Today in History: JFK’s Worst Foreign Policy Blunder

The Bay of Pigs was not Kennedy’s finest moment
Castro's soldiers at Playa de Giron, Cuba, after thwarting the ill-fated U.S.-backed Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961.
Castro’s soldiers at Playa de Giron, Cuba, after thwarting the ill-fated U.S.-backed Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961.Graf/Getty Images

April 17, 1961: Arguably the worst foreign policy mistake of the Kennedy era began: Operation Zapata, the attempt to oust Cuban Communist leader Fidel Castro through a failed CIA-backed military invasion of Cuba. Operation Zapata — better known as the Bay of Pigs — was planned during the Eisenhower administration, but JFK gave it the final go ahead. Both the White House and CIA blamed each other for the debacle. Some historians think one lesson JFK learned from the Bay of Pigs was to be skeptical of military advice — a lesson that came in handy during the Cuban Missile Crisis a year-and-a-half later.
Quote of the day

“Victory has a thousand fathers, but defeat is an orphan.” — John F. Kennedy

10 Things You Need to Know Today: April 17, 2014

Ukraine crisis talks begin in Geneva, hope fades for finding more South Korea ferry survivors, and more
Ukrainian troops on their way to Kramatorsk, Ukraine.
Ukrainian troops on their way to Kramatorsk, Ukraine. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)

1. Separatists attack Ukraine base as Geneva crisis talks begin
Pro-Russia separatists attacked a military base in east Ukraine on Thursday as diplomats gathered in Geneva for crisis talks. Three separatists were killed in the clash, making it the deadliest yet in the 10-day uprising. Russian President Vladimir Putin said Kiev’s attempt to crush the protests by force was pushing the country into an “abyss.” The White House threatened Russia with fresh sanctions if it doesn’t defuse tensions. [Reuters]

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2. Hope fades in search for survivors on sunken South Korean ferry
Hundreds of people were feared to have died aboard a ferry boat that sank within sight of land just off South Korea’s southern coast. Nine people have been confirmed dead, but the toll is expected to rise sharply as crews continue to look for the nearly 300 passengers still missing a day after the vessel tipped over in cold water. Investigators are looking into reports by survivors that the crew told people to wait for rescuers instead of escaping. [USA TodayCNN]

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3. Canadian becomes the first arrested over the Heartbleed security bug
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police arrested 19-year-old Stephen Arthuro Solis-Reyes on Wednesday and accused him of hacking the Canadian Revenue Agency’s website last Friday. Solis-Reyes is the first person arrested in connection with the Heartbleed security vulnerability in popular online encryption systems. One hacker wrote that the arrest should “draw attention to how big a deal this is.” [The Toronto Star]

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4. Judge calls strict North Dakota abortion law unconstitutional
A federal judge on Wednesday ruled that North Dakota’s “fetal heartbeat law,” which effectively banned abortions as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, was unconstitutional. The law was considered the nation’s most restrictive. District Court Judge Daniel Hovland wrote in his ruling that the Supreme Court “has unequivocally said no state may deprive a woman of the choice to terminate her pregnancy at a point prior to viability.” [The Associated Press]

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5. Obama unveils $600 million job-training push
President Obama announced a plan to spend $600 million on competitive grants to train Americans for jobs that will pay well, and help the nation maintain an edge in the global economy. “Not all of today’s good jobs require a four-year college degree,” Obama said Wednesday. “But I promise you, there’s not a job out there that’s going to pay a lot if you don’t have some specialized training.” [The Associated Press]

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6. Local politician speaks up for anti-Semitic-murder suspect
The mayor of a town near the home of white supremacist Frazier Glenn Cross (aka Frazier Glenn Miller), who has been charged with killing three people at Kansas City Jewish community facilities, said Wednesday that he shared some of Miller’s beliefs. “Kind of agreed with him on some things,” said Marionville, Mo., Mayor Dan Clevenger, “but I don’t like to express that too much.” Miller has been charged with murder and anti-Semitic hate crimes. [KSPR]

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7. Firetruck slams into California restaurant, injuring 15
Two firetrucks responding to an emergency collided at an intersection in a Los Angeles suburb, sending one of them crashing into a restaurant. Fifteen people, including six firefighters, were injured. Most suffered only minor injuries, but one person was sent to a hospital in critical condition. “There was a loud boom and a lot of shaking,” said Wendy Wu, a waitress. “I thought it was an earthquake.” [Fox News]

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8. Strong earnings push Alibaba’s valuation to $168 billion
Alibaba’s estimated valuation shot 9.8 percent higher this week after the Chinese e-commerce company reported record sales and earnings. Alibaba is preparing to make an initial public offering of stock later this year, and analysts polled by Bloomberg estimated its value at an average of $168 billion, up from $153 billion in February. Alibaba’s unexpectedly strong earnings lifted shares of Yahoo, which holds a 24 percent stake in the company. [BloombergThe Associated Press]

