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Technology, Convenience…..and Death

Naked Capitalism - Mon, 2019-05-20 14:40
Reader Petter S sent along a recent article The Myth of Convenience, by L.M. Sacasas, Director of the Center for the Study of Ethics and Technology. The piece covers a lot of ground in a relatively short space, so I encourage you to read it in full, along with his earlier post, Privacy Is Not […]

Poetry Is Living Its Best Life Online (in Culture)

Tyee, The (BC, Canada) - Mon, 2019-05-20 14:10

On Instagram, the form pares down words and ups the impact, riding a surge of new interest.

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Notre-Dame: the Largest Real Estate Transaction in Europe has Begun in Paris

Voltaire dotnet - Mon, 2019-05-20 14:07
The Ile de la Cité real estate renovation operation and its transformation into a tourist promenade began with the awarding of part of the Hôtel-Dieu to Novaxia, “philanthropist” Joachim Azan's "transitory urbanism" group (photo). This mega-operation was imagined in 2016, at the request of President François Hollande and the Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, by the director of historical monuments Philippe Bélaval and architect Dominique Perrault. It plans to take advantage of the renovation of the (...)

America’s Reproductive Slaves

Truthdig - Mon, 2019-05-20 14:01

On Wednesday, the day it was announced that the U.S. birthrate fell for the fourth straight year, signaling the lowest number of births in 32 years, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed into law the most draconian anti-abortion law in the country. That the two developments came at the same time could not have been more revelatory.

The ruling elites are acutely aware that the steadily declining American birthrate is the result of a de facto “birth strike” by women who, unable to afford adequate health insurance and exorbitant medical bills and denied access to paid parental leave, child care and job protection, find it financially punitive to have children. Not since 1971 have births in the United States been at replacement levels, considered to be 2,100 births per 1,000 women over their lifetimes, a ratio needed for a generation to replace itself. Current births number 1,728 per 1,000 women, a decline of 2% from 2017. Without a steady infusion of immigrants, the U.S. population would be plummeting.

“The effort to block birth control and abortion is not about religion nor about politicians pandering to a right-wing base, nor is it a result of prudery, nor is it to punish women for having sex,” Jenny Brown writes in her book “Birth Strike: Hidden Fight Over Women’s Work.” “It is about the labor of bearing and rearing children: who will do it and who will pay for it.”

Raising children is not a lifestyle choice. It is labor-intensive work that demands of parents, and especially women, huge physical, emotional, financial and time commitments. The wider society reaps the benefits of this work. It has a social and moral responsibility to compensate and assist those who raise children.

The birthrate decline is an indicator of the despair and hopelessness that define the lives of tens of millions of young Americans who struggle financially and see little hope for the future. Only by addressing this financial insecurity and desperation, by integrating back into society those who have been pushed aside, can the nation’s death spiral be reversed.

In Sweden, parents are entitled to 480 days of paid leave upon the birth or adoption of a child; the government-funded subsidy is 80 percent of the parent’s job pay for the first 390 days and a reduced amount for the remaining 90 days. Employers in Sweden pay a tax on salaries to fund parental leave. The unemployed are granted a parental stipend. Parents can split the leave between the two of them. Men take nearly a quarter of parental leave in Sweden, which has one of the highest birthrates in Europe.

America’s corporate state has no intention of funding programs and building institutions to ease the burden of rearing and nurturing children. Yes, the corporate state needs young bodies as fodder for the bloated military and endless foreign wars. Yes, it needs workers, especially a surplus of workers, to toil in menial, poorly compensated labor. Yes, it needs consumers to buy its products. But the corporate state, Brown argues, intends to achieve these goals “with a minimum of employer spending and a maximum of unpaid women’s work.” If women refuse to produce children at levels desired by economic planners, Brown says, then abortion and contraception will be banned or made difficult to obtain. Social Security and pensions will be abolished so the only financial protection from abject poverty for an elderly parent will be children willing to keep their mother or father fed and housed. Eight states dramatically restrict access to abortion, and legislatures in a number of other states are considering legislation to do so. Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota and West Virginia have only one abortion clinic.

