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Saturday, June 18, 2016

Harvard Study Concludes Attending Prayer Services Leads to Longer Life

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“The hoary head is a crown of glory, it is found in the way of righteousness.” Proverbs 16:31 (The Israel Bible™)

A recent study published in the June issue of JAMA Internal Medicine indicates that women who attend religious services regularly may live longer than those who don’t. In the study, four Harvard University researchers analyzed data collected from questionnaires given to 75,534 women over 16 years, between 1996 and 2012, documenting 13 537 deaths.

The results were conclusive. Attending services more than one time per week brought a 33 percent lower risk of premature death. More prayer created a greater effect. Attending less than once a week brought a 13 percent lower risk of premature death, and communal prayer twice a week brought a 26 percent lower risk of premature death.

“After multivariable adjustment for major lifestyle factors, risk factors, and attendance at religious services in 1992, attending a religious service more than once per week was associated with 33% lower all-cause mortality compared with women who had never attended religious services,” the study concluded.

Another benefit the study discovered was that those who attended services were less likely to suffer from depression, were more optimistic, and less likely to smoke.

Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the study was a suggestion it made to medical practitioners.

“Frequent attendance at religious services was associated with significantly lower risk of all-cause, cardiovascular, and cancer mortality among women. Religion and spirituality may be an underappreciated resource that physicians could explore with their patients, as appropriate.”

Of the 75,534 women who submitted to the survey, the majority were Christian and 1,700 were Jewish. The women answered questionnaires about their diet, lifestyle, and health every two years, and about their religious service attendance every four years.

“Because of the [comparably] small number it would be difficult to look at them separately and see if the results differ [for Jews],” the study’s senior author, Tyler VanderWeele, an epidemiology professor at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, told JTA.

VanderWeele cited a study published in Springer in 2007, which examined this same phenomenon among 1,811 Jewish Israelis over the age of 70. The study, “suggested Synagogue attendance is seen to promote survival mainly through its function as a source of communal attachment and, perhaps, as a reflection of spirituality as well.” It also saw a positive effect from secular communal attachment, suggesting the benefit was, “because they are based on choice in nature, and reflect a sense of personal control”

“This suggests that there is something powerful about the communal religious experience,” said VanderWeele to the New York Times. “These are systems of thought and practice shaped over millennia, and they are powerful.”

The study statistically ruled out the possibility of reverse causation. The results were not due to healthy people attending prayer service more than unhealthy people. Some variables, including social support and a tendency not to smoke, contributed to the correlation between religious service attendance and longevity, but didn’t account for it.

Credit to 
Read more at http://www.breakingisraelnews.com/69978/harvard-study-concludes-attending-prayer-services-leads-longer-life/#rd2kkC4fZSfMSDLm.99

Strong eruption of Santa Maria's Santiaguito sends ash to 5 km a.s.l., Guatemala

A strong explosion occurred at Santa Maria's Santiaguito lava-dome complex, Guatemala at 15:15 UTC on June 17, 2016.

INSIVUMEH reported the eruption sent volcanic ash 5 km (16 500 feet) above sea level. The ash is drifting west. Pyroclastic flows descended the east and west flanks.

On June 13, a 30-m (98 feet) wide hot lahar triggered by rainfall descended the Nima I River, a tributary of Samala River, carrying tree trunks, branches, and rock up to 70 cm (2.3 feet) in diameter.

Due to constant rain, lahars are expected to increase following today's eruption.

Credit to The Watchers

State Department Officials Say Now Is The Time To Attack Assad

'Rare, dangerous' heat headed to parts of Western US

LOS ANGELES — It's a dry heat, Phoenix residents like to say about Arizona's hot weather. That bravado may vanish as the thermometer flirts with 120 degrees this weekend.
Phoenix won't be alone in the oven. A strengthening ridge of high pressure lifting out of Mexico is on course to also scorch other parts of Arizona and Southern California, bringing potentially record-shattering temperatures.
Though accustomed to triple digits, the upcoming heat spell is a rarity in Phoenix, a desert metropolis of 1.5 million people, raising concerns of heat stroke.
Temperatures are predicted to hit 118 degrees in Phoenix on Sunday and peak at 119 degrees Monday. Such heat is "rare, dangerous and deadly," according to a National Weather Service warning.
"This is extreme even for our standards," said Matthew Hirsch, a weather service meteorologist in Phoenix.
The hottest day on record in Phoenix occurred June 26, 1990, when the thermometer reached 122 degrees.
Credit to ajc.com

