Jan 22, 2019
As global business leaders gather this week in the rarefied, snowy mountaintop resort of Davos they’re said to be fretting about how to reinvigorate the international economy.
What these elites should be doing, if they had any genuine interest in solving economic problems, is to spend less time in an exclusive Swiss resort and more time down on the streets and fields where most of humanity struggle to get by.
It’s almost hilarious the poverty of intelligence among the global elites. They wonder why economies are gridlocked, why growth is sluggish, why the outlook looks grim. Yet the answer is staring everyone in the face.
It’s the economy, stupid. Specifically, the capitalist economy. New figures reported this week show the inequality between superrich and the mass of ordinary people has reached an even greater scale of obscenity.
The richest 26 individuals in the world are now reckoned to own as much wealth as the poorest half — 3.8 billion people — of humanity combined.
© Sputnik / Aleksey Babushkin
This global inequality is replicated across individual nations, especially those Western nations dedicated to corporate capitalism. The United States and Britain are two of the most unequal countries on earth, with record number of multibillionaires living beside — figuratively speaking — record numbers of individuals and families suffering from poverty.
Check out this recent lecture by American economist Richard Wolff. He explains how capitalism is inevitably fated to result in massive polarization of wealth between a minority rich elite and the vast majority of “have nots”. That’s how capitalism operates, says Wolff.
Periodically, the mass of people get organized and force governments to restrain the excesses of capitalism, and redistribute the wealth more equitably. That was the case during the 1930s in the US when President Roosevelt launched the New Deal policies under growing pressure from the masses hit by the Great Depression.
But by and large, the system always tends towards polarization of wealth, accumulation of capital among a tiny elite, while the vast majority suffer from poverty, underemployment and deprivation.
Michael Parenti, another brilliant source on socio-economics, explains that what we refer to as “Western democracy” is something of a myth. Those societies are in practice plutocracies, run by and for the superrich. The function of governments is not to serve the people, but to serve their oligarchic masters.
From the Second World War to the present, the political project has been the steady undermining of whatever vestiges of democracy that may have existed. Government after government in Western states has ensured that more and more of the nations’ wealth is siphoned off from the general public into the hands and bank accounts of the superrich and corporations, usually located in some obscure zero-tax haven.
As Parenti expounds in his book, Democracy for the Few, what passes for corporate capitalism in the West is really a system of “corporate welfare”. Through a system of tax breaks, subsidies, public sell-offs, and so on, the wealth of nations is expropriated by the elite, aided and abetted by supposedly “democratic” governments.
“Costs are socialized; profits are privatized in an enormous upward redistribution of income from the taxpaying populace to the corporate rich,” writes Parenti. “Under corporate-state capitalism ordinary citizens pay twice for most things: first, as taxpayers who provide the subsidies, then as consumers who buy the high-priced commodities and services — if they can afford to.”
For the United States, figures show that in the 1950s, corporations provided about 50 per cent of the federal government tax revenue. Today, that proportion is down to about only 7 per cent. The tax burden has been shifted on to ordinary workers through their income deductions or through consumer sales taxes.
Even American multibillionaire Warren Buffett noted with a hint of shame that his cleaning lady pays a higher rate of tax on her paltry salary than he does on his dividends and investments. “It’s been a marvelous, marvelous time for the superrich,” Buffett remarked.
Tragically, as government revenues decrease over time due to policies of enriching the elites, then the state is compelled to rack up debts in order to avert collapse. But the debts are then used to siphon off even more money to the wealthy by governments borrowing from private banks and investors, while the spiraling indebtedness is used as an excuse for imposing savage austerity cuts on the majority.
What’s going on here is “system failure”. When inequality and poverty reach such a phenomenal scale as they have in today’s capitalist countries, then economics become defunct. The system drowns in overproduction and surplus because so few can afford to buy things, even basic goods, like food and clothes, housing, education, healthcare.
The bitter laugh is that the plutocrats and their flunkies are sitting on top of a Swiss mountain this week wondering why the world’s economies are in such awful, unworkable shape. It’s glaringly obvious that their capitalist system is a failed system.
The most feasible way out of the impasse is for nations to take democratic control of their resources and finances to serve the needs of the vast majority of society for the greater good, as opposed to the private profit interests of a superrich elite.
Socialism is the only way that we can create societies that are fit for purpose to serve human beings and to avert the descent into barbarism that is currently happening.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.
What an idiot. He actually directed a few shows on child pornography. He knows about police procedures and yet he thought he was above the law. Despicable scum.
With permission from
By Andy Campbell, Huffingtonpost.com
Jan 23, 2019
Jason “Jace” Alexander, director of the TV series “Law & Order,” was arrested on child pornography charges Wednesday, accused of possessing and disseminating videos of young girls engaging in sex acts.
Authorities say he sent video of a young girl engaging in sex acts.
Alexander, 50, of Dobbs Ferry, New York, was accused of using an Internet torrent service to send a video in June that showed a 12- or 13-year-old girl stripping and masturbating, according to court documents obtained by the New York Post.
He also had a video file of a 6- to 8-year-old girl performing a sexual act on herself, investigators said.
Alexander was charged with promoting a sexual performance by a child and possessing an obscene sexual performance by a child, according to Variety. He faces a maximum of seven years in state prison if convicted. He posted $10,000 bail, and is due in Dobbs Ferry Court on Nov. 19.
Investigators were led to Alexander after downloading child pornography files from an IP address located in Westchester County. Further investigation revealed that the IP address came from Alexander’s home, Variety reports.
Alexander worked on 32 episodes of the original “Law & Order.” He also directed episodes of “Rescue Me” and is listed as a co-executive producer on NBC’s “Blacklist,” according to Entertainment Weekly.
Preparing for death by making peace with it
First, you withdraw.
Life shrinks down to the size of your home, then to your bedroom, then to your bed—sometimes over months, but more often over weeks.
Old joys stop having the same pull.
You eat less, drink less. Have less interest in speaking.
As your body’s systems start shutting down, you have less and less energy.
You sleep more and more throughout the day.
You start to slip in and out of consciousness and unconsciousness for longer periods of time.
Staying alive starts to feel like staying awake when you are very immensely tired.
At some point, you can’t hold on any longer.
And then you die.
A calm fall into a cosmic sleep.
But that’s not even the half of it.
“There are four ways people tend to die,” the older woman opposite me says as she reaches for a napkin and a ballpoint pen.
This woman is Dr. Yvonne McMaster, a retired palliative care physician turned campaigner for the cause. You see, soon after she retired, Yvonne discovered that government funding to her old workplace had been stripped. So she started a petition and, over the past five years, has collected over 85,000 signatures to reinstate funding to palliative care across the state (a task she achieved last year). Throughout, I’ve had the pleasure of shadowing Yvonne off and on, helping her with speeches, social media, etc. Today we’re at a cafe in her neighborhood to plan an upcoming newsletter.
She wears a bright yellow blazer, as she always does, and sips tea with a slice of lemon, as her mother always did.
Being privy to Yvonne’s campaign over the past five years and having seen the level of misunderstanding around palliative care and euthanasia and end of life care in general, I’ve picked up some bits and pieces that not many people know about but a great deal of people could benefit from. As my conversation with Yvonne turns toward this topic, I remember one of the first things she told me—the four ways of dying—and ask if she can refresh me on them.
“Well, there are four ways people tend to die,” she repeats. She draws an L graph on a napkin, labelling the tall axis “health” and the bottom axis “time.”
“The first is very sudden. This might happen, say, in the case of a heart attack or a car crash,” she draws a line that runs along at full health, before falling suddenly down to zero.
“But not many people die this way,” Yvonne explains. “We’re so healthy, you see, that our deaths tend to be more drawn out. The vast majority die in one of these three other ways.”
She draws the next three graphs.
The second looks like a plateau followed by a steep slope down. This is what it looks like if you have a disease like advanced or untreated cancer: You’re quite healthy for quite a while, experiencing only a gentle decline, before the disease rapidly wears you down. According to the geriatrician Joanne Lynn, who developed these graphs, about 20 percent of people die this way—and in Yvonne’s words, “all in all, it’s not a bad way to go, especially if you have good palliative care.”
The third is a more gradual slope down, marked by several deep potholes. This symbolizes a chronic condition that causes nasty episodes over time, which often require hospitalization, that you only partially recover from. This is typical of diseases like organ failure, chronic heart failure, emphysema, and many others. Death may come during one of the dips, if treatment fails. About 25 percent of people go this way.
And then there’s the last one. A wonky winding down toward death, as the body wears down from niggling conditions built up over time. As your health becomes more and more frail, dying often follows a physiological challenge that would’ve been quite minor in earlier life, such as influenza, infection, or a broken bone. An illness like dementia can also follow this path.
“The last graph is by far the most common,” Yvonne explains. “But, of course, you’re prone to experience some combination of them all. Knowing which trajectory someone is on can help you care for them better. It helps you make better decisions.”
I think about how much of human life is wrapped up in these simple markings on a napkin and of all the people Yvonne has helped navigate these graph lines.
There’s a story she often tells about a man in his sixties, who she treated for a tumor the size of a cauliflower sprouting from his neck. It caused him terrible pain. It oozed. It stank. He’d almost given up hope. Yvonne placed him on steroids to shrink the tumor, then checked in on him each week, to be with him on his journey.
Each time she came by, he’d reveal a little more of his life. In a strange piece of post-war irony, the man was German (Yvonne is Jewish) and had fought in WWII. He told Yvonne about serving on the front when things were quite bleak: frozen fields, barbed wire, that sort of thing. At the end of a day’s fighting, a trumpet voluntary would play. He explained it had come from ancient times, when the wounded would raise their hands to be scooped off the battlefield by medics in horse-drawn carts.
One time, as Yvonne visited him, he played a trumpet voluntary on an old record. It was his way of saying goodbye and thanking her for scooping him up when he had felt so helpless. Six weeks into Yvonne’s visitations, he died peacefully with his wife beside him, his life neatly rounded to a close—and Yvonne was happy to have played her part.
Palliative care runs so contra to our ideas about medicine and what doctors do.
Palliative care is a tricky thing to explain to people. I think it’s because it runs so contra to our ideas about medicine and what doctors do. Throughout our lives, we see the counterpart—curative care—played out in the form of surgeries, procedures, therapies (like chemotherapy or immunotherapy), and various other medical interventions that fight or fix the direct cause of an illness. We see it on TV shows like ER and Grey’s Anatomy and just about any daytime soap opera.
Meanwhile, palliative care is somewhere in the background. It’s supportive medicine and therapy in the form of symptom-controlling medication, rehabilitation, and counsel, which doesn’t necessarily cure illness, but does make it easier to cope or recover. Curative and palliative efforts complement each other. Curative care makes you get better, but palliative care makes you feel better, kind of like how a sore throat lozenge soothes your throat even if it doesn’t “cure” the cause of the soreness.
As we get older, however, many of us develop conditions that are life-limiting, chronic, or terminal. (Life itself is a terminal condition, as Yvonne likes to remind me.) And this is when palliative care comes more into the foreground, focusing on a patient’s quality of life, symptoms, and emotional wellbeing, as well as the welfare of their loved ones. It doesn’t focus on curing but it isn’t “giving up,” and it doesn’t necessarily mean that death is imminent; many people receive palliative care for years.
It also isn’t the same as euthanasia.
“I’m terribly conflicted on euthanasia,” Yvonne says casually as she sips her lemon tea. “In my experience, it is very rare to treat patients for which nothing can be done to palliate them, and they must endure terrible pain toward the end. In my entire career, I’ve only had two patients like this. At the same time, if I personally developed motor neuron disease or dementia, I would be profoundly relieved to know that, if the going got too tough, I could end it all simply and easily with a medicine or injection. The problem is how you regulate it and under what circumstances it becomes an option. Oregon offers some ideas, but must be done within six months of death and doesn’t currently apply to dementia or other neurological conditions.”
Yvonne expresses her concern for the extent to which euthanasia would morph the practice of doctors and nurses—but nonetheless offers a story in which it greatly helped.
Death isn’t always something to fear.
“There was a man once,” she starts, “in a cancer support group that I sit on. His name was Jack.” (Name changed for privacy.)
“Jack had a brain tumor. Having a father who had died badly from cancer, he saw the road ahead and didn’t like what he saw. He feared he would become totally incapacitated. He was determined to end his life on his own terms. Naturally his wife and him asked their doctor about euthanasia but were told it wasn’t legal—and so they sought other options,” Yvonne explains.
“They found a group in Switzerland, where euthanasia is legal, who help make the arrangements for people wishing to be euthanized. Coincidentally, their daughter was getting married in London later that year—and so, Jack and his wife booked a European tour, to visit the ancient cities, watch their daughter be wedded, and say goodbye in a little blue house in Switzerland. It was such a perfect end for him”
Yvonne loves his final words the most. After taking a swig of the lethal medicine, Jack said to his family, who were gathered all around, “I want you to know that I am extremely happy. I love you all—and that is good stuff because I can feel it working. I’d better lie down.”
Hearing stories like Jack’s helps us see that death isn’t always something to fear, and the more we’re exposed to these stories, the more clearly we can think about our own death and maybe even plan for it. Because if you’re uninitiated, the flurry of human institutions you’ll likely encounter at the end of your (or a loved one’s) life is, quite frankly, a mess.
The first port of call for many is the hospital, when something bad lands us in the emergency room. From here you might be shuffled into a general ward or, if it’s really bad, the intensive care unit. Here, doctors will talk to you about your options. In the general ward, you’ll typically be nursed back to a stable state and then sent home.
If your outlook is grim, however, you may be moved to one of another set of institutions: either a palliative care unit (also called hospice in certain countries) or a residential aged care facility (once called a nursing home). The care you receive in each of these institutions can vary greatly, depending on your level of health coverage, how much money you can part with, your condition, and your location. Bad care can leave scars. Good care can make all the difference in the world.
This may be where your journey ends, but if not, you’ll likely be sent home.
Home offers a familiar respite amidst the storm, but may be reshaped by your embattled condition. You may need a walker or other mobility device. You could need help of a more human kind; this can be a part-time carer, a social worker, an occupational therapist, or a full-time carer to help with life’s most basic tasks: showering, walking, cooking, and going to the toilet. Loved ones may help shoulder the load, but the responsibility is immense and, Yvonne tells me, many feel guilty that they haven’t done enough. Often, too, in the case of emergency or distress, the only recourse is to call for an ambulance and go back through the process all over again—though a good death at home is possible with the right support team in place.
An advanced care directive (ACD) can help determine your fate. This is a document that lays out your wishes so your medical team can decide what to do if you’re incapacitated or incapable of making a decision yourself (for example, if you were in a coma or in the later stages of dementia). It can include instructions to avoid certain procedures, your preference for where you’d like to go under certain scenarios, and even appoint a substitute decision-maker (typically a loved one) to make decisions about which treatments you’d be happy to accept. It’s a good idea to have an ACD on your medical record at any point of your life. (This great initiative by Advance Life Care helps you write your own.)
Ultimately though, every fate is the same. At some point, you die.
The doctor must be called to rule out any suspicious circumstances, confirm that death has occurred, then grant permission for an undertaker from the funeral home to move your body in preparations for your final farewell. Your death certificate is lodged with the government, your will is actioned via a lawyer or attorney, and your estate is divvied up according to your wishes. Done and dusted, assuming there are no issues with bank accounts, partnerships, passwords, taxes, etc.
Being passed through so many hands, it’s little wonder so many people find the end of a loved one’s life so stressful. Not only are you losing someone you care about—you, too, get lost in all the bureaucracy.
It all gets in the way of what truly matters.
Yvonne sips the last of her tea. She looks at the tea-soaked lemon slice, squelched in the bottom of the cup.
“Did I ever tell you about how my mother died?” she asks.
“No,” I say.
“My mother fled Hitler and spent the latter half of her life giving back to the country that had taken her in,” Yvonne explains. “She was very active with the Red Cross and Amnesty International, as well as the Women’s League for Peace and her local senior citizens club. She was remarkable.”
Yvonne pauses. “Well, anyway, she was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 72, which had worsened considerably by the time she was 76. I took it unto myself to treat her. I cared for her at home as she received radiotherapy and underwent hormone treatment. I’d adjust her medications and morphine to match her level of pain. All this while an occupational therapist taught her techniques to help her breathe with broken ribs.”
“Mum had two good years after that,” Yvonne says. “And because we all knew what was coming, she did a rather delightful thing. She gave away little gifts and treasures to old friends and colleagues. And she phoned up her lifelong contacts to tell them she was dying, to thank them for their years of friendship, and to say a heartfelt goodbye. I’d quite like to do that too, I think.”
For many a “good death” is a foreign concept.
Yvonne pauses. “In the spring, she watched her garden and waited for it to bloom. And when the end came, I was with her and it was so peaceful. It was truly a good death.”
For many a “good death” is a foreign concept. Within Yvonne’s circles, it’s the gold standard.
A good death is one as painless as possible.
A good death is one with friends and loved ones by your side and medical assistance within arm’s reach.
A good death is one where you are looked after in accordance to your values and wishes, seamlessly, as you’re moved from institution to institution.
But there’s another element to a good death, which I see as a common theme across all of Yvonne’s stories: a sense of closure.
Be it in a trumpet voluntary between a Jew and a German, a European trip, or a beautiful garden giving back all the goodness put into the world, a good death is one that resolves our overarching plot lines. For this is perhaps our greatest story—the story of our lives. And the more prepared we are, the more gracefully we may bring it to a satisfying close. A calm fall into a cosmic sleep.
To the world: Stop electing eejits from the aristocratic classes, as we have plenty of our own functional eejits in the working classes!
France, Turkey, and England have seeking to rekindle their former glory through a return to colonization, argues analyst Thierry Meyssan.
It is difficult to anticipate what form this future colonization will take. Long ago, it was made possible by the huge differences in the level of education. But today?
For a decade we have been revealing the incongruity of the French desire to re-establish its authority over its old colonies. This was the logic behind the nomination by President Nicolas Sarkozy of Bernard Kouchner as Minister for Foreign Affairs. Kouchner replaced the French Revolutionary idea of “The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen” with the Anglo-Saxon notion of human rights. Later, his friend President François Hollande declared, during a press conference on the fringes of the UN General Assembly, that it was time to re-establish a mandate over Syria. The great grand-nephew of ambassador François George-Picot (of the Sykes-Picot agreement), ex-President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, spoke of this even more clearly. This should help us better to understand the desire of President Emmanuel Macron to continue the war against Syria, without the United States.
There has always been a “colonial party” in France which crosses all political parties and acts as a lobby in the service of the wealthy class. Just as in every period when it becomes difficult for unscrupulous capitalists to crush the national work-force, the myth of colonial conquest resurfaces. If the Yellow Vests revolt, let us continue with the exploitation of men by other men » on the backs of the Syrians.
Long ago, this form of domination hid, according to the words of Jules Ferry – under whose auspices François Hollande consecrated his son mandate – behind the duty of bestowing civilization. Today, it aims at protecting the people whose elected leaders are qualified as dictators. France is not the only ancient colonial power to act in this way. Turkey quickly followed on.
Three months after the attempted assassination and aborted coup d’état of July 2016, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan gave his inaugural speech from the university which bears his name (RTEÜ). He delivered a list of the ambitions of the Turkish Republic since its creation and those of his new regime. Making an explicit reference to the National Oath (Misak-ı Millî) , which was adopted by the Ottoman Parliament on 12 February 1920, he justified his irredentism.
This Oath, which was the foundation of the passage of the Ottoman Empire to the Turkish Republic, lays claim to the territory in the North-East of Greece (Western Thrace and the Dodecanese), all of Cyprus, the North of Syria (including Idlib, Aleppo and Al-Hasakah), and the North of Iraq (including Mosul).
Currently, the Empire in re-formation already occupies the North of Cyprus (the pseudo-Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus), the North-West of Syria, and a small part of Iraq. For all these areas, where the Turkish language and currency apply, prefects ( wali ») have been nominated, and their offices are situated in the White Palace of Ankara.
As for the United Kingdom, it has been hesitating for two years about its future after the Brexit.
A little after the arrival of Donald Trump at the White House, Prime Minister Theresa May went to the United States. Speaking to the representatives of the Republican Party, she proposed re-establishing the Anglo-Saxon leadership of the rest of the world. But President Trump has been elected to liquidate these imperial dreams, not to share them.
Disappointed, Theresa May then traveled to China in order to propose that President Xi Jinping share control of international exchanges. The City, she said, was ready to ensure the convertibility of Western currencies into Yuan. But President Xi had not been elected to do business with an heiress of the power which had dismantled his country and imposed on the Chinese their opium war.
Theresa May tried a third version with the Commonwealth. Some of the ex-colonies of the Crown, like India, are today enjoying powerful growth and could become precious commercial partners. Symbolically, the heir to the throne, Crown Prince Charles, was raised to the Presidency of this association. Mrs. May announced that we are on our way to a global Britain.
In an interview with the Sunday Telegraph on 30 December 2018, the British Minister for Defence, Gavin Williamson, published his analysis of the situation. Since the fiasco of the Suez Canal in 1956, the United Kingdom has implemented a policy of decolonization and has withdrawn its troops from the rest of the world. Today, it conserves permanent military bases only in Gibraltar, Cyprus, Diego Garcia and the Falklands, to give these islands their imperial title. For the last 63 years, London has been oriented towards the European Union, invented by Winston Churchill, but to which, initially, he never imagined that England would belong. The Brexit tears this policy to shreds. From now on, the United Kingdom is back as a global power.
London is planning to open two permanent military bases. The first will probably be in Asia (Singapore or Brunei), and the second in Latin America – most likely in Guyana, in order to participate in the new stage of the Rumsfeld-Cebrowski strategy of the destruction of those regions of the world which are not connected to globalization. After the African Great Lakes, the Greater Middle East, it’s time for the Caribbean Basin. The war will probably start with an invasion of Venezuela by Colombia (pro-US), Brazil (pro-Israel) and Guyana (pro-British).
Taking no notice of the smooth speechifying of the French, the English built an empire with the collaboration of multinational companies in the service of which it placed its army. They divided the world into two parts, which may be summed up as follows – the sovereign was the King of England (and therefore submitted to political tradition over here ) and the Emperor of India (in other words subjected to the private East India Company and unlimited autocrat over there).
Decolonization was a corollary of the Cold War. It was forced on the states of Western Europe by the duopoly of the USA and the USSR. This held during the time of the unipolar world but now meets no obstacles since the US withdrawal from the Greater Middle East.
It is difficult to anticipate what form this future colonization will take. Long ago, it was made possible by the huge differences in the level of education. But today?
Thierry Meyssan is a political consultant, President-founder of the Réseau Voltaire (Voltaire Network). His latest work in French is Sous nos Yeux. Du 11-Septembre à Donald Trump (Right Before our Eyes. From 9/11 to Donald Trump).
Source | Voltaire
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect MintPress News editorial policy.
“The fact that Big Pharma has been a driving force behind marijuana prohibition is hard to ignore — especially when it comes to the number of opioid manufacturers that have spent thousands of dollars fighting against medical marijuana.”
By Vicki Batts
The fact that Big Pharma has been a driving force behind marijuana prohibition is hard to ignore — especially when it comes to the number of opioid manufacturers that have spent thousands of dollars fighting against medical marijuana. The plague of opioid addiction has struck the United States hard, leaving countless numbers of overdoses, deaths and destroyed families in its wake. And yet, the people who pushed these highly addictive drugs onto the unsuspecting public are suddenly playing martyr, spending nearly a billion dollars to keep opioids on the market and fight cannabis legalization, under the alleged pretense of public safety. It just doesn’t add up, does it?
Studies have shown that medical cannabis can help reduce opioid abuse and save lives, but to Big Pharma, profits are always more important than people. Indeed, if the pharmaceutical industry was actually concerned about human health, as they proclaim to be, lobbying and bribing politicians wouldn’t be at the top of their agenda. As Allen Frances, Professor Emeritus at Duke University, contends, “Recent history makes clear that Pharma owns Washington and also many state capitals. It invests twice as much on marketing and lobbying as it does on research and is much better at buying politicians than producing better products.”
In addition to helping people overcome their addiction to opioids, research has shown that medical cannabis can help prevent more addiction by providing pain patients with a safer alternative to begin with.
It’s obvious that Big Pharma has more than just keeping marijuana illegal in mind, however. Awareness about the addictive and dangerous nature of opioids is growing — and as more people wake up to the fact that Big Pharma’s opioid painkillers are deadly, the industry is undoubtedly looking to find a new cash cow.
There are many indications that Big Pharma is looking to take over the cannabis market. For example, Insys Therapeutics — an opioid manufacturer that’s come under fire for their unscrupulous marketing and sales tactics — secured DEA approval for synthetic marijuana in March.
Further, Insys Therapeutics spent $500,000 last summer to fight cannabis legalization in Arizona. Over a nine-year period, the pharma industry as a whole spent $880 million to fight cannabis reform and keep opioids flowing freely. If they actually opposed legalizing marijuana, why are they trying to patent a synthetic? The company doesn’t care about cannabis; it cares about protecting their profits.
And it’s not just Insys Therapeutics; countless companies are looking to secure their place in the marijuana market. Corporate behemoths like Monsanto and Bayer are also reportedly looking to patent cannabis.
