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Ebola leaves southeast Guinea scarred, jobless, and without hope

Etienne Ouamouno, father of Ebola patient zero, poses for a picture in Meliandou February 4, 2015.
A charred kapok tree and around a dozen graves scattered amongst the mud brick houses of Meliandou are painful reminders of the toll Ebola has taken on this village in southeast Guinea.

Scientists traced the source of the worst-ever outbreak of Ebola to two-year-old Emile Ouamouno, who they believe contracted the disease while playing near the tree, home to hundreds of bats that may have been hosting the deadly virus.

The boy's father, Etienne Ouamouno, said Emile fell ill in December 2013, and infected his sister and mother who was eight months pregnant at the time. Over a year later, having lost all his immediate family, Etienne Ouamouno has difficulty in finding words to describe his grief.

Comment: It's horrible - this is what happens when a natural catastrophe meets incompetent government.


Just how Islamic is 'Islamic State'?

ISIS and Qu'ran
Islamic State and the Qu'ran - mission or excuse?
IS not only misreads texts, most clerics say, it also ignores Quranic verses requiring mercy, preservation of life and protection of innocents.
Three British schoolgirls believed to have gone to Syria to become "jihadi" brides. Three young men charged in New York with plotting to join the Islamic State group and carry out attacks on American soil. A masked, knife-wielding militant from London who is the face of terror in videos showing Western hostages beheaded.
They are among tens of thousands of Muslims eager to pledge allegiance to the Islamic State group (Daesh). An estimated 20,000 have streamed into the territory in Iraq and Syria where the group has proclaimed what it calls a "caliphate" ruled by its often brutal version of Islamic law.

But how rooted in Islam is the ideology embraced by this group that has inspired so many to fight and die?

President Barack Obama has insisted the militants behind a brutal campaign of beheadings, kidnappings and enslavement are "not Islamic" and only use a veneer of Islam for their own ends. Obama's critics argue the extremists are intrinsically linked to Islam. Others insist their ideology has little connection to religion.

Comment: Is religion an excuse or validation for violence? If so, Islam is not unique. Almost all religions have been utilized to fulfill horrendous acts against fellow humans, as a crutch for wannabe ideologies, a cover for genocide and the perpetration of atrocities for societal or political gain. All over the world, whether it is Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, etc., there are groups of people, in the name of religion and by "documented permission," killing, maiming, torturing the "others."

Read here for an overview of the pathological intricacies present in religion:
Monotheistic religions - Playground for psychopaths

"As per the PewResearch Religion & Public Life Project, the world's two largest faiths, Christianity and Islam, make up almost half of the world's population and were the most widely targeted in 2012, facing official and social hostility in 110 and 109 countries respectively. Jews were targeted in 71 countries. Over a six-year period: Christians - 151 countries, Muslims - 135 countries, Jews - 95 countries. (Does this tell us something about the ongoing grand distraction of mankind and its unwavering subservience to irrational religious ideals? ...)"

"...when a religion that allows radical interpretation is given undue credence, psychopaths and authoritarian followers, who would not otherwise have a political or social context to behave badly, are conveniently and subversively provided one."

Is Islamic State one thing or another? Does it matter?

Bizarro Earth

Economic losses from global disasters hit low-income countries the hardest

disaster chart natons
Deaths, economic losses and other negative impacts from disasters have caused losses equivalent to 42 million years annually since 1980, a measure that is comparable to the burden of tuberculosis worldwide, the United Nations said.

More than 90 percent of the total "years" lost in disasters between 1980 and 2012 were in low and middle-income countries, representing a serious setback to their development, the U.N. Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) said.

"If these figures show that disaster loss is as much a critical global challenge to economic development and social progress as is disease, they also show that it is a challenge unequally shared," the UNISDR said in a report on Wednesday.

Comment: Low income nations are least likely to have the resources to build infrastructure to withstand the increasingly devastating affects of earth changes. While wealthier nations invest in developing countries, often the focus is on resource-grabbing rather than building to sustain a nation and its inhabitants. And in some cases, even so-called wealthy nations like the US are unrealistically ignoring a crumbling infrastructure in order to fund war and plunder in other nations. The way things are looking on the BBM, it will become increasingly obvious that such policies have been disastrous in themselves.


Raging New Mexico police attack defenseless, handcuffed man in jail cell

On Dec. 23 Russ Flynn, already jailed at the Las Cruces Police Department over a parking dispute with his neighbor, piped up by "talking back" to police from behind his cell gate which unfortunately garnered an unwarranted response from two LCPD officers who soon-after bum-rushed Flynn's cell, quickly opening the gate to gain entry. Their intentions were clear.

