LAS VEGAS DIEING OF THIRST

In the last decade the population of Las Vegas has grown from 400,000 to 2,000,000, and they’re quickly draining their only resource for water.

” …the reservoir that supplies 90 per cent of Las Vegas’s water is fast disappearing and desperate attempts to save Sin City are under way … Lake Mead has slowly been drained of four trillion gallons of water and is now well under half full. Mr Barnett predicts it may be a “dead pool” that provides no water by about 2036.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/10932785/The-race-to-stop-Las-Vegas-from-running-dry.html

TORTURED REASONING

CIA-whistleblower-John-Kiriakou

Any politician (or journalist) using the term “Enhanced Interrogation Techniques” should be waterboarded, ‘rectally rehydrated’, and forced to stand in an agonizing position until they soil themselves. And then asked if they’re now ready to use the correct term – torture.

And Canadians shouldn’t get too smug about thinking the CIA torture techniques wouldn’t be used here.

Considering the overheated frenzy of nationalism that swept the country after a lone crazed gunman attacked parliament hill, I wonder how quickly Canadians would support ‘torturing a few folks’ if we suffered carnage akin to 9/11.

But full credit to the American government for releasing the CIA torture report. I can’t recall Mr. Harper’s government mustering up the integrity to admit to doing anything wrong. Ever.

USA TORTURE MASTERMINDS PAID $81 MILLION
Torture-Psychologists
The two psychologists who devised and tested the CIA torture tactics were paid $81 million.
And the American Psychological Association didn’t see this as a problem. More here

CIA TORTURE WHISTLEBLOWER ONLY ONE IN PRISON 

“John Kiriakou, who worked for the CIA between 1990 and 2004, stepped forward in 2007 and confirmed to press outlets some of the first details about the agency’s widespread use of torture.

Among Kiriakou’s revelations was an account to ABC News of the repeated water-boardings of Abu Zubaydah—a man currently imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay without charges whose 12 years of torture and abuse at the hands of the U.S. were further exposed in the Senate report.

In 2013, Kiriakou—a father of five—was prosecuted by the Obama administration under the Espionage Act for allegedly revealing classified information to a reporter. He was sentenced to 30 months in prison, which he is still serving. His incarceration came after the Obama administration refused to prosecute any of the higher-up government officials who designed, authorized, or otherwise took part in implementation of the torture program.” More here

AND FINALLY, AND PERHAPS MOST DISTRESSING …

New Poll Finds 59% of Americans Support Post 9/11 Torture

VAGINA KAYAK & PENIS PARADE

Yeah, that title got your attention, huh? We lived in Japan a couple times, once for 3 years, and developed a love/hate relationship with the place. (Probably mutual.) And these 2 pieces give you a sense of why:

JAPANESE POLICE ARREST WOMAN WHO MADE KAYAK MODELED FROM HER VAGINA – AGAIN
Japanese Wpman's Vagina Kayak
“A woman who 3-D printed her vagina and rendered it into a giant yellow Kayak, has been arrested — again — by Japanese police for allegedly trying to show people her “Pussy Boat.” (more here)

And yet, at the same time, the annual  Kanamara Matsuri parade:

Penis Parade 2    Japanese Penis Parade

So, penises … okay.
Vaginas … not so much.

TWITTER-QUITTER CONFESSION

THERE IS NO BUDDHA IN TWITTER

Twitter-Logo

Love this from a recent Twitter Quitter:… I was becoming unconscious over at Twitter. I’d wrapped myself into a stream of inane blather that is extremely habit forming but ultimately becomes rote, superficial and turns you into a mental mirror, rather than a sentient being. There is no Buddha in Twitter.” (More here)

He has since rejoined for some specific usage, but with a new account that he is determined to use very sparingly, saying:  “I’ve re-joined Twitter, but … On October 12th I decided to close down my Twitter account as an experiment. I could see it was taking up too much of my time, on the other hand I found it useful for certain things and I wanted to see what difference not having it around would make to my working life and life in general.”

