Sunday, May 26, 2019

Negative Interest Rates Spread To Mortgage Bonds -

The Vaccinated Spreading Measles: WHO, Merck, CDC Documents Confirm

Measles Is Transmitted By The Vaccinated, Gov. Researchers Confirm

'Measles' Caused by MMR Vaccine Reaction, Acknowledged by NH State

The Western Media is Key to Syria Deception


By Jonathan Cook

May 25, 2019 “Information Clearing House” – By any reckoning, the claim made this week by al-Qaeda-linked fighters that they were targeted with chemical weapons by the Syrian government in Idlib province – their final holdout in Syria – should have been treated by the western media with a high degree of scepticism.

That the US and other western governments enthusiastically picked up those claims should not have made them any more credible.

Scepticism was all the more warranted from the media given that no physical evidence has yet been produced to corroborate the jihadists’ claims. And the media should have been warier still given that the Syrian government was already poised to defeat these al-Qaeda groups without resort to chemical weapons – and without provoking the predictable ire (yet again) of the west.

But most of all scepticism was required because these latest claims arrive just as we have learnt that the last supposed major chemical attack – which took place in April 2018 and was, as ever, blamed by all western sources on Syria’s president, Bashar Assad – was very possibly staged, a false-flag operation by those very al-Qaeda groups now claiming the Syrian government has attacked them once again.

Addicted to incompetence

Most astounding in this week’s coverage of the claims made by al-Qaeda groups is the fact that the western media continues to refuse to learn any lessons, develop any critical distance from the sources it relies on, even as those sources are shown to have repeatedly deceived it.

It is bad enough that our governments and our expert institutions deceive and lie to us. But it is even worse that we have a corporate media addicted – at the most charitable interpretation – to its own incompetence. The evidence demonstrating that grows stronger by the day.
This was true after the failure to find WMD in Iraq, and it is now even more true after the the international community’s monitoring body on chemical weapons, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), was exposed this month as deeply dishonest.

Unprovoked attack

In March the OPCW produced a report into a chemical weapons attack the Syrian government allegedly carried out in Douma in April last year. Several dozen civilians, many of them children, died apparently as a result of that attack.

The OPCW report concluded that there were “reasonable grounds” for believing a toxic form of chlorine had been used as a chemical weapon in Douma, and that the most likely method of delivery were two cylinders dropped from the air.

This as good as confirmed claims made by al-Qaeda groups, backed by western states, that the cylinders had been dropped by the Syrian military. Using dry technical language, the OPCW joined the US and Europe in pointing the finger squarely at Assad.

It was vitally important that the OPCW reached that conclusion not only because of the west’s overarching regime-change ambitions in Syria.

In response to the alleged Douma attack a year ago, the US fired a volley of Cruise missiles at Syrian army and government positions before there had been any investigation of who was responsible.

Those missiles were already a war crime – an unprovoked attack on another sovereign country. But without the OPCW’s implicit blessing, the US would have been deprived of even its flimsy, humanitarian pretext for launching the missiles.

Leaked document

Undoubtedly the OPCW was under huge political pressure to arrive at the “right” conclusion. But as a scientific body carrying out a forensic investigation surely it would not simply doctor the data.

Nonetheless, it seems that may well be precisely what it did. This month the Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media – a group of academics who have grown increasingly sceptical of the western narratives told about Syria – published an internal, leaked OPCW document.

A few days later the OPCW reluctantly confirmed that the document was genuine, and that it would identify and deal with those responsible for the leak.

The document was an assessment overseen by Ian Henderson, a senior OPCW expert, of the engineering data gathered by the OPCW’s fact-finding mission that attended the scene of the Douma attack. Its findings fly in the face of the OPCW’s published report.

Erased from the record

The leaked document is deeply troubling for two reasons.

First, the assessment, based on the available technical data, contradicts the conclusion of the final OPCW report that the two chemical cylinders were dropped from the air and crashed through building roofs. It argues instead that the cylinders were more likely placed at the locations they were found.

If that is right, the most probable explanation is that the cylinders were put there by al-Qaeda groups – presumably in a last desperate effort to persuade the west to intervene and to prevent the jihadists being driven out of Douma.

But even more shocking is the fact that the expert assessment based on the data collected by the OPCW team is entirely unaddressed in the OPCW’s final report.

It is not that the final report discounts or rebuts the findings of its own experts. It simply ignores those findings; it pretends they don’t exist. The report blacks them out, erases them from the official record. In short, it perpetrates a massive deception.

Experts ignored

All of this would be headline news if we had a responsible media that cared about the truth and about keeping its readers informed.

We now know both that the US attacked Syria on entirely bogus grounds, and that the OPCW – one of the international community’s most respected and authoritative bodies – has been caught redhanded in an outrageous deception with grave geopolitical implications. (In fact, it is not the first time the OPCW has been caught doing this, as I have previously explained here.)

The fact that the OPCW ignored its own expert and its own team’s technical findings when they proved politically indigestible casts a dark shadow over all the OPCW’s work in Syria, and beyond. If it was prepared to perpetrate a deception on this occasion, why should we assume it did not do so on other occasions when it proved politically expedient?

Active combatants

The OPCW’s reports into other possible chemical attacks – assisting western efforts to implicate Assad – are now equally tainted. That is especially so given that in those other cases the OPCW violated its own procedures by drawing prejudicial conclusions without its experts being on the ground, at the site of the alleged attacks. Instead it received samples and photos via al-Qaeda groups, who could easily have tampered with the evidence.

And yet there has been not a peep from the corporate media about this exposure of the OPCW’s dishonesty, apart from commentary pieces from the only two maverick mainstream journalists in the UK – Peter Hitchens, a conservative but independent-minded columnist for the Mail on Sunday, and veteran war correspondent Robert Fisk, of the little-read Independent newspaper (more on his special involvement in Douma in a moment).

Just as the OPCW blanked the findings of its technical experts to avoid political discomfort, the media have chosen to stay silent on this new, politically sensitive information.

They have preferred to prop up the discredited narrative that our governments have been acting to protect the human rights of ordinary Syrians rather than the reality that they have been active combatants in the war, helping to destabilise a country in ways that have caused huge suffering and death in Syria.

Systematic failure

This isn’t a one-off failure. It’s part of a series of failures by the corporate media in its coverage of Douma.

They ignored very obvious grounds for caution at the time of the alleged attack. Award-winning reporter Robert Fisk was among the first journalists to enter Douma shortly after those events. He and a few independent reporters communicated eye-witness testimony that flatly contradicted the joint narrative promoted by al-Qaeda groups and western governments that Assad had bombed Douma with chemical weapons.

The corporate media also mocked a subsequent press conference at which many of the supposed victims of that alleged chemical attack made appearances to show that they were unharmed and spoke of how they had been coerced into play-acting their roles.

And now the western media has compounded that failure – revealing its systematic nature – by ignoring the leaked OPCW document too.

But it gets worse, far worse.

Al-Qaeda propaganda

This week the same al-Qaeda groups that were present in Douma – and may have staged that lethal attack – claimed that the Syrian government had again launched chemical weapons against them, this time on their final holdout in Idlib.

A responsible media, a media interested in the facts, in evidence, in truth-telling, in holding the powerful to account, would be duty bound to frame this latest, unsubstantiated claim in the context of the new doubts raised about the OPCW report into last year’s chemical attack blamed on Assad.

