Saturday, May 18, 2019

Quote

How small, of all that human hearts endure, That part which laws or kings can cause our cure. — Samuel Johnson

California's Housing Affordability Crisis Is So Bad Some People Live On Ragtag Boats 

'Where Do We Get Such Men?'

ORIGINAL LINK

In The Bridges At Toko-ri, the film based on James Michener’s novel about carrier pilots in the Korean War, Admiral George Tarrant watches as his pilots take off from the pitching deck to engage the enemy and asks, “Where do we get such men?”

His question was relevant then and remains relevant today. Where do strength and courage come from? What building blocks of virtue make up those men, young and old, who sacrifice themselves so that others may live?

Two such figures with whom I have a passing acquaintance died trying to save family and friends. In both cases, we can discern some of the values that led them to do so.

At Christendom College in Front Royal, Virginia, a small Catholic school attended by all of my children, Tom Vander Woude served as a basketball coach and athletic director. My daughter and my oldest son were acquainted with Vander Woude, and spoke highly of him as an exemplar and a leader.

On September 8, 2008, Vander Woude was working on his family farm with his twenty-year-old son, Joseph, who has Down syndrome. Joseph fell through an old cover of a septic tank and was drowning in a pool of sewage. Vander Woude leaped into the tank, pushed his son above the muck, and held him until someone arrived to help pull Joseph to safety. Vander Woude then lost consciousness and died. Though he had swallowed some of the sewage, Joseph miraculously suffered no ill effects.

Probably most fathers would have done the same for their sons. Protecting our children is what mothers and fathers do.

From what I have read, however, and from what others have told me, I am certain Tom Vander Woude would have gone into that tank to rescue a neighbor, a friend, or a stranger. He was that kind of guy, and it was his lifelong practice of his faith and his habit of sacrificing for others that would give him the strength to do so. In Tom Hoope’s homage, “‘You Pull—I’ll Push’: Tom Vander Woude’s Legacy,” we catch a glimpse of the magnitude of this man’s soul.

Our next destination is Waynesville, North Carolina.

For more than twenty years, my wife and I raised our family in this small town in the Smoky Mountains. Waynesville was a place where you knew your neighbors and the shopkeepers. Saturday mornings were for visiting with other parents while the kids ran up and down a soccer field. It wasn’t paradise, but it was a great place to bring up children.

My dentist at that time, whom I occasionally saw at different social functions, was Ted Howell, grandfather to Riley Howell, the student who died tackling a gunman in early 2019 at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte. An honor guard of police cars escorted Riley’s body from Charlotte to Waynesville, where hundreds of townspeople lined the streets to welcome the fallen boy home.

So now the question: While others were scrambling to get away, what made Riley Howell race toward the shooter and take three bullets while knocking the assailant off his feet?

After reading several testimonies about Riley Howell and thinking of life in Waynesville, I would give credit to Riley’s family, the values by which he lived, and his ambitions. After college, he intended to become either a firefighter or a soldier. By all accounts, he was in love with life, adventurous, protective of others, a young man with a big heart for people.

“Where do we get such men?” The answer to that question remains a mystery. But in the case of Tom Vander Woude and Riley Howell, we can at least give a nod to faith, family, and upbringing.

The Old Book tells us, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

Rest in peace, gentlemen.

--

[Image Credit: Pixabay]



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A Contrarian View of Digital Health

ORIGINAL LINK

“The pursuit of health is a symptom of unhealth.”
—Petr Skrabanek

Picture Jim from Kentucky. A farmer, tall, Peterbilt hat. Just retired. He takes basic meds for high blood pressure and diabetes. Arthritis slows him but he has no cardiac symptoms. He plays cards, goes fishing and hangs out with his grandkids.

Jim’s family bought him a smart watch, so he could improve his health. The watch kept telling him that his heart rate was low. Jim called his family doctor, who arranged an urgent cardiology visit.

Jim’s electrocardiogram showed occasional premature ventricular contractions (PVCs). His cardiologist worried because PVCs can indicate trouble. Jim tried to reassure his doctor, saying, “I feel well.”

The cardiologist insisted on further testing. One of the scans—known for its propensity for false-positives—showed an abnormality. So Jim, the asymptomatic happy man who met the cardiologist because of a smart watch, had a near-normal coronary angiogram—a test that requires placing a catheter in the heart.

Soon after the procedure, Jim stopped talking, his face drooped and he could not move the left side of his body. The catheter had disrupted a plaque that caused a stroke.

The stroke neurologist tries to help him. Months later, Jim makes slow progress in a nursing facility.

While social media amplifies anecdotes of “saves” from personal health devices, real-world clinicians understand two truths from Jim’s case: it is hard to make a person without complaints better and interacting with healthcare comes with risks.

In the 1970s, Ivan Illich, a philosopher, wrote a book called Medical Nemesis (1974). Illich’s thesis was that medicine had become a major threat to health. His bombastic prose and eccentric personality made his ideas easy to dismiss at that time. Yet now, with the expansion of the medical-industrial complex, including “personal” health devices, Illich’s ideas deserve another look. Could he have been prescient?

Illich described three ways the medical establishment has brought harm, or iatrogenesis, to society. Jim’s case illustrates the first type of iatrogenesis: direct clinical harm. But Illich taught that direct clinical iatrogenesis is not the worst form of harm. The expansion of digital health will endanger society in more pernicious but devastating ways.

One is a social iatrogenesis in which medical practice causes illness by encouraging people to become consumers of preventive therapies. H. Gilbert Welch, professor of medicine at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, calls this “anticipatory medicine.” Welch observes that when we treat people with symptoms, we do so because patients are asking for our help. In anticipatory medicine, patients are being told they need our help.

Much of the digital health movement centers on anticipatory medicine. Smart watches capable of recording the heart’s rhythm are, essentially, massive disease-screening programs—akin to the blue and pink cancer campaigns.

An empirical look at the evidence supporting anticipatory medicine is sobering.

In 2015, three Stanford researchers systematically studied all the published trials of screening for deadly diseases and found “reductions in all-cause mortality with screening tests were very rare or non-existent.”1

Genomics, another form of digital health, looks equally dubious. Professor Christopher Semsarian from Sydney Australia recently wrote that “sequencing the genomes of people who are well and asymptomatic has great potential to do more harm than good.”2

Semsarian explains that sequencing a human genome in a healthy person can identify up to 12 potentially harmful DNA variants. That knowledge would surely induce further testing and unnecessary worry. Thus, every person who has their genome sequenced becomes a patient.

Use of genomic data looks no better for therapeutics. When Francis Collins boldly predicted at the turn of the century that we will see a complete transformation in therapeutic medicine in the next 15 to 20 years, he was wrong. This is not surprising given that the lifestyle diseases of today—obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease—are linked to hundreds of gene variants, which taken together explain tiny fractions of the variance.3

And despite the many promises of precision oncology, two formal studies, including a randomized control trial, have failed to show tumor sequencing approaches (searching for  genomic alterations in cancerous cells and then targeting them with specific chemicals) have any advantages over conventional therapy.4, 5

Longevity data confirm the failure of anticipatory medicine: The CDC website includes graphs on average lifespans. No matter the category, the age at death has not budged over the past 15 years. In fact, for some categories, lifespan has actually decreased in the past two years.6 But worse is this stat: while deaths from cancer and heart disease have plateaued since 2000, deaths from dementia and Parkinson’s disease have risen greatly.7

Finally, Illich believed medicine’s greatest sin was a cultural iatrogenesis—an indirect sickening power or a health-denying effect. He thought that true health required adaptation. Healthy people adapt to ageing, to healing when damaged, to suffering and then to the peaceful expectation of death. But medicine’s metastasis into culture has dire consequences:

By transforming pain, illness, and death from a personal challenge into a technical problem, medical practice steals the potential of people to deal with their human condition in an autonomous way and becomes the source of a new kind of un-health.8

The tragic paradox of today is that gains from technology allow people to live with more illnesses, but this “progress” also prevents the normal adaptations of aging. Clinicians rarely say an elderly person suffers from old-age; rather she has diseases X, Y and Z.

