Saturday, December 10, 2016

This LA Musician Built $1,200 Tiny Houses for the Homeless: New at Reason


Each night, tens of thousands of people sleep in tent cities crowding the palm-lined boulevards of Los Angeles, far more than any other city in the nation. The homeless population in the entertainment capital of the world has hit new record highs in each of the past few years.

But a 39-year-old struggling musician from South LA thought he had a creative fix. Elvis Summers, who went through stretches of homelessness himself in his 20s, raised over $100,000 through crowdfunding campaigns last spring. With the help of professional contractors and others in the community who sign up to volunteer through his nonprofit, Starting Human, he has built dozens of solar-powered, tiny houses to shelter the homeless since.

Summers says that the houses are meant to be a temporary solution that, unlike a tent, provides the secure foundation residents need to improve their lives. "The tiny houses provide immediate shelter," he explains. "People can lock their stuff up and know that when they come back from their drug treatment program or court or finding a job all day, their stuff is where they left it."

Each house features a solar power system, a steel-reinforced door, a camping toilet, a smoke detector, and even window alarms. The tiny structures cost Summers roughly $1,200 apiece to build.

LA city officials, however, had a different plan to address the crisis. On the morning of February 9, just as the mayor and council gathered at City Hall to announce their new plan to end homelessness, police and garbage trucks descended on the tiny homes, towing three of them to a Bureau of Sanitation lot for disposal.

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A "Soft Coup" Attempt: Furious Trump Slams "Secret" CIA Report Russia Helped Him Win


Overnight the media propaganda wars escalated after the late Friday release of an article by the Washington Post (which last week admitted to using unverified, or fake, news in an attempt to smear other so-called "fake news" sites) according to which a secret CIA assessment found that Russia sought to tip last month’s U.S. presidential election in Donald Trump’s favor, a conclusion presented without any actual evidence, and which drew an extraordinary, and angry rebuke from the president-elect’s camp.

“These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction,” Trump’s transition team said, launching a broadside against the spy agency. “The election ended a long time ago in one of the biggest Electoral College victories in history. It’s now time to move on and ‘Make America Great Again.’ ”

The Washington Post report comes after outgoing President Barack Obama ordered a review of all cyberattacks that took place during the 2016 election cycle, amid growing calls from Congress for more information on the extent of Russian interference in the campaign. The newspaper cited officials briefed on the matter as saying that individuals with connections to Moscow provided WikiLeaks with email hacked from the Democratic National Committee, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign chief and others.

Without a shred of evidence provided, and despite Wikileaks' own on the record denial that the source of the emails was Russian, the WaPo attack piece claims the email messages were steadily leaked out via WikiLeaks in the months before the election, damaging Clinton’s White House run. Essentially, according to the WaPo, the Russians’ aim was to help Donald Trump win and not just undermine the U.S. electoral process, hinting at a counter-Hillary intent on the side of Putin.

“It is the assessment of the intelligence community that Russia’s goal here was to favor one candidate over the other, to help Trump get elected,” the newspaper quoted a senior U.S. official briefed on an intelligence presentation last week to key senators as saying. “That’s the consensus view.”

CIA agents told the lawmakers it was “quite clear” - although it was not reported exactly what made it "clear" - that electing Trump was Russia’s goal, according to officials who spoke to the Post, citing growing evidence from multiple sources.

And yet, key questions remain unanswered, and the CIA’s report fell short of being a formal U.S. assessment produced by all 17 intelligence agencies the newspaper said, for two reasons. As we reported in November "The "Fact" That 17 Intelligence Agencies Confirmed Russia is Behind the Email Hacks Isn’t Actually…A "Fact", and then also because aside from so-called "consensus", there is - once again - no evidence, otherwise the appropriate agencies would have long since released it, and this is nothing more than another propaganda attempt to build tension with Russia. In fact, the WaPo admits as much in the following text, which effectively destroys the article's entire argument :

The CIA presentation to senators about Russia’s intentions fell short of a formal U.S. assessment produced by all 17 intelligence agencies. A senior U.S. official said there were minor disagreements among intelligence officials about the agency’s assessment, in part because some questions remain unanswered.

For example, intelligence agencies do not have specific intelligence showing officials in the Kremlin “directing” the identified individuals to pass the Democratic emails to WikiLeaks, a second senior U.S. official said. Those actors, according to the official, were “one step” removed from the Russian government, rather than government employees. Moscow has in the past used middlemen to participate in sensitive intelligence operations so it has plausible deniability.

* * *


 “I’ll be the first one to come out and point at Russia if there’s clear evidence, but there is no clear evidence — even now,” said Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and a member of the Trump transition team. “There’s a lot of innuendo, lots of circumstantial evidence, that’s it.”

And since even the WaPo is forced to admit that intelligence agents don’t have the proof that Russian officials directed the identified individuals to supply WikiLeaks with the hacked Democratic emails, the best it can do is speculate based on circumstantial inferences, especially since, as noted above, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has denied links with Russia’s government, putting the burden of proof on the side of those who challenge the Wikileaks narrative. So far that proof has not been provided.

Nonetheless, at the White House, Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz said Obama called for the cyberattacks review earlier this week to ensure “the integrity of our elections.”

“This report will dig into this pattern of malicious cyberactivity timed to our elections, take stock of our defensive capabilities and capture lessons learned to make sure that we brief members of Congress and stakeholders as appropriate,” Schultz said.

Taking the absurdity to a whole new level, Obama wants the report completed before his term ends on January 20, by none other than a proven and confirmed liar: "The review will be led by James Clapper, the outgoing director of national intelligence, officials said." In other words, the report that the Kremlin stole the election should be prepared by the time Trump is expected to be sworn in.

“We are going to make public as much as we can,” the spokesman added. “This is a major priority for the president.”

The move comes after Democrats in Congress pressed the White House to reveal details, to Congress or to the public, of Russian hacking and disinformation in the election.

On Oct. 7, one month before the election, the Department of Homeland Security and the Director of National Intelligence announced that “the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of emails from U.S. persons and institutions, including from U.S. political organizations.” “These thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the U.S. election process,” they said.

Trump dismissed those findings in an interview published Wednesday by Time magazine for its “Person of the Year” award. Asked if the intelligence was politicized, Trump answered: “I think so.”

“I don’t believe they interfered,” he said. “It could be Russia. And it could be China. And it could be some guy in his home in New Jersey.”

Worried that Trump will sweep the issue under the rug after his inauguration, seven Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee called on Nov. 29 for the White House to declassify what it knows about Russian interference. The seven have already been briefed on the classified details, suggesting they believe there is more information the public should know. On Tuesday this week, leading House Democrats called on Obama to give members of the entire Congress a classified briefing on Russian interference, from hacking to the spreading of fake news stories to mislead U.S. voters.

Republicans in Congress have also promised hearings into Russian activities once the new administration comes in.

Obama’s homeland security adviser Lisa Monaco said the cyberinterference goes back to the 2008 presidential race, when both the Obama and John McCain campaigns were hit by malicious computer intrusions.

* * *

An interesting aside to emerge from last night's hit piece and the Trump team response is that there is now a full blown turf war between Trump and the CIA, as NBC's Chuck Todd observed in a series of late Friday tweets:

The implication in the Trump transition statement is that he doesn't believe a single thing from the CIA.

— Chuck Todd (@chucktodd) December 10, 2016

Is the next Commander-in-Chief is signaling that the CIA won't be a major player in his national security team?

