Saturday, October 19, 2019

Your Comprehensive Guide to the Neocon Wars : Everything the Corporate Media Told You, Is A Lie

US, UK Saudi Arabia and Qatar started the War in Syria by arming al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood from March 2011. Al-Qaeda in Syria...


Sandy Hook and the Murder of the First Amendment


Let me begin by saying I have no idea what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012. 

However, since 9/11, I have questioned the veracity of many news reports and claims issued by officialdom about terrorism and mass shootings. The government and its media have been caught hundreds of times lying about or twisting news stories, so I believe skepticism is entirely warranted. 

That said, I am now convinced the First Amendment is a dead letter. I have felt that way for some time. Recent events put a capstone on my previous arguments that much of the Bill of Rights is dead. This was recently underscored by the persecution of activist and author Jim Fetzer for writing a book that claims the massacre at Sandy Hook never happened. 

The Legal Lynching of a Truth-Seeker: Jim Fetzer’s Stalinist-Style Show Trial

— Kevin Barrett (@truthjihad) October 17, 2019

On Thursday, Rolling Stone reported:

A Wisconsin jury has ruled that James Fetzer, a retired professor from the University of Minnesota Duluth, must pay [Leonard] Pozner $450,000 for accusing him of forging his son Noah’s death certificate. Fetzer is the coauthor of Nobody Died at Sandy Hook, which alleges that Pozner faked his son’s birth certificate and that the Obama administration staged the shooting in an effort to pass legislation on gun control.

The ruling and “award” granted to the plaintiff will undoubtedly drive Fetzer to financial ruin if it is not overturned on appeal—and I predict it will stand. This court case is a pivotal moment for those who work to eradicate free speech, a right granted to those who make controversial statements or write books some people find objectionable. 

From Digital Media Law:

The right to speak guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution includes the right to voice opinions, criticize others, and comment on matters of public interest. It also protects the use of hyperbole and extreme statements when it is clear these are rhetorical ploys. Accordingly, you can safely state your opinion that others are inept, stupid, jerks, failures, etc. even though these statements might hurt the subject’s feelings or diminish their reputations. Such terms represent what is called “pure opinions” because they can’t be proven true or false. As a result, they cannot form the basis for a defamation claim.

It is Fetzer’s opinion Pozner lied about the death of his son and falsified his death certificate. The incident has a number of unanswered questions, including Facebook posts about the shooting that appeared the day before the event. The corporate media narrative on the shooting was changed several times. Military experts claimed it would have been impossible for a skinny 19-year old Adam Lanza to have shot so many people in such a short period of time. 

If the government really wanted to put the entire case to rest and dispel what it calls malicious conspiracy theories, it would explain why, as Dr. Wayne Carver, the medical examiner overseeing the case, said during a news conference parents were not allowed to identify their murdered children. They were shown photographs instead. This is highly unusual and suspicious. 

I’m not saying Lanza isn’t responsible. I’m saying there are numerous unanswered questions swept neatly into the memory hole by the government and its media. In short, the government is responsible for engendering conspiracy theories by not resolving key issues in this case and many others. 

Getting to the bottom of Sandy Hook, however, is not the point here. The point is: as a citizen born with inalienable natural rights including speech, you will not be permitted to propose theories on certain topics the state has demarcated as off-limits and punishable if a “tinfoil hate conspiracy theorist” deviates from official narratives, many which are lies designed to emotionally manipulate people and gain consensus under false pretense to further degrade your right to speak and write on crucial issues. 

The Fetzer trial is a big win for the ruling elite. For years now, it has worked tirelessly to characterize investigative journalism outside limits imposed by the government as criminal—and now, according to the FBI, as terrorism. 

Jim Fetzer and Alex Jones are the first to be subjected to Soviet-like show trials for the crime of disagreeing with the state. More will follow in due course. 

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Rich Like Me: How Assortative Mating Is Driving Income Inequality


It may be useful to open this topic with an anecdote. Some ten years ago, I found myself in an after-dinner conversation, lubricated by wine, with an American who had been educated at an Ivy League college and was then teaching in Europe. As our conversation drifted toward matters of life, marriage and children, I was initially surprised by his statement that whomever he had married, the outcome in terms of where they lived, what type of house they owned, what kind of holidays and entertainment they would enjoy, and even what colleges their children would attend would be practically the same. His reasoning was as follows: “When I went to [Ivy League institution], I knew that I would marry a woman I met there. Women also knew the same thing. We all knew that our pool of desirable marriage candidates would never be as vast again. And then whomever I married would be a specimen of the same genre: They were all well-educated, smart women who came from the same social class, read the same novels and newspapers, dressed the same, had the same preferences about restaurants, hiking, places to live, cars to drive and people to see, as well about how to take care of the kids and what schools they should attend. It really made almost no difference socially whom among them I married.”

And then he added, “I was not aware of that at the time, but I can surely see it now.”

The story struck me then and stayed in my mind for a long time. It contradicted the cherished myths that we are all deeply different, unique individuals, and that personal decisions such as marriage, which have to do with love and preferences, matter a lot and have a big effect on the rest of our lives. What my friend was saying was precisely the opposite: He could have fallen in love with A, or B, or C, or D, and ultimately would have ended up in virtually the same house, in the same affluent neighborhood—whether in Washington, D.C., Chicago or Los Angeles—with a similar set of friends and interests, and with children going to similar schools and playing the same games. And his story made a lot of sense.

Of course, this scenario assumed that people who attended the same college would couple up. Had he dropped out of college, or not found anyone suitable to marry there, the outcome might have been different (say, a house in a less affluent neighborhood). His story dramatically illustrates the power of socialization: Almost everyone at the top schools comes from more or less equally affluent families, and almost everyone adopts more or less the same values and tastes. And such mutually indistinguishable people marry each other.

Recent research has documented a clear increase in the prevalence of homogamy, or assortative mating (people of the same or similar education status and income level marrying each other). A study based on a literature review combined with decennial data from the American Community Survey showed that the association between partners’ level of education was close to zero in 1970; in every other decade through 2010, the coefficient was positive, and it kept on rising. A different database provides another perspective on this trend; it looks at marriage statistics for American women and men who married when they were “young,” that is, between the ages of twenty and thirty-five. In 1970, only 13 percent of young American men who were in the top decile of male earners married young women who were in the top decile of female earners. By 2017, that figure had risen to almost 29 percent.

Percentage of U.S. men aged 20 to 35 in the top male decile of labor earnings who married women aged 20 to 35 in the top and bottom female deciles by labor earnings, 1970–2017

At the same time, the top decile of young male earners have been much less likely to marry young women who are in the bottom decile of female earners. The rate has declined steadily from 13.4 percent to under 11 percent. In other words, high-earning young American men who in the 1970s were just as likely to marry high-earning as low-earning young women now display an almost three-to- one preference in favor of high-earning women. An even more dramatic change happened for women: the percentage of young high-earning women marrying young high-earning men increased from just under 13 percent to 26.4 percent, while the percentage of rich young women marrying poor young men halved. From having no preference between rich and poor men in the 1970s, women currently prefer rich men by a ratio of almost five to one.

Percentage of women aged 20 to 35 in the top female decile by labor earnings who married men aged 20 to 35 in the top and bottom male deciles by labor earnings, 1970–2017.

In a very ambitious 2017 paper, Pierre-André Chiappori, Bernard Salanié and Yoram Weisstried tried to explain both the rise of assortative mating and the increasing level of education among women (which contrasts with a lack of increase in educational attainment for men). They argued that highly educated women have better marriage prospects, and thus, there is a “marriage education premium,” which is perhaps as important as the usual skill premium that education provides. While the skill premium is, in principle, gender neutral, the marriage education premium is, the authors argue, much higher for women. Underlying this must be greater “pure preference” for homogamy among men because if that did not exist, the rising education level of women might be as much of a deterrence in the marriage market as an attraction.