GLOBAL CORRUPTION INDEX

New GLOBAL CORRUPTION rankings out. (Jeez, it’s like the NFL or something.)

According to “expert analysis of public sector sleaze”, the least corrupt countries are Denmark, followed by New Zealand, Finland and Sweden.

The most corrupt?  Somalia, North Korea, Sudan and Afghanistan.

GLOBAL CORRUPTION RANKINGS

What about your lovely country? Full rankings and more here

And again, if you haven’t read McMafia: A Journey Through the Global Criminal Underworld, give it a go. Very disturbing. Very enlightening

 

WILL CANADIAN GAL BRING DOWN US BANKSTERS?

Can a gal from Terrace, B.C. bring down the biggest US Banksters?

Great piece by Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone :http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/the-9-billion-witness-20141106

“The $9 Billion Witness: Meet JPMorgan Chase’s Worst Nightmare:
Fleischmann is the central witness in one of the biggest cases of white-collar crime in American history, possessing secrets that JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon late last year paid $9 billion (not $13 billion as regularly reported – more on that later) to keep the public from hearing.”

"FLU SEASON" FARCE

Nature created just four seasons. And “Flu Season” isn’t one of them.

In fact, the term was probably dreamed up by some marketing genius on the payroll of the pharmaceutical industry with the express intention of making you feel scared. Why? Because they sell a lot more drugs and vaccines that way. (The stress alone probably makes some people sick.)

So next time you hear some shill yapping about “Flu Season”, have a laugh and remind yourself that only a small fraction of Canadians gets the flu every year (estimates go as low as 5%.)

And that with some very simple techniques – wash your hands regularly, cough or sneeze into your elbow, and don’t burn out your immune system with too much skiing, partying and work – you’ll probably be one of the 80-90% of Canadians who is flu-free this winter.

“Flu Season??” Ha! Bring on the snow.

SAND WARS – BRILLIANT DOCUMENTARY

After air and water, sand is the most used commodity in the world.
Sand Wars Documentary

The world as we know it would stop functioning without it – no glass, no highways, no computer chips, no concrete buildings, etc.  And due to greed and sand’s value, it is quickly disappearing.

I’d never even given it a thought previous to seeing a brilliant documentary film on Knowledge Network last night. More here:

http://www.sand-wars.com/

https://www.knowledge.ca/program/sand-wars#

GANDHI ON WISDOM vs MONEY

Not sure of the source or accuracy of this anecdote, but it’s rich none the less.

Gandhi

When Mahatma Gandhi was studying law at the University College of London, a professor whose last name was Peters, disliked him intensely and always displayed animosity toward him.

Also, because Gandhi never lowered his head when addressing him as he expected, there were always “arguments” and confrontations.

One day, Mr. Peters was having lunch at the dining room of the University, and Gandhi came along with his tray and sat next to the professor.

The professor said,”Mr Gandhi, you do not understand. A pig and a bird do not sit together to eat.”

Gandhi looked at him as a parent would a rude child and calmly replied, “You do not worry professor. I’ll fly away,” and he went and sat at another table.

Mr. Peters, reddened with rage, decided to take revenge on the next test paper, but Gandhi responded brilliantly to all questions.

Mr. Peters, unhappy and frustrated, asked him the following question: “Mr Gandhi, if you were walking down the street and found a package, and within was a bag of wisdom and another bag with a lot of money, which one would you take?”

Without hesitating, Gandhi responded, “The one with the money, of course.”

Mr. Peters, smiling sarcastically said, “I, in your place, would have taken the wisdom.”

Gandhi shrugged indifferently and responded, “Each one takes what he doesn’t have.”

Mr. Peters, by this time was fit to be tied. So great was his anger that he wrote on Gandhi’s exam sheet the word “idiot” and gave it to Gandhi.

Gandhi took the exam sheet and sat down at his desk, trying very hard to remain calm while he contemplated his next move.

A few minutes later, Gandhi got up, went to the professor and said to him in a dignified but sarcastically polite tone, “Mr. Peters, you autographed the sheet, but you did not give me the grade.”

