Sunday, September 30, 2018

270 Painkillers Per Person: DEA Investigates Pill Mills in Small Tennessee Town

ORIGINAL LINK

DEA agents discover another small town in America's Rust Belt with an overabundance of opioids

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) last week conducted inspections at several pharmacy locations in the Clay County, Tennessee town of Celina, following a massive spike of painkiller purchases from drug distribution companies.

According to the sales data, obtained by the DEA, several pharmacies purchased nearly 1.5 million pills in 2017, a number that is considered an anomaly of a rural area in America's Rust Belt region.

Home to just 7,800 people, the pharmacies last year purchased enough opioids to provide 270 pain pills for every man, woman, and child living in the small Tennessee town.

In response to the opioid crisis, the DEA is now aggressively monitoring supply chains of pill distributors that primarily feed into hard-hit states.

"DEA's action today is one of many proactive measures we are taking to help prevent drug diversion, abuse, and trafficking that end lives and destroy families and communities," said Louisville Division Special Agent in Charge Chris Evans, who runs DEA operations in Tennessee, West Virginia, and Kentucky.

"When DEA sees abnormal patterns such as this one, we must act. Too many rural communities like Clay County are often targets for both addicts and drug traffickers who exploit the most vulnerable and who profit from addiction. We've lost too many Americans to opioid abuse," Evans said.

Notice of inspection was issued to Anderson Hometown Pharmacy, LLC at 151 MacArthur Avenue, and Walgreens at 1000 Gainesville Highway. The DEA said an administrative inspection warrant was also issued to another pharmacy, Clay County Express Pharmacy, LLC at 651 Brown Street. Some of these inspections included a complete review of receipts and distributions, employee interviews, and all other pharmacy activities.

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control reported that drug overdose deaths in 2017 were up 7% from 2016 and that more than 72,000 American died the previous year -- that is more than American soldier deaths in the Vietnam War (58,220 US military fatal casualties). This is a more than 200% increase over a decade. Of those overdose deaths, just over 49,000 were from synthetic opioids, which include prescription painkillers, heroin, fentanyl, and fentanyl analogs. Pain management, then pill abuse, is often the starting point for heroin and fentanyl addicts.

Days ago, we reported a similar incident in Williamson, West Virginia, where two pharmacies just four blocks apart pumped 20.8 million prescription painkillers in a town of only 3,191 residents.

It was reported that in December 2002 to January 2010, more than 335,000 prescriptions for painkillers were issued by Dr. Katherine Hoover at a small clinic in the struggling West Virginia town, a rate of about 130 per day.

Williamson is a small blue-collar city of some 3,000 residents just across the Tug Fork River from Kentucky. When the coal industry collapsed, it left behind many miners - many of whom were already reliant on painkillers.

However, like Williamson, Clay County is similar, both areas are located in America's Rust Belt, where de-industrialization and high unemployment fuels the deadly cycle of addiction.

Now, these lost and forgotten towns in the Rust Belt are being pumped with record amounts of opioids by large pharmaceutical firms, who then in return, have local doctors and pharmacies dish out painkillers to residents.

Yet while the DEA is finally cracking down on opioid abuse, the one question left is: why did the government allow pharmaceutical companies and pill mills to pump millions of highly addictive opioids into the Rust Belt in the first place?



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Vaccinated Vs. Unvaccinated: Mawson Homeschooled Study Reveals Who Is Sicker

ORIGINAL LINK

Celeste McGovern — Children’s Medical Safety Research Institute Nov 20, 2017

Vaccinated vs unvaccinated

It’s never been done before.The first-of-its-kind study of vaccinated vs. unvaccinated American homeschooled children shows who is really ailing…and parents should be worried

Something is wrong with America’s children. They are sick – allergic, asthmatic, anxious, autoimmune, autistic, hyperactive, distracted and learning disabled. Thirty-two million American children – a full 43% of them – suffer from at least one of 20 chronic illnesses not including obesity. Across the board, once rare pediatric disorders from autism and ADD to Type 1 diabetes and Tourette’s syndrome are soaring, though few studies pool the data. Compared to their parents, children today are four times more likely to have a chronic illness. And while their grandparents might never have swallowed a pill as children, the current generation of kids is a pharmaceutical sales rep’s dream come true: More than one million American children under five years old takes a psychiatric drug. More than 8.3 million kids under 17 have consumed psychiatric drugs, and in any given month one in four is taking at least one prescription drug for something. 

Fast food, bad genes, too much TV, video games, pesticides, plastics – name the environmental factor and it has been implicated in the surge of sickness, although none adequately explains the scale or scope of the epidemic. There is one exposure, however, that has evaded the search, despite that children have received it by direct injection in steadily accumulating doses far beyond anything past generations ever saw: 50 doses of 14 vaccines by age six, 69 doses of 16 pharmaceutical vaccines containing powerfully immune-altering ingredients by age 18.

We’re assured vaccines are “safe and effective” even though public health officials acknowledge they sometimes have serious side-effects including death and despite the troubling fact that no long-term study of their effects on overall health has ever been conducted.  Remarkably, not a single published study has ever compared vaccinated kids to unvaccinated kids to see who is healthier years after the shots. Until now.

pilot study of 666 homeschooled six to 12-year-olds from four American states published on April 27th in the Journal of Translational Sciences, compared 261 unvaccinated children with 405 partially or fully vaccinated children, and assessed their overall health based on their mothers’ reports of vaccinations and physician-diagnosed illnesses. What it found about increases in immune-mediated diseases like allergies and neurodevelopmental diseases including autism, should make all parents think twice before they ever vaccinate again:

*Vaccinated children were over four-fold more likely to be diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum (OR 4.3)

*Vaccinated children were 30-fold more likely to be diagnosed with allergic rhinitis (hay fever) than non-vaccinated children

* Vaccinated children were 22-fold more likely to require an allergy medication than unvaccinated children

*Vaccinated children were over five-fold more likely to be diagnosed with a learning disability than unvaccinated children (OR 5.2)

*Vaccinated children were 340 percent more likely to be diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder than unvaccinated children (OR 4.3)

* Vaccinated children were 5.9-fold more likely to have been diagnosed with pneumonia than unvaccinated children

*Vaccinated children were 3.8-fold more likely to be diagnosed with middle ear infection (otitis media) than unvaccinated children (OR 3.8)

*Vaccinated children were 700 percent more likely to have had surgery to insert ear drainage tubes than unvaccinated children (OR 8.1)

* Vaccinated children were 2.4-fold more likely to have been diagnosed with any chronic illness than unvaccinated children

Homeschooler vs. Homeschooler

The trouble with doing a vaccinated vs. unvaccinated study a century or so after it should have been done is that virtually all American children are vaccinated today. When 95 percent of children get injections, there are few ‘controls’ left for studying long-term outcomes. Comparing American children at large to small pockets of unvaccinated children like those in the Amish community is revealing, but critics say they are comparing apples to oranges. There are too many other variables — diet, fresh air, computer time, for example – that might explain differences in health besides vaccination status.

So, Anthony Mawson, a professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics in the School of Public Health, Jackson State University, along with colleagues Azad Bhuiyan and Binu Jacob, collaborated with Brian D. Ray, president of the National Home Education Research Institute in Salem, OR, to engage and enrol homeschooling families to participate in the study. In this way, homeschoolers were compared to homeschoolers (apples to apples), but with the added advantage that homeschoolers as a population match the profiles of American families at large. The families who responded to the anonymous online survey were recruited through homeschooling associations in Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Oregon.

The Disease Trade

Both vaccinated and unvaccinated children in the study got sick sometimes. As expected, vaccinated children were less likely to have some infections they were vaccinated against: they were significantly less likely to have had chickenpox (Odds Ratio 0.26) and whooping cough (pertussis) (OR 0.3) (see Table 2).

However, in spite of public health hysteria over outbreaks of measles at Disneyland and mumps resurgence, there was no evidence that vaccinated children were any more protected against these so-called “vaccine-preventable diseases”. Children in both groups had about the same rates of infection with measles, mumps, Hepatitis A and B, influenza, rotavirus and meningitis (both viral and bacterial).