The falling birthrate is the real reason women are being forced to become reproductive slaves. As long as wages are kept artificially low (nearly four in 10 middle-aged Americans have no emergency savings, and a third have less than $25,000 invested for retirement), as long as pensions are denied, children become, as in the developing world, the only form of retirement insurance. Policymakers assume that these assaults, coupled with the privatization and destruction of Social Security, will force women to up the birthrate. Brett Kavanaugh’s appointment to the Supreme Court makes likely the overturning of the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion. Indeed, the Alabama law, which makes no exception for victims of rape or incest, is designed to be legally challenged and brought before the U.S. Supreme Court.

The outlawing of abortion will not affect the elites. I saw this in communist Romania, where abortion and contraception were generally illegal from 1966 to 1990 under an unsuccessful effort to boost the country’s population from 23 million to 30 million by 2000.
As was the case in Romania, wives, girlfriends, mistresses, sisters and daughters of the elites in the U.S. will have easy access to safe abortions while other women die from procedures done in squalid backrooms at the hands of quacks charging exorbitant fees. Worldwide, almost 23,000 women each year do not survive unsafe abortions, primarily in countries where abortion is illegal or inaccessible. The death toll among Romanian women from unsafe abortions during the 1965-1989 reign of dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, who took harsh steps to raise the country’s birthrate, was estimated at 10,000.

I spent two years with the Christian right in the U.S., often with members of the so-called “pro-life” movement, in doing research for my book “American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America.” These Christian fascists, whose heretical version of Christianity is the primary ideology used to justify the outlawing of abortion, have little regard for the sanctity of life. They enthusiastically bless the military and the dropping of iron fragmentation bombs on Muslim families and villages in the Middle East, fervently support the death penalty and absolve militarized police who gun down unarmed people of color trapped in our urban internal colonies. Their bizarre apocalyptic fantasies revel in the mutilation and suffering of nonbelievers, including Jews who do not convert to Christianity and those they dismiss as “nominal Christians.” Once out of the womb, poor children are seen as not deserving of help, and 12 million of them go to bed hungry every night in this country.

The crusade for the unborn fires up Christian zealots and anti-abortion fanatics with righteous indignation that can lead to violence. It fosters a self-adulatory and repugnant moral absolutism. But its ultimate goal is to strip women of control of their bodies to reverse the decline in births, especially white births, as well as reinstate a tyrannical patriarchy.

The ruling elites use code words such as “dependency ratio” and “entitlement crisis” to express their fear about declining fertility rates. To indoctrinate the public, they employ mass culture to disseminate propaganda, including that which drives the “right to life” movement. These fake moral crusades, always a part of the mass propaganda used to justify war, are covers to perpetuate and consolidate the interests of the elites.

The architecture of the corporate state is designed to disempower women. Most wages are not sufficient for one worker to support a family. This means that both the father and the mother must have income-producing jobs. If a parent takes time off to raise a child, the family income declines, usually by half, and there often is also a loss of health benefits, leaving the parent raising the child dependent on the spouse. This economic dependency makes it harder for a woman to leave an abusive or failed relationship, perpetuating the powerlessness of women that is at the heart of the system. By forcing poor couples to stay together, it frees the state from providing even minimal benefits. If each parent, for example, earns $15,000 a year, a couple often is priced out of social programs such as welfare.

“There are several programs within the welfare system that pushes parents to get married,” Brown said when I interviewed her in April for my television show, “On Contact.”  “They have unimpeachable names like ‘Healthy Families.’ What they’re really trying to do is get people off of welfare by combining these incomes. But that doesn’t solve the problem for that couple, which still doesn’t have access to childcare. They still don’t have access to decent wages. They still aren’t going to be able to take any time off when they get sick. All of these things, [guaranteed] by law in most European countries, we don’t have here.”

Social Security is not a retirement savings account. It is a pay-as-you-go system to support retired workers. If wages remain low and the numbers of workers decline, payments into Social Security will go down and the program will go into crisis.

“My paycheck this week is paying my mom’s Social Security next week,” Brown said. “If the age structure of society changes, it changes how many people are going to be paying into the system. The problem is the wage structure. This is the issue for Social Security. The intense worrying about demographic shifts is about employers worrying about having to put in more for retirement if we continue with this system. They don’t want to do that.”