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9. Portland flushes water over possible contamination
The city of Portland, Ore., is dumping 38 million gallons of drinking water after a 19-year-old man was caught urinating in a reservoir. The 50-million-gallon reservoir was cut off following the incident, and results from tests looking for contamination are expected on Thursday. Still, the city plans to dump the reservoir and clean it. “That water goes directly into people’s homes,” David Shaff, Portland Water Bureau administrator, said. [Reuters]

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10. Biden joins the selfie bandwagon
Vice President Joe Biden opened an Instagram account on Wednesday, and promptly earned 22,000 likes for an exclusive photo. Biden posted a selfie he took, with a smiling President Obama at his side, in the back of the president’s armored limo. “Found a friend to join my first selfie on Instagram. Thanks for following and stay tuned.—VP” [The Telegraph]

American Civil Unrest is Starting on Schedule

We have been warning that 2014 is the beginning of a new cycle that will see a highly unusual convergence between our domestic (civil unrest & revolution) data and our international war model. Both converge for the first time since the 1700s when there were US and French Revolutions and the fall of monarchy. This was the topic at our Cycle of War Conference (see also special report).

Image: Bundy Standoff (Infowars).

The civil unrest will develop first outside the USA and turn up more aggressively in the USA after 2015.75. Nonetheless, it still begins in 2014 for the USA as well. We are starting to see this in the West where memories of previous events still linger deep wounds from 1992.

The confrontation in Nevada between Cliven Bundy and the Bureau of Land Management, whose Director was Sen. Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) former senior adviser, has turned into an issue of important cycle unrest. The government wants the land and demands Bundy gets his cattle off of the land his family has worked for over 140 years in order to make way for solar panel power stations. This dispute between a Nevada rancher and federal rangers over alleged illegal cattle grazing erupted into an Old West-style showdown on the open range this week, even prompting self-proclaimed members of militia groups from across the country to join the rancher in fighting what they say is U.S. “tyranny.”

This is a brewing resentment of federal government that goes back to Ruby Ridge, which was the site of a deadly confrontation and siege in northern Idaho in 1992 between Randy Weaver, his family and his friend Kevin Harris, and agents of the United States Marshals Service (USMS) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). It resulted in the death of Weaver’s son Sammy, his wife Vicki, and Deputy U.S. Marshal William Francis Degan. The Feds simply shot his unarmed family dead and it was alleged they even shot his son in the back. This is indeed the continued militarization of the police in America. The corruption was so bad in Ukraine that when someone saw the police, they trembled in fear. In the US, this trend is also underway and demonstrated by this video where the police began shooting at a minivan driven by a woman with children in the car over a traffic violation.

E-cigarettes – the Real ‘Gateway Drug’ for Youth that Leads to Smoking for Life

“Hey man, want to meet by the fence after school and have a smoke? I got a vaporizer!” “Hey, these things are cool, they’re not like cigarettes at all” — This is typical talk at middle schools and high schools across the nation, where teens (and even preteens) think it’s cool to smoke, because vaporizers are “cool” looking, so why not partake of the electronic cigarette frenzy, a.k.a. “e-cig,” because they’re certainly not as bad as cigarettes. Or are they?

Sure, by smoking electronic cigarettes you feel as though you’ve actually accomplished something, by avoiding all those chemicals you hear that “Big Tobacco” puts in all commercial “cancer sticks.” By smoking e-cigs, all you’re smoking is some e-juice, and we all know that’s less dangerous to your health than pesticide, insecticide, ammonia and formaldehyde, but what’s better is that there’s less nicotine. Wrong again. There are no regulations in place for the nicotine levels in e-cigs and how much or how often anyone smokes them, just like commercial cigarettes. What’s worse is that the nicotine addiction comes on even stronger, right away. Now nicotine is more “pure,” thanks to e-cigs, only diluted enough to not burn you.

But wait, hold that thought, that exhale, for a second, what about your liver, kidneys and pancreas? Nicotine addiction leads to detrimental health consequences, regardless. Plus, nearly all e-cig cartridges are loaded with (industrial grade) propylene glycol or “PG” — an active ingredient in engine coolants, antifreeze, airplane de-icers, polyurethane cushions, paints, enamels and varnishes. So everyone who brags about less chemicals in their smoke (mist) are still processing THAT.

The Gateway Drug – “E” Cigs

Commercial cigarettes come from commercial tobacco, which is genetically modified and sprayed with pesticides. Cigarettes also contain heavy metals at alarming levels. Although electronic cigarettes were never meant to be a “hook” for commercial cigarettes, they mostly are for teens who have NO IDEA what addiction to nicotine means, nor the repercussions.

