"I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life"
Father God, thank you for the love of the truth you have given me. Please bless me with the wisdom, knowledge and discernment needed to always present the truth in an attitude of grace and love. Use this blog and Northwoods Ministries for your glory. Help us all to read and to study Your Word without preconceived notions, but rather, let scripture interpret scripture in the presence of the Holy Spirit. All praise to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Please note: All my writings and comments appear in bold italics in this colour
Sunday, December 31, 2017
This is a warning for western countries of how Muslims can be quickly and easily influenced by radicals.
Turkey has for the past 100 years been officially secular. Attaturk set it up that way and the military has made sure it stayed that way until the 21st century. President (read Caliph) Erdogan has gutted the military, removing many senior officers who were not strong Muslims. He wants to turn Turkey into a caliphate and, in all probability, expand it to include much of the former Ottoman Empire.
He can't accomplish that until the people are completely behind him, meaning vestiges of secularism must be removed, but it must be done carefully in a manner in which the people think that it is their idea rather than Erdogan forcing it upon them.
As such, these veiling parties are not likely to be trounced upon, but gently encouraged. It will be interesting to watch how that comes about.
An inquiry has been launched against the management of a school in Turkey after revelations that a local teacher made girls wear headscarves. Photos of pupils attending ‘parties’ that promoted veiling emerged on social media.
Turkey's education directorate in the south eastern Sanliurfa province launched the investigation into a local secondary school after it was revealed that a teacher of religious culture and moral education was organizing what was later described as “veiling parties.”
Photos of these events initially were posted on social media on December 29. The images showed girls, all wearing headscarves, holding heart-shaped small placards that promoted veiling and encouraged others to follow their example.
Some placards read: “I have veiled myself,”“Luckily I have veiled myself,”“Come on, you too veil yourself,”“From now on, I am veiled,” and “Thank God I am veiled.” Others said, “The Lord has given me an order” and “I am happy that I am veiled.” Some of the photos also show the girls wearing paper masks in addition to the veils.
The school administration said it was unaware of any such events and passed responsibility for the incident on to the teacher, who was identified by the local media as Gamze I. They referred to the event only as a “veiling party” without providing any further information.
“We cannot supervise all of the teachers at the same time… We have talked with the teacher that organized this event over the phone, she told us about the incident and said the demand for the event came from the students themselves,” school management told the Turkish Hurriyet daily.
See what I mean? They are manipulated until they think it's their idea. Like a paedophile grooming a child.
The incident caught the attention of Turkey's major opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), which took the matter to parliament. Party members argued that the photos showed that children at the school were exposed to “serious abuse.”
Saturday, December 30, 2017
I came across this brief but delightful story of a young Swiss girl who literally brow beat several German knights who threatened her life. I love it!
Swiss battle, dornach 1499
In 1499 the Swiss fought their last great war in the north. Their battle-hardened democratic armies proved superior to the pitiful Habsburg forces and by Autumn, the end of the campaigning season, the Germans were begging for peace.
Here is a lovely episode from the middle of the war that gives some sense of the mettle and spunk of the Swiss forces against their German neighbours. A young Swiss girl (Mädchen) had been used, in July 1499, as a go between, and had been sent to the Emperor Maximilian with a letter. However, the Imperial forces decide to milk her for information, intimidating her in every way possible: she was perhaps ten.
The dialogue was caught by Wilibald Pirckheimer (obit 1530), the famous German writer, who was on the Imperial side but who was clearly, for the purposes of this melee, with the Swiss. The child is surrounded by knights.
The girl is asked what the Swiss are doing: ‘Don’t you see they are awaiting your attack?’
The girl is asked how many men the Swiss had: ‘Just enough to repel your advance.’
She also noted that the men of Constance, Habsburg allies, could have counted the Swiss in a recent battle there had they not been blinded in flight.
The girl is asked whether the Swiss are hungry: ‘How are they able to live if they do not eat or drink?’
The girl is told that she will have her head cut off if she does not answer questions properly:
‘Truly you are a hero that you threaten a young girl with death. When you have such a great desire to draw a sword, why don’t you throw yourself on the enemy positions? There you will meet a man who will answer your courage. But it is easier to confront an unarmed and innocent girl than put yourself before an armed enemy who knows how to conduct himself not with words but with deeds.’
At this point the conversation seems to have broken down! It is not the dialogue of a Greek hero with a Trojan hero in the Iliad. It is far more impressive than that: a child raised among citizens talks down to warriors raised in a feudal society. The modern age is about to blow the old world away.
Friday, December 29, 2017
There is no way of knowing if these charges are real or (pardon the pun) trumped-up. Putin has a hatred on for Browder after Putin's oligarchs stole Browder's businesses in Russia, murdered his tax accountant, Sergey Magnitsky, and, for some reason, Browder complained loud and long. Browder also was instrumental in getting the Magnitsky act passed in the US which sanctioned several officials in Moscow deemed responsible for Magnitsky's death. Courts are very political in Russia.
This report comes from RT
A court in Moscow has sentenced US-born financier William Browder in absentia to nine years in a penal colony, after convicting him of a $79 million tax fraud.
Browder, who is now a UK citizen, is known as the main lobbyist behind the anti-Russian ‘Magnitsky Act’ sanctions.
The court also ordered Browder to pay a fine of 200,000 rubles (US$3,400). His business partner, Ivan Cherkasov, was also sentenced in absentia to nine years behind bars and handed a 200,000-ruble fine in the same case.
In addition, the judge ruled that the pair must compensate the Russian state to the amount of 4.6 billion rubles ($79 million).
Russian investigators have established that between 1995 and 2007 Browder and Cherkasov, alongside unidentified others, planned and executed a tax evasion scheme in which they registered several joint stock companies in Russia with Cyprus-registered shareholders and started transferring profits abroad, disguising them as dividends.
The scheme allowed the pair to illegally decrease income tax from 15 percent to 10 percent, or even as low as 5 percent, resulting in estimated damages to the Russian budget of about 3.4 billion rubles (more than $50 million).
