Saturday, May 25, 2019

“Wikipedia is…broken,” controlled by special interests and bad actors, says co-founder

I’ve done quite a bit of reporting about how Wikipedia is definitely not “the encyclopedia anyone can edit.” It’s become a vehicle for special interests to control information. Agenda editors are able to prevent or revert edits and sourcing on selected issues and people in order to control the narrative. Watch Sharyl Attkisson’s TedX talk […]


The Crisis of Sense-Making


Political events in recent years have crept over the postwar order like dark clouds, and the heavy air has shaped public discourse and sensibility in ways that are unexpected and confounding. Words recited in the headlines every day give us a litany of agitation or exhilaration: Trump, Brexit, Populism, Impeachment, Social Media, Social Justice Warriors, #MeToo, Alt-Right, Troll Farms, the Death of Journalism, the Rise of Authoritarianism, Fake News, ISIS, and so on.

A perceptive insight into this landscape has come from the “Intellectual Dark Web” and other commentators found on various internet platforms: we are facing a crisis of sense-making. The incongruity of decisions made in institutions against public feeling derives from a failure of individuals in society to make sense of the world together. It’s not hard to find an ostensible cause. The internet has transformed the medium of public discourse, with profound implications for how ideas and opinions are shaped and spread. At the same time, certain economic and cultural processes have begun to generate big problems for which we don’t yet appear to have solutions. What are we going to do about climate change? Income inequality and the lingering effects of the Great Recession? The attrition of religious feeling and communal experience?

The first impulse, typically, has been to understand these changes in purely political terms. And so, in this telling, the crisis in sense-making is merely a series of political conflicts, with winners and losers. But politics is too flat and too superficial to comprehend the processes that, like a tide, seem to move our fixations from below. This is because, in reality, these changes, when viewed systematically across a population, or even the whole world, are operating on multiple levels simultaneously—geographic, epochal, ecological, cultural, economic, social and political—and any part of what we may want to observe can be distinguished, with great delicacy, by a degree of contingency, and by a web of fractal relationships with everything else involved.

An honest result does not lend itself to rhetorical binaries and zero-sum struggles. And so when public discourse focuses on the political, and its Left and Right binaries, our priorities become scrambled, and our conclusions misallocated. If we look for examples in an American context, I worry about cases like the refusal of Republicans to hold hearings on Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland, motivated in no small part by the opposition of evangelical voters to the legality of abortion; a religious concern for sexual proprietary, with abortion as its emblem, does not justify such an unprincipled trashing of institutional norms. On the liberal side, the firing of James Damore from Google demonstrated that aggressive “equity” initiatives in corporate hiring or promotion can create a toxic political atmosphere in what should be a more purely social space, with an economic focus.

I’m not interested in litigating these particular examples—I mention them merely to point at concrete instances that are, to me, concerning and synecdochal. The reader can find his own examples, if he dislikes these. Instead, I would like to propose a series of principles for a new sense-making in public discourse, and suggest that political action, for the time being, should be antedated by an application of these principles among the conscientious.

The Personal Is Not Political

One of the great mistakes of ’60s and ’70s radicalism was the idea that “the personal is political.” There is some merit to the feeling behind this slogan: both formal policies and cultural attitudes can have a profound effect on the fate of individuals, especially those whose physical or emotional lives do not fit neatly into conventional social frameworks or power structures. However, simply noting that two domains are impacted by one another does not justify conflating them.

Politics exists because people have different values and interests (for whatever reason), but we have to live near each other, and there are limited resources that must be shared if violence is to be avoided. We’re also a social species and so we depend on one another for common endeavors and for mating. Politics demands that there be compromise among individuals or groups, given conflicting interests, and that, through some kind of social process, an accommodation is found for every party involved. Our institutions are built out of the repeated necessity of finding these accommodations. “Political idealism,” as it is usually understood, is something of an oxymoron: the ideal of any political process is compromise.

Meanwhile, the personal sphere has different concerns, and they center around the unique fate of each individual. Will I fall in love? Do I get along with my family and neighbors and colleagues and friends? How are my children doing? Am I invested in my house or my city? Do the things I do every day—my work, my hobbies, my physical habits, my involvement in a local community—do these things have meaning? The answers to these questions, ultimately, have to be decided by individuals, or between individuals, or within local communities. And the ideal of the personal should not be compromise, but self-actualization.

Corruption Matters

Centrist pundits love to beat up on tribalism; lamenting the current media environment of sharp partisanship and extrinsic ideological conflict is de rigeur among “reasonable” commentators. However, this masks the real problem embedded in tribalism: not the anger and simmering violence it generates, but the corruption it enables.

The word corruption often conjures images of a man in a trench-coat passing out brown envelopes of money for contracts or favors. However, in America, this sort of thing isn’t nearly as pervasive or harmful as it has been in other places and other eras. Corruption can be subtle, and it can be enacted through public kabuki rituals that are not illegal on their face; corruption, nevertheless, is always unethical, and it always has the insidious potential to proceed step-wise through a whole society.

The classic corrupt political maneuver of recent decades involves politicians who overtly signal for policies that favor narrow special interests and receive large donations to their campaigns or to affiliated organizations from those interests, without having to make an explicit ask. In American government, everything from the military industrial complex to student loans to health insurance has this stench. Other countries, no doubt, have their own version of this. It also can permeate the private sector. Large companies often gain enough market clout to exploit their customers, vendors, and employees. In general, policies and business decisions that encourage rent-seeking, tax avoidance, and environmentally destructive behavior are deeply corrupt, regardless of the legality of such actions, and this should effect how we participate in our institutions.

In Policy, Outcomes Are More Important than Identity

Tribalism not only blinds us to corruption, it also disorders our expectations about what institutional processes are meant to achieve. Institutions are not merely intended as vessels of belongingness. Some may offer this as a fringe benefit, but, fundamentally, institutions have a purpose to fulfill in their actions, and they lose their reason for being when that purpose is not ethical, or necessary and clearly circumscribed. Humans should seek belongingness first from family and from friendships, and even where membership in some organization may be gratifying, the actions of the institution have to be differentiated from the feeling of membership itself.

When politics hinges on affirmations of identity, the institutions of politics, the government and its appendages, are no longer seen as the means by which compromises can be crafted among competing groups or individuals. Policy, then, becomes a mode of self-expression, and any degree of narcissism can find its justification in an ideology and its prescribed policies. The best response to a lot of what passes for political argument is: Get over yourself!

The entailment from policies to outcomes is largely empirical and testable. We should fully expect to have conflict and compromise with regard to preferred outcomes, but no one should listen to uninformed chowderheads trying to persuade us of bad ideas for the aggrandizement of an identity.

Religious Feeling Can Only Be Satisfied in a Local Setting

Religion allows for individuals to orient their emotional lives in ways that align with the basic social prerogatives of their respective communities. When a religion is able to express, iconically, the spiritual feeling of a time or a place, it allows for the individual, there, to experience a profound sense of belongingness and meaning. There has been an unfortunate tendency, since the Scientific Revolution, to reduce religious practice to a rehearsal of belief, as if the symbolism and feeling endowed in communal rituals were a compulsion of what can and cannot be known, in some deterministic sense. Feeling is not in what is known, except to the extent that wisdom might let us know something about feeling.

