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Trump Cuts Critical Services to Pay for Wealthy Tax Cuts

At a recent press conference at the U.S. Capitol, Marta Conner told reporters, “My daughter Caroline is alive because of Medicaid.” Caroline suffers from...

Historic 1st: FDA calls for opioid to be removed from market based on risk...

In an unprecedented move, the US Food and Drug Administration has requested a drugmaker withdraw an...

Trump’s Interior Secretary Attended Oil Industry Meeting at Trump’s DC Hotel

WASHINGTON - Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke had a busy day on March 23, at least according to his official Twitter account. That day, he...
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Video: SpaceX launches supply ship to Intl Space Station

SpaceX is launching a Dragon cargo spacecraft on a Falcon 9 rocket from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Thursday, June 1. The...

Paris Accord Doesn't Go Far Enough — but Trump's Pullout Will Endanger Life on...

President Donald Trump speaks to US troops at Naval Air Station Sigonella in Sicily, May 27, 2017. Trump is expected to withdraw the US...

Lunar surprise: Astronomers discover moon orbiting ‘Snow White’ dwarf planet

Published time: 20 May, 2017 21:57 Edited time: 20 May, 2017 22:01 A new study has...
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Video: SpaceX launches rocket to put satellite in orbit

SpaceX has successfully launched a Falcon 9 rocket from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The rocket is to put a 13500lb satellite into...

From glitch to ‘awesomesauce’: Astronauts perform 200th space station spacewalk

Published time: 12 May, 2017 21:11 Astronauts replaced an important piece of equipment on the International...

‘718 days in space’: Secretive US X-37B plane said to break record as it...

The US Air Force’s X-37B space plane has returned to Earth from its secret mission in...

15yo fatally shot by Texas police, attorney says cops’ story ‘will not hold water’

Suburban Dallas police gunned down a teen riding in a car that cops said was driving...

Apple, Tesla seek California rule changes for self-driving cars

As Apple prepares to test its self-driving cars, the tech company is asking California to revise...

Mountain of Tears: the Vanishing Glaciers of the Pacific Northwest

  Mt. Hood Photo: NASA. Slow-burning, life dies like a flame,Never resting, passes like a river.Today I face my lone shadow.Suddenly, the tears flow down. — From...

The Crash of Cassini and the Nuclearization of Space

Despite protests around the world, the Cassini space probe—containing more deadly plutonium than had ever been used on a space device—was launched 20 years...

Why Scientists Marched

Hundreds of thousands of scientists and their supporters recently took to the streets, marching in favor of science-based policies. How did our science-denying president...

At Reuters, ‘Not Refuting’ Is the Same as ‘Seeing’

Top US general in Afghanistan does not say what Reuters‘ headline says he said. “Top US General in Afghanistan Sees Russia Sending Weapons to Taliban”...

Talking to the president, hanging from wall: Trump calls record-setting astronaut in space

President Donald Trump has called NASA Commander Peggy Whitson aboard the International Space Station (ISS) to...
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Video: ‘I might freak out when I see the rocket’: RT talks to Soyuz...

Soyuz MS-042 with Russian cosmonaut, NASA astronaut & cargo container on board was launched from Baikonur. Emily Siu has more... RT LIVE ... Via Youtube

9 Reasons to March for Science This Earth Day

This Earth Day, April 22, Marches for Science will take place in DC and countless cities across the country. Here are some reasons to...

Climate Change as Genocide

Not since World War II have more human beings been at risk from disease and starvation than at this very moment. On March 10th,...

How to Lose the Next War in the Middle East (Short Answer: Fight it!)

Make no mistake: after 15 years of losing wars, spreading terror movements, and multiplying failed states across the Greater Middle East, America will fight...

See You In Space

  In a cool feat of "suborbital dissent," members of the international, community-based, DIY Autonomous Space Agency Network have launched the first protest in space...

War in the Gulf (No, Not That Gulf!)

It’s war in the Gulf and the U.S. Navy is on hand to protect us. No, not that Gulf! I’m talking about the Gulf...

The Doctor Who Got Hitler Hooked

In Blitzed: Drugs in the Third Reich, author Norman Ohler reveals that the Nazis doped their soldiers with a stimulant they called Pervitin—a.k.a. methamphetamine....

The Antarctic Ice Shelf Is Breaking Up–and USA Today Tells Us to ‘Chill Out’

The headline over USA Today‘s story (4/4/17) about an Antarctic ice shelf threatening to break off into an iceberg the size of Delaware: “Chill...

President Trump’s Climate Action Sells the Future Short

On Tuesday, President Trump signed an executive order that decimates his predecessor’s policies on climate change. One casualty is the social cost of carbon(SCC),...

Hacking suspect Laurie Love willing to work with US to find intel ‘vulnerabilities’

Published time: 31 Mar, 2017 10:16 Laurie Love, a British-born cybersecurity expert and political activist who...

These Lawmakers Are Trying to Curb Trump’s Authority to Launch a Nuclear War

Right now, Donald Trump could start a nuclear war on a whim, and no one could stop him. Under any circumstances, the prospect of nuclear...

The House Science Committee’s Shameful Climate Sideshow

There are a lot of ways one can imagine, in principle, the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology holding a constructive, timely hearing...

Monsanto’s Violence in India: The Sacred and the Profane

From Hinduism and Paganism to Thor, Woden and Monsanto, humans have lost their ancient beliefs, practices and connection with nature. The old practices, so...

Meet Two US Citizens Detained at Airports: A Police Chief and a Lawyer Who...

A growing number of US citizens are sharing accounts of having been detained at airports across the country since the start of the Trump...

‘Feeling vulnerable’: Retired US police chief detained at JFK ‘because of his name’

A retired police chief who served in US law enforcement for nearly 30 years says he...

Right Now, Trump Can Start a Nuclear War

Right now, Donald Trump could start a nuclear war on a whim, and no one could stop him. Under any circumstances, the prospect of nuclear...

“Skinny Budget” Disregards Science, Placing Communities at Risk

WASHINGTON - President Trump released his proposed “skinny budget” today. Below is a statement by Ken Kimmell, president of UCS. Kimmell is also the former...

Right Now, Trump Can Start a Nuclear War

Right now, Donald Trump could start a nuclear war on a whim, and no one could stop him. Under any circumstances, the prospect of nuclear...

SpaceX satellite launch scrubbed due to Stella’s high winds

SpaceX scrubbed the launch of its Falcon 9 rocket at the 11th hour due to high...

Carbon dioxide not ‘primary contributor’ to global warming, EPA chief says

Scott Pruitt, President Trump's new administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency, does not think carbon...

Pruitt Flings Open EPA Doors to Anti-Science Conservative Ideologues

Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency Scott Pruitt speaks at the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, on February 25, 2017....

Muhammad Ali Jr detained for 2nd time by TSA – after testifying in DC...

Published time: 11 Mar, 2017 03:15Edited time: 11 Mar, 2017 03:19 Muhammad Ali Jr, son of the...

With White House Embracing Climate Denial, Will Corporate Media Treat It as Science?

CNBC‘s Joe Kernan interviewing climate denialist EPA chief Scott Pruitt. If the public rollout of the Trump administration’s new EPA administrator, Scott Pruitt, is any...

What in Hades Is Going on?

“The older I grow, the more I distrust the familiar doctrine that age brings wisdom.” –  H.L. Mencken   “The older I get the less I...

Why Don’t Planes Fly Faster Than in the 60s?

By Shaunacy Ferro Mental Floss March 9, 2017 The airplane experience has changed a lot since the 1960s when tickets could cost up to five times...

Indicators Show Potatoes Can Grow on Mars

The International Potato Center (CIP) launched a series of experiments to discover if potatoes can grow under Mars atmospheric conditions and thereby...

SpaceX announces 2018 manned trip to orbit moon

Published time: 27 Feb, 2017 21:34Edited time: 27 Feb, 2017 21:48 Two people have paid for the...

’What’s my name?’: Muhammad Ali’s son detained for 2 hours at Florida airport

The son of world-famous boxer Muhammad Ali was detained illegally by US immigration officials for two...

‘Face your constituents’: Gabby Giffords berates lawmaker for shooting threat excuse

One Republican representative has seen the way angry constituents have berated fellow GOP lawmakers at town...

'Jaw-Droppingly Exciting': Scientists Discover Seven Earth-Like Planets

While the Trump administration continues to wage a war on science, NASA on Wednesday shared "remarkable" findings: seven Earth-sized planets in the habitable zone...

More than 500 Leaders Call for Doubling Strength of America’s Best Regional Climate and...

WASHINGTON - 546 health professionals, businesses, academics, elected officials, conservation, consumer and environmental groups and community leaders from nine states in the Northeast called...

Science Isn't Just for Scientists—We Can All Take Part

After he moved to London in his early 20s, Luke Howard became obsessed with the weather. Howard had a day job running a pharmacy...

Stepping Away from Microscopes, Thousands Protest War on Science

Responding to the troubling suppression of science under the Trump administration, thousands of scientists, allies, and frontline communities are holding a rally in Boston's...

Spacecraft supplier Orbital ATK wins $45mn military deal to make ‘game changer’ tank ammo

Orbital ATK, a provider of NASA supply spacecraft, looks set to streamline tank warfare after it...

SpaceX to deliver superbug to ISS – so we can kill it faster in...

On February 14, SpaceX will send a bacterium to the International Space Station (ISS) that kills...

Tyrannic Man’s Dominion: Trump Era Physical Sciences Approaching Social Sciences’ Marginal Status

Photo by Paul Sableman | CC BY 2.0   One of the Trump Administration’s most dramatic departures from preceding administrations is an open hostility to commonly...

Flipped trucks & destroyed homes: State of emergency in Louisiana as tornadoes hit (PHOTOS,...

Southern Louisiana, including New Orleans, has suffered severe damage after seven tornadoes battered the area, causing...
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Video: Meanwhile on Intl Space Station: Astronaut ‘sends’ ball traveling 564k yards at 8,800...

Video released by NASA shows an astronaut throwing a football aboard International Space Staion to mark Sunday's Super Bowl, the final game in the...

Human Extinction 2026

Photo by NASA/Kathryn Hansen | CC BY 2.0   Human Extinction by 2026, a controversial/questionable idea, is examined in some detail on the web site: arctic-news.blogspot.com....

SpaceX rocket ‘defects’ concern US government – reports

A government investigation into SpaceX has revealed concerns that their rockets have potentially dangerous defects, according...

No Vote on Tillerson Until He Opposes Muslim Ban

The Dem leaders of Washington State have become our new heroes - joining rogue members of...

A Timely Book for the Trump Era

Pivot to AsiaAmerica is no longer a superpower and every American election produces presidents with no idea where the problems lie: The reality is that...

‘Misremembering King Rewrites the Press’s Own Role in History’ – Transcript of CounterSpin's special...

The January 20, 2017, episode of CounterSpin was a special featuring archived interviews about corporate media and Martin Luther King. This is a lightly...

NOAA delivers stunning first satellite images of Earth

NOAA’s “revolutionary” GOES-16 satellite has delivered its first batch of incredible high-resolution images of Earth. Formerly known as GOES-R, the new highly-advanced satellite was launched...

America Should be Ashamed

In the movie Hidden Figures Americans are being brainwashed with the Fake History that we couldn’t have made it to the...

Climate Denier Scott Pruitt Faces Protests at Senate Hearing as 2016 Is Declared Hottest...

On Wednesday, scientists with both NASA and NOAA -- the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration -- confirmed 2016 was the hottest year on record,...

Earth's hottest year: 2016 sets sizzling new record

Average global temperatures hit all-time highs for the third consecutive year in 2016 according to US...

Record floods hit West Coast, Californians evacuate by the thousands (PHOTOS/VIDEO)

California has been hit by seven days of major rain storms, causing flooding all over the...

California Floods, America Burns, Irony Explodes

The bloated orange president-elect is in love with dumb-thug Russians, tweets about himself in the third person and is readying his murder of conspiracy-minded billionaire-idiots...
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Video: LIVE from outer space: First spacewalk of the year

Expedition 50 Commander Shane Kimbrough and Flight Engineer Peggy Whitson of NASA are outside the International Space Station (ISS), as the crew ... Via Youtube

Climate Change 2016: The Year the Future Arrived

The collapse of the Delaware-size Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica has begun. Caused by warming and similar to the demise of the Larsen...

Falcon Heavy: SpaceX teases with photo of ‘world's most powerful rocket’ ahead of 2017...

SpaceX has released a sneak peak of its Falcon Heavy rocket, as the company prepares to...

Earth Bombarded by High Energy Waves

The role of a journalist is to report “the truth” based on available verifiable evidence of unfolding events and developments in this world. Because...

Clinton’s Defeat and the Fake News Conspiracy

Photo by DonkeyHotey | CC BY 2.0  Nasareth. There is an astounding double standard being applied to the US presidential election result. A few weeks ago the...

Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly? Celebrating the Corporate Plunder of Agriculture

Colin Todhunter While Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ on 25 December, that date was probably originally chosen due to the winter solstice on...

SpaceX Delays First Crewed Dragon Flight Until 2018

SpaceX has officially delayed its first crewed test flight of the Dragon capsule from 2017 to 2018 after the Sept. 1 Falcon...

Atlantis Under a Mile of Ice?

THERE could be a hidden city frozen underneath Antarctica, according to shock claims. The huge continent is an icy mass and is currently only inhabited...

Dr. Strangelove, 2001, Clockwork Orange

It’s hard to believe that Stanley Kubrick, the personification of the auteur theory, left us almost 18 years ago at the ripe, young (by...

John Glenn, first American in orbit, dies at 95

Former NASA astronaut and Democratic US Senator from Ohio , John Glenn, has passed away at...

If GOP Gets Climate ‘Science’ From Breitbart, God Help the Planet

The US House Committee on Science, Space and Technology recently tweeted an article by Breitbart, stating “@BreitbartNews: Global Temperatures Plunge. Icy Silence From Climate...

5,000yrs of battery life: Nuclear waste-formed radioactive diamonds provide long-lasting energy

Scientists have discovered a way to convert nuclear waste into radioactive black diamond batteries which...

The Arctic Goes Bonkers

Photo by NASA/Kathryn Hansen | CC BY 2.0 Recent news out of the Arctic is alarming scientists, as for example the Union of Concerned Scientists...

‘UFO invasion’ fears as massive fireball appears in Florida sky (VIDEO)

A handful of residents on Florida’s western coast called the police to ask if an alien...

Thanksgiving in orbit: ISS astronauts celebrate US holiday in space (PHOTOS)

Astronauts on board the International Space Station joined Americans around the world in celebrating Thanksgiving and,...

Earth’s surface ‘vaporized’ from asteroid impact that killed off dinosaurs – study

The asteroid that annihilated the dinosaurs and “reset the clock” for life on Earth could not...

How Trump Knows that Continued Global Warming Will Make Earth Uninhabitable 100 Years From...