15 Facts About The Imploding U.S. Economy That The Mainstream Media Doesn’t Want You To See

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You are about to see undeniable evidence that the U.S. economy has been slowing down for quite some time.  And it is vital that we focus on the facts, because all over the Internet you are going to find lots and lots of people that have opinions about what is going on with the economy.  And of course the mainstream media is always trying to spin things to make Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton look good, because those that work in the mainstream media are far more liberal than the American population as a whole.  It is true that I also have my own opinions, but as an attorney I learned that opinions are not any good unless you have facts to back them up.  So please allow me a few moments to share with you evidence that clearly demonstrates that we have already entered a major economic slowdown.  The following are 15 facts about the imploding U.S. economy that the mainstream media doesn’t want you to see…
1. Industrial production has now declined for nine months in a row.  We have never seen this happen outside of a recession in all of U.S. history.
2. U.S. commercial bankruptcies have risen on a year over year basis for seven months in a row and are now up 51 percent since September.
3. The delinquency rate on commercial and industrial loans has been rising since January 2015.
4. Total business sales in the United States have been steadily dropping since the middle of 2014.  No, I did not say 2015.  Total business sales have been in decline for nearly two years now, and we just found out that they dropped again
Total business sales in the US did in April what they’ve been doing since July 2014: they dropped: -2.9% from a year ago, to $1.28 trillion (not adjusted for seasonal differences and price changes), the Censuses Bureau reported on Tuesday. That’s where sales had been in April 2013!

5. U.S. factory orders have been dropping for 18 months in a row.
6. The Cass Shipping Index has been falling on a year over year basis for 14 consecutive months.
7. U.S. coal production has dropped to the lowest level in 35 years.
8. Goldman Sachs has its own internal tracker of the U.S. economy, and it has fallen to the lowest level since the last recession.
9. JPMorgan’s “recession indicators” have risen to the highest level that we have seen since the last recession.
10. Federal tax receipts and state tax receipts usually both start to fall as we enter a new recession, and that is precisely what is taking place right now.
11. The Federal Reserve’s Labor Market Conditions Index has been falling for five months in a row.
12. The employment numbers that the government released for last month were the worst that we have seen in six years.
13. According to Challenger, Gray & Christmas, layoff announcements at major firms are running 24 percent higher this year than they were at this time last year.
14. Online job postings on the business networking site LinkedIn have been declining steadily since February after 73 months in a row of growth.
15. The number of temporary workers in the United States peaked and started falling precipitously before the recession of 2001 even started.  The exact same thing happened just prior to the beginning of the 2008 recession.  So would it surprise you to learn that the number of temporary workers in the United States peaked in December and has fallen dramatically since then?
Temporary Help Services
Earlier today, we learned that two of our biggest corporations will be laying off even more workers.  Bank of America, which is holding more of our money than any other bank in the country, has announced that it is going to be cutting about 8,000 more workers
Bank of America is expected to reduce staffing in its consumer banking division by as many as 8,000 more jobs.
The nation’s largest retail bank by deposits has already reduced the staffing in its consumer division from more than 100,000 in 2009 to about 68,400 as of the end of the first quarter of 2016, said Thong Nguyen, Bank of America’s president of retail banking and co-head of consumer banking at the Morgan Stanley Financials Conference Tuesday.

And Wal-Mart has announced that it is going to be eliminating “back-office accounting jobs” at approximately 500 locations
Walmart is going to cut some back-office accounting jobs at about 500 stores in a bid to become more efficient.
The job cuts will occur mostly at stores mostly in the West and involve accounting and invoicing workers, says spokesman Kory Lundberg. Instead, bookkeeping functions will be switched to Walmart’s home office in Bentonville, Ark. Cash at the stores will be counted by machine.