It’s no secret that legal weed is immensely profitable; as Waking Times reports, the state of Colorado reported that their yearly sales had already topped $1 billion in October — and those sales are expected to rise dramatically as the holiday season draws near.
The race to take over the cannabis market is on and Big Pharma is doing their best to lead the charge — especially when it comes to synthetics. But, there is no synthetic that can even come close to the real plant; in fact, Big Pharma’s bogus synthetic versions of the plant may even be dangerous.
Big Pharma has had their hand in preventing cannabis legalization for years — and now, they’re trying to take over the marketplace. [Related: Read more stories about medical marijuana at CBDs.news.]
Sources for this article include:
The socialist governments of the Third World plus China have developed popular democracy, with structures that are alternatives to those of representative democracy. Laws and policies are decided by deputies of the people, and not by politicians dependent on the support of corporate and wealthy interests. Let us look at the historical development of the alternative political process in the case of Cuba.
Source: Popular Democracy in Cuba
January 23, 2019
The socialist governments of the Third World plus China have developed popular democracy, with structures that are alternatives to those of representative democracy. Laws and policies are decided by deputies of the people, and not by politicians dependent on the support of corporate and wealthy interests. Let us look at the historical development of the alternative political process in the case of Cuba.
During the neocolonial Republic of 1902 to 1959, Cuba had the basic structures of representative democracy. Military dictatorships periodically interrupted the democratic process, in response to political instability, which itself was a consequence of the incapacity of the Cuban system of representative democracy to ensure the sovereignty of the nation or the needs of the people. It was a system designed to support the interests of international capital and a weak international bourgeoisie, with political power in the hands of a political class dependent on both. In key historic moments (1924, 1944, & 1948), the people were able to elect candidates who promised reform, but once in office, they were not able to deliver on their promises. Revolutionary leaders in Cuba could not possibly overlook the limitations of representative democracy.
The July 26 Movement led by Fidel Castro came to power on January 1, 1959, with overwhelming popular support. At that historic moment, the principal concern of the revolutionary leadership was the challenge of delivering on promises made to the people, given the political and economic obstacles, both national and international, that they confronted. Such promises included the redistribution of agricultural land, the raising of salaries of workers, an increase in the standard of living, the nationalization of foreign utilities companies that set exorbitant rates, confiscation of property fraudulently obtained through government corruption, and restructuring the economy away from its peripheral role in the world-economy. In that challenging and confrontational situation, holding elections seemed a superfluous activity; no one doubted that the program put forth by the revolutionary leadership had the support of the people.
Rather than organizing elections, the revolutionary leadership took decisive steps in mobilizing the people, so that the people would be an effective arm in the attainment of revolutionary goals. In 1959, in response to acts of sabotage and terrorism emanating from the Cuban counterrevolution in Miami, a civilian-militia was formed. In 1960, Committees for the Defense of the Revolution were formed in all neighborhoods, for the purpose of vigilance over sabotage and terrorist activities. At the same time, revolutionary leaders from the ranks took control of the Federation of Cuban Workers and the Federation of University Students, previously controlled by leaders tied to the neocolonial order, and they expanded their numbers. In 1961, small farmers were organized into the National Organization of Small Agriculturalists. Thus, in responding to political necessities, the revolution took in practice the first steps in the formation of an alternative political process; it created mass organizations of workers, women, peasants, and students, which provided structures for active popular participation.
At the same time, a political process in which the revolutionary leadership and the people interacted in mass assemblies emerged. The speeches of Fidel were pedagogical, with detailed descriptions of the challenges that the Revolution confronted, as well as formulations of revolutionary goals. The mass assemblies also enabled the revolutionary leadership to assess the pulse of the people. At the peasant mass meeting in Havana on July 26, 1959, the people demanded that Fidel return to the post of Prime Minister, from which he had resigned due to the anti-communist declarations of the President. On September 2, 1960, the National General Assembly of the People of Cuba emitted the Declaration of Havana, which defined the concepts and rights that would guide the revolutionary process in the subsequent stage. The National General Assembly of the People of Cuba was constituted by a mass meeting of one million persons, constituting perhaps 20% of the Cuban adult population of the time.
Fidel expressed the new concept of democracy, evolving in practice, on May 1, 1960. “They made up a democracy for you, a rare and strange democracy in which you, who are the majority, count for nothing.” He characterized it as a “false democracy where all the means of corruption and fraud are used, in order to distort the true will of the people.” In contrast, true democracy protects the rights of peasants to land, of workers to a decent standing of living, of all citizens to schools and doctors. Moreover, true democracy is “direct democracy,” which has existed in Cuba since January 1, 1959. “Real democracy . . . has been expressed in this form; it has been expressed directly, in the intimate union and identification of the government and the people; in this direct agreement; in this making and struggling for the good of the great majority of the country, and in the interests of the great majority of the country.”
Everyone understood that the Revolution was being led by a person with an exceptional capacity to analyze national and international affairs, to discern politically intelligent solutions to problems, and to forge the necessary unity of the people. And everyone understood that in the long term, this form of revolutionary leadership was not sustainable. As early as 1961, Fidel was speaking of the importance of replacing leadership by one person with the collective leadership of a vanguard political party. During that year, attempts were made to form a vanguard political party thought the unification of the revolutionary organizations, which were the July 26 Movement (established and led by Fidel), the March 13 Revolutionary Directory (initially a revolutionary student organization), and the Popular Socialist Party (the first Communist Party of Cuba). After some problems, these efforts eventually culminated in the formation in 1965 of a new Communist Party of Cuba.
Thus, in the early 1960s, there was emerging in practice the basic structures of an alternative political process that involved popular participation in mass organizations and mass assemblies and the formation of a vanguard political party that has the duty of educating and leading the people. The conception is that of a united leadership that possesses a commitment to defend the rights of the majority, and as a result of this commitment, is liberated from the distorted understandings that have roots in particular interests. The leadership seeks to educate the people, freeing them as well from the ideological distortions that are disseminated throughout the world. At the same time, it is the people who have political power, because the people are organized in various mass organizations. The people find strength in their numbers and their organizational and ideological unity.
There is a symbiotic relation between the vanguard party and the people. The vanguard educates and exhorts, and yet it at the same time is dependent on the people, who ultimately hold political power. And the people are dependent on the vanguard, for without it, they cannot have that informed understanding that is necessary for their emancipation. The charismatic leader educates both the vanguard and the people, preparing them both for the day in which the leader is no longer physically present. However, everyone understands that the leader always will be present in the form of his teachings and example.
The structures of this alternative political practice were institutionalized in the Cuban Constitution of 1976. The Constitution concentrates political power in the hands of the elected deputies of the people. It establishes a National Assembly that is the highest authority of the nation, with the power to enact laws and designate the high members of the executive and judicial branches of government. The deputies of the National Assembly are elected by the delegates of the 169 municipal assemblies of the nation. These municipal assemblies are elected through direct and secret voting in 12,515 small voting districts, in which voters choose from two or more candidates.
Because direct elections by the people of the delegates of the municipal assemblies occurs in small voting districts, electoral campaigns are not necessary. The candidates are known by the people, because of their work in mass organizations in the community. Brief biographies are displayed in public places. There is no need for campaign financing, and thus the distorting influence of large contributors to political campaigns is eliminated. The structure is designed to ensure that political power is in the hands in the people, and it is so named as “popular power.” The assemblies that constitute popular power are the decision-making voice of the people, an institutionalized version of the mass assemblies of the early 1960s.
The mass organizations established in the early 1960s remain integral to the political process. Among other functions, they play a central role in the second-degree elections for the National Assembly and the executive branch. Candidacy commissions propose lists of candidates to the delegates of the municipal assemblies and the deputies of the National Assembly, when these assemblies carry out their electoral functions. The candidacy commissions are formed by representatives of mass organizations of workers, farmers, women, students, and neighborhoods. The mass organization have a participate rate of 84% to 99% of their respective populations, and they have a similar process of direct elections at the base and indirect elections for positions at higher levels of authority.
The Constitution of 1976 abolished electoral political parties. Candidates for the municipal assemblies are nominated by the people in a serious of nomination assemblies in neighborhoods in the numerous voting districts. The Constitution defines the Communist Party of Cuba as the only party and as the vanguard political party of the nation, consistent with revolutionary intentions of the early 1960s. The vanguard party, however, in guiding the people, cannot usurp the voice of the people. Accordingly, the Constitution prohibits the Party from participating in the electoral process. The Party is obligated by the Constitution to be the highest leading force in the society, but to lead through education and by example. The Constitution establishes that the people, through the structures of popular power, will decide.
The Constitution of 1976, like the 1960 Declaration of Havana, affirms the right of Cuba to sovereignty as well as the social and economic rights of the people, including rights to employment, food, health, education, culture, and recreation. The state has the obligation to play an active role in the protection of these rights.
For the past several months, the Party, the National Assembly, and the people have been developing a new constitution, taking into account the new social and economic model of 2012 and changes in Cuban society. In accordance with their revolutionary socialist tradition of popular democracy, they are forging a remarkable constitutional assembly of the people. As the process unfolds, it is clear that the new constitution preserves Cuban traditions of direct democracy and popular democracy.
The development of an alternative political process by the nations constructing socialism in the Third World plus China is a consequence of political necessity. If the nations of the Third World are to overcome the colonial legacy and become the subjects of their own social and economic development, they must take control of their territories and resources from foreign corporations and governments. In order accomplish this, they must have a political structure that ensures that power is in the hands of the deputies and delegates of the people, and not in the hands of an accommodationist national elite aligned with international actors. For this reason, the nations that are constructing socialism are precisely the ones that enjoy the greatest level of sovereignty.
We of the nations of the North increasingly are discovering that representative democracy does not respond to our needs. We have the right to know that the socialist revolutions of the Third World plus China have responded to their colonial situation through the forging of alternative political structures that provide the foundation for a political debate that leads to consensus and political stability, and not to confusion and division.
Harvard scientist Avi Loeb believes that ‘Oumuamua “may be a fully operational probe sent intentionally to Earth’s vicinity by an alien civilization.”
Jan 22, 2019
“As soon as we leave the solar system, I believe we will see a great deal of traffic out there. Possibly we’ll get a message that says, ‘Welcome to the interstellar club.’ Or we’ll discover multiple dead civilizations — that is, we’ll find their remains.”
In a recent interview in The New Yorker, Loeb attempts to shed on some light on the object, the paper he co-authored and the controversial theory that his paper presented.
So what’s so unusual about ‘Oumuamua anyway? Loeb explains that astronomers can calculate the rate at which rocks are ejected in space and how that calculation leads one of many peculiar facts about ‘Oumuamua:
“When you look at all the stars in the vicinity of the sun, they move relative to the sun, the sun moves relative to them, but only one in five hundred stars in that frame is moving as slow as ‘Oumuamua. You would expect that most rocks would move roughly at the speed of the star they came from. If this object came from another star, that star would have to be very special.”
The object was observed spinning every eight hours while it’s brightness changed significantly, leaving the astronomers puzzled.
“When it was discovered, we realized it spins every eight hours, and its brightness changed by at least a factor of ten. The fact that its brightness varies by a factor of ten as it spins means that it is at least ten times longer than it is wide. We don’t have a photo, but, in all the artists’ illustrations that you have seen on the Web, it looks like a cigar. That’s one possibility. But it’s also possible that it’s a pancake-like geometry, and, in fact, that is favored.“
‘Oumuamua is shaped like a pancake, another bizarre and significant observation. Why a pancake and why is that abnormal? Objects that orbit the sun have a shape influenced by the gravitational force of the sun, the same force that results in their orbit. Deviation from that rule happens in objects like comets. Evaporation of ice from the surface of a comet creates gasses that push it, sort of like a rocket, and also cause the tail of evaporated gas that most stargazers are familiar with. ‘Oumuamua doesn’t have one of those.
“We don’t see a cometary tail here, but, nevertheless, we see a deviation from the expected orbit. And that is the thing that triggered the paper. Once I realized that the object is moving differently than expected, then the question is what gives it the extra push.“
‘Oumuamua is unlike any comet we have ever seen in our solar system, so it probably isn’t one. Could it be an asteroid?
“Its brightness varies by a factor of ten, and the maximum you typically observe is a factor of three. It has a much more extreme geometry, and there is some other force pushing it.”
So the question remains, what is making ‘Oumuamua move?
“The only thing that came to my mind is that maybe the light from the sun, as it bounces off its surface, gives it an extra push. It’s just like a wind bouncing off a sail on a sailboat. So we checked that and found that you need the thickness of the object to be less than a millimeter in order for that to work. If it is indeed less than a millimeter thick, if it is pushed by the sunlight, then it is maybe a light sail, and I could not think of any natural process that would make a light sail. It is much more likely that it is being made by artificial means, by a technological civilization.”
