Monday, January 29, 2018

The Elephant in the Brain: Hidden Motives in Everyday Life—A Review


A Review of The Elephant in the Brain: Hidden Motives in Everyday Life by Kevin Simler and Robin Hanson, Oxford University Press, (January 2, 2018) 418 pages.

“The elephant in the room” is any important and obvious fact that, for whatever reason, no one is willing to talk about. In their new book, The Elephant in the Brain, authors Kevin Simler and Robin Hanson extend the concept to one the most important and obvious, yet unspoken, facts about the human mind: that we are masters of self-deception, equipped by evolution with an “introspective blind spot” that hides our deeper, selfish motives, even when the same motives are easy to spot in others. The result is an entertaining and insightful book that sheds light on a diverse collection of perplexing human behaviors — from laughter to religion to the origin of language.

For fans of books like The Selfish Gene and The Mating Mind, The Elephant in The Brain will be familiar territory. But for almost everyone else, the core thesis is likely to be extremely challenging. That’s because our introspective blind spot is not unlike the literal blind spot in our eye, located where the optic nerve connects with our eye’s disc of photoreceptor cells. Thanks to an evolutionary adaptation, our brain automatically fills in the hole using information from the surrounding context, creating the illusion of a continuous field of vision. We can easily verify that the deception is taking place with imaging techniques or simple optical illusions, and yet knowledge of its existence cannot make us any less blind to our own blindness.

Unconscious self-deception in the social domain works similarly: easy to demonstrate but impossible to switch-off. Thus for any action with a mix of sacred and profane motives — as much Good Samaritan as quid pro quo — we are willfully blind to the latter, not as conscious manipulators, but because strategic ignorance of our Machiavellian side had survival value for our ancestors. As the renown evolutionary psychologist Robert Trivers once put it, “We deceive ourselves the better to deceive others.”

The core thesis of The Elephant in the Brain is that this has major implications for public policy that we are loathe to admit. Thus spending on health care, we learn, isn’t merely about improving our health; it’s also a wasteful way to signal our caring for others. Admitting this, we could conceivably cut medical expenditure in half and be no worse off. Likewise, charitable giving isn’t just, or even mainly, about doing good in the world; it’s also a way to flex one’s wealth and generosity while bathing in the “warm glow” of peer approval. A movement dedicated to “effective altruism” could rectify this by subjecting philanthropic causes to utilitarian rigor.

Reductio ad cynicum 

But Simler and Hanson do not restrict themselves to policy concerns. We also learn, for example, that creating art is as much about signalling one’s genetic quality as it is about pure aesthetic appreciation, and that religious faith is as much about group cohesion as it is transcendent truth. This very book review is as much about sharing my opinion as it is about impressing potential mates and allies with the number of tools in my mental backpack.

In short, everything from higher education to belief in god is best understood through the prism of an elaborate mating ritual predicated on innumerable intersecting status competitions. The corollary is that evolution has made us strategically blind to these ulterior ends, so much so that we are often deeply offended by the suggestion that our motives are anything less than pure — which may be why it has taken a tenured professor and an independent writer to do the job comprehensively.

Many readers will chafe at the reductive, cynical view of humanity offered by Simler and Hanson. But the correct response is much closer to: No duh! The ubiquity of sexual selection in the animal kingdom is beyond dispute — from the peacock’s tail to Trump Tower. Adults are happy to admit this of their younger selves given sufficient emotional distance. But for the typical middle school nerd whose neocortex dropped before their balls, the brief window of unfiltered pattern recognition into hormonal human dynamics may be as close to the alien-scientist ideal as any human observer can come. Nonetheless, for our contemporaries, a meta-norm against discussing our continuity with the animal kingdom leads to polite denial of our biological imperatives. Simler and Hanson are clearly cognizant of this fact, which explains why the book is largely an exercise in simply convincing the reader of the elephant’s existence by hammering away with example after example.

As a result of that hammering, The Elephant in the Brain ends up being light on public policy upshots — far more Theory of Moral Sentiments than Wealth of Nations. That’s unfortunate, since the ideas in the book are bursting with potential applications. Worse, however, is the scant attention paid to helping the reader pick up the pieces of their shattered psyche. Instead, Simler and Hanson simply highlight the need to better align public institutions with our hidden motives, leaving the all-important “how” question relatively untouched.

Public Policy or Self-help?

Take cheating. “Everybody cheats,” declare Simler and Hanson. “There’s no use in denying it … Most of us honor the big, important rules, like those prohibiting robbery, arson, rape, and murder. But we routinely violate small and middling norms.” Even our ancestors were incorrigible cheaters, as shown by “the fact that our brains have special-purpose adaptations for detecting cheats,” manifested in the elusive search for sincerity in the eyes of a suspected liar. The best liars are therefore the ones who believe their own lies, and “drink their own kool-aid.” It’s a feat humans accomplish with the aid of self-serving excuses, what Simler and Hanson call “pretexts” (“I didn’t steal it. I borrowed it.”), that help us construe our misbehavior in a better light.

Fascinating, but now what? Rather than provide a set of policies for addressing our cheating nature, the book simply moves on to another human frailty. Fortunately, criminologists have been studying the use of self-serving pretexts, known in the field as “techniques of neutralization,” since the 1950s, and have developed a small but real literature exploring their public policy application. The philosopher Joseph Heath, for example, has used the theory of self-serving pretexts to propose that conventional business-ethics courses, which today focus on abstract readings in meta-ethics, be replaced with practical training in how to identify and preempt self-serving behavior. “The goal,” Heath writes, “would be to bring to conscious awareness certain patterns of self-exculpatory reasoning, and to flag them as suspicious, so that students will be less likely to accept them at face value when they encounter them later in life. The goal, in other words, would be to neutralize the neutralizations.”

“Conscious awareness” is the key term. Like our visual blind spot, our cheating natures are impossible to excise. Hypocrisy is our evolutionary original sin. Yet unlike our ancient visual system, it at least seems possible to tame the social aspects of our adaptive unconscious with the right self-help techniques, from classroom exercises to mindfulness meditation. This was essentially the strategy developed by the Cynics of ancient Greece. Through rigorous training, the Cynics managed to forgo the pursuit of wealth, sex, and fame in favor of mental clarity and rational ethics.

This is the direction I had hoped The Elephant in the Brain would lead. After all, the elephant in the brain is located squarely in what psychologists call our brain’s “System 1,” or the automatic, noncognitive, and fast mode of thinking. That still leaves our “System 2,” or analytical, cognitive, and slow mode of thinking, as a potential tool for transcending our lowly origins. By failing to give our System 2 mode a balanced consideration, The Elephant in the Brain inadvertently falls into the expanding genre of pop-psych books that simply recapitulate David Hume’s famous assertion that “reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions.”

Transcending Hume

The psychologist Jonathan Haidt has been at the forefront of the Humean revival. In his book The Happiness Hypothesis, Haidt advances a version of Hume’s position with the metaphor of “The Elephant and the Rider,” to which the title of The Elephant in the Brain is clearly indebted. According to Haidt, our rational self is like the rider of a large elephant, our non-rational or emotional self, who believes they’re in control, when in truth the rider is at best an auxiliary to the elephant’s whims.

Work like Haidt’s, and by extension Simler and Hanson’s, represents an important corrective to the naive Enlightenment belief in all-powerful human reason. But it is equally important to recognize noncognitivism’s practical limitations. By seeing human motivation as, in a sense, “passions all the way down,” the classical Humean view generates an infinite regress (“The elephant in the elephant in the elephant in the…) that has a kind of Cartesian skepticism (doubt about the content of one’s own beliefs) as its logical conclusion. This concern is what ultimately led Immanuel Kant to reject Hume’s pure psychologism, not by refuting Hume directly, but rather by arguing that Hume’s view was in a sense cognitively inaccessible — that it represented a position that was literally impossible to conceptualize.

Haidt’s more recent book, The Righteous Mind, helps to illustrate the pragmatic problem. In it, Haidt argues that Liberals and Conservatives derive their disparate political positions from differences in disgust sensitivity and responses to theorised moral foundations such as Care/Harm, Loyalty, Obedience to Authority, Fairness and Liberty. Haidt, and other psychologists theorise that people construct their rational belief systems to justify their moral intuitions. Without denying Haidt’s empirical findings, an inviolable application of this theory raises an obvious question: How does one could ever hope to hold to a rational political philosophy at all?

