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Luis Miguel Goitizolo

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RE: ARE WE NOW IN THE END TIMES?
2/13/2018 10:49:49 AM



The US Now Admits There Is No Evidence Assad Used Sarin Gas in Syria

February 12, 2018 at 12:00 pm

(TIM) U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis confirmed that the U.S. government has no evidence that the Syrian government used sarin gas on its people— a claim that was used by the White House as justification for an April 2017 launch of 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at the Al Shayrat airfield in Syria.

On Friday, Mattis said that reports of chemical weapon use by the Syrian government have come from aid groups and others, but that the U.S. doesn’t have any evidence to support these assertions.

“We have other reports from the battlefield from people who claim it’s been used,” Mattis told reporters at the Pentagon. “We do not have evidence of it.”

“We’re looking for evidence of it, since clearly we are dealing with the Assad regime that has used denial and deceit to hide their outlaw actions,” Mattis continued. “We’re even more concerned about the possibility of sarin use.”

Mattis explained that he was not refuting the third-party reports of chemical weapons used by the Syrian government led by President Bashar Assad. Assad has steadfastly denied that his government has used chemical weapons throughout the conflict.

In 2013, UN investigator Carla Del Ponte made note that Syrian rebels, not the Assad regime, used chemical weapons in the two-year civil war, contrary to assessments made by American officials.

According to a report by The Times of Israel:

“Carla Del Ponte, head of the independent UN commission investigating reports of chemical weapons use in Syria, told a Swiss-Italian television station that UN investigators gleaned testimony from victims of Syria’s civil war and medical staff which indicated that rebel forces used sarin gas — a deadly nerve agent.

‘Our investigators have been in neighboring countries interviewing victims, doctors and field hospitals and, according to their report of last week which I have seen, there are strong, concrete suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof of the use of sarin gas, from the way the victims were treated,’ Del Ponte said in the interview, translated by Reuters.

‘This was use on the part of the opposition, the rebels, not by the government authorities,’ she added.”

During his comments on Friday, Mattis referred to the April 2017 cruise missile strikes on a Syrian airbase, noting that the Syrian government would “be ill-advised to go back to violating” the chemical weapons prohibition.

In addition to the UN investigation, one of the foremost academic experts in the field of missile fired chemical weapons, Theodore Postol, Professor of Science, Technology and National Security Policy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), came forward in a series of reports to note his opposition to the official Trump administration’s narrative in regards to the Khan Sheikhoun nerve agent attack in Syria, blamed on the Assad government, which precipitated the cruise missile strikes by the U.S., according to a report in the International Business Times. According to Postol, the Syrian gas attack was not carried out by the Syrian government.

In one of his reports, Postol concluded that the US government’s report does not provide any “concrete” evidence that Assad was responsible, adding it was more likely that the attack was perpetrated by players on the ground.

Postol wrote in his report:

“I have reviewed the [White House’s] document carefully, and I believe it can be shown, without doubt, that the document does not provide any evidence whatsoever that the US government has concrete knowledge that the government of Syria was the source of the chemical attack in Khan Sheikhoun, Syria at roughly 6am to 7am on 4 April, 2017.

In fact, a main piece of evidence that is cited in the document point to an attack that was executed by individuals on the ground, not from an aircraft, on the morning of 4 April.

This conclusion is based on an assumption made by the White House when it cited the source of the sarin release and the photographs of that source. My own assessment is that the source was very likely tampered with or staged, so no serious conclusion could be made from the photographs cited by the White House.”

Postol noted that he has “unambiguous evidence that the White House Intelligence Report (WHR) of April 11, 2017 contains false and misleading claims that could not possibly have been accepted in any professional review by impartial intelligence experts.”

Postol called for an independent investigation into the decision to launch cruise missile strikes in Syria, concluding:

“It is now obvious that this incident produced by the WHR, while just as serious in terms of the dangers it created for US security, was a clumsy and outright fabrication of a report that was certainly not supported by the intelligence community.

In this case, the president, supported by his staff, made a decision to launch 59 cruise missiles at a Syrian air base. This action was accompanied by serious risks of creating a confrontation with Russia, and also undermining cooperative efforts to win the war against the Islamic State.”


