Today’s News: February 05, 2019

World News

Russian warships to receive system for creating optical hallucinations

Defence Blog – Russian surface warships would be equipped with new visual optical interference station, called the Filin (eagle-owl), to confuse the enemy with visual “hallucinations”.

The new Filin visual optical interference stations “blind” enemy troops and optoelectronic devices, such as night vision equipment, binocular glasses, and laser ranging devices with bright flares of light and created visual hallucinations to lend its troops a tactical advantage.

The technology is said to be similar to a strobe effect that results in immobilization to those within the beam, according to

Low-frequency fluctuations of light cause temporary disorders of the organs of vision due to excitation of the optic nerves.

Human effects testing of the new visual optical interference stations took place last years, these showed promising results.

The device developed by the Integral plant was tested on volunteers who were supposed to carry out shooting from small arms at targets. During the tests with Filin, they said that “the target is not visible.”

“20 percent noted the hallucinogenic effect, described as” a spot of light floats before eyes, “and 45 percent complained of dizziness, nausea, signs of disorientation,” said in a report.

The device is able to suppress visual-optical and electro-optical surveillance and targets enemy monitoring devices with a high-intensity radial light, “dazzling” the enemy.  This ensures the protection of ships and personnel as they perform tasks at sea or in a coastal zone.

US Issues New Threats of War for Oil Against Venezuela

Global Research – President Trump, Vice President Pence and National Security Advisor John Bolton escalated threats to launch a war against Venezuela, as large pro- and anti-government demonstrations filled Venezuela’s streets on Saturday.

In an interview with CBS’s “Face the Nation” program that aired before the Super Bowl yesterday, Trump reiterated that military intervention “is an option.” Pence assured a crowd of far-right Venezuelan exiles in Miami on Friday that

“this is no time for dialogue, it is the moment for action, and the time has come to end the Maduro dictatorship once and for all… Those looking on should know this: all options are on the table.”

Bolton, who helped author the playbook that was used to launch the 2003 invasion of Iraq, issued a blunt threat Friday that the US would kill or jail and torture Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro if he did not resign. Comparing Maduro to Nicolae Ceaușescu and Benito Mussolini—both of whom were killed—Bolton told right-wing radio host Hugh Hewitt:

“The sooner he takes advantage of that [i.e., resignation], the sooner he’s likely to have a nice quiet retirement on a pretty beach rather than being in some other beach area like Guantanamo.”

Self-proclaimed “interim president” Juan Guaidó, the US and their allies in South America and Europe are preparing a new provocation aimed at forcing the Venezuelan military to abandon Maduro, with Guaidó announcing that the US will deliver aid at three locations along the Venezuelan border in the coming days.

While Maduro and the Venezuelan military leadership have said they will refuse the aid, the US hopes that images of crowds gathering to receive food and medication will either provoke the military to defect to the opposition and help distribute the aid or provide valuable propaganda footage justifying the need for a “humanitarian” intervention.

Over the weekend, hundreds of armed Colombian soldiers dressed in battle fatigues deployed to one of the three “aid distribution” centers, Cúcuta, on the Venezuela-Colombia border. Colombia’s far-right President Iván Duque issued a statement proclaiming, “Few hours remain to the Venezuelan dictatorship.” At a press conference last week announcing Washington’s moves to topple Maduro, Bolton held under his arm a note pad with the words written in plain view: “5,000 troops to Colombia.”

Guaidó also announced that one of the “aid” locations would be on the border with Brazil, which deployed troops to the border last year, while the third would be on an island in the Caribbean.

The stepped-up pressure produced an initial crack in the Venezuelan military, which remains the backbone of the Maduro government. Over the weekend, one Air Force general and a small group of mid-level Air Force officials defected and issued public statements calling on their colleagues to join them.

Germán Ferrer, a sitting Venezuelan legislator and United Socialist Party member who opposes Maduro, told the CBC that Maduro has disabled combat aircraft for fear the Air Force will turn on the government.

The US is imposing blanket sanctions on Venezuelan oil that amount to a blockade on oil exports. This act of economic war is intended to increase social misery.

EU Targeting Hungary For its Migration Policy – Official

Hungary Journal – The European Parliament election campaign is not the forum to chew over the politically motivated Article 7 procedure launched against Hungary, a government official said in Bucharest. But, in this respect at least, European Union presidency-holder Romania “does not lack good will” towards Hungary, Gergely Gulyas, the head of the Prime Minister’s Office, said.

After meeting George Ciamba, the Romanian minister for European affairs, Gulyas said Article 7 had been launched against Hungary by pro-migration forces in European Parliament who disfavoured the country’s policy on migration.

“We’re hopeful the May [EP] elections will bring about a shift in powers relations  [and] the procedure won’t last long,”

he said.

The standpoints on migration of Romania and Hungary are similar, he said, adding that illegal migration “should be prevented”. A key goal of the Romanian presidency is to join the Schengen area with no internal border controls. For this reason, Hungary’s view is the Schengen issue should not be linked to other preconditions, he said.

U.S. News, Politics & Government

Democrats protest Trump’s transgender troop ban by bringing trans people who served to SOTU

Vox – Congressional Democrats are protesting President Donald Trump’s ban on transgender troops by inviting trans people with military experience to the State of the Union on Tuesday.

According to Washington Blade reporter Chris Johnson, at least four members of Congress are taking part in the quiet protests: Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) is inviting Navy Lieutenant Commander Blake Dremann, Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) is inviting Air Force Staff Sergeant Logan Ireland, Rep. Donald McEachin (D-VA) is inviting Navy Petty Officer Second Class Megan Winters, and Rep. Chris Pappas (D-NH) is inviting Navy veteran Tavion Dignard.

Gillibrand, who’s running for president, tied her invitation to new legislation she plans to introduce to protect trans troops.

“Any transgender American who meets the standards should be able to sign up to join our Armed Forces, and that’s why I’m going to introduce new legislation this week to protect current and future transgender service members,” Gillibrand said in a statement. “I am proud to lead this fight and I urge all of my Senate colleagues to join me in supporting this legislation.”

Senate Dems block bill to protect abortion survivors, calling it a GOP stunt

Fox – Senate Democrats on Monday blocked a GOP effort to introduce a billl meant to protect abortion survivors, which came in response to comments last week by Virginia Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam that seemingly endorsed post-birth abortions in certain cases.

Nebraska Republican Sen. Ben Sasse sought unanimous consent to pass the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, which would have required that “any health care practitioner present” at the time of a birth “exercise the same degree of professional skill, care, and diligence to preserve the life and health of the child as a reasonably diligent and conscientious health care practitioner would render to any other child born alive at the same gestational age.”

The bill, which exempted the mother involved in the birth from prosecution, also would have required practitioners to “ensure that the child born alive is immediately transported and admitted to a hospital.”

It prescribed a possible term of imprisonment of up to five years for violations, not including penalties for first-degree murder that could also apply.

One School District’s Security Upgrade: Facial Recognition, Tracking IDs and AR-15s

WSJ – The school district here uses a facial recognition system to scan for people not allowed on school grounds. IDs track the whereabouts of students and staff. Teachers have cellphone panic buttons to alert police and soon will have special locks on classroom doors that can be activated remotely. A newly expanded security team keeps 22 AR-15 rifles in their offices.

Mr. Matranga hasn’t gotten much opposition for supplying AR-15s, which are equipped with silencers and kept at individual schools in gun safes—unusual for most schools.

Parent Lizbeth Perez likes knowing her daughter can be tracked. ”I like everything they’re doing,” she said. Her 15-year-old daughter Kimberly Ibarra said she feels safer this year and doesn’t mind wearing the ID, which is a bit thicker than standard ones. “There’s a lot more officers in the hallways,” she said

Staff members have received threat-assessment training, learning how to assess and respond to threatening behavior.

“These are educators. They don’t have a combat mind-set,” he said.

Homeless and Giant Rats Spread Typhus to LA City Officials

Frontpage Mag – Los Angeles legalized homelessness and then subsidized it and spread it around. The trash and waste bred rats, fleas and diseases.