Given that the technical data suggest that al-Qaeda groups, and the White Helmets who work closely with them, were responsible for staging the attack – even possibly of murdering civilians to make the attack look more persuasive – the corporate media had a professional and moral obligation to raise the matter of the leaked document.

It is vital context as anyone tries to weigh up whether the latest al-Qaeda claims are likely to be true. To deprive readers of this information, this essential context would be to take a side, to propagandise on behalf not only of western governments but of al-Qaeda too.

And that is exactly what the corporate media have just done. All of them.

Media worthy of Stalin

It is clear how grave their dereliction of the most basic journalistic duty is if we consider the Guardian’s uncritical coverage of jihadist claims about the latest alleged chemical attack.

Like most other media, the Guardian article included two strange allusions – one by France, the other by the US – to the deception perpetrated by the OPCW in its recent Douma report. The Guardian reported these allusions even though it has never before uttered a word anywhere in its pages about that deception.

In other words, the corporate media are so committed to propagandising on behalf of the western powers that they have reported the denials of official wrongdoing even though they have never reported the actual wrongdoing. It is hard to imagine the Soviet media under Stalin behaving in such a craven and dishonest fashion.

The corporate media have given France and the US a platform to reject accusations against the OPCW that the media themselves have never publicly raised.

Doubts about OPCW

The following is a brief statement (unintelligible without the forgoing context) from France, reported by the Guardian in relation to the latest claim that Assad’s forces used chemical weapons this week: “We have full confidence in the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.”

But no one, except bloggers and academics ignored by the media and state authorities, has ever raised doubts about the OPCW. Why would the Guardian think these French comments worthy of reporting unless there were reasons to doubt the OPCW? And if there are such reasons for doubt, why has the Guardian not thought to make them public, to report them to its readers?

The US state department similarly came to the aid of the OPCW. In the same Guardian report, a US official was quoted saying that the OPCW was facing “a continuing disinformation campaign” from Syria and Russia, and that the campaign was designed “to create the false narrative that others [rather than Assad] are to blame for chemical weapons attacks”.

So Washington too was rejecting accusations against the OPCW that have never been reported by the state-corporate media.

Interestingly, in the case of US officials, they claim that Syria and Russia are behind the “disinformation campaign” against the OPCW, even though the OPCW has admitted that the leaked document discrediting its work is genuine and written by one of its experts.

The OPCW is discredited, of course, only because it sought to conceal evidence contained in the leaked document that might have exonerated Assad of last year’s chemical attack. It is hard to see how Syria or Russia can be blamed for this.

Colluding in deception

But more astounding still, while US and French officials have at least acknowledged that there are doubts about the OPCW’s role in Syria, even if they unjustifiably reject such doubts, the corporate media have simply ignored those doubts as though they don’t exist.

The continuing media blackout on the leaked OPCW document cannot be viewed as accidental. It has been systematic across the media.

That blackout has remained resolutely in place even after the OPCW admitted the leaked document discrediting it was genuine and even after western countries began alluding to the leaked document themselves.

The corporate media is actively colluding both in the original deception perpetrated by al-Qaeda groups and the western powers, and in the subsequent dishonesty of the OPCW. They have worked together to deceive western publics.

The question is, why are the media so obviously incompetent? Why are they so eager to keep themselves and their readers in the dark? Why are they so willing to advance credulous narratives on behalf of western governments that have been repeatedly shown to have lied to them?

Iran the real target

The reason is that the corporate media are not what they claim. They are not a watchdog on power, or a fourth estate.

The media are actually the public relations wing of a handful of giant corporations – and states – that are pursuing two key goals in the Middle East.

First, they want to control its oil. Helping al-Qaeda in Syria – including in its propaganda war – against the Assad government serves a broader western agenda. The US and NATO bloc are ultimately gunning for the leadership of Iran, the one major oil producer in the region not under the US imperial thumb.

Powerful Shia groups in the region – Assad in Syria, Hezbullah in Lebanon, and Iraqi leaders elevated by our invasion of that country in 2003 – are allies or potential allies of Iran. If they are in play, the US empire’s room for manoeuvre in taking on Iran is limited. Remove these smaller players and Iran stands isolated and vulnerable.

That is why Russia stepped in several years ago to save Assad, in a bid to stop the dominoes falling and the US engineering a third world war centred on the Middle East.

Second, with the Middle East awash with oil money, western corporations have a chance to sell more of the lucrative weapons that get used in overt and covert wars like the one raging in Syria for the past eight years.

What better profit-generator for these corporations than wasteful and pointless wars against manufactured bogeymen like Assad?

Like a death cult

From the outside, this looks and sounds like a conspiracy. But actually it is something worse – and far more difficult to overcome.

The corporations that run our media and our governments have simply conflated in their own minds – and ours – the idea that their narrow corporate interests are synonymous with “western interests”.

The false narratives they generate are there to serve a system of power, as I have explained in previous blogs. That system’s worldview and values are enforced by a charmed circle that includes politicians, military generals, scientists, journalists and others operating as if brainwashed by some kind of death cult. They see the world through a single prism: the system’s need to hold on to power. Everything else – truth, evidence, justice, human rights, love, compassion – must take a back seat.

It is this same system that paradoxically is determined to preserve itself even if it means destroying the planet, ravaging our economies, and starting and maintaining endlessly destructive wars. It is a system that will drag us all into the abyss, unless we stop it.

Jonathan Cook is a Nazareth- based journalist and winner of the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. No one pays him to write these blog posts. If you appreciated it,  please consider visiting his website and make a donation to support his work. – Click here to suport Jonathan’s work.

Do you agree or disagree? Post your comment here

==See Also==

Syria: Terrorists prepare for using chemical weapons in Hama, Idleb countryside with help of foreign experts

Russia says, The United States and some media outlets are spreading fake news about the use of chemical weapon in Idleb.

Sky News Collaborates with Idlib Terrorists to Create Syria War Propaganda




Saturday, May 25, 2019

“Wikipedia is…broken,” controlled by special interests and bad actors, says co-founder

I’ve done quite a bit of reporting about how Wikipedia is definitely not “the encyclopedia anyone can edit.” It’s become a vehicle for special interests to control information. Agenda editors are able to prevent or revert edits and sourcing on selected issues and people in order to control the narrative. Watch Sharyl Attkisson’s TedX talk […]


The Crisis of Sense-Making


Political events in recent years have crept over the postwar order like dark clouds, and the heavy air has shaped public discourse and sensibility in ways that are unexpected and confounding. Words recited in the headlines every day give us a litany of agitation or exhilaration: Trump, Brexit, Populism, Impeachment, Social Media, Social Justice Warriors, #MeToo, Alt-Right, Troll Farms, the Death of Journalism, the Rise of Authoritarianism, Fake News, ISIS, and so on.

A perceptive insight into this landscape has come from the “Intellectual Dark Web” and other commentators found on various internet platforms: we are facing a crisis of sense-making. The incongruity of decisions made in institutions against public feeling derives from a failure of individuals in society to make sense of the world together. It’s not hard to find an ostensible cause. The internet has transformed the medium of public discourse, with profound implications for how ideas and opinions are shaped and spread. At the same time, certain economic and cultural processes have begun to generate big problems for which we don’t yet appear to have solutions. What are we going to do about climate change? Income inequality and the lingering effects of the Great Recession? The attrition of religious feeling and communal experience?