In addition, Browder, Cherkasov and their unidentified accomplices were convicted of committing bankruptcy fraud in which they cheated the state of a further 1.2 billion rubles (over $20 million).
Defense attorneys representing Browder and Cherkasov said on Friday that they planned to appeal the sentence, alleging that the judges “did not listen to and did not hear their arguments.”
Browder is a founder of the Hermitage Capital investment firm, which made billions in profits on Russian securities in the late 1990s – early 2000s. At the end of that period, Russian authorities took a closer look at the investor’s activities, which resulted in a criminal case and the arrest of Browder’s legal adviser, Sergey Magnitsky.
Magnitsky died in pre-trial custody in 2009, after which Browder started a massive PR campaign alleging that the late lawyer had been attempting to reveal financial crimes committed by Russian officials, and had died as a result of this.
That did not stop the Russian authorities from handing Browder a nine-year sentence in absentia in 2013, after finding him guilty of evading $16 million in tax and illegal operations with shares of the Russian natural gas monopoly Gazprom which cost Russia another $100 million.
In the US, the scandal took a completely different turn, and in December 2012 the US Senate passed the so-called Magnitsky Act – the regulation that imposes sanctions on Russian individuals and companies over alleged violations of human rights. The adoption of the Magnitsky Act led to reciprocal sanctions by Russia and contributed to a major cooling in Russia-US relations that continues to this day.
Thursday, December 28, 2017
One of the very few sane voices in Europe today.
This is absolutely brilliant!by Josef Zbořil
"If you want the unspoken truth, Islamic migration is not possible to integrate, and it is not capable of being assimilated into European culture. " — Miloš Zeman, President of the Czech Republic.
"This country is ours. And this country is not and can not be for all." — Miloš Zeman.
"In my opinion, much of the guilt lies on the current leadership of the European Union, which is totally incompetent, bureaucratic, causing the alienation of European citizens from European institutions... We do not need censorship, we do not need an ideological police, we do not need a new press and information office if we are to continue living in a free and democratic society..." — Miloš Zaman, 2016.
Czech President Miloš Zeman, it was recently said, is "a world leader guided by principles, a man not only knows right from wrong, but has never been afraid to voice it." Known for his longstanding support for the US, Israel and the Jews, he was the only European president publicly to support then-candidate Donald Trump before the US presidential election.
The historical relationship of Czechoslovakia, later the Czech Republic, towards Israel is most likely based on when the Czechs were overrun by Hitler in 1938, and learned the hard way that "appeasement never works". Zeman defends the Czech presidents' motto: "Truth prevails".
A Euro-federalist and leftist, Zeman became known to the public in August 1989, three months before the Velvet Revolution, thanks to an article, "Prognostics and Perestroika." In it, he criticized the totalitarian Czechoslovak régime at that time:
"The stolen future was not shared by a society which was not planning for itself but for which plans were being made.... Current events have already proven that long-term [economic] lagging has not contributed to the prestige of socialism. Also not contributing to it is a persistent unwillingness to admit its own responsibility for this lagging... There is nothing antisocialist about criticizing the incompetence of an uncontrollable power. On the contrary, there is nothing socialist about tolerance or even support for that incompetence."
Thanks to this article, he was not only fired from his job, but in August 1989, was also invited to appear on the television show Economic Notebook, where he said:
"For the past forty years, we have dropped from tenth place in the world to around the fortieth. In some areas, even worse. For example, in the development of science and technology... we are today roughly at the level of Algeria or Peru, and far below Portugal, which is considered the most undeveloped country in Western Europe ... I explain this development by [the government's] having taken economic decisions that were casually accepted; there was no sound competition of alternative ideas, and even ideas that would have extremely cautious consequences were taken without any evaluation of their effectiveness."
The ability of a chess player and the formulation of non-conformist attitudes, subsequently guaranteed his popularity to the general public. He was elected prime minister from 1998-2002, and in the first direct elections in 2013, he was elected president of the Czech Republic.
As a leader from "Western civilization", he has, as in the "clash of civilizations," long fought for women's rights, and equality for everyone. This stance has made him a natural "anti-jihadist" who, politically incorrectly, declares the entire Islamic civilization "anti-civilization":
"While it is possible to agree to a ban on driving a car, in all other cases, Islamic anti-civilization unjustifiably makes women a discriminated minority and their free development impossible."
He has also said:
"A Muslim can be defined as a Quranist, like a Nazi can be defined as a believer in racial superiority and anti-Semitism or a Communist like a believer in the class struggle and dictatorship of the proletariat.
"I think we can coexist with Buddhism, Hinduism, Shinto, Confucianism, but we cannot coexist with Islam. It has anchored in its sacred texts that it must rule the world and have unbelievers submit.
"The enemy is the anti-civilisation spreading from North Africa to Indonesia. Two billion people live in it and it is financed partly from oil sales and partly from drug sales."
Zeman is equally politically incorrect in criticizing his own nation. In a speech in Slovakia, in February 2016, he said:
"In the Czech Republic there is, for example, a Vietnamese community [about 80,000] which has assimilated marvelously. Their children are studying at universities; they speak perfect Czech. The Vietnamese are – and now I am committing an insult to my own nation – the Vietnamese are more industrious than the average Czech citizen. Why not admit it, when it is the truth? About 110,000 Ukrainians live here. And they are hard-working, they have overcome the language barrier, they have integrated very well into the [greater] society. The Slovaks I do not count, because I consider them 'our people'. Thus, we are not xenophobic.
"Five percent of the Czech population are foreigners who are integrated into our society. But when it comes to the term 'migration' we forget one adjective: and that is 'Islamic migration'. Political correctness, my friends, is synonymous with a lie. If you want the unspoken truth, Islamic migration is not possible to integrate and is not capable of being assimilated into European culture."