By Jay Syrmopoulos
/ Republished with permission / TruthInMedia.com





"Choose a job you love and you will not have to work a day in your life" (Confucius)

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Luis Miguel Goitizolo

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RE: ARE WE NOW IN THE END TIMES?
2/13/2018 4:01:19 PM

CYCLONE GITA TEARS THROUGH PACIFIC ISLAND, FLATTENING PARLIAMENT, NOW HEADS TO FIJI

BY

Tonga residents woke up to chaotic scenes on Tuesday after Cyclone Gita tore through the Pacific island nation in the middle of the night, destroying homes, flooding neighbourhoods and even flattening the country's parliament building.

The tropical cyclone, which hit Tonga with the force of a Category 4 hurricane, is believed to be most powerful cyclone ever recorded to hit the small Pacific nation, according to officials.

Tonga Police shared an image of their headquarters surrounded by water on Tuesday morning after heavy flooding caused by Cyclone Gita.TONGA POLICE

So far, there have been no confirmed deaths reported in the wake of the storm, however a number of people suffered injuries, Graham Kenna, Australian government adviser at Tonga's National Emergency, told Reuters.

Images shared on social media showed Tonga's century-old parliament building destroyed, homes flattened and other areas completely flooded. Essential services, such as power and water, have been disrupted and it could be days until they are restored.

The Tongan government declared a state of emergency on Monday and advised the public to stay off the roads.

As many as 5,700 people sought shelter in evacuation centres overnight, adding that the numbers were expected to increase "substantially" Tuesday evening, New Zealand's Foreign Affairs office said in a statement.

Tonga police asked residents to "please stay at home and look after your families and properties" on Tuesday afternoon, sharing images of their headquarters in Longolongo surrounded by water after heavy floods.

They asked residents to try to keep the roads clear for emergency response teams delivering aid and assistance.

By Tuesday morning, emergency crews and residents had already begun the work of cleaning up after the storm.

"As soon as the sun came up [Tuesday] morning, everyone was out assessing damage and working out what to do first, and then got down to work," Virginie Dourlet, a Parisian who has lived in Tonga for five years, told Newsweek.

"The key words are resilience and resourcefulness," she added. "Everyone has been helping around in a community spirit. That's how it works here. Many are related around us, which helps too."

Other countries have also pledged to support the country's recovery efforts.

New Zealand has said it will donate NZ$750,000 ($545,000) in aid to Tonga, in addition to flying emergency relief supplies to the country on Tuesday.

“The full extent of damage caused by Cyclone Gita is still being assessed but there is an immediate need for assistance on the ground,” New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters said in a statement.

Australia has also said it will cover A$350,000 ($275,000) worth of emergency shelter and kitchen and hygiene kits.

The country's Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, also said in a statement that Australian Defence Force personnel will be helping with clean-up efforts, including debris removal, water, sanitation and distribution of emergency supplies.

Cyclone Gita's path of destruction is not yet over, however, as the storm continues to make its way towards Fiji's southern Lau islands, where it is expected to intensify to a Category 5 cyclone.

Fiji's government has warned residents to expect strong winds, heavy rains and flooding.

Gita also brought heavy rainfall to both Samoa and American Samoa over the weekend, leaving some areas flooded.


(newsweek)

"Choose a job you love and you will not have to work a day in your life" (Confucius)

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Luis Miguel Goitizolo

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RE: ARE WE NOW IN THE END TIMES?
2/13/2018 4:27:19 PM

Hawaii Drowning In Filth, Cesspools Blamed For Skin Infections, Pollution, Contaminated Drinking Water


PUBLISHED:
10:04 PM 12 FEB 2018

This will cost billions to fix.
Sam Di Gangi by

Beneath these inviting waters is a filth that is anything but true blue ocean water.


Many people were quite jolted to learn that the White House has mice, rats, and cockroaches. Isn’t America able to care for our very best structures better than that? Perhaps not. It seems that we can not even keep one of our most beautiful states clean enough not to resemble a third world country, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Hawaii is facing an embarrassing problem with its sewage which could cost around US$1.75 billion to fix,” News (dot com) reports. Those enjoying surfing and other water activities such as snorkeling have developed skin infections just from taking part in the activities. Likewise, “the state’s drinking water, its coral reefs and famous beaches are all under threat because of a cesspool crisis.”

When President Donald Trump talked about the sorry state of our nation’s infrastructure and even a diminishing of our standards in such areas as this, he was not kidding. Hopefully, some of those who have scoffed in the past are taking notice now that the woes are hitting our former President, Obama’s, alleged homeland.

We are told that “untreated human waste” is coming up from holes in the ground. Swimming in such filth is certainly not what most vacationers dream of when they spend the money to fly out to Hawaii, so this unsanitary problem is making a huge dent in tourism, too.