How to Train Your Elephant

The thesis of The Elephant in the Brain runs up against a similar impasse. How can one write sincerely about everything having a cynical motivation? Simler and Hanson hint at the paradox when they address their own motivation for writing the book — “To put it baldly,” they write, “we want to impress you; we’re seeking prestige” — but ultimately fail to do the question justice. After all, there are many ways to seek prestige, and yet they chose this one in particular. Simler, for instance, walked away from his dream job at Palantir in 2013 after seven years in order to pursue readings in psychology, while honing his writing in an obscure corner of the internet. As a reminder, Palantir is among Silicon Valley’s most powerful technology companies, and Simler no doubt left behind substantially higher earnings and social status in the process.

That’s not to say that signalling for prestige didn’t still play some role in Simler’s decision to co-write The Elephant in the Brain. It’s just to say that the cynical motive dramatically underdetermined his ultimate life course. Instead, it seems like Simler was ultimately able to transcend the Silicon Valley rat-race with the employ of his System Two, or cognitive, mode of thinking. That is, he was rationally persuaded to pull the elephant by the reins and steer his life towards truth-seeking.

Hanson, for his part, runs a blog predicated on the notion that we can “overcome bias,” particularly of the noncognitive variety. In fact, between Simler and Hanson there may be no two people better qualified to write a how-to guide for rationally wrangling our mental pachyderm. Perhaps that should be their next project.


Samuel Hammond is the poverty and welfare policy analyst for the Niskanen Center. He tweets @hamandcheese

The post The Elephant in the Brain: Hidden Motives in Everyday Life—A Review appeared first on Quillette.


Saturday, January 27, 2018

Fitton: I Knew FBI Was Lying



Judicial Watch Sues for FBI Text Messages






By Tom Fitton



A miracle!  Your Judicial Watch files a federal lawsuit and the Justice Department finds the “missing” text messages!  Of course, as we said all along, they were never missing in the first place.


On Wednesday we announced the filing of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Justice Department for text messages and other records of FBI official Peter Strzok and FBI attorney Lisa Page (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:18-cv-00154)).


Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, revealed in a letter dated January 20 that the FBI claimed it is unable to preserve text messages for a five-month period between December 14, 2016, and May 17, 2017, due to “misconfiguration issues” with FBI-issued phones used by Strzok and Page. The missing messages span dates between the presidential transition and the launch of Robert Mueller’s Russia probe, where both Strzok and Page were employed.


So, lo and behold, right after we sued for the texts, the Justice Department said it has found the texts. According to Fox News, Inspector General Michael Horowitz reported that his office “succeeded in using forensic tools to recover text messages from FBI devices, including text messages between Mr. Strzok and Ms. Page that were sent or received between December 14, 2016 and May 17, 2017.”


We sued after Justice failed to respond to our December 4, 2017, FOIA request for:


  • All records of communications, including but not limited to, emails, text messages and instant chats, between FBI official Peter Strzok and FBI attorney Lisa Page;
  • All travel requests, travel authorizations, travel vouchers and expense reports of Peter Strzok;
  • All travel requests, travel authorizations, travel vouchers and expense reports of Lisa Page.


The text messages are of public interest because Strzok and Page were key investigators in the Clinton email and Trump Russia collusion investigations. Strzok was reportedly removed from the Mueller investigative team in August and reassigned to a human resources position after it was discovered that he and FBI lawyer Lisa Page, who worked for FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, and with whom Strzok was carrying on an extramarital affair, exchanged pro-Clinton and anti-Trump text messages.


Strzok reportedly oversaw the FBI’s interviews of former National Security Adviser, General Michael Flynn; changed former FBI Director James Comey’s language about Hillary Clinton’s actions regarding her illicit email server from “grossly negligent” to “extremely careless;” played a lead role in the FBI’s interview of Clinton; and is suspected of being responsible for using the unverified dossier to obtain a FISA warrant in order to spy on President Trump’s campaign.


The Strzok-Page text messages are potentially responsive to several pending Judicial Watch FOIA lawsuits, but showing the agency’s contempt for transparency and the rule of law, the FBI has yet to produce any of the records, explain the missing records to the courts, or otherwise be forthcoming about these newly disclosed materials.


I didn’t believe for one minute that the Strzok-Page texts were really missing. For example, the IRS told us that Lois Lerner’s emails were “missing,” and we forced them to admit they existed and deliver them to us. The State Department hid the Clinton emails, but our FOIA lawsuits famously blew open that cover-up.


It is shameful that the FBI and DOJ have been playing shell games with these smoking gun text messages. We hope to get these messages through our lawsuit and we will be sure to let you know when we do!




Short clip runs 45 seconds. Tom is getting angry.






Longer clip about the JW lawsuit against Justice and FBI…




Thursday, January 25, 2018

Was it just sex? Fallout from Clinton's lie heard 'round the world


“I want you to listen to me. I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Ms. Lewinsky. I never told a single person to lie, not a single time, never.”

Those were the infamous words spoken by the most powerful man in the world directly from the White House 20 years ago Friday.

Former President Bill Clinton with White House intern Monica Lewinsky in the Oval Office

Former President Bill Clinton with White House intern Monica Lewinsky in the Oval Office

In 1998, America had many reasons to believe President Bill Clinton was lying through his teeth about his sexual affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky:

  • Clinton was being sued for sexual harassment by Paula Jones, a former Arkansas state employee who claimed Clinton exposed himself to her when he was the state’s governor in 1991. (A year later, Clinton settled Jones’ lawsuit with a $850,000 check.)
  • Clinton had denied having a 12-year relationship with model and actress Gennifer Flowers during a segment of “60 Minutes,” but Flowers produced taped recordings of phone calls she had with Clinton. And in 1998, Clinton admitted under oath that the two had a sexual encounter.
  • Rumors had been circulating for seven years that Clinton had raped a woman in 1978, and the woman was later identified in 1999 as Juanita Broaddrick, a nursing home administrator in Arkansas.
  • In March of 1998, former White House aide Kathleen Willey claimed Clinton sexually assaulted her in the Oval Office in 1993.
  • It was later revealed Lewinsky co-worker Linda Tripp had been secretly recording phone calls during which Lewinsky discussed her sexual affair with Clinton. Tripp learned that Clinton had been giving gifts to Lewinsky and that the young intern had kept a blue dress containing the president’s DNA.

Still, on Jan. 17, 1998, during his Paula Jones deposition, Clinton had been asked under oath: “Did you have an extramarital sexual affair with Monica Lewinsky?”

“No,” Clinton replied after being sworn in, later stating: “I have never had sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky. I’ve never had an affair with her …”

The president said he didn’t recall ever being alone with Lewinsky. He later claimed his statements were “legally accurate” and waffled on the meaning of “is,” but he also told America, “It’s nobody’s business but ours.”

Monica Lewinsky and President Bill Clinton

Monica Lewinsky and President Bill Clinton

A CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll taken 20 years ago, from Jan. 25-26, 1998, revealed 61 percent of Americans believed Clinton had an affair. A full 56 percent said they believed Clinton lied under oath. And 48 percent said they thought he tried to obstruct justice. Only 44 percent of America was satisfied with his denials.

Despite the Lewinsky bombshell revelations, Clinton’s approval ratings were above 60 percent, and they continued to soar through the end of his presidency. After his impeachment, his approval ratings approached 70 percent.

So what exactly was happening in America?

Its president had lied under oath about a sexual affair with a young intern and had been accused of committing serious crimes, such as perjury, persuading Lewinsky to commit perjury and obstructing justice, to hide his misdeeds. Why was his approval so high?

And was it all just about sex, as Clinton’s defenders and Democrats in Congress claimed?

Monica Lewinsky and President Bill Clinton

Monica Lewinsky and President Bill Clinton

“It was about the rule of law,” former Rep. James Rogan, R-Calif., a key player in Clinton’s impeachment who was selected by the House to prosecute Clinton in the Senate, told WND.

“Clinton was a defendant in a federal civil rights action. He had been ordered by a trial judge to answer questions under oath. And he purposefully committed perjury, subornation of perjury and then obstruction of justice in an effort to win the suit that was filed against him and, of course, to avoid any collateral political damage.”

Judge James E. Rogan

Judge James E. Rogan

Rogan, a judge of the Superior Court of California and a former gang-murder prosecutor with the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office, was one of the select House Managers who prosecuted Clinton. From his very first day on the House Judiciary Committee, Rogan took meticulous notes during every meeting related to Clinton’s impeachment. He published his detailed impeachment notes in his memoir, “Catching Our Flag: Behind the Scenes of a Presidential Impeachment.”

It’s the ultimate insider’s story! Judge James E. Rogan’s spellbinding book “Catching Our Flag” is the definitive work on the only 20th-century impeachment of a U.S. president

Rogan explained that the Lewinsky affair mattered in the context of the Jones’ civil rights lawsuit because Jones’ attorneys sought to show a pattern of conduct by Clinton and argue that the president had a propensity for committing such offenses.

“Once they got wind that Monica Lewinsky was out there and that it was potential corroboration of Paula Jones, Bill Clinton moved heaven and earth to destroy that corroboration,” Rogan said.

“So it wasn’t just to avoid embarrassment. He knew that Paula Jones’ case against him became far more problematic if another person similarly situated was able to come forward or they could demonstrate that he had this pattern of conduct. That’s where all of the perjury and the subornation of perjury and getting people involved to basically get Monica Lewinsky out of town, out of the way, and getting her to lie under oath about their relationship, what that was all about.”

Clinton showered Lewinsky with gifts, including an Alaskan stone carving, a decorative pin, a signed copy of his State of the Union address, a souvenir from Radio City Music Hall, stuffed animals, chocolates and sunglasses. She gave him a tie, love notes, a book and about 30 other gifts and a Valentine’s Day note addressed to “Handsome.” More significantly, Clinton helped her try to secure a job in New York.

At the time, Clinton apparently didn’t know Linda Tripp had recordings of Lewinsky discussing her sexual relationship with the president. And Tripp turned those tapes over to Jones’ lawyers.

“Once that became public, Clinton’s people in the White House went on a search-and-destroy mission for Monica Lewinsky,” Rogan said.

In 1998, then-President Bill Clinton tells America, "I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky. These allegations are false"

In 1998, then-President Bill Clinton tells America, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky. These allegations are false”

Even New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd wrote that some White House officials felt “a little nauseated” over their mission to smear Lewinsky and depict her as a crazy bimbo.

“Inside the White House, the debate goes on about the best way to destroy That Woman, as the President called Monica Lewinsky,” Dowd wrote in 1998. “Should they paint her as a friendly fantasist or a malicious stalker? … At least some of the veteran Clinton shooters feel a little nauseated this time around, after smearing so many women who were probably telling the truth as trashy bimbos. … It is probably just a matter of moments before we hear that Ms. Lewinsky is a little nutty and a little slutty.”

But what about all the other Clinton scandals that could have potentially led to the president’s impeachment at the time?

In his book, Rogan lists a number of potentially explosive allegations against the Clintons – all taking place before Clinton was impeached:

  • What about Clinton’s former Associate U.S. Attorney General Webster Hubbell, the one time Arkansas law partner of Hillary Clinton, who collected over $700,000 in “consulting fees” from Clinton friends while he awaited federal prison sentencing for stealing $400,000? What about the White House giving Mrs. Hubbell a high-paying job while her husband sat in federal prison? Did that have anything to do with Hubbell’s refusal to cooperate in the grand jury investigation?
  • What about Bill and Hillary Clinton’s Whitewater land investment deal, where former Arkansas state court judge David Hale testified that Clinton pressured him to make an illegal $300,000 loan to Susan McDougal, the Clintons’ Whitewater business partner who herself received a two-year prison sentence for Whitewater related fraud? … What about Clinton releasing McDougal from prison on his last day in office by granting her a presidential pardon …?
  • What about major Clinton donor Johnny Chung‘s statement that the Clinton White House was like a subway: “You have to put in coins to open the gates”? What about Chung donating $366,000 to the Democratic National Committee – a portion of which Chung later admitted came from China’s military intelligence community – while seeking favors during forty-nine visits to the White House?
  • What about the Clintons renting out the Lincoln Bedroom in the White House to donors for at least $5.4 million in contributions to the Democratic National Committee during 1995 and 1996 alone?
  • What about Clinton Commerce Secretary Ron Brown‘s alleged statement to a close business associate – that Bill and Hillary Clinton approved the sale of seats on official government trade missions to donors giving at least $50,000 to the Democratic National Committee?
  • What about Charlie Trie’s illegal contribution of $460,000 to President Clinton’s legal defense fund, along with an additional donation of $220,000 to the Democratic National Committee, in exchange for twenty-three White House visits? What about Trie’s private White House coffee with Clinton, where Trie brought a Chinese arms dealer as his guest – all while the U.S. and China engaged in sensitive global arms negotiations?
  • What about China obtaining top-secret U.S. missile technology – through both theft and over-the-table Clinton-approved technology transfers – thereby allowing China to modernize its nuclear missiles? What about the chairman of the aerospace company engaged in (and profiting heavily from) these Clinton-approved technology transfers being the single largest donor to Clinton’s Democratic National Committee and Democratic Party satellite organizations?
  • What about John Huang raising $3.4 million for the Democratic Party, his sixty-five White House visits in 1996 alone, and his later money-laundering conviction trying to hide the donations?
  • What about the Clinton White House hiring Democratic Party operative Craig Livingstone to head the sensitive White House Office of Personnel Security, when Livingstone’s only prior “security” experience came from working as a bouncer at a D.C. nightclub? What about reports that Livingstone improperly obtained and rifled through up to nine hundred national security background files on high-level former Republican administration officials? What about reports that senior White House figures, including Hillary Clinton, reviewed thes files illegally and for political purposes?
  • What about investigating Clinton and Vice President Gore’s direct role in their “Citizenship USA” program, implemented to bypass background checks and grant rushed citizenship to over one million aliens that the White House identified as likely 1996 Clinton voters? What about their granting citizenship to 75,000 aliens with criminal arrest records, and an additional 180,000 aliens without FBI fingerprint criminal background checks?

Why didn’t Congress seek to investigate Clinton for all of these potentially impeachable offenses?

The short answer: It simply didn’t have the stomach for it.

And America was suffering Clinton scandal fatigue.


Rep. Bob Barr, R-Ga., had introduced a resolution authorizing an impeachment inquiry against Clinton for his foreign campaign money laundering connections. His resolution lacked support simply because the GOP believed impeaching Clinton was a bad idea.

In his own colorful way, Barr explained the problem to Rogan: “Nailing Bill Clinton is like trying to nail a fart to the wall. There’s a lot of smell and you know it’s there. You just aren’t sure where to nail.”

But Rogan and many others in Congress apparently smelled something offensive emanating from the Clintons, and the stench went beyond the Lewinsky affair.

“I was somebody who felt at the time that all of the Lewinsky stuff – although bad and demonstrating perjury and subornation of perjury and obstruction of justice were all certainly impeachable offenses – I was far more interested in investigating things such as the Clinton White House essentially opening up all of our nuclear secrets to communist China,” Rogan explained.

“Some of the pay-to-play scandals with Johnny Chung and the other people, the pardons and so forth, I wanted to get into all of those areas and I thought that they were far more dangerous to American domestic and national security than certainly this sex scandal. But we were losing in the battle of public opinion.”

Chinese-American businessman Johnny Chung (left) with Bill and Hillary Clinton, in a photo signed by Hillary wishing him "best wishes and appreciation"

Chinese-American businessman Johnny Chung (left) with Bill and Hillary Clinton, in a photo signed by Hillary wishing him “best wishes and appreciation”

Rep. Henry Hyde, R-Ill., then the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, had been “beaten down,” Rogan explained.

“He was getting tremendous pressure from a fractured House leadership and from a unified Senate leadership that did not want this thing to go to an impeachment to wrap up these hearings,” he said. “Those of us who were urging that we expand the hearings and take our time, and we were just shot down. That wasn’t going to happen. … There was no support from the fractured House leadership. And there was, of course, tremendous pressure put on Chairman Hyde and I presume the leadership of the House from the Senate to make this all go away.”

In fact, Rogan recalled approaching Hyde about looking into various Clinton scandals.

“I remember, I can see him in my mind’s eye, smoking on his big, Churchillian cigar, shaking his head in disgust and saying, ‘That g-ddamn Clinton. Look, you just can’t beat it.'”

Kenneth Starr testifies in November 1998

Kenneth Starr testifies in November 1998

Even after four long years of investigating the Clintons’ role in Whitewater, laundering Chinese campaign contributions, giving Webster Hubbell hush money and other potentially explosive scandals, independent counsel Kenneth Starr’s case ultimately focused on the Lewinsky scandal.

