Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Organic food consumption lowers overall cancer risks in large-scale study of French adults


The results are in on one of the first, large-scale studies on organic food consumption and cancer risks and they are significant and encouraging.  It is widely recognized we need to do much more in preventing cancer, as opposed to treating it, and this study suggests that organic food may be an important piece of the puzzle.A team of French government scientists analyzed 68,946 citizens in the NutriNet-Santé cohort. Individuals were surveyed to determine if those who ate more organic foods had ...


Tuesday, October 30, 2018

A Brief History Of Leftist Political Violence This Year


Authored by Daniel Greenfield via Sultan Knish blog,

On September 9, Rudy Peters, the Republican running for Congress in the 15th District in California, was attacked by a knife-wielding man shouting, "F___ Trump".

The attacker, Farzad Fazeli, an Iranian Clinton supporter, had previously posted, “Don Trump won’t clean his own house, so he’s too dirty to know right from wrong. Impeach/incarcerate him before more children die. P.S. complacency is worse than being the shooter.”

The next month, Shane Mekeland, a Republican running for the Minnesota House of Representatives, suffered a concussion after being punched in the face at a restaurant. “You f____g people don't give a s___ about the middle class,” his assailant had shouted at him.

Mekeland is back on the campaign trail, while still recovering from the assault. “The media and the likes of Maxine Waters, Hillary, and Eric Holder as of late is driving this behavior," he warned.

"If you see anybody from that cabinet in a restaurant, at a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd. And you push back on them, and you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere," Rep. Maxine Waters had urged an angry leftist mob.

Eric Holder, Obama’s attorney general and a possible 2020 candidate, had urged, “When they go low, we kick them." He had tweeted at Democrats, urging them to, “Use the rage.”

Hillary Clinton had told CNN, "You cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for, what you care about."

Senator Hirono had refused to condemn the harassment of Republicans, telling CNN, "This is the kind of activism that occurs and people make their own decisions. If they violate the law, then they have to account for that.”

That same month, also in Minnesota, State Rep. Sarah Anderson, a Republican, was punched by a man when she tried to stop him from vandalizing her campaign signs.

Also in October, Kristin Davison, the campaign chief for Adam Laxalt, the Republican candidate for governor in Nevada, was left with pain and bruises after a confrontation with a Democrat operative. Her alleged assailant faces a charge of misdemeanor battery.

Three violent attacks on Republican political figures in just one month alone earned almost no coverage in the media.

Instead the media egged it on. Even the country’s leading leftist papers urged greater displays of rage.

October editorials, columns and op-eds in the New York Times included headlines such as, "Get Angry, and Get Involved," "Tears, Fury or Action: How Do You Express Anger?", “Fury Is a Political Weapon And Women Need to Wield It.”

The explosion of violence against Republicans in October was the culmination of a climate of crazed hatred, which lead to death threats, and when those were unaddressed, to actual physical violence.

In the two months from May to June, 30 Republican members of Congress were attacked or threatened.

These included, Christopher Michael McGowan who warned Rep. Bob Goodlatte’s staff, "I am not making a joke. I will kill him." It included Steve Martan, a "pacifist", who threatened to shoot Rep. Martha McSally.

E. Stanley Hoff was arrested for leaving a message for Rep. Steve Stivers warning the Ohio Republican, "We're coming to get every g_____n one of you and your families. Maybe the next one taken down will be your daughter."

Messages aimed at Rep. Tom Garrett threatened, "This is how we're going to kill your wife", and "This is what I'm going to do to your daughters."

And Rep. David Kustoff was nearly run off the road.

In the middle of June, James Hodgkinson, a passionate Bernie Sanders supporter, opened fire at a Republican charity baseball practice, seriously wounding Rep. Steve Scalise, and Zack Barth, an aide to Rep. Roger Williams. Even though Hodgkinson had a hit list of conservative Republicans, Rep. Mo Brooks, South Carolina Rep. Jeff Duncan and Arizona Rep. Trent Franks, Rep. Jim Jordan, Tennessee Rep. Scott DesJarlais and Virginia Rep. Morgan Griffith, the FBI denied that it was a political assassination.

In August, Carlos Bayon was arrested for threatening House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and House Republican Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers. “We are not going to feed them sandwiches, we are going to feed them lead,” he declared.

Law enforcement found bomb and assassination manuals in Bayon’s house.

Around the same time, DeReal Finklin, a registered Democrat, was charged for sending death threats to Rep. Christopher H. Smith. DeReal had also posted, "Anybody outside of my blood in Monmouth or Ocean County on my Facebook account, you are dead."

In June, Laurence Wayne Key, a Democratic Party of Marin County volunteer, was arrested for threatening to kill Rep. Brian Mast’s three children.

"I’m going to find the Congressman’s kids and kill them. If you’re going to separate kids at the border, I’m going to kill his kids,” the Planned Parenthood supporter threatened.

In Florida, in June, Steve St. Felix was charged with threatening to kill Rep. Jose Felix Diaz.

“Ill kill your ass and you better not show up to the next rec meeting,” St. Felix, who can be seen grinning widely in his booking photo, warned.

In July, in Tennessee, Clifton Ward was indicted for threatening to kill Rep. Diane Black. In New York, Martin Astrof allegedly tried to run over one of Rep. Lee Zeldin’s campaign workers who had been recognized for feeding rescue workers at Ground Zero after 9/11.

Ian Nicholas Nix was arrested for threatening to kill South Carolina state Rep. Steven Long. Nix called Long “right-wing scum” and warned him, You’re a ____ dead man.”

Also in July, a man who threatened to chop up Senator Rand Paul and his family with an axe was arrested.

After months of this, the media did not relent. It poured more fuel on the fire. The death threats of summer then became the violent assaults of fall.

The media called this “activism”. It denounced Republicans for warning of “angry mobs”.

And now the very same media has suddenly decided that threatening and assaulting people whose politics you disagree with is wrong. As long as the political figures being assaulted are Democrats.

But it doesn’t work that way.

Democrats and their media allies have sanctioned violence against Republicans. They’ve defended harassment and even assaults as activism. They have embraced and celebrated hate groups. The mob culture they have brought forth is fundamentally changing the rules of American politics.

Once political terror is unleashed, it can’t be controlled or compartmentalized.

Leftists, who have written a bloody history of political terror from Europe to South America, from the Middle East and across Asia, and right back to America, ought to know that better than anyone else.

The Left has made it its mission to destroy America. This is what destroying a country looks like.

In academia, there is glib talk of overturning Western civilization. But without civilization, there is only savagery.

The mad toll of death threats and assaults, of shootings and harassment was unleashed by the Left. The hectoring media has made millions from it. Fortunes have poured into the war chests of radical Democrats. They can make it stop. Or they can go on feeding the beast while blaming conservatives.


Rickards: China's Debt Bomb Is Ready To Explode


Authored by James Rickards via The Daily Reckoning,

The great Chinese growth slowdown has been proceeding in stages for the past two years. The reason is simple. Much of China’s “growth” (about 25% of the total) has consisted of wasted infrastructure investment in ghost cities and white elephant transportation infrastructure.

That investment was financed with debt that now cannot be repaid. This was fine for creating short-term jobs and providing business to cement, glass and steel vendors, but it was not a sustainable model since the infrastructure either was not used at all or did not generate sufficient revenue.

China’s future success depends on high-value-added technology and increased consumption. But shifting to intellectual property and the consumer means slowing down on infrastructure, which will slow the economy.

In turn, that means exposing the bad debt for what it is, which risks a financial and liquidity crisis. China started to do this last year but quickly turned tail when the economy slowed. Now the economy has slowed so much that markets are collapsing.