Loeb, who has long been interested in “long been interested in the search for extraterrestrial life,” according to The New Yorker, took the opportunity to elaborate on just that:
“I should say, just as background, I do not view the possibility of a technological civilization as speculative, for two reasons. The first is that we exist. And the second is that at least a quarter of the stars in the Milky Way galaxy have a planet like Earth, with surface conditions that are very similar to Earth, and the chemistry of life as we know it could develop. If you roll the dice so many times, and there are tens of billions of stars in the Milky Way, it is quite likely we are not alone.“
If ‘Oumuamua does originate from an alien civilization, it didn’t come from our solar system, according to Loeb, it would have originated from somewhere in our galaxy instead, but there’s a chance “that the civilization is not alive anymore.”
“Imagine another history, in which the Nazis have a nuclear weapon and the Second World War ends differently. You can imagine a civilization that develops technology like that, which would lead to its own destruction.”
Loeb insists the point is simple:
“[T]his is the very first object we found from outside the solar system. It is very similar to when I walk on the beach with my daughter and look at the seashells that are swept ashore. Every now and then we find an object of artificial origin. And this could be a message in a bottle, and we should be open-minded. So we put this sentence in the paper.”
In response to those criticizing his paper and in summary of why ‘Oumuamua is worth paying attention to, Loeb had this today:
“The point is that we follow the evidence, and the evidence in this particular case is that there are six peculiar facts. And one of these facts is that it deviated from an orbit shaped by gravity while not showing any of the telltale signs of cometary outgassing activity. So we don’t see the gas around it, we don’t see the cometary tail. It has an extreme shape that we have never seen before in either asteroids or comets. We know that we couldn’t detect any heat from it and that it’s much more shiny, by a factor of ten, than a typical asteroid or comet. All of these are facts. I am following the facts.”
Speaking of the facts, Loeb drew a grand distinction between his curiosity of and the facts surrounding ‘Oumuamua and popular ideas such as the multiverse and extra dimensions:
“The multiverse is a mainstream idea—that anything that can happen will happen an infinite number of times. And I think that is not scientific, because it cannot be tested. Whereas the next time we see an object like this one, we can contemplate taking a photograph. My motivation, in part, is to motivate the scientific community to collect more data on the next object rather than argue a priori that they know the answer. In the multiverse case, we have no way of testing it, and everyone is happy to say, “Ya!”
Another mainstream idea is the extra dimension. You see that in string theory, which gets a lot of good press, and awards are given to members of that community. Not only has it not been tested empirically for almost forty years now but there is no hope it will be tested in the next forty years.“
In the end, Loeb’s questioning is simply a part of science:
“We have seen an object from outside the solar system, and we are trying to figure what it is made of and where it came from. We don’t have as much data as I would like. Given the data that we have, I am putting this on the table, and it bothers people to even think about that, just like it bothered the Church in the days of Galileo to even think about the possibility that the Earth moves around the sun. Prejudice is based on experience in the past. The problem is that it prevents you from making discoveries. If you put the probability at zero per cent of an object coming into the solar system, you would never find it!”
In conclusion: “If these beings are peaceful, we could learn a lot from them.”
January 22nd, 2019
Florida restaurants and eateries have begun adding CBD (cannabidiol) oil to some of the items on their menus. Widely regarded as a wonderful supplement to help deal with pain, anxiety, and other ailments, CBD oil gives the user the benefits of cannabis without the mind-altering high.
Customers are raving about the new slices at Pizza City in Fort Lauderdale, especially the marinara sauce, which is infused with cannabidiol, aka CBD oil, the trendy but controversial compound commonly found in cannabis plants, according to ABC Local 10 News. Although controversial, CBD oil shouldn’t be. Some CBD-laced foods contain trace amounts of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive substance in marijuana that produces a euphoric high. THC is illegal in Florida for those without a medical marijuana card. But according to WebMD:
Cannabidiol is extracted from the flowers and buds of marijuana or hemp plants. It does not produce intoxication; marijuana’s “high” is caused by the chemical tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). –WebMD
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration also says that using CBD oil as a food additive is illegal nationwide, says Seth Hyman, a medical marijuana expert with the Plantation law firm Kelley Kronenberg.
However, trace amounts aren’t enough to get a person high and marijuana laws are rapidly changing across the country to improve freedom and choice over what Americans are allowed by the government to put in their bodies. Regardless, CBD oil has gained a foothold in Florida, where it’s widely available at markets and vape shops in glass bottles and bath bombs, dog treats and gummies.
“Selling unapproved products with unsubstantiated therapeutic claims is not only a violation of the law but also can put patients at risk, as these products have not been proven to be safe or effective,” FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb wrote in the statement. “Cannabis and cannabis-derived products … are considered new drugs or new animal drugs and must go through the FDA drug approval process for human or animal use before they are marketed in the U.S.”
That hasn’t stopped Dave Nardi, the owner of Pizza City, from infusing his New York-style pizzas with CBD oil. Pot-leaf cartoons and the phrase “CBD infusion” decorate the windows of his Las Olas Boulevard pizzeria.
It isn’t just Florida either! CBD-infused food and drinks have been popping all over the country in response to the demand for the oil. You can find CBD-laced food or lattes in many places in New York City as well.
CBD oil is definitely the newest health craze, and whether it’s a fad or an actual medical miracle should be left up to those who make the decision to consume it, not the meddling busybodies in government who think they can dictate everyone’s lives.
Have you noticed that if your country has oil and attempts to have a real democracy the USA will sabotage and interfere until your country is on its knees? That’s American democracy for you. In that line of thinking, Iran should have the right to openly promote an Islamic Jihad in the USA, no?
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has ordered a revision of diplomatic relations with the US after the White House has openly urged the opposition to unite and overthrow the “dictator with no legitimate claim to power.”
Ahead of the mass street protests against Maduro on Wednesday, called by the opposition-led National Assembly, US Vice President Mike Pence released a video message reaffirming unwavering support for a regime change in Venezuela. Denouncing Maduro as “a dictator with no legitimate claim to power” who has “never won the presidency in a free and fair election,” Pence declared that time has come for the Venezuelan people to take the matters into their own hands, in a speech peppered with Spanish phrases.
“The United States supports the courageous decision by Juan Guaidó, the president of National Assembly, to assert that body’s constitutional powers, declare Maduro a usurper and call for the establishment of a transitional government,” Pence said.
Slamming the speech as shameless US meddling in his country’s internal affairs, Maduro in response promised his supporters to announce specific measures against Washington in the coming hours.
“Enough of aggressions and conspiracies, enough is enough!” said Maduro, rejecting the “imperialist interventionism” and open calls for coup d’état that he called unprecedented in the 200-year history of US-Venezuela relations.
Sacrificial Virgins — HPV Gardasil (Documentary)
Jan 22, 2019
“I would never give my daughter, or my son the shot… This is a massive PR event by the company that makes Gardasil, and the same is the truth for the company that makes Cervarix… I think one needs to do a lot of research, and I think parents are in the best position to do that.” – Dr. Christopher Shaw – University of British Columbia
This is a great point, and one that was further emphasized by Dr. Peter Gotzsche, co-founder of the Cochrane Collaboration, the world’s foremost body in assessing medical evidence.
“The main reason we take so many drugs is that drug companies don’t sell drugs, they sell lies about drugs. This is what makes drugs so different from anything else in life… Virtually everything we know about drugs is what the companies have chosen to tell us and our doctors… the reason patients trust their medicine is that they extrapolate the trust they have in their doctors into the medicines they prescribe.
“The patients don’t realize that, although their doctors may know a lot about diseases and human physiology and psychology, they know very, very little about drugs that’ve been carefully concocted and dressed up by the drug industry… If you don t think the system is out of control, please email me and explain why drugs are the third leading cause of death… If such a hugely lethal epidemic had been caused by a new bacterium or a virus, or even one-hundredth of it, we would have done everything we could to get it under control.” (source)
The HPV Gardasil vaccine is at the top of the list when it comes to controversial vaccines. Despite its supposed safety and necessity, new information is showing us that this may not be the case, and that its purported safety might be a result of a very heavy, and what now seems to be unethical, marketing campaign.
That being said, it’s still taboo to question vaccine safety, which is extremely confusing because there are a number of peer-reviewed publications, along with hundreds of scientists and researchers in the field, who are dedicating their lives to creating awareness about the fact that vaccines aren’t really as safe as they’re marketed to be.
“When one looks at the independent literature, so studies which are not sponsored by the vaccine manufacturers, so with relation to Gardasil there have been several reports documenting multiple sclerosis and encephalitis, which is brain inflammation, in girls who have received their Gardasil vaccine.
“So just because a study sponsored by the manufacturers does not identify problems with the vaccine does not necessarily mean that the vaccine is safe. In fact if one looks at the manufacturer studies, they’re often not designed to detect serious adverse events.” – Dr. Lucija Tomljenovic, PhD, Post-doctoral Fellow at the University of British Columbia, where she works in Neurosciences and the Department of Medicine (source)
Multiple Deaths have also been caused as a result of the HPV vaccine. Researchers from Mexico’s National Institute of Cardiology pored over 28 studies published through January 2017, containing 16 randomized trials and 12 post-marketing case series pertaining to the three human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines currently on the market globally.
In their July 2017 peer-reviewed report, the authors, Manuel Martínez-Lavin and Luis Amezcua-Guerra, uncovered evidence of numerous adverse events, including life-threatening injuries, permanent disabilities, hospitalizations and deaths, reported after vaccination with GlaxoSmithKline’s bivalent Cervarix vaccine and Merck’s quadrivalent or nine-valent HPV vaccines (Gardasil and Gardasil 9).
You can access that study and ready more about it here.
For example, although there are many safety concern issues, aluminum has continued to be prevalent, despite the absence of any appropriate safety toxicity studies proving that it’s safe to inject this heavy metal into a fetus or young infant, let alone an adult.
A recent study found some of the highest brain aluminum content ever measured in a human being within the brains of several deceased autistic people. Another recent study found that aluminum does not exit the body when it’s injected, it actually travels from the injection site into distant organs and into the brain, where it eventually ends up staying.
Sure, our bodies do a great job of getting rid of aluminum from other sources, like water or food, but injected aluminum does not flow into the same methods of excretion. This is extremely concerning because the HPV vaccine is loaded with aluminum.
Total compensation paid to families through the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act / National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program sits at approximately $4 Billion. The alarming part is that only 1% of vaccine injuries are even reported, and only 1/3 of the petitions are compensated.
This means that 99% of vaccine injuries go unreported and the families of the vast majority of people injured by vaccines paying the price. Vaccine manufacturers cannot be held liable for injuries or deaths that occur from use of their vaccines.
And so, the pharmaceutical industry has no incentive to care about our health when it comes to making our ‘medications’ safe, since there is no punishment for them for not doing so. They can legally be careless with their product, and this is evident by the EXTREME lack of safety testing for many ‘medications’ including vaccines, especially the HPV Vaccine. (source)
This is why it’s great to see a new film coming out, attempting to bring more awareness to the topic. It’s called Sacrificial Virgins, and it investigates widespread global concerns over the safety of the controversial HPV vaccines Gardasil and Cervarix.
It recently won two awards at the Watchdog Film Festival: one was for the best film of the festival, and the other one was the Watchdog Spirit Award in recognition of its investigation “in search of truth and justice.”
It also recently won the Social Impact Award at the Queens World Film Festival.
Using Japan As An Example
In Japan, women suffering from injuries as a result of the vaccine have had hearings, with the science showing cause for concern. Their injuries have been medically validated.
After a public hearing in February 2014, the Japanese government rescinded its recommendation that girls receive the HPV vaccine. Japan has actually established guidelines and special clinics for evaluating and treating illnesses caused by the vaccine. It is a scenario that Merck, GSK, and vaccine stakeholders globally are extremely anxious to suppress. (source)
“It is a vaccine that’s been highly marketed, the benefits are over-hyped, and the dangers are underestimated.” – Dr. Chris Shaw, Professor at the University of British Columbia, in the department of Neuroscience, Ophthalmology, and Visual Sciences (Taken from the One More Girl documentary)
It’s not like there haven’t been initiatives. In January 2016, pathologist Dr. Sin Hang Lee, MD, Director of Milford Medical Laboratory, sent an open letter of complaint to the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. Margaret Chan.
In the letter he challenges the integrity of the GACVS Statement on the Continued Safety of HPV Vaccination (issued March 2014), and charges professional misconduct on the part of several individuals (and suggests that others may have also been actively involved) in a scheme to deliberately mislead the Japanese Expert Inquiry on Human Papillomavirus Vaccine Safety before, during and after the February 2014 public hearing mentioned above in Tokyo.