Starr’s report cited 11 areas of potentially impeachable offenses, including allegations that Clinton:

  • lied under oath at a civil deposition while he was a defendant in a sexual harassment lawsuit;
  • lied under oath to a federal grand jury;
  • attempted to influence the testimony of a potential witness who had direct knowledge of facts that would reveal his deposition testimony lies;
  • obstructed justice by helping and encouraging a witness’ plan to refuse to comply with a subpoena;
  • obstructed justice by encouraging a witness to file an affidavit he knew was false, and then made use of the false affidavit at his own deposition; and
  • obstructed justice by lying to potential grand jury witnesses, knowing they would repeat those lies before the grand jury.

Clinton’s acts and others “were part of a pattern that began as an effort to prevent the disclosure of information about the President’s relationship with a former White House intern … and continued as an effort to prevent the information from being disclosed in an ongoing criminal investigation,” Starr concluded.

House Democrats had initially insisted that they be informed of any information concerning a range of Clinton scandals arising from Starr’s investigation.

But after the 1998 election in which Republicans lost five House seats and House Speaker Newt Gingrich announced his plans to resign, the Democrats suddenly began insisting that the impeachment investigation be confined to just the Lewinksy scandal. And Democrats were winning the public messaging war.

“We all know that Bill Clinton is a world-class liar,” Hyde said, according to Rogan’s diary entry dated Nov. 30, 1998. “The problem is that the clock is ticking, and we haven’t much time left. America is tired of the whole thing. Ken Starr is a great man, but he spent too long – four and a half years – and he spent too much money on his investigation. Unfortunately, I’m in hurry-up mode. We have to keep our case to the basics: perjury, subornation of perjury, and obstruction of justice in the Monica Lewinsky matter.”

It’s the ultimate insider’s story! Judge James E. Rogan’s spellbinding book “Catching Our Flag” is the definitive work on the only 20th-century impeachment of a U.S. president

During the House debate on Clinton impeachment, Hyde took the House floor and spoke about the significance of the rule of law:

The question before this House … is not a question of sex. … The matter before the House is a question of lying under oath. This is a public act, not a private act. This is called perjury. The matter before the House is a question of the willful, premeditated, deliberate corruption of the nation’s system of justice. Perjury and obstruction of justice cannot be reconciled with the office of the president of the United States. …

We must decide if the chief law enforcement officer of the land, the person who appoints the attorney general, the person who nominates every federal judge, the person who nominates the Supreme Court, and the only person with a constitutional obligation to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, can lie under oath repeatedly and maintain it is not a breach of trust sufficient for impeachment. …

The president is our flag-bearer. He stands out in front of our people, and the flag is falling. Catch the flag as we keep our appointment with history.

The House ultimately impeached Clinton for perjury (Article I) and obstruction of justice (Article III). Five House Democrats voted to impeach Clinton for perjury.


Thirteen House Republicans from the Judiciary Committee, including Rogan, prosecuted Clinton before the Senate. The House managers took videotaped depositions from Lewinsky, Clinton adviser and friend Vernon Jordan and White House aide Sidney Blumenthal. They were not allowed to call witnesses or conduct a full trial.

“I did know – and I argued very strongly at the time – that there was zero chance of Bill Clinton every being held constitutionally accountable in the Senate if we were precluded from being able to put on our case,” Rogan told WND. “The only possible way we might have been able to change public opinion would have been to try the case. And that means call the witnesses, put forth our evidence and let America see why the House of Representatives, with the most Republicans and five Democrats crossing over voting to impeach the president of their own party, why the House of Representatives impeached a popularly elected president of the United States.

“In the Senate at the time, the fix was in. We were never allowed to call a single witness. It was the only impeachment trial in the history of America – up to that time there had been about 16 or 17 of them – where the prosecutors were precluded by the jury from being allowed to call a single witness.”

The Senate voted to acquit Clinton of both charges.

President Bill Clinton is acquitted by the Senate of charges of perjury and obstruction of justice (Photo: Twitter)

President Bill Clinton is acquitted by the Senate of charges of perjury and obstruction of justice (Photo: Twitter)

“In 20 years, I don’t believe I have ever once criticized the U.S. Senate for their verdict,” Rogan told WND. “Does that surprise you? I’ve never criticized them for their verdict because that was their constitutional prerogative. The Constitution gives the House the authority to impeach or not impeach. The Constitution gives the Senate the authority to remove or not remove. And there are a lot of factors that go into that being political decisions. I’ve never criticized the Senate for the verdict because that was their constitutional prerogative.

“My criticism back then was that they jimmied all the rules of impeachment to preclude us from being able to put on our case and, therefore, guaranteed a fixed result. And that was not the Senate’s finest hour.”

Catching-Our-FlagRogan would later suffer defeat during his 2000 re-election bid after he was fiercely targeted by Democrats after the impeachment.

It’s the ultimate insider’s story! Judge James E. Rogan’s spellbinding book “Catching Our Flag” is the definitive work on the only 20th-century impeachment of a U.S. president

Despite the Senate decision to acquit the president, Clinton’s impeachment was a success for America in a very significant way.

The U.S. Constitution (Article 2, Section 4) states: “The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

But the Founding Fathers never provided a specific definition of the term “high crimes and misdemeanors.”

“So where does the definition come from? It comes from the precedents of the House of Representatives,” Rogan explained. “In the face of all of this evidence of perjury, subornation of perjury and obstruction of justice in a federal civil rights case, had the House of Representatives failed to impeach President Clinton on one or all of those counts, we would have set a precedent for every future president of the United States who might do that when the topic is more weighty than perhaps an affair with an intern. And we would have set a precedent that those are not impeachable offenses.”

Rogan concluded: “That was a cost far too high for me as a member of the House under constitutional oath to do my job. That was a price too high for me to pay. So I voted to impeach him. I helped lead the prosecution. I paid the price for it that I knew I would pay, which was defeat when I stood for my next election.”



Wednesday, January 24, 2018

NSA deletes 'honesty, 'openness' from core values


(The Intercept) The National Security Agency maintains a page on its website that outlines its mission statement. But earlier this month, the agency made a discreet change: It removed “honesty” as its top priority.

Since at least May 2016, the surveillance agency had featured honesty as the first of four “core values” listed on, alongside “respect for the law,” “integrity,” and “transparency.” The agency vowed on the site to “be truthful with each other.”

On January 12, however, the NSA removed the mission statement page – which can still be viewed through the Internet Archive – and replaced it with a new version. Now, the parts about honesty and the pledge to be truthful have been deleted. The agency’s new top value is “commitment to service,” which it says means “excellence in the pursuit of our critical mission.”


WATCH: Comedian Shreds Media’s Regime Change Talking Points in Under a Minute


This could well be one of the most epic less-than-60-second devastating take-down of just about every mainstream media lie on Syria

The post WATCH: Comedian Shreds Media’s Regime Change Talking Points in Under a Minute appeared first on The Free Thought Project.


Democrats Demand Twitter, Facebook Crackdown on #ReleaseTheMemo “Russian Bots”, There Is Just One Problem…


Last week, a four page memo detailing FBI abuse of FISA warrants against the Trump campaign was circulated within the US House of Representatives

Amid calls from several Congressional Republicans, the hashtag #ReleaseTheMemo immediately went viral

In an effort to …


Diabetes: What We Have All Been Taught Was Incurable. Obesity-related Hyperglycemia Ain’t Necessarily “Type 2 Diabetes”


“The medical profession is being bought by the pharmaceutical industry, not only in terms of the practice of medicine, but also in terms of teaching and research. The academic institutions of this country are allowing themselves to be the paid


Tuesday, January 23, 2018

First Case Of The Zika Virus In 2018 Reported In Singapore

The first Zika case of 2018 has been recorded and it broke a four-month streak without a single reported case of the Zika virus. Now, the first case of the new year has been confirmed in Singapore.The Ministry of Health says the latest case is the first since September 29, 2017.The patient sought outpatient treatment and is doing well, according to the Ministry of Health. While they confirmed the case and status of the patient, they declined to comment on where the infection originated or any further details on the case.Doctors cited patient confidentiality.Not the most settling answer. The first case of Zika that was locally transmitted in Singapore was reported in August 2016 and by the end of the year, the number of victims would rise to 450 people.The aedes aegypti mosquito is responsible for the spread of the


NYPD Cops Allowed 20 ‘Get Out Of Jail Free’ Cards For Friends And Family Per Year


Officers with the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”) are allotted 20 so-called “get out of jail free cards” per member, according to multiple media reports. The unofficial cards are distributed by various police unions throughout the New York City metropolitan area, including the city’s largest police union, the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association (“PBA”).