Even more disgusting, the sewage is found in the drinking water! It is said that “nitrite levels” have been pushed to the max.

Proving that money is worth more than a sanitary state, the heavenly looking island’s leaders are worrying that “replacing each cesspool could reach around US$1.75 billion.” While that is a very large sum of money, is there any price not worth it when such a problem as drinking human waste needs to be repaired? This has made many people wonder just where the priorities of the state leaders are.

We are told that cesspools “deposit 53 million gallons of raw sewage” into the ground each day. “Cesspools also present a risk of illness to island residents and a significant harm to streams and coastal resources, including coral reefs,” said the health department.

Cesspool effluent (liquid waste) poses significant threats to human health and sensitive ecosystems. Cesspool wastewater is untreated and contains pathogens, bacteria, and viruses that may spread disease,” they added. “Additionally, cesspool effluent contains nutrients, like nitrogen and phosphorous, that can disrupt the sensitive ecosystems of Hawaii.”

For officials to haggle about money when the people are drinking human void is enough to sicken anyone. This is supposed to be the United States of America, not a third world hellhole. Mr. Trump was right about the problems that he spoke about while on the campaign trail.

Now, we just need state leaders who will listen and actually do something other than sweating greenbacks.

Sources: The Conservative Daily Post The Wall Street Journal News (dot com)


(
conservativedailypost.com)

"Choose a job you love and you will not have to work a day in your life" (Confucius)

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Luis Miguel Goitizolo

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RE: ARE WE NOW IN THE END TIMES?
2/13/2018 4:50:21 PM

AHED TAMIMI, THE PALESTINIAN TEEN WHO SLAPPED AN ISRAELI SOLDIER, GOES ON TRIAL

BY

A Palestinian teenager who was filmed slapping and hitting two Israeli soldiers at her home in the West Bank went on trial at an Israeli military court on Tuesday behind closed doors, where she could be sentenced to years in prison.

Tamimi, who turned 17-years-old in prison last month, has been imprisoned since December for what Israel says was a series of offenses that included assault and incitement to violence. The footage shows her slapping and lashing out at two Israeli soldiers who the Tamimi family say were standing on their property.

Israel alleges that she has frequently been used as a prop in filmed and staged altercations with Israeli soldiers in the West Bank.

But Palestinians have hailed her as a symbol of resistance against Israel's military occupation of the West Bank, and pointed out that she was reacting after her 14-year-old cousin had been shot in the face at close range by an Israeli soldier after clashes nearby the incident in the village of Nabi Saleh.

The Israeli military says the soldiers were there to stop stones being thrown at Israeli motorists. More than 600,000 Israeli settlers live in the West Bank in outposts the majority of the international community consider to be illegal under international law.

Tamimi arrived at Ofer military court on Tuesday, pictured smiling before the judge ordered the courtroom closed. Family members could stay, but diplomats and journalists were asked to leave.

Seventeen-year-old Palestinian Ahed Tamimi (R), a well-known campaigner against Israel's occupation, arrives for the beginning of her trial in the Israeli military court at Ofer military prison in the West Bank village of Betunia on February 13, 2018.THOMAS COEX/AFP/GETTY

"I didn't think it's good for the minor that there are 100 people in the courtroom," Lt. Col. Menachem Lieberman said, according to the Associated Press.

Tamimi's Israeli lawyer said the family wanted the proceedings to be open and that the Israeli military was preventing scrutiny of the trial.

Her mother, Nariman, and cousin, 20-year-old Nour, are also set to go on trial on Tuesday.

Approximately 300 Palestinian minors are currently held in Israeli prisons, two of them in administrative detention, where no charges are given for their being held, according to Israeli rights group B'Tselem.

Amnesty International has decried the arrest and incarceration of Tamimi and called for her immediate release. It said her "continued detention is a desperate attempt to intimidate Palestinian children who dare to stand up to repression by occupying forces."


(newsweek)

"Choose a job you love and you will not have to work a day in your life" (Confucius)

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Luis Miguel Goitizolo

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RE: ARE WE NOW IN THE END TIMES?
2/13/2018 11:35:44 PM


Fred Seibert | Historical Picture Archive / Contributor / Getty Images

DOOMSDAY DEBATE

Wizards and prophets face off to save the planet



For nearly two decades, Charles C. Mann has been troubled by a realization that struck him just after his daughter was born. He was walking outside the hospital on a freezing New England night when the thought stopped him mid stride: By the time she reached his age, there would be 10 billion people living on the planet. How the hell would that work?

