arts and uses her organization skills to help keep FlickDirect prosperous. Mrs. Hazlett-Rose oversees and supervises the correspondents and critics that are part of the FlickDirect team. Mrs. Hazlett-Rose attended Hofstra University where she earned her bachelors degree in communications and is a member of the Florida Film Critics Circle.

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          Comment on Supply Drops confirmed for Call of Duty: WWII, weapon variants/gear are planned to be cosmetic only by Dumble   
As long as the supply drop system is similar if not the same as MWR's I'll be happy, going to be a bit sad to see some stupid ass non-WW2 related melee weapons in there if they do go down the same route as MWR though - hoping the weapons they may plan on adding stay in line with WW2 weapons.
          Comment on Supply Drops confirmed for Call of Duty: WWII, weapon variants/gear are planned to be cosmetic only by EpicLikeMike   
You can but you would probably lose because they have layers that are working for layers.
          Re: Canadian sniper makes record-breaking kill shot -- hits ISIS insurgent 2 MILES away......   
Thomas The fact you're also a shooter has no relevance on the subject at hand. I'm a shooter myself, and, we may have similar skillsets behind the business end of the weapon...But, that doesn'...The post does not have replies yet. Start the discussion here
          July 2017 Game Releases: Five Brand New Games Coming Up This Month!   

Our July 2017 Game Releases has five new ones for you! They are totally new games that may not be familiar but is guaranteed to be very rich in content! Do mark your calendars for these games and check them out below: JULY 2017 GAME RELEASES The End is Nigh Release Date: July 12, 2017 The End Is Nigh is an action-adventure video game which is an indie platformer as well. Play as Ash as he experiences a lot of suffering and pain in his journey and don’t forget to keep an eye on his stress levels. Offering you 12 explorable chapters with 600 levels. Collect the 20+ video game cartridges that are fully playable. And for some crazy reason, you will also get to collect tumors! Aporia Beyond the Valley Release Date: July 19, 2017 Set in an immersive, non-linear world, Aporia Beyond the Valley brings to its players a first-person adventure puzzle game. Without any dialogue or text, the game tells a story of humanity, technology, and civilization. Get to explore the game’s interesting storyline, be wary of traps, solve its multiple puzzles and choose to create your own path. Fortnite Release Date: July 25, 2017 Fortnite offers a survival co-op sandbox game. Choose your hero and fight the multiple waves of monsters coming at you. Protect yourself by scavenging for items that you can use to create weapons or structures. Get to play with others and work together. You will only have 14 days to do this (thus the title “Fortnite”). In the daytime, you are able to explore and scavenge for items but during the nighttime, arm yourselves and be ready to kill a lot of zombies. Aven Colony Release Date: July 25, 2017 Lead humanity into a new home as their Governor in Aven Colony. The new home is light years away from the previous and it is called Aven Prime.As Governor, your role is to look out for the welfare of your colony. Make sure that they have food, shelter, resources, and proper technology. Discover and build up your colony in Aven Colony. The Station Release Date: July 31, 2017 Imagine going into space and meeting an accident that leaves you stranded near an alien planet. This is what The Station is about. Play in a first person perspective and explore the world before you. You are recon specialist and because of such events, you and your team became stranded. With the communication, navigation, and stealth not working, what will you do now to protect your team?

The post July 2017 Game Releases: Five Brand New Games Coming Up This Month! appeared first on CheapDigitalDownload.com.


          How the 2017 Arkansas legislature made life worse for you   
But it wasn't as bad as it could've been at the Capitol.

Arkansas's legislators were locked and loaded when they arrived for the 91st General Assembly this year, determined to get more guns into public places and take away voting and abortion rights, their evergreen attacks.

Thanks to the legislature, concealed weapons soon may be carried just about everywhere except Razorback games and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. Unemployment benefits were cut, whistleblowers were silenced and charter schools were given advantages over regular public schools. Other legislation was symbolic but ugly, such as an act authored by Rep. Brandt Smith (R-Jonesboro) that aims to stop Sharia, or Islamic ecclesiastical law, from taking over Arkansas's court system.

Some of the silliest bills went nowhere, such as efforts by Sen. Jason Rapert (R-Conway) to wipe Bill and Hillary Clinton's names off the Little Rock airport, to indefinitely delay implementing the voter-approved medical marijuana program and to call a convention of the states to amend the U.S. Constitution to ban same-sex marriage. Anti-immigrant legislation that would have penalized colleges and cities with so-called "sanctuary" policies withered in committee. Rep. Smith, the sponsor of the bill targeting universities, warned that rogue professors might hide undocumented immigrants in their offices and then dump their human waste on campus in the dark of night; surprisingly, this argument did not persuade his colleagues. Rep. Kim Hendren (R-Gravette) proposed banning cell phones from public schools; later, he filed a bill prohibiting teachers from using books authored by leftist historian Howard Zinn. Neither gained traction.

What was good? A little. Conservatives tried to circumscribe the medical marijuana amendment with bans on smoking and edible products, among other roadblocks, but the worst of the anti-pot legislation stalled. Evidently reassured by Governor Hutchinson's promises to make the private option more conservative (read: stingier) down the line, the annual appropriation for Medicaid passed without a major fight — a relief for the 300,000-plus Arkansans receiving health insurance through Obamacare. Pushed by Hutchinson, the ledge directed some of Arkansas's tobacco settlement proceeds to expand a waiver program for the developmentally disabled, opening the door to services for some 500 to 900 desperate families stranded for years on a waitlist. At long last, the state will stop its reprehensible practice of celebrating Robert E. Lee's birthday simultaneously with Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a symbolic but important step forward that was championed by the governor.

Here's our survey of the damage:

GUNS
In Glock we trust

The biggest gun-related news this session was the passage and signing of House Bill 1249, now Act 562, which creates a new "enhanced carry" permit that will allow gun owners who have undergone eight hours of additional training — including active shooter training, with a curriculum still to be worked out by the Arkansas State Police — to carry a concealed handgun in many places previously forbidden under the state's concealed carry law, including the state Capitol, public colleges and universities, bars, churches and courthouses. Concealed carry in prisons, courtrooms and K-12 schools is still forbidden, and private property owners, including bars, churches and private colleges, can still prohibit firearms if they choose.

Sponsored by Rep. Charlie Collins (R-Fayetteville), the bill was a far piece from where it started by the time it was signed. Originally, Collins' bill would have solely mandated that public universities and colleges allow faculty and staff to carry concealed handguns. It was an attempt to push back against the state's public colleges and universities, which have steadfastly rejected Collins' and his colleagues' attempts to institute "campus carry" in the past. Amendments to HB 1249 soon pushed it several clicks further toward the broad "guns everywhere" approach favored by the National Rifle Association, and far beyond a potential shooting iron in a well-trained professor's briefcase. Now, anyone with the enhanced permit will be able to carry on a college campus, including into sometimes-contentious student and faculty disciplinary hearings and raucous college dorms.

The passage of the bill spawned some last minute scrambling when the Southeastern Conference expressed concerns about fans coming to college football games carrying heat, resulting in Act 859, a cleanup effort that prohibits concealed carry in college athletic venues. Also exempted by Act 859 were daycares, UAMS and the Arkansas State Hospital, an inpatient facility for the mentally ill. The bill also allows private businesses and organizations to ban concealed carry without posting a sign to that effect. If a private business decides to ban concealed carry without posting a sign, anyone caught carrying a concealed weapon on the premises can be ejected or told to remove their gun if they want to come back. If the concealed carrier repeats the infraction, they can be charged with a crime. Even after the purported cleanup, that still leaves a lot of places open to concealed carry unless those places set a policy forbidding the practice, including most hospitals, mental health facilities and off-campus high school and middle school sporting events. At the signing ceremony for HB 1249, Chris Cox, executive director of the NRA's Institute for Legislative Action, said, "We believe that if you have a legal right to be somewhere, and you're a law-abiding person, you ought to have a legal right to defend yourself." For the NRA, that means the right to be armed everywhere, any time, as long as you don't have a criminal record. Notice Cox didn't say anything about pesky permits or training.

Speaking of law-abiding persons, also of concern when it comes to concealed carry is Act 486. Under the law, the Arkansas State Police is now prohibited from establishing or amending any administrative rule that would revoke or suspend a concealed carry permit unless the holder of the permit was found to be in violation of a criminal offense. While not penalizing a person if they haven't committed a crime sounds like a good idea, the problem is that people can and do go off the rails for a multitude of reasons, many of which have nothing to do with a violation of the criminal code. Before the passage of Act 486, the State Police had broad latitude to revoke or suspend concealed carry permits for a number of reasons, including serious alcohol and drug abuse, dangerous mental illness, or a mental health professional's determination that a permit holder might be a threat to himself, his family or the public. With the passage of Act 486, though, a concealed carry holder who suffers a complete mental breakdown to the point of visual hallucinations can keep on packing right until the moment he or she is admitted at the State Hospital (thanks Act 859!), even if the person's family or a doctor asks the State Police to pull their permit. Ditto with people suffering from substance abuse issues, elderly dementia patients and those who hint they might be capable of suicide or homicide. Under the law, a permit can still be revoked or suspended if the person is caught carrying into a prohibited place like a courtroom or jail, but as seen above, the list of places where handguns are prohibited is dwindling by the year. Otherwise, thanks to Act 486, we just have to wait until that person commits a crime. By then, it's too late.

In the What Could Have Been column, we have HB 1630, by Rep. Clarke Tucker (D-Little Rock), which would have created the misdemeanor offense of "negligently allowing access to a firearm by a child" if an owner failed to secure a loaded gun or left it in a place a child could easily access. Though the bill had exemptions for hunting, sport shooting and use of firearms on a farm and had a sliding scale of penalties, with incidents involving the death or serious injury of a child at the top of the list, it went nowhere.

EDUCATION

Traditional schools took licks, but the worst was kept at bay.

The single worst education bill passed in 2017 was probably Act 542, sponsored by Alan Clark (R-Lonsdale), which requires school districts to sell or lease "unused or underutilized" facilities to competitor charter schools. Charters already had right of first refusal in the event a district decides to sell a building — but after Act 542 goes into effect this summer, a charter can force a district to sell or lease a building, even if the district doesn't want to do so. If a different entity — a nonprofit, say, or a clinic or a business — wants to buy an unoccupied school building instead, that's too bad. Act 542 requires a district to hold on to unused buildings for two years, just in case a charter comes along and wants the facility for itself.

Clark pointed to a situation a few years ago in which the Helena-West Helena School District refused to sell a vacant elementary to KIPP Delta, a charter. But there are good reasons why a district wouldn't want to hand over an asset to a direct competitor: Charter networks tend to weaken districts by bleeding away higher-performing students and public money, and they often enjoy advantages their traditional public school counterparts do not. As some opponents of the bill pointed out, the new law is tantamount to forcing Walmart to sell a store to Target. That's why school superintendents across the state fought the bill and convinced no small number of Republicans to join Democrats in opposing it. In the end, though, it passed the House on a 53-32 vote. Republican legislators also rejected proposals by Democrats Sen. Joyce Elliott and Rep. Clarke Tucker — both from Little Rock, which is seeing unchecked charter growth at the expense of traditional public schools — to impose fairer rules on charters.

Thankfully, the legislature turned down an even worse proposal. HB 1222 by Rep. Jim Dotson (R-Bentonville) proposed a convoluted scheme to divert millions of dollars away from the public coffers (by means of a tax credit to wealthy donors) and toward private schools in the guise of "education savings accounts" to be used for student tuition. A school voucher plan in all but name, the bill would have been devastating to public education. Dotson eventually scaled back the legislation to a pilot program with a four-year sunset, allowing a Senate version of the bill to win passage in that chamber — but many Republicans remain fond of their local school districts, and it narrowly failed in the House.

Meanwhile, legislators expanded an existing voucher program, the Succeed Scholarship. Created in the 2015 session, it uses public tax dollars to pay private school tuition for a limited number of K-12 students with special needs. Parents are required to waive their child's civil rights protections under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. In the past, the scholarship was open only to kids with an Individualized Education Program, or IEP; now, foster children living in group homes will also be eligible, thanks to Act 894 by Rep. Kim Hammer (R-Benton). Act 327 by Rep. Carlton Wing (R-North Little Rock) will allow a nonaccredited private school to participate, as long as the school has applied for accreditation. And, the appropriation for the Succeed Scholarship rose from $800,000 to $1.3 million — an increase of 63 percent — potentially allowing as many as 200 students statewide to participate.

That bump is especially notable alongside the meager 1 percent increase in the state's overall K-12 education budget for the next two years — far less than the 2.5 percent boost recommended by legislative staff tasked with determining what constitutes "adequate" school funding. A bit more money will be directed to teacher pay and special education, and pre-kindergarten will see an overdue $3 million increase, so the money situation could be worse. Still, with state revenue squeezed hard by tax cuts, and private and charter schools knocking at the door, traditional public schools are clearly not the General Assembly's top priority.

On other fronts, school legislation was a mixed bag. Elliott's Act 1059, will limit the use of out-of-school suspensions and expulsions for students in grades K-5 — a much-needed reform — but her bid to end corporal punishment failed in committee. (Rural Arkansas still loves the paddle.) One of the better education bills to pass this session was Elliott's Act 1039 which gives teeth to a 2013 law (also by Elliott) requiring dyslexia screening and intervention. Its reporting requirements and enforcement mechanism hopefully will force districts to deliver better reading interventions to dyslexic students. A major accountability bill developed by the state Education Department, Act 930, will overhaul how schools are monitored by the state, though it's too soon to say how the changes will play out. Act 478 by Rep. Bruce Cozart (R-Hot Springs), will require high school students to pass a civics test before graduating; an attempt by Rep. John Walker (D-Little Rock) to impose the same requirement on legislators and state agency heads received a cold reception. A bill by Rep. Mark Lowery (R-Maumelle), now Act 910, will end September school elections and require them to be held concurrent with the November general or spring primary election date. That could spell trouble for future millage votes.

Finally, there's higher education: "Campus carry" dominated the news, but a major change in funding may be just as consequential. Act 148, which originated with the governor's office, creates a funding formula for colleges and universities that ties state money to metrics like graduation rate. HB 1518, now Act 563, a worthy bill by Rep. James Sturch (R-Batesville) requires the Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board to create an action plan for addressing sexual assault on college campuses.

Benjamin Hardy

TAXES

Some help for the working poor and lots of punting.

Give modest credit to Governor Hutchinson. In the 2013 and 2015 legislative sessions, Republican legislators pushed a massive cut on taxes on capital gains and reduced the income tax burden on all but the working poor. This session, Hutchinson provided some relief at the lower end of the tax bracket. Hutchinson pushed through a $50 million tax cut, directed at households with a taxable income of less than $21,000. The cut is misleading, though, as it targets taxable income, which is often far less than salary or adjusted gross income. In fact, Arkansas Advocates for Children & Families pointed out that 48 percent of the overall $50 million cut will go to taxpayers in the top 40 percent of earners, while only 5 percent will go to those making less than $18,000 per year.

Establishing a refundable state Earned Income Tax Credit, tied to the federal EITC, would have been considerably more beneficial to the lower 40 percent of Arkansas earners, who often have no income tax liability, but pay a large share of their income in sales tax. An EITC would have provided a more substantial boost to the working poor at less cost than Hutchinson's cut. Rep. Warwick Sabin (D-Little Rock) and Sen. Jake Files (R-Fort Smith) were behind the EITC proposal, which historically has bipartisan appeal, but they couldn't get support from Hutchinson or enough other legislators.

Hutchinson also supported legislation that exempted all military retirement pay and survivor benefits from state income taxes. The first $6,000 of military retirement pay had been exempt previously. Since most veterans aren't career soldiers and eligible for a pension, the exemption will leave out many veterans (again, an EITC would have been a better avenue). But few politicians on either side of the aisle were going to stand in the way of helping veterans — even though Hutchinson unconscionably larded the measure with unrelated tax hikes. The legislation offset the eventual $13.4 million cost of the exemption by raising the sales tax on candy and soda. Completely unrelated to veterans' retirement income, the bill provided a $6 million tax cut on soft drink syrup, which it paid for by taxing unemployment benefits and digital downloads. So, veterans with pensions got a bump and corporate interests got significant help, while folks downloading books and movies, as well as people in between jobs, got screwed.

In the "could have been worse" column, more credit for Hutchinson: He held at bay lawmakers from his party such as Sen. Bart Hester (R-Cave Springs) who wanted to cut $100 million or more in taxes — threatening essential state services in the process — by creating a commission to consider the future of tax policies in the state.

The commission will have to consider two issues the General Assembly punted on. A bill that would have required out-of-state online retailers to collect sales tax on purchases made by Arkansans stalled in the House, with several Republicans decrying the proposal as a tax increase even though Arkansans already are required to pay the tax by law (few do because it requires self-reporting.) Still, Amazon said it would voluntarily begin collecting sales tax on Arkansas customers beginning in March. Another bill that merely would have referred to voters a proposal to increase the tax on gas to pay for bonds for highway construction failed on similar anti-tax grounds.

Lindsey Millar

CRIMINAL JUSTICE

Atual reform

Act 423, "The Criminal Justice Efficiency and Safety Act," might be the most consequential piece of good legislation the General Assembly passed. It's a sprawling, omnibus law, with three primary components.

Most consequentially, it introduces swift and certain sanctioning, which means parolees and probationers who commit minor violations of the terms of their supervision will be sent for 45 to 90 days to Arkansas Community Correction facilities, where they will receive rehabilitative programming, instead of being sent to prison for significantly longer stints. Arkansas in recent years has had the fastest growing prison population in the country, fueled largely by parole violators returning to prison. Swift and certain sanctioning is expected to free up as many as 1,600 prison beds and save the state as much as $30-$40 million.

The law also seeks to divert people who commit nuisance offenses because they are high on drugs or having a mental health crisis in public from jail or prison. It establishes Crisis Stabilization Units, regional facilities where people in crisis could go to receive treatment for several days. The law mandates the creation of three such units, but $5 million earmarked in the state budget for the operation of the facilities, paired with significant additional federal money the state expects to draw from Medicaid, could allow for several more CSUs to open. The locations of the CSUs have not yet been selected, but Craighead, Pulaski and Sebastian counties are thought to be leading candidates. Finally, Act 423 also requires law enforcement officers to receive crisis intervention training to help them de-escalate interactions with people amid behavioral health episodes.

The law is the product of 18 months of study and presentations by the nonprofit Council of State Governments, which reported to a Legislative Criminal Justice Oversight Task Force that bill sponsor Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson (R-Little Rock) co-chaired. Hutchinson, co-sponsor Rep. Clarke Tucker (D-Little Rock) and CSG say the new law will save the state money, which can be reinvested in effective criminal justice policies. CSG's justice reinvestment program has successfully been implemented in states across the country.

Of course, whether it's successful here will depend on policymakers seeing the reforms through. One potential stumbling block: CSG recommended that the state hire 100 new parole and probation officers to better supervise the nearly 56,000 people on parole and probation. Current supervision officers handle on average 125 cases. Governor Hutchinson's budget didn't provide for funding to hire 100 new officers, though it did make temporary funding to Arkansas Community Correction permanent, which will at least allow the department to retain the 60 officers it had hired since 2015. That's not enough, Sen. Hutchinson (who is the governor's nephew) said. He hopes a future General Assembly will approve additional funding for more officers using some of the savings generated by Act 423.

A perennial stumbling block for any criminal justice reform is the inevitable violator who commits a serious crime. A significant portion of Arkansas's recent prison growth spike came because of punitive parole policies enacted in the wake of the 2013 murder of a teenager in Little Rock by a serial parole violator. It's natural to think that locking up people who commit crimes for long stretches reduces crime, but research shows it's just the opposite, Sen. Hutchinson said.

"I've had the luxury of studying this for years now. It's hard to wrap your brain around sometimes," Hutchinson said. "Longer sentences do not, in fact, result in lower crime rates. The longer [people are] incarcerated, the greater chance of recidivism they have."

Hutchinson chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee, and many of its members, chief among them Sen. Bryan King (R-Green Forest), were hostile to the idea of moving away from incarceration in certain situations. King introduced the tough-on-crime Senate Bill 177, which would have required anyone with three stints in prison to serve at least 80 percent of any subsequent sentence. Arkansas already has a two-strikes law: After someone commits a second serious violent or sexual crime, he's required to serve 100 percent of his sentence. So King's measure would have mostly targeted low-level property and drug crimes and at huge cost. According to an impact statement, it would have added 5,499 inmates at a cost of $121 million in 2026. The total 10-year cost to the state would have been $692 million, and that's not including the significant cost of building new prison housing. King let the bill die in the House Judiciary Committee after Governor Hutchinson forcefully spoke out against it.

Three other positive new laws: Act 566, sponsored by the odd couple Rep. John Walker (D-Little Rock) and Rep. Bob Ballinger (R-Berryville), has Arkansas opt out of a section in President Clinton's sweeping 1996 welfare reform law that prevents anyone who has been convicted of a felony drug offense from receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families benefits. Act 1012, from legislation sponsored by Tucker and Hutchinson, allows someone on probation or parole for an offense that did not involve the operation of a motor vehicle who has a suspended drivers license because of unpaid fines or fees to continue to drive to work or school. Act 539, sponsored by Sen. Missy Irvin (R-Mountain Home) and Rep. Rebecca Petty (R-Springdale), prevents minors from being sentenced to life without parole. Before they become eligible for parole, the new law requires minors sentenced to life terms to serve 20 years for nonhomicide offenses, 25 years for first-degree murder and 30 years for capital murder. Of course, the Parole Board could repeatedly deny parole requests and force someone sentenced to a life term as a minor to spend his life in prison.

The heartbreaker of the session in criminal justice was the failure of Democratic Sen. Joyce Elliott's proposal to require racial impact statements for new criminal justice legislation. The impact statements would have provided research on whether proposed legislation would have a disparate impact on minority groups. Similar bills failed in 2013 and 2015, and this one was substantially amended to merely provide the impact statements as an option, but it died on the House floor. It was another reminder that for many white people, there is no greater insult than suggesting that they or something they do might be racist, even if the bias was unintended. One opponent, Rep. Ballinger, said he did not believe in systemic racism.

Lindsey Millar

ABORTION

Risking women's health

Women and their bodies were subjected to serious new insults this year by Arkansas legislators practicing medicine without a license.

Among the most egregious laws was the so-called "dismemberment abortion" bill, now Act 45, whose chief sponsors were Rep. Andy Mayberry (R-Hensley) and Sen. David Sanders (R-Little Rock). The bill prohibits doctors from performing what doctors believe is the safest method of second trimester abortion: dilation and evacuation. The alternatives would be something akin to a Caesarean section, in which the belly is cut open to remove the fetus, or an induced abortion, which requires the woman to go into labor to expel a fetus killed by an injection of salt water, urea or potassium chloride into the amniotic sac. Those procedures are what doctors call "high morbidity" — meaning they have a high risk of making patients sick.

Dilation and evacuation is recommended by the World Health Organization, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the American Medical Association. The difference between those organizations and the Arkansas legislature is that one group does not believe women should receive the best health care possible.

But Mayberry and Sanders and their co-sponsors think D&E, which uses a vacuum, is tantamount to butchery. But hysterectomy and induction abortions accomplish the same end as a D&E and are far less safe.

There is no exception for incest or rape in the law. And, like previous laws passed by legislators who think their particular religious beliefs give them the right to control women, the law particularly harms women who can't afford to travel to a more broad-minded jurisdiction to exercise a legal right.

Another evil of the law is that it allows a spouse, parent or guardian to bring a civil suit against the abortion provider if the woman has "received or attempted to receive" dilation and evacuation. That means, according to abortion rights activists and Mayberry himself, a husband can stop an abortion. He may have committed rape. A parent may have committed incest. Doesn't matter.

Rep. Charlie Collins (R-Fayetteville) and Sen. Missy Irvin (R-Mountain View) brought us the bill that became Act 733, the so-called "sex-selection abortion ban." Despite the fact that there is zero evidence that Arkansas women are dashing into abortion clinics because they've determined the sex of their fetus and don't like it, the bill has the potential to create an huge burden on the doctor provider.

Say a woman has had prenatal tests to see if her fetus has a genetic disorder. She learns there is a disorder and, by the way, the sex of the fetus. Her doctor must ask if she knows the gender of the fetus. If she answers that she does, the abortion must be delayed, because this new state law requires the doctor to "request the medical records of the pregnant woman relating directly to the entire pregnancy history of the woman." No abortion may be performed until every chart for every pregnancy generated by the woman's ob-gyn (or ob-gyns) and staffs and hospitals, every record generated during every trip to the ER she may have had to make, is supplied and reviewed by the abortion provider. Not only could that take a lot of time and generate a mountain of paperwork — what if the woman already had five children? — but it would also notify, perhaps against the woman's will, her doctors and their staffs that she is seeking to obtain an abortion.

The bill does not state what information in those records would suggest that the woman was hell-bent on not having another boy or girl.

"Why are physicians and the clinic made to be an investigative party into a woman's motives to have an abortion?" asked a spokesman for Little Rock Family Planning, the state's only clinic that offers abortion up to 21 weeks.

Rep. Robin Lundstrum (R-Elm Springs) and Sen. Scott Flippo (R-Bull Shoals), like Mayberry and Sanders, introduced what's called a model TRAP law (targeted regulation of abortion providers) meant to end abortion by imposing stricter inspection regulations on clinics. The bill allows the state Department of Health to make yearly trips to inspect clinic records and "a representative sample of procedures"; to regulate all aspects of the clinic "without limitation," and to collect an annual fee of $500.

While purporting to be a bill to protect women's health, the new law, Act 383, is designed to let the state shut down a clinic for facilities violations not spelled out in the legislation. It's not clear what violation would close the clinic. Towel on the floor? Out of paper towels? Scoop left in the break room freezer's icemaker?