Unvaccinated children in the study were actually better protected against some “vaccine-preventable diseases” than children who got the shots. Since 2000, the CDC has recommended four shots against seven different strains of pneumococcal infections before age 15 months (13 strains since 2010), but vaccinated children in the study were 490 percent more likely to have been diagnosed with pneumonia compared to unvaccinated children (OR 5.9).

Brain Drain

So, what is the cost for this weak vaccine protection against chickenpox and pertussis?

The link between autism and vaccination is the biggest tornado in the vaccine storm. Autism has soared from a rare disorder to something affecting a child in every other classroom: in the 80s, it struck one in 10,000 children, by the early 1990s, one in 2,500. Five years ago, one in 88 children was diagnosed as autistic and today it is one in 68.

In the homeschooler study, the risk of being diagnosed on the autism spectrum was over four-fold higher among vaccinated children than unvaccinated children (OR 4.2).

“We do not know all of the causes of ASD,” the Centers for Disease Control says– which avoids saying they haven’t identified any cause for it. Or any treatment.

They still quote a 2004 Pediatrics study claiming to refute a link between autism and vaccines even though one of its authors, their own top scientist William Thompson, has admitted that he and his colleagues colluded to obscure and then shred data (he kept copies) which showed a link between autism and the MMR vaccine. “Oh my God, I can’t believe we did what we did,” Thompson confessed in one taped telephone chat to Brian Hooker, a bioengineer professor at Simpson University and the father of an autistic child.

The Thompson whistleblower case is the basis of the 2016 documentary Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe by Andrew Wakefield, the gastroenterologist who was among the first to suggest a possible link between the MMR vaccine and autism in the late ‘90s, and who has become a symbol of how the system deals with dissenters. It’s the film the CDC does not want anyone to see.

The CDC also fails to mention that the federal government has been forced to acknowledge vaccination’s role in inducing autism and has awarded compensation to some parents of damaged children. Other courts have recognized the connection between autism and vaccination too. Besides that, there are the thousands of parents the courts and federal government pretend don’t exist who all tell the same story over and over again: that they watched their children regress into autism following vaccination.

Brain and nervous system damage from vaccines is nothing new. Crippling and potentially blinding Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis, for example, (which causes MRI-visible white spots on the brain and can progress to multiple sclerosis,) has been described in the medical literature for decades and is a documented side effect of virtually every vaccine. Narcolepsy and Guillain Barré Syndrome are other examples.

So, what role might vaccines have in subtler brain damage? Don’t ask the CDC because they’ve never looked. But the JSU study found the odds for vaccinated children having a learning disability were over five-fold that of unvaccinated children (OR 5.2), over four-fold for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) (OR 4.3) and over three-fold for any neurodevelopmental disorder (i.e., impairment of growth and development of the brain or central nervous system associated with a diagnosis of Learning Disability, ADHD and/or ASD) (OR 3.67).

Mercury, Aluminum and What Else?

Vaccine ingredients are known to cause brain damage. Robert Kennedy Jr. has been highlighting the dangers of mercury as thimerosal used as a preservative in vaccines and its relationship to autism.

Aluminium is another well-documented neurotoxin added to vaccines as an adjuvant to evoke an immune system response.  Recent research has thrown everything scientists used to say about it (and the CDC still does) in the bin: aluminum is not excreted from the body within hours or days, but it persists for years and can migrate to organs including lymph, spleen and brain. Aluminum in vaccines has been implicated in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Macrophagic Myofasciitis in numerous autoimmune diseases, Alzheimer’s disease, in sudden deaths following vaccination and in autism.

The FDA does not deny its toxicity – just that there is enough aluminum toxin in vaccines to cause harm. But it calculates risk based on oral exposure. Even so, it describes memory impairment in lab mice and “very young animals [which] appeared weaker and less active [and] less coordinated when their mothers were exposed to large amounts of aluminum during pregnancy and while nursing.”

Injected exposure can hardly be safer.  “It should be obvious that the route of exposure which bypasses the protective barriers of the gastrointestinal tract and/or the skin will likely require a much lower dose to produce a toxic outcome,” says a 2014 review implicating aluminium in the autism epidemic.

Besides toxic metals like aluminum and mercury, vaccines may contain contaminants from DNA from human aborted fetus cells, animal DNA and retroviruses and a host of debris and metal contaminants that are not measured by oversight agencies and whose health effects have never been studied.

The Ear Infection Connection

Vaccinated children in the study were nearly four-fold more likely than unvaccinated children in the study to have had a doctor-diagnosed ear infection (OR 3.8), and they were 700% more likely to have had surgery to insert ear drainage tubes for repeat or persistent infections (OR 8.0).

Acute ear infections have increased worldwide in recent decades and are so common they are almost unremarkable now; they affect 80% of American children by age three and are the leading reason for child doctor visits, antibiotic use and the number one pediatric surgical procedure –insertion of plastic tubes in the ears. Childhood ear infections cost the healthcare system almost three billion dollars a year.

The study points to reports of middle ear infection filed with the government’s Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS). A VAERS database search for children younger than one year of age who developed otitis media within one week of vaccination revealed 438,573 cases reported between 1990 and 2011, “often with fever and other signs and symptoms of inflammation and central nervous system involvement.” If that was the reported number for children under a year old within one week, how many children of all ages get common ear infections following vaccination? No one knows.

Messed-Up Microbiomes

As a possible mechanism for vaccine-induced ear infection, study authors Mawson and colleagues cite a 2006 study that looked at the types of bacteria in the nasal passages of children immunized with pneumococcal vaccine vs. “historical controls”  – kids from the prePCV-7 era — and found an increased colonization of a bacteria called M. catarrhalis in the vaccinated group. M. catarrhalis, it turns out, is associated with an increased risk of ear infection.

No surprise then that vaccinated children in the study were over two-fold more likely to have taken antibiotics (OR 2.4). They were also hospitalized more often (OR 1.8).

Broad-spectrum antibiotics like those frequently used for ear infections are like napalm on the microbiome — they may wipe out bugs that cause ear infections but they affect many other microbes as well, shifting microbiome composition in ways that science is only beginning to understand how profoundly this impacts health. New research links microbiome shifts to a growing list of diseases from irritable bowel syndrome, obesity,  Crohn’s disease, diabetes and multiple sclerosis to mood disorders such as anxiety and depression, mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and autism.

In a 2011 Lancet study, Danish researchers concluded the pneumococcal vaccine had a “much broader effect…on the microbial community than currently assumed, and highlights the need for careful monitoring when implementing vaccines…”

Another recent study found it isn’t just pneumococcal bugs that are affected, but several unexpected types of infectious bugs rush in to colonize where vaccines have been. What is the net effect of 69 vaccines on a developing child’s microbiome? Public health officials haven’t even asked the question.

Wheezy and Itchy

The JSU study shows that vaccinated children were thirty-fold more likely to have been diagnosed with allergic rhinitis (hay fever)  than unvaccinated children (OR 30.1), which exceeds the strength of the association between smoking and lung cancer. They also had a higher odds of overall allergies (OR 3.9), and three-fold higher odds of being diagnosed with eczema. (OR 3.1).

All this allergic disease was leading to more medication. The vaccinated children in the study were 22-fold more likely to have taken allergy medicine than the unvaccinated.

Allergic rhinitis (hay fever) is another of those current inexplicably soaring pediatric plagues; in 2012, it affected 6.6 million children. It is strongly associated with another spiking childhood disorder, asthma. More than three million American kids have a food allergy and one in four children have eczema. Worldwide, allergies have been increasing and they now affect almost half of all American school kids.

As with autism, public health authorities have no answers to explain the explosion of immune-mediated allergic disease. But researchers routinely create animal models of allergic disease by exposing them to aluminum adjuvants – the sort used in vaccines – at the same time as allergens. Recent experiments (here, here and here, for example) describe how scientists use aluminum to stimulate allergic rhinitis (hay fever) in mice.