There is a further link between, on the one hand, assortative mating, and, on the other hand, increasing returns to investment in children, which only more educated couples are able to provide. They can, for example, expose their children to a learning-conducive atmosphere at home and introduce them to cultural experiences that less-educated parents may have little interest in (concerts, libraries, ballet), as well as to elite sports. The importance of linking these seemingly unrelated developments—women’s education, greater work participation by women, assortative marriage patterns, and the increasing importance of early childhood learning—is that it illuminates one of the key mechanisms of within-generation creation of inequality and its intergenerational transmission. If educated, highly skilled, and affluent people tend to marry each other, that by itself will tend to increase inequality. About one-third of the inequality increase in the United States between 1967 and 2007 can be explained by assortative mating, according to research by Koen Decancq, Andreas Peichl and Philippe Van Kerm. For countries in the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development), assortative mating accounted for an average of 11 percent of increased inequality between the early 1980s and early 2000s.

But if, in addition, the returns to children’s early education and learning are sharply rising, and if these early advantages can be provided only by very educated parents, who, as the data show, spend much more time with their children than less educated parents, then the road to a strong intergenerational transmission of advantages and inequality is wide open. This is true even if—and it is important to underline this—there is high taxation of inheritance, because inheritance of financial resources is merely one of the advantages that the children of educated and rich parents enjoy. And in many cases, it may not even be the most important part. (Although, as I argue elsewhere, taxation of inheritance is a particularly good policy for leveling the playing field and increasing equality of opportunity, it is an illusion to believe that such taxation will by itself be sufficient to equalize the life chances of children born to rich and poor parents.)

* * *

High income and wealth inequality in the United States used to be justified by the claim that everyone had the opportunity to climb up the ladder of success, regardless of family background. This idea became known as the American Dream. The emphasis was on equality of opportunity rather than equality of outcome. It was a dynamic, future-oriented concept. Joseph Schumpeter used a nice metaphor to explain it when he discussed income inequality: We can see the distribution of incomes in any one year as being like the distribution of occupants who are staying on different floors of a hotel, where the higher the floor, the more luxurious the room. If the occupants move around between the floors, and if their children likewise do not stay on the floor where they were born, then a snapshot of which families are living on which floors will not tell us much about which floor those families will be inhabiting in the future, or their long-term position. Similarly, inequality of income or wealth measured at one point in time may give us a misleading or exaggerated idea of true levels of inequality and can fail to account for intergenerational mobility.

The American Dream has remained powerful both in the popular imagination and among economists. But it has begun to be seriously questioned during the past ten years or so, when relevant data have become available for the first time. Looking at twenty-two countries around the world, Miles Corak showed in 2013 that there was a positive correlation between high inequality in any one year and a strong correlation between parents’ and children’s incomes (i.e., low income mobility). This result makes sense, because high inequality today implies that the children of the rich will have, compared to the children of the poor, much greater opportunities. Not only can they count on greater inheritance, but they will also benefit from better education, better social capital obtained through their parents, and many other intangible advantages of wealth. None of those things are available to the children of the poor. But while the American Dream thus was somewhat deflated by the realization that income mobility is greater in more egalitarian countries than in the United States, these results did not imply that intergenerational mobility had actually gotten any worse over time.

Yet recent research shows that intergenerational mobility has in fact been declining. Using a sample of parent-son and parent-daughter pairs, and comparing a cohort born between 1949 and 1953 to one born between 1961 and 1964, Jonathan Davis and Bhashkar Mazumder found significantly lower intergenerational mobility for the latter cohort. They used two common indicators of relative intergenerational mobility: rank to rank (the correlation between the relative income positions of parents and children) and intergenerational income elasticity (the correlation between parents’ and children’s incomes). Both indicators showed an increase in correlation between parents’ and children’s incomes over time (rank to rank increased from 0.22 to 0.37 for daughters and from 0.17 to 0.36 for sons, and intergenerational income elasticity increased from 0.28 to 0.52 for daughters and from 0.13 to 0.43 for sons). For both indicators, the turning point occurred during the 1980s—the same period when U.S. income inequality began to rise. In fact, three changes happened simultaneously: increase in inequality, increase in the returns to education, and increase in the correlation between parents’ and children’s incomes. Thus, we see that not only across countries, but also across time, higher income inequality and lower intergenerational mobility tend go together.

So far, we have only looked at relative mobility. We should also consider absolute intergenerational mobility, that is, the change in real income between generations. Here, too, we see a decline: absolute mobility in the United States declined significantly between 1940 and the 2000s, as a result of a slowdown in economic growth combined with increased inequality. We should keep in mind that absolute mobility is very different from relative mobility, since it depends largely on what happens to the growth rate. For example, absolute mobility can be positive for everyone if the income of every child exceeds the income of their parents, even if the parents’ and children’s positions in the income distribution are exactly the same. In this example, complete intergenerational absolute mobility would coincide with a complete lack of intergenerational relative mobility.



Excerpted from Capitalism, Alone: The Future Of The System That Rules The World, by Branko Milanovic, published by Harvard University Press. Copyright © 2019 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College.


The post Rich Like Me: How Assortative Mating Is Driving Income Inequality appeared first on Quillette.


The Defenestration of Domingo


The #MeToo movement has ended the U.S. career of legendary 78-year-old Spanish tenor Placido Domingo, one of classical music’s greatest ambassadors and impresarios. For nearly half a century, his intense stage presence and warm, soaring voice captivated opera audiences; during the 1990s, he reached millions of new listeners as a member of the itinerant Three Tenors. In recent years, long after most singers have retired from the stage, he has continued a grueling international performance schedule, now singing baritone roles with remarkable pitch control and legato.

Domingo’s entrepreneurial drive has been as untiring as his stage career. He was pivotal in creating Los Angeles’s first full-time opera company, LA Opera, the culmination of two decades of artistic diplomacy in Southern California. As LA Opera’s general director, he wooed philanthropic support from philistine Hollywood and the city’s political class. In 1993, he founded the international opera competition, Operalia, one of several institutions he has established to promote young singers. He led the Washington National Opera as general director from 1996 to 2011, and his conducting career has spanned opera pits and concert stages around the world.

He has championed the unjustly neglected Spanish opera form, Zarzuela, which he sang growing up in Mexico City, and his charitable endeavors have extended beyond classical music; he led fundraising for Mexico City following its catastrophic earthquake in 1985. Testimonials to his kindness, generosity, and bottomless work ethic abound. Helga Rabl-Stadler, the president of the Salzburg Festival, the most important classical music gathering in the world, recently praised Domingo’s “appreciative treatment” of festival employees: “He knows every name, from the concierge to the secretary; he never fails to thank anyone performing even the smallest service for him.”

On August 13, 2019, however, the AP announced that nine females, all but one anonymous, were accusing Domingo of making unwanted sexual advances decades ago. The accusers—chorus singers, a few small-time soloists, and one ballet dancer—alleged wet kisses, solicitations to rehearse at his apartment, whispered blandishments while on stage, a hand down a shirt or up a skirt in cabs, and persistent phone calls.

The latest of the incidents allegedly occurred in the early 2000s; most dated from the 1980s and 1990s. Some of the accusers had had voluntary sexual liaisons with the singer, yet still asserted victimhood. An anonymous singer with LA Opera claimed that in 1998, after they kissed on his couch, he undressed her in his bedroom for a session of “heavy petting” and “groping.” A mezzo soprano in the chorus of LA Opera slept with Domingo in 1991 at the Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles and at his apartment. After those two encounters, she cut off physical contact. The one named accuser, soprano Patricia Wulf, said that he never touched her, but used to whisper in her ear backstage: “Do you have to go home tonight?”