Families of color, meanwhile, are penalized for having children. African Americans have 2.5 times the infant mortality rate of non-Hispanic whites. African American infants have over twice the sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) mortality rate as non-Hispanic whites. Such children are twice as likely to have asthma, 56% more likely to be obese and 61% more likely to attempt suicide during their high school years. Children of color are often taken from their families and placed in foster care, a system that provides money to foster-care parents but not the biological parents, who are often living below the poverty line.

These poverty-stricken Americans are demonized in mass culture as bad parents who should not be having as many children. Seventy percent of money owed by “deadbeat dads” are owed by those who make less than $10,000 a year. These men are obliged to pay on average 83% of their income for child support. They lose their driver’s licenses or are jailed when they cannot make the payments. Walter Scott, an African American father, had been arrested and jailed, initially because of a clerical error, three times on charges of failure to pay child support. His jail sentences saw him lose his jobs. When stopped by a policeman for a faulty brake light in 2015 he ran from his car, fearing that another arrest for failure to pay child support would again leave him unemployed. He ended up being fatally shot in the back by the police officer.

Ignore the religious rhetoric and moral posturing about abortion. This debate is not about the sanctity of life. It is about corporate capitalists who desperately need more bodies and intend to coerce women to produce them.

Illegal Bt Brinjal In India

Off-Guardian - Mon, 2019-05-20 13:00

Colin Todhunter What is the point in central government orders and carefully thought out regulatory norms if government officials and regulators act with blatant disregard? This is precisely what we now see happening in India where genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are concerned. India has the greatest brinjal germplasm in the world with 2,500 varieties, including …

The post Illegal Bt Brinjal In India appeared first on OffGuardian.

Fire The Nutcases Leading US To War

Oriental Review - Mon, 2019-05-20 12:48
President Donald Trump claimed this week that he does not want war with Iran. If he really believes this, the president ought to look into what his subordinates are doing. Among their bellicose actions are deployment of the ‘Abraham Lincoln CVN-72’ carrier task force to the coast of Iran, massing […]

The Origins of the Deep State in Noth America

Lew Rockwell - Mon, 2019-05-20 12:44

Our first two installments have dealt with the origins of the Deep State in North America by reviewing the creation of the Rhodes Scholarship/Chatham House network at the end of the 19th century and the infiltration of indoctrinated scholars into every governing branch of western society. We traced the key players in this Oxford-based network who were formed with the intent of fulfilling the will of Cecil Rhodes to “form a church of the British Empire” and undo the effects of the American Revolution as a global phenomenon. We also saw how these networks worked closely with another early “think tank” called the Fabian Society in order to advance an agenda that required the destruction of the sovereign nation state system which had been founded upon the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia. This was exemplified by the 1999 “Chicago speech” of Fabian asset Tony Blair when he stated that the world must now embark upon a “post-Westphalian order” setting the stage for 9/11 and the new era of regime change that was soon unleashed. In the following report, we will look at the origins of the Fabian Society, by examining some of its founding members and governing philosophy.

Click here for part one:  The Rise of the Round Table Movement and the Sad Case of Canada (1864-1945)

Click here for part two: Milner’s Perversion Takes Over Canada (1945-1971)

The Nature of the Beast

Polarization is the name of empire. If a society can be kept under the control of their belief in what their senses tell them, then the invisible structures governing their behaviour will remain mystical and unknowable. More importantly than that, those intentions shaping such structures towards a pre-determined goal will also remain unknowable. If unknowable, then beyond the reach of judgement, and if beyond the reach of judgement, then unchangeable. This has been the great secret of empire since the days of the Babylonian priesthood and Babylon`s whore Rome, since whose collapse, three more incarnations have manifested themselves in the forms of the Byzantine, Venice and Anglo-Dutch empires. This is the dynamic at the heart of what has today come to be known as “the Deep State”.

With the 15th century rediscovery of the efficient power of self-conscious reason as a knowable and self-developing potential in the soul of every human, the renaissance-humanist conception of mankind had blossomed. With that conception of imago viva dei (1) led in large measure by the unique discoveries and life`s devotion of Cardinal Nicholas of Cusa (1401-1460), a revolution in science, art and statecraft occurred. Natural law both in the sciences, in the arts and especially as a standard when shaping physical economic policy became accessible to self-consciousness.

