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Tue, 26 Jul 2016
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The truth behind the 4th of July: The Founding Fathers & America's apartheid state

Ah, July 4th. Of all the national orgies of self-congratulation, militarism and, of course shopping, this one stands out. Even more than say Memorial Day it perfectly captures the combination of myths and ignorance that make up the fairy tale view we hold of our national origins and character.

Fortunately, a new generation of scholars is bringing new research and perspective to our understanding of what really happened and especially why white racism is so intractable. One reason is that its roots run so much deeper than most whites even begin to understand or acknowledge. (A partial list of essential recent books appears at the end of this article.)

What most of us think the Declaration of Independence says is this and only this:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
But there was much more to the Declaration than those famous words. Far more attention was dedicated to a long list of grievances that the founding fathers had with the King. One of them was that the British were in cahoots with, "the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages." Another complaint which didn't make it into the Declaration but was included in a precursor document, the Virginia Constitution, complained that the British were "prompting our Negroes to rise in arms against us..."

Question

How hetereosexuality and homosexuality were 'invented' in the late 19th century


An image from the cover of "Straight"
If you met Hanne Blank and her partner on the street, you might have a lot of trouble classifying them. While Blank looks like a feminine woman, her partner is extremely androgynous, with little to no facial hair and a fine smooth complexion. Hanne's partner is neither fully male, nor fully female; he was born with an unconventional set of chromosomes, XXY, that provide him with both male genitalia and feminine characteristics. As a result, Blank's partner has been mistaken for a gay woman, a straight man, a transman — and their relationship has been classified as gay, straight and everything in between.

Blank mentions her personal story at the beginning of her provocative new history of heterosexuality, "Straight," as a way of illustrating just how artificial our notions of "straightness" really are. In her book, Blank, a writer and historian who has written extensively about sexuality and culture, looks at the ways in which social trends and the rise of psychiatry conspired to create this new category in the late 19th and early 20th century. Along the way, she examines the changing definition of marriage, which evolved from a businesslike agreement into a romantic union centered around love, and how social Darwinist ideas shaped the divisions between gay and straight. With her eye-opening book, Blank tactfully deconstructs a facet of modern sexuality that most of us take for granted.

Salon spoke to Blank over the phone about the origins of heterosexuality, the evolution of marriage and why the rise of the "bromance" is a very good thing.

Men and woman have been having sex for as long as there have been humans. So how can we talk about there being a "history" of heterosexuality?

We can talk about there being a history of heterosexuality in the same way that we can talk about there being a history of religions. People have been praying to God for a really long time too, and yet the ways people relate to the divine have specific histories. They come from particular places, they take particular trajectories, there are particular texts, and individuals that are important in them. There are events, names, places, dates. It's really very similar.

Bad Guys

Beyond the Iran-Contra Affair Part 2: World War 3 has already happened

This year will mark the 30th anniversary of the Iran-Contra affair. This "scandal" briefly revealed the massive crimes that are always going on behind America's facade of respectability. It revealed the activities of the Secret Team of current and former CIA agents who for thirty years had been training and supporting drug-dealing exile armies, from China, to Burma, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam, Cuba, Afghanistan, and of course Nicaragua. Drugs, weapons dealing, money laundering, political bribery, terrorism, assassination, covert wars were just a few of their activities. But you'll have to read part one to find out more about that. This time, instead of examining the scandal itself I'll be widening the focus to reveal the worldwide covert war the US was waging with renewed intensity during the 80's, the final decade of what I call World War 3. World War 3 was primarily a war on the third world; it began before World War 2 even ended in places like Greece and China. With the end of World War 2 it kicked into high gear, targeted the Soviet Union with a covert war using fascist exiles like the Ukrainians and waging a massive and almost forgotten war to prevent Mao from liberating China, and later waged covert war on China using drug-dealing KMT exile armies. The Philippines became a laboratory for counter-insurgency and psychological operations. Millions would die in wars waged on Korea, Indonesia, Vietnam and Laos.

Comment: For the first part, see: Beyond the Iran-Contra Affair Part 1: The secret team


Sherlock

Newfound human species suggests Africa was evolutionary melting pot

© John Hawks, Wits University
The skull of Homo naledi, which was discovered within the Dinaledi Chamber of the Rising Star cave system, in the Cradle of Humankind, South Africa.
The most recently discovered extinct human species may have lived less than 1 million years ago, researchers have discovered.

This finding suggests that a diverse range of human species might have lived at the same time in Africa, just as they might have in Asia, researchers said.

In 2015, scientists reported South African fossils of a hitherto-unknown relative of modern humans that possessed an unusual mix of features, such as feet adapted for a life on the ground but hands suited for a life in the trees. The fossil's discoverers named the species Homo naledi, and noted that although the early human had a brain about the size of an orange, these humans may have performed ritual burials of their dead.

Comment: Further reading:


Fireball 5

Comets and the early Christian mosaics of Ravenna

© Wikimedia Commons
Justinian's Raging Bulls.
The Plague of Justinian has been associated with the extreme weather events of 535 - 536 AD which [in its turn] has been associated with "debris from space impacting the Earth".
The extreme weather events of 535 - 536 were the most severe and protracted short-term episodes of cooling in the Northern Hemisphere in the last 2,000 years.

The event is thought to have been caused by an extensive atmospheric dust veil, possibly resulting from a large volcanic eruption in the tropics, and/or debris from space impacting the Earth.

Its effects were widespread, causing unseasonal weather, crop failures, and famines worldwide.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extreme_weather_events_of_535%E2%80%93536
The Plague of Justinian (541 - 542) was a pandemic that afflicted the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire, especially its capital Constantinople, the Sassanid Empire, and port cities around the entire Mediterranean Sea.