Mann makes his living as a science writer and is best known for his bestsellinghistories of America around 1492. Ever since the night of his daughter’s birth, Mann has asked the scientists he interviewed if he could buy them a cup of coffee afterward in order to ask them his nagging question: What are we going to do as population rises?

The responses he got fell into two broad categories depending on the person. The ones who thought technology would save us he dubbed “wizards.” Those who thought we were screwed unless we controlled population growth he called “prophets.”

After years of these interviews, woolgathering, and worldwide travel, Mann turned it all into his latest book, The Wizard and the Prophet: Two Groundbreaking Scientists and Their Conflicting Visions of the Future of Our Planet. We recently talked with Mann about the types of solutions preferred by wizards and prophets, and why he thinks this division means that no one ever changes their mind about nuclear power, renewable energy, or genetically modified food.

Q. You coined the terms “wizards and prophets” to describe two types of people. Can you define these labels?

A. Well, I coined them as a sort of shorthand. A philosopher friend of mine said that there was a very clear way to describe these groups, one of them is a Schumpeteriantechnophiliacmeliorist(laughs). But that didn’t seem all that clear to me, so I call them wizards, as in techno-wizards. Wizards basically believe that science and technology, properly applied, can let us produce our way out of our dilemmas. Prophets believe that there are natural limits, and we transgress these limits at our peril.

Their recommendations are kind of the opposite of each other. One is saying, “Be smart, make more, and that way everyone can win.” The other is saying, “Hunker down, conserve, obey the rules, otherwise everyone is going to lose.”

Q. Innovation versus restraint.

A. Right. And both of them have really strong arguments.

Q. The wizard you chose to focus on was the agronomist Norman Borlaug. Why him?

A. I kept hearing his name from wizards, people who said we’re going to have to use science and technology, we’re going to have to be like Norman Borlaug. He’s the main figure behind what’s been called the Green Revolution — the combination of hybrid seeds, high intensity fertilizer, and irrigation that boosted grain yields in the ’70s and ’80s.

Q. Your prophet is the ecologist William Vogt, and you make a good case that he really cued up the modern environmental movement.

A. Vogt popularized the idea of “carrying capacity.” That is a term you get hit with if you ever take Ecology 101: It’s the idea that environments can only produce so much and if you go over that limit bad things happen. He took it from an arcane scientific idea — used to figure out how many deer can survive in a meadow — and stretched it to cover the entire world. Nowadays we use terms like planetary boundaries or ecological limits, but it’s basically the same thing. I think that’s the foundational idea of the environmental movement: An awareness of limits and a fear that we are exceeding them.

Q. I’d like to throw out three different problems and have you generalize about how wizards and prophets might solve them. Let’s start with energy. How do we keep the lights on?

A. For wizards the answer is basically to stick with the same system we have now but with cleaner energy. Ideally with nuclear power because it has the smallest footprint of any low-carbon source, but you could also have giant concentrated solar plants and that sort of thing.

The prophets dislike nuclear on prudential grounds. You know, it’s too expensive, there’s a waste problem, there’s a risk of accidental meltdown. On a deeper level, they just don’t like the idea of giant corporate structures controlling something as powerful as energy. They are deeply attracted to this idea of self-reliant, smaller scale, more democratic communities in control of their own energy. I have to say this is something that’s really appealing to me. I’m talking to you from a small town with a house with a big solar array on the roof.

Q. OK, next problem: How do we feed ourselves?

A. Aha, there again, wizards basically don’t see anything wrong with industrial agriculture. Yes, there are some problems, but they can be fixed. For instance, farmers could apply fertilizer better and not send so much into lakes and oceans. Again, keep doing what we have been doing but make it cleaner. That almost always leads you right to GMOs — the idea is we might make crops much more productive and reduce our footprint.

It’s not crazy if you accept the way industrial agriculture is the way to go. I talk in the book about the C4 rice initiative at the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines, which aims to make photosynthesis work better in rice. The reason rice crops need most of their fertilizer is to make this enzyme called rubisco that plays a key role in photosynthesis. So the idea is if you had more efficient photosynthesis you would have less rubisco, less nitrogen, less fertilizer, less pollution, and a bigger harvest, and everybody would be a winner. And that’s the wizard theme.