Once inside Flynn's cell the two cops, in true roid-rage like fashion, proceeded to viciously attack Flynn, roughing him up, just before smashing his head against concrete walls, kneeing him and slamming him to the ground which ultimately fractured the man's skull.

You see at the time Flynn was of no threat to the officers as he was already locked in his cell securely. He was merely "talking back". Police are trained to take a decent amount of verbal abuse from their detainees, it's part of their job. And surely a few comments and a small display of frustration don't warrant the savage ass-beating of a defenseless handcuffed man by any means.

Yet even more grotesque and disgraceful is the fact that a report filed by the officer's says that Flynn hit his own "back and head against the wall" and that the heavy blows from the officer's knees were "to distract him from grabbing the officer's belt". However, video evidence tells a different story one that's not so favorable to the police.

Flynn spent "days" in the intensive care unit at a local hospital to recover from the severe battering two LCPD officers gave him and now intends to sue the "City of Las Cruces" over the matter, demanding "$12,500,000 as a full settlement".

"There needs to be repercussions", Flynn's attorney said.

Comment: What thugs! Not a day goes by where you don't hear about another defenseless person being abused by the police. May he get his millions and more.

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Rewarding performance? BP CEO receives huge salary increase, despite drop in profits and enforcing wage freeze on workforce

bp logo
BP Chief Executive Bob Dudley was given a 25 percent rise in total pay and bonuses in 2014 despite a drop in profits at the oil major, according to the annual report.

Dudley's remuneration rose from $10.17 million in 2013 to $12.74 million last year, according to BP's annual report released Tuesday. He also received $9.8 million in share awards. In January the company cuts its capital spending program and imposed a salary freeze, weeks after axing hundreds of jobs in Scotland and thousands more globally as a result of falling oil prices and profits. BP has frozen the pay of its 84,000 workforce around the world after a nearly 50 percent fall in crude prices since last summer.

Comment: Multinational corporations continue to reward those who are adept at global plundering and environmental devastation while forcing their employees to strike for decent wages and better working conditions. This is one reason why inequality has risen exponentially, thus presaging the day of reckoning that always follows such periods of hubris and unconcern for the welfare of humanity by the global elites. In their blindness they can't see they are destroying the very foundation of their prosperity. To quote Lobeczewski's Political Ponerology:
Goaded by their character, such people thirst for just that even though it would conflict with their own life interest. They do not understand that a catastrophe would ensue. Germs are not aware that they will be burned alive or buried deep in the ground along with the human body whose death they are causing.

Arrow Up

We still live in a world where many believe...

The status quo is reality. People don't question the existing state of affairs, especially if it's been repeated enough times as the norm in the name of social, scientific and economic progress. But how do we define progress in our species?

Through advancements in energy, economics, agriculture, technology?

All of the above? What about advancements in Humanity?

Humanity has taken a back-door to what we define as progress. The problem is we still live in a world where people believe:

Ukraine gas blast: 30 feared dead in Donetsk coal mine

Emergency vehicles exit the Zasyadko coal mine in Donetsk
© Baz Ratner/Reuters
Emergency vehicles exit the Zasyadko coal mine in Donetsk.

Methane gas explosion hits notorious Zasyadko shaft in rebel-held Donetsk

More than 30 people are thought to be dead after a methane gas explosion at a notoriously dangerous coal mine in eastern Ukraine.

There were conflicting reports over the number of casualties but Vladimir Groysman, Ukraine's parliament speaker, told MPs that 32 miners had been killed at the Zasyadko mine in rebel-held Donetsk.

Vladimir Tsymbalenko, head of the local mining safety service, also told Reuters that more than 30 people were killed. "Rescue workers have not yet come to the place of the explosion, they are removing the poisonous gas and then will go down," he added.

Rebel media quoted a local emergencies ministry spokesperson saying that one miner had died and fourteen were injured after the explosion on Wednesday morning, with scores still trapped underground.

Ivan Prikhodko, a city official in Donetsk, told the DAN news agency: "All I can say at the moment is that 32 people are underground, and one person has died. Until the rescue workers reach them, to say they are dead is at the very least unethical."

Seven tips for survival learned from the Walking Dead

The Walking Dead is one of the most popular post-apocalyptic shows ever seen on television, and while the gripping story focuses on the characters and their travels through the ruined world, there are some lessons to be learned by us along the way.