Religious identification has been in decline for decades now all over the world, but especially in Europe and America. It has been proposed that the politics of identity or of other ideologies have stepped into this breach. There may be some truth to this and, if so, then it is a dangerous truth. At a minimum, we should be concerned about decadence and empty hedonism in a world without the iconicity of purpose. I want to suggest, however, that this emotional need cannot be fulfilled at a high social level, and that most of the public discussion about religion is focused on the wrong things.

It’s not clear that poorly attended churches preaching millennia-old doctrine are relevant to a post-industrial world, nor should we be inspired by the obsession of fundamentalists to enforce sexual proprietary through law or violence. Big, capitalized terms like “Western Civilization” or “Eastern Spirituality” don’t really have anything concrete to offer us. The images projected at us through TV and the internet have been made into spectacles for entertainment.

Instead, we must look around us, and find meaning in our immediate surroundings, in people we meet face-to-face, and in actions that bring value to our personal lives. Whatever is beamed to us on the news every day should not be of profound emotional interest.

Spend as Much Time Cross-Examining Your Own Soul as You Spend Excoriating or Venerating Public Figures

Does this require elaboration? Who among the outraged has a deeply satisfying personal life? Who is driven to publicly perform their feelings, but an actor?

A Society’s Success Should Be Judged in Millennia

Despite everything that has been learned about long stretches of time in the history of the earth and of the cosmos, we’re obsessed, culturally, with “moment time.” There is something to this, psychologically: the individual has every reason to devote considerable attention to the events that make up his or her day, and what can be remembered, verbally, among friends and family, at most, around the span of a decade or two. As I just argued, this is what should occupy our emotional lives. However, the awesome power of technology, in an industrialized economy, has unleashed the terrifying possibility that we could liquidate civilization through nuclear war or environmental destruction within a few generations. Our goals and our values are not only emotional, and so when we are a little more clear-eyed about the wider world, our actions must be framed in civilizational terms, across hundreds, thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of years. Only through such a perspective can humans take responsibility for themselves at this time in history.

Our Intellectual Systems Are Theoretically Stagnant and Need New Ideas

The academy and other institutions mostly produce intellectuals who fall into two categories: jackals and rabbits. Jackals misuse their knowledge for political ends or for self-aggrandizement, and are attracted to ideas dead and decomposing. Rabbits patiently munch away at small problems while nervously avoiding the unknown, and are admitted to run and hide when approached by strangers.

There have been great intellectual triumphs in recent centuries, and amazing work is being done right now on scientific applications to produce technology. But theoretical work across disciplines has stagnated, and this makes febrile soil for conspiracy theories, ideology, and the idiocies of the weak-willed and wicked. Many feel entitled to their opinions above the exigencies of having to learn. All the while, so many essential questions remain unanswered, either because we pay them no mind, or because we have no fresh ideas. How do we account for the subjectivity of consciousness in physical terms? What is rhythm? Why are we taught that there are three observable dimensions of space and one linear dimension of time? How is paralanguage related, structurally, to music? What, exactly, are grammatical categories?  What is “information”? We have a solid Darwinian theory of function—where is the complementary theory of form, and which is more basic? What is “life”?

I might posit here another category of intellectual, the platypus. We need a venomous, duck-waddling, semi-aquatic, egg-laying mammal, the last of its kind, the first comedian of Dream Time. Someone with a completely new idea of an old feeling, and enough sense of irony to communicate it. It’s very hard to make fundamental progress on big intellectual problems, and even the most talented among us can fail through no intrinsic fault of their own. But, socially, we must make a place for the awkward, original platypus, whether or not he succeeds. Or ours will be a kingdom of jackals.

One might say that at least some of these principles are self-evident banalities. Yes! Principles are platitudes! But each one of us must be reminded of them, from time to time, when we’ve forgotten the melody. Or the squawk of the platypus. Yes!


Jeffrey Quackenbush lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, and works in the renewable energy industry.

Photo by Jeremy Thomas on Unsplash

The post The Crisis of Sense-Making appeared first on Quillette.


Facebook Bans CrossFit Group For Advocating Low-Carb, High-Fat Diets

Actually no, you pathological liar

Merck Created Hit List to "Destroy," "Neutralize" or "Discredit" Dissenting Doctors - CBS News

North Dakota's Food Freedom Law Dodges Another Bullet


Powerful forces in North Dakota have once again targeted the state's popular food freedom law, but it appears the laws' supporters have successfully beaten back these attacks from state lawmakers and regulators.

The 2017 law, found here, "allows direct sales of many foods by a producer in the state to consumers in the state," I wrote last year. "That includes direct sales of virtually any foods—from apple slices to homemade pickles to homemade zucchini bread—except meat or raw dairy products."

In that column, I detailed how North Dakota health regulators were attempting to use the rulemaking process to undermine the law. As I explained, that effort failed in large part due to the fact the law doesn't allow the health department to draft such rules.

But the failure led some lawmakers opposed to food freedom—led by a lawmaker who's also a retired grocery owner and former head of the state's grocers' association, just in case you were wondering how the grocers' lobby feels about a little competition—to attempt to amend the law using the legislative process. Last month, that effort also failed. After the defeat, State Sen. Jerry Klein, the former grocery lobbyist, said he's now merely an "onlooker."

Klein no doubt looked eagerly on as the health department proposed rules once again to neuter the law. Those proposed rules were reviewed by North Dakota's State Health Council, which has oversight authority.

I'm happy to report the latest regulatory effort to destroy the food freedom law also failed.

Genny Dienstmann, a consumer member who chairs the council, confirmed to me by phone this week that the body had tabled the health department's proposed rules and has no current plans to take any further action on them, a big win for food freedom proponents.


Food freedom laws are only growing in popularity, as I detail in my recent book, Biting the Hands that Feed Us: How Fewer, Smarter Laws Would Make Our Food System More Sustainable. Such laws are on the books in a growing number of states, including Wyoming, Utah, and Maine (though the latter differs slightly from others). Nonpartisan groups such as the National Conference of State Legislatures track these laws. ALEC's website features model food freedom legislative language.

The spread of food freedom laws has only been limited by opponents—chiefly advocates for stricter food-safety laws.

Take Food Safety News's Dan Flynn. Not one to traffic in hyperbole, Flynn nevertheless painted the North Dakota legislature's failure to amend the law as a sign that state lawmakers are willing to "risk some botulism once in a while."

He's right. But everyone who eats food—regulated or unregulated—also risks occasional botulism. "Everyone is at risk for foodborne botulism," North Dakota's health department cautions. Along these same lines, a search for the term "botulism" at the website of Marler Clark, the law firm that publishes Food Safety News, yields three search results, each of which involves botulism in foods sold in the regulated commercial marketplace. It appears all lawmakers—those that oppose food freedom laws and those that support them—"risk some botulism once in a while."