By all accounts, Domingo backed off when told explicitly to do so. None of the accusers alleged quid pro quo pressure to have sex in exchange for a role. Some alleged that their careers plateaued after they broke off relations, without providing any evidence that he was responsible or that their careers were still on an upward trajectory. Nevertheless, the claim that he sometimes “professionally punished those who rejected him,” in the words of the New York Times, has now become a standard feature of the anti-Domingo narrative.

The AP story rocketed around the world. Domingo issued a statement claiming that the allegations “as presented” were “inaccurate,” while acknowledging that “standards” have changed. Without waiting to hear more, the Philadelphia Orchestra booted him from its season-opening gala because, it said, it was “committed to providing a safe, supportive, respectful, and appropriate environment for the orchestra and staff, for collaborating artists and composers, and for our audiences and communities.” The San Francisco Opera also cancelled Domingo’s upcoming engagements. LA Opera launched an investigation and suspended Domingo from day-to-day management. The Metropolitan Opera, where Domingo was scheduled to sing the title role of Verdi’s Macbeth in September, announced that it would await the Los Angeles investigation’s outcome before deciding Domingo’s fate.

On September 5, 2019, the AP published a follow-up, based on another 11 accusers; all but one of whom were again unnamed. (Oddly, the original August 13 AP story seems to have been scrubbed from the site, and the September 5 report has been replaced at the same url with a September 7 story about the same topic.) The named accuser, Angela Turner Wilson, a former soprano with the Washington National Opera, claimed that in 1999—that would be 20 years ago—Domingo grabbed her breast in a dressing room. Before the alleged breast-fondling incident, Domingo had badgered Wilson for dinners, for pre-performance good luck kisses, and for trips to his apartment to talk about possible roles, she says. The AP revealed little about the other ten accusers’ stories. A former tech assistant with the LA Opera did say that Domingo once backed her into a wall, grasped her hand, and whispered in her ear as her male boss looked on, but it impossible to say whether this was sinister or innocuous because we are not even told what Domingo is alleged to have said.

In response to the second AP article, the Dallas Opera pulled the plug on its March 2020 gala, in which Domingo was to have starred. LA Opera administrators told staff via email how “very troubled” they were by ongoing AP allegations against Domingo, and echoed the Philadelphia Orchestra’s “safety” rhetoric: “We believe all our employees and artists should feel valued, supported and safe.” The Washington National Opera said it was “disturbed and disheartened” by the new allegations.

The AP had spent two years trying to get sources to talk about Domingo; a feminist music critic had also been on the hunt but abandoned the project for lack of cooperating witnesses. After the AP’s persistence finally paid off, other outlets scrambled to catch up. NPR was particularly aggressive but the well of complainants with first-hand experience of Domingo’s womanizing had apparently run dry. Nevertheless, on Friday, September 20, NPR ran a story headlined “Met Opera Faces ‘One More Catastrophic Crisis’ As Employees Must Work With Domingo.” The piece was based on four anonymous sources at the Metropolitan Opera, where the Domingo-starring Macbeth was set to open in a few days.

None of NPR’s four sources had experienced any misconduct from Domingo. But Domingo’s overtures to certain women were “common knowledge,” they said; some females allegedly avoided one-on-one situations with the singer. One anonymous orchestra member said that another instrumentalist was calling in sick to avoid working with Domingo; the anonymous orchestra source felt “livid” about having to perform in his presence. “I feel queasy in the pit during rehearsals, seeing him onstage,” she said. (Nausea is a recurrent accompaniment to feminist outrage: in 2005, MIT biologist Nancy Hopkins reported fleeing a conference room to avoid throwing up, after Larry Summers, then Harvard University’s president, suggested that the different distribution curves of the very highest level math skills among males and females may be part of the explanation for the lack of 50-50 sex parity in abstract STEM fields.)

The day after the NPR story, Saturday, September 21, was the dress rehearsal for Macbeth, which I attended. Domingo received warm applause on his first entrance from the Met Patrons in the audience, if not the defiant standing ovation he received after Verdi’s Luisa Miller in Salzburg in August—but admittedly the critical mass needed for such rapturous collective response was missing in the mostly empty Met hall. Domingo sang confidently and accurately, poignantly conveying Macbeth’s alternation between brutal ambition and gnawing remorse. His co-superstar, Russian soprano Anna Netrebko, had posted her support for Domingo on Instagram after the first AP story, pointedly saying how much she was looking forward to their Met engagement together. Netrebko was a blazing Lady Macbeth, ruthlessly egging on her partner to ever more bloody deeds, and her duets with Domingo were charged and headstrong.

The next Monday, September 23, two days before the opening, NPR published a follow-up story, based on four “long-time Metropolitan employees”—presumably the same four anonymous sources for NPR’s story three days earlier. They described a heated meeting between Met General Manager Peter Gelb and orchestra and chorus members after the Macbeth rehearsal, in which Gelb tried to explain to skeptical staffers why Domingo was still singing at the house.  Women’s voices were not listened to, the staffers allegedly complained.

By the next day, on the eve of the Macbeth opening, Domingo was out. He and the Met issued dueling press releases in which each party claimed that it had made the withdrawal decision.  Domingo thanked the Met’s leadership for “graciously granting” his request to withdraw from the production; the Met said that Domingo had “agreed to withdraw from all future performances . . . , effective immediately.” Lest there were any ambiguity about the scope of his withdrawal, Domingo’s press release said that he considered the Macbeth dress rehearsal his “last performance on the Met stage.”

A week later, Domingo’s entire U.S. career was over. He announced that he was resigning his directorship of LA Opera and pulling out of all future performances there. Even the tiny Chapman University south of Los Angeles, which enjoys a modestly conservative reputation, had pushed Domingo out of what would have been a PR windfall for its performing arts center: a concert performance in February starring Domingo in Donizetti’s Roberto Devereux. Domingo’s resignation letter graciously stated: “I hold Los Angeles Opera very dearly to my heart and count my work to create and build it as among my most important legacies.” But recent accusations against him in the press had created an atmosphere in which his ability to serve “this company that I so love,” he wrote, had been compromised. The company’s president, Christopher Koelsch, offered his “deep thanks” to Domingo, and noted that the institution was strong financially and “flourishing creatively.” But Koelsch also engaged in the by then de rigueur chest-beating about his employees’ feelings, which he implied the company had failed to protect: “I am committed to a vigorous process of reflection and reform. . . . We will fall short of our goals unless every member of our community feels heard, valued and respected. I am committed to ensuring that they do.”

Meanwhile, the story was shifting yet again. Just as it had become received wisdom, contrary to any reported facts, that Domingo retaliated against females who rebuffed him, it is now suggested that LA Opera failed to respond to harassment allegations, even though no one has reported making such allegations to management.

The gloating from the feminist commentariat was immediate. Debra Katz, a high profile sex discrimination lawyer who represents Patricia Wulf, announced that Domingo’s resignation from LA Opera was “an important and welcome step in the effort to end sexual misconduct by powerful men in the opera industry.” Katz had failed to keep Brett Kavanaugh off the Supreme Court on behalf of another client, Christine Blasey Ford, so Domingo’s scalp must have been a welcome consolation prize. Katz had earlier lit into Peter Gelb for his failure to cave immediately to the pressure to eject Domingo from the Met stage. The “more than 20 women who were sexually harassed by Mr. Domingo” deserve the public and the arts world’s “respect and appreciation” for their “pain and indignity,” Katz told Gelb in a letter, not the “victim shaming” that Gelb had allegedly engaged in by stating that the allegations against Domingo were uncorroborated. Patricia Wulf presented herself as a heroic whistleblower: “I feel at peace knowing that speaking publicly is leading to changes that will hopefully protect the next generation of women in the industry.”