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org He knows it because his chief strategist, Stephen Bannon — a polymath — was personally involved in proving it. Bannon...

DARPA funds second prototype of new sea drone (VIDEO)

US weapons researchers are building a second test model of the sea-launched drone they call Tern,...

The Noose that Obama Had Wanted to Hand to President Hillary to Hang...

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org INTRODUCTION This will be a summary, update, and extension from, a 25,000-word masterpiece of historical writing: the obscure, little-noticed, but...

British hacker Lauri Love will be extradited to face US charges, home secretary confirms

British citizen Lauri Love will be sent to the US for prosecution over hacking allegations...

Develop a He-Man Voice

Have you ever listened to a recording of your voice and cringed? Perhaps you were surprised about how nasally or high-pitched it was, or how...

Brain stimulation to help US drone operators, airmen perform better at multitasking – study

Many military jobs are mentally draining, so much so that US military scientists have developed a...

Bizarre smooth metallic meteorite spotted by Mars rover

NASA’S Mars Curiosity rover has found a miniscule metallic meteorite, dubbed the ‘Egg Rock’, on the surface of the red planet. The snap of the...

What Non-State Disasters Could Lie Ahead?

Did you know that the White House is currently coordinating with Homeland Security to make preparations for a possible solar storm that could bring...
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Video: Coming back: Expedition 49 crew undocks from Intl Space Station

Expedition 49 crewmembers commander Anatoly Ivanishin of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, flight engineer Kate Rubins of NASA, and flight engineer ... Via Youtube

Obama urged to block extradition of autistic British hacker Lauri Love

British lawmakers are calling on US President Barack Obama to halt the extradition of Lauri...

It’s Rigged: Takes One to Know One

(Photo: Wikileaks Mobile Information Collection Unit / Flickr) The system is rigged. Let’s be clear: the American political system favors the two major parties and our...

Unforeseen Consequences: The Death of Trees

We need to start respecting how necessary forests are for the health of our planet -- and our species. (Photo: Artur /...
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Video: Expedition 49/50 crew holds preflight press conference in Baikonur

Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) cosmonauts Sergei Ryzhikov and Andrei Borisenko, and NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough,hold a preflight press ... Via Youtube

‘All the Warning Signs Are There, Loud and Clear’ – CounterSpin interview with Dahr...

Janine Jackson interviewed Dahr Jamail on climate disruption for the October 7, 2016, episode of CounterSpin. This is a lightly edited transcript. Dahr Jamail: “We...

Taking up space: Citizens wanted for first ‘space nation’ Asgardia

Don’t want to live on this planet anymore? Spots are filling up to become a citizen...

The Truth About Flu Shots

By Dr. Mercola Flu season is rapidly approaching and, with it, constant reminders to get vaccinated. This despite the fact that mounting research suggests this...

Hurricane Matthew kills 11 in US, millions without power (PHOTOS, VIDEOS)

At least 11 people have died in the US as Hurricane Matthew continues to twist and...

Now, Every Storm Is a Climate Change Storm

(Photo: NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center; Edited: LW / TO) Florida Gov. Rick Scott has been busy warning millions of people for days...

Hurricane Matthew: Satellite images show ‘monstrous’ storm bound for US (PHOTOS, VIDEOS)

Hurricane Matthew is continuing to roar its way along the Caribbean coast towards the US with...

SpaceX rocket explosion: Rival firm’s building inspected as part of investigation – report

A SpaceX employee, investigating the September 1 rocket explosion, asked for access to a roof of...

Elon Musk to Make Us a Multiplanetary Species (If He Can)

When Elon Musk takes the stage of the 67th International Astronautical Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico on Sept. 27, it won’t be to...

Dangerous Denial of Global Warming

Exclusive: Direct and indirect dangers from global warming are so grave that the issue should be near the top of the...

The Climate Change Debate is Over

Earlier this month, Hurricane Hermine caused storm surges that flooded the Florida coast, killed one person, and knocked out power for hundreds of thousands...

Blue Origin reveals enormous new reusable rocket to blast SpaceX

Billionaire entrepreneur Jeff Bezos promises that both satellites and people will be launched into space by...

Anti-migrant Theresa May calls Polish PM to express ‘regret’ over post-Brexit hate crimes

British Prime Minister Theresa May, who is known for her anti-migrant stance, called her Polish...

Want to buy land on Mars? British doctor sells Red Planet one acre at...

A British doctor is selling off blocks of land on Mars for a total of...

Hermine hits hard: Thousands of homes without power as 1st hurricane in decade lashes...

Hermine, a Category 1 hurricane, rocked Florida early Friday, bringing winds of 130kph and up to...
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Video: Intl Space Station crewmembers conduct spacewalk

Expedition 48 Commander Jeff Williams and Flight Engineer Kate Rubins of NASA are conducting a spacewalk outside of the International Space Station. Via Youtube

ISS catches 3 hurricanes on US doorstep, makes cool time-lapse video

As two hurricanes and a tropical storm hover near the US, NASA has created a mindblowing...

4,245 Killed in Iraq During August

Antiwar. Com found that 4,245 people were killed and 658 were wounded during August. In comparison, July’s figures were 2,695 killed and 1,352 wounded. These figures...

SpaceX Dragon returns to its lair after successful foray to ISS

SpaceX’s magic Dragon cargo ship landed in the sea after frolicking in orbit and docking with...

Baghdad, ISIS Carry out Executions; 238 Killed in Iraq

Baghdad, ISIS Carry out Executions; 238 Killed in Iraq Iraq executed 36 people convicted of participating in the mass slaughter of hundreds...

Astronauts install universal docking port on ISS intended for commercial ships

The crew of the International Space Station has successfully installed a universal docking port intended for...

Iraq Executes Prisoners; 87 Killed across country

Iraq Executes Prisoners; 87 Killed across country Iraq executed four militants, convicted of terrorism, at a Nasariya jail. Several other people are expected...

New Koch-Funded Group Aims to Promote the "Positives" of Fossil Fuels

A long-awaited campaign to rebrand fossil fuels called Fueling US Forward made its public debut at the Red State Gathering 2016 on Saturday, where the organization's President and CEO Charles Drevna gave attendees the...

US War Crimes or ‘Normalized Deviance’

The U.S. foreign policy establishment and its mainstream media operate with a pervasive set of hypocritical standards that justify war...

Remember Blue-Blockers?

By Dr. Mercola You may remember the blue-blocking sunglasses that were popular in the U.S. in the 1980s. The glasses, with their amber-colored lenses, had...

Solar storm: How massive flare nearly caused WWIII

Believing its radars were being jammed, the US nearly launched a nuclear attack on the Soviet...

A Fully Functioning Antikythera Mechanism

When we talk about the history of computers, most of us will refer to the evolution of the modern digital desktop PC, charting the...

Lessons From the Apaches

My last two articles, judging from the volume of email I got, were very well received. People want to know how history, like the...

Cosmic radiation: Apollo astronauts 5 times more likely to die from heart disease, says...

The first study of Apollo astronauts - the only people to have traveled beyond Earth’s protective magnetic shield - has found that those who...

Michele Obama touts Clinton as best for children’s future

Michelle Obama’s speech at the Democratic National Convention focused on the importance of a president as...

The World After Me: Eternal "Wartime" in the US

We are beginning to see the strains of the global destabilization now evidently underway and, unnerved, we are undoubtedly continuing to damage...

Mars prep mission makes history with underwater DNA sequencing

A DNA sequencer has been used under the sea for the first time ever as part...

The Conspiracy Cruise

Fascinating video lifts the lid on bizarre cruise for conspiracy theorists seeking to 'uncover the truth' By Miranda Bryant Daily Mail July 16, 2016 Hillary Clinton is...

UK faces climate change wars, deadly heatwaves… and a boost in tourism, govt advisors...

Britain is not prepared for the flooding, water and food shortages, deadly heat waves, and...
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Video: New Space Station crew blasts off in upgraded Soyuz spacecraft

The Soyuz MS-01 spacecraft is blasting off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. In 48 hours Russian cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin, NASA astronaut ... Via Youtube

New gas leak near Porter Ranch eliminated – utility company

A natural gas leak discovered near Porter Ranch in an Aliso Canyon storage facility has been quickly eliminated by SoCalGas. A similar leak last...

‘Burn complete, orbit obtained’: Juno mission ready to unlock Jupiter’s secrets

After an almost five year journey, the US space agency’s solar-powered Juno spacecraft has arrived on...

Ahistorical and Deluded, With Fireworks

The Dinh Dynasty lasted only 12 years and ended in 980, but in the 20th century, there were around a dozen plays about one...
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Video: Amazing gigantic aurora lights up Jupiter’s North Pole

Footage courtesy: NASA NASA's Hubble Telescope managed to capture gigantic aurora at Jupiter's north pole some days before Juno spacecraft arrives at the ... Via...

The Fairy Tale Of The “Self-Questioning” BBC

Last week, climate scientists warned that: Atmospheric concentrations of CO2 will shatter the symbolic barrier of 400 parts per million (ppm) this year and will...

10mn-year-old ‘newborn’: Youngest-ever exoplanet discovered, may hold key to planet formation

Scientists have discovered the youngest-ever fully formed exoplanet which, by planet standards, is just “an infant.” Analysis of the space body may hold the...

Blue Origin rocket completes 'picture perfect' 4th test launch and landing (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

Rocket company Blue Origin has taken another step towards bringing its reusable spacecraft to the market...

Rejoin the space race or fall further behind, MPs warn Britain

The UK needs a national space program and increased home grown technology to help push...

The Doomsday Clock: Nuclear Weapons, Climate Change, and the Prospects for Survival

(Photo: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center) In January 2015, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists advanced its famous Doomsday Clock to three minutes before midnight,...

#Pulse: Homophobia overshadows global support for victims of America’s deadliest ever mass shooting

The collective shock of America’s biggest mass shooting ever, carried out at a gay nightclub in...

Fighting Resumes in Fallujah; 133 Killed in Iraq

Followers of Shi’ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr spent Thursday and Friday attacking the offices of rival groups. The offices of the Dawa party, the Islamic Supreme Council...

Pentagon defends use of Russian rocket engines as matter of national security

The Pentagon has used budget, schedule and national security concerns to justify the use of Russian rocket engines as its most viable option, despite...

The Climate and a Very Hot Election Year

There have been 21 presidential debates, which, by and large, skirted the biggest issue affecting the most people, back-to-back, back-to-back, and back-to-back, and on...

Face Reality or Perish?

Weaving through our never-ending obsession with U.S. politics is a skeletal finger tapping our shoulders, though we nervously whistle past it and avert our...

SpaceX to carry humans to Mars by 2024, says Elon Musk (VIDEO)

The CEO of SpaceX and Tesla Motors Elon Musk says he will send a rocket to...

New technology uncovers unreported toxic air pollution

Thirty-nine unreported sites emitting toxic sulfur dioxide were discovered this week using a new satellite-based method...

Good News About Central Governments

I suppose we’ve all overdosed on hearing “Freedom isn’t free!” for the past few days. Your humble scribe is pleased to report that freedom...
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Video: Onboard camera: SpaceX lands Falcon 9 rocket at sea

A spectacular timelapse released by NASA showed the moment the unmanned rocket SpaceX Falcon 9 landed back on earth for the third successful mission...

Is the Sun Disintegrating?

NASA has revealed that a massive hole, measuring more than ten per cent of the Sun's surface area, has opened up on our star. By...

Failure to BEAM: Expansion pod doesn’t inflate during ISS test

NASA’s first stab at releasing air into its inflatable BEAM lab did not quite go according...

America’s Cosmic Tax Gap

The folks working for the federal government can do some incredible things. Over at NASA, for instance, they’re now putting the finishing touches on the...

In OtherWords: May 25, 2016

Sometimes it’s helpful to take a long view. This week in OtherWords, Sam Pizzigati reports on a new satellite NASA is developing that will be...

Look to the sky: Red Planet at its brightest & largest in years

Stargazers are up for a treat this weekend, with Mars appearing much brighter and larger than...

There's No Time to "Debate" Climate Change: We Need Global Transformation

The reality is that we're already seeing the victims of climate change. (Photo: Erik de Haan / Flickr) Corporate mainstream media outlets are...

The truth isn’t that out there: Aliens existed in the past

When discussing intelligent life forms not found on Earth, questions and theories tend to focus on...

'Russian Doll Cluster': Measuring the expansion of the universe

If NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, the European Space Agency's Planck and a slew of optical telescopes’...

‘Unprecedented’: UK activist fearing US extradition, 99yr sentence awaits landmark court ruling

UK authorities have hijacked a civil suit launched by a cybersecurity expert from Suffolk accused...

The flight of Red Dragon: SpaceX to send capsule to Mars as early as...

SpaceX is planning to send one of its Dragon space capsules to Mars as early as...

Space reboot: Kepler telescope back to scanning for alien worlds

The Kepler space observatory is back on its ambitious mission in search of alien life in our galaxy, much to the relief of scientists...

Trampling Science to Boost Nuclear Power

When the Washington Post and New York Times are making the same corporate-friendly point, it’s safe to assume that some PR agency somewhere is...
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Video: Timelapse: Aurora Borealis, Aurora Australis from Intl Space Station

NASA captures Aurora Borealis and Aurora Australis in all of their glory RT LIVE http://rt.com/on-air Subscribe to RT! Via Youtube

US government dead last in cybersecurity compared to private sectors – report

Despite President Obama often noting the need to bolster protections against hackers, the US government is...

This Election, We Can’t Afford to Ignore the Climate

Our great coastal cities could be flooded within the lifetime of children born today. That’s the conclusion of researchers studying the West Antarctic ice sheet...

Cryptowars: UK activist fears US extradition, 99yr sentence for refusal to surrender encryption keys

UK authorities are trying to force a 31-year-old computer scientist accused of hacking into the...

SpaceX sending cargo ship to bring next-generation inflatable habitat to ISS

Commercial space transport company SpaceX launched its “Dragon” cargo craft to bring supplies to the astronauts...

Rosetta’s comet: Orbiter takes fabulous photo of celestial object

The Rosetta orbiter, as part of a mission to conduct the most extensive research on any...

Startup beats Amazon: Drone delivers ‘emergency’ package to Nevada residence

In the first fully autonomous urban flight, a drone made a parcel delivery to a residence...

NSA must end planned expansion of domestic spying, lawmakers say

Two members of the House Oversight Committee, a Democrat and a Republican, have asked the director...

Quicker than Concorde: Boom startup plans supersonic NYC-London flights in 3 1/2 hrs

Flying at double the speed of sound, Boom airplane passengers will be able to complete an...
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Video: 360 video: Russia’s Soyuz TMA-20M lifts off for International Space Station from Baikonur

A Soyuz TMA-20M spacecraft has blasted off from Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, taking NASA astronaut Jeff Williams and Russia's Roscosmos ... Via Youtube

Devastating drought is imminent: Scientists surprised to find Colorado River Basin drying up faster...