Day after day we are hearing about more layoffs like this.  So why would this be happening if the U.S. economy truly was in “recovery mode”?
Even with how manipulated the GDP numbers are these days, Barack Obama is on course to be the only president in all of U.S. history to never have a single year when the economy grew by at least 3 percent.  The truth is that our economy has been stuck in the mud ever since the end of the last recession, and now a major new downturn has clearly already begun.
And you want to know who else realizes this?
Foreign investors do.
Last month, foreign investors dumped U.S. debt at the fastest pace ever recorded
Foreign investors sold a record amount of U.S. Treasury bonds and notes for the month of April, according to U.S. Treasury Department data on Wednesday, as investors priced in a few more rate increases by the Federal Reserve this year.
Foreigners sold $74.6 billion in U.S. Treasury debt in the month, after purchases of $23.6 billion in March. April’s outflow was the largest since the U.S. Treasury Department started recording Treasury debt transactions in January 1978.

There is no debate any longer – the next economic crisis is already here.  This is so abundantly obvious at this point that even George Soros has been feverishly dumping stocks and buying gold.
We can argue about whether the U.S. economy started turning down in late 2015, early 2015 or late 2014, and it is good to have those debates.
But at the end of the day, what is far more important is what is ahead.  Fortunately, our downturn has been fairly gradual so far, and let us hope that it stays that way for as long as possible.
In much of the rest of the world, things are already in full-blown panic mode.  For instance, Venezuela was once the wealthiest nation in South America, but now people are literally hunting cats and dogs for food.
Absent a major “black swan event” of some sort, we won’t see that happening in the United States for at least a while yet, but without a doubt we are steamrolling toward a major economic depression.
Unfortunately for all of us, there isn’t anything that any of our politicians are going to be able to do to stop it.
Credit to Economic collapse

The Untold Story Behind The "Mutiny At The State Department" Where Dozens Demand War With Syria

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Confirming once again that the entire US Middle-East campaign over the past 4 years has been one ongoing plan to destabilize and eliminate Syria's president Bashar al-Assad from power - certainly including the involvement of ISIS which as we reported a year ago was "created" and facilitated by the Pentagon as a tool to overthrow Assad, an analysis which yesterday gained renewed prominence - overnight the WSJ reported that dozens of State Department officials this week protested against U.S. policy in Syria, signing an internal document that calls for "targeted military strikes against the Damascus government and urging regime change as the only way to defeat Islamic State."

In other words, over 50 top "diplomats" are urging to eliminate Assad in order to "defeat ISIS", the same ISIS which top US "diplomats" had unleashed previously in order to... eliminate Assad.

While one can understand the US state department's relentless eagneress to create yet another failed state led by a US puppet ruler, one wonders if at least the boilerplate justification could not have used some more fine tuning.

Amusingly, the whole thing is wrapped in a narrative that the State Department is ready and willing to "mutiny" against Obama's pacifism, because you see it was Obama who has been so successful in extricating and removing US troops from harm's way in both the middle east and Afghanistan. Oh wait...

Here are the full details from he WSJ:

The “dissent channel cable” was signed by 51 State Department officers involved with advising on Syria policy in various capacities, according to an official familiar with the document. The Wall Street Journal reviewed a copy of the cable, which repeatedly calls for “targeted military strikes” against the Syrian government in light of the near-collapse of the ceasefire brokered earlier this year.

The views expressed by the U.S. officials in the cable amount to a scalding internal critique of a longstanding U.S. policy against taking sides in the Syrian war, a policy that has survived even though the regime of President Bashar al-Assad has been repeatedly accused of violating ceasefire agreements and Russian-backed forces have attacked U.S.-trained rebels.

More spin: why has Obama been so "against" unleash a full blown invasion on Syria? "Obama administration officials have expressed concern that attacking the Assad regime could lead to a direct conflict with Russia and Iran."

Oh so that's why the nuclear arms race is now officially back, just a few weeks after the US launched a ballistic missile shield over Europe, in the process shifting the entire post-cold war nuclear proliferation balance of power. Got it.