One of the greatest plagues in history, this devastating pandemic resulted in the deaths of an estimated 25 million (initial outbreak) to 50 million (two centuries of recurrence) people.

Recent investigations relate this severe plague epidemic to extreme weather events of 535 - 536 considered as an example of volcanic winter.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plague_of_Justinian
In a wonderful YouTube video Dr. Ruth Dwyer examines the Ravenna Mosaics and discovers the mosaics clearly depict "debris from space impacting the Earth".

Nuke

70 years later Bikini islanders still deal with fallout of U.S. nuclear tests


Operation Crossroad
In 1946, French fashion designer Jacques Heim released a woman's swimsuit he called the "Atome" (French for "atom") - a name selected to suggest its design would be as shocking to people that summer as the atomic bombings of Japan had been the summer before.

Not to be outdone, competitor Louis Réard raised the stakes, quickly releasing an even more skimpy swimsuit. The Vatican found Réard's swimsuit more than shocking, declaring it to actually be "sinful." So what did Réard consider an appropriate name for his creation? He called it the "Bikini" - a name meant to shock people even more than "Atome." But why was this name so shocking?

In the summer of 1946, "Bikini" was all over the news. It's the name of a small atoll - a circular group of coral islands - within the remote mid-Pacific island chain called the Marshall Islands. The United States had assumed control of the former Japanese territory after the end of World War II, just a few months earlier.

Comment: A world war has begun: We must break the silence
I have been filming in the Marshall Islands, which lie north of Australia, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Whenever I tell people where I have been, they ask, "Where is that?" If I offer a clue by referring to "Bikini", they say, "You mean the swimsuit." Few seem aware that the bikini swimsuit was named to celebrate the nuclear explosions that destroyed Bikini island. Sixty-six nuclear devices were exploded by the United States in the Marshall Islands between 1946 and 1958 — the equivalent of 1.6 Hiroshima bombs every day for twelve years.

Bikini is silent today, mutated and contaminated. Palm trees grow in a strange grid formation. Nothing moves. There are no birds. The headstones in the old cemetery are alive with radiation. My shoes registered "unsafe" on a Geiger counter. Standing on the beach, I watched the emerald green of the Pacific fall away into a vast black hole. This was the crater left by the hydrogen bomb they called "Bravo". The explosion poisoned people and their environment for hundreds of miles, perhaps forever.



Galaxy

Telescopes without lenses: Entrances to megalithic tombs may have been the first astronomical observing tools

Astronomers are exploring what might be described as the first astronomical observing tool, potentially used by prehistoric humans 6,000 years ago.

They suggest that the long, narrow entrance passages to ancient stone or megalithic tombs may have enhanced what early human cultures could see in the night sky - an effect that could have been interpreted as the ancestors granting special power to the initiated.

Their idea is to investigate how a simple aperture, for example an opening or doorway, affects the observation of slightly fainter stars. They focus this study on 'passage graves', which are a type of megalithic tomb composed of a chamber of large interlocking stones and a long narrow entrance.

These spaces are thought to have been sacred, and the sites may have been used for rites of passage, where the initiated would spend the night inside the tomb, with no natural light apart from that shining down the narrow entrance lined with the remains of the tribe's ancestors.

These structures could therefore have been the first astronomical tools to support the watching of the skies, millennia before telescopes were invented.

Treasure Chest

Skull bone alleged to have belonged to the Buddha found in Nanjing, China

© Chinese Cultural Relics
A skull bone of the Buddha was found inside this gold casket, which was stored in a silver casket within the stupa model, found in a crypt beneath a Buddhist temple.
Archaeologists have discovered what may be a skull bone from the revered Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama. The bone was hidden inside a model of a stupa, or a Buddhist shrine used for meditation.

The research team found the 1,000-year-old model within a stone chest in a crypt beneath a Buddhist temple in Nanjing, China. Inside the stupa model archaeologists found the remains of Buddhist saints, including a parietal (skull) bone that inscriptions say belonged to the Buddha himself.

The model is made of sandalwood, silver and gold, and is covered with gemstones made of crystal, glass, agate and lapis lazuli, a team of archaeologists reported in an article published in the journal Chinese Cultural Relics.

Books

Did Lenin really order the execution of the Romanovs?

Translated by Ollie Richardson for Fort Russ

Who needed the execution of the Royal family? Who overthrew the Tsar? Who destroyed the Russian Army? The current generation that grew up on the books of George Soros and Igor Chubais have already forgotten the truth about these events.

I will try to explain very briefly, succinctly, and to the point.

1. The interest of the Russian Empire in the First World War consisted of a solution to the Eastern question - control
over the Bosphorus and Dardanelles straits, longtime geopolitical needs of our country.

2. England and France promised the Russian Empire to solve the issue of opening the Eastern front (against Germany and Austro-Hungary).

Comment: See also:


Bad Guys

State-sponsored terror: British government directly funded and organized those responsible for 1994 Loughinisland massacre

An official investigation has revealed that the British government directly funded and organised terrorists in the Loughinisland massacre in 1994.

A 160-page report by Northern Ireland's Police Ombudsman reveals that the murder of 6 Catholic men watching a football match happened as a result of collusion with the British state.

Ombudsman Dr Michael Maguire declared: "I have no hesitation in unambiguously determining that collusion is a significant feature of the Loughinisland murders."

Ireland's Minister for Foreign Affairs, Charlie Flanagan, said the findings were "deeply disturbing".

Irish opposition leader Mícheál Martin said the victims were simply watching Ireland playing Italy in the World Cup soccer competition when they were ruthlessly gunned down by loyalist killers.

"The fact that the police, who were entrusted with protecting the community, were embroiled in collusion with the death squad responsible for the massacre is sinister and disturbing," the Fianna Fáil leader said.

Comment: See also: