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© AFP Photo / ESA
Rosetta's lander Philae (back view)
Launched in 2004, the Rosetta spacecraft mission to rendezvous comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko has just succeeded in landing its Philae module on the surface of the comet. After a last-minute glitch that temporarily had the lander failing to respond to signals from the European Space Agency's controllers, Philae came online. With the mission a success so far, researchers hope to find the building blocks of life, testing the theory that comets spread life-bearing molecules throughout the cosmos.

It should come as no surprise to readers of SOTT.net that, so far, ice is nowhere to be found on the comet. Despite its 'surprisingly' dry surface, however, it is producing a large amount of water. Like so many 'comets' before, this one is like all the others: a big hunk of rock. So, on the one hand, a great day for scientific advancement; on the other, yet another example of people who should know better being 'totally surprised' at facts that should have been totally obvious. Comets are not dirty snowballs!

Unfortunately for humanity, scientific and technological progress have absolutely no correlation with moral progress. We can't help but find it ironic that as humanity makes this 'great step' towards understanding the secrets of space and life in the cosmos, our world is on the brink of societal, economic and moral collapse. Just today, we can find the following stories and headlines in the news.

Drugs and Money

Thanks to more than a decade of American freedom and democracy, not only is Afghanistan experiencing a revitalized Taliban insurgency, but opium production is also at an all-time high. The result? Five percent of Afghans are using heroin. (Compare that to less than half a percent in the U.S.) Prior to the American-led invasion in 2001, the Taliban - in coordination with the UN - had actually cut opium cultivation by 94%.
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Speaking of criminal enterprises, six of the world's biggest banks - UBS, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Royal Bank of Scotland, and HSBC - are wincing from a light slap on the wrist, in the form of a $3.4-billion-dollar fine for criminal foreign currency exchange rate rigging. What are the chances any of the culprits will see jail time? Slim to none. The rich keep getting richer, and those who should be putting these people in jail are busy killing the very people they should be protecting.

Pedophiles in Power
  • Hollywood Sex Abuse Film Revealed: Explosive Claims, New Figures Named
A new documentary, set to debut on Friday, promises to name more powerful Hollywood bigwigs accused of molesting youths. This comes after allegations against director Bryan Singer, TV exec Garth Ancier, and former Disney exec David Neuman and producer Gary Goddard (Michael Egan III, who made the allegations, has since dropped his suits). Whether it's BBC or Hollywood, the entertainment industry is a den of vultures who prey on children.

At the same time, the pedophile scandal and investigation in the UK proceeds at a snail's pace:
The Wanless report concluded that "shambolic" record keeping at the Home Office meant a definite answer could not be given either way. More than 100 files concerning allegations of child abuse at the heart of Westminster were destroyed in the last few years, according to the report, although not by anyone directly connected to the allegations, it said.
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Investigative journalist Don Hale told the BBC that the former Employment Secretary handed him a dossier containing sexual abuse allegations in the 1980s but that his home was later raided by Special Branch, who took the file away. Its whereabouts remain unknown. Ms May confirmed Scotland Yard will investigate Mr Hale's claim.
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David Cameron said: "It's important [the report] says that there wasn't a cover-up... some of the people who've been looking for conspiracy theories will have to look elsewhere."

Peter Saunders, founder of the National Association for People Abused in Childhood, rejected the Prime Minister's advice. He said: "Perpetrators are still protected at the highest levels and I think it's disgusting. It goes right to the top. It's just a sordid issue that everyone has tried to keep under the carpet because it's too big."
Media Wars

Meanwhile, CNN's ratings have hit a new record low. Could it be that people are no longer willing to buy the bullshit peddled daily by our corporate-controlled propaganda machine? Or are they just too apathetic to care? Just in case people are starting to shift in their seats a little and start seeing the lamestream media as the lapdogs they are, we have the story of the NYPD considering using weaponized drones to "combat terrorists". That's right, our law enforcement authorities want to militarize New York City's skyline to combat phantom threats created by our own very government! Well, you can't expect Obama and his cronies to do anything else: Standard Operating Procedure. The masses get restless, and the elites use the media to "scare" up another story about terrorists under our bed:
Officials are making the usual argument (Terror!) to justify this ridiculous and dangerous idea. Specifically, terrorists might arm a drone with a machine gun or a bomb and inflict mass damage, the cops warn.
Pathetic. There are doubtless people who see through these lies and obvious scare-mongering, but the truth is that the majority of the population in the U.S. and elsewhere are easily swayed by such empty proclamations and threats. There's also the section of the public that, mentioned above, is too apathetic to care about anything. They might as well be part of the majority, authoritarian followers, who accept what they are told regardless of its lack of logic and sense, if it's from an authority figure. Silence is obedience, after all.

Whatever the case, Russians seem to have a good idea of what's going on. In a poll conducted by the Levada Center last month, more than 80% of respondents agreed that the U.S. and Ukraine are conducting an information war against Russia. We at SOTT can't help but think that the Russians' ability to see reality as it is is, at least in part, due to its leader, Vladimir Putin, and his rational and clear form of leadership. He tells his people, and the world at large, the truth about what is happening in the world, so it should be no surprise that a majority of Russians see what the U.S. is doing in its propaganda war against Russia.