And now, for the first time, it’s coming home. Not to the homeowners and business owners who have been living with this nightmare. But to Los Angeles City Hall, which has its own homeless encampments.

A veteran Los Angeles City Hall official is one of the latest victims of an epidemic of the infectious disease typhus that continues to worsen across LA County.

For months, LA County public health officials have said typhus is mainly hitting the homeless population.

But Deputy City Attorney Liz Greenwood, a veteran prosecutor, tells NBC4 she was diagnosed with typhus in November, after experiencing high fevers and excruciating headaches.

“It felt like somebody was driving railroad stakes through my eyes and out the back of my neck,” Greenwood told the I-Team. “Who gets typhus? It’s a medieval disease that’s caused by trash.”

To stop medieval diseases, use medieval technology. Like walls.

Or you could just institutionalize and treat crazy people instead of setting them loose to assault random city residents and spread disease.

“Sharia Police”: Muslims Patrolling Brooklyn in Vehicles Almost Identical to NYPD

Infowars – Muslims in NYC are carrying out “community patrols” in Brooklyn while driving cars that look almost identical to NYPD vehicles, leading some to describe the situation as “Sharia Police”.

The New York Times wrote a lengthy, glowing piece about the patrols, with one hijab-wearing Muslim woman commenting that they made her feel safe from harassment.

“With everything going on, you sort of feel like the whole world is against Muslims,” she said. “So it feels good to know that there is someone there, watching out.”

According to CAIR, the group is the first of its kind in the entire country, and a justifiable response to the “14 bias-crime incidents recorded against Muslims” last year (in a city of 8.6 million people).

The group’s vice president Noor Rabah said the patrols were “like a neighborhood watch but on steroids”. Currently boasting 30 members, the group plans to grow “its fleet of two cars to five by the end of the month and eventually expanding citywide.”

“Not at all comfortable with this. ‘Muslim Community Patrol’ in NYC, driving cars that look identical to NYPD RMPs,” commented John Cardillo, adding, “This looks a lot like Sharia Police. In Brooklyn.”

Economy & Business

Oregon Defies Logic with Statewide Rent Control – It is often said by cynical economists and political commentators, usually of the right or libertarian persuasion, that the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

There is no more odious and damaging economic policy that comes from the heart than rent control. For years, limiting the cost of living spaces was done at the local level, but one West Coast state aims to be the first to implement statewide rent controls.

Oregon’s Proposed Rent Controls

Oregon is set to pass SB 608, legislation that prohibits landlords from raising rents in the first year of a resident’s tenancy. The bill would also cap future rent hikes at 7% annually, plus inflation. This will target all rental properties 15 years or older but exempt units that are a part of a government housing project.

It should be noted that SB 608 does not have vacancy controls, which means buildings can jack up the rent by any amount once the tenant gives his or her notice. Because of this, the legislation bans no-cause evictions, so any landlord must offer a government-approved excuse for evicting a tenant.

With Democratic supermajorities in both chambers of the legislature, SB 608 is likely to pass, making Oregon the first state with statewide rent control.

Gov. Kate Brown (D-OR) is proud of the move, saying in her inaugural address:

“We also need to help Oregonians who have homes but are struggling with the high cost of rent. We can help landlords and tenants navigate this tight housing market. Speaker [Tina] Kotek and Sen. [Ginny] Burdick have innovative proposals that will give renters some peace of mind.”

Lawmakers are jubilant over the bill, but economic experts call the Beaver State’s policy proposal risky, including Mike Wilkerson of ECONorthwest, an economics consulting firm, telling Reason: “You’d be hard-pressed to find any economist who comes out in favor of rent control as a means to help improve whatever failure you are experiencing.”

Trump to choose Treasury’s Malpass to lead World Bank: sources

Reuters – The Trump administration has notified World Bank shareholders that President Donald Trump intends to pick senior Treasury Department official David Malpass as the U.S. nominee to lead the development lender, people familiar with the decision said on Monday.

The nomination of Malpass would put a Trump loyalist and a skeptic of multilateral institutions in line to lead the World Bank, which committed nearly $64 billion to developing countries in the year ended June 30, 2018.