— Chuck Todd (@chucktodd) December 10, 2016

So stunned by the Trump transition statement on the Post-CIA-Russia story that I half expect a walk back by tomorrow

— Chuck Todd (@chucktodd) December 10, 2016

How helpful is it for the CIA's reputation around the world if the next US questions their findings so publicly? Good luck Mike Pompeo

— Chuck Todd (@chucktodd) December 10, 2016

To which Glenn Greenwald provided the best counterargument:

Yes, the CIA's sterling reputation around the world for truth-telling and integrity might be sullied if someone doubts their claims...

— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) December 10, 2016

When is it hardest to get people not to blindly accept anonymous, evidence-free CIA claims? When it's very pleasing to believe them.

— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) December 10, 2016

However, of the mini Tweetstorm, this was the most important aspect: the veiled suggestion that in addition to Russia, both the FBI and the Obama presidency prevented Hillary from becoming the next US president...

While Obama's FBI director smeared Hillary, Obama sat on evidence of Russian efforts to elect Trump that had basis in evidence.

— Franklin Foer (@FranklinFoer) December 10, 2016

... which in light of these stunning new unproven and baseless allegations, she may very well have renewed aspirations toward.

* * *

So while there is no "there" there following the WaPo's latest attempt to fan the rarging fires of evidence-free propaganda, or as the WaPo itself would say "fake news", here is why the story has dramatic implications. First, the only two quotes which matter:

"...there is no clear evidence — even now,” said Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and a member of the Trump transition team. “There’s a lot of innuendo, lots of circumstantial evidence, that’s it.”


* * *


"...Obama wants the report before he leaves office Jan. 20, Monaco said. The review will be led by [PROVEN LIAR] James Clapper, the outgoing director of national intelligence, officials said."

And then the summary:

  1. Announce "consensus" (not unanimous) "conclusion" based in circumstantial evidence now, before the Electoral College vote, then write a report with actual details due by Jan 20.
  2. Put a proven liar in charge of writing the report on Russian hacking.
  3. Fail to mention that not one of the leaked DNC or Podesta emails has been shown to be inauthentic. So the supposed Russian hacking simply revealed truth about Hillary, DNC, and MSM collusion and corruption.
  4. Fail to mention that if hacking was done by or for US government to stop Hillary, blaming the Russians would be the most likely disinformation used by US agencies.
  5. Expect every pro-Hillary lapdog journalist - which is virtually all of them - in America will hyperventilate (Twitter is currently on fire) about this latest fact-free, anti-Trump political stunt for the next nine days.

Or, as a reader put it, this is a soft coup attempt by leaders of Intel community and Obama Admin to influence the Electoral College vote, similar to the 1960s novel "Seven Days in May."


Anonymous Leaks to the WashPost About the CIA’s Russia Beliefs Are No Substitute for Evidence


The Washington Post late Friday night published an explosive story that, in many ways, is classic American journalism of the worst sort: the key claims are based exclusively on the unverified assertions of anonymous officials, who in turn are disseminating their own claims about what the CIA purportedly believes, all based on evidence that remains completely secret.

These unnamed sources told the Post that “the CIA has concluded in a secret assessment that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to help Donald Trump win the presidency, rather than just to undermine confidence in the U.S. electoral system.” The anonymous officials also claim that “intelligence agencies have identified individuals with connections to the Russian government who provided WikiLeaks with thousands of hacked emails” from both the DNC and John Podesta’s email account. Critically, none of the actual evidence for these claims is disclosed; indeed, the CIA’s “secret assessment” itself remains concealed.

A second leak from last night, this one given to the New York Times, cites other anonymous officials as asserting that “the Russians hacked the Republican National Committee’s computer systems in addition to their attacks on Democratic organizations, but did not release whatever information they gleaned from the Republican networks.” But that NYT story says that “it is also far from clear that Russia’s original intent was to support Mr. Trump, and many intelligence officials — and former officials in Mrs. Clinton’s campaign — believe that the primary motive of the Russians was to simply disrupt the campaign and undercut confidence in the integrity of the vote.”

Deep down in its article, the Post notes – rather critically – that “there were minor disagreements among intelligence officials about the agency’s assessment, in part because some questions remain unanswered.” Most importantly, the Post adds that “intelligence agencies do not have specific intelligence showing officials in the Kremlin ‘directing’ the identified individuals to pass the Democratic emails to WikiLeaks.” But the purpose of both anonymous leaks is to finger the Russian Government for these hacks, acting with the motive to defeat Hillary Clinton.

Needless to say, Democrats – still eager to make sense of their election loss and to find causes for it other than themselves – immediately declared these anonymous claims about what the CIA believes to be true, and, with a somewhat sweet, religious-type faith, treated these anonymous assertions as proof of what they wanted to believe all along: that Vladimir Putin was rooting for Donald Trump to win and Hillary Clinton to lose and used nefarious means to ensure that outcome. That Democrats are now venerating unverified, anonymous CIA leaks as sacred is par for the course for them this year, but it’s also a good indication of how confused and lost U.S. political culture has become in the wake of Trump’s victory.

Given the obvious significance of this story – it is certain to shape how people understand the 2016 election and probably foreign policy debates for months if not years to come – it is critical to keep in mind some basic facts about what is known and, more importantly, what is not known:

(1) Nobody has ever opposed investigations to determine if Russia hacked these emails, nor has anyone ever denied the possibility that Russia did that. The source of contention has been quite simple: no accusations should be accepted until there is actual convincing evidence to substantiate those accusations.

There is still no such evidence for any of these claims. What we have instead are assertions, disseminated by anonymous people, completely unaccompanied by any evidence, let alone proof. As a result, none of the purported evidence – still – can be publicly seen, reviewed and discussed. Anonymous claims leaked to newspapers about what the CIA believes do not constitute proof, and certainly do not constitute reliable evidence that substitutes for actual evidence that can be reviewed. Have we really not learned this lesson yet?

A reminder to take every claim made by unnamed US officials about intelligence conclusions with healthy skepticism.

— Christopher Hayes (@chrislhayes) December 10, 2016


(2) The reasons no rational person should blindly believe anonymous claims of this sort – even if it is pleasing to believe such claims – should be obvious by now.

To begin with, CIA officials are professional, systematic liars; they lie constantly, by design, and with great skill, and have for many decades, as have intelligence officials in other agencies.

Many of those incidents demonstrate, as hurtful as it is to accept, that these agencies even lie when there’s a Democrat overseeing the Executive Branch. Even in those cases when they are not deliberately lying, they are often gravely mistaken. Intelligence is not a science, and attributing hacks to specific sources is a particularly difficult task, almost impossible to carry out with precision and certainty.

Beyond that, what makes claims from anonymous sources so especially dubious is that their motives cannot be assessed. Who are the people summarizing these claims to the Washington Post? What motives do they have for skewing the assertions one way or the other? Who are the people inside the intelligence community who fully ratify these assertions and who are the ones who dissent? It’s impossible to answer any of these questions because everyone is masked by the shield of anonymity, which is why reports of this sort demand high levels of skepticism, not blind belief.

Most important of all, the more serious the claim is – and accusing a nuclear-armed power of directly and deliberately interfering in the U.S. election in order to help the winning candidate is about as serious as a claim can get – the more important it is to demand evidence before believing it. Wars have started over far less serious claims than this one. People like Lindsey Graham are already beating their chest, demanding that the U.S. do everything in its power to punish Russia and “Putin personally.”

Nobody should need an explainer about why it’s dangerous in the extreme to accept such inflammatory accusations on faith or, worse, based on the anonymous assurances of intelligence officials, in lieu of seeing the actual evidence.


(3) An important part of this story, quite clearly, is inter-agency feuding between, at the very least, the CIA and the FBI.