Blustering Bibi

As if we didn't need any more evidence that Israeli PM Benny Netanyahu is batshit crazy, he recently made a video statement to the Jewish Federations of North America's General Assembly (and thereby, to the U.S.), in English, basically laying down the party line: "Iran is not a partner of America. It's an enemy of America." You got that, America? ISIS may be a problem (albeit one which Israel is happy to see run rampant in states it wants to see destroyed anyway), but teaming up with Iran would be beyond the pale. He continued (pardon the levity):
Iran is evil! ... blah blah blah ... nuclear weapons program! ... blah blah ... Iran is not part of the solution. It's a huge part of the problem ... nuclear ebola jihadis! ... Instead of holding firm and demanding that Iran dismantle its program, the international community is reportedly - and I hope these reports do not prove to be true - willing to leave Iran's nuclear program largely intact.
Nope, Bibi's not senile - just psychopathic. Iran has no nuclear weapons program. Unfortunately, leaders like Netanyahoo are the norm, and have been for decades (which makes the exception of Putin all the more striking). They usually tend to fall in at least one of the following categories: greedy, pedophiles, psychopaths.

The Incompetency of our Leaders

It's interesting to notice how much faith the general public puts into their beloved authority figures, especially when one comes across a few news items that show just how dumbed down and incompetent they really are. Take this story for example:
  • City of Los Angeles offering free rain barrels to beat drought
The city of Los Angeles has a unique way to beat the state's historic drought, and the concept revolves around recycling.

The city is giving away free rain barrels to 1,000 residents. The goal is to collect rain water to be used on lawns and gardens. The offer is limited to residents of Los Angeles.

The 55-gallon barrels are repurposed syrup containers from Coca-Cola Co., which is partnering with the city for this campaign.
Does everyone else not see the ridiculousness of this program? In case it needs to be spelled out, California is in a drought and the brilliant leaders of Los Angeles has decided that giving away rain barrels will "beat the drought". Earth to LA: It's not raining there! That's the whole problem. How do rain barrels help here? It's mind boggling.

Then there's the self-proclaimed "nobody", Rich Weinstein, who is single-handedly humiliating the Obama Administration by bringing to light the fact that the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare for short, was designed to dupe the American public:
"It's terrifying that the guy in his mom's basement is finding this stuff, and nobody else is," he says. "I really do find this disturbing."
One could make the argument that the reason nobody else is finding what he is, is not because of incompetency, but rather willing ignorance or even active participation. That may be true to some extent, but the simplest explanation is usually correct, and in this case what is likely is that someone in the Obama administration simply thought it could pull the wool over the eyes of the rest of the public and government. Since the US government lacks even the most basic level of competency, and the public is not exactly known for their attention to detail, that isn't too hard. But when all it takes is one man and an internet connection to humiliate the administration and potentially bring down the president's keystone legislation for his term, you know that we've got a bad situation on our hands. Will the public do anything about our incompetent leaders, though? Don't hold your breath, most of them are too busy watching war-porn on TV.

Weird Weather

Mother Nature sure does look to be paying attention to all of the above. Even if humanity ignores the signs and does nothing there will be a reaction. In the U.S. just over the last few days we've had a taste of what is in store for this winter:
  • South and East: Get ready for the icebox
Arctic air will plunge toward the South and East on Wednesday and Thursday, after as much as 2 feet of record-breaking snow buried portions of the upper Midwest.

Temperatures only made it into the single digits, teens and 20s Tuesday across much of the north-central U.S. - 20 to 40 degrees below average for many areas, the National Weather Service said.

Wind chills were as cold as minus 20 in parts of western Montana. By Wednesday morning, wind chills could drop to minus 35 in some spots - low enough to cause frostbite in 10 minutes.

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There's also the almost 3 feet of snow that parts of Upper Michigan and Wisconsin were hit with over Tuesday into Wednesday:

Winter Storm Astro recap: Heavy snow in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Minnesota
The heaviest snow from Astro came in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, where cold winds blowing across Lake Superior helped boost totals. An observer 7 miles north-northeast of Ishpeming, Michigan, reported 42.5 inches of snow as of 10 a.m. Wednesday. Some of this was from lake-effect snow in the wake of Astro, but this same site reported 36.5 inches of snow early Tuesday evening before the transition to pure lake-effect snow was complete. In either case, it's by far the heaviest total reported from this storm.

Heavy snow also fell on nearby areas of far northern Wisconsin. Several locations reported over 20 inches. The top reported total of 27.6 inches came from Saxon, near the western end of the Wisconsin-Michigan border.

Elsewhere, some of the heaviest totals in Minnesota came from Stearns County, which includes St. Cloud. The town of St. Augusta reported 16.5 inches of snow Monday afternoon. The official total in St. Cloud was 13.2 inches, breaking the all-time November calendar-day record of 12.0 inches set Nov. 21, 1898.

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Remember, it's just November! It certainly appears as though the U.S. is in for a very cold and snowy winter, especially those folks in the Midwest and East, where the majority of the arctic air gets pushed down to during the "polar vortex season".

Conclusion

How fitting then, that, while our planet continues its steady, systematic decline, we are focused on studying the probable true agents of our periodic destruction: comets, traditional ill omens of famine, plague, and death from above. Seeing as how our near or total extinction will probably come at the hands of one of the suckers (or several of them), we might as well get to know them!