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Breakthrough! Seeing Gravity in a New Way

Astronomers detect gravitational waves predicted by Einstein
by Will Morrow  - WSWS

12 February 2016

black hole nasaAstronomers from the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) Collaboration have published the first detection of gravitational waves, ripples in the fabric of space and time. The announcement comes almost exactly a century after Albert Einstein, in mid-1916, predicted the existence of the waves on the basis of his Theory of General Relativity.

The findings were announced at a press conference at the National Science Foundation in Washington, D.C. on Thursday morning. They open up a new era in humanity’s efforts to investigate the universal laws of the motion of matter. Until now, there has been no way to directly detect the subtle gravitational vibrations which pass continuously through Earth as they do throughout the Universe.
 
Now, however, a new spectrum of gravitational wave astronomy has begun, allowing scientists to examine regions of the cosmos previously excluded from study.

The detected wave was generated by the merger of two black holes more than one billion light years from Earth. Today’s announcement, therefore, contains two separate discoveries: the detection of gravitational waves and the first-ever observation of a black-hole binary merger, an event which had been theoretically predicted, but never seen.
 

Trrumping the Iran Sanctions Narrative: A Tale of Two Elections

Notes From Tehran: Trump, the Iranian Elections and the End of Sanctions
by Franklin Lamb - CounterPunch

February 12, 2016

Tehran - The remaining 5 Republican candidates, winnowed in from the original dozen, push to ingratiate themselves among South Carolina’s Republican voters, who like a majority of their countrymen, are angry at Washington ‘pay-to-play’ politicians. The day before that state’s February 27 primary, Iranian voters will have gone to the polls for their own crucial elections.
 
Iranians will vote in twin elections for the Iranian parliament and to elect a more powerful separate body known as the Assembly of Experts. And yes, The Donald is now a factor in both of those Iranian elections. Before Trump involved himself, the Iranian elections had already proven divisive. Many relatively moderate candidates were rejected by hard-liners during the vetting phase. Several of these blocked candidates support President Hassan Rouhani, a key architect of the Iran nuclear deal that they support.
 
For his part, Rouhani has been traveling abroad to begin Iran’s process of returning to international global trade. His recent travels are viewed among many in Iran as part of this month’s elections to shore up his support, given that the election is partly a referendum on his record and the nuclear agreement.
 

No Bravery in This New World: Fear the Fiat Currency of the Empire

Russia, North Korea, Terrorism...Fear as Currency of Western Tyranny
by Finian Cunningham - RT

Feb. 11, 2016

For those with a weak heart it has been a testing week. Russian nuclear aggression, North Korea’s ballistic missiles, terrorists planning to attack the US and Europe. Please almighty, benevolent Washington – protect us!
 
History has long shown that fear is the currency of rule by tyrants. Get the people to fear some external enemy and then you can command their submission to any form of control – because it’s for their “protection”.

Organized crime calls it a “protection racket”; colonial powers called it “protectorates”; and modern Western supposed democracies claim it is in the name of “state security”.
 
North Korea sends one across the bow
 
In many ways it constitutes a risible ruse that should be easily seen through for the farce that it is. But the otherwise unbelievable farce is given a facade of plausibility, credibility and normality due to the immense conditioning power of the Western news media.
 

Fixing Bernie: Democrat Elites Aim to Neuter Populist

Can the Establishment Fix Its Bernie Sanders Problem?
by Shamus Cooke - CounterPunch

February 11, 2016 

 
The Democrats’ fight against Bernie is appearing futile. Like a python choking on an elephant, they’ve miscalculated. The Party elites underestimated their opponent, and with each new attack the snake swallows an extra inch, harming only itself.

Establishment figureheads are taking turns ruining their reputation as they attempt to ruin Bernie’s. The U.S. ruling class as a whole revealed the depth of its crisis in this election: not since the Vietnam War have both wings of the establishment thoroughly discredited themselves.

The Republican wing combusted quickly while the Democrats have chosen a slower, more torturous form of self-harm.
 
The problem with both parties is their inability to serve the super rich while successfully appealing to voters. As inequality widens, democracy suffers. Focusing on the “billionaire class” has catapulted Bernie’s campaign, but the presidency is not an institution that just anybody is allowed to capture.
 

