Saturday, May 18, 2019


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

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

'Where Do We Get Such Men?'


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Our next destination is Waynesville, North Carolina.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rest in peace, gentlemen.


[Image Credit: Pixabay]


A Contrarian View of Digital Health


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

The post A Contrarian View of Digital Health appeared first on Quillette.


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


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

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

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

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

Here’s the cover and back cover:

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

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

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

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

The post The Hero’s Journal: Your Guide to Becoming a Hero is Now Available appeared first on Legends of Men.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Attention Millennials: You Can Now Buy Tiny Homes On Amazon 

The Struggle Is The Meaning


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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The post The Struggle Is The Meaning appeared first on Craig Murray.


Friday, May 17, 2019

The Normalization And Institutionalization Of Fraud

Taibbi: The Liberal Embrace Of War

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

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

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

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

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



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


Julian Assange Is Today’s Martin Luther King


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

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


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

UK Cops Fine Pedestrian $115 For Avoiding Facial Recognition Camera

Thursday, May 16, 2019

US Again Jails Chelsea Manning for Refusing to Testify on WikiLeaks

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


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

Normalized sexual abuse cover up

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


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


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

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

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

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

“Absolutely,” Bolton replied.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We Know Where Your Kids Live" John Bolton threatened head of chemical weapons commission as part of effort launch war against Iraq

 — @wikileaks

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

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

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


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The real world versus the university

Dumbing down educational standards makes students unemployable


Wednesday, May 15, 2019

The Disinformationists

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

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


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



In Demonizing Our Opponents, We Only Demonize Ourselves


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

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

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

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

He looked up.

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

“Come on over and I’ll show you.”

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

“Who would have guessed?”

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

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

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

Which brings me back to my friend.

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

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

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

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


[Image Credit: Pxhere]


Monday, May 13, 2019

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



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