But doesn’t China have over $1 trillion of reserves to prop up its financial system?

On paper, that’s true. But in reality, China is “short” U.S. dollars. The Chinese may have $1.4 trillion of U.S. Treasury securities in its reserve position, but they need those assets possibly to bail out their banking system or defend the yuan.

Meanwhile, the Chinese banking sector, which in many ways is an extension of the state, owes $318 billion in U.S. dollar-denominated deposits of commercial paper.

From a bank’s perspective, borrowing in dollars is going short dollars because you need dollar assets to back up those liabilities if the original lenders want their money back. For the most part, the banks don’t have those assets because they converted the dollar to yuan to prop up local real estate Ponzis and local corporations.

There’s not much left over to bail out the corporate, individual and real estate sectors.

This is all part of a global “dollar shortage” attributable to Fed tightening, both in the forms of higher rates but also a reduction in base money.

A dollar shortage seems implausible in a world where the Fed printed $4.4 trillion. But while the Fed was printing, the world borrowed over $70 trillion (on top of prior loans), so the dollar shortage is real. The math is inescapable.

So the Chinese debt bomb that has been a long time in the making is finally getting ready to explode. The economy is slowing, debt is exploding and the trade war with Trump has hurt China’s exports needed to earn dollars to pay the debts.

The defaults are beginning to pile up. Several large corporations and regional governments have defaulted recently.

China’s leaders have panicked at the slowdown and have started the credit flow again with lower interest rates, higher bank leverage and more debt-financed, government-directed infrastructure spending.

Of course, this solution is strictly temporary. All it does is postpone the day of reckoning and make the debt crisis worse when it does arrive.

With every passing day, a Chinese financial collapse draws closer. The rest of the world will not escape the consequences.

When the crisis strikes in full force, possibly in 2019, the rest of the world will not be spared.


Flashback: Peanut oil in vaccines behind widespread peanut allergy epidemic



According to available records, however, virtually nobody had peanut allergy prior to 1900 despite the fact that people have been eating peanuts for ages, which begs the question, why do so many people have peanut allergy today, and from where did this potentially-deadly allergic condition emerge?

In his book The Doctor Within, Dr. Tim O'Shea argues that vaccines may be largely responsible for both the advent and increased prevalence of peanut allergy, noting that many vaccines and even antibiotic drugs contain, or were made using, excipients potentially derived from peanut oil. Since it is a relatively inexpensive oil to produce, refined peanut oil apparently became widely adopted as an excipient of choice in the production of vaccines during the 1960s, according to some reports, and peanut-derived excipients are still believed to be in use today for this purpose.


STUDY: Give Up Pot, Cognition Quickly Improves...


STUDY: Give Up Pot, Cognition Quickly Improves...

(First column, 12th story, link)

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Trump's Role in the Tree of Life Massacre

This outright illogical reporting comes from "a former lecturer in journalism at the Annenberg School for Communication of the University of Southern California." First is the sensationalist article title, then the claim that the author is going to show how Trump's hateful speech led to this attack. The author should be embarrassed at this attempt to manipulate.

"That is why it is important now, after the slaughter in the Tree of Life Congregation, to give some thought to the speeches, tweets and random thoughts of President Donald Trump, whose words, rather than calming the nation in this trying time, are further inflaming it.

His messages in rallies and tweets spread anger and fear among his political base to increase the Republican vote in the midterm elections. At a rally in Charlotte, N.C., Friday, the night before the Pittsburgh shooting, he said, 'The Democrats want to invite caravan after caravan of illegal immigrants into our country, and they want to sign up them for free health care, welfare, and they want to sign them up for the right to vote.'”

This is hate speech that leads to murder? Are you kidding? As a comparison, look at this.

Monday, October 29, 2018

179 Death Threats Against President Trump Are Live On Twitter...Real Time Updated List - Big League Politics

EU Court Upholds Prosecution Of Woman For Comparing Muhammad's Marriage To A Six-Year-Old Girl To Pedophilia


Authord by Jonathan Turley via,

A new decision from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) confirms the all-out assault on free speech that has taken hold of Europe.  In a chilling decision, the ECHR upheld a fine levied against an Austrian woman who called Muhammad a pedophile for his arranged marriage with a young girl while in his 50s.   The court ruled that such views are not protected by free speech because they violate “the right of others to have their religious feelings protected.” The decision confirms the near complete subjugation of free speech to religious and other views in society.  

In 2009, the defendant held two seminars entitled “Basic Information on Islam,” in which she compared Muhammad’s marriage to a six-year-old girl, Aisha, to pedophilia.

Most accounts put Aisha’s birth around  late 613 or early 614.  She was six or seven years old when she was married to Muhammad in Mecca and he consummated the marriage when she was reportedly ten. Muhammad was around 50 at the time.

For most of us in the free speech community, the differing views of this marriage is immaterial to the right of both sides to be free to state their views.  However, complainants have sought to silence critics like this woman by seeking criminal fines.

Moreover, I am not particularly interested in how the woman expressed her views since they raise core religious and political values.  The court said that she stated that Muhammad “liked to do it with children” and “… A 56-year-old and a six-year-old? … What do we call it, if it is not pedophilia?”  That was found to be “disparaging religion” and lower courts upheld the conviction.

The Strasbourg-based ECHR ruled that the woman’s “right to freedom of expression with the right of others to have their religious feelings protected, and served the legitimate aim of preserving religious peace in Austria.”

The ECHR engaged in what is now an all-too-familiar effort to deny its obvious denial of free speech by saying that freedom of religion did not protect religions from criticism but they upheld the punishment of someone for doing precisely that.  It simply declared that the woman’s comments “could only be understood as having been aimed at demonstrating that Muhammad was not worthy of worship.”

The opinion is perfectly Orwellian in saying that you cannot get away with using free speech by simply claiming the right of free speech.  The court rejected that people are entitled to free speech by simply “pack[ing] incriminating statements into the wrapping of an otherwise acceptable expression of opinion and claim that this rendered passable those statements exceeding the permissible limits of freedom of expression.”

That type of circular logic would be laughable if it were not so chilling.

We have previously discussed the alarming rollback on free speech rights in the West, particularly in France (here and here and here and here and here and here) and England ( here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here). Much of this trend is tied to the expansion of hate speech and non-discrimination laws.  These prosecutions are part of a new and dangerous attack on free speech. We previously discussed the rise of anti-blasphemy laws around the world, including the increase in prosecutions in the West and the support of the Obama Administration for the prosecution of some anti-religious speech under the controversial Brandenburg standard.  The effort by Muslim countries to establish an international blasphemy standard ran into opposition in the West so a new effort to launched to use hate crimes and discrimination law to achieve the purpose.

This new ruling shows the rapid abandonment of the European courts of fundamental values of free speech.  The ECHR has now established itself as legitimizing the criminalization of speech in Europe.


Fact-Checking the Establishment’s “Fact-Checkers”: How the “Fake News” Story Is Fake News


It would be an understatement to say that during U.S. President Donald Trump’s term in office, the issue of truth and falsehoods has been a central topic of political discourse. It was a reoccurring issue throughout the 2016 election

The post Fact-Checking the Establishment’s “Fact-Checkers”: How the “Fake News” Story Is Fake News appeared first on Global Research.


Sunday, October 28, 2018

Avoid The Slippery Slope (Censorship Exposes The Censor's Weakness)

Avoid The Slippery Slope (Censorship Exposes The Censor's Weakness)

Logically they can’t have it both it ways. Their current exemption was a product of legislation. They should be forced to make a choice: they are either open platforms and retain their legislative exemption for publisher’s content responsibility, or they choose what they publish but bear the civil and criminal consequences of defamatory or criminal content.

Constitutional Right to Home-School? - Volokh Conspiracy :

The US military’s vision for state censorship, by Andre Damon - The Unz Review

Gab Booted By Hosting Company After Synagogue Shooting


Following the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting, social media network Gab was given notice by its hosting provider, Joyent, that they have until Monday to move the website elsewhere before they would disable it. 

In a Sunday tweet, Gab said: "@joyent, Gab’s new hosting provider, has just pulled our hosting service. They have given us until 9am on Monday to find a solution. Gab will likely be down for weeks because of this. Working on solutions."

Breaking: @joyent, Gab’s new hosting provider, has just pulled our hosting service. They have given us until 9am on Monday to find a solution. Gab will likely be down for weeks because of this. Working on solutions. We will never give up on defending free speech for all people.

—🍂 (@getongab) October 28, 2018

Thanks to Gab, these law enforcement agencies now have concrete evidence and a clear motive. MORE speech is ALWAYS the answer.

Now Gab is being forced off the internet for the disgusting actions of one man.

—🍂 (@getongab) October 28, 2018

Gab came under fire immediately after the shooting when it was revealed that suspected attacker Robert Bowers was an active user who frequently ranted against Jews and President Trump. His last post on Gab reads in part: "Screw your optics, I'm going in" shortly before killing 11 people at the Tree of Life congregation in Squirrel Hill. 

Hours after the shooting, PayPal severed ties with Gab with no explanation: 

BREAKING: is now banned from Paypal "just because."

—🍂 (@getongab) October 27, 2018

In August, Microsoft threatened to cease hosting services for Gab over two anti-Semitic posts, according to founder Andrew Torba, who deleted the posts and subsequently moved hosts to Joyent.  

Reactions to Gab's "deplatforming" have ranged from shock to applause. 

Despite my being very liberal and veering decidedly left on the political spectrum, I see this as a terrible thing...we need to be able to discuss these issues and forcing certain viewpoints underground or out of the way is not right...ever

— Melissa (@winkle1983) October 28, 2018

Ridiculous decision @joyent This nut job was always going to commit this horrific crime, whether he made public comments or not. The fact that he did make public comments have helped FBI & DOJ. Silencing people doesn't stop their physical actions does it?! Gab is not responsible!

— Mark Morris (@MarkMorris1980) October 28, 2018

"Cry me a River"

— American Patriot 🌊 🌊 (@rjldenny) October 28, 2018

— 💸Dollar $tore Prophet💸 (@ds_prophet) October 28, 2018

They've already received at least one offer for a new host: 

We would be more than glad to work with you, we also think free speech is important we are an almost 1 year old hosting provider and host multiple free speech chan's and sites and have not bent over to censoring our clients or kicking them out.

— Sibyl Systems LTD (@sibyl_ltd) October 28, 2018

As Gab and others noted yesterday following PayPal's decision, Robert Bowers posted to other social media networks, while plenty of bigoted, threatening and "hateful" content exists on the likes of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and elsewhere. 


Saturday, October 27, 2018

PayPal Bans Social Network After Synagogue Attacker Revealed As User


Hours after it was revealed that the Tree of Life Synagogue suspect was a user of social media network, PayPal severed all ties with the platform, providing no explanation. 

The shooter, 46-year-old Robert Bowers, posted anti-Semitic and anti-Trump rhetoric over Gab, which bills itself as the "home of free speech" due to the minimal censorship employed by the site. Shortly before the shooting, he posted a message to Gab which condemns the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) which he wrote "likes to bring invaders in that kill our people," before writing: "Screw your optics, I'm going in.

Following the shooting, Gab quickly removed Bowers' account and sent all information to the FBI and DOJ. Torba then issued a full statement confirming the alleged attacker's presence on the site, and noting that Gab had taken immediate action unlike other social media platforms. 

Social media often brings out the best and the worst of humanity. From live streamed murders on Facebook, to threats of violence by bombing suspect Cesar Sayoc Jr. that went unaddressed by Twitter, and more. Criminals and criminal behavior exist on every social media platform.

Shortly after the attack, Gab was alerted to a user profile of the alleged Tree of Life Synagogue shooter. The account was verified and matched the name of the alleged shooter’s name, which was mentioned on police scanners. This person also had accounts on other social networks.

That apparently wasn't enough for PayPal (which, we would note, didn't sever ties with Facebook despite Bowers' presence on the site, or Instagram after it was revealed that Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz posted pictures of weapons to the network). 

In a letter addressed to Gab CEO Andrew Torba, PayPal wrote: "We are hereby notifying you that we are terminating our relationship with your pursuant to PayPal's User Agreement. Under the PayPal User Agreement, PayPal, at its sole discretion, reserves the right to terminate your account for any reason and at any time upon notice to you." 

Torba was ordered to remove "all references to PayPal." 

BREAKING: is now banned from Paypal "just because."

—🍂 (@getongab) October 27, 2018

Perhaps Torba was banned after he spoke ill of Big Tech:  

If you are a terrorist the absolute worst place for you to be online is

We will work directly with law enforcement without hesitation, as was displayed today.

Can the same be said about Big Tech?

—🍂 (@getongab) October 27, 2018

Gab's blacklisting has not gone unnoticed:  

Update: PayPal has cancelled its relationship with social media company @getongab in wake of the Pittsburgh #SynogogueShooting .. but not Facebook, where he reportedly also had an account.

— scott budman (@scottbudman) October 27, 2018

Hey @getongab: I haven't heard anyone complaining that @facebook and @twitter allowed the Mad Pipe Bomber to have multiple accounts with them.

— Jared Beck (@JaredBeck) October 27, 2018

Gab is not a white supremacist site. It’s a free speech platform.

“If you’re really in favor of free speech, then you’re in favor of freedom of speech for precisely the views you despise. Otherwise, you’re not in favor of free speech.” — Noam Chomsky

— Cassandra 🦇 Fairbanks (@CassandraRules) October 27, 2018

I cannot believe this. CNN and @BrianStelter, who I like, are blaming GAB @GetOnGab for the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting.

— Carmine Sabia (@CarmineSabia) October 27, 2018

The Pittsburgh terrorist has a Gab and facebook account.

- Gab immedietly deleted his account and issued a statement CONDEMNING it.
- Facebook have yet to issue a statement.

Yet @paypal have BANNED Gab "just because", but haven't banned facebook.

What's up?

— PeterSweden (@PeterSweden7) October 27, 2018

Others were happy to see Gab get the "Alex Jones" treatment, including "The world's youngest hedge fund manager" Jacob Wohl, who called for a police state with the suggestion that "Law enforcement agencies should embed thousands of undercover accounts on the site and establish watchlists."

@getongab I'm looking forward to you receiving the Alex Jones treatment and being permanently banned from the internet, even if it does bend the law.

— Robert Caruso (@robertcaruso) October 27, 2018

The concept Gab pursued, of being a “Free Speech Platform”, is noble.

But let’s also be realistic. The site is a one giant cesspool of Jew-hating lunatics.

Law enforcement agencies should embed thousands of undercover accounts on the site and establish watchlists.

— Jacob Wohl (@JacobAWohl) October 27, 2018

Twitter is one giant cesspool of Jew-hating lunatics.

We have nearly 800,000 users and you are going to generalize them all as one thing?

Let's be realistic: you are no better than the left, which you rally against, for generalizing millions of people as "racists."

—🍂 (@getongab) October 27, 2018


US Shale Oil Industry: Catastrophic Failure Ahead


Authored by Steve St.Angelo via,

While the U.S. Shale Industry produces a record amount of oil, it continues to be plagued by massive oil decline rates and debt.  Moreover, even as the companies brag about lowering the break-even cost to produce shale oil, the industry still spends more than it makes.  When we add up all the negative factors weighing down the shale oil industry, it should be no surprise that a catastrophic failure lies dead ahead.

Of course, most Americans have no idea that the U.S. Shale Oil Industry is nothing more than a Ponzi Scheme because of the mainstream media’s inability to report FACT from FICTION.  However, they don’t deserve all of the blame as the shale energy industry has done an excellent job hiding the financial distress from the public and investors by the use of highly technical jargon and BS.

For example, Pioneer published this in the recent Q2 2018 Press Release:

Pioneer placed 38 Version 3.0 wells on production during the second quarter of 2018. The Company also placed 29 wells on production during the second quarter of 2018 that utilized higher intensity completions compared to Version 3.0 wells. These are referred to as Version 3.0+ completions. Results from the 65 Version 3.0+ wells completed in 2017 and the first half of 2018 are outperforming production from nearby offset wells with less intense completions. Based on the success of the higher intensity completions to date, the Company is adding approximately 60 Version 3.0+ completions in the second half of 2018.

Now, the information Pioneer published above wasn’t all that technical, but it was full of BS.  Anytime the industry uses terms like “Version 3.0+ completions” to describe shale wells, this normally means the use of  “more technology” equals “more money.”  As the shale industry goes from 30 to 60 to 70 stage frack wells, this takes one hell of a lot more pipe, water, sand, fracking chemicals and of course, money.

However, the majority of investors and the public are clueless in regards to the staggering costs it takes to produce shale oil because they are enamored by the “wonders of technology.”  For some odd reason, they tend to overlook the simple premise that…


Of course, the shale industry doesn’t mind using MORE MONEY, especially if some other poor slob pays the bill.

Shale Oil Industry: Deep The Denial

According to a recently released article by 40-year oil industry veteran, Mike Shellman,  “Deep The Denial,” he provided some sobering statistics on the shale industry:

I recently put somebody very smart on the necessary research (SEC K’s, press releases regarding private equity to private producers, etc.) to determine what total upstream shale oil debt actually is. We found it to be between $285-$300B (billion), both public and private. Kallanish Energy Consultants recently wrote that there is $240B of long term E&P debt in the US maturing by 2023 and I think we should assume that at least 90 plus percent of that is associated with shale oil. That is maturing debt, not total debt.

… By year end 2019 I firmly believe the US LTO industry will then be paying over $20B annually in interest on long term debt.

Using its own self-touted “breakeven” oil price, the shale oil industry must then produce over 1.5 Million BOPD just to pay interest on that debt each year. Those are barrels of oil that cannot be used to deleverage debt, grow reserves, not even replace reserves that are declining at rates of 28% to 15% per year… that is just what it will take to service debt.

Using its own “breakeven” prices the US shale oil industry will ultimately have to produce 9G BO of oil, as much as it has already produced in 10 years…just to pay its total long term debt back.

Using Mike’s figures, I made the following chart below:

For the U.S. Shale Oil Industry just to pay back its debt, it must produce 9 billion barrels of oil. That is one heck of a lot of oil as the industry has produced about 10 billion barrels to date.  Again, as Mike states, it would take 9 billion barrels of shale oil to pay back its $285-300 billion of debt (based on the shale industry’s very own breakeven prices).

Furthermore, the shale industry may have to sell a quarter of its oil production (1.5 million barrels per day) just to service its debt by the end of 2019.  According to the EIA, the U.S. Energy Information Agency, total shale oil (tight oil) production is now 6.2 million barrels per day (mbd):

The majority of shale oil production comes from three fields and regions, the Eagle Ford (Blue), the Bakken (Yellow) and the Permian (light, medium & dark brown).  These three fields and regions produce 5.2 mbd of the total 6.2 mbd of shale production.

Unfortunately, the shale industry continues to struggle with mounting debt and negative free cash flow.  The EIA recently published this chart showing the cash from operations versus capital expenditures for 48 public domestic oil producers:

You will notice that capital expenditures (brown line) are still higher than cash from operations (blue line).  So, it doesn’t seem to matter if the oil price is over $100 (2013-2014) or less than $70 (2017-2018), the shale oil industry continues to spend more money than it’s making.  The shale energy companies have resorted to selling assets, issuing stock and increasing debt to supplement their inadequate cash flow to fund operations.

A perfect example of this in practice is Pioneer Resources… the number one shale oil producer in the mighty Permian.  While most companies increased their debt to fund operations, Pioneer decided to take advantage of its high stock price by raising money via share dilution.  Pioneer’s outstanding shares ballooned from 115 million shares in 2010 to 170 million by 2017.  From 2011 to 2016, Pioneer issued a staggering $5.4 billion in new stock:

So, as Pioneer issued over $5 billion in stock to produce unprofitable shale oil and gas, Continental Resources racked up more than $5 billion in debt during the same period.  These are both examples of “Ponzi Finance.”  Thus, the shale energy industry has been quite creative in hoodwinking both the shareholder and capital investor.

Now, there is no coincidence that I have focused my research on Pioneer and Continental Resources.  While Continental is the poster child of what’s horribly wrong with the shale oil industry in the Bakken, Pioneer is a role model for the same sort of insanity and delusional thinking taking place in the Permian.

Pioneer Spends A Lot More Money With Unsatisfactory Production Results

To be able to understand what is going on in the U.S. shale industry, you have to be clever enough to ignore the “Techno-jargon” in the press releases and read between the lines.  As mentioned above, Pioneer stated that it was going to add a lot more of its “high-tech” Version 3.0+ completion wells in the second half of 2018 because they were outperforming the older versions.

Well, I hope this is true because Pioneer’s first half 2018 production results in the Permian were quite disappointing compared to the previous period.  If we compare the increase of Pioneer’s shale oil production in the Permian versus its capital expenditures, something must be seriously wrong.

First, let’s look at a breakdown of Pioneer’s Permian energy production from their September 2018 Investor Presentation:

Pioneer’s Permian oil and gas production is broken down between its horizontal shale and vertical convention production.  I will only focus on its horizontal shale production as this is where the majority of their capital expenditures are taking place.  The highlighted yellow line shows Pioneer’s horizontal shale oil production in the Permian Basin.

You will notice that Pioneer’s shale oil production increased significantly in Q3 & Q4 2017 versus Q1 & Q2 2018.  Furthermore, Pioneer’s shale gas production surged in Q2 2018 by nearly 50% (highlighted with a red box) compared to oil production only increasing 5%.  That is a serious RED FLAG for natural gas production to jump that much in one quarter.

Secondly, by comparing the increase of Pioneer’s quarterly shale oil production in the Permian with its capital expenditures, the results are less than satisfactory:

The RED LINE shows the amount of capital expenditures spent each quarter while the OLIVE colored BARS represent the increase in Permian shale oil production.  To simplify the figures in this chart, I made the following graphic below:

Pioneer spent $1.36 billion in the second half of 2017 to increase its Permian shale oil production by 30,232 barrels per day (bopd) compared to $1.7 billion in the first half of 2018 which only resulted in an additional 10,832 bopd.  Folks, it seems as if something seriously went wrong for Pioneer in the Permian as the expenditure of $340 million more CAPEX resulted in two-thirds less the production growth versus the previous period.