James Marcus, a former editor of Harper’s magazine, recently wrote of his dad’s end-of-life spiral in the New Yorker. At age 89, his father, a retired physician scientist, had become a “bundle of maladies.” Frailty led to falls and subdurals, then craniotomies, nursing home stays, delirium, pneumonias, and then death. Hospitals and nursing homes overflow with scenarios exactly like this.

Digital health offers no relief from Illich’s cultural iatrogenesis—it may even make it worse. That reality raises existential questions. Irish gastroenterologist Seamus O’Mahony writes in his latest book, Can Medicine be Cured?: The Corruption of a Profession (2019), that “medicine no longer knows what it is for.” O’Mahony asks good questions: Is the aim of medicine, or digital health, to keep the entire adult population under permanent surveillance? Does longevity trump all other considerations? What if we won the war on Cancer? And, what about the relief of suffering?

Sending millions more people to clinicians, creating a society even more fearful of lurking diseases, and systematically robbing people of the normal arc of life and death–this, I am afraid, is where the digital health expansion is heading.

As a doctor on the frontlines of healthcare, the beginnings of digital health look ominous.


Dr. John Mandrola practices cardiac electrophysiology in Louisville Kentucky and is the chief cardiology correspondent for Medscape.

References

1 Saquib N et al. Does screening for disease save lives in asymptomatic adults? Systematic review of meta-analyses and randomized trials. International journal of epidemiology 2015; 44(1): 264–77. doi:10.1093/ije/dyu140.
2 Semsarian C. Genome sequencing for sale on the NHS. BMJ 2019; 364: l789. doi:10.1136/bmj.l789.
3 Joyner MJ, Paneth N. Promises, promises, and precision medicine. J Clin Invest 2019; 129(3): 946–948. doi:10.1172/JCI126119.
4 Tourneau CL et al. Molecularly targeted therapy based on tumour molecular profiling versus conventional therapy for advanced cancer (SHIVA): a multicentre, open-label, proof-of-concept, randomised, controlled phase 2 trial. The Lancet Oncology 2015; 16(13): 1324–1334. doi:10.1016/S1470-2045(15)00188-6.
5 Eckhardt SG, Lieu C. Is Precision Medicine an Oxymoron? JAMA Oncol 2019; 5(2): 142–143. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2018.5099.
6 National Vital Statistics Reports Volume 67, Number 5 July 26, 2018, Deaths: Final Data for 2016. : 76.
7 Divo MJ et al. Ageing and the epidemiology of multimorbidity. Eur Respir J 2014; 44(4): 1055–1068. doi:10.1183/09031936.00059814.
8 Illich I. MEDICAL NEMESIS. The Lancet 1974; 303(7863): 918–921. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(74)90361-4.

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The Hero’s Journal: Your Guide to Becoming a Hero is Now Available

ORIGINAL LINK

The Hero’s Journal is now for sale. This book is only available through Amazon and only in paperback form. This book is only available in paperback form because it is a journal and is interactive.

The book is available in several Amazon stores around the globe, but only available in English. Here are the links:

Although Legends of Men has many readers from Canada and India, the book is not available there.

When Become A Legend Vol. 1 was released, it rose to number 1 in an Amazon sales category. With your support and a little luck, The Hero’s Journal: Your Guide to Becoming a Hero can also be #1.

Here’s the cover and back cover:

Amazon Hero's Journal Trueheart
Hero’s Journal back cover

Here is what living the hero’s journey by using The Hero’s Journal will do for you:

  1. Identify what is missing in your life
  2. Define a path to attaining what you need to live a fulfilled life
  3. Step out of your comfort zone
  4. Overcome fears and anxiety
  5. Find a mentor
  6. Improve specific and significant skills that you need to transform your life for the better
  7. Become spiritually complete
  8. Master your desire for quick pleasures
  9. Identify and overcome your weaknesses
  10. Integrate your new skills and heroic qualities into everyday life

Pick up The Hero’s Journal: Your Guide to Becoming a Hero on Amazon today.

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Gender Divide: The share of Americans not having sex has reached a record high

The data also show a significant gender divide among 20-somethings.

 (Christopher Ingraham/The Washington Post/Christopher Ingraham/The Washington Post)
(Christopher Ingraham/The Washington Post/Christopher Ingraham/The Washington Post)

For most of the past three decades, 20-something men and women reported similar rates of sexlessness. But that has changed in recent years. Since 2008, the share of men younger than 30 reporting no sex has nearly tripled, to 28 percent. That’s a much steeper increase than the 8 percentage point increase reported among their female peers.


https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2019/03/29/share-americans-not-having-sex-has-reached-record-high/

Taibbi: James Comey, the Would-Be J. Edgar Hoover

On The Edge Of Disaster: 59% Of Americans Are Living Paycheck-To-Paycheck

Nearly 1/3 of men age 18-29 did not have sex in 2018

https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2019/03/nearly_13_of_men_age_1829_did_not_have_sex_in_2018.html

Attention Millennials: You Can Now Buy Tiny Homes On Amazon 

The Struggle Is The Meaning

ORIGINAL LINK

There is no conceivable interest of the ordinary people of the Western world being served by the crazed decision of their governments to firmly take the Sunni side in the Sunni/Shia tensions of the Islamic world, and to do so in a fashion which deliberately exacerbates points of armed conflict across the Middle East.

It is even more extraordinary that, in doing so, the West is deliberately forwarding the interests of two nations which have philosophies that are entirely antithetical to the supposed tenets of Western philosophy. Those states are Saudi Arabia, an unrepentant despotism, which promotes and finances a theocratic ideology directly responsible for the major terrorist attacks on the West, and Israel, which is now an openly apartheid state. The USA/Saudi/Israel alliance is underpinned by the identification of a common enemy in Iran and other Shia communities.

Of course the patent absurdities of the alliance point directly to the fact that the real motive is entirely different; this is all about the financial ties of the 1% and the permanent interest of the military industrial complex and their financiers in stoking the flames of war.

Which is an opportune moment to mention – as I have several times over the years – that if I had to recommend one single book to illuminate your view of the world it would be Imperialism by J A Hobson. His brilliant perception that empire had been a net disbenefit to the ordinary people of both the colonial power and the colonised, with the advantages reaped purely by the military, financial, armaments and political classes, and his groundbreaking methods of proving his thesis, is one of the great works of human thought. Lenin plagiarised Hobson extensively.

You can indeed find in Hobson a reflection of the anti-semitism that was regrettably common in his time. It is a problem in many of the great books of the past. Trollope is notably anti-semitic, but when John Major as Prime Minister repeatedly told of his love for Trollope, there was none of the manufactured outrage we saw over Corbyn’s recommendation of Hobson. In reading literature of the past there are inevitably notes that jar with the mores of these times, but they do not invalidate all the other qualities, once noted and appropriately analysed. I confess to being with John Major as a serious fan of Trollope. The Way We Live Now is also a great book, whose dark anti-semitic undertones are not necessary to its critique of rampant capitalism.

To return to Iran, I have no confidence whatsoever that apparent limpet mine attacks on shipping are Iranian in origin – in fact the narrative seems to me distinctly improbable. We have the intelligence community frantically signaling that John Bolton is making up his intelligence assessment of enhanced Iranian military activity. Jeremy Hunt has just put out a quite ludicrous advisory against dual nationals traveling to Iran. My wife Nadira was recently in Iran together with several dual nationals filming a comedy feature film. They met with nothing but friendship and cooperation from Iranian officialdom.

However, I remain hopeful that Trump can outplay John Bolton and prevent any immediate escalation. However bad his domestic agenda, one thing to be said in Trump’s favour is that, unlike every American President since Carter, he has not fed the military industrial complex by starting a needless war. I have no doubt whatsoever that Hillary would have started one by now. Trump, a monumentally flawed individual, is the only thing that today stands between the world and a Middle East conflagration that would make the last three decades seem like peace. That is hardly a comforting thought.

Nor is it comforting that Chelsea Manning is once again in jail, in terrible conditions, for refusing to testify against Julian Assange, himself in Belmarsh maximum security prison. These two heroes showed us more truth than the World’s professional journalists combined ever have or ever will. The American “justice” system is shown up yet again for the farce that it is. What value should be placed on testimony physically coerced from Chelsea Manning, who has already spent a lengthy prison sentence for her actions in leaking the truth about US military aggression? Either Chelsea provides damning testimony against Julian, or Chelsea gets tortured. That the world stands by and watches – and that the cowards of the mainstream media line up to applaud – I find rather hard to take.