Politico, which first reported the decision, said it would be announced on Wednesday, citing unidentified administration officials.

Spokespersons for the White House and the U.S. Treasury declined comment.

A European diplomatic source said the Trump administration had notified several capitals of the Malpass nomination, adding that European shareholders of the bank were not likely to block it.

Malpass, or any other U.S. nominee, would still need to win approval from the World Bank’s 12-member executive board. While the United States holds a controlling 16 percent share of board voting power and has traditionally chosen the World Bank’s leader, challengers could emerge.

Domestic Buyers Propping Up Bond Market

Schiff Gold – Over the past 12 months, the US federal government has added $1.5 trillion to the national debt.

As of Jan 30, the debt stood just under the $22 trillion mark at $21.97 trillion, according to the latest Treasury Department data. As WolfStreet put it,  we’re seeing these rapidly increasing levels of debt during “good times when the economy is hopping. At the next recession, this is going to get cute.”

But even as the US added to its debt load, foreign holders of US Treasurys are gradually selling them off. So, who’s buying up all of this debt? And is it sustainable?

Science & Technology

Magnetic north just changed. Here’s what that means

National Geographic – Magnetic north has never sat still. In the last hundred years or so, the direction in which our compasses steadfastly point has lumbered ever northward, driven by Earth‘s churning liquid outer core some 1,800 miles beneath the surface. Yet in recent years, scientists noticed something unusual: Magnetic north’s routine plod has shifted into high gear, sending it galloping across the Northern Hemisphere—and no one can entirely explain why.

The changes have been so large that scientists began working on an emergency update for the World Magnetic Model, the mathematical system that lays the foundations for navigation, from cell phones and ships to commercial airlines. But then the U.S. government shut down, placing the model’s official release on hold, as Nature News first reported earlier this year.

Now, the wait for a new north is over. The World Magnetic Model update was officially released on Monday, and magnetic north can again be precisely located for people around the world.

Questions still likely abound: Why is magnetic north changing so fast? What were the impacts of the update’s delay? Was there really a geologic reason Google maps sent me off course?

New Star Map Reveals the Milky Way Is Warped

Gizmodo – A new analysis of pulsing stars has revealed the Milky Way’s twisted shape.

Scientists have known since the 1950s that the spiral-shaped Milky Way’s disk is warped, bending by thousands of light-years at its outskirts. Now, researchers have created a map of stars called Cepheid variables in order to create a 3D map of our galaxy and understand the warping better than ever.

Though past analysis has established that the hydrogen gas in our galaxy takes on a warped shape, questions have remained as to whether stars follow the same shape or not. So the researchers from universities in China and Australia built a model of the Milky Way’s disk using a well-known distance measure: stars called Cepheid variables. Cepheids pulse with a regular period that varies with their brightness. That means that if you know the pulsation period, you can infer the star’s actual luminosity, then compare that with the luminosity observed from Earth in order to determine the distance.

The researchers gathered 2,330 Cepheid variables catalogued by an infrared telescope called the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, and whittled down the list to 1,339 stars based on their distance, models of the Milky Way, and other factors. You can see their final plot in the video below, published in Nature Astronomy.

Dementia patients to be tracked by smart meters so that doctors can monitor any sudden changes that indicate illness, falls or mental decline

Daily Mail – The NHS is to use energy smart meters to monitor dementia patients in their homes.

The devices will track patients’ daily routines, such as when they boil the kettle, cook dinner or turn the washing machine on.

They will flag up any sudden change in behaviour which could indicate an illness, a fall or a decline in their mental state. The meters will be able to send alerts to family members or carers, who can pop round to check if the patient is all right.

Experts say the devices will enable patients to live independently for longer without going into care, and prevent avoidable admissions to A&E.

Smart meters monitor households’ energy use in real time and send the readings directly to suppliers, putting an end to estimated bills.


The Rotavirus Vaccine: A Case Study in Government Corruption and Malfeasance

Children’s Defence Fund – n a previous article for Children’s Health Defense, titled “Why You Can’t Trust the CDC on Vaccines”, we looked at how it can be true that government agencies are misinforming the public about the safety and effectiveness of vaccines.