Dr. Lee challenged the integrity of the GACVS Statement on the Continued Safety of HPV Vaccination written by Dr. Pless, accusing him of deliberately misrepresenting his scientific findings in order to mislead non-scientific readers and those who set vaccination policies.
Dr. Pless is accused of deliberately conflating two unrelated articles, dealing with two different chemicals, written by different authors “apparently to create a target to attack.” Furthermore, Dr. Lee notes that the GACVS Statement relied on an unpublished 12-year old “Technical Report” written by an unofficial, unnamed “group of participants” (according to CDC’s disclaimer).
You can read more about that here.
Why I believe It Makes No Sense To Take The HPV Shot
Of all the women who get an HPV infection, approximately 70 percent of those will clear that infection all by themselves in the first year. You don’t even have to detect it or treat it. Within two years, approximately 90 percent of those women will clear it all by themselves.
By three years, you will have 10 percent of that original group of women left who still have an HPV infection, and 5 percent of this 10 percent will have progressed into a pre-cancerous lesion.
So, “now you have that small group of women who have pre-cancerous lesions and now let’s look at that moving into invasive carcinoma. What we know then is that amongst women with. . . [pre-cancerous] lesions. . . it takes five years for about twenty percent of them to become invasive carcinomas. That’s a pretty slow process. It takes about thirty years for forty percent of them to become invasive cervical carcinomas.” (source)
Those comments are from Dr. Dianne Harper, one of a select few specialists in OB/GYN (in the world) who helped design and carry out the Phase II and Phase III safety and effectiveness studies to get Gardasil approved. There are only 50 HPV experts in the world, and Dr. Harper is one of them, arguably making her an expert on the subject.
Since Harper’s involvement in getting Gardasil approved, she has condemned the vaccine, stating that it is neither safe nor effective. But she’s gone back and forth, making positive comments as well.
Harper has told CBS that these vaccines are essentially useless, explaining that “the benefit to public health is nothing, there is no reduction in cervical cancers, they are just postponed, unless the protection lasts for at least 15 years, and over 70% of all sexually active females of all ages are vaccinated.”
This begs the question, why do nine-year old girls need vaccinations for symptomless venereal diseases that their immune systems kill anyway?
A brand new study recently published in the journal Pediatrics has found that many paediatricians don’t strongly recommend the HPV vaccine. Researchers used a national survey asking approximately 600 doctors to outline their stance on the HPV vaccine.
Conducted between October 2013 and January 2014, the study found that a large percentage of paediatricians and family doctors — nearly one third of those surveyed — are not strongly recommending the HPV vaccine to parents and preteens, which is why, as illustrated by the study, HPV vaccination rates continue to drop.
Dr. Genevieve Rail, Professor of Critical Studies of Health at Concordia University, recently received a grant of $270,000 from the Canadian Institute for Health Research (CIHR) to study the Human Papillomavirus (HPV). She concluded that there is absolutely no proof that the human papillomavirus directly causes cervical cancer.
“I’m sort of raising a red flag, out of respect for what I’ve found in my own study, and for the despair of parents who had totally perfect 12-year-olds who are now in their beds, too tired to go to school,” she said. “Yes, we’re going against the grain, and we are going against those who are believed, i.e. doctors and nurses and people in public health.” (source)
She feels there are “serious concerns” about the vaccine, yet no research on how young people “experience” the vaccine. (source)
I could literally write a book on the HPV vaccine. The above information is not even a tidbit of info that all parents should be made aware of.
Abby Martin debunks the notion that Trump is an anti-interventionist president, outlining his first two years of aggressive foreign policy.
Jan 19, 2019
Transcript and links:
“Welcome to Empire Files. I’m your host, Abby Martin. We started this show in 2015. And since then, we’ve maintained the premise that the US empire is not only a huge expanse, but is constantly expanding. Contrary to those who say the US empire is in decline, the war machine has been on a continuous march forward to swallow up new regions and markets, no matter the president.
Two years, into Donald Trump’s reign as CEO of the empire, we wanted to see if the trajectory has continued. At the beginning, I admit I thought Trump was a wild card. I considered the fact that Trump is an extreme narcissist that only cares about himself, not his fellow billionaires. I considered there might be a reason why none of the CEOs the top 100 largest companies in the nation backed Trump for president.
And true to the dizzying effects of having Donald Trump as president, anything was possible––he could go against the grain and start belligerent, major new wars; he could capitulate and be a loyal servant as long as they made him look good; or he could buck the establishment bourgeoisie and pander to a sector of right-wing isolationists and anti-interventionists, who support refocusing US wars on the border, against immigrants, rather than waste resources for so called nation building abroad.
After all, Trump did posture himself as the anti-intervention candidate in the 2016 election. It was a strategy that made sense. Polls show an overwhelming majority of Americans do not support endless wars abroad. The last 17 years of military conflicts have tainted any candidate who advocates more war.
Right-wing online forums were ablaze with theories that Trump was an isolationist who would fight the “deep state” on wasteful wars. But it was obvious to anyone watching that he was talking out of both sides of his mouth. Trump also campaigned on war, most notably threatening a major war with Iran, which would make Iraq look like child’s play. Not only that, but one of his main campaign promises was a major escalation of war and brutality in the Middle East.
His threats exceeded carpet bombing though, he even evoked the genocide of Muslims in the Philippines as a model, and the legend that General Pershing executed civilians with bullets dipped in pigs blood and buried their bodies with pig carcasses.
He essentially campaigned on a massive expansion of the bogus “War On Terror”. Far from “isolationist,” Trump presented himself as more of heartless warmonger who thought human rights law was a barrier that needed to be smashed––that the violence of the war machine was too soft, too restrained.
Candidate Trump didn’t just lament the restraint on American war crimes around the world, but also financial restraints on the military machine. Somehow, Trump argued that the country with the biggest military budget in the history of the world, was actually too small.
Candidate Trump has turned out to be a pretty good predictor of a president Trump. And it should’ve been clear to everyone what kind of President he would be when he hand picked his cabinet, stacking it with the craziest neocon outliers––ones too insane even for the Bush Administration––and more generals than any cabinet since World War 2, who are literal war criminals.
He even bragged about giving the Pentagon maximum power to act, free from annoying checks and balances. And true to his word, he also shattered all records for our already obscene military budget.
Before Trump came in, it was already larger than all these countries combined. But apparently that wasn’t enough, so within his first year Trump kicked in the biggest defense budget in history––close to one trillion dollars.
The increase in military spending alone equates to more than Russia’s entire annual military budget. The new $750 billion war toy chest included another $705 million for Israel, $100 million to deter “Russian aggression” in the Baltics, and another $500 million to arm Ukraine, equipment that seems to keep getting into the hands of neo-nazi militias.
But the most interesting part of the budget is the spending increase for what’s called Overseas Contingency Operations, which includes maintaining troop deployments and US bases, as well as new and expanding outposts. Since 2011, this spending has been capped by a federal statute. But Trump blew the caps off by $80 billion dollars!
This couldn’t have happened without Congress––or the full endorsement of the Democratic Party establishment. There is a bipartisan consensus in Washington to maintain the US empire, along with its 800 military bases.
And it’s not just gifting the military industrial complex with an open faucet of taxpayer dollars, but using US dominance to get them huge weapons contracts with foreign proxies.
Obama oversaw some of the biggest arms deals in US history, selling more than $115 Billion in weapons to Saudi Arabia alone, the most of any US administration.
But Trump has taken the role of CEO of the US empire to new heights, becoming the de facto arms salesman-in-chief.
Trump made it a priority to lift Obama-era restrictions on selling weapons to countries committing human rights abuses, like Bahrain. US diplomats were also instructed to become literal conduits for weapons manufacturers and push arms sales as part of their jobs.
In Trump’s first year, the State Department approved more than $75 billion in overseas weapons sales, topping the previous record of $68 billion in 2012.
It’s only ramped up since. In the first 6 months of 2018, the DOD brokered weapons deals to foreign proxies alone worth $46 billion, more than the $41 billion worth of deals made during all of 2017.
By pumping obscene amounts of cash into the war machine, while gleefully endorsing bombing and torture, Trump makes it clear to his friends that business will be booming for a long time.
It’s paid off for America’s five biggest defense contractors, whose stocks have more than tripled in the last couple years.
We’re told it “costs too much” to have medicare for all, yet money was no object when Trump ordered the DOD to establish a “Space Force” as a sixth branch of the military, projected to cost at least $13 billion dollars in the first five years.
The idea to militarize space was first proposed by the Bush administration, in their PNAC blueprint for the War on Terror. Trump is just another neocon puppet, eager to fulfill their Stormtrooper fantasy.
Not to mention the fact that alongside passing this record military budget, it was paid for with budget cuts to society’s most vulnerable, in particular, hungry children.
But Trump isn’t just making sure kids in the United States go hungry, but children in every country it deems our enemies. Because the US dollar drives the global economy, the empire frequently wields sanctions to bend countries to its will.
Anyone claiming to be anti-war, or even just anti-intervention, must oppose any and all economic sanctions. Make no mistake: sanctions are war. And not in a hyperbolic sense. They are real attacks, that kill real people.
The impact of sanctions is never discussed in the US media. They’re always treated as a kind of “soft” solution, with the assumption that they only affect a society’s corrupt elites. These are assumption nowhere close to the reality.
Sanctions hurt the most vulnerable––and by design. That’s why they intentionally target medicine, clean water, and access to food. The logic of sanctions is, if you kill and starve enough innocent civilians, they will blame their own government, rise up and overthrow them so American force don’t have to waste any blood overthrowing them.
Their genocidal impact cannot be overstated. Looking at Iraq alone, US sanctions in the 90’s, that blockaded medicine from the country, killed 500,000 Iraqi babies. That is the true face of sanctions.
They are not an “alternative to war,” sanctions ARE war in every way. So what has Trump done with the daggers of US sanctions? He’s shown the true face of his foreign policy. Obama implemented hundreds of sanctions during his tenure. But Trump is ramping them up in nearly every region, adding hundreds more in his first two years.
The most destructive application of sanctions has been on Iran, where Trump upended Obama’s historic nuclear deal and added 143 sanctions that have since debilitated their economy.
Then there’s North Korea, where people give Trump credit for peace between the North and South. Amazingly, despite the media’s rhetoric of Trump bowing down for dictators, he has installed 80 new sanctions on the DPRK, compared to the 74 applied by Obama.
In Syria, Trump has authorized a stunning 287 new sanctions, almost double the amount applied under Obama. He’s administered 43 sanctions on Libya so far.
In Russia and Ukraine, Trump has defied the notion he is a puppet of Putin by sanctioning the region 105 times so far, for everything from annexing Crimea, to the alleged meddling in the 2016 election, to the attempted poisoning of Sergei Skripal. Not to mention the 43 “cyber sanctions” put on the figures alleged to have hacked into the DNC.
Next is Venezuela. Even though Obama added 7 sanctions in his term, Trump’s laser focus is set on destroying the country once-and-for-all. He’s already employed 63 new sanctions to strangle Venezuela and undermine any chance for economic recovery.
He imposed many more sanctions on independent, progressive countries like Cuba and Nicaragua.
What do all those countries have in common? It’s not some standard of democracy or human rights––it’s that they are all independent of US domination. They chart their own path and decide what’s done with the wealth of their own country. The biggest thing they have in common, is that none of them pose any threat to us!
It would be bad enough if the Trump administration was only expanding economic warfare on these countries. But they’re taking it much further.
Any corner of the globe we look to, we see that he is indeed expanding the US empire’s influence and operations––he has ratcheted up, with new fire and veracity, covert and overt regime change operations; expansion of military bases, massive increases in bombings and civilian casualties, and belligerent escalations that put us on the brink of catastrophic war on multiple fronts.
As we’ll show in this multi-part series, Trump Expanding the Empire, that whether or not Trump pisses off, offends or even destabilizes powerful sectors of the imperialist state, he has only put war and militarism on the march.
It may be confusing how Trump is still making proclamations about stopping endless wars, but we have to look at his actions, not his rhetoric.
And yes, there is growing opposition to Trump within the halls of power. But not because they think Trump is going to reign back the Empire––but because he’s simply self-absorbed and unpredictable.
With all the praise about the most diverse Congress in history, you can’t find any diversity in opinion when it comes to continuing US imperialism. We can’t let the democrats steer the resistance away from where it needs to be––in the streets, linking our struggles, fighting the expansive US empire.”
In Part II of our series Trump Expanding the Empire, Abby Martin addresses the surprise order from Trump that he was “ending the war” in Syria.
Having drastically escalated the war in Syria and Iraq, find out what’s behind the supposed troop withdrawal and the hidden facts in the policies.