Meanwhile, the attempt to paint Obama as a liberal, peace loving dove continue:

“It’s embarrassing for the administration to have so many rank-and-file members break on Syria,” said a former State Department official who worked on Middle East policy.
These officials said dissent on Syria policy has been almost a constant since civil war broke out there in 2011. But much of the debate was contained to the top levels of the Obama administration. The recent letter marked a move by the heart of the bureaucracy, which is largely apolitical, to break from the White House.

Oh, if only Obama would be more willing to install even more pro-US puppet regimes... like in Afghanistan, Libya, Egypt, Tunisia, Iraq, Ukraine and so on, and so on... Clearly all of these have turned out so well, that certainly things would be so much better in the middle east. Well, maybe not, but at least that damn Qatari pipeline would finally start flowing.

So why leak this now:

The internal cable may be an attempt to shape the foreign policy outlook of the next administration, the official familiar with the document said. President Barack Obama has balked at taking military action against Mr. Assad, while Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton has promised a more hawkish stance toward the Syrian leader. Republican candidate Donald Trump has said he would hit Islamic State hard but has also said he would be prepared to work with Russia in Syria.

The cable warns that the U.S. is losing prospective allies among Syria’s majority Sunni population in its fight against the Sunni extremist group Islamic State while the regime “continues to bomb and starve” them. Mr. Assad and his inner circle are Alawite, a small Shiite-linked Muslim sect and a minority in Syria. In Syria’s multisided war, the regime, Islamic State and an array of opposition rebel groups are all battling each other.

It gets better: “Failure to stem Assad’s flagrant abuses will only bolster the ideological appeal of groups such as Daesh, even as they endure tactical setbacks on the battlefield,” the cable reads, using an Arabic acronym for Islamic State.

But wait, as the Pentagon itself admitted, the "Daesh" was carefully bred by the US government precisely for this reason: to overthrow Assad. Don't believe us? Read the following line from the leaked document:

“… there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist Principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran).”

Does not compute.

There is more: "The cable asserts Mr. Assad and Russia haven’t taken past cease-fires and “consequential negotiations” seriously and suggests adopting a more muscular military posture to secure a transitional government in Damascus."

The Russian-led force is also pushing toward Raqqa from the south, making the march on the Islamic State stronghold a strategic and symbolic competition between the rival coalitions. Islamic State is also being rolled back in Iraq, where U.S.-allied government forces have retaken major cities and are advancing in Fallujah, the first city the extremists fully occupied back in 2014

Well, sure: with Russia's backing of a sovereign nation, why should Assad fold to relentless US pressure. Actually that may well be the point: the US is humiliated that a small, feeble middle-eastern nation dares to defy it for years, just because it has the backing of the Kremlin. We don't need to explain the ugly optics of this.

Perhaps the real reason why the cable has "emerged" now is because due to Russian intervention, ISIS will soon be history:

Although Islamic State is losing ground to multiple, U.S.-backed offensives in Syria, Iraq and Libya, Western diplomats say they worry the group has embedded itself so deeply in the population that it will be a major influence for years to come, eventually going underground as its quasi-army is defeated.

And finally, one last reason emerges: the US is merely pandering to Saudi demands, something it has clearly done very well ever since the Sep 11 attacks which covered up Saudi involvement:

The cable also echoes the growing impatience among U.S. Gulf allies with the lack of military intervention targeted at the Damascus government to force Mr. Assad to resign and make way for a transitional government. Peace talks between Syria’s government and opposition collapsed in April over Mr. Assad’s fate, with the regime insisting he should stay in power, while the negotiated cease-fire continued to disintegrate. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have pressed the U.S. to provide more sophisticated weapons to rebels. But Washington has resisted.

In other words, if the US does fold and proceeds with military strikes, i.e. full blown invasion and war, on Assad, it will once again be Saudi Arabia that is running US foreign policy, and pushing the US nation into what may be a state of open war with Russia.

We can only hope the American people wake up and stop this travesty before Saudi Arabia's favorite presidential candidate is elected president.

Credit to Zero Hedge