Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The $100 Billion Storm: 17 Things You Should Know About Hurricane Sandy



Michael Snyder, Contibutor

Meteorologists are warning that Hurricane Sandy could potentially be the worst storm to hit the east coast of the United States in 100 years. Do you remember “the perfect storm” back in 1991? That storm was so bad that a book was written and Hollywood made a blockbuster movie about it starring George Clooney. Well, this storm is going to be much worse. When I first heard about Hurricane Sandy, I didn’t make that much of it. I figured that the east coast would get some wind and some rain and that they would whine about it a bit but that everything would be just fine.

But then I started looking into this storm a bit more. It turns out that this storm is even larger than Hurricane Katrina was. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has categorized the destructive potential of this storm to be 5.8 on a scale that goes from 0 to 6.

 So don’t be fooled when you hear that this is only a “category 1 storm” or that the maximum winds will only be around 80 MPH. It is the unprecedented size of this storm and the mind boggling storm surges that it is producing that truly make it dangerous. It is being reported that Hurricane Sandy is more than 1,000 miles across from one end to the other.

Meteorologists have never seen anything quite like this before, and we are most definitely in unprecedented territory. One meteorologist is already projecting that this megastorm could cause 100 billion dollars in damage, but the true amount of devastation will likely not be fully known for weeks. If you live in the northeast part of the United States, you definitely want to buckle up because you are about to get absolutely hammered.


The following are 17 things that you should know about Hurricane Sandy…

#1 Hurricane Sandy has been dubbed “the Frankenstorm” and many believe that this could be the worst storm to hit the east coast in 100 years.

#2 This is an absolutely massive megastorm. It is being reported that tropical storm-force winds can be felt 520 miles away from the center of the storm.


#3 It is being reported that the sheer size of this storm is absolutely unprecedented…
Since records of storm size began in 1988, no tropical storm or hurricane has been larger, reports meteorologist Jeff Masters of the Weather Underground.
#4 Hurricane Sandy has already forced the cancellation of over 5,000 flights.

#5 Mayor Bloomberg has announced a mandatory evacuation for all New York City residents that are living in “Zone A”.


#6 It is being projected that the storm surge from Hurricane Sandy could be up to 15 feet above sea level in some areas of New York City.

#7 New York City could potentially experience wind speeds of 80 MPH or higher.

#8 Subway service in New York City is being shut down at 7 PM on Sunday evening. There is a very real possibility that the New York City subway system could be severely flooded by this storm. That could be quite crippling, because about 4.3 million people ride the subway in New York every single day.

#9 It has been announced that all public schools in New York City will be closed on Monday.

#10 Schools in Boston will be shut down on Monday as well.


#11 The trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange will be closed on Monday.

#12 50,000 people living along the coast in Delaware have been ordered to evacuate.

#13 Some parts of Kentucky, West Virginia and North Carolina could get up to 2 feet of snow.

#14 It is being estimated that 10 million people living along the east coast could lose power thanks to Hurricane Sandy.

#15 A state of emergency has already been declared in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia.

#16 Approximately 50 million people live in the areas that will be directly affected by this storm.

#17 Meteorologist Mike Smith of AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions is projecting that Hurricane Sandy could potentially cause a total of 100 billion dollars in damage to the U.S. economy. That would make it a far more costly disaster than Hurricane Katrina.
Many meteorologists are calling this storm a “worst case scenario”. If you live along the east coast, please take the warnings that you are getting from public officials very seriously.

According to NPR, conditions are absolutely perfect for this slow moving giant storm, and it is going to take quite a few days for it to exit the region…
In this case, seas will be amped up by giant waves and full-moon-powered high tides. That will combine with drenching rains, triggering inland flooding as the hurricane merges with a winter storm system that will worsen it and hold it in place for days.
Louis Uccellini, environmental prediction chief for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, told The Associated Press that given Sandy’s due east-to-west track into New Jersey, that puts the worst of the storm surge just north in New York City, Long Island and northern New Jersey. “Yes, this is the worst case scenario,” he said.
Please do not underestimate this storm. This is unlike anything that any of us have ever seen before.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Romney: I Will DEFEND Israel to the Last of American Blood




Following are excerpts from a series of leaked videos taken at a Mitt Romney fundraiser and published Tuesday by Mother Jones magazine. Mother Jones obtained the video, which shows Romney speaking bluntly about Israel and Iran, from a confidential source.

"I'm torn by two perspectives in this regard. One is the one which I've had for som...
e time, which is that the Palestinians have no interest whatsoever in establishing peace, and that the pathway to peace is almost unthinkable to accomplish. Now why do I say that? 

Some might say, well, let's let the Palestinians have the West Bank, and have security, and set up a separate nation for the Palestinians. And then come a couple of thorny questions...
And I don't have a map here to look at the geography, but the border between Israel and the West Bank is obviously right there, right next to Tel Aviv, which is the financial capital, the industrial capital of Israel, the center of Israel. It's—what the border would be? Maybe seven miles from Tel Aviv to what would be the West Bank.


The other side of the West Bank, the other side of what would be this new Palestinian state would either be Syria at one point, or Jordan. And of course the Iranians would want to do through the West Bank exactly what they did through Lebanon, what they did near Gaza. Which is that the Iranians would want to bring missiles and armament into the West Bank and potentially threaten Israel. 

So Israel of course would have to say, "That can't happen. We've got to keep the Iranians from bringing weaponry into the West Bank." Well, that means that—who? The Israelis are going to patrol the border between Jordan, Syria, and this new Palestinian nation?

 Well, the Palestinians would say, "Uh, no way! We're an independent country. You can't, you know, guard our border with other Arab nations." 

And now how about the airport? How about flying into this Palestinian nation? Are we gonna allow military aircraft to come in and weaponry to come in? And if not, who's going to keep it from coming in? 

Well, the Israelis. Well, the Palestinians are gonna say, "We're not an independent nation if Israel is able to come in and tell us what can land in our airport." 

These are problems—these are very hard to solve, all right? And I look at the Palestinians not wanting to see peace anyway, for political purposes, committed to the destruction and elimination of Israel, and these thorny issues, and I say, "There's just no way." 

And so what you do is you say, "You move things along the best way you can." You hope for some degree of stability, but you recognize that this is going to remain an unsolved problem. We live with that in China and Taiwan. All right, we have a potentially volatile situation but we sort of live with it, and we kick the ball down the field and hope that ultimately, somehow, something will happen and resolve it. We don't go to war to try and resolve it imminently. 

On the other hand, I got a call from a former secretary of state. I won't mention which one it was, but this individual said to me, you know, I think there's a prospect for a settlement between the Palestinians and the Israelis after the Palestinian elections. I said, "Really?" And, you know, his answer was, "Yes, I think there's some prospect." And I didn't delve into it."

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Island Where People Forget to Die






Ikaria, an island of 99 square miles and home to almost 10,000 Greek nationals, lies about 30 miles off the western coast of Turkey. Its jagged ridge of scrub-covered mountains rises steeply out of the Aegean Sea. 

Before the Christian era, the island was home to thick oak forests and productive vineyards. Its reputation as a health destination dates back 25 centuries, when Greeks traveled to the island to soak in the hot springs near Therma. In the 17th century, Joseph Georgirenes, the bishop of Ikaria, described its residents as proud people who slept on the ground. “The most commendable thing on this island,” he wrote, “is their air and water, both so healthful that people are very long-lived, it being an ordinary thing to see persons in it of 100 years of age."

Seeking to learn more about the island’s reputation for long-lived residents, I called on Dr. Ilias Leriadis, one of Ikaria’s few physicians, in 2009. On an outdoor patio at his weekend house, he set a table with Kalamata olives, hummus, heavy Ikarian bread and wine. “People stay up late here,” Leriadis said. “We wake up late and always take naps. I don’t even open my office until 11 a.m. because no one comes before then.” He took a sip of his wine. “Have you noticed that no one wears a watch here? No clock is working correctly. When you invite someone to lunch, they might come at 10 a.m. or 6 p.m. We simply don’t care about the clock here.”

Pointing across the Aegean toward the neighboring island of Samos, he said: “Just 15 kilometers over there is a completely different world. There they are much more developed. There are high-rises and resorts and homes worth a million euros. In Samos, they care about money. Here, we don’t. For the many religious and cultural holidays, people pool their money and buy food and wine. If there is money left over, they give it to the poor. It’s not a ‘me’ place. It’s an ‘us’ place.”

Ikaria’s unusual past may explain its communal inclinations. The strong winds that buffet the island — mentioned in the “Iliad” — and the lack of natural harbors kept it outside the main shipping lanes for most of its history. This forced Ikaria to be self-sufficient. 