More than a half-dozen Western states that depend on the Colorado River Basin for the bulk of their water are drawing much more heavily...

February 2016 was most abnormally warm month on record

Things seem to be warming up on planet Earth. Last month, global temperatures were the most...
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Video: Blast-off! Soyuz launch takes new crew to Intl. Space Station

A Soyuz TMA-20M spacecraft has blasted off from Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, taking NASA astronaut Jeff Williams and Russia's Roscosmos ... Via Youtube

Arctic Sea Ice Volume Nears Record Low

(Photo: Iceland Icebergs via Shutterstock; Edited: LW / TO) In February, record high temperatures in the Arctic brought with them other records --...

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Malaysia Airlines has suffered the two worst disasters in modern aviation less than five months apart. Both incidents involved Boeing 777-200ERs, widely considered being one of the safest aircrafts. Over six months have past since flight MH370 disappeared on route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. A multinational search team has scoured remote southern stretches of the Indian Ocean, unable to find even a trace of debris from the aircraft.


A preliminary report on the demise of flight MH17 released by Dutch investigators has failed to provide a wider understanding of the incident, leaving critical questions of culpability unanswered. The crippling impact of the two air disasters has forced Malaysia Airlines into accelerating a major restructuring effort to rescue the brand and return it to profitably by 2017, with plans to relist the company by 2019.


Nationalize or privatize?


As the flagship carrier, Malaysia Airlines is viewed as a symbol of national prestige and development. The state has played a vital role in using public funds to restructure the airline over the years. The key challenges confronting the carrier are competition from low-cost national and regional rivals, high operating costs, unprofitable long haul routes, and a bloated payroll.


The main question going forward is whether further nationalization or drastic privatization will more effectively resuscitate the airline. Khazanah Nasional, a state investment fund that owns about 70% of Malaysia Airlines, proposed a strategy to recover the national carrier, involving plans to take full ownership of the airline and the most stringent job cuts in the company's history.


Unlike the four previous attempts to restructure the airline, which reneged on plans to scale back the workforce under pressure from politically influential airline unions, the company intends to cut staffing by 6,000 jobs or 30% of the carrier's 20,000 employees. Malaysia Airlines has about 30 percent more staff than comparable airlines, and while the cuts will be painful, the status quo can clearly not be maintained under the prevailing circumstances.


Khazanah Nasional will channel around RM6bn ($2 billion) into reviving the carrier, buying out remaining stock from shareholders, layoffs and other restructuring costs, debt settlement and capital injections. Putrajaya claims these funds are an investment, rather than a bailout, expressing its intention to regain the funds when the airline returns to profitability. One can be forgiven for being skeptical of the carrier’s strategy, taking into account the shortcomings of previous restructuring attempts.


An accumulative sum of RM17.4bn ($5.3 billion) was injected into the airline between 2001 and 2014, and losses of RM8.4bn ($2.6 billion) were incurred nonetheless during that period. Malaysia Airlines reported a net loss of RM443mn ($140.8 million) for the first quarter of 2014. Second-quarter earnings following the unexplained disappearance of MH370 in March saw losses of RM307mn ($97.6 million). The second-half earnings are expected to be even grimmer in the wake of MH17, following reports from the airline that average weekly bookings had declined by 33 percent. The company has lost more than 40 percent of its market value this year and has not made an annual profit since 2010.


Shareholders will be meeting in early November to consider Khazanah’s selective capital reduction proposal plan before the recovery plan can go into effect. Although shareholders will be losing money by selling off their assets for lower prices than they purchased them for, the independent adviser AmInvestment Bank advised that they accept the offer, because without the proposed capital injection from Khazanah, the airline will go under and the share price will collapse. It’s better to lose a finger than to lose an arm.


As budget carriers like AirAsia, which was formally state-owned before being taken private, lead the Southeast Asian market, there are those who will view any further capital injection into Malaysia Airlines as an imprudent use of public funds. Khazanah itself has noted that the RM17.4bn used to restructure the national carrier could have helped improve education or provide water and power to remote villages. It also doesn’t make sense to refer to Khazanah’s move to take full ownership of the airline as a privatization since it is a government investment fund; it’s more like a de-facto nationalization.


At this stage, whether Malaysia Airlines is nationalized or privatized is a periphery concern: the real question is how can it be restructured to viably compete with discount airlines that make up some 58 percent of the air traffic in Southeast Asia? There are concerns going forward that Khazanah lacks the expertise needed to micromanage the airline and implement the kind of solutions needed to shift the balance back toward profitability. Additionally, there will be no minority shareholders to scrutinize the management and provide helpful input under Khazanah’s full ownership of the carrier.


Structural adjustments are needed to make the airline leaner and more efficient if it has any chance of surviving. Long unprofitable routes that require heavy subsidies should be cut with renewed focus on competitively priced medium-haul services within Asia. The fleet of Boeing 777s and Airbus A380s can be sold off and replaced with more fuel-efficient A330s and the A350s designed for shorter distances.


If employees and unions were better informed about the dire ill health of the airline, perhaps they would agree to voluntary pay cuts for a limited period if it meant retaining job security. Under the current circumstances, bonuses should be suspended and the balance sheet should be carefully scrutinized. In addition to rolling out a public relations blitz to repair the image of the company, Malaysia Airlines should emulate some qualities of their rivals’ business models, but differentiate themselves by offering greater value for money to the extent that a full-service airline can provide.


No answers, no closure


As the enquiry continues into the demise of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over the skies of eastern Ukraine in July, the preliminary findings of the international investigation have done little to develop a clearer understanding of the incident. The parties responsible for bringing down the aircraft, and exactly what means were utilized to do so, have yet to be firmly established.


The Dutch Safety Board (DSB), which is leading the investigation into the MH17 crash, released a preliminary report in September, which sought to analyze air traffic control and radio communication data, assess the inflight break-up sequences, and conduct a forensic examination of the wreckage. Assigning culpability to any party was not in the report’s mandate; the authors of the text use highly guarded and ambiguous language to explain their findings.


Due to the continued obstruction and contamination of the crash site as a result of military hostilities, it is highly questionable whether further forensic examinations can be carried out under such protracted circumstances. Another barrier is a lack of political will to consider certain findings, due to the politically charged nature of the Ukrainian conflict, which has resuscitated Cold War-era hostilities, bringing US-Russia relations to new lows.


Though Ukraine, the United States, and other countries have accused Russia of supplying the rebels with surface-to-air missiles and orchestrating the shoot-down of MH17, those governments have yet to declassify their intelligence on MH17, refusing even to discuss the sources and methodology behind their findings. Comments by Russian officials at the UN and elsewhere indicate that Moscow feels its side of the story has been neglected and overlooked.


The satellite images and military data made public by Moscow, which suggest a completely different series of events, have been entirely absent from the media’s narrative. The Dutch findings conclude that the aircraft abruptly ended its flight after a large number of “high energy objects”penetrated the aircraft from the outside, but does not identify the nature of those objects.


Dutch investigators have wholly omitted findings from radar data submitted by Moscow that purportedly showed a Ukrainian Su-25 fighter jet flying in close proximity to MH17 prior to it disappearing from radar.  BBC’s Russian language service broadcasted a report shortly after the disaster where several local eyewitnesses claimed to see a military aircraft in the sky flying in the vicinity of MH17 as it exploded and broke apart. The investigation has a responsibility to address the question of the Ukrainian fighter jet and its possible role in the incident.


The case of MH370 has proven to be the most baffling incident in commercial aviation history and one of the world's greatest aviation mysteries. Despite the largest multinational search and rescue effort ever conducted, not a trace of debris from the aircraft has been found, nor has the cause of the aircraft’s erratic change of trajectory and disappearance been established.


After a fruitless search in the southern Indian Ocean where the plane is believed to have crashed after running out of fuel, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau leading the investigation has admitted that investigators are not entirely sure if the current underwater search is being conducted in the right spot, although Malaysian officials have been more optimistic.


Tim Clark, the CEO and president of Emirates, questioned the methodology used by investigation team to pinpoint the crash site, claiming it was downright “suspicious” that a Boeing 777 could disappear without a trace with its communications being disabled. Clark also raised concerns that the public was not being told the whole truth about the cargo manifest.


The families of the passengers and crewmembers onboard the missing aircraft recently renewed calls for Putrajaya to release the full cargo manifest, which they say was only partially released some two months after the incident, claiming that there were missing gaps in the document. The manifesto claimed that the cargo contained 2.4 tons of lithium ion batteries and radio accessories and chargers consigned for Motorola, and 4.5 tons of mangosteen.


IGP Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar promised the media that authorities would investigate the mangosteen supplier after the Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority claimed that the fruit was not in season, nor were there any orchards in Johor where the mangosteen supplier, Poh Seng Kian, is based. The way in which certain information has allegedly been withheld from the public domain has worked to stoke skepticism that investigators must address. 


Inmarsat, the British satellite telecommunications company responsible for analyzing MH370 satellite data, has also come under scrutiny from independent satellite experts and engineers that found glaring inconsistencies in their analysis. The Atlantic magazine published a report in May based on the analysis of Michael Exner, founder of the American Mobile Satellite Corporation, Duncan Steel, a physicist and visiting scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Center, and satellite technology consultant Tim Farrar.


The team of analysts used flight and navigation software to deconstruct Inmarsat’s analysis, and determined that Inmarsat’s data contained irregular frequency shifts, and even when the values were corrected, Inmarsat’s example flight paths failed to match and proved to be erroneous. In other words, these analysts believe there may be grounds to believe that the search is being conducted on the basis of a false mathematical conclusion.


The authors of the report attempted to reach Inmarsat and other relevant bodies, but they claim that the company did not reply to requests for comments on basic technical questions about their analysis, leading them to determine that “Inmarsat officials and search authorities seem to want it both ways: They release charts, graphics, and statements that give the appearance of being backed by math and science, while refusing to fully explain their methodologies.”


While the investigation teams are doing their level best to establish accounts of the two Malaysia Airlines disasters, there is undoubtedly a dimension of political pressure involved that can create various barriers to understanding. The astonishing nature of these two incidents demand that uncomfortable scenarios and questions be addressed and examined. The media still has an important role to play.

This article was appeared in the October 28 and 29, 2014 print edition of The Malaysian Reserve newspaper.

Nile Bowie is an independent journalist and political analyst based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. His articles have appeared in numerous international publications, including regular columns with Russia Today (RT) and newspapers such as the Global Times, the Malaysian Reserve and the New Straits Times. He is a research assistant with the International Movement for a Just World (JUST), a Malaysian NGO promoting social justice and anti-hegemony politics. He can be reached at nilebowie@gmail.com.


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Reckless Russia Bashing Persists

Reckless Russia Bashing Persists

by Stephen Lendman

It's relentless. It persists daily. Big Lies drown out truth. Containing Russia is longstanding policy. Doing so reflects US hegemonic ambitions.

Eliminating a major rival is prioritized. Marginalizing, weakening, isolating, and co-opting it is planned. Escalated tensions risk belligerent East/West confrontation.

Whenever Washington wages war or plans one, media scoundrels march in lockstep. They regurgitate official propaganda ad nauseam. Doing so substitutes lies for truth.

New York Times editors, contributors and correspondents are some of the worst. Russia bashing persists daily. 

It's in front page feature stories. It's malicious. It's irresponsible. It's longstanding against America's enemies. Times editorial policy long ago fell from grace. 

Discredited correspondent Judith Miller perhaps is Exhibit A. She lied for power. She did it daily for months. She did it disgracefully.

She served up regular anti-Iraq propaganda. She used disreputable sources. They represented a Noah's Ark of scam artists. 

She substituted Big Lies for truth. She claimed nonexistent WMDs. She sank to the level of straight Pentagon press handouts. 

Her late 2001 - mid-2003 stories showed a reporter with an agenda. Garbage in. Garbage out. She almost single-handedly spearheaded Bush's drive for war.

She supported it. She promoted it. She used daily front page feature stories doing it. Strung together, they represented a litany of lies, damn lies, and misinformation. 

Truth was systematically buried. Imperial adventurism alone mattered. She's gone from Times front pages. Other disreputable reporters replaced her.

They continue where she left off. They supported Obama's war on Libya. They back ravaging and destroying Syria. 

They ignore the worst of America's longest war. They call imperial aggression humanitarian intervention. They mindlessly bash Russia. 

Perhaps they want what Paul Craig Roberts calls "final war." Maybe they're comfortable about destroying planet earth to save it. 

They support wealth, power and privilege exclusively. They do so over popular interests. They do it with disturbing regularity. They do it disgracefully.

They support NATO encroaching close to Russia's border. They repeat Big Lies about a nonexistent Russian threat. None whatever exists. Claiming otherwise turns truth on its head.

Moscow's Presidential Executive Office Chief of Staff Sergey Ivanov raised concerns about NATO strengthening its positions in Eastern Europe. 

At the same time, he said "(l)ets wait and see" what happens. He doesn't dismiss the threat of potentially hostile forces massed near Russia's border.

Lavrov expressed concern about NATO suspending cooperation with Moscow. Doing so based on nonexistent Russian aggression doesn't wash.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Aleksandr Lukashevich said "(t)he decision taken by the foreign ministers in the NATO council to suspend civil and military cooperation with Russia creates a deja vu effect."

"The language of the statement reminds one of the battle of words during the Cold War era."

"It’s not hard to see who is going to benefit from curbing Russia and NATO's joint work on countering modern threats and challenges to international and European security, in particular in areas like fighting terrorism, piracy, and natural and man-made disasters."

"In any case, this is going to be neither Russia, nor NATO member-states."

Russia categorically denies "aggressive preparations." No evidence suggests any. 

No military activities "aside from the previously declared." They're routine. They're non-belligerent. Russia has nothing to hide.

It welcomes foreign inspectors "who wished to get acquainted with the real situation in the border regions with Ukraine," said Lukashevich.

Lavrov was clear and unequivocal saying "(w)e have absolutely no intentions of crossing Ukrainian borders."

Nothing suggests otherwise. Not according to NYT reports.

On April 2, it headlined "NATO General Says He Sees Potent Russian Threat."

He sees what doesn't exist. General Philip Breedlove claims Russian hoards are within striking distance of Ukraine. They're "poised to attack on 12 hours' notice," he claims. He lied saying so.

They're able to "accomplish their military objectives within three to five days," he added.

"What we can say now is that we do see a battalion size unit moving, but what we can't confirm is that it is leaving the battlefield."

"Whether that movement is aft to a less belligerent configuration or returning to barracks, we do not see that."

Breedlove called what remains "a potent mix of warplanes, helicopter units, artillery, infantry and commandos with field hospitals and sufficient logistics to sustain an incursion into Ukraine," according to The Times report.

It might be a "coercive force," he added. It's able to move into Odessa, Transnistria, and intervene in eastern Ukraine areas.