Recall that the top echelon of the CIA was firmly behind Clinton and vehemently against Trump, while at least some powerful factions within the FBI had the opposite position.

Former Acting CIA Director Michael Morell not only endorsed Clinton in the New York Times but claimed that “Mr. Putin had recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation.” George W. Bush’s CIA and NSA Director, Gen. Michael Hayden, pronounced Trump a “clear and present danger” to U.S. national security and then, less than a week before the election, went to the Washington Post to warn that “Donald Trump really does sound a lot like Vladimir Putin” and said Trump is “the useful fool, some naif, manipulated by Moscow, secretly held in contempt, but whose blind support is happily accepted and exploited.”

Meanwhile, key factions in the FBI were furious that Hillary Clinton was not criminally charged for her handling of classified information; pressured FBI Director James Comey into writing a letter that was pretty clearly harmful to Clinton about further investigating the case; and seemed to be improperly communicating with close Trump ally Rudy Giuliani. And while we are now being treated to anonymous leaks about how the CIA believes Putin helped Trump, recall that the FBI, just weeks ago, was shovelling anonymous claims to the New York Times that had the opposite goal:

One can choose to believe whatever anonymous claims from these agencies with a long history of lying and error one wants to believe, based on whatever agenda one has. Or one can wait to review the actual evidence before forming beliefs about what really happened. It should take little effort to realize that the latter option is the only rational path.


(4) Even just within the leaks of the last 24 hours, there are multiple grounds of confusion, contradictions and uncertainty.

The always-observant Marcy Wheeler last night documented many of those; anyone interested in this story should read her analysis as soon as possible. I want to highlight just a few of these vital contradictions and questions.

To start with, the timing of these leaks is so striking. Even as Democrats have spent months issuing one hysterical claim after the next about Russian interference, the White House, and Obama specifically, have been very muted about all of this. Perhaps that’s becuase he did not want to appear partisan or be inflammatory, but perhaps it’s because he does not believe there is sufficient proof to accuse the Russian Government; after all, if he really believed the Russians did even half of what Democrats claim, wouldn’t he (as some Democrats have argued) be duty-bound to take aggressive action in retaliation?

It was announced yesterday afternoon that Obama had ordered a full review of hacking allegations: a perfectly sensible step that makes clear that an investigation is needed, and evidence disclosed, before any definitive conclusions can be reached. It was right on the heels of that announcement that this CIA leak emerged: short-cutting the actual, deliberative investigative process Obama had ordered in order to lead the public to believe that all the answers were already known and, before the investigation even starts, that Russia was guilty of all charges.

More important is what the Post buries in its story: namely, what are the so-called “minor disagreements among intelligence officials about the agency’s assessment”? How “minor” are they? And what do these conclusions really mean if, as the Post’s sources admit, the CIA is not even able to link the hack to the actual Russian government, but only to people outside the government (From the Post: “Those actors, according to the official, were ‘one step’ removed from the Russian government, rather than government employees”)?

This is why it’s such a shoddy and unreliable practice to conduct critical debates through conflicting anonymous leaks. Newspapers like the Post have the obvious incentive to hype the flashy, flamboyant claims while downplaying and burying the caveats and conflicting evidence. None of these questions can be asked, let alone answered, because the people who are making these claims are hidden and the evidence is concealed.


(5) Contrary to the declarations of self-vindication by supremely smug Democrats, none of this even relates to, let alone negates, the concerns over their election-year McCarthyite behavior and tactics.

Contrary to the blatant strawman many Democrats are railing against, nobody ever said it was McCarthyite to want to investigate claims of Russian hacking. To the contrary, critics of Clinton supporters have been arguing for exactly that: that these accusations should not be believed in the absence of meaningful inquiry and evidence, which has thus far been lacking.

What critics have said is McCarthyite – and, as one of those critics, I fully stand by this – is the lowly tactic of accusing anyone questioning these accusations, or criticizing the Clinton campaign, of being Kremlin stooges or Putin agents. Back in August, after Democrats decided to smear Jill Stein as a Putin stooge, here’s how I defined the McCarthyite atmosphere that Democrats have deliberately cultivated this year:

So that’s the Democratic Party’s approach to the 2016 election. Those who question, criticize or are perceived to impede Hillary Clinton’s smooth, entitled path to the White House are vilified as stooges, sympathizers and/or agents of Russia: Trump, WikiLeaks, Sanders, The Intercept, Jill Stein. Other than loyal Clinton supporters, is there anyone left who is not covertly controlled by or in service to The Ruskies?

Concerns over Democrats’ McCarthyism never had anything to do with a desire for an investigation into the source of the DNC and Podesta hacking; everyone favored such investigations. Indeed, accusations that Democrats were behaving in a McCarthyite manner were predicated – and still are – on their disgusting smearing as Kremlin agents of anyone who wanted evidence and proof before believing these inflammatory accusations about Russia.

To see the true face of this neo-McCarthyism, watch this amazing interview from this week with Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff, one of the party’s leading Russia hawks (he’s quoted in the Post article attacking Obama for not retaliating against Putin). When Schiff is repeatedly asked by the interviewer, Tucker Carlson, for evidence to support his allegation that Putin ordered the hacking of Podesta’s emails, Schiff provides none.

What he does instead is accuse Carlson of being a Kremlin stooge and finally tells him he should put his program on RT. That – which has become very typical Democratic rhetoric – is the vile face of neo-McCarthyism that Democrats have adopted this year, and nothing in this CIA leak remotely vindicates or justifies it:

Needless to say, questions about who hacked the DNC and Podesta email accounts are serious and important ones. The answers have widespread implications on many levels. That’s all the more reason these debates should be based on publicly disclosed evidence, not competing, unverifiable anonymous leaks from professional liars inside government agencies, cheered by drooling, lost partisans anxious to embrace whatever claims make them feel good, all conducted without the slightest regard for rational faculties or evidentiary requirements.

The post Anonymous Leaks to the WashPost About the CIA’s Russia Beliefs Are No Substitute for Evidence appeared first on The Intercept.


Friday, December 9, 2016

Are We Being Set Up For A Crash? Stocks Hit A Level Only Seen During The Bubbles Of 1929, 2000 And 2007


stock-market-overvalued-public-domainWill the financial bubble that has been rapidly growing ever since Donald Trump won the election suddenly be popped once he takes office?  Could it be possible that we are being set up for a horrible financial crash that he will ultimately be blamed for?  Yesterday, I shared my thoughts on the incredible euphoria that we have seen since Donald Trump’s surprise victory on November 8th.  The U.S. dollar has been surging, companies are announcing that they are bringing jobs back to the U.S., and we are witnessing perhaps the greatest post-election stock market rally in Wall Street history.  In fact, the Dow, the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 all set new all-time record highs again on Thursday.  What we are seeing is absolutely unprecedented, and many believe that the good times will continue to roll as we head into 2017.

What has been most surprising to me is how well the stocks of the big Wall Street banks have been doing.  It is no secret that those banks poured a tremendous amount of money into Hillary Clinton’s campaign, and Donald Trump had some tough things to say about them leading up to election day.

So you wouldn’t think that it would be particularly good news for those banks that Trump won the election.  However, we seem to be living in “Bizarro World” at the moment, and in so many ways things are happening exactly the opposite of what we would expect.  Since Trump’s victory, all of the big banking stocks have been skyrocketing

Financial stocks in particular have been on fire. Citigroup (C) and JPMorgan Chase (JPM) are up about 20% since Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton — and that makes them laggards!

Morgan Stanley (MS) has gained more than 25%. So has troubled Wells Fargo (WFC), despite the lingering fallout from its fake account scandal. Bank of America (BAC) is up more than 30%.

