Gates of Vienna News Feed 6/18/2015

The European Central Bank says that it is not sure whether Greek banks will be able to open for business on Monday. Greek depositors have been withdrawing money from banks at a record rate — more than €2 billion over the first three days of the week. The ECB says the banks will be open tomorrow (Friday), but Monday is not a certainty.

In other news, UK police in Watford, Hertfordshire arrested a white man for wearing a black burka and carrying suspicious rucksacks. One of the rucksacks featured an image of Peppa the Pig on the outside.

To see the headlines and the articles, click “Continue reading” below.

Thanks to C. Cantoni, Dean, Insubria, JD, LP, Papa Whiskey, Seneca III, and all the other tipsters who sent these in.

Notice to tipsters: Please don’t submit extensive excerpts from articles that have been posted behind a subscription firewall, or are otherwise under copyright protection.

Caveat: Articles in the news feed are posted “as is”. Gates of Vienna cannot vouch for the authenticity or accuracy of the contents of any individual item posted here. We check each entry to make sure it is relatively interesting, not patently offensive, and at least superficially plausible. The link to the original is included with each item’s title. Further research and verification are left to the reader.

Financial Crisis
» Did the Classic Car Bubble Just Quietly Burst?
» ECB Not Sure if Greek Banks Would Open on Monday — Officials
» Euro ‘Is Irreversible’ Says EC Spokesman
» The Economic Depression in Greece Deepens as Tsipras Prepares to Deliver ‘The Great No’
» “The System is Broken”: Americans No Longer Believe in its Institutions
» America, You’re Fired!
» Brad Thor’s Message for Pamela Geller’s Critics: You Are Pansies
» California Labor Commission Pops the Uber Bubble, Says Workers Are Employees
» California Property Values Collapse as Water Shut-Offs Begin… Wealthy Community to Go Dry in Days… Real Estate Implosion Now Inevitable
» Charleston Church Shooting Suspect Arrested in N.C., Source Says
» Democrats and GOP Rebels Save the Day on Obamatrade
» Everything Known About Charleston Shooting Suspect Dylann Roof
» Gunman in Deadly Church Shooting Caught
» How Obama’s ‘Trade’ Deals Are Designed to End Democracy
» Obama Calls for More Gun Control After Charleston Shooting
» Obama Calls Deaths in South Carolina Church Shooting ‘Senseless Murders’
» Vaccine Herd Immunity Debunked
» Wal-Mart Has $76 Billion in Overseas Tax Havens, Report Says
» You’ve Been Warned — Calls for Mandatory “National Service” For Americans Aged 18-28 Has Begun
Europe and the EU
» Avio Welcomes Finmeccanica Majority Stake Idea
» ISIS: French Suicide Attackers ‘Ready to Strike’ France
» Italy: Renzi Warns Rome Mayor Marino to Govern or ‘Go Home’
» Italy: Buzzi Seeks to Bargain 3 Yr, 6 Mth Jail Term
» Italy: Renzi Says No Future for Europe Without Britain
» ‘Romanian’ Child-Snatchers Trying to Kidnap British Children at Cyprus Hotel
» Segolene Royal Apologises for Nutella Charge
» Slovenia: Corruption Scandal in the Health Sector
» UK: ‘Burka-Clad White Man’ Arrested in Watford Over Suspect Package
» UK: Rising Rugby Star, 14, Was Found Hanged Next to His Mobile Phone Playing ‘Dark’ Rap Song About Suicide and Death
» Wiesenthal Center: Absurd Comparing Srebrenica and Holocaust
Middle East
» Beyond the Beheadings: ISIS Creating Culture of Fear Inside Their ‘Caliphate’
South Asia
» Indonesia: Muslim Refusal to Vaccinate Raises Diphtheria Fears in Aceh and West Sumatra
» The Great TPP Deathtrap for India, China
Far East
» Massive Radiation Plume From Fukushima Continues Drifting to U.S. West Coast
Australia — Pacific
» NZ: Man Who Threatened to Kill Sentenced
» Dozens of Police Officers Arrested in Serbia
» EU Blasts Hungary for Proposed Anti-Immigrant Wall
» EU Spent 11.3bn on Repatriations in 15 Years
» Financial Times Backs Renzi on Refugees
» French Border Police Return More Migrants to Italy
» Italy: M5S Leader Grillo Tones Down Tweet Equating Rats, Migrants
» Italy: Venice Mayor Urges Naval Blockade Against Migrants
» Pope Asks Forgiveness for Those Who Reject Refugees
» Scabies Alarm Among Migrants Camped on Ventimiglia Rocks
Culture Wars
» Symbolic Pics of the Month
» The Devious Matrix Called Psychiatry
» The Rich Killing World by Consuming Too Much Says Pope
» Vatican: Encyclical: The Concept of Integral Ecology is at the Core of the Document, Says Card Turkson

Did the Classic Car Bubble Just Quietly Burst?

In May, Pablo Picasso’s De Women of Algiers (Version O) sold for a record $180 million at auction prompting us to remark that if the Fed’s bubble busting team led by Stanley Fischer was looking for runaway inflation, it could have easily found it without any particular effort at Christie’s.

We went on to compare what may eventually be go down in history as “peak Picasso” with what looks like a bubble in $100 million homes: The nearly $200 million price tag for the “riot of colors focused on scantily dressed women” is, according to WSJ, reflective of the work’s “trophy” status which it earned as a result of its “ownership pedigree”. Translated from high-end art world parlance to plain English: for billionaires who have seen their obscene fortunes balloon under monetary policies designed to inflate financial assets at the expense of everything else (including market stability), purchasing art affords the buyer an even greater opportunity to “boast” than hoarding $100 million homes because after all, there a lot of mega mansions, but there’s only one vibrant, multi-hued Picasso riff on a Delacroix, so really, $180 million is a bargain, especially when most of the purchase price will be recouped by S&P 2,500, or SHCOMP 6,000 (depending on the nationality of the unnamed buyer).

But it’s not just rare art and obscene homes that appear to be reaching peak insanity, it’s collector cars as well which, incidentally, speaks to the same dynamic that’s driving the art and mega mansions markets: namely, the relentless, central bank-fueled run up in financial assets has given the ultra rich more money than they know how to spend, leading directly to hyperinflation in the types of things billionaires buy when they get bored. Take the 1955 Mercedes 300SL Gullwing, which has outpaced the six-year US equity rally:…

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

ECB Not Sure if Greek Banks Would Open on Monday — Officials

BRUSSELS, June 18 The European Central Bank told a meeting of euro zone finance ministers on Thursday that it was not sure if Greek banks, which have been suffering large daily deposit outflows, would be able to open on Monday, officials with knowledge of the talks said.

The officials said that during the closed-door meeting of the ministers on Greece, the chairman of the meeting Jeroen Dijsselbloem asked European Central Bank Executive Board member Benoit Coeure if Greek banks would be able to open tomorrow.