"I think they have all the opportunities and they can make whatever decision they want," said Breedlove. 

He lied claiming "(t)his is a very large, very well-equipped force to be called an exercise."

In January, Pentagon officials raised concerns about Russian ground-launched cruise missile tests.

They're silent about their own naked aggression. It's ongoing in multiple theaters. Post-9/11, it killed millions. 

Russia is a powerful force for peace. It's up against a belligerent monster. It's headquartered in Washington. 

Don't expect the NYT to explain. It ignores US war crimes. Bashing Russia takes precedence. Breedlove lies were featured. He stated one after another.

He outrageously said Russia used military exercises to mask its planned intervention. Once it begins, it'll "cut telephone cables, jam communications an engage in cyberwarfare to isolate the Ukrainian military on the peninsula," according to The New York Times.

Russia uses "snap" exercises to rehearse its ability to assemble substantial combat power in a short period of time," The Times added.

"They are absolutely able to bring great force to a position of readiness," said Breedlove. 

"That is something that we have to think about: What does that mean geo-strategically that we now have a nation that can produce this ready force and now has demonstrated that it will use that ready force to go across a sovereign boundary?"

Stars and Stripes (S&P) is a Pentagon publication. Propaganda is regularly featured. On April 2, it headlined "Breedlove: Ukraine situation shows need for US forces in Europe."

He argued for greater US European troop strength "in light of a newly assertive Russia."

"We think it is ready to go and we think it could accomplish its objectives in between three and five days if directed to make the actions," he added.

He lied about a nonexistent threat. He said Russian hoards can invade Ukraine within 12 hours and take control in several days.

They deployed "the whole package" to the border, he claimed. Invented crisis conditions makes the case for enhancing Washington's Eastern European force presence, S&P added.

It's part of Pentagon strategy for greater military spending, not less. It's Washington's plan to confront Russia recklessly.

Doing so risks the unthinkable. World conflicts start this way. Deploying US-led NATO forces near Russia's border risks war.

Moscow wants answers. On April 3, Itar Tass headlined "Russia expects NATO to respect bilateral agreements - Lavrov." 

"Russia expects explanations from NATO of its decision to deploy additional troops in East European states," he said.

"We have addressed questions to the North Atlantic military alliance. We are not only expecting answers, but answers that will be based fully on respect for the rules we agreed on," he stressed.

"It is necessary to de-escalate rhetoric which overshoots the mark and crosses into the unreasonable."

"Russia-NATO relations are based on certain rules, particularly the Rome Declaration, under which no country has a right to deploy additional troops in East European states," he added.

Doing so is a belligerent act. At the same time, NATO suspended "all practical civilian and military cooperation (with) Russia."

From Brussels, John Kerry urged greater NATO expansion. He wants more Eastern European military spending.

He wants it to show its "shared security" commitment. He lied claiming Russia confronts European borders "with force."

"It's clear the (North Atlantic) alliance is prepared for this moment…We are unified, and the alliance is strong," he added.

"…Article 5 of NATO's treaty means what it says on land, air and sea. The United States has already begun" to act.

It augmented its Eastern European presence. It plans more of the same. It "reject(s)" Crimean reunification.

"(W)e have all challenged" what doesn't exist. Kerry called it the tactics of intimidation, particularly the deployment of unprecedented amounts of military forces around Ukraine's borders."

He ludicrously claimed Ukraine is on a path toward "democratic and economic success."

He cited NATO Secretary General Rasmussen calling events in Ukraine "a wake-up call - a reminder that the stability and security in NATO's neighborhood requires our constant vigilance."

"To that end," Kerry urged "step(ped) up defense spending."

He outrageously claimed an expanding NATO "open(ed) doors for millions of people who, through the power of this alliance, now are able to experience greater opportunity, a greater prosperity, and greater security." 

"As free nations, we will continue to stand together and stand always in defense of international law, of our mutual security, and of the right of nations and people everywhere to freely choose their own destiny."

On April 3, Itar Tass headlined "NASA suspends cooperation with Russia," saying:

"The US has suspended space cooperation with Russia. Ongoing activity on the International Space Station (ISS) is not affected by this decision."

"The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) said on Wednesday that such a decision was taken over the current crisis in Ukraine."

"According to a NASA's memo, 'ongoing violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity' prompted the agency to halt contacts with Russia."

A growing East/West divide deepens. It does so recklessly. A leaked NATO plan calls for joint exercises and training between alliance members and three Eastern European nations - Armenia, Azerbaijan and Moldova.

It's part of NATO's so-called "smart defense" strategy. It proposes opening a Moldovan liaison office, Armenian military training, and Azerbaijan projects to secure Caspian oil and gas fields.

Ludicrous claims about Russia destabilizing Eastern Europe persist. Washington responded by beefing up its regional presence.

According to UK Prime Minister David Cameron:

"We should do everything we can to reassure our friends and colleagues in Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Poland that we really believe in their NATO membership and the guarantees that we have given them."

Planned US-led NATO military exercises in Ukraine suggests trouble. Rapid Trident is scheduled for this summer. Similar exercises are conducted annually. 

US forces in Europe web site says they're designed to "promote regional stability and security, strengthen partnership capacity, and foster trust while improving interoperability between the land forces of Ukraine, and NATO and partner nations."

Perhaps something sinister is planned this year. Maybe confrontation with Russia.

Days earlier, Vice President Joe Biden warned about Washington invoking NATO's Article 5 against Russia. It states an attack on one alliance member obligates them all to respond.

Reckless comments heighten tensions. They do so irresponsibly. Rhetoric risks becoming policy. It bears repeating. Great conflicts start this way.

On April 1, Ukraine's parliament unanimously approved joint military exercises with US-led NATO forces. Doing so puts Western troops close to Crimea.

Washington wants Ukraine made a NATO member. It's currently a Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC) one. 

Russia strongly opposes integrating Ukraine fully into NATO. Doing so assures US bases along its 1,400 kilometer border.  

Nearby long-range nuclear-armed missiles will be deployed. They'll target its heartland. Doing so is reckless and dangerous. 

Events seem headed in that direction. The worst of all possible outcomes may follow.

Avoiding confrontation with Russia should be top priority. Ongoing policies are polar opposite. On Thursday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov commented, saying:

"In recent days we have been flooded by signals from Washington that in light of the events in Crimea and Ukraine, the US administration is changing the entire pattern of its dialogue and cooperation with us in a wide range of areas."

Washington is "seeking to demonstrate its refusal to recognize the free expression of will by the population in Crimea and the decisions adopted by us in connection with it, plans to suspend contacts even in areas where, in our opinion, the continuation of our dialogue meets the interests of the US itself."

US Russian policy "exacerbat(es) bilateral relations." Ryabkov hopes things will change. So far, East/West divisions deepen. Doing so risks the unthinkable.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 


http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

14 Cold, Hard Facts About Noah’s Ark That You Probably Do Not Know

The new Hollywood blockbuster “Noah” has created a tremendous amount of interest in the story of Noah’s Ark.  Traditionally, most people have regarded it as just a cute Bible story to tell children.  But could it be real?  Is there solid evidence that Noah’s Ark actually existed?  If there is real evidence, would you [...]

Making Sense of Ukraine Through a History of Extraterrestrial Intervention

“Making Sense of Ukraine Through a History of Extraterrestrial Intervention” by Richard C. Cook Why is there so much evil in the world, and if there is a God, why does God allow it? This is a question all thinking people ask, and to which every religion attempts to provide an answer. Christianity and Islam, [...]

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Why in the world is the Vatican searching for extraterrestrial life?  Does the Catholic hierarchy know something about alien life that the rest of us do not?  Why is the largest religious organization on the planet spending so much time and energy looking for “brother extraterrestrial”?  Earlier this month, the Vatican Observatory cosponsored a [...]

What Would Happen If A Giant Tsunami Hit Florida?

Can you imagine the devastation that would be caused if a massive wall of water several hundred feet high slammed into Florida at more than 100 miles an hour?  To many people such a scenario is impossible, but that is what people living along the Indian Ocean thought before the 2004 tsunami and that [...]

After Several Near Misses, Experts Warn The Next Carrington Event Will Plunge Us Back...

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How to Steal an Airplane: From 9/11 to MH370

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According to a stunning new report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, nearly a third of all food produced in the United States gets wasted.  We are probably the most wasteful society in the history of the planet, and we are also one of the most gluttonous.  More than 35 percent of all Americans are [...]

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Did you know that the U.S. state that produces the most vegetables is going through the worst drought it has ever experienced and that the size of the total U.S. cattle herd is now the smallest that it has been since 1951?  Just the other day, a CBS News article boldly declared that "food prices [...]

Why Global Water Shortages Pose Threat of Terror and War

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Angleton and Dulles–Two Despicable CIA Rats Exposed

My Australian counterpart, Greg Maybury, recently wrote a compelling blog about ex-CIA counterintellingence chief James Jesus Angleton, one of the most ruthless, paranoid, and admired spies in Coporations Invisible Army (CIA). I am reprinting a portion of the blog here, along with my reaction to it.

Maybury writes, "...the CIA’s legendary chief of counter-intelligence – its brain for years – was James Jesus Angleton (aka The Kingfisher)...the narrative of the CIA would not be complete without him to be sure.

"He began his career shortly after the formation of the CIA in 1947, and was the station chief in Italy just after the war ended. Here he was instrumental in the undermining of the bourgeoning communist movement taking root in the later 40s, and amongst the tactics he used was eliciting the support of Italy’s Mafia, thereby setting a long-time precedent for the agency that was to feature frequently in its clandestine operations for decades to come.

"He was amongst the most out-there of people, a TS Eliot quoting/loving, chain-smoking, hard-drinking, orchid-growing, fly-fishing, gem collecting, insomniac raconteur who burned the spy-candle at both ends. Exceedingly well read and (counter?) intelligent, he was something of a polymath. In his day many considered this dude the sharpest tool in the spy shed, bar none! JJ’s motto: ‘absolute security at any cost’, one that would prove to be his undoing, as we will see.

"The term ‘Angeltonian’ even entered the espionage vernacular to become a byword in spy circles for overly conspiratorial and/or obsessively paranoid behaviour. Angleton was like DCI Allen Dulles alter ego – he was the uber-counter-spy, the spookiest of spooks in the spookier end of the spook business.

"If his boss Dulles was the Dagger in the Cloak and Dagger business, JJ was the Cloak! His spycraft was apparently second to none in the non-communist world. Even the Soviets had a fan club going of sorts; he was that good at what he did, they even copied his methods, proving that even in the spy world, the ‘imitation as the sincerest form of flattery’ thing still applies. He was once quoted as saying that: ‘Deception is a state of mind and the mind of the state’.

"The origin of his nick-name The Kingfisher is uncertain, but interestingly they are a bird species that have evolved unique visual faculties whereby they can see equally well in polar opposite environments, in their case air and water. A nice metaphor one suspects given his line of work, especially if it was not intended.

"On a more mundane level his nick-name may have been because of his striking features, which were indeed bird-like, if not ‘kingfisherish’. He eventually rose to the position of chief of Counter-intelligence at The Company, and although it’s not known if he ever sought the position or was even offered it, he would have been a prime candidate for Director either way. He could even have interrogated/interviewed himself for the job, a bonus. The motherfucker was that good.

- Spy v Spy Redux -

"He served under Dulles, and then later on Dulles successors, firstly John McCone, then Richard Helms, and for a brief time William Colby. A cryptographer by training (and it has to be said) inclination, he was also very knowledgeable about nuclear technology, having worked on the Manhattan Project (of which more in a later episode), and was apparently involved in the breaking of the Germans’ Enigma code, which did so much to aid the allied effort in the latter part of the War.

"Both these skills were handy during a Cold War. If there is such a thing as spy heaven (a safe house or waiting room in the afterlife maybe?), most of them be coming up to the Kingfisher, high-fiving his avian-eyed ass and be saying how much they ‘love his work’.
As indicated he was as paranoid as they come, for the most part a truly valuable character trait in the counter-spy business, given that the counter espionage and counter intelligence business is all about stopping the targets of your spying from doing what you’re trying to do to them, which is to spy on them. By definition, this means being permanently paranoid.

"Or more accurately, the counter spy/espionage/intelligence ‘schtick’ is more about ensuring that the spies on the other side enjoy minimal success at recruiting your own spies to spy on you and not them as you’d prefer them to continue doing without you finding out about it until it is too late.

"However, like JJ often did, I digress!

"And if Angleton trusted anyone, it is not known whether it worked to their advantage or not, and we’re not even talking about the Soviets here. We’re talking his own – indeed, especially his own – CIA colleagues. He was one of the coldest and most calculating of the Langley Cold Warriors. A strong pro-war hawk on Vietnam, he was also notoriously known for his surveillance of anti-war protesters, political activists and domestic dissidents (of which there were no shortages) during the Vietnam War and throughout the 60’s and early 70’s. He has also been frequently mentioned as having involvement in, knowledge of, and/or connections to the JFK hit and the Norma Jean suicide/accidental death/murder.

- The Hollow Man -

"As good as Angleton was, he wasn’t good enough though to pick up on arguably the biggest spies in the West before they defected to the USSR, who were located in the UK, and operating out of the august Cambridge University.

"As CIA CI chief, part of his responsibility was liaison with foreign intelligence and security officials and spooks, including with Mossad, SAVAK and MI6. Although some say he had his suspicions about the Cambridge group before anyone else did including the British – yes, he was that paranoid – he failed to act on these in time to prevent their subsequent defection. This was an outcome from which he never recovered, and indeed amongst many other missteps, it brought about his downfall eventually, but not for a long time to come.

"After the belated discovery of the aforementioned Cambridge spies (one of whom – Philby – Angleton worked with closely in London during the war, and later got pissed with on a frequent basis, and with whom he shared secrets that got many Western agents killed), Angleton became even more paranoid, seeing spies all over the Langley complex, which began to irritate a lot of people, managing to piss off not only then DCI Richard Helms, but also J Edgar Hoover over at the FBI HQ as well, with Hoover pulling the pin on any further cooperation with the super-spook.

"To piss Edgar off, or to have him pull the pin on you as we’ve seen in an earlier episode, was not all that difficult and certainly not always a good career move to repeat it inside or outside of the FBI. And as for being paranoid, there were few more so than Edgar. But Angleton survived Edgar; he was that ‘good’! And that paranoid! History tells us that paranoia is often proven most justified when it is the most ignored, but many would argue the lessons of history don’t appear to have become a collective political wisdom in the West, and especially some might say in Washington D.C., or for that matter in Langley.

"Not even Angleton though could last forever in the CIA. The culture didn’t make allowances for that. His increasingly pathological paranoia eventually brought him unstuck."