ALDOUS HUXLEY ON DEMOCRACY FROM 1958

Aldous Huxley’s view of the future (i.e. now) from 1958:
Aldous Huxley quote sm
Source: http://anotherangryvoice.blogspot.ca/

“All the traditional names, all the hallowed slogans will remain exactly what they were in the good old days. Democracy and freedom will be the theme of every broadcast and editorialbut Democracy and freedom in a strictly Pickwickian sense. Meanwhile the ruling oligarchy and its highly trained elite of soldiers, policemen, thought-manufacturers and mind-manipulators will quietly run the show as they see fit.
– Aldous Huxley, Brave New World Revisited, published 1958

CANADA SENDING MILITARY EQUIPMENT TO UKRAINE

Way to go Canada – that’s how you escalate a situation! We used to send peace-keepers; Harper prefers weapons. (Canada dropped hundreds of 500-pound bombs on Libya. Which is now quite a mess, by the way.)
RCMP
This is starting with helmets and vests, apparently. (I bet the Palestinians could have used some of those in Israel’s latest bloody invasion. In fact, ‘Israel Defense Forces’ is now about as oxymoronic as you can get.)

But just as Harper’s simplistic good guy-bad guy view of the world would have gotten us into Iraq, he’s jumping into the Ukraine way before all the facts are known. Oh Canada, indeed.

More here: It Begins: Canada To Send Military Equipment To Ukraine

BUBBLE? WHAT BUBBLE?

According to official filings, CYNK Technology Corp has “… one employee, no website, no revenue, no product, and no assets.” Current market value? Over $4 billion.
Cow pie

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-07-09/sheer-insanity-no-revenue-company-rises-over-1-billion-today-57k-shares-traded

AND THEN THE NEXT DAY …
It’s market cap goes over $5.9 billion, making the CEO (and only employee) one of the 400 richest people on earth. Just who is he? According to this post by AlaricBalth:

“The CEO Marlon Sanchez claims in his bio to have been the primary spokesperson for the Medical Tourism Industry council in Tijuana,Mexico. Yet after a few phone calls, the organization doesn’t exist. Sanchez is a front man.”

and …

“Cynk is an illusion. Operates out of a Regus Virtual Office in Las Vegas. The company’s 2011 and 2012 auditor, Peter Messineo, CPA, was sanctioned by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board for “deficiencies identified in both of the audits reviewed included deficiencies of such significance that it appeared to the inspection team that the Firm, at the time it issued its audit report, had not obtained sufficient competent evidential matter to support its opinion on the issuer’s financial statements.”

The legal dudes involved have an interesting background as well:
https://buyersstrike.wordpress.com/2012/04/24/the-mass-psychology-of-suckers-part-2-sefe-inc-sefe/

http://www.siliconinvestor.com/readmsg.aspx?msgid=28112150

"To My Fellow Zillionaires: The Pitchforks Are Coming"

Billionaire entrepreneur Nick Hanauer has a message for his fellow plutocrats. A few tidbits:
Nick Hanauer
I have been rewarded obscenely for my success, with a life that the other 99.99 percent of Americans can’t even imagine.
I’m not the smartest guy you’ve ever met, or the hardest-working. I was a mediocre student. I’m not technical at all—I can’t write a word of code. What sets me apart … is a tolerance for risk and an intuition about what will happen in the future. … And what do I see in our future now? I see pitchforks.
… the problem isn’t that we have inequality. … The problem is that inequality is at historically high levels and getting worse every day. Our country is rapidly becoming less a capitalist society and more a feudal society.
And so I have a message for my fellow filthy rich, for all of us who live in our gated bubble worlds: Wake up, people. It won’t last.”