Two other actions are worth noting here. The United States violated the Embassy of Venezuela, against the will of its government and in stark contravention of the Vienna Convention, to break in and seize materials and individuals, based on the farce of recognising the impotent US puppet Guaido as the legitimate government able to give permission. If any government wishes to recognise me as President of the United States, I happily give them my gracious permission to trash the US Embassy in their country.

There is no doubt that Guaido, with the entire world watching on, attempted to launch a military coup in Venezuela, and failed dismally. He has since addressed rallies in which his supporters have been numbered in scores. In the vast majority of countries around the world, specifically including the United States of America, Guaido would have been arrested and executed for his military coup attempt. Maduro has the power to do it. The fact Guaido and his violent antics are tolerated gives the lie to that false picture of Venezuela as authoritarian dictatorship which the mainstream media daily present to us.

Finally, in a country which the CIA has succeeded in reducing to puppet government status, Ecuador has, entirely illegally, compounded its illegal refoulement of a political refugee by handing over all of Julain Assange’s personal effects to the United States of America, on no legal basis whatsoever.

I had some difficulty in writing this post because the chain of these and other events over this past few weeks has been so thoroughly depressing, and can easily lead to a feeling of helplessness. On a more cheerful note, Part 2 of my interview with Alex Salmond is now out

RT have blocked the video from functioning in embedded form, you have to click again on the link that comes up. Or for those with Facebook

Here are three cheerful thoughts. Firstly you can declare your determination to work to destroy the United Kingdom, as I do here, and if you have a nice gentle voice and friendly personalty nobody gets upset. Secondly, Part 1 had over 122,000 views on Facebook alone, plus those who watched on Russia Today TV and those who saw it on YouTube. When you compare that to the audiences of 7,000 for the flagship Nine news on the BBC’s new anti-Scottish propaganda channel “BBC Scotland”, that is pretty impressive. My third thought is this. I think the lesson of my life as revealed over the two interviews, is that no matter what the state throws at you, it is essential to continue to struggle for social justice. The struggle is in itself a good. Which is something I first learnt from Sartre’s Iron in the Soul trilogy when I was 15. I don’t seem to be getting far with intellectual development. It now being 3.25am, I shall bid you goodnight.

——————————————

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Friday, May 17, 2019

The Normalization And Institutionalization Of Fraud

Taibbi: The Liberal Embrace Of War

How One Contrarian ‘Broke’ Jeopardy! and Won $1.7 Million

Samuelson’s thesis is that people and organizations with an “agenda” often create problems that are either exaggerated or not problems at all. And the solutions policymakers give us to resolve these “crises” typically make things worse.

One can take his premise and run with it. Examples of when conventional wisdom has been wrong are abundant in the fields of science, health, economics, and education. We see it in our aggressive war policies overseas. We see it in our approach to presidential politics, at least before Donald Trump “broke” it. At this level, disproving the postulate that there’s only one way to play Jeopardy! might not seem like a big deal. It could be, however, if it opens the floodgates of independent thought among Americans.


How One Contrarian ‘Broke’ Jeopardy! and Won $1.7 Million https://www.intellectualtakeout.org/article/how-one-contrarian-broke-jeopardy-and-won-17-million

Newly Released FBI Docs Shed Light on Apparent Mossad Foreknowledge of 9/11 Attacks

ORIGINAL LINK

6-e1558100019912.jpg

For nearly two decades, one of the most overlooked and little known arrests made in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks was that of the so-called “High Fivers,” or the “Dancing Israelis.” However, new information released by the FBI on May 7 has brought fresh scrutiny to the possibility that the “Dancing Israelis,” at least two of whom were known Mossad operatives, had prior knowledge of the attacks on the World Trade Center.



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Julian Assange Is Today’s Martin Luther King

ORIGINAL LINK

Caravaggio The seven works of mercy (Sette opere di Misericordia) 1607   “Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter with me now, because I’ve been to the mountaintop… And I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I

The post Julian Assange Is Today’s Martin Luther King appeared first on The Automatic Earth.



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Watch "How Culture Makes Us Feel Lost - Dr. Gabor Maté On Finding Your True Self Again" on YouTube

https://youtu.be/TIjvXtZRerY

UK Cops Fine Pedestrian $115 For Avoiding Facial Recognition Camera

Thursday, May 16, 2019

US Again Jails Chelsea Manning for Refusing to Testify on WikiLeaks

ORIGINAL LINK
(ANTIWAR.COM) — Released only last week after 62 days in detention for “contempt” from a previous grand jury for refusing to testify about WikiLeaks, whistleblower Chelsea Manning has been jailed by a new grand jury for the exact same reason. Manning has refused to testify against WikiLeaks, and her lawyers argued that the law doesn’t allow detention to […]

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1 In 10 Airbnb Guests Report Discovering Hidden Cameras In Their Rentals

Normalized sexual abuse cover up

ORIGINAL LINK
An investigation found eight Planned Parenthood facilities in six different states were willing to cover up sexual abuse, including disregarding mandatory reporting laws of suspected statutory rape. Facilities also provided instructions on how to circumvent parental consent laws. See the undercover video reports at LiveAction.org. The facilities in question are located in the following cities: … Continue reading Normalized sexual abuse cover up

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That Time John Bolton Said It’s Good To Lie About War

ORIGINAL LINK

Journalist Whitney Webb recently tweeted a 2010 video clip I’d never seen before featuring US National Security Advisor John Bolton defending the use of deception in advancing military agendas, which highlights something we should all be paying attention to as Trump administration foreign policy becomes increasingly Boltonized.

On a December 2010 episode of Fox News’ Freedom Watch, Bolton and the show’s host Andrew Napolitano were debating about recent WikiLeaks publications, and naturally the subject of government secrecy came up.

“Now I want to make the case for secrecy in government when it comes to the conduct of national security affairs, and possibly for deception where that’s appropriate,” Bolton said. “You know Winston Churchill said during World War Two that in wartime truth is so important it should be surrounded by a bodyguard of lies.”

“Do you really believe that?” asked an incredulous Napolitano.

“Absolutely,” Bolton replied.

“You would lie in order to preserve the truth?”

“If I had to say something I knew was false to protect American national security, I would do it,” Bolton answered.

“I don’t think we’re often faced with that difficulty, but would I lie about where the D-Day invasion was going to take place to deceive the Germans, you’d better believe it,” Bolton continued.

“Why do people in the government think that the laws of society or the rules don’t apply to them?” Napolitano asked.

“Because they are not dealing in the civil society we live in under the Constitution,” Bolton replied. “They are dealing in the anarchic environment internationally where different rules apply.”

“But you took an oath to uphold the Constitution, and the Constitution mandates certain openness and certain fairness,” Napolitano protested. “You’re willing to do away with that in order to attain a temporary military goal?”

“I think as Justice Jackson said in a famous decision, the Constitution is not a suicide pact,” Bolton said. “And I think defending the United States from foreign threats does require actions that in a normal business environment in the United States we would find unprofessional. I don’t make any apology for it.”

So that’s a thing. And it’s important for us to know it’s a thing because of the way things are heating up in Iran right now, since Bolton’s fingerprints are all over it.

Bolton has long been calling for war with Iran and in a paid speech in July 2017 told his pro-regime change MEK terror cult audience that they would be celebrating the successful overthrow of the Iranian government together before 2019. Now we’re seeing threat alarms being elevated and fearmongering about Iranian missiles being circulated, with reports being leaked to the press of possible plans to send 120,000 US troops to the region.

This is an environment that is ripe for deceptions of all sorts, and, given what Bolton said on live television nearly a decade ago, we would all do very well to remain very, very skeptical of any and all news we hear about Iran going forward. If for example you hear that within this environment of escalated tensions and military posturing Iran or one of its “proxies” has attacked the United States in some way, your immediate response should be one of intense skepticism about what the mass media talking heads are telling you to believe.

Back in 2012 at a forum for the Washington Institute Of Near East Policy think tank, the group’s Director of Research Patrick Clawson openly talked about the possibility of using a false flag to provoke a war with Iran.

“I frankly think that crisis initiation is really tough, and it’s very hard for me to see how the United States president can get us to war with Iran,” Clawson began.