As it happens, Little Rock Family Planning is inspected frequently, more than the once every year that the law already called for. The health department inspected the clinic four times in 2016, citing such things as discolored ceiling tiles and a chair with rips. The clinic's spokesman said some inspections are instigated by complaints from the anti-abortion protesters that picket outside.

The vague language of Act 383 "has potential for abuse. We don't know if we would be singled out and treated differently, if our license could be suspended for even minor paperwork violations," the spokesman said.

— Leslie Newell Peacock

TRANSPARENCY

The public's right to know took one step forward, two steps back.

Arkansas's robust Freedom of Information Act came under assault in 2017 as never before, with legislators proposing at least a dozen new exemptions to the open records law. Thanks to SB 131, now Act 474, by Sen. Gary Stubblefield (R-Branch), security plans of the State Capitol Police are no longer disclosable to the public; Stubblefield's reasoning was that someone seeking to do violence at the Capitol might request such plans, but the law is written so broadly that virtually any record of the Capitol police could fall under the new exemption. Stubblefield's SB 12 (Act 541) created a similar exemption for schools, including colleges and universities. HB 1236, now Act 531, by Rep. Jimmy Gazaway (R-Paragould), prevents the disclosure of a body-cam or dash-cam recording of the death of a law enforcement officer.

Thankfully, though, many anti-FOIA bills failed. The most significant was SB 373, by Sen. Bart Hester (R-Cave Springs), which proposed exempting attorney-client communications and work product from the FOIA if the client is a public entity. The force behind the bill was the University of Arkansas. The problem with this idea — aside from the fact that attorney-client communications can already be shielded on a case-by-case basis, by order of a judge — is that a public entity could declare almost any record exempt simply by emailing that record to its attorney. Had it passed, this loophole could have swallowed the entire FOIA.

On the bright side, Rep. Jana Della Rosa (R-Rogers) managed to pass HB 1427, now Act 318, to require candidates to file their monthly finance reports electronically, rather than on paper. HB 1010, now Act 616, by Rep. Warwick Sabin (D-Little Rock) extends the same requirement to political action committees and other groups. This matters because a searchable electronic database will make it much easier for the public to track contributions made to candidates and PACs, as well as their expenditures.

However, the legislature quashed an effort to shine a light on the darkest regions of campaign finance when it rejected HB 1005, by Rep. Clarke Tucker (D-Little Rock). The bill would have required disclosure of "electioneering" spending, meaning advertisements by independent organizations, nominally unaffiliated with any candidate, that dodge ethics laws by scrupulously avoiding the use of phrasings like "vote for" or "vote against." A growing number of states recognize that such ads — which have proliferated tremendously in recent years and comprise hundreds of millions of dollars in spending nationwide — are de facto campaign commercials and require them to be reported as such. Not Arkansas.

Benjamin Hardy

ANTI-LGBT

Threats stalled.

The legislature still shows animus toward people who don't fit its definition of normal, but Arkansans lucked out when three anti-LGBT bills failed. Two so-called "bathroom bills" that targeted transgender children and adults and another that would have let doctors refuse to perform a procedure if it offended their "deeply held beliefs" did not make it into law.

But the legislature also blocked a bill that would have corrected an injustice. SB 580, by Sen. Joyce Elliott (D-Little Rock), would have provided for the automatic listing of both parents' names on the birth certificates of children of married same-sex couples, an important factor in establishing inheritance and other matters. In a marriage between a man and a woman, the names of both parents are listed on a child's birth certificate, even in cases of surrogacy or artificial insemination. Arkansas is the only state that treats children of same-sex parents differently in this regard, seemingly in violation of the U.S. Supreme Court's 2015 ruling that struck down bans on gay marriage nationwide. Elliott's bill would have fixed the problem, but when SB 580 came before the Senate Judiciary Committee, vice-chair Sen. Linda Collins-Smith (R-Pocahontas) said same-sex parents could make a will if they wanted to ensure their kids get an inheritance.

Besides the children of same-sex couples, Collins-Smith doesn't much like transgender people, either. She introduced SB 774 to require that people had to use public bathroom or changing facilities that corresponded with the sex as listed on their birth certificates, and that the governing body of the public entity had to make sure the law was enforced. Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau director Gretchen Hall and Verizon Arena General Manager Michael Marion told Collins-Smith in a hearing on the bill said they could not see how it would be possible to know what was on the birth certificate on the thousands of people who might answer the call of nature at an event. "It's your job to find a way," Collins-Smith snarled. Collins-Smith pulled down the bill when she realized it was not going to pass.

The House passed a bill introduced by Rep. Bob Ballinger (R-Berryville), who also had his mind on bathroom use, to expand the state's indecent exposure law. State law already says it is a crime to expose one's genitalia with intent to gratify sexual desire; Ballinger's bill would have made it a crime simply to expose genitalia in front of a person of the opposite sex. (Maybe it's common practice to inspect genitalia in bathrooms up in Berryville.) Though the House vote for the bill was 65 to 3, the bill went down the Senate Judiciary Committee drain, as Collins-Smith's did.

Governor Hutchinson, who did not want Arkansas to suffer economically as North Carolina did when it passed its "bathroom bill" (since partially repealed), was relieved.

Another ugly bill was introduced by Rep. Brandt Smith (R-Jonesboro): the Health Care Freedom of Conscience Act, which would have allowed doctors to refuse to administer health care services that offended their "deeply held beliefs." Smith had in mind both reproductive rights and transgender reassignment surgery. There was no support for the bill from medical professionals, and state Surgeon General Dr. Gregory Bledsoe spoke against it, saying, "If you're a member of any sort of minority group ... these sorts of bills send a message that threatens you."

Leslie Newell Peacock

AVERAGE ARKANSANS 

Workers, consumers and other enemies of the state got a raw deal.

Governor Hutchinson deserves some recognition for passing a modest income tax cut for working people this session, even if it wasn't quite the boost for the poor that he claimed (see Taxes, page 15). But in almost every other way, the average Arkansan got screwed by the 2017 session.

Start with Act 986, by Rep. Laurie Rushing (R-Hot Springs), which will outlaw private class-action lawsuits under the Deceptive Trade Practices Act — a cornerstone of consumer protection law. Such suits are a powerful deterrent against businesses that intentionally scam customers in various small ways, such as false advertising or misleading promotional offers. Preventing consumers from bringing claims as a class gives the unscrupulous a freer hand to prey on the unsuspecting.

Act 606, by Rep. DeAnn Vaught (R-Horatio), provides a boon to corporations by allowing an employer to sue a worker who records a video or takes photos in the workplace "and uses the recording in a manner that damages the employer." In other words, it will stop whistleblowers from documenting unethical or illegal practices, such as animal abuse at factory farms. Animal rights organizations refer to it as an "ag-gag" bill.

Maybe the biggest prize for big business, though, was the "tort reform" measure that was referred to the 2018 ballot, Senate Joint Resolution 8. Sponsored by Sen. Missy Irvin (R-Mountain Home), it proposes a new amendment to the state constitution that would place ceilings on the noneconomic and punitive damages that may be awarded to a claimant in a civil suit. Attorney contingency fees would also be capped, at one-third of the net recovery. In short, this would sharply limit the ability of someone who was grievously harmed by an act of medical malpractice to seek compensation in court. SJR 8 sparked a bruising fight in the legislature, with a few Republicans breaking ranks to speak forcefully against abridging the right to a trial by jury. But business interests — especially nursing homes — have been pushing tort reform for years, and the measure proved unstoppable. Unless Arkansas voters reject it in 2018, that is.

Speaking of abridged rights, the legislature also referred a proposed amendment that would enshrine a voter ID requirement in the Arkansas Constitution. The hard truth is that House Joint Resolution 1016, by Rep. Robin Lundstrum (R-Elm Springs), will likely pass in 2018 given the state's electoral trends. Never mind that proponents of voter ID can't cite any documented instances of voter impersonation in Arkansas, and never mind the evidence that such measures elsewhere have resulted in voters being disenfranchised — voter ID has become gospel to Republicans, aided by President Trump's falsehoods about rampant fraud in the 2016 election. Redundantly enough, the legislature also passed a voter ID bill in addition to the referred amendment, Act 633 by Rep. Mark Lowery (R-Maumelle).

Arkansas's status as the worst state in the nation for renters went unchallenged. A bill by Sen. Blake Johnson (R-Corning), now Act 159, softened but preserved the state's unconscionable, one-of-a-kind criminal eviction statute, which courts in several counties have deemed unconstitutional. Thanks to the lobbying efforts of the Arkansas Realtors Association, Arkansas also remains the only state in which there is no minimum habitability standard for rental property. HB 1166, by Hot Springs Republican Rushing, purported to address that deficiency, but the bill's proposed standards were pitifully weak — limited to electricity, water, sewer and a roof — and it may have limited renters' meager rights in other ways, so it's best it failed.

Legislators' sympathy for landlords didn't translate to protecting small property owners railroaded by the oil industry. House Bill 2086, an effort by Rep. Warwick Sabin (D-Little Rock) to more carefully examine the use of eminent domain by pipeline companies, was drafted in response to the construction of the Diamond Pipeline, which will carry crude oil across the length of Arkansas from Oklahoma to Memphis. It failed to get out of committee.

Currently, unemployment benefits in Arkansas cover workers for a maximum of 20 weeks, which is a shorter span than any surrounding state except Missouri (also 20 weeks). Act 734 from Rep. Lundstrum will soon reduce that coverage time to 16 weeks ... and reduce weekly benefits checks paid to laid-off workers. This is despite the state's unemployment trust fund having amply recovered from the recession (it now contains around $500 million) and unemployment levels at record lows. So why trim benefits now? Simple: Employers want more money for themselves.

There was at least one good piece of consumer legislation, though, sponsored by none other than Sen. Jason Rapert (R-Conway). Act 944 aims to close a loophole exploited by payday lenders, which were driven out of Arkansas some years ago by a ban on high-interest loans but recently have been creeping back into the state by charging astronomical "fees" in place of interest.

And some bad measures failed, the most obnoxious probably being HB 1035 by Rep. Mary Bentley (R-Perryville). The bill would have prohibited SNAP recipients from using food stamps to purchase items the state Health Department deems unhealthy, such as soda; it stalled in the face of opposition from grocery stores and others. House Bill 1825 by Rep. John Payton (R-Wilburn), which went nowhere, would have seized lottery winnings from citizens who have received public assistance from the Arkansas Department of Human Services. And, efforts to chip away at workers compensation failed this time around. Got to leave something for 2019.

Benjamin Hardy



          Reply by antwan   
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          Reply by Anonymous Coward (UID 1234191)   
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          Reply by Anonymous Coward (UID 983329)   
:chuckle: [/quote] Direct descendants of Genghis Khan with state of the art weapons, my guess is most of the would be turkey hunters would run and hide if they had any sense. [/quote] You have no clue about who would run and who would hide...the 'direct descendants' of old...
          Reply by Anonymous Coward (UID 2216390)   
:chuckle: [/quote] Direct descendants of Genghis Khan with state of the art weapons, my guess is most of the would be turkey hunters would run and hide if they had any sense. [/quote] You have no clue about who would run and who would hide...the 'direct descendants' of old...
          Reply by Anonymous Coward (UID 1540953)   
:chuckle: [/quote] Direct descendants of Genghis Khan with state of the art weapons, my guess is most of the would be turkey hunters would run and hide if they had any sense. [/quote] You have no clue about who would run and who would hide...the 'direct descendants' of old...
          Reply by Anonymous Coward (UID 2216390)   
:chuckle: [/quote] Direct descendants of Genghis Khan with state of the art weapons, my guess is most of the would be turkey hunters would run and hide if they had any sense. [/quote] You have no clue about who would run and who would hide...the 'direct descendants' of old...
          Reply by Anonymous Coward (UID 968792)   
:chuckle: [/quote] Direct descendants of Genghis Khan with state of the art weapons, my guess is most of the would be turkey hunters would run and hide if they had any sense. [/quote] You have no clue about who would run and who would hide...the 'direct descendants' of old...
          Reply by Anonymous Coward (UID 2322579)   
:chuckle: [/quote] Direct descendants of Genghis Khan with state of the art weapons, my guess is most of the would be turkey hunters would run and hide if they had any sense. [/quote] You have no clue about who would run and who would hide...the 'direct descendants' of old...
          Reply by Anonymous Coward (UID 983329)   
:chuckle: [/quote] Direct descendants of Genghis Khan with state of the art weapons, my guess is most of the would be turkey hunters would run and hide if they had any sense. [/quote] You have no clue about who would run and who would hide...the 'direct descendants' of old...
          Reply by Anonymous Coward (UID 1141695)   
:chuckle: [/quote] Direct descendants of Genghis Khan with state of the art weapons, my guess is most of the would be turkey hunters would run and hide if they had any sense.
          Morning and Evening Routines   
Recently, the idea of daily practice was brought up again, in one of my groups.  This is something that comes up fairly regularly in many different places, and something that I've responded to in various degrees of thoroughness many times over the years.  But I thought I'd make a proper write up about my morning and evening routines!

My evening routine started amazingly enough, back in grade school.  I was part of the Signet program, which was an advanced program where once a week we were bused to another school and we got to take fun courses (like sign language or horses).  One of the courses I took was Tai Chi.  This was where I got my introduction to quite a lot of things:  breathing practice, meditation, visualization.

One of the practices we learned was one of relaxation.  You would first go through and tense and then relax all the major muscles of the body.  Then you would go back through and use visualization to further relax them.  I always saw it as painting my body, with a thick, cool paint.  As this was a relaxation technique, I started doing it at night, when I was in bed, right before I went to sleep.

I did this on and off, for many years, and this basic relaxation technique went through many incarnations.  For a while I used a similar brushing visualization, that was more detailed, and would focus on all the major joints and connections in the body as well as the larger areas.

When I was in high school, I read a book (called Life 101 if I remember correctly), that talked about creating a mental sanctuary.  This was a place, in your head, that had many rooms.  There was a media room, with a big projection screen, where you could load up a recording of any experience you had been through and replay it.  There was a medical room, that was filled with whatever kind of medicines, staff or machines you felt you needed to heal your body.  There was a personal room, that was a place you could go to relax and feel safe.  There was an outfit room, which had all kinds of clothes, so you could 'step into' any kind of personality or role you might need that day.  And there was a doorway through which you could invite anyone you wanted, and have conversations or work out issues with them.

I built up my own mental sanctuary, though I think of it as an astral temple, and personalized all my rooms.  This was a place that I went to every night.  I often would visualize being in my medical room while doing my relaxation exercises.  This also led to me working with affirmations in the form of potions.  I had things that I would want to call into my life, so I created potions (in my medical room) that would fit.  I sometimes struggle falling asleep, so I wanted to have an affirmation about falling asleep and waking up refreshed. 

The reason I decided to go with a potion image was that it incorporated many senses.  As I was creating them myself, I could add ingredients (no matter how fantastical) that fit my needs.  So my sleep potion included milk, moonbeams and chamomile.  Each potion I made had a purpose, had ingredients, had a scent, a look and a mouth feel.  I later added special bottles to keep them in, which were all different as well.  Every night I would say my affirmation, see the bottle, smell the potion, and then drink it, tasting and feeling it.

I recently swapped up from the potion idea to a clothing one.  Many of my affirmations have become like shielding during the day, so I think of them in terms of armor that I might wear to protect myself. 

As my night time routine grew, I also started to develop a morning routine.  It started with just Sun Salutation, but I soon added some simple Tai Chi stretches and meditation, as well as prayers.

Right now my morning routine starts by Greeting the Day.  This is a prayer based off of an old Norse prayer, and I saw a modified version (it is of course translated into English, so some of the words are different I believe) that I liked.  This is what I say:

"Hale Dagr, Hale sons of Dagr
To Nott and her daughters Hale,
With loving eyes gaze upon us
and here sitting grant us weal.
Hale to the Reign and Hale the the Alfar
and Hale to the bounteous mother Jorth and Nerthus
Words and Wisdom grant us
And praiseworthy deeds
And healing hands, while we live."

The word hale not only indicates a greeting, but also a wish of health and wellness, which I think is lovely.  So I greet the day (Dagr) and night (Nott), and ask they look upon us with love and blessings of health.  I left it in the plural, because I think of my morning prayers as speaking for my household.  Then you greet the gods (Reign and Alfar, though Alfar could also include elves and/or fae), and the earth (Jorth and Nerthus).  I like the feel of this prayer, and the fact that it speaks to my Norse leanings.  I say it while looking out my back window, at the field behind my apartment.  It gives me a moment of connection with nature and what is going on in the world that day (weather/season wise).

After that, I do my Tai Chi stretches.  I do one called Lifting the Sky alternating with one that I call Following the Moon (I couldn't find a link to this one, but your hands form a circle like the moon, and you lift them up to the sky, then open your arms wide, sweeping them down until you are touching your toes.  Then put your hands together to make the moon again and reach up to the sky).  After three repetitions of those, I do my Sun Salutations.  I used to do these three times each side, but found it generated too much heat (I don't like to start my day off sweaty, as I'm an evening shower person), so I do it twice, leading once with each leg.  These stretches help me shake off any tightness from sleep and wake up.

Every morning I draw a Futhark Rune, and this I use in my meditation that I do after my Sun Salutation.  I sit in half lotus (because that is my most comfortable sitting position), and take a deep breath.  I start by breathing into the chakra of the day, greeting the deity of the day, and asking to see the wisdom of the rune I drew throughout my day.  I read about working with a different chakra each day a while ago, and that really resonated with me.  I thought about it for a while, and liked how they lined up if I started with Sunday at the base and ended with Saturday at the crown.  This not only fit my understanding of daily energies, but also how my life flows.  So my daily associations are:  Sunday-root-Sunna (Sun), Monday-sacral-Mani (moon), Tuesday-solar plexus-Tyr, Wednesday-heart-Odin, Thursday-throat-Thor, Friday-third eye-Freyja, Saturday-crown-Loki.

Then I do a short loving kindness meditation.  When I do this, I breath up through my spine to my crown along the back of my body, then exhale down through the front of my body into the solar plexus area.  This is a breathing form I learned to help not only regulate personal energy but build up your total energy as well.  I always find it very soothing.  I repeat, "I am full of loving kindness, I am well.  I am peaceful and at ease, I am happy."  This is my favorite version of the loving kindness statement, and I think it really speaks to things I want in my life.  I repeat this three times (three is my own personal power number, and has been special to me since I was a child).

Next come my affirmations and shielding.  With each section I visualize putting on the piece of clothing, and calling upon it to bring the things I am speaking about into my life.  "May my feet take me where I need to go, and protect me from harm along the way."  I am not a fan of shoes, so my foot clothing is a long bandage, wrapped around the arch of each foot, then crossing over and around up the ankle and then tied (sort of like the ties on ballet shoes).  "May my pockets be always full,"  My lower body clothing isn't always the same (and amusingly don't always have pockets), but are often shorts or a wrap skirt.  "May my allure be firmly in my control."  I have always had a strong view of my own sexuality, but sometimes I have trouble with lines being blurred and not being able to create the boundaries I should....so this affirmation is about being the master of my own body and my sexuality (and not being the victim of it).  This affirmation goes with a wrap shirt. 

"May I have the strength to do what is necessary, and the courage to do what is right."  This affirmation actually goes with two daggers, which I see as tattoos on my arms.  The left one (for what is necessary) is a black dagger, and the right one (for what is right) is pure silver.  These represent the hard choices we have to make.  I think there are a lot of things in life that we have to do because they are necessary, but they aren't always pleasant and they may have repercussions...but we do them anyways because we have to.  On the other end of the spectrum, the 'right' action, the moral choice, the choice we can live with ourselves when we make it has it's own struggles.  So I have two reminders to be strong and brave and make the right choices.  "May my hands act upon my will."  My hand clothing is another bandage wrap (like you might use for martial arts) or lace up finger-less gloves.  I have a thing about my fingers being free (I am a very touch-heavy person).  This affirmation is a reminder to act with intent, so I am not taking actions that are thoughtless.

"My guardians are always at my back."  This one is another weapon, a sword this time.  I have always been a tool-loving person, and a blade-gal, so it never surprised me that my protections include multiple blades.  This one becomes a tattoo on my back, with the hilt up at my neck, running down my spine.  It is a reminder that I am never alone.  I have lots of people who have my back, both human people and spirit people.  "I am always of the shadows, and only show what needs to be seen."  I've been a people watcher all my life, it's something that I love doing.  People fascinate me, and many times I am quite content to stick to the sidelines and observe.  But I also think of my path as being shadow based:  not quite light and not dark, but somewhere in the misty middle.  I think that life is complicated and things aren't always as clear cut as they appear.  I have many sides to me, and I become who I need to be in the moment.  This affirmation goes with a hooded cloak.  "My mind questions all that is."  This affirmation is tied to a simple silver circlet.  I am always looking to learn, and I think that when we stop asking questions we stop thinking for ourselves.  It is through the asking, the seeking, that we find the truth.

The last part of my morning routine is a modification of an incantation know as the "Sith Galdor" from an eleventh-century manuscript.  I changed the wording from God to Odin, as I felt it more suited the piece and my own practice.

"With this sphere, I gird me round
By Odin's grace may I be bound
Against sore stitch, against sore bite
Against all horrors that haunt the night
'Gainst dread that folk fear everywhere
and loathy things that here would fare
Sig-galdur I chant; a sig-rod is my stay
Word-sig and work-sig ward today
No nightmare do my spirit harm
No foes oppress nor fear alarm
Nor wight nor weather threaten me
From danger defended I will be
I bid great Odin victory give
Guarded so, safe shall I live."

As I say this I either do or visualize specific movements.  The first line I trace a clockwise circle around myself, and on the second line I open my arms wide to the sky and then cross them over my chest.  During the third and fourth lines, I turn to each of the four directions in turn and trace a Sowilo rune (like a jagged S or lightning sign, it's the rune associated with Sig in the chant).  I repeat those sets of movements twice more, and finish with a final circle and arms open then crossed.  This incantation to me protects against so many things, and it is my regular daily protection.  In the same book I read about this (Trance-portation) two shorter centering chants are given for practice, and I really liked them, so they have sort of stayed in my practice long after I was done trying them out.

"North and South,
East and West,
In the center,
I find my rest."

"Before me,
Beside me,
Behind me,
Beside me,
Above me,
Below me,
Within me,
Without."

I absolutely love both of those, they are simple and just feel right to me.  After that, I often sit and just breathe for a few moments, or say any other affirmations I'm working with.  And that is my morning routine...which really isn't as long as it sounds, I swear!

At night, I have a different routine.  It starts with checking the doors.  I have a chant I say at the front and back doors (our only two that lead outside), but I also physically check to make sure they are locked.  At the back door I say:

"Night has fallen, Day is flown
Holy Frigga, bless our home
With joy and laughter, love and song,
Frigga keep our family strong."

The back door is by the kitchen, and I feel Frigga would be most at home here, and in many ways it is the heart of the house, so I feel this part fit this door.  At the front door I say:

"Night has fallen, Day is flown
Holy Hammer, ward our home
From trolls and thurses- Thunor keep
Our family safe that we may sleep."

Thurses are giants, and Thunor is another name for Thor.  To me, the front door needs a stronger protection, so I like this one here.  After warding the doors, I'll brush my teeth, and head to bed.  If I am alone, I will light a candle on my bedroom altar and do my prayers, but if hubby is home, I do them later.  For me, prayer is a deeply personal and private thing.  It's not that hubby wouldn't give me privacy, but more that I just feel like it needs to be something that is just between me and Odin (he is who I pray to at night).  So it feels right to do prayers out loud when I am alone, and in my  head when I am not.

My prayers to Odin are not a rehearsed thing.  I rarely ask for anything other than strength for a difficult task ahead or guidance about something I might be unsure about.  Most of my prayers are me talking:  about how my day went, about things that are coming up or about anything else that might be on my mind.  I struggled with prayer for a long time, and part of it was that I didn't feel my relationship with the deities I worked with really fit well with petition prayers or adoration prayers or any of the other types of prayer I was familiar with.  Instead, I fell to conversation.  To me, my relationship with Odin is more like that of father/daughter than anything else, so I talk to him, and I share my life with him.  I always end my prayers with some silence, some time to just be open.  A good friend of mine once said that when we pray we should leave as much time for silence as we spent talking:  to let the gods speak back.  That thought really stuck with me.

Once I am in bed, I start by recalling my energy.  This was something I read about a while back, and I feel it is especially important for me as I am highly emphatic, and often end up spreading myself pretty thin if I'm not careful.  So I call back all my loose energy, not only energy that I have sent to other people or places, but energy that is invested in random projects, things unfinished or whatever else it may be tied up with.  For this I say, "I cut all cords that tie me down."  The image of cutting cords works for me. 

I follow it up with, "I release all energy that is not mine."  The mental image for this is my own energetic body, but looking for bits of energy that don't match the rest.  My favorite analogy is that of a puzzle...with pieces that don't belong.  I see my own energy as a black and silver smoke, with the smell of rain and a match that was just extinguished.  So I look for energy that doesn't match and let it go back to whomever it came from.  I think we pick up energy all the time, from things we touch or things we interact with (even digitally).  And holding on to energy that isn't ours can make us feel unbalanced or lead to feelings and issues that aren't ours.

The last step of this process is recalling my own energy.  "And recall all energy that belongs to me."  This is one of the reasons why I use the cutting cord analogy.  By both releasing the extra energy (which also makes room for my own), and recalling mine, I am really shepherding my energetic body and thoughts.  I don't like the idea of leaving bits of myself all over, so I call them back.  If I think of a puzzle with mismatched parts for the releasing section, for recalling I think of filling up any places that are still empty.

This three-fold process serves as centering for me, and I follow it with a quick chakra balancing.  In the morning I focus on just one, whatever the chakra of the day is, but at night, I run through them all quickly.  I use a very simple mantra for each, one inhale and one exhale.  I start at the root and work my way up to the crown.  "I am, I feel, I do, I love, I express, I perceive, I comprehend."

After that I do a sort of reverse shielding.  I think that I need different things at night, the things I protect against during the day are not needed at night.  So I work my way through the protections I put up in the morning and take them off.  At night, I start at my head and work my way down to my feet.

"My mind is calm and at piece."  I take off the circlet.  If there is one thing that tends to keep me from sleep it is when my mind gets caught up in thinking about something.  It could be a worry, it could be excitement about something that is happening the next day, or just an idea that I had that leads to lots of crazy thought.  So if I can get my mind quiet and calm, that leads to a more peaceful night.  "I take down any masks I put up during the day."  I see myself taking off a mask (like a harlequin mask), and the hooded cloak.  I think that we all wear different masks in different situations.  But at night, I don't need them. "My guardians watch over me while I sleep."  I actually don't remove the sword, but I touch it as a reminder that it is always there.

"My hands lay down their burdens and rest."  This is a reminder that my work is done for the day, and that it is time to sleep.  I take off the gloves.  "May my will," I touch the left knife tattoo, "and my honor," I touch the right tattoo, "be at peace."  I cross my arms so the tattoos touch.  This is a reminder that both halves of me need to work together.  "May my body be rested and innocent as a child's."  I think there is something really special about watching a child sleep.  They seem to be completely out, and almost always wake with boundless energy, so that is how I want to sleep too.  I also want to embrace that innocent body sense that children have, before they have woken to the idea of sexuality.  Night seems the right time to call this forth, especially as I remove the shirt.

"May I not be concerned with monetary or physical problems."  This affirmation is tied to my pants, as that is where my pockets are, and the physical problem part often refers to body problems in my mind.  Money is definitely one of the things I think about a lot, and this just reminds me that I don't need to stress out about it.  Worry doesn't help solve things, and letting my thoughts dwell on problems just creates more problems.  "May my feet rest along their path."  As I take off the foot wrappings, I remind myself again, that the work of the day is done and it's time to stop and rest.

This is where I will pray, if I haven't done so already.  The last thing I do at night is pick some kind of little story to play with.  This is something I started doing in car rides, where I would make up a situation and just let it play out, with myself as one of the characters in the story.  At night, I may do that, or I may play with a story I'm working on writing.  It's just a little pre-dream play (sometimes the stories do end up transitioning right into dreams), that lets me drift off easily.  I find it works better for me than trying to clear my mind.  It gives me a soft mental focus, something easy to play around with, something fun, that distracts me from any deep thinking (which typically keeps me awake).

Again, my night time routine isn't nearly as long to do as it is to explain, Whew!  But what I really love about it is that it is completely portable and discrete.  I've done a version of it for over two decades now, and it is my one constant practice that I do everywhere.  The only times I skip it are when I am so exhausted that I literally fall asleep as soon as I hit the bed...and even then, I almost always get the first bit done.  It gives me a great sense of comfort to have that continual practice, even if many of the details have changed many times over the years.
          Friday News Roundup - International   
A curious warning from the White House to Syria about further use of chemical weapons was just one of the big global news stories this week.
          News   
Scroll down to view the trailers or click any cover to go direct.

Sion Sono's Cold FishBig Tits Zombie 3DMutant Girls SquadGothic and Lolita PsychoAnd Soon DarknessA Night in Nude 2Wildcats in Strip Royale

Cold Fish - Sion Sono

I've been a fan of Sono since his film Suicide Circle, consider his following film Strange Circus to be a masterpiece, and his most recent 4hr epic Love Exposure was a fan hit worldwide. Now we have his latest flick, Cold Fish, based on the true story of a psychotic tropical fish shop owner. This one has already picked up numerous awards and sounds like it will be another remarkable entry in the director's catalog.



Big Tits Zombie 3D

Retro grindhouse comes to Japan! This has got to be my favorite exploitation movie title of the year ... big tits, zombies, 3D! What's not to love? Great trailer too. Film stars Sola Aoi, Risa Kasumi and a bevy of other assumedly well-endowed J-Idols.



Mutant Girls Squad

"The story is sort of a spoof of X-Men. [Yumi] Sugimoto plays Rin, a bullied teenager who discovers her arm has mutated into a razor-sharp weapon on her 16th birthday. A shadow government organization immediately begins hunting her down, slaughtering her parents in the process, but Rin is saved in the nick of time by a super-powered being called 'Hiruko'. Soon, mutants from all over Japan are gathered together and begin militant training to overthrow the government. Meanwhile, Rin is fitted with a special iron mask and begins her life as a 'battle girl', utilizing both her mutant powers and acrobatic abilities to fight against mutant-hunting special forces.". O......K




Gothic & Lolita Psycho

The film stars actress and gravure idol Rina Akiyama as Yuki, a girl who lives at home in peace until one day a unit of assassins breaks in and slaughters her mother. In order to reveal the truth behind the seemingly senseless murder, Yuki transforms herself into a demon of vengeance by donning gothic lolita clothing, wielding a parasol as a deadly weapon, and executing the guilty in the name of God. With special effects by Yoshihiro Nishimura (Tokyo Gore Police and most of the other recent films in the new wave of Japanese Gore confection).



And Soon the Darkness

A remake of the 1970 British cult thriller. Two American girls set out on a bike-riding trip in a remote part of Argentina. When one goes mysteriously missing, the other must find her before her worst fears are realised. I've got no legitimate reason for looking forward to this aside from the fact that it stars two upcoming starlets we saw this year, Odette Yustman (The Unborn) and Amber Heard (The Informers). To be honest, the best I'm hoping for is a worthy addition to the 'hot bikini chicks in peril' sub-genre ... but you never know!



A Night in Nude 2

Teruo Ishii's sequel to his acclaimed pinku.



Raped by Satan - 18 Feb 2010


Wow, here's a new horror flick from Indonesia that sounds a lot nastier than the trailer would indicate. Actually looks to be a fun horror movie, but what a title!!



Kain Kafan Perawan (Shroud of the Virgin)


Released 25 Feb 2010. Rasty and her friends are making a home made video clip in a railway station. While shooting the video, something happens and they found demons appearing in the video.



Suster Keramas


J-idol Rin Sakuragi plays a pornstar in this new horror from Indonesia. Can't tell you too much more about it yet.



Hantu Puncak Datang Bulan (The Menstruating Puncak Ghost)


Another indonesian sex horror, starring actress Andi Soraya and dangdut singing group Trio Macan. Seems to have caused a bit of a furore in muslim circles in Indonesia, and was banned.

“The movie contains porn, which can trigger lust and, based on our research, it also contains violence,” Amirsyah Tambunan from the MUI told Kompas.com.



Secret Undercover Agent: Wildcats in Strip Royale

Starring Japanese gravure idols Kadena Reon and Morishita Yuri fighting crime in skintight catsuits, and featuring strippers, schoolgirls and acres of ludicrously hot women. What's not to love?

This is a sequel to Secret Undercover Agent: Honey & Bunny (Himitsu Sennyuu Sousakan).

Check out the awesome trailer.


          Kommentar zu Kritiker im Nebel: die fehlgeleitete Debatte um den Syrien-Text von Seymour Hersh in der WamS von Timmi   
Tja, allen Vorkommentaren zum Trotz widerspricht die OPCW in ihrem Bericht von heute der Hersh Geschichte. Da ist er wohl falschen Informationen aufgesessen. Der Generaldirektor der OPCW erklärte: "Die OPCW FFM hat die Verwendung von Sarin, ein Nerven-Gas, beim Vorfall am 4. April in Khan Shaykhun in Syrien bestätigt." Quelle: https://www.opcw.org/news/article/opcw-fact-finding-mission-confirms-use-of-chemical-weapons-in-khan-shaykhun-on-4-april-2017/ Im übrigen fehlt der Hersh Geschichte ein entscheidendes Detail. Er kann den Ort des angeblichen Bombenangriffes nicht benennen, denn das wäre ja leicht zu überprüfen. Ich würde sagen - dumm gelaufen für Assad.
          Depleted Uranium for Dummies   
The widely distributed and cited part three of the depleted uranium series: At the beginning of George W. Bush's 2003 invasion of Iraq, hundreds of thousands of 1991 Operation Desert Storm vets suffering from Gulf War Illness were praying that United Nations weapons inspectors were right and that Bush and Cheney were lying about Saddam Hussein possessing weapons of mass destruction (WMD). After all, most of the ailing vets were casualties of those weapons even though the Pentagon maintains that Iraq never used them. How could that be?
          MSNBC hosts say tabloid article a weapon in Trump feud   
NEW YORK (AP) -- &quot;Morning Joe&quot; hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, a couple onscreen and off, say the White House told them a damaging National Enquirer story about their relationship would &quot;go away&quot; if they called the president and apologized for harsh commentary....
          Patriot One enters Pacific Rim market after signing agreement with New Zealand security firm   
Top Priority Sector: 
cbrne_detection

TORONTO June 29, 2017 Patriot One Technologies Inc. (TSX.V: PAT) (OTCQB: PTOTF) (FRANKFURT: 0PL) (“Patriot One” or the “Company”), developer of the award-winning PATSCAN CMR™ concealed weapons detection system, announced today it has entered into a reseller agreement with accredited national systems integration experts, Aotea Security (NZ) Ltd. of Dunedin, New Zealand.
 

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          Comment on UCLA fires popular free speech professor by pzatchok   
But if they can't express it who would ever know? This is what happens when those free thinking progressive students grow up and become teachers but forget what their conservative teachers taught them. Eventually they don't teach the constitution or its amendments but misinterpretations of them. I.E. free speech becomes free speech, as long as it doesn't offend someone. Separation of church and state is not in the constitution. The second amendment does not mean only the military, or only in your home, or only specific weapons. And so on.
          Comment on US military tests laser weapon fired from helicopter by Edward   
LocalFluff asked: "<i>What about using a mirror as defense? Zip-zap.</i>" That might work, but it is impractical, because then your vehicle, building, soldier, etc. would look just like ... um ... its surroundings. Hmm. I think I just invented a new kind of camouflage, with the added benefit of defeating HEL fire (and brimstone). Who needs a desert uniform and a jungle uniform when the Camo-mirror Uniform (patent pending) changes with the surroundings?
          Comment on US military tests laser weapon fired from helicopter by LocalFluff   
What about using a mirror as defense? Zip-zap.
          Comment on US military tests laser weapon fired from helicopter by Rod Packwood   
If you can see it...you can kill it.
          Shingeki no Bahamut: Virgin Soul – 13   
As it turns out, Charioce wasn’t being overconfident about his chances against the gods. Sure, it looks like a rout at first, but once the human king activates his secret weapon Dromos, the battle not [...]
          Rostec reveals Pantsir-ME naval point-defense system   
Rostec has revealed its Pantsir-ME naval anti-missile and anti-aircraft weapons system at the International Maritime Defense show in St. Petersburg.
          Re: UC Berkeley: Free speech lawsuit is unfounded   

It's not the police department's job to rescue people who run into the fray of a brawl they created. Nobody was fenced in. People were free to walk out of the park and avoid violence at any time. Police did their best to take away weapons and control the crowd so it didn't spill over to other parts of town or hurt non-participants. These alt right militia groups are growing and getting more dangerous. But we get another chance to experience that when they return to Berkeley on August 27th. They are already recruiting groups from all over the country.


          Canada to allocate $1.9 million to investigate Khan Shaykhun chemical incident   
On June 29, the OPCW released a report on its investigation into the purported use of chemical weapons on April 4, 2017
          Sri Lanka: When the whole world isn't watching   
Joel Charny
Reuters AlertNet
28 Jan 09


One of the harsh realities of the humanitarian field is that some crises capture public attention, while others do not. The patterns are rather rigid. Crises in Europe and the Middle East, especially Palestine, make headlines. Large-scale natural disasters, even in obscure places, attract interest due to the inherent human fascination with immense forces beyond our control. But crises due to “complex” political conflicts outside the zones of proven public engagement are doomed to obscurity, unless it rises to such a level that “genocide” (read “another Holocaust”) can be invoked.

The contrast between Gaza and Sri Lanka prompts these observations. In Gaza, despite restrictions on international humanitarian and media access imposed by the Israelis, the whole world was watching, counting the civilian casualties minute-by-minute, while the global debate swirled on the legitimacy of Israeli and Hamas conduct in the light of international humanitarian law. The conflict and the suffering that it engendered were daily front page news. Now, with at least a temporary halt in hostilities, assessments of the damage in Gaza will proceed and donors will pledge millions of dollars for the rebuilding process.

While Gaza was the world’s focus, a conflict that raises similar issues and challenges was proceeding in the Vanni region in the north of Sri Lanka. There, the Sri Lankan military is trying to deal the final death blow to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, the guerilla movement that has been fighting for an independent state for the country’s Tamil minority in the northern part of the island. As in Gaza, civilians are trapped. Approximately 250,000 people are caught in the conflict zone, people who have already been displaced numerous times and have suffered from the perpetual difficulty of sustaining humanitarian assistance as the 25-year civil war has dragged on.

As in Gaza, the conduct of both sides has been problematic from the perspective of international humanitarian law and human rights. The Tigers are preventing people, including the local staff of UN agencies and their families, from fleeing the conflict zone. The Sri Lankan army is using heavy weaponry to shell areas where civilians are present. An attempt by the Sri Lankan army to set up a safe zone outside its area of operations foundered in the past few days, with dozens of civilians killed amid mutual recriminations by the combatants. Fewer than 5,000 Tamil civilians have managed to escape the Vanni. They are being held in government-run fenced camps in districts bordering the conflict zone with their freedom of movement restricted, even though they are Sri Lankan citizens.

The Sri Lankan government insisted that international staff of humanitarian agencies leave the Vanni in September 2008, and the conflict has drastically reduced the scale of humanitarian operations. There are few independent witnesses of the consequences of the war and the needs of the civilian population. Those present are afraid to speak out for fear of retaliation by one of the parties. The lack of information makes it even more difficult for the world to focus on the conflict, exactly what the government and the Tigers want. They both prefer to act with impunity, while using the atrocities of the other side to score propaganda points within the narrow confines of the national press and the global Tamil solidarity network.

In short, 50% of the civilian population of the Vanni is displaced; humanitarian assistance is sporadic at best; 250,000 civilians are trapped in a conflict zone, and at least 100 have been killed since January 1st; international access is virtually nil. And while on January 26th the Secretary-General was finally moved to issue a statement pleading for respect for international humanitarian law, the world couldn’t be bothered. As of January 27th, not even Relief Web was listing Sri Lanka as an on-going crisis on its home page. The dying and wounded in Sri Lanka won’t have names or faces.

Bemoaning this neglect won’t change it. The blatant disparities in international attention are just part of “the cost of doing business” in the humanitarian field.

To Sri Lankans crying out for solidarity and assistance, there is little to say. The challenge of addressing their needs falls primarily to local organizations with the courage to defy the conflicting parties, while international organizations, with the exception of the International Committee of the Red Cross, are consigned to the sidelines.

Joel R. Charny is vice president for policy with Refugees International, a Washington-based humanitarian advocacy organisation. He has extensive experience in Asia for RI, Oxfam America and the U.N. Development Programme. He has managed and assessed emergency response and post-conflict recovery programmes in Cambodia, Sri Lanka and Indonesia.
          Israel pursuing a strategy that is placing its long-term future at risk   
I came across the following article, written by the Israeli Ambassador to Singapore, in today's edition of TODAY.

Following the Israeli Ambassador's article is an essay by John J. Mearsheimer, professor of political science at the University of Chicago and co-author of The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy. I've read the book which he co-authored with Stephen M. Walt, professor of international affairs at JFK School of Government at Harvard University. The controversial book, published in 2007, started out as a controversial essay in 2006 published in the London Review of Books. (At the end of this post is a video of a 2007 documentary on the Israel Lobby in America)

Read also Stephen M. Walt's essay The myth of Israel's strategic genius and Avi Shlaim's essay How Israel brought Gaza to the brink of humanitarian catastrophe.
Lasting peace in the Middle East...

Accepting the existenceof a Jewish state there, and abandoning the dream of destroying it, is the answer

Thursday • January 22, 2009

Ilan Ben-Dov
Israeli Ambassador to Singapore

THREE weeks of fighting in Gaza have once again put the Middle East at the focal point of the international media.

Now, after another round of violence has ended, we have to ask ourselves again, what is the real root of the problem? What is the key which will lead us to peace in the Middle East?

The basic Arab argument is that the root of the problem is occupation. The Arab world accuses Israel of controlling occupied Arab territories and claims that this is the main issue which prevents peace in the Middle East.

This argument is utterly baseless. The Israelis believe that the root of the problem is the very fact that a large fraction of the Arab-Islamic world still rejects Israel’s right to exist, and rejects the basic right of Jews to live in their independent state of Israel.

Israel has shown in the past that in order to achieve peace, it is ready for territorial concessions, exactly as it did when it signed a peace treaty with its neighbour in the south, Egypt, and its neighbour in the east, Jordan. In both these cases, the dispute over territory was not an obstacle to peace.

Moreover, Israel endorses the establishment of a Palestinian independent state that will live in peace next to it.

In the last two military confrontations in the Middle East — the one with the Hezbollah in Lebanon, and the one with Hamas in Gaza — Israel had to defend itself from radical Muslim terrorist organisations which are motivated by extreme religious, Jihadistic ideology that calls for the destruction of Israel.

It is time to reveal these facts loud and clear: Both Hamas and Hezbollah are heavily and directly influenced by Iran. It is the same Iran whose President is calling for the annihilation of Israel, the same Iran which does everything possible to sabotage and to harm any attempt of a dialogue and reconciliation between the Palestinians and Israel.

Iran does not only supply the ideological basis for Hezbollah and Hamas, it supplies them with huge amounts of weapons, ammunition and money.

It is also important to answer the question of what exactly do Hamas and Hezbollah mean by speaking about “occupied territories”? For them, the whole of Israel is considered a so-called “occupied territory”. They do not distinguish between Gaza and Tel-Aviv, between the West Bank and the city of Haifa. For the Iranian President who supports them, Israel must be “wiped out of the map”.

Should this lead us to despair? Of course not.

The Middle East is nowadays divided into two parts. The first is the radical, fundamentalistic-jihadistic part that dreams of the disappearance of Israel from the region. Whoever dreams these dreams is doomed to lead the Palestinians to a deadlock and to many more years of wars, suffering, poverty and hopelessness.

On the other hand, we find the moderate and pragmatic Arab world which aspires to find a peaceful solution based on mutual recognition, justice for both sides and a territorial compromise. Such a solution will pave the way for all people in this region — and especially for the Palestinian people, who have suffered so much in recent years — to a better future.

The key to a lasting solution of the Middle Eastern conflict is therefore not a question of occupied territories. For this question, we can find a compromise.

The real key to a solution is the willingness of the Arab and the Muslim countries to recognise the existence of a Jewish state in the Middle East and to abandon the dream of destroying it.
Another War, Another Defeat
by John J. Mearsheimer
Published in the Jan 26, 2009 edition of The American Conservative


The Gaza offensive has succeeded in punishing the Palestinians but not in making Israel more secure.

Israelis and their American supporters claim that Israel learned its lessons well from the disastrous 2006 Lebanon war and has devised a winning strategy for the present war against Hamas. Of course, when a ceasefire comes, Israel will declare victory. Don’t believe it. Israel has foolishly started another war it cannot win.

The campaign in Gaza is said to have two objectives: 1) to put an end to the rockets and mortars that Palestinians have been firing into southern Israel since it withdrew from Gaza in August 2005; 2) to restore Israel’s deterrent, which was said to be diminished by the Lebanon fiasco, by Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza, and by its inability to halt Iran’s nuclear program.

But these are not the real goals of Operation Cast Lead. The actual purpose is connected to Israel’s long-term vision of how it intends to live with millions of Palestinians in its midst. It is part of a broader strategic goal: the creation of a “Greater Israel.” Specifically, Israel’s leaders remain determined to control all of what used to be known as Mandate Palestine, which includes Gaza and the West Bank. The Palestinians would have limited autonomy in a handful of disconnected and economically crippled enclaves, one of which is Gaza. Israel would control the borders around them, movement between them, the air above and the water below them.

The key to achieving this is to inflict massive pain on the Palestinians so that they come to accept the fact that they are a defeated people and that Israel will be largely responsible for controlling their future. This strategy, which was first articulated by Ze’ev Jabotinsky in the 1920s and has heavily influenced Israeli policy since 1948, is commonly referred to as the “Iron Wall.”

What has been happening in Gaza is fully consistent with this strategy.

Let’s begin with Israel’s decision to withdraw from Gaza in 2005. The conventional wisdom is that Israel was serious about making peace with the Palestinians and that its leaders hoped the exit from Gaza would be a major step toward creating a viable Palestinian state. According to the New York Times’ Thomas L. Friedman, Israel was giving the Palestinians an opportunity to “build a decent mini-state there—a Dubai on the Mediterranean,” and if they did so, it would “fundamentally reshape the Israeli debate about whether the Palestinians can be handed most of the West Bank.”

This is pure fiction. Even before Hamas came to power, the Israelis intended to create an open-air prison for the Palestinians in Gaza and inflict great pain on them until they complied with Israel’s wishes. Dov Weisglass, Ariel Sharon’s closest adviser at the time, candidly stated that the disengagement from Gaza was aimed at halting the peace process, not encouraging it. He described the disengagement as “formaldehyde that’s necessary so that there will not be a political process with the Palestinians.” Moreover, he emphasized that the withdrawal “places the Palestinians under tremendous pressure. It forces them into a corner where they hate to be.”

Arnon Soffer, a prominent Israeli demographer who also advised Sharon, elaborated on what that pressure would look like. “When 2.5 million people live in a closed-off Gaza, it’s going to be a human catastrophe. Those people will become even bigger animals than they are today, with the aid of an insane fundamentalist Islam. The pressure at the border will be awful. It’s going to be a terrible war. So, if we want to remain alive, we will have to kill and kill and kill. All day, every day.”

In January 2006, five months after the Israelis pulled their settlers out of Gaza, Hamas won a decisive victory over Fatah in the Palestinian legislative elections. This meant trouble for Israel’s strategy because Hamas was democratically elected, well organized, not corrupt like Fatah, and unwilling to accept Israel’s existence. Israel responded by ratcheting up economic pressure on the Palestinians, but it did not work. In fact, the situation took another turn for the worse in March 2007, when Fatah and Hamas came together to form a national unity government. Hamas’s stature and political power were growing, and Israel’s divide-and-conquer strategy was unraveling.

To make matters worse, the national unity government began pushing for a long-term ceasefire. The Palestinians would end all missile attacks on Israel if the Israelis would stop arresting and assassinating Palestinians and end their economic stranglehold, opening the border crossings into Gaza.

Israel rejected that offer and with American backing set out to foment a civil war between Fatah and Hamas that would wreck the national unity government and put Fatah in charge. The plan backfired when Hamas drove Fatah out of Gaza, leaving Hamas in charge there and the more pliant Fatah in control of the West Bank. Israel then tightened the screws on the blockade around Gaza, causing even greater hardship and suffering among the Palestinians living there.

Hamas responded by continuing to fire rockets and mortars into Israel, while emphasizing that they still sought a long-term ceasefire, perhaps lasting ten years or more. This was not a noble gesture on Hamas’s part: they sought a ceasefire because the balance of power heavily favored Israel. The Israelis had no interest in a ceasefire and merely intensified the economic pressure on Gaza. But in the late spring of 2008, pressure from Israelis living under the rocket attacks led the government to agree to a six-month ceasefire starting on June 19. That agreement, which formally ended on Dec. 19, immediately preceded the present war, which began on Dec. 27.

The official Israeli position blames Hamas for undermining the ceasefire. This view is widely accepted in the United States, but it is not true. Israeli leaders disliked the ceasefire from the start, and Defense Minister Ehud Barak instructed the IDF to begin preparing for the present war while the ceasefire was being negotiated in June 2008. Furthermore, Dan Gillerman, Israel’s former ambassador to the UN, reports that Jerusalem began to prepare the propaganda campaign to sell the present war months before the conflict began. For its part, Hamas drastically reduced the number of missile attacks during the first five months of the ceasefire. A total of two rockets were fired into Israel during September and October, none by Hamas.

How did Israel behave during this same period? It continued arresting and assassinating Palestinians on the West Bank, and it continued the deadly blockade that was slowly strangling Gaza. Then on Nov. 4, as Americans voted for a new president, Israel attacked a tunnel inside Gaza and killed six Palestinians. It was the first major violation of the ceasefire, and the Palestinians—who had been “careful to maintain the ceasefire,” according to Israel’s Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center—responded by resuming rocket attacks. The calm that had prevailed since June vanished as Israel ratcheted up the blockade and its attacks into Gaza and the Palestinians hurled more rockets at Israel. It is worth noting that not a single Israeli was killed by Palestinian missiles between Nov. 4 and the launching of the war on Dec. 27.

As the violence increased, Hamas made clear that it had no interest in extending the ceasefire beyond Dec. 19, which is hardly surprising, since it had not worked as intended. In mid-December, however, Hamas informed Israel that it was still willing to negotiate a long-term ceasefire if it included an end to the arrests and assassinations as well as the lifting of the blockade. But the Israelis, having used the ceasefire to prepare for war against Hamas, rejected this overture. The bombing of Gaza commenced eight days after the failed ceasefire formally ended.

If Israel wanted to stop missile attacks from Gaza, it could have done so by arranging a long-term ceasefire with Hamas. And if Israel were genuinely interested in creating a viable Palestinian state, it could have worked with the national unity government to implement a meaningful ceasefire and change Hamas’s thinking about a two-state solution. But Israel has a different agenda: it is determined to employ the Iron Wall strategy to get the Palestinians in Gaza to accept their fate as hapless subjects of a Greater Israel.

This brutal policy is clearly reflected in Israel’s conduct of the Gaza War. Israel and its supporters claim that the IDF is going to great lengths to avoid civilian casualties, in some cases taking risks that put Israeli soldiers in jeopardy. Hardly. One reason to doubt these claims is that Israel refuses to allow reporters into the war zone: it does not want the world to see what its soldiers and bombs are doing inside Gaza. At the same time, Israel has launched a massive propaganda campaign to put a positive spin on the horror stories that do emerge.