This 2014 study describes how researchers used aluminum hydroxide bound to a bordetella pertussis  (that’s whooping cough bacteria in every child’s two, four, six and 18-month DTaP which also contains aluminum) and exposed the animal to an oral antigen (ie., food, like peanuts or soya)  to produce rats with food allergies.

Studies like these (here and here) describe how aluminum hydroxide linked to egg white protein (another vaccine ingredient) is used to create animal models of asthma.

So how does the CDC fail to consider if the very thing scientists are using to create allergic disease in animals is also creating allergic disease in children?

No Explanation?

“There was no explanation for the differences in health outcomes observed between the vaccinated and unvaccinated groups of children other than vaccination itself,” the study’s authors concluded.  Although the design of the study limits causal interpretation, they added, there is an apparent dose-response relationship between vaccination and chronic illness too, with the partially vaccinated showing intermediate odds of being diagnosed with chickenpox and whooping cough as well as ear infection, pneumonia, allergic rhinitis, ADHD, eczema, and learning disability (see Table 4).

“The extent to which these findings apply to the population of homeschooled children, as well as the general population, awaits further research on vaccinated and unvaccinated children,” Mawson and colleagues say. “Investigating and understanding the biological basis of these unexpected nonspecific outcomes of vaccination is essential for ensuring evidence-based vaccine policies and decisions.”

There is little evidence, however, that the mainstream medical establishment has any interest in understanding unexpected outcomes. Its message is clear: vaccines are modern medicine’s greatest miracle, an intervention that has saved millions of lives and improved quality of life for millions more. The fine print, acknowledged since vaccines began, is that a few children will suffer serious consequences from vaccines, including death, but their lives are a small sacrifice for the greater good of protecting of humanity from plagues of infectious disease.

For more than a century it has been accepted public health dogma that vaccine benefits outweigh risks. What’s more, with the introduction of five new vaccines since 1995, bringing the total inoculations to 35 by kindergarten age, studies of the combined effect of vaccines have never been done. The reality is: real vaccine benefits are theoretical and real vaccine risks are unknown.

The emerging “vaccine war” is really just growing numbers of “hesitant” parents (and health practitioners) questioning the CDC vaccine schedule for good reasons: Why are doctors who profit from vaccines the spokesmen for public health? Can government health agencies really be trusted to protect our children when they are so wedded to the pharmaceutical industry?  Why are toxins in vaccines? Does my kid really need this vaccine or is somebody selling it, like Coca-Cola and video games? Why is it acceptable to knowingly sacrifice some children for the greater good? Is that greater good real or is it a mirage?

That vaccines may sometimes curb natural infections like chickenpox sometimes appears to be the case. What’s not been answered is the cost? What else do vaccines do? And if they are such a miracle, then why are American kids so sick?

This pilot study shows us that if mainstream medicine and our public health agencies are really interested in children’s health, not just vaccine profits or defending vaccine religion against blasphemy, what is needed is not the will to make everyone believe, but the courage to find out.

The Children’s Medical Safety Research Institute (CMSRI) is a medical and scientific collaborative established to provide research funding for independent studies on causal factors underlying the chronic disease and disability epidemic.

Celeste McGovern is an independent journalist who writes at www.ghostshipmedia.com.  

Source



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Friday, September 28, 2018

Why Can’t a Woman be More Like a Man? - Quillette

https://quillette.com/2018/05/24/cant-woman-like-man/

Forget Nature Versus Nurture. Nature Has Won - Quillette

https://quillette.com/2018/09/25/forget-nature-versus-nurture-nature-has-won/

Disaster Is Inevitable When America's Stock Market Bubble Bursts

https://www.forbes.com/sites/jessecolombo/2018/09/05/disaster-is-inevitable-when-americas-stock-market-bubble-bursts/

Lisa Page bombshell: FBI couldn’t prove Trump-Russia collusion before Mueller appointment | TheHill

https://thehill.com/hilltv/rising/406881-lisa-page-bombshell-fbi-couldnt-prove-trump-russia-collusion-before-mueller

Facebook’s idea of ‘fact-checking’: Censoring ThinkProgress because conservative site told them to – ThinkProgress

https://thinkprogress.org/facebook-weekly-standard-fact-check-thinkprogress-6176df1d5749/

Prof. Ford Flunks as a Female Role Model

https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2018/09/prof_ford_flunks_as_a_female_role_model.html

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Bombshell WSJ Story Confirms "Systematic And Methodical" Chinese Theft Of US Trade Secrets

ORIGINAL LINK

A deep dive into how China "systematically pries technology from U.S. Companies" by the Wall Street Journal gives essential context to President Trump's rising trade war with Beijing at a moment that both Chinese and American mainstream media relentlessly bash the president for his unprecedentedly tough stance on China. 

And yet such a bombshell story exhaustively documenting multiple major instances of China caught in brazen acts of theft of American technology and trade secrets has barely made a splash in the rest of major media, and likely won't hit the network news shows with so much as a whimper: after all it may confirm that Trump is right, and admitting this will certainly not gain ratings. 

Foremost among Trump's demands after he announced tariffs on about half of all US imports from China while threatening to impose tariffs on the second half, is that China cease requiring American companies turn over trade secrets in order to do business there. Trump has consistently blasted China's "unfair trade practices" which includes stealing US intellectual property.

In fact the Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property, an independent US body including representatives from the public and private sectors, has recently estimated that $600bn worth of US intellectual property is stolen every year, led by China, and the bipartisan body has called for a "decisive response". 

But the WSJ story gives flesh to prior allegations and statistics, including shocking instances of raids on American offices in Chinese cities, revealing that Beijing authorities have erected an entire system geared toward prying the most innovative technologies and secrets from American companies while passing it off merely as the fair and routine cost of tapping into a new market of over a billion people

The report begins by recounting a raid on DuPont's Shanghai offices, which interestingly the Chinese have since tried to pass off as but normal procedure and their prerogative

DuPont Co. suspected its onetime partner in China was getting hold of its prized chemical technology, and spent more than a year fighting in arbitration trying to make it stop.

Then, 20 investigators from China’s antitrust authority showed up.

For four days this past December, they fanned out through DuPont’s Shanghai offices, demanding passwords to the company’s world-wide research network, say people briefed on the raid. Investigators printed documents, seized computers and intimidated employees, accompanying some to the bathroom.

The WSJ describes this as one of the multiple tactics that "reveal how systemic and methodical Beijing’s extraction of technology has become" event while Chinese officials consider the complaints against such coercion "unfair". 

Reports the WSJ further, "China’s tactics, these interviews and documents show, include pressuring U.S. partners in joint ventures to relinquish technology, using local courts to invalidate American firms’ patents and licensing arrangements, dispatching antitrust and other investigators, and filling regulatory panels with experts who may pass trade secrets to Chinese competitors." 

With DuPont, its former Chinese partner, Zhangjiagang Glory Chemical Industry Co., continues to sell chemicals used to make fibers that it allegedly ripped off from the American conglomerate. Yet China stacked the deck against it in local courts over years of the company seeking remediation over the technology theft, and its antitrust board has further warned DuPont to drop its lawsuits. 

This is one of many examples of a whole system of "coerced technology transfer" which the White House says inflicts $50 billion yearly in damages to US companies, and more broadly disincentivizing American innovation and crippling US economic growth. 

Via the WSJ

But China pitches what it sees as up-front and voluntary technology sharing as the cost of lucrative expansion into its markets, though White House officials hold this up as clear evidence of China's economic aggression

A formal Chinese government statement to the WSJ in response to allegations of systematic technology theft reads as follows: “American companies in China have received huge returns through technology transfer and licensing, and are the biggest beneficiaries of technical cooperation.”

Chinese officials have further long claimed that "U.S. companies enter partnerships voluntarily," according to the WSJ. 

Via the WSJ

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro, meanwhile, described "The combination of naiveté and hubris on the part of U.S. companies seeking to enter the Chinese market, coupled with a sophisticated Chinese effort to extract technology has been a lethal combination."

But another Beijing policy maker cited in the report claimed, “China’s offer to the world has been straightforward,” and that "Foreign companies are allowed to access China’s markets but they would need to contribute something in return: their technology."