(Can I just pause here to note what a bizarre series of words that is? “Get us to war with Iran?” Get us to the thing that every sane human being wants to avoid with every fiber of their being? You want to “get us to” there? This is not the kind of thing normal humans say. You only hear this kind of insanity in the DC swamp where creatures like John Bolton have their roots.)

“Which leads me to conclude that if in fact compromise is not coming, that the traditional way that America gets to war is what would be best for US interests,” Clawson added. “Some people might think that Mr. Roosevelt wanted to get us into the war… you may recall we had to wait for Pearl Harbor. Some people might think that Mr. Wilson wanted to get us into World War One; you may recall we had to wait for the Lusitania episode. Some people might think that Mr. Johnson wanted to get us into Vietnam; you may recall we had to wait for the Gulf of Tonkin episode. We didn’t go to war with Spain until the USS Maine exploded. And may I point out that Mr. Lincoln did not feel that he could call out the Army until Fort Sumter was attacked, which is why he ordered the commander at Fort Sumter to do exactly that thing which the South Carolinians said would cause an attack.”

“So if, in fact, the Iranians aren’t going to compromise, it would be best if somebody else started the war,” Clawson continued. “One can combine other means of pressure with sanctions. I mentioned that explosion on August 17th. We could step up the pressure. I mean look people, Iranian submarines periodically go down. Some day, one of them might not come up. Who would know why? We can do a variety of things, if we wish to increase the pressure (I’m not advocating that) but I’m just suggesting that this is not an either/or proposition — just sanctions have to succeed or other things. We are in the game of using covert means against the Iranians. We could get nastier at that.”

We Know Where Your Kids Live" John Bolton threatened head of chemical weapons commission as part of effort launch war against Iraq https://t.co/p8uluxbWGH

 — @wikileaks

So these are ideas that have been in circulation for many years. That gun is loaded and ready to fire.

Bolton trussed up his 2010 confession using an example that most people would agree with: that it was reasonable for the Allied forces to deliberately deceive the Nazis about the nature of the D-Day invasion. But we know John Bolton better than that by now. This PNAC director and architect of the Iraq war once threatened to murder a foreign official’s children because his successful diplomatic efforts were putting a damper on the manufacturing of consent for the Iraq invasion. He wasn’t defending the use of deception in crucial military options used to halt tyrants trying to take over the world, he was defending the use of deception in the senseless wars of aggression that he has built his political career on advancing.

Take everything you hear about Iran with a planet-sized grain of salt, dear reader, and everything you hear about Venezuela too while we’re on the subject. There are skillful manipulators who are hell bent on toppling the governments of those nations, and they have absolutely no problem whatsoever with deceiving you in order to facilitate that. And they don’t believe the rules apply to them.

__________________________

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The real world versus the university

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Dumbing down educational standards makes students unemployable Read more...

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Wednesday, May 15, 2019

The Disinformationists

US Police Report Detailing Public Defender’s Death Leaked to Smear His Career

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On Friday, a freelance journalist in San Francisco, California, had his home raided by police, who were looking for a report leaked to the press earlier this year about the death of a public defender. An area reporter told Sputnik Wednesday the leak was likely motivated by revenge, and the police were under intense pressure to plug it.

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Millennials besieged by chronic illness: From age 27, it’s all “downhill”

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In Demonizing Our Opponents, We Only Demonize Ourselves

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A long-time friend, John, has a wonderful knack for talking to strangers. Like anyone over fifty, he has taken his share of life’s blows and has the dents in his armor to prove it. Unlike some who grow old, however, John has retained a genuine curiosity about people.

Recently, we were driving through town when John asked me to stop at an ice cream stand. I would have walked to the counter, ordered my ice cream, and returned to the car. Not John. He peppered the middle-aged woman behind the counter with questions, listened to her replies, and engaged her in enthusiastic conversation. Within ten minutes, we learned how she made her custard ice cream, the history of her business, why she preferred hiring school teachers to help during the busy summers rather than teenagers, and who owned the property on which the ice cream stand sat.

The next weekend, I was sitting in the coffee shop where I sometimes read or write. At the table opposite mine was a young man dressed in jeans and a t-shirt, his long, black hair tied into a ponytail. Bright tattoos ran from the back of his hands up both arms, where they disappeared beneath his shirt, and appeared again on his throat. Before him was an Apple tablet, which he kept poking repeatedly with some writing instrument, like a child making pencil dots on a piece of paper.

I kept giving him surreptitious glances, wondering why in the heck he was jabbing at his computer that way. Normally, I would have kept silent, but then John came to mind, and I rose to the occasion. “Excuse me, young man,” I said. He was so absorbed in tapping out his dots that I had to repeat myself. “Excuse me.”

He looked up.

“I was just wondering what you’re doing.”

“Come on over and I’ll show you.”

When I arrived at his table, he turned the tablet toward me. “I’m a tattoo artist,” he said.

“Who would have guessed?”

He laughed, and then explained that he designed his tattoos on the tablet. For the next few minutes, he showed me several designs and explained how the computer was helping him create a mandala for one of his customers. He was clearly proud of his tattoos and bent to his work again when I returned to my seat.

That young man and I were about as different in appearance as two people could be. His youth, ponytail, his dark features, his tattoos, his t-shirt and jeans stood in marked contrast to me, a man in his sixties, short hair, a button-down shirt, khakis, and as free of tattoos as a newborn babe. Yet we had hit it off because of my curiosity and his pleasure in discussing his work.

Later that day, when describing this incident to my daughter, the thought came to me that the current deep divisions in our country are in many ways artificial, created by politicians and the media, and by the online, no-prisoners warfare that passes for discourse. When we speak to our fellow human beings in the flesh, most of us are surely more polite than when we rip into a stranger in the comments section of some blog. Online blogs and comments gin us up, and the mask of anonymity steals away that reserve natural to flesh-and-blood encounters.

Which brings me back to my friend.

John is a news hound, a bright, articulate guy who daily visits several online sites, a conservative who adamantly and with colorful language discusses gun rights, Islam, illegal immigration, and the corruption in our government. Like most of us, John can be harsh toward those standing on the other side of the Grand Canyon now in place between conservatives and progressives.

But here’s the thing: John doesn’t post comments on blogs, he doesn’t tweet, and if he met you in a coffee shop and discovered you opposed gun ownership, he would converse and ask questions rather than denigrate you as somehow sub-human.

Our electronic communications have helped dig that canyon now separating so many Americans. The rudeness and obscene language, the ad hominem attacks, the diminishment of people through the use of smears and labels, the interchanges charged by emotion rather than by reason: these assaults, many of them savage, take place almost exclusively when we can hide behind our screens and keyboards. And in our efforts to win these secluded online arguments — or, more frequently, because we can’t win the argument — we sling mud at our opponents. Racist. Bigot. Sexist. No one is going to punch us in the nose when we shovel out such abuse. Copying the tactics of the Nazis, the Communists, and those who truly are racists, we steal away the humanity of those we despise.

Meanwhile, we forget this vital truth: When we demonize others, we are in in fact demonizing ourselves.

--

[Image Credit: Pxhere]



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Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Hunter Biden Must Testify Over Daddy-Linked Dealings In Ukraine, China: Schweizer

China Calls For "People's War" Against The US, Vows To "Fight For A New World"

Monsanto ‘Compiled Dossier’ on Political Opponents May 13th, 2019

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French officials are investigating after revelations that agro-chemicals firm Monsanto compiled a potentially illegal file on critics on chemicals and genetically modified crops. The document was made by a PR agency working for Monsanto, which makes the controversial weed killer glyphosate.



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WordPress.com Took Down Jon Rappoport’s Blog

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There is a purge underway on the wordpress.com platform.



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Blain: "Is Uber’s A Warning The Emperor’s New Clothes Moment Is Upon Us"

The bloodlust of the Twittermob has a long history

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Are we reviving the bill of attainder? Read more...

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Monday, May 13, 2019

Syria - OPCW Engineering Assessment: The Douma 'Chemical Weapon Attack' Was Staged

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doumalocation2-s.jpg

On April 7 2018 Syrian 'rebels' claimed that the Syrian government used chlorine gas and Sarin in an attack on the besieged Douma suburb near the Syrian capital Damascus. They published a series of videos which showed dead bodies of mainly women and children.