With such discoveries came new principles of self-organization, such as the 1648 Peace of Westphalia that not only put an end to the oligarchy`s 30 year religious warfare, but established the principle of `The Benefit of the Other` as the basis of national sovereignty. From the 1648 Peace, a new platform was created upon which the next great revolution could begin with the 1776 American Declaration of Independence. With the 1776 Declaration and 1789 Constitution, a nation founded upon life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness was instituted for the first time amongst men. By 1791, Alexander Hamilton, First Treasury Secretary and Benjamin Franklin protégé established his American System of Political Economy with his 1791 reports on the National Bank, Public Credit, and most importantly the Subject of Manufactures where Hamilton defined the purpose and value of economic planning, not according to “pleasure/pain, utility or money”, but rather “to cherish and stimulate the activity of the human mind, by multiplying the objects of enterprise, is not among the least considerable of the expedients, by which the wealth of a nation may be promoted.  Even things in themselves not positively advantageous, sometimes become so, by their tendency to provoke exertion. Every new scene, which is opened to the busy nature of man to rouse and exert itself, is the addition of a new energy to the general stock of effort.”

This American System was the effect of rigorous studies of Platonic texts such as the Republic, and the French Cameralist (aka: Dirigist) economic school as applied by such leading organizers of the Westphalian Treaty as Cardinal Mazarin, and France’s Finance Minister Jean-Baptiste Colbert, not to mention their spiritual heir, the great scientist and statesmanGottfried Leibniz. Nearly written out of today’s history books, these men played a direct role in the formation of the early colonies of the Americas and New France. In his 1984 So You Wish to Learn All About Economics?a modern representative of this tradition, Lyndon H. LaRouche (1923-2019), credits Leibniz as also having been the founder of the science of Physical Economy and intellectual inspiration for the American System (2). Virtually every nationalist American president who attempted to revive this system throughout the coming two centuries, including President Trump today had to contend with Britain’s deep state structures within America itself.

Marx and Smith: Two Imperial Reactions to American Progress

Our most recent 500 years of universal historyhave been principally driven by the British oligarchy`s burning fear of the applied truth of these discovered principles of self-organization of mankind as a whole. Every innovation by the British Empire since that time, has been effected specifically with the intention of undoing the truth that such singular leaps in potential imply for humanity`s true destiny.

In order to obscure the truth of the American System`s success and even existence as an idea, two programs were formulated by liars and fools directly under the pay and control of the leading priests of the British Empire. The first was known as Adam Smith`s doctrine of Free Trade as elaborated in his 1776 Wealth of Nations. The second was Marx`s doctrine of Communism as elaborated in his 1867 Das Capital. Wealth of Nations was a response to the American Revolution, and served as a framework to convince the new republic to abandon plans at developing manufacturing and remain agrarian, emphasizing individual liberty/pleasure but not the well-being of the whole. In Smith’s doctrine, national rights to protectionism against the dumping of cheap goods and directed credit were antagonistic to “self-regulating marketplaces”. Inversely Marx’s Capital was produced as a response to the `2nd American Revolution` of 1865 and served as a sophistical argument to attempt to control the industrialization built up by the Hamiltonian American System since 1791.  Das Capital focused on the utilitarian “Good” of the whole at the expense of the individual.

Both systems of Smith and Marx were not only grounded in a radical empiricism (belief in the validity of sense-impressions), but also empiricism`s necessary corollary: that mankind is in essence no more than 1) his material flesh and 2) his ability to adapt to his material environment, both political and physical. Thus, contrary to the Renaissance humanist view that premises mankind’s essence on his soul and capacity to express his creative personality by discovering and changing the laws of the universe for the better, the empiricist of the left or the right, concludes that mankind is actually a beast. Creative leaps of progress in the arts and science which apparently separate man from the biosphere, and permit for the increase of the productive powers of labour without intrinsic limit must be assumed by the empiricist to be merely chimerical anomalies which must be kept as obscure as possible from the mass of the human cattle.

By Marx’s day, Darwin’s thesis of natural selection as the effect of a constant struggle for existence had provided new fuel for the imperialist’s world view and had fed Marx’s thesis. After reading On the Origin of Species, Marx sent a personally signed copy of Das Capital to Darwin in 1873 and had a German edition dedicated “In deep appreciation for Charles Darwin”.