There are three possible justifications for Domingo’s scourging, each more unpersuasive than the last. The first is to punish his past behavior. But his alleged infractions occurred decades ago, making punishment too belated to be just or meaningful. None of his accusers brought their objections to anyone in authority. If they wanted to punish him, that would have been the time to do so. Now, the overwhelmingly anonymous nature of the accusations and the passage of time prevent Domingo from mounting a defense. Some of the alleged incidents were undoubtedly more ambiguous than the accusers are disclosing. But without a known accuser, Domingo cannot establish the facts of these incidents, even if he could remember what may have been a fleeting and misunderstood gesture.

The second justification is a symbolic one: to demonstrate feminist solidarity. According to the New York Times, the Metropolitan Opera needed to show its “commitment” to “protecting women and rooting out sexual harassment” by ejecting Domingo. But such expressions of piety should not take precedence over getting the facts right, and none of the institutions that pushed Domingo out the door established any factual record.

The third justification is the most frequently invoked: safety. Domingo’s mere presence in an opera house or concert hall allegedly puts the safety of that venue’s female employees at risk. The threat extends beyond the stage. It sinks into the orchestra pit like a miasma. It overflows into the audience and the surrounding community. You can be in the top tier of the Philadelphia’s Kimmel Hall or miles out on the Main Line, and still at risk of the toxic effects of Domingo’s masculinity, according to the Philadelphia Orchestra. The threat extends across the entire music world. In August, the American Guild of Musical Artists, the union representing opera soloists, choristers and ballet dancers, announced it would “closely monitor the situation,” and was “making the safety of our members our first priority.”

This idea that Domingo poses a current risk to females even in his immediate orbit is pure hysteria. Domingo is a near-octogenarian. The most recent allegations against him, even if they constituted an actual danger at the time, date from over 15 years ago. After those allegations belatedly surfaced, his every movement would have been under a microscope. Were Domingo still inclined at his age to make advances, it would have taken a suicidal recklessness to engage in any behavior that could be massaged into a harassment incident. But, for the sake of argument, let us assume that he let slip, even now, an appreciative glance or ambiguous compliment. Are we supposed to believe, in this era of “strong women,” that a female chorister is so vulnerable and weak that, faced with someone who is operating under a potential death sentence, she can’t simply rebuff an advance? Domingo’s 20 accusers somehow survived the trauma of being propositioned by one of the opera world’s most charismatic stars. Why would the trauma today be so much more lethal to require proleptically snuffing out a still fertile career?

Here is the reality of Domingo’s world: It is shot through with sexual energy and tension. Performers and staff work long hours in an enterprise requiring the passion and willpower to conquer some of the most challenging works in the musical repertoire. Put males and females in any high-pressure, close-contact situation, and Eros will make an immediate appearance—just ask the spouses of lawyers in white shoe law firms or of soldiers in gender-integrated Army barracks. In the performing arts, filled with oversized personalities and appetites, the erotic currents are particularly headstrong. Females threw themselves at Domingo. Young fans pled with his assistants to get their phone numbers into his hands. Wealthy socialites tried to arrange affairs. Singers sought out liaisons. Many of their advances were unwelcome. Does that make his suitors harassers? This kind of female behavior is routinely excised from the #MeToo narrative that presents a world apparently composed exclusively of male rapists and female victims, and which declines to acknowledge the billions of dollars that women invest annually in make-up and clothes they hope will make them more desirable to the opposite sex.

As the object of so much sexual attention, Domingo could have been forgiven for thinking that his own advances were part of the mix. He clearly belongs to the “Latin Lover” prototype, a good-natured, charming seducer from the old Hollywood era. Learning to deal with such types used to be part of a woman’s skill set. The instigator of a sexual advance does not know beforehand whether it will be wanted or not; he (or she) is taking a chance. It is up to the target of that advance to signal how it has been received. If the would-be seducer does not back off, the seducee needs to escalate to whatever level of explicitness is required, however uncomfortable it may be to elevate what is unspoken and ambiguous into the realm of language and clarity. Rebuffing an advance from a superior is particularly difficult. But, as noted, Domingo appears to have dropped his petitions when told to do so and did not exert quid pro quo pressure. If all else fails, avoidance is the fallback strategy: turning one’s head to avoid a kiss, or staying far enough away to avoid charged interaction.

An unwanted advance is not sexual assault, despite the fashionable conflation of the two. If persistent enough, such advances feel and may become harassing. But an alternative regime that puts the burden on the sexual petitioner to proceed only when certain of a positive reception would result in no sexual overtures at all, since such advances are, by definition, uncertain. It is doubtful that the average female would want to live in a world where males remain chastely aloof until overtly invited to engage.

It is a grotesque inversion of the proper hierarchy between public accomplishment and private sexual behavior to sacrifice an artist of Domingo’s stature for the sake of 20 disgruntled bit players, laboriously harvested from thousands of professional interactions characterized by graciousness and consideration. Put simply, the discomfort of these belated accusers decades ago is not worth Domingo’s head. Civilization rests on the realm of public achievement in ideas, politics, and art. The private realm of Eros should be subordinate to the public realm; how someone behaves in or getting to the bedroom is irrelevant to his achievements in the public square, absent criminality. If we discovered that James Madison, say, was a skirt-chaser, that fact should have no bearing on his achievements as a political theorist and statesman.

It is part of the messiness of human existence that the public and erotic realms are not wholly distinct, and they have become even less so with the sexual integration of the workplace. The same drive for mastery that propels feats of public glory animates much sexual conquest as well.

But the brittle rigidity of contemporary feminism does not recognize nuance or shades of fault and responsibility. It has no tolerance for human diversity. Drunk on its own power, it is turning its massive armamentarium of narcissistic grievance on male success with an ever more neurotic standard of transgression. Italian tenor Vittorio Grigolo has been suspended from future performances at the Metropolitan Opera and Britain’s Royal Opera for allegedly sexually assaulting a ballet dancer in full view of the audience during a curtain call in Japan on September 18 of this year. Grigolo had just finished a performance in the title role of Gounod’s Faust, whose staging in the touring Royal Opera production called for a pregnant woman to offer Faust her belly to touch. During the curtain call, Grigolo light-heartedly patted that same dancer’s prosthetic paunch. The dancer protested. Grigolo told her to “fuck off,” by his own admission. The tenor says that he was offered no opportunity to apologize, but was “put on a plane and sent . . . home like a killer.” If such adrenalin-fueled post-performance hijinks now constitutes sexual assault, the show may no longer go on.

Federal appellate judge Alex Kozinski was destroyed by a handful of former female clerks, including Slate columnist Dahlia Lithwick, for his juvenile sense of sexual humor. He is now a pariah throughout the legal world. “It’s a tragedy,” his fellow Ninth Circuit Appeals Court Judge Stephen Reinhardt (for whom I clerked) told me shortly before he died. “Alex was so smart, so decent.” Reinhardt was a crusading left-winger but he regarded the libertarian Kozinski as “one of the best judges we had.”

Michael Steinhardt, pioneering Wall Street entrepreneur and now full-time philanthropist, was denounced on the front page of the New York Times for his patently unserious sexual banter, banter that reflected his obsession with maintaining the world’s Jewish population. His public appeal for forgiveness—”In my nearly 80 years on earth, I have never tried to touch any woman or man inappropriately. [Provocative comments] were part of my schtick since before I had a penny to my name, and I unequivocally meant them in jest. I fully understand why they were inappropriate. I am sorry”—was unavailing. A frenzy broke out, with Jewish foundations and religious leaders bemoaning the “harrowing . . . degradation” which female grant-seekers allegedly had to endure from this open-hearted benefactor.

The feminist nostrum that “the personal is political” was false from its inception. It has now become a warhead aimed at the edifice of a civilization deemed too male. Institutions like the Metropolitan Opera, LA Opera, or the Philadelphia Orchestra should be the prime defenders of that civilization. When, instead, they surrender to furious irrationality and sacrifice our greatest artists to avoid a wholly imaginary threat, they betray their most fundamental mission. I am cutting off my support for the Metropolitan Opera; other donors who care about our musical inheritance should do the same.