Other examples of such "straightforward" practices outlined by the WSJ report are as follows

  • About one in five members of the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai say they have been pressured to transfer technology, according to a survey conducted in the spring. Of those companies, 44% in aerospace and 41% in chemicals report “notable pressure.” China considers both industries strategically important.
  • China mandates that foreign companies wanting to open or expand in 35 sectors do it through joint ventures, though it announced a plan in April to phase out rules requiring foreign auto makers to share factory ownership and profits with Chinese companies by 2022.
  • When China set out to build its first large commercial passenger jet in 2008, state-owned Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China made clear it would buy components only from joint ventures whose foreign partners would share technology. General Electric Co. agreed.
  • Chinese leaders see innovative technologies as forces to propel its industries up the value chain into more sophisticated sectors and the country into rich-nation ranks. To ensure foreigners bring their best, phalanxes of regulatory panels scrutinize foreign investments to make sure they meet government goals.

The report cites Texas-based chemical producer Huntsman Corp as being recently targeted by such "regulatory panels" which ultimately was able to procure "enough information to duplicate the product" under the guise of "approving" chemicals prior to production in China, which required the US company to submit its own chemical formulas and production process for review. 

And likely there are many dozens more of such technology thefts within a "trade partnership" system designed from start to finish to ensure American secrets flow into Beijing's hands. 

Amidst the ratcheting trade war, chances are growing that over the next year we will hear of more sensational raids on American company offices in Chinese cities - perhaps even Apple which the local propaganda press recently threatened with "anger and nationalist sentiment" - and heightened threats against them from anti-trust and regulatory committees. 



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DHS Complains Airlines Getting In The Way Of "100% Biometric Scans By 2021"

ORIGINAL LINK

An alarming new report issued by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) says that the government could soon push mechanisms ensuring that its TSA airport security personnel never selectively hasten the screening process in order for passengers to catch their flight on time, but that gathering biometric data through controls like facial recognition technology will soon be a requirement for all boarding procedures.

The new report on the Biometric Entry-Exit Program authored the DHS Homeland Security’s Office of the Inspector General gives a glowing review of controversial new biometric surveillance, already in a test roll out at dozens of major airports nationwide, but notes some hurdles remain to broader implementation, especially the "hurdle" of airlines insisting that passengers be allowed to make their flights on time.  

Over a year ago DHS and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced that they would integrate government databases with a private tech company to speed up biometric processing which involves the capturing of facial scans to match them with files already in the system. This initially rolled out only at a couple of select airports. But since that time the program has exploded to include a dozen or more international airports

It's essentially what China has already implemented on a large, Orwellian scale, and involves plans for possible mandatory face scans for all travelers to foreign destinationsThe new Biometric Entry-Exit Program report is among the first major reviews of the experimental program's performance and effectiveness. 

And naturally the DHS bureaucrats' absolute last concern is actual airport and airline timely travel and efficiency. The Intercept reports among the chief problems: "the report notes with palpable frustration, was that airlines insist on letting their passengers depart on time, rather than subjecting them to a Homeland Security surveillance prototype plagued by technical issues and slowdowns."

The key section of the DHS report is as follows

Demanding flight departure schedules posed other operational problems that significantly hampered biometric matching of passengers during the pilot in 2017. Typically, when incoming flights arrived behind schedule, the time allotted for boarding departing flights was reduced. In these cases, CBP allowed airlines to bypass biometric processing in order to save time. As such, passengers could proceed with presenting their boarding passes to gate agents without being photographed and biometrically matched by CBP first. We observed this scenario at the Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport when an airline suspended the biometric matching process early to avoid a flight delay. This resulted in approximately 120 passengers boarding the flight without biometric confirmation.

Later in the report deep concern is voiced over airlines' consistently pushing for flights to depart in a timely manner. These pressures result in local TSA screening agents “Repeatedly permitting airlines to revert to standard flight-boarding procedures without biometric processing may become a habit that is difficult to break.”

The DHS complains about this despite that elsewhere in the report they admit, “airline officials we interviewed indicated the processing time was generally acceptable and did not contribute to departure delays.”

Citing the goal of being able to scan and capture biometric data on "100% of all departing passengers" by 2021, the report laments that current difficulties in the screening process could make this impossible, especially in light of the pesky airlines pushing for consistently timely departure. 

The report concludes that current logistical problems “pose significant risks to CBP scaling up the biometric program to process 100 percent of all departing passengers by 2021.”

In a worrisome section of the document, officials make the suggestion that “enforcement mechanisms or back-up procedures to prevent airlines from bypassing biometric processing prior to flight boarding.”

Meanwhile privacy advocates and civil libertarians have long decried the government overstep and abuse inherent in such biometric scanning.

One privacy researcher, Harrison Rudolph, who runs the Center on Privacy and Technology at Georgetown University Law School, was cited by NPR during the early phase of the program as saying: "DHS hasn't issued a single rule under this program to protect Americans' privacy," and added, "So what DHS decides to do with this information tomorrow, I'm not sure. And without rules there may be few protections for Americans' privacy."

With such issues left completely unsettled, and with the government claiming it would never, never abuse such a technology... the consistent refrain in reports over the last year has been its fast coming to an airport near you

And clearly DHS and TSA could care less whether or not you actually catch your flight. 



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"The Notorious Pill Mill:" Just One Doctor Wrote 335,000 Painkiller Prescriptions

ORIGINAL LINK

For ten years, two pharmacies just four blocks apart in Williamson, West Virginia, dispensed some 20.8 million prescription painkillers in a town of only 3,191 residents. Those shocking figures were released earlier this year by the congressional committee investigating the opioid crisis that has devastated the Rust Belt.

From December 2002 to January 2010, more than 335,000 prescriptions for painkillers were issued by Dr. Katherine Hoover at a small clinic in the struggling West Virginia town, a rate of about 130 per day.

In a recent interview via NBC News, Hoover argued that she did nothing wrong. "I prescribed narcotics to people in pain. I did everything I could to help people have a better life, which I told the FBI," Hoover said. "Every prescription I wrote was justified for the person who had gotten it."

Hoover, 68, wrote more opioid prescriptions than any other doctor in the state from 2002 to 2010, government investigators said in court documents.

As of 2016, West Virginia became one of the deadliest states for fatal opioid overdoses.

Court records show Hoover arrived in Williamson in 2002 and started working at the Mountain Medical Care Center, a private clinic which took anyone who could pay in cash.

Williamson is a small blue-collar city of some 3,000 residents just across the Tug Fork River from Kentucky. When the coal industry collapsed, it left behind many miners - many of whom were already reliant on painkillers.

Federal investigators told NBC News that Hoover and the other Mountain Medical Care employees exploited the system and reaped massive amounts of money in return. The clinic was a for-profit pill mill, charging $450 in cash for first-time clients, and investigators said doctors often did not even see the patients to whom they were giving prescriptions.

Clients who wanted a second prescription would pay $150 to a receptionist, who would hand out a new script after asking several questions, investigators claim. One investigator said, he was told by a nurse at the clinic to get an X-ray because "if the feds walk in right now, she wanted them to be able to pick up any chart that they want and find that the clinic is searching for what’s wrong with the patient."

With a script in hand, clients would then walk down the street to either one of the two Williamson pharmacies; over the decade, some 20.8 million painkillers were dispensed.

"They called it ‘Pilliamson,’ instead of Williamson," Mingo County Prosecuting Attorney Michael Sparks told The Charleston Gazette in 2011. "It was an open secret, you might say."

Federal court documents showed Hoover was West Virginia’s top prescriber of controlled substances. She was described by the clinic’s owner as its "bread and butter."

It all came to an end in 2010, however, when the government raided her clinic due to its excessive opioid prescribing. She immediately fled to the Bahamas but was not charged nor convicted for the excess prescriptions. This is different from some doctors and clinics that have been prosecuted during the opioid epidemic.

"Legal experts told NBC News that it would not have been difficult to extradite Hoover when she went to the Bahamas. But she was never prosecuted. One theory offered by legal experts and NBC News is the case against her may be difficult to prove — since she insists she did nothing wrong and took steps, like requiring patients take X-rays, to provide cover for her prescriptions. Another is that she may have been a government witness. We might never know the truth," said NBC News.