Both systems also share the common lie that since universal principles are unknowable, that the only metrics a society is permitted to use in judging value are some mixture of “pleasure” and “utility”. Of the two, Smith was much more explicit in his writings on this point. In his Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759), he writes:

 “Hunger, thirst, and the passion which unites the two sexes, the love of pleasure, and the dread of pain, prompt us to apply those means for their own sake, and without any consideration of their tendency to those beneficent ends which the great Director of nature intended to produce by them.”

Fabianism: Fascism from the Left

It is a fact that cannot be missed by the honest intellect that recent history has been shaped by agencies operating outside of the general field of perception of the majority of the population. As previous reports have documented, such agencies have expressed themselves in the form of two polarities operating from one Oxford mind during the first years of the 20th century. Those two operations were the Round Table Movement catering to the so called “new right” anglophiles of the world on the one side, and a “new left” sect known as Fabian Socialists on the other. Through their various manifestations over the century, both organizations have worked together to create structures of thought, belief and law which lock their victims into a world where creative improvement of man and nature mediated by self-conscious reason is abandoned.

In this world of no change, the ugly fact of diminishing returns cannot be avoided since no new resources except those that are already in practice can come into being. In this system of scarcity, the ugly necessity of sterilization, and murder of the unfit based on material considerations (both genetic and environmental) becomes real, and the laws of Malthus become hegemonic. This process of decay has become more popularly known as “Entropy” or “The Second Law of Thermodynamics” (3), and has become treated by a language developed as an outgrowth of the belief called “systems analysis”. The hegemony of systems analysis today is due directly to the Fabian Society networks and Rhodes Trust allies working through both Soviet and Western systems throughout the Cold War.

The Fabian Society was founded by an elitist clique of Darwinian propagandists in 1884 who saw Karl Marx’s newly published system as the perfect vehicle to carry Darwin’s logic into the belief structure of the masses. In fact, all members were devout racists obsessed with the problem of convincing mankind to submit to racial cleansing along the lines prescribed by Herbert Spencer’s Social Darwinism and Francis Galton’s field of Eugenics. Both Spencer and Galton were closely directed by Thomas Huxley’s X Club, at this point entirely in charge of imperial science policy. The eerie Fabian Symbol features a wolf wearing sheep’s clothing.

The most prominent founding members were Sidney and Beatrice Webb and George Bernard Shaw. This group was soon joined by various influential aspiring priests of the British Empire, namely leading Theosophist Annie Besant, Huxley protégé H.G. Wells, Bertrand Russell, Arthur Balfour, and the founder of Geopolitics Halford Mackinder. The name “Fabian” was chosen for the Roman General Fabius Maximus (aka: The Delayer), who’s fame is founded on having beaten Hannibal by never engaging in direct combat, but rather by sheer endurance and attrition. In the founding Fabian document it was written:

“For the right moment you must wait, as Fabius did most patiently, when warring against Hannibal, though many censured his delays; but when the time comes you must strike hard, as Fabius did, or your waiting will be in vain, and fruitless.”(4)

The Fabian society program focused on broad social welfare programs such as universal health care, mass education, and better working conditions which were designed to attract the disenfranchised masses. Under the Fabian program, such programs held no substance in reality, as the true means to justify their creation was banned a priori (aka: scientific and technological progress). That is, the activation of self-conscious reason in all members of society.

This ruse was thus designed to merely bring the will of the lower classes under the deeper influence of a ruling oligarchy via the promise of “democratic socialism” and a naïvely utopian “end of history” ideal. All the masses have to do in order to receive their treats, is to accept being governed by a scientific priesthood which will manage their lives and eventually kill them if they are deemed too numerous or troublesome to maintain. This priesthood will manage pre-existing wealth in such a way as is expedient to placate the mob, but will not allow the creation of new wealth via the activation of the powers of mind as that would force the changing of the parameters of the fixed channels of the system which they seek to manage as gods. The controllers of Fabian Socialism are not, nor have they ever been “democratic socialists”, but brutish social Darwinists. As theosophist Annie Besant said to the Indian Congress party:

“But the general idea is that each man should have power according to his knowledge and capacity. […] And the keynote is that of my fairy State: From every man according to his capacity; to every man according to his needs. A democratic Socialism, controlled by majority votes, guided by numbers, can never succeed; a truly aristocratic Socialism, controlled by duty, guided by wisdom, is the next step upwards in civilization.”(5)