Ranked first among the biggest problems for the Islamic world, by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, according in its 8th OIC Observatory Report on Islamophobia of May 2015, was, "Deploring Czech President Miloš Zeman's Statement against Islam". Second was, "To conduct on-the-ground Post-Charlie Hebdo Inquiries".
"I will not be calmed down by statements that it [Jewish Museum of Belgium shooting] is only small marginal groups. I believe, on the contrary, this xenophobia and this racism or anti-Semitism stem from the very nature of the ideology on which these fanatical groups rely..."
At another conference in 2015, he stated:
"You know the famous slogan: Ich bin ein Berliner. Now, we all must say, I am a Jew. Your discrimination is our discrimination. Your victims are our victims. But our society is too hedonistic, too consumption-oriented, and there is the cowardice and appeasement..."
Zeman's attitude is close to that of the "father of Singapore", Lee Kuan Yew (1923-2015), the great statesman and founder of modern Singapore, who said:
"I would say today, we can integrate all religions and races except Islam.... After 40 years of patchy economic development, many Arabs feel anger and humiliation that their once glorious Islamic civilization has been diminished by the West, especially America, and corrupted by its licentious culture... Muslims want to assimilate us. It is one-way traffic and they have no confidence in allowing choice."
The foreign policy of the Czech Republic has its own global specificities. In addition to strongly-held pro-Israeli attitudes, it also holds a similar position toward Syria, the US, and EU countries.
Pictured: Czech Republic President Milos Zeman (left) with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, Israel on October 7, 2013. (Photo by Kobi Gideon/Israel GPO via Getty Images)
Syrian President Bashar Assad, speaking of the relationship between Syria and the Czech Republic, said:
"So, concerning the Czech Republic, I can say that our relations were not very good before the crisis, but during the crisis it was shown that it had a much clearer vision than other countries.... it was able to see, analyze, and understand what is actually happening, and by so doing, be more objective than other European countries..."
The Czech Republic Ambassador to the United States, Hynek Kmoníček, added:
"Bashar Assad said that his relations with the Czech Republic were originally quite bad... but in the end, it seems that Bashar Assad has moved to the Czech position and the EU will move too".
Zeman sometimes seems to have his own global policy. He was the only president of an EU member state who visited Moscow during the "Victory parade for the 70th Anniversary of the End of World War II". He also, in a TV interview during his visit to China in October 2014, said:
" We do not teach market economy or human rights or something like that. Conversely, we try to learn. And I am in China to learn how to increase economic growth and how to stabilize society..."
In a Christmas speech in 2015, during a discussion with uncritical "welcomers" of about 45% of refugees in a migration wave of 1.2 million economic migrants, predominately from the Islamic world -- and which included hundreds of jihadist terrorists -- Zeman said: "This country is ours. And this country is not and can not be for all."
Again, in a Christmas speech in 2016, he said:
"In my opinion, much of the guilt lies on the current leadership of the European Union, which is totally incompetent, bureaucratic, causing the alienation of European citizens from European institutions and is even unable to fulfill a fundamental task such as the protection of the external borders of the European Union...
"I know that in the context of international tension, there are sometimes attempts to censor the internet... one who prevents others from expressing their arguments merely proves that he himself has no arguments... We do not need censorship, we do not need an ideological police, we do not need a new press and information office if we are to continue living in a free and democratic society..."
Zeman describes Islam with the same raw truth as he translates into Czech the name of the band "Pussy Riot": like a "woman's genitals" -- not the politically correct "kitty".
Zeman has warned of the willful blindness to Islamism's "sharia-apartheid ideology," similar to what former US federal prosecutor Andrew C. McCarthy described for the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee in June 2016, when he said:
"From the standpoint of American national security, it is irrelevant whether there is a true Islam. What matters is that there is a sharia-supremacist construction of Islam to which millions of Muslims have adhered for centuries...They are supported by centuries of scholarship and scriptural literalism. We are not going to convince them that they are wrong... They do not care what American politicians and commentators think about 'the true Islam.' They judge themselves by their own civilization and culture principles – just as we in the West do by ours...
"Sharia supremacism, their interpretation of Islam, is not a religion as we understand religion. It is political radicalism with a religious veneer. Sharia supremacism is virulently anti-Western, misogynist, anti-Semitic, and homophobic. It rejects basic tenets of Western liberalism, including the power of people to chart their own destiny and make their own laws in contravention of sharia. It rejects individual liberty and equality. It brooks no separation between spiritual life and civil society. It endorses violent jihad to implement and spread sharia. And it regards the United States, closely trailed by Israel and Europe, as the principal enemies of Islam that must be defeated. That is something we desperately need to understand and highlight, not obscure and avoid...
"In 1996, I was awarded the Justice Department's highest honor for proving the nexus between (a) jihadist commands in Islamic scripture, (b) their exploitation by sharia jurists like the Blind Sheikh, and (c) the commission of jihadist atrocities by the young Muslims he inflamed. Today, to say aloud what the Clinton administration honored me for twenty years ago, is to be ostracized as an Islamophobic bigot. Mr. Chairman, members of the Committee, that is no way to protect our country. "
"Truth prevails", on the presidential flag, seems to guide Zeman. He appears to be ambitious to find a worldwide "truth vaccination" against the hypocritical political correctness of both the current "bureaucratic and incompetent" EU leadership, and a "jihadistic and radical" Islam. So far the only serious infectious disease that seems to have been completely eradicated is smallpox, also achieved by a Czech, Karel Raška, who was awarded the Edward Jenner medal.
Justin Trudeau - 1st Minister of the Sunny Ways, thinks ISIS jihadists returning to Canada is a good thing. Incapable of seeing anything evil in people, even those who behead people by the hundreds, who trade Yazidi children as sex slaves, who destroy ancient monuments and civilizations.
There's a good person inside, you see. We are all good people under the surface, we just need a little sunshine to bring that out into the air. He doesn't seem to realize that these were good, or at least normal, people before they became radicalized. You see, it's the evil, the sin nature that lies beneath the surface waiting for the fertilizer of radical Islam to spring forth whereupon man is capable of astounding cruelty.