West Virginia leads all other states in drug overdose deaths. The state had an age-adjusted drug overdose death rate of 52 per 100,000 people in 2016. Second-worst Ohio was at 39.1, nearly 25 % below West Virginia’s extraordinary rate of deaths.

In the early 2000s, the opioid crisis was in its earlier stages, first fueled by doctors like Hoover, but also well-intentioned doctors who thought opioids were the only solution to treat pain. The Charleston Gazette-Mail in West Virginia uncovered a shocking statistic: From 2007 to 2012, pharmaceutical companies dumped 780 million painkillers into the state — which has a total population of about 1.8 million.

As for Hoover's prosecution, Valarie Blake, an associate professor at West Virginia University’s law school, told NBC News that state and federal prosecutors would face a difficult time convincing a jury that Hoover had committed a crime.

"It’s very difficult to prove these cases," said Blake.

Pain management is very subjective, and corrupt doctors use X-rays or other documents to support their claims, Blake added.

During a recent congressional hearing of five Big Pharma executives over the deadly opioid epidemic, a Georgia lawmaker brought up Hoover’s name.

"Do you know whatever came about with Dr. Hoover?" Rep. Buddy Carter, a Republican, asked. "She fled to the Bahamas. She bought an island."

Overprescribing triggered the opioid epidemic. Hoover like many other doctors have escaped charges. They exploited the system by playing by the book.

Yet while the government is finally cracking down on opioid abuse, the one question left is: why did the government allow pharmaceutical companies and for-profit pill mills to pump millions of highly addictive opioids into the Rust Belt in the first place?



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Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Life Expectancy Decreases Yet Again But There Could Be One Big Reason Why

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Authored by Mac Slavo via SHTFplan.com,

Life expectancy in the United States has decreased yet again, but it isn’t due to a lack of healthcare as leftists would have everyone believe. There are far more important factors at play when it comes to how long a person will live, and personal responsibility is taking the front seat.

No one should have to be told that obesity is a risk factor for an early death. Yet it seems to be almost offensive to say so. The problem in the United States with life expectancy is responsibility, not a lack of government handouts in the form of inadequate medical care. In fact, the government’s relationship with Big Pharma is taking a good chunk of the blame as well.

Opioids and the constant pressure doctors feel to prescribe them thanks to protections from the US government are another cause of a decrease in life expectancy, according to WebMD. Opioids are highly addictive and overdose is now a leading cause of death in the United States.

 “We’ve been talking about the fact that our children will live less long than we will, and that’s clearly coming to pass,” said Dr. Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association.

But what many refuse to acknowledge is that first, the government is elbow deep in the opioid epidemic, and second obesity (a preventable disease) is considered “ok” or “not that bad” when in reality, an obese person can expect to live ten years less than a person of a healthy weight. 

As obesity rates have exploded in the United States in recent years, so has life expectancy decreased.

‘‘Excess weight shortens human lifespan. In countries like Britain and America, weighing a third more than the optimum shortens lifespan by about 3 years. For most people, a third more than the optimum means carrying 20 to 30 kilograms [50 to 60 pounds, or 4 stone] of excess weight. If you are becoming overweight or obese, avoiding further weight gain could well add years to your life,” said Epidemiologist Dr. Gary Whitlock of Oxford University.

When personal responsibility for one’s own life is put first, people tend to live longer. People should take care of themselves and make the decision on which foods to consume and which drugs they should take. But this responsibility for one’s own life seems to be constantly pushed off onto others.

And this isn’t solely a problem in the United States. Great Britain is facing a decline in life expectancy as well, and the nation has “universal healthcare.” This all but proves is that government intervention cannot save people, people must save themselves through action and responsibility.

Throughout the 20th Century, the UK experienced steady improvements in life expectancy at birth, resulting in a larger and older population.

This has been attributed to healthier lifestyles among the population as it ages, such as reduced smoking rates, and improvements in treating infectious illnesses and conditions such as heart disease.

But in recent years, the progress has slowed. And in the latest data it has ground to a halt. –BBC

Leftists would have us believe that universal healthcare will solve this problem, yet the UK is still experiencing a stagnant life expectancy along with the US.

Perhaps instead of placing one’s life in the hands of a government (ruling class master), one should take responsibility for what they eat and consume. Perhaps more questions should be asked before accepting a prescription for a highly addictive opioid.  Perhaps more personal responsibility and less blame would help everyone live a longer an happier life.



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Kavanausea: We Are Living Nineteen Eighty-Four...

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Authored by Victor Davis Johnson via NationalReview.com,

Truth, due process, evidence, rights of the accused: All are swept aside in pursuit of the progressive agenda.  

George Orwell’s 1949 dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four is no longer fiction. We are living it right now.

Google techies planned to massage Internet searches to emphasize correct thinking. A member of the so-called deep state, in an anonymous op-ed, brags that its “resistance” is undermining an elected president. The FBI, CIA, DOJ, and NSC were all weaponized in 2016 to ensure that the proper president would be elected — the choice adjudicated by properly progressive ideology. Wearing a wire is now redefined as simply flipping on an iPhone and recording your boss, boy- or girlfriend, or co-workers.

But never has the reality that we are living in a surreal age been clearer than during the strange cycles of Christine Blasey Ford’s accusations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

In Orwell’s world of 1984 Oceania, there is no longer a sense of due process, free inquiry, rules of evidence and cross examination, much less a presumption of innocence until proven guilty. Instead, regimented ideology — the supremacy of state power to control all aspects of one’s life to enforce a fossilized idea of mandated quality — warps everything from the use of language to private life.

Oceania’s Rules

Senator Diane Feinstein and the other Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee had long sought to destroy the Brett Kavanaugh nomination. Much of their paradoxical furor over his nomination arises from the boomeranging of their own past political blunders, such as when Democrats ended the filibuster on judicial nominations, in 2013. They also canonized the so-called 1992 Biden Rule, which holds that the Senate should not consider confirming the Supreme Court nomination of a lame-duck president (e.g., George H. W. Bush) in an election year.

Rejecting Kavanaugh proved a hard task given that he had a long record of judicial opinions and writings — and there was nothing much in them that would indicate anything but a sharp mind, much less any ideological, racial, or sexual intolerance. His personal life was impeccable, his family admirable.

Kavanaugh was no combative Robert Bork, but congenial, and he patiently answered all the questions asked of him, despite constant demonstrations and pre-planned street-theater interruptions from the Senate gallery and often obnoxious grandstanding by “I am Spartacus” Democratic senators.

So Kavanaugh was going to be confirmed unless a bombshell revelation derailed the vote. And so we got a bombshell.

Weeks earlier, Senator Diane Feinstein had received a written allegation against Kavanaugh of sexual battery by an accuser who wished to remain anonymous. Feinstein sat on it for nearly two months, probably because she thought the charges were either spurious or unprovable. Until a few days ago, she mysteriously refused to release the full text of the redacted complaint, and she has said she does not know whether the very accusations that she purveyed are believable. Was she reluctant to memorialize the accusations by formally submitting them  to the Senate Judiciary Committee, because doing so makes Ford subject to possible criminal liability if the charges prove demonstrably untrue?

The gambit was clearly to use the charges as a last-chance effort to stop the nomination — but only if Kavanaugh survived the cross examinations during the confirmation hearing. Then, in extremis, Feinstein finally referenced the charge, hoping to keep it anonymous, but, at the same time, to hint of its serious nature and thereby to force a delay in the confirmation. Think something McCarthesque, like “I have here in my hand the name . . .”

Delay would mean that the confirmation vote could be put off until after the midterm election, and a few jeopardized Democratic senators in Trump states would not have to go on record voting no on Kavanaugh. Or the insidious innuendos, rumor, and gossip about Kavanaugh would help to bleed him to death by a thousand leaks and, by association, tank Republican chances at retaining the House. (Republicans may or may not lose the House over the confirmation circus, but they most surely will lose their base and, with it, the Congress if they do not confirm Kavanaugh.)