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/06/the-pitchforks-are-coming-for-us-plutocrats-108014.html#super

 

TASTE WITH OUR EYES FIRST

“Artistic food deemed tastier, scientists and chef show"You Are NOT What You Eat" - food on table

First time this really struck home for me was during our 3 years living in Japan. Man, do they know about presentation! And they didn’t need some Western scientists to do a study to figure it out ;-))

“Psychologists and food scientists tested an idea favoured by some top chefs [and found that] …diners prefer a visually attractive dish, say it tastes better and they’ll pay more for it, an experiment cooked up by a chef suggests.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/artistic-food-deemed-tastier-scientists-and-chef-show-1.2682423

THE NEW IRAQ COURTESY BUSH-CHENEY

“ISIS running rampant through the region means that America’s nine-year war in Iraq was virtually a complete failure. It achieved nothing. It proves that there is no democratic Iraq, or even a stable state to maintain control.”

Bagdad March

The current situation was predicted with incredible accuracy before the US invaded by many who actually understand the region’s politics. Removing Saddam Hussein and dismantling all police and security forces created a power vacuum … that is now being filled. Just as would happen in any country where you did the same thing. Think about it – how long did it take for New Orleans to  tumble into chaos after hurricane Katrina hit?

http://mic.com/articles/91895/intense-scenes-from-baghdad-sum-up-exactly-how-bad-iraq-s-crisis-has-become

US BANKS – LARGEST CASINO IN HISTORY OF WORLD

“Most Americans do not understand that Wall Street has been transformed into the largest casino in the history of the world.  The big banks are being incredibly reckless with our money, and if they fail it will bring down the entire economy.”
wall street bull from back end

Total ASSets vs Derivative Exposure of US Banks

JPMorgan Chase
Assets: 1.95 trillion dollars
Derivative Exposure: Over 71 trillion dollars

Citibank
Assets: 1.3 trillion dollars
Derivative Exposure : Over 60 trillion dollars

Bank Of America
Assets: 1.4 trillion dollars
Derivative Exposure : Over 42 trillion dollars

Goldman Sachs
Assets: 113 billion dollars
Derivative Exposure : Over 43 trillion dollars

http://beforeitsnews.com/home/featuredlist/top_global.html

COUNTRY MUSIC SONG TITLES by Nelson DeMille

From Nelson DeMille’s book Up Country, which has absolutely nothing to do with country music:
country music song titles

“Get Your Tongue Outta My Mouth ‘Cause I’m Kissing You Goodbye”

“How Can I Miss You If You Won’t Go Away”

“She’s Out Doin’ What I’m Here Doin’ Without”

“I’m So Miserable Without You It’s Like Havin’ You Here”

GOOGLE & FACEBOOK SOON TO BE YOUR BANK?

Google Wallet

Interesting piece from Martin Armstrong predicting the move to digital currency has little to do with Bitcoin and much more to do with Google and Facebook. He suggests:

– The real birth in electronic money is not Bitcoin, but Google Wallet.
Bitcoin cannot compete nor will traditional banks.

– The iPhone’s fingerprint sensor will make it the most secure credit card.

– Facebook intends to offer banking worldwide to its estimated 1 billion
users.

“We will see Google and Facebook emerge with electronic accounts for a
client-base that will increasingly move away from brick-and-mortar banks
rendering them obsolete just as Amazon wiped out a lot of bookstores.”

http://armstrongeconomics.com/2014/06/19/google-the-new-bank-rollover-bitcoin-banks-its-the-internet-revolution/

LOW VITAMIN D – a SYMPTOM of POOR HEALTH, NOT a CAUSE

“Low vitamin D levels are a symptom of poor health – not the cause, according to a systematic review of previously published scientific studies. The new finding casts further doubt on the role of vitamin D supplements in disease prevention, even as millions of Canadians pop pills of the sunshine drug each day.”

Supplementation is rarely as simple as many would have you believe.

By Adriana Barton in The Globe and Mail, Dec. 08 2013: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health-and-fitness/health/report-questions-effectiveness-of-vitamin-d-supplements/article15804477/

1 In 5 LUNG CANCER TUMORS NOT DANGEROUS

‘Many lung cancer tumors prove harmless, says study’

“Nearly 1 in 5 lung tumors detected on CT scans are probably so slow-growing that they would never cause problems. The analysis suggests the world’s No. 1 cause of cancer deaths isn’t as lethal as doctors once thought.