Coeure answered: “Tomorrow, yes. Monday, I don’t know”

Banking sources said on Thursday that between Monday and Wednesday, Greeks have withdrawn around 2 billion euros from their bank accounts. (Reporting By Robin Emmott)

           — Hat tip: LP [Return to headlines]

Euro ‘Is Irreversible’ Says EC Spokesman

Clock ticking down in negotiations on bailout fund for Greece

(ANSA) — Brussels, June 18 — The European Commission believes that the euro is “irreversible”, spokesman Margaritis Schinas said Thursday. But pressure is rising as a deadline approaches for the next debt payment owed by Greece “and the clock keeps on ticking” said Schinas. Some argue that a diplomatic negotiation could stop the clock and give more time for talks that have stalled for the release of further bailout funds for cash-strapped Greece.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

The Economic Depression in Greece Deepens as Tsipras Prepares to Deliver ‘The Great No’

As Greece plunges even deeper into economic chaos, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras says that his government is prepared to respond to the demands of the EU and the IMF with “the great no” and that his party will accept responsibility for whatever consequences follow. Despite years of intervention from the rest of Europe, Greece is a bigger economic mess today than ever. Greek GDP has shrunk by 26 percent since 2008, the national debt to GDP ratio in Greece is up to a staggering 175 percent, and the unemployment rate is up above 25 percent. Greek stocks are crashing and Greek bond yields are shooting into the stratosphere. Meanwhile, the banking system is essentially on life support at this point. 400 million euros were pulled out of Greek banks on Monday alone. No matter what happens in the coming days, many believe that it is now only a matter of time before capital controls like we saw in Cyprus are imposed.

Over the past several months, there have been endless high level meetings over in Europe regarding this Greek crisis, but none of them have fixed anything. And even Jeroen Dijsselbloem admits that the odds of anything being accomplished during the meeting of eurozone finance ministers on Thursday is “very small”…

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

“The System is Broken”: Americans No Longer Believe in its Institutions

It’s not difficult to see that the foundation is crumbling…

A new Gallup poll has found that already low “confidence” in our system of government, our economy, the media, banking, big business, religious institutions and watchdogs is further eroding.

“Americans’ confidence in most major U.S. institutions remains below the historical average for each one,” a Gallup spokesman said in a news release. All in all, it’s a picture of a nation discouraged about its present and worried about its future, and highly doubtful that its institutions can pull America out of its trough.

There is plenty of good reason, with evidence uncovered daily, weekly and consistently throughout the years of the hypocrisy and failures of government, the failed promises of politicians, the lies and spin of the mainstream media and newspapers, the greed and exploitation of the financial sector and the “just us” mentality of above-the-law enforcers who are supposed to uphold justice.

Just check out how little faith remains in the structure of, well, just about any institution in America, by the numbers: …

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

America, You’re Fired!

Just like in Caesar’s time, the election will go to the people who spend the most money.

But I’m not talking about the candidates. They’re just puppets. Entertainers.

I’m talking about the people who bankroll them.

These financiers have learned some valuable lessons since 63 BC: you never back just one horse.

Instead, they hedge their bets by heavily funding multiple candidates and buying influence over all of them.

One only need look at Hillary Clinton’s top donors to get a sense of who they are: Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, etc.

Anyone who strays from their interests has his/her funding cut and is pronounced ‘unelectable’ and ‘unpresidential’ early in the circus by the media ringmasters.

This makes voting nothing more than a pointless, demeaning illusion of choice between candidates who have already been preselected by their financial backers.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Brad Thor’s Message for Pamela Geller’s Critics: You Are Pansies

Author Brad Thor is not one to mince words when it comes to defending free speech and challenging jihadists.

So it should come as no surprise that during an in-depth interview in connection with his forthcoming “Code of Conduct,” when the topic of Islamic supremacism versus the West came up — and in particular the Garland, TX shooting — sparks were going to fly.

Listen to what Brad had to say below, and for a sneak peek at the creepy enviro-globalist agenda at the heart of “Code of Conduct,” Brad’s assessment of the threats to the homeland and how to take it to Islamic supremacists and his endorsement for president in 2016, you can skip to the full interview here.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

California Labor Commission Pops the Uber Bubble, Says Workers Are Employees

The California Labor Commission ruled that Uber is “involved in every aspect of the operation,” which means drivers are employees and not independent contractors. Uber says it’s “nothing more than a neutral technology platform.” The shift to employee status for California drivers threatens Uber’s obscene $50 billion valuation in the private market as they face increased labor costs. The ruling could also spark an avalanche of similar lawsuits across the country.

Uber is just one example of the exploitation business model. From Washio to Airbnb, companies in the so called “sharing economy” seek to avoid licensing, regulation, insurance, standard labor costs, and basic business responsibility. This trend threatens the average worker and fosters the development of a peasant class.

The misclassification of employees as independent contractors is one of the most widespread employer abuses. The Department of Labor published a report to summarize the employment relationship under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Here are the parts that Uber clearly violated:…

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

California Property Values Collapse as Water Shut-Offs Begin… Wealthy Community to Go Dry in Days… Real Estate Implosion Now Inevitable

(NaturalNews) Water shut-offs have now begun in California, where government-ordered restrictions are starting to leave large communities high and dry. As CBS News is now reporting, the Mountain House community of 15,000 residents will run out of water in just a matter of days.

“The community’s sole source of water, the Byron-Bethany Irrigation District, was one of 114 senior water rights holders cut off by a curtailment notice from the state on Friday,” reports CBS.

And just like that, the property values of millions of dollars worth of homes belonging to 15,000 residents nosedives toward zero.

[Comment: Once people have mass migrated out, and land sold for pennies on the dollar — the water will “miraculously” return (ie no more dumping of fresh water into the ocean).]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Charleston Church Shooting Suspect Arrested in N.C., Source Says

Charleston, South Carolina (CNN) Latest developments

  • Charleston church shooting suspect Dylann Roof has been taken into custody in North Carolina, a senior law enforcement official briefed on the investigation told CNN’s Deborah Feyerick.
  • Roof, 21, of Lexington, South Carolina, is the suspect in Wednesday’s deadly shooting at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, city police said Thursday.
  • Witnesses say the suspect stood up and said he was there “to shoot black people,” a law enforcement official said. The shooter is also thought to have used a handgun, according to the official.

The white man who killed nine people at a historic African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina, told his victims he was there “to shoot black people,” a law enforcement official said Thursday, citing witnesses to the shooting.

The suspect, identified as Dylann Roof, 21, of Lexington, South Carolina, was still at large on Thursday as law enforcement officers searched the region.

The man spent an hour in a prayer meeting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church on Wednesday night before he opened fire, Charleston police Chief Greg Mullen said Thursday morning.

A law enforcement official says witnesses told them the suspect stood up and said he was there “to shoot black people.” The shooter is also believed to have used a handgun, according to the official.

[This nasty little creature will now be the poster child for the American left’s anathematization of white males as a “problem population.” Meanwhile such black racist crimes as the murder and torture of a white family in a Washington, D.C. mansion by a black suspect will be scrubbed of their racial taint by a complaisant media establishment. — PW]

           — Hat tip: Papa Whiskey [Return to headlines]

Democrats and GOP Rebels Save the Day on Obamatrade

After the Republican-controlled Senate foolishly passed the so-called “Obamatrade” bill, the House leadership (John Boehner, Steve Scalise, Paul Ryan, et al.) worked their tails off to pass the bill. But a majority of Democrats and liberty-minded Republicans (small in number) rallied in opposition to the bill and voted it down. HOORAY! In this case, it was mostly Democrats that saved the day!

I have been saying for years that people who think the Republican establishment is a friend to liberty is extremely naïve. On issues regarding so-called “free trade” (it’s NOT free trade; it’s globalism masquerading as free trade), the Warfare State, deficit spending, globalism, and civil liberties, the Republican Party in Washington, D.C., is FAR WORSE than the Democrat Party. In general terms, the Democrat Party is worse on issues that deal with gun control, welfare, abortion, gay marriage, and extremist environmentalist policies. As one should easily be able to see, there is no “lesser of two evils” between these two parties. Each party is a greater evil, depending on the issue. And taken as a whole, both parties in Washington, D.C., are selling our liberties down the river.