The best evidence, however, that Israel is deliberately seeking to punish the broader population in Gaza is the death and destruction the IDF has wrought on that small piece of real estate. Israel has killed over 1,000 Palestinians and wounded more than 4,000. Over half of the casualties are civilians, and many are children. The IDF’s opening salvo on Dec. 27 took place as children were leaving school, and one of its primary targets that day was a large group of graduating police cadets, who hardly qualified as terrorists. In what Ehud Barak called “an all-out war against Hamas,” Israel has targeted a university, schools, mosques, homes, apartment buildings, government offices, and even ambulances. A senior Israeli military official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, explained the logic behind Israel’s expansive target set: “There are many aspects of Hamas, and we are trying to hit the whole spectrum, because everything is connected and everything supports terrorism against Israel.” In other words, everyone is a terrorist and everything is a legitimate target.

Israelis tend to be blunt, and they occasionally say what they are really doing. After the IDF killed 40 Palestinian civilians in a UN school on Jan. 6, Ha’aretz reported that “senior officers admit that the IDF has been using enormous firepower.” One officer explained, “For us, being cautious means being aggressive. From the minute we entered, we’ve acted like we’re at war. That creates enormous damage on the ground … I just hope those who have fled the area of Gaza City in which we are operating will describe the shock.”

One might accept that Israel is waging “a cruel, all-out war against 1.5 million Palestinian civilians,” as Ha’aretz put it in an editorial, but argue that it will eventually achieve its war aims and the rest of the world will quickly forget the horrors inflicted on the people of Gaza.

This is wishful thinking. For starters, Israel is unlikely to stop the rocket fire for any appreciable period of time unless it agrees to open Gaza’s borders and stop arresting and killing Palestinians. Israelis talk about cutting off the supply of rockets and mortars into Gaza, but weapons will continue to come in via secret tunnels and ships that sneak through Israel’s naval blockade. It will also be impossible to police all of the goods sent into Gaza through legitimate channels.

Israel could try to conquer all of Gaza and lock the place down. That would probably stop the rocket attacks if Israel deployed a large enough force. But then the IDF would be bogged down in a costly occupation against a deeply hostile population. They would eventually have to leave, and the rocket fire would resume. And if Israel fails to stop the rocket fire and keep it stopped, as seems likely, its deterrent will be diminished, not strengthened.

More importantly, there is little reason to think that the Israelis can beat Hamas into submission and get the Palestinians to live quietly in a handful of Bantustans inside Greater Israel. Israel has been humiliating, torturing, and killing Palestinians in the Occupied Territories since 1967 and has not come close to cowing them. Indeed, Hamas’s reaction to Israel’s brutality seems to lend credence to Nietzsche’s remark that what does not kill you makes you stronger.

But even if the unexpected happens and the Palestinians cave, Israel would still lose because it will become an apartheid state. As Prime Minister Ehud Olmert recently said, Israel will “face a South African-style struggle” if the Palestinians do not get a viable state of their own. “As soon as that happens,” he argued, “the state of Israel is finished.” Yet Olmert has done nothing to stop settlement expansion and create a viable Palestinian state, relying instead on the Iron Wall strategy to deal with the Palestinians.

There is also little chance that people around the world who follow the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will soon forget the appalling punishment that Israel is meting out in Gaza. The destruction is just too obvious to miss, and too many people—especially in the Arab and Islamic world—care about the Palestinians’ fate. Moreover, discourse about this longstanding conflict has undergone a sea change in the West in recent years, and many of us who were once wholly sympathetic to Israel now see that the Israelis are the victimizers and the Palestinians are the victims. What is happening in Gaza will accelerate that changing picture of the conflict and long be seen as a dark stain on Israel’s reputation.

The bottom line is that no matter what happens on the battlefield, Israel cannot win its war in Gaza. In fact, it is pursuing a strategy—with lots of help from its so-called friends in the Diaspora—that is placing its long-term future at risk.



          Palestinian David faces a heavily armed, merciless and overbearing Israeli Goliath: How Israel brought Gaza to the brink of humanitarian catastrophe   
How Israel brought Gaza to the brink of humanitarian catastrophe
Avi Shlaim, The Guardian, 7 Jan 2009

Oxford professor of international relations Avi Shlaim served in the Israeli army and has never questioned the state's legitimacy. But its merciless assault on Gaza has led him to devastating conclusions

The only way to make sense of Israel's senseless war in Gaza is through understanding the historical context. Establishing the state of Israel in May 1948 involved a monumental injustice to the Palestinians. British officials bitterly resented American partisanship on behalf of the infant state. On 2 June 1948, Sir John Troutbeck wrote to the foreign secretary, Ernest Bevin, that the Americans were responsible for the creation of a gangster state headed by "an utterly unscrupulous set of leaders". I used to think that this judgment was too harsh but Israel's vicious assault on the people of Gaza, and the Bush administration's complicity in this assault, have reopened the question.

I write as someone who served loyally in the Israeli army in the mid-1960s and who has never questioned the legitimacy of the state of Israel within its pre-1967 borders. What I utterly reject is the Zionist colonial project beyond the Green Line. The Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in the aftermath of the June 1967 war had very little to do with security and everything to do with territorial expansionism. The aim was to establish Greater Israel through permanent political, economic and military control over the Palestinian territories. And the result has been one of the most prolonged and brutal military occupations of modern times.

Four decades of Israeli control did incalculable damage to the economy of the Gaza Strip. With a large population of 1948 refugees crammed into a tiny strip of land, with no infrastructure or natural resources, Gaza's prospects were never bright. Gaza, however, is not simply a case of economic under-development but a uniquely cruel case of deliberate de-development. To use the Biblical phrase, Israel turned the people of Gaza into the hewers of wood and the drawers of water, into a source of cheap labour and a captive market for Israeli goods. The development of local industry was actively impeded so as to make it impossible for the Palestinians to end their subordination to Israel and to establish the economic underpinnings essential for real political independence.

Gaza is a classic case of colonial exploitation in the post-colonial era. Jewish settlements in occupied territories are immoral, illegal and an insurmountable obstacle to peace. They are at once the instrument of exploitation and the symbol of the hated occupation. In Gaza, the Jewish settlers numbered only 8,000 in 2005 compared with 1.4 million local residents. Yet the settlers controlled 25% of the territory, 40% of the arable land and the lion's share of the scarce water resources. Cheek by jowl with these foreign intruders, the majority of the local population lived in abject poverty and unimaginable misery. Eighty per cent of them still subsist on less than $2 a day. The living conditions in the strip remain an affront to civilised values, a powerful precipitant to resistance and a fertile breeding ground for political extremism.

In August 2005 a Likud government headed by Ariel Sharon staged a unilateral Israeli pullout from Gaza, withdrawing all 8,000 settlers and destroying the houses and farms they had left behind. Hamas, the Islamic resistance movement, conducted an effective campaign to drive the Israelis out of Gaza. The withdrawal was a humiliation for the Israeli Defence Forces. To the world, Sharon presented the withdrawal from Gaza as a contribution to peace based on a two-state solution. But in the year after, another 12,000 Israelis settled on the West Bank, further reducing the scope for an independent Palestinian state. Land-grabbing and peace-making are simply incompatible. Israel had a choice and it chose land over peace.

The real purpose behind the move was to redraw unilaterally the borders of Greater Israel by incorporating the main settlement blocs on the West Bank to the state of Israel. Withdrawal from Gaza was thus not a prelude to a peace deal with the Palestinian Authority but a prelude to further Zionist expansion on the West Bank. It was a unilateral Israeli move undertaken in what was seen, mistakenly in my view, as an Israeli national interest. Anchored in a fundamental rejection of the Palestinian national identity, the withdrawal from Gaza was part of a long-term effort to deny the Palestinian people any independent political existence on their land.

Israel's settlers were withdrawn but Israeli soldiers continued to control all access to the Gaza Strip by land, sea and air. Gaza was converted overnight into an open-air prison. From this point on, the Israeli air force enjoyed unrestricted freedom to drop bombs, to make sonic booms by flying low and breaking the sound barrier, and to terrorise the hapless inhabitants of this prison.

Israel likes to portray itself as an island of democracy in a sea of authoritarianism. Yet Israel has never in its entire history done anything to promote democracy on the Arab side and has done a great deal to undermine it. Israel has a long history of secret collaboration with reactionary Arab regimes to suppress Palestinian nationalism. Despite all the handicaps, the Palestinian people succeeded in building the only genuine democracy in the Arab world with the possible exception of Lebanon. In January 2006, free and fair elections for the Legislative Council of the Palestinian Authority brought to power a Hamas-led government. Israel, however, refused to recognise the democratically elected government, claiming that Hamas is purely and simply a terrorist organisation.

America and the EU shamelessly joined Israel in ostracising and demonising the Hamas government and in trying to bring it down by withholding tax revenues and foreign aid. A surreal situation thus developed with a significant part of the international community imposing economic sanctions not against the occupier but against the occupied, not against the oppressor but against the oppressed.

As so often in the tragic history of Palestine, the victims were blamed for their own misfortunes. Israel's propaganda machine persistently purveyed the notion that the Palestinians are terrorists, that they reject coexistence with the Jewish state, that their nationalism is little more than antisemitism, that Hamas is just a bunch of religious fanatics and that Islam is incompatible with democracy. But the simple truth is that the Palestinian people are a normal people with normal aspirations. They are no better but they are no worse than any other national group. What they aspire to, above all, is a piece of land to call their own on which to live in freedom and dignity.

Like other radical movements, Hamas began to moderate its political programme following its rise to power. From the ideological rejectionism of its charter, it began to move towards pragmatic accommodation of a two-state solution. In March 2007, Hamas and Fatah formed a national unity government that was ready to negotiate a long-term ceasefire with Israel. Israel, however, refused to negotiate with a government that included Hamas.

It continued to play the old game of divide and rule between rival Palestinian factions. In the late 1980s, Israel had supported the nascent Hamas in order to weaken Fatah, the secular nationalist movement led by Yasser Arafat. Now Israel began to encourage the corrupt and pliant Fatah leaders to overthrow their religious political rivals and recapture power. Aggressive American neoconservatives participated in the sinister plot to instigate a Palestinian civil war. Their meddling was a major factor in the collapse of the national unity government and in driving Hamas to seize power in Gaza in June 2007 to pre-empt a Fatah coup.

The war unleashed by Israel on Gaza on 27 December was the culmination of a series of clashes and confrontations with the Hamas government. In a broader sense, however, it is a war between Israel and the Palestinian people, because the people had elected the party to power. The declared aim of the war is to weaken Hamas and to intensify the pressure until its leaders agree to a new ceasefire on Israel's terms. The undeclared aim is to ensure that the Palestinians in Gaza are seen by the world simply as a humanitarian problem and thus to derail their struggle for independence and statehood.

The timing of the war was determined by political expediency. A general election is scheduled for 10 February and, in the lead-up to the election, all the main contenders are looking for an opportunity to prove their toughness. The army top brass had been champing at the bit to deliver a crushing blow to Hamas in order to remove the stain left on their reputation by the failure of the war against Hezbollah in Lebanon in July 2006. Israel's cynical leaders could also count on apathy and impotence of the pro-western Arab regimes and on blind support from President Bush in the twilight of his term in the White House. Bush readily obliged by putting all the blame for the crisis on Hamas, vetoing proposals at the UN Security Council for an immediate ceasefire and issuing Israel with a free pass to mount a ground invasion of Gaza.

As always, mighty Israel claims to be the victim of Palestinian aggression but the sheer asymmetry of power between the two sides leaves little room for doubt as to who is the real victim. This is indeed a conflict between David and Goliath but the Biblical image has been inverted - a small and defenceless Palestinian David faces a heavily armed, merciless and overbearing Israeli Goliath. The resort to brute military force is accompanied, as always, by the shrill rhetoric of victimhood and a farrago of self-pity overlaid with self-righteousness. In Hebrew this is known as the syndrome of bokhim ve-yorim, "crying and shooting".

To be sure, Hamas is not an entirely innocent party in this conflict. Denied the fruit of its electoral victory and confronted with an unscrupulous adversary, it has resorted to the weapon of the weak - terror. Militants from Hamas and Islamic Jihad kept launching Qassam rocket attacks against Israeli settlements near the border with Gaza until Egypt brokered a six-month ceasefire last June. The damage caused by these primitive rockets is minimal but the psychological impact is immense, prompting the public to demand protection from its government. Under the circumstances, Israel had the right to act in self-defence but its response to the pinpricks of rocket attacks was totally disproportionate. The figures speak for themselves. In the three years after the withdrawal from Gaza, 11 Israelis were killed by rocket fire. On the other hand, in 2005-7 alone, the IDF killed 1,290 Palestinians in Gaza, including 222 children.

Whatever the numbers, killing civilians is wrong. This rule applies to Israel as much as it does to Hamas, but Israel's entire record is one of unbridled and unremitting brutality towards the inhabitants of Gaza. Israel also maintained the blockade of Gaza after the ceasefire came into force which, in the view of the Hamas leaders, amounted to a violation of the agreement. During the ceasefire, Israel prevented any exports from leaving the strip in clear violation of a 2005 accord, leading to a sharp drop in employment opportunities. Officially, 49.1% of the population is unemployed. At the same time, Israel restricted drastically the number of trucks carrying food, fuel, cooking-gas canisters, spare parts for water and sanitation plants, and medical supplies to Gaza. It is difficult to see how starving and freezing the civilians of Gaza could protect the people on the Israeli side of the border. But even if it did, it would still be immoral, a form of collective punishment that is strictly forbidden by international humanitarian law.

The brutality of Israel's soldiers is fully matched by the mendacity of its spokesmen. Eight months before launching the current war on Gaza, Israel established a National Information Directorate. The core messages of this directorate to the media are that Hamas broke the ceasefire agreements; that Israel's objective is the defence of its population; and that Israel's forces are taking the utmost care not to hurt innocent civilians. Israel's spin doctors have been remarkably successful in getting this message across. But, in essence, their propaganda is a pack of lies.

A wide gap separates the reality of Israel's actions from the rhetoric of its spokesmen. It was not Hamas but the IDF that broke the ceasefire. It di d so by a raid into Gaza on 4 November that killed six Hamas men. Israel's objective is not just the defence of its population but the eventual overthrow of the Hamas government in Gaza by turning the people against their rulers. And far from taking care to spare civilians, Israel is guilty of indiscriminate bombing and of a three-year-old blockade that has brought the inhabitants of Gaza, now 1.5 million, to the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe.

The Biblical injunction of an eye for an eye is savage enough. But Israel's insane offensive against Gaza seems to follow the logic of an eye for an eyelash. After eight days of bombing, with a death toll of more than 400 Palestinians and four Israelis, the gung-ho cabinet ordered a land invasion of Gaza the consequences of which are incalculable.

No amount of military escalation can buy Israel immunity from rocket attacks from the military wing of Hamas. Despite all the death and destruction that Israel has inflicted on them, they kept up their resistance and they kept firing their rockets. This is a movement that glorifies victimhood and martyrdom. There is simply no military solution to the conflict between the two communities. The problem with Israel's concept of security is that it denies even the most elementary security to the other community. The only way for Israel to achieve security is not through shooting but through talks with Hamas, which has repeatedly declared its readiness to negotiate a long-term ceasefire with the Jewish state within its pre-1967 borders for 20, 30, or even 50 years. Israel has rejected this offer for the same reason it spurned the Arab League peace plan of 2002, which is still on the table: it involves concessions and compromises.

This brief review of Israel's record over the past four decades makes it difficult to resist the conclusion that it has become a rogue state with "an utterly unscrupulous set of leaders". A rogue state habitually violates international law, possesses weapons of mass destruction and practises terrorism - the use of violence against civilians for political purposes. Israel fulfils all of these three criteria; the cap fits and it must wear it. Israel's real aim is not peaceful coexistence with its Palestinian neighbours but military domination. It keeps compounding the mistakes of the past with new and more disastrous ones. Politicians, like everyone else, are of course free to repeat the lies and mistakes of the past. But it is not mandatory to do so.

Avi Shlaim is a professor of international relations at the University of Oxford and the author of The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World and of Lion of Jordan: King Hussein's Life in War and Peace.
          OPCW Says Sarin Used In Syrian Town In April   
The international chemical weapons watchdog says its fact-finding mission has confirmed that the banned nerve agent Sarin was used in northern Syria in April.
          At Vienna forum, young people raise their voices for world free of nuclear weapons   

Lassina Zerbo, the Executive Secretary of the CTBTO, with young people attending the Science and Technology 2017 Conference in Vienna, Austria. Photo: CTBTO 29 June 2017 - Around 100 young people from 54 countries are raising their voices and harnessing social media to help mobilize support for a world free of nuclear weapons, and advance the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty .


          Shooter Down after Hitting Multiple People at U.S. Hospital   

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A shooter opened fire at a Bronx-Lebanon Hospital in New York just before 3 p.m. Eastern Friday afternoon.

The New York Times is reporting that three doctors were shot on the 16th and 17th floors of the hospital. Four other people were shot as well. The suspect reportedly used a doctor's lab coat to disguise himself and his weapon before opening fire.

The suspect was been identified as fired former family doctor Henry Bello, who was armed with a rifle. The 45-year-old is now dead from a self-inflicted gun shot wound. Fox News claims he was armed with an M-16 rifle. One female victim has been confirmed dead, too. 

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Mayor Bill De Blasio spoke to the press just after 5:30 p.m. Eastern.

“Thank God this was not an actor terrorism,” he began. “It is an isolated incident. Appears to be a workplace related matter. But that makes it no less tragic or no less horrible.”

“One doctor is dead, and there are several doctors who are fighting for their lives right now, amongst those who are wounded,” he continued.

He mentioned many acts heroism by hospital personnel to preserve people’s lives, as well as the quick actions of law enforcement officers and firefighters. 

NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill also spoke to the press, saying the suspect tried to set himself on fire before shooting himself to death.

Since the press conference, the New York Post has uncovered disturbing details about Bello's past. He was arrested in 2004 for sexual abuse and again in 2009. That second case has been sealed. He's still listed on the hospital's website, but it doesn't appear that he has a valid medical license. 

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The Associated Press reported on the nature of his firing:

https://twitter.com/AP/status/880919513340018688

The hospital describes itself as "the largest voluntary, not-for-profit health care system serving the South and Central Bronx." Their two facilities see 1.1 million visits annually. They claim to have one of the busiest emergency rooms in New York.

Please pray for the law enforcement officers and victims involved!


          National firearms amnesty targets illegal weapons   
Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Services Mark Ryan and Commissioner Ian Stewart are aiming to reduce the number of unregistered and unwanted firearms in Queensland through a national firearms amnesty. From July 1 to September 30, anyone who has… Read Post
          Conservative Group Sues After Internet Giant Labels Them a ‘Hate Group’   

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When you’re wanting to donate to a charity or nonprofit group, it’s a good idea to do a little research to make sure they’re legitimate and don’t support causes that you oppose. That’s why GuideStar exists, and they’ve become the internet’s largest compendium of data on charities, giving potential donors information on 2,000 different charities, according to the Associated Press.

But then they did something really bizarre. Early in June, they allowed the left-leaning Southern Poverty Law Center to attach a “hate group” label to any nonprofit they didn’t like.

It was akin to giving a rambunctious child a brush full of paint and leaving them alone in a white-walled room for an hour.

GuideStar_Hate_2.jpg

The SPLC went to work, labeling 46 groups as “hate groups.” Some of them included conservative and Christian groups like the conservative Christian Family Research Council, the fundamentalist Christian American Family Association, the conservative Christian Alliance Defending Freedom, and the evangelical Christian Liberty Counsel.

The SPLC’s label sat prominently near the top of every flagged group’s page, warning potential donors to stay away. GuideStar defended their decision to let the SPLC run wild.

Not surprisingly, 41 of the “hate groups” wrote a letter to GuideStar to complain, according to Life Site News. That’s when GuideStar decided to remove the “hate group” label from those 41 groups’ pages, but they made it clear the SPLC’s information on each of those nonprofits would remain readily available upon request.

Now one of those conservative Christian Groups is suing GuideStar for defamation. Florida-based Liberty Counsel uses litigation to defend the rights of Christians in America, and now they’re using their legal muscle to defend what they do. The case is called “Liberty Counsel vs. GuideStar USA, Inc.”

Liberty Counsel chairman Mat Staver claims, "GuideStar’s CEO, Jacob Harold, is using GuideStar as a weapon to defame, harm, and promote his liberal agenda by using the SPLC to falsely label good nonprofit organizations as ‘hate groups.”

"GuideStar has not retracted its ‘hate group’ label and continues to provide false, defamatory and harmful information it pushes as fact to the public. The damage by GuideStar is far reaching because this false and defamatory labeling has been spread through scores of media sources and the internet. It also appears on the GuideStar Wikipedia page,” he continued.

As of Thursday, the Wikipedia pages for most of the targeted groups mentioned above now prominently feature the SPLC’s designation of them as hate groups, making the attack widespread indeed.

What do you think about this? Comment, react to, or share this on Facebook.


          WELL, THIS IS THE 21ST CENTURY, YOU KNOW: The Army is flight testing helicopter-mounted laser weapon…   
WELL, THIS IS THE 21ST CENTURY, YOU KNOW: The Army is flight testing helicopter-mounted laser weapons.
          Radio Free Northwest: Price-Tag Attack Army Activism – RFN 062717   
Cm5K0s6W8AEH22Y

Harold Covington hosts a new episode of Radio Free Northwest, beginning with a reminder for people that homosexuality cannot be tolerated in the movement for what should be obvious reasons. The same goes for non-Whites, no matter how small the adulteration of their blood is. Regardless of whose fault it is, anyone who genuinely believes in the movement will stay away from it if they are compromised, rather than risk causing us all further embarrassment.

Gretchen reviews Miguel Serrano’s ‘Maya: Reality is an Illusion’ this week, which is a series of essays based on the ideas Miguel Serrano had while meditating to activate his chakras. It is taken for granted that the reader knows about the legends of the u-boat in the middle of the hollow earth and the connections the Third Reich had with aliens and UFOs. The book also claims that secret reality distorting weapons were used during the war and that the real Hess was not really in prison but living on the moon. But, if the Germans really had colonies on the moon and in Antarctica and had super-advanced technologies, then why didn’t Germany win the war?

The Trucker is in Idaho and is feeling quite baffled by what is going on in Britain regarding knife laws, leading him to wonder what people do in the country for self defence? After that Harold returns to talk some more about price tag attacks and the young men who fail to realise there will be consequences to their actions when they spazz out and kill lots of Moslems or Negroes. The idea has been put forward that maybe triggering them might be an art that we should develop, so we could then trigger them all at once to work like an army for us. The problem is, these types are unreliable by definition. The one asset they have is that they are too stupid or crazy to feel fear, but that then gets wasted on killing pointless people instead of dedicating it to freeing our people.

Presented by Harold Covington


Radio Free Northwest: Price-Tag Attack Army to the Rescue – RFN 062717




Download (57:48)

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JOHN TYNDALL MEMORIAL MEETING JULY 1st CLICK IMAGE FOR DETAILS

Speakers including Peter Rushton, Eddy Morrison, Dr Andrew Emerson, Richard Edmonds, Mark Collett, Alison Chabloz, Steve Frost, Max Musson, Jez Turner, Julie Lake and more.


          US tests Apache helicopters with mounted laser beams   
An Apache helicopter has successfully acquired and hit an unmanned target with a laser gun for the first time in history. Mounted on an Apache AH-64 attack helicopter, the high energy laser tracked and directed energy on the stationary target which was a little less than a mile away. The achievement proves that laser weapons are...
          Andrew Rayel - Find Your Harmony Radioshow 073 (2017-06-29)   

http://www.fotoshara.ru/images/2017/06/16/fgnucpbtradj.jpg
Artist:Andrew Rayel
Title: Andrew Rayel  - Find Your Harmony Radioshow 073 (2017-06-29)
Genre: Trance, Progressive, Uplifting Trance
Year: 2017
Tracks: 01 (no *.cue)
Time: 60 Min
Format: mp3, mixed
Quality: 320kbps | 44.1 kHz | Stereo
Size: 137 MB

Tracklist:
01. DoubleV - Wild things (ID Remix) [Wildrun]
02. Ruben de Ronde X Rodg X Genix - Midnight Blue [Statement!]
03. Rub!k - First Light [Armada Captivating]
04. ATB - Pages (feat. HALIENE) (ATB’s Festival Mix) [Armada Music]
05. Airborn, Bogdan Vix & KeyPlayer feat. Diana Leah - Waiting [Essentializm]
06. Orjan Nilsen feat. Rykka - The Hardest Part [Armind]
07. Andrew Rayel & Max Vangeli feat. Kye - Heavy Love [Armind]
08. NWYR - Voltage [Free Download]
09. Chris Schweizer - Atom [Who’s Afraid Of 138_!]
10. Jochen Miller & JES - Head On [High Contrast]
11. Tenishia feat. Jonathan Mendelsohn - Sun Comes Again (Eximinds Remix) [Interplay]
12. Armin van Buuren feat. Josh Cumbee - Sunny Days (Club Mix) [Armind]
13. TWIIG - Tarantella [Mainstage]
14. 4 Strings - Beneath The Stars [Amsterdam Trance]
15. David Gravell feat. Alice Berg - Young Love [A State Of Trance]
16. Gareth Emery feat. Christina Novelli - Concrete Angel (Dash Berlin Remix) [Garuda]
17. KhoMha - The Creator [A State Of Trance]
18. Assaf feat. Diana Leah - Weapons [Black Sunset Music]
19. LTN & Julie Thompson - Devil & Deep [Interplay]
20. Anske - Xplorer [Coldharbour Recordings]
21. Chicane Feat. Bryan Adams - Don’t Give Up [Xtravaganza]

Download   Andrew Rayel  - Find Your Harmony Radioshow 073 (2017-06-29) 


          PAR Technology Subsidiary Announces New $10.9 M USAF Subcontract Award in Saudi Arabia   
PAR Technology Corporation (NYSE:PAR) today announced that its indirect subsidiary, Rome Research Corporation (RRC), has been awarded a subcontract from Scientific Research Corporation of Charleston, SC to monitor Paveway IV munitions, Stand-Off Weapons and F-15SA Critical Controlled Assets and provide Electronic Security Systems Manager (ESSM) operations at various Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) designated locations within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The subcontract includes a base year with up ...
          Mummy's Island (2017) Latest Full Hindi Dubbed Movie | Charlie | 2017 Fantasy Action Movie   

Mummy's Island is a 2017 Blockbuster Hollywood Action Movie in Hindi Dubbed Starring Charlie Trairat. Its a Thai fantasy film. It is based on a story from Phra Aphai Mani, an epic poem by Sunthorn Phu. Charlie Trairat, the young male lead from Fan Chan, portrays the title character, a boy who is the son of a mermaid who is sent on a magical quest to find his father, a prince. It is a mix of live action and computer-generated imagery.