This has been documented over and over for the past several years. The principal of inherent evil is carried out by millions of pedophiles every single day, destroying the innocence of little children.
Trudeau's lunacy will result in death and destruction in Canada that is completely preventable. But then, as in much of Europe, political correctness is far more important than the lives and welfare of Canadian children.
Justin Trudeau On Returning ISIS Fighters:
They'll Be An 'Extraordinarily Powerful Voice' For Canada
The Prime Minister believes reformed Jihadists will help prevent radicalizationBy EMILY ZANOTTI
In a year-end interview with one of Canada's state television networks, CTV, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau claimed that he believes returning Jihadists — like those ISIS members headed back to Canada after losing the fight abroad — can be rehabilitated into "powerful" voices against radicalism within Canada.
To say that's wishful thinking, well, that might just be an understatement.
Now that ISIS is nearly 98% defeated — a product of an increased offensive line against the Jihadists in Iraq and elsewhere (read Russia's entry into the fray) — Canada anticipates that some of their departed brethren who left to join in the fight for the Caliphate, will return to their motherland. Unlike the United States, apparently, Canada plans on welcoming the ones who claim to be reformed back with open arms.
And Trudeau thinks that's a good thing.
"We know that actually someone who has engaged and turned away from that hateful ideology can be an extraordinarily powerful voice for preventing radicalization in future generations and younger people within the community,” he told the news network.
This puts him at odds with the man in charge of rehabilitating returning radicals, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, who recently told the same news network that it might be nearly impossible to completely reform an ISIS fighter hardened from the battlefield. In fact, Goodale said, once a Jihadist has left to join the violent crusade, the chances of him returning with good intentions are almost zero.
“If you want to have a good solid hope of some kind of successful intervention, it has to be at a much earlier stage. You have to prevent the problem before it exists,” Goodale said. “Once a person has been in a war zone, once they’ve been actively engaged in terrorist-related activities, the capacity to turn them around is pretty remote.”
But nevertheless, the doe-eyed Trudeau says he'll persist in turning the Islamic radicals into assets for Canada. He does say that he plans on monitoring returning Jihadists for problems, but he's ready and willing to take them back anyway.
The New Normal - Germany
© Global Look Press
A 15-year-old Afghan boy is reportedly being held by police on suspicion of stabbing his ex-girlfriend to death during an argument in a grocery store in Germany.
The attack took place at around 3:20pm local time in a grocery store in Kandel, a town in Rhineland-Palatinate on the German-French border, according to the newspaper Die Rhinepflatz. The boy was apprehended by passersby and held until police arrived at the scene.
The victim, a German national who was said to have broken off a months-long relationship with the accused earlier this month, reportedly entered the store along with a companion. The girl was then attacked with a kitchen knife. She died in hospital Wednesday afternoon.
Prosecutor Angelika Moehlig said that the unidentified suspect, who has been in Germany since April 2016, is being kept in custody on suspicion of manslaughter. The Associated Press reports that while the motive is not yet known, the girl’s parents filed a complaint against the accused on December 15 alleging slander and threats.
Sounds like murder to me, but the German judicial system will handle this murderous boy with kid gloves, and if he spends any time in prison, he will certainly be back out endangering more German girls while he's still a teenager.
Some Muslim boys do not appear to handle being broken up with very well. Girls should not have that much power of boys in their minds. It is an assault on their fragile egos.
Wednesday, December 27, 2017
By Daniel Uria
A federal judge charged IT security expert Diego Lagomarsino with accessory to murder in the death
of Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisma on Tuesday. Photo by sebra/Shutterstock
UPI -- A federal judge in Argentina ruled the 2015 death of prosecutor Alberto Nisman was a homicide.
Judge Julian Ercolini charged IT security expert Diego Lagomarsino with accessory to murder on Tuesday as part of his 656-page ruling regarding the death of Nisman, marking the first time the incident was referred to as a murder.
Ercolini said Nisman was killed with a weapon belonging to Lagomarsino, who was also the last person inside his apartment, where he was found dead from a gunshot wound to his head, on Jan. 18, 2015.
Lagomarsino previously admitted the bullet that killed Nisman came from a handgun he owned, but said Nisman asked to borrow the weapon after receiving threats against him and his daughters.
Lagomarsino said the courts should judge him for lending Nisman the gun if he "committed a crime" but said "I have nothing to do with the rest."
Kirchner, 64, was charged with treason on Dec. 7 as part of an ongoing investigation into the bombing.
Ercolini said there were numerous events that caused public officials to "publicly push the idea of suicide" following Nisman's death, which created an "almost unambiguous public certainty that Nisman had taken his own life."
He added while he accused Lagomarsino of role in the homicide the actual perpetrators "remain unknown."
Ercolini also indicted four of Nisman's bodyguards -- Ruben Benitez, Nestor Duran, Armando Niz and Luis Mino -- accusing them of negligence and failing to detect when the shooting happened, which he said allowed the perpetrators to leave the scene undetected.
So they were either grossly incompetent, or complicit.
It just can't be that hard to write a law making it illegal to significantly raise prices of drugs without substantial improvement in those drugs. It might be easier if lawmakers weren't in the pockets of Big Pharma.
Price gouging? Cancer drug price spikes from $50 to $768 per pill after change of owner
© Global Look Press
A long-standing medication for cancer has become almost unaffordable for most of patients, as its price has skyrocketed 1,500 percent over four years. The company behind the drug is under fire.
The remedy for brain tumors and Hodgkin lymphoma was introduced 42 years ago, and the highest dose was sold for $50 per capsule. The drug, called lomustine had no generic alternative and was branded as CeeNU.
In 2013, the brand’s owner Bristol Myers Squibb sold lomustine to a Miami startup called NextSource. The new owner rebranded the drug, giving it a new name – Gleostine, and multiplied the price by almost sixteen times. Now, the same treatment costs $768 for a single capsule.