Third, while Pioneer  (stock ticker PXD) proudly lists that they are one of the lowest cost shale producers in the industry, they still suffer from negative free cash flow:

As we can see, Pioneer lists their breakeven oil price at approximately $22, which is downright hilarious when they spent $132 million more on capital expenditures than the made in cash from operations:

The public and investors need to understand that “oil breakeven costs” do not include capital expenditures.   And according to Pioneer’s Q2 2018 Press Release, the company plans on spending $3.4 billion on capital expenditures in 2018.  The majority of the capital expenditures are spent on drilling and completing horizontal shale wells.

For example, Pioneer brought on 130 new wells in the first half of 2018 and spent $1.7 billion on CAPEX (capital expenditures) versus 125 wells and $1.36 billion in 2H 2017.  I have seen estimates that it cost approximately $9 million for Pioneer to drill a horizontal shale well in the Permian.  Thus, the 130 wells cost nearly $1.2 billion.

However, the interesting thing to take note is that Pioneer brought on 125 wells in 2H 2017 to add 30,000+ barrels of new oil production compared to 130 wells in 1H 2018 that only added 10,000+ barrels.  So, how can Pioneer add five more wells (130 vs. 125) in 1H 2018 to see its oil production increase a third of what it was in the previous period?  

Regardless, the U.S. shale oil industry continues to spend more money than they make from operations.  While energy companies may have enjoyed lower costs when the industry was gutted by super-low oil prices in 2015 and 2016, it seems as if inflation has made its way back into the shale patch.  Rising energy prices translate to higher costs for the shale energy industry.  Rinse and repeat.

Unfortunately, when the stock markets finally crack, so will energy and commodity prices.  Falling oil prices will cause severe damage to the Shale Industry as it struggles to stay afloat by selling assets, issuing stock and increasing debt to continue producing unprofitable oil.

I believe the U.S. Shale Oil Industry will suffer catastrophic failure from the impact of deflationary oil prices along with peaking production.  While U.S. Shale Oil production has increased exponentially over the past decade, it will likely come down even faster.

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The Establishment Must Undermine Alternative Economists As Crisis Unfolds


Authored by Brandon Smith via,

There is a notion within the mainstream media that certain economic indicators are unassailable; they never stop being reliable. The way they look at and report on the system is rather outdated and extremely limited in scope; showcasing and cherry picking only net-positive statistics, even if those stats don’t represent reality. The result is a kind of holographic view of the financial structure; a mirage of a healthy and vibrant foundation that simply does not exist.

This fraudulent view appeals to the masses for a time because it provides fuel for false hopes. In economics, an analyst must always account for two major factors: the hard math and human psychology. These factors tend to conflict during times when a financial bubble is present, and they tend to converge when such bubbles implode. One must never underestimate the power of public psychology, though. Even when the math is screaming that danger is present in the system, a naive and misinformed populace (coupled with central bank manipulation) can keep a dead economy in a state of profane reanimation for much longer than seems logically possible.

This magic show only lasts for so long, however, and eventually the truth strikes those with blind faith in the machine brutally and without mercy.

On the financial side of the great farce, most of the “positive” signs we see are purely debt driven. Cheap debt and credit liquidity has kept zombie banks alive for years beyond their expiration date, but it has also trickled down into main street, where we see extensive commercial retail development and a spike in employment opportunities. Of course, the box stores and construction are being undertaken by developers deep in the red, and most of the debt will not be paid off for years, if at all.

The rise in job creation extends from the retail bubble, where low wage service jobs are available in abundance, yet higher wage jobs that support families are dwindling. This explains why companies looking to fill vacant employee positions are having such a hard time. Over 95 million working-age people are unemployed in the U.S. but are not counted as unemployed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Millions of people who find it more profitable to stay home and collect welfare benefits than slave away in a McDonald’s or a Walmart.

The stock market itself is essentially another debt bubble, driven by corporate stock buybacks that have been funded for years by overnight loans from the Federal Reserve as well as near zero interest rates. As interest rates rise even moderately, the debt becomes unserviceable, and thus, the bull market begins to fizzle and stocks begin to plunge.

As I have covered often over the years, that which we see in the mainstream version of economic events is rarely, if ever, supported by concrete evidence. The establishment media acts not as an information source, but as a tool for encouraging public ignorance which can then be exploited to feed the broken economy for just a little while longer. I suspect some of these gatekeepers even pride themselves as “liars with a noble purpose;” the purpose being to mold perception of the system and thereby extend the life of the system. They see themselves as guardians — I see them as saboteurs.

While many in the public do not make it their ambition to become experts on the mechanics of the economy, people still tend to sense instinctively when something is broken within the fiscal environment. They may not know why there is a problem, but absurd optimism can only levitate them above the muck for so long.

Recent events are beginning to reveal the extent of the fantasy. These are issues that alternative analysts have been warning about for the better part of the past decade, but only now in the past year is this information being taken seriously.

I have seen a propaganda meme flooding onto discussion boards recently in reference to alternative economists, and it goes a little something like this:

“Alternative economists are doom and gloomers that have been wrong for 10 years, but a broken clock is still right twice a day…”

I find this disinfo argument somewhat hilarious because of the extraordinary level of dishonesty inherent in it, but I also find it revealing in a way.

First, let’s be clear, if alternative economists had only been stating in some broad and unspecific way that "someday" there would be a disaster caused by an undefined "something", then there might be basis for the argument above.   This is not the case.  In fact, many of us have been very specific in our predictions, in terms of how the ongoing economic downturn would develop and what catalysts would trigger the next phase of the crash.

For my part, I outlined in 2015 that the Federal Reserve would undertake a policy of interest rates hikes and fiscal tightening, and that they would pursue this action until markets, long supported by cheap debt, finally broke under the pressure.  Months before Trump's election I stated that Donald Trump would in fact be president and that the Fed would accelerate tightening during his administration.  At the beginning of this year I predicted that Fed tightening would result in massive stock market reversal (worse than the 2008 crash) in 2018.   In September I refined the timing of this crash to begin in the final quarter of 2018.

These are not vaporous or inconclusive statements, these are very direct predictions.  And, other economists in the liberty movement have similar analysis.

The fact is, alternative economists have been RIGHT for the past 10 years and have been far ahead of the mainstream in terms of predicting fiscal trends based on real data. As I have always said, economic collapse is a process, not an event. It’s something that happens in stages or phases over time, not something that occurs overnight or in the span of a few days. People who think that a national or global disaster is a sudden and inexplicable affair watch far too much television. They also don’t understand that the historic moments of “crisis” we read about in books are the culmination of years of decline.

Most, if not all, crashes are preceded by YEARS of warning signs that should have been heeded at the time but were mostly ignored.

Throughout the 1920s, Austrian economist Ludwig Von Mises predicted the collapse of the German Mark as well as the stock market crash of 1929. In 1931, after the initial crash, he also predicted that central bank interventions through interest rate increases and other measures would prolong the disaster rather than end it. Mises saw the danger well in advance, but he was ignored until it was too late. His writings from this time period can be studied in a published collection titled ‘The Causes Of Economic Crisis‘.

Was Mises a “broken clock” that just happened to be right after years of incorrect predictions? Looking back on the complexity of the events of that era and how Mises was able to correctly outline how they would play out years ahead of time, this argument is clearly nonsense.

Before the credit crash of 2008, there were multiple alternative economists warning about the dangers of the derivatives bubble and the coinciding mortgage debt bubble. Some of them many years before the negative effects became visible in stock markets. All of them were laughed at or ignored right up until the crash, and even after it became obvious that these analysts were correct in their predictions, the mainstream still tried to snub them.

As is often the case, mainstream gatekeepers in economics promote false data as a means to “mold” public perception, thus aiding central banks and governments in inflating financial bubbles and perpetuating destructive fiscal practices. But once the fantasy comes tumbling down, they still seek to remain relevant.