Transcript and Links:
“As we continue our series “How Trump is Expanding the US Empire,” Trump has jolted the establishment by announcing the removal of US troops in Syria.
The US military has 800 bases around the world, with soldiers in 70% of the world’s nations. Obviously, reigning back the US empire anywhere, and removing troops anywhere is a good thing.
So it’s been really atrocious to see the Democratic Party establishment working with most of the GOP and Pentagon to attack this decision from the right, decrying any troop withdrawal as dangerous for so-called national interests.
It’s amplified the claim by liberal pundits, journalists, and Democratic Party leaders like Hillary Clinton, that Trump is some kind of “isolationist” who wants to reign back America’s expansive military machine.
So, what is going on? Is Trump really curtailing the US empire and pushing back against the military industrial complex that has dominated US foreign policy since Eisenhower? No, in fact this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Like in Afghanistan, Trump is simply removing the troops he himself added in Syria since taking office.
While Trump railed against Obama for putting US troops in Syria, he left office with less than 300 US troops there––but through 2017, that number grew to around 2,200 today, approaching 10 times the number under Obama.
But it’s hard to know the true number, since Trump broke with Pentagon policy andactually stopped disclosing troops deployments to Syria and Iraq––how democratic!
And just as Trump started hiding from the public his large troop deployments, he broke with Obama’s policy of only sending Special Operations to Syria, but started sending large units of conventional forces.
And while I was the first to call Obama the drone king, Trump has drastically ramped up US bombing in every region of the world, along with a massive amount of civilian casualties. Not too surprising, considering he campaigned on a new major war to not only “bomb the shit” out of alleged “terrorists,” but their families too.
Trump definitely kept that horrific promise. In 2017, the number of US-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria increased 50%. But they became far more deadly for non combatants. While his airstrikes were a 50% increase from Obama, he increased civilian casualtiesby 215%, killing an estimated 6,000 civilians in a year.
Trump himself takes credit for that spike, bragging about giving the generals more freedoms to unleash their weapons of mass destruction.
And let’s just get this out of the way. The US military is not fighting a war in Syria to “defeat ISIS” just like it’s not fighting an endless war in Afghanistan to “fight terrorism,” just like it’s never fought a war anywhere for “human rights” or “democracy.”
The reasons they say at press conferences are never the reasons they talk about behind closed doors.
In reality, all these wars are about expanding US control. Syria has been a target ever since the won independence from British and French colonialism in 1963––and along with other Pan-Arab victories in the region like Libya, Iraq, Egypt and beyond, they were all on the chopping block for American capitalism.
And let us not forget that Trump’s first foreign policy act was crossing another line Obama was too scared to do, when he launched strikes against the Syrian state from the dining room of Mar-A-Lago. It’s the type of escalation that could lead to a new world war, but was flippantly carried out over chocolate cake.
The US Empire’s proxy in the Middle East, Israel, carried out even more bombing. Trump ushered in a new phase where Israel began targeting Syrian forces––bombing them at least 10 times in the last two years! These airstrikes would likely never happen without approval, assistance or orders from the Pentagon.
Remember, Trump didn’t announce an end to the US operation in Syria. He simply said he’s removing 2,000 troops. Nothing about the continued bombing, which he dramatically escalated in his first year. And even though bombings dropped in intensity in 2018, after there was basically nothing left to bomb, large numbers of airstrikes continue, contradicting the claim the war is over. In the last two weeks of 2018 alone, the Pentagon says they carried out over 1,000 “engagements” in Syria and nearly 500 airstrikes.
Nothing about supporting it’s foreign surrogates, like Turkey, to do all the dying in place of US troops. Trump has been pushing his far-right collaborator Erdogan to purchase vast amounts of US anti-aircraft weapons, no-doubt for proxy aggression against Iran, Russia and Syria.
Not to mention there are over 5,000 private mercenaries in Iraq and Syria already working for the US; Trump has said nothing about removing them.
And even the withdrawal timetable keeps changing. On December 19 Trump ordered a “rapid withdrawal” of US troops from Syria, to be carried out within 30 days. But four days later, he tweeted that the “rapid withdrawal” is now a “slow pull out.” Sarah Sanders also reassured the war-hungry press that US forces would be “ready to re-engage” “at a moment’s notice in Syria.”
He even sent his cretin John Bolton on an apology tour to assure Israel that the US could leave some troops in Syria indefinitely, while building up forces in Jordan, Iraq and Turkey to fight Iran.
Trump bizarrely diverted questions about the changing timeline by criticizing Obama for not bombing Assad. And in one of the most brazen imperialist statements ever made by a US president, Trump admitted that there was nothing for big business tosteal in Syria’s deserts.
It seems like Trump and his friends are only interested in what resources they can pillage and what markets they can open and plunder as a consequence of US invasions. The thing is, Trump isn’t talking at all about withdrawing any troops from Iraq, where he wants to pillage the oil.
If you look at a map of where US troops actually were set up in Syria, it is literally just a few miles from the border of Turkey, Jordan and Iraq, where the US military has bases and large numbers of troops already stationed. So it’s really just a repositioning of US forces.
And when you see that Syria is actually completely surrounded on all sides by hostile US lapdogs, most hosting large US military installations and American troops, the ability for the Empire to withdraw troops but continue aggression is pretty clear.
While Trump’s Syria troop withdrawal got all the attention, what went totally under the radar is that he simultaneously announced the indefinite extension of the criminal occupation of Iraq.
Trump campaigned on opposing the Iraq war “from the beginning”. But the reality is he was actually just for the war being done “the right way.”
But it doesn’t so much matter what Trump said about Iraq before he had any political power. Now that he’s Commander in Chief, what he’s done is all we can go by.
By the 2008 election, public opinion was deafening: the people wanted troops out now. It’s a central reason Obama was elected.
Under Obama, the number of troops precipitously dropped from around 180,000 to just 5,000through the last years of his administration. While Obama did start adding larger troop deployments in 2016 to “fight ISIS”, Trump came in and hit the gas.
By the end of his first year in office, Trump had nearly doubled the number of US troops in Iraq. And they were doing much less “advising and assisting” and much more “killing and dying” on the front lines.
So much so that more US troops have been killed there during two years of Trump, than in the previous 4 years combined. 37 soldiers have lost their lives for Trump’s ISIS mission, but you would never know it by watching the news, as if the war is long over.
Trump essentially cemented a new Iraq war, and doing so means that at any moment it could escalate in size and violence.
US presence there is a powder keg ready to blow. And remember, he coupled this with a ruthless bombing escalation that caused civilian casualties to skyrocket.
In a single series of US airstrikes in 2017, possibly over 500 civilians were killed at once in what became known as the Mosul massacre. It was the single largest death toll inflicted since the war began in 2003. That blood is on Trump’s hands.
Of course, this airstrike was not the only one like it. It’s likely thousands of Iraqi civilians have been killed by US bombs ordered by Trump’s cabinet, but they’re not really concerned. Over the summer, the Pentagon stated that “we’ll never know” how many civilians the US killed under Trump’s leadership. And I guess they’ll never care.
For those of us who care about ending the crimes of the Empire, we have to look at these actions in a larger context; that a scale-down of military operations in one area also means a pivot to build-up operations elsewhere.
In Syria and Iraq, all US troops, airpower and mercenaries should be brought home immediately. Not these minor reductions in favor of more bombing and sanctions that Trump is giving us.
While nobody should oppose the fact Trump is removing these troops, we shouldn’t give him credit either; he is the one who ramped up bombing, ramped up troop numbers and ramped up death and destruction in the region.
Trump is a war criminal, and that’s what he will always be, for the death and destruction his aggressive policies have caused, where millions more are now suffering under the boot of US domination.
A real end to these criminal wars will not come from any president, or member of either ruling class party. It will come from the only force in history that has won progressive change: a grassroots movement of millions of people demanding it.“
Israel’s reckless flouting of international law and its taunting of enemies may be just the kind of hubris that precedes a catastrophic fall.
“In the latest escalation it is openly admitted by the Israelis that they launched the missiles first. On Sunday morning, Israel attacked Damascus and southern Syria supposedly against “Iranian targets”.”
Jan 22, 2019
Israeli forces have shifted from a doctrine of “war by stealth” to openly declared aggression on its northern neighbor Syria. For two straight days, the Israelis bombarded Syria’s capital Damascus and its environs with dozens of air-launched cruise missiles. Many of the projectiles were reportedly intercepted by Russian-supplied air defense systems.
Nevertheless the Israeli blitzkrieg resulted in at least four Syrian military personnel being killed and damage to the civilian international airport near Damascus. That amounts to an outrageous war crime, as have countless air strikes carried out previously by Israel on Syria. Shamefully, the United Nations and Western governments maintain a hypocritical silence, while slapping sanctions on Syria, Russia and Iran over various alleged “transgressions”.
But what’s remarkable about the latest Israeli aggression is the public acknowledgement by the government in Tel Aviv. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, while on an African tour at the weekend, openly acknowledged the Israeli air strikes, as did the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF).
“We have a set policy, to target the Iranian entrenchment in Syria, and to harm whoever tried to harm us,” said Netanyahu on a visit to Chad.
In a statement, the IDF said: “We have started striking Iranian Quds [Revolutionary Guards] targets in Syrian territory. We warn the Syrian Armed Forces against attempting to harm Israeli forces or territory.”
Earlier this month, Netanyahu bragged to his cabinet members in televised comments about the “success” of repeated air strikes on Syria purportedly against Iranian targets.
That was also around the same time the outgoing IDF chief Gadi Eisenkot boasted to Western media about “running a bombing campaign” against Syria with “thousands of strikes” over recent years on an almost daily basis.
One of those air strikes last September resulted in the death of 15 Russian aircrew when their IL-20 surveillance plane was mistakenly shot down by Syrian air defenses in what appeared to be a deliberate aerial trap set up by Israeli fighter jets. The incident sparked outrage in Moscow which then promptly delivered upgraded S-300 air defense systems to Syria. Those air defense systems may account for the successful interception of dozens of Israeli missiles in the latest barrage.
This change in Israeli policy from habitually issuing “no comment” responses after air strikes are reported in Syria to one where senior government figures are publicly exulting in the conduct of attacks is an extraordinary development.
Some observers have pointed out that it could be Netanyahu engaging in electioneering. He is seeking re-election in April and so may be playing the “tough guy” image to bolster his national security credentials among voters.
That may partly be the calculus. But there does appear also to be a bigger shift going in Israeli military strategy towards Syria and Iran.
No doubt the announced withdrawal of US troops from Syria by President Trump has thrown the various regional players into flux. Russia has emerged as the dominant military force in Syria and possibly the wider region due to its masterstroke of intervening in Syria to thwart the country’s foreign enemies waging their regime-change operation.
Of course, the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad has emerged too with renewed confidence and respect in the region for its formidable defense. Syria’s allies Iran and Hezbollah have also gained immense kudos in helping the Arab country defeat the US-NATO-Israeli-Saudi axis and their terrorist proxy army.
Israeli paranoia over Iranian military presence in neighboring Syria has seen the Israelis lobbying Moscow to put limits on Iranian forces. Last month, Russian military officials were reportedly in Israel for discussions with Israeli counterparts. It is believed part of those talks – described as “tense” – were appeals by the Israelis to Russia to give guarantees about what they called “Iranian expansionism”. It appears that Moscow was not obliging.
In this context of flux, it seems that Israel is trying to desperately assert its influence over political and military developments in Syria that are viewed by the Israelis as negative. In trying to salvage its interests in the failed covert war for regime change in Syria, the Israelis are openly adopting criminal aggression with a hubris that is out of control.
The public admission of daily air strikes by Israeli leaders on Syria is an admission of war crimes. The strikes are wanton aggression and violation of international law. They can be in no way justified as “defensive” against “threats”.
Iranian and Hezbollah forces are in Syria legally at the request of the Damascus government, as are Russian military. Just because the Israelis have a paranoid obsession about Iran and Hezbollah does not give them any legal grounds to launch air strikes on Syria.
In the latest escalation it is openly admitted by the Israelis that they launched the missiles first. On Sunday morning, Israel attacked Damascus and southern Syria supposedly against “Iranian targets”.
Later, on Sunday afternoon, the Iranian forces fired a medium-range rocket from near Damascus aimed for Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. Israel’s Iron Dome air defense reportedly intercepted it successfully with no casualties among Israeli tourist skiers on the holiday resort slopes of Mount Hermon.
Then in the early hours of Monday, the Israelis launched more cruise missiles on Damascus. Syrian air defenses were warned by the Israeli’s to “hold fire”. When the Syrian air defense neutralized many of the incoming warheads, the Israelis turned around to target the Syrian army. Four Syrian military personnel were reportedly killed.