And so is Goldman Sachs (GS) — the former employer of both Treasury Secretary nominee Steven Mnuchin and Trump chief strategist Steve Bannon.

But are these stock prices justified by the fundamentals?

Of course not, but during times of euphoria the fundamentals never seem to matter much.  Stocks were incredibly overvalued before the election, and now they are ridiculously overvalued.

Earlier today, a CNBC article pointed out that the cyclically-adjusted price to earnings ratio has only been higher than it is today at three points in our history…

“The cyclically adjusted P/E (CAPE), a valuation measure created by economist Robert Shiller now stands over 27 and has been exceeded only in the 1929 mania, the 2000 tech mania and the 2007 housing and stock bubble,” Alan Newman wrote in his Stock Market Crosscurrents letter at the end of November.

Newman said even if the market’s earnings increase by 10 percent under Trump’s policies “we’re still dealing with the same picture, overvaluation on a very grand scale.”

And of course a historic stock market crash immediately followed each of those three bubbles.

So are we being set up for a huge crash in early 2017?

There are some out there that believe that this is purposely being orchestrated.  For example, Mike Adams of Natural News believes that the markets “will be deliberately and destructively imploded under President Trump”

Right now, the U.S. stock market is surging, with the Dow leaping toward 20,000, a number rooted in fiscal insanity and delusional expectations. There are no fundamentals that support a 20,000 Dow, but fundamentals have long since ceased to matter in a financial world hyperventilating on debt fumes while hallucinating about utopian economic models that will soon prove to generate fools instead of real wealth.

Today I’m going on the record with a prediction that I’ll offer with near absolute certainty: The rigged markets that now seem to defy gravity will be deliberately and destructively imploded under President Trump for all the obvious reasons. There will be financial chaos like we’ve never seen before: Investors leaping off tall buildings, banks declaring extended “holidays” that freeze transactions, and California pensioners slitting their wrists after they discover their promised pension funds were just vaporized by incompetent bureaucrats.

On the other hand, there are others that believe that Trump is just walking into a very bad situation and that a crash would be inevitable no matter who was president.

History tells us that there is no possible way that stock prices can stay at this irrational level indefinitely.  But for now a wave of optimism is sweeping the nation, and many of those that are caught up in it will get seriously angry with you if you try to inject a dose of reality into the conversation.

But like I said yesterday, let’s hope that the optimists are correct.  A survey that was just taken of 600 business executives found that 62 percent of them were optimistic about the U.S. economy over the next 12 months.

Incredibly, that number was sitting at just 38 percent the previous quarter.

For the moment, business leaders seem to be quite thrilled that we have a business executive in the White House.

Hopefully Donald Trump’s business experience will translate well to his new position.  And it is certainly my hope that he is as successful as possible.

But even during the campaign Trump talked about how stocks were in a giant bubble, and the euphoria that we have seen since his election victory has just made that bubble even larger.

Throughout U.S. history, every giant financial bubble has always ended very badly, and this time around will not be any exception.

Trump may get the blame for it when it bursts, but the truth is that the conditions for the coming crisis have been building for a very, very long time.


Big Media’s Contra-Cocaine Cover-up



Amid the mainstream U.S. media’s current self-righteous frenzy against “fake news,” it’s worth recalling how the big newspapers destroyed Gary Webb, an honest journalist who exposed some hard truths about the Reagan administration’s collaboration with Nicaraguan Contra cocaine traffickers. Webb’s reward for reviving that important scandal in 1996 – and getting the CIA’s inspector general to issue what amounted to an institutional confession in 1998 – was to have The New York Times, The Washington Post and Los Angeles Times lobby for, essentially, his banishment from journalism.


Thursday, December 8, 2016

"Then We Will Fight In The Shade" - A Guide To Winning The Media Wars


Submitted by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,


Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.

– Sun Tzu, The Art of War

The ongoing battle between independent, alternative media and legacy corporate-government sponsored propaganda media is in full swing following Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 election. While I’m no big fan of Trump, his win has so emotionally damaged the U.S. status quo they have begun to lash out in a hysterical and careless manner against those they feel prevented Her Highness, Hillary Clinton, from ascending to the throne.

The escalation of this fight, which I have referred to as “The Media Wars” since the summer, was easy to foresee. As I noted in the post, Questioning Hillary’s Health is Not Conspiracy Theory:

As I look at the landscape in 2016 to-date, I observe emergent signs that alternative media is finally beginning to take over from the legacy mainstream media when it comes to impact and influence. The mainstream media (unlike with John McCain in 2008), had decided that Hillary Clinton’s health was not an issue and chose not to pursue it. Many in the alternative media world took a different position, and due to mainstream media’s failure to inform the American public for decades, the alternative media drove that issue to the top of the news cycle.


That’s power.


This is an incredibly big deal, and the mainstream media intuitively knows what it means. It means a total loss of legitimately, prestige and power. All of which is well deserved of course.


So here’s the bottom line. 2016 represents the true beginning of what I would call the Media Wars. Alternative media is now capable of driving the news cycle. Mainstream media now has no choice but to fight back, and fight back it will. It will fight back dirty. This is going to get very ugly, but by the time the dust has settled, I think much of the mainstream media will be left as a shell of its former self.

2016 was the year when alternative, independent media went from being merely influential, to affecting the outcome of a Presidential election. As was widely reported, basically every single newspaper in the nation endorsed Hillary Clinton for President. The fact she lost anyway represented the greatest middle finger to the media (and the status quo generally) doled out by the American public in at least a generation.

While genuinely fake Macedonia-based news sites certainly garnered a lot of clicks (and revenue) by inventing ridiculous stories, anyone who really thinks this is what led to Hillary’s defeat is simply in denial. We all know that independent websites taking Hillary to task on her very real and very deplorable track record of being a compulsive liar is what was truly decisive. The mainstream media knows this, which is why they haven’t actually been focusing on censoring provably fake news sites, but rather have been promoting an agenda to lump any non-establishment perspectives within the umbrella of “fake news” in order to destroy their competition and regain an upper hand in the national narrative. If those of us who value independent media want to thwart this nefarious plan, we need to fully understand what these cretins are up to.

To that end, I want to turn your attention to one of the best articles I’ve read on the topic. Published at Counterpunch and titled, Manufacturing Normality, here are a few excerpts (definitely make sure to read the entire thing):

Sometime circa mid-November, in the wake of Hillary Clinton’s defeat (i.e., the beginning of the end of democracy), the self-appointed Guardians of Reality, better known as the corporate media, launched a worldwide marketing campaign against the evil and perfidious scourge of “fake news.” This campaign is now at a fever pitch. Media outlets throughout the empire are pumping out daily dire warnings of the imminent, existential threat to our freedom posed by the “fake news” menace. This isn’t the just the dissemination of disinformation, propaganda, and so on, that’s been going on for thousands of years … Truth itself is under attack. The very foundations of Reality are shaking.


Who’s behind this “fake news” menace? Well, Putin, naturally, but not just Putin. It appears to be the work of a vast conspiracy of virulent anti-establishment types, ultra-alt-rightists, ultra-leftists, libertarian retirees, armchair socialists, Sandernistas, Corbynistas, ontological terrorists, fascism normalizers, poorly educated anti-Globalism freaks, and just garden variety Clinton-haters.


As I suggested in these pages previously, what we are experiencing is the pathologization (or the “abnormalization”) of political dissent, i.e., the systematic stigmatization of any and all forms of non-compliance with neoliberal consensus reality. Political distinctions like “left” and “right” are disappearing, and are being replaced by imponderable distinctions like “normal” and “abnormal,” “true” and “false,” and “real” and “fake.” Such distinctions do not lend themselves to argument. They are proffered to us as axiomatic truths, empirical facts which no normal person would ever dream of contradicting.


