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Thu, 21 Oct 2021
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Turkish protesters urge PM's resignation as graft scandal shakes govt

Thousands of demonstrators have taken to the streets of Turkey demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan amid a widening corruption scandal rattling his government. There are reports of tear gas and clashes with police in Istanbul.

Over 5,000 people gathered in Istanbul's Kadikoy district and some 1,000 in the Besiktas district on Wednesday, Xinhua news agency reports. Protesters have also gathered in the capital of Ankara, as well as in Izmir and other cities. Ruptly news agency says hundreds took to the streets of Istanbul.

Police in Istanbul have fired tear gas to disperse the demonstrators. At least four people have been arrested, according to Firat news agency.

Late on Wednesday, Erdogan announced a major cabinet reshuffle, replacing 10 key ministers. This came soon after the resignation of interior, economy, and environment ministers over a high profile corruption investigation. Resigned Environment Minister Erdogan Bayraktar turned against the Turkish leader, urging him to step down.

The scandal and ensuing feud between Erdogan and the judiciary have reignited anti-government protests against Erdogan's 11-year rule within the past week.

Comment: Don't expect the EU or the US to send top officials to support the protesters and to spur them on to continue the protests in the name of democracy and freedom and human rights. That is only when regime change is wanted like in Ukraine.


Animal Rights or Animal Welfare? On Humanity's relationship with fellow Earthlings

© Unknown.
According to official science, Homo is the genus of human-like great apes, with only one surviving species today - 'Modern Human', or Homo Sapiens. Strange as it may seem, the great majority of the 7 billion or so members of this species that presently inhabit planet Earth believe themselves to be active creators of, and participants in, what they call a 'highly advanced civilization'.

Yet there remain a few members of this species who, unlike the majority of their fellow sapiens who have cast off their bothersome critical thinking capacities in favor of a sonambulistic approach to life, can see quite clearly that this particular 'highly advanced civilization' is in fact a society where, to paraphrase hypnotist Michel Ellner, "Everything is backwards, everything is upside down; doctors destroy health, lawyers destroy justice, psychiatrists destroy minds, scientists destroy truth, major media destroys information, religions destroy spirituality and governments destroy freedom."

The illusion of the 'great advancement in civilization' aside, if we really take a look at what's going on in the world around us these days, it becomes difficult to make any sense of inter-human relationships, to say nothing about our relationships with the other species with which we share this planet. Official science routinely stretches credulity in the obtuse and often deceitful way that it dismisses the many bizarre and 'out of place' anthropological and archeological artifacts and remains that have been discovered all over the planet in recent decades. If mainstream science refuses to take all the available evidence into account in its attempt to come up with a theory of humanity's origins, how can we expect to ever understand the true position of our species within the larger animal kingdom on Earth?

Comment: See also:

The Vegetarian Myth

The Myth of the Ethical 'Vegan'

Lierre Keith on 'The Vegetarian Myth - Food, Justice and Sustainability'

Burying The Vegetarian Hypothesis

Arrow Down

Florida girl wants mom's attacker on Santa's naughty list

christine beckwith

Christine Beckwith says the aggressive woman who attacked her had a problem with how she parked her car.
An unidentified woman beat Christine Beckwith, of Lake Mary, Fla., in front of her daughter Sunday night. 'Dear Santa, Today my mom, Christine, got physically hurt by a woman. I want you to put her on the naughty list!' the girl wrote to Kris Kringle.

Comment: Is this what is now deemed spreading 'Christmas cheer'?

Christmas Tree

Santa shot by pellet gun during D.C. toy giveaway while cameras rolled

black santa shot
An African-America Santa Claus was shot in the back with a pellet gun during a toy giveaway in Washington, D.C. on Christmas Eve - and the whole thing was caught on video by a local news crew.

A WJLA photographer was interviewing the Santa Claus as he was waving to children on a Washington, D.C. street. The Santa then began screaming in pain.

"Somebody just shot me!" Santa says. "Something in my back. Ahh! Ahh! My back! Oh!"

According to WJLA, the pellet was still lodged in Santa's shoulder when he was taken to a nearby hospital. A "Grinch" character filled in to finish the toy giveaway.

Fox News host Megyn Kelly recently told children that the only real Santa Claus was white.

Comment: The common tradition, the idea, is to leave cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve - not to shoot him - no matter what color he is.
Notice how mainstream media keeps playing the race card lately?


8-year-old girl who inspired community Christmas event dies of leukemia

delaney brown
An 8-year-old Pennsylvania girl who inspired thousands in her community to sing Christmas carols outside her door died of leukemia on Wednesday, the Reading Eagle reported.

The family of Delaney Brown released a statement confirming her death, four days after an estimated 10,000 people converged outside her home to fulfill her wish of hearing Christmas carols, part of an Internet-fueled campaign that earned her and her family support.

"We are eternally grateful for all of the love kindness, prayers and support that we have received from people across the world," her family said in a statement. "You will never know how meaningful it was for all of you to rally around Laney."

Brown was diagnosed with a rare form of the disease in May 2013, and her condition worsened over the past week, despite having undergone five rounds of radiation therapy and stem cell therapy.

Eye 1

Hakan Yaman: 'They hit me and gouged out my eye with something sharp'

Hakan Yaman
© Nurcan Volkan/Demotix/Corbis
Hakan Yaman lost one eye and only has 20% eyesight in the other following the attack.
It was a Monday night in early June. Protesters will remember it as the night they celebrated the occupation of Istanbul's central Taksim Square and the adjacent Gezi Park after a weekend of clashes with the police in what was arguably the largest wave of protests in recent Turkish history.

But Hakan Yaman, neither a protester nor a political activist, remembers it as the night Turkish policemen tortured him on the street, gouging out his eye and left him for dead on a smouldering fire. Now he is fighting for justice.

Yaman, 38 - a minibus driver hurrying home from work - was trying to avoid the demonstrations when he ended up in the wrong place at the wrong time. "I walked fast to get home. The street was empty at that moment. Only one [water cannon] was there, waiting."

The jet of water hit him without warning, followed by a teargas canister to his stomach, from very close range. "I doubled over, I could not breathe," Yaman remembers. "Then around five policemen were coming towards me, but I was unable to move."

The police officers started to beat and repeatedly hit him on his head and face and he fell to the floor. "They continued hitting me very hard, with their batons, with their fists and I am not sure what else. Then one of them gouged my eye out with something sharp. It just burst and started bleeding."

Arrow Up

Happy holidays! Unpublicized new tax surcharges set to kick in under obamacare

Millions of Americans are facing hidden tax surcharges on their insurance premiums under President Barack Obama's healthcare law as well as new health-related taxes on their income tax bills, the New York Post reports.

Some health insurance companies are not informing patients about the Obamacare taxes, instead deciding to quietly pass them on to its customers. But Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama has revealed the taxes on its bills with a separate line item for "Affordable Care Act Fees and Taxes."

According to the report quoting Kaiser Health News, the surprise taxes on one customer's bill was $23.14 a month, or $277.68 annually, which increased the monthly premium from $322.26 to $345.40 for that person.

The two percent tax on customers for every health plan is expected to net about $8 billion for the government in 2014 and increase to $14.3 billion in 2018.

There's also a $2 fee per policy that goes into a new medical research trust fund called the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute. As for insurers, they have to pay a 3.5 percent user fee to sell medical plans on the HealthCare.gov website.

The Post says Obamacare supporters may point out that federal subsidies for low-income families will cover the taxes and pay a large part of the actual premiums.

However, there's also another Obamacare tax that people don't know about. Americans who have to buy medical devices like pacemakers, stents and prosthetic limbs will have to fork over a 2.3 percent medical device tax.

Another hidden expense will affect Americans who have to pay out a large share of their annual income for medical costs. Currently, Americans are allowed to deduct medical expenses higher than 7.5 percent of their incomes. But that figure leaps to 10 percent under Obamacare, which will cost taxpayers $15 billion over 10 years, says the Post.