Evidently, even according to Israeli official accounts, it is the Israelis who are engaging in unwarranted first strikes. Their supposed “retaliation” to the Iran rocket on the Golan Heights is an oxymoron. Even more absurd, the Syrians are warned not to activate air defense systems while their country is being attacked. When Syria defends itself, its troops are then killed by enemy air strikes.
And let’s not forget, the Golan Heights are internationally recognized as Syrian territory which Israel annexed and has been illegally occupying since the 1967 Six Day War. Again, the Western hypocrisy is exposed with no sanctions on Israel, but Russia is being sanctioned for allegedly annexing Crimea in 2014.
Iran’s air force commander responded to the latest events, saying his nation was “ready for a war that will destroy the state of Israel”. Such a war could drag in the US and Russia – and lead to nuclear weapons being deployed. The Israeli regime with its 200-300 nuclear warheads is certainly criminally arrogant enough.
Israel’s reckless flouting of international law and its taunting of enemies may be just the kind of hubris that precedes a catastrophic fall.
I have doubts about the reality of Jesus, did he even exist? But I do like the words and the message attributed to him.
Jesus never even hinted that third parties or the state should forcibly redistribute the rich man’s wealth.
“There is still one thing lacking. Sell all that you own and distribute the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”
“How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God”
What did Jesus have to say to support the welfare state? During his ministry, Jesus spoke many times of the poor. He talked about the last judgment when he would commend those who help others, especially the poor:
“I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me” (Matt. 25: 34–35).
He condemned those who would invite to dinner the rich or others who might later pay back the favor. Instead, he counseled, “But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind” (Luke 14:13). He said it was easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into heaven (Matt 19:24).
On some occasions, Jesus’ exhortations to help the poor have been used as arguments for the redistribution of wealth from the rich to the poor. Recall the story of the rich young ruler:
A certain ruler asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; Honor your father and mother.’” He replied, “I have kept all these since my youth.” When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “There is still one thing lacking. Sell all that you own and distribute the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” But when he heard this, he became sad; for he was very rich. Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God” (Luke 18:18–25).
Another time, Jesus was passing through the city of Jericho when he came upon another rich man who did not need the same advice:
A man was there named Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was rich. He was trying to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was short in stature. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to see him, because he was going to pass that way. When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today.” So he hurried down and was happy to welcome him. All who saw it began to grumble and said, “He has gone to be the guest of one who is a sinner.” Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, “Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much.” Then Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost” (Luke 19:2-10).
Consider that Jesus told the first rich man: “Sell all that you own and distribute the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” The man turned away sadly, “for he was very rich.”
Then, in the next chapter, a different rich man, Zacchaeus, declared, “half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor,” and he promised quadruple restitution to anyone he had cheated. Jesus was delighted with the second man (who offered only half of what Jesus had asked of the first man). The difference seems to lie within the men themselves and not in how much they gave to the poor.
Doubtless, these gospel narratives reveal Jesus’s compassion for the poor, but they also appear to be less about helping the poor than they are about the salvation of the rich men. Jesus looked to personal charity and the state of the rich man’s heart. He was not trying to feed the poor in these instances. If he had wanted to feed a poor man or even a hungry crowd, it was a simple matter for him to turn a few loaves and fishes into thousands. Indeed, he did so on more than one occasion (Matt. 14:13–21; 15:32–39).
It is notable that Jesus never even hinted that third parties or the state should forcibly redistribute the rich man’s wealth. On the one occasion when Jesus was presented with an opportunity to work an equal distribution of wealth, he quickly declined:
Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.” But he said to him, “Friend, who set me to be a judge or arbitrator over you?” And he said to them, “Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions” (Luke 12:13–15).
Jesus did not even suggest a distribution. Instead, he warned against greed while declining to play the busybody.
A 2016 report by Kaiser Health News revealed what many vaccine truth advocates have been saying for years: Vaccines and the people who get
Jan 22, 2019
A 2016 report by Kaiser Health News revealed what many vaccine truth advocates have been saying for years: Vaccines and the people who get them are carriers and spreaders of the disease, putting the rest of the population at very high risk.
During a recent episode of The Alex Jones Show, available for viewing at Brighteon.com, Alex Jones and Rob Dew discuss how getting vaccinated not only increases the risk of diseases spreading, but also puts the person being vaccinated at high risk of suffering side effects and other complications.
“This is a CDC document, and it’s called ‘Possible Side-effects from Vaccines,’ and you can go look this up for yourself,” Dew explains during the opening segment, pointing to official government documents that reveal some very inconvenient truths.
“In the MMR section, under the ‘Severe problems (very rare)’ (section) it lists deafness, long-term seizures, coma, or lowered consciousness, or permanent brain damage. So even on the CDC website, it lists as a side effect of the MMR vaccine … permanent brain damage. So we’re not making this up.”
Dew points out that vaccine package inserts for practically all vaccines reveal these and other adverse effects as potential outcomes of vaccination, including prolific conditions like autism that the establishment vehemently denies are in any way related to vaccines.
“You can actually get the insert to the MMR vaccine, whenever your pediatrician tries to push them on you, and I encourage you to read that entire insert,” Dew says.
“Get a medical dictionary, use Google to figure out what all of these terms mean. Because if you don’t do this stuff, it’s your kids who are going to suffer in the end, because these vaccine programs are not meant for health. When they say ‘safe and effective,’ run in the other direction.”
Getting back to that Kaiser Health News report, Dew explains how the article openly admits that a major mumps outbreak that was reported in Missouri back in 2016 occurred within a population where the children were 90 percent vaccinated. And various other outbreaks have occurred in populations with similar vaccination rates as well.
“There are mumps outbreaks going on everywhere,” says Dew. “In Arkansas, they’ve had 2,000 cases this year from school-age children all the way to adults … and 90 percent of these children have been vaccinated, and up to 30-40 percent of the adults were vaccinated.”
When confronted with the fact that the MMR vaccine clearly doesn’t work, health authorities express denial, insisting that children should just receive more doses of the vaccine to “fix” the problem.
“So what does the health director there say? Well, maybe we need a third vaccination … and MMR is one of the most toxic vaccines you can give to your kids,” warns Dew.
Nico LaHood, the District Attorney in San Antonio, Texas, learned the truth about the MMR vaccine the hard way after both of his children suffered serious adverse effects from the deadly jab. LaHood is now an advocate against vaccination, appearing in the vaccine truth documentary Vaxxed.
“They basically gave their kids, both of their kids, the MMR shot, and they both have problems now,” Dew explains. “And he’s speaking out against it. He’s sick and tired of it.”
Dew himself got the MMR vaccine as a child, but still contracted mumps in 1990, once again proving that the vaccine doesn’t work.
“We know there’s a social engineering program admitted in the vaccines worldwide – sterilization, paralyzing people with the polio shot,” Jones piped in after Dew revealed this.
“My uncle took a tetanus shot, and it almost killed him. My mother took a flu shot, and almost died. She was a triathlete then, winning state championships and on the U.T. master’s team, beating former Olympic athletes. Bye-bye swimming career when she took that shot at 40-something,” he added.
More than 14 million people, including 4.5 million children, are living below the breadline in the UK, a study showed.
More than 14 million people are living in poverty in the UK, according to a major report proposing a new measure of financial hardship which considers the impact of “inescapable” costs such as childcare and disability.
The research by the Social Metrics Commission (SMC) found that 14.2 million people were living in poverty under the new measure, of which 4.5 million were children and 1.4 million were people of pension age, according to The Independent.
Of that total figure, 7.7 million people were found to be living in “persistent poverty”, meaning they had spent all or most of the last four years or more in poverty, while 6.9 million were living in families with a disabled person.
The figure in the report marks a rise on findings by the independent Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) last year which showed 14 million people in the UK were in poverty.
The SMC said its work over the last two and a half years has given rise to a new measure which makes “significant changes to our understanding of who is in poverty”.
The new measure accounts for the negative impact on people’s weekly income of “inescapable” costs such as childcare and the impact that disability has on people’s needs, and includes the positive impacts of being able to access liquid assets such as savings.
It also takes the first steps to including groups of people previously omitted from poverty statistics, like those living on the streets or in overcrowded housing, SMC chair Baroness Stroud said.
The report finds that the majority (68 percent) of people living in workless families are in poverty, compared to 9 percent for people living in families where all adults work full time.
There are 2.5 million people in the UK who are less than 10 percent above the poverty line, meaning that relatively small changes in their circumstances could mean they fall below it, the commission found.
Margaret Greenwood, Labour’s shadow work and pensions secretary, said: “The government’s strategy to tackle poverty consists of trying to mask the deep cuts it has made to social security by disputing the numbers of people in poverty.”
“The new measure importantly shows the impact of debt, housing and child care costs, and the extra costs that disabled people face. The extent of poverty it reveals among disabled people and their families is a major concern given the severe cuts to support to them in Universal Credit.”
Sam Royston, director of policy and research at the Children’s Society, said it was “extremely worrying” that nearly a third of children – around 4.5 million – were living in poverty according to the proposed new measure.
“This important report rightly suggests that inescapable costs like childcare, housing and support for children with a disability should be taken into account when measuring poverty,” he said.
“When these are considered children sadly make up a greater proportion of those in poverty than previously recognised and they can contribute to situations in which families are left struggling to make ends meet and facing impossible choices between essentials like eating and heating.”
The report also revealed “some areas of good news” with far fewer pensioners living in poverty than previously thought following a “significant fall” in pensioner poverty over the last 15 years.
Philippa Stroud, chair of the SMC, said: “For too long it has been possible to have a debate about the measurement of poverty.”
“I call on people and organisations across, and outside of, the political spectrum to support this new measure of poverty so that we can all put our energy into creating the policies and solutions that build pathways out of poverty.”
A UK government spokeswoman said: “Measuring poverty is complex, and this report offers further insight into that complexity and the additional measures that can be taken into consideration.”
”This government is committed to making a positive difference to the outcomes for poor and disadvantaged families and children.”
“Through our welfare reforms we are providing personalized support, helping people overcome their specific barriers and allowing them to progress into work and then progress in work – as we know this still remains the best route out of poverty.”
”Running parallel with that support, we continue to spend £90bn a year on working age benefits to provide a safety net for those who need it when they need it, and we will be spending £54bn this year, more than ever before, to support disabled people and those with health conditions.“
Jan 21, 2019
Israel and Iran are edging dangerously close to a state of all-out war. On Sunday night, Israeli forces rained missiles down on Iranian forces based in the Damascus area “for nearly an hour”. According to the IDF, this was a response to “dozens” of missiles that were fired by Iranian forces in Syria toward targets in Israel earlier that day. The Israelis were able to intercept the Iranian missiles, but if any of them had gotten through they could have caused a tremendous amount of damage. Some of the missiles that Israel fired at the Iranians were reportedly intercepted, but quite a few of them did hit their intended targets. If the violence continues to escalate, we could potentially soon be talking about an all-out war between Israel and Iran in which both sides use their weapons of mass destruction.
The missile strikes against Iranian targets in Damascus made headlines all over the globe. According to Syrian state media, there were “consecutive waves of guided missiles”…
Syrian state media cited a Syrian military source as saying Israel launched an “intense attack through consecutive waves of guided missiles”, but that Syrian air defenses destroyed most of the “hostile targets”.
Witnesses in Damascus said loud explosions rang out in the night sky for nearly an hour.
The Syrians are boasting that they were able to destroy quite a few of the Israeli missiles, but independent observers confirm that quite a few Iranian targets were destroyed.
In the past, the Israelis have not always publicly acknowledged their attacks in Syria, but on Sunday night they released an immediate statement…
“We have started striking Iranian Quds targets in Syrian territory,” Israel’s military said in a statement.
“We warn the Syrian Armed Forces against attempting to harm Israeli forces or territory.”
You can see some footage of the missile strikes right here. Among the targets were “weapons warehouses at the Damascus International Airport”…
Targets striked by the IDF, which number at around 10 according to its statement, include weapons warehouses at the Damascus International Airport and in other locations, an Iranian intelligence site and an Iranian training camp in Syria’s south.
Now that the Iranians have been hit so hard, will they respond by striking back at Israel?
If both sides continue to escalate the violence, eventually a “point of no return” will be reached, and then all hell will break loose.
Prior to the IDF missile attacks on Iranian targets, rockets were fired toward the Golan Heights from inside Syria, and Israel blamed those attacks on the Iranians…
The Israeli military said earlier on Sunday that missiles fired toward the northern Golan Heights were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system. It added in a statement on Monday that an Iranian force fired these missiles, but said it holds the Syrian regime responsible for any activity in its territory.
It seems extremely unlikely that this conflict will be resolved any time soon. The Iranians are certainly not going to leave Syria, and they are definitely going to continue to funnel arms and resources to Hezbollah forces in southern Lebanon.