According to an analysis done for the Wall Street Journal by Truveen Health Analytics and Elsevier, the company raised the price for Gleostine by 12 percent in November following a 20 percent increase in August.
Dosage is assigned by a patient’s weight with some of them needing more than one pill. That makes the medication’s price point entirely out of reach.
Any government that would allow these obscene price hikes to stand has no interest in the welfare of the lower or middle classes regardless of what they say. This can be dealt with and must be dealt with. It is obvious that free-enterprise doesn't work where one's life and health is on one side and greedy, soulless, selfish jerks are on the other.
NextSource sets prices based on the costs it bears to develop the medication and to pay regulatory agency fees, as well as on the benefits it provides patients, according to the company’s CEO Robert DiCrisci, as quoted by the media. The firm reportedly provides discounts and financial assistance to those who can't afford its cost.
Though the medicine has been in use since 1976, oncologists along with pharmacies have a renewed interest in it, as government-funded research revealed that Gleostine combined with chemotherapy can help patients struggling with brain tumors to live longer.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has reportedly started a campaign to provide a more competitive field for the medicines that have no current generics. Approving generic drugs is a top priority for the FDA. Earlier this week, the agency’s commissioner Scott Gottlieb said the FDA had approved a record number of generic drugs.
Tuesday, December 26, 2017
Pot use among pregnant women of all ages continues rise – study
© Mark Leffingwell / Reuters
More than one-fifth of American teenagers are using marijuana during pregnancy, a new study finds. Use of the drug, found to impair an infant’s brain development and function, is on the rise with pregnant women of all ages.
The number of women who self-reported using marijuana during their pregnancy rose from 2.4 percent in 2009 to 3.9 percent in 2016, according to a new study published Tuesday by the Journal of the American Medical Association.
From 2009 to 2016, prenatal use of marijuana increased most significantly for women under the age of 25. In 2016, more than one-in-five (21.8 percent) women under the age of 18 reported to using the drug in the past month, up from 12.5 percent in 2009. Use among women between the ages of 18 and 25 nearly doubled during that time, from 9.8 percent in 2009 to 19 percent in 2016.
The study notes that marijuana is “the most commonly used illicit drug during pregnancy,” adding that use of the drug has been increasing.
Prenatal marijuana use also increased among women of all ages. Last year, 5.1 percent of women between the ages of 25 and 34 years old reported to using marijuana while pregnant, up from 3.4 percent in 2009. A total of 3.3 percent of women older than 34 also reported to using the drug during their pregnancy in 2016, an increase from 2.1 percent in 2009.
Statistics are underreported
Researchers relied on self-administered questionnaires completed by 279,457 women eight weeks into their pregnancy. The women were treated at Kaiser Permanente facilities that had screening for marijuana use as part of standard prenatal care.
I wonder why they surveyed women so early in their pregnancies? That, in itself, would certainly reduce the numbers.
However, the study notes that some of the patients who did not say they used marijuana on their questionnaires, later tested positive on a cannabis toxicology test, leading researchers to state their data was “likely” underreported. The study adds that prenatal use may increase even more in 2018, after recreational use of marijuana is set to become legal in California.
Health risks for babies
While studies on pregnant women who use marijuana have been limited, the researchers state that prenatal use of marijuana may impair fetal growth and neurodevelopment.
In October, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), which discourages marijuana use among pregnant or breastfeeding women, said that prenatal marijuana use could cause harm to an infant’s brain development and function.
Citing studies, the ACOG warns that “children who were exposed to marijuana in utero had lower scores on tests of visual problem solving, visual-motor coordination, and visual analysis than children who were not exposed to marijuana in utero.”
“Obstetrician–gynecologists should be discouraged from prescribing or suggesting the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes during preconception, pregnancy, and lactation,” The ACOG committee wrote in an opinion. “Pregnant women or women contemplating pregnancy should be encouraged to discontinue use of marijuana for medicinal purposes in favor of an alternative therapy for which there are better pregnancy-specific safety data.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also warns pregnant mothers against using marijuana to ease nausea and other pregnancy symptoms, saying that the drug can cause problems in newborns, including low birth weight, and developmental problems.
Recreational marijuana use is now legal in eight US states and the District of Columbia. A total of 23 states have laws that allow the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes to some extent. However, on a federal level, it is still illegal to possess, use, buy, sell, or cultivate marijuana.
Locations that sell marijuana should be required to display large signs indicating the dangers of pot to prenatal children and thoroughly discourage pregnant woman from purchasing it.
There is probably not enough research available to tell whether children born of a mom who uses pot is more susceptible to Schizophrenia or not. We know that teens who use pot are much more susceptible, especially those in their early teens. This needs to be studied.
Corruption is Everywhere - Including Peru
By Susan McFarland
Riot police officers block passage of protesters during a demonstration against the pardon to ex-president Alberto Fujimori, in Lima, Peru on Monday. Photo by Eduardo Cavero/EPA-EFE
UPI -- Police in Peru fired tear gas at crowds of angry Peruvians during a protest over President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski's decision to pardon and release former President Alberto Fujimori from prison.
Crowds chanted, "traitor" and, "the pardon has got to go" during the clash on the streets of Lima.
Fujimori, who'd been serving a 25-year sentence for human rights abuses, was released Sunday for health reasons. He was Peru's leader from 1990 to 2000.
From his hospital bed, Fujimori thanked Kuczynski and said in a Facebook video he was "deeply grateful." He added that hearing the news had "a strong impact on me, a mix of extreme happiness as well as sorrow".
"I'm aware that the results produced by my government were well received by some," Fujimori said. "But I recognize that I have let down others. Those I ask for forgiveness from the bottom of my heart."
Fujimori's term began in 2007 with a six-year sentence for bribery and abuse of power. Two years into that sentence, Fujimori was given another 25 years for human rights abuses that included authorizing death squad killings.