I asked Julie Wagendorf, director of the Division of Food and Lodging in the state health department—which, again, opposes the law—if there have been any cases of foodborne illness in North Dakota involving foods sold under the law since it took effect. Wagendorf responded, but she didn't answer that question.

A quick web search revealed that North Dakota has been dealing of late with an outbreak of foodborne illness. It's one of eight states where sushi-grade tuna has been found to harbor Salmonella. But you can't blame the state's food freedom law. Tuna is subject to FDA inspection and is sold commercially, rather than under the state's law.

That said, there's no evidence anyone has ever been sickened by foods sold under a food freedom law.

Given that, do we really need more rules?

Wagendorf insists we do.

"Clarity is needed for what is already stated in law as not authorized under this chapter," she told me by email.

The law's supporters disagree.

"We absolutely do not believe [state lawmakers] have legal authority to write rules for this particular section of [state law]," LeAnn Harner, a North Dakota farmer and key supporter of the state's food freedom law, wrote to me in an email this week. "We believe the current law as passed in 2017 is working. Our producers are doing their very best to produce safe, delicious food and drink products."

"The current law provided much-needed authority to small farm and home business owners to provide healthy, wholesome food directly to their local consumers who prefer such products, and the law should continue to support such efforts," says Alexia Kulwiec, executive director of the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund—a nonprofit advocacy group on whose board I serve—in an email to me this week.

I support state food freedom laws because they expand choice, not because no one has ever been sickened by food sold under these laws. Even if a person were to fall ill after eating, say, a homemade pie they bought at a farmer's market—and that will happen someday—I would continue to support such laws. Why?

It's simple. Foods are not legal because they don't ever sicken anyone. By which I mean, countless foods that are produced and inspected according to government regulations and sold in restaurants, groceries, and elsewhere have made people in this country sick. If we banned every last one of the regulated animal and vegetable products that have sickened or killed people over the years, there'd be nothing left to eat. Given the choice between choice and no choice—between food freedom and prohibitive rules—I'll take the former every time.


Friday, May 24, 2019

Spurious US 18-Count Indictment of Julian Assange: A Mockery of Justice

Global Research, May 24, 2019

It was just a matter of time before the Trump regime piled on more spurious charges against Assange, clearly prepared long before Thursday’s release.

They’re on top of falsely accusing him of “conspiracy to commit computer intrusion,” according to an unsealed indictment, dated March 6, 2018.

New charges and the above one are all about waging war on truth-telling investigative journalism the way it should be conducted, providing vital information on issues related to the rule of law, fundamental rights, and the public welfare.

On Thursday, the Trump regime’s Justice Department headlined: “WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange Charged in 18-Count Superseding Indictment — Charges Related to Illegally Obtaining, Receiving and Disclosing Classified Information (sic).”

Spurious charges include the following:

  • Criminal No.1:18-cr-l11 (CMH)
  • Count1: 18 U.S.C. (US Code) § 793(g) Conspiracy To Receive National Defense Information
  • Counts 2-4: 18 U.S.C. & 793(b) and 2 — Obtaining National Defense Information
  • Counts 5-8: 18 U.S.C. § 793(c) and 2 — Obtaining National Defense Information
  • Counts 9-11: 18U.S.C. §793(d) and 2 — Disclosure of National Defense Information
  • Counts 12-14: 18 U.S.C. § 793(e) and 2 — Disclosure of National Defense Information
  • Counts 15-17: 18 U.S.C. § 793(e) — Disclosure of National Defense Information
  • Count 18: 18 U.S.C. §§ 371 and 1030 — Conspiracy To Commit Computer Intrusion

According an accompanying DOJ statement,

“Assange conspired with (Chelsea) Manning…aid(ing) and abet(ing) her in obtaining classified information with reason to believe that the information was to be used to the injury of the United States or the advantage of a foreign nation” — a bald-faced Big Lie.

Manning is a courageous whistleblower. Material she released exposed US high crimes of war and against humanity, information vital for the public to know about how its government operates — extrajudicially time and again, accountability never forthcoming.

Assange is an investigative journalist. He earlier explained that WikiLeaks has the right “to publish newsworthy content,” adding: “Consistent with the US Constitution, we publish material that we can confirm to be true.”

Everyone in the US has the same right, what the First Amendment is all about, affirming speech, press, and academic freedoms – the most fundamental of all democratic rights bipartisan hardliners in Washington want compromised and eliminated.

Arresting and detaining Assange by UK authorities for extradition to the US for prosecution on the above charges is all about wanting truth-telling on vital issues suppressed — the same true for actions taken against Manning and other courageous whistleblowers.

The US wants scrutiny of its dirty linen prevented. Targeting individuals courageously revealing it harshly is all about intimidating other potential whistleblowers with damning information to remain silent.

Manning, Assange, and others targeted like them are innocent of charges against them. They’re victims of US judicial unfairness, denied their fundamental habeas, due process, and equal protection under law rights.

Manning is currently detained indefinitely for invoking her constitutional right to remain silent — refusing to give grand jury testimony that could unwittingly be used by prosecutors against Assange, potentially leaving herself vulnerable to new falsified charges.

Like Manning in 2010, Assange is charged under the long ago outdated 1917 Espionage Act, relating to WW I, what should have been rescinded at war’s end.

Following Assange’s unlawful April 11 arrest in London at the behest of the Trump regime, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) called the action against him “an attack on press freedom,” a flagrant First Amendment breach, leaving all independent journalists vulnerable to similar actions against them.

In response to Thursday’s 18-count indictment of Assange, ACLU speech, privacy, and technology project director Ben Wizner said the following:

“For the first time in the history of our country, the government has brought criminal charges against a publisher for the publication of truthful information,” adding:

“This is an extraordinary escalation of the Trump (regime’s) attacks on journalism, and a direct assault on the First Amendment.”

“It establishes a dangerous precedent that can be used to target all news organizations that hold the government accountable by publishing its secrets.”

Each charge against Assange carries a potential 10-year sentence. Trump regime hardliners want him punished and silenced behind bars longterm — for the “crime” of truth-telling journalism the way it should be.

In response to Thursday’s indictment, WikiLeaks tweeted: “This is madness.” It represents “the end of national security journalism and the first amendment.”

At age 47 in poor health from his near seven-year ordeal in Ecuador’s London embassy to avoid his current fate, a slow-motion judicial unfairness death sentence likely awaits him.

Given deplorable healthcare for US prison inmates, what greatly shortened human rights lawyer Lynne Stewart’s life from her unjustifiable four-year imprisonment ordeal, Assange may not last more than a few years behind bars, especially if abused by US prison authorities.

A Final Comment

Chelsea Manning and her lawyer Moira Meltzer-Cohen said the following in response to Assange’s 18-count indictment:

“The continued detention of Chelsea Manning is purely punitive. Today’s events underscore what Chelsea has previously said, that “(a)ll of the substantive questions pertained to my disclosures of information to the public in 2010—answers I provided in extensive testimony, during my court-martial in 2013.”