Feinstein’s anonymous trick did not work. So pressure mounted to reveal or leak Ford’s identity and thereby force an Anita-Hill–like inquest that might at least show old white men Republican senators as insensitive to a vulnerable and victimized woman.

The problem, of course, was that, under traditional notions of jurisprudence, Ford’s allegations simply were not provable. But America soon discovered that civic and government norms no longer follow the Western legal tradition. In Orwellian terms, Kavanaugh was now at the mercy of the state. He was tagged with sexual battery at first by an anonymous accuser, and then upon revelation of her identity, by a left-wing, political activist psychology professor and her more left-wing, more politically active lawyer.

Newspeak and Doublethink

Statue of limitations? It does not exist. An incident 36 years ago apparently is as fresh today as it was when Kavanaugh was 17 and Ford 15.

Presumption of Innocence? Not at all. Kavanaugh is accused and thereby guilty. The accuser faces no doubt. In Orwellian America, the accused must first present his defense, even though he does not quite know what he is being charged with. Then the accuser and her legal team pour over his testimony to prepare her accusation.

Evidence? That too is a fossilized concept. Ford could name neither the location of the alleged assault nor the date or time. She had no idea how she arrived or left the scene of the alleged crime. There is no physical evidence of an attack. And such lacunae in her memory mattered no longer at all.

Details? Again, such notions are counterrevolutionary. Ford said to her therapist 6 years ago (30 years after the alleged incident) that there were four would-be attackers, at least as recorded in the therapist’s notes.

But now she has claimed that there were only two assaulters: Kavanaugh and a friend. In truth, all four people — now including a female — named in her accusations as either assaulters or witnesses have insisted that they have no knowledge of the event, much less of wrongdoing wherever and whenever Ford claims the act took place. That they deny knowledge is at times used as proof by Ford’s lawyers that the event 36 years was traumatic.

An incident at 15 is so seared into her lifelong memory that at 52 Ford has no memory of any of the events or details surrounding that unnamed day, except that she is positive that 17-year-old Brett Kavanaugh, along with four? three? two? others, was harassing her. She has no idea where or when she was assaulted but still assures that Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge were drunk, but that she and the others (?) merely had only the proverbial teenage “one beer.” Most people are more likely to know where they were at a party than the exact number of alcoholic beverages they consumed — but not so much about either after 36 years.

Testimony? No longer relevant. It doesn’t matter that Kavanaugh and the other alleged suspect both deny the allegations and have no memory of being in the same locale with Ford 36 years ago. In sum, all the supposed partiers, both male and female, now swear, under penalty of felony, that they have no memory of any of the incidents that Ford claims occurred so long ago. That Ford cannot produce a single witness to confirm her narrative or refute theirs is likewise of no concern. So far, she has singularly not submitted a formal affidavit or given a deposition that would be subject to legal exposure if untrue.

Again, the ideological trumps the empirical. “All women must be believed” is the testament, and individuals bow to the collective. Except, as in Orwell’s Animal Farm, there are ideological exceptions — such as Bill Clinton, Keith Ellison, Sherrod Brown, and Joe Biden. The slogan of Ford’s psychodrama is “All women must be believed, but some women are more believable than others.” That an assertion becomes fact due to the prevailing ideology and gender of the accuser marks the destruction of our entire system of justice.

Rights of the accused? They too do not exist. In the American version of 1984, the accuser, a.k.a. the more ideologically correct party, dictates to authorities the circumstances under which she will be investigated and cross-examined: She will demand all sorts of special considerations of privacy and exemptions; Kavanaugh will be forced to return and face cameras and the public to prove that he was not then, and has never been since, a sexual assaulter.

In our 1984 world, the accused is considered guilty if merely charged, and the accuser is a victim who can ruin a life but must not under any circumstance be made uncomfortable in proving her charges.

Doublespeak abounds. “Victim” solely refers to the accuser, not the accused, who one day was Brett Kavanaugh, a brilliant jurist and model citizen, and the next morning woke up transformed into some sort of Kafkaesque cockroach. The media and political operatives went in a nanosecond from charging that she was groped and “assaulted” to the claim that she was “raped.”

In our 1984, the phrase “must be believed” is doublespeak for “must never face cross-examination.”

Ford should be believed or not believed on the basis of evidence, not her position, gender, or politics. I certainly did not believe Joe Biden, simply because he was a U.S. senator, when, as Neal Kinnock’s doppelganger, he claimed that he came from a long line of coal miners — any more than I believed that Senator Corey Booker really had a gang-banger Socratic confidant named “T-Bone,” or that would-be senator Richard Blumenthal was an anguished Vietnam combat vet or that Senator Elizabeth Warren was a Native American. (Do we need a 25th Amendment for unhinged senators?) Wanting to believe something from someone who is ideologically correct does not translate into confirmation of truth.

Ford supposedly in her originally anonymous accusation had insisted that she had sought “medical treatment” for her assault. The natural assumption is that such a term would mean that, soon after the attack, the victim sought a doctor’s or emergency room’s help to address either her physical or mental injuries — records might therefore be a powerful refutation of Kavanaugh’s denials.

But “medical treatment” now means that 30 years after the alleged assault, Ford sought counseling for some sort of “relationship” or “companion” therapy, or what might legitimately be termed “marriage counseling.” And in the course of her discussions with her therapist about her marriage, she first spoke of her alleged assault three decades earlier. She did not then name Kavanaugh to her therapist, whose notes are at odds with Ford’s current version.

Memory Holes

Then we come to Orwell’s idea of “memory holes,” or mechanisms to wipe clean inconvenient facts that disrupt official ideological narratives.

Shortly after Ford was named, suddenly her prior well-publicized and self-referential social-media revelations vanished, as if she’d never held her minor-league but confident pro-Sanders, anti-Trump opinions. And much of her media and social-media accounts were erased as well.

Similarly, one moment the New York Times — just coming off an embarrassing lie in reporting that U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley had ordered new $50,000 office drapes on the government dime — reported that Kavanaugh’s alleged accomplice, Mark Judge, had confirmed Ford’s allegation. Indeed, in a sensational scoop, according to the Times, Judge told the Judiciary Committee that he does remember the episode and has nothing more to say. In fact, Judge told the committee the very opposite: that he does not remember the episode. Forty minutes later, the Times embarrassing narrative vanished down the memory hole.

The online versions of some of the yearbooks of Ford’s high school from the early 1980s vanished as well. At times, they had seemed to take a perverse pride in the reputation of the all-girls school for underage drinking, carousing, and, on rarer occasions, “passing out” at parties. Such activities were supposed to be the monopoly and condemnatory landscape of the “frat boy” and spoiled-white-kid Kavanaugh — and certainly not the environment in which the noble Ford navigated. Seventeen-year-old Kavanaugh was to play the role of a falling-down drunk; Ford, with impressive powers of memory of an event 36 years past, assures us that as a circumspect 15-year-old, she had only “one beer.”

A former teenage friend of Ford’s sent out a flurry of social-media postings, allegedly confirming that Ford’s ordeal was well known to her friends in 1982 and so her assault narrative must therefore be confirmed. Then, when challenged on some of her incoherent details (schools are not in session during summertime, and Ford is on record as not telling anyone of the incident for 30 years), she mysteriously claimed that she no longer could stand by her earlier assertions, which likewise soon vanished from her social-media account. Apparently, she had assumed that in 2018 Oceania ideologically correct citizens merely needed to lodge an accusation and it would be believed, without any obligation on her part to substantiate her charges.

When a second accuser, Deborah Ramirez, followed Ford seven days later to allege another sexual incident with the teenage Kavanaugh, at Yale 35 years ago, it was no surprise that she followed the now normal Orwellian boilerplate: None of those whom she named as witnesses could either confirm her charges or even remember the alleged event. She had altered her narrative after consultations with lawyers and handlers. She too confesses to underage drinking during the alleged event. She too is currently a social and progressive political activist. The only difference from Ford’s narrative is that Ramirez’s accusation was deemed not credible enough to be reported even by the New York Times, which recently retracted false stories about witness Mark Judge in the Ford case, and which falsely reported that U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley had charged the government for $50,000 office drapes.