The first impulse, typically, has been to understand these changes in purely political terms. And so, in this telling, the crisis in sense-making is merely a series of political conflicts, with winners and losers. But politics is too flat and too superficial to comprehend the processes that, like a tide, seem to move our fixations from below. This is because, in reality, these changes, when viewed systematically across a population, or even the whole world, are operating on multiple levels simultaneously—geographic, epochal, ecological, cultural, economic, social and political—and any part of what we may want to observe can be distinguished, with great delicacy, by a degree of contingency, and by a web of fractal relationships with everything else involved.

An honest result does not lend itself to rhetorical binaries and zero-sum struggles. And so when public discourse focuses on the political, and its Left and Right binaries, our priorities become scrambled, and our conclusions misallocated. If we look for examples in an American context, I worry about cases like the refusal of Republicans to hold hearings on Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland, motivated in no small part by the opposition of evangelical voters to the legality of abortion; a religious concern for sexual proprietary, with abortion as its emblem, does not justify such an unprincipled trashing of institutional norms. On the liberal side, the firing of James Damore from Google demonstrated that aggressive “equity” initiatives in corporate hiring or promotion can create a toxic political atmosphere in what should be a more purely social space, with an economic focus.

I’m not interested in litigating these particular examples—I mention them merely to point at concrete instances that are, to me, concerning and synecdochal. The reader can find his own examples, if he dislikes these. Instead, I would like to propose a series of principles for a new sense-making in public discourse, and suggest that political action, for the time being, should be antedated by an application of these principles among the conscientious.

The Personal Is Not Political

One of the great mistakes of ’60s and ’70s radicalism was the idea that “the personal is political.” There is some merit to the feeling behind this slogan: both formal policies and cultural attitudes can have a profound effect on the fate of individuals, especially those whose physical or emotional lives do not fit neatly into conventional social frameworks or power structures. However, simply noting that two domains are impacted by one another does not justify conflating them.

Politics exists because people have different values and interests (for whatever reason), but we have to live near each other, and there are limited resources that must be shared if violence is to be avoided. We’re also a social species and so we depend on one another for common endeavors and for mating. Politics demands that there be compromise among individuals or groups, given conflicting interests, and that, through some kind of social process, an accommodation is found for every party involved. Our institutions are built out of the repeated necessity of finding these accommodations. “Political idealism,” as it is usually understood, is something of an oxymoron: the ideal of any political process is compromise.

Meanwhile, the personal sphere has different concerns, and they center around the unique fate of each individual. Will I fall in love? Do I get along with my family and neighbors and colleagues and friends? How are my children doing? Am I invested in my house or my city? Do the things I do every day—my work, my hobbies, my physical habits, my involvement in a local community—do these things have meaning? The answers to these questions, ultimately, have to be decided by individuals, or between individuals, or within local communities. And the ideal of the personal should not be compromise, but self-actualization.

Corruption Matters

Centrist pundits love to beat up on tribalism; lamenting the current media environment of sharp partisanship and extrinsic ideological conflict is de rigeur among “reasonable” commentators. However, this masks the real problem embedded in tribalism: not the anger and simmering violence it generates, but the corruption it enables.

The word corruption often conjures images of a man in a trench-coat passing out brown envelopes of money for contracts or favors. However, in America, this sort of thing isn’t nearly as pervasive or harmful as it has been in other places and other eras. Corruption can be subtle, and it can be enacted through public kabuki rituals that are not illegal on their face; corruption, nevertheless, is always unethical, and it always has the insidious potential to proceed step-wise through a whole society.

The classic corrupt political maneuver of recent decades involves politicians who overtly signal for policies that favor narrow special interests and receive large donations to their campaigns or to affiliated organizations from those interests, without having to make an explicit ask. In American government, everything from the military industrial complex to student loans to health insurance has this stench. Other countries, no doubt, have their own version of this. It also can permeate the private sector. Large companies often gain enough market clout to exploit their customers, vendors, and employees. In general, policies and business decisions that encourage rent-seeking, tax avoidance, and environmentally destructive behavior are deeply corrupt, regardless of the legality of such actions, and this should effect how we participate in our institutions.

In Policy, Outcomes Are More Important than Identity

Tribalism not only blinds us to corruption, it also disorders our expectations about what institutional processes are meant to achieve. Institutions are not merely intended as vessels of belongingness. Some may offer this as a fringe benefit, but, fundamentally, institutions have a purpose to fulfill in their actions, and they lose their reason for being when that purpose is not ethical, or necessary and clearly circumscribed. Humans should seek belongingness first from family and from friendships, and even where membership in some organization may be gratifying, the actions of the institution have to be differentiated from the feeling of membership itself.

When politics hinges on affirmations of identity, the institutions of politics, the government and its appendages, are no longer seen as the means by which compromises can be crafted among competing groups or individuals. Policy, then, becomes a mode of self-expression, and any degree of narcissism can find its justification in an ideology and its prescribed policies. The best response to a lot of what passes for political argument is: Get over yourself!

The entailment from policies to outcomes is largely empirical and testable. We should fully expect to have conflict and compromise with regard to preferred outcomes, but no one should listen to uninformed chowderheads trying to persuade us of bad ideas for the aggrandizement of an identity.

Religious Feeling Can Only Be Satisfied in a Local Setting

Religion allows for individuals to orient their emotional lives in ways that align with the basic social prerogatives of their respective communities. When a religion is able to express, iconically, the spiritual feeling of a time or a place, it allows for the individual, there, to experience a profound sense of belongingness and meaning. There has been an unfortunate tendency, since the Scientific Revolution, to reduce religious practice to a rehearsal of belief, as if the symbolism and feeling endowed in communal rituals were a compulsion of what can and cannot be known, in some deterministic sense. Feeling is not in what is known, except to the extent that wisdom might let us know something about feeling.

Religious identification has been in decline for decades now all over the world, but especially in Europe and America. It has been proposed that the politics of identity or of other ideologies have stepped into this breach. There may be some truth to this and, if so, then it is a dangerous truth. At a minimum, we should be concerned about decadence and empty hedonism in a world without the iconicity of purpose. I want to suggest, however, that this emotional need cannot be fulfilled at a high social level, and that most of the public discussion about religion is focused on the wrong things.

It’s not clear that poorly attended churches preaching millennia-old doctrine are relevant to a post-industrial world, nor should we be inspired by the obsession of fundamentalists to enforce sexual proprietary through law or violence. Big, capitalized terms like “Western Civilization” or “Eastern Spirituality” don’t really have anything concrete to offer us. The images projected at us through TV and the internet have been made into spectacles for entertainment.

Instead, we must look around us, and find meaning in our immediate surroundings, in people we meet face-to-face, and in actions that bring value to our personal lives. Whatever is beamed to us on the news every day should not be of profound emotional interest.

Spend as Much Time Cross-Examining Your Own Soul as You Spend Excoriating or Venerating Public Figures

Does this require elaboration? Who among the outraged has a deeply satisfying personal life? Who is driven to publicly perform their feelings, but an actor?

A Society’s Success Should Be Judged in Millennia

Despite everything that has been learned about long stretches of time in the history of the earth and of the cosmos, we’re obsessed, culturally, with “moment time.” There is something to this, psychologically: the individual has every reason to devote considerable attention to the events that make up his or her day, and what can be remembered, verbally, among friends and family, at most, around the span of a decade or two. As I just argued, this is what should occupy our emotional lives. However, the awesome power of technology, in an industrialized economy, has unleashed the terrifying possibility that we could liquidate civilization through nuclear war or environmental destruction within a few generations. Our goals and our values are not only emotional, and so when we are a little more clear-eyed about the wider world, our actions must be framed in civilizational terms, across hundreds, thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of years. Only through such a perspective can humans take responsibility for themselves at this time in history.