But this so-called Obamatrade bill is a nightmare. If you thought NAFTA and GATT are bad (and they are), Obamatrade (TPP) is far worse. Even worse is that congressional leaders will not allow the public to know what’s in the bill. Heck, most of the congressmen and senators who are voting on the bill don’t know what’s in it.

Matt Drudge paraphrases Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) angrily growling at reporters, “You will read it after we pass it.” What a pompous, arrogant jackass Mr. Ryan is. Obviously, he has been in Congress too long…

“Stephen Miller, one of the staff leaders for Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama), joined Breitbart News Sunday and was asked by Breitbart’s Executive Chairman and host, Stephen K. Bannon: ‘Isn’t the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) really a global governance deal, rather than a trade agreement? Is this a way to get the United States into a Pacific Union, as Senator Sessions lays out, that is very much like the European Union?’

“‘That’s exactly what is happening here,’ said Miller. ‘The Pacific Union that Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) refers to is the new transnational governance body that would be created by the Transpacific Partnership.’

“‘What this means,’ explained Miller, ‘is the house and the senate together would be authorizing the president to enter the United States into a new trans-national union.’

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Everything Known About Charleston Shooting Suspect Dylann Roof

By Katie Zavadski

Police arrested Dylann Storm Roof hours after he allegedly killed nine people at an historic black church in Charleston. Roof, 21, is from Lexington, South Carolina, and was taken into custody in Shelby, North Carolina. At a press conference, Charleston Police Chief Greg Mullen said a citizen’s tip led police to Roof’s car. Mullen refused to comment on whether Roof admitted to the shooting but said the suspect was cooperative.

Roof was previously arrested on April 26 on a trespassing charge and was awaiting moderation. On February 28, Roof was arrested for drug posession at a mall in Columbia. The Wall Street Journal reports a police incident report said Roof posessed Suboxone, a pain drug sometimes used to treat opiate addiction, without a prescription.

A sparse Facebook page shows an image of Roof in a jacket with the flags of apartheid-era South Africa and Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe).

Another Facebook photo of Roof sitting on the roof of his car shows an ornamental license plate with a Confederate flag on it.

John Mullins, who went to high school with Roof, told The Daily Beast that he remembers him as being “kind of wild.”

“He used drugs heavily a lot,” Mullins said. “It was obviously harder than marijuana. He was like a pill popper, from what I understood. Like Xanax, and stuff like that.”


Roommate Dalton Tyler told ABC News that Roof was “planning something like that for six months.”

“He was big into segregation and other stuff,” Tyler said. “He said he wanted to start a civil war. He said he was going to do something like that and then kill himself.”

[Uh … you might have something, buddy. — PW]

           — Hat tip: Papa Whiskey [Return to headlines]

Gunman in Deadly Church Shooting Caught

CHARLESTON, S.C. (CBS Atlanta/AP) — The suspect behind the deadly Charleston, South Carolina, church shooting has been caught.

Dylann Storm Roof, 21, was apprehended in Shelby, North Carolina, nearly three hours away from Emanuel AME Church.

Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley says Roof was arrested during a traffic stop.

Roof is accused of killing nine people, including the pastor, at the historically black church. Authorities called it a hate crime. CBS News reports worshippers were at the church at the time for Bible study.

Court records show that Roof has one felony drug case pending against him, a past misdemeanor trespassing charge and no other criminal record in the state.

In April, state police say that Roof, of Lexington, was arrested for misdemeanor trespassing in Lexington County. No further details on that charge were immediately available.

The victims of the shooting were six females and three males, Charleston Police Chief Gregory Mullen said Thursday morning.

The FBI will aid the investigation, Mullen told a news conference that was attended by FBI Special Agent in Charge David A. Thomas.

Mullen said in a press conference Thursday morning that the gunman was sitting in a prayer meeting in the church for an hour before the shooting…

           — Hat tip: Dean [Return to headlines]

How Obama’s ‘Trade’ Deals Are Designed to End Democracy

U.S. President Barack Obama has for years been negotiating with European and Asian nations — but excluding Russia and China, since he is aiming to defeat them in his war to extend the American empire (i.e, to extend the global control by America’s aristocracy) — three international ‘trade’ deals (TTP, TTIP, & TISA), each one of which contains a section (called ISDS) that would end important aspects of the sovereignty of each signatory nation, by setting up an international panel composed solely of corporate lawyers to serve as ‘arbitrators’ deciding cases brought before this panel to hear lawsuits by international corporations accusing a given signatory nation of violating that corporation’s ‘rights’ by its trying to legislate regulations that are prohibited under the ‘trade’ agreement, such as by increasing the given nation’s penalties for fraud, or by lowering the amount of a given toxic substance that the nation allows in its foods, or by increasing the percentage of the nation’s energy that comes from renewable sources, or by penalizing corporations for hiring people to kill labor union organizers — i.e., by any regulatory change that benefits the public at the expense of the given corporations’ profits. (No similar and countervailing power for nations to sue international corporations is included in this: the ‘rights’ of ‘investors’ — but really of only the top stockholders in international corporations — are placed higher than the rights of any signatory nation.)

This provision, whose full name is “Investor State Dispute Resolution” grants a one-sided benefit to the controlling stockholders in international corporations, by enabling them to bring these lawsuits to this panel of lawyers, whose careers will consist of their serving international corporations, sometimes as ‘arbitrators’ in these panels, and sometimes as lawyers who more-overtly represent one or more of those corporations, but also serving these corporations in other capacities, such as via being appointed by them to head a tax-exempt foundation to which international corporations ‘donate’ and so to turn what would otherwise be PR expenses into corporate tax-deductions. In other words: to be an ‘arbitrator’ on these panels can produce an extremely lucrative career.

These are in no way democratic legal proceedings; they’re the exact opposite, an international conquest of democracy, by international corporations. This “ISDS” sounds deceptively non-partisan, but it’s really a grant to the controlling international investors giving them a ‘right’ against the taxpayers in each of the signatory nations, a ‘right’ to sue, essentially, those taxpayers; and ISDS includes no countervailing ‘right’ to those taxpayers, to sue those international corporations; it’s an entirely one-sided provision, and it even removes the authority of the democratically elected national government to adjudicate the matter. It even removes the appeals-court system: once a decision is reached by the ‘arbitrating’ panel, it is final, it cannot be appealed. And no nation may present a challenge to the constitutionality of the ‘arbitrators’ decision. These treaties, if signed, will override the signatory nation’s constitution, on those matters.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Obama Calls for More Gun Control After Charleston Shooting

President says mass violence doesn’t happen in other countries

(ANSA) — New York, June 18 — United States President Barack Obama on Thursday called for tighter gun control after nine people were killed in a hate-crime shooting in a black church in Charleston, South Carolina.

“At some point we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries… with this kind of frequency,” Obama said.

“Once again, innocent people were killed because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hands on a gun. “It is in our power to do something about it”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Obama Calls Deaths in South Carolina Church Shooting ‘Senseless Murders’

By Karl de Vries and Kevin Liptak

President Barack Obama on Thursday called the nine deaths in the Charleston, South Carolina, church shooting “senseless murders” and suggested more gun control is needed in the wake of the tragedy.


Obama declined to comment on specific details of the investigation, which currently centers on 21-year-old suspect Dylann Roof, a white man who was taken into custody late Thursday morning in Shelby, North Carolina, authorities have said.

But the President said the shooting should refocus attention on preventing potential killers from getting their hands on guns.


“At some point it’s going to be important for the American people to come to grips with it, and for us to be able to shift how we think about the issue of gun violence collectively,” he said.