In place of competing political philosophies, the neoliberal intelligentsia is substituting a simpler choice, “normality” or “abnormality.” The nature of the “abnormality” varies according to what is being stigmatized. Today it’s “Corbyn the anti-Semite,” tomorrow it’s “Sanders the racist crackpot,” or “Trump the Manchurian candidate,” or whatever. That the smears themselves are indiscriminate (and, in many instances, totally ridiculous) belies the effectiveness of the broader strategy, which is simply to abnormalize the target and whatever he or she represents. It makes no difference whether one is smeared as a racist, as Sanders was during the primaries, or as an anti-Semite, as Corbyn has been, or a fascist, as Trump has relentlessly been, or peddlers of Russian propaganda, as Truthout, CounterPunch, Naked Capitalism, and a number of other publications have been … the message is, they are somehow “not normal.”


Why is this any different from the shameless smear jobs the press has been doing on people since the invention of the press and shameless smear jobs? Well, hold on, because I’m about to tell you. Mostly it has to do with words, especially binary oppositions like “real” and “fake,” and “normal” and “abnormal,” which are, of course, essentially meaningless … their value being purely tactical. Which is to say they denote nothing. They are weapons deployed by a dominant group to enforce conformity to its consensus reality. This is how they’re being used at the moment.


The meaningless binary oppositions that the neoliberal intelligentsia and the corporate media are supplanting traditional opposing political philosophies with (i.e., normal/abnormal, real/fake), in addition to stigmatizing a diversity of sources of non-conforming information and ideas, are also restructuring our consensus reality as a conceptual territory in which anyone thinking, writing, or speaking outside the mainstream is deemed some kind of “deviant,” or “extremist,” or some other form of social pariah. Again, it doesn’t matter what kind, as “deviance” in itself is the point.


Actually, the opposite of deviance is the point. Because this is how “normality” is manufactured. And how consensus reality as a whole is manufactured … and how the manufacturing process is concealed.

The above hits the nails entirely on the head. It also explains why it took the Washington Post two weeks to even address the fact that it published a fake news article about “fake news.” Here’s how The Washington Post is “taking responsibility.”


While absolutely pathetic, the editor’s note is equally telling in its sloppiness and arrogance. For instance, the article was a such a gross piece of journalistic malpractice, the only honest, professional move by the paper would be to fully retract the story and apologize; yet The Washington Post didn’t do that. Why?

The reason is because the paper and its editors knew exactly what they was doing with the publication and promotion of this nonsensical fake news hit-piece. Sure, they’re now a bit embarrassed because they were called out by pretty much everybody, but the intent all along was to tie independent media sites with absolutely no connection to Russia, to Russia, in a desperate attempt to recapture the public narrative via blacklists and tech company censorship.

As an aside, for specifics on how the status quo is attempting to use developers and social media companies to censor alternative opinion under the guise of fighting “fake news,” read this excellent article published at Naked Capitalism: Witch Hunt: “Fake News” Software Touted by CBS Smears Naked Capitalism, ShadowProof, TruthDig, Others; Creator Admits He Made Up Who Went on Hit List.

Now that we know what they are up to, how worried should we be? Although I’m extremely optimistic about the future of decentralized, independent media, and the proliferation of individual voices generally, it’s quite obvious legacy media gatekeepers will not go down without a fight. The good news is they are the ones who are on the defensive, not us. They are the ones who are battling on our terms, not the other way around. A great example of this can be seen in how the “fake news” meme has been turned around against the mainstream media to great effect. As I tweeted earlier today:

Mainstream media now panicking because "fake news" has been co-opted by alt. media and is being used against them.
Best thing ever.

— Michael Krieger (@LibertyBlitz) December 8, 2016

It is when you get desperate, scared and panicky that you make the biggest mistakes, and the legacy media is currently desperate, scared and panicky.  As Napoleon Bonaparte allegedly said:

“Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.”

Whether or not he actually said them, those words still ring true. We mustn’t get in the way of the legacy media’s inevitable self-destruction. Part of this means that we do not self-destruct in the process. We need to recognize that there’s a reason independent, alternative media is winning the battle of ideas in the first place. For all the warts, mistakes and bad actors, the emergence of the internet is indeed the historical equivalent of the invention of the printing press on steroids.

Only a clueless self-important elitist actually believes that the smartest, most informed people in America are the pundits on tv and the journalists employed by the mainstream media. With a handful of companies and a few oligarchs in charge, you’d have to be the most naive fool on earth to not understand that legacy media is driven by well defined narratives, and that these narratives are not in your best interest. The rest of us understand that the Internet has served as a much needed countervailing force, and has been an incredible blessing to human knowledge, connectivity and the marketplace of ideas. Just because some people can’t distinguish truth from fiction, doesn’t negate the incredible progress that decentralized information dissemination provides. It is only those who do not wish to engage in public debate on the issues themselves who want to censor stuff. The rest of us are more than happy to have an open discussion.

Many of us have spent years, if not decades, building up our online reputations and we should be careful not to squander all we have gained. There will be attempts at co-option, explicitly and otherwise. Be on guard. There will be hit-pieces and smear attempts. Stay cool and fight back from a position of strength and calm. However, I believe the greatest threat comes from the ever present danger of self-inflicted error. Part of the reason independent, alternative media has been so successful is legacy media has made it easy to look good by being so obviously captured, puerile and propagandistic. We must continue to be better than they are. As such, we must be more honest in our actions, less hypocritical in our analysis of events, and just more ethical overall. Given the competition, this shouldn’t be difficult.

Another way the status quo will fight back is by attacking our means of surviving financially, which means readers must be prepared to donate to your favorite sites more than ever before (you can support Liberty Blitzkrieg here). The other way will be to prevent our content from appearing on social media sites or search engines, or when it does appear, it will come with a warning. If this is the tactic they choose, it’ll be relatively easy to fight back.

Ten years ago it would’ve been hard to counter such a strategy, but not today. The cat is simply too far out of the bag. Too many of us reach too many people, and many of the people we reach are smart and influential. We have already sufficiently infiltrated and influenced the public discourse, so denying us a voice is no longer an option. If Facebook or Google start presenting Liberty Blitzkrieg, Zerohedge, or Naked Capitalism with warning labels, the intelligent amongst us with see right through this tactic and become disgusted.

So let me end this with a warning to Facebook, Google, and all the other tech behemoths. You start this fight at your own risk. Any disingenuous attempt to smear genuine, independent media websites via blacklists and censorship will ultimately harm you more than it harms us. In a misguided attempt to destroy us, you will destroy yourselves. Tread carefully and be on the right side of history.

To everyone else, stay strong. My writing would be irrelevant without you. It is not alternative media writers who will inflict the final blow against legacy media, it will be you, the readers. We are in this together and dependent on each other. Together we will win.

For related articles, see:

Obama Enters the Media Wars – Why His Recent Attack on Free Speech is So Dangerous and Radical

Hillary Clinton Enters the Media Wars

The Death of Mainstream Media

Liberty Blitzkrieg Included on Washington Post Highlighted Hit List of “Russian Propaganda” Websites

Additional Thoughts on “Fake News,” The Washington Post, and the Absence of Real Journalism


Hillary Reemerges, Slams "Dangerous Epidemic" Of Fake News


Having disappeared from the public scene for almost a month (with the occasional backwood spotting thrown in for dramatic effect), today Hillary Clinton reemerged from a self-imposed social quarantine, and in a exquisitely choreographed Podesta special, addressed the nation from Capitol Hill. What was first and foremost on the mind of person who the "impartial" media declared had a 90% chance of being America's next president: was it some intense introspection; perhaps it was some idea of how to reform and fix the imploding Democratic party; or maybe it was her finally accepting responsibility for her actions and her loss?