Kuczynski said reason for clemency was because Fujimori has low blood pressure and an irregular heartbeat. A statement by Kuczynski said he is "convinced that those of us who consider ourselves democrats cannot allow Alberto Fujimori to die in prison."
"Justice is not vengeance. All pardons are by nature controversial," he added. "My decision is especially complex and difficult, but it is my decision. I can not only be the president of those that voted for me, I need to be it for all Peruvians."
Kuczynski denies pardoning Fujimori is part of a deal with his party to distract from a corruption probe involving Brazil-based conglomerate Odebrecht.
Peruvian lawmakers Vicente Zeballos, Alberto de Belaunde and Gino Costa all said they plan to resign in protest of the presidential pardon.
Sunday, December 24, 2017
Ahmed Aminamin El-Mofty, suspect in December 22 shootings in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
© Dauphin County District Attorney's Office
The Department of Homeland Security describes the shooting spree in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, which took place on Friday, as “a terror attack.” The gunman opened fire and targeted police in several locations in the city.
“Department of Homeland Security can confirm the suspect involved in a terror attack in Harrisburg Pennsylvania” was a beneficiary of “extended family chain migration,” Tyler Q. Houlton, the acting press secretary for the Department of Homeland Security, said in a tweet.
Ahmed Amin El-Mofty fired several shots at a Capitol police officer in downtown Harrisburg on Friday afternoon; one shot “went very close to hitting [the officer],” police earlier reported. Half an hour later, the attacker fired shots at a Pennsylvania State Police trooper. One of the shots hit the trooper. She is expected to make a full recovery.
El-Mofty then opened fire on local officers with two handguns. The officers, none of whom were injured, fired back, killing the attacker.
El-Mofty was “a naturalized US citizen who was admitted to the US from Egypt on a family-based immigrant visa,” Houlton wrote, adding that “the long chain of migration that led to the suspect’s admission into the US was initiated years ago by a distant relative of the suspect.”
Earlier, Dauphin County District Attorney Ed Marsico said there was no doubt that El-Mofty “was directly targeting police officers.”
But for the fact that he was a poor shot, several officers might have been wounded or killed.
“This could have been a really tragic incidence with this individual firing many shots at police cars in downtown Harrisburg in the midst of rush hour traffic on a Friday afternoon and then coming up here in a residential neighborhood and firing again many shots,” Marsico said.
Ahmed Soweilam, a relative of El-Mofty, told PennLive.com that the attacker worked as a security guard and had no history of violence or mental illness. He moved back to Egypt but returned a few months ago. “He’s not the perfect guy, but he’s not an aggressive person,” Soweilam said.
Saturday, December 23, 2017
By Allen Cone
People visit Tiananmen Square, the site of the deadly 1989 student protests, in Beijing on July 14. The
death toll in the Chinese army crackdown on the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests was 10,000 people,
according to newly released documents. Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo
UPI -- The death toll in the Chinese army crackdown on the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests was 10,000 people, according to newly-released documents.
China's government has said between 200 and 300 civilians died in the pro-democracy uprising on June 4, 1989. The political protests had lasted seven weeks until the army, which included 27 armored personnel carriers, was sent in.
But recently unsealed U.K. diplomatic cables sent at the time of the uprising now shed doubt on those estimations.
"Minimum estimate of civilian dead 10,000," reads the final sentence of a secret diplomatic cable: written on June 5 from Alan Donald, Britain's ambassador to China at the time. He said the figure was based on someone who "was passing on information given him by a close friend who is currently a member of the State Council."
The council is run by the premier.
The cables, held at the National Archives in London, were declassified in October, They were seen by the HK01 news site.
The document describes in detail the massacre. Wounded female students begging for their lives were allegedly were bayoneted, human remains were "hosed down the drains" and one mother was shot attempting to help her injured 3-year-old daughter.
"Students understood they were given one hour to leave square but after five minutes APCs attacked," he wrote. "Students linked arms but were mown down including soldiers. APCs then ran over bodies time and time again to make 'pie' and remains collected by bulldozer. Remains incinerated and then hosed down drains."
Activists in Hong Kong and Taiwan commemorate the anniversary date each year.
All activists' commemorations of the event are banned in mainland China. The government also regulates online discussion of the incident, including censoring criticism.
In November 2016, a peaceful pro-democracy march that drew thousands of people in Hong Kong turned violent. They had marched 2 1/2 miles across town to oppose Beijing's decision to determine the fate of two lawmakers who called for outright independence of Hong Kong from China.
Thursday, December 21, 2017
A woman holds her son who is suspected of being infected with cholera in Sanaa. © Khaled Abdullah / Reuters
Yes, there is a woman in this photo - she's invisible, as are all women in devout Islam
Yemen’s cholera outbreak has surpassed the 1 million mark while 300 cases of diphtheria have been reported as civilians in the war-ravaged country continue to face starvation and a crippling blockade. “We can confirm that the country has now reached 1 million suspected cases of cholera,” the International Committee of the Red Cross said. “This is devastating.”
The World Health Organization has recorded 2,226 deaths since the epidemic began in April. Cholera causes severe diarrhea and dehydration and is spread by dirty water and the contamination of food with feces. It can cause death within hours if untreated.
The ICRC also said over 80 percent of Yemen is in need of food, clean water, healthcare and fuel.
The country is in the grips of a brutal war, with a Saudi-led coalition of nine countries conducting airstrikes against the Houthi rebels in support of President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi, who fled the country in 2015.
The Houthis were in alliance with long-running former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who they killed in December after indicating he was changing sides and seeking dialogue with the Saudis.
The Houthi rebels are supported by Iran, which is also accused of supplying weapons to the group, a charge which Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif described as “baseless accusations,” on Wednesday.
Saudi Arabia has imposed a blockade on the country, which has further intensified the food and aid shortage. On Wednesday, it said it would keep the rebel-controlled port of Hodeidah open for 30 days to allow humanitarian deliveries to get into the country.