Our Intellectual Systems Are Theoretically Stagnant and Need New Ideas

The academy and other institutions mostly produce intellectuals who fall into two categories: jackals and rabbits. Jackals misuse their knowledge for political ends or for self-aggrandizement, and are attracted to ideas dead and decomposing. Rabbits patiently munch away at small problems while nervously avoiding the unknown, and are admitted to run and hide when approached by strangers.

There have been great intellectual triumphs in recent centuries, and amazing work is being done right now on scientific applications to produce technology. But theoretical work across disciplines has stagnated, and this makes febrile soil for conspiracy theories, ideology, and the idiocies of the weak-willed and wicked. Many feel entitled to their opinions above the exigencies of having to learn. All the while, so many essential questions remain unanswered, either because we pay them no mind, or because we have no fresh ideas. How do we account for the subjectivity of consciousness in physical terms? What is rhythm? Why are we taught that there are three observable dimensions of space and one linear dimension of time? How is paralanguage related, structurally, to music? What, exactly, are grammatical categories?  What is “information”? We have a solid Darwinian theory of function—where is the complementary theory of form, and which is more basic? What is “life”?

I might posit here another category of intellectual, the platypus. We need a venomous, duck-waddling, semi-aquatic, egg-laying mammal, the last of its kind, the first comedian of Dream Time. Someone with a completely new idea of an old feeling, and enough sense of irony to communicate it. It’s very hard to make fundamental progress on big intellectual problems, and even the most talented among us can fail through no intrinsic fault of their own. But, socially, we must make a place for the awkward, original platypus, whether or not he succeeds. Or ours will be a kingdom of jackals.

One might say that at least some of these principles are self-evident banalities. Yes! Principles are platitudes! But each one of us must be reminded of them, from time to time, when we’ve forgotten the melody. Or the squawk of the platypus. Yes!


Jeffrey Quackenbush lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, and works in the renewable energy industry.

Photo by Jeremy Thomas on Unsplash

The post The Crisis of Sense-Making appeared first on Quillette.


Facebook Bans CrossFit Group For Advocating Low-Carb, High-Fat Diets

Actually no, you pathological liar

Merck Created Hit List to "Destroy," "Neutralize" or "Discredit" Dissenting Doctors - CBS News

North Dakota's Food Freedom Law Dodges Another Bullet


Powerful forces in North Dakota have once again targeted the state's popular food freedom law, but it appears the laws' supporters have successfully beaten back these attacks from state lawmakers and regulators.

The 2017 law, found here, "allows direct sales of many foods by a producer in the state to consumers in the state," I wrote last year. "That includes direct sales of virtually any foods—from apple slices to homemade pickles to homemade zucchini bread—except meat or raw dairy products."

In that column, I detailed how North Dakota health regulators were attempting to use the rulemaking process to undermine the law. As I explained, that effort failed in large part due to the fact the law doesn't allow the health department to draft such rules.

But the failure led some lawmakers opposed to food freedom—led by a lawmaker who's also a retired grocery owner and former head of the state's grocers' association, just in case you were wondering how the grocers' lobby feels about a little competition—to attempt to amend the law using the legislative process. Last month, that effort also failed. After the defeat, State Sen. Jerry Klein, the former grocery lobbyist, said he's now merely an "onlooker."

Klein no doubt looked eagerly on as the health department proposed rules once again to neuter the law. Those proposed rules were reviewed by North Dakota's State Health Council, which has oversight authority.

I'm happy to report the latest regulatory effort to destroy the food freedom law also failed.

Genny Dienstmann, a consumer member who chairs the council, confirmed to me by phone this week that the body had tabled the health department's proposed rules and has no current plans to take any further action on them, a big win for food freedom proponents.


Food freedom laws are only growing in popularity, as I detail in my recent book, Biting the Hands that Feed Us: How Fewer, Smarter Laws Would Make Our Food System More Sustainable. Such laws are on the books in a growing number of states, including Wyoming, Utah, and Maine (though the latter differs slightly from others). Nonpartisan groups such as the National Conference of State Legislatures track these laws. ALEC's website features model food freedom legislative language.

The spread of food freedom laws has only been limited by opponents—chiefly advocates for stricter food-safety laws.

Take Food Safety News's Dan Flynn. Not one to traffic in hyperbole, Flynn nevertheless painted the North Dakota legislature's failure to amend the law as a sign that state lawmakers are willing to "risk some botulism once in a while."

He's right. But everyone who eats food—regulated or unregulated—also risks occasional botulism. "Everyone is at risk for foodborne botulism," North Dakota's health department cautions. Along these same lines, a search for the term "botulism" at the website of Marler Clark, the law firm that publishes Food Safety News, yields three search results, each of which involves botulism in foods sold in the regulated commercial marketplace. It appears all lawmakers—those that oppose food freedom laws and those that support them—"risk some botulism once in a while."

I asked Julie Wagendorf, director of the Division of Food and Lodging in the state health department—which, again, opposes the law—if there have been any cases of foodborne illness in North Dakota involving foods sold under the law since it took effect. Wagendorf responded, but she didn't answer that question.

A quick web search revealed that North Dakota has been dealing of late with an outbreak of foodborne illness. It's one of eight states where sushi-grade tuna has been found to harbor Salmonella. But you can't blame the state's food freedom law. Tuna is subject to FDA inspection and is sold commercially, rather than under the state's law.

That said, there's no evidence anyone has ever been sickened by foods sold under a food freedom law.

Given that, do we really need more rules?

Wagendorf insists we do.

"Clarity is needed for what is already stated in law as not authorized under this chapter," she told me by email.

The law's supporters disagree.

"We absolutely do not believe [state lawmakers] have legal authority to write rules for this particular section of [state law]," LeAnn Harner, a North Dakota farmer and key supporter of the state's food freedom law, wrote to me in an email this week. "We believe the current law as passed in 2017 is working. Our producers are doing their very best to produce safe, delicious food and drink products."

"The current law provided much-needed authority to small farm and home business owners to provide healthy, wholesome food directly to their local consumers who prefer such products, and the law should continue to support such efforts," says Alexia Kulwiec, executive director of the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund—a nonprofit advocacy group on whose board I serve—in an email to me this week.

I support state food freedom laws because they expand choice, not because no one has ever been sickened by food sold under these laws. Even if a person were to fall ill after eating, say, a homemade pie they bought at a farmer's market—and that will happen someday—I would continue to support such laws. Why?

It's simple. Foods are not legal because they don't ever sicken anyone. By which I mean, countless foods that are produced and inspected according to government regulations and sold in restaurants, groceries, and elsewhere have made people in this country sick. If we banned every last one of the regulated animal and vegetable products that have sickened or killed people over the years, there'd be nothing left to eat. Given the choice between choice and no choice—between food freedom and prohibitive rules—I'll take the former every time.


Friday, May 24, 2019

Spurious US 18-Count Indictment of Julian Assange: A Mockery of Justice

Global Research, May 24, 2019

It was just a matter of time before the Trump regime piled on more spurious charges against Assange, clearly prepared long before Thursday’s release.

They’re on top of falsely accusing him of “conspiracy to commit computer intrusion,” according to an unsealed indictment, dated March 6, 2018.