None of the above.

Instead, the one thing that appears to have preoccupied the former Secretary of State is the proliferation of so-called "fake news", a phenomenon she called an "epidemic." It was not immediately clear if she also lumped in the Washington Post into that bucket: recall that last night, in an editorial note to the WaPo's fake, slanderous story about "Russian Propaganda Fake News", the newspaper distanced itself from its primary source, PropOrNot, itself a source of propaganda, when the WaPo admitted it "does not itself vouch for the validity of PropOrNot’s findings regarding any individual media outlet, nor did the article purport to do so."

Speaking on Capitol Hill, Clinton said that “the epidemic of malicious fake news and false propaganda that flooded social media over the past year — it’s now clear the so-called fake news can have real-world consequences." Like, perhaps, poring through thousands of emails which the co=opted and captured mainstream press - especially those who had dinner with John Podesta to offer their PR services to the Clinton campaign  - would not touch, revealing the crony and illicit dealings of the Clinton Family foundation, leading to - among other things - Clinton losing the presidency?

One can almost see why Hillary is not a fan of the "fake news."

While Clinton did not mention "Pizzagate," her comments appeared to directly reference the story that implicated her former campaign chairman, John Podesta, and lead to a man with an assault rifle firing a shot in Comet Ping Pong, the Washington shop that has been implicated in the online conspiracy theory.

"This is not about politics or partisanship. Lives are at risk, lives of ordinary people just trying to go about their days to do their jobs, contribute to their communities," Clinton said. "It is a danger that must be addressed and addressed quickly."

Confirming what the next step in Washington's crack down against the First Amendment and Free Speech will be, Clinton backed the previously noted "bipartisan legislation" that seeks to give Congress more power to respond to "foreign propaganda" coming from Russia.

"It is imperative that leaders in both the private and pubic sector step up to protect our democracy and innocent lives," Clinton said.

And just like that, we know that according to Hillary Clinton, the biggest threat to "American democracy and innocent lives" are a few websites that refuse to be PR tools for whatever the establishment at any given moment is.

.@HillaryClinton: "Fake news can have real world consequences"

— All In w/Chris Hayes (@allinwithchris) December 8, 2016


Washington Post now admits its "fake news" story relied on... get this... a FAKE news source

world-news-daily-report-fake-news-168x95 (NaturalNews) A few days ago, I wrote about how the Washington Post was committing “credibility suicide” with its obviously fabricated Craig Timberg story accusing Natural News and 199 other websites of being “fake news” sources controlled by the Russian government. Now, after the discredited paper has been threatened with lawsuits by several of the websites...


Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Aloe Vera Fraud: Don't Get Scammed


By Dr. Mercola

Numerous benefits have been reported from using aloe vera on wounds like cuts and burns. Serious diseases have been remedied as well, not just to ease the pain but to help speed up healing.

Although the benefits are more widely known today, the healing power of the gel from the aloe barbadensis leaf has been touted for centuries.

Heartburn relief, lower blood pressure and slowed breast cancer growth1 are just a few of the amazing advantages. It's made aloe a popular ingredient to add to many creams and moisturizers.

However, The Washington Post recently reported that private brands of aloe vera products from Wal-Mart, Target, Walgreens and CVS were tested and found to contain zero particles of aloe vera, even though the name (and usually a visual of the plant) was oozing all over each of the products. The products tested and found wanting were:

  • Wal-Mart's Equate Aloe After Sun Gel with pure aloe vera
  • Target's Up & Up Aloe Vera Gel with pure aloe vera
  • CVS Aftersun Aloe Vera Moisturizing Gel
  • Walgreens Alcohol Free Aloe Vera Body Gel

The ingredient lists on all four mention aloe vera first, or list it second after water. An independent company, ConsumerLab, estimated last year that only half of the aloe products actually contain meaningful levels of the gel.

None of the above products were listed as certified by the International Aloe Science Council, which creates standards for the aloe industry, estimated to be around $100 million annually.2

Hints and Allegations, Test Labs Versus Suppliers

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. and CVS Health Corp. all stood behind their product suppliers, which in turn confirmed their authenticity; Target Corp. had no comment. Among all four stores, there are about 23,000 outlets with the alleged aloe-containing products on the shelves.

A company called Fruits of the Earth, based in Fort Worth, Texas, said it manufactures the gels for Wal-Mart, Target and Walgreens. Fruits of the Earth said its aloe supplier is Concentrated Aloe Corp (Conaloe3), based in Ormond Beach, Florida.

Both companies disputed the validity of the lab findings. The aloe gel for CVS was made by Product Quest Manufacturing LLC.4

Conaloe says its aloe products, including gel, extract, powder and both cosmetic and food-grade aloe vera, are fair trade, organic, and both farmed and processed in Guatemala. Bloomberg, which initiated the investigation, reported:

"There's no watchdog assuring that aloe products are what they say they are. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration doesn't approve cosmetics before they're sold and has never levied a fine for selling fake aloe.

That means suppliers are on an honor system, even as the total U.S. market for aloe products, including drinks and vitamins, has grown 11 percent in the past year to $146 million, according to Chicago-based market researcher SPINS LLC."5

Independent industry consultant Ken Jones, based in Chapala, Mexico, said the test results basically indicate that aloe vera may or may not be present in the products.

If It's Not Aloe Vera, What Is It?

Nuclear magnetic resonance was used to find chemical markers for malic acid, glucose and acemannan, a polysaccharide found in the gel of aloe plants, which composes as much as 15 percent of its makeup. It's the ingredient that sets the plant apart from less potent aloe vera varieties, as it contains high amounts of nutrients.6

The Wal-Mart, CVS and Target brands contained maltodextrin, a cheaper, sugar-based aloe vera alternative, the tests revealed. Walgreen's version contained the marker malic acid only. Lactic acid, an ingredient in the plant that would reveal broken-down aloe vera bits, also was absent.

Bloomberg said AloeCorp, one of the biggest suppliers of raw aloe powder, has been undercut in the market by aloe vera wannabe products like maltodextrin.

"Jeff Barrie, a Keene, New Hampshire-based sales manager at AloeCorp, one of the biggest suppliers of raw aloe powder, said he's seen competitors beat his lowest prices by half."

Producing pure, unadulterated aloe vera, which is hand harvested, is not cheap, according to Barrie. "That means they're not selling aloe," he asserts. "Aloe powder can cost as much as $240 a kilogram (2.2 pounds), while the same amount of maltodextrin can cost a few dollars."

As it stands (or stood, before news of the possible scam emerged), aloe vera products expanded by 11 percent last year, approaching $146 million, Bloomberg reported.

The revelation that something besides aloe vera may be the "active ingredient" in innumerable night creams, moisturizers, body lotions and vitamins may damage sales of those products.

As attorneys in one of the lawsuits observed, "No reasonable person would have purchased or used the products if they knew the products did not contain any aloe vera."7

Consumers may be seeking restitution from the four retail companies as well as Fruit of the Earth if the main ingredients in the aloe vera products prove, possibly in further tests, to be nonexistent.

Does Aloe Vera Contain Beneficial Ingredients for Health, or Not?

While the aloe vera-that-wasn't-there allegations are bad enough, another claim may be worse — that it doesn't matter anyway because, as several publications have reported, quoting the National Institutes of Health's (NIH) National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, "almost none" of the health aspects of the spiky succulent have actually been verified.