Monday, January 22, 2018

Las Vegas Update: Irregularities Cause Story Behind Massacre To Stink To High Heaven


Authored by Jon Hall via Free Market Shooter blog,

Months ago, I called for scrutiny amid a constantly-revolving news cycle concerning the Las Vegas massacre that occurred last October.

The victims of the Las Vegas massacre.

64-year-old Stephen Paddock opened fire on a country music festival from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel, which overlooked the festival venue. Paddock’s onslaught left 58 dead and 546 injured.

Sadly, despite being the worst mass-shooting in U.S. history, the story has long since been abandoned by any traditional media outlets. A slow and ebbing trickle of developments have transpired despite the story dropping off of the radar…

For instance, in late December, the chief of the FBI’s Las Vegas office, Aaron Rouse, revealed the agency likely wouldn’t brief the public concerning the massacre until their official report was released sometime around the one-year anniversary of the tragedy.

Speaking with the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Rouse detailed:

Paddock’s motivation has not been linked to any sort of affiliation or ideology, and evidence still suggests the gunman had no co-conspirators… FBI investigators have about 22,000 hours of surveillance and cellphone footage to comb through, along with about 250,000 separate photos… Local and federal authorities have to sift through about 40 terabytes of data.

At the turn of the new year, it was revealed that Mandalay Bay staff – where Paddock had been staying – had at least 10 interactions with him during his stay.

Paddock’s huge arsenal of guns and thousands of rounds of ammunition somehow wasn’t noticed throughout 10 interactions with hotel staff – an immediate answer is needed as to how.

Court documents unsealed a week ago reveal that Marilou Danley, Paddock’s girlfriend, told authorities that they would likely find her fingerprints on some of the bullets used during the massacre because she helped Paddock load ammunition into magazines.

Although claiming she had no prior knowledge of Paddock’s plans, Danley deleted her Facebook account at 2:46 a.m. on the night of the massacre, just hours after Paddock began firing at 10:08 p.m. 

FBI agents also knew Paddock left behind caches of guns, ammunition, and explosives when they sought warrants before searching his properties. Oddities in Paddock’s online behavior were also noticed. As reported by Fox News:

The documents said Paddock had received an email from a Gmail account in July encouraging him to try an AR-style rifle before buying one. “We have huge selection” in the Las Vegas area, the email allegedly noted.

Paddock wrote back that he wanted to try several scopes and different types of ammunition. An email in response suggested trying a bump stock on the rifle with a 100-round magazine.

Paddock’s email address and the Gmail address had similar names, leading investigators to suspect that he may have been emailing himself, although they couldn’t figure out why.

Over the weekend, the trickle of developments continued, with Fox News revealing Paddock had child porn his computer… but last we knew, the hard drive to Paddock’s computer was missing.

Furthermore, after months of claims and explanations by authorities that Paddock was a “lone gunman”, Fox5 of Las Vegas revealed that Metro Police confirmed they’re unable to release further details on the case because “there are still suspects being investigated”. 

Even after months of being ignored by the mainstream media, the story still doesn’t add up.

The Las Vegas shooting investigation – with only four months of radio silence from authorities to show after the horrific incident and no clear answers – is still as murky as ever with no clear sign of when the veil will drop… if ever.


'Gotcha' undercover video interviews get legal thumbs-up



A California Superior Court, pointing to “an established body” of law supporting the practice of using undercover video for news gathering, has thrown out a claim by a woman who was caught in such an interview.

Kimberly Koerber sued James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas over recordings of Koerber making comments such as “damn the Second Amendment” and “the dead white guys did not create this country.”

An executive in the school textbook industry, she was captured on video pushing an elitist, progressive agenda of global warming hype, gun control and other far-left issues.

Koerber, a former manager for Pearson, the nation’s leading textbook publishing company, was with National Geographic when the interview was released two years ago.

She was interviewed as part of a series of reports on the controversial federal education-standards program Common Core.

“People that are not educated, Fox TV viewers, think that Common Core comes from the educated liberal groups, and that’s why they are against it,” Koerber was recorded saying. “They don’t know anything about it. They think it’s liberal so they’re against it. That’s what I think it is. It’s a knee-jerk reaction. My mother, oh my God, she’s a Fox person. If I could remove Fox from my television set, I would.”

Additional statements by Koerber:

  • On the Constitution: “It is being covered, but not the way they … cause they’re idiots and they don’t know what’s in it.”
  • On climate change: “They are people that don’t really know what they are talking about. I … I can’t stand it. If they talk to me one more time about … climate change not being real, I’m just gonna scream.”
  • On Christianity in Common Core: “Yes it is [out]. Totally. It’s not a core concept at all.”
  • On critics: “They don’t agree with Islam, so they don’t want their kids to be taught it. They don’t agree with birth control so they don’t want their kids to talk about it. They don’t agree with math because they don’t understand it. It’s not the same math they did in high school. So they don’t want their kids to know about it.”

In her suit against Project Veritas, she cited dozens of complaints.

See the video:

However, the court dismissed the case entirely, pointing out that it was filed beyond the statute of limitations. But the court went even further, knocking down the individual claims and, in dismissing the complaint, said it could not be refiled.

Project Veritas noted Monday the judge said that California courts have recognized that surreptitious recording for newsgathering is “conduct in the furtherance of the exercise’ of free speech,”

“The judge found that there was no ‘invasion of privacy,’ and there was nothing ‘confidential’ or criminal about surreptitiously recording the conversation between Koerber and the undercover journalists, which took place on a Starbucks patio with other people visible in the video,” Project Veritas said.

The ruling could have an influence on a case before the U.S. Supreme Court against the Center for Medical Progress, CMP, which videoed National Abortion Federation members at a meeting.

More than a dozen other videos by CMP exposed the abortion industry’s sale of the body parts of unborn children.

Koerber complained that Project Veritas published false information about her, but the court noted the video captured Koerber in her own words.

“This lawsuit was frivolous from the beginning,” said Project Veritas First Amendment attorney Ben Barr. “It featured one angry subject of a report who alleged eleven counts of malfeasance by Project Veritas, ranging from negligence to trespass. After review, the judge agreed not a single count was grounded in reality.”

“Like many other copycat lawsuits filed against Project Veritas, wild claims of recording ‘confidential’ and ‘private’ discussions simply were not true,” stated Project Veritas founder and President James O’Keefe. “This holding vindicates just how careful Project Veritas is in complying with the law when performing undercover investigations.”

Among her complaints were infliction of mental distress, a business code violation, invasion of privacy, public exposure of private facts, false light and negligence.

“The court finds that the entirety of the action is barred by the statute of limitations. In addition, the court finds that plaintiff has failed to show, through admissible evidence, reasonable likelihood of prevailing on the merits of the cauess of action as well,” the court said.

She declined to provide evidence that she was presented in a “false light” or that there was any profit for Project Veritas.

O’Keefe’s most recent project takes on the bias in social media.

He caught a former software engineer for Twitter admitting the social media giant cancels the accounts of users on the instructions of the Chinese government “a lot.”

It was the fourth investigative video in a series released over the last two weeks by O’Keefe. Earlier videos revealed Twitter’s desire to bring down President Trump and its practice of ogling explicit images and messages that users presume are private.

In the latest video, Project Veritas found a former software engineer admitting that Twitter is pressured by foreign governments – notably China – to censor messages and ban certain users.

An undercover journalist asks former employee Conrado Mirando if foreign governments pressure Twitter to ban certain people in their countries.

Miranda initially tells the PV journalist that he “cannot disclose that information.”

At another meeting, however, he opened up.

“Normally, does Twitter, like, say if someone from Iran calls and is, like, hey in our country we need these people banned so that they cannot be seen?”

He responds: “Yeah that happens. We do that a lot for China.”

He explains: “We are actually under constant attack from the Chinese. Like, both Chinese hackers, like ‘good guys’ and from Chinese government. Because sometimes they ask us to take down an account, and we don’t take down, because, we’re, like, at the end of all it, like, anybody say. … And then the Chinese government, like, starts to try and hack us, and sometimes they point someone, or like yeah, we actually violated blah, blah, blah, and then the good guys from China start attacking us. It’s a mess.”