In January, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said the civilian death toll had reached 10,000, citing data gathered by health facilities, and said the actual number could be much higher.
The United Nations on Tuesday said coalition airstrikes had killed at least 136 civilians between December 6 and 16.
“We urge all parties to the conflict to respect their obligations under international humanitarian law, including their obligation to respect the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution,” Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said.“They should take all feasible precautions to avoid, and in any event to minimise, the impact of violence on civilians.”
Meanwhile, MSF announced in Geneva on Thursday the country also faces a diphtheria outbreak, with more than 300 cases reported. “In Yemen, the last diphtheria case was recorded in 1992, and the last outbreak in 1982,” MSF Emergency Coordinator said. “The ongoing war and blockade is sending Yemen’s health system decades back in time.”
At about the same time as the above report came out,
the Pentagon confirms ‘multiple ground ops & 120+ strikes’ in Yemen
Why is the US in Yemen?
A man walks past a graffiti, denouncing strikes by U.S. drones in Yemen, painted on a wall in Sanaa, Yemen
on November 13, 2014. © Khaled Abdullah / Reuters
The Pentagon has disclosed that it carried out “multiple ground operations” in Yemen this year. The confirmation sheds new light on largely covert US military activities in the region.
US forces have conducted “multiple ground operations and more than 120 strikes in 2017,” according to a statement released by US Central Command in Tampa, Florida. The US military hopes to prevent Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and Islamic State from using Yemen “as a hub for terrorist recruiting, training and base of operations to export terror worldwide,” the statement reads.
The 120 claimed strikes against targets in Yemen would mark a 3-fold increase compared to the number of airstrikes from last year.
Before Wednesday’s statement, there had been few official disclosures of the extent of US military involvement in Yemen. In sharp contrast to the fight against IS in Syria and Iraq, the Pentagon has avoided holding regular briefings or updates on ground or air operations in Yemen.
However, there are sporadic reports of US military activity in the country. US Central Command said earlier this month that five Al-Qaeda militants had been killed in a US airstrike that took place on November 20 in Yemen’s Bayda Governorate.
The Pentagon previously acknowledged that the US “has people on the ground” in Yemen. According to media reports, in April, US special operations forces stepped up ground operations in Yemen, but military officials did not elaborate on the matter. It is still unclear exactly how many US boots are on the ground in Yemen. A White House report submitted to Congress last week detailing US military operations worldwide failed to disclose the number of US troops stationed in Yemen.
In February, it was revealed that a botched US raid in the country had left at least 25 civilians and one Navy SEAL dead. Inquiries into the disaster found that the raid yielded no significant intelligence, but the Trump administration nonetheless praised the mission as a success. Apart from the deaths, a $70 million military helicopter was also destroyed.
The latest acknowledgement of US ground operations in Yemen raises questions about the legality of such activity with respect to Yemen’s sovereignty.
Kim Sharif, director of Human Rights for Yemen, said in March, “the Yemeni people are saying: ‘Where are the other powers in the Security Council? Why aren’t they standing up for the sovereignty of Yemen, when clearly it is in their best interest as well to do so, because they surely must have business interest, commercial interest to protect and preserve the sovereignty of Yemen for the purpose of preserving that international passage for the benefit of all.’”
Wednesday, December 20, 2017
Corruption is Everywhere - Certainly in South Korea
By Elizabeth Shim
Choi Soon-sil, the South Korean defendant at the center of a presidential scandal involving corruption and bribery, denied Wednesday she took bribes from Samsung. Photo by Yonhap
UPI -- A confidante of former South Korean President Park Geun-hye said she used money from conglomerate Samsung to purchase a hotel in Germany -- but denied receiving bribes to buy a horse for her equestrian daughter.
Choi Soon-sil, who used her friendship with Park to solicit donations and funding for her two foundations, said Wednesday during her 15th hearing of the appeals trial of Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong money from Samsung was used to purchase a hotel near Frankfurt.
Samsung donated the money to Choi around 2015, which the conglomerate sent to fund the activities of KOA Sports, one of Choi's entities, South Korean television network JTBC reported.
Asia Business reported Choi said Samsung did not know she had used the money to buy real estate in Germany.
Samsung was not consulted, and Choi testified that the company was not informed because "there was no opportunity to meet with Samsung, and the hotel was on the market at a low price."
"I felt I had to purchase quickly," Choi said, adding the real estate acquisition was not for her personal enrichment, but rather for athletes' use.
Choi allegedly oversaw the training of South Korean equestrians in Germany, and wanted to use the hotel as a dormitory, according to her testimony.
Funds that were reportedly sent to Choi for building the equestrian team were sent from Samsung.
According to local press, a fund transfer of about $2 million to Choi from Samsung may have been used exclusively for Chung Yoo Ra, Choi's daughter.
That story has gained traction because Choi never assembled an equestrian team as she had planned, Asia Business reported.
Choi also said she used a mobile phone under a borrowed name to communicate with Park during her presidency.
Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong reportedly gave a total of $40 million in "donations" to Choi's foundations, according to The Korea Herald.
No wonder my TV costs so much!
Tuesday, December 19, 2017
A family spokesman has broken the news on Egyptian televisionby Adam Garrie
Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the second son and erstwhile heir apparent to revolutionary leader Muammar Gaddafi has confirmed to Egyptian television, through a family spokesman, Basem al-Hashimi al-Soul, that he seeks to run in next year’s tenuous Presidential elections in Libya.
While Libya remains a failed state in the wake of the 2011 NATO war against the Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, many have pinned their hopes on Saif al-Islam Gaddafi who since his release from captivity this year, has been touring the country and buildilng support among Libya’s many tribal factions.
According to his spokesman,
“Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the son of the former Libyan president, enjoys the support of major tribes in Libya so he can run for the upcoming presidential elections due in 2018. Saif al-Islam plans to impose more security and stability in accordance with the Libyan geography and in coordination with all Libyan factions”.