Q. And the prophets? How would they fix food?

A. They see industrial agriculture as the problem, so propping it up is, for them, like trying to put out a fire by pouring on gasoline. They see it causing environmental degradation, from the dead zones at river mouths to the destruction of soils. They would like to see a radically different form of agriculture, one that doesn’t depopulate the countryside, one that mimics natural ecosystems, and grows lots of types of crops. There are some limits on how much production you can squeeze out of grains, and trees and tubers can produce vastly more. So if you put all those elements together on farms you would be able to produce more, more sustainably. It would require more work so you would have more jobs and more vital rural communities, and lots of good things would come from that — at least this is how the prophets see it.

Q. OK, next up is geoengineering. How do we cool the planet down?

A. I think this is a really important subject and one that doesn’t get enough attention. So far I’ve been pretty factual but here I’d like to give you my opinion: Even though we’ve made great progress on carbon emissions, I think it may not be fast enough. So what do you do? That’s where geoengineering comes in. Wizards and prophets have different forms of it.

Wizards typically favor something like solar radiation management, which is essentially sprinkling tiny reflective spheres in the upper atmosphere to bounce back a little of the sunlight, just enough to buy us more time. It would actually be cheap and efficient; it’s kind of horrible to put it that way because nobody in their right mind would be enthusiastic about it. You just need a couple of airplanes sprinkling stuff up there, and it could be done for a couple billion dollars a year. So in a country like Indonesia, which is at risk of losing significant territory to sea rise, and has something like 60 billionaires — you could imagine it right? An individual billionaire might just choose to do this. Prophets see this as crazy, as fighting pollution with pollution.

So the other way to do it, the prophet’s way, is to use those natural carbon-eating devices known as trees. There are large blank spots on the map that don’t have much vegetation — the Sahara, the Australian outback — but they were covered with vegetation in the past. You could reforest them with drought-tolerant trees, proceeding from the edges with desalination plants along the coasts providing water. You could take a significant bite out of the carbon load in the air. A lot of reforestation has been done in the last 20 years in the Sahel, just beyond the Sahara where there’s more rain, and it looks pretty nice.

Q. Why are these such big fights? It seems like we’d want to try all of these solutions.

A. These arguments are often framed pragmatically, but they are really about values. Prophets, for example, don’t like nuclear power and often will say, correctly, “Oh we don’t like it, it costs so much.” But even if circumstances changed and nuclear costs went down, it’s not the case that prophets would then say, “Great! Let’s go for nuclear power.” Because it represents a way of life they don’t want, one in which big machines deliver energy and people live in big cities. It seems to them to be a recipe for atomized anomie.

The wizards look at distributed solar and wind and say, correctly, “There are all these problems with storage and shuffling the power around.” But even if we solved the storage problem the wizards wouldn’t embrace distributed renewables because they see it as something that ties people down to their communities and requires a whole network of social obligations and doesn’t maximize individual liberty. Some people value liberty and some people value community — it’s an ancient fight. There’s no law of physics that says you can’t have both — that you can’t use a mix of solutions. But it’s hard because these value questions are at the bottom.

Q. Can we transcend those values? My smartest sources often seem like they are able to toggle back and forth between prophetic and wizardly thinking.

A. I suspect that the reason your go-to people can switch back and forth is that they’ve thought about it and realized that the facile “this just will never work” arguments are often wrong. And they’re researchers so they are trying to tell you what they’ve figured out empirically.

What’s striking to me is how long these arguments have gone on without most people seeming to blend them in the middle. Its seems perfectly logical to have both, but that’s not what seems to happen.

Q. I started out very much a prophet, but eventually got a little frustrated because as a prophet you are preaching in the wilderness and it feels like nothing ever changes. Meanwhile, the wizards are out there building things.

A. That’s an occupational hazard for prophets. But in fact they have changed a great deal. Just the existence of Grist suggests that they are not really alone in the wilderness. The prophets often don’t see how much progress they have made, but it’s really striking to me.

Q. It seems to me that we’re living in the wizard’s world, but we are guided more and more by the prophet’s politics.

A. It’s true that Borlaug won out in the beginning, but now even the people working on that huge C4 rice photosynthesis initiative will start by talking about how it’s good for the environment.

At some level the prophets are obviously right: The Earth is finite. There is some carrying capacity. The question is, is the carrying capacity so large that it’s irrelevant?


(GRIST)

"Choose a job you love and you will not have to work a day in your life" (Confucius)

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