On a quest to find his father, Sudsakorn is called upon to slay many evil dragons and vicious beasts by using his magical weaponry. But, will he survive the forces of evil before he meets his father?

Click to Susbscribe Us: http://goo.gl/Bscph8
          Dirk Koetter Talks Targets, Happiness & Winning   

The sage of Tampa Bay sports, eye-RAH! Kaufman, has been buzzing all spring about how Dirk Koetter might have to focus on spreading the ball around to keep his stockpile of weapons content and maintain good feelings in the huddle. […]

The post Dirk Koetter Talks Targets, Happiness & Winning appeared first on JoeBucsFan.com.


          By: zenpundit   
<b>"And as long as I’m talking about South Korea, I note that for a long time it a basket case run by a dictatorship. No more. I suppose if Nixon had been president in 1953 he would have tossed them under the bus, too"</b> Well, Nixon was Vice-president then and he did not feel that way about South Korea. More than that, he advocated threatening to use nuclear weapons to stymie Communist victory in Vietnam during Dien Bien Phu and again over Communist infiltration of Laos. Ike said no. The reason for Nixon's position then is that circumstances were different in a strategic sense. If the South Vietnamese Army fought their war ten times harder than the Afghans have the past decade, the South Koreans fought three times as hard in their war than the South Vietnamese. The ROK army did not lack for martial spirit then or now (the South Korean units later sent to Vietnam to fight were greatly feared by the Vietcong. The US also enjoyed overwhelming nuclear superiority during the 1950's in every category - megatonnage, throw weight, accuracy, delivery vehicles etc. Nixon knew the US could play from a position of overwhelming strength in Korea or Indochina at that time. Times changed. A combination of a Soviet arms build-up and McNamara-LBJ policy of intentionally allowing the Soviets to catch-up had eroded that great advantage. Nixon inherited that weaker hand along with a war in Vietnam the best and the brightest had royally screwed up. Momentum internationally was on the Soviet side and Nixon changed that by flipping China into an anti-Soviet camp. If you think the 70's were bad - and they were - imagine them with even less Soviet restraint Nixon did not *want* Saigon to fall, certainly not on his watch, and he hoped US aid and air support could keep ARVN on an even footing with the North. But his assessment that South Vietnam was less important to US national security than China tilting against the Soviets in sync with America was sound. The aid cut-off by Democrats to Saigon was not something he ever anticipated and probably would not have happened but for Watergate weakening the presidency and emboldening the anti-war wing of the Democratic Party. Nixon also overestimated how much influence China and even the USSR had with Hanoi in brokering a peace deal. Nixon was not afraid to squeeze when he had an advantage but LBJ did not leave him very much to work with in 1969 but did bequeath Nixon many extremely serious problems to fix
          L’administration Trump autorise une vente d’armes de 1,3 milliard de dollars à Taïwan   

La Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), l’agence chargée des exportations de matériels militaires américains, a recommandé au Congrès d’accepter plusieurs ventes d’armes destinées à Taïwan. Le total s’élève à 1,3 milliard de dollars. Dans le détail, ces ventes portent sur 56 AGM-154 Joint Standoff Weapon [JSOW, une bombe guidée planante], des kits de conversion de […]

Cet article L’administration Trump autorise une vente d’armes de 1,3 milliard de dollars à Taïwan est apparu en premier sur Zone Militaire.


          P7110P▼THE Dallas(ザ ダラス) ヴィンテージライク イヤリング▼rb   
P7110P▼THE Dallas(ザ ダラス) ヴィンテー…
現在価格:7,900 円,入札数:-,終了日時:2017/07/06 00:59
           Are These The 11 Brainiest Guitarists Ever?   
Are These The 11 Brainiest Guitarists Ever?When you’re not rocking out, it’s good to be reading-up. Here’s 11-plus guitarists who turned a passing interest into much more than just a hobby, and proved genuinely super-clever when it comes to Astrophysics, weapon tech, microchips, pro poker, nautical knots and much more. But who are they?
          Russians heartbreakers: StValentines Day – Dress and Stockings for G3F   
Russians heartbreakers: StValentines Day – Dress and Stockings for G3F
Russians heartbreakers: StValentines Day – Dress and Stockings for G3F These dress and stockings for young ladies and pretty girls, they very sexy,despite the fact that they are very simple.The production of this garment dedicated to the celebration of Valentine’s day , although these dress and stockings can be everyday. Later I will Supplement this model with a new texture pack and colors. Thank you for supporting my product! Nice render! https://www.renderosity.com/mod/bcs/russians-heartbreakers-stvalentines-day---dress-and-stockings-for-g3f/113791/
          ਕੈਟ ਤੰਤਰ ਤੇ ਪੁਲਸੀਆਂ ਕੋਲ ਨਜਾਇਜ਼ ਹਥਆਿਰਾਂ ਦੇ ਜਖੀਰਆਿਂ ਦੀ ਜਾਂਚ ਲਈ ਹਾਈਕੋਰਟ ਅਦਾਲਤੀ ਕਮਸ਼ਿਨ ਬਣਾਏ: ਦਲ ਖਾਲਸਾ   

ਦਲ ਖਾਲਸਾ ਨੇ ਪੰਜਾਬ ਅਤੇ ਹਰਿਆਣਾ ਹਾਈ ਕੋਰਟ ਨੂੰ ਇਕ ਨਿਆਇਕ ਕਮਿਸ਼ਨ ਬਣਾਉਣ ਦੀ ਅਪੀਲ ਕੀਤੀ ਤਾਂ ਕਿ ਪੁਲਿਸ ਵਲੋਂ ਖਾੜਕੂਵਾਦ ਵਿਰੁੱਧ ਲੜ੍ਹਨ ਦੇ ਨਾਂ ਹੇਠ ਖੜੇ ਕੀਤੇ 'ਕੈਟ-ਤੰਤਰ' ਦੀ ਜਾਂਚ ਹੋ ਸਕੇ ਅਤੇ ਨਾਲ ਹੀ ਉਹਨਾਂ ਪੁਲਿਸ ਅਫਸਰਾਂ ਦਾ ਪਤਾ ਲਗਾਇਆ ਜਾਵੇ ਜਿਹਨਾਂ ਨੇ ਨਜ਼ਾਇਜ ਹਥਿਆਰਾਂ ਦਾ ਜਖੀਰਾ ਆਪਣੇ ਕੋਲ ਸਾਂਭ ਕੇ ਰਖਿਆ ਹੋਇਆ ਹੈ।

The post ਕੈਟ ਤੰਤਰ ਤੇ ਪੁਲਸੀਆਂ ਕੋਲ ਨਜਾਇਜ਼ ਹਥਆਿਰਾਂ ਦੇ ਜਖੀਰਆਿਂ ਦੀ ਜਾਂਚ ਲਈ ਹਾਈਕੋਰਟ ਅਦਾਲਤੀ ਕਮਸ਼ਿਨ ਬਣਾਏ: ਦਲ ਖਾਲਸਾ appeared first on Sikh Siyasat News.


          ਇੰਸਪੈਕਟਰ ਇੰਦਰਜੀਤ ਕੋਲੋਂ ਨਸ਼ਾ ਅਤੇ ਏ.ਕੇ. 47 ਮਿਲਣ ਤੋਂ ਬਾਅਦ ਮਾਲਖਾਨਿਆਂ ਦੀ “ਜਾਂਚ” ਦੇ ਹੁਕਮ   

ਥਾਣਾ ਕਰਤਾਰਪੁਰ ਦੇ ਮਾਲਖਾਨੇ ਵਿੱਚੋਂ ਦੋ ਦਹਾਕੇ ਪਹਿਲਾਂ "ਗੁੰਮ" ਹੋਈਆਂ ਦੋ ਏ.ਕੇ. 47 ਗੰਨਾਂ ਨੂੰ ਲੱਭਣ ਲਈ ਜ਼ਿਲ੍ਹਾ ਦਿਹਾਤੀ ਪੁਲਿਸ ਦੇ ਐਸਐਸਪੀ ਨੇ ਰਾਈਫਲਾਂ ਗੁੰਮ ਹੋਣ ਦੇ ਮਾਮਲੇ ਵਿੱਚ ਵਿਸ਼ੇਸ਼ ਜਾਂਚ ਟੀਮ ਬਣਾ ਦਿੱਤੀ ਹੈ।

The post ਇੰਸਪੈਕਟਰ ਇੰਦਰਜੀਤ ਕੋਲੋਂ ਨਸ਼ਾ ਅਤੇ ਏ.ਕੇ. 47 ਮਿਲਣ ਤੋਂ ਬਾਅਦ ਮਾਲਖਾਨਿਆਂ ਦੀ “ਜਾਂਚ” ਦੇ ਹੁਕਮ appeared first on Sikh Siyasat News.


          10 Innovative Medieval Weapons: You Would Not Want To Be At The Sharp End Of These!   
Long before modern warfare, there was a time of knights in shining armor atop equally armored horses fighting for the hand of a maiden or in pitched battle. However, the weapons that these knights wielded expanded far past that of an ordinary sword...
Submitted by Marty Powell to Science & Tech  |   Note-it!  |   Add a Comment

          MSNBC hosts say tabloid article a weapon in Trump feud   
NEW YORK (AP) -- &quot;Morning Joe&quot; hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, a couple onscreen and off, say the White House told them a damaging National Enquirer story about their relationship would &quot;go away&quot; if they called the president and apologized for harsh commentary....
          Flashmob / Christopher Farnsworth.   
cover imageGifted troubleshooter John Smith, who can hear other people's thoughts, must take down a shadowy figure who has weaponized the Internet, using social media to put a price on the heads of his targets.
          Congress authorizes boost of CT-made weapons systems   
WASHINGTON — House and Senate Armed Services panels have finished work on bills that would allow increased submarine production and boost the Pentagon’s authority to buy Sikorsky-made helicopters and F-35 fighter jets whose engines are made by Pratt & Whitney.
          Comment on Today’s MGTOW hero wants to bash women with a lead pipe, thinks Wonder Woman is overrated by Dalillama: Irate Social Engineer   
@Sandra <blockquote>Stone/bone tips also mean she could replenish her specialty weapons in the field with a piece of flint, a crafting skill, and some time. Which, if her people don’t settle down, logically she should have. </blockquote> Regardless of if they settle or not, really. <blockquote>I was considering a tribe of hobgoblins who don’t do the settling down thing in the light of the Picts and Celts and Gauls, but why would they be that familiar? Could definitely draw more influences from the Aztec and Maya civilizations. Though I am white, so I’d need to be very careful about doing that respectfully.</blockquote> I have a writeup I did of a culture of (mostly) orcs influenced heavily by Cossacks. The rode about on semi-domesticated war bison. <blockquote>I did much the same as you for my game – I kept everything in this one town, and it still got out of my control. Probably cause I kept bad notes. I remember things too well for my own good, so I get used to remembering always, so I forget to take notes, so everything falls apart. It’s a problem.</blockquote> I was running it on Roll20, in text chat mode, so I had archives to refer to :) <blockquote>I need to get a dress like that sometime.</blockquote> You should, they're great.
          Sheriff Tucker refuses to back down to ACLU   
The ACLU found out the hard way that when it swings at a Sheriff, the Sheriff might swing back.  The ACLU hit Madison County Sheriff Randy Tucker last month with a lawsuit that it announced in a highly charged press conference last month.  It raised the spectres of Mississippi's pasts and accused the Sheriff of placing the Madison County black community "under a state of seige".  Sheriff Tucker was having none of it and fired right back at the ACLU in a response filed yesterday in court.  The Madison County Sheriff refused to back down to the ACLU and got right down in the mud with his accusers.  Earlier post and copy of lawsuit.

The ACLU charged that Sheriff Tucker was unfairly targeting minorities through the use of roadblocks and checkpoints in a lawsuit filed last month.  The ACLU represented ten black plaintiffs who live in Madison County.  The complaint charged that the arrest rate for blacks was nearly five times the arrest rate for whites.  The complaint charged that Sheriff Tucker's policies placed "the Black community of Madison County under a permanent state of siege."  The ACLU charged

Although only 38% of Madison County residents are Black,  approximately 73% of arrests in Madison County between May and September of 2016 were of Black individuals. Only 23% arrests during this time period were of white individuals, even though Madison County is 57% white.  These statistics suggest that the arrest rate for Black individuals is nearly five times the arrest rate for white individuals in Madison County.
However, the ACLU complaint does not end at the use of roadblocks.  It also accuses deputies of "forcibly" entering homes without a warrant to harass blacks.  It alleges that one man was beaten, handcuffed, and choked in a cruiser because he would not sign a false witness statement against his neighbor.  Other examples are cited as well. 

Madison deputies allegedly use "jump-out patrols" to harass the black community as well.  Deputies who are not in uniform drive unmarked cars.  They allegedly pull up to a group of young black men walking, jump out of the car, and proceed to search them yet do not do the same thing to white residents of Madison County.


There is always a "Rest of the Story" and Sheriff Tucker's response provides his version of it.  The Sheriff said the managers of Canton Estates and other apartment complexes asked for his help:
Sheriff Tucker has also received multiple requests since taking office from the Canton,Mississippi Police Department, managers of various apartment complexes and housing projects in predominately Black neighborhoods in both Madison County and the City of Canton, and many businesses asking that the Madison County Sheriff’s Department conduct roadblocks near their neighborhoods and businesses. The Sheriff’s Department has also been asked by these same entities, as well as schools within the Madison County School District, to patrol their streets, neighborhoods or schools in an effort to control criminal activity and to control the distribution and use of drugs and contraband.   Sheriff Tucker has honored these requests and has been thankedfor his service to these areas, businesses, and schools. (p.12)
The ACLU complained that the roadblocks and checkpoints targeted blacks.  However, the Sheriff responded that was not the case:

According to information obtained by Sheriff Tucker since this action was filed, roadblocks set up by the Madison County Sheriff’s Department during the last three years were almost equally located in the southern part of Madison County, which would have included the cities of Ridgeland, Madison, and Gluckstadt, and the northern part of Madison County, which would have included the City of Canton. Further, the Sheriff’s Department does not set up “pedestrian” checkpoints, does not conduct warrantless searches of the homes of Black residents, and does not conduct “jump out” patrols.
The Sheriff also argues that the racial composition of the unincorporated areas of Madison County should be examined instead of the entire county.  Madison County is 37% black.  However, Sheriff Tucker states that the racial composition of the unincorporated areas of the county are even.  The answer states that although Flora and Canton ask for his assistance, the addition of their populations to the unincorporated residents does not affect the racial composition.    Sheriff Tucker then addresses allegations made by some of the individual plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

Steven Smith alleged that
89. For example, in January 2017, one of the named Plaintiffs in this action—Mr. Smith—was arrested after being detained and illegally searched at a pedestrian “checkpoint” at the entrance to the predominantly-Black affordable housing complex where he resides. Mr. Smith was arrested after a check of his identification revealed that he had outstanding fines and fees.

Sheriff Tucker tells a slightly different story:
 
89. Other than admitting that the plaintiff, Steven Smith, was arrested in January 2017 on outstanding warrants for his arrest while walking inside Canton Estates Apartments by deputies with the Madison County Sheriff’s Department who were performing a foot or walk-through patrol at the request of its manager, defendants deny the allegations in paragraph 89 of the Complaint. Defendants would show that Mr. Smith was walking with another individual at the time he was stopped, and that both Mr. Smith and that individual had their hands in their pockets. When both were asked to remove their hands from their pockets by a deputy for safety reasons, the individual with Mr. Smith admitted that he had a concealed weapon on him. After checking whether the individual had a conceal-carry weapon permit and learning that no record existed showing a valid permit, that individual was arrested. After checking Mr. Smith’s identification and running a warrants check, the deputies discovered that he had two outstanding warrants for his arrest. As required by Mississippi law, Mr. Smith, along with the individual who was illegally carrying a concealed weapon, were arrested.
Sheriff Tucker later states in the answer that Smith was caught choking another plaintiff.  Lawrence Blackmon claimed he was also a victim of police abuse:

In March 2016, two MCSD deputies forcibly entered the home of Mr. Blackmon, one of the named Plaintiffs in this action. The MCSD deputies claimed they had a warrant for the arrest of one of Mr. Blackmon’s relatives, but the deputies refused to provide Mr. Blackmon with an opportunity to review the warrant. One of the deputies forced Mr. Blackmon to the ground at gunpoint, and handcuffed his wrists behind his back. The deputies then proceeded to search Mr. Blackmon’s entire residence, ostensibly for the purpose of finding the person named in the warrant. The MCSD deputies searched inside Mr. Blackmon’s dresser drawers and other small closed compartments that could not possibly conceal an adult man.
Sheriff Tucker responded to this allegation as well:

As to the circumstances  surrounding  Mr.  Blackmon’s  detainment referenced in subparagraph (b), the deputies who came to Mr. Blackmon’s home had an outstanding warrant in their hands for the arrest of the plaintiff, Anthony Green, for failure to pay child support. The address on that warrant was Mr. Green’s correct address and, in fact, he was arrested at that address pursuant to this same warrant one month later. After a deputy knocked on Mr. Blackmon’s door, Mr. Blackmon opened the door and, after seeing the deputy, slammed the door shut. The deputy in question concluded by Mr. Blackmon’s actions that he was Anthony Green, proceeded to place the written warrant up against the front window of the house, and again asked the individual he thought was Green to open the door. After Mr. Blackmon refused to open door, the deputy kicked the door open. Mr. Blackmon then ran into another room, which resulted in that deputy’s pulling his gun and ordering Blackmon to lie on the floor. That deputy then proceeded to place handcuffs on Mr. Blackmon for both his and Mr. Blackmon’s safety.  Mr. Blackmon continued to refuse to give the deputies his name, and suddenly, another man walked into the room holding a loaded gun.  After disarming that man, the deputies attempted to remove the handcuffs from Blackmon, but the keys they had did not work, so they had to have another deputy come to the scene with another set of keys. While still handcuffed, Mr. Blackmon told the deputy who had handcuffed him that “he was  going to  sue  [my]  white cracker  ass  like he did  my bitch ass  boss  Randy Tucker.”   Mr. Blackmon was not arrested during the incident.
Then there is the drug-dealing girlfriend-beating Khadafi Manning.   The ACLU alleges


In June 2016, six white male MCSD deputies forcibly entered the family home of Mr. and Mrs. Manning, two named Plaintiffs in this action. The deputies did not have a search warrant. The deputies attempted to coerce Mr. Manning to write a false witness statement against a neighbor’s boyfriend. When Mr. Manning refused, one of the deputies handcuffed him, choked him, and beat him in the back seat of an MCSD law enforcement vehicle.
Sheriff says:

As to the allegations in subparagraph (a), Mr. Manning was asked to write a witness statement concerning a burglary that he, as well as his wife, had been observed witnessing. Mr. Manning was told that if he did not cooperate and provide the statement, he would be arrested for being accomplice in the crime.  Mr. Manning was handcuffed after he was detained, but no unreasonable force was exercised against him while he was being detained.
Mr. Manning also sued Canton Estates for being too dangerous. A circular firing squad in action.  Mr. Manning has also had his own problems with the law over the years. The answer states that Manning has been arrested over twenty times in Mississippi. 

 Sheriff Tucker next dealt with the allegations made by Latoya Brown.  She made several allegations in the complaint against MCSD:

181. Ms. Brown is a 28-year old Black woman who has spent her entire life in Canton, Mississippi. She lives with named Plaintiff Steven Smith and their three daughters in a predominantly-Black affordable housing complex. Ms. Brown is a stay-at-home mother.

182. In the past three years, Ms. Brown has been stopped repeatedly at the MCSD’s pedestrian “checkpoints” and roadblocks. She was also once detained during a suspicion-less pedestrian stop.

185. In the summer of 2014, an MCSD deputy detained Ms. Brown while she was walking on the sidewalk in or around the predominantly-Black affordable housing complex where she resides. Ms. Brown was on her way to work at the time.

186.  The MCSD deputy had no reasonable suspicion, but demanded to see Ms. Brown’s identification and find out where she was going.
187.  The deputy detained Ms. Brown for approximately ten minutes before allowing
her to proceed.
The Sheriff denied Ms. Brown's allegations and pointed out she had repeatedly asked his deputies for help:

Defendants lack sufficient knowledge to respond to the allegations in paragraph 185 of the Complaint and, therefore, deny those allegations. Defendants would show that in the past year, Ms. Brown has called the Sheriff’s Department on three (3) separate occasions to complain of suspicious activity in Madison County, Mississippi. In April 2017, she complained of seeing black males walking in an area of rural Madison County while drinking beer and smoking marijuana. The Sheriff’s Department responded to her call and made arrests. During that same month, Ms. Brown reported to the Sheriff’s Department that the plaintiff, Steven Smith, had taken personal property from her apartment and choked her. The Sheriff’s Department responded to her call. Further, in November 2014, Ms. Brown called the Sheriff’s Department to report a suspicious vehicle in her housing complex, and in June 2011, she called the Sheriff’s Department to complain of men gambling in front of her apartment. In February 2011, Ms. Brown called to report that she had heard gunshots in her housing complex, and the Sheriff’s Department responded to her call. Ms. Brown made additional calls for help to the Sheriff’s Department in July 2010, when she complained that a group of black males were shooting at each other in her apartment complex and identified one of the shooters. Her call resulted in an arrest of the shooter and his brother. Finally, Ms. Brown called the Sheriff’s Department in December 2009 and reported that her mother was fighting with her at her housing project. The Sheriff’s Department also responded to this call. Defendants find it ironic that Ms. Brown has asked for help from the Sheriff’s Department on six different occasions because of suspicious activities or crimes that were occurring in the samehousing  complex  where  she  is  now  complaining  that  she  was  stopped  once  and  asked for identification by a deputy patrolling the complex at the request of its manager.



          South Korea to offer peace treaty to North   
South Korea's new government will seek to sign a peace treaty with the North if it abandons its nuclear weapons. The two Koreas are still technically at war because a peace treaty was never agreed to replace the 1953 armistice that ended the conflict on the peninsula.
          MSNBC hosts say tabloid article a weapon in Trump feud   
NEW YORK (AP) -- &quot;Morning Joe&quot; hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, a couple onscreen and off, say the White House told them a damaging National Enquirer story about their relationship would &quot;go away&quot; if they called the president and apologized for harsh commentary....
          Whose responsibility is it anyway? Environmental obligations in the nuclear ban treaty   
We’re just over halfway through the negotiations on a treaty banning nuclear weapons and, while some campaigners and states seem generally happy with the progress being made on the draft text, there are too few voicing concerns that its environmental dimensions have been neglected. This matters because the treaty is intended first and foremost as a humanitarian instrument, and yet protecting fundamental human rights requires that the environment that people depend upon is also protected. But in addition to the mechanics of how this can best be achieved, there lies a deeper question – who is […]
          METimeline: Rachni   
Since we referenced the Rachni we may as well talk about the second major decision of Shepard's first major mission.

The Rachni had long been known as a dangerous and lethal race, and when they first expanded the Salarians had been so desperate in their fight they had prematurely uplifted the Krogans as a weapon rather than a people.

Despite this they made their presence known once again, and Shepard had to deal with them. When he finally made his way to the Rachni Queen, she swore that their aggression was not their choice, but that they were being controlled by a sour song.

With the fate of an entire race hinging on the coming actions, Shepard made a decision...
[trigger small {{{Next decision. Did two cos it may be a bit before I get the next up.}}} mentionlist MassEffectTimeline]
          still hate weapon degradation.   
Nintendo: How are you guys liking the new Link in Breath of the Wild?
LoZ Fandom:
          why nazis are wrong   
the fact are Hitler and nazi love islam.
there think Islam, a "very practical religion for soldiers" because of the prospects of paradise promises to martyrs, was the view of Heinrich Himmler, head of the SS and one of the architects of the Holocaust. Like him, Hitler felt an astonishing fascination with this religion, which led to a viral, warlike and anti-Semitic community, that is to say, the reverse of what he saw as a Judeo-Christian corruption Which, he said, had poisoned the West. In the spirit of Hitler, Muslims may even prove to be useful, reports an article by Timeline:

"Hitler thought that Muslims could be manipulated to be a powerful tool for the Nazis. For most of the sick and the majority of Muslims fought against Germany. Nevertheless, a significant number - an entire division - was radicalized through a partnership with virulently anti-Semitic extremist Muslims. "

Admirative of Turkey, Hitler wanted to take up the idea of ​​Max Von Oppenheim, director of the NFO, the German intelligence services in the East during the First World War. The latter had tried, without much success, to use Islamic fanaticism as a weapon for the benefit of Germany and its ally Ottoman pendant the Great War.

source:
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/13th_Waffen_Mou...
www.tellthechildrenthetruth.com/gallery/
          She Conquer Poor Policeman With Her Huge Weapons   
Watch She Conquer Poor Policeman With Her Huge Weapons at free fuck and porn video site
          ATF fires more than 150 guns from crime investigations to try to link them to unsolved shootings   

The guns were seized during roughly 125 narcotic investigations throughout Los Angeles County over the last two years, but authorities still had an important question about them: How many other crimes were the weapons connected to?