Maybury's apt portrayal of JJ Angleton left me chilled and angry. To think that America was literally turned over, post-WWII, to rats like him and the Dulles brothers never stops infuriating me. Shrewd, ruthless, paranoid, warmongering sociopaths controlled our foreign and domestic policy for over half a century and still do. Of course, they could not have done it in a vacuum. When considering the sources and consequences of Corporation Invisible Army's consolidation of power, one must remember that Operation MK-ULTRA (the covert experimentation with and drugging of innocent Americans) relied on Operation Mockingbird (the subversion of the free press); Operation PBSUCCESS (the overthrow of duly elected foreign governments) went hand in hand with Operation Paperclip (the secret recruitment of Nazi war criminals to serve in our intelligence, medicine, military and aerospace spheres). Angleton and Dulles made sure they could run roughshod over democracy in secret. In so doing, they amassed power unprecedented in our history. More power than presidents, legislative bodies, the Pentagon, and the media combined.

While I concur with most of the content, I take exception to three assertions--one) von Braun was a Nazi...his reputation was softened by a compliant press (which assiduously, and at Dulles's insistence, referred to him as a "German" scientist) once he emigrated to America and his new position at NASA; two) ALL Nazis were war criminals because they either knew of the death camps or participated in the executions; three) Dulles was sympathetic to Hitler and the Reich because his Sullivan and Cromwell clients had big-time investments to protect. Dulles's "Heil Hitler" salutation in correspondences with the Fuhrer is telling.

May Angleton and Dulles and all the other rats burn in hell for eternity.

http://www.amazon.com/Presidents-Mortician-Tim-Fleming/dp/098882907X

Kerry Backs Keystone XL Pipeline

Kerry Backs Keystone XL Pipeline

by Stephen Lendman

Kerry mocks legitimacy. He represents the worst of America's dark side. He's going all out to be Washington's worst ever Secretary of State. 

He's Obama's war on humanity front man. He blames Syrian President Assad for US-supported death squad crimes. He wants him ousted. He wants Syrian sovereignty destroyed. 

He wants Washington deciding Syria's future. He wants it colonized for profit. He wants Ukraine exploited the same way. 

He supports ultranationalist extremists. He blames Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych for US-supported street thug violence.

He's Israel's man in Washington. His peace deal is fake. It's entirely one-sided. It demands unconditional Palestinian surrender.

He's a billionaire. He supports corporate-enriching trade deals. They legitimize selling unsafe foods, medicines and other products. 

They're designed to make him richer. They're at the expense of enormous public harm. They risk ecocide.

On January 31, the State Department endorsed the Keystone XL Pipeline project. It risks enormous environmental damage. 

It's a controversial 1,661-mile Alberta, Canada to Port Arthur, TX pipeline. At issue is transporting toxic tar sands oil from Western Canada to refineries on America's Gulf coast. 

Doing so entails passing through environmentally sensitive areas in six states. They include waterways and the Ogallala Aquifer. 

It's one of the world's largest. It supplies about 30% of America's irrigation ground water. It's vital for human consumption.

Friends of the Earth said Keystone XL (KXL) "will carry one of the world's dirtiest fuels: tar sands oil." Its route "could devastate ecosystems and pollute water sources, and would jeopardize public health."

It'll double America's dirty tar sands oil supply. Environmental toxicity will increase exponentially. 

Big Oil wants it. So do Republicans and many Democrats. Expect Obama to rubber-stamp approval. 

The State Department's Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) falsely claimed no risks to health and safety. More on this below.

TransCanada Corporation will build KXL. It's spill-prone construction record assures trouble. 

It promised its Keystone I pipeline would leak at most once every seven years. In year one, it leaked 12 times. It was once a month on average. It was unprecedented in US pipeline history.

TarSandsBlockade.org asks "Why Oppose KXL?"

For many reasons, it states. NASA scientist James Hansen calls it "a fuse to the largest carbon bomb on the planet."

All pipelines spill. Avoidance is impossible. Large-scale environmental damage is too great a price to pay. 

TransCanada said up to 700,000 gallons of tar sands crude could leak without detection. Safeguards are weak and ineffective.

Pipeline construction abuses eminent domain. TransCanada "intimidated landowners" along planned routes. It did so in previous pipeline construction.

It contractually forced landowners to accede to its demands. It "fraudulently steals land from private citizens through eminent domain."

Water contamination is certain. The Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer (CWA) is threatened. 

In March 2011, water resources & environmental engineer/consultant Lawrence Dunbar said CWA spillage would be environmentally disastrous. Human and natural resources would be impacted.

Release of enough tar sands contaminants would make affected water resources unfit for human consumption. 

CWA "is one of the greatest assets of the East-Central region of Texas. It provides water for agriculture, industry, and human consumption and use."

It's far too valuable to contaminate. KXL assures it. Remediation would be hard to impossible to achieve.

According to Cornell University's Global Labor Institute, KXL will destroy more jobs than it creates. Its September 2011 "Pipe Dreams?" report said job creation claims lack credibility.

At best up to 4,650 temporary ones will be created. In two years or less they'll be gone. "KXL will not be a major source of US jobs, nor will it play any substantial role at all in putting Americans back to work."

Diverting tar sands oil "now supplying Midwest refineries, so it can be sold at higher prices to the Gulf Coast and export markets (means) Midwest (consumers) could be paying 10 to 20 cents more per gallon for gasoline and diesel fuel."

Doing so will adversely impact other spending and cost jobs. KXL will have "a chilling effect on green investments and green jobs creation."

Green investments generated "2.7 million jobs in the US and could generate many more."

"Tar Sands oil and energy independence really do not belong in the same sentence."

Cornell, the Natural Resources Defense Council and other independent assessments say KXL assures higher gas prices.

Exporting tar sands oil won't reduce US dependence on foreign supplies. Prioritizing exports is planned. At issue is selling at the highest possible price.

KXL violates tribal sovereignty. The Indigenous Environmental Network's "Mother Earth Accord" supports and urges opposition to tar sands development. At issue is preserving the integrity of US and Canadian First Nations and tribal lands.

TransCanada won't disclose an analysis of chemical dilutents used to facilitate transporting tar sands oil through KXL. At issue are human and environmentally destructive substances.

The Pipeline Hazardous Material Safety Administration told Congress that pipeline regulations weren't crafted with tar sands oil in mind. 

They're woefully inadequate and require strengthening. At a time of business as usual, don't expect it.

On January 31, the State Department released its EIS report. Its  analysis was rigged. Its methodology lacked credibility. 

Results falsely claimed minimal environmental contamination risk. KXL's southern area "Gulf Coast Project" failed to conduct its own environmental assessment. 

Issues related to the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer, wild fires, droughts, and others weren't examined.

Friends of the Earth (FOE) responded, saying:

"The State Department’s environmental review of the Keystone XL pipeline is a farce. Since the beginning of the assessment, the oil industry has had a direct pipeline into the agency." 

"Perhaps most frustrating, is the apparent collusion between the State Department, oil industry and the Canadian government."

"In what could be perceived as eagerness to please the oil industry and Canadian government, the State Department is issuing this report amidst an ongoing investigation into conflicts of interest, and lying, by its contractor." 

"It is unacceptable that the oil industry and a foreign government are better informed than the American Congress and its citizenry."

"By letting the oil industry influence this process, Secretary Kerry is undermining his long-established reputation as a leader in the fight against climate change." 

"President Obama can end this charade; sufficient scientific data exists to justify denying the Keystone XL pipeline." 

"It is a simple matter of having the political will, and courage, to stand up to the oil industry. This decision is a defining moment in his environmental legacy."

Last September, FOE said:

"(F)rom day one, the State Department's review of the pipeline (was) polluted by conflicts of interest, insider lobbying and the heavy hand of Big Oil."

State Department officials relied on TransCanada-picked contractors for their report. Doing so represents an outrageous conflict of interest.

Relying on Big Oil interests related construction company interests eliminated any chance for responsible analysis.

Obama had plenty of evidence without EIS to reject KXL. "The bottom line," said FOE, "it's not in the national interest. (K)ill "it now."

The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) said:

"Thousands of people around the country are taking a stand against the import of dirty tar sands oil - from farmers and ranchers in Nebraska who don't want a tar sands pipeline plowed through their property, to families in Texas concerned about their drinking water, to Americans everywhere who want to move towards a clean energy future." 

NWF "is working to stop this dangerous project, and your voice is urgently needed. Take a stand against" KXL!

The Sierra Club urged "no more Big Oil pipeline spills that endanger our water."

KXL "threaten(s) the drinking water of two million Americans." TransCanada has a deplorable environmental record.

In 2011 alone, over a quarter million Americans expressed opposition to KXL. Nebraska rancher Susan Luebbe perhaps spoke for others, saying:

"How can the State Department even think of approving a new tar sands pipeline when the existing one is springing leaks on average once a month."

"Ranchers, farmers and millions of other Americans depend on clean water from the Ogallala Aquifer, which lies directly under the path of" KXL.

Last November, Public Citizen published a report titled "TransCanada's Keystone XL Southern Segment: Construction Problems Raise Questions About the Integrity of the Pipeline."

It highlighted safety issues. Documented problems include "excessive bending or sagging, and pealing patches of field coating applied to cover damage on pipe about to be placed into the ground."

"Anomolies" in pipe "buried for months include "dents, sags, and other problems that could lead to spills or leakage of toxic tar sands crude."

Public Citizen's Texas office director Tom "Smitty" Smith said:

"The government should investigate, and shouldn’t let crude flow until that is done."

"Given the stakes - the potential for a catastrophic spill of hazardous crude along a pipeline that traverses hundreds of streams and rivers and comes within a few miles of some towns and cities - it would be irresponsible to allow the pipeline to start operating."

During construction of Keystone I, TransCanada made 50 special conditions pledges. It violated 47 of them.

In July 2011, its Bison natural gas pipeline exploded within six months of startup. 

Iroquois Pipeline Operations is a TransCanada subsidiary. In the 1990s, four senior executives pleaded guilty to knowingly violating environmental and safety pipeline construction permit provisions.

They promised exceptional safety. They willfully failed to deliver. "TransCanada's history with pipeline problems speaks for itself," said Smith.

"I fear we could be looking at another pipeline whose integrity may be in question."

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) urged "Stopping the Keystone XL." Enormous potential environmental damage is risked, it said.

It'll transport "the dirtiest oil on the planet." It's "difficult, costly and energy-intensive to produce."

Constructing KXL will "kill more jobs than it creates." Oil transported is intended for export, not domestic use.

KXL "was never in America's national interest. Clean energy and fuel efficiency is the path forward for economic and energy security."

Reject "another tar sands pipeline." Expect rubber-stamp Obama approval. He's beholden to Big Oil. He's been this way throughout his political career.

His US Senate voting record was strongly pro-business. He supported strip-mining on public and private land.

He backed secretly drafted Bush administration energy policy. Rhetorically he opposed it.

He supported vastly expanding nuclear power, lax industry regulation, billions of dollars in subsidies, and other benefits demanding rejection.

He voted for biofuels production and other agribusiness interests. He strongly supports GMO foods and ingredients.

He's a corporate stooge. There's never "been a bigger con man in the White House than Barack Obama," said Ralph Nader. He says one thing. He does another. His rhetoric belies his policies.

He's a corporatist "from A to Z." So are Kerry and likeminded administration officials.

On February, the State Department opened a 30 day comment period. Eight US agencies have 90 days to weigh in. They'll offer feedback.

It's pro forma mumbo jumbo. What corporate America wants it gets. Obama's fully on board. Expect rubber-stamp KXL approval.

Last June, he signaled it saying he'll back construction if "it does not significantly exacerbate the climate problem."

Last week, TransCanada began shipping oil through its southern Keystone pipeline leg. It runs from Cushing, OK to Port Arthur, TX.

TC awaits approval to begin building its 1,179 mile northern pipeline. It'll transport tar sands oil from Hardisty, Alberta through Montana to Steele City, NB.

Environmental contamination will follow. Wealth, power and privilege alone matter. 

Obama is no man of the people. He's a corporatist writ large. Change to believe in works one way. Betrayal and failure define him.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.


http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

Senator Tom Coburn leaving politics – who will watch the waste now?

Tom Coburn Leaves a Lonely Place Lonelier

Jan 17, 2014


A good man is leaving the Senate. Photographer: Brendan Smialowski/Bloomberg 


You knew what might be coming when Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma announced in November that he had a recurrence of cancer. He managed for a long time with a triple threat -- colon and prostate cancer and a benign brain tumor. He announced yesterday that he will leave at the end of this congressional session to spend the time he has left with his three children and seven grandchildren. It may be one of the only times when a politician says he wants to spend more time with his family and we know it is utterly the truth.

 "Coburn has always had a gift for honesty. He didn't need consultants to tell him how to be a senator. He had the white hair, all-American accent and a doctor's wisdom of life and death, his vocation before politics. He talked to the president frequently but didn’t brag about it. His colleagues -- fellow Republicans and Democrats -- liked to have him around, even though he could be a thorn in both sides. He was often the first to be asked to join the various bipartisan "Gangs of."... 


GO read the rest here. 
The Guardian (London) had this to say about Senator Coburn: 

... this decision isn't about my health, my prognosis or even my hopes and desires.
"As a citizen, I am now convinced that I can best serve my own children and grandchildren by shifting my focus elsewhere. In the meantime, I look forward to finishing this year strong."


Coburn, nicknamed "Dr No" for his voting record in the Senate, was supposed to serve through 2016. Instead, he'll step down in January 2015. He had already vowed not to seek a third term.
Senate republican leader Mitch McConnell released a statement Thursday describing Coburn as "one of the most intelligent, principled and decent men in modern Senate history".
"When it comes to the transcendent debate over the size and cost of government, Tom Coburn is simply without peer," McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, said. "No one has done more to awaken Americans to the threat posed by a government that chronically spends more than it takes in, and no one has worked harder at finding a solution."
Known as a conservative maverick during his three terms in the US House in the 1990s, Coburn continued that role after being elected to the Senate in 2004. A fierce critic of what he described as excessive government spending, Coburn was most vocal about opposing the earmarking of special projects.
His office routinely produced reports on wasteful spending, such as a 37-page report in 2011 dubbed Subsidies of the Rich and Famous that detailed nearly $30bn spent annually on government tax breaks and federal grant programs for millionaires....

There is more, and it IS an interesting read, here.

I first became aware of Senator Coburn because of his annual Waste Book, where he detailed the mind-boggling waste that could be painlessly cut from the American budget.  Follow that link and see the 2013 edition.  (For previous posts on Coburn here,  just put his name in the search thing at top left.)

In December, upon release of the latest version of the chronicle of absurdities paid for by American tax dollars, there was this:

Coburn Releases Annual Wastebook Highlighting Most Egregious Spending of 2013
 Dec 17 2013


(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK), ranking member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, today released his annual oversight report “Wastebook 2013” highlighting 100 examples of wasteful and low-priority spending totaling nearly $30 billion.

“While politicians in Washington spent much of 2013 complaining about sequestration’s impact on domestic programs and our national defense, we still managed to provide benefits to the Fort Hood shooter, study romance novels, help the State Department buy Facebook fans and even help NASA study Congress,” said Dr. Coburn.