And the Israelis have clearly stated that they are going to resist any Iranian attempts to strengthen Hezbollah or to establish a permanent military presence inside Syria. In fact, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu couldn’t have been any clearer when he said this to reporters…
“We have a permanent policy, to strike at the Iranian entrenchment in Syria and hurt whoever tries to hurt us,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.
If a full-blown war erupts in the days ahead, Israel will almost certainly find itself fighting Iran, Syria and Hezbollah simultaneously. Of course Hezbollah is essentially an Iranian proxy, and at this point they have between 130,000 and 150,000 missiles aimed at Israel. When war finally comes, it will be extremely bloody and extremely destructive.
Tonight, we are closer to such a war than ever. The Iranians and the Israelis absolutely hate one another, and now they are firing missiles at one another.
It isn’t going to take much to push the two sides over the edge, and if that happens we are just a hop, a skip and a jump away from the start of World War 3.
About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.
For those of us who don’t — which is everyone
It’s hard to nail down exactly what it means to “have your shit together,” but you always know when you meet someone who does.
These people are functional and competent, but never pretentious or elitist. They make their beds and do their jobs and always seem to be level-headed about all the nonsense the rest of us conflate into huge crises.
No matter what your personal goals are, at the root of them all, you just want to have your shit together too.
But, while this might be hard to believe, the truth is that nobody really has it all together—not entirely, not all the time. But aspiring to function well in your life, own personal responsibility, have real diplomacy and social grace, a healthy temperament, and other similar traits is definitely noble, if not crucial, to being well-received by the world.
Therefore, here is your official cheat sheet to getting your shit together… or at the very least, convincing everyone else you do.
Decide what you love and then wear it often. Either have a signature scent, accessory, or color scheme that sets you apart. When people see you, your appearance should align with who you say you are and what you say you care about. Your style should match your personality, and it should stay as consistent as possible. Think of CEOs who wear the same thing every day or cartoon characters who stay in the same clothes. People respond well to consistency.
If you don’t want people thinking your life is a hot mess, then stop talking about it being a hot mess on every platform every chance you can. There’s a huge, enormous, world-altering difference between being authentic and capitalizing on your struggles to earn sympathy or whatever else some dark corner of your mind thinks you’re achieving by complaining every hour of the day. You can keep it real without overemphasizing what you’re not that great at. What you share is what builds other people’s image of you.
On the same note, realize that the 2012-2014 era of confessional essays is over. Not every single person online and in your personal life needs to know every single detail about your life. Not only that, but they don’t even want to know. If you feel truly moved to share your struggle in some part of your life hoping it will be therapeutic and help another person going through it—amazing, please do that. But if you are just constantly telling people way more information than is appropriate to share, it might seem as though you don’t understand healthy boundaries.
This might seem really obvious, but it’s totally overlooked: People who have their shit together have one really simple thing in common—they are always clean. They clean themselves, their spaces, and their belongings. They take care of themselves, their spaces, and their belongings. This doesn’t require much money and really only minimal effort. Keeping your life a little more tidy and organized will go a really long way.
I’m not saying nobody is trustworthy, but we are all dealing with what I’m going to call the “one person” phenomenon. Every single time you tell a secret or important information to someone, if it’s interesting enough, they will tell their one person. Then that person will their one person. Ultimately, what you tell one person is what you tell everyone at the end of the day—so don’t say anything in private you do not want repeated in public.
Instead of being someone who creates drama and issues, be someone who problem solves and innovates with new ideas. Instead of creating more chaos around a disagreement or issue, create a solution.
Other people and their lives are not topics of conversation. This is a lazy way to forge connection with others if you have nothing more important or interesting to discuss. Ultimately, being a gossip isn’t a good look. It makes you seem vindictive and judgmental. Find things to talk about that aren’t other people’s business. Your relationships will be better for it.
For people to respect you, they first have to understand you, and that really begins with your language and approach to explaining yourself, both online and in person. In general, you should have a single sentence explanation that adequately sums up what you do professionally and then another that sums up what you’re interested in personally. If you can’t sum it up easily, you’re assuming your life is too complex and nuanced—but you’re achieving the opposite effect than you desire because you’ll just seem sort of lost.
We do one another a disservice by insisting on answering immediately and impulsively in conversations and arguments. This is not how brains work. This is also not how intelligent people behave. Instead of spewing out whatever first comes to mind when you’re questioned about something, pause, think about what you want to say, and calmly express that you haven’t done enough research or hold enough expertise to speak on it with authority, but you’d like to share your opinion or viewpoint. And what isn’t in your authority? Anything you’re not an actual expert in or don’t have personal, direct experience with. So most things you talk about—but that’s okay. The point is to try to share opinions with one another to generate more conversation, not to convince one other about what’s absolute fact.
People who fly off the handle at every little thing do not seem strong and tough, they seem weak and weak-willed. Anger is like gasoline when there’s some kind of friction between people. It raises people’s defenses and pushes a resolution farther away. If nobody else can manage it, be the person in the room who can keep their composure and speak clearly and calmly.
Complaining isn’t venting. Venting is what you do when you need to get something off your chest. If you have to vent every single time you see one of your friends, there’s something wrong. Otherwise, you’re just in the habit of complaining, and you need to get out of it. It’s ungrateful and, a lot of the time, shortsighted. If you really think about it, you have a lot more to appreciate than you have to stress about, but emphasizing the latter will make your life seem worse than it is, and that’s not what you want.
Principles are the rules and guidelines you use to govern and manage your life. If you value relationships, prioritize them by principle. If you want to improve your self-care, do it regularly by principle. No, you will not always want to wash your face, put on moisturizer, or drink another glass of water when you need to. But if you succumb to your impulses all the time, you’ll end up a shell of the person you’re meant to be—all because you don’t have principles.
Behaving as though you can do absolutely everything yourself limits you. When you need help, you need help. Ask for it, receive it, and understand that it does not make you less dignified.
You are ultimately responsible for whatever experience of life you want to have. You are responsible for your electric bill, for how well you keep up with current events, for how you interact with others, for how well you do at work, and for how much you sleep. You have to take an active role in your life, not a passive one. Don’t think and act like life is just happening to you and you have to accept it. Start taking creative control.
Your willingness to uplift others is a sign of real confidence. People who are not happy with themselves cannot be happy with others. And there’s even more benefit to you because the more you are willing to affirm and love others, the more you are going to see yourself with more love and appreciation. Remember, your relationships with others are reflections of your greatest relationship—which is the one you have with yourself.
Absolutely no adult is beyond this.
If you don’t want to be the person who questions whether their card will be declined somewhere, make sure you’re checking on your accounts before you actually go out and spend money. You should know your debts, your incomes, and your goals. You shouldn’t be in the dark about your financial health.
Feed yourself when you’re hungry; rest when you’re tired; know how to gracefully bow out of a social situation, relationship, house party or job when you need to. If you wait until you’ve passed your limits, you’re going to burn out and burn bridges at the same time.
In the age of social media, so it’s easy to become victim to the spotlight complex, which is the idea that everyone is thinking about you and evaluating your life decisions frequently. They aren’t. Everyone is thinking about themselves all the time, in the same way that you are thinking about yourself all the time. Those coincidences you’re so sure mean everyone deeply cares about the intricacies of your life? It’s probably confirmation bias, your brain’s way of filtering information to affirm what it already believes. The first step to being self-aware is recognizing that other people’s thoughts do not revolve around you.
People who are able to simplify their lives come across as sophisticated. People who complicate their lives do not. People who have their shit together are able to live simply, to enjoy simple things, to show up as they are, and to sort through issues with clarity.
Most importantly, remember that the point of getting your shit together is to make your life easier and more enjoyable—not to impress anyone else. But like most anything else, getting your shit together is a matter of faking it until you make it, and this is the best place to start.
I write about how to use your emotional intelligence. instagram.com/briannawiest
The Israeli-US war declared on the Palestinian boycott movement is coming to a head, culminating in a well-orchestrated effort aimed at suffocating any form of tangible protest of the ongoing Israeli colonization of Palestine.
But an Israeli ‘victory’, even with blind US government support, is still too elusive if at all guaranteed. Killing unarmed protesters at the fence separating besieged Gaza from Israel is often whitewashed as Israel ‘defending itself’. However, legislating unconstitutional laws against the rights of ordinary people to boycott a state that practices war crimes might not be an easy endeavor.
The fact that 26 US states have already passed legislation or some form of condemnation of the civil act of boycott, as championed in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) should, in fact, raise more awareness of the iniquitous Israeli influence on the United States, rather than actually thwarting BDS.
The US Senate first bill of 2019 (S.B.1) titled: “Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East Act of 2019” called on state and local governments to withhold contracts from any individual or business entity that boycotts Israel.
The bill was defeated, which is a promising sign. However, it must be noted as profound, if not altogether outrageous, that a country that is subsisting in a government shutdown and political crisis would find it both compelling and necessary to push for such a law in defense of a foreign country.
The bill will reappear again, of course. Alas, Americans should now get used to the idea that Israel’s priorities, however skewed and irrational in defense of its illegal military occupation of Palestine, will become the main rally cry for the US government for years to come.
While such a notion has proved true in the past, never before did ordinary Americans find themselves the main target in the political agenda of the far-right government of Benjamin Netanyahu.
Even the mere protest of this agenda is being shunned. Iconic US civil rights activist, Angela Davis, 74, deservingly celebrated for her contribution to American society for decades, was denied an award by the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute because of her defense of Palestinians and support of BDS.
This witch-hunt, which has now reached the most admired intellectuals of American society is affecting ordinary citizens everywhere as well, which is an alarming development in Israel’s unchecked power in the United States.
But how did Israel and its supporters acquire such disproportionate influence over the US government and society as a whole?
In short, the Lobby.
Cheered on by American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and other pro-Israel lobbies, the US Congress is now leading the Israeli war on Palestinians and their supporters. In the process, they are attempting to demolish the very core of American democratic values.
The build-up to this particular battle, which will certainly be accentuated in 2019, began when AIPAC declared in its “2017 Lobbying Agenda” (PDF) that criminalizing the boycott of Israel is a top priority.
The US Congress, which has historically proven subservient to the Israeli government and its lobbies, enthusiastically embraced AIPAC’s efforts. This resulted in the Senate Bill S.720, also known as the “Anti-Israel Boycott Act”, which aimed to ban the boycott of Israel and its illegal Jewish settlements in the occupied Palestinian West Bank.
The bill almost immediately gained the support of 48 Senators and 234 House members. Unsurprisingly, it was drafted mostly by AIPAC itself.
Punishment for those who violate the proposed law ranged from $250,000 to $1 million and 10 years imprisonment.
Anti-Palestinian measures in the US are nothing new. In fact, ardent support for Israel and the complete disregard for Palestinians is the only aspect which Democrats and Republicans have in common. It will remain to be seen if the inclusion of progressive and Muslim women in this current House lineup will change or at least challenge that reality.
For now, the sad truth is that the very individuals who were meant to guard the Constitution are the ones openly violating it. The First Amendment to the US Constitution has been the pillar in defense of the people’s right to free speech, freedom of the press, “the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances”.
This right has, however, often been curtailed when it applies to Israel. The Center for Constitutional Rights refers to this fact as “The Palestine Exception“.
Dire as it may seem, there is something positive in this. For many years, it has been wrongly perceived that Israel’s solicitation of American support against Palestinians and Arabs is by no means a foreign country meddling or interfering in the US political system or undermining US democracy.
However, the “Israel Anti-Boycott Act” is the most egregious of such interventions, for it strikes down the First Amendment, the very foundation of American democracy, by using America’s own legislators as its executors.
But none of this will succeed because simply put, noble ideas cannot be defeated.
Moreover, for Israel, this is a new kind of battle, one which it is foolishly attempting to fight using the traditional tactics of threats and intimidation and backed by blind US support.
The more the lobby tries to defeat BDS the more it exposes itself and its stranglehold on the American government and media.
Israel is no student of history. It has learned nothing from the experience of the anti-Apartheid struggle in South Africa. It is no surprise that Israel remained the last supporter of the Apartheid regime in that country before it fell.
For true champions of human rights, regardless of their race, religion or citizenship, this is their moment as no meaningful change ever occurs without people being united in struggle and sacrifice.
Ramzy Baroud is a journalist, author and editor of Palestine Chronicle. His latest book is The Last Earth: A Palestinian Story (Pluto Press, London, 2018). Baroud has a Ph.D. in Palestine Studies from the University of Exeter and is a Non-Resident Scholar at Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies, University of California Santa Barbara. His website is http://www.ramzybaroud.net.
Source | MEMO
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect MintPress News editorial policy.