[Of course Barry Hussein wants “us” to shift our thinking “collectively” — because he wants America to be a collective instead of a nation of free individuals. A collective whose thinking may be shifted by political cadre, and whose rights may be abrogated by the same. And it is noteworthy that an attack on his people has him shouting from the roooftops, whole attacks by his people leave him unmoved. — PW]

           — Hat tip: Papa Whiskey [Return to headlines]

Vaccine Herd Immunity Debunked

(NaturalNews) “Herd immunity” is not sufficient rationale to mandate widespread vaccination, says renowned neurosurgeon Dr. Russell Blaylock, in an article published on the website Indeed, he says, the very concept itself does not hold water.

Blaylock was among the developers of a groundbreaking neurosurgical technique for removing intraventricular tumors that is still used today. He also developed a new treatment for hydrocephalus and was one of the first neurosurgeons to implement high-intensity nutritional supplementation as a complementary treatment for patients with craniocerebral trauma. Blaylock recently retired from his neurosurgery and nutrition practices to focus on full-time nutrition research.

Blaylock is the author of Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills (1994), Health and Nutrition Secrets That Can Save Your Life (2002) and Natural Strategies for Cancer Patients (2003). He also publishes a monthly newsletter, The Blaylock Wellness Report.

Based on faulty premise

Herd immunity refers to the idea that, if enough of the population is vaccinated against a disease, there will not be enough vulnerable individuals to allow the disease to spread. This should therefore protect even the unvaccinated population (such as children too young to receive the vaccine). Conversely, many vaccine advocates have argued that people who refuse to get vaccines are threatening the nation’s herd immunity and thereby placing the health of young children at risk.

In his article, Blaylock challenges the entire premise of this argument.

“Herd immunity is mostly a myth and applies only to natural immunity — that is, contracting the infection itself,” he wrote.

Blaylock notes that the concept of herd immunity was first described in people who had already contracted certain diseases, such as measles, that can only be contracted once. The “natural immunity” acquired from such infections, Blaylock notes, lasts a lifetime. And when vaccines were first introduced, scientists assumed that they would likewise confer lifetime immunity.

This promise has not been borne out, which is why booster shots are now suggested for a wide variety of vaccines. Indeed, vaccine protection only seems to last between 2 and 10 years, Blaylock says.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Wal-Mart Has $76 Billion in Overseas Tax Havens, Report Says

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. owns more than $76 billion of assets through a web of units in offshore tax havens around the world, though you wouldn’t know it from reading the giant retailer’s annual report. A new study has found Wal-Mart has at least 78 offshore subsidiaries and branches, more than 30 created since 2009 and none mentioned in U.S. securities filings. Overseas operations have helped the company cut more than $3.5 billion off its income tax bills in the past six years, its annual reports show.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

You’ve Been Warned — Calls for Mandatory “National Service” For Americans Aged 18-28 Has Begun

War is a Racket

WAR is a racket. It always has been.

It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.

A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small “inside” group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.

— From Major General Smedley Butler’s War is a Rackett

This is one of the most important articles I will write all year. The statists are coming for your kids, and the conditioning has already begun.

Last night, I came across one of the most horrifying articles I have ever read, which is saying a lot. Before I get into it, take a look at the title and the tagline:

Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 11.10.35 AM

If you think the title is bad, wait until you read the article. What becomes evident is that this grotesque concept of forced “national service” is being actively discussed at the highest levels of government. What Ron Fournier is doing in his National Journal article is conditioning the public to accept something that is completely unacceptable.

Before we get to that, who is Ron Fournier? National Journal provides a bio: …

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Avio Welcomes Finmeccanica Majority Stake Idea

‘Major structure’ needed for our goals says Lasagni

(ANSA) — Paris, June 15 — Italian Vega space rocket-launcher maker Avio has welcomed a possible new shareholding setup that would see Italian defence giant Finmeccanica take a majority stake.

Speaking at the Le Bourget aerospace fair, Avio Chairman and CEO Pier Giuliano Lasagni said “we are just at the beginning of the potential” that Vega’s innovative technology “can express and we know how vast and complex these are, so much that they deserve an important structure.

“Avio would like to find a shareholding arrangement that helps it in this mission.

Finmeccanica currently has 14% of Avio, made up for 81% by Cinven and 5% by others.

“It’s clear that there is an interest by Finmeccanica which has accompanied us in the last 10 years of our history,” Lasagni went on.

“Today I think they want to continue to be present. There is talk of a majority or of other forms that can safeguard the activities of the Vega launcher, which is a national patrimony”.

The next step, he said, regards “European industrial equilibria which have to be managed,” referring above all to the “strong signals from France in the launcher sector, to ensure autonomous access to space.

However, he cautioned, “there is a much more complex institutional and commercial space, which revolves around the Vega launcher, which is a catalyst of many opportunities”. Avio makes the Vega at its plant at Colleferro near Rome.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

ISIS: French Suicide Attackers ‘Ready to Strike’ France

Media, 1,730 potential jihadists

(ANSAmed) — PARIS, JUNE 18 — France’s intelligence fears new attacks in the country carried out by French suicide bombers, Le Figaro reports, quoting an investigation by national authorities. According to the probe, “1,730 potential jihadists (are) ready to strike” while keeping in detention French nationals who have returned from fighting a “holy war” appears increasingly difficult.

Meanwhile, according to Le Parisien, two men were apprehended yesterday and the day before yesterday in a Parisian banlieu as part of investigations on the attacks on Charlie Hebdo and the Hyper Cacher.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Renzi Warns Rome Mayor Marino to Govern or ‘Go Home’

Tells MPs work is ‘thrilling’, but warns of school reform delays

(ANSA) — Rome, June 16 — Premier Matteo Renzi said Tuesday that Rome Mayor Ignazio Marino is a good guy, but he should not relax about an ongoing corruption scandal adding that if the mayor cannot do his job, he should go home.

“Marino is an upstanding person,” said the premier amid rising political controversy over the Rome Mafia Capitale scandal.

“I’m interested in whether the administration cleans the streets, fixes potholes, deals with emergencies,” added Renzi, who later appeared in the homes of Italians via the popular television talk show Porta a Porta. “If they know how to govern they should do so, if not they should go home”.

Earlier in the day Renzi told a meeting of MPs from his Democratic Party (PD) that the current legislature is “thrilling”. “This legislature — which will end in 2018 — is thrilling”.

Renzi also warned that opposition delays mean his school reforms won’t be ready for September and the new school year.

And he said that it is time to revert to what he called ‘Renzi 1’ approach to politics.

Meanwhile, Renzi suggested that Marino should not be “relaxed” about his job, but putting the city of Rome under a special commissioner for reasons of mafia infiltration is not in the cards, Renzi said.

“The commissioner for mafia option is non-existent,” he said. “The government will read prosecution documents but as far as we’re concerned the conditions aren’t there”.

Marino, asked twice by reporters about Renzi’s remarks, would not comment.

Meanwhile, Renzi said that complaining and micro-analysing every strain in his PD was “a great big bore” for the public and for him as well.

His comments come after the PD lost several of last weekend’s city council runoffs, including in Venice. The party also lost Liguria in a round of regional elections last month and have a headache in Campania, where Vincenzo De Luca won the vote but risks being suspended because of an abuse-of-office conviction. De Luca was selected by the PD via a primary. Renzi added that he would like his PD to stop holding primaries to select all its major candidates. “I say no more PD primaries. I didn’t select the candidates. If it were for me, the season of primaries would be over”.