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Thursday, May 9, 2019

Tucker Carlson: We Are Ruled By Mercenaries Who Feel No Long-Term Obligation To The People They Rule | Video | RealClearPolitics

https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2019/01/03/tucker_carlson_we_are_ruled_by_mercenaries_who_feel_no_long-term_obligation_to_the_people_they_rule.html

What is killing marriage and the family?

https://www.mercatornet.com/features/view/what-is-killing-marriage-and-the-family/22445

Trump Continues Obama’s War On Whistleblowers, Arrests Another Alleged Intercept Source

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“New drone whistleblower at The Intercept,” tweeted the outspoken CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou in October 2015. “For God’s sake don’t let @MatthewACole learn his identity.”

Intercept investigative reporter Matthew Cole has been tied both to Kiriakou’s discovery and prosecution and to that of Reality Winner, who leaked classified documents to The Intercept in 2017. Kiriakou’s comment came after the first in a series of articles was published in The Intercept titled “The Drone Papers” by Jeremy Scahill on October 15, 2015. Today, the alleged source of this report has been arrested, the third alleged Intercept source to have been prosecuted by the Trump administration.

Former US Air Force language analyst Daniel Hale has been arrested and charged with violating the Espionage Act and other offenses related to leaking classified documents to the press. Court documents didn’t reveal the identity of the journalist who received the documents, but AP reports that “details in the indictment make clear that Jeremy Scahill, a founding editor of The Intercept, is the reporter who received the leaks.”

“The source said he decided to provide these documents to The Intercept because he believes the public has a right to understand the process by which people are placed on kill lists and ultimately assassinated on orders from the highest echelons of the U.S. government,” Scahill’s 2015 article reads, quoting his source as saying, “This outrageous explosion of watchlisting — of monitoring people and racking and stacking them on lists, assigning them numbers, assigning them ‘baseball cards,’ assigning them death sentences without notice, on a worldwide battlefield — it was, from the very first instance, wrong.”

“The person who leaked these documents to The Intercept revealed that the government classified anybody killed by U.S. drone strikes — even if they weren’t the target — as militants, and that’s how they were able to insist that civilians weren’t being killed in significant numbers,” reports Reason’s Scott Shackford.

Trump's Justice Department opened new chapter in US government's war on whistleblowers by indicting former member of Air Force who allegedly blew the whistle on the US targeted assassination program, which involves drones. Let's go through the indictment.

 — @kgosztola

Hale’s arrest has understandably brought harsh criticism against The Intercept for losing yet another source to federal prosecutors. In addition to Hale and Reality Winner, former FBI officer Terry James Albury was sentenced to four years in prison for leaking documents to The Intercept on the Hooveresque powers that the FBI has given itself in the wake of 9/11. It is absolutely right that people should be asking questions of a billionaire-funded outlet which keeps losing sources despite a solemn promise of source protection, and that discussion should continue to happen.

What in my opinion hasn’t received enough attention as of this writing, and what is far more dangerous than one moderate-sized outlet failing to protect its sources, is the fact that a US president is continuing and expanding on his predecessor’s unprecedented war on whistleblowers.

“The Trump admin is on pace to shatter the record for the most prosecutions of journalistic sources,” reads a statement by the Freedom of the Press Foundation. “Hale is at least the sixth alleged journalistic source charged by the Trump administration in just over two years in office. The Justice Department has previously indicated dozens more leak investigations are ongoing.”

“Prosecuting journalistic sources chills investigative reporting and poses an enormous threat to whistleblowers, press freedom rights, and the public’s right to know,” explained Freedom of the Press Foundation Executive Director Trevor Timm. “Whistleblowers should be lauded for their courage, not charged with felonies and imprisoned. The Trump administration is on pace to shatter the Obama administration’s record for the number of prosecutions of alleged sources, and everyone who cares about brave national security reporting should loudly condemn Hale’s arrest.”

“If the allegations are true, the U.S. government is prosecuting another whistleblower in its zeal to crackdown on leaks and control the flow of information, particularly on national security matters,” explains Kevin Gosztola in a very thorough article for Shadowproof. “They are also criminalizing another source, who provided information to The Intercept.”

http://archive.is/tPAZJ

You’d never know it from the debates in the mass media on both sides of America’s imaginary partisan divide, but the real story isn’t in the differences between Trump and his predecessors. It’s in the similarities.

Barack Obama made a promise to protect whistleblowers and have the most transparent administration in history, which was very well-received by the public after the frightening Orwellian advancements of George W Bush. People understood that in order for democracy to exist, the public needs to be able to see what its government is doing in all possible ways, and the prospect of a president who would give that to them made a lot of people feel hopeful. Obama then he went on to prosecute more whistleblowers than all previous administrations combined, and his successor, despite all the partisan chatter about how wildly different the two presidents are, is following right in his footsteps.

Information about targeted drone assassinations and distortions of civilian casualties are things the US government had no business keeping from its people in the first place. These are taxpayer-funded actions, and taxpayers have a right and a need to know that this sort of thing is being done with their money. The US government isn’t prosecuting someone who allegedly blew the whistle on this because he endangered national security in any way; clearly it did not. This was not a matter of national security, it was a matter of government embarrassment and inconvenience. That is not a legitimate reason to try to make an example of someone for revealing the truth about it. We should not accept that this is the kind of society that we’ll have to live in.

I mean, what do you do at this point if you’re someone who wants to blow the whistle on government malfeasance? Go to The Intercept, which keeps losing sources? Go to WikiLeaks, which the Trump administration has pledged to take down and whose founder is currently awaiting US extradition in Belmarsh Prison? A mainstream outlet like the New York Times, AP, Fox News, WikiLeaks, the Baltimore Sun, the Guardian, or the Washington Post, all of whom had sources prosecuted under Obama? The fact of the matter is that the deliberate intimidation of future whistleblowers will necessarily have its desired effect; many people who work with the US government will refrain from speaking out about atrocities they discover out of fear of spending years behind bars for doing the right thing.

At this point the only thing that will change this is the US populace rising up against its oppressive totalitarian rulers and ferociously demanding the transparency that it is entitled to from its government. This will continue to get worse until it’s forced to get better.

_________________

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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Edu-geddon: Nearly 40% Of Graduating College Seniors Feel Unprepared For A Career

The Real Muellergate Scandal

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Robert Mueller is either a fool, or deeply corrupt. I do not think he is a fool.

I did not comment instantly on the Mueller Report as I was so shocked by it, I have been waiting to see if any other facts come to light in justification. Nothing has. I limit myself here to that area of which I have personal knowledge – the leak of DNC and Podesta emails to Wikileaks. On the wider question of the corrupt Russian 1% having business dealings with the corrupt Western 1%, all I have to say is that if you believe that is limited in the USA by party political boundaries, you are a fool.

On the DNC leak, Mueller started with the prejudice that it was “the Russians” and he deliberately and systematically excluded from evidence anything that contradicted that view.

Mueller, as a matter of determined policy, omitted key steps which any honest investigator would undertake. He did not commission any forensic examination of the DNC servers. He did not interview Bill Binney. He did not interview Julian Assange. His failure to do any of those obvious things renders his report worthless.

There has never been, by any US law enforcement or security service body, a forensic examination of the DNC servers, despite the fact that the claim those servers were hacked is the very heart of the entire investigation. Instead, the security services simply accepted the “evidence” provided by the DNC’s own IT security consultants, Crowdstrike, a company which is politically aligned to the Clintons.

That is precisely the equivalent of the police receiving a phone call saying:

“Hello? My husband has just been murdered. He had a knife in his back with the initials of the Russian man who lives next door engraved on it in Cyrillic script. I have employed a private detective who will send you photos of the body and the knife. No, you don’t need to see either of them.”

There is no honest policeman in the world who would agree to that proposition, and neither would Mueller were he remotely an honest man.

Two facts compound this failure.

The first is the absolutely key word of Bill Binney, former Technical Director of the NSA, the USA’s $14 billion a year surveillance organisation. Bill Binney is an acknowledged world leader in cyber surveillance, and is infinitely more qualified than Crowdstrike. Bill states that the download rates for the “hack” given by Crowdstrike are at a speed – 41 Megabytes per second – that could not even nearly be attained remotely at the location: thus the information must have been downloaded to a local device, eg a memory stick. Binney has further evidence regarding formatting which supports this.