D. Craig Hopp, a program director at NIH, asserts that while some studies show research authenticating healing compounds contained in aloe vera, as far as producing clear-cut evidence that it actually does, "there's nothing to hang your hat on."

However, multiple studies do indeed substantiate that the plant, including aloe vera oil, contains compounds and phytonutrients that are extremely advantageous for health.

There must be a reason why the ancient Egyptians called aloe vera the "plant of immortality." Pictures of the plant appear on ancient stone carvings from 6,000 years ago and were found offered as a burial gift for pharaohs.

After all, it's been shown in many, many studies to be antibiotic, anti-fungal and antimicrobial, even against some of the most virulent infections, such as E. coli, E. faecalis and staphylococcus aureus, the Journal of Conservative Dentistry reports.8

It's also antioxidant and antibacterial, and another study listed ingredients including "phenolic acids/polyphenols, phytosterols, fatty acids, indoles, alkanes, pyrimidines, alkaloids, organic acids, aldehydes, dicarboxylic acids, ketones and alkaloids."9

The same study said aloe vera "may show promise in alleviating symptoms associated with/or prevention of cardiovascular diseases, cancer, neurodegeneration and diabetes."

Some of the Beneficial Ingredients in Aloe Vera

Altogether, aloe vera is "a wonderful and effective antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and antibiotic medicinal plant," VisiHow10 says. It contains 20 of the 22 amino acids and 7 of the 8 essential amino acids your body requires.

Additionally, several immune system-boosting, laxative and moisturizing ingredients that make aloe vera anti-inflammatory due to the presence of auxins and gibberellins important for fast wound healing include:

  • Anthraquinones — Aloe vera contains 12 kinds of anthraquinones, which are phenolic compounds that function as laxatives. Aloin and emodin work as analgesics, antibacterials and antivirals.
  • Fatty Acids — Aloe supplies four kinds of plant steroids: cholesterol, lapel (known for its analgesic, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties) campestral, and β-sis sterol.
  • Enzymes — Eight enzymes are found in aloe vera: aliiase, amylase, bradykinase (a topical anti-inflammatory agent), catalase, carboxypeptidase, lipase, alkaline phosphatase, cellulase and peroxidase.
  • Vitamins — Vitamins B12, A (beta-carotene), E and C are present, as are folic acid and choline.
  • Minerals Chromium, magnesium, calcium, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium, sodium and potassium can be found in aloe vera, most playing essential roles in your body's metabolic pathways.

Some of the Health Benefits Provided by Aloe Vera

It must be noted that NIH, a branch of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, recognizes the ability aloe vera has, as they noted: "Abdominal cramps and diarrhea have been reported with oral use of aloe latex. Also, because aloe latex is a laxative, it may reduce the absorption and therefore the effectiveness of some drugs that are taken orally."11

So there's a reason why arguably millions of people keep aloe plants around the house for various healing purposes. Besides the raw plants with the gel inside, assorted tinctures contain this desert-derived ingredient as it may help treat, according to Mayo Clinic12,13 and many others:


Minor skin infections




Canker sores


Bowel disease






Genital herpes

Gum disease




Cold sores


Most of the benefits you glean from aloe vera come from the gel of the spiky, succulent leaves. While most of the benefits already discussed have been from topical uses — cutting off enough of one of the stiff leaves to apply it on trouble spots — this plant can also be used internally.

Digestive troubles such as acid reflux, indigestion and ulcers may be relieved by ingestion. One method is to slit open a leaf to extract the gel and place it in your blender or food processor with a lemon or lime (to disguise the bitter flavor). Healthy Smoothie Headquarters14 offers a tasty recipe to take advantage of this amazing plant. Just blend and enjoy:

  • 1 cup almond or coconut milk
  • 1 medium aloe vera leaf (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries or mango chunks
  • 1/2 tsp. coconut oil
  • 1 handful fresh basil
  • A little stevia to sweeten


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Cereal Killers Pay Off 'Experts' and Addict Kids


By Dr. Mercola

The myth that dietary fat increases your potential for obesity and causes heart disease has been perpetuated for years and has likely ruined the health of millions of people.

It is difficult to know just how many people suffer with poor health or have succumbed to disease as a result of following a conventional low-fat, high-carb diet.

Once metabolized, non-fiber carbohydrates turn into sugars in your body, raising your insulin and leptin levels. Reducing fat and increasing sugars and net carbs raises your risk for heart disease, metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes, and affects your neurological health and immunity.

The sugar industry funded research in the 1960s to publicly downplay the role sugar plays in your health and the development of disease.1 Sponsored research by Harvard scientists was published in the New England Journal of Medicine refuting concerns about the role sugar plays in the development of heart disease.

These same tactics continue to be used in industry-funded research and councils publishing the views of paid experts to strengthen income for manufacturers.

The cereal industry is just the latest in a line of manufacturers who have taken advantage of the public through paid-expert education and media advertising affecting the youngest consumers.

Cereal Industry Fighting to Protect Sales

Stanton Glantz, Ph.D., co-authored the historical analysis of internal industry documents that revealed the sugar industry sponsored a program, including research, to cast doubt on the hazards of sugar, while simultaneously promoting fat as the culprit to bad health. According to Glantz:2

"It was a very smart thing the sugar industry did, because review papers, especially if you get them published in a very prominent journal, tend to shape the overall scientific discussion,"

The cereal industry has also been using paid experts to further their financial cause and improve profits, at the same time affecting your health.

Using the Breakfast Council, composed of dietary experts, Kellogg Company published a paper defining what constituted a quality breakfast in a nutritional journal, reportedly written by their "independent nutrition experts."3

However, overseeing and providing feedback for the journal article was an employee of Kellogg who recommended a line be removed from the article that said 25 percent added sugar may be too high.4 The paper underwent peer review before being published.

Kellogg planned to use this journal article in comments on government dietary guidelines where it could be referenced as a key message for the company. The information was gathered by the Associated Press in a request for public records.5 The 'independent experts' used by Kellogg were members of the Breakfast Council.

Kellogg Perpetuates Sugar Myth With Paid Not-So-Independent Experts

Kellogg used their association with the Breakfast Council to advertise on their website that these industry experts were helping to guide the nutritional content of the cereals.

But for the mere sum of $13,000 these industry experts were also not allowed to speak about other cereals or produce content negative to the cereal industry.6 These same experts were required to engage on social media and with colleagues to influence outreach of the company. The council was brought together in 2011.

Although Kellogg compensated the experts, the company published that they were "independent experts," blurring the lines between financially rewarded promotion and impartial guidance.

Industry sponsored research that consistently favors the industry has influenced public health recommendations and damaged health. Marion Nestle, Ph.D. and professor of nutrition and food studies at New York University, has commented on claims made by researchers saying:7

"I worry a lot about the effects of industry sponsorship on public belief in the credibility of nutrition science."

Even if the research is sound, Nestle believes the ultimate reason many corporations sponsor research is for marketing purposes and not to improve public health.

If the results don't statistically support the theory the company holds, researchers may simply communicate the statistics in a way that supports the theory. According to Nestle:8

"I have 95 published studies funded by every food company you can think of that favor the company's interests. I've found nine that don't."

Kellogg Gives Breakfast Council the Ax

The Breakfast Council is no longer active and the webpage referring to them on Kellogg's website has been removed.9 The contract with these six council members expired in May 2016, and it was not renewed. Their contract paid them $13,000 a year to provide the company with their expert voice in company marketing.10

Before being disbanded, Kellogg used the group to increase interest in cereal, a product that has experienced a loss in sales over the past decade. Sales dropped from $9.57 billion to $8.85 billion between 2012 and 2014, equating to an 8 percent drop in sales over two years.11

In the same period of time, sales for yogurt and eggs — products also eaten for breakfast — went up by similar percentages.