“Had Congress, in particular, been focused on doing its job of setting priorities and cutting the kind of wasteful spending outlined in this report, we could have avoided both a government shutdown and a flawed budget deal that was designed to avert a shutdown.  The nearly $30 billion in questionable and lower-priority spending in Wastebook 2013 is a small fraction of the more than $200 billion we throw away every year through fraud, waste, duplication and mismanagement.   There is more than enough stupidity and incompetence in government to allow us to live well below the budget caps.  What’s lacking is the common sense and courage in Washington to make those choices – and passage of fiscally-responsible spending bills – possible,” said Dr. Coburn.

“This report speaks volumes about why confidence in government is at an all-time low.  The hard truth is we’d much rather borrow than cut.  The American people are right to expect more,” said Dr. Coburn.

Examples of wasteful spending highlighted in “Wastebook 2013” include:

    Uncle Sam Looking for Romance on the Web – (NEH) $914,000 
     
     To read the details of just this first entry - and many, many more go over here.
     
     It should be obvious to anybody, that the current administration has NO idea how to manage Americans' money (hard-earned dollars collected by the IRS by the way.)  Now that Senator Coburn has announced his intention to leave, we need other voices raised to keep  attention on the pigs at the trough. 

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No Joy to the World This Christmas

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by Stephen Lendman

How can there be with wars raging out-of control! Who's celebrating while mass slaughter and destruction persist?

No Christmas cheer this year for billions. No Feliz Navidad. No happy holiday. No Wise Men spreading good will. 

No silent, holy night. No decking the halls. No herald angels singing. None heard on high. 

No coming all ye faithful. No telling it on the mountain. No merry gentlemen resting. No peace on earth coming upon a midnight clear.

No most wonderful time of the year. No having yourself a merry little Christmas. No holly jolly one. No wishing you one in times of war, injustice and human suffering. Imagine them on an unprecedented scale. 

No frosty the snowman fun. No winter wonderland. No jingle bells joy. No auld lang syne.

No Christmas 2014 to remember. No Santa on his sleigh. None coming to town. No gifts for billions. 

No peace with war winds raging. None with growing global human misery. America is Scrooge writ large. It's the Grinch that stole Christmas.

Scoundrel media editors claim otherwise. They support the worst of all possible worlds. They pretend aggressive wars are liberating ones. 

They claim nations are destroyed to free them. They call imperial dominance democracy.

They glorify wars in the name of peace. Humanitarian intervention and responsibility to protect (R2P) mask ravaging one country after another. Mass slaughter and destruction reflect it. 

They call plunder economic development. They pretend Christmas 2014 reflects peace and good on earth. 

They ignore what matters most. They turn a blind eye to America's imperial savagery. Unprecedented human misery reflects it. 

It persists globally. They sweep it under the rug. They air brush it from history. They ignore reality. Hypocrisy and indifference substitute.

New York Times editors headlined "This Day of Good Cheer." They called it "the most joyous and the most richly seasonal."

"Christmas can seem, somehow, outside the sequence of the ordinary year," they said. 

How can it be when billions endure poverty, unemployment, hunger and homelessness? Millions more suffer the scourge of war. 

Festiveness doesn't top their agenda. Survival matters most. Christmas is no different from other days. It's not a day off from human misery. It doesn't stop mass slaughter and destruction.

Not according to New York Times editors. It's "a day of good cheer," they said. It "comes to life on just this one holiday." 

It's "enough to be here today," they claim. How can it be when unprecedented human misery overwhelms it?

Washington Post editors headlined "The Christmas story, still captivating the world."

A decades earlier radio program was called "The Greatest Story Ever Told." It related biblical narratives. It was popular at the time. It inspired a Hollywood film by the same name.

One Bible story remained popular, said WaPo editors. It's "a tale of universal appeal." It's "a story of love and triumph over adversity and also of humility, of the good to be found in the most modest of circumstances."

It reflects the spirit of Francis of Assisi, they said. He preached "reverence for all living things." He created the first manger creche.

His "living Christmas story was taken up in many towns and villages." They created their own manger scenes. They reflect the seasonal spirit.

"Their basic appeal lay in their warmth, humanity and simplicity." It's an "enduring reflection of...'comfort and joy,' " said WaPo editors.

For whom they didn't explain. For billions it doesn't exist. Human misery is their daily reality. WaPo editors substituted illusion for unconscionable human suffering.

Chicago Tribune editors headlined "As Christmas dawns." They published the same Christmas day editorial since 1988. 

Perhaps they have no original thoughts. Maybe they don't care about what's most important. They asked:

"What is this day, this Christmas, that dawns with a chorus of joy? What river of love and magic speeds the message from that moment of wonder in Bethlehem across the cold darkness of centuries long forgotten?" 

"How does it warm us this morning as we awaken in a world the Wise Men could scarcely imagine to a radiance that once each year makes it all just a little bit better?"

For whom, Tribune editors didn't say. For America's 1%, it never was better. For most others, it's lump of coal harshness. 

Joy didn't arrive Christmas morning. It won't appear later in the day. Or the next one. Or throughout the holiday season. 

It's absent throughout the year. So is the "Prince of Peace." No "(s)ing(ing) out the praises of Christmas... (No) sing(ing) them in shouts and whispers."

Tribune editors support the worst of imperial harshness. They deplore peace and good will. They claim otherwise.

They hypocritically said "remember…the pain of others...the Christmas joy of sharing out humanity."

"We are our brothers' and our sisters' keepers...Rejoice in the accumulated sights and sounds of the season that fill us this Christmas Day."

..."(W)e praise this day, this Christmas, that dawns with a chorus of joy."

Tell it to Chicago's homeless. Imagine sleeping outside in sub-freezing temperatures. Imagine having to beg for nickels, dimes and quarters. Imagine needing them to buy bare bones food.

Imagine having nowhere to go when sick. Imagine no one able to change things caring. Imagine suffering out of sight and mind.

In July 2013, the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless estimated around 116,000 affected Chicagoans.

It's 10% higher than year ago numbers. It includes nearly 19,000 students. Around 98% are children of color. An estimated 20% have disabilities and development delays.

On December 13, the US Conference of Mayors Hunger 2013 Homelessness Survey said Chicago homelessness increased 11.4% year-over-year.

Perhaps Tribune editors didn't notice. Maybe they don't care.

Los Angeles Times editors headlined " 'Miracles' of 2013: Some of our favorites."

Christians annually commemorate Christ's birth. LA Times editors call it "one of the central miracles of the New Testament."

No peace and good will miracles arrived Christmas morning 2013. Expect none throughout the holiday season for billions worldwide.

None appeared throughout 2013. Expect none next year. LA Times editors turned a blind eye to what's most important. They ignored Obama's war on humanity. They said nothing about global human suffering.

They focused on trivia. They highlighted NASA's Voyager 1 mission. It's "ventur(ing) out of our solar system." It's "a singular achievement in humanity's quest for knowledge," they said.

How about waging peace, not war. What about alleviating human misery. What about prioritizing right over wrong? How about replacing dismissiveness with caring.

Times editors expressed angst about not intervening directly against Syria. They said eliminating its chemical weapons may "solidify" Assad's hold on power.

They called Republicans and Democrats "compromis(ing)" on 2014's budget "amazing." Both parties agreed on deeper lump of coal harshness for millions.

They gave bankers, war profiteers, other corporate favorites, and America's super-rich virtually everything they wanted. 

They're waging war on social justice. Perhaps Times editors didn't notice. Maybe they don't care.

They discussed a meteor "the size of a small building." It "hurtled toward Russia...in February." It crashed near Chelyabinsk in Siberia. Miraculously it didn't kill anyone, they said.

Imagine calling temporarily switching off LA billboards a 2013 highlight. They called ending city mayoral debates another one.

They claim Washington began negotiating with Iran in good faith. They ignored Obama breaching Geneva terms straightaway. His notion of good faith is none at all.

Times editors' 2013 highlights are ill-chosen. Why is LA's Museum of Contemporary Art quadrupling its endowment more important than millions of city residents struggling to get by?

Why is a so-called "layaway Santa" initiative? An anonymous benefactor is involved. He visits stores. He pays for toys parents had on layaway. He does it in LA County.

What about sheltering its homeless. How about feeding its hungry. What about employing county residents without jobs. How about giving underemployed Angelinos better ones.

What about freeing lawlessly imprisoned county inmates. What about doing so much more to relieve area human misery. 

Why is it ignored? Why is it allowed to fester? Why is it permitted to deepen each year? 

Why don't city and county officials change things? Why do they do nothing? Why don't Times editors hold them accountable? Why not on Christmas day? Why not throughout the year?

Wall Street Journal editors did Tribune counterparts one better. They've run the same Christmas day editorial since 1949. 

Vermont Royster (1914 - 1996) wrote it. He was WSJ's editorial page editor from 1958 to 1971. 

He headlined "In Hoc Anno Domini (in this year of our lord)." He discussed ancient Rome. "There was oppression," he said.

He highlighted Rome's "tax gatherer." It took "grain from the fields and the flax from the spindle to feed the legions or to fill the hungry treasury from which divine Caesar gave largess to the people."

There was "persecution" and "enslavement...Then, of a sudden, there was a light in the world, and a man from Galilee saying, Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's and unto God the things that are God's."

"…Paul of Tarsus...spoke to his brethren." His words would be remembered. "Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage."

Royster won two Pulitzer Prizes. His editorials and other writing reflected lump of coal harshness. He deplored social justice.

Dow Jones & Company began publishing the WSJ in July 1889. In  August 2007, Rupert Murdoch bought it. 

Throughout its history, hard right opinion shut out progressive fairness. Under Murdoch, it does so more than ever.

Royster championed free markets over fair ones. So do current Journal editors. They believe whatever government does, business does better so let it.

They want every one left on their own sink or swim. They believe whatever is good for business is good for America. 

They support corporate and super-rich privilege over social justice. Power and profits matter most of all.

What would Jesus say today? What would he think about today's America? What would he do? 

How would he address ideological extremism? What would he say about neoliberal harshness? How would he contest destructive dark forces?

He preached nonviolent resistance. He lived it. He taught it. He deplored injustice. He urged "go(ing) the second mile." He said "love your enemies. (D)o good to those who persecute you."

He spread revolutionary ideas. He opposed exploitive imperial harshness. Today he'd preach peace, equity and justice. He'd oppose war. He'd resist it.

Doing the right thing is its own reward. Doing it every day matters most. Imagine if everyone felt this way. Imagine a world at peace.

Imagine wars consigned to the dustbin of history. Imagine loving thy neighbor having real meaning. Imagine doing unto others responsibly. 

Imagine a world fit to live in. Imagine it with liberty and justice for all. Imagine it on Christmas. Imagine it throughout the year.

John Donne was a poet, lawyer and cleric. "No man is an island," he said. We're all part of humanity.

"Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind." 

"(N)ever send to know for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for thee."

It does so most in times of war. It bears repeating. It doesn't take time off for Christmas. It doesn't do it throughout the holiday season. Mass killing and destruction have lives of their own.

Hemingway's novel discussed "For Whom the Bell Tolls." Its background was the Spanish civil war. In times of all wars, it tolls for thee.


Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour


http://www.dailycensored.com/joy-world-christmas/

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The brave few who have challenged the intelligence establishment in this country are slowly eroding the walls the CIA has built around its dirtiest secrets. The Freedom of Information Act provides all citizens the right to peruse the documents we paid for, regardless of which clandestine agency created them and how heinous the crimes reported therein. Thus, some day, hopefully soon, the true story of the CIA's sordid history will be revealed for all to see.

Under great pressure from those who have filed civil suits, the National Security Archive has posted several documents relating to the overthrow of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh in 1953. For those of you who need a quick history refresher, Mossadegh was Iran's legitimately elected leader who just happened to have populist/socialist leanings, and, as such, threatened U.S. business interests in the region--specifically the oil industry. Mossadegh was beloved by the Iranian people, but he was deemed unsuitable by the CIA (Corporations Invisible Army) and was thus overthrown. An iron-fisted totalitarian was installed; perhaps you'll remember him: the Shah of Iran. Despised by the people for his political oppression and his overt corruption, the Shah did a profitable business with U.S. oil companies for a quarter century. When the Iranian people finally took action in the late '70s, the Shah was deposed and American embassy workers were taken hostage. The hostage crisis lasted 15 months, toppled the Carter administration and ushered in the era of Reagan. But the genesis of the crisis can be fully blamed on the U.S. itself, namely the CIA and its corporate allies, for intervening in a sovereign nation's right to determine its own destiny.

This was standard operating procedure for the CIA, which overthrew socialist and communist leaders across the globe from the 1940s on. Among their other clandestine tricks were the rescue and repatriation of Nazi war criminals after World War II and the subversion of the free press in America. Operations we are learning more about each day.

The work of incorporating Nazis into our intelligence apparatus, space programs, medical research, and weapons technology was called Operation Sunrise or Operation Paperclip. Among the well-known "Paperclip Nazis" were:

Wernher von Braun, Nazi V-2 rocket scientist who worked on guided missiles and manned rocket programs for the U.S. He was named Director of NASA's Space Flight Center, and, despite his questionable past, became somewhat of a celebrity in the 1960s. At no time was he forced to publicly renounce his Nazi ideology or made to pay for his war crimes. (He used slave labor camps to build his rockets in Nazi Germany. Thousands died of starvation and brutality in these camps.) A CIA-sponsored feature film, called I Aim For The Stars, was even made which honored his courage and audacity.

Kurt Blome, Nazi chemist who performed cruel experiments on death camp prisoners. He was hired by the U.S. Army to develop chemical warfare weapons.

Reinhard Gehlen, Hitler's top intelligence officer. He got a job spying on the Soviets for the CIA. In fact, he cut a deal with the CIA (OSS) to hire practically his entire Third Reich intelligence network. Much of the information he provided his superiors in U.S. intelligence greatly exaggerated Soviet military capabilities. Gehlen lied to make himself seem more important and useful to the CIA, and this led directly to the escalation of the Cold War and U.S. military buildup in the 1950s and beyond.

Heinrich Rupp, another Nazi war criminal who went to work for the CIA after World War II. In 1980 he accompanied George H.W. Bush, Vice Presidential candidate at the time, to cut a deal with Iran to delay the release of American hostages until after the election of the Reagan/Bush ticket in America in November 1980. The hostages were released on January 20, 1981, just minutes after Reagan and Bush were sworn into office. In return, Rupp promised release of Iran's frozen assets, laying the groundwork for the Iran-Contra deal. So Rupp, the Paperclip Nazi, helped steal an election, control U.S. foreign policy, and helped precipitate one of the worst scandals of the 1980s.

Arthur Rudolph, Operations Director at Mittelwerk factory at the Dora/Nordhausen concentration camps where thousands were worked to death.