Meanwhile, the premier said that he intends to revert to his former approach to politics, which he called ‘Renzi 1’. That, he said on Porta a Porta, can help recapture some of the “initial enthusiasm” around his party and its work.

“Despite difficulties we have an extraordinary responsibility and we must not lose even one gram of the initial enthusiasm,” said Renzi.

“Now we can talk about whether the Jobs Act has created jobs, how to bring new investments to Italy…if I have to talk about the Democratic Party (PD)…I’ll bore myself all on my own”.

He also vowed promised a change of gear on the government’s ambitious reform programme.

“The reforms are nearer, I’ll have to increase the revs, not decrease them,” he said.

Still, the premier acknowledged that on school reforms, his government will need more time. He pledged a public meeting in early July with families and unions, and said that his school reform proposals won’t be ready by September because of opposition.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Buzzi Seeks to Bargain 3 Yr, 6 Mth Jail Term

Prosecutors poised to come out against offer — sources

(ANSA) — Rome, June 16 — Salvatore Buzzi, the jailed kingpin of several cooperatives who is at the centre of the so-called Mafia Capitale probe into allegations a mafia organisation muscled in on lucrative city of Rome contracts, has proposed a plea bargain of three years six months, ANSA sources said Tuesday. Rome prosecutors are expected to give a negative opinion of the request that Buzzi’s lawyers have presented to a preliminary investigations judge. Buzzi is accused of mafia-type criminal association and corruption, among other offences.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Renzi Says No Future for Europe Without Britain

Premier says he discussed outlook for region with UK’s Cameron

(ANSA) — Milan, June 17 — Premier Matteo Renzi said Wednesday that “we do not think there is a future for Europe without the United Kingdom as a key partner”.

He spoke after meeting British Prime Minister David Cameron, who was in Milan to visit British sites at Milan Expo 2015. Britain says it will hold a referendum on its membership in the European Union. “There are many points of collaboration with the United Kingdom and with the leadership of David Cameron,” said Renzi.

“We discussed the outlook for Europe in the coming months,” Renzi added.

“It will be a very intense period, and the discussion of the referendum in the UK is also very important for us,” he added.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

‘Romanian’ Child-Snatchers Trying to Kidnap British Children at Cyprus Hotel

Tour operator Thomas Cook has since moved around 60 families from the Anastasia Beach Complex, near Protaras, to another hotel amid fears for the children’s safety.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Segolene Royal Apologises for Nutella Charge

‘A thousand apologies’ tweets French environment minister

(ANSA) — Paris, June 17 — French Environment Minister Segolene Royal on Wednesday voiced “a thousand apologies” on her Twitter account for urging people not to eat Nutella because it allegedly damaged the environment because of its use of palm oil.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Slovenia: Corruption Scandal in the Health Sector

Damage to the system approximately 5 million Euros

(ANSA) — LJUBLJANA — A case of corruption in the public health sector in Slovenia, that caused a total damage of five million euro, has been unveiled today by the business daily Finance on the basis of documents that started investigations and resulted and in 58 house searches from the police at the end of 2013.

In the scandal, according to Finance, they were involved 10 doctors, seven suppliers of medical equipment and four other people.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

UK: ‘Burka-Clad White Man’ Arrested in Watford Over Suspect Package

A ‘burka-clad white man’ has been arrested after police detonated a suspect package in Watford town centre.

Officers were called to a street close to the Hertfordshire town’s main shopping area just after 11am today following reports a suspicious item had been found outside a Travelodge hotel.

The man is believed to have been carrying two rucksacks — one branded with children’s TV character Peppa Pig — although it is not known whether these were the ones destroyed.

Images of the man began to circulate on social media, showing him in full-length, Islamic-style black robes with a niqab covering his face, as he was confronted by police in nearby Clarendon Road.

Army bomb disposal experts and a bomb disposal robot were called to the scene as the area was evacuated.

People were asked to avoid the centre of the town and many sought refuge in a nearby church while cordons still remain in place on Market Street and Watford High Street.

Hertfordshire Constabulary said the device had been ‘safely destroyed’ by bomb disposal experts this afternoon and confirmed a man had been arrested in connection with the incident.

The suspect was carrying Peppa Pig and Ladybird children’s rucksacks filled with books when he was handcuffed by officers…

           — Hat tip: Seneca III [Return to headlines]

UK: Rising Rugby Star, 14, Was Found Hanged Next to His Mobile Phone Playing ‘Dark’ Rap Song About Suicide and Death

Rising rugby star and model student William Musgrove, 14, from Ashover, Derbyshire, was found hanged after storming out of the family home following an argument.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Wiesenthal Center: Absurd Comparing Srebrenica and Holocaust

According to Zuroff, no proper genocide in the enclave

(ANSA) — BELGRADE — It’s absurd comparing the Holocaust, the genocide in Rwanda and the crimes committed in Srebrenica, the director of the Jerusalem office of the Wiesenthal Center, Efraim Zuroff, said in an interview with the Belgrade daily ‘Politika’.

According to Zuroff, neither the Rwandan case could be an appropriate comparison with the Holocaust and, even if the crimes committed there are more similar to the Shoah than the events in Srebrenica, there are still not the same.

“Neither Rwanda nor Srebrenica represent a mass murder on industrial scale like the Holocaust”, he added, expressing at the same time doubts about the fact the in Srebrenica a genocide in the true sense of the term was committed. “I think that the decision to define as genocide the events in Srebrenica was taken for political reasons”, he concluded.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Beyond the Beheadings: ISIS Creating Culture of Fear Inside Their ‘Caliphate’

ESKI MOSUL, Iraq — When the Islamic State fighters burst into the Iraqi village of Eski Mosul, Sheikh Abdullah Ibrahim knew his wife was in trouble.

Buthaina Ibrahim was an outspoken human rights advocate who had once run for the provincial council in Mosul. The IS fighters demanded she apply for a “repentance card.” Under the rule of the extremist group, all former police officers, soldiers and people whose activities are deemed “heretical” must sign the card and carry it with them at all times.

“She said she’d never stoop so low,” her husband said.

Buthaina Ibrahim was an outlier in her defiance of the Islamic State. It would cost her dearly.

The “caliphate,” declared a year ago, demands obedience. Untold numbers have been killed because they were deemed dangerous to ISIS, or insufficiently pious; 5-8 million endure a regime that has swiftly turned their world upside down, extending its control into every corner of life to enforce its own radical interpretation of Islamic law, or Shariah.

The Islamic State is a place where men douse themselves with cologne to hide the odor of forbidden cigarettes; where taxi drivers or motorists usually play the ISIS radio station, since music can get a driver 10 lashes; where women must be entirely covered, in black, and in flat-soled shoes; where shops must close during Muslim prayers, and everyone found outdoors must attend.

There is no safe way out. People vanish — their disappearance sometimes explained by an uninformative death certificate, or worse, a video of their beheading.

“People hate them, but they’ve despaired, and they don’t see anyone supporting them if they rise up,” said a 28-year-old Syrian who asked to be identified only by the nickname he uses in political activism, Adnan, in order to protect his family, which still lives under ISIS rule. “People feel that nobody is with them.”

The Associated Press interviewed more than 20 Iraqis and Syrians describing life under the group’s rule. One AP team travelled to Eski Mosul, a village on a bend in the Tigris River north of Mosul where residents emerged from nearly seven months under IS rule after Kurdish fighters drove the extremists out in January. ISIS forces remain dug in only a few miles away, so close that smoke is visible from fighting on the front lines.

Another AP team travelled to the Turkish border cities of Gaziantep and Sanliurfa, refuges for Syrians who have fled ISIS territory.