In the study, these were not false-positives — suspicious results that turn out upon further testing not to be cancer. These were indeed cancerous tumors, but ones that caused no symptoms and were unlikely ever to become deadly, the researchers said.”

Kind of a good-news/ bad-news piece. One in five negative. Four in five still positive.

Article by Lindsey Tanner, The Associated Press December 10, 2013 http://www.vancouversun.com/health/Study+says+many+lung+cancer+tumors+prove+harmless+disease+didnt/9268763/story.html

UKRAINE: WHY THE EAST & WEST WILL FIGHT FOR IT

The strategic value of the Ukraine will dictate what happens there. What’s so valuable? Take a look at the map below of Russia’s pipelines flowing through the Ukraine to western Europe. Do you think Putin will let the West gain control of those?

Russian pipelines through the Ukraine

The link between organized crime and the Russian and Ukranian governments further complicates things. See here: RUSSIAN MOB REAL POWER BEHIND UKRAINE PRESIDENT?

And note that the crime lord mentioned in that blog post, Semyon Mogilevich, one of FBI’s most wanted people, lives in … Moscow, where even billionaire oligarchs have learned nothing happens without Putin’s approval.

The Ukraine could get very messy before a solution is found.

RUSSIAN MOB REAL POWER BEHIND UKRAINE PRESIDENT?

The book McMafia: A Journey Through the Global Criminal Underworld painted a chilling picture of the influence of organized crime on global politics and policies.
McMafia map

And the simultaneous fall of the Iron Curtain and deregulation of international currency markets played a significant role in enabling the Russian crime lords in particular to go global in a big way.

Are they pulling the strings in the Ukraine? Read more here:
“Semyon Mogilevich, one of FBI’s most wanted people, identified as real power behind billionaire owner of Ukrainian-based RUE” http://www.theguardian.com/world/2010/dec/01/wikileaks-cables-russian-mafia-gas

A piece on Semyon Mogilevich here: http://www.ibtimes.com/worlds-most-powerful-mobster-you-probably-never-heard-980488

KILLER WHALES CHASING DOLPHINS

We’ve seen a lot of Orcas (Killer Whales) and dolphins or our regular travels in the Salish Sea of western Canada, but never something like this. The video was taken right in the harbour of the city of Nanaimo, where the ferry docks on its trip from the Vancouver area.

Killer whales hunt dolphins near Nanaimo
Click image to view video

2013 – It's A Weird World

Here in BC, our provincial ‘Liberal’ government redefined democracy by sitting the legislature just 39 days out of the last 569.

Federally, the Harper government redefined hypocrisy by gagging scientists and gutting environmental protection, and then claiming their approval of the Northern Gateway Spill-line was ‘science-based.’

Internationally, a homophobic Russian dictator became the most powerful man in the world. And Japan introduced a new Secrets Act that says what is secret is a secret, but exposing those secrets can lead to ten years in prison. (George, are you watching this?)

George Orwell quote

Meanwhile, the president of Uruguay drives a 1987 VW Beetle, uses the official palace as a homeless shelter, and donates about 90% of his salary to local charities.

And the fine folks at Playground Builders reach into war-torn darkness and make the world a better place one joyful child at a time.

It’s a weird and wonderful world. And if you don’t think we can lose what we’ve got, you’re not paying attention. Now, if only our taxes were subsidizing people like Playground Builders instead of Enbridge.

VANCOUVER, Canada from the north shore mountains

VANCOUVER, Canada from the north shore mountains.
*Photo by Artur Stanisz. More here: http://500px.com/ArturStanisz
Vancouver, Canada by Artur Stanisz*After-story: I originally found this on Google Earth pics with no credit mentioned to Mr. Stanisz. Buggers. I remember thinking, “Google Earth took this?? How the hell … ?”  So I looked all over but couldn’t find any other reference until just now, 2 weeks later. So kudos to Mr. Stanisz! And a Bronx cheer to Google.