Evil as it was, Operation Paperclip was surpassed, some say, by Operation Mockingbird. Mockingbird was a well-organized, systematic destruction of the free press in America in the second half of the 20th century. Why destroy the free press? Because a free and independent press was the CIA's worst enemy. Unfettered investigative journalism would have (or at least should have) uncovered the CIA's dirty secrets and criminal operations. The CIA needed to operate in secrecy, without threat of being detected, in order to get away with murder, coup d'états, drug running, sabotage of democracies, and covert fascist policies.

As outlined by reporter Carl Bernstein in a Rolling Stone article in 1977, the CIA co-opted, bribed, threatened, recruited and partnered with media assets at TV networks, newspapers, publishers and radio outlets across the nation. Frank Wisner, who ran Mockingbird for the CIA in the 1950s, once famously bragged, the program was like his own mighty Wurlitzer, "...I can play any tune I want on it, and America will follow along." William Colby, CIA Director under Nixon, added, "The CIA owns everyone of any significance in the major media." This meant that it was a simple matter for the agency to print and broadcast propaganda, cover up misdeeds, plant false stories, and smear CIA opponents at will. I believe this is what prevented an honest journalistic investigation of the JFK assassination.


http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/ASIN/098882907X




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Well, Thanksgiving day comet watchers had a very interesting time as every report on whether Comet ISON survived it's encounter with the sun seemed to contradict the previous report. Some saying it completely disintegrated, others claiming it came around intact.

Updated information is still being analyzed but the picture is a little clearer.

Something survived according to Discovery News, who calls premature reports of ISON's demise, "greatly exaggerated."

Remarking on the debris stream, NASA’s Tony Phillips of Spaceweather.com said: “It could be a small fragment of Comet ISON’s nucleus or perhaps a “headless comet” — a stream of debris marking the remains of the comet’s disintegrated core.” 
Then, in some striking images released by SoHO’s LASCO instrument (pictured top), which has a wide-angle view of the sun’s lower atmosphere (the corona), a very comet-like object appears to have survived after perihelion.

The question becomes, as they note later in the article linked above... what survived? Is the nucleus still intact? 

“Now, in the latest LASCO C3 images, we are seeing something beginning to gradually brighten up again,” said astrophysicist Karl Battams, of the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, in a NASA Comet ISON Observing Campaign (CIOC) blog update. “One could almost be forgiven for thinking that there’s a comet in the images!” 
“We have a whole new set of unknowns, and this ridiculous, crazy, dynamic and unpredictable object continues to amaze, astound and confuse us to no end,” said Battems.

Space Weather simply says "CANCEL THE EULOGY: Comet ISON flew through the sun's atmosphere on Nov. 28th and the encounter did not go well for the icy comet. Just before perihelion (closest approach to the sun) the comet rapidly faded and appeared to disintegrate. This prompted reports of ISON's demise. However, a fraction of the comet has survived."

ISON has proven to be very unpredictable, with NASA admitting they couldn't predict it even before it's encounter with the sun, therefore no one should be surprised that it is still acting strange and not following any preset pattern from prior comets' actions.

The question now isn't "if" ISON survived, it is what has it survived as? 

The MSM is catching up with Alternative Media, a day late as headlines include "scientists see tiny hope," is now being reported at MSN, AP, ABC News etc.....

Amusing thing is, now that the MSM is admitting something survived, those that said ISON survived last night, like BPEarthWatch, are saying the nucleus might not have survived intact. (In a video below)



Others... see something huge coming out, as CyberTribe shows below.


My question still remains..... where is the debris trail headed, how huge is it and how will it effect Earth?


Cross posted at Before It's News





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On October 2, 2009 Senator Bernie Sanders made one of his classic fiery speeches on the floor of the US Senate. This time Vermont's independent socialist was taking on Lockheed Martin and other top military contractors for what he called “systemic, illegal, and fraudulent behavior, while receiving hundreds and hundreds of billions of dollars of taxpayer money.”
     Among other crimes, Sanders mentioned how Lockheed had defrauded the government by fraudulently inflating the cost of several Air Force contracts, lied about the costs when negotiating contracts for the repairs on US warships, and submitted false invoices for payment on a multi-billion dollar contract connected to the Titan IV space launch vehicle program.
     A month later, however, he was in a different mood when he hosted a delegation from Sandia National Laboratories. Sandia is managed for the Department of Energy by Sandia Inc., a wholly-owned Lockheed subsidiary. At Sanders’ invitation, the Sandia delegation was in Vermont to talk partnership and scout locations for a satellite lab. He had been working on the idea since 2008 when he visited Sandia headquarters in New Mexico.
     In January 2010 he took the next major step – organizing a delegation of Vermonters. The group included Green Mountain Power CEO Mary Powell; Domenico Grasso, vice president for research at the University of Vermont; David Blittersdorf, co-founder of NRG Systems and CEO of Earth Turbines; and Scott Johnston, CEO of the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation, which runs Efficiency Vermont.
     Despite concerns about Lockheed’s bad corporate behavior Sanders didn’t think that inviting Sandia to Burlington meant helping the parent corporation to get away with anything. Rather, he envisioned Vermont transformed “into a real-world lab for the entire nation” through a partnership. “We're at the beginning of something that could be of extraordinary significance to Vermont and the rest of the country,” he promised.
     When the project was publicly announced in December 2011, Sanders challenged the description of Lockheed as Sandia’s “parent company,’ and turned to Sandia Vice President Rick Stulen, who explained that “all national laboratories” are required to have “an oversight board provided by the private sector. So, Lockheed Martin does provide oversight, but all of the work is done by Sandia National Laboratories and we’re careful to put firewalls in place between the laboratory and Lockheed Martin.”
     Gov. Peter Shumlin credited Sanders for bringing the new multi-million dollar Center for Energy Transformation and Innovation to the state. Vermont’s junior Senator was “like a dog with a bone” on the issue, recalled the governor at their joint press conference. The project, a partnership between Sandia National Laboratories, the University of Vermont, Green Mountain Power and Vermont businesses, would create “a revolution in the way we are using power,” Shumlin predicted.
     To achieve that, the center has up to $15 million to accelerate energy efficiency, move toward renewable and localized sources of energy, and make Vermont “the first state to have near-universal smart meter installations,” Sanders explained. Sandia will invest $3 million a year, along with $1 million each from the Department of Energy and state coffers.
     On Nov. 4, Sanders and Shumlin held another press event, this one in Williston with representatives of IBM, Sandia, and the US Department of Energy to launch a Vermont Photovoltaic Regional Test Center. The new center, one of only five in the country, will research ways to cut the cost of solar power and integrate solar energy into Vermont’s statewide smart grid. 
    For Sandia, having a Vermont presence provides “a way to understand all of the challenges that face all states,” Stulen explained in 2011. Vermont’s size makes it more possible “to get something done,” he said, revealing that considerable integration had already occurred with the university, private utilities and other stakeholders.
     Vermont’s reputation for energy innovation also attracted $69.8 million in US Department of Energy funding to promote rapid statewide conversion to smart grid technology. This is being matched, according to Sanders, by another $69 million from Vermont utilities.
Flying High: How Lockheed Happened
Lockheed Martin is one of the top US government contractors, bringing in $36 billion in 2008. That’s roughly $260 per household, known in some parts of the country as the Lockheed Martin Tax. It is also a top US weapons contractor (about 80% of its revenue comes from the Pentagon), as well as high among Departments of Energy and Transportation contractors, and in the top five with the Department of State, NASA,and the Departments of Justice and Housing and Urban Development.
     Beyond producing planes, subs and weapons systems it has supplied interrogators for the prison at Guantanamo Bay, trained police in Haiti, run a postal service in the Congo, and helped write the Afghan constitution. In the US, it has helped to scan mail, design and run the Census, process taxes for the IRS, provide biometric ID devices for the FBI, and played a role in building ships and communication equipment for the Coast Guard. Its more than 100,000 employees have a presence in 46 states.
     Despite – or, maybe because of – its scope and size, however, Lockheed executives sometimes feel the need to violate rules. As a result, as Bernie Sanders often mentioned in speeches until a Sandia lab for Vermont took shape, it is also number one in contractor misconduct. Between 1995 and 2010 it engaged in at least 50 instances of misconduct and paid $577 million in fines and settlements. 
     In the mid-1990s then-Rep. Sanders objected to $91 million in bonuses for Lockheed-Martin executives after the defense contractor laid off 17,000 workers.  Calling it “payoffs for layoffs” he succeeded in getting some of that money back.
     The corporation has come a long way from its beginnings before the First World War. Two brothers, Allen Haines and Malcolm Loughead, formed their first aircraft company in 1916, after building a plane a few years earlier. When their charter service foundered, they turned to government work with plans for a “flying boat” known as the F-1. The Navy passed and the plane was used only for flight demonstrations, but the brothers managed to survive in business by marketing tourist flights.
     A decade after the war they incorporated Lockheed Aircraft Corp. in Nevada. Its first plane, the Vega, made possible explorer George Wilkins’ first flight over the Arctic Circle. Due largely to the publicity surrounding that event Lockheed’s stock value rose fast enough at the end of the 1920s to make it an attractive takeover target. It soon became part of Detroit Aircraft, then touted as “the General Motors of the Air.” Detroit Aircraft went belly up within a few years, however, and Lockheed was purchased by a group of investors for only $40,000. By 1935 it was back in the black, bringing in more than $2 million in sales.
     Even before World War II most of its planes were being built for the military, at home and abroad. Britain had purchased 1,700 by 1941. The scale of the UK deal, along with the 10,000 twin-engine fighter planes it subsequently sold to the US during the war, turned it into the largest company in the industry.
     Although Lockheed also produced commercial airplanes – notably the Constellation, used by TWA and Pan Am – after WWII its bread and butter became fighter planes and patrol aircraft for the Air Force and Navy. It was simple math. Post-war military sales to the government averaged about ten times the sales to airlines.
     Lockheed succeeded in part by equating its own interests with the national interest. During the Cold War the rationale wasn’t just competition with the Soviet Union but also building up the exciting aeronautics industry, keeping skilled personnel, and promoting jobs directly and through various vendors. All this required long-term planning and sustained government funding. The US had a global responsibility, argued Lockheed’s executives, and that meant rapid transport of people, food, energy and weapons.
     The development of its C-5A Galaxy – a Vietnam-era, over-sized transport craft with a 223-foot wingspan – illustrates the company’s actual approach to partnership with the government. At first, they submitted low bids and talked about the national interest. By the time the project was close to delivery, however, the price was up by billions, plus a steady income for years to come supplying replacement parts --at open-ended prices. With the only real downside the risk of a small fine if they broke the rules, it was well worth the price.
     The SEC later found that Lockheed and the Air Force concealed the overruns, and Lockheed executives sold off their own stocks while withholding information from shareholders. As Rep. Otis Pike recalled, the C-5A scandal illustrated Lockheed’s sales tactics. Once government buys in and the overruns begin, “they make up their hole by laying it on the spare parts. There’s not a damned thing the Air Force can do about it…Once they start buying equipment, they have to get their spare parts.”
     As the industry evolved, adding missiles, exotic aircraft and space vehicles, Lockheed was at the forefront with its Polaris missile and high-tech spy planes for the CIA. The most famous was the U-2, a fast, high altitude aircraft that was top secret until one was shot down. The real important of the U-2 was that it revealed the exaggeration of Soviet military might. But few people were allowed to see what the U-2 photos actually proved. Instead military spending hit a new high to combat the alleged threat.
     Beginning the 1990s Lockheed was a winner in the long-term effort to privatize government services. In 2000, it won a $43.8 million contract to run the Defense Civilian Personnel Data System, one of the largest human resources systems in the world. As a result, a major defense contractor consolidated all Department of Defense personnel systems, covering hiring and firing for about 750,000 civilian employees. This put the contractor at the cutting edge of Defense Department planning, and made it a key gatekeeper at the revolving door between the US military and private interests.
     For the past decade Lockheed’s largest project has been the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the largest project in the history of military aviation. One Lockheed executive has called it “the Super Bowl” and the “program of the century.” Early plans called for the US and Britain to buy more than 3,000 planes.
     The initial idea was to create a capable plane without the performance problems that had plagued earlier efforts. But as the R & D proceeded, various capabilities and requests collided. The Navy version turned out to be seriously overweight. National partners meanwhile quibbled over who should get what lucrative production work. One faction in the military publicly criticized the plane, especially the idea of its so-called “multi-role.”
     Maintenance and support would carry a high price tag – $700 million over the lifetime of a plane. The engines reportedly ran so hot that they could melt the decks of aircraft carriers on vertical takeoff and fatigue the metal beneath.
     On October 28, the Burlington City Council defeated two resolutions that would have opposed a proposal to base F-35s at the Burlington International Airport. The first was designed to block the F-35s from the Vermont Air National Guard facility at the airport. The second would have created "health and safety standards" applying to all planes.
     The votes were the latest in a series by communities near the airport on whether to support bedding the planes in Vermont. In South Burlington, councilors earlier this year voted in favor of the F-35, reversing an earlier decision. In July, the Winooski City Council voted to oppose the basing plan.
Strange Bedfellows: Sandia and the Senator
Most of the revenue for Lockheed’s Sandia National Laboratory comes from maintaining nuclear weapons and assessing defense systems. Its primary headquarters is on Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, NM, and employed about 7,500 people. The other is in Livermore, CA, employing another 1,000. If the Pentagon ever decides to make the F-35 capable of dropping nuclear bombs, not an impossible development, Sandia is very likely where it will be made.
     But not at the Vermont lab. Bernie Sanders has repeatedly pledged that Vermont’s facility will strictly avoid defense work. Instead, it will focus on energy technology and cyber-security issues, and examine "how to bring these technologies to bear and to use Vermont as a test bed," explained Les Shephard, Sandia's vice president for energy, resources and nonproliferation. To do that, Shephard added, the Vermont satellite lab will have access to Sandia resources to develop innovations that could, ideally, be spun off into new companies.
     Some resulting enterprises might even be based in Vermont.
     The state was appealing, according to Shephard, because it was already "a national leader" in energy efficiency. But it was also small enough to serve as a manageable site for a variety of experiments. At around $20 billion Vermont’s total GDP is less than half of what Lockheed makes in a year.
     In addition to Vermont’s reputation for energy efficiency and “cooperative utilities,” Sandia also appreciates the region’s challenging climate. "We could develop, deploy and assess various types of technology in cold weather," Shephard explained. "Our test facilities are in the bright skies of New Mexico, where we have over 300 days of sunshine."
     Another stated focus of the center is to ensure reliable service. That means “anticipating any cyber challenges that may be opened up, or vulnerabilities that may be opened up as we move to this new future,” Stulen said. “Sandia is very much in the forefront of cyber research.”
     Joint efforts between Green Mountain Power and Sandia began at least two years ago. The long-term goal is to make Vermont “a national example of how to deploy smart grid technology across a state, along with renewable generation and really demonstrate that we can handle the security issues that come with that.” notes Mary Powell, Green Mountain Power’s CEO.
     One of those issues is that having numerous interactive devices on two-way networks creates new risks. According to Kenneth van Meter, manager of energy and cyber services for Lockheed Martin, “By the end of 2015 we will have 440 million new hackable points on the grid. Nobody’s equipped to deal with that today.” Asked about cyber threats, Stulen has acknowledged that use of “more portals” creates more potential threats, but adds that “we think this is a manageable situation. In fact, the benefits far outweigh the risks.”
     In the category of benefits, Stulen points to the potential for lower utilities bills by being able to monitor home energy use in detail. But security is also a focus. “We don’t see it as an overriding issue right now, but as a national laboratory our job is to anticipate the future,” he said.
     “The federal government has invested $4 billion in smart grid technology,” Sanders notes, “and they want to know that we’re going to work out some of the problems as other states follow us. So Vermont, in a sense, becomes a resource for other states to learn how to do it, how to overcome problems that may arise.
     “In many ways, we are a laboratory for the rest of this country in this area,” Sanders adds. To that end, an exchange program was launched between Sandia and the University of Vermont in 2011, with nine students and several faculty members working on smart grid-related project. The center also began offering short courses on smart grid modernization for Vermont utility staff and energy-tech company management.
     Earlier the same year, however, a dispute erupted over a related development agreement between the City of Burlington and Lockheed Martin. After months of study and debate, the City Council adopted a community standards resolution, largely in response to public criticism of the deal with Lockheed signed by Progressive Mayor Bob Kiss.
     Kiss vetoed the Council's resolution. But three weeks later, Rob Fuller, a spokesman for Lockheed, said the deal was off. "While several projects showed promise initially and we have learned a tremendous amount from each other," he wrote, "we were unable to develop a mutually beneficial implementation plan. Therefore Lockheed Martin has decided to conclude the current collaboration." 
     It read like a Dear John, and a silent bow to public pressure.
     Sensitive to local criticisms of Lockheed and the F-35, Sanders bristles at the description of the corporation as “a parent company” of Sandia, which was founded in 1949 and has roots in the development of the atomic bomb during World War II. The company’s website describes its work during that period as “ordnance engineering,” which involved turning the nuclear innovations of the Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore labs into functioning weapons.
     Revenue figures indicate that most of Sandia’s revenue continues to come from maintaining nuclear weapons and assessing defense systems. Its primary headquarters is on Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, NM, where about 7,500 people are employed. The other big lab is in Livermore, CA, employing another 1,000. Known in the past as a “national security lab,” Sandia’s 21st century mission has expanded to include “security of the smart grid.”
     A statement by Sanders released at the 2011 press conference stressed that although the US has 17 national labs doing “cutting edge research,” none of them were located in New England. That was what he hoped to change after visiting Sandia’s New Mexico headquarters back in 2008.
     “At the end of the day,” recalled Les Shephard, “he turned to the laboratory director and said, ‘I’d really like to have a set of capabilities like Sandia in New England — and very much so in Vermont.’ And that’s how it all evolved.”
     “It occurred to me,” Sanders recalled later, “that we have the potential to establish a very strong and positive relationship with Sandia here in the State of Vermont.” His hope is to make the current thee-year arrangement “a long-term presence” between the lab, UVM, utilities and other businesses.
     “This is a really exciting development for Vermont,” said Shumlin, calling the partnership “a huge opportunity and a huge accomplishment.”
     Sanders added that “working with Sandia and their wide areas of knowledge – some of the best scientists in the country – we hope to take a state that is already a leader in some of these areas even further.” Lockheed’s past offenses didn't come up.