The video:




Report Shows US Law Enforcement Routinely Engages In Parallel Construction


A long report by Human Rights Watch delves into the secretive world behind the evidence given in criminal cases. Multiple law enforcement entities are making use of DEA tips to build cases and secure convictions, but they're burying the original evidence using parallel construction, whitewashing it of possible Fourth Amendment violations.


Saturday, January 20, 2018

Body autopsied by doctor likely not Steven Paddocks, official LVMPD report reveals



Information listed in the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s preliminary report on the 1 Oct. massacre, reveals that the body autopsied by Dr. Lisa Gavin may not be Steven Paddock at all.


NSA "Sincerely Regrets" Deleting All Bush-Era Surveillance Data It Was Ordered To Preserve


There is a growing consensus among many observers in Washington that the national security agencies have become completely politicized over the past seventeen years and are now pursuing selfish agendas that actually endanger what remains of American democracy.

As Philip Giraldi notes, up until recently it has been habitual to refer to such activity as the Deep State, which is perhaps equivalent to the Establishment in that it includes financial services, the media, major foundations and constituencies, as well as lobbying groups, but we are now witnessing an evolutionary process in which the national security regime is exercising power independently.

Nowhere is that "independence" of the 'state within a state' more evident than in the blatant and egregious news this week that The National Security Agency destroyed surveillance data it pledged to preserve in connection with pending lawsuits and apparently never took some of the steps it told a federal court it had taken to make sure the information wasn’t destroyed, according to recent court filings.

As Politico reports, the agency tells a federal judge that it is investigating and "sincerely regrets its failure."

Since 2007, the NSA has been under court orders to preserve data about certain of its surveillance efforts that came under legal attack following disclosures that President George W. Bush ordered warrantless wiretapping of international communications after the 2001 terrorist attacks on the U.S. In addition, the agency has made a series of representations in court over the years about how it is complying with its duties.

However, the NSA told U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey White in a filing on Thursday night and another little-noticed submission last year that the agency did not preserve the content of internet communications intercepted between 2001 and 2007 under the program Bush ordered. To make matters worse, backup tapes that might have mitigated the failure were erased in 2009, 2011 and 2016, the NSA said.

“The NSA sincerely regrets its failure to prevent the deletion of this data,” NSA’s deputy director of capabilities, identified publicly as “Elizabeth B.,” wrote in a declaration filed in October.

“NSA senior management is fully aware of this failure, and the Agency is committed to taking swift action to respond to the loss of this data.”

Defiance of a court order can result in civil or criminal contempt charges, as well as sanctions against the party responsible. So far, no one involved appears to have asked White to impose any punishment or sanction on the NSA over the newly disclosed episodes, although the details of what happened are still emerging.

“It’s really disappointing,” said David Greene, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which has been leading the prolonged litigation over the program in federal court in San Francisco.

“The obligation’s been in place for a really long time now. … We had a major dust-up about it just a few years ago. This is definitely something that should’ve been found sooner.”

Word of the NSA’s foul-up is emerging just as Congress has extended for six years the legal authority the agency uses for much of its surveillance work conducted through U.S. internet providers and tech firms.

Antiwar activist Justin Raimondo believes that something like a civil war is coming, with the war party Establishment fighting to defend its privileged global order while many other Americans seek a return to normal nationhood with all that implies.

If true, the next few years will see a major internal conflict that will determine what kind of country the United States will be.


‘Data on Everybody’: Whistleblower Warns of Massive Scope of US Surveillance


The post ‘Data on Everybody’: Whistleblower Warns of Massive Scope of US Surveillance appeared first on GOV'T SLAVES.


Monday, January 15, 2018

Massive flu outbreak? Here’s the real story the media won’t touch. The lies, the hoax, the scandal.


Massive flu outbreak? Here’s the real story the media won’t touch. The lies, the hoax, the scandal.

I covered part of the scandal the other day, but here I’ll give you much more.

By Jon Rappoport

In case you haven’t been following the uproar over the flu outbreak, you’ve missed the fact that…

Health authorities admit this year’s flu vaccine is only 10% effective.

But of course, they urge you to take the vaccine anyway.

Why is this year’s vaccine ineffective? Because it’s made using chicken eggs, and researchers have discovered that the flu virus—which is placed in the vaccine—mutates in chicken eggs.

Therefore, by the time a person takes the flu shot, he’s not being protected against this year’s seasonal flu virus. He’s being protected against a mutated virus that isn’t causing the flu this year.

This is the conventional explanation. If you think it’s the whole story, I have condos for sale on the moon.

You see, vaccines have been made using chicken eggs—not just this year—but for the past 70 years.


That would mean the flu vaccine has been ineffective for decades. “The majority of flu vaccines are grown in chicken eggs, a method of vaccine development that’s been used for 70 years.”

But wait. There’s more. Much more. I’ll break it down into several scandals.

SCANDAL ONE (I covered this the other day): Dr. Peter Doshi, writing in the online BMJ (British Medical Journal), reveals a monstrosity.

As Doshi states, every year, hundreds of thousands of respiratory samples are taken from flu patients in the US and tested in labs. Here is the kicker: only a small percentage of these samples show the presence of a flu virus.

This means: most of the people in America who are diagnosed by doctors with the flu have no flu virus in their bodies.

So they don’t have the flu.

Therefore, even if you assume the flu vaccine is useful and safe, it couldn’t possibly prevent all those “flu cases” that aren’t flu cases.

The vaccine couldn’t possibly work.

The vaccine isn’t designed to prevent fake flu, unless pigs can fly.

Here’s the exact quote from Peter Doshi’s BMJ review, “Influenza: marketing vaccines by marketing disease” (BMJ 2013; 346:f3037):

“…even the ideal influenza vaccine, matched perfectly to circulating strains of wild influenza and capable of stopping all influenza viruses, can only deal with a small part of the ‘flu’ problem because most ‘flu’ appears to have nothing to do with influenza. Every year, hundreds of thousands of respiratory specimens are tested across the US. Of those tested, on average 16% are found to be influenza positive.”

“…It’s no wonder so many people feel that ‘flu shots’ don’t work: for most flus, they can’t.”

Because most diagnosed cases of the flu aren’t the flu.

So even if you’re a true believer in mainstream vaccine theory, you’re on the short end of the stick here. They’re conning your socks off.

The basic flu symptoms—cough, fever, chills, sore throat, muscle aches, weakness—can be caused by a variety of factors that have nothing to do with a flu virus.

SCANDAL TWO: In December of 2005, the British Medical Journal (online) published another shocking Peter Doshi report, which created tremors through the halls of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), where “the experts” used to tell the press that 36,000 people in the US die every year from the flu.

Here is a quote from Doshi’s report, “Are US flu death figures more PR than science?” (BMJ 2005; 331:1412):

“[According to CDC statistics], ‘influenza and pneumonia’ took 62,034 lives in 2001—61,777 of which were attributable to pneumonia and 257 to flu, and in only 18 cases was the flu virus positively identified.”


You see, the CDC has created one overall category that combines both flu and pneumonia deaths. Why do they do this? Because they disingenuously assume that the pneumonia deaths are complications stemming from the flu.

This is an absurd assumption. Pneumonia has a number of causes.

But even worse, in all the flu and pneumonia deaths, only 18 revealed the presence of an influenza virus.

Therefore, the CDC could not say, with assurance, that more than 18 people died of influenza in 2001. Not 36,000 deaths. 18 deaths.

Doshi continued his assessment of published CDC flu-death statistics: “Between 1979 and 2001, [CDC] data show an average of 1348 [flu] deaths per year (range 257 to 3006).” These figures refer to flu separated out from pneumonia.

This death toll is obviously far lower than the old parroted 36,000 figure.

However, when you add the sensible condition that lab tests have to actually find the flu virus in patients, the numbers of flu deaths plummet even further.

In other words, it’s all promotion and hype.

“Well, uh, we used to say that 36,000 people die from the flu every year in the US. But actually, all we can prove is about 20 deaths. However, we can’t admit that, because if we did, we’d be exposing our gigantic psyop. The whole campaign to scare people into getting a flu shot would have about the same effect as warning people to carry iron umbrellas, in case toasters fall out of upper-story windows…and, by the way, we’d be put in prison for fraud.”