On Friday, federal agents took a key step toward an answer.

Agents...


          Arsenal Transfer News: Lyon President Confirms Alexandre Lacazette Negotiations   

Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas has confirmed rumours negotiations have been opened for Alexandre Lacazette's proposed transfer to Arsenal

As shared by Get French Football News, Aulas said the current conditions of the deal are not good enough, but talks are ongoing:

BBC Sport's David Ornstein reported the two sides are closing in on an agreement:

Aulas made the comments during a press conference to introduce Lyon's newest forward, former Real Madrid star Mariano Diaz. He became the second attacker to join the club this week, with Bertrand Traore officially presented on Monday.

Sky Sports reported the Gunners are willing to pay upwards of £45 million to land the talented striker. 

The two could help offset the loss of Lacazette, who has been the team's primary attacking weapon for years. There were also rumours Olivier Giroud could be involved in the deal to bring the 26-year-old to the Emirates Stadium, but Aulas denied those reports, via Get French Football News.

Per Jason Burt of the Daily Telegraph, Lacazette could move to north London very soon:

The Gunners have been looking for a consistent, prolific forward for years, and Lacazette certainly fits the bill. The France international has scored 21 or more goals in three straight Ligue 1 campaigns and didn't stop scoring when he represented the club in Europe.

Arsenal haven't made a major splash in the summer transfer window so far―unless you count the free transfer of Sead Kolasinac―but all signs indicate that could change as early as next week.

Read more World Football news on BleacherReport.com


          Re: Panic as Zimbabweans lobby for SA permit extension   

It seems like a serious case but I believe in God, prayer is a weapon that makes the impossible to be the possible Amen


          NBA Free Agency Shopping Lists: Southwest Division   
Is this the end of the line for Spurs legends Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili? (AP)
Is this the end of the line for Spurs legends Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili? (AP)

Free agency is a complicated time full of misdirection, brief opportunities, and a whole lot of persuasion. We’ve put together these shopping lists to ensure every team stays on track.

San Antonio Spurs

2016-17 record: 61-21, eliminated in the Western Conference finals

Unrestricted free agents: Pau Gasol, Manu Ginobili, Patty Mills, David Lee, Dewayne Dedmon, Joel Anthony

Restricted free agents: Jonathon Simmons

For about 23 minutes, the Spurs put the fear of God into the Golden State Warriors. And then Kawhi Leonard landed on the foot of Warriors center Zaza Pachulia, suffering his third left ankle sprain in a six-day span and ending his season, and that, as they say, was that. The Warriors rolled to a four-game sweep, leaving in their wake questions about what might have been and what comes next for a Spurs team that remains among the NBA’s elite, but still finds itself in transition.

The Spurs now inarguably belong to Leonard, an MVP finalist who took his game to new heights during the regular season and was even more of a holy terror in the playoffs before succumbing to a busted wheel. So long as he is ambulatory, the Spurs can be a title contender. He needs help, though, and a San Antonio braintrust led by general manager R.C. Buford and coach Gregg Popovich must figure out how to provide it while navigating some treacherous waters.

[Fantasy Football is open! Sign up now]

Tony Parker vows to be better than ever this season. The 35-year-old won’t get to start making good on that promise until January, though, as he works back from a ruptured left quadriceps tendon that leaves major questions about how effective he can be. We still don’t know whether we’ve seen the last of Manu Ginobili. Key reserve Patty Mills, an unrestricted free agent, could be in line for big offers elsewhere, and rumored target Chris Paul decided to head about 3 1/2 hours east of San Antonio instead. That leaves only 3-and-D man Danny Green, second-year point guard Dejounte Murray (who showed flashes in brief postseason deployment) and rookie Derrick White (who’s got a whale of a story) in line to be in the backcourt on opening night.

Leonard took steps forward as an initiator last season, but he’d still benefit from working with an ace point guard capable of working off the ball, too. If the Spurs were really looking to make a CP3-level splash with machinations like getting Pau Gasol to decline his player option for next season to create more financial flexibility and exploring the trade market for postseason disappointment LaMarcus Aldridge, would they be willing to go through the same process for Kyle Lowry? If not, San Antonio’s best bet might be trying to bring back Mills, or waiting out the point guard market to see if a reunion with forever Pop favorite George Hill might be in the cards. (There are also those pesky Derrick Rose rumors, which frankly don’t make much sense to me, but must at least be considered.)

The Spurs can match any offer sheet tendered to Simmons, an energetic, defensive-minded athlete who shined when pressed into duty as Leonard’s replacement late in the postseason. They might decide, though, that they’d be better served letting him walk rather than committing big money for a 28-year-old with a limited offensive game, and look to fill the hole on the wing by bringing over 2011 draft-and-stash Adam Hanga, a 6-foot-7 swingman who just earned recognition as the Euroleague’s best defender. The same might hold true of center Dewayne Dedmon, a key cog in San Antonio’s league-best regular-season defense who found himself out of the rotation by the end of the playoffs, and who might have a replacement waiting in 2015 first-rounder Nikola Milutinov, a 7-footer who plays for Greek power Olympiacos.

The Spurs don’t act rashly. They know how good a team they had last year and what might have been had Kawhi landed softly; they may choose to just spend their cap space trying to bring back as much of last year’s squad as possible, with an extra bell or whistle to bolster depth, and to run it back. But last year’s last year, the game’s only getting more fierce out West, and the Spurs are only two years removed from swinging for the fences for a star at a position of need. If Buford and Popovich see an opportunity to land a backcourt difference-maker who helps them match up with Golden State and Houston while easing the transition out of the Parker/Ginobili era, don’t be surprised if they act aggressively.

Houston Rockets

2016-17 record: 55-27, eliminated in the Western Conference semifinals

Unrestricted free agents: Nene

Restricted free agents: Bobby Brown, Troy Williams

Sure, the Rockets landed one of the 10 best players in the NBA three days before the start of free agency. That doesn’t mean GM Daryl Morey’s job is done, though. The “weapons race” continues.

Having added Paul to MVP runner-up James Harden in a Mike D’Antoni offense that should remain at or near the very top of the NBA in offensive efficiency, Morey now turns his attention slowing down the other best attacks in the West — namely, those in Golden State and San Antonio. He’ll keep Kevin Pritchard’s phone line burning up in pursuit of Paul George. He might try to bundle some of the non-guaranteed contracts he’s amassed with future draft picks and other assets to engage the Atlanta Hawks in a sign-and-trade for Paul Millsap, who could be a dynamite fit as a defensively versatile frontcourt partner for Clint Capela.

He could look to use the salary cap exceptions the Rockets retained by pulling off the CP3 deal before July 1 — the full midlevel exception of $8.4 million per year and the biannual exception of $3.2 million per year — on more frontcourt help, behind Capela and Ryan Anderson. As ESPN.com’s Zach Lowe notes, the MLE might not quite be enough for the likes of JaMychal Green and Patrick Patterson — two smart, capable defenders with some stretch to their games — but it might be enough to add several other veteran pieces interested in joining up with a contender. The BAE might be enough to bring back Nene, who was great in his first season in Houston before a season-ending injury in the playoffs.

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Being able to put Paul or Harden on the floor at all times should ensure that the Rockets can score on just about anybody, even in the crucible of the postseason. Whether they can get import personnel to improve their capacity to get stops could be the difference between remaining a high-priced also-ran and becoming a real threat to rise to the top of the West.

Tony Allen and Zach Randolph defined the 'Grit-and-Grind' Grizzlies, but they might both be on their way out of Memphis. (Getty Images)
Tony Allen and Zach Randolph defined the ‘Grit-and-Grind’ Grizzlies, but they might both be on their way out of Memphis. (Getty Images)

Memphis Grizzlies

2016-17 record: 43-39, eliminated in the first round

Unrestricted free agents: Zach Randolph, Tony Allen, Vince Carter

Restricted free agents: JaMychal Green

This is, as friend of the program Geoff Calkins notes, a different kind of free-agency period for the Grizzlies. After spending recent years needing to focus their efforts primarily on bringing back one member of their core — Allen in 2013, Z-Bo in 2014, Marc Gasol in 2015 and Mike Conley last summer — Memphis now faces losing the two players who more than any other have defined the most successful era in franchise history, as well as a hard-nosed and versatile forward (the 27-year-old Green) who has earned his way into a starting role and a double-digit annual salary.

Much depends on how high that double-digit number is. Closer to $10 million a year, and the Grizzlies likely match it to keep Green next to Gasol, which might make it more likely that Randolph — getting up there in years, but largely excellent as a sixth man last season — seriously courts offers to assume a similar role on a contender elsewhere, loathe as he might be to leave the city where he’s become an icon. Closer to $15 million, and the Grizzlies probably need a new starting power forward, but might be better positioned to keep Z-Bo as a second-unit punisher.

And if Memphis is really only prepared to offer “The Grindfather” a veteran’s minimum deal, fearing a sharp decline for the offensively limited 36-year-old stopper … well, it seems like Allen’s camp wants to make it clear that won’t be enough to get it done:

As painful as letting Allen go might be from a cultural perspective, the Grizzlies would probably be fine with it if they could find a suitable replacement at shooting guard who can actually shoot. Those won’t be easy to come by, though — seriously, check out the list of free-agent two-guards — and if another suitor swoops in on Green with an offer too rich for Memphis’ blood, there might be worse alternatives than running it back with the foundational tandem of Allen and Randolph for another year or two. Should Green and/or Randolph leave, it’d be awfully nice to see youngsters Jarell Martin and Deyonta Davis get a crack at filling their roles; this is, after all, why you use first-round and high-second-round picks.

From a structural standpoint, the Grizzlies’ needs remain what they’ve been since time immemorial: more wings who can shoot and make plays, and a backup point guard to remain afloat when Conley rests. If Shaun Livingston winds up squeezed out of Golden State, he’d be perfect; if not, the hope will be that Wade Baldwin IV and Andrew Harrison take significant steps forward in their second seasons. Barring major leaps forward, though, the Grizz could find themselves scouring the market and hoping to strike gold silver bronze with point men like Aaron Brooks, Darren Collison and Shelvin Mack, or shooting guards like Rodney Stuckey, Randy Foye or the immortal Jason Terry.

Given the concerns at power forward and with perimeter playmaking, especially if Carter (still arguably Memphis’ best reserve wing at age 40) leaves town, the best possible addition they could make is a healthy Chandler Parsons. Given the way last year went, though, I’ll believe he’s good to go when I see it. This was always the danger when the Grizz decided to go all-in with max deals for Gasol, Conley and Parsons — that they’d wind up top-heavy and capped out, without the necessary flexibility to fill in the gaps. If Memphis can’t get Parsons right and can’t get creative in a hurry, their perennial playoff status might be on shaky ground.

The Pelicans kind of have to bring Jrue Holiday back, even if it means overpaying. (AP)
The Pelicans kind of have to bring Jrue Holiday back, even if it means overpaying. (AP)

New Orleans Pelicans

2016-17 record: 34-48

Unrestricted free agents: Jrue Holiday, Dante Cunningham, Donatas Motiejunas

Restricted free agents: None

The Pelicans probably have no choice but to open up the checkbook to retain Holiday when he hits the unrestricted market. If they don’t bring him back, they’ll only have about $13 million to find a replacement at the point. That’s not enough to afford someone capable of doing what Holiday does when he’s healthy — play very good defense at either guard spot, run the offense, space the floor, and complement the interior tandem of Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins.

“When he’s healthy” is a pretty significant conditional. The 27-year-old has missed 122 games over his four-year tenure in New Orleans. But with former reserve Tim Frazier shipped out to the Washington Wizards, and no evident options on the market likely to be as productive as Holiday in New Orleans’ price range, locking him up is the Pelicans’ most significant order of business.

If they can keep Holiday in the fold, the other big issue is finding any sort of shooting on the wing that can open up room for Davis and Cousins. The problem: bringing back Holiday probably vaporizes the Pelicans’ cap space. (The lesson: be wary of paying eight figures for Omer Asik and Solomon Hill.) That means they’re going to be competing with the other teams trying to get sub-star wings to take their midlevel exception. A name to watch: Justin Holiday, a 6-foot-6 wing who played pretty well as a 3-and-D sort for the New York Knicks last season, and who also happens to be Jrue’s brother. They’d like to play together someday.

They do own all of their own future first-round picks — weirdly, right now the Pelicans are the only team in the NBA that’s not set to receive any future picks or send any out — and could go fishing on the trade market for floor-spacing defenders using a future No. 1 as bait. Might a Clippers team interested in asset accumulation think about redirecting the just-acquired Patrick Beverley?

Such later-for-now swaps can be dangerous, though. On one hand, Dell Demps and company need to all possibilities while staring down the barrel of losing Cousins in free agency next summer if they don’t become a viable playoff team. On the other, what if you start flipping future firsts to import present-day help, it still doesn’t work, Boogie leaves in a year anyway, and now you’re without a future asset that return help in keeping AD around long-term? These are tough questions, and the Pelicans are in a tough spot, with even a trio of Davis, Cousins and Holiday promising little in a brutal West.

Dirk Nowitzki tells Salah Mejri a little secret: he's going to play until he's 65. (AP)
Dirk Nowitzki tells Salah Mejri a little secret: he’s going to play until he’s 65. (AP)

Dallas Mavericks

2016-17 record: 33-49

Unrestricted free agents: Dirk Nowitzki, Tony Romo

Restricted free agents: Nerlens Noel

Dallas’ own free agents should be taken care of in short order. The Mavs will reportedly decline their $25 million option for Nowitzki in favor of giving him a new (and perhaps longer) deal. They also reportedly intend to lock down Noel, who posted strong per-minute numbers after coming over at February’s trade deadline and looks like the glass-clearing, rim-protecting, screen-and-rolling finisher in the middle they’ve needed whenever they haven’t had Tyson Chandler. (With apologies to Brandan Wright.)

Doing so might cost Mark Cuban a pretty penny, whether for the benefit of pre-empting the “multiple” maximum-salary-level suitors reportedly out there for the 23-year-old’s services, or in matching an offer sheet should Noel sign one. Even so, it seems likely Cuban won’t hesitate to pony up for Nerlens, in whose minutes Dallas allowed only 104.8 points per 100 possessions (equivalent to a top-10 full-season defensive rating) and outscored opponents by about the same per-possession margin as the playoff-bound Washington Wizards.

The Mavs have been trying for years to secure a center like Noel. Now that they have one, and an electric pick-and-roll point guard (No. 9 overall pick Dennis Smith Jr.) to go with him, it’s time to let the kids go to work, blessed by the floor-spacing of the eternal German and under the watchful eye of Rick Carlisle.

The hope is that Smith, an explosive playmaker out of North Carolina State with athleticism to burn and a nose for the rim, will help energize a Mavericks offense that played at the league’s second-slowest pace, ranked dead last in free-throw attempts, and finished 23rd among 30 NBA teams in offensive efficiency. They could stand to add some more firepower, but as Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News notes, bringing back Nowitzki and Noel likely means the Mavs will only have one roster spot to play with, and likely precious little salary cap space to use.

Maybe Donnie Nelson takes flyers on some undervalued potential two-way helpers, as he did successfully last summer with Seth Curry. (If his market’s chilly, someone like Langston Galloway might make sense.) But with the Mavs coming off an admitted tank and seemingly happy to develop their young core and celebrate Dirk rather than pushing for an immediate return to contention, it seems unlikely they’ll look to make any big moves.

More NBA Free Agency Shopping Lists:

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Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don’t Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at devine@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter!


          Israeli air-defense: A game of cat and mouse.   

THE THREAT IS NOT DIMINISHING Israel is currently facing a growing threat of accurate, guided projectiles that are being amassed by its enemies. Once reserved for great superpowers, today, non-state actors can obtain accurate, stand off weapons. They can use GPS-guided rockets and missiles, and off-the-shelf precision navigation technology. The arrival of guided enemy projectiles […]

The post Israeli air-defense: A game of cat and mouse. appeared first on The Blogs | The Times of Israel.


          The Hiroshima Panels @ BU's Stone Gallery until Sunday   
Sara June in Peacock at Boston University's Stone Gallery

Last Thursday I went to see Lord and June perform their work Peacock at Boston University's Stone Gallery where six of Iri and Toshi Maruki's fifteen Hiroshima Panels (原爆の図) are currently on display as part of an exhibit titled A Call for Peace. The exhibit is only open through this coming Sunday, October 18th. I would encourage people to stop by if you have a chance. They are worth seeing in person.

Max Lord in Peacock at Boston University's Stone Gallery

Peacock uses Butoh, a Japanese performance art that "arose in 1959 through collaborations between its two key founders Hijikata Tatsumi and Ohno Kazuo". I don't think I've ever seen a Butoh performance before and didn't know that's what it was until my friend told me. Given that BU Today had called the piece an homage to the Marukis' work, I was expecting something eerie. From the description of the work on Lord and June's site: "The originator of Butoh, Tatsumi Hijikata, used Butoh-fu as a way to stimulate his dancers' movements and their relationship to space through the use of evocative text and imagery. As in the Hiroshima panels, Hijikata used grotesque form to translate states of unconsciousness into consciousness."


Along with the panels there are a few artifacts that survived the bombing (on loan from the Hiroshima Peace Museum Memorial Museum) as well as an exhibit from Mayors for Peace, an international organization founded in 1982 by Takeshi Araki, who was the mayor of Hiroshima at the time and also a hibakusha (survivor of the atomic bombings of Japan). The exhibit includes an overview of what happened in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, a brief history of nuclear weapons development, and an appeal to the public to call on our leaders for disarmament. This part of the exhibit is located in The Annex, a small room outside of the main gallery.

Artifacts that survived the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

It opens with an introduction from the current mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Kazumi Matsui and Tomihisa Taue. It's interesting to see mayors working as anti-nuclear weapons activists. This is a role that every mayor of Hiroshima and Nagasaki has undertaken since at least the 1960s. One of my American friends went to the Hiroshima Peace Museum Memorial Museum in the 1990s (I've never been) and he told me he was really struck by the protest letters that mayors of Hiroshima have been sending to countries around the world since 1968 every time there is a new nuclear test. These letters are printed on plates that are affixed to pillars. Some were so recent that the plates weren't ready yet so they had taped paper copies to the wall. It really drives home the point that the museum isn't just a warehouse of history but that we're at risk every day of repeating Hiroshima and Nagasaki every day.


If you can't make it to the gallery I have some photos of the exhibit and video from the performance, but seeing the photos won't have the same impact as going to the gallery in person. Please be warned that some of the photos and artwork from the Mayors of Peace exhibit are extremely graphic (they included dead bodies and the mutilated bodies of survivors). This is the stuff that's omitted from or glossed over in US history classes. Note that the article in BU Today lists different hours than are listed on the BU Art Galleries website which says that the Stone Gallery is open Tuesday through Sunday from noon to 5pm, except for Thursday when it is open until 8pm. I wasn't able to confirm their hours because they are closed on Mondays. The Stone Gallery is free and open to the public.

Petition X, 1955
http://www.aya.or.jp/~marukimsn/gen/gen10e.html

Thanks to the attendee at the AARW/NAPAWF Kimono Wednesdays panel who mentioned the exhibit during the Q&A. I'm not aware of any publicity being done to the local Japanese and Japanese American communities so I might not have heard about it otherwise. (The exhibit was included in the October New England JACL newsletter.)

Update 10/14/15: I spoke with Joshua Buckno, the Managing Director of the BU Art Galleries today and found out that they did reach out to some local Japanese groups and academic departments as well as internal student groups and departments. It's not clear how much those organizations did to promote this exhibit and related events. It wouldn't surprise me if some found it too political, although it's also a busy time of year for anyone in academia.

I asked how A Call to Peace came to BU. Someone on BU's faculty knew the show was touring and suggested it. The BU Art Galleries try to make sure that their exhibitions have academic value for BU and contacted the Department of History of Art & Architecture and the Center for the Study of Asia who were both interested because of the historical and academic relevance.

  • Videos & photos from Peacock
  • Photos from A Call to Peace: The Hiroshima Panels and artifacts
  • Photos from A Call to Peace: Mayors for Peace exhibit

See also:

          Comment on Beyond Capitalism – Albert Einstein, 1949 by Michael Aydinian   
I know that. Leo Zillard convinced Einstein he had to do that. What you're not saying is at the time Germany was also in the process of developing such a weapon. Therefore it's a case of them or us. However, your contention that Einstein wanted the atom bomb dropped on his countrymen is totally untrue. Einstein from the beginning stated nuclear weapons were so destructive no one could ever use them.
          Comment on Beyond Capitalism – Albert Einstein, 1949 by Michael Aydinian   
HE DID NOT HELP DEVELOP NUCLEAR WEAPONS! In fact he along with Lisa Meitner refused to be part of the Manhattan project. Your 2nd point has at least some validity except for the fact the position was largely an honorary one with little or no power, though I concede having Einstein as President of Israel would have aided the Palestinian plight but then how long would have that lasted?
          Blog Post: Don't miss this RPG fans!   

I love this game. The story is a little cliche but it is good none the less.The voice acting is quite good.If you are an anime fan you will recognize many of the voices,quite a few of them are from Bleach.Anyways,the graphics are powered by the unreal engine 3 and and are quite beautiful.Some of the environments are a little repetitive lack a bit of detail.But you will hardly notice when you go into battle.Once you get the hang of battle you won't be able to put the controller down.They are fast paced and addicting.It is a bit complex to explain but trust me when I say it is a complete blast.Each character has two skill trees to master,one for each type of weapon.You can learn some truly powerful attacks.The ultimate attacks for each character are amazing to watch.My only real complaint with the game is that the camera is sometimes hard to control in battle at times.Other than that no complaints really.Plus the game is quite long especialy if you like to get 100% on everythng.Because there are a ton of side quests.And they are quite rewarding too.You don't just get an item or some money like most RPGs.Most times you get money,items and EXP.It helps get rid of some of the level grinding you find in most RPGs.This is a great 40+hour game and well worth the 60$ price tag.


          Areva: AFS - Process Control Startup Engineer III-IV - Industrial Automation (MOX)   
Competitive: Areva: POSITION DESCRIPTIONCOMPANY DESCRIPTIONCB&I/AREVA MOX Services, LLC is a consortium of companies based in Aiken, SC and formed to advance the Department of Energy's mission to dispose of surplus weapon grade plutonium. The plutonium is disposed of by mixi Aiken, South Carolina
          Colby Goodman and Taner Bertuna — Debunking Myths that Fuel Irresponsible U.S. Defense Policy   
As President Trump continues to authorize record-breaking U.S. arms deals to Saudi Arabia and many other countries around the world and propose major increases in Pentagon spending, he is positioning himself to claim wins on two of his campaign promises: build a military that is “gonna be so strong nobody’s gonna mess with us,” and increase U.S. jobs. According to a relatively new book, however, it is critical that Americans question these increases as they may not help improve U.S. security or the U.S. economy. They are also likely to increase U.S. corruption.
LobeLog
Debunking Myths that Fuel Irresponsible U.S. Defense Policy
Colby Goodman, director of the Security Assistance Monitor at the Center for International Policy where he leads research and analysis on U.S. foreign security assistance around the world, and Taner Bertuna, Security Assistance Monitor
          Ex-Weapons Inspector Scott Ritter — Trump’s Sarin Claims Built on ‘Lie’ and more   

Scott Ritter debunks the Syrian sarin claims and exposes the propaganda structure behind it as well.

Interesting how debunking articles like this are finding a venue at US politically conservative venues rather than US politically liberal venues now that liberals are on the offensive, promoting propaganda, disinformation, and fake news.

The American Conservative
Ex-Weapons Inspector: Trump’s Sarin Claims Built on ‘Lie’
Scott Ritter
ht Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism

See also
The policy of arming military groups committed to overthrowing the government of President Bashar al-Assad began in September 2011, when President Barack Obama was pressed by his Sunni allies—Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar—to supply heavy weapons to a military opposition to Assad they were determined to establish. Turkey and the Gulf regimes wanted the United States to provide anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons to the rebels, according to a former Obama Administration official involved in Middle East issues.…
How America Armed Terrorists in Syria
Gareth Porter

          MSNBC hosts say tabloid article a weapon in Trump feud   
NEW YORK (AP) -- &quot;Morning Joe&quot; hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, a couple onscreen and off, say the White House told them a damaging National Enquirer story about their relationship would &quot;go away&quot; if they called the president and apologized for harsh commentary....
          Cost of Right-to-Carry Permits Goes Down in Florida   
Posted: 06.30.17 05:23 AM The fee to apply or renew concealed weapons permits in Florida is going down $5.Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam — whose agency is in charge of concealed carry permits — announced the change Thursday. Source: https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/florida/articles/2017-06-30/cost-of-concealed-weapons-permits-goes-down-in-florida
          More educators taking gun training classes   
Posted: 06.29.17 06:31 AM Nearly a third of the country, a total of 18 states, allows adults to carry a loaded gun on school grounds, with certain permissions. But ever since the Sandy Hook shootings in 2012, in which 20 children and six adults were shot dead, some states have pushed for safety training initiatives for teachers to learn how to properly fire a weapon and prevent any threats to the classroom. Source: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2017/06/28/teachers-packing-heat-more-educators-taking-gun-training-classes.html
          FBI agent indicted in relation to LaVoy Finicum shooting   
06.29.17 12:38 PM FBI special agent W. Joseph Astarita, one of the officers on the scene when Malheur*Wildlife Refuge protester *LaVoy Finicum was shot and killed last January, has been indicted on charges that he lied about whether he discharged his firearm during the shooting. According to reports, the agent faces a charge of making false allegations with the intent to obstruct justice. The indictment notes that Astarita “falsely stated he had not fired his weapon during the attempted arrest of Robert La Voy Finicum, when he knew then and there that he had fired his weapon.” The indictment adds that the agent “acted with the intent to hinder, delay and prevent the communication of information” needed to conduct a thorough investigation into Finicum’s killing. A report from Oregon Live last year indicated that police believed an FBI agent attempted to conceal evidence that he fired on Finicum while the victim was still traveling down the road in his truck.
          Pak violates ceasefire for 3rd consecutive day along LoC in JK   

Jammu, Jun 30 : The Pakistan Army violated ceasefire for the third consecutive day today by targeting Indian posts and civilian areas with mortar bombs, small and automatic weapons along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir’s Rajouri district. This is the 23rd incident of ceasefire violation in June. “The Pakistan Army initiated unprovoked and indiscriminate firing from small arms, automatic weapons and mortars from 0415 hours today on the Indian Army posts along the LoC in Bhimbher Gali (BG) sector,” a Defence spokesman said. The Indian troops returned the fire strongly and effectively, he said. Yesterday, two Indian Army jawans were injured when Pakistani troops fired from small arms and shelled mortars on forward posts and civilian areas along the LoC in Poonch district. On June 27 (Wednesday), the Pakistani army violated ceasefire by unprovoked and indiscriminate firing and shelling along the LoC in Bhimbher Gali (BG) sector in Rajouri district from 1445 hours till late that night. In this month, there have been 23 ceasefire violations by the Pakistani Army in Poonch and Rajouri districts besides a cross-LoC attack and two infiltration bids in which four people, including three jawans, have been killed. On June 26, the occasion of Eid-ul Fitr, the Pakistani Army fired small arms and automatic weapons and shelled mortars along the LoC in Bhimbher Gali sector of Rajouri.(PTI)

The post Pak violates ceasefire for 3rd consecutive day along LoC in JK appeared first on Kashmir Media Watch.