The very prospect is treated by the mainstream corporate media as a “conspiracy theory”, but no such theory is required to explain it. On the contrary, the existence of institutionalized biases within the medical establishment and scientific community are well recognized in the scientific literature, and the Congress itself has criticized the endemic corruption within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

For example, we saw how both agencies were criticized by the June 2000 report of an investigation initiated by the Committee on Government Reform within the House of Representatives.

That investigation touched on a particularly salient example of government corruption and malfeasance: the case of the rotavirus vaccine.

Among the Congressional investigation’s findings were that three out of five members of the FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) “who voted to approve the rotavirus vaccine in December 1997 had financial ties to pharmaceutical companies that were developing different versions of the vaccine”, while four out of eight members of the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) “who voted to approve guidelines for the rotavirus vaccine in June 1998 had financial ties to pharmaceutical companies that were developing different versions of the vaccine”.

Included among the half of ACIP members who had financial ties to pharmaceutical companies while deliberating what CDC policy should be with respect to the rotavirus vaccine was one Dr. Paul Offit.

WHO, Pharma, Gates and Government: Who’s Calling the Shots?

By Barbara Loe Fisher

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) has ranked “vaccine hesitancy” as one of the top 10 Threats to Global Health in 2019
  • Since 2011, pharmaceutical companies have no liability for injuries and deaths caused by the vaccines they sell in the U.S. that are government recommended and mandated
  • A joint investigation by the British Medical Journal and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism revealed that three key scientists who influenced WHO’s decision to declare a swine flu influenza pandemic in 2009 and recommend all countries use and stockpile vaccines and pandemic flu drugs had financial ties to pharmaceutical companies profiting from the WHO recommendations
  • The Gates Foundation has donated more than $3 billion to Gavi. Between 2000 and 2013, only 10 percent of total funding provided by Gavi was used to strengthen health systems in developing countries, while nearly 80 percent was used to purchase, deliver and promote vaccines
  • The National Institutes of Health and other U.S. federal health agencies give millions of dollars in taxpayer dollars to academic institutions and vaccine manufacturers to improve vaccine technology, find new lucrative vaccine markets and boost vaccine marketability. The U.S. government also partners with the Gates Foundation to develop and promote vaccine use

Chia Seeds vs Flax Seeds: Which Is Healthier?

Dr. Axe – Chia seeds and flax seeds are the two most popular varieties of seeds for their versatility, nutrient profile and wealth of health benefits. But when it comes to chia seeds vs flax seeds, which one is better for you?

Good news — they are both fantastic additions to your diet. Packed with fiber, protein and healthy fats, chia and flax seeds can help to improve your digestive, cardiovascular and cognitive health.

Per serving, it’s true that chia seeds benefits may outweigh those of flax seeds, but adding either one to your diet can have a positive impact.

Here’s a rundown of chia seeds versus flax seeds nutrition. Two tablespoons of chia seeds contains approximately:

  • 137 calories
  • 12.3 grams carbohydrates
  • 4.4 grams protein
  • 8.6 grams fat
  • 10.6 grams fiber
  • 0.6 milligram manganese (30 percent DV)
  • 265 milligrams phosphorus (27 percent DV)
  • 177 milligrams calcium (18 percent DV)
  • 1 milligram zinc (7 percent DV)
  • 0.1 milligram copper (3 percent DV)
  • 44.8 milligrams potassium (1 percent DV)

And two tablespoons of whole, unground flax seeds contains approximately:

  • 110 calories
  • 6 grams carbohydrates
  • 4 grams protein
  • 8.5 grams fat
  • 6 grams fiber
  • 0.6 milligram manganese (30 percent DV)
  • 0.4 milligram thiamine/vitamin B1 (22 percent)
  • 80 milligrams magnesium (20 percent DV)
  • 132 milligrams phosphorus (14 percent DV)
  • 0.2 milligram copper (12 percent DV)
  • 5 milligrams selenium (8 percent DV)