Without a genuine commitment to scientific discovery and the unbounded increase of the productive powers of labour, as laid out clearly in the American System of Political Economy, then no promise of social welfare measures are durable. Any such handouts will necessarily result in a Ponzi-pyramid crisis which will, by its very nature, force the logic of triage and thus fascism onto the dupes that “democratically” permitted its hegemony. All current arguments to cut social security, pension plans, health care, and education are derived from this function. The rise of environmentalism as a “new post-industrial religion” today pushed by a Green New Deal has a blood curdling agenda of depopulation behind its nominal socialist costume.

Working closely with leading figures of Oxford, and especially the Rhodes Trust, the Fabians set up their own school with Rothschild funding called the London School of Economics (LSE) in 1895. The ideological framework employed by both the LSE and Oxford agents were always formulated by Cambridge, which to this day remains the core intellectual hive of the empire’s rotten ideas. Oxford and LSE continue to exist primarily for the purposes of setting up programs which “apply” those “pure” ideas formulated in Cambridge into general practice in the interests of the ruling oligarchy. Prominent Fabian controllers who recruited young talent at the LSE were Frederick von Hayek, Bertrand Russell, John Maynard Keynes, and Harold Laski.

Five years after LSE was established, the Labour Party was created as the official Fabian political party. Its function was essentially take over the role of the left from the Liberals in opposition to the Conservative government which had previously been the two hegemonic parties in Britain. One of the most perverse members of the movement, playwright George Bernard Shaw laid out the method of permeation which had governed the Fabian success in permeating influential socio political institutions:

 “Our propaganda is one of permeating – we urged our members to join the Liberal and Radical Associations in their district, or, if they preferred it, the Conservative Associations – we permeated the party organizations and pulled all the strings we could lay our hands on with the utmost adroitness and energy, and we succeeded so well that in 1888 we gained the solid advantage of a Progressive majority full of ideas that would never have come into their heads had not the Fabians put them there.”

This is exactly what was done. Over this century, the LSE has conditioned dozens of heads of state, tens of thousands of civil servants and several generations of academics.

In Canada this process was replicated in 1931 when the “Fabian Society of Canada” was created by 5 Rhodes Scholars and dubbed the League of Social Reconstruction. It quickly created a pro-eugenics political party called the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation in 1932 which changed its name to the NDP in 1961. Many of its core controllers took over the Liberal Party after the purge of pro-American system statesman C.D. Howeand his allies after 1957.

More cabinet officials under Barack Obama had studied at Oxford and LSE than its American counterparts Yale, Harvard or Princeton (6). This is the essence of the Deep State which has sought to overthrow President Trump ever since he became a serious candidate in the 2016 elections.

This method of “permeation” is analogous to a virus taking over the white blood cells of a victim. At first, the virus’ presence in the system is hardly noticeable, but when organs begin to unexpectedly malfunction, the thoughtless person may foolishly choose not to seek help, but wait for the immanent point at which he is past the point of no return. This infection has taken place thousands of years ago, and while humanity produced bursts of potential led by creative genius over the generations, mankind still has not learned his lesson.

Throwing off Zeus’ Shackles

It is of absolute necessity that now, even at this late date, the lessons of past mistakes are learnt before the lawful outcome of this virus runs its course and kills its host. The essence of mankind’s troubles is not derived by any defect in our nature, or our “greedy yearning for progress”. It is not due to our fixed “selfish nature”, nor will our problems be resolved by adopting a “sustainable” system of zero technological growth under “Green New Deals”. Such a system only exists in the delusional mind of an oligarch or their victims, but not in nature. If such a system were to be imposed on our 21st century society, a genocide magnitudes greater than anything Hitler could have dreamed will be the result.

So let us put away such Fabian theories as “man-made global warming”, and “zero growth green technologies” which will produce only famine, war, and chaos. Let us instead rediscover the identity which was inspired by Benjamin Franklin’s discovery of electric fire. The quickest path to reawakening this identity within the greatest portion of the species is by engaging in such great projects the Belt and Road Initiative, embarking upon a total nuclear power renaissance, and returning to John F. Kennedy’s vision for unbounded space exploration as Presidents Trump