Then in the late 1940s, after the Greek Civil War, the government exiled thousands of Communists and radicals to the island. Nearly 40 percent of adults, many of them disillusioned with the high unemployment rate and the dwindling trickle of resources from Athens, still vote for the local Communist Party. About 75 percent of the population on Ikaria is under 65. The youngest adults, many of whom come home after college, often live in their parents’ home. They typically have to cobble together a living through small jobs and family support.

Over the span of the next three days, I met some of Leriadis’s patients. In the area known as Raches, I met 20 people over 90 and one who claimed to be 104. I spoke to a 95-year-old man who still played the violin and a 98-year-old woman who ran a small hotel and played poker for money on the weekend.


On a trip the year before, I visited a slate-roofed house built into the slope at the top of a hill. I had come here after hearing of a couple who had been married for more than 75 years. Thanasis and Eirini Karimalis both came to the door, clapped their hands at the thrill of having a visitor and waved me in. They each stood maybe five feet tall. He wore a shapeless cotton shirt and a battered baseball cap, and she wore a housedress with her hair in a bun. Inside, there was a table, a medieval-looking fireplace heating a blackened pot, a nook of a closet that held one woolen suit coat, and fading black-and-white photographs of forebears on a soot-stained wall. The place was warm and cozy. “Sit down,” Eirini commanded. She hadn’t even asked my name or business but was already setting out teacups and a plate of cookies. Meanwhile, Thanasis scooted back and forth across the house with nervous energy, tidying up.

The couple were born in a nearby village, they told me. They married in their early 20s and raised five children on Thanasis’s pay as a lumberjack. Like that of almost all of Ikaria’s traditional folk, their daily routine unfolded much the way Leriadis had described it: Wake naturally, work in the garden, have a late lunch, take a nap. At sunset, they either visited neighbors or neighbors visited them. Their diet was also typical: a breakfast of goat’s milk, wine, sage tea or coffee, honey and bread. Lunch was almost always beans (lentils, garbanzos), potatoes, greens (fennel, dandelion or a spinachlike green called horta) and whatever seasonal vegetables their garden produced; dinner was bread and goat’s milk. At Christmas and Easter, they would slaughter the family pig and enjoy small portions of larded pork for the next several months.

During a tour of their property, Thanasis and Eirini introduced their pigs to me by name. Just after sunset, after we returned to their home to have some tea, another old couple walked in, carrying a glass amphora of homemade wine. The four nonagenarians cheek-kissed one another heartily and settled in around the table. They gossiped, drank wine and occasionally erupted into laughter.

Dr. Ioanna Chinou, a professor at the University of Athens School of Pharmacy, is one of Europe’s top experts on the bioactive properties of herbs and natural products. When I consulted her about Ikarians’ longevity, she told me that many of the teas they consume are traditional Greek remedies. Wild mint fights gingivitis and gastrointestinal disorders; rosemary is used as a remedy for gout; artemisia is thought to improve blood circulation. She invited me to give her samples and later tested seven of the most commonly used herbs on Ikaria. As rich sources of polyphenols, they showed strong antioxidant properties, she reported. Most of these herbs also contained mild diuretics. Doctors often use diuretics to treat hypertension — perhaps by drinking tea nightly, Ikarians have gently lowered their blood pressure throughout their lives.

Meanwhile, my colleagues Gianni Pes and Michel Poulain set out to track down the island’s 164 residents who were over 90 as of 1999, starting in the municipality of Raches. They found that 75 nonagenarians were still alive. Then, along with additional researchers, they fanned out across the island and asked 35 elderly subjects a battery of lifestyle questions to assess physical and cognitive functioning: How much do you sleep? Did you ever smoke? They asked them to get up and down from a chair five times and recorded how long it took them to walk 13 feet. To test mental agility, the researchers had subjects recall a series of items and reproduce geometric shapes.

Pes and Poulain were joined in the field by Dr. Antonia Trichopoulou of the University of Athens, an expert on the Mediterranean diet. She helped administer surveys, often sitting in village kitchens to ask subjects to reconstruct their childhood eating habits. She noted that the Ikarians’ diet, like that of others around the Mediterranean, was rich in olive oil and vegetables, low in dairy (except goat’s milk) and meat products, and also included moderate amounts of alcohol. It emphasized homegrown potatoes, beans (garbanzo, black-eyed peas and lentils), wild greens and locally produced goat milk and honey.

As I knew from my studies in other places with high numbers of very old people, every one of the Ikarians’ dietary tendencies had been linked to increased life spans: low intake of saturated fats from meat and dairy was associated with lower risk of heart disease; olive oil — especially unheated — reduced bad cholesterol and raised good cholesterol. Goat’s milk contained serotonin-boosting tryptophan and was easily digestible for older people. Some wild greens had 10 times as many antioxidants as red wine. 

Wine — in moderation — had been shown to be good for you if consumed as part of a Mediterranean diet, because it prompts the body to absorb more flavonoids, a type of antioxidant. And coffee, once said to stunt growth, was now associated with lower rates of diabetes, heart disease and, for some, Parkinson’s. Local sourdough bread might actually reduce a meal’s glycemic load. You could even argue that potatoes contributed heart-healthy potassium, vitamin B6 and fiber to the Ikarian diet. Another health factor at work might be the unprocessed nature of the food they consume: as Trichopoulou observed, because islanders eat greens from their gardens and fields, they consume fewer pesticides and more nutrients. She estimated that the Ikarian diet, compared with the standard American diet, might yield up to four additional years of life expectancy.

Of course, it may not be only what they’re eating; it may also be what they’re not eating. “Are they doing something positive, or is it the absence of something negative?” Gary Taubes asked when I described to him the Ikarians’ longevity and their diet. Taubes is a founder of the nonprofit Nutrition Science Initiative and the author of “Why We Get Fat” (and has written several articles for this magazine). “One explanation why they live so long is they eat a plant-based diet. Or it could be the absence of sugar and white flour. From what I know of the Greek diet, they eat very little refined sugar, and their breads have been traditionally made with stone-ground wheat.”

Following the report by Pes and Poulain, Dr. Christina Chrysohoou, a cardiologist at the University of Athens School of Medicine, teamed up with half a dozen scientists to organize the Ikaria Study, which includes a survey of the diet of 673 Ikarians. She found that her subjects consumed about six times as many beans a day as Americans, ate fish twice a week and meat five times a month, drank on average two to three cups of coffee a day and took in about a quarter as much refined sugar — the elderly did not like soda. She also discovered they were consuming high levels of olive oil along with two to four glasses of wine a day.

Chrysohoou also suspected that Ikarians’ sleep and sex habits might have something to do with their long life. She cited a 2008 paper by the University of Athens Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health that studied more than 23,000 Greek adults. The researchers followed subjects for an average of six years, measuring their diets, physical activity and how much they napped. They found that occasional napping was associated with a 12 percent reduction in the risk of coronary heart disease, but that regular napping — at least three days weekly — was associated with a 37 percent reduction. She also pointed out a preliminary study of Ikarian men between 65 and 100 that included the fact that 80 percent of them claimed to have sex regularly, and a quarter of that self-reported group said they were doing so with “good duration” and “achievement.”

During our time on Ikaria, my colleagues and I stayed at Thea Parikos’s guesthouse, the social hub of western Ikaria. Local women gathered in the dining room at midmorning to gossip over tea. Late at night, after the dinner rush, tables were pushed aside and the dining room became a dance floor, with people locking arms and kick-dancing to Greek music.

Parikos cooked the way her ancestors had for centuries, giving us a chance to consume the diet we were studying. For breakfast, she served local yogurt and honey from the 90-year-old beekeeper next door. For dinner, she walked out into the fields and returned with handfuls of weedlike greens, combined them with pumpkin and baked them into savory pies. My favorite was a dish made with black-eyed peas, tomatoes, fennel tops and garlic and finished with olive oil that we dubbed Ikarian stew.

Despite her consummately Ikarian air, Parikos was actually born in Detroit to an American father and an Ikarian mother. She had attended high school, worked as a real estate agent and married in the United States. After she and her husband had their first child, she felt a “genetic craving” for Ikaria. “I was not unhappy in America,” she said. “We had good friends, we went out to dinner on the weekends, I drove a Chevrolet. But I was always in a hurry.”

When she and her family moved to Ikaria and opened the guesthouse, everything changed. She stopped shopping for most groceries, instead planting a huge garden that provided most of their fruits and vegetables. She lost weight without trying to. I asked her if she thought her simple diet was going to make her family live longer. “Yes,” she said. “But we don’t think about it that way. It’s bigger than that.”