At least cowardice in the face of feminist grievance appears to be predominantly an Anglo-American affliction. So far, Domingo’s future engagements in Moscow, Vienna, Hamburg, Valencia, Milan, Cologne, Krakow, Berlin, Madrid, and Munich have not been cancelled. The director of the Vienna State Opera, Dominique Meyer, said over the summer that Vienna would honor its contracts with Domingo, who is “valued both artistically and as a human being by all in this house.”

I will remember Domingo for his stage descent from the Met’s empyrean rafters as a silver-spangled Neptune, surrounded in a sea of cerulean blue by undulating mermaids and glittering sea creatures in The Enchanted Island, as the triumphant crescendo of Handel’s Zadok the Priest reaches its glorious peak. Domingo’s English in this Baroque pastiche was still, after all these years, hilariously accented, but his suave shaping of the vocal line pulsed with an inner rhythm. Domingo brought beauty into the world. He inspired and helped thousands of female singers and instrumentalists. His demise won’t placate the resentment brigades; it will only embolden them for the next hit.


Heather Mac Donald is the Thomas W. Smith fellow at the Manhattan Institute and the author of The Diversity Delusion. You can follow her on Twitter @HMDatMI

The post The Defenestration of Domingo appeared first on Quillette.


Friday, October 18, 2019

WATCH: Tulsi Gabbard Responds to Hillary Clinton on Tucker Carlson: ‘I Stand Against Everything That She Represents’


Tulsi Clinton

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is not backing down after being smeared as a “Russian asset” by twice-failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on Friday.

After trending at the top of Twitter all afternoon for calling Clinton the “Queen of the Warmongers” and “embodiment of corruption,” and gaining over 40,000 new followers on the platform, Rep. Gabbard went on Tucker Carlson Tonight and continued the beatdown of the former First Lady.

Speaking to Carlson, Rep. Gabbard asserted that Clinton has a problem with her because she stands against “everything that she represents.”

Rep. Gabbard explained that she believes Clinton is attacking her “because I am and have long been calling for an end to our country’s foreign policy of waging one regime change war after the next… and because I’m calling for an end to this new Cold War and nuclear arms race.”

Tulsi Gabbard: Hillary Clinton is calling me a Russian asset because I have long been calling for an end to our country’s foreign policy of waging one regime change war after another in Iraq, Libya and #Syria.

— Sarah Abdallah (@sahouraxo) October 19, 2019

The Hawaiian congresswoman, a veteran who left the campaign trail to serve overseas, continued on to say that Clinton’s smears are smears on everyone who wants to see peace.

“Ultimately she knows she can’t control me,” Gabbard said. “I stand against everything that she represents and if I’m elected president, if I’m the Democratic nominee and elected president she will not be able to control me. She won’t be able to manipulate me. She won’t be able to continue to work from behind the curtains, to continue these regime change wars that have been so costly.”

Gabbard added that the blood of her “brothers and sisters in uniform” killed in Iraq, a “war she championed,” is on Clinton’s hands.

On Friday afternoon, Rep. Gabbard went viral when she responded to slander from Clinton, referring to the former First Lady as “Queen of the Warmongers” and “embodiment of corruption.” She also challenged Clinton to join the race.

“Great! Thank you @HillaryClinton . You, the queen of warmongers, embodiment of corruption, and personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long, have finally come out from behind the curtain. From the day I announced my candidacy, there has been a concerted campaign to destroy my reputation. We wondered who was behind it and why. Now we know — it was always you, through your proxies and powerful allies in the corporate media and war machine, afraid of the threat I pose. It’s now clear that this primary is between you and me. Don’t cowardly hide behind your proxies. Join the race directly.”

Great! Thank you @HillaryClinton. You, the queen of warmongers, embodiment of corruption, and personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long, have finally come out from behind the curtain. From the day I announced my candidacy, there has been a …

— Tulsi Gabbard (@TulsiGabbard) October 18, 2019

… powerful allies in the corporate media and war machine, afraid of the threat I pose.

It’s now clear that this primary is between you and me. Don’t cowardly hide behind your proxies. Join the race directly.

— Tulsi Gabbard (@TulsiGabbard) October 18, 2019

Clinton went after Gabbard while appearing on the Campaign HQ podcast hosted by Barack Obama’s former campaign manager David Plouffe.

“They are also going to do third party again,” Clinton said. “I’m not making any predictions, but I think they’ve got their eye on somebody who is currently in the Democratic primary and are grooming her to be the third party candidate,” Clinton said, referring to Gabbard.

“She is a favorite of the Russians. They have a bunch of sites and bots and ways of supporting her so far. That’s assuming Jill Stein will give it up, which she might not because she is also a Russian asset.

Clinton then claimed that even if it isn’t Gabbard, there will be a third-party candidate who she believes will take votes away from the Democrat Party.

“They know they can’t win without a third-party candidate, and so I do not know who it is going to be but I can guarantee you they will have a vigorous third-party challenge in the key states that they most need it.”

Gabbard blasted the media during the debate earlier this week for smearing her by claiming she is a Russian asset. She also took a minor shot at Clinton by saying that “when I look out at our country, I don’t see deplorables, I see fellow Americans.”

The post WATCH: Tulsi Gabbard Responds to Hillary Clinton on Tucker Carlson: ‘I Stand Against Everything That She Represents’ appeared first on The Gateway Pundit.


Everything You Wanted To Know About The Trump-Biden Ukraine Scandal (But Were Afraid To Be Called Partisan)

Scandal-plagued U.S. President Donald Trump and Democratic “wonder boy” candidate Joe Biden have been exchanging political punches over a new scandal that erupted in Ukraine.


Public Schools: Tearing Human Minds To Pieces?


Recently CNN and the Human Rights Campaign partnered to present an hours long forum with the Democratic presidential candidates on LGBT issues and the proposed Equality Bill.

Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, and the rest all endorsed the bill, which would, among other things, repress biblical teaching and remove tax-exempt status from churches holding traditional beliefs regarding marriage.

During the event, this exchange took place:

‘In California we’re already starting these kinds of teachings and parents have been very upset and outraged,’ the questioner said. ‘How would you feel about it for the rest of the country?’

‘I believe this is about teaching children about our world. And of course we should teach them about our world. We should teach them about people. We should teach them about differences. So I strongly support this. And I support doing this in age-appropriate ways from the time they’re very young,’ Warren replied.

Meanwhile, if we Google “Are American students prepared for college?” we find one dismal report after the other about students lacking the academic skills to succeed in this transition. A year ago, The Federalist reported that nearly 60 percent of college freshmen need remedial courses in subjects such as math, composition, and reading.


Oh well. At least some of them will understand gender fluidity.


For decades, all levels of public education have damaged our young people and our country on two fronts. The first has to do with learning. We spend more money per student than any other country in the world, yet students turn in mediocre performances on all manner of tests. Having forgotten that with mastery of the three Rs – reading, writing, and arithmetic – students have the power to become proficient in any other academic subject, we graduate hordes of semi-illiterates, hence those many remedial courses.


Both our schools and our disintegrating families bear responsibility for our failure to educate the young. But wherever the blame lies, to graduate 18-year-olds who read at a sixth-grade level, or who can’t do the math required to figure out a budget, constitutes a crime against the younger generation. Their lack of education condemns many of them to a life of poverty and hopelessness.


Additionally, our public schools have become factories for social engineering. Rather than encouraging students to think for themselves, to reason, to read and understand documents like our Constitution, many schools, like those in California, have become indoctrination centers teaching progressive perspectives. They have radicalized not only sex education, but literature, history, and other humanities courses. Many parents may oppose using A People’s History of the United States or the substitution of contemporary fiction for classics, but most also have full-time jobs and other responsibilities, and so have neither the time nor the opportunity to battle these forces in education.