Commercial cigarettes kill millions of people slowly, miserably. As for electronic cigarettes — they are not regulated by the FDA or the CDC. There are three major companies across the globe that sell the majority of e-cigs, but there are thousands of outlets, online, where anyone can order them. There are kiosks in malls, and there is PEER PRESSURE to engage in the third-most addictive drug in the world, running close behind heroin and cocaine. Are you still smoking your way directly into depression, since you’ll be relying on nicotine to “reach” emotional states of mind?

How will teens now deal with stress later, while they’re addicted to “nic” — the feel-good drug that lasts 15 to 45 minutes but serves as a core central nervous system disruptor? How will they find balance? How will they deal with a full-time job and children and bills? Health “pitfalls” become cliffs quickly. Are e-cigs the gateway drug? You be the judge. Pot certainly is not. Maybe we need a new advertising campaign. Quick, call the CDC — I have some billboard ideas!

As for former smokers, e-cigs may have been your escape from commercial cigarettes, and I’m certainly not knocking that. But what MUST be considered here is that smoking vaporized nicotine is NOT COOL, but instead a health detriment (habit) that no teenager in the world should be “taking up.” It doesn’t matter if e-cigs don’t contain tobacco, pesticides or heavy metals — they still are promoted as something other than dangerous, in all the newspaper “coverage” and on the television “specials.”

How will you find balance?

What’s the solution? Don’t light up. Enlighten. Learn about the dangers of nicotine to your survival organs. Learn about immunity, natural remedies and natural cures. They are out there. Natural Newsenthusiasts just know WHERE to look.
(http://14andout.wordpress.com)

Nicotine is the addictive drug in tobacco smoke that causes smokers to continue to smoke. Addicted smokers need enough nicotine over a day to ‘feel normal’ — to satisfy cravings or control their mood. How much nicotine a smoker needs determines how much smoke they are likely to inhale, no matter what type of cigarette they smoke.
(http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au)

Nicotine affects the brain and blood pressure

One drop of pure nicotine can kill a grown man. What qualifications do all the manufacturers of e-cigs and e-juice, also known as nic-juice – what do these people really know about safety and measuring in general. Are they scientists? Are they lab technicians? Hey, grab some PURE nicotine and dilute it yourself in your garage and all of a sudden you’re a “dealer.” That’s just great. Is your kid “breaking bad”? How much “nic-juice” do YOUR kids smoke? What’s the dose and frequency? If you’re the smoker or thinking about it, it’s time to understand the repercussions. If you’ve started, you need to detoxify your liver right away. If you are “that” kid or young adult, start doing some “homework” on e-cigs and opt out! (http://www.healingfoodreference.com)

By the way, you can’t live without your liver. (http://www.naturalnews.com)

So, how do you quit e-cigs and commercial cigarettes? What’s the natural solution? Ask the Health Ranger, Mike Adams, Forensic Food Scientist, who’s blowing the whistle on hidden chemicals in foods, medicine, water, superfoods and, yes, cigarettes!
(http://premium.naturalnews.tv)

Sources for this article include:

http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au

http://www.naturalnews.com

http://www.healingfoodreference.com

http://www.naturalnews.com

Court Declares That, Yes, Bloggers Are Media

A few years ago, we wrote about the bizarre and quixotic effort by Florida businessman Christopher Comins to find any possible way to sue University of Florida student and blogger Matthew Frederick VanVoorhis for his blog post concerning a widely publicized event in which Comins shot two dogs in a field (video link). The story made lots of news at the time, but Comins didn’t go after any of the major media — instead targeting VanVoorhis for a defamation suit. The original blog post is “novelistic” but it’s difficult to see how it’s defamatory. Either way, Comins’ case was shot down on fairly specific procedural grounds: namely that Florida defamation law requires specific notice be given to media properties at least 5 days before a lawsuit is launched. Specifically, the law says:

Before any civil action is brought for publication or broadcast, in a newspaper, periodical, or other medium, of a libel or slander, the plaintiff shall, at least 5 days before instituting such action, serve notice in writing on the defendant, specifying the article or broadcast and the statements therein which he or she alleges to be false and defamatory.

Comins’ lawsuit was dumped because he failed to give such notice. Comins argues that he did give such a notice (though the letter he sent did not meet the requirements of such notice under the law) and (more importantly for this discussion) that VanVoorhis’ blog did not count as a media publication, and thus the law did not apply. The original court ruling rejected that pretty quickly, and now on appeal, a state appeals court has not just rejected Comins’ anti-blog claim more thoroughly, but also highlighted the importance of blogs to our media landscape.