Although unemployment is high — perhaps as high as 40 percent — most everyone has access to a family garden and livestock, Parikos told me. People who work might have several jobs. Someone involved in tourism, for example, might also be a painter or an electrician or have a store. “People are fine here because we are very self-sufficient,” she said. “We may not have money for luxuries, but we will have food on the table and still have fun with family and friends. We may not be in a hurry to get work done during the day, so we work into the night. At the end of the day, we don’t go home to sit on the couch.”

Parikos was nursing a mug of coffee. Sunlight sifted in through the window shades; the waves of the nearby Aegean could be barely heard over the din of breakfast. “Do you know there’s no word in Greek for privacy?” she declared. “When everyone knows everyone else’s business, you get a feeling of connection and security. The lack of privacy is actually good, because it puts a check on people who don’t want to be caught or who do something to embarrass their family. If your kids misbehave, your neighbor has no problem disciplining them. There is less crime, not because of good policing, but because of the risk of shaming the family. You asked me about food, and yes, we do eat better here than in America. But it’s more about how we eat. Even if it’s your lunch break from work, you relax and enjoy your meal. You enjoy the company of whoever you are with. Food here is always enjoyed in combination with conversation.”

In the United States, when it comes to improving health, people tend to focus on exercise and what we put into our mouths — organic foods, omega-3’s, micronutrients. We spend nearly $30 billion a year on vitamins and supplements alone. Yet in Ikaria and the other places like it, diet only partly explained higher life expectancy. Exercise — at least the way we think of it, as willful, dutiful, physical activity — played a small role at best.
Social structure might turn out to be more important. In Sardinia, a cultural attitude that celebrated the elderly kept them engaged in the community and in extended-family homes until they were in their 100s. Studies have linked early retirement among some workers in industrialized economies to reduced life expectancy. In Okinawa, there’s none of this artificial punctuation of life. Instead, the notion of ikigai — “the reason for which you wake up in the morning” — suffuses people’s entire adult lives. It gets centenarians out of bed and out of the easy chair to teach karate, or to guide the village spiritually, or to pass down traditions to children. The Nicoyans in Costa Rica use the term plan de vida to describe a lifelong sense of purpose. As Dr. Robert Butler, the first director of the National Institute on Aging, once told me, being able to define your life meaning adds to your life expectancy.

The healthful plant-based diet that Seventh-day Adventists eat has been associated with an extra decade of life expectancy. It has also been linked to reduced rates of diabetes and heart disease. Adventists’ diet is inspired by the Bible — Genesis 1:29. (“And God said: ‘Behold, I have given you every herb yielding seed . . . and every tree, in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for food.’ ”) 

But again, the key insight might be more about social structure than about the diet itself. While for most people, diets eventually fail, the Adventists eat the way they do for decades. How? Adventists hang out with other Adventists. When you go to an Adventist picnic, there’s no steak grilling on the barbecue; it’s a vegetarian potluck. No one is drinking alcohol or smoking. As Nicholas Christakis, a physician and social scientist at Harvard, found when examining data from a long-term study of the residents of Framingham, Mass., health habits can be as contagious as a cold virus. By his calculation, a Framingham individual’s chances of becoming obese shot up by 57 percent if a friend became obese. Among the Adventists we looked at, it was mostly positive social contagions that were in circulation.

Ask the very old on Ikaria how they managed to live past 90, and they’ll usually talk about the clean air and the wine. Or, as one 101-year-old woman put it to me with a shrug, “We just forget to die.” The reality is they have no idea how they got to be so old. And neither do we. To answer that question would require carefully tracking the lifestyles of a study group and a control group for an entire human lifetime (and then some). We do know from reliable data that people on Ikaria are outliving those on surrounding islands (a control group, of sorts). Samos, for instance, is just eight miles away. People there with the same genetic background eat yogurt, drink wine, breathe the same air, fish from the same sea as their neighbors on Ikaria. But people on Samos tend to live no longer than average Greeks. This is what makes the Ikarian formula so tantalizing.

If you pay careful attention to the way Ikarians have lived their lives, it appears that a dozen subtly powerful, mutually enhancing and pervasive factors are at work. It’s easy to get enough rest if no one else wakes up early and the village goes dead during afternoon naptime. It helps that the cheapest, most accessible foods are also the most healthful — and that your ancestors have spent centuries developing ways to make them taste good. It’s hard to get through the day in Ikaria without walking up 20 hills. 

You’re not likely to ever feel the existential pain of not belonging or even the simple stress of arriving late. Your community makes sure you’ll always have something to eat, but peer pressure will get you to contribute something too. You’re going to grow a garden, because that’s what your parents did, and that’s what your neighbors are doing. You’re less likely to be a victim of crime because everyone at once is a busybody and feels as if he’s being watched. At day’s end, you’ll share a cup of the seasonal herbal tea with your neighbor because that’s what he’s serving. Several glasses of wine may follow the tea, but you’ll drink them in the company of good friends. On Sunday, you’ll attend church, and you’ll fast before Orthodox feast days. Even if you’re antisocial, you’ll never be entirely alone. Your neighbors will cajole you out of your house for the village festival to eat your portion of goat meat.

Every one of these factors can be tied to longevity. That’s what the $70 billion diet industry and $20 billion health-club industry do in their efforts to persuade us that if we eat the right food or do the right workout, we’ll be healthier, lose weight and live longer. But these strategies rarely work. Not because they’re wrong-minded: it’s a good idea for people to do any of these healthful activities. The problem is, it’s difficult to change individual behaviors when community behaviors stay the same. In the United States, you can’t go to a movie, walk through the airport or buy cough medicine without being routed through a gantlet of candy bars, salty snacks and sugar-sweetened beverages. The processed-food industry spends more than $4 billion a year tempting us to eat. How do you combat that? Discipline is a good thing, but discipline is a muscle that fatigues. Sooner or later, most people cave in to relentless temptation.

As our access to calories has increased, we’ve decreased the amount of physical activity in our lives. In 1970, about 40 percent of all children in the U.S. walked to school; now fewer than 12 percent do. Our grandparents, without exercising, burned up about five times as many calories a day in physical activity as we do. At the same time, access to food has exploded.

Despite the island’s relative isolation, its tortuous roads and the fierce independence of its inhabitants, the American food culture, among other forces, is beginning to take root in Ikaria. Village markets are now selling potato chips and soda, which in my experience is replacing tea as the drink of choice among younger Ikarians. As the island’s ancient traditions give way before globalization, the gap between Ikarian life spans and those of the rest of the world seems to be gradually disappearing, as the next generations of old people become less likely to live quite so long.

The big aha for me, having studied populations of the long-lived for nearly a decade, is how the factors that encourage longevity reinforce one another over the long term. For people to adopt a healthful lifestyle, I have become convinced, they need to live in an ecosystem, so to speak, that makes it possible. As soon as you take culture, belonging, purpose or religion out of the picture, the foundation for long healthy lives collapses. The power of such an environment lies in the mutually reinforcing relationships among lots of small nudges and default choices. There’s no silver bullet to keep death and the diseases of old age at bay. If there’s anything close to a secret, it’s silver buckshot.

I called Moraitis a few weeks ago from my home in Minneapolis. Elpiniki died in the spring at age 85, and now he lives alone. He picked up the phone in the same whitewashed house that he’d moved into 35 years ago. It was late afternoon in Ikaria. He had worked in his vineyard that morning and just awakened from a nap. We chatted for a few minutes, but then he warned me that some of his neighbors were coming over for a drink in a few minutes and he’d have to go. I had one last question for him. How does he think he recovered from lung cancer?

“It just went away,” he said. “I actually went back to America about 25 years after moving here to see if the doctors could explain it to me.”

I had heard this part of the story before. It had become a piece of the folklore of Ikaria, proof of its exceptional way of life. Still, I asked him, “What happened?”

“My doctors were all dead.”


This article is adapted from new material being published in the second edition of “Blue Zones,” by Dan Buettner, out next month from National Geographic.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

10 Beautiful Lakes of Color

There are numerous beautiful lakes around the world that feature a variety of colors that are far from the usual color of water. The hue of colors add an extra dimension to the already picture perfect landscapes that surround these lakes. So, please join our journey, as we venture throughout the world, visiting amazing lakes of color and beauty.