New charges and the above one are all about waging war on truth-telling investigative journalism the way it should be conducted, providing vital information on issues related to the rule of law, fundamental rights, and the public welfare.

On Thursday, the Trump regime’s Justice Department headlined: “WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange Charged in 18-Count Superseding Indictment — Charges Related to Illegally Obtaining, Receiving and Disclosing Classified Information (sic).”

Spurious charges include the following:

  • Criminal No.1:18-cr-l11 (CMH)
  • Count1: 18 U.S.C. (US Code) § 793(g) Conspiracy To Receive National Defense Information
  • Counts 2-4: 18 U.S.C. & 793(b) and 2 — Obtaining National Defense Information
  • Counts 5-8: 18 U.S.C. § 793(c) and 2 — Obtaining National Defense Information
  • Counts 9-11: 18U.S.C. §793(d) and 2 — Disclosure of National Defense Information
  • Counts 12-14: 18 U.S.C. § 793(e) and 2 — Disclosure of National Defense Information
  • Counts 15-17: 18 U.S.C. § 793(e) — Disclosure of National Defense Information
  • Count 18: 18 U.S.C. §§ 371 and 1030 — Conspiracy To Commit Computer Intrusion

According an accompanying DOJ statement,

“Assange conspired with (Chelsea) Manning…aid(ing) and abet(ing) her in obtaining classified information with reason to believe that the information was to be used to the injury of the United States or the advantage of a foreign nation” — a bald-faced Big Lie.

Manning is a courageous whistleblower. Material she released exposed US high crimes of war and against humanity, information vital for the public to know about how its government operates — extrajudicially time and again, accountability never forthcoming.

Assange is an investigative journalist. He earlier explained that WikiLeaks has the right “to publish newsworthy content,” adding: “Consistent with the US Constitution, we publish material that we can confirm to be true.”

Everyone in the US has the same right, what the First Amendment is all about, affirming speech, press, and academic freedoms – the most fundamental of all democratic rights bipartisan hardliners in Washington want compromised and eliminated.

Arresting and detaining Assange by UK authorities for extradition to the US for prosecution on the above charges is all about wanting truth-telling on vital issues suppressed — the same true for actions taken against Manning and other courageous whistleblowers.

The US wants scrutiny of its dirty linen prevented. Targeting individuals courageously revealing it harshly is all about intimidating other potential whistleblowers with damning information to remain silent.

Manning, Assange, and others targeted like them are innocent of charges against them. They’re victims of US judicial unfairness, denied their fundamental habeas, due process, and equal protection under law rights.

Manning is currently detained indefinitely for invoking her constitutional right to remain silent — refusing to give grand jury testimony that could unwittingly be used by prosecutors against Assange, potentially leaving herself vulnerable to new falsified charges.

Like Manning in 2010, Assange is charged under the long ago outdated 1917 Espionage Act, relating to WW I, what should have been rescinded at war’s end.

Following Assange’s unlawful April 11 arrest in London at the behest of the Trump regime, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) called the action against him “an attack on press freedom,” a flagrant First Amendment breach, leaving all independent journalists vulnerable to similar actions against them.

In response to Thursday’s 18-count indictment of Assange, ACLU speech, privacy, and technology project director Ben Wizner said the following:

“For the first time in the history of our country, the government has brought criminal charges against a publisher for the publication of truthful information,” adding:

“This is an extraordinary escalation of the Trump (regime’s) attacks on journalism, and a direct assault on the First Amendment.”

“It establishes a dangerous precedent that can be used to target all news organizations that hold the government accountable by publishing its secrets.”

Each charge against Assange carries a potential 10-year sentence. Trump regime hardliners want him punished and silenced behind bars longterm — for the “crime” of truth-telling journalism the way it should be.

In response to Thursday’s indictment, WikiLeaks tweeted: “This is madness.” It represents “the end of national security journalism and the first amendment.”

At age 47 in poor health from his near seven-year ordeal in Ecuador’s London embassy to avoid his current fate, a slow-motion judicial unfairness death sentence likely awaits him.

Given deplorable healthcare for US prison inmates, what greatly shortened human rights lawyer Lynne Stewart’s life from her unjustifiable four-year imprisonment ordeal, Assange may not last more than a few years behind bars, especially if abused by US prison authorities.

A Final Comment

Chelsea Manning and her lawyer Moira Meltzer-Cohen said the following in response to Assange’s 18-count indictment:

“The continued detention of Chelsea Manning is purely punitive. Today’s events underscore what Chelsea has previously said, that “(a)ll of the substantive questions pertained to my disclosures of information to the public in 2010—answers I provided in extensive testimony, during my court-martial in 2013.”

“I continue to accept full and sole responsibility for those disclosures in 2010. It’s telling that the government appears to have already obtained this indictment before my contempt hearing last week. (The Trump regime) describes the press as the opposition party and an enemy of the people.”

“Today, they use the law as a sword, and have shown their willingness to bring the full power of the state against the very institution intended to shield us from such excesses.”

Manning’s attorney Meltzer-Cohen said “up until now, the Department Of Justice has been reticent to actually indict publishers for work implicating matters of national security, because the first amendment rights of the press and public are so constitutionally valuable.”

Assange’s 18-count indictment “signals a real shift, and sets a new precedent for the federal government’s desire to chill and even punish the vigorous exercise of the free press.”


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Award-winning author Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

Visit his blog site at

The original source of this article is Global Research
Copyright © Stephen Lendman, Global Research, 2019


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Professional Assange Smearers Finally Realize His Fate Is Tied To Theirs


Rachel Maddow has aired a segment condemning the new indictment against Julian Assange for 17 alleged violations of the Espionage Act.

Yes, that Rachel Maddow.

MSNBC’s top host began the segment after it was introduced by Chris Hayes, agreeing with her colleague that it’s surprising that more news outlets aren’t giving this story more “wall to wall” coverage, given its immense significance. She recapped Assange’s various legal struggles up until this point, then accurately described Assange’s new Espionage Act charges for publishing secret documents.

“And these new charges are not about stealing classified information or outsmarting computer systems in order to illegally obtain classified information,” Maddow said. “It’s not about that. These new charges are trying to prosecute Assange for publishing that stolen, secret material which was obtained by somebody else. And that is a whole different kettle of fish then what he was initially charged with.”

“By charging Assange for publishing that stuff that was taken by Manning, by issuing these charges today, the Justice Department has just done something you might have otherwise thought was impossible,” Maddow added after explaining the unprecedented nature of this case. “The Justice Department today, the Trump administration today, just put every journalistic institution in this country on Julian Assange’s side of the ledger. On his side of the fight. Which, I know, is unimaginable. But that is because the government is now trying to assert this brand new right to criminally prosecute people for publishing secret stuff, and newspapers and magazines and investigative journalists and all sorts of different entities publish secret stuff all the time. That is the bread and butter of what we do.”

Maddow carefully explained to her audience that these new charges have nothing at all to do with the 2016 election or any of the Russiagate nonsense the MSNBC pundit has been devoting her life to, correctly calling what the Trump administration is doing with Assange “a novel legal effort to punch a huge hole in the First Amendment.” She tied this in with Trump’s common references to the mass media as the “enemy of the people”, finally taking mainstream liberalism into a direct confrontation with Trump’s actual war on the press instead of nonsense about his tweeting mean things about Jim Acosta. She rightly highlighted the dangers of allowing a president with a thick authoritarian streak the ability to prosecute journalists he doesn’t like, and discussed the possibility that the UK may not comply with this new agenda in extradition proceedings.