SCANDAL THREE: The so-called Swine Flu pandemic of 2009. This one is a real eye-opener. The CDC was caught with its pants down.

Swine Flu was hyped to the sky by the CDC. The Agency was calling for all Americans to take the Swine Flu vaccine. Remember?

The problem was, the CDC was concealing a very dirty secret.

At the time, star CBS investigative reporter, Sharyl Attkisson, was working on the Swine Flu story. She discovered that the CDC had secretly stopped counting cases of the illness—while, of course, continuing to warn Americans about its unchecked spread.

Understand that the CDC’s main job is counting cases and reporting the numbers.

What was the Agency up to?

Here is an excerpt from my 2014 interview with Sharyl Attkisson:

Rappoport: In 2009, you spearheaded coverage of the so-called Swine Flu pandemic. You discovered that, in the summer of 2009, the Centers for Disease Control, ignoring their federal mandate, [secretly] stopped counting Swine Flu cases in America. Yet they continued to stir up fear about the “pandemic,” without having any real measure of its impact. Wasn’t that another investigation of yours that was shut down? Wasn’t there more to find out?

Attkisson: The implications of the story were even worse than that. We discovered through our FOI efforts that before the CDC mysteriously stopped counting Swine Flu cases, they had learned that almost none of the cases they had counted as Swine Flu was, in fact, Swine Flu or any sort of flu at all! The interest in the story from one [CBS] executive was very enthusiastic. He said it was “the most original story” he’d seen on the whole Swine Flu epidemic. But others pushed to stop it [after it was published on the CBS News website] and, in the end, no [CBS television news] broadcast wanted to touch it. We aired numerous stories pumping up the idea of an epidemic, but not the one that would shed original, new light on all the hype. It was fair, accurate, legally approved and a heck of a story. With the CDC keeping the true Swine Flu stats secret, it meant that many in the public took and gave their children an experimental vaccine that may not have been necessary.

—end of interview excerpt—

I’ll add a few details. It was routine for doctors all over America to send blood samples from patients they’d diagnosed with Swine Flu, or the “most likely” Swine Flu patients, to labs for testing. And overwhelmingly, those samples were coming back with the result: not Swine Flu, not any kind of flu.

That was the big secret. That’s what the CDC was hiding. That’s why they stopped reporting Swine Flu case numbers. That’s what Attkisson had discovered. That’s why she was shut down.

But it gets even worse.

Because about three weeks after Attkisson’s findings were published on the CBS News website, the CDC, obviously in a panic, decided to double down. If one lie is exposed, tell an even bigger one. A much bigger one.

Here, from a November 12, 2009, WebMD article is the CDC’s response: “Shockingly, 14 million to 34 million U.S. residents — the CDC’s best guess is 22 million — came down with H1N1 swine flu by Oct. 17 [2009].” (“22 million cases of Swine Flu in US,” by Daniel J. DeNoon).

Are your eyeballs popping? They should be.

In the summer of 2009, the CDC secretly stops counting Swine Flu cases in America, because the overwhelming percentage of lab tests from likely Swine Flu patients shows no sign of Swine Flu or any other kind of flu.

There is no Swine Flu epidemic.

Then, the CDC estimates there are 22 MILLION cases of Swine Flu in the US.

So now…when health officials begin waving red flags and raising alarms about a current viral flu outbreak, it would be more than reasonable to demand they answer questions about their past lies and deceptions.

Unless you just want to take them at their word.

If so, good luck.


His passion for vintage pornography led him to become a Bitcoin millionaire


Over the weekend, the New York Times published a satirical article entitled “Everyone is Getting Hilariously Rich and You’re Not.”

That headline perfectly encapsulates the ‘Fear of Missing Out’, or FOMO, that’s so pervasive in cryptocurrency right now.

Just about everyone either knows, or has heard of someone, who’s made an absolute fortune in crypto.

And this plays perfectly to one of the darkest and most basic of human emotions: envy.

The article humorously showcases several Bitcoin (and other cryptocurrency) millionaires, poking fun at the subculture dominated by free-spending millennial 20-somethings who act as if they’re the second coming of capitalism.

A few quotes from the article will give you a sense of it:

“Sometimes I think about what would happen to the future if a bomb went off at one of our meetings. . . [That] bomb would set back civilization for years.”

“[H]is main hobbies were reading 4chan and buying vintage pornography, passions that exposed him to cryptocurrency.”

“He said his holdings are into double-digit millions but wouldn’t give specifics other than to say he’d quit his job and is starting a hedge fund.”

“They talk about buying Lamborghinis, the single acceptable way to spend money in the Ethereum cryptocurrency community.”

“The [ethereum cryptocurrency’s] founder frequently appears in fan art as Jesus with a Lamborghini.”

“And he wears a solid gold Bitcoin “B” necklace encrusted with diamonds that he had made.”

“When I meet people in the normal world now, I get bored.”

“He pointed to his outfit — a long white fake mink coat, gold-heeled shoes — and said, “It’s gold, right? It’s gold.”

Anyhow, you get the idea.

Clearly the author went out of her way to cherry-pick some of the wealthiest crypto millionaires and make her subjects appear juvenile and narcissistic…

This is a gross generalization.

But the perception is still there– it seems like everyone ELSE is spending like drunken sailors from all the money they’ve made in crypto… money that you’re NOT making.

Which brings us back to FOMO– fear of missing out. Or more importantly, what I call “Fear of Missing Out… AGAIN.”

Everybody knows that Bitcoin and Ether went to the moon. And by God they’re not going to miss out on the next one.

So perhaps the most troubling story from the article was of a 56-year old janitor who cleans the seats at the local Cinemark movie theater.

She’s now basically dumped her life’s savings into crypto, rationalizing her decision by saying “something is telling me I can trust this generation.”

Clearly that ‘something’ is her fear of missing out… again. She’s spending time with all of these people who are younger than her kids but have more money than she can dream of.

Between her envy and FOMO, she’s made a monumental financial decision driven by two extremely powerful emotions.

Even some of the wealthy crypto speculators show signs of extreme FOMO.

As a community there seems to be intense peer pressure to NOT sell… to hold one’s crypto holdings until the price reaches some mythical height.

As one young man who allegedly made hundreds of millions of dollars in crypto told the reporter, “All I know is the price of Ether is going to go up.”

Eh… according to your crystal ball?

With such prodigious gains, the rational thing to do would be to take a LOT of money off the table and lock in those profits.

But, hey… FOMO. If the price goes up 10x from here, they’ll miss out on those gains.

So, driven by some irrational belief that they can predict the future, they’re not selling.

That decision-making is as emotional as ‘something is telling me I can trust this generation.’

The lesson I want to highlight again is that emotional decisions tend to be bad decisions.

And these bad decisions often lead to painful outcomes that could have been easily avoided.

Again, I’m not suggesting to NOT buy crypto. Or to sell it.

[In full disclosure, I was a very early adopter of Bitcoin and recently sold roughly $100,000 worth primarily because I found a more productive investment for that capital in the sector. But I still own plenty of crypto and plan on holding the rest until another opportunity arises.]

The main idea is to establish and follow simple rules for yourself: don’t gamble with your savings. You worked long and hard to earn it.

Always make efforts to fully understand anything that you’re investing in… especially the risks.

Be able to make multiple arguments simultaneous, i.e. make the case FOR and AGAINST the investment. Understand both sides.

And most importantly, once you make a decision, only invest whatever amount of money you can literally afford to set on fire.



Saturday, January 13, 2018

A small Norwegian city might hold the answer to beating the winter blues


Norway Migrants In The Cold

(Credit: AP)

Many dread the approaching winter — the darkness, frigid weather and lower energy levels that blow in along with cold fronts and snowstorms.

As headlines warn of “bomb cyclones” and cold snaps, most will begrudgingly grit out the winter months, grinding through dreary doldrums of January and February and counting down the days until spring. Some even succumb to seasonal affective disorder, a form of depression that tends to occur at higher rates in colder regions and is hypothesized to be related to the lack of daylight in those regions.

But what about people who live in the coldest parts of the world, where the winters are longest and the summers fleeting? Do they similarly dread the winter? Or could they offer clues about how to avoid the wintertime blues?

In August 2014 I moved to Tromsø, Norway, an island of 70,000 people located over 200 miles north of the Arctic Circle. Tromsø’s location is so extreme that they experience two months of “polar night” each year — when the sun does not rise above the horizon.