10Laguna Verde
The Laguna Verde, a salt water lake, is located in the southwest of the high plains of Bolivia. For those of you who speak Spanish, it will be no surprise to you that the waters of the Laguna Verde (Green Lagoon) are an amazing shade of green. Situated at the foot of the Licancabur Volcano, the beautiful green hue is caused by debris that includes copper deposits. The colored lake is also known for its beautiful surroundings and hot springs.
9Band-e Amir
Band-e Amir is a chain of 6 deep blue lakes located high in the Hindu Kush Mountains of Central Afghanistan. They became Afghanistan’s first national park in 2008. The beautiful lakes were formed from mineral rich water that seeped out of faults and cracks in the rocky landscape. The high mineral content of the lakes are also the cause for the intense and varying colors of the lake waters.
8Lake Pukaki
Lake Pukaki in New Zealand gives the color “glacier blue” a whole new meaning. The colorful lake was created by receding glaciers decades ago. Today, that glacier feed produces finely ground rock particles, known as glacier flour, that give the lake a distinct icy blue color. Lake Pukaki is the second largest alpine lake in the Mackenzie Basin, located in New Zealand’s South Island.
7Laguna Colorada
Laguna Coloradaflickr/Pattr
The Laguna Colorada is located in Bolivia close to the border of Chili. The reddish color of the waters is thanks to red sediments and the pigmentation of algae. Other than the red waters, the Laguna Colorada is also home to many varieties of flamingos and a number of white borax islands. Borax islands are formed by the repeated evaporation of seasonal lakes, like the Laguna Colorada.
6Kelimutu
The Kelimutu Volcano contains three summit crater lakes of different colors. Tiwu Ata Mbupu is usually blue; Tiwu Nuwa Muri Koo Fai is normally green; and Tiwu Ata Polo is usually a reddish hue. The source of the unique color combination is thought to be openings in the earth’s crust, known as fumaroles. The beautiful lakes are a popular tourist attraction, and also attract many geologists on a yearly basis. The fact that the three lakes are all different colors, yet are located on the same volcano crest, is a source of much debate and interest.
5Havasu Falls
Havasu Fallsflickr/TeecNosPos
The Havasu Canyon is part of the Grand Canyon and is inhabited by the Havasupai tribe, who live in the small town of Supai. It is one of the most remote villages in America and normal access is via a helicopter ride or a 13 km (8 mile) dusty horse trail from a car park at Hualapai Hilltop.
The main reason to visit the Havasupai (which means “people of the blue-green water”) is because of the colorful waters and falls. The most spectacular of these is Havasu Falls. The beautiful color of the water is caused by carbonate minerals settling to the bottom, turning it white, and acting as a reflector of the surrounding green and brown mossy cliffs plus the blue sky.
4Moraine Lake
Moraine Lakeflickr/hojusaram
Fed by glaciers, Moraine Lake, locate in Banff National Park, is known for its stunning blue waters. The coloration is thanks to light refracting off the glacier flour. Located in the Valley of the Ten Peaks, Moraine Lake is surrounded by the beauty of the impressive Canadian Rocky Mountains. There are a number of hiking trails around Moraine Lake. Just be sure to check the trail conditions before you set out to go as they are sometimes restricted because of grizzly bear activity.
3Lake Nakuru
One of the top attractions in Kenya, Lake Nakuru is a very shallow lake in the rift valley. The lake’s abundance of algae attracts vast quantities of lesser flamingos, sometimes more than one million at once. Often called the greatest bird spectacle on earth, the flamingos literally turn the shores pink. Sadly, in recent years the number of flamingos has been decreasing, due to environmental degradation and pollution.
2Jiuzhaigou
Jiuzhaigouflickr/B_cool
The Jiuzhaigou Valley of China is home to dozens of blue, green and turquoise-colored lakes. The local people call these bodies of water “Haizi,” which in Chinese means “son of the sea.” The numerous colorful lakes were created by glacier activity, and today, many waterfalls empty into these pristine waters. The beautifully colored water is also known to be extremely clear, in many cases visitors are able to see to the bottom of the lakes.
1Plitvice Lakes
One of the top tourist attractions in Croatia, the Plitvice Lakes are sixteen lakes that are located near the border of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The beautiful lakes are famous for their unique colors, including azure, green, blue, and gray. The lakes’ colorations changes consistently, depending on the quantity of minerals, deposits, or organism in each body, or how the sun is hitting the water.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Secret Shadow Government

 
 
 
Our Past Leaders Warned Us About a Secret Shadow Government

Our Presidents
Our Generals
Our Leaders.......
...

Believed in the existence of a secret shadow government.
Believed in the coming of a New World Order.

Q u o t e s

"I am concerned for the security of our great nation; not so much because of any threat from without, but because of the insidious forces working from within." -- General Douglas MacArthur

"Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people."
--President Theodore Roosevelt

"Some of the biggest men in the United States, in the field of commerce and manufacture, are afraid of something. They know that there is a power somewhere so organized, so subtle, so watchful, so interlocked, so complete, so pervasive, that they had better not speak above their breath when they speak in condemnation of it." --President Woodrow Wilson

"The government, which was designed for the people, has got into the hands of the bosses and their employers, the special interests. An invisible empire has been set up above the forms of democracy." --President Woodrow Wilson

"The real truth of the matter is, as you and I know, that a financial element in the large centers has owned the government of the U.S. since the days of Andrew Jackson."-- President Franklin D. Roosevelt

"For some time I have been disturbed by the way the CIA has been diverted from it's original assignment. It has become an operational and at times a policy making arm of the government."
- President Harry Truman

"Some of the biggest men in the United States, in the field of commerce and manufacture, are afraid of something. They know that there is a power somewhere so organized, so subtle, so watchful, so interlocked, so complete, so pervasive, that they had better not speak above their breath when they speak in condemnation of it." - Woodrow Wilson

"The real rulers in Washington are invisible and exercise their power from behind the scenes."-- Justice Felix Frankfurter, U.S. Supreme Court.

"Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people." - Theodore Roosevelt

"I am concerned for the security of our great nation; not so much because of any threat from without, but because of the insidious forces working from within." -- General Douglas MacArthur

"The real truth of the matter is, as you and I know, that a financial element in the large centers has owned the government of the U.S. since the days of Andrew Jackson."-- U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt in a letter written Nov. 21, 1933 to Colonel E. Mandell House.

"These international bankers and Rockefeller-Standard Oil interests control the majority of newspapers and the columns of these papers to club into submission or drive out of public office officials who refuse to do the bidding of the powerful corrupt cliques which compose the invisible government." - Theodore Roosevelt

"We shall have World Government, whether or not we like it. The only question is whether World Government will be achieved by conquest or consent." - James Paul Warburg

"The interests behind the Bush Administration, such as the CFR, The Trilateral Commission - founded by Zbigniew Brzezinski for David Rockefeller - and the Bilderberg Group, have prepared for and are now moving to implement open world dictatorship within the next five years. They are not fighting against terrorists. They are fighting against citizens." - Dr. Johannes B. Koeppl Former German Defense Ministry Official and Advisor to NATO

"The high office of President has been used to foment a plot to destroy the Americans freedom, and before I leave office I must inform the citizen of his plight." - John Fitzgerald Kennedy

"The Trilateral Commission is intended to be the vehicle for multinational consolidation of the commercial and banking interests by seizing control of the political government of the United States. The Trilateral Commission represents a skillful, coordinated effort to seize control and consolidate the four centers of power--Political, Monetary, Intellectual, and Ecclesiastical." - U.S. Senator Barry Goldwater

"The drive of the Rockefellers and their allies is to create a one-world government combining super capitalism and Communism under the same tent, all under their control.... Do I mean conspiracy? Yes I do. I am convinced there is such a plot, international in scope, generations old in planning, and incredibly evil in intent." - Congressman Larry P. McDonald, 1976

"If the American people ever allow the banks to control issuance of their currency, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their fathers occupied." - Thomas Jefferson

"Let me issue and control the nation's money and I care not who makes her laws." - Amschel Rothschild

"I care not what puppet is placed on the throne of England to rule the Empire. The man who controls Britain's money supply controls the British Empire and I control the British money supply."
- Nathan Rothschild

"History records that the money changers have used every form of abuse, intrigue, deceit, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments by controlling the money and its issuance." - James Madison (1751-1836), Father of the Constitution for the USA, 4th US President

"The real menace of our republic is this invisible government which like a giant octopus sprawls its slimy length over city, state and nation. Like the octopus of real life, it operates under cover of a self created screen.... At the head of this octopus are the Rockefeller Standard Oil interests and a small group of powerful banking houses generally referred to as international bankers. The little coterie of powerful international bankers virtually run the United States government for their own selfish purposes. They practically control both political parties."
- New York City Mayor John F. Hylan, 1922

"The government, which was designed for the people, has got into the hands of the bosses and their employers, the special interests. An invisible empire has been set up above the forms of democracy." - Woodrow Wilson

"From the days of Sparticus, Weishaupt, Karl Marx, Trotski, Belacoon, Rosa Luxenberg and Ema Goldman, this world conspiracy has been steadily growing. This conspiracy played a definite recognizable role in the French Revolution. It has been the mainspring of every subversive movement during the 19th century.