Libya is currently locked in a multi-dimensional power struggle without a single unifying government. Saif al-Islam plans to change this through reunifying the country as his father did in 1969. However, after years of western meddling, he has his work cut out for him.
For years, they have contended with multiple factions. At present, the leading factions are the broadly pro-western Government of National Accord in Tripoli and the Egypt backed and generally Russia friendly Libyan House of Representatives in the eastern Libyan city of Tobruk.
The strongest armed forces in Libya and frankly the only united one, is the Libyan National Army led by House of Representatives loyalist Khalifa Haftar. By contrast, the fledgling Government of National Accord is constantly besieged with a rival Tripoli faction, the National Salvation Government, while all forces are battling (or in the case of the Tripoli factions, failing to battle) terrorists associated with al-Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood and ISIS.
The NATO effect
Resurrecting Libya as any kind of state is a monumental order. In a few short years, a NATO war turned Libya from a wealthy, united state with high standards of living and near-universal literacy to an open air terrorist training camp, built on top of a failed state.
Thus far, the only signs of salvation have come in the form of military victories by Haftar’s Army which has successfully cleansed Benghazi of many terrorist forces. The problem however is that while Haftar’s Libyan National Army has found success, the Libyan House of Representatives for whom he fights, has struggled to put forward a cohesive nation wide political programme.
This is where Saif al-Islam could come in. When Saif was released from prison, many scenes of supporters waving the Green flag of the Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya took to the streets. Unlike Iraq for example, which has genuine and difficult ethno-religious sectarian divides, Libya is almost all Sunni Muslim, although the very small Christian minority which received protection under Gaddafi, has been decimated since the 2011 NATO war.
While the western backed Government of National Accord does not acknowledge the amnesty granted to Saif al-Islam by competing factions, this weak government is in reality, far less popular in parts of the country than Saif al-Islam personally and the tribal factions over which he once again commands loyalty.
Ethnically, most Libyans are either Arabs or Arabised Berbers. While under Gaddafi, Libya had a sizeable black-African minority, sadly many of these people who lived well in Libya have been either killed or chased into neighbouring states by Takfiri terrorists.
All of this amounts to a country that does not so much have ethnic nor religious divides, but instead, deep tribal divides. Prior to Gaddafi’s revolution, Libya was economically retarded and in the grip of local tribes who had little interest in forming a unified modern country. This old Libya, was ruled by the lethargic King Idris who was overthrown by the young Gaddafi in 1969.
Gaddafi changed all of this, bringing modernity, unity, world-class healthcare, public wealth, irrigation to the desert and technological amenities to Libyans. Sadly, since 2011, Libya has returned to a dark ages.
Many increasingly feel that because of his lineage and apparent intelligence (though not intelligent enough to see through the west’s betrayal of his father), Saif al-Islam could become a unifying figure in the country.
While bringing any unity to Libya is a tall order, Saif would likely have to deal with Haftar, especially as Haftar’s support could be crucial in what would pass for an election in post-NATO Libya.
Khalifa Haftar was once a loyal officer in Gaddafi’s Libya but in the late 1980s, during the war with Chad, he fell out with Gaddafi and ran to the US where he became an American citizen. Upon returning to Libya, his secular political programme, proven military skill and his backing by secular Egypt, has made him a moderate in a failed state undulating between various Takfiri extremes.
It is not clear how Saif al-Islam would be able to work with a man who was viewed as a failure and traitor by his father, but it would be almost impossible if two men with a theoretically similar political programme for Libya could not at least attempt to work together in some capacity.
Haftar has just stated that the western backed Government of National Accord has now lost all its legitimacy as its official mandate expired on the 17th of December. Haftar said,
“With the onset of December 17, 2017, the so-called political agreement ends, and all bodies formed according to it automatically lose their legitimacy, which is controversial from the first day of their work.
…We strongly reject the method of threats and intimidation and promise to the Libyan people that we vow to protect them and their capabilities and institutions to the last soldier in our ranks, and also declare our refusal to submit… to any party, whatever source of its legitimacy, if it was not elected by the Libyan people”.
This is a clear indication that Haftar is not seeking to reach a compromise with the fledgling and corrupt body in Tripoli, but may be looking either to lead the country himself, or else partner with another body or leader.
A clear choice for Haftar, if personal/historical differences can be ironed out, would be to partner with Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, as both leaders represent a similar ideology and usually among political aspirants in Libya, actually have experience and credibility. Crucially, both Saif al-Islam and Haftar have a common opponent in the form of western governments which have been keen to prop up the effectively powerless and incapable Government of National Accord.
Saif’s lawyer and public representative, Khalid al Zaidi has taken an optimistic tone in respect of Saif’s ability to re-unite Libya in a recent public statement.
After calling Saif Libya’s “only hope”, his lawyer said, “the current situation in Libya, the absence of dialogue and the misunderstanding of the actual state of affairs there make it essential that Saif al-Islam Gaddafi returns to politics to try to reach a political settlement”.
“There have been frequent reports that Saif al-Islam has left Libya, but this is not true. He is communicating with Libyan leaders, representatives of tribes to reach a political solution and appease the conflicting parties”.
While the discredited International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Saif in 2011, in 2013, the UN stated that his incarceration was “arbitrary”.
Clearly, if there is anything Saif is too guilty of, it is being too trusting of the western partners of his father who eventually invaded and destroyed Libya in 2011, less than a decade after the very public Libya-US rapprochement in 2003.
Libya has gone from a shining light in Africa’s constellation to one of the most dangerous and depressed places on earth. Such a country needs all the help it can get to recover. Saif al-Islam owes it to himself and his country to at least try and see if he can manage to do that which no one has thus far been capable of achieving.
This is both hopeful and frightening! Another Gadaffi, one with a very large, personal ax to grind against the west, could be very dangerous. He could, however, stop the flow of migrants through Libya to Europe. And yet, NATO will certainly oppose him and perhaps even use him as an excuse for another war front to justify their existence.