They deflect blame by claiming “they had always seen the crisis coming”, or that "no one saw it coming".

They often claim they were there, “on the front lines,” fighting to educate the masses. And sometimes this is true — the mainstream does tend to shift its rhetoric mere weeks or months before the crash happens. They were never on the front lines. They didn’t see the train wreck coming. They are Johnny-come-lately coattail riding weasels that are seeking to protect their legacies rather than protect the populace from harm.

These people downplay the work of far better men and women in the alternative field as a means to elevate themselves and their fragile reputations.

I believe the “broken clock” narrative is a coordinated disinformation campaign; an attack on analysts who, like Ludwig von Mises, have been accurately predicting the process of collapse for years. It is designed to inoculate the public to the alternative media just before they are about to be proven correct beyond a doubt. In other words, someone knows that the ongoing collapse is becoming more obvious to the public and that, by extension, alternative economists are about to gain more attention.

We can’t have that, now, can we?

If alternative economist predictions receive the attention they deserve, the risk for the establishment is that some of our solutions might be taken seriously as well. Solutions like the concept of decentralization and localization of production, a gold backed currency system, the imprisonment of the banking elites that caused the crash in the first place, etc.

When all is said and done, mainstream gatekeepers hope that the alternative media and our work will be forgotten as “doomsday ramblings;” that one time we got lucky, but that we should be dismissed otherwise. The people who work diligently in the alternative field are meant to be discouraged — to give up. We are supposed to feel like modern day Cassandras, cursed prophets that offer correct predictions of the future that no one listens to. We are supposed to throw our hands up in the air and quit.

I don’t see this 4th Gen warfare tactic as being very successful though. The establishment banks and the economists that pander to them have burned up all their goodwill and social capital. They have been wrong so much and so often that the public is looking elsewhere for their information. This has led to the explosion of interest in alternative economic analysis that is occurring today.

The broken clock lie tells me two things:

One, it tells me that the system is about to fail to the point that it can no longer be covered up or denied.

Two, it tells me that the establishment is worried about the amount of influence the alternative media will have as the crisis unfolds.

For the past 10 years we have been correct in our analysis, and the danger for the elites is that the wider public might find out.

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Friday, October 26, 2018

Forced Sterilizations In Peru - Paid For By US Taxpayers


Authored by Ryan McMaken via The Mises Institute,

In countries under heavy US influence or occupation, the US government has a habit of pushing political programs that would be too unpopular to implement in the United States.

In Japan, for example, the US occupation after World War II offered an opportunity for American bureaucrats to push abortion policies they couldn't win support for in the United States.

As part of a larger agenda of pushing a Japan-style New Deal and other US-styled interventionist policies, the US occupiers were more than happy to help the new Japanese regime impose a eugenics-friendly program designed to combat alleged overpopulation. According to Holly Coutts:

The centralized government in Japan, coupled with a political culture infused with socialist ideas and traditional loyalty to a strict hierarchy, allowed policymakers to create a far-reaching program. This same type of program was impossible in the US and South Korea [another country under heavy US influence] as it would not have corresponded to their public ideas...

Japan would become the first country to legalize abortion for socioeconomic reasons.

But, at least in these cases, women, for the most part, took part in these programs voluntarily - the aborted children, of course, were not consulted.

But consent on the part of the women apparently doesn't trouble American policymakers when it comes to funding and supporting population-control policies in foreign countries.

Forced Sterilizations in Peru — Paid for by Americans

In recent months, mainstream media outlets have been highlighting the rarely-mentioned forced sterilizations that took place during the Alberto Fujimori years. Part of the renewed interest is due to the fact that Fujimori, who is 79-years-old, and back in prison after a failed attempt at a pardon, now faces charges for his part in the sterilization program. The program is said to have lead to the forced sterilization of over 200,000 women in the late 1990s.

Like many programs aimed at reducing fertility and population growth, the program was largely aimed at lower-income women and members of indigenous populations living in the Peruvian highlands.

And, as with so many government coups and policies of questionable morality found in Latin America, we find the hand of the US government. The National Catholic Registereported on Tuesday that the US Agency for International Development — the US's primary foreign "aid" agency — had essentially taken control of the Peruvian national health system during the period of the sterilizations:

An unsettling aspect of the entire Peruvian campaign is the involvement of the U.S. government. The specific agencies that were involved in Peru’s sterilization campaign were the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the NIPPON Foundation (a Japanese nonprofit). It is known that UNFPA donated $10 million for the forced-sterilization campaign.

“An important document was published by E. Liagin with the title ‘USAID and Involuntary Sterilization in Peru,’ in which she analyzes the action[s] made between 1995 and 1997,” said Polo. “According to her, ‘the internal archives of USAID show that in 1993 the United States basically took charge of the national health system of Peru. … The bilateral accord of 1993 that put the United States in such advantageous position, known as Project 2000, was signed by the Peruvian and American authorities in September 1993 and was effective for seven years, ending in 2000. An examination of this document shows that USAID-PERU, the office in Lima of USAID, was in any conceivable form in control of the Peruvian health sector, before and during the years that the abuses took part.’”

In the case of Japan, Coutts notes that "Japan's eugenic legacy caused [a focus] on abortion among the poor and inferior when dealing with their perceived population problem."

It appears that Peru in the 1990s fell victim to similar sentiments.

International planners, of course, have long been notable for a belief that much of the world is overpopulated and that this problem must be "solved" with government action. USAID workers may have sensed an opportunity to partner with the Peruvian regime — which itself viewed the impoverished Indians in the Andean highlands as "problematic" — in efforts to implement a eugenics program in Peru. It's not a coincidence that efforts at combating overpopulation usually end up targeting ethnic and socio-economic groups most lacking in both economic and legal resources.

Similar programs, of course, would face widespread opposition in the US. The brief history of eugenics here in the US is heavily tainted with a legacy of white-supremacist and anti-poor-people sentiments. Moreover, forced medical procedures are unpopular, as we can see even today in the ongoing opposition to mandatory vaccinations.

Nevertheless, forced sterilizations in the name of "improving" or shrinking the global population has long been an element of Progressive politics in the US as is well documented in Angela Franks's 2005 book Margaret Sanger's Eugenic Legacy: The Control of Female Fertility.

In the US, though, objections arising from either religious beliefs or politically laissez-faire sentiments have led to problems with implementation in the US. But poor Indians in rural Peruvian villages are much easier targets, and USAID likely knew it. The end result was American taxpayers once again found themselves paying for government policies that they would never want implemented in their own communities.

The Peruvian case is especially horrific because so many of the sterilizations were forced. But, even if only subsidized or "encouraged," programs of this sort are nothing more than government attempts at central planning of demographics.

This fact was emphasized by Ludwig von Mises who noted that population-control programs are, ultimately, attempts by government planners to determine who gets born and when. This motivation, Mises wrote, is not qualitatively different from what drove some of the world's most horrific regimes in their own attempts at eugenic planning:

It is vain for the champions of eugenics to protest that they did not mean what the Nazis executed. Eugenics aims at placing some men, backed by the police power, in complete control of human reproduction. It suggests that the methods applied to domestic animals be applied to men. This is precisely what the Nazis tried to do. The only objection which a consistent eugenist can raise is that his own plan differs from that of the Nazi scholars and that he wants to rear another type of men than the Nazis. As every supporter of economic planning aims at the execution of his own plan only, so every advocate of eugenic planning aims at the execution of his own plan and wants himself to act as the breeder of human stock.