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If the government can’t handle enrollment, how can we expect it to manage a complex healthcare program?

Kurt Nimmo
Infowars.com
October 18, 2013

Dutch entrepreneur Bas Lansdorp’s Mars One, an organization planning to establish a colony on the red planet by 2023, is more popular than Obamacare. Lansdrop has collected more signatures for his improbable project than all the number of Americans who have enrolled in Obama’s mandatory health insurance fiasco.

mars

Photo: NASA/JPL via Wikimedia Commons

On Wednesday, the first Delware resident signed up for Obamacare. On Thursday, it was reported that nobody in Alaska had bothered to sign up for the program due to the government’s inability to keep up its glitch-prone enrollment website. In response, Alaskan Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski fired off a letter to the Obama administration.

“This system that cost more than $400 million, took three years to build, and was billed as a one-stop shop for individuals seeking health insurance is not working as advertised,” Murkowski wrote. “In its first two weeks of operation, I am told that no one was able to enroll in the Alaska Exchange.”

Obama’s apparatchiks refuse to release enrollment numbers, so there is no verifiable numbers on how many people have enrolled in the government’s healthcare-at-gunpoint scheme.

“The White House refuses to release the numbers, leading many to assume they are embarrassingly low. But insurance industry insiders point to another reason: Nobody knows if the numbers they do have are even accurate,” CNN reported on October 16.

That’s because the mega-insurance corporations that stand to profit handsomely from the coercive scheme say they are receiving incomplete, duplicative and contradictory data from the government.

“The administration is not wrong in saying that there’s been a lot of problems with signing up. But it’s incorrect to say that’s the only problem,” an insurance industry official told CNN. “That’s not the only issue at hand.”

Indeed, there is another issue at hand, one that is not being addressed by the establishment media. If the government can’t effectively handle data and other mundane aspects, how can it be expected to manage a massive, complex and unprecedented healthcare program?

Obamacare: crony capitalism in action:

This article was posted: Friday, October 18, 2013 at 9:55 am

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Astronomers discover asteroid heading for possible 2032 impact with Earth

Adam Withnall
The Independent
October 18, 2013

Ukrainian astronomers have discovered a large asteroid heading for Earth which could strike our planet on 26 August 2032, impacting with a force 50 times greater than the biggest ever nuclear bomb.

Its existence has been verified by teams around the world, in at least 27 distinct observations over the course of the past week, and Nasa has been forced to issue an earth impact risk summary as part of its Near Earth Object Program.

The 1,300 foot (400 metre) wide asteroid has been named 2013 TV135. There is a 1 in 63,000 chance of the asteroid striking earth – enough for it to be added to the Torino scale which measures the risk of all objects which could reach Earth in the next 100 years.

Full story here.

This article was posted: Friday, October 18, 2013 at 11:21 am

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The Government Shutdown’s Incalculable Damage to Scientific Research

Photo Credit: Alexander Raths/ Shutterstock.com

October 18, 2013  |  

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"We're very excited."

So Minnesota Republican Representative Michele Bachmann told the Washington Post, commenting on the shutdown that ground many critical government functions to a halt for over two weeks. "It's  exactly what we wanted, and we got it."

So, what exactly did Bachmann and her Republican colleagues get out of it? A lot more than they may have bargained for, according to scientists employed by the federal government. It is not just that government researchers were locked out of their labs and offices, but whole programs were wastefully delayed and, in some cases, endangered.

I talked to Tom Greene, an astrophysicist at  Nasa Ames research center outside of San Francisco. Greene is working on the James Webb  SpaceTelescope – the eagerly awaited successor of the Hubble, with even more power to peer into heretofore unseen reaches of the universe. He told me that more than 100 scientists had gathered from all over the world to conduct critical equipment tests in preparation for the launch. But that all ended on 1 October when the government stopped writing checks.

Not only did this delay cost the program an estimated $1m a day, but, given Nasa's tight schedule, some tests may never get done now. This "is kind of scary," Greene says, given the immense complexity of the world's most powerful telescope.

This is only one of untold thousands of projects that were mothballed when Congress's failure to approve a budget defunded the US government at the start of the month. Federal websites were taken offline, scientists couldn't receive emails, attend meetings, or interact with their colleagues. Crucial  environmentalfood safety and climate monitoring programs were either suspended, or substantially scaled back.

Now that the whole bizarre episode appears to be over, it's a good time to look at what it cost American taxpayers – and the science which we collectively support. Where to start? Let's begin as far away from Washington as we can get – in, say,  Antarctica.

The National Science Foundation, which is funded by the federal government, had to send the scientists home during key field season and shut down projects ranging from climate research to studies of penguins. Will they return now that government funding has been restored? Well, maybe not. "Some activities cannot be restarted once seasonally dependent windows for research and operations have passed," the National Science Foundation cautioned in a statement. Oops: so some projects may have just  blown a whole year's research.

And speaking of Antarctica, a  US delegation had to suspend its trip to Australia, where representatives of many nations are gathering in hopes of agreeing on the creation of the world's largest marine sanctuary. America has been one of the most enthusiastic proponents of this; Russia, which has fishing rights in the area, has  resisted.

The meeting starts in a few days. So, with any luck, there might still be time to book the flight. Would it be too much to ask the  Republicans in Congress who caused the shutdown to chip in for late booking fees on those tickets?

Closer to home, there are the lab animals that were being used in research on diseases like diabetes,  cancer and Alzheimer's.  National Public Radio reported that thousands may have already died or been killed by researchers who could no longer maintain them, including colonies of genetically altered mice that are unable to survive without constant monitoring by scientists. To revive these unique strains now will be costly, both in time and money.

Andrew Rosenberg, the director of the Union of Concerned Scientists'  center for science and democracy, has been looking into the impact of the shutdown on researchers around the country. He told me about a wildlife biologist who tags grey wolves who just missed the heart of his yearly field season; a researcher monitoring currents in the mid-Atlantic who couldn't get access to his ocean site during a recent tropical storm, which he had been waiting for all year; a cancer trial that had to be cancelled; students who lost critical training time … the list goes on. Rosenberg says:

US Activist to Undergo “Forced-Feeding” Outside Federal Court in Solidarity with Guantánamo Prisoners

WASHINGTON - October 17 - WHEN: Friday, October 18, 11 am
WHERE: US District Court - 333 Constitution Ave NW, Wash., D.C
WHAT: Nasal Tube Feeding of Solidarity Hunger Striker

Anti-torture activists will hold a nasal-tube feeding of a long term-faster to dramatize the abusive force-feeding of hunger strikers at Guantánamo and to protest indefinite detention at the prison. The feeding will take place at 11 am, following consideration at 9:30 am by a federal appeals court of a lawsuit arguing that force-feeding at Guantánamo is a violation of human rights and religious liberties.

Andrés Thomas Conteris — on day 103 of a water-only fast — will undergo the nasal tube feeding. “Forced-feeding is torture,” says Conteris, who has lost 57 pounds. “I wish to make visible what the U.S. government is perpetrating against prisoners in Guantánamo and to remind the world that indefinite detention continues.”

Conteris, age 52, has held nasogastric feedings at the White House, in Oakland, California, and at US embassies in Uruguay and Argentina. “The nasal tube feeding feels like endless agony,” says Conteris. “It feels like I’m drowning.”

Beginning last February, more than 100 men at Guantánamo engaged in a hunger strike to protest their indefinite detention. To try to break the protest, the US military subjected dozens of the hunger strikers to nasogastric force-feeding. “The case before the appeals court goes to the heart of the evil of Guantánamo,” says Witness Against Torture organizer Jeremy Varon, “as it argues that the purpose of force-feeding is to sustain an illegal and immoral policy of indefinite detention.”

Sixteen men remain on hunger strike at Guantánamo, all force-fed. Senators Dianne Feinstein and John McCain, the American Medical Association, and the United Nations have all denounced force-feeding.

Prompted by the hunger strike at Guantánamo, President Obama on May 23, 2013 renewed his pledge to close the prison. Since that time, only two prisoners have been freed.

Witness Against Torture – witnesstorture.org
Closegitmo.net

Nick Clegg Says Roy Hodgson Should ‘Choose His Words More Carefully’

Nick Clegg has said Roy Hodgson should choose his words more "carefully" in future after the England manager had to apologise for inadvertently making a joke that some people could view as racist.

During half-time of England's World Cup qualifying win over Poland last night Hodgson is said to have compared winger Andros Townsend as a "monkey". It has been reported that one player found the remark offensive and Hodgson is said to be mortified at how it has been interpreted.

Speaking on LBC Radio on Thursday morning, Clegg said he was sure the England manager did not intend the comment to be racist.

"I don't think he should resign. He should of course apologise for any offence he has caused, It wasn't the greatest choice of words. He has apologised," the Lib Dem leader said.

"Roy Hodgson has always struck me as a very decent guy, not as someone who goes out to offend people. What little I know of the guy he feels mortified, he is obviously a huge fan of Andros Townsend."

Clegg added that while it "wasn't a great choice of words" he did not think there was any need for Hodgson to lose his job over it. "You need to chose your words carefully, however much it might derive from a joke," he added.

The supposed relevance stems from a popular Nasa joke about sending a monkey into space. Hodgson had been encouraging his players to feed the ball to Townsend more as he was having an impressive impact on the Polish side.

The joke goes:

"Nasa decided they’d finally send a man up in a capsule after sending only monkeys in the earlier missions.

"They fire the man and the monkey into space. The intercom crackles, 'Monkey, fire the retros’. A little later, 'Monkey, check the solid fuel supply’.

"Later still, 'Monkey, check the life support systems for the man’. The astronaut takes umbrage and radios Nasa, 'When do I get to do something?’

"Nasa replies, 'In 15 minutes – feed the monkey’."

Clegg was also quizzed over whether his sons would support England or Spain should the two countries find each other playing each other in the World Cup - given they are half Spanish.

The deputy prime minister said: "I will of course do my best to persuade them not to follow Mirium [his Spanish wife] and instead support the English team but I can't predict the outcome of that. I'm not sure I rate my chances."

Also on HuffPost:

‘Meteorite Chunk’ In Lake Breaks The Scales

Divers have found what is believed to be the largest piece so far of a meteorite that exploded over Russia in February.

They pulled the 1.5m-long chunk of rock from a lake, where much of the meteorite landed after lighting up the morning sky in the Chelyabinsk region.

They wrapped it in a special casing while it was still underwater before pulling it ashore.

But when experts tried to weigh it, the 5ft-long rock broke the scales at the 570kg (1255lb) mark.

And it separated into at least three large pieces as scientists lifted it using levers and ropes.

One unnamed scientist told lifenews.ru: "The rock had a fracture when we found it.

"It weighed 570kg before the pieces fell off. And then the scale broke.

"We think the whole thing weighs more than 600kg.”

But experts have said it will take time before they can certify that the rock had indeed come from outer space.

The meteorite caused a ground-breaking shockwave on February 15 that injured 1,200 people.

It weighed an estimated 7,000 tons and was about the size of a bus, Nasa said.

It broke up into multiple pieces as it entered the atmosphere, scattering space debris across the area.

The incident was captured on video and was so dramatic that some locals thought it could be the start of a nuclear war.

The Vesti 24 news channel reported divers had already recovered more than 12 pieces from Lake Chebarkul since February.

But the station cautioned that only four or five them turned out to be real meteorites.

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