Syria "Talks" Break Down in Geneva

Will Geneva talks lead right back to Assad’s 2011 reforms?
by Sharmine Narwani - RT

Feb. 10, 2016

Syrian peace talks have already stalled. The opposition refused to be in the same room as the government delegation, while the latter blamed opposition ‘preconditions’ and the organizers’ inability to produce a ‘list of designated terrorists’.
 
The UN’s special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura has now promised talks will reconvene on February 25, but how will he achieve this?
 
So much has shifted on the global political stage and in the Syrian military theater since this negotiation process first began gaining steam. In just the past few weeks, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its allies have recaptured key areas in Latakia, Idlib, Daraa, Homs and Aleppo, and are making their way up to the Turkish border, cutting off supply lines and exits for opposition militants along the way.
 
While analysts and politicians on both sides of the fence have warned that a ‘military solution’ to the Syrian crisis is not feasible, the SAA’s gains are starting to look very much like one. And with each subsequent victory, the ability for the opposition to raise demands looks to be diminished.
 

Lead Down the Garden Path: Condemning America to a Toxic Future

Two, Three... Many Flints: America’s Coast-to-Coast Toxic Crisis
by David Rosner and Gerald Markowitz - TomDispatch
 
February 9, 2016
 
I know if I was a parent up there, I would be beside myself if my kids’ health could be at risk,” said President Obama on a recent trip to Michigan. “Up there” was Flint, a rusting industrial city in the grip of a “water crisis” brought on by a government austerity scheme. 
 
To save a couple of million dollars, that city switched its source of water from Lake Huron to the Flint River, a long-time industrial dumping ground for the toxic industries that had once made their home along its banks. Now, the city is enveloped in a public health emergency, with elevated levels of lead in its water supply and in the blood of its children.

The price tag for replacing the lead pipes that contaminated its drinking water, thanks to the corrosive toxins found in the Flint River, is now estimated at up to $1.5 billion. 
 
No one knows where that money will come from or when it will arrive. In the meantime, the cost to the children of Flint has been and will be incalculable. As little as a few specks of lead in the water children drink or in flakes of paint that come off the walls of old houses and are ingested can change the course of a life.
 
The amount of lead dust that covers a thumbnail is enough to send a child into a coma or into convulsions leading to death. It takes less than a tenth of that amount to cause IQ loss, hearing loss, or behavioral problems like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and dyslexia. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the government agency responsible for tracking and protecting the nation’s health, says simply, “No safe blood lead level in children has been identified.” 
 

Listening to a One Drum Band: Waiting the Next Horror Show in Gaza

Next Onslaught in Gaza: Why the Status Quo Is a Precursor for War
by Ramzy Baroud  - PalestineChronicle.com
 
Feb. 9, 2016

It is not true that only three wars have taken place since Hamas won parliamentary elections in 2006 in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Other wars that were deemed insignificant or ‘skirmishes’ also took place. Operation Returning Echo in March 2012, for example, killed and wounded over 100 people. But since the death toll, relative to the other major onslaughts seemed trivial, it was not cited as 'war', per se.
 
According to this logic, so-called operations Cast Lead (2008-9), Pillar of Defense (2012) and the deadliest of them all, Protective Edge (2014) were serious enough to be included in any relevant discussion, especially when the prospective new Israeli war on Gaza is considered.
 
It is important to denote that most of the media, mainstream or other, adheres to Israel's designations of the war, not those of Palestinians. For example, Gazans refer to their last confrontation with Israel as the ‘Al-Furqan Battle’, a term we almost never hear repeated with reference to the war.
 
Observing the Israeli war discourse as the central factor in understanding the war against the Resistance surpasses that of language into other areas. The suffering in Gaza has never ceased, not since the last war, the previous one or the one before that. But only when Israel begins to mull over war as a real option, do many of us return to Gaza to discuss the various violent possibilities that lie ahead.
 

Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Ingmar Lee, Ken Boon Feb. 10, 2016

This Week on GR
by C. L. Cook - Gorilla-Radio.com
 
February 9, 2016

 
Last week, the Clark government announced a new policy concerning mining, logging, and the recreational use of the Great Bear Rainforest.

The so-called GBR agreement follows a pattern of inviting selected Environmental Non-Governmental Organizations and First Nations representatives into the backrooms where resource allocation decisions between industry and government are crafted.

The deal has divided environmentalists, as did the first of its kind that created what's now known as the Great Bear Rainforest, prompting praise and criticism on both the front and editorial pages.
 
Ingmar Lee lives along British Columbia's mid-coast, in an area the GBR encompasses.
 
 
 
He's a long-time, BC-based environment defender whose past efforts to save the forests and watershed ecosystems of Vancouver Island include being among the few who took to the trees in the iconic Cathedral Grove, (and remaining for two years) fighting the destruction of the suburban forest for highways in Langford, scaling the BC Legislature flag pole to garner press in opposition to the Enbridge pipeline scheme, and dismantling seismic explosives in the heart of Sandhill Crane nesting grounds on Denny Island.
 
Ingmar also created and maintains the Facebook site, 10,000 Ton Tanker, the only sustained media effort to bring attention to regular foreign oil tanker traffic within BC's supposed tanker moratorium area.
 
Ingmar Lee in the first half.
 


Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Wednesday, 1-2pm Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, and on the internet at: http://cfuv.uvic.ca.  He also serves as a contributing editor to the web news site, http://www.pacificfreepress.com. Check out the GR blog at: http://gorillaradioblog.blogspot.ca/
Add a comment Add a comment Read more: Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Ingmar Lee, Ken Boon Feb. 10, 2016

The Privatization Proxy War on Russia's Economy

Privatization: the Atlanticist Tactic to Attack Russia
by Paul Craig Roberts/Michael Hudson - CounterPunch

February 8, 2016

Two years ago, Russian officials discussed plans to privatize a group of national enterprises headed by the oil producer Rosneft, the VTB Bank, Aeroflot, and Russian Railways. The stated objective was to streamline management of these companies, and also to induce oligarchs to begin bringing their two decades of capital flight back to invest in the Russia economy. Foreign participation was sought in cases where Western technology transfer and management techniques would be likely to help the economy.

However, the Russian economic outlook deteriorated as the United States pushed Western governments to impose economic sanctions against Russia and oil prices declined.
 
This has made the Russian economy less attractive to foreign investors. So sale of these companies will bring much lower prices today than would have been likely in 2014.

Bombing in the 21st C.: How the "Greatest Military in History" Fails Its Billing

Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda: The U.S. Military Bombs in the Twenty-First Century
by Tom Engelhardt - TomDispatch
 
Here’s my twenty-first-century rule of thumb about this country: if you have to say it over and over, it probably ain’t so. Which is why I’d think twice every time we’re told how “exceptional” or “indispensable” the United States is. For someone like me who can still remember a moment when Americans assumed that was so, but no sitting president, presidential candidate, or politician felt you had to say the obvious, such lines reverberate with defensiveness.
 
They seem to incorporate other voices you can almost hear whispering that we’re ever less exceptional, more dispensable, no longer (to quote the greatest of them all by his own estimate) “the greatest.”

In this vein, consider a commonplace line running around Washington (as it has for years): the U.S. military is “the finest fighting force in the history of the world.” Uh, folks, if that’s so, then why the hell can’t it win a damn thing 14-plus years later?
 

Tragedy and Hypocrisy Not News in News This Week from Palestine

Hypocrisy land news and Actions this coming week
by Mazin Qumsiyeh - palestinenature.org
The Israeli Knesset rejected a bill that calls for equality (after all all this must remain a state by and for Jews). And a video emerged of Israeli prime minister Netanyahu praising Israeli Fascist Group Im Tirtzu which believes in "Jewishness" of Palestine and acts and supports to effect ethnic cleansing of native Palestinians in favor of European and other Jewish colonization.

The Zionist leaders attacked Ban Ki Moon for mildly speaking about the need to end the occupation and let Palestinians live free. The heads of the EU missions in Jerusalem issued a report saying that Israel must respect human rights. They explained that 660 Palestinians are being held without charge or trial. They also mention Mohammad AlQeeq, a Palestinian Journalist on hunger strike for 70 days since his illegal detention.

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