The full ruling does a nice job giving the history and purpose of the law above, as well as the importance of encouraging the media to report on difficult stories. And from there, it explains why VanVoorhis’ blog is clearly a part of the media and why blogs in general are so important:

…it is hard to dispute that the advent of the internet as a medium and the emergence of the blog as a means of free dissemination of news and public comment have been transformative. By some accounts, there are in the range of 300 million blogs worldwide. The variety and quality of these are such that the word “blog” itself is an evolving term and concept. The impact of blogs has been so great that even terms traditionally well defined and understood in journalism are changing as journalists increasingly employ the tools and techniques of bloggers – and vice versa. In employing the word “blog,” we consider a site operated by a single individual or a small group that has primarily an informational purpose, most commonly in an area of special interest, knowledge or expertise of the blogger, and which usually provides for public impact or feedback. In that sense, it appears clear that many blogs and bloggers will fall within the broad reach of “media,” and, if accused of defamatory statements, will qualify as a “media defendant” for purposes of Florida’s defamation law as discussed above.

There are many outstanding blogs on particular topics, managed by persons of exceptional expertise, to whom we look for the most immediate information on recent developments and on whom we rely for informed explanations of the meaning of these developments. Other blogs run the gamut of quality of expertise, explanation and even- handed treatment of their subjects. We are not prepared to say that all blogs and all bloggers would qualify for the protection of section 770.01, Florida Statutes, but we conclude that VanVoorhis’s blog, at issue here, is within the ambit of the statute’s protection as an alternative medium of news and public comment.

While it seems crazy that this kind of issue is still being debated in 2014, it’s good to see a court make such a clear statement on the fact that blogs will often qualify as media properties.

Home Invasion Suspect Sues Police for $450k After Being Paralyzed by Gunshot


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Cases like this are why people, including law enforcement officers, are hesitant to use deadly force to defend themselves.

According to local media reports, a suspect in a home invasion is now suing police officers involved in his capture after he was shot and lost use of his legs.

According to My Dallas Post,

James Rankin, 23, of Carnegie, filed the three-count suit in U.S. District Court in Scranton on Wednesday through attorney Jack M. Bernard of Philadelphia. He is seeking $150,000 on each count.

Rankin is facing aggravated assault and other charges in Luzerne County Court related to a home invasion of an apartment at 251 Kidder St. on April 9, 2012. Rankin allegedly used a Taser to stun Naeem Ford and Magarita Martinez during a fight inside the apartment, according to the criminal complaint.

 Rankin jumped through a third-floor window and was chased by city police. Police pursued Rankin around the block as an officer fired when Rankin reached toward his waistband, the complaint says.

Ranking says law enforcement officers in the area threatened to shoot him if he didn’t leave town during an incident in the days prior to his alleged involvement in the home invasion.

FDA Approves Portable Device to Reverse Opioid Overdose, Can be Used by Family Members and Caregivers

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently announced their approval of a hand-held auto-injector device designed to reverse opioid overdose, whether the overdose is known or even suspected. The device is the first of its kind and can be given to the individual in need by family members or caregivers; a medical professional is not required to assist.

According to a press release on the FDA web site, “Evzio (naloxone hydrochloride injection) rapidly delivers a single dose of the drug naloxone via a hand-held auto-injector that can be carried in a pocket or stored in a medicine cabinet.” It’s given to a person one of two ways: either injected subcutaneously (under the skin) or intramuscularly (directly in the muscle).

In a similar fashion to automated defibrillators, the device prompts users how to deliver the medication. Still, the FDA encourages family members and caregivers to become familiar with how it works and even suggests that they ” . . . practice with the trainer device, which is included along with the delivery device, before it is needed.”

The steady increase of drug overdoses in America over the past decade seems to have been a push in the development of this device. Bob Rappaport, M.D., a director at one of the divisions in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research explains that “Evzio is the first combination drug-device product designed to deliver a dose of naloxone for administration outside of a health care setting. Making this product available could save lives by facilitating earlier use of the drug in emergency situations.”

The good and bad of this portable drug overdose device

Many people, like Dr. Carl R. Sullivan, director of the addictions program at West Virginia University, feel that Evzio is a good idea. “Many people OD and die from opioids because naloxone is not immediately available to reverse the OD effects. I cannot really see a downside.”

Using this device can reverse the effects of an overdose for approximately 10 minutes. That timeframe is ” . . . long enough to get someone to hospital instead of watching them die in front of you,” said Dr. Norm Buckley, the Director of Hamilton Health Science’s pain clinics.

Yet others beg to differ, saying that the device offers a false sense of hope and even encourages increased misuse of drugs. James Rathmell, chief of the division of pain medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, says people may think, “‘O.K., I’ve got a naloxone pen, we can party all we want, no one is going to die.’” His “pen” reference stems from the fact that many media are dubbing the device “an Epipen for addicts.”

It’s anticipated that Evzio will be available this summer through all major pharmacies as well as by mail order with a prescription from a healthcare professional.

Sources for this article include:

http://www.nytimes.com

http://www.fda.gov

http://www.cbc.ca

http://www.wellness.com

http://finance.yahoo.com