Nation Hypnotized in Horror by Toy Bombs While Killing Civilians With Real Ones



Media headlines have been dominated for the last two days by the news that pipe bombs are being sent to Democratic Party elites and their allies, a list of whom as of this writing consists of Bill and Hillary Clinton, Barack and Michelle Obama, Joe Biden, George Soros, Maxine Waters, Eric Holder, Robert De Niro, and the CNN office (addressed to former CIA Director John Brennan who actually works for NBC).


Thursday, October 25, 2018

TSA Confirms Biometrics, Facial Recognition To Be Condition For All Air Travelers


Authored by Edward Hasbrouck via Papers, Please! blog,

Today the US Transportation Security Administration released a detailed TSA Biometric Roadmap for Aviation Security & the Passenger Experience, making explicit the goal of requiring mug shots (to be used for automated facial recognition and image-based surveillance and control) as a condition of all domestic or international air travel.

This makes explicit the goal that has been apparent, but only implicit, in the activities and statements of both government agencies and airline and airport trade associations.

It’s a terrifyingly totalitarian vision of pervasive surveillance of air travelers at, quite literally and deliberately, every step of their journey, enabled by automated facial recognition and by the seamless collaboration of airlines and airport operators that will help the government surveil their customers in exchange for free use of facial images for their own business purposes and profits.

The  closest contemporary counterpart to what the TSA envisions for the USA is the pervasive surveillance and control of travelers in China through automated facial recognition by the Public Security Bureau.

Automated surveillance of air travelers by the TSA will begin with people who have “voluntarily” provided photos for other purposes such as background checks:

In the near term, TSA will deploy Credential Authentication Technology (CAT) to authenticate the security features of passengers’ ID credentials and allow Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) to retrieve passenger pre-screening status in near-real time…. In the future, TSA will be able to use TSA Pre✓® enrolled facial images for matching…. Moving forward, TSA Pre✓® will increase its access to and utilization of voluntarily-provided biometric data, including facial images, to modernize the trusted traveler experience for TSA Pre✓® travelers.

In a press release announcing its roadmap, the TSA says that:

TSA has already begun testing biometrics for TSA Pre✓® travelers….  As of September 2018, passengers who enroll in TSA Pre✓® or renew their membership in person are required to provide their photograph. Using applicants’ photographs, TSA will test facial biometric technology in TSA Pre✓® lanes at select airports once enrollment numbers support this testing.

The roadmap released today is dated September 2018. We’ve already begun to receive reports suggesting that the TSA may already be using automated facial recognition — without explicit notice or any obvious way to opt out — in “TSA Pre-Check” lanes at checkpoints at some airports. If you see something, say something: Ask whether facial images are being collected, by whom, for what purposes, and subject to what if any option to opt out.

In its next stage, the TSA Biometrics Roadmap envisions expanding automated facial image surveillance to include photos from drivers licenses and state ID cards:

Additionally, TSA will work with DHS and other stakeholders to ensure mobile drivers’ licenses (mDL) are REAL ID compliant and explore their acceptance at aviation security touchpoints across the passenger experience. Several state issuance authorities have started to securely provision mDL onto driver’s mobile devices in addition to issuing a physical license. These solutions may include biometric data that TSA could leverage for identity verification…. TSA will explore opportunities to more effectively use existing information within DHS systems including DHS databases (e.g., IDENT/HART), State Department passport photos, and solutions that may broker verification touchpoints between federal and state systems.

The obvious “touchpoint” between federal and state ID databases would be DHS access to the SPEXS database of information from drivers licenses and state IDs. SPEXS is operated by a contractor of the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA), and already includes personal information about more than 50 millionUS residents.

Participation in SPEXS is a de facto condition of state compliance with the Federal REAL-ID Act.  SPEXS records sourced from drivers license and state ID databases don’t yet include facial images. But if AAMVA decides to add facial images to the SPEXS dataset, states won’t be able to say no without immediately becoming noncompliant with the REAL-ID Act.

AAMVA is listed among the “stakeholders” collaborating with the TSA.  But AAMVA is identified as a “government” stakeholder, even though AAMVA itself claims to be a nongovernmental organization and is not subject to any of the transparency or accountability rules that would apply to a government agency.

“Various” technology vendors were consulted by the TAA and are, presumably, building this infrastructure of enhanced surveillance and control of travel, but are unnamed.

The TSA claims that:

TSA will adopt a “privacy by design” mindset that incorporates privacy considerations into each phase of biometric solution development (design, build, implement). Privacy protections will include restrictions to prevent the use of biometrics for purposes other than transportation security unless individuals have opted into other uses.

But that claim is belied by the fact that none of the stakeholders consulted by the TSA in designing its roadmap for automated facial recognition of travelers were travelers or privacy, civil liberties, or human rights experts or advocates. Other than the conclusionary claim quoted above, there is no actual consideration in the TSA roadmap of its privacy, civil liberties, or human rights implications.

Two other issues beside privacy are are also notably absent from the TSA roadmap:

First, there is no mention of the procedural due process required by the Constitution and the Administrative Procedure Act. The DHS has been sitting on a formal petition for rulemaking regarding its secret non-rules for biometric identification of travelers. But that petition is not mentioned in  the TSA Biometric Roadmap. As usual, the TSA and DHS appear to be substituting administrative fiat for public notice and comment.

Second, there is no mention of the substantive legal basis, if any, for TSA authority to conduct this surveillance or of its compatibility with the First Amendment, the Privacy Act (which prohibits the collection of information about how individuals exercise rights protected by the First Amendment, such as the right to assemble, without explicit statutory authority), or the obligations of common carriers.  What — if any — personal information an airline can demand of a passenger as a condition of travel, consistent with its obligations as a common carrier, under US law recognizing a public right of tranit by air, and under international aviation and human rights treaties, is likely to be a key issue in future litigation.

Travel is a right, not a privilege subject to arbitrarily imposed government conditions. Travelers should continue to “Just Say No” to demands for mug shots or ID papers.


What a bunch of idiots | Sovereign Man

'Bloggers' Blasted For Questioning Establishment 'White Helmets' Narrative


Authored by Rick Sterling via Oriental Review,

The October 16 issue of NY Review of Books has an article by Janine di Giovani titled “Why Assad and Russia Target the White Helmets”. The article exemplifies how western media promotes the White Helmets uncritically and attacks those who challenge the myth.

Crude & Disingenuous Attack

Giovani’s article attacks several journalists by name. She singles out Vanessa Beeley and echoes the Guardian’s characterization of Beeley as the “high priestess of Syria propaganda”. She does this without challenging a single article or claim by the journalist. She might have acknowledged that Vanessa Beeley has some familiarity with the Middle East; she is the daughter of one of the foremost British Arabists and diplomats including British Ambassador to Egypt. Giovanni might have explored Beeley’s research in Syria that revealed the White Helmets founder (British military contractor James LeMesurier) assigned the name Syria Civil Defence despite the fact there is a real Syrian organization by that name that has existed since the 1950’s. For the past several years, Beeley has done many on-the-ground reports and investigations in Syria. None of these are challenged by Giovanni. Just days ago Beeley published a report on her visit to the White Helmets headquarters in Deraa.

Giovanni similarly dismisses another alternative journalist, Eva Bartlett. Again, Giovanni ignores the fact that Bartlett has substantial Middle East experience including having lived in Gaza for years. Instead of objectively evaluating the journalistic work of these independent journalists, Giovanni smears their work as “disinformation”. Presumably that is because their work is published at alternative sites such as 21st Century Wire and Russian media such as RT and Sputnik. Beeley and Bartlett surely would have been happy to have their reports published at the New York Review of Books, Newsweek or other mainstream outlets. But it’s evident that such reporting is not welcome there. Even Seymour Hersh had to go abroad to have his investigations on Syria published.