“I think these 17 espionage charges against the WikiLeaks guy are a huge deal, and a very dark development,” Maddow concluded. “Chris Hayes this evening called it a ‘four alarm development’, and I absolutely share that.”

“And, you know, I know you,” Maddow continued, pointing to the camera. “Given everything else that we know about the WikiLeaks guy, I can feel through the television right now your mixed feelings about what I am saying. I can feel what may be, perhaps, a certain lack of concern about Julian Assange’s ultimate fate, given his own gleeful and extensive personal role in trying to help a hostile foreign government interfere in our election in order to install their chosen president with WikiLeaks’ help. Okay? I know. Okay, I feel ya. I got it. But, it is a recurring theme in history, heck, it is a recurring theme in the Bible, that they always pick the least sympathetic figures to try this stuff on first. Despite anyone’s feelings about this spectacularly unsympathetic character at the center of this international drama, you are going to see every journalistic institution in this country, every First Amendment supporter in this country, left, right and center, swallow their feelings about this particular human and denounce what the Trump administration is trying to do here. Because it would fundamentally change the United States of America.”

Wow. Make no mistake, this is a hugely significant development. This isn’t just some columnist for the New York Times or the Guardian, this is Rachel effing Maddow, the Queen Mother of all tinfoil pussyhat-wearing Russiagate insanity. This same pundit was just a couple of months ago not just smearing but outright lying about Assange, deceitfully telling her audience that the new legal rings closing around Assange were about his 2016 publications then instructing viewers not to Google anything about it because they’ll get computer viruses. Now that she’s recognized that this could actually hurt her and her network directly, she’s finally feeding her audience a different narrative out of sheer enlightened self-interest.

The fact that such a hugely influential figure in mainstream liberal media is now pushing back against Assange’s prosecution, and doing so in a way that her mainstream liberal anti-Trump audience can relate to, cannot be over-appreciated. Maddow’s credulous audience would eat live kittens if she told them to, so the way she’s pushing back against a dangerous legal precedent in language they can understand will make a difference in the way American liberals think about Assange’s predicament. It won’t make them like him, it won’t make them value the things he’s done, but it will get them to finally begin resisting something that badly needs to be resisted. And that’s huge.

The danger has always been that this fatal blow to journalism would be meted out with total compliance and support from a population hammered into docility by the ongoing narrative war which has been waged on Assange’s and WikiLeaks’ reputations with the help of the mass media. There was a very real danger that thought leaders like Maddow were going to choose their feelings over reasoning when the foot finally fell and the charges that criminalize journalism as “espionage” were finally put into play. I don’t think anyone would have been surprised if she’d applied that giant intellect of hers into making it possible to ignore it without upsetting her audience and try and figure it out later when it was too late and the legal precedent was set.

She actually chose to do the right thing. I’m gobsmacked, and it’s not an exaggeration to say that my hope for humanity sparked up a little today.

If the resting smugfaced apex of liberal psychosis is getting this one right, then many more will surely follow. And indeed, many already are. In addition to Hayes’ coverage of the story, MSNBC’s Ari Melber also did a segment harshly criticizing the implications of Trump administration’s new charges. We’re seeing multiple segments from CNN about the grave dangers of the legal precedent that is being set with the superseding indictment, as well as urgent warnings about the new charges from major publications like the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Guardian. The outlets which have been smearing Assange relentlessly are now finding themselves forced to defend him.

A typical comment under Maddow’s YouTube share of this segment reads “This is very strange. Very alarming! There we go again. The GOP is preparing the country for a Dictatorship.” And okay, that’s not exactly what is happening (this has been a bipartisan push and it’s not just preparations, we’re in full swing), but whatever, now this viewer can actually see the monster’s outlines. Finally the Maddow crowd which has been fruitlessly expending all their energy so far on punching at Russian shadows will actually be attacking a real thing.

And I’m quietly excited about that. I’m eager to see what happens to the #Resistance if it actually starts #Resisting something. It doesn’t matter that this is only happening because mainstream liberal media outlets realized that they might be next on the chopping block; it matters that it’s happening, period.

For years mainstream liberals have been fixating on the fake Russiagate psyop and rending their garments about Trump’s rude tweets while commentators like me desperately implored them to pay attention to the actual dangerous agendas that this administration is actually advancing. They’ve been in a holding pattern of adamantly refusing to do that, and now, because it’s threatening them personally, we’re suddenly seeing a sharp deviation from that holding pattern.

As Bill Murray said at the end of Groundhog Day, something is different. Anything different is good.


Everyone has my unconditional permission to republish or use any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge. My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook, following my antics on Twitter, throwing some money into my hat on Patreon or Paypal, purchasing some of my sweet merchandise, buying my new book Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone, or my previous book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers. The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for my website, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here.

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Amnesty International declares Julian Assange “not a prisoner of conscience” - World Socialist Web Site

Thursday, May 23, 2019

How Many Times Must Assange Be Proven Right Before People Start Listening?


And there it is. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been charged by the Trump administration’s Justice Department with 17 counts of violating the Espionage Act, carrying a maximum sentence of 175 years in prison. Exactly as Assange and his defenders have been warning would happen for nearly a decade.

The indictment, like the one which preceded it last month with Assange’s arrest, is completely fraudulent, as it charges Assange with “crimes” that are indistinguishable from conventional journalistic practices. The charges are based on the same exact evidence which was available to the Obama administration, which as journalist Glenn Greenwald noted last year declined to prosecute Assange citing fear of destroying press freedoms.

Hanna Bloch-Wehba, an associate professor at Drexel University’s Thomas R. Kline School of Law, has called the indictment “a worst-case, nightmare, mayday scenario for First Amendment enthusiasts.” Bloch-Wehba explains that that the indictment’s “theories for liability rest heavily on Assange’s relationship with Manning and his tendency to encourage Manning to continue to bring WikiLeaks material” in a way that “is not readily distinguishable from many reporter-source relationships cultivated over a period of time.”

One of the versions of the New York Timesreport on the new Assange indictment, which has since been edited out but has been preserved here in a quote by Slate, said that “officials would not engage with questions about how the actions they said were felonies by Mr. Assange differed from ordinary investigative journalism. Notably, The New York Times, among many other news organizations, obtained precisely the same archives of documents from WikiLeaks, without authorization from the government.”

This is the issue, in three sentences.

 — @JameelJaffer

Press freedom organizations have been condemning these new espionage charges in stark and unequivocal language.

“Put simply, these unprecedented charges against Julian Assange and WikiLeaks are the most significant and terrifying threat to the First Amendment in the 21st century,” reads a statement by Freedom of the Press Foundation Executive Director Trevor Timm. “The Trump administration is moving to explicitly criminalize national security journalism, and if this prosecution proceeds, dozens of reporters at the New York Times, Washington Post and elsewhere would also be in danger. The ability of the press to publish facts the government would prefer remain secret is both critical to an informed public and a fundamental right. This decision by the Justice Department is a massive and unprecedented escalation in Trump’s war on journalism, and it’s no exaggeration to say the First Amendment itself is at risk. Anyone who cares about press freedom should immediately and wholeheartedly condemn these charges.”

