Author Archive | Newsvandal

Bhutan has Embraced the Phallus for Centuries

Tiny Bhutan is the world’s perennial leader in Gross National Happiness. Nestled high in the Himalayas and home to a population of three-quarters of a million people, the GNH is Bhutan’s answer to the outside world’s obsession with acquiring and measuring wealth. Forget about increasing the Gross National Product, they want to increase happiness. And every year, Bhutan is near the top of the list of happy countries. The question is…why? Is it Buddhist spirituality? Is it a rejection of Western materialism? Is it a function of their geography and isolation? Or is it penis power?

Religion News Service reports on the special relationship between the people of Bhutan and the phallus, which is ubiquitous in Bhutanese life:

A phallic painting on a building in Wangdue Phodrang, Bhutan. Photo by Tara Limbu

A phallic painting on a building in Wangdue Phodrang, Bhutan. Photo by Tara Limbu

For centuries, Buddhists in this tiny landlocked Himalayan kingdom have had a special devotion to the most unusual of objects: the phallus.

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God’s Plan for Climate Change

Pic: Roman Eisele (CC)

Pic: Roman Eisele (CC)

Could droughts, heatwaves, superstorms and, for good measure, a polar vortex or two finally force a real change in U.S. policy?

Not if God’s Plan gets in the way.

According to a 2011 Baylor University study, seventy-three percent of Americans believe that God has a plan for everyone. And the more strongly they believe in God’s Plan, the more likely they are to see government overreach in the affairs of Americans. As Christianity Today pointed out, this distaste for government’s role in human affairs “…diminishes as belief in God’s plan wanes.”

It’s a simple juxtaposition—God’s preset course for history trumps any scheme concocted by humans. And any human-centered efforts that deny the Almighty’s heavy hand in the writing of history are, at best, apocryphal and, at worst, heretical.

In the case of the environment and climate change, human impact on something as big as the whole of God’s creation is, in and of itself, a dubious proposition.… Read the rest

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Did She Read Your Aura Or Blind You With Science?

For more and more Americans, it’s getting harder to differentiate between astrology and astronomy. Apparently, there isn’t much separating Katy Perry and Carl Sagan, that’s according to a strangely unsettling story in Mother Jones:

“I believe in a lot of astrology.” So commented pop megastar Katy Perry in a recent GQ interview. She also said she sees everything through a “spiritual lens”…and that she believes in aliens.

According to data from the National Science Foundation’s just-released 2014 Science and Engineering Indicators study, Americans are moving in Perry’s direction. In particular, the NSF reports that the percentage of Americans who think astrology is “not at all scientific” declined from 62 percent in 2010 to just 55 percent in 2012 (the last year for which data is available). As a result, NSF reports that Americans are apparently less skeptical of astrology than they have been at any time since 1983.


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What Is al-Qaeda?

Franchise opportunities available!

Franchise opportunities available!

The White House is “mulling over” whether or not to use a drone to knock off an “American al-Qaeda.” But nearly 13 years after 9/11 and after the oft-mentioned decimation of the original group, no one in the mainstream media seems to ask one simple question:

What exactly is al-Qaeda?

Is it a group of committed jihadists previously led by Osama bin Laden? Or is it a “brand?”

Is the enemy just the so-called “core” al-Qaeda, or is it now an amorphous conglomerate of affiliates, franchisees and enthusiasts?

If “core al-Qaeda” is, as Director of National Intelligence James Clapper just said in his most recent congressional testimony, those “remnants” of the original ideological core still in Pakistan and Afghanistan, by what criteria are other groups not self-identifying as “al-Qaeda” then deemed as “designated al-Qaeda”

Considering the President’s State of the Union anti-terrorist to-do list of Yemen, Somalia, Iraq and Mali, is al-Qaeda really “on the path to defeat?” Is it “resurgent?” Or is the to-do list just a broad wish list of militants and insurgents not really associated with “core” al-Qaeda?… Read the rest

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What is the Last Word on the Kennedy Assassination?

Oswald? CIA? LBJ?

Will we ever get to the last word on America’s most compelling political assassination?

To get to the last word it probably makes sense to start with the man who asked some of the first questions—New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison. According to KLAS-TV Las Vegas:

Haunting questions about the assassination of President John Kennedy will be raised and explored on Friday, Jan. 31 when a panel of the best known JFK researchers meet at UNLV.

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The Anti-Conspiracy Conspiracy

ouroborousWhy does the establishment media find the life and death of JFK so darn elusive? It’s been 50 years and they still can’t wrap their heads around it! Lotsa talk about the “myth” and “legend” of Camelot. Lotsa dismissals of “conspiracy theories.” And, not coincidentally, a complete blackout of conspiracy facts. I wonder why people distrust the media…in this piece on

Ironically, the establishment media incessantly theorizes about “what ifs” and groans about conspiracy theories while the people they accuse in absentia of being “theorists” dutifully, often heroically, gather and share conspiracy facts.

Tune into CBS or NBC or ABC or anywhere around the dial, and you do not see James DiEugenio or David Talbot or James Douglass. Instead you get Chris Matthews and Rob Lowe and, most disappointingly of all, Ken Burns. They speak like people who haven’t read. They embrace a theory they haven’t questioned.… Read the rest

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The Most Important Obit You’ll Ever Read

CVarnadore NYT

If you think Obama’s war on whistleblowers is getting ugly, take a look at the incredible ugliness visited upon Charles Varnadore during the 1990s.  This New York Times obituary tells the story of his struggle to expose nuclear malfeasance at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the sinister retaliation he faced:

His difficulties began in 1990, after he returned to work following colon cancer surgery. He found that his replacement had shortcomings in handling lab samples, and he pointed this out to his superiors. He also complained about his new assignment, operating mechanical arms to handle radioactive materials; he had been blinded in his left eye as a child and had poor depth perception.

“I tried it and made a hell of a mess,” he told The Houston Chronicle in 1993. “I didn’t think it was right for me to make this mess and have other people exposed to it.”

Mr. Varnadore began to receive negative performance evaluations after many years of good ones.

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Why Glenn Greenwald Should Drive a ’75 Mustang II

Glenn GreenwaldAttention Glenn Greenwald:

Can people hijack your car and take control of it?

People can!

That’s according to former National Security superstar Richard Clarke. Now a cyberwar expert and consultant, Clarke almost matter-of-factly told the Huffington Post that most intelligence services can hack the computer on a late model car, take control and, in effect, assassinate the driver with their own vehicle:

Clarke said, “There is reason to believe that intelligence agencies for major powers” — including the United States — know how to remotely seize control of a car.

“What has been revealed as a result of some research at universities is that it’s relatively easy to hack your way into the control system of a car, and to do such things as cause acceleration when the driver doesn’t want acceleration, to throw on the brakes when the driver doesn’t want the brakes on, to launch an air bag,” Clarke told The Huffington Post.

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