For some Americans there will also be an increase in Medicare tax. Individuals earning more than $200,000 a year and families earning more than $250,000 will have 0.9 percent surtax over the existing 1.45 percent Medicare payroll tax.

Furthermore, these high-earning Americans will also pay an extra 3.8 percent Medicare tax on unearned income, such as investment dividends, rental income and capital gains, adds the Post.


Distraught Bronze Star-winning stepdad who shot girl dead 'as she tried to sneak into the house' could face no charges under 'Make My Day' law

  • 2nd Lt Daniel Meade, 29, has been identified as the stepfather who shot his daughter in Colorado Springs Monday
  • Kiana O'Neil, 14, was entering the home when her stepfather shot her and it's unclear as to whether he mistook her for a burglar
  • Police say the girl was struck in the chest and stomach
  • Colorado residents are allowed to own guns and fire at intruders as part of the 'Make My Day' law instated in 1985
  • It has yet to be decided whether or not charges will be filed against Mr Meade
  • Officer served in Iraq and earned a Bronze Star and a dozen other awards in the course of 10 years

Light Saber

Israeli actors refuse to perform at West Bank settlement theater

Sarit Vino-Elad
© Ben Kaminsky/Epoch Times
Sarit Vino-Elad refused to perform at a West Bank theater.
A trio of Israeli stage actors is refusing to perform in an acclaimed play before a theater in a West Bank Jewish settlement, part of a burgeoning domestic movement against the government's settlement policies.

The protest mirrors a global movement against the settlements that has put Israel's government in an increasingly difficult situation as the current round of peace talks with the Palestinians continues.

The international community, including the U.S., has long considered Israeli construction of homes for Jews in the West Bank, captured territory claimed by the Palestinians, as an obstacle to peace.

This sentiment, long held also by Israel's dovish left, now appears to be gaining steam at home following a string of harsh global condemnations of settlement construction in recent months. Some on Israel's left fear the scale of the settlements soon will pass the tipping point where a pullout may become too difficult, and Israel will be forced to essentially absorb the West Bank and its millions of Palestinians.

In a joint statement, the Cameri and Beit Lessin theaters said that three cast members in their production of "Best Friends" had asked to be excused from performing at the cultural center in Ariel, a settlement built deep inside the West Bank. It said they were granted exemptions and will be replaced by alternates, allowing the show to go on.

One of the actresses, Sarit Vino-Elad, said she could not bring herself to step foot in a theater built on occupied land and which posed an obstacle to peace with Palestinians.

"This is not a boycott. It's my own little protest against a government policy that continues to build settlements," she told The Associated Press. "They are trying to make Ariel part of the consensus, but as far as I am concerned it is not legitimate. You want me to perform there? Solve the problem."

Israel is particularly sensitive to such sentiments as it is constantly battling against international efforts to impose economic, cultural and academic boycotts upon it over the settlements. Defenders of Israel say it is a victim of orchestrated campaigns to delegitimize it and hold it to a double standard over its policies.

But such arguments seem to be facing an uphill struggle. Last week, the American Studies Association, a 3,800-member group of American scholars, endorsed a boycott of Israeli universities.

Previously, the Dutch water company Vitens, the largest supplier of drinking water in the Netherlands, decided to cut ties with Israel's national water carrier over its operations in West Bank settlements. The European Union recently forced Israel to make guarantees that special European research funds would not be spent in the settlements. The EU is also considering measures to clearly label products made in the settlements, a move that could harm sales.

Lately, Israeli settlements are also coming under increasing scrutiny at home.

Mr. Potato

Israel: Bizarre paths to nowhere

The Israeli television program Tzinor Layla (Night Tube) asked viewers to share photos of the most bizarre construction they could find in their towns. Find they did, and the photos they shared will inspire the age-old question, "What were they thinking?"

Here are some examples of the paths to nowhere, such as the staircase that leads to a ceiling at a Haifa school:
© Israel Channel 10/Tzinor Layla
Stairway to heaven? Not quite!