As in 1984, “truths” in these sorts of allegations do not exist unless they align with the larger “Truth” of the progressive project. In our case, the overarching Truth mandates that, in a supposedly misogynist society, women must always be believed in all their accusations and should be exempt from all counter-examinations.

Little “truths” — such as the right of the accused, the need to produce evidence, insistence on cross-examination, and due process — are counterrevolutionary constructs and the refuge of reactionary hold-outs who are enemies of the people. Or in the words of Hawaii senator Mazie Hirono:

Guess who’s perpetuating all of these kinds of actions? It’s the men in this country. And I just want to say to the men in this country, “Just shut up and step up. Do the right thing, for a change.”

The View’s Joy Behar was more honest about the larger Truth: “These white men, old by the way, are not protecting women,” Behar exclaimed. “They’re protecting a man who is probably guilty.” We thank Behar for the concession “probably.”

According to some polls, about half the country believes that Brett Kavanaugh is now guilty of a crime committed 36 years ago at the age of 17. And that reality reminds us that we are no longer in America. We are already living well into the socialist totalitarian Hell that Orwell warned us about long ago.



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Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Was Facebook Pressured Into Finding "Something" To Implicate Russia? | Zero Hedge

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-09-26/was-facebook-pressured-finding-something-implicate-russia

Professional Wrestling & America's News-Media

ORIGINAL LINK

Authored by Jeff Thomas via InternationalMan.com,

As a boy, I was quite non-violent, but I confess to having been fascinated with professional wrestling. For one hour, every Saturday morning, I’d watch Yukon Eric, Haystack Calhoun and Killer Kowalski attack each other in the ring in what was called, “professional wrestling.”

Of course, even as a boy, it was evident that it was a sham. Some wrestlers played the role of angry bullies; others were practically cartoon characters. The threats each made to the other before the match, the silly outfits, the absurd holds and body slams – it was clearly phony.

And yet, each Saturday, my friends would say, “Okay, maybe some of it’s phony, but did you see that guy bleedin’? That was real!”

Were my friends as gullible as that? Well not by nature, possibly, but, if they’d accepted that televised wrestling were totally phony, it would have lost all its excitement. Viewers would grow bored with it and cease to watch it. And, of course, it was so compelling – seeing two tough guys dramatically fighting it out in the ring.

And, of course, there was the tension created, since the protagonists always seemed to have been fairly evenly matched. Some viewers rooted for one wrestler, some rooted for the other. Right until the end of the match, it remained uncertain which would win. Tension was maximized.

But, today, wrestling has been taken to another level. The outfits are more theatrical, the drama is greater and, best of all, pretty women have been introduced. In fact, some had previously been beauty pageant contestants. Somehow it seems that the prettier they are, the more likely they’ll be capable wrestlers.

But, as adults, we’ve matured and are no longer so easily taken in.

Today, as responsible adults, we turn off wrestling and watch network news.

When I was a boy, it was impossible to tell whether the reporter was a liberal or a conservative. They reported the news dryly and allowed the viewers to make up their own minds. But, sometime in the 80’s, this began to change. It became apparent that there were liberally-leaning networks and conservatively-leaning networks.

The news studios were more expansive and more expensive, with lots of coloured lights.

Each network now presents a panel to discuss issues. On a liberal network, three erudite liberals debate against one inept conservative, beating him easily, demonstrating that liberal views are superior. On a conservative network it’s much the same – three erudite conservatives making mincemeat out of a carefully-chosen inept liberal, demonstrating that conservative views are superior.

And, remember, at one time, all news reporters were experienced former field correspondents who were now middle-aged – dull, possibly, but very capable.

Today, there’s a mix of younger-to middle-aged men, but, increasingly, the emphasis is on female reporters. And they all seem to be very attractive indeed, with a preponderance for long blonde hair. In fact, some of them were (literally) previously beauty pageant contestants. Somehow it seems that the prettier they are, the more likely they’ll be capable reporters.

Some reporters play the role of angry bullies (Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, etc.); others are practically cartoon characters (Greg Gutfeld, Rachel Maddow, etc.). And, like wrestling, it’s so compelling - watching liberals and conservatives trying to out-shout each other on the stage. Clearly, this is not objective, sober news-reporting, but it’s most certainly producing the desired effect – to get those who are gullible enough to tune in every night to receive the latest updates on a ceaseless rehash of recent events.

In recent years, the average viewer has begun to admit that this is largely a stage show; that conservative networks present a dramatically-skewed conservative slant, whilst liberal networks present a dramatically-skewed liberal slant. This practice has become so extreme that, if the viewer can force himself to flip back and forth from one station to the other, the same news event actually appears to be two different occurrences, the reporting is so divergent.

Interestingly, though, liberals are only too happy to swallow their chosen network’s presentation of the behavior of conservatives, whilst stating that the news on the conservative networks are unquestionably lies.

And the reverse is true for conservatives. They accept their own network’s presentation without question, whilst vilifying the presentation by the liberal network.

Each concedes that his own network fibs a bit, yet maintains a hatred of the opposing network, to the point that he can’t stand to watch it, even for five minutes.

The net result is that, with each passing day, the media increase the polarization between the two primary political factions. Conservatives blindly hate liberals; liberals blindly hate conservatives.

And, of course, this is the whole point. Just like televised wrestling, the idea is to increase the drama as much as possible, in order to keep viewers tuning in each night. As Hitler said, “Make the lie big, keep it simple, keep saying it and eventually they will believe it.”

But, surely, this reference to Hitler is an exaggeration as regards the news media?

No, I’m afraid not.

The lie in question is, “If the opposing party is elected, the country is in imminent danger of being destroyed.”

In each presidential election, the electorate exhibit greater anxiety than in the last. They bite their nails throughout the process, as though their very survival depends upon the outcome. After the election they either swoon with relief or plunge into despair, stating that they may have to leave the country.

And, yet, just as in televised wrestling, the protagonists are secondary. The show’s promoters – the Deep State – are unelected and retain power forever. The protagonists are mere bit players. Each puts his own twist on the show, but the overall direction of the country is maintained, regardless of which actor wins the match.

Televised wrestling is harmless entertainment for kids and also for those adults who would prefer to have their entertainment be at a low intellectual level. Hopefully, however, for those of us who recognize the need to see past the masquerade if we’re to make intelligent decisions, we either turn off the television, or, at the very least, stand way back mentally when we’re viewing and recognize that what we’re seeing is not just a slight difference of interpretation of people and events, it’s choreographed propaganda.

The viewer, if he cannot maintain total objectivity, watches at his own peril.

*  *  *

Clearly, there are many strange things afoot in the world. Distortions of markets, distortions of culture. It’s wise to wonder what’s going to happen, and to take advantage of growth while also being prepared for crisis. How will you protect yourself in the next crisis? See our PDF guide that will show you exactly how. Click here to download it now.



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The Magnitsky Affair: Confessions Of A Hustled Hack

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Authored by Elias Hazou via TheDuran.com,

Before getting down to brass tacks, let me say that I loathe penning articles like this; loathe writing about myself or in the first person, because a reporter should report the news, not be the news. Yet I grudgingly make this exception because, ironically, it happens to be newsworthy. To cut to the chase, it concerns Anglo-American financier Bill Browder and the Sergei Magnitsky affair. I, like others in the news business I’d venture to guess, feel led astray by Browder.

This is no excuse. I didn’t do my due diligence, and take full responsibility for erroneous information printed under my name. For that, I apologize to readers. I refer to two articles of mine published in a Cypriot publication, dated December 25, 2015 and January 6, 2016.

Browder’s basic story, as he has told it time and again, goes like this: in June 2007, Russian police officers raided the Moscow offices of Browder’s firm Hermitage, confiscating company seals, certificates of incorporation, and computers.

Browder says the owners and directors of Hermitage-owned companies were subsequently changed, using these seized documents. Corrupt courts were used to create fake debts for these companies, which allowed for the taxes they had previously paid to the Russian Treasury to be refunded to what were now re-registered companies. The funds stolen from the Russian state were then laundered through banks and shell companies.