          Manu, Macaulay and Manmohan   

G. Haragopal
Member – Presidium, All India Forum for Right to Education


India is one society that has inherited one of the most iniquitous social structures that remained stubborn notwithstanding several socio-political movements including the freedom movement. Manu, the BrahmnicalHindu ideologue provided the framework and justification for not allowing all sections of the society, more sothe labouring classes and women of all communities not having access to written word. This dictum survives through thousands of years after the written word had been invented by the human species. The language of the powerful, Sanskrit, through which they wrote and communicated was their exclusive prerogative. Hinduism perhaps is the only religion that believes that human beings were born unequal and prevents equal access to God, supposedly the creator of man and woman. The denial of access to formal learning not only divided and hierarchised the society, but provided scope and space for manipulation by the propertied and the powerful. This social arrangement continued all through the medieval and colonial period.

             It was during the colonial period the English language started replacing the Sanskrit and other local languages. After the first war of independence in 1857, Macaulay advocated the introduction of English language and held that it was the only way to create a support base for the colonial rule. He thought, rightly so, that the English educated Indians would be Indian in colour and English in belief and behaviour. It was again the upper castes who took advantage of their social position and linguistic skills monopolized the opportunities in civil service, legal profession, media, teaching and so on.  The English language was as alien to the people as Sanskrit except that the Christian missionaries opened schools where the hitherto forbidden sections had an entry point. In fact they provided access to God though Church and formal learning though schools. This opening up made no qualitative difference to the basic structure of social relations, but created a class of people, as Macaulay believed, who were entrapped into colonial mind-set and continue to perpetuate it even after six decades of the so-called victory of anti-colonial freedom struggle.

         It was Phule and SavitribaiPhule realising the importance of role of education started schools, particularly for girls. Education for all as an idea entered the freedom movement in the early part of the last century and picked up momentum and by 40s is came to be accepted by the Congress party who resolved to universalise right to education within a decade after independence. Given the aspirations and promise of the freedom movement it ought to have been incorporated in the fundamental rights chapter but on the grounds of resources and Nation’s preparedness it was pushed into non-justiciable directive principles of State policy.

       The silver lining immediately after independence was that whatever or wherever schools existed or newly opened they were all publicly funded common schools resembling the ‘neighbourhood schools’ concept as all children living in the vicinity went to the same school and studied through their mother tongue as medium of instruction. The limitation was that there was no concerted effort to ensure that all children go to the school which resulted in an India that has the distinction of having the largest number of illiterates in the world. This policy, by and large, continued till 1985-86. There was a shift in the policy which instead of initiating measures to provide access and quality education to all children introduced the policy of multi-layered schools bringing in inequity and inequality that Manu and Macaulay did earlier.

     The widespread mass unrest in India on various counts including the growing inequalities compelling the rulers to take some measures and Right to Education Act of 2009 is one such step which is supposed to have encoded the right to education as a fundamental right. While this step is important in letter, the spirit of the Act is not qualitatively different from Manu, Macaulay mindset. The Act should have straight away scraped all the private schools and has gone for common school through neighbourhood schools and raising the standardsof each school to that of central school. Instead the Act talks of private-public partnership which in principals concedes the continued presence of private schools at one level and accentuates the medium of instruction divide. It talks of 25% reservation of seats to poorer children in corporate schools. One starts wondering how a fundamental right could be so dividing and discriminatory. This has led to a country-wide debate whether the right in this form can ever be treated and accepted as a fundamental right. The public-private partnership is a device of the neo-liberal model to plunder public resources for private profiteering. The corporate schools used to amassing of wealth challenged the Act in the Courts opposing the admission of poor children into their schools. Assuming that the Court in principle concedes, which is very unlikely, what happens to the other 75% of the poor children condemned to study in government schools which are poorly funded and qualitatively  inferior. Is it not the time that the nation in one voice demands that all children of this country in the age group of 0-18 have equal access to quality education though common schools though neighbourhood schools?

          The scenario in higher education is equally pitiable. There are six to eight bills waiting for parliamentary ratification. Of all the bills the most Macaulian is the Foreign Universities Bill. KapilSibal addressing the last All India Vice Chancellors conference looked concerned about only two issues: the Foreign Universities Bill and introduction of semesterisation in Delhi university as if they are the only issues afflicting higher education. Of course, during the recent visit of Manmohan Singh to the USA, one of the items that came up in the discussion with Obama was opening up of higher education for foreign investment. The Prime Minister in his Independence day address to the nation from the Red Fort made a specific reference to the urgency of educational reforms. The saddest part of higher education is the pathetic conditions of State Universities. No state government, without exception, has any interest left in higher education as the sons and daughters of the ruling classes go for private medical, engineering, legal and other professional streams of education. The most prosperous are sending their children to foreign universities and are arguing that the ‘craze’ can be met only by inviting foreign universities to the Indian soil. It is precisely this cause that led to serious cuts in grants, stopping recruitment of new staff and all forms of support of the state. In the same breath they also want to privatise accreditation, distance education, tribunalization of educational litigation, abolition of UGC and manning the new council for higher education with corporate representatives. The teaching fraternity lured by the 6th pay commission evinced no interest in the neo-liberal assault on higher education.

    It is the wake of these drastic changes in school and university education, the All India Forum for Right to Education held its national conference in Yusuf Meharelly centre near Bombay. The forum draws its membership from socialists, Lohiaites, Gandhians, leftists, radicals and democratise. They are drawn from 16 states of India and are engaged in building a nationwide movement against these undemocratic, uncalled for, anti people reforms in education. It is time that spirit of freedom struggle is retrieved and we build a movement for an equitable, humane, fair and just society. The cause of education is one of the powerful weapons to realize this goal. This would invariably be a fight against Manu-Macaulay-Manmohan mind-set. The posterity may not forgive this generation of academia. These sections are bound to carry their own battle against unjust society with or without the support of the academia.

          SC Man Charged With MURDER In Little River Bar Stabbing Was Arrested In 2015 On Weapon Charges   
Christopher Wayne Turner of North Myrtle Beach, SC., has been arrested and charged with attempted murder after stabbing another man during a fight over a woman at the Little River Bar, according to a police report. It’s not the first … Continue reading
           Britains Boris Johnson confident chemical attack in Syria was Assad regime    
The worlds chemical weapons watchdog said the banned nerve agent sarin was used in an attack in northern Syria in April that killed dozens of people. British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said he felt the indications suggested Syrian President Bashar al-Assads government were behind the attack, a claim strongly denied by Damascus.
          Côte d’Ivoire: UN Peacekeeping Mission Ends    

A convoy of United Nation peacekeepers are seen outside Bouake during an army mutiny in which disgruntled Ivorian soldiers seized control of the city. January 6, 2017.

© 2017 Reuters
(Abidjan) – As the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Cote d’Ivoire (UNOCI) comes to an end on June 30, 2017, the Ivorian government should redouble its efforts to address the serious rights issues at the root of past political violence, Human Rights Watch, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), the Ivorian Movement for Human Rights (MIDH) and the Ivorian League for Human Rights (LIDHO) said today.

Côte d’Ivoire has enjoyed more than six years of relative peace and security since a devastating post-election crisis in 2010-2011. But the government’s inadequate progress in addressing a longstanding culture of impunity, reforming the security forces, and strengthening rule of law institutions threaten the country’s long-term prospects for peace and development.

“Côte d’Ivoire has distanced itself from the violence and conflict that blighted so many lives and tore communities apart, but it’s too early to say whether the recovery is sustainable,” said Drissa Traore, Vice-President of FIDH. “The peace dividends that the United Nations has contributed to could be reversed unless the Ivorian government addresses pervasive immunity and the army’s lack of discipline.”

Beginning with the deadly clashes that followed the 2000 presidential election and later the 2002-2003 armed conflict, international and Ivorian human rights groups have documented abuses committed during the political and inter-ethnic violence that haunted Côte d’Ivoire until the conclusion of the 2010-2011 post-election crisis. A decade of conflict and instability was punctuated by horrendous human rights violations, including widespread extrajudicial killings, torture, and targeted sexual violence by government forces, government-linked militia, student groups, and rebel forces alike.

The UN mission was established in April 2004 to monitor a cease-fire agreement after the 2002-2003 armed conflict, with peacekeepers monitoring a “zone of confidence” that separated the government-controlled south from the rebel-held north. This stalemate continued until the 2007 Ouagadougou peace accords, which set the stage for presidential elections in 2010 and, in the aftermath, the 2010-2011 post-election crisis.

Aïchatou Mindaoudou, the UN secretary-general’s special representative and head of the peacekeeping mission, said in June that “demonstrable progress has been made on all fronts.” The UN rightly cites peaceful 2015 presidential elections and 2016 legislative elections as evidence of improved security. And a 2016 constitutional referendum removed a divisive nationality clause that had fueled decades of ethnic and political tensions, although the vote was criticized for its lack of transparency.

Despite this progress, the government of President Alassane Ouattara has not fully addressed key human rights issues that have contributed to past political violence and conflict.

During the decade of unrest that culminated in the 2010-2011 post-election crisis, the culture of impunity that allowed those responsible for atrocities to escape justice was a key factor in perpetuating abuses. Former President Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé, a former militia leader, are on trial before the International Criminal Court for alleged crimes against humanity. And yet, the vast majority of the commanders and leaders implicated in a decade of serious human rights violations – on both sides of the military-political divide – have not been held to account.

The Ivorian government has made some progress in strengthening the justice system following years of neglect. But the deeply flawed trial for crimes against humanity and war crimes of former first lady Simone Gbagbo raises doubts about the Ivorian justice system’s ability to fairly and effectively try serious human rights cases. And the promotion in January of several army commanders suspected of involvement in abuses during the post-election crisis raises concerns about potential political interference in investigations.

The lack of accountability for human rights abuses is indicative of a wider failure to address a longstanding culture of impunity within the army. Mutinies in January and May, in which soldiers seized control of the country’s second largest city and neighborhoods in several other towns, reflect a wider perception that the army is “above the law.”

The peacekeeping mission has conducted extensive training for the security forces, including on compliance with human rights, and the army has reduced human rights abuses by soldiers against civilians. But the government has repeatedly failed to hold soldiers accountable for criminality, from the atrocities of the post-election crisis, to the illicit exploitation of natural resources by army commanders, to checkpoint extortion by rank-and-file soldiers. A March 2016 United Nations Group of Experts report found that former rebel commanders “who occupy key roles in the Ivorian security apparatus, continue to have access to private assets, financial resources and weapons.”

“It’s a vicious cycle,” said Yacouba Doumbia, President of MIDH. “The government’s failure to reduce soldiers’ illicit economic activities, and their commanders’ access to private wealth and weapons, makes it more difficult to hold them accountable for other abuses.”

The discovery by mutinying soldiers in May of an arms cache in Bouake underscored the failure of Côte d’Ivoire’s disarmament process to secure weapons hidden in private arsenals. The government has opened a judicial investigation and said it will seek to locate arms hidden in other locations.

Many of the underlying tensions that drove past ethnic violence also remain unresolved, notably an incomplete national reconciliation process and continued competition over land. Although land conflicts may have gradually become less prevalent, they remain a key driver of local violence, as illustrated by intercommunal clashes in March 2016 in Bouna that killed dozens of people and displaced thousands more. At the same time, as it moves forward with implementation of a 1998 land law, the government should strengthen local government capacity to find fair and durable rights-based solutions to tensions over land.

The peacekeepers’ departure, and the recent mutinies, underscore the need to intensify efforts to address longstanding impunity and professionalize the security forces. This should include a strengthened military justice system and improved internal military disciplinary mechanisms.

The authorities should also follow through on the promise to prosecute individuals – including members of the security forces – implicated in atrocities during the 2010-2011 post-election crisis. This requires the government to provide the judiciary with adequate support to complete their investigations, as well as to finish the exhumation of victims in western Côte d’Ivoire. Holding accountable high-level perpetrators, including those who fought for Ouattara during the crisis, would send the message that those who resort to violence and human rights abuses in moments of political tension will face the consequences.

“With the UN peacekeeping mission’s departure, Côte d’Ivoire’s government now bears the sole responsibility for addressing the human rights challenges that threaten long-term stability,” said Jim Wormington, West Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch. “This means tackling impunity and addressing the root causes of political and ethnic tensions.”


          Assad’s forces appears to have called off chemical attack after US warning   
US defence secretary James Mattis has said that Syria appears to have heeded a warning from Washington not to carry out a chemical weapons attack
          3-year-old Chandler girl dies of gunshot wound   
Her dad is being held at a Chandler jail on suspicion of drugs and weapons violations.
      
 
 

          CARICOM deals a blow to US plans for regime change in Venezuela    

Venezuela’s Foreign Minister, Delcy Rodriguez, recently tweeted that the “US State Department deployed its ambassadors in the region to attack Venezuela. We come with renewed vigor to defeat them at the OAS.”

So said, so done. The US Ambassador to Guyana, Perry Holloway, spewed the US false narrative regarding Venezuela in our local newspapers. US ambassadors in a number of other Caribbean countries did the same. It was a coordinated attempt to mislead the people of Guyana and the region about what is really happening in Venezuela, and to apply pressure on members of CARICOM (Caribbean Community) and the OAS (Organization of American States) to succumb to US calls for intervention, with the aim of overthrowing the democratically elected government of President Nicolas Maduro.

US diplomats in Guyana, and for that matter throughout the Global South, are not diplomats in the strict sense of the word, and can be better described as political activists. They are constantly meddling in the internal affairs of the country they are stationed in, giving directives to the compliant neo-colonial regimes and actively undermining and destabilizing independent and anti-imperialist governments, such as the government in Venezuela.

This latest US psych-ops came just after the May 31st meeting of the OAS in Washington DC and just prior to the June 19th OAS meeting in Cancun, Mexico, where CARICOM member states took a firm and united anti-interventionist position in relation to the current situation in Venezuela, delivering a resounding defeat to the interventionist approach advocated by the US, Mexico, Peru and Panama,

Following the June 19th OAS meeting, Venezuela’s Foreign Minister, Delcy Rodriguez, said: “Today we come with the strength of our people who took to the streets to denounce the interventionism of the Organization of American States, we come with the force of the rain of our commander Hugo Chavez. Independence and sovereignty triumphed today over the United States of America, with its brutal pressure, with its gross extortion, with its maneuvers…”

She added that the call for intervention encourages the “most violent, anti-democratic factions in our country,” and she thanked the Caribbean nations for their “deeply principled stand.”
In his letter and articles, US ambassador, Perry Holloway, had the temerity to lecture Guyana and other member-states of the OAS about their obligation to democracy and human rights. He stated that: “The diverse family of nations in the Americas recognizes democracy is a part of our collective DNA. Sixteen years ago in Peru, we underscored this principle with the adoption of the Inter-American Democratic Charter, affirming the right of the peoples of the Americas to democracy and obligating our governments to defend that right.”

I suggest that before US diplomats in the Caribbean and the Americas offer any criticism or advice to Venezuela or any member-state of the OAS on issues of democracy and human rights, they should first examine the behavior of their own government in relation to their undemocratic practices and policies, both internally and around the world, and their endless list of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Trump lays bare sham democracy

The only positive aspect of Trump’s presidency is that it is exposing, once and for all, the sham that parades as US democracy and concern for human rights. The entirely undemocratic nature of US internal and foreign policy is clear to all in 2017. Even that minority of citizens on this planet who still held out some hope that the US resembled anything close to a democracy, have now seen through the façade. American political philosopher, Sheldon S. Wolin, in his brilliant work, Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism, renders a devastating critique of US democracy and is a vital read for anyone who wishes to understand the latent fascism that underpins the politics of this Empire.

Former US Attorney-General, Ramsay Clark, had this to say: “We’re not a democracy. It’s a terrible misunderstanding and a slander to the idea of democracy to call us that. In reality, we’re a plutocracy, a government by the wealthy.” He compared President George W. Bush to Adolf Hitler, and is on record as saying at the outset of the US invasion of Iraq, that it “will be genocide again,” adding that “the greatest crime since World War Two has been US foreign policy.”

As I watch the hue and cry over Trump’s actions, it reminds me of Adolph Hitler’s response to Europe’s criticism of his policies. He told them: “I am only doing out in the open what you have been doing behind closed doors for centuries.”

A meme that was circulated at the end of Obama’s presidency said it best: “Only in shallow, self-absorbed, privileged America could a leader drop 26,000 bombs on seven countries in a single year, and have citizens mourn the end of his term because he looked and sounded classy while doing it.”

The illusion highlighted in this meme picks up on the public relations stunt that has become a hallmark of the US establishment, and which Sheldon Wolin identifies as a major feature of the “inverted totalitarianism” that exists in the US today. He describes “inverted totalitarianism” as a state of affairs where a small ruling elite (the 1%) have established an authoritarian society which benefits them exclusively. In this society, corporations have corrupted and subverted democracy, and natural resources and labor are seen as mere commodities to be exploited for huge profits.

This status quo is maintained by a sophisticated propaganda machine that lulls the majority of people into apathy. Central to reinforcing this hegemon is a tightly controlled corporatized media, a mouthpiece for the establishment, that is constantly spinning fake news and false narratives, and emphasizing rabid consumerism, individualism and the politics of personality and sensationalism. Wolin, like Clark, compares modern day USA to Nazi Germany, pointing out that the form is different but the essence, that is, fascism, is the same.

Friendly fascism

Tirty-seven years ago, political scientist, Bertram Gross, coined the term “friendly fascism” and predicted the Orwellian reality we are witnessing today in the US. His thesis converges with the conclusions reached by Wolin, Clark and others.

In his farewell address at the end of his presidency in 1961, Republican Dwight Eisenhower, warned the American people about the dangers of the “Military Industrial Complex”, the control it exerted and its ability to, in his words, “weaken or destroy the very institutions and principles it was designed to protect.” This has surely come to pass.

So, before US diplomats such as Perry Holloway attempt to discredit the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela, initiated by one of the most revered freedom fighters in the Americas, the late Hugo Chavez, and led today by President Nicolas Maduro and the United Socialist Party of Venezuela with the support of the majority of the people of Venezuela, they would do well to take a long and hard look at the crisis of democracy in their own country.

Let Mr. Holloway explain to Guyanese and the citizenry of all member-states of the OAS why, in 2017, Africans in the US continue to be gunned down in the streets on a regular basis.
Let him explain to us why the US has the largest number of persons imprisoned per capita in the world, and why the prisoners are disproportionately made up of Africans, Indigenous and other people of color, before he points the finger at a revolution that has lifted African and Indigenous Venezuelans out of debilitating discrimination and poverty.

Let Mr. Holloway address the situation of US political prisoners like Mumia Abu-Jamal, Jamil Al-Amin (formerly Rap Brown), Leonard Peltier and so many others who are languishing in US prisons before he speaks of Venezuela’s human rights record.

Let the US Ambassador focus on the shocking poverty and illiteracy statistics emerging from his own country, before he points the finger at the Bolivarian revolution which has made unprecedented gains in eradicating poverty and illiteracy amongst the masses of Venezuela’s poor. Anyone who visited oil rich Venezuela prior to the Bolivarian revolution can testify to the abhorrent conditions and the repressive measures used to subjugate the majority of Venezuelans, and in particular, African and Indigenous Venezuelans.

Does the Ambassador truly believe that his letters and articles, full of the usual delusional and empty rhetoric, would convince any of us that his government is concerned about democracy and human rights in Venezuela, or anywhere in the world for that matter, after we have witnessed the apocalyptic events in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and the list goes on?

Does Mr. Holloway think we have forgotten our own history in the Americas and the Caribbean, including the US orchestrated coups that overthrew the democratically elected governments of President Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala, President Salvador Allende in Chile, Prime Minister Maurice Bishop in Grenada, President Manuel Zelaya in Honduras and the constitutional coup against President Dilma Rousseff in Brazil? What about the removal at gunpoint of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide by US military personnel in Haiti?

There is not the space in a single article to even list the US crimes in our region. Just to chronicle them warrants a book. If we were to list US crimes against the whole of humanity, we are looking at a library of books. The US Empire and the British, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Dutch Empires that preceded it, have been without doubt the worst examples of terrorism in all of human history.

In his letter and article, Mr. Holloway advises that “when a government breaks with democracy, we must act in solidarity with its people, not through intervention or interference, but with diplomacy and mediation among all parties to help find a peaceful, democratic, and comprehensive solution.” Tell us Mr. Holloway: Are the examples listed above your idea of diplomacy and mediation?

These governments were not removed because of their lack of democracy or abuse of human rights. They were removed, like countless others throughout the Global South, because they were attempting to free their country from the clutches of the Empire, and liberate their wealth and resources so that they might benefit the masses of their people. Our own founding fathers in Guyana, Cheddi Jagan and Forbes Burnham, were subjected to the same destabilization tactics at the hands of the US government and its CIA.

Empire loses its grip

The US and its diplomats need to understand that with the advent of the internet and the availability of information in this day and age, the Empire has lost all credibility. There is no one left on earth who can be misled by their hollow and hypocritical rhetoric. Do not be fooled by those who dare not speak openly -- they are afraid of losing their visas and even worse reprisals. Regardless of their cowardice and silence, everyone knows that the Emperor is naked. Behind closed doors, even those satraps who publicly profess their allegiance, such as the Saudis, snigger and jeer at the hideous state of affairs in the United States of America.

As the US Empire crumbles, its vampires, who have sucked the blood of the sufferers for so long, are in panic mode because, despite their descent into blatant authoritarianism and fascism, they continue to lose their grip on the terrifying world they have created, as it spins more and more out of control. The ugly death squads such as Al Qaeda and ISIS, the very Frankensteins of their own making, are turning right back on them. As Malcom X observed so long ago, the chickens must come home to roost. One cannot keep up with the number of attacks in the US and Europe.

One of the vampires, largely credited with creating Al Qaeda, a former US National Security Advisor, and founder of the Rockefeller-controlled Trilateral Commission, Zbigniew Brzezinski, in a speech to British elites at Chatham House in 2008, spoke volumes when he said:

“…new and old major powers face still yet another novel reality, in some respects unprecedented, and it is that while the lethality of their power is greater than ever, their capacity to impose control over the politically awakened masses of the world is at an historical low…I once put it rather pungently, and I was flattered that the British Foreign Secretary repeated this… namely, in earlier times, it was easier to control a million people than physically to kill a million people. Today, it is infinitely easier to kill a million people than to control a million people.”

The majority of CARICOM countries are governed by neo-colonial political outfits and even they voted against US plans for regime change in Venezuela.”
The current US administration, like its predecessors, whether Democrat or Republican, is involved in just that, killing millions of people all over the world in its bid to control, and trying desperately to convince us of the absurd notion that that they are doing this in the name of democracy and human rights. Trouble is, no one is buying it? The majority of CARICOM countries are governed by neo-colonial political outfits and even they voted against US plans for regime change in Venezuela. The playbook is old and tired. Donald Trump just tied up an arms deal worth 350 billion US dollars with the corrupt and entirely undemocratic regime of Saudi Arabia, a regime that is without doubt the main proliferator of the ideology of Wahhabism and the movements intent on imposing this ideology worldwide, such as Al Qaeda, Boko Haram, Al Nusra Front and ISIS. All these weapons to a government that is funding terrorism worldwide and committing genocide in Yemen.

And, when the power struggle between the Saudis and the Qataris surfaced, Trump paid lip service to the manufactured war on terror by publicly condemning Qatar’s support for terrorism, and days later sold the Qataris US military hardware worth 12 billion dollars. In light of this hypocrisy and blatant disregard for the victims of these rogue states and their global terrorist network, can you really expect us to believe that your concern with Venezuela is about lack of democracy and human rights?

No shame
Finally, to Mr. Holloway and his cohorts throughout the region, your expressed shock and horror about the so-called spillover from Venezuela’s current predicament was perhaps the most shameful part of your missive: “The spillover effects from Venezuela’s crisis are serious and growing, whether it is irregular migrant flows to countries in our region or the increasing flow of arms and criminal activity that affect the Caribbean in particular.”