An interesting survey conducted by Mintel found millennials don't have the energy for breakfast that requires clean up, while baby boomers continue to love cereals as much as they ever did.12 The type of individuals eating cereal is shifting, sparking industry movement toward producing cereals with a healthier profile.

To continue long-term growth, cereal companies need to grow their customer base, namely millennials. Since sales began slumping in the 1990s, cereal companies began including other products that would tempt the taste buds of those who enjoy snacking.13

With the encouragement of manufacturers, cereal is also becoming a part of the mix in the professional kitchen. Cocktails infused with Fruity Pebbles14 or Kellogg's paella15 caught the eye of the manufacturers.

Kellogg picked up the idea and paid a group of chefs to create dishes using cereal.16 Although these chef creations will likely not boost business, they do increase visibility of the cereals, always a plus in marketing and sales.

Children's Eating Habits Are Influenced by Food Ads

Both children and adults are influenced by advertising on television. Although the number of hours adults are watching live TV is dropping, the number of hours children are watching video on their digital devices is rising.

According to research from Nickelodeon, children born after 2005 are watching up to 35 hours of TV each week.17 That number represents the total number of hours a person in France can legally work in one week.18 And, according to Nickelodeon's numbers, these same children are spending even more time on their digital devices.

All this time in front of the TV is contributing to mindless snacking and increasing the number of children suffering from obesity.19 In one experiment, researchers evaluated the influence that TV advertising had on the eating habits of 2- to 5-year-old children in the absence of hunger.20

Prior to the experiment the researchers fed the children, ensuring they were not hungry during the testing period. During the TV programming, the children were exposed to an ad for Bugle chips or for a department store.

All of the children had two snacks available during the programming: Bugle corn chips and another option. The researchers found children who saw the ad for corn chips ate approximately 30 more calories during their TV watching than those who saw the ad for the department store.21

While 30 calories may not seem like a lot, testing occurred over just one TV show. If you multiply the potential number of calories children may mindlessly eat while watching up to 35 hours of television a week, it becomes a significant issue.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends no more than one hour per day of TV for children aged 2 to 5 to encourage activity and support healthy sleep habits. The results from this study may give you just one more reason to limit your child's exposure to advertising. When choosing the shows your child is watching, pay attention to how products are promoted.

Although at age 2 children may be too young to understand the influence on their choices, you may consider gradually introducing information about how advertising influences decisions to help them resist the effects of media promotion. Ultimately, limiting exposure to TV is the best option.

To Improve Your Health, Reduce Your Net Carbs

Changing your and your children's food choices to those with higher amounts of healthy fat and fewer net carbs will ultimately increase your energy level, improve your health and help you maintain a normal weight. Eating a healthy high-fat diet will help shift your metabolism from primarily burning carbs to burning fat, the basis of a ketogenic diet.

Your cells have the metabolic flexibility to burn glucose or break down fats for fuel. Most cancer cells don't have this flexibility and require glucose to thrive, making a ketogenic diet advantageous for preventing cancer. For optimal health, you may need as much as 50 to 70 percent of your daily calories to come from healthy fats, such as coconut oil, MCT oil, organic pastured eggs, grass-pastured butter, avocado and raw nuts (pecans and macadamia nuts are particularly beneficial).

By eating a diet high in net carbohydrates you effectively prevent ketosis and force your body to burn glucose. Your net carbs equal the total carbs eaten minus the grams of fiber eaten that day. If you're like most people eating a Western diet, your foods are heavily laden with sugars and other carbohydrates, and low in fiber.

Dietary fiber is non-digestible carbohydrates found in plant foods that help provide bulk in your diet and promote a healthy gastrointestinal tract by nourishing heathy gut bacteria. Fiber also reduces the net carbohydrate impact on insulin secretion.

Unfortunately, most Americans only consume between 12 and 16 grams of fiber per day22 when the Institute of Medicine recommends between 28 and 35 grams of fiber for women and men respectively.23 However, I don't feel those recommendations are high enough and encourage you to eat close to 50 grams of fiber for each 1,000 calories of food each day.

When your diet is rich in carbohydrates and sugars, your liver downregulates the fat-burning process, as it is not needed, effectively losing the ability to burn fat despite an adequate supply. To cut out the mid-afternoon loss of energy, you'll want to reduce your overall net carbs and increase the amount of healthy fats you consume.

Switching to Healthy Fat Improves Energy, Health and Reduces Weight

Lowering your net carbs increases the likelihood you'll shed body fat more quickly, simultaneously improving your metabolism and boosting your energy levels. As sugars are one of the primary triggers for inflammation in your body, eating a diet high in fats also lowers the level of inflammation and promotes optimal health.

An effective way of achieving nutritional ketosis is to limit your net carbs to under 30 to 40 grams per day and limit protein to 1 gram of protein per kilogram (2.2 pounds) of your lean body mass. You then make up the calories with an increase in healthy fats. Ideally, choose organic produce and pastured meats, and avoid genetically engineered (GE) foods. Essentially, this means eating more real food and very little to no processed foods.

Specific dietary fats can be harmful to your health, but saturated fats are not the culprit they've been made out to be. For an in-depth review of dietary fats see the Weston Price Foundation article, "Saturated Fat Does a Body Good."24 A quick summary of the fats you want to avoid are:

Trans fats

These act as a pro-oxidant and contribute to oxidative stress that causes cellular damage. These fats are often added to baked goods, as the fats are man-made and have a phenomenally long shelf life compared to healthy, natural fats.

Highly Refined Polyunsaturated Vegetable Oils

Also called polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), these are often found in peanut, corn and soy oils. PUFAs are high in damaged omega-6 acids from the manufacturing process and produce a toxic oxidation product, such as cyclic aldehydes, when heated.


About the Director

I believe in bringing quality to my readers, which is why I wanted to share some information about the director, Donal O’Neill, from “Cereal Killers." Thank you to Mr. O’Neill for bringing us this life-changing film.

What was your inspiration for making this film?

In 2010 my father suffered a very unexpected heart attack after the standard cardiac tests had suggested — to the contrary — that he was perfectly healthy.

The question I asked was, "What did they miss?" I spent three years researching and trying to answer that question. Making a movie was not in the plan initially, but the frustration I felt with what I discovered eventually led to the making of “Cereal Killers.” It was my attempt to add something meaningful to the debate around fat and heart disease.

Where do the proceeds of your film go?

Because we make our movies independently, we just reinvest any surplus funds into the next project. After “Cereal Killers,” we made "Run on Fat" (2015) — this movie mapped Sami Inkinen's transition from a carb- and sugar-fueled, pre-Diabetic World Ironman Champion to a sugar-free, fat-adapted and metabolically healthy World Champion.

In 2016, we then teamed up with British cardiologist Dr. Aseem Malhotra to make "The Big Fat Fix" — an investigation into the history of the Mediterranean Diet (and what was left behind).

What was your favorite part of making this film?

The best thing about making these movies are the people I get to know and meet. “Cereal Killers” introduced me to professor Dr. Tim Noakes. His participation and enthusiasm carried the movie — and me — over the line. He is a genuinely inspirational figure I am proud to know.

Together with your help we can continue to spread the word about the myth that dietary fat causes obesity and heart disease so that we can take control of our health and the health of our children. Don’t forget to take advantage of the SPECIAL DISCOUNT offered by the director. Just click the link below to activate the offer!


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