Mueller’s identification of “DC Leaks” and “Guccifer 2.0” as Russian security services is something Mueller attempts to carry off by simple assertion.Mueller shows DNC Leaks to have been the source of other, unclassified emails sent to Wikileaks that had been obtained under a Freedom of Information request and then Mueller simply assumes, with no proof, the same route was used again for the leaked DNC material. His identification of the Guccifer 2.0 persona with Russian agents is so flimsy as to be laughable. Nor is there any evidence of the specific transfer of the leaked DNC emails from Guccifer 2.0 to Wikileaks. Binney asserts that had this happened, the packets would have been instantly identifiable to the NSA.

Bill Binney is not a “deplorable”. He is the former Technical Director of the NSA. Mike Pompeo met him to hear his expertise on precisely this matter. Binney offered to give evidence to Mueller. Yet did Mueller call him as a witness? No. Binney’s voice is entirely unheard in the report.

Mueller’s refusal to call Binney and consider his evidence was not the action of an honest man.

The second vital piece of evidence we have is from Wikileaks Vault 7 release of CIA material, in which the CIA themselves outline their capacity to “false flag” hacks, leaving behind misdirecting clues including scraps of foreign script and language. This is precisely what Crowdstrike claim to have found in the “Russian hacking” operation.

So here we have Mueller omitting the key steps of independent forensic examination of the DNC servers and hearing Bill Binney’s evidence. Yet this was not for lack of time. While deliberately omitting to take any steps to obtain evidence that might disprove the “Russian hacking” story, Mueller had boundless time and energy to waste in wild goose chases after totally non-existent links between Wikileaks and the Trump campaign, including the fiasco of interviewing Roger Stone and Randy Credico.

It is worth remembering that none of the charges against Americans arising from the Mueller inquiry have anything to do with Russian collusion or Trump-Wikileaks collusion, which simply do not exist. The charges all relate to entirely extraneous matters dug up, under the extraordinary US system of “Justice”, to try to blackmail those charged with unrelated crimes turned up by the investigation, into fabricating evidence of Russian collusion. The official term for this process of blackmail is of course “plea-bargaining.”

Mueller has indicted 12 Russians he alleges are the GRU agents responsible for the “hack”. The majority of these turn out to be real people who, ostensibly, have jobs and lives which are nothing to do with the GRU. Mueller was taken aback when, rather than simply being in absentia, a number of them had representation in court to fight the charges. Mueller had to back down and ask for an immediate adjournment as soon as the case opened, while he fought to limit disclosure. His entire energies since on this case have been absorbed in submitting motions to limit disclosure, individual by individual, with the object of ensuring that the accused Russians can be convicted without ever seeing, or being able to reply to, the evidence against them. Which is precisely the same as his attitude to contrary evidence in his Report.

Mueller’s failure to examine the servers or take Binney’s evidence pales into insignificance compared to his attack on Julian Assange. Based on no conclusive evidence, Mueller accuses Assange of receiving the emails from Russia. Most crucially, he did not give Assange any opportunity to answer his accusations. For somebody with Mueller’s background in law enforcement, declaring somebody in effect guilty, without giving them any opportunity to tell their side of the story, is plain evidence of malice.

Inexplicably, for example, the Mueller Report quotes a media report of Assange stating he had “physical proof” the material did not come from Russia, but Mueller simply dismisses this without having made any attempt at all to ask Assange himself.

It is also particularly cowardly as Julian was and is held incommunicado with no opportunity to defend himself. Assange has repeatedly declared the material did not come from the Russian state or from any other state. He was very willing to give evidence to Mueller, which could have been done by video-link, by interview in the Embassy or by written communication. But as with Binney and as with the DNC servers, the entirely corrupt Mueller was unwilling to accept any evidence which might contradict his predetermined narrative.

Mueller’s section headed “The GRU’s Transfer of Stolen Material to Wikileaks” is a ludicrous farrago of internet contacts between Wikileaks and persons not proven to be Russian, transferring material not proven to be the DNC leaks. It too is destroyed by Binney and so pathetic that, having pretended he had proven the case of internet transfer, Mueller then gives the game away by adding “The office cannot rule out that stolen documents were transferred by intermediaries who visited during the summer of 2016”. He names Mr Andrew Muller-Maguhn as a possible courier. Yet again, he did not ask Mr Muller-Maguhn to give evidence. Nor did he ask me, and I might have been able to help him on a few of these points.

To run an “investigation” with a pre-determined idea as to who are the guilty parties, and then to name and condemn those parties in a report, without hearing the testimony of those you are accusing, is a method of proceeding that puts the cowardly and corrupt Mr Mueller beneath contempt.

Mueller gives no evidence whatsoever to back up his simple statement that Seth Rich was not the source of the DNC leak. He accuses Julian Assange of “dissembling” by referring to Seth Rich’s murder. It is an interesting fact that the US security services have shown precisely the same level of interest in examining Seth Rich’s computers that they have shown in examining the DNC servers. It is also interesting that this murder features in a report of historic consequences like that of Mueller, yet has had virtually no serious resource put into finding the killer.

Mueller’s condemnation of Julian Assange for allegedly exploiting the death of Seth Rich, would be infinitely more convincing if the official answer to the question “who murdered Seth Rich?” was not “who cares?”.

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The post The Real Muellergate Scandal appeared first on Craig Murray.



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Wednesday, May 8, 2019

A Civil War In Sports: Identity Politics Vs Science?

This Talk Between Aaron & Gabor Maté Is The Best Political Video I’ve Ever Seen

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The Grayzone’s Aaron Maté has done an interview with his father titled “America in denial: Gabor Maté on the psychology of Russiagate”, and it is the single best and most insightful political video I’ve ever seen. In 27 minutes it essentially describes the fundamental problems of our times, not just with Russiagate but with world politics as a whole, from the overarching behaviors of globe-dominating forces all the way down to the ways our own inner reluctance to face reality objectively helps to prop up those forces. So it deserves its own article.

Back when I learned that Gabor was Aaron’s father my first thought was, “That makes so much sense.” Aaron had exploded onto the Russiagate debate scene seemingly out of nowhere and quickly became the most thorough and lucid voice on the subject, holding to strict principles of valuing facts and evidence over the aggressive pressure to conform from his media peers and the authoritative assertions of government agencies. Gabor I’d known of for years because of how widely respected he is in other circles I’ve moved in for his penetrating insights into the human psyche. It makes perfect sense that someone with the moral fortitude to swim against the groupthink current and speak the truth no matter what would have someone like that as part of his personal formation.

I highly recommend watching the full interview, but since I know many of my readers aren’t big on watching videos I’ll sum up what I consider the highlights here with excerpts from the Grayzone transcript, because I really do think it’s that good and that important.

The elder Maté talked about the public support for the Russiagate narrative, and the inevitable disappointment which followed after Robert Mueller failed to turn up any evidence of collusion between the Russian government and the 2016 Trump campaign, as the result of emotional investment.

“Now, disappointment means that you’re expecting something and you wanted something to happen, and it didn’t happen,” Maté said. “So that means that some people wanted Mueller to find evidence of collusion, which means that emotionally they were invested in it. It wasn’t just that they wanted to know the truth. They actually wanted the truth to look a certain way. And wherever we want the truth to look a certain way, there’s some reason that has to do with their own emotional needs and not just with the concern for reality.”

Gabor explained that the reason for this emotional investment ensued from the trauma of seeing Trump elected. They had the choice between consciously feeling through the pain and fear of that trauma and then doing some serious examinations of the factors that led to Trump’s election, or blaming the whole thing on a foreign boogeyman and avoiding that self-confrontation altogether.

“You can look at that,” Maté explained. “Or you can say there must be a devil somewhere behind all this, and that devil is a foreign power, and his name is Putin, and his country is Russia. Now you’ve got a simple explanation that doesn’t invite you or necessitate that you explore your own pain and your own fear and your own trauma.”

“So I really believe that really this Russiagate narrative was, on the part of a lot of people, a sign of genuine upset at something genuinely upsetting,” Maté continued. “But rather than dealing with the upset, it was an easier way to in a sense draw off the energy of it in to some kind of a believable and comforting narrative. It’s much more comforting to believe that some enemy is doing this to us than to look at what does it say about us as a society.”