“The indictment of Julian Assange under the Espionage Act for publishing classified information is an attack on the First Amendment and a threat to all journalists everywhere who publish information that governments would like to keep secret,” reads a statement by Committee to Protect Journalists Executive Director Joel Simon. “Press freedom in the United States and around the world is imperiled by this prosecution.”

“For the first time in the history of our country, the government has brought criminal charges under the Espionage Act against a publisher for the publication of truthful information,” reads a statement by the ACLU. “This is a direct assault on the First Amendment. These charges are an extraordinary escalation of the Trump administration’s attacks on journalism, establishing a dangerous precedent that can be used to target all news organizations that hold the government accountable by publishing its secrets. The charges against Assange are equally dangerous for US journalists who uncover the secrets of other nations. If the US can prosecute a foreign publisher for violating our secrecy laws, there’s nothing preventing China, or Russia, from doing the same.”

BREAKING: For the first time in the history of our country, the government has brought criminal charges under the Espionage Act against a publisher for the publication of truthful information. This is a direct assault on the First Amendment.

 — @ACLU

Also opposing the new indictment, far too late, have been popular pundits from mainstream liberal news outlets.

“The Espionage indictment of Assange for publishing is an extremely dangerous, frontal attack on the free press. Bad, bad, bad,” tweeted MSNBC’s Chris Hayes.

“Today the Trump DOJ becomes the first administration to ever charge a publisher with *espionage* — an assertive, unprecedented legal crackdown on the traditional rights and protections for publishers,” tweeted MSNBC’s Ari Melber. “That is a legal fact, regardless of one’s views of Julian Assange. The new Trump DOJ indictment treats activities most top newspapers engage in — gathering and publishing classified material — as criminal plotting, claiming Assange ‘conspired’ with and ‘aided and abetted’ his source in the pursuit of classified material.”

One need only to look at the outraged “this is a horrible take” comments underneath these tweets to see that these condemnations are coming long after the propaganda they’ve helped advance against WikiLeaks has seeped well into the bloodstream. It’s impossible to tell the same group of people day after day that Assange is an evil Nazi Putin puppet rapist who smells bad and mistreats his cat, and then persuade them to respond to a depraved Trump administration agenda against that same person with an appropriate level of resistance.

I find no satisfaction in saying 'I told you so' to those who for 9 years have scorned us for warning this moment would come. I care for journalism. If you share my feeling you take a stand NOW. Either you are a worthless coward or you defend Assange, WikiLeaks and Journalism.

 — @khrafnsson

“I find no satisfaction in saying ‘I told you so’ to those who for 9 years have scorned us for warning this moment would come,” tweeted WikiLeaks Editor-in-Chief Kristinn Hrafnsson. “I care for journalism. If you share my feeling you take a stand NOW. Either you are a worthless coward or you defend Assange, WikiLeaks and Journalism.”

Indeed, WikiLeaks staff and their supporters have been warning of this for many years, only to be dismissed as paranoid conspiracy theorists and rape apologists by smearers who insisted Assange was merely avoiding rape charges by taking asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London back in 2012. There are many tweets by the WikiLeaks Twitter account warning that the US is trying to charge Assange under the Espionage Act all the way back in 2010, and they’ve been warning about it over and over again ever since, but nobody’s listened.

“The only barrier to Julian Assange leaving Ecuador’s embassy is pride,” blared a Guardian headline last year by the odious James Ball, with the sub-header “The WikiLeaks founder is unlikely to face prosecution in the US, charges in Sweden have been dropped — and for the embassy, he’s lost his value as an icon.”

Assange has been warning for years that this was coming. He’s been unequivocal about the fact that he was perfectly willing to participate in the Swedish investigation from the beginning and was only taking asylum with Ecuador due to fear of extradition and political prosecution in the US, which Ecuador explicitly stated were its reasons for granting him asylum. He was absolutely correct. He’s been correct the entire time. History has vindicated him. He was right and his critics were wrong.

We are also already seeing Assange vindicated in his warnings of what his prosecution would mean for the free press. He hasn’t even been extradited yet and we’re already seeing a greatly escalated war on journalism being implemented, with new developments in just the last few days like a San Francisco journalist now being charged with conspiracy for receiving internal documents from the San Francisco Police Department, and a prominent French journalist being summoned by police for reporting on corruption in the Macron government.


 — @wikileaks

All this of course begs the question: what else has he been right about? Anyone with an ounce of intellectual honesty who has previously had their doubts about Assange will necessarily begin asking themselves this question now. It’s worth reviewing the things Assange has been saying about Russia not being the source of the 2016 Democratic Party emails that WikiLeaks published, about what really happened in Sweden, and about his general understanding of what’s going on in the world with opaque and unaccountable power structures leading us all down a very dark and dangerous path.

If you open your mind to the possibility that Assange has been right about more than you’ve given him credit for previously, the implications can shatter your world. Give it a try. There’s no longer any legitimate reason not to.


Everyone has my unconditional permission to republish or use any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge. My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook, following my antics on Twitter, throwing some money into my hat on Patreon or Paypal, purchasing some of my sweet merchandise, buying my new book Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone, or my previous book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers. The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for my website, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here.

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The Forgotten Family Ritual That Bonds Parents and Children


A friend of mine told me how as a child she informed her neighborhood playmate one evening that she had to go home. It was time for dinner.

Her playmate gave her a confused look.

“Don’t you eat dinner with your family?” my friend asked her.

“No, we never do that,” came the answer.

Unfortunately, that response seems to have grown more common in recent years. Dinner is now more “me time” than family time, a point underscored by a recent Atlantic article. Reporting on a new survey, The Atlantic notes that as dining venues, “the couch and the bedroom are both far more popular now” than the kitchen table was several decades ago. In fact, “the number of respondents who most often eat at a kitchen table nowadays is roughly the same as the number who eat either on the couch or in their bedroom.”

What’s driving this switch?

Experts quoted in The Atlantic suggest a number of reasons, including families running in multiple directions, women working outside the home, and the ever-present reality of screens.

But another theory has to do with the decline of formality. The move toward open spaces rather than specific dining areas, as well as the decline of special tableware such as tablecloths and candles, makes dinner just another mundane occurrence.

What would happen if we reversed the mundane and made dinner special again?

That’s what author Laurie David did a number of years ago. In her book, The Family Dinner, David explains how she made family dinner into a “project,” making “everyone stop what he or she was doing at around the same time every night, and sit together for a satisfying amount of time to eat, talk, and connect as a family.”

The first way David did this was to turn Tuesdays into taco night. She and the children would invite guests, prepare their tacos, and come up with conversation starters to discuss over the meal. Soon it became a tradition and the family began turning other meals into special occasions as well.

The result was better than David could have ever hoped:

One uneventful Wednesday night, I was sitting at the kitchen table with my family. Dessert had long since been consumed, but my two girls still lingered at the table an hour after we’d first sat down for supper. There we were, two bright, happy teenagers and I, engrossed in conversation that ranged from national politics, to binge drinking on college campuses, to who was doing what to whom at school. You know—all the stuff we crave to know but never get real answers to: what’s really happening in their lives; who’s mean and who’s nice; who’s misunderstood and why.

Wow, I thought to myself, I have actually done something right as a parent. This was a new feeling! Usually I’m beating myself up over all the mistakes I make on any given day. But wait, I had succeeded in luring and keeping my family at the dinner table—and talking about real issues they might have otherwise kept silent about!”