The picture they paint suggests the Islamic State’s “caliphate” has evolved into an entrenched pseudo-state, based on a bureaucracy of terror.

[How far will this totalitarian obscenity extend its tentacles before it is dealt with as were the Nazis in World War II? For that is what it will take. — PW]

           — Hat tip: Papa Whiskey [Return to headlines]

Indonesia: Muslim Refusal to Vaccinate Raises Diphtheria Fears in Aceh and West Sumatra

A low-level outbreak has occurred in the two strongly Muslim provinces on Sumatra Island. Scores of people have become infected; four have died. For years, many Muslims have refused vaccination because of the presence of pig enzymes in vaccines.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) — An outbreak of diphtheria has hit the provinces of Aceh and West Sumatra, on the island of Sumatra.

In Padang, the capital of West Sumatra, where a state of emergency has been declared, 62 people are suspected to have contracted the inflection. Six are known to have it whilst two have died. In Banda Aceh, the capital of Aceh province, 16 people have been infected and two have died.

The Indonesian Paediatric Association (Ikatan Dokter Anak Indonesia or IDAI) said that the cause of the spread of the disease is religious. The two provinces are strongly Muslim, and residents have opposed vaccination for decades.

“There has been especially strong opposition to vaccination since 2012,” said IDAI secretary Piprim Basarah Yanuarso. “Among Muslims, some people think that vaccination is part of a Jewish conspiracy, and that it is haram (forbidden).”

“When we went to Padang during the outbreak of the epidemic, the local health agency told us of growing opposition to vaccination,” he noted.

“People here think that the vaccine is haram after having heard someone saying so in a mosque. In very religious regions, such rumours have had a great negative impact on immunisation.”

Data from the West Sumatra Health Agency show that 93 per cent of the population was vaccinated in 1992. This was down to 35 per cent in 2013. According to IDAI data, only two out of ten mothers get their children immunised in Aceh province.

Like polio, diphtheria was successfully eradicated in the country. In fact, the number of diphtheria cases dropped in Indonesia from 432 in 2006 to 394 in 2014 (75 per cent of them children). However, “as the level of immunisation drops from 80 to 60 per cent, chances for an outbreak will go up, like in Padang and Aceh,” Piprim explained.

H M Subuh, the Health Ministry’s director general for Disease Control and Environmental Health, called for less emphasis on religion.

“People should give priority to their own safety and that of their children rather than get bogged down over whether the vaccine is halal or haram,” he said. In Islam, halal refers to what is religiously lawful, and haram to what is religiously unlawful.

In the past, Islamic religious authorities have issued religious bans on vaccines. In 2008, the Indonesian Ulema Council (Majelis Ulama Indonesia or MUI) banned a vaccine against meningitis by GlaxoSmithKline because it contained pig enzymes.

In 2010, the MUI defended its fatwa, declaring that two other brands of the meningitis vaccine were halal, ignoring experts’ opinion that no vaccines can be pig-free.

MUI president Din Syamsuddin backed the fatwa, saying that “the Ulema Council has dealt with these problems for a long time. We expect vaccines with ingredients derived from pigs to be no longer used, except in an emergency.”

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]

The Great TPP Deathtrap for India, China

The truth emerges out of the shadows of secrecy…

Let’s start here. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a trade treaty, coming down the homestretch toward ratification, involving 12 nations which account for a staggering 40% of the world’s GDP. The TPP encompasses 775 million consumers.

Waiting in the wings is something much larger. It is the intention, up the road, to fold India and China into the treaty.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

Massive Radiation Plume From Fukushima Continues Drifting to U.S. West Coast

(NaturalNews) By 2016, nearly as much radiation from the Fukushima disaster will have reached the North American West Coast as was initially scattered over Japan during the nuclear explosions, according to professor Michio Aoyama of Japan’s Fukushima University Institute of Environmental Radioactivity.

In March 2011, a massive earthquake and tsunami triggered multiple nuclear meltdowns at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. A massive cloud of radiation was ejected into the atmosphere, settling all across Japan and into the Pacific Ocean.

Approximately 800 terabecquerels’ worth of cesium-137 (Cs-137) alone is expected to reach North America by next year, accounting for just 5 percent of the Cs-137 spilled into the ocean as a result of the disaster.

Radioactive cesium does not naturally occur on planet Earth and is found only as a result of human nuclear activities. Cs-137 is widely considered one of the most dangerous byproducts of nuclear activity, because it mimics the activity of potassium and therefore accumulates in soil and plants, and is actively taken up by the human body.

Aoyama says that approximately 3,500 terabecquerels’ worth of Cs-137 have been released into the sea from the Fukushima plant since March 2011, plus an additional 1.2 to 1.5 terabecquerels that was first released into the air but later fell into the sea. Based on measurements of the pace at which the Cs-137 has been moving eastward, Aoyama recently calculated that 800 terabecquerels would reach the West Coast of North America by next year.

Notably, 800 terabecquerels is nearly as much as (80 percent of) the 1,000 terabequerels that Fukushima operator Tokyo Electric Power Company says fell over Japan following the disaster.

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

NZ: Man Who Threatened to Kill Sentenced

By Lauren Priestly

A man who held a large knife to a driver’s throat and threatened to kill him while yelling an Islamic exclamation will be in jail for less than a year.

Imran Patel, 25, was sentenced at the Auckland District Court today for assaulting and threatening to kill a man after an altercation while he was driving on Dominion Rd.

The road rage incident occurred in February when a driver made a late lane-change in front of Patel’s car.

Patel allegedly gestured the driver back and then ran across the road and held a knife — measuring 20cm when it is open — to the driver’s throat yelling, “Allahu Akbar” [Allah is the greatest], and, “I’m going to kill you motherf***er”.

He had pulled the driver out of his car when police officers arrived and arrested him.

It came just six weeks after Patel was sentenced for being involved in intimidating a former New Zealand Muslim Association president at his Sandringham home, where one man yelled “jihad will start from here” at him.

Judge Claire Ryan said Patel’s actions had brought shame to the Islamic community in New Zealand.

“You do your community no service by this public display of anger, calling on the name of Allah and waving around a knife,” she said.

“You’re behaving like this right at a time of great upheaval in the world where things can be misinterpreted and taken out of context. You are the public face of Islam that people see and they get the wrong idea.”


Judge Ryan also ordered Patel to undertake an anger management or anti-violence course to combat the “extremely worrying signs” she saw in him.

[Anger management in Islam is provided for in Qur’anic verses 9:14 and 9:15: Fight them; Allah will punish them by your hands and will disgrace them and give you victory over them and satisfy the breasts of a believing people, and remove the fury in the believers’ hearts. Quite apart from this, one wonders to what extent the reproaches of a white woman jurist are going to resonate with this Muslim miscreant. “The wrong idea?” That’s rich. — PW]

           — Hat tip: Papa Whiskey [Return to headlines]

Dozens of Police Officers Arrested in Serbia

Bribes taken from illegal immigrants passing into Hungary

(ANSA) — BELGRADE — 29 Serbian police officers, nine custom officers and one civilian were arrested and charged of receiving bribes from immigrants to allow them to illegally cross the border with Hungary. The illegal operations, said in a statement the Serbian Ministry of the Interior, took place in the last 15 months mainly at border crossing Backi Breg.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

EU Blasts Hungary for Proposed Anti-Immigrant Wall

‘We’ve taken down walls, should not put up new ones’

(ANSA) — Brussels, June 18 — The EU’s commissioner on immigration spoke out Thursday against Hungary’s proposal to build an anti-immigrant wall separating it from Serbia, announced Wednesday.