This is rich coming from the people who illegally invaded Libya, murdered the Libyan leader and freedom fighter, Muammar Qaddafi in the street, and in so doing, destroyed the most prosperous and democratic nation on the African continent, causing a migration crisis of a magnitude never seen before. Your government handed over the nation of Libya to a conglomerate of thugs, criminals, terrorists and reactionary warlords, and this spillover continues to wreak havoc throughout Africa and the Arab Region six years on. Before you concern yourself with any spillover in the Caribbean, please deal with the spillover from your criminal invasion of Libya, a spillover that only this month reached Manchester, England.

In Guyana, the Americas and throughout the Global South, the masses of people are sick and tired of the same old playbook -- the one that is in fact the cause of the current situation in Venezuela. But then, that is part of the devil’s own script, cause the problem and then come to us as savior, with a solution. It plays like this: the US, through its infamous web of security agencies, NGOs, Aid Agencies, think-tanks and other Trojan horses, destabilize, sow confusion and do everything in their power to overthrow any government and subjugate any people that refuse to obey Empire. Recently, more than 300,000 Venezuelans took to the streets in support of President Nicolas Maduro and the Bolivarian Revolution.

The opposition held a demonstration that attracted 50,000. Of course, in your United States, the corporate media is reporting just the opposite. By the admission of your own president they are the purveyors of fake news and this is just another example of your country’s lack of democracy. The bottom line is this Mr. Holloway: your country and its government is no way fit to point the finger at anyone when it comes to infringement of democracy, democratic values and human rights.

In your letters and articles you ask: “If these things were happening in our own countries, would we not want the rest of our American family of nations to speak out, and reach out, to help restore fundamental democratic freedoms and respect for constitutional institutions?”

In your own words you proclaim that: “The Organization of American States has for decades provided a forum to discuss our greatest challenges and take action together to address them. The challenge before us today is the death spiral of democracy in Venezuela.”

What you say in the two quotes above is correct except for one thing, the challenge before us today is not the death spiral of democracy in Venezuela, it is the death spiral of democracy in the United States and an evil Empire spinning out of control.

You are right -- the OAS should take immediate action to prevent further terrorism and turmoil because the spillover worldwide from the crisis in the United States is serious and growing.

* GERALD A. PERREIRA is chairperson of the Guyanese organizations Black Consciousness Movement Guyana (BCMG) and Organization for the Victory of the People (OVP) and an executive member of the Caribbean Chapter of the Network in Defense of Humanity. He lived in Libya for many years, served in the Green March, an international battalion for the defense of the Al Fatah Revolution, and was an executive member of the World Mathaba based in Libya. This article previously appeared in Black Agenda Report.

* THE VIEWS OF THE ABOVE ARTICLE ARE THOSE OF THE AUTHOR AND DO NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF THE PAMBAZUKA NEWS EDITORIAL TEAM

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          Weapons watchdog finds sarin used in deadly attack in Syria   
THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) -- An investigation by the international chemical weapons watchdog confirmed that sarin nerve gas was used in a deadly April 4 attack on a Syrian town, but a report released Friday stopped short of saying who was responsible....
          A G-Man's Journal: A Legendary Career Inside the FBI- FROM The Kennedy Assassination to the Oklahoma City Bombing   

From 1964 to 1994, Buck Revell directed or participated in virtually every major FBI investigation -- including the JFK assassination, Watergate, the Iran hostage crisis, and Gulf War antiterrorist operations. As the former Associate Deputy Director in charge of investigations, the Bureau's number-two career post, he sealed his reputation as a legendary maverick in federal law enforcement. Now, in a landmark autobiography, Revell candidly reveals the brilliance and deep-rooted flaws behind thirty years of FBI investigations.

Known early on for his street-smart, proactive, and hard-hitting style inside J. Edgar Hoover's Bureau, Revell hunted down Mafia hit men, Ku Klux Klan-type terrorist groups, and Eastern Bloc spies. Quickly rising in a system that was often its own worst enemy, he discloses why, after Hoover's death in 1972, he and other reform-minded agents moved to modernize the FBI both tactically and technologically -- and how he developed investigative strategies, innovated specific surveillance methods, and championed special FBI units, such as Special Events Management and Hostage Rescue.

As skilled at advising heads of state as collaring criminals, Revell was often summoned to the White House Situation Room. As the senior FBI representative to the National Security Council, he emerged as one of our leading authorities on terrorism and national security issues. He recounts how he persuaded Congress to enact Federal laws regarding fugitive apprehension abroad, and how he directed all international operations -- including tracking the kidnappers and killers of hostages in Beirut, international mafias weapons smuggling, and French and Japanese industrial espionage. He also demonstrates why it is vital for the FBI to become a global nerve center for the world's law enforcement agencies.

On the home front, Buck Revell continues to advise the National Security Council, the Pentagon, and the Justice Departments on matters of organized crime, drug enforcement, white-collar crime and terrorism. In A G-Man's Journal, he proposes drastic reforms for improving the current system of law enforcement and justice, and bluntly analyzes what went wrong at incidents like the Branch Davidian tragedy in Waco, and the World Trade Center and Oklahoma City bombings.

A riveting chronicle of an extraordinary career amid history-shaping events, A G-Man's Journal lays bare the varied criminal threats facing America today, and sets the crimefighting agenda for the next century.

          Thread: Z War One: Damnation:: Rules:: Stink Tank   

by Will092345

If Sam starts with his stink tank as his active weapon, then activates it can he then swap to another weapon before using his 4 AP? i.e.. 2 free actions at the start of his turn (activate stink and swap weapon).. I don't see anything in the rules saying you cannot so assume OK?
          Thread: Secret Weapons of the Third Reich:: News:: 4Dados in Essen, pick up available   

by chuskas

Hi everybody,

This year we will be in Essen again (I'm sorry, we still don't know the Booth number), and we will have some units of our games with us in the Fair, Secret Weapons of the Third Reich and also Democracy under siege (the printer has everything they need to start production, and now they are checking the files in order to verify that everything is correct).

So, if you want to go to Essen this year and you want to buy some of our games, you can order them now and select 'pick up in Essen' as a shipping option.


You can order Secret Weapons in this link:

http://www.4dados.es/index.php?id_product=1088&controller=pr...


Also, you can order Democracy Under siege here:

http://www.4dados.es/index.php?id_product=1087&controller=pr...


Please remember to select 'pick up in Essen' as a shipping option.

Of course, you can order the games sending an email to preorder@4dados.es.

Regards

Jesús Cañada
          Thread: This War of Mine: The Board Game:: Rules:: dying during combat with a weapon    

by paxton73

If during combat I have a character with a knife that dies, can I give that knife to another character for the next round of combat or do I have to wait till the end of combat?
          Session: Target for Today:: "Mis-Fit" Missions #3 and #4   

by worst2first

[geekurl=https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1801717/mis-fit-mission-1]Misson #1[/geekurl]

[geekurl=https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1803561/mis-fit-mission-2]Misson #2[/geekurl]

"Mis-Fit" B-24J (Consolidated) 754th Bombardment Squadron, 458th BG, 96th BW, 2nd AD, 8th AF

"Mis-Fit" is crewed by:

P - 1LT Jimmy E. Smith - 23 - New York, N.Y.
CP - 2LT Jacob E. Baar - 22 - Columbus, Ohio
N - 2LT Everett L. Clark - 23 - Dallas, Tex.
B - 2LT Frank R. Hansen - 22 - Shinnston, W. Va.
E - S/SGT Leon M. Edwards - 22 - New Port Richey, Fla.
RO - S/SGT Albert H. Hamilton - 30 - Latrobe, Pa.
BT - SGT Hyman A. Fischer - 26 - Buffalo, N.Y.
RW - SGT Frank W. Reed - 20 - Enterprise, Ala.
LW - SGT Maynard H. Evans - 23 - Heber Springs, Ark.
TG - SGT William T. Phillips - 22 - Shreveport, La.

Note: "Mis-Fit" is out of commission for a few days. These missions were flown in a replacement bomber.

Field Order 787 - 23 JUNE 1944
TARGET: Watten - No Ball (V-Weapons)
Bomber Position: High 12

Mission Summary:

Takeoff and assembly was accomplished without incident. Fighter coverage was Fair.

The only E/A to appear were driven off by friendly fighters.

The target was slightly obscured but bombing results were good with 60% accuracy. Medium to light flak resulted in no hits.

Weather over the base was good and landing was routine.

Bomber Damage Points: 0
Estimated Repair Time: NA

Crew Comments: None

Field Order 792 - 24 JUNE 1944
TARGET: Conches - Airfield
Bomber Position: Middle 6

Mission Summary:

Takeoff and assembly was accomplished without incident. Fighter cover ranged from Fair (Zones 2-5) to Poor (Zone 6) to Good (Zones 2-5).

3 waves of E/A attacked immediately before we crossed the French coast (Zone 4). 3 Me-109s made ineffective passes. SGT Reed in the nose turret destroyed one E/A with accurate fire that severely damaged the fighter's left wing. SST Edwards also claimed a 109.

A second group of Fw-190s attacked and one scored multiple hits on our bomber from 12:00 High (5 hits). Fortunately, all were superficial (thank you dice!). The remaing fighters broke off their attacks.

The target was slightly obscured. We were on target but only 20% of our bombs fell within the target zone.

Flak was light to medium. We sustained three hits after the bomb run. Two were superficial but one damaged the left outboard fuel tank and we started losing fuel. S/SGT Edwards transferred as much fuel as possible to the other tanks. He calculated we had just enough fuel to make it back to base if we were luckly.

No other E/A were seen.

Weather over the base was good and we landed safely. The crew chief later reported that we had less than 20 gallons of fuel left.

Claims:

SGT Reed - 1 Me-109 - credited as "damaged"
S/SGT Edwards - 1 Me-109 - credited as "damaged"

Note: I am using Tom Barnes' idea:

My personal variant is to roll a d6 for destroyed fighters as part of the post-mission debiefing: 1-3 = "Damaged" credit give, 4-5 = "Probable" credit given, and 6 = "Kill" credit given.


Crew Comments: The FLAK wasn't that heavy, but one lucky hit is all it takes. We were sweating bullets on the flight home but we had just enough fuel left to make it. Hopefully, "Mis-Fit" will be ready for our next mission.



          Review: Dark Souls: The Board Game:: A comparative Review: Dark Souls vs. Zombicide   

by Farydia

This game has had to endure a lot of harsh criticism and often outright spiteful opinions on these forums. I can't really agree with this, so I asked myself: What exactly is the problem?

I mean, for example, let's compare it to Zombicide: Black Plague. I'm only talking about gameplay and content here and in both cases only look at the base game.

Before I start, a few remarks: I played Zombicide: Black Plague 4 times so far and Dark Souls twice. So I do not claim to have dived into every nook and cranny of either game. The comparison is based on my impressions after a handful of games of both of them. Just in case, that it sometimes may sound otherwise in the comparison below, I quite enjoy Zombicide: Black Plague.

1) Play time: I've never played a game of ZBP below the 3 hour mark. So it's also a very long game. Dark Souls clocks in around 4 - 5 hours, although it is easy to save after the mini-boss encounter zombie
2) Enemy variability: There are only 4 types of enemies in ZBP, that are all basically the same. Dark Souls has 6 basic enemies, 4 mini-bosses and 2 bosses, that all feature their own behavioral patterns. sauron
3) Player characters: Zombicide has 6 heroes, Dark Souls has 4. zombie
4) The central aspect of both games is killing enemies, gaining loot and leveling up. So let's see:
4a) Luck factor in combat: ZBP is a dice chucker. There's not much in terms of luck mitigation, you might get equipment with more dice (= more chances of getting a success) or a better to hit chance, but there's very rarely any mitigation. It's also very binary: You hit = kill a zombie, if your weapon does enough damage. You miss = You don't kill a zombie. Dark Souls has only one die (the black one) with a blank side, better dice are just that: better. Weapon upgrades like the Titanite shard or weapons / upgrades that add status effects greatly help to establish a base damage. We often had encounters, where we didn't even have to roll a die to kill the grunt enemies, because it was all auto-kills. I like that! sauron
4b) Combat system: Due to the points above, Dark Souls is a lot less random overall than Zombicide, a lot more tactical with more meaningful decisions to make and I just find it a ton of fun. It also depends a lot more on teamwork than Zombicide. Example: I had a weapon with low damage output but with bleeding. So for the tougher enemies I would try to hit them first, give them bleed and my boyfriend would then come in with his Greatsword and finish them off. I had the better armour, so I wold usually take the aggro when going in. Both games work with open information, Dark Souls even more than Zombicide. There's ressource management and push-your-luck with the health / stamina bar. The battles themselves are highly engaging in Dark Souls, while Zombicide is basically just removing glorified cubes from the board to give some breathing space. It's ok and it works, but in my opinion nothing to write home about. sauron
4c) Luck factor in equipment: Rather high in both games, there's really not much difference between the two that I can discern.
4d) Level progression: This one goes to Zombicide, as you get a cool new ability on level up, while in Dark Souls you only level stats so you can equip better stuff. This is true to the video game, though. zombie
5) Variability: Yes, Zombicide has missions. Basically, you are still doing the same stuff in every scenario: Run about, kill zombies, try to find the objective marker, level up and gain loot to make it easier to kill zombies, run around... rinse, repeat. Dark Souls pits you against different encounters, a mini-boss and an end-boss. It does not gloss over the fact that your soul purpose is to fight, get better loot, try not to die too often. No winner here, they are both really straightforward and of course, to a certain degree, repetitive.
6) Miscellaneous: Zombicide has player elimination, which is kind of bad in such a long game. We always play without it and the dead character comes back with his starting equipment and at level 1. This is, to my knowledge, a house rule, though. In Dark Souls you always die together. In both games, there's practically no downtime that I have noticed. You always have to be present during other players' turns in both games to be effective as a group. No siginificant difference I can see.
7) Difficulty: Mind you, being difficult is not a quality in a game, per se. However, a good challenge makes or breaks a game. I find Zombicide a bit on the easy side, but still ok to be enjoyable. Dark Souls is in its board game form not as punishingly hard as the video game. We still had a tough time and although we managed to win, it was a close call which could have gone the other way, as well. I may have to say that I overlooked the rule, which says that you may reset your sparks after the mini-boss. That made it tougher than it should have been, probably. Having a weapon with bleed helped tremendously. I'm not giving this category to anyone, because, as I said, difficulty is not a value in itself. If I had to decide for my personal taste, I'd lean towards Dark Souls.

So, the end result is 3:3 and a handful of ties. With 2 or 3 players, I would definitely prefer to play Dark Souls right now, with higher player counts Zombicide. Overall, I think both games do what they set out to do very well and I enjoy both in their own way.

Now, what I could not find out with this short analysis: Why does it seem to be "universally accepted" on this forum, that Dark Souls is a bad game, while Zombicide receives a lot of praise? The people who do not recommend or enjoy Dark Souls: Would you recommend Zombicide: Black Plague?

Hope you find this interesting and can maybe enlighten me a bit, too. Keep playing meeple!
          Review: Gang Rush Breakout:: Review #594 by Deskovehry: Gang Rush Breakout - War on a bridge   

by tadzi



You surely know all those gangster movies in which thieves run away from the police in a thrilling chase. But this time, on their way to success, gangs will become enemies. Getting across the bridge in one piece with most of stolen finances into your hiding place is main goal. Best thief gets a reward in the form of an adjutant’s position.

And one such bridge will welcome all the players who make it into world of board game Gang Rush Breakout, which was prepared for us by the pair of designers Galladur and Henri Pym. Everyone contributed with their part – the first one is author of the idea, which was then processed by the latter into shape of this game. And Ankama company took the whole idea and published it. Graphics were made by Rémi Farjaud and its a novelty for 2017.

Box has a square shape, but its size does not belong to those classic larger games. On the contrary, it is making its own way being a drop smaller and better to carry. On the lid, we see a really explosive event in which cars fly through the air and trays are getting empty in a split-second. But the game does not disappoint even under the lid. First of all, there is a game board, which consists of a bridge with five lanes. But it also includes a number of cardboard pieces that make it a real treat for the eye. Using them, players complete their gaming environment in which the bridge goes really up and down. And all this is dominated by a large (of course cardboard) construction.



But setup continues with other components. Before the first game, players assemble freight containers from a series of cartons, but also jumpers and above all round pointers. They will be split among the players, but first they have to choose each one of the classic old gangster cars. And it will also determine color of the pointer, which will allow the players not only to monitor speed of their car, but also show damage and symbol in there indicates special skill of that car. They put miniatures on the starting line to determine initial funding. Finally, on the sides, they line up bonus tokens and a set of dice.

The ranking of opponents will determine the order of the cars on the bridge for the first turn. Who is more ahead will start the main stage (in the case of a tie, whoever is standing more to the left). But the round starts by putting up new obstacles and this brings advantages to those, who are left behind at the moment. Players can then choose from five different obstacles (tiles on offer) and place them on any position on the bridge. The only limitation in the rules is that two identical pieces of hazard must never be adjacent.

But then the players will move in the main stage, one after another, as their cars are placed. The first one takes five dice and tries to get the most advantageous set of symbols. He has two rethrow options. Then the icons have to be used and, as a result, first repair or damage their car in the first place. According to this outcome, he turns his pointer so that six holes show one green dot less (or more), than before.



At the same time, this level also corresponds to number of hundreds of dollars the vehicle is able to carry. However, due to the tachometer symbol, the vehicle can also accelerate and player moves its hand one point to the right. In case of a damage rolled, banknote has been lost and should be left in the place, where car is standing.

It is speed, that determines how many spaces player can move his vehicle. These points can be used to move forward or sideways, depending only on the player himself. However to do this, it is necessary to spend not only point of movement but also two symbols of turning rolled on dice. Only one point is sufficient for moving in straight line. But cars always have to avoid obstacles that stand in their way.

In addition, each player also has weapons and can fire with them when the revolver symbol is shown. The bullet always moves forward only in one line and always reaches the first car at an unlimited distance. Gangster can shoot even more times and injure each opponent for one point, and thereby make them lose hundred dollars from their trunk. The shot can also destroy barrier or force the police to do an evasive maneuver.



For their finances in front of themselves (in the form of small cards), players can buy bonuses from the offer. For each unused dice, they collect new hundred dollars if they have space to store them. However, income can also come from positions where it was left by others. On the road the cars can also hurt themselves or against the obstacles around. And as a result, it loses points and dollars with it.

Much more interesting options are special maneuvers, which can be a reaction to unexpected events. Players can stop or even turn their car around. And then they will surely welcome action to return the car in the right direction using handbrake. But this uses even more steering wheel symbols from dice. In addition, a stopped car can spend money and repair itself. On the player’s route, ramps can also be used by drivers to jump. As a result of the impact, their car may (decided by luck) suffer some damage.

Game ends, when one of the cars crosses the finish line and all other players have had opportunity to move their vehicles one more time. They will receive a reward for their position in the race, but it may not be enough to win. Players add up money left in trunk of their machines. Only the one who has the most money becomes the winner. But that does not apply to last competitor in order, who instead earned an unpopular one-way ticket to Alaska from the Mafia boss.



Gang Rush Breakout is a gangster game with everything in it. But its not a soulless shooter or a battle full of betrayal. It’s a purebred race full of shooting, chase, cops, and money. Somewhat in the style of Mafia II or similar computer games.

The theme is really great and perfectly suited to the gameplay. The game is not a dry and uninteresting tactic attempt but is full of unimaginable moments, twists and conflicts with other rivals. This is because the cars are not simply racing on an empty track, but there are many collisions between obstacles and reduced maneuvering space everywhere.

The bridge is always free space at the beginning of the game and is filled only as the game progresses. And that creates differences between each match. The offer of obstacles and bonuses is always different and dice are making another variations. Rear cars have always a large weapon at their disposal in the form of barrier placement (every turn), that their rivals in the lead must avoid or crawl through.



It is these gangster options that are, however, the essential element of the gameplay. Every failure means loss of some banknotes that are then just lying on the bridge and waiting for the one who picks them up first. And shooting belongs to the daily bread of every right criminal, so bullets will not be only some emergency.

Players are clearly forced into conflict because target bonus simply is not enough. Everything, however, is controlled by dice and their successes or, on the contrary, failures. Fortunately, it’s not all that bad, because players have the ability to reroll their results and at least partially transform symbols into their own image.

It is clear that the track requires more cars on the bridge. In the minimum of three, the battle is far from interesting. The more cars, the more obstacles. But it also raises the unpredictability that can spoil the game for some players.



What, on the other hand, is great? We are talking about processing. The game looks fantastic on the table and it’s not just the toy cars but the overall environment. And yet we have a single complaint that is a bit wasteful – the banknotes are so terribly small and thin that manipulation with them is really unpleasant. Due to the amount of cardboard material in the game, it’s surprising what lead the game publishers to include such incompatible content.

Gang Rush Breakout is a very interesting gangster game. Players will compete in non-traditional way on a bridge, in cars, with weapons in their hands. But at the same time, they struggle not only with each other, but also with luck of dice, and in particular with dirty banknotes, which make their lives uncomfortable. This all makes Gang Rush Breakout just the right entertainment for many.

Original review posted on DeskoveHry.com with more pictures:
http://www.deskovehry.com/en/review-gang-rush-breakout-war-o...

You can find more our reviews not only on our site, but also on DeskoveHry.com GeekList:
https://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/153566/reviews-made-d...

          Search warrant startles suspect, fires at SWAT   
Search warrant startles suspect, fires at SWAT

BATON ROUGE - East Baton Rouge Sheriffs&nbsp;were executing a no knock search warrant on a home when the suspect started shooting at them.&nbsp;

According to police documents, EBRSO&nbsp;SWAT members were looking for Roderick Harris. After entering the house, shots were fired at the members from another room.&nbsp;

SWAT members reached the bedroom where they found Harris who left without further resistance.&nbsp;

A stolen handgun was found in the bedroom. Detectives determined that weapon was where the gunshots came from.&nbsp;

Harris said he was startled by the noise of SWAT coming into the house &mdash; prompting him to grab the gun and fire through the bedroom.&nbsp;

Harris admitted to purchasing the gun illegally and that he knew he was prohibited from having the gun due to a previous conviction.&nbsp;

Along with first degree murder in a separate&nbsp;incident, Harris is facing a list of charges including four counts of attempted murder of a police officer and illegal possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.&nbsp;

************

Follow the publisher of this post on Twitter: @Joshua_Jackson_


Permalink| Comments



          Man arrested in connection to Amarillo Street shooting   
Man arrested in connection to Amarillo Street shooting

BATON ROUGE - Baton Rouge police have arrested a man witnesses say shot someone in the leg Thursday evening on Amarillo Street.&nbsp;

According to arrest documents, Kentrell&nbsp;Payton&nbsp;was later seen not far from the crime scene&nbsp;wearing the same clothes described by witnesses.&nbsp;

Payton&nbsp;was walking down the street with a counterfeit $20 bill and a baby bottle filled with the liquid street drug known as "lean."&nbsp;

He denied shooting the victim, but did admit to being at the scene. Payton&nbsp;said the victim tried to rob him at gunpoint and wrestled with the victim for the weapon.&nbsp;

He then said the gun did go off and he left the scene immediately after.&nbsp;

Payton&nbsp;is being charged with first degree murder.&nbsp;


Permalink| Comments



          Variety of views expressed on campus carry at UNG town hall   

With the state’s campus carry law set to take effect Saturday, students, faculty and staff at a town hall meeting Wednesday on the University of North Georgia’s Gainesville campus expressed a range of concerns from saying the law makes them feel unsafe to concerns it may be too restrictive.

UNG Police Chief Justin Gaines held the forum on House Bill 280, commonly referred to as the campus carry law, which was passed this spring by the state legislature. Approximately 30 people attended the session in the Continuing Education Auditorium, which was the seventh held so far on the five UNG campuses.

The bill makes it legal for those with a Georgia weapons carry license to have a concealed handgun in some campus areas previously prohibited. But the law continues to make it illegal to carry a concealed weapon in many areas, including: sites of athletic events; student housing; any preschool or child care space; any space used for classes related to a college and career academy or other specialized school; any space used for classes where high school students are enrolled; faculty, staff or administration offices and any rooms where disciplinary proceedings are conducted.

During the meeting, Gaines addressed questions from the audience, as well as questions and answers that had already been published on the school’s website. He also read the law and guidelines from University System of Georgia Chancellor Steve Wrigley.

Gaines told the audience that it is the responsibility of persons with the concealed weapons permits to make sure their actions do not violate the new law. Highlights of information Gaines shared about the law included:

• Faculty members can carry a handgun in the classroom as long as there are no high school students, but cannot take that gun into their own office. They would need to store the gun in a car, or faculty workroom, which would be considered a “common space.”

• Students with concealed weapons permits should check with the registrar every day they go to class during the drop/add period to make sure high school students have not added the class, making it illegal to carry the gun into the classroom.

• Areas outside professor’s offices could be considered common areas where concealed carry would be legal, even if faculty members were in those common areas.

• Faculty cannot limit or ban handguns from a classroom or ask students if they have a concealed weapon.

• In response to a question by a faculty member who asked, “Are they allowed to shoot it?” Gaines said they could shoot their concealed handgun in defense of themselves or others, but added, “Will they in compliance with the other laws of self defense and others? That’s to be determined based on the situations.”

• The penalty for violating the campus carry law is a $25 fine for those with concealed weapons permits. Those not holding the permit face felony charges for bringing a gun on campus.

“I’ll be honest with you, I’m feeling very unsafe,” Kel Lee Cutrell, associate director of counseling services at the Gainesville campus, said during the meeting.

After the meeting, Cutrell said she still has concerns about the law even though she trusts the university police.

“The law concerns me, but our university police do not,” she said. “A student can bring a gun into my workspace (and) they’re not necessarily going to care about a $25 fine if they have an agenda.They can come into our center with a gun, but not our office, but who’s going to stop them?”

Jamie Steele, who works at the counseling center on the Gainesville campus as a licensed professional counselor, said students coming into their offices are sometimes dealing with difficult situations.

“In a typical week, especially during a semester, we have a crisis a week where something  has happened,” Steele said. “My concern is you have a license to conceal and carry. Y