And now at last, this band of extraordinary personalities from the under- world of the great cities of Europe and America have gripped the Russian people by the hair of their head and have become the undisputed masters of that enormous empire."
-Winston Churchill Letter to London Press, 1922

"[There] exists a shadowy Government with its own Air Force, its own Navy, its own fundraising mechanism, and the ability to pursue its own ideas of the national interest, free from all checks and balances, and free from the law itself." - Senator Daniel K. Inouye

"Our country is now taking so steady a course as to show by what road it will pass to destruction, to wit: by consolidation of power first, and then corruption, its necessary consequence."
- Thomas Jefferson

"Whoever controls the volume of money in any country is absolute master of all industry and commerce." -James A. Garfield

"I sincerely believe that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies, and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale." - Thomas Jefferson

"I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country… corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong it's reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed. "
–President Abraham Lincoln, November 21, 1864

"For some time I have been disturbed by the way the CIA has been diverted from it's original assignment. It has become an operational and at times a policy making arm of the government."
- President Harry Truman

"A revolution is coming - a revolution which will be peaceful if we are wise enough; compassionate if we care enough; successful if we are fortunate enough - but a revolution which is coming whether we will it or not. We can affect its character, we cannot alter its inevitability." - John F. Kennedy

If you want total security, go to prison. There you're fed, clothed, given medical care and so on. The only thing lacking... is freedom.
- Dwight D. Eisenhower

We will bankrupt ourselves in the vain search for absolute security.
- Dwight D. Eisenhower

Dependence begets subservience and venality, suffocates the germ of virtue, and prepares fit tools for the designs of ambition.
- Thomas Jefferson

Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add 'within the limits of the law' because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.
- Thomas Jefferson

It is the common failing of totalitarian regimes that they cannot really understand the nature of our democracy. They mistake dissent for disloyalty. They mistake restlessness for a rejection of policy. They mistake a few committees for a country. They misjudge individual speeches for public policy.
Lyndon B. Johnson

I would rather belong to a poor nation that was free than to a rich nation that had ceased to be in love with liberty.
- Woodrow Wilson

We Americans have no commission from God to police the world.
- Benjamin Harrison

"America does not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy." - John Quincy Adams

"To avoid entangling alliances has been a maxim of our policy ever since the days of Washington, and its wisdom no one will attempt to dispute." -James Buchanan

Our forces saved the remnants of the Jewish people of Europe for a new life and a new hope in the reborn land of Israel. Along with all men of good will, I salute the young state and wish it well.
- Dwight D. Eisenhower

"No nation ever had an army large enough to guarantee it against attack in time of peace, or ensure it of victory in time of war." -Calvin Coolidge

Commerce with all nations, alliance with none, should be our motto. - Thomas Jefferson

"There is a chance for the President of the United States to use this disaster, to carry out...a phrase his father used I think only once and it hasn't been used since, and that is a New World Order"
- Gary Hart, Council On Foreign Relations, September 11th 2001

"It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subjected to the lights of publicity during those years. But, the world is now more sophisticated and prepared to march towards a world government. The supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the national auto-determination practiced in past centuries." - David Rockefeller

"We are on the verge of a global transformation all we need is the right major crisis and the nations will accept the New World Order"
- David Rockefeller

"Today Americans would be outraged if U.N. troops entered Los Angeles to restore order; tomorrow they will be grateful! This is especially true if they were told there was an outside threat from beyond, whether real or promulgated, that threatened our very existence.

It is then that all peoples of the world will pledge with world leaders to deliver them from this evil. The one thing every man fears is the unknown. When presented with this scenario, individual rights will willingly be relinquished for the guarantee of their well-being granted to them by their world government."
- Henry A. Kissinger, Bilderberg Conference 1991 Evians France

"[The New World Order] cannot happen without U.S. participation, as we are the most significant single component. Yes, there will be a New World Order, and it will force the United States to change it's perceptions."
- Henry A. Kissinger, World Affairs Council Press Conference,
Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel , April 19th 1994

"We can't be so fixated on our desire to preserve the rights of ordinary Americans" - President Bill Clinton

"It is enough that the people know there was an election. The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything." - Joseph Stalin

"What is at stake is more than one small country, it is a big idea, a New World Order. Out of these troubled times our fifth objective a New World Order can emerge...Now we can see a new world coming into view, a world in which there is a very real prospect of a New World Order." - George Herbert Walker Bush, September 11th 1991

"The technocratic era involves the gradual appearance of a more controlled society. Such a society would be dominated by an elite, unrestrained by traditional values. [...] The capacity to assert social and political control over the individual will vastly increase. It will soon be possible to assert almost continuous surveillance over every citizen and to maintain up-to-date, complete files, containing even most personal information about the health or personal behavior of the citizen in addition to more customary data. These files will be subject to instantaneous retrieval by the authorities."
- Zbigniew Brzezinski

"The easiest way to gain control of the population is to carry out acts of terror the public will clamor for such laws if the personal security is threatened." - Joseph Stalin

"Of course the people don't want war. But after all, it's the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it's always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it's a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger."
- Herman Goering During The Nuremburg Trials
(One Of Adolph Hitler's Top Men)

"Terrorism is the best political weapon for nothing drives people harder than a fear of sudden death." - Adolph Hitler

"Every time we do something you tell me America will do this and will do that . . . I want to tell you something very clear: Don't worry about American pressure on Israel. We, the Jewish people, control America, and the Americans know it." - Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon

"I don't care what the American people think, I own the congress!"
- Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon

"To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or what we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." - Theodore Roosevelt

"I'm for the little fellers, not the Rockefellers." - Senator Paul Wellston

"Military men are dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns for foreign policy." - Henry A. Kissinger

"Intelligence is not all that important in the exercise of power, and is often, in point of fact, useless." - Henry A. Kissinger

"It is an act of insanity and national humiliation to have a law prohibiting the President from ordering assassination."
- Henry A. Kissinger
Statement at a National Security Council meeting in 1975.

I can think of no faster way to unite the American people behind George W. Bush than a terrorist attack on an American target overseas. And I believe George W. Bush will quickly unite the American people through his foreign policy. - Henry A. Kissinger

Depopulation should be the highest priority of foreign policy towards the third world, because the US economy will require large and increasing amounts of minerals from abroad, especially from less developed countries. - Henry A. Kissinger

"Let me issue and control the nation's money and I care not who makes her laws" - Amschel Rothschild

"At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer. If it ever reaches us. It must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be it's author and it's finisher" - Abraham Lincoln

"There ought to be limits to freedom" - President George Walker Bush

"When the government fears the people, there is liberty. When people fear the government there is tyranny."
- Thomas Jefferson

"In the size of the lie there is always contained a certain factor of credibility, since the great mass of people will more easily fall victims to a great lie than to a small one." - Adolph Hitler

"One-fourth of humanity must be eliminated from the social body. We are in charge of God's selection process for planet earth. He selects, we destroy. We are the riders of the pale horse, Death."
- Psychologist Barbara Marx Hubbard - member of Task Force Delta; a United States Army think tank

Eight Ways to Help Bring Down the Pyramids of Control



There are very real conspiracies in the world, and those conspiracies are always conducted by people “in the know” against those who are ignorant or naive of backroom machinations. 

Past slavery was largely based on force (thus was much more obvious), but modern-day slavery is actually more widespread because global slave masters use all of the scientific tools at their disposal to win hearts and control minds, convincing us that our hands and feet are free, so we must be living self-directed lives.

There are signs that the mind-pyramids that technocrats have built to enforce their 21st-century control systems are crumbling as they press harder upon our cognitive ability to make sense of words and actions. The owners of the shoulders on which the structure of tyranny is supported are beginning to leave in droves. The pyramids are falling as we begin to recognize their unconscious effort, and consciously encourage others to find a different line of work.

Here are 10 ways that you can help collapse all of the pyramids of control.


1. Media and Intelligence

Information is knowledge and knowledge is power — this is where it all starts. Turn off the TV, stop passively receiving information that “dumbs you down” at the teat of the “idiot box.” Get creative: start a blog, a neighborhood newsletter, radio show, public access TV or YouTube channel, write encouraging letters to companies you appreciate and voice your concerns to the ones you choose to boycott; DO something; anything to increase awareness. 
Homeschooling is another great way to help short circuit the negative influences of systematic programming. Even if you don’t agree with homeschooling, or are not able, there are concepts that you can help introduce into your public school to enhance education. Intelligence – there are technologies to thwart constant surveillance, as well as low-tech solutions to high-tech tyranny. The Internet is being used to surveil the public, but it also provides an opportunity for the public to surveil and report the real criminals. Use the system against itself.

2. Health and Agriculture

Why do tyrannical systems always move to declare methods of independence such as farming, vitamins, raw milk, and natural medication like cannabis as underground contraband systems that threaten the health of society? Clearly because this is a cornerstone of freedom. Learn to make your own medicines, trade on the underground, support other states (and countries) who have embraced food freedom, and stand your ground by forming local community resistance against food and health tyranny. Moreover, simply making your mind and body stronger by pursuing what is natural and healthy will give you more power to challenge the system in every other way.

3. Energy and Technology

Support true economic development and pursue open source solutions to all technological problems that can affect humanity on the widest scale. These are the technologies that have been suppressed in the past, their creators destroyed; but now there are too many people pursuing goals to free humanity. Embrace innovation and technology, but only as it leads to self-empowerment, self-determination, and genuinely helps the human and environmental condition. There are reportedly many free-energy patents being kept from the public. These technologies can’t be kept secret forever as long as the Internet remains free and open. Support all efforts to maintain Internet freedom and the right to pursue innovation.

4. Mobility and Flexibility

Always be willing to adapt and move. The structure of tyranny might be global, but there are always pockets of freedom that tyranny ignores — normally based on economic interest. Become adaptable, don’t buy into the “American Dream” of having possessions to define your self-worth. Once you discard the unimportant things, look for specific towns, states, or countries to escape economic decline and those which promote freedom. It’s a difficult decision to pick up and move, especially when extended family comes into play, but discuss your ideas and the evidence for your concerns openly and honestly, and be the first to pioneer the building of a new future — if things begin to collapse in earnest, you will soon be sought after by those who once doubted your “crazy” reasoning.

5. Prepare for the Worst

Along the same lines as being mobile and flexible, make sure that you store enough supplies to get through a few months or more of tough times. The current system relies on your dependence and they can easily control those who live just-in-time lifestyles. Most people don’t realize how much they “need” the system until something like a blizzard knocks out their power and wipes out the grocery store shelves. It’s wise to store back-up food, have the ability to produce food, gather tools and other items needed during power outages or other disasters, and actively pursue any and all other survival prepping and self-sufficiency techniques.

6. Create New Banking Systems
We have seen economic collapse taking down countries like dominoes across the third world, and now the first. These money junkies cannot and will not stop. It is up to us to develop systems which permit us to completely withdraw our support for the current system and shield us from manipulated collapses. This may be the most productive way to break free from modern slavery; whether it’s switching to local credit unions, storing precious metals instead of cash, engaging in barter systems or using alternative currencies, or supporting full-blown monetary reform.

7. Learn a Skill

Learn as many skills outside of your day job as possible. This can be as simple as giving more attention to your hobbies like fishing, hunting, gardening, painting, blogging, tinkering on cars, building things, sewing, cooking, etc. Whatever useful skill you’re most passionate about, learn more about it, become an expert at it, and acquire the necessary tools to start a side business with it. By doing this, you’ll reduce the dependence on your job and find much more fulfillment in life. Remember, skills are the only form of wealth that can’t be taken from you. Additionally, form clubs or partnerships with your neighbors and share your skills and tools to form a stronger community that will be resistant to whatever the systems of control throw your way.

8. Boycott

Activists have enjoyed many recent victories through boycott, most notably the rapid removal of “pink slime” meat from major supermarket chains following public outcry once they became aware of the product. It goes to show that the public still holds the power over corporations, but the masses must be educated before they’re moved to action. Not you though. Readers of this post know exactly what companies to boycott and why. Start living your principles and follow through on your knowledge. Voting with your dollars DOES work, but not if the aware crowd refuses to do it.

Significantly, these are all things you can do on your own. You don’t need to influence politicians, or ignite a mass protest, or wait for an uprising. There is no cavalry coming. You are the change you seek. Get out there and become more self-reliant and the system will lose its grip on you. If enough of us do this, the system will fall apart by its own unsustainable making. Refuse to be a slave today and unchain others by sharing this article and implementing the tips on this list.
Did we miss anything? Please offer your own guidelines for freedom in the comments section below.

Campaign Againts Palm Oil


(This article taken from an NGO site)

Nations around the world - EU group, USA, Canada, China, Brazil, India, and many more - are vast importers and consumers of Palm Oil from Indonesia and Malaysia - from the once eden rain forests of Borneo and Sumatra. India, with its rich tradition of Ahinsa (to do no harm), and in the many ways it has influenced the world over the ages, can do so once again by showing the world that animals and nature must not be harmed in the money fueled craze to produce articles for human consumption. If India, the largest importer and consumer of Palm Oil, becomes aware of Palm Oil's hidden story, and leads with its kindness, the world will soon follow. This is a letter of respect, a request to lead the world with the ancient wisdom of Ahinsa.

Orangutans are being wiped out today, right now. We unwittingly buy packaged foods, body products, even 'vegan' alternatives, many with palm oil in them grown by decimating rainforest in Borneo and Sumatra. Giant American, European and Asian corporations ply us with processed foods, lotions, shampoo, toothpaste, drinks, ice cream, cosmetics, confectionery, cooking oil products with a hidden story. Read and watch the stories of these two Orangutan mothers and weep.

Weep for them, their babies, their species, the villagers and oil palm plantation staff that torture and kill them, and the rich men that run powerful American, European and Asian corporations who have unleashed this horror.

First mother
http://www.internationalanimalrescue.org/news/2010/403/Our+team+witnesses+unspeakable+cruelty+towards+orangutans+in+Borneo.html

Second mother
Video of the deforestation for palm oil and the horrific crimes against the Orangutan
Watch http://youtu.be/xUQWpJgCEy8

The numbers are staggering. Indonesia leads the world in palm oil production, with over 25 million metric tons a year, followed by Malaysia with over 18 million.

India leads the world in domestic consumption of palm oil with over 7 million MT followed by Indonesia, China and EU. USA is #9 with over a million MT.

In its report "Frying the Forest" Greenpeace in June 2012 has called on Indians to boycott products by brands Britannia, ITC, Parle and Godrej, such as biscuits and soap, until the companies commit to sustainable palm oil supply chains. Booming India is the world's hungriest nation for palm oil, consuming almost 7.4 million tonnes last year, or 15 percent of global production, almost all of it imported, U.S. Foreign Agricultural Service data show.
Surging demand for palm oil in India for cooking and everyday grocery items is driving tropical forest destruction in Indonesia, Greenpeace said.
http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/wilderness-resources/stories/palm-oil-for-india-destroying-indonesian-forests

If we don't speak for Orangutans, elephants and tigers being burnt, poisoned, shot and hacked to death, with infants torn away from the mothers' dead bodies to be sold off as pets...who will?

For what? A cheap, unhealthy oil that fills our food supply and daily products thanks to morally bankrupt men and women at egregious corporations with dollar signs in their eyes.

We have ALL been made complicit in an insane rampage of murder, unthinkable torture and ecological destruction ... without our knowledge or consent.

Change starts with you. Become aware of this crop. It's in the toothpaste you used this morning, and the lunch you had later. Spread knowledge. And one day the governments and corporations of the world will have to listen to the higher morals of a conscious world.

If you wish to see the companies using palm oil, by your country, here's the link
http://www.rspo.org/en/member/listing/country

RESOURCES

What happens to orangutans when the forest is taken away from them? -- Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme (SOCP)
http://www.sumatranorangutan.org/webautor-data/56/What-happens_latest-compressed-latest-April-23-smaller.pdf

Products that use palm oil, and the 30 names of Palm Oil
http://www.saynotopalmoil.com/palm-oil.php

Problem with Palm Oil - RAN factsheet
http://ran.org/problem-palm-oil-factsheet

Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) is a myth
http://understory.ran.org/2011/03/21/the-great-rspo-membership-myth-why-buying-from-rspo-members-doesnt-mean-jack-shit/

According to Greenpeace: Ruchi Soya, Adani-Wilmar, ITC, Britannia, Godrej and Parle are among the Indian companies buying from Duta Palma, one of Indonesia’s biggest palm oil companies. Greenpeace has singled out Duta Palma, which owns some 155,000 hectares of palm oil plantations in Sumatra and Borneo, for allegedly destroying rainforests and peatlands in Sumatra's Riau Province.
http://news.mongabay.com/2012/0619-frying-the-forest.html#ixzz1ymfxoz5W

Greenpeace
Sustainable palm oil?
http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/forests/palm-oil

National Geographic - Picture Gallery
Borneo's Moment of Truth
The majestic forests are vanishing in smoke and sawdust, but there’s still hope for the island’s fabled biodiversity—if the palm oil rush can be slowed.
http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2008/11/borneo/klum-photography

Unhealthy Oil - By Livestrong (Lance Armstrong's org)
Palm oil contains an unhealthy composition of fat. It is comprised of 52 percent saturated fat, a type of fat that contributes to heart disease. Many other oils are healthier choices than palm oil...Sunflower oil, Almond oil, Canola and extra-virgin olive oils.
http://www.livestrong.com/article/428369-is-palm-oil-one-of-the-healthy-oils-to-consume/#ixzz1yP7yIbQ1

John Wojnowski accuses the Vatican of hiding pedophiles

D.C. man protests Vatican inaction

By Sarah Parnass
 
 Every day, rain or shine, John Wojnowski stands in front of the Vatican embassy, holding a banner that accuses the Vatican of hiding pedophiles. For the past 12 years, Wojnowski has shared his views with anyone willing to listen. He claims he was molested by an Italian priest in 1958 at age 15.
“What is important is the stupidity of the church, the malevolence.”

That is the message of a 67-year-old man who stands outside the Nunciature of the Holy See — or the Vatican Embassy — near the Naval Observatory on Massachuesetts Avenue, nearly every day.

Whether in the rain under his stocky black umbrella or in the warm rays of the D.C. sun, John Wojnowski has stood on that street corner for the past 12 years. Each day after 4:30 p.m., he attaches one end of his white banner to a signpost and holds up the other end. Once unfurled, the banner’s red letters shout Wojnowski’s mantra, “VATICAN HIDES PEDOPHILES,” accompanied by the URL for his Web site, http://www.vaticanhidespedophiles.com.

Though Wojnowski appears soft-spoken in-person and claims extreme shyness once prevented him from ever speaking to women, his Web site presents a harsher picture.

“This impudent degeneracy [the Catholic Church], that has the gall to threaten, shame, ridicule and insult the long suffering crippled victims of its ignorance, MUST BE EXPOSED,” it reads.

Some might say his words are harsh, but the story he said is behind them could, perhaps, explain Wojnowski’s roughness.

It is a real human story, filled with many emotions and memories. It is Wojnowski’s story, as he told it.

In a small village in the mountains of Italy in 1958, the town’s pastor invited a 15-year-old boy to the church to work on his Latin studies.

Wojnowski described himself then as an impish boy with an intellectual curiosity that has followed him throughout his life.

The boy and his pious older brother went to the village church. When the priest saw that the boy had not come alone, Wojnowski said the priest separated the brothers, leaving the elder in a room with an assignment and taking Wojnowski into a private chamber.

In that room, the priest allegedly laid a hand on Wojnowski’s knee and convinced him to expose himself. Wojnowski said that the priest then sexually assaulted him.

“The reason I’m doing this is because I was molested myself,” Wojnowski said.

After that, Wojnowski said he only remembered finding himself on the ground in front of the church, stricken.

The abuse caused something to change inside him, both psychologically and physiologically, Wojnowski said. He became withdrawn and depressed, he said. Even his height was stunted by the trauma, Wojnowski said. Yet, for nearly 40 years, Wojnowski said he did not fully remember the event.

“I was so traumatized, so shocked that it was like literally being hit by lightning,” Wojnowski said. “Immediately, I blocked it out, repressed the memory.”

What Wojnowski said triggered his memory years later when he was living alone in the United States was news coverage of the scandal in the church that broke out in 1997.

In the world of psychology, it is still debated whether such phenomenon is possible. One study of college women by Michelle Epstien and Bette Bottoms of the University of Chicago and La Rabida Children’s Hospital found that victims of childhood sexual abuse forgot their incidents more completely than those who experienced other trauma. A study combining the work of academics from the State University of New York, Emory University and the University of California, however, purported that all “recovered memories” could be explained by flawed treatment programs and an individual’s inability to distinguish between fantasy and reality.

Yet Wojnowski was reluctant to focus on the recovery of his memory.

“You understand, we are fighting the [Catholic] Church,” Wojnowski said.
In August 1997, Wojnowski contacted a priest about the abuse he allegedly remembered. He said he was referred to counseling for which the church would pay, but he received no other reparations.

Wojnowski pursued the matter further, even writing to the Nunciature, he said. After his letters and phone calls were ignored, Wojnowski took up his post where he stood this Halloween, on the street corner in front of the Vatican Embassy.

Though his words are strong and his opinions divisive, Wojnowski has developed a following over the years. Originally, Wojnowski said passer-by met his message with shouts of “loser.” Now people honk or wave congenially as they drive by, showing their support for the man and his banner.

“It’s true,” Wojnowski said of his sign. “If it was not true it would be a lie, slander, defamation, libel. Right? And the Vatican would do something [legal] about it.”

Wojnowski alleges that rather than engage in a legal battle with him or acknowledge his accusations, the Vatican has sent young priests as agents in a scheme to force him off of his street corner. The first such confrontation occurred when a priest who did not reveal his name approached the protestor and gave him four reasons why he should give up his battle, according to Wojnowski.

“1. The molestation happened in Italy,” Wojnowski’s Web site reads. “In Italy, there is a statute of limitations so I was out of luck.

2. The molestation could have been my own fault.

3. To protest would be bad for me because I will be crushed by the ridicule and by the shame.

4. U.S. law is too harsh on pedophiles and should (or will) be changed.”

Wojnowski also said the Archbishop Sambi — the Papal ambassador to the United States — had personally insulted him in Italian. Wojnowski had videotaped the ambassador walking by, but the audio was unclear.

Sambi could not be reached to either refute or confirm Wojnowski’s accusations. Others at the Vatican Embassy refused to offer any information about Wojnowski, even so much as when he usually shows up each day.

AU Catholic Chaplain Father David Mott said he receives occasional inquiries about Wojnowski but never knew much about him until he looked online.
“[Wojnowski]’s not a big deal,” Mott said.

Mott also said he had recently received new information about Wojnowski.
“He’s paid,” Mott said with a smile, though he would not say by whom or where his information had come from.

Wojnowski predicted this reaction; he said the Vatican thinks he is being paid by the Jews.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Ten Nations That Control the World’s Gold


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The latest report from the World Gold Council shows it is now more obvious than ever that gold is becoming the new global reserve currency. Continuous and aggressive central bank actions from the United States and Europe are driving the demand for gold. Investors have not yet seen any of the real hyperinflationary pressures that seem likely down the road.



Gold’s substantial rise in price should speak for itself. In dollar terms, gold returned 11.1% in the third quarter and was up by 16% year to date through the end of the quarter. The World Gold Council said that gold has a low stock market correlation through time. That was not the case in the third quarter. Gold still outperformed almost all the major equity markets in the largest gold-holding nations in 2012.
24/7 Wall St. analyzed how the gold rankings compare to each major nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) and how those figures compare to the top 10 holders of gold. What is surprising in some cases is how countries with the largest GDP are not necessarily the largest holders of gold. Two small nations, the Netherlands and Switzerland, are major holders of gold. Under the terms of the Central Bank Gold Agreement among major European states, many countries are supposed to be selling gold but are not.
The United Kingdom’s $2.43 trillion in GDP is the world’s seventh largest, but its gold holdings of 310.3 tonnes rank only 17th in the world and account for only 15.9% of its total foreign reserves. Does the old term “pound sterling” mean that the British banks really care more about silver? Another standout exception is Brazil, which has tiny gold reserves compared to its GDP. Its $2.5 trillion in GDP ranks sixth in the world, yet it holds only 33.6 tonnes of gold, or 0.5% of foreign reserves. Brazil ranks a surprising 52nd in the world among gold holders.
The International Monetary Fund is the third-largest official holder of gold, with more than 2,814 tonnes. The European Central Bank ranks right behind India, with 502.1 tonnes and 32.3% of its total foreign reserves held in gold. Central bank buying of gold was recently undertaken by Russia, Turkey, Ukraine and the Kyrgyz Republic. Turkey went as far as raising the gold reserve requirements for its commercial banks.
The World Gold Council report shows low borrowing costs and the support of financial markets spur gold accumulation. Gold is no longer just an inflation hedge; it is the key protection against a global race to devalue currencies, even if consumer prices are somewhat stable. Bonds pay historically low rates and stock market volatility has spooked many investors, so gold is becoming the true safe haven.
Major central banks are growing their balance sheets by purchasing trillions of dollars in paper assets. The World Gold Council said that research showed that a 1% change in money supply, six months prior, in the United States, Europe, India and Turkey tends to increase the price of gold by 0.9%, 0.5%, 0.7% and 0.05%, respectively. The Council also said that inflation is still several years off and many central banks have been more worried about deflation. Investors would be well advised to heed a warning from bond king Bill Gross, who told global investors to have exposure to hard assets, which will rise in value with inflation.
24/7 Wall St. has listed the 10 nations with the largest gold reserves, along with the percentage of total foreign reserves held in gold, each nation’s 2011 GDP and how it ranks in the world, and the local stock market performance. We have added analysis about how the potential unraveling of the euro could play into the future buying or selling of gold by European nations. For nations outside Europe, we have provided some historical context and predicted the path that their central banks are likely to follow in the years ahead.