GIVING BACK with PLAYGROUND BUILDERS

One of my favorite charities is Playground Builders. They build playgrounds for children in war-torn areas of the Middle East, providing safe places for children to play. They always use local people in the building process, providing much-needed jobs and injecting money into the local economy. And their own administrative costs are bare minimum. (I know the founder and members of the board of this organization.)
Playground_Builders

If you feel inclined to donate, a benefactor is matching all funds up to $50,000, but only until midnight December 31st. So your $10 would become $20. You can learn more here: http://www.playgroundbuilders.org/what-we-do

Great way to start a new year!

DEMOCRACY BC-STYLE

In the last year and a half the British Columbia legislature has sat for … 36 days.

By the end of 2013, it will be 36 days out of the last 579 (going back to May 31, 2012.) There was no fall sitting in 2012 or 2013 – both cancelled by Premier Christy Clark.

BC democracy  gagged

How’s that for a functioning democracy! (Certainly convenient if you want to announce policies like 28% Hydro increases and massive BC Ferry cuts without a pesky opposition party being able to ask you questions.)

More here http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/bc-legislature-sits-36-of-579-days-is-this-responsible-government/article14245947/

CANADA OILSANDS EXPANSION to Cause Irreversible Damage; Ottawa Says "Oh, well…"

The expansion of Shell Canada’s Jackpine oilsands project will destroy 8,500 hectares of wetland and have an irreversible impact, says Canada’s environment minister.

But she’s not too concerned. In fact, Ottawa thinks the project is in the public’s interest.

And how will the public be compensated for this loss of 8,500 hectares of irreplaceable wetlands?

Shell Canada is buying us 730 hectares of … former cattle pasture. And you know what we’re gonna find there.
Cow pie

If you can stomach it, more here.

Japan’s New Secrecy Bill: Kafka, Hitler, and Lethal Radiation

Japan just passed a new Special Secrets Bill.

Truth

The rules?

  1. What will be a secret is secret.
  2. Anyone who leaks a secret and a reporter who writes it up can face up to ten years in jail.
  3. There are no rules at to what government agency can declare a state secret.
  4. Anything pertaining to nuclear energy is a state secret.

More here: http://tinyurl.com/n8bty93

Coincidentally (??), this – “Highest Radiation Level Ever, Lethal In 20 Minutes, Recorded Outside Fukushima Reactor”
More here: http://tinyurl.com/kSeejno2xs

*Thanks to Tyler Durden of ZeroHedge for the heads-up: http://tinyurl.com/kjvehvgfor

How Smart Are The World's 15-Year Olds? Take The Quiz

The PISA evaluation of global education systems was just released.

PISA results 2012

The testing assessed the competencies of 15-year-olds in reading,
mathematics and science (with a focus on mathematics).

The results?

Asian countries took the top 7 places. (Canada was 13th out of 65, down 3 spots since 2009. The US ranked 26th.)

See the rankings here

Try some of the questions here:
http://www.cbc.ca/day6/blog/2013/12/05/amanda-ripley/

Read more here:
http://www.oecd.org/pisa/keyfindings/pisa-2012-results.htm

BALLET – The Stars Of Tomorrow

A wonderful documentary, FIRST POSITION follows six exceptional young ballet dancers as they prepare to perform at an event that can open the door to a professional career.

Bruised and bloodied feet, near exhaustion, debilitating injuries, plus the regular challenges of adolescence, all at the same time. An awe-inspiring portrait of “the most gifted ballet stars of tomorrow.”
Ballet documentary "First Position"

See more here: http://www.balletdocumentary.com/trailer/

NORTH KOREANS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR SONY HACK, SAY EXPERTS

Sony Hack

NORTH KOREANS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR SONY HACK, SAY EXPERTS

Some of the world’s leading cybersecurity experts, as well as prominent hacking groups like Anonymous, say North Korea is NOT responsible for hacking Sony. And Anonymous now threatens to hack Sony if they DON’T release the Seth Rogen movie online. (My favorite comment below the article: “Guardians of Peace blackmail Sony into not releasing the movie so Anonymous will blackmail them into releasing the movie. What to do, what to do…”

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/12/20/sony-hackers-guardians-of-peace-troll-fbi-fbi-is-the-best-in-the-world.html