“We have only recently taken down walls in Europe; we should not be putting them up,” said Natasha Bertaud, spokeswoman for EU immigration commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos.

The proposed wall would stand four metres high and run 175 kilometers along the length of the shared border between Hungary and Serbia.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

EU Spent 11.3bn on Repatriations in 15 Years

Migrant traffickers raked in 16bn in same period

(ANSA) — Brussels, June 18 — European Union member states and non-Schengen countries Liechtenstein, Iceland, Norway, and Switzerland have collectively spent 11.3 billion euros on repatriating migrants in 15 years, according to a study published by The Migrants Files on Thursday.

This compares to an estimated 16 billion euros pocketed by human traffickers over the same period, the study added.

External border control activities carried out under the EU agency Frontex have cost about one billion euros since its inception in 2004, Migrants Files said. The Migrants Files is a project by a European consortium of journalists that aims at precisely assessing the number of men, women and children that died as a result of EU member States migration policies.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Financial Times Backs Renzi on Refugees

‘Renzi impatience understandable’

(ANSA) — London, June 18 — The Financial Times newspaper on Thursday backed Premier Matteo Renzi’s call for the European Union to share the burden of hosting Mediterranean refugees via a quota system. The UK daily went on to say the British government, which has an opt-out of the Schengen agreement, “should not balk at taking its fair share” of refugees.

Prime Minister David Cameron has committed Royal Navy ships to a patrol-and-rescue mission in the Mediterranean, on the condition that any migrants they rescue “will be taken to the nearest safe country…and that they won’t request asylum in the UK”.

In its editorial titled Italy’s Cry of Anger over the EU Migrant Crisis, the paper wrote that while Italy has borne the brunt of rescuing, hosting and resettling some 100,000 migrants that have fled North Africa and the Middle East since the start of this year, Renzi “is not willing to suffer in silence” and his “impatience is understandable”.

The editorial goes on to call for centers in Italy, Greece and Spain to identify “the minority of refugees who qualify for asylum” and for aggressive prosecution of migrant traffickers.

“The EU…needs a policy that both shares the refugee burden equitably and credibly limits the flows across the Mediterranean in coming year,” the paper concluded.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

French Border Police Return More Migrants to Italy

Fifteen sent back through Ventimiglia border post

(ANSA) — Ventimiglia, June 18 — French border police continued to send migrants who had crossed into France from Ventimiglia in Italy’s northwestern Liguria region back again on Thursday, one day after some 170 people were returned.

Roughly 15 migrants were sent back from the frontier post in the early hours of Thursday morning. French police have also stepped up controls at the international rail stations of Nice and Cannes, sources said.

As well, a high-speed train travelling from Italy to Paris was stopped at the border station of Garavan-Mentone to allow police to search for migrants. A group of around 100 migrants have been camped out on rocks by the sea on the Italian side of the border for six days demanding to be allowed into France.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: M5S Leader Grillo Tones Down Tweet Equating Rats, Migrants

Comic responds to criticism of ‘barbarism’

(ANSA) — Rome, June 17 — Outspoken 5-Star Movement (M5S) leader Beppe Grillo toned down a controversial Twitter posting Wednesday after outrage over his prediction that Rome may be “swamped in rats, trash and illegal immigrants”.

Left Ecology Freedom party chief Nichi Vendola spearheaded an angry response, saying that “putting rats and illegal immigrants on the same level means lending words to barbarism”.

Later Wednesday former comic Grillo published a new version telling mayor of Rome Ignazio Marino to resign “before Rome is swamped by rats, trash and illegal-immigrant camps run by the mafia”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Venice Mayor Urges Naval Blockade Against Migrants

‘State must defend fatherland’ says Brugnaro

(ANSA) — Venice, June 17 — Newly elected Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro on Wednesday said the government should impose a naval blockade to stop migrants from arriving in Italy. “We need to impose a naval blockade, given that migrants are departing from all over Africa as we speak,” said the mayor, who hails from Silvio Berlusconi’s center-right Forza Italia (FI) party and won a run-off vote at the weekend with backing from the anti-immigrant, anti-euro Northern League party.

“State officials swear on the flag and on the Italian people,” Brugnaro went on.

“They are supposed to defend our homes, our people and the fatherland,” he said.

“Whoever is up for it must militarily defend our borders,” the mayor added.

“Those who are not up for it must resign”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Pope Asks Forgiveness for Those Who Reject Refugees

Northern League chief says ‘we don’t need forgiveness’

(ANSA) — Vatican City, June 17 — Pope Francis urged the faithful Wednesday to forgive people and institutions “who close the door” to refugees, calling on the international community to give them “a home where they can live without fear”. “I invite you all to ask forgiveness for the persons and institutions that close the door to these people who are seeking a life, a family, who are looking for protection,” the pontiff said during his weekly general audience in St Peter’s Square. Francis noted that many people seek a “refuge far from their land,” and “a home where they can live without fear, so that their dignity can always be respected”. The Argentine pope encouraged “the work of those who come in aid” of refugees and said he hopes that “the international community will act in a united and effective manner to prevent the causes of forced migrations”.

The pope spoke as elsewhere in Italy, leaders from the anti-immigrant, anti-euro Northern League party clamored for an end to migrant arrivals and redistribution across Italy.

Among these is the League governor of Lombardy, Roberto Maroni, who has been leading a drive to reject asylum seekers being relocated to other parts of the country after landing in southern Italy.

Maroni was echoed Wednesday by fellow League member and newly re-elected Veneto Governor Luca Zaia, who said his wealthy northern region is not racist, but there is no room for more refugees. “I live in a territory that is not racist, but now there’s no more room to spare,” he told a parliamentary commission on the migrant reception system in Italy and the application of the Schengen accords. Veneto is already hosting 3,966 refugees and is not willing to accept more, said the governor.

In Venice, newly elected Mayor Luigi Brugnaro called for a naval blockade to stop migrants from arriving in Italy. “We need to impose a naval blockade, given that migrants are departing from all over Africa as we speak,” said the mayor, who hails from Silvio Berlusconi’s center-right Forza Italia (FI) party and won a run-off vote at the weekend with Northern League backing. “State officials swear an oath on the flag and on the Italian people,” Brugnaro went on. “They are supposed to defend our homes, our people and the fatherland,” he said. “Whoever is up for it must militarily defend our borders,” the mayor added. “Those who are not up for it must resign”.

Also on Wednesday, Northern League leader Matteo Salvini said he doesn’t need the pope’s forgiveness. “How many refugees are there in the Vatican?” Salvini, who has called for a hard-line stance in dealing with the Mediterranean migrant crisis, told his party’s Radio Padania. “The problem is only a quarter of those who arrive are refugees (while the rest are economic migrants)”.

“We do’t need to be forgiven,” Salvini said. Later in the day, parliament mandated the government of center-left Premier Matteo Renzi to come up with proposals for a new European political asylum system that would be fairly distribute refugees between member states. The vote took place as Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Sandro Gozi told French radio that “the Mediterranean is a cemetery of European selfishness and indifference” to the plight of migrants. “If we want the populists and xenophobes to win we will continue” (along these lines) he told Europe 1.

“It was said the Mediterranean is the cradle of European civilisation — today it is the symbol of European selfishness and indifference,” Gozi said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Scabies Alarm Among Migrants Camped on Ventimiglia Rocks

French, Italian police increase surveillance at frontier

(ANSA) — Ventimiglia, June 17 — Some 17 migrants among about 100 people camped out on rocks by the sea near the French-Italian border left the makeshift camp Wednesday with suspected scabies, the Red Cross said.