10) India
> Gold reserves: 557.7 tonnes
> Pct. of total foreign reserves: 10.0%
> GDP: $1.82 trillion (10th highest)
> Stock performance: Bombay BSE up 7.6% in Q3, up 21% YTD

While India ranks 11th on the World Gold Council list, it is 10th if you remove the International Monetary Fund. India has been a steady buyer of gold over time. That is likely to continue as the government needs to support its currency, even if the economy is volatile. India became an aggressive buyer in 2009, when it spent almost $7 billion to buy 200 tonnes of gold, which the IMF sold to raise capital. For the economy to support 1.2 billion people, the central bank must hold gold and hard assets. The Indian population is a large consumer of gold for jewelry and there is high demand for the precious metal to store wealth. India will thus continue to buy gold in the years ahead.
9) Netherlands
> Gold reserves: 612.5 tonnes
> Pct. of total foreign reserves: 59.8%
> GDP: $838 billion (17th highest)
> Stock performance: AEX up 5.1% in Q3, up 3.4% YTD
It is surprising that the Netherlands has so much gold. But it is also important to recall that the country is a former colonial power and has a long history as a very wealthy nation. Its population of 16.7 million ranks 63rd among all nations, while its GDP is the 17th largest in the world. As with some European nations, the Netherlands did not sell all the gold provided for by the Central Bank Gold Agreement. Now that the Netherlands is under some of the same pressure as many other European nations, it is unlikely to be a big seller of gold. It may need that gold to protect itself if the euro comes unraveled.

8) Japan
> Gold reserves: 765.2 tonnes
> Pct. of total foreign reserves: 3.2%
> GDP: $5.86 trillion (3rd highest)
> Stock performance: Nikkei 225 fell 1.5% in Q3, up 4.6% YTD
Japan has to hold large amounts of gold. The Bank of Japan has held interest rates at almost zero for about two decades. It recently sold gold so that it could pump about $200 billion worth of yen into the economy as stimulus after the tsunami and nuclear disaster threatened to send Japan back into recession. At some point in the future, Japan may need to buy that gold back to support its large monetary base. Until then, the yen remains one of the stronger global currencies, which makes exports more expensive. Japan’s population of 127 million is aging rapidly and birth rates are extremely low.
7) Russia
> Gold reserves: 936.7 tonnes
> Pct. of total foreign reserves: 9.6%
> GDP: $1.85 trillion (9th highest)
> Stock performance: MICEX down near 4% in Q3, negative YTD
Russia continues to buy gold as its global economic ambitions grow. A previous 24/7 Wall St. analysis showed that Russia’s reserves were 784 tonnes in early 2011 after it bought 120 tonnes in the first 10 months of 2010, more than 100 tonnes in 2009 and close to 70 tonnes in 2007. The World Gold Council reported that Russia has added more gold, so that reserves likely will rise yet again. Russia is extremely wealthy in natural resources, and president Vladimir Putin and his allies want it to become more of an economic superpower. With a population of 142 million and Russia’s GDP of $1.85 trillion, its holdings of gold are likely to surge.
6) Switzerland
> Gold reserves: 1,040.1 tonnes
> Pct. of total foreign reserves: 11.5%
> GDP: $660 billion (19th highest)
> Stock performance: Swiss Market up 7% in Q3, up 9.4% YTD
Switzerland is the world’s private banker and so must be a top holder of gold. Still, it is amazing to consider that its population is barely 7.9 million and it ranks 95th in the world for population. Also, its dollar-adjusted GDP of $660 billion ranks only 19th. Switzerland sold gold from 2003 to 2008, right before the huge run up in gold prices. If Switzerland needs to devalue its currency to remain competitive, it can always sell more gold. Unless global banking disappears entirely, the Swiss will remain one of the largest holders of gold in the generations ahead.

5) China
> Gold reserves: 1,054.1 tonnes
> Pct. of total foreign reserves: 1.7%
> GDP: $7.3 trillion (2nd largest)
> Stock performance: Shanghai Composite 6.6% lower in Q3, 5.4% lower YTD

China’s economy has stumbled to the point that its official growth rate of 7.4% in the third quarter may feel like a recession. China has the ambition of becoming the largest economy in the world. It already is considered the world’s manufacturer. China must have hard assets along with its U.S. Treasury bond holdings to keep its currency pegged to the U.S. dollar. It has the world’s largest population, with more than 1.3 billion people, yet its GDP of almost $7.3 trillion is still not even half that of the United States. Whenever the yuan truly floats, China will have to have more hard assets and more transparent economic readings to support it. China added some 454 tonnes of gold between 2003 and 2009. When it finally adjusts its official gold holdings in the coming months, they are likely to be higher again.
4) France
> Gold reserves: 2,435.4 tonnes
> Pct. of total foreign reserves: 71.6%
> GDP: $2.77 trillion (5th largest)
> Stock performance: CAC rose 4.9% in Q3, up 6.1% YTD
France finds itself in an interesting position. Socialist president Francois Hollande is on a quest against many of the austerity measures implemented by his predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy. France does not want to lose its “second-best economy” status in the eurozone, behind Germany. It will have to pay for the new economic measures and this poses a particular problem because the extremely wealthy, who are being targeted for high taxes, may continue to leave the country. France may ultimately need to sell gold. Although it is part of the Central Bank Gold Agreement as a gold seller, it may need a cushion in case the euro faces an outright breakup.

3) Italy
> Gold reserves: 2,451.8 tonnes
> Pct. of total foreign reserves: 72.0%
> GDP: $2.2 trillion (8th largest)
> Stock performance: Borsa Italiana MIB rose 5.7% in Q3, flat YTD
Italy is a financially troubled nation, and it is truly too big to bail out. By many measures it is the greatest economic risk to the rest of Europe and the balance of the major world economies. Italy’s 61 million population ranks 23rd in the world, but its dollar-adjusted GDP of almost $2.2 trillion ranks it as the 8th largest economy. The Italian government was also part of the Central Bank Gold Agreement, but there is a real conundrum now. Italy could sell gold to raise capital, but then it would lose its cushion if the euro unravels. It is almost impossible to imagine that Italy would be a buyer of gold because it has too many pensioners and benefits to pay for as is.
2) Germany
> Gold reserves: 3,395.5 tonnes
> Pct. of total foreign reserves: 72.4% of foreign reserves
> GDP: $3.6 trillion (4th largest)
> Stock performance: DAX rose 12.4% in Q3, up 22.3% YTD
Despite forced gold sales from ECB nations in the past, Germany likely has to maintain its underlying asset base as it is the anchor of the euro. The euro after all, is a watered-down version of the Deutsche mark. Germany’s population of 81 million ranks 16th in the world, but its $3.6 trillion adjusted GDP ranks fourth. What could happen if Germany started accelerated gold sales to buy up even more paper assets from the PIIGS (Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain) and more paper assets of their banks? The initial reaction might be positive for the eurozone economies. However, Angela Merkel and her successors might be left with high inflation without hard assets as a cushion. Germany is supposed to be a gold seller under the Central Bank Gold Agreement, but it is likely to hold what it can as a buffer in case the euro breaks up or in case it needs to raise quick bailout cash for the PIIGS.
1) United States
> Gold reserves: 8,133.5 tonnes
> Pct. of total foreign reserves: 75.4%
> GDP: $15 trillion in GDP (the largest)
> Stock performance: S&P 500 up 5.7% in Q3, up 14.5% YTD
It should be no surprise that the U.S. is the largest holder of gold as the dollar is the global reserve currency and the U.S. has by far the largest GDP of any nation. The growth of the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet can only be sustained without dire consequences if it is backed by hard assets like gold. Imagine if the conspiracy theorists are right and that Fort Knox and other repositories do not have gold in them. It is this gold, the massive U.S. GDP and America’s underlying wealth of natural resources that keep the dollar as the world’s reserve currency. If the World Gold Council is right in its assessments of inflation and gold, then the U.S. is likely to hold its reserve currency status for quite some time, even if credit rating agencies continue to downgrade the country.
JON C. OGG