Today’s families are pulled in multiple directions. Many parents sense they need a closer connection with their children, but they’re a bit clueless when it comes to figuring it out. Would the reinstatement of family dinner help?


[Image Credit: U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Bennie J. Davis III]


How Media Propagandists Create "Symbolic" Meaning

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Remember the Maine! Also the Arizona and the Maddux! – The Future of Freedom Foundation

Google’s Outrage Mobs and Witch Hunts – Mike Wacker – Medium

Assange Hit With Espionage Act Violations As DoJ Unveils New Charges

Six Stats That Show Americans Are Drowning in Stuff They Don't Need


The other day I discovered a YouTube channel, Wild We Roam. It depicts a couple who lives a very simple but vibrant life in a van in Europe. They have an incredible video (see below) showing how they converted a Mercedes van from 1980 into a home!

When I saw this video, the first thing I thought was, “I could never do that, I have too much stuff!” It would be very hard for me to consolidate all my clothes and other possessions to fit in a van. The thought made me realize how much stuff I actually have and how attached I am to it.

And I’m not the only one who is too consumeristic to live in a van. Clutter and materialism are a problem for many Americans.

  1. The average American home has 300,000 items. (LA Times)
  2. Twenty-three percent of adults pay late fees on bills because they lose them. (Harris Interactive)
  3. One out of four houses with two-car garages keeps so much stuff in it they can’t even fit a car in the garage. (US Department of Energy)
  4. On average, every American throws away over 68 pounds of clothing. Per year! (The Huffington Post)
  5. Americans spend about $1.2 trillion a year on non-essential items. (The Wall Street Journal)

The examples are nearly endless. Here is a sixth for good measure.

  • The average woman has a lot of clothes, but what’s even crazier is the amount the average woman actually wears. As Rebecca Keane said, “According to a new study by ClosetMaid, the average American woman has 103 items of clothing in her wardrobe. But she considers 21% to be ‘unwearable,’ 33% too tight and 24% too loose, according to a survey of 1,000 women. A further 12% of the wardrobe is occupied by new, unworn clothing, leaving just 10% available.”

These statistics helped me realize two things. First, I’m not the only one who “can’t help” but buy that candle, water bottle, pair of heels, mug, gadget, or book. But second, and more important, these statistics show the economic impact of clutter. Clutter and disorganization can waste time, money, and cause stress.

The global economy has made it possible for the vast majority of Americans to be able to afford a vast array of items. Many of us have taken advantage of that fact, but in the process, we have become overwhelmed with stuff.

Could you fit all your worldly possessions into a van? I definitely couldn’t. But maybe there’s a happy balance somewhere in between van living and extreme hoarding.


This article was originally published on Read the original article.

[Image Credit: Pxhere]


The World Is Getting Increasingly Dumber, Study Finds

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Pentagon Finally Admits To UFO Investigations

Attorney General Barr Puts Former Intel Bosses Clapper, Brennan On Notice

Fake news and Tulsi Gabbard

First, the term "Fake News" was invented by Trump's opponents (to ensure Hillary & Dems weren't blamed for his victory), not by Trump. Second, some articles are so shoddy they merit no substantive reply. Third, demanding someone prove they're not Russia's candidate is grotesque:

“It doesn’t matter what you think of any of these individual whistleblowers,” writes @jeremyscahill. “But it does matter that we all recognize that this is an attack on our basic rights to information about what the U.S. government does in our names.”

Tulsi Gabbard, Bernie Sanders Subjects of 2020 Campaign Hit Pieces – Rolling Stone

“Stephanopoulos shamelessly implied that because I oppose going to war with Russia, I’m not a loyal American, but a Putin puppet,” Gabbard told Rolling Stone. “It just shows what absurd lengths warmongers in the media will go, to try to destroy the reputation of anyone who dares oppose their warmongering.”

Tulsi Gabbard: “I Don’t” Buy Report that Iran Wants to Strike U.S. Forces, Trump Looking for “Pretext” for War

Global Research, May 21, 2019
RealClear Politics 19 May 2019

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, a Democratic presidential candidate, said she doesn’t buy reports saying Iran poses a new threat to U.S. personnel in Iraq in an interview Sunday with ABC’s “This Week.”


GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: You resigned your DNC post back in 2016 because you thought Hillary Clinton had a hawkish interventionist foreign policy. Does that apply to her colleague in the Obama administration, former Vice President Biden?

REP. TULSI GABBARD: We’ll see what Vice President Biden’s foreign policy vision is for this country. We may agree on some issues, disagree on others. The problem that I have seen is that across both Democrat and Republican administrations, and especially in this Trump administration where, right now, he is leading us down this dangerous path towards a war with Iran …

STEPHANOPOULOS: He says he doesn’t want it.

GABBARD: He says he doesn’t want it but the actions of him and his administration, people like John Bolton and Mike Pompeo, tell us a very different story. They are setting the stage for a war with Iran that would prove to be far more costly, far more devastating and dangerous than anything that we saw in the Iraq war, a war that I served in a medical unit where every single day I saw firsthand the high human cost of war.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, one of the actions they took this week was evacuating, as you know, our diplomatic posts in Iraq because they were concerned, based on the intelligence, that Iran may be looking to strike U.S. interests. You don’t buy it?

GABBARD: I don’t. You know, we heard conflicting stories coming from the British commander who is the co-commander of the fight against ISIS and Al-Qaeda there in Iraq and Syria saying, hey, he hadn’t seen an escalation of tensions or threats coming from these Iraqi – or these Shia militias serving in Iraq. I think what we’re seeing, unfortunately, is what looks a lot like people in the Trump administration trying to create a pretext or an excuse for us to go to war against Iran, a war that would actually undermine our national security, cost us countless American lives, cost civilian lives across the region, exacerbate the refugee crisis in Europe, and it would actually make us less safe by strengthening terrorist groups like ISIS and Al-Qaeda.


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Towards a World War III Scenario: The Dangers of Nuclear War” 

by Michel Chossudovsky

Available to order from Global Research! 

ISBN Number: 978-0-9737147-5-3
Year: 2012
Pages: 102
Print Edition: $10.25 (+ shipping and handling)
PDF Edition:  $6.50 (sent directly to your email account!)

Michel Chossudovsky is Professor of Economics at the University of Ottawa and Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), which hosts the critically acclaimed website . He is a contributor to the Encyclopedia Britannica. His writings have been translated into more than 20 languages.


“This book is a ‘must’ resource – a richly documented and systematic diagnosis of the supremely pathological geo-strategic planning of US wars since ‘9-11’ against non-nuclear countries to seize their oil fields and resources under cover of ‘freedom and democracy’.”
John McMurtry, Professor of Philosophy, Guelph University

“In a world where engineered, pre-emptive, or more fashionably “humanitarian” wars of aggression have become the norm, this challenging book may be our final wake-up call.”
-Denis Halliday, Former Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations

Michel Chossudovsky exposes the insanity of our privatized war machine. Iran is being targeted with nuclear weapons as part of a war agenda built on distortions and lies for the purpose of private profit. The real aims are oil, financial hegemony and global control. The price could be nuclear holocaust. When weapons become the hottest export of the world’s only superpower, and diplomats work as salesmen for the defense industry, the whole world is recklessly endangered. If we must have a military, it belongs entirely in the public sector. No one should profit from mass death and destruction.
Ellen Brown, author of ‘Web of Debt’ and president of the Public Banking Institute   

WWIII Scenario

The original source of this article is RealClear Politics