Maté went on to discuss Trump himself as not just traumatizing, but traumatized. Someone acting out his own inner issues in the world in a deeply unconscious way:

Donald Trump is the clearest example of a traumatized politician one could ever see. He’s in denial of reality all the time. He is self aggrandizing. His fundamental self concept is that of a nobody. So he has to make himself huge and big all the time and keep proving to the world how powerful and smart, what kind of degrees he’s got and how smart he is. It’s a compensation for terrible self image. He can’t pay attention to anything, which means that his brain is too scattered because it was too painful for him to pay attention.
What does this all come down to? The childhood that we know that he had in the home of a dictatorial child disparaging father… who demeaned his children mercilessly. One of Trump’s brothers drank himself to death. And Trump compensates for all that by trying to make himself as big and powerful and successful as possible. And, of course, he makes up for his anger towards his mother for not protecting him by attacking women and exploiting women and boasting about it publicly. I mean, it’s a clear trauma example. I’m not saying this to invite sympathy for Trump’s politics. I’m just describing that that’s who the man is.

Maté tied his observations about the refusal of Russiagaters to confront their inner trauma and Trump’s refusal to confront his to the refusal of Americans as a whole to confront the horrors that their own country has inflicted upon the world which dwarf even the most severe things the Russian government has been accused of doing to America.

“No serious student of history can possibly deny how the United States has interfered in the internal politics of just about every nation on earth,” Maté said, adding that this interference often consists of mass murder. “For example, in Chile, there’s an elected government that America cheerfully overthrows, even boasts about it. Not to mention the current interference in Venezuela, the internal politics. Not to mention, how as you’ve pointed out, many others have pointed out, and [Time] boasts about it on its cover, about how United States helped Boris Yeltsin get elected… Even if the worst thing that’s alleged about the Russians is true, it’s not even on miniscule proportion of what America has publicly acknowledged it has done all around the world.”

Maté talked about how “it’s always easier to see ourselves as the victims than as the perpetrators,” adding that “whether it’s Great Britain, or whether it’s France with their vast colonial empires, they’re always the victims of everybody else. The United States is always the victim of everybody else. All these enemies that are threatening us. It’s the most powerful nation on earth, a nation that could single handedly destroy the earth a billion times over with the weapons that are at its disposal, and it’s always the victim.”

“So this victimhood, there is something comforting about it because, again, it allows us not to look at ourselves,” Maté said. “And I think there was this huge element of victimhood in this Russiagate process.”

Maté talked about how Mueller, despite his horrible track record of supporting the WMD lie in the lead-up to the Iraq invasion, has been made into a hero, because Hollywood has trained the public psyche to seek out “good guys” and “bad guys” in every intense situation. This is what led Putin to be depicted as an omnipotent supervillain capable of infiltrating the highest levels of the US government, and Mueller as a knight in shining armor who was going to rescue us all.

“Rather than saying, okay, there’s a big problem here. We’ve elected a highly traumatized grandiose, intellectually unstable, emotionally unstable, misogynist, self aggrandizer to power. Something in our society made that happen. And let’s look at what that was. And let’s clear up those issues if we can. And let’s look at the people on the liberal side who, instead of challenging all those issues, put all their energies into this foreign conspiracy explanation. Because to have challenged those issues would have meant looking at their own policies, which tended in the same direction.
“Rather than looking at how under the Clinton, they’ve jailed hundreds of thousands of people who should never have been in jail. Looking at how under the Bushes and under Obama, there was this massive transfer of wealth upwards. Instead of asking why Barack Obama gets $400,000 for an hour speech to Wall Street, which means that maybe our faith in how our system operates needs to be shaken a bit so we can actually look at what’s really going on, let’s just put our attention on some foreign devil again.”

Maté talked about how Obama, despite being a warmonger like the other US presidents, represented a nice ideal in people’s minds, so the contrast between that ideal and Trump’s election made it especially traumatic. This made people unwilling to look at the actual root causes of Hillary Clinton’s loss, which taken together are far more threatening to democracy than anything Russia is accused of doing, even if those accusations are all 100 percent true.

In conclusion the younger Maté asked his father for his advice on what people can do going forward to avoid the mistakes that led to Trump’s election, and to the years of Russia hysteria that followed, or at least to deal with similar challenges in a more mature way.

“Well, first of all, I advise people to do something that I find hard to do myself, but I think it’s essential,” replied the elder Maté. “Which is that when there’s hard emotions there, just own them. Just own that you’re hurt. Own that you’re confused. Just own it. Say I’m hurt, I’m confused, I’m terrified. And rather than try and find an explanation right away, just own the feeling. And then when you’re ready, then actually ask, what happened here? What actually happened here? What are the facts? What behaviors or beliefs on my part maybe contributed to the situation? So be curious. Be really curious.”

With regard to the press, Gabor advised to be objective and skeptical of the government agencies which have so consistently deceived America into wars:

“At least be objective. Don’t be so quick to jump on board. Don’t be so quick to assume that because almost the whole media is broadcasting, trumpeting a certain line, that that line represents reality. Learn from history. Learn from this one. Learn from this Russiagate thing that they were all saying for years that this is a given fact. All of a sudden it turns out not to be a given fact. Well, next time, don’t be so quick to believe them.”

Gabor pointed out that for all people’s efforts at avoiding the internal confrontations which necessarily come along with disillusionment, it is much better to be disillusioned than illusioned.

“Would you rather believe in something that’s false, which means to have an illusion? Or would you rather be disillusioned?” Maté asked. “In other words, to see the truth. And I’m saying that we should be glad to be disillusioned. So this Russiagate and this ignoble end to the Russiagate narrative, it’s a disillusionment for a lot of people, but that’s a good thing. If they say, okay, I had this illusion, this illusion I no longer have, which means I’ve been disillusioned, now I can actually look at the truth. So it’s good to be disillusioned.”

“So this could be a positive beginning for a lot of people if they take the right attitude,” Maté concluded.

Man, I really hope so.

____________________________

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Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Feminism’s Blind Spot: the Abuse of Women by Non-White Men, Particularly Muslims

ORIGINAL LINK

Nusrat Jahan Rafi was a young woman who attended a madrassa in the rural town of Feni in Bangladesh. In late March of this year, she attended the local police station to report a crime. Nusrat alleged that the headmaster at her madrassa had called her into his office several days before and sexually assaulted her. After the assault, Nusrat told her family what had happened and decided to make a report to the police, no doubt trusting that they would treat her with some decency. The officer who took her statement did no such thing. He videotaped it on his camera phone and can be heard on the footage telling her that the assault was “not a big deal.” The headmaster was arrested, but someone within the police leaked the fact that Nusrat had made allegations against him and the footage of her statement ended up on social media. She was soon receiving threats from students at the madrassa as well as other people in the community. Influential local politicians expressed their support for the headmaster and crowds gathered in the streets of Feni demanding his release. Defiant, Nusrat insisted on going into the madrassa to sit her exams, but while there she was tricked into going up onto the roof of the building with a fellow female student. She was then set upon by a group of people who tried to persuade her to withdraw her allegations. When she refused, they doused her with kerosene and set her alight. Some of the men arrested have since told police that the attack had been planned and ordered by the headmaster from prison. Nusrat survived long enough to describe what had happened, but died in hospital on 10th April. She was 19.

It’s difficult to imagine a more tragic example of the terrible dangers that women can face in speaking out about sexual violence, nor the lengths that some people will go to in order to protect perpetrators from exposure. In Bangladesh there has been a huge response to Nusrat’s murder. Tens of thousands of people attended her funeral prayers, and there have been protests in the capital Dhaka. Bangladeshi feminists have used the case to draw attention to the high rates of sexual abuse in the country and the mistreatment of victims by police.

The news has recently started filtering through to the Western media, but thus far prominent feminists have been noticeably silent. At the time of writing, there has been no mention of Nusrat’s murder in the major third wave feminist websites Jezebel, Feministing, and Everyday Feminism. Notably, the radical feminist platform Feminist Current has reported on the case—this is the site edited by Canadian journalist Meghan Murphy, considered so reprehensible by Twitter that she has been banned. Although there have been reports on the murder in the international sections of most newspapers, Nusrat’s name has not appeared on the comment pages of any of the major Left-leaning anglophone newspapers: the New York Times, the Guardian, the Huffington Post, the Independent, or the Sydney Morning Herald.