Yet despite the extreme winter conditions, studies have shown that residents of Tromsø do not experience as much seasonal depression and wintertime mental distress as you might expect.

To try to figure out why, I spent 10 months studying how people in Tromsø cope with — and even thrive during — the long, dark winters.

My research led me to a surprising conclusion: perhaps the psychological concept of mindset is the reason for their winter well-being.

After arriving in Tromsø, I was terrified at the thought of the impending winter. Months of friends and family telling me how they could “never move some place so cold and dark” because the winter makes them “so depressed” or “so tired” had me bracing for the worst-case scenario.

But it didn’t take long for me to realize that most residents of Tromsø weren’t viewing the upcoming winter with a sense of doom. In fact, to many locals, the original question I’d planned to ask — “Why aren’t people in Tromsø more depressed during the winter?” — didn’t make sense. Most people I spoke to in Tromsø were actually looking forward to the winter. They spoke enthusiastically about the ski season. They loved the opportunities for coziness provided by the winter months.

As I experienced firsthand Tromsø residents’ unique relationship to winter, a serendipitous conversation with Alia Crum, assistant professor of psychology at Stanford University, inspired me to consider mindset as a factor that might influence Tromsø residents’ sunny perspective of the sunless winter. Crum defines mindsets as the “lenses through which information is perceived, organized and interpreted.” Mindsets serve as an overarching framework for our everyday experiences — and they can profoundly influence how we react in a variety of situations.

Crum’s work has shown that mindsets significantly influence both our physical and mental health in areas as diverse as exercise, stress and diet. For example, according to Crum’s research, individuals can hold the mindset that stress is either debilitating (bad for your health and performance) or enhancing (motivating and performance-boosting). The truth is that stress is both; it can cause athletes to crumble under pressure and lead CEOs to have heart attacks, but it can also sharpen focus and critical thinking, giving athletes, CEOs and the rest of us the attention and adrenaline to succeed in high-pressure situations. According to Crum’s work, instead of the mere presence of stress, it is our mindset about stress — whether or not we perceive it as a help or a hindrance — that contributes most to health, performance and psychological outcomes.

After speaking with Professor Crum, I began to wonder: could it be that residents of Tromsø possess a positive wintertime mindset, which allows them to not only persevere but also thrive during the polar night?

Along with my advisor at the University of Tromsø, Joar Vittersø, I developed a preliminary “Wintertime Mindset Scale” to measure how residents of Tromsø view the winter. The Wintertime Mindset Scale asked our survey participants to agree or disagree with items such as “There are many things to enjoy about the winter,” and “I find the winter months dark and depressing.”

The results of our study in Norway found that having a positive wintertime mindset was associated with greater life satisfaction, willingness to pursue the challenges that lead to personal growth, and positive emotions.

This preliminary study has raised many new questions about the role mindset might play in seasonal wellness. Research indicates that 6% of the US population suffers from seasonal affective disorder, a form of major depression with a recurring seasonal pattern, which most often occurs during the winter months. Another 14% suffer from a lesser pattern of seasonal mood changes known as the “winter blues.”

These statistics are certainly troubling and raise questions about preventing and curing winter depression. But what about the other 80% of the US population? Even excluding residents of sunny regions like Florida and California, the vast majority of Americans who live through the winter every year don’t get seasonal depression.

Our pilot data suggest that the concept of wintertime mindset could add a positive component to the discussion of seasonal well-being, and that mindset may be an important addition to the theoretical and practical discussion of seasonal wellness. However, more research is needed to both refine the Wintertime Mindset Scale and further validate these initial findings.

Back on the US East Coast for the holidays, the chill in the air and the early nightfall already had some of my friends and family grumbling. But I was able to convince at least some of them to find what they love about winter and lean into it; looking at winter as an opportunity rather than a burden can help people enjoy all that the season has to offer.

I pointed out that Norwegians embrace the idea of koselig, or “coziness” — that making the conscious effort to light candles and fires, drink warm beverages and snuggle under blankets can be enjoyable and relaxing.

The ConversationAnd taking the time to bundle up and get outside even in the worst weather can help you feel like winter isn’t limiting your opportunities for recreation. Norwegians have a saying that “there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing,” which typifies their ingrained belief that being active is part of a happy life — and, especially, a happy winter.

Kari Leibowitz, Ph.D. candidate in Psychology, Stanford University


Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Golden Globes And ‘Sickening Hypocrisy’ Of Celebrity A-Listers Who All Knew About The Hollywood Culture Of Sexual Abuse And Child Molesters


The post Golden Globes And ‘Sickening Hypocrisy’ Of Celebrity A-Listers Who All Knew About The Hollywood Culture Of Sexual Abuse And Child Molesters appeared first on GOV'T SLAVES.


Australia Must Rescue Assange From The Establishment Which Tortured Manning


Private Manning was tortured. As sure as if they’d strapped her down and set upon her flesh with fire and steel, she was tortured.

United Nations special rapporteur on torture Juan E. Mendez stated unequivocally that Manning’s treatment at the hands of the US government during her imprisonment was “cruel, inhuman and degrading,” and 295 legal scholars signed a letter declaring that she was being “detained under degrading and inhumane conditions that are illegal and immoral.”

Humans, like all primates, are evolutionarily programmed to be social animals, which is why solitary confinement causes our systems to become saturated in distress signals as real as pain or fear. Studies have shown that fifteen days of this draconian practice causes permanent psychological damage. Manning was in solitary confinement for nearly a year.

Manning attempted suicide in July of 2016. To punish her for her attempt to end her misery, they tortured her some more. She attempted suicide again three months later.

Julian Assange's stay in London embassy untenable, says Ecuador

 — @guardian

The same sadistic regime which inflicted these horrors upon Manning has during the current administration prioritized the arrest of WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange, and the international arms of the US power establishment have been working to facilitate that aim. The Guardian reports that Ecuador’s foreign minister is now saying Assange’s continued stay in the nation’s London embassy has become “untenable” and is seeking international mediation, to which a spokesman for the UK government has responded that “The government of Ecuador knows that the way to resolve this issue is for Julian Assange to leave the embassy to face justice.”

Justice. A government whose international operations are uniformly indistinct from America’s wants Assange to leave political asylum and trust his life to an international power establishment that tortures whistleblowers in order to face “justice”.

Julian Assange isn’t hiding from justice, he’s hiding from injustice. What sane human being wouldn’t? Time after time after time we are shown that whistleblowers, leakers, and those who facilitate them are not shown anything remotely resembling justice by this depraved Orwellian establishment. Which is why Australia must intervene and protect him.

UK refuses Ecuadorian offer of mediation "The Government of Ecuador knows that the way to resolve this issue is for Julian Assange to leave the embassy to face justice." Background:

 — @wikileaks

Julian Assange is an Australian citizen. He is being arbitrarily detained. He has committed no crimes. His arrest is being openly pursued by a government that tortures whistleblowers. The government of the embassy that he has stayed at for the last five and a half years is seeking international mediation. What more reason do you need?

At some point, my fellow Australians, we are going to sorely regret not insisting on our own national sovereignty. Being Washington’s basement gimp will only imperil us. Today it’s Assange, but tomorrow it will be you or someone you know. The next senseless war the Americans start (and you know it’s coming) will kill our sons and daughters, our nieces and nephews, our husbands and wives, and fill our country with another generation of darkened souls and broken minds unless we cease participating in the global domination scheme of the US-centralized oligarchs.

We have everything we need here and our borders couldn’t be easier to defend. We don’t need to put up with Canberra’s endless sycophancy to Washington anymore. If we can’t protect our own citizen from injustice and torture after all he did was tell the truth, we are not a real country. Might as well ask America for statehood so at least we can get representation in their fake congress and votes in their fake elections.

Being a defense/intelligence asset to a foreign government which has never had our interests at heart isn’t serving us. We haven’t even pretended to be our own country since Whitlam, and it needs to change. It’s either follow the Americans off the cliff this trajectory inevitably leads over, or restore our national sovereignty to the point where at the very least we can protect our own citizens from arbitrary detention and torture.

Come on, Aussie.


Thanks for reading! My work here is entirely reader-funded so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook, following me on Twitter, bookmarking my website, throwing some money into my hat on Patreon or Paypal, or buying my new book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers.

Bitcoin donations:1Ac7PCQXoQoLA9Sh8fhAgiU3PHA2EX5Zm2stat?event=post.clientViewed&referrerSou