Let’s ask ourselves some specific questions regarding such indoctrination: Why do our public schools need to teach sex education at all? Why must we have educators standing in loco parentis to teach children a subject that was once the responsibility of parents? Why do so many young people graduate from high school, and even college, so abysmally ignorant of our country’s past? Why do so many of them favor socialism and communism, when any reasonable commentator on these subjects would point out the tens of millions of people they murdered, the throttling of freedom, and the ruinous economic policies delivered by such political philosophies? Is it the stupidity of our students or the failure of our schools that after 13 years of education many of them can’t solve simple algebraic equations? Or is it simply that mathematics takes a back seat to socialization?


Some options – homeschooling, private academies, and charter schools – offer a chance at better educations. Students enrolled in such programs are often more mature and score higher on national tests than their counterparts in public schools. Yet many of our politicians and public school administrators seek to suppress these educational choices.


Why is that?


As The Federalist reports in the article above, teacher unions give $30 million a year to the Democratic Party. That chunk of change binds these two organizations together. Offend the teacher unions, and the Democrats risk losing money and voter support.


Just as importantly, progressive politicians and school administrators seek to keep students seated in public school desks because of power and control. The boy who attends a Christian academy and the girl who studies a Catholic homeschool curriculum will graduate high school with radically different worldviews from their public school counterparts.


So there it is: money and power.


As George Orwell once wrote, “Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing.”


These days, Orwell’s adage seems the very definition of progressive education.



[Image Credit: Pixabay]


Thursday, October 17, 2019

3 Polls Show A Majority Of Americans Now Support Impeachment As A Major Constitutional Crisis Looms



The mainstream media is relentlessly trying to convince the American people that President Trump did something wrong, and to a certain degree it appears to be working. As you will see below, 3 major polls have found that a majority of Americans now support impeachment. But according to the U.S. Constitution, President Trump cannot be […]

The post 3 Polls Show A Majority Of Americans Now Support Impeachment As A Major Constitutional Crisis Looms appeared first on The Most Important News.


Report: 95% of tested baby foods in U.S. contain toxic metals


(KOAA) Toxic heavy metals damaging to your baby's brain development are likely in the baby food you are feeding your infant, according to a new investigation published Thursday .

Tests of 168 baby foods from major manufacturers in the US found 95% contained lead, 73% contained arsenic, 75% contained cadmium and 32% contained mercury. One fourth of the foods contained all four heavy metals.

One in five baby foods tested had over 10 times the 1-ppb limit of lead endorsed by public health advocates, although experts agree that no level of lead is safe.

Read the full story ›

The post Report: 95% of tested baby foods in U.S. contain toxic metals appeared first on WND.


We Found Over 700 Doctors Who Were Paid More Than a Million Dollars by Drug and Medical Device Companies



by Charles Ornstein, Tracy Weber and Ryann Grochowski Jones

ProPublica is a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power. Sign up for ProPublica’s Big Story newsletter to receive stories like this one in your inbox as soon as they are published.

Back in 2013, ProPublica detailed what seemed a stunning development in the pharmaceutical industry’s drive to win the prescription pads of the nation’s doctors: In just four years, one doctor had earned $1 million giving promotional talks and consulting for drug companies; 21 others had made more than $500,000.

Six years later — despite often damning scrutiny from prosecutors and academics — such high earnings have become commonplace.

More than 2,500 physicians have received at least half a million dollars apiece from drugmakers and medical device companies in the past five years alone, a new ProPublica analysis of payment data shows. And that doesn’t include money for research or royalties from inventions.

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More than 700 of those doctors received at least $1 million.

“Holy smokes,” said Dr. Walid Gellad, an associate professor of medicine and health policy at the University of Pittsburgh, where he leads the Center for Pharmaceutical Policy and Prescribing. It is “quite striking” how much money doctors were earning from “other activities aside from patient care,” he said.

To identify the latest pharma millionaires and other spending trends, ProPublica analyzed more than 56 million payments made from 2014 to 2018 — the first five full years of the federal Open Payments initiative, which requires companies to publicly disclose the payments as part of the 2010 Affordable Care Act.

[See the Chart: Pharma’s Top-Promoted Drugs]

Some academics and physicians predicted that the exposure might cause companies to rethink making payments and doctors to rethink taking them. A flurry of studies matched the payment data with doctors’ prescribing choices and found links between the payments and the products doctors chose.

But ProPublica’s new analysis shows that the public reporting has not dampened the enthusiasm of the drug and medical device industry for having doctors deliver paid dinner talks and sponsored speeches or paying them to consult on products.

In fact, there has been almost no change in how much the industry is spending. Each year from 2014 to 2018, drug and medical device companies spent between $2.1 billion and $2.2 billion paying doctors for speaking and consulting, as well as on meals, travel and gifts for them. (These figures do not include research spending, but they do include royalties.)

Roughly the same number of doctors — more than 600,000 — received payments in any given year.

That consistency, some academics say, is conspicuous.

“It makes me wonder whether patients are using this information or whether physicians are even aware this information is out there,” said Dr. Joseph Ross, a professor of medicine and public health at Yale who has studied pharmaceutical marketing. “It’s almost like it’s not happening.”

Holly Campbell, a spokeswoman for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, defended company payments to doctors. “It is not necessarily a negative that the numbers have remained generally flat over the past five years,” she wrote in an email. “That statistic appears to be consistent with companies’ belief that their interactions with physicians have been and remain legitimate, even when subjected to sunshine.”

ProPublica first delved into the world of drug company promotional campaigns in 2010 when it gathered the payments made by seven companies that were required to make them public as part of settlements in whistleblower lawsuits. The payments were published in a database called Dollars for Docs, which allowed anyone to look up a doctor and see if he or she received a payment.

Today, ProPublica is updating Dollars for Docs with the latest data from the federal government on all payments.

Among our findings:

Consistency Breeds Familiarity

Over the course of five years, 1 million doctors, dentists, optometrists, chiropractors and podiatrists received at least one payment, most often a meal, from a company. Of those practitioners, more than 323,000 received at least one payment every year. About 240,000 received a payment in only one year. And the rest received payments in more than one year but in fewer than five.

For context, there are about 1.1 million doctors in the United States.

Dr. Aaron P. Mitchell, a medical oncologist and health services researcher at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, said his research has shown that when doctors interact more consistently with a drug company they are more likely to prescribe that company’s cancer drug. The drug industry, Mitchell said, “knows that they need to cultivate relationships over more time, so that’s what they’re really trying to do. It’s not just one drug meal. It’s consistency.”

Some Drugs Are Promoted Heavily Year After Year

Of the top 20 drugs with the most annual spending on doctors from 2014 to 2018, six made the list in each of the years: Invokana to treat type 2 diabetes, the blood thinners Xarelto and Eliquis, the antipsychotic Latuda, the immunosuppressive drug Humira and the multiple sclerosis drug Aubagio. Another three drugs were on the list for four years: Victoza to treat type 2 diabetes, psoriasis treatment Otezla and the cholesterol-lowering drug Repatha. (Research funding and royalties are not included.)

Xarelto topped the list in spending for four years, totaling more than $123 million in payments from 2014 to 2018. In March, its makers, Johnson & Johnson and Bayer AG, agreed to pay $775 million to settle about 25,000 lawsuits claiming that the companies had failed to warn patients that Xarelto could cause fatal bleeding.

In statements, J&J and Bayer have said that the allegations lacked merit and that Xarelto is safe and effective. They noted that six cases that went to trial were decided in their favor.