Sure, not everything the characters do is spot-on correct for survival, and honestly much of what they do is the opposite of what you should do in a survival situation, but even bad actions can be learned from, just never repeated. We've rounded up seven lessons to be learned for survival from watching the Walking Dead and listed them below. The show does a great job at showing us what average people will do in an EOTWAWKI situation, and thanks to their many mistakes, we can learn and be better.

1. Beware of Other Survivors, No Matter How Nice They Seem

If there's one thing this show has taught us, it's that you need to be just as scared of your fellow survivors as you are the enemy. While someone might seem nice, they could easily be playing you for a chump so they can steal your supplies or just so they can do you harm.

The Governor seemed like a really nice guy and we saw how that turned out. The same goes for countless others in the show that lead people on just to take advantage of them later. Don't even get us started on the "people" at Terminus. Remember, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

2. A Secure Location is Great, But Never Perfect
This is best shown with the example of the jail in seasons 3 and 4, but can be applied to just about any refuge taken in the show. It doesn't matter how secure you think your location is, something can always happen to make you have to bug out.

Keep your eyes open and no matter how safe you feel, always have a plan to get out quickly and to meet up after you bug out. As we saw in season 4 when the survivors were pushed from the prison, not having a plan to meet up after an emergency can leave your fellow survivors scattered to the wind and in constant danger.

Comment: Unfortunately, most people won't be prepared for what's coming. Dmitry Orlov has written extensively on economic collapse and how people come to terms with it. Listen to the SOTT editor's interview with Dmitry below.

SOTT Talk Radio #66 - Lessons from collapse of USSR for USA: Interview with Dmitry Orlov


Americans are turning away from religion in record numbers

© Shutterstock
With fire-breathing religion figuring anew in global conflicts, and political discussions at home often dominated by the nuttery of the Christian right, you might get the sense that somebody's god is ready to mug you around every street corner. But if you're the type who doesn't like to hang your hat on organized religion, here's a bit of good news: in America, your numbers are growing.

There are more religiously unaffiliated people in the U.S. today than ever before. Starting in the 1980s, a variety of polls using different methodologies have come to the same conclusion: people who do not identify with religious labels are on the rise, perhaps even doubling in that time frame.

Some call them "nones": agnostics, atheists, deists, secular humanists, general humanists, and people who just don't care to identify with any religious group. It's not exactly correct to call them nonbelievers, because some still have faith and spirituality in some sense or another. A 2012 Pew study noted that 30 percent of these people believe in "God or universal spirit" and around 20 percent even pray every day. But according to the latest research, Americans checking the "none of the above" box will make up an increasingly important force in the country. Other groups, like born-again evangelicals, have grown more percentage-wise, but the nones have them beat in absolute numbers.

The nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute has documented this sea change in its American Values Atlas, which it released last Wednesday. The fascinating study provides demographic, religious and political data based on surveys conducted throughout 2014. According to PRRI director of research Dan Cox, "The U.S. religious landscape is undergoing a dramatic transformation that is fundamentally reshaping American politics and culture."

Last year, for the very first time, Protestants lost their majority status in the Institute's annual report, making up only 47 percent of those surveyed. The religiously unaffiliated, who come in at 22 percent, boast numbers on par with major religious groups like American Catholics. All told, the unaffiliated is the second-largest group in the country. It was also the most common group chosen by residents in 13 states, with the largest share (a third or more) in Washington, Oregon and New Hampshire. In Ohio and Virginia, this group was tied for first place. The unaffiliated don't find too many like-minded folks down in Mississippi, however, where they make up only 10 percent of the population.

Netanyahu speech protest: Is public opinion regarding Israel changing?

netanyahu protest
© ANSWER Coalition/Phil Portluck
Outside, in the streets surrounding the U.S. Congress, a strong, spirited crowd of demonstrators denounced Benjamin Netanyahu for committing war crimes against the Palestinian people and for attempting to whip up a war fever against Iran. We were met by police lines and cops who grabbed and shoved people as they attempted to exercise their Constitutional right to protest at Congress.

Inside, from within the hallowed halls, Netanyahu was given a boisterous two-minute-long standing ovation by the millionaire politicians in Congress.

The irony of what happened today speaks volumes about the nature of democracy in this country.

Comment: Bibi the Clown in Congress: Iran = most terrible, horrible, no good thing ever, in the universe