The scheme is said to have been planned earlier in Cyprus by Russian law enforcement and tax officials in cahoots with criminal elements.

All this was supposedly discovered by Magnitsky, whom Browder had tasked with investigating what happened. When Magnitsky reported the fraud, some of the nefarious characters involved had him arrested and jailed. He refused to retract, and died while in pre-trial detention.

In my first article, I wrote: “Magnitsky, a 37-year-old Russian accountant, died in jail in 2009 after he exposed huge tax embezzlement…”

False. Contrary to the above story that has been rehashed countless times, Magnitsky did not expose any tax fraud, did not blow the whistle.

The interrogation reports show that Magnitsky had in fact been summoned by Russian authorities as a witness to an already ongoing investigation into Hermitage. Nor he did he accuse Russian investigators Karpov and/or Kuznetsov of committing the $230 million treasury fraud, as Browder claims.

Magnitsky did not disclose the theft. He first mentioned it in testimony in October 2008. But it had already been reported in the New York Times on July 24, 2008.

In reality, the whistleblower was a certain Rimma Starova. She worked for one of the implicated shell companies and, having read in the papers that authorities were investigating, went to police to give testimony in April 2008 – six months before Magnitsky spoke of the scam for the first time (see here and here).

Why, then, did I report that about Magnitsky? Because at the time my sole source for the story was Team Browder, who had reached out to the Cyprus Mail and with whom I communicated via email. I was provided with ‘information’, flow charts and so on. All looking very professional and compelling.

At the time of the first article, I knew next to nothing about the Magnitsky/Browder affair. I had to go through media reports to get the gist, and then get up to speed with Browder’s latest claims that a Cypriot law firm, which counted the Hermitage Fund among its clients, had just been ‘raided’ by Cypriot police.

The article had to be written and delivered on the same day. In retrospect I should have asked for more time – a lot more time – and Devil take the deadlines.

For the second article, I conversed briefly on the phone with the soft-spoken Browder himself, who handed down the gospel on the Magnitsky affair. Under the time constraints, and trusting that my sources could at least be relied upon for basic information which they presented as facts, I went along with it.

I was played. But let’s be clear: I let myself down too.

In the ensuing weeks and months, I didn’t follow up on the story as my gut told me something was wrong: villains and malign actors operating in a Wild West Russia, and at the centre of it all, a heroic Magnitsky who paid with his life – the kind of script that Hollywood execs would kill for.

Subsequently I mentally filed away the Browder story, while being aware it was in the news.

But the real red pill was a documentary by Russian filmmaker Andrei Nekrasov, which came to my attention a few weeks ago.

Titled ‘The Magnitsky Act – Behind The Scenes’, it does a magisterial job of depicting how the director initially took Browder’s story on faith, only to end up questioning everything.

The docudrama dissects, disassembles and dismantles Browder’s narrative, as Nekrasov – by no means a Putin apologist – delves deeper down into the rabbit hole.

The director had set out to make a poignant film about Magnitsky’s tragedy, but became increasingly troubled as the facts he uncovered didn’t stack up with Browder’s account, he claims.

The ‘aha’ moment arrives when Nekrasov appears to show solid proof that Magnitsky blew no whistle.

Not only that, but in his depositions – the first one dating to 2006, well before Hermitage’s offices were raided – Magnitsky did not accuse any police officers of being part of the ‘theft’ of Browder’s companies and the subsequent alleged $230m tax rebate fraud.

The point can’t be stressed enough, as this very claim is the lynchpin of Browder’s account. In his bestseller Red Notice, Browder alleges that Magnitsky was arrested because he exposed two corrupt police officers, and that he was jailed and tortured because he wouldn’t retract.

We are meant to take Browder’s word for it.

It gets worse for Nekrasov, as he goes on to discover that Magnitsky was no lawyer. He did not have a lawyer’s license. Rather, he was an accountant/auditor who worked for Moscow law firm Firestone Duncan.

Yet every chance he gets, Browder still refers to Magnitsky as ‘a lawyer’ or ‘my lawyer’.

The clincher comes late in the film, with footage from Browder’s April 15, 2015 deposition in a US federal court, in the Prevezon case. The case, brought by the US Justice Department at Browder’s instigation, targeted a Russian national who Browder said had received $1.9m of the $230m tax fraud.

In the deposition, Browder is asked if Magnitsky had a law degree in Russia. “I’m not aware that he did,” he replies.

The full deposition, some six hours long, is (still) available on Youtube. As penance for past transgressions, I watched it in its entirety. While refraining from using adjectives to describe it, I shall simply cite some examples and let readers decide on Browder’s credibility.

Browder seems to suffer an almost total memory blackout as a lawyer begins firing questions at him. He cannot recall, or does not know, where he or his team got the information concerning the alleged illicit transfer of funds from Hermitage-owned companies.

This is despite the fact that the now-famous Powerpoint presentations – hosted on so many ‘anti-corruption’ websites and recited by ‘human rights’ NGOs – were prepared by Browder’s own team.

Nor does he recall where, or how, he and his team obtained information on the amounts of the ‘stolen’ funds funnelled into companies. When it’s pointed out that in any case this information would be privileged – banking secrecy and so forth – Browder appears to be at a loss.

According to Team Browder, in 2007 the ‘Klyuev gang’ together with Russian interior ministry officials travelled to Cyprus, ostensibly to set up the tax rebate scam using shell companies.

But in his deposition, the Anglo-American businessman cannot remember, or does not know, how his team obtained the travel information of the conspirators.

He can’t explain how they acquired the flight records and dates, doesn’t have any documentation at hand, and isn’t aware if any such documentation exists.

Browder claims his ‘Justice for Magnitsky’ campaign, which among other things has led to US sanctions on Russian persons, is all about vindicating the young man. Were that true, one would have expected Browder to go out of his way to aid Magnitsky in his hour of need.

The deposition does not bear that out.

Lawyer: “Did anyone coordinate on your behalf with Firestone Duncan about the defence of Mr Magnitsky?”

Browder: “I don’t know. I don’t remember.”

Going back to Nekrasov’s film, a standout segment is where the filmmaker looks at a briefing document prepared by Team Browder concerning the June 2007 raid by Russian police officers. In it, Browder claims the cops beat up Victor Poryugin, a lawyer with the firm.

The lawyer was then “hospitalized for two weeks,” according to Browder’s presentation, which includes a photo of the beaten-up lawyer. Except, it turns out the man pictured is not Poryugin at all. Rather, the photo is actually of Jim Zwerg, an American human rights activist beaten up during a street protest in 1961 (see here and here).

Nekrasov sits down with German politician Marieluise Beck. She was a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (Pace), which compiled a report that made Magnitsky a cause celebre.

You can see Beck’s jaw drop when Nekrasov informs her that Magnitsky did not report the fraud, that he was in fact under investigation.

It transpires that Pace, as well as human rights activists, were getting their information from one source – Browder. Later, the Council of Europe’s Andreas Gross admits on camera that their entire investigation into the Magnitsky affair was based on Browder’s info and that they relied on translations of Russian documents provided by Browder’s team because, as Gross puts it, “I don’t speak Russian myself.”

That hit home – I, too, had been fed information from a single source, not bothering to verify it. I, too, initially went with the assumption that because Russia is said to be a land of endemic corruption, then Browder’s story sounded plausible if not entirely credible.

For me, the takeaway is this gem from Nekrasov’s narration:

“I was regularly overcome by deep unease. Was I defending a system that killed Magnitsky, even if I’d found no proof that he’d been murdered?”

Bull’s-eye. Nekrasov has arrived at a crossroads, the moment where one’s mettle is tested: do I pursue the facts wherever they may lead, even if they take me out of my comfort zone? What is more important: the truth, or the narrative? Nekrasov chose the former. As do I.

Like with everything else, specific allegations must be assessed independently of one’s general opinion of the Russian state. They are two distinct issues. Say Browder never existed; does that make Russia a paradise?

I suspect Team Browder may scrub me from their mailing list; one can live with that.



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