[See the Chart: The Number of Big-Ticket Promotional Speakers Is Up More Than 30% in Five Years]

Many drugs on the list are in categories where there is fierce competition. For example, seven of the top 20 in 2018 treat diabetes. And in most of the drug classes on the list, “there are more than one available drug — sometimes all with the same mechanism of action — indicated for the same condition selling for very high prices,” Dr. Aaron Kesselheim, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, said in an email.

According to GoodRx, a drug discount website, the average cash price of a month’s supply of diabetes drugs Invokana, Jardiance and Farxiga is more than $600.

“Promotional spending is a major way that manufacturers in these situations distinguish themselves from each other — not by conducting comparative studies or by engaging in substantial price reductions,” Kesselheim said.

ProPublica and a number of researchers have examined the types of drugs that prompt the highest payments. Ross, of Yale, and a colleague published an analysis in the British Medical Journal in 2017 that found that the “top promoted drugs were less likely than top selling and top prescribed drugs to be effective, safe, affordable, novel, and represent a genuine advance in treating a disease.”

“Our findings suggest that pharmaceutical promotion should be met with healthy skepticism,” the analysis concludes.

Prosecutors Say the Payments by Some Drug Companies Are Kickbacks, Despite the Transparency of Open Payments

There is a perception among many physicians, including some in academia, that drug company payments are fairly benign — a moonlighting gig that educates other doctors about important medications. But since ProPublica began looking at physician payments, one drugmaker after another has paid tens, or even hundreds, of millions of dollars to resolve allegations of improper, or illegal, marketing tactics.

In fact, drug company whistleblowers and federal prosecutors have said explicitly that in some cases the payments were actually bribes and kickbacks. And this behavior has continued despite tools like Dollars for Docs.

Here are some recent examples:

  • Insys Therapeutics

    Spending: In 2014, the payment data shows, Insys Therapeutics spent $7.5 million promoting Subsys, a fentanyl spray for advanced cancer pain, making it one of the drugs with the most spending that year. Through 2018, the company’s total spending on the drug had reached $17.6 million.

    Prosecutors say: Insys paid doctors to speak about Subsys to other physicians during “educational lunches and dinners,” according to a Justice Department press release, from August 2012 to June 2015. The meals “were actually used as a vehicle to pay bribes and kickbacks to targeted practitioners in exchange for increased Subsys prescriptions to patients and for increased dosage of those prescriptions.”

    Penalty: This June, Insys agreed to plead guilty to five counts of mail fraud, pay a $2 million fine and forfeit $28 million. It also agreed to pay $195 million to settle a separate whistleblower case. At least eight company executives have now been convicted of crimes relating to the illegal marketing of the drug. Insys has said it completely restructured its operations, hired new leaders and has filed for bankruptcy protection.

  • Avanir Pharmaceuticals

    Spending: From 2014 to 2018, Avanir spent nearly $22 million on its drug Nuedexta, which treats pseudobulbar affect, or uncontrollable laughing or crying.

    Prosecutors say: An Avanir employee reported that one doctor at a long-term care facility, who was also a paid speaker for Nuedexta, put “entire units” of patients on Nuedexta. Another doctor at the facility, which had a number of dementia patients, routinely stopped the Nuedexta, only to have the first doctor restart it, according to a Department of Justice press release.

    Penalty: In September, the company agreed to pay more than $108 million to resolve criminal and civil allegations that it paid kickbacks to doctors and marketed the drug for unapproved uses, including behaviors associated with dementia. In a statement, Avanir said it fully cooperated with investigators “and engaged in extensive remedial measures. The individuals listed in the resolution agreements are no longer Avanir employees.”

Though relationships between drug companies and doctors continue, seemingly with little change, Kesselheim, of Harvard, said that the transparency “helps bring into light an area of the field that was in the shadows.

“Now we need to figure out what to do with this.”



TO BE TRUSTED, IT HELPS TO BE TRUSTWORTHY: Poynter: Don’t let ABC’s mistake fuel distrust of the…


TO BE TRUSTED, IT HELPS TO BE TRUSTWORTHY: Poynter: Don’t let ABC’s mistake fuel distrust of the media.

As politicians continue to attack the credibility of the press, ABC News suffered a self-inflicted wound that is feeding cynical, misguided notions about how news media operate.

On Sunday evening, in a report about violence in northern Syria, ABC’s “World News Tonight“ included a video clip of a nighttime machine gun exhibition at a Kentucky shooting range, with weekend anchor Tom Llamas describing it as “appearing to show Turkey’s military bombing Kurd civilians.” Early Monday morning, shortly before the video was shown again on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Wojciech Pawelczyk, a conservative political activist, debunked it on Twitter. By midday — after the incident was further investigated by Beckett Adams (no relation), a columnist at The Washington Examiner — ABC News had issued a statement saying it had removed the video and “regrets the error.”

ABC News has declined to comment on how the error occurred.

Into that vacuum of non-information rushed a familiar barrage of cynical accusations.

“Cynical?” This sort of “mistake” happens with disturbing frequency and the “mistakes” lean heavily in one direction. Then when they’re caught, they get stealth corrections, deletions, or in this case, a stonewall. Why should people trust a media that acts this way? The Poynter crowd wouldn’t give any other big corporations the benefit of the doubt we’re seeing here.


New Developments in the Skripal Case Reveal it for the Sham it Always Was.



Earlier this month (October 2019) however, the Coroners Court issued a public statement in which is announced that the inquest into Dawn Sturgess’ death had been adjourned indefinitely.

This is an extraordinary development. It means in effect that the whole of the allegations made over the preceding 18 months, about the cause of death, the persons allegedly responsible, and all the political and propaganda barrage that went with it has now effectively being abandoned.

The Coroner’s Court cannot establish to the requisite standard how Ms Sturgess died, much less the identity of any individual or government that might be responsible.

As might be expected, the announcement by the British coroner has been met with a studied silence why the western media. The linking of Ms Sturgess’ death to the alleged activities of two Russian citizens seen in Salisbury on the day the Skripal’s became ill, and the lurid allegations about their alleged activities, have similarly collapsed.


Singer and Rap Artist M.I.A. Visits Julian Assange in Prison: “It’s About Truth—and that’s Something People Have to Uphold and Fight for”

Global Research, October 16, 2019
World Socialist Web Site 14 October 2019

Singer and rap artist M.I.A. visited Julian Assange at Belmarsh Prison on Saturday, calling for his freedom. The WikiLeaks publisher and journalist faces extradition to the United States under the Espionage Act, with charges that carry a 175-year prison term.

M.I.A.’s visit followed a brief court hearing Friday at Westminster Magistrates Court. Assange appeared via remote video-link to hear Judge Tam Ikram confirm his remand at the maximum-security prison while a US extradition request is heard. He will appear in court again on October 21.

Speaking at a press conference outside Belmarsh late Saturday afternoon, M.I.A.—Sri Lankan-born Mathangi ‘Maya’ Arulpragasam—condemned Assange’s tormentors, indicting the US and UK governments, the courts and the corporate media. M.I.A. is a long-time friend and supporter of Assange.

M.I.A. speaking to reporters outside Belmarsh Prison

Asked about Assange’s condition, she replied, “I think when you know there are people outside who are criminals, and you are inside for advocating peace, while people that profit from war are outside, and celebrated and given Nobel peace prizes, that hurts. I think that’s hard for anyone.”

Former US President Barack Obama was awarded the Nobel prize in 2009, as his administration escalated US military operations across the globe, including a drone assassination program he personally supervised.

M.I.A. explained that she and Julian had discussed conditions “for everyone” inside the prison “and the concept of freedom and what that really means.”

A WSWS reporter asked M.I.A. to comment on the UK government’s assertion that it “does not participate in or condone the use of torture.” The UK government last week rejected UN Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer’s findings (published May 31) that Assange is the victim of unprecedented state persecution and “psychological torture.”