This is partly because news outlets tend to be rather parochial. There’s a reason that following the Easter Sunday terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka most U.K. newspapers led with stories about U.K. nationals who had been killed or lost loved ones, and it’s not because journalists are indifferent to the suffering of people overseas—or, at least, no more than anyone else. Readers set the agenda, and in the age of online news, editors know precisely and to-the-minute which stories are attracting the most eyeballs. The harsh reality is that events that take place in non-Western countries are less interesting to Western readers, and so get less coverage. This applies to all stories, not just those that involve violence against women.

So to some extent the failure of Western feminists to comment on Nusrat’s murder is due to a more general lack of interest in international news. Nevetherless, it does play into a longstanding criticism of Western feminists: that they focus exclusively on issues affecting women in their own countries and ignore abuses that take place overseas. Sometimes this criticism is simply a transparent attempt to trivialise the sexism women experience in the West and this is a rhetorical ploy I have little time for. Despite the huge strides made in the last century, women continue to face sexual violence and intimate partner abuse at far higher rates than men, regardless of which part of the world they happen to live in. Western women are also disproportionately affected by other forms of mistreatment that cause terrible suffering, as are women in the non-Western world. Yes, no matter how bad one woman’s situation is, there will always be another woman worse off. But it helps no one to descend into a game of oneupmanship in the style of Monty Python’s four Yorkshiremen.

But still, there is something to the claim that Western feminists neglect the suffering of women overseas. I know that many feminists simply roll their eyes at those who make this criticism, but refusing to address the most obvious criticisms of your ideology leaves gaping holes that undermine the movement as a whole, and a reluctance to take part in debate produces campaigners who are incapable of composing a cogent response when faced with even the weakest arguments.

And this is not a weak argument. There are forces at play within feminism that lead to tragedies like Nusrat’s being overlooked, and we should think seriously about the effect this has on women in places like Bangladesh. I have written previously in Quillette about why the most severe forms of sexist abuse are often neglected in mainstream feminism. There are several factors that contribute to this phenomenon: the tendency on the part of feminist campaigners to prioritise forms of sexism that they have personally experienced; a media appetite for controversy paired with a reluctance to report on distressing cases; and also a competitive culture within feminism that encourages activists to ‘out woke’ each other in condemning increasingly mild forms of sexist behaviour, while ignoring outright horrors.

There is another factor at play in this particular case, and it pokes at a particularly sore spot for the Regressive Left. It’s impossible to ignore the fact that Nusrat’s murderers were partially motivated by a particularly conservative strain of Islam that seeks to impose brutal restrictions on women. Yes, it is common for victims of sexual violence to be punished for speaking out, whether or not they live in Muslim-majority countries. But the ferocity of the response to Nusrat’s disclosure went well beyond what we see in the West. This provokes discomfort among Western feminists who are so eager to prove that they are not racist that they are prepared to ignore all manner of abuses perpetrated against Muslim women by Muslim men.

For instance, in response to the Christchurch attacks in March, some non-Muslim New Zealand women, including Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, chose to wear a hijab to demonstrate their solidarity with the victims of the atrocity and their families. The act was clearly well intentioned, and may have provided some comfort to Muslim New Zealanders. But it was also tone deaf because, at the same time that New Zealand women were choosing to wear the hijab, Iranian feminists were desperately fighting to be free of it. Dozens of Iranian women have been arrested over the last two years for their involvement in a campaign to remove the legal requirement for women to wear headscarves in public. Some of these women have been tortured in prison. Did the New Zealand women who donned the hijab know about this brave campaign? I’m guessing not.

Some feminists in the West insist that the veil—not just the hijab, but also more restrictive coverings such as the burka—should be seen as not only benign, but actually empowering. Meanwhile, campaigners like Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who draw attention to the suffering of Muslim women, are turned into pariahs. There is a shocking double standard: forms of oppression that Western women would never accept for themselves are excused when they are imposed on women in the Muslim world.

It’s not as though Western feminism is not interested in the effects of race, religion, and nationality on women’s experiences of sexism. Criticism of Christianity is par for the course, particularly when it comes to the Catholic church. And many contemporary feminists are highly agitated about racism within the movement, disowning feminists who have now become associated with racist ideas—for instance, the American suffragist Susan B. Anthony. Given this, you might think that the suffering of women of colour under theocratic regimes would consistently be given precedence in feminist campaigning.

But the sticky issue for feminists who are also part of the Regressive Left is that the perpetrators of abuse against non-white women are mostly non-white men. Standing up against these misogynists leaves one open to accusations of racism, and most Western feminists are not willing to take that risk. Even ex-Muslims like Hirsi Ali can’t escape accusations of Islamophobia. She’s courageous enough to withstand these attacks, but most people aren’t.

And God help you if it’s a case in which white women have been victimised by non-white men. Swedish journalist Paulina Neuding has written in Quillette about the dramatic rise in sex crimes in Sweden over the last decade. Swedish authorities have been unwilling to recognise this trend, in large part because the evidence suggests that immigrant men from North Africa and the Middle East are overrepresented among the perpetrators. Sweden is one of many European countries that have seen a huge rise in a particular form of sex crime in which large gangs of men surround women in order to sexually assault and sometimes rob them. This phenomenon first gained widespread attention following attacks in Cologne on New Year’s Eve 2015. The Left across Europe has been reluctant to acknowledge the scale of this phenomenon because the perpetrators are mostly young Muslim men and the victims are mostly white women. Following the incident in Cologne, Gaby Hinsliff asked in the Guardian whether the attackers might have been motivated by resentment of German women who “with their expensive smartphones” were so noticeably wealthier than the men who assaulted them. The suggestion being, presumably, that levelling the economic playing field would persuade rapists not to rape. Try to imagine a Guardian columnist explaining away white men’s sexual violence in similar terms.

Leftist commentators may think that by underplaying the abuses perpetrated by men of colour they are striking a blow against racism, but in fact they are more likely to be unwittingly acting as recruiters for the Far Right. In the U.K., the revelations about child sex abuse rings operating in cities including Rotherham, Rochdale, and Oxford have been a particular point of tension. The perpetrators of this type of abuse are disproportionately from Pakistani and Bangladeshi backgrounds, and the victims are disproportionately white. It seems that part of the reason these crimes went unpunished for so long was because the authorities were afraid that they would be accused of racism if they drew attention to what was happening. Yes, men of all races can and do abuse. Yes, the existence of these sex abuse rings has been exploited by Far Right activists like Tommy Robinson who are noticeably silent on other forms of sexual violence. But Robinson, who is now standing as an independent in the forthcoming European Parliament elections, has profited from the fact that there is a grain of truth in his position: the Regressive Left really does ignore forms of abuse that are politically inconvenient.

The effect of this wilful blindness is that the victims of violence are abandoned. Given that most abuse takes place within racial groups, when the Left refuses to recognise the crimes of Muslim men it also refuses to recognise the victimisation of Muslim women. Think of the funding, publicity, and diplomatic pressure that could be brought to bear on the oppressors of women in the Muslim world if only there was the political will. But lending support to such an effort would be considered by many on the Left to be an act of neo-colonialism, even outright racism.

I once heard an interview with a Muslim feminist who had been imprisoned in her home country for activism during the height of the Second Wave. While in prison, she received letters from many feminists in Europe and America who assured her that she had not been forgotten. She said that when she read these letters she felt “the warm waves of Western feminism lapping at my feet.” Would she experience the same level of support now? I’m not sure. Too many Western feminists have turned away from the suffering of Muslim women, preferring to protect themselves from accusations of bigotry levelled by other Westerners. There are real costs to being monstered by the Regressive Left, but they’re nothing to the risks run by feminists in the Muslim world, where women are suffering the sort of violent subjugation that is now a thing of the past here. Nusrat Jahan Rafi paid the ultimate price for refusing to bow down to this oppression. If only the Western feminists who refuse to stand up for women like Nusrat had an ounce of her bravery.

 

Louise Perry is a freelance writer based in the U.K.

Feature photo by Sk Hasan Ali / Shutterstock.

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