“I continue to accept full and sole responsibility for those disclosures in 2010. It’s telling that the government appears to have already obtained this indictment before my contempt hearing last week. (The Trump regime) describes the press as the opposition party and an enemy of the people.”

“Today, they use the law as a sword, and have shown their willingness to bring the full power of the state against the very institution intended to shield us from such excesses.”

Manning’s attorney Meltzer-Cohen said “up until now, the Department Of Justice has been reticent to actually indict publishers for work implicating matters of national security, because the first amendment rights of the press and public are so constitutionally valuable.”

Assange’s 18-count indictment “signals a real shift, and sets a new precedent for the federal government’s desire to chill and even punish the vigorous exercise of the free press.”


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Award-winning author Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

Visit his blog site at

The original source of this article is Global Research
Copyright © Stephen Lendman, Global Research, 2019


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Professional Assange Smearers Finally Realize His Fate Is Tied To Theirs


Rachel Maddow has aired a segment condemning the new indictment against Julian Assange for 17 alleged violations of the Espionage Act.

Yes, that Rachel Maddow.

MSNBC’s top host began the segment after it was introduced by Chris Hayes, agreeing with her colleague that it’s surprising that more news outlets aren’t giving this story more “wall to wall” coverage, given its immense significance. She recapped Assange’s various legal struggles up until this point, then accurately described Assange’s new Espionage Act charges for publishing secret documents.

“And these new charges are not about stealing classified information or outsmarting computer systems in order to illegally obtain classified information,” Maddow said. “It’s not about that. These new charges are trying to prosecute Assange for publishing that stolen, secret material which was obtained by somebody else. And that is a whole different kettle of fish then what he was initially charged with.”

“By charging Assange for publishing that stuff that was taken by Manning, by issuing these charges today, the Justice Department has just done something you might have otherwise thought was impossible,” Maddow added after explaining the unprecedented nature of this case. “The Justice Department today, the Trump administration today, just put every journalistic institution in this country on Julian Assange’s side of the ledger. On his side of the fight. Which, I know, is unimaginable. But that is because the government is now trying to assert this brand new right to criminally prosecute people for publishing secret stuff, and newspapers and magazines and investigative journalists and all sorts of different entities publish secret stuff all the time. That is the bread and butter of what we do.”

Maddow carefully explained to her audience that these new charges have nothing at all to do with the 2016 election or any of the Russiagate nonsense the MSNBC pundit has been devoting her life to, correctly calling what the Trump administration is doing with Assange “a novel legal effort to punch a huge hole in the First Amendment.” She tied this in with Trump’s common references to the mass media as the “enemy of the people”, finally taking mainstream liberalism into a direct confrontation with Trump’s actual war on the press instead of nonsense about his tweeting mean things about Jim Acosta. She rightly highlighted the dangers of allowing a president with a thick authoritarian streak the ability to prosecute journalists he doesn’t like, and discussed the possibility that the UK may not comply with this new agenda in extradition proceedings.

“I think these 17 espionage charges against the WikiLeaks guy are a huge deal, and a very dark development,” Maddow concluded. “Chris Hayes this evening called it a ‘four alarm development’, and I absolutely share that.”

“And, you know, I know you,” Maddow continued, pointing to the camera. “Given everything else that we know about the WikiLeaks guy, I can feel through the television right now your mixed feelings about what I am saying. I can feel what may be, perhaps, a certain lack of concern about Julian Assange’s ultimate fate, given his own gleeful and extensive personal role in trying to help a hostile foreign government interfere in our election in order to install their chosen president with WikiLeaks’ help. Okay? I know. Okay, I feel ya. I got it. But, it is a recurring theme in history, heck, it is a recurring theme in the Bible, that they always pick the least sympathetic figures to try this stuff on first. Despite anyone’s feelings about this spectacularly unsympathetic character at the center of this international drama, you are going to see every journalistic institution in this country, every First Amendment supporter in this country, left, right and center, swallow their feelings about this particular human and denounce what the Trump administration is trying to do here. Because it would fundamentally change the United States of America.”

Wow. Make no mistake, this is a hugely significant development. This isn’t just some columnist for the New York Times or the Guardian, this is Rachel effing Maddow, the Queen Mother of all tinfoil pussyhat-wearing Russiagate insanity. This same pundit was just a couple of months ago not just smearing but outright lying about Assange, deceitfully telling her audience that the new legal rings closing around Assange were about his 2016 publications then instructing viewers not to Google anything about it because they’ll get computer viruses. Now that she’s recognized that this could actually hurt her and her network directly, she’s finally feeding her audience a different narrative out of sheer enlightened self-interest.

The fact that such a hugely influential figure in mainstream liberal media is now pushing back against Assange’s prosecution, and doing so in a way that her mainstream liberal anti-Trump audience can relate to, cannot be over-appreciated. Maddow’s credulous audience would eat live kittens if she told them to, so the way she’s pushing back against a dangerous legal precedent in language they can understand will make a difference in the way American liberals think about Assange’s predicament. It won’t make them like him, it won’t make them value the things he’s done, but it will get them to finally begin resisting something that badly needs to be resisted. And that’s huge.

The danger has always been that this fatal blow to journalism would be meted out with total compliance and support from a population hammered into docility by the ongoing narrative war which has been waged on Assange’s and WikiLeaks’ reputations with the help of the mass media. There was a very real danger that thought leaders like Maddow were going to choose their feelings over reasoning when the foot finally fell and the charges that criminalize journalism as “espionage” were finally put into play. I don’t think anyone would have been surprised if she’d applied that giant intellect of hers into making it possible to ignore it without upsetting her audience and try and figure it out later when it was too late and the legal precedent was set.

She actually chose to do the right thing. I’m gobsmacked, and it’s not an exaggeration to say that my hope for humanity sparked up a little today.

If the resting smugfaced apex of liberal psychosis is getting this one right, then many more will surely follow. And indeed, many already are. In addition to Hayes’ coverage of the story, MSNBC’s Ari Melber also did a segment harshly criticizing the implications of Trump administration’s new charges. We’re seeing multiple segments from CNN about the grave dangers of the legal precedent that is being set with the superseding indictment, as well as urgent warnings about the new charges from major publications like the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Guardian. The outlets which have been smearing Assange relentlessly are now finding themselves forced to defend him.

A typical comment under Maddow’s YouTube share of this segment reads “This is very strange. Very alarming! There we go again. The GOP is preparing the country for a Dictatorship.” And okay, that’s not exactly what is happening (this has been a bipartisan push and it’s not just preparations, we’re in full swing), but whatever, now this viewer can actually see the monster’s outlines. Finally the Maddow crowd which has been fruitlessly expending all their energy so far on punching at Russian shadows will actually be attacking a real thing.

And I’m quietly excited about that. I’m eager to see what happens to the #Resistance if it actually starts #Resisting something. It doesn’t matter that this is only happening because mainstream liberal media outlets realized that they might be next on the chopping block; it matters that it’s happening, period.

For years mainstream liberals have been fixating on the fake Russiagate psyop and rending their garments about Trump’s rude tweets while commentators like me desperately implored them to pay attention to the actual dangerous agendas that this administration is actually advancing. They’ve been in a holding pattern of adamantly refusing to do that, and now, because it’s threatening them personally, we’re suddenly seeing a sharp deviation from that holding pattern.

As Bill Murray said at the end of Groundhog Day, something is different. Anything different is good.


Everyone has my unconditional permission to republish or use any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge. My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook, following my antics on Twitter, throwing some money into my hat on Patreon or Paypal, purchasing some of my sweet merchandise, buying my new book Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone, or my previous book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers. The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for my website, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here.

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Amnesty International declares Julian Assange “not a prisoner of conscience” - World Socialist Web Site

Thursday, May 23, 2019

How Many Times Must Assange Be Proven Right Before People Start Listening?


And there it is. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been charged by the Trump administration’s Justice Department with 17 counts of violating the Espionage Act, carrying a maximum sentence of 175 years in prison. Exactly as Assange and his defenders have been warning would happen for nearly a decade.

The indictment, like the one which preceded it last month with Assange’s arrest, is completely fraudulent, as it charges Assange with “crimes” that are indistinguishable from conventional journalistic practices. The charges are based on the same exact evidence which was available to the Obama administration, which as journalist Glenn Greenwald noted last year declined to prosecute Assange citing fear of destroying press freedoms.

Hanna Bloch-Wehba, an associate professor at Drexel University’s Thomas R. Kline School of Law, has called the indictment “a worst-case, nightmare, mayday scenario for First Amendment enthusiasts.” Bloch-Wehba explains that that the indictment’s “theories for liability rest heavily on Assange’s relationship with Manning and his tendency to encourage Manning to continue to bring WikiLeaks material” in a way that “is not readily distinguishable from many reporter-source relationships cultivated over a period of time.”

One of the versions of the New York Timesreport on the new Assange indictment, which has since been edited out but has been preserved here in a quote by Slate, said that “officials would not engage with questions about how the actions they said were felonies by Mr. Assange differed from ordinary investigative journalism. Notably, The New York Times, among many other news organizations, obtained precisely the same archives of documents from WikiLeaks, without authorization from the government.”

This is the issue, in three sentences.

 — @JameelJaffer

Press freedom organizations have been condemning these new espionage charges in stark and unequivocal language.

“Put simply, these unprecedented charges against Julian Assange and WikiLeaks are the most significant and terrifying threat to the First Amendment in the 21st century,” reads a statement by Freedom of the Press Foundation Executive Director Trevor Timm. “The Trump administration is moving to explicitly criminalize national security journalism, and if this prosecution proceeds, dozens of reporters at the New York Times, Washington Post and elsewhere would also be in danger. The ability of the press to publish facts the government would prefer remain secret is both critical to an informed public and a fundamental right. This decision by the Justice Department is a massive and unprecedented escalation in Trump’s war on journalism, and it’s no exaggeration to say the First Amendment itself is at risk. Anyone who cares about press freedom should immediately and wholeheartedly condemn these charges.”

“The indictment of Julian Assange under the Espionage Act for publishing classified information is an attack on the First Amendment and a threat to all journalists everywhere who publish information that governments would like to keep secret,” reads a statement by Committee to Protect Journalists Executive Director Joel Simon. “Press freedom in the United States and around the world is imperiled by this prosecution.”

“For the first time in the history of our country, the government has brought criminal charges under the Espionage Act against a publisher for the publication of truthful information,” reads a statement by the ACLU. “This is a direct assault on the First Amendment. These charges are an extraordinary escalation of the Trump administration’s attacks on journalism, establishing a dangerous precedent that can be used to target all news organizations that hold the government accountable by publishing its secrets. The charges against Assange are equally dangerous for US journalists who uncover the secrets of other nations. If the US can prosecute a foreign publisher for violating our secrecy laws, there’s nothing preventing China, or Russia, from doing the same.”

BREAKING: For the first time in the history of our country, the government has brought criminal charges under the Espionage Act against a publisher for the publication of truthful information. This is a direct assault on the First Amendment.

 — @ACLU

Also opposing the new indictment, far too late, have been popular pundits from mainstream liberal news outlets.

“The Espionage indictment of Assange for publishing is an extremely dangerous, frontal attack on the free press. Bad, bad, bad,” tweeted MSNBC’s Chris Hayes.

“Today the Trump DOJ becomes the first administration to ever charge a publisher with *espionage* — an assertive, unprecedented legal crackdown on the traditional rights and protections for publishers,” tweeted MSNBC’s Ari Melber. “That is a legal fact, regardless of one’s views of Julian Assange. The new Trump DOJ indictment treats activities most top newspapers engage in — gathering and publishing classified material — as criminal plotting, claiming Assange ‘conspired’ with and ‘aided and abetted’ his source in the pursuit of classified material.”

One need only to look at the outraged “this is a horrible take” comments underneath these tweets to see that these condemnations are coming long after the propaganda they’ve helped advance against WikiLeaks has seeped well into the bloodstream. It’s impossible to tell the same group of people day after day that Assange is an evil Nazi Putin puppet rapist who smells bad and mistreats his cat, and then persuade them to respond to a depraved Trump administration agenda against that same person with an appropriate level of resistance.

I find no satisfaction in saying 'I told you so' to those who for 9 years have scorned us for warning this moment would come. I care for journalism. If you share my feeling you take a stand NOW. Either you are a worthless coward or you defend Assange, WikiLeaks and Journalism.

 — @khrafnsson

“I find no satisfaction in saying ‘I told you so’ to those who for 9 years have scorned us for warning this moment would come,” tweeted WikiLeaks Editor-in-Chief Kristinn Hrafnsson. “I care for journalism. If you share my feeling you take a stand NOW. Either you are a worthless coward or you defend Assange, WikiLeaks and Journalism.”

Indeed, WikiLeaks staff and their supporters have been warning of this for many years, only to be dismissed as paranoid conspiracy theorists and rape apologists by smearers who insisted Assange was merely avoiding rape charges by taking asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London back in 2012. There are many tweets by the WikiLeaks Twitter account warning that the US is trying to charge Assange under the Espionage Act all the way back in 2010, and they’ve been warning about it over and over again ever since, but nobody’s listened.

“The only barrier to Julian Assange leaving Ecuador’s embassy is pride,” blared a Guardian headline last year by the odious James Ball, with the sub-header “The WikiLeaks founder is unlikely to face prosecution in the US, charges in Sweden have been dropped — and for the embassy, he’s lost his value as an icon.”

Assange has been warning for years that this was coming. He’s been unequivocal about the fact that he was perfectly willing to participate in the Swedish investigation from the beginning and was only taking asylum with Ecuador due to fear of extradition and political prosecution in the US, which Ecuador explicitly stated were its reasons for granting him asylum. He was absolutely correct. He’s been correct the entire time. History has vindicated him. He was right and his critics were wrong.

We are also already seeing Assange vindicated in his warnings of what his prosecution would mean for the free press. He hasn’t even been extradited yet and we’re already seeing a greatly escalated war on journalism being implemented, with new developments in just the last few days like a San Francisco journalist now being charged with conspiracy for receiving internal documents from the San Francisco Police Department, and a prominent French journalist being summoned by police for reporting on corruption in the Macron government.


 — @wikileaks

All this of course begs the question: what else has he been right about? Anyone with an ounce of intellectual honesty who has previously had their doubts about Assange will necessarily begin asking themselves this question now. It’s worth reviewing the things Assange has been saying about Russia not being the source of the 2016 Democratic Party emails that WikiLeaks published, about what really happened in Sweden, and about his general understanding of what’s going on in the world with opaque and unaccountable power structures leading us all down a very dark and dangerous path.

If you open your mind to the possibility that Assange has been right about more than you’ve given him credit for previously, the implications can shatter your world. Give it a try. There’s no longer any legitimate reason not to.


Everyone has my unconditional permission to republish or use any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge. My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook, following my antics on Twitter, throwing some money into my hat on Patreon or Paypal, purchasing some of my sweet merchandise, buying my new book Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone, or my previous book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers. The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for my website, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here.

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The Forgotten Family Ritual That Bonds Parents and Children


A friend of mine told me how as a child she informed her neighborhood playmate one evening that she had to go home. It was time for dinner.

Her playmate gave her a confused look.

“Don’t you eat dinner with your family?” my friend asked her.

“No, we never do that,” came the answer.

Unfortunately, that response seems to have grown more common in recent years. Dinner is now more “me time” than family time, a point underscored by a recent Atlantic article. Reporting on a new survey, The Atlantic notes that as dining venues, “the couch and the bedroom are both far more popular now” than the kitchen table was several decades ago. In fact, “the number of respondents who most often eat at a kitchen table nowadays is roughly the same as the number who eat either on the couch or in their bedroom.”

What’s driving this switch?

Experts quoted in The Atlantic suggest a number of reasons, including families running in multiple directions, women working outside the home, and the ever-present reality of screens.

But another theory has to do with the decline of formality. The move toward open spaces rather than specific dining areas, as well as the decline of special tableware such as tablecloths and candles, makes dinner just another mundane occurrence.

What would happen if we reversed the mundane and made dinner special again?

That’s what author Laurie David did a number of years ago. In her book, The Family Dinner, David explains how she made family dinner into a “project,” making “everyone stop what he or she was doing at around the same time every night, and sit together for a satisfying amount of time to eat, talk, and connect as a family.”

The first way David did this was to turn Tuesdays into taco night. She and the children would invite guests, prepare their tacos, and come up with conversation starters to discuss over the meal. Soon it became a tradition and the family began turning other meals into special occasions as well.

The result was better than David could have ever hoped:

One uneventful Wednesday night, I was sitting at the kitchen table with my family. Dessert had long since been consumed, but my two girls still lingered at the table an hour after we’d first sat down for supper. There we were, two bright, happy teenagers and I, engrossed in conversation that ranged from national politics, to binge drinking on college campuses, to who was doing what to whom at school. You know—all the stuff we crave to know but never get real answers to: what’s really happening in their lives; who’s mean and who’s nice; who’s misunderstood and why.

Wow, I thought to myself, I have actually done something right as a parent. This was a new feeling! Usually I’m beating myself up over all the mistakes I make on any given day. But wait, I had succeeded in luring and keeping my family at the dinner table—and talking about real issues they might have otherwise kept silent about!”

Today’s families are pulled in multiple directions. Many parents sense they need a closer connection with their children, but they’re a bit clueless when it comes to figuring it out. Would the reinstatement of family dinner help?


[Image Credit: U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Bennie J. Davis III]


How Media Propagandists Create "Symbolic" Meaning

CNN Continues Its Death Spiral as Ratings Collapse in Epic Fashion

Remember the Maine! Also the Arizona and the Maddux! – The Future of Freedom Foundation

Google’s Outrage Mobs and Witch Hunts – Mike Wacker – Medium

Assange Hit With Espionage Act Violations As DoJ Unveils New Charges

Six Stats That Show Americans Are Drowning in Stuff They Don't Need


The other day I discovered a YouTube channel, Wild We Roam. It depicts a couple who lives a very simple but vibrant life in a van in Europe. They have an incredible video (see below) showing how they converted a Mercedes van from 1980 into a home!

When I saw this video, the first thing I thought was, “I could never do that, I have too much stuff!” It would be very hard for me to consolidate all my clothes and other possessions to fit in a van. The thought made me realize how much stuff I actually have and how attached I am to it.

And I’m not the only one who is too consumeristic to live in a van. Clutter and materialism are a problem for many Americans.

  1. The average American home has 300,000 items. (LA Times)
  2. Twenty-three percent of adults pay late fees on bills because they lose them. (Harris Interactive)
  3. One out of four houses with two-car garages keeps so much stuff in it they can’t even fit a car in the garage. (US Department of Energy)
  4. On average, every American throws away over 68 pounds of clothing. Per year! (The Huffington Post)
  5. Americans spend about $1.2 trillion a year on non-essential items. (The Wall Street Journal)

The examples are nearly endless. Here is a sixth for good measure.

  • The average woman has a lot of clothes, but what’s even crazier is the amount the average woman actually wears. As Rebecca Keane said, “According to a new study by ClosetMaid, the average American woman has 103 items of clothing in her wardrobe. But she considers 21% to be ‘unwearable,’ 33% too tight and 24% too loose, according to a survey of 1,000 women. A further 12% of the wardrobe is occupied by new, unworn clothing, leaving just 10% available.”

These statistics helped me realize two things. First, I’m not the only one who “can’t help” but buy that candle, water bottle, pair of heels, mug, gadget, or book. But second, and more important, these statistics show the economic impact of clutter. Clutter and disorganization can waste time, money, and cause stress.

The global economy has made it possible for the vast majority of Americans to be able to afford a vast array of items. Many of us have taken advantage of that fact, but in the process, we have become overwhelmed with stuff.

Could you fit all your worldly possessions into a van? I definitely couldn’t. But maybe there’s a happy balance somewhere in between van living and extreme hoarding.


This article was originally published on Read the original article.

[Image Credit: Pxhere]


The World Is Getting Increasingly Dumber, Study Finds

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Pentagon Finally Admits To UFO Investigations

Attorney General Barr Puts Former Intel Bosses Clapper, Brennan On Notice

Fake news and Tulsi Gabbard

First, the term "Fake News" was invented by Trump's opponents (to ensure Hillary & Dems weren't blamed for his victory), not by Trump. Second, some articles are so shoddy they merit no substantive reply. Third, demanding someone prove they're not Russia's candidate is grotesque:

“It doesn’t matter what you think of any of these individual whistleblowers,” writes @jeremyscahill. “But it does matter that we all recognize that this is an attack on our basic rights to information about what the U.S. government does in our names.”

Tulsi Gabbard, Bernie Sanders Subjects of 2020 Campaign Hit Pieces – Rolling Stone

“Stephanopoulos shamelessly implied that because I oppose going to war with Russia, I’m not a loyal American, but a Putin puppet,” Gabbard told Rolling Stone. “It just shows what absurd lengths warmongers in the media will go, to try to destroy the reputation of anyone who dares oppose their warmongering.”

Tulsi Gabbard: “I Don’t” Buy Report that Iran Wants to Strike U.S. Forces, Trump Looking for “Pretext” for War

Global Research, May 21, 2019
RealClear Politics 19 May 2019
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, a Democratic presidential candidate, said she doesn’t buy reports saying Iran poses a new threat to U.S. personnel in Iraq in an interview Sunday with ABC’s “This Week.”
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: You resigned your DNC post back in 2016 because you thought Hillary Clinton had a hawkish interventionist foreign policy. Does that apply to her colleague in the Obama administration, former Vice President Biden?
REP. TULSI GABBARD: We’ll see what Vice President Biden’s foreign policy vision is for this country. We may agree on some issues, disagree on others. The problem that I have seen is that across both Democrat and Republican administrations, and especially in this Trump administration where, right now, he is leading us down this dangerous path towards a war with Iran …
STEPHANOPOULOS: He says he doesn’t want it.
GABBARD: He says he doesn’t want it but the actions of him and his administration, people like John Bolton and Mike Pompeo, tell us a very different story. They are setting the stage for a war with Iran that would prove to be far more costly, far more devastating and dangerous than anything that we saw in the Iraq war, a war that I served in a medical unit where every single day I saw firsthand the high human cost of war.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, one of the actions they took this week was evacuating, as you know, our diplomatic posts in Iraq because they were concerned, based on the intelligence, that Iran may be looking to strike U.S. interests. You don’t buy it?
GABBARD: I don’t. You know, we heard conflicting stories coming from the British commander who is the co-commander of the fight against ISIS and Al-Qaeda there in Iraq and Syria saying, hey, he hadn’t seen an escalation of tensions or threats coming from these Iraqi – or these Shia militias serving in Iraq. I think what we’re seeing, unfortunately, is what looks a lot like people in the Trump administration trying to create a pretext or an excuse for us to go to war against Iran, a war that would actually undermine our national security, cost us countless American lives, cost civilian lives across the region, exacerbate the refugee crisis in Europe, and it would actually make us less safe by strengthening terrorist groups like ISIS and Al-Qaeda.
Note to readers: please click the share buttons below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Towards a World War III Scenario: The Dangers of Nuclear War” 
by Michel Chossudovsky
Available to order from Global Research! 
ISBN Number: 978-0-9737147-5-3
Year: 2012
Pages: 102
Print Edition: $10.25 (+ shipping and handling)
PDF Edition:  $6.50 (sent directly to your email account!)
Michel Chossudovsky is Professor of Economics at the University of Ottawa and Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), which hosts the critically acclaimed website . He is a contributor to the Encyclopedia Britannica. His writings have been translated into more than 20 languages.
“This book is a ‘must’ resource – a richly documented and systematic diagnosis of the supremely pathological geo-strategic planning of US wars since ‘9-11’ against non-nuclear countries to seize their oil fields and resources under cover of ‘freedom and democracy’.”
John McMurtry, Professor of Philosophy, Guelph University
“In a world where engineered, pre-emptive, or more fashionably “humanitarian” wars of aggression have become the norm, this challenging book may be our final wake-up call.”
-Denis Halliday, Former Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations
Michel Chossudovsky exposes the insanity of our privatized war machine. Iran is being targeted with nuclear weapons as part of a war agenda built on distortions and lies for the purpose of private profit. The real aims are oil, financial hegemony and global control. The price could be nuclear holocaust. When weapons become the hottest export of the world’s only superpower, and diplomats work as salesmen for the defense industry, the whole world is recklessly endangered. If we must have a military, it belongs entirely in the public sector. No one should profit from mass death and destruction.
Ellen Brown, author of ‘Web of Debt’ and president of the Public Banking Institute   
WWIII Scenario
The original source of this article is RealClear Politics


Tuesday, May 21, 2019

How To Survive The Journey Ahead: A Graduation Message For A Terrifying Age

Paul Craig Roberts Rages: The Assange/Manning Cases Discredit Humanity

US Accuses Syria Of More Chemical Attacks Just As Chemical Weapons Narrative Crumbles


The Institute for Public Accuracy published a report today about the leaked engineering assessment from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons investigation into an alleged chemical attack in Douma, Syria which directly contradicts the findings of the official OPCW report on the matter. Until the unauthorized release of this internal document the public was kept entirely uninformed of its existence, despite the serious military consequences of the questions it raises; the official story that the Syrian government had dropped chemical weapons in Douma was used to justify an airstrike on Syria days later.

MIT professor Theodore Postol provided IPA with a basic analysis of some of the data in the engineering assessment, adding that he “will have a much more detailed summary of the engineering report later this week.”

“A second issue that is raised by the character of the OPCW engineering report on Douma is that it is entirely unmentioned in the report that went to the UN Security Council,” Postol concludes after his analysis. “This omission is very serious, as the findings of that report are critical to the process of determining attribution. There is absolutely no reason to justify the omission of the engineering report in the OPCW account to the UN Security Council as its policy implications are of extreme importance.”

“A leaked OPCW document challenges claim that Assad used chemical weapons in Douma in April 2018, the basis for US military strikes,” tweeted journalist Aaron Maté of the new IPA report. “So far, Western media has ignored it, w/ only exceptions at the margins. Ted Postol is a leading expert; this should be impossible to ignore now.”

Hours later, the US State Department issued a statement once again accusing the Syrian government of using chemical weapons, and now when you search Google for information on chemical weapons in Syria, the results you get look like this:

So that’s convenient.

The State Department’s release actually reads like a government trying to regain control of an important narrative. It begins with an unsubstantiated allegation of a chlorine gas attack by the Syrian government this past Sunday, and warns that the US and its allies will respond militarily if chemical weapons have been used. It condemns the Syrian government’s offensive to recapture the Al Qaeda-occupied Idlib province, then veers off into sheer narrative management, accusing the Russian government of lying about the White Helmets and citing the OPCW as a trustworthy source of authority:

Russia’s recent allegations against the White Helmets and others are part of a continuing disinformation campaign by the Assad regime and Russia to create the false narrative that others are to blame for chemical weapons attacks that the Assad regime itself is conducting. Similarly, on November 24, 2018, the Assad regime and Russia attempted to fabricate a chemical weapons attack near Aleppo and blame it on opposition forces. At times, Russia and the Assad regime have made these false allegations as a pretext in advance of the Assad regime’s own barbaric chemical weapons attacks.
The facts, however, are clear: the Assad regime itself has conducted almost all verified chemical weapons attacks that have taken place in Syria — a conclusion the United Nations has reached over and over again. The former Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)-UN Joint Investigation Mechanism repeatedly verified and reported the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons. The Assad regime’s culpability in horrific chemical weapons attacks is undeniable.