She responded,

“I’ve been trying to get a yoga book to him for a month now and I come here every week trying to hand it in and it’s been impossible… To me that’s a very extreme method they are using where you’re denying even reading books. I wasn’t able to take in sketchbooks where he could write thoughts or draw and I haven’t been able to take puzzles which might help stimulate the mind.

“I first thought that maybe all prisoners were treated like that, where they’re not able to have some sort of dignity and own the space between their ears and have that mental freedom… I can sympathise with people who feel that he’s been treated unfairly… I think there is an element of discrimination.”

Asked for her opinion on media coverage of Assange, M.I.A. said,

“I think there should be more, given that now we know the truth and that the debate is about extradition to the US. It’s no longer about all the other things people have accused him of. Now it’s about truth—and that’s something people have to uphold and fight for especially in these years.”

M.I.A. replied forthrightly to a question about bogus sexual misconduct allegations against Assange in Sweden:

“It’s now really about extraditing Julian to the US. I wish there was more emphasis given to that truth and people really making a statement about that.

“The basic bottom line is he’s in there because he exposed some war crimes and he just campaigned for peace. This cannot be the example. We can’t make that an example to society where we penalise people for that and not a single person has been convicted for the financial crisis of 2008. Nobody has been convicted for the war crimes before then of the Bush era, no one’s been convicted from the Obama era and everything the Democrats did. Nothing has happened legally, so why trust the legal system, that hasn’t come through on any of those things?”

M.I.A.’s press conference was boycotted by the major news networks and the BBC, despite having been widely advertised. Only Sputnik and Ruptly published live footage. A Press Association report was picked up by the Independent and the Belfast Telegraph, while the Daily Mail carried a report that recycled false and defamatory statements about Assange. Its headline set the tone, “Singer MIA becomes Julian Assange’s latest celebrity supporter…”

M.I.A. has defended Assange for years and is herself an outspoken opponent of imperialist war and oppression. In November 2013, she opened her concert in New York City with a 10-minute address from Assange, via video livestream. Assange used his appearance to champion the cause of whistle-blower Edward Snowden. He warned of the dangers of the National Security Agency’s spying operations and urged M.I.A’s fans to become politically aware and active in seeking to change the world for the better.

On Saturday, M.I.A. explained,

“I support Julian because I think someone like this is valuable to society because of his knowledge about so many different things.

“I try not to be prejudiced in a time where things change and evolve at such a fast rate. People’s values are changing, people’s beliefs are changing, the political climate is changing, the social climate is changing, the financial situation is changing—and throughout all of this change, we’re so constricting this man.”

M.I.A. concluded her press conference by urging attendance at an event for Assange being staged with fellow rap artist Lowkey outside the UK Home Office on November 5. The free event follows last month’s live performance outside the same building by Pink Floyd singer Roger Waters that saw hundreds gather to show their support for the WikiLeaks founder.


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The original source of this article is World Socialist Web Site


Singer and Rap Artist M.I.A. Visits Julian Assange in Prison: “It’s About Truth—and that’s Something People Have to Uphold and Fight for”


Wednesday, October 16, 2019

In Democratic Debate, More Evidence That Ukrainegate Helps Biden

COOPER: Mr. Vice President, President Trump has falsely accused your son of doing something wrong while serving on a company board in Ukraine. I want to point out there’s no evidence of wrongdoing by either one of you.


After detecting life on Mars in 1976 and sweeping it under the rug, NASA banned life-detection experiments to hide the truth from the world

(Natural News) Yes, there is life on Mars, and NASA has known about it for four decades. Their own Viking lander experiment confirmed the presence of life on Mars, but instead of sharing this groundbreaking discovery with the world, NASA chose to bury the truth and hide the science for decades.


Dot Com Redux: BofA Warns Firms Go Dark, Stop Issuing Guidance Amid "Rampant Uncertainty"

This week marks the official start to the 3Q19 earnings season. Major equity indexes are 1% from all-time highs, and Wall Street has never been so optimistic about the future.


CIA Pilot Presents Evidence That No Planes Hit Towers On 9/11

Ex-CIA and commercial jet pilot John Lear claims that the Twin Towers were not bought to the ground by planes crashing into them on 9/11, and now detailed information has been posted online corroborating his account.


Tulsi Gabbard blasts CNN, NYT as 'despicable' in CNN debate on live TV


Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard blasted the "mainstream media" during Tuesday's Democratic presidential debate for suggesting she's an asset of the Russian government.

Gabbard's comments came in answer to a question about President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw some U.S. troops from the region surrounding Syria's northern border with Turkey.

That action was followed by Turkey's launching a military offensive in the region. Some have accused Trump of abandoning America's Kurdish allies in the area.

Gabbard criticized Trump's decision.

But she also came down hard on those who have supported U.S. involvement in what she called a "regime change war."

"We've got to understand the reality of the situation there, which is that the slaughter of the Kurds being done by Turkey is yet another negative consequence of the regime change war that we've been waging in Syria," Gabbard said.

"Donald Trump has the blood of the Kurds on his hand, but so do many of the politicians in our country from both parties who have supported this ongoing regime change war in Syria that started in 2011, along with many in the mainstream media, who have been championing and cheerleading this regime change war."

Gabbard, a combat veteran, then attacked The New York Times and CNN.

Watch below:

Tulsi Gabbard calls The New York Times and CNN — the hosts of the debate — "completely despicable" for alleging she is a Russian asset and Assad apologist.

— Axios (@axios) October 16, 2019

"Not only that but, but The New York Times and CNN have also smeared veterans like myself for calling for an end to this regime change war," Gabbard said.

"Just two days ago, The New York Times put out an article saying that I'm a Russian asset and an Assad apologist and all these different smears."

Gabbard was referring to an article published Thursday by Times reporter Lisa Lerer.

"Among her fellow Democrats, Representative Tulsi Gabbard has struggled to make headway as a presidential candidate, barely cracking the 2 percent mark in the polls needed to qualify for Tuesday night’s debate," Lerer wrote.

"She is now injecting a bit of chaos into her own party’s primary race, threatening to boycott that debate to protest what she sees as a 'rigging' of the 2020 election."

"That’s left some Democrats wondering what, exactly, she is up to in the race, while others worry about supportive signs from online bot activity and the Russian news media."

Lerer also noted that Gabbard met in 2017 with Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad.

"This morning, a CNN commentator said on national television that I'm an asset of Russia. Completely despicable," Gabbard said.

According to Newsweek, CNN analyst Bakari Sellers said Tuesday on the air that Gabbard is "a puppet for the Russian government."

"As president, I will end these regime change wars," Gabbard concluded.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

The post Tulsi Gabbard blasts CNN, NYT as 'despicable' in CNN debate on live TV appeared first on WND.


Oppressed Chinese Citizens Apologize To NBA Players For Disrupting Their Difficult Week


Via The Babylon Bee


HONG KONG—Citizens oppressed by the totalitarian Chinese government have issued an apology after making life difficult for NBA players over the past week.

“Look, we never meant to make your lives difficult—we are so, so sorry,” said a representative for Chinese dissenters. His name has been withheld to protect him from imprisonment or execution by authorities. “We never realized just how hard it was to throw a ball through a hoop and make millions of dollars.”

Oppressed Chinese citizens admitted that their constant fear of being punished by their corrupt Communist government is nothing compared with the concerns of tweeting a couple things that might get some backlash, or losing a percentage of your profits because you spoke up against totalitarianism. From protesters in the semi-autonomous Hong Kong to the underground church in China, Chinese people from all walks of life offered their deepest apologies for being insensitive to the struggles of being a rich basketball player.

“It was wrong of us to minimize the hurt and pain felt by LeBron James, whose net worth is around half a billion dollars,” said the representative. “In fact, I would go so far as to say—”

Unfortunately, his communication with us was cut off as he was apprehended by Hong Kong police.