The 17 left the rocks near the San Ludovico bridge voluntarily and were invited by the Red Cross to go to a clinic set up at Ventimiglia railway station to be examined, the Red Cross said.

The group of 100 have been camped at the rocks for five days demanding to be allowed into France, spending the nights under tents and beach umnbrellas.

Italian police stepped up controls on paths leading from the St Louis bridge, where the frontier post is, to the San Ludovico bridge, so as to prevent other migrants sent back to Italy by France from joining the group of demonstrators on the rocks, police sources said.

French police also increased surveillance on the French side of the border, stopping all trains coming in from Italy at the Menton-Garlaven station and checking documents of passengers, police sources said.

French police sources said that an acoustic listening detector has been set up on the railway line that passes the frontier at the San Ludovico point so as to prevent migrants walking into France along the railway line.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Symbolic Pics of the Month

In this edition of SPOTM : Miley Cyrus, CERN, and more proof that the one-eye sign is taking over the world. This bizarre video entitled “ Dance of Destruction” posted by CERN ahead of re-launch conveys a dark, ritualistic and occult context to the supposed scientific work going on there.

[Comment: CERN video is weird. Check out the pic of “She Guardian” — this statue is already dubbed the “most terrifying statue in London”.]

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

The Devious Matrix Called Psychiatry

The bible of the psychiatric profession, the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), published by the American Psychiatric Association, is now in its 5th edition. It lists some 300 official mental disorders by name, as well as the criteria which allow licensed psychiatrists to diagnose these disorders in patients.

And yet, in the DSM, there is not one defining laboratory test for any of those 300 disorders. No blood test, no urine test, no antibody test, no brain scan, no genetic assay.

This is supposed to be a science.

But there are no defining tests. Instead, there are groupings and clusters of behaviors, which committees of psychiatrists have decided constitute specific mental disorders.

Does this seem outrageous? Impossible? Let me prove it to you…

           — Hat tip: JD [Return to headlines]

The Rich Killing World by Consuming Too Much Says Pope

Francis’ environmental encyclical blasts market paradigm

ANSA) — Vatican City, June 18 — Pope Francis said Thursday the richest 20% of the world is killing the remainder by consuming too many of the globe’s resources and leaving nothing behind. In a much anticipated encyclical on the environment, Francis said the commandment ‘Thou shalt not kill’ is violated when the wealthy take too much, stealing from the poor and future generations. He said that ordinary citizens are paying the price for government bailouts of banks and businesses, and warned against economic growth that comes “at all costs”. It would be better to “slow down the pace” of expansion to defend the environment and all people, he said.

The market can’t be humanity’s “paradigm”, Francis added.

The market “creates a mechanism of compulsive consumption in order to place its products” and a “lifestyle change” is needed in the name of economic sustainability, Francis said. Francis also denounced environmental degradation and said that it primarily hurts “excluded people” and for that reason, is treated as an “appendix” to other issues in discussions among policy makers. Francis said that too often, these high-level people have no contact with the poor and suffering.

The depletion of resources is often used to “create” a demand for new wars, disguised with lofty claims. War in fact always causes serious damage to the environment and raises risks of nuclear war with its mass destruction, the pontiff warned.

Developing stronger and more effective international institutions is “indispensable” in order to revert ecological degradation and create sustainable development.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Vatican: Encyclical: The Concept of Integral Ecology is at the Core of the Document, Says Card Turkson

For Metropolitan Zizioulas, “the significance of the Papal Encyclical ‘Laudato Si’ is not limited to the subject of ecology as such” but has “an important ecumenical dimension”. This “existential ecumenism” reflects “the effort to face together the most profound existential problems,” and “brings divided Christians before a common task which they must face together”.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) — Card Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, noted that “At the heart of the process of conversion and of hope in a renewed future, Pope Francis puts the concept of integral ecology at the centre of the Encyclical as a paradigm able to articulate the fundamental relationships of the person with God, with him/herself, with other human beings, with creation.”

Together with Metropolitan of Pergamon John Zizioulas, who represented the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Church Orthodox, Card Turkson presented ‘Laudate si,’ ‘Praised be to you,’ at the Vatican today.

The director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr Federico Lombardi, said that encyclical was reworked. “For about a month, the pope worked on the promulgation of the encyclical together with the bishops of the whole world, by sending material via email” at its various stages of development.

For Cardinal Turkson, who wrote the first draft of the document as Pope Francis himself noted, “When we speak of the ‘environment,’ what we really mean is a relationship existing between nature and the society which lives in it. Nature cannot be regarded as something separate from ourselves or as a mere setting in which we live. We are part of nature, included in it and thus in constant interaction with it. Getting to the reasons why a given area is polluted requires a study of the workings of society, its economy, its behaviour patterns, the ways it grasps reality, and so forth. Given the scale of change, it is no longer possible to find a specific, discrete answer for each part of the problem. It is essential to seek comprehensive solutions that consider the interactions within natural systems themselves and with social systems. We are not faced with two separate crises, one environmental and the other social, but rather one complex crisis that is both social and environmental. Strategies for a solution demand an integrated approach to combating poverty, restoring dignity to the underprivileged, and at the same time protecting nature” (n. 139).

He went on to say, “Although each chapter will have its own subject and specific approach, it will also take up and re-examine important questions previously dealt with. This is particularly the case with a number of themes which will reappear as the Encyclical unfolds. As examples, I will point to the intimate relationship between the poor and the fragility of the planet, the conviction that everything in the world is connected, the critique of new paradigms and forms of power derived from technology, the call to seek other ways of understanding the economy and progress, the value proper to each creature, the human meaning of ecology, the need for forthright and honest debate, the serious responsibility of international and local policy, the throwaway culture and the proposal of a new lifestyle. These questions will not be dealt with once and for all, but reframed and enriched again and again.”

For his part, Metropolitan Zizioulas noted first that ‘Laudato si’ provides ample room to the theological dimension of the relationship between man and nature, something that has traditionally been marginal in the academic curricula of Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants. By contrast, “The Encyclical devotes a whole chapter (ch. 2) to show the profound ecological implications of the Christian doctrine of creation. It points out that according to the Bible ‘human life is grounded in three fundamental and closely intertwined relationships with God, with our neighbour and with the earth itself’ (par. 66).”

The second aspect highlighted by the Orthodox theologian is the spiritual dimension of the ecological crisis. “As it emerges clearly from the Encyclical, the ecological crisis is essentially a spiritual problem. The proper relationship between humanity and the earth or its natural environment has been broken with the Fall both outwardly and within us, and this rupture is sin. The Church must now introduce in its teaching about sin the sin against the environment, the ecological sin. Repentance must be extended to cover also the damage we do to nature both as individuals and as societies. This must be brought to the conscience of every Christian who cares for his or her salvation.”

For Metropolitan Zizioulas “the significance of the Papal Encyclical ‘Laudato Si’ is not limited to the subject of ecology as such” but has “an important ecumenical dimension” as well, namely “the effort to face together the most profound existential problems that preoccupy humanity in its entirety — not simply in particular places or classes of people. Ecology is without doubt the most obvious candidate in this case.”

For the Orthodox prelate, the papal document “brings the divided Christians before a common task which they must face together. We live at a time when fundamental existential problems overwhelm our traditional divisions and relativize them almost to the point of extinction. Look, for example, at what is happening today in the Middle East: do those who persecute the Christians ask them to which Church or Confession they belong? Christian unity in such cases is de facto realized by persecution and blood — an ecumenism of martyrdom.”

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]