As I wrote the other day, the fact that the OPCW kept the engineering report from receiving not a whisper of attention severely undermines the organization’s credibility, not just with regard to Douma but with regard to everything, including the establishment Syria narrative as a whole and the Skripal case in the UK. Everything the OPCW has ever concluded about alleged chemical usage around the world is now subject to very legitimate skepticism, and now the State Department is trying to use this same dubious source in its narrative control campaign against a government long targeted by the US empire for regime change.

Assad once again proving he's either a total fool or just the biggest troll in history. In the midst of the scandal over the #OPCW repressing evidence that the #Douma chemical attack was staged, Bashar just goes and does another one. #covenienttiming

 — @OffGuardian0

“Assad once again proving he’s either a total fool or just the biggest troll in history,” Off-Guardian tweeted sarcastically in response to the State Department’s allegations. “In the midst of the scandal over the OPCW repressing evidence that the Douma chemical attack was staged, Bashar just goes and does another one.”

“The US can’t attack Iran so it’s going to unleash its impotent rage on Syria,” tweeted journalist Sharmine Narwani. “One false flag CW attack by US-trained terrorists coming up.”

The notion that the Syrian government would use chemical weapons at this stage in the game is even more nonsensical than it was at the time of the Douma allegations in April 2018. President Bashar al-Assad has recaptured far more territory from the western-backed extremist factions, the eventual full recapture of the nation by Syria and its allies is a foregone conclusion barring direct military intervention by the US empire, and now the western imperialists are even beginning to lose the narrative war as well. There’s no reason to believe Assad would use chemical weapons at this point in the game unless you sincerely believe that he gains some sort of sexual gratification from committing war crimes that is so powerful it overwhelms his most basic survival instincts.

Chemical weapons, particularly chlorine gas, are not an efficient way of killing people. As Moon of Alabama once put it, “Chemical warfare is ineffective. That is why everyone agreed to ban it.” There is nothing about chemical weapons that is inherently more horrific than, say, nuclear weapons; the difference is that they’re just not a very efficient way of killing a large number of people, whereas nuclear weapons are. The Syrian government and its allies have been securing military victory after military victory over the occupying militias which had taken over large territories, and they have been doing so using far more effective conventional munitions. Assad would stand absolutely nothing to gain and absolutely everything to lose by using chemical warfare now.

A leaked OPCW document challenges claim that Assad used chemical weapons in Douma in April 2018, the basis for US military strikes. So far, Western media has ignored it, w/ only exceptions at the margins. Ted Postol is a leading expert; this should be impossible to ignore now:

 — @aaronjmate

At this point you almost wish America would just pick a target and stick with it. The US war machine is like a belligerent drunk at a pub with a broken bottle in his hand, menacing customer after customer while everyone silently prays he has a few more drinks and passes out on the floor. From Iran to Venezuela to Syria and more, the agenda to bully all the world’s nations into allowing themselves to be absorbed into the blob of the US-centralized empire is causing conflict after conflict all around the globe, with devastating consequences for the civilians caught in the crossfire.

You may be certain that Syria remains a geostrategically crucial location for the empire because they keep working on manufacturing consent for interventionism there. They work to manufacture that consent because they need that consent; if everyone saw their government doing horrific things they widely disapproved of, the illusion of freedom and democracy would be shattered, and they’d lose their ability to propagandize the masses. Without the ability to propagandize the masses, they could not rule.

So the good news is that we can slow them down by using truth to disrupt their use of their narrative control arsenal. The bad news is that they’re as depraved and determined as ever.


Everyone has my unconditional permission to republish or use any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge. My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook, following my antics on Twitter, throwing some money into my hat on Patreon or Paypal, purchasing some of my sweet merchandise, buying my new book Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone, or my previous book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers. The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for my website, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here.

Bitcoin donations:1Ac7PCQXoQoLA9Sh8fhAgiU3PHA2EX5Zm2



And the Most Sexually Satisfied Group of People Is…


Women are the happiest when they are in equality-loving, feminist-minded relationships, right?

That’s the line we’re often told. But a recent report seems to suggest something different.

Contemplating the role religion plays in the satisfaction levels of a marriage, the 2019 “World Family Map” surveys almost 10,000 men and women from around the world. These couples span the range from secular to highly religious, progressive to traditional.

When asked about the sexual satisfaction each of these individuals experience in their relationships, it was found that highly religious couples report the highest levels. The women in these highly religious relationships have a particularly high score.

By comparison, couples with mixed religious viewpoints or completely secular ideology report lower satisfaction levels.

Sexual Satisfaction

But that question gets even more interesting when these three groups are broken into couples with progressive and traditional views of gender. Progressive couples with mixed religious views report the lowest levels of sexual satisfaction, with progressive secular couples just a bit ahead of them. Leading the pack, however, are the highly religious couples with traditional views of gender.
Sexual Satisfaction Women

The authors of the report explain:

With sexual satisfaction, a different pattern emerged with highly religious traditional women being significantly more likely to be sexually satisfied than women in all other groups — including highly religious progressive women. This reveals that the higher levels of sexual satisfaction identified previously for women in highly religious relationships are consolidated among traditional women and not shared to the same degree by progressive women in highly religious relationships.

Such findings are a bit surprising. Why is it that couples who hold more traditional views of gender — a difference between the sexes and so on — are actually the ones who experience greater satisfaction in intimacy? Furthermore, why is it that women in these same relationships — the ones who are allegedly so oppressed by traditional gender roles — have the highest levels of satisfaction overall?

C.S. Lewis offered a theory on that nearly eight decades ago. Bringing up the intimate marriage relationship in a 1943 essay entitled “Equality,” Lewis notes the following:

Men have so horribly abused their power over women in the past that to wives, of all people, equality is in danger of appearing as an ideal. But Mrs. Naomi Mitchison has laid her finger on the real point. Have as much equality as you please — the more the better — in our marriage laws, but at some level consent to inequality, nay, delight in inequality, is an erotic necessity. Mrs. Mitchison speaks of women so fostered on a defiant idea of equality that the mere sensation of the male embrace rouses an undercurrent of resentment. Marriages are thus shipwrecked…. This is the tragi-comedy of the modern woman -- taught by Freud to consider the act of love the most important thing in life, and then inhibited by feminism from that internal surrender which alone can make it a complete emotional success. Merely for the sake of her own erotic pleasure, to go no further, some degree of obedience and humility seems to be (normally) necessary on the woman’s part.

That likely sounds a bit blunt — and maybe even a bit crass and unfair — to even the most traditionalist of women.

But is it true? And is it what we see at play in this recent study? Are religiously-minded traditionalist women the most satisfied in their relationships because they recognize there is a difference between the sexes — a difference they choose to embrace?


[Image Credit: Flickr-David Wise CC BY-NC 2.0]