The New McCarthyism

Max Blumenthal is another journalist singled out by Giovanni. Blumenthal is the author of three books, including a NY Times bestseller and the highly acclaimed “Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel”. Giovanni describes his transition from “anti-Assad” to “pro-Assad” and suggests his change of perspective was due to Russian influence. She says, “Blumenthal went to Moscow on a junket to celebrate RT’s tenth anniversary. We don’t know what happened during that visit, but afterwards, Blumenthal’s views completely flipped.” Instead of examining the facts presented by Blumenthal in articles such as “Inside the Shadowy PR Firm that’s Lobyying for Regime Change in Syria”, Giovanni engages in fact-free McCarthyism. Blumenthal explained the transition in his thinking in a public interview. He also described the threats he experienced when he started to criticize the White Helmets and their public relations firm, but this is ignored by Giovanni.

Contrary to Giovanni’s assumptions, some western journalists and activists were exposing the White Helmets long before the story was publicized on Russian media. In spring 2015 the basic facts about the White Helmets including their origins, funding and role in the information war on Syria were exposed in my article “Seven Steps of Highly Effective Manipulators”. The article showed how the White Helmets were a key component in a campaign pushing for a “No Fly Zone” in Syria. It confirmed that the White Helmets is a political lobby force.

In spring 2016, Vanessa Beeley launched a petition “Do NOT give the Nobel Peace Prize to the White Helmets”. That petition garnered more support than a contrary petition urging the Nobel Prize committee to give the award to the White Helmets. Perhaps because of that, the petition was abruptly removed without explanation from the website. It was only at this time, with publicity around the heavily promoted nomination of the White Helmets for a Nobel Peace Prize that RT and other Russian media started to publicize and expose the White Helmets. That is one and a half years after they were first exposed in western alternative media.

White Helmets and Chemical Weapons Accusations 

Giovanni ignores the investigations and conclusions of some of the most esteemed American journalists regarding the White Helmets and chemical weapons incidents in Syria.

The late Robert Parry published many articles exposing the White Helmets, for example The White Helmets Controversy and Syria War Propaganda at the Oscars. Parry wrote and published numerous investigations of the August 2013 chemical weapons attack and concluded the attacks were carried out by an opposition faction with the goal of pressuring the US to intervene militarily. Parry also challenged western conclusions regarding incidents such as April 4, 2017 at Khan Shaykhun. Giovanni breathlessly opens her article with this story while Parry revealed the impossibility of it being as described.

“Buried deep inside a new U.N. report is evidence that could exonerate the Syrian government in the April 4 sarin atrocity and make President Trump look like an Al-Qaeda dupe.”

Legendary American journalist, Seymour Hersh, researched and refuted the assumptions of Giovanni and the media establishment regarding the August 2013 chemical weapons attacks near Damascus. Hersh’s investigation, titled The Red Line and Rat Line, provided evidence the atrocity was carried out by an armed opposition group with active support from Turkey. A Turkish member of parliament provided additional evidence. The fact that Hersh had to go across the Atlantic to have his investigation published suggests American not Russian disinformation and censorship.

In addition to ignoring the findings of widely esteemed journalists with proven track records, Giovanni plays loose with the truth. In her article she implies that a UN investigation blamed the Syrian government for the August 2013 attack. On the contrary, the head of the UN investigation team, Ake Sellstrom, said they did not determine who was responsible. We do not have the evidence to say who did what ….The conflict in Syria is surrounded by a lot of rumors and a lot of propaganda, particularly when comes to the sensitive issue of chemical weapons.”

First Responders or Western Funded Propagandists?

Giovanni says, “But the White Helmets’ financial backing is not the real reason why the pro-Assad camp is so bent on defaming them. Since 2015, the year the Russians began fighting in Syria, the White Helmets have been filming attacks on opposition-held areas with GoPro cameras affixed to their helmets.”

In reality, the ‘White Helmets” have a sophisticated media production and distribution operation. They have much more than GoPro cameras. In many of their movie segments one can see numerous people with video and still cameras. Sometimes the same incident will be shown with one segment with an Al-Qaeda logo blending into the same scene with a White Helmets logo.

Giovanni claims “The Assad regime and the Russians are trying to neutralize the White Helmets because they   are potential witnesses to war crimes.” However the claims of White Helmet “witnesses” have little credibility. The White Helmet “volunteers” are paid three times as much as Syrian soldiers. They are trained, supplied and promoted by the same western states which have sought to regime change in Syria since 2011. An example of misleading and false claims by a White Helmets leader is exposed in Gareth Porter’s investigation titled “How a Syrian White Helmets Leader Played Western Media” . His conclusion could be directed to Giovanni and the NYReview of Books:

“The uncritical reliance on claims by the White Helmets without any effort to investigate their credibility is yet another telling example of journalistic malpractice by media outlets with a long record of skewing coverage of conflicts toward an interventionist narrative.”

When the militants (mostly Nusra / Al-Qaeda) were expelled from East Aleppo, civilians reported that the White Helmets were mostly concerned with saving their own and performing publicity stunts. For example the photo of the little boy in east Aleppo looking dazed and confused in the back of a brand new White Helmet ambulance was essentially a White Helmet media stunt eagerly promoted in the West. It was later revealed the boy was not injured, he was grabbed without his parent’s consent. Eva Bartlett interviewed and photographed the father and family for her story “Mintpress Meets the Father of Iconic Aleppo Boy and says Media Lied About his Son”.

A Brilliant Marketing Success

The media and political impact of the White Helmets shows what money and marketing can do. An organization that was founded by a military contractor with funding from a western governments was awarded the Rights Livelihood Award. The organization was seriously considered to received the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize just three years after its formation.

The Netflix infomercial “The White Helmets” is an example of the propaganda. The scripted propaganda piece, where the producers did not set foot in Syria, won the Oscar award for best short documentary. It’s clear that lots of money and professional marketing can fool a lot of people. At $30 million per year, the White Helmets budget for one year is more than a decade of funding for the real Syrian Civil Defence which covers all of Syria not just pockets controlled by armed insurgents.

Unsurprisingly, it has been announced that White Helmets will receive the 2019 “Elie Wiesel” award from the heavily politicized and pro-Israel Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. This, plus the recent “rescue” of White Helmets by the Israeli government, is more proof of the true colors of the White Helmets. Vanessa Beeley’s recent interview with a White Helmet leader in Deraa revealed that ISIS and Nusra terrorists were part of the group “rescued” through Israel.

The Collapsing White Helmets Fraud

Giovanni is outraged that some journalists have successfully challenged and put a big dent in the White Helmets  aura. She complains, “The damage the bloggers do is immense.”

Giovanni and western propagandists are upset because the myth is deflating. Increasing numbers of people – from a famous rock musician to a former UK Ambassador – see and acknowledge the reality.

As described in Blumenthal’s article, “How the White Helmets Tried to Recruit Roger Waters with Saudi Money”, rock legend Roger Waters says, “If we were to listen to the propaganda of the White Helmets and others, we would encourage our governments to start dropping bombs on people in Syria. This would be a mistake of monumental proportions…”

Peter Ford, the former UK Ambassador to Syria, sums it up like this:

 “The White Helmets are jihadi auxiliaries… They are not, as claimed by themselves and by their supporters… simple rescuers. They are not volunteers. They are paid professionals of disinformation.”

Giovanni claims her article is a “forensic take down of the Russian disinformation campaign to distort the truth in Syria.” In reality, Giovanni’s article is an example of western disinformation using subjective attacks on critics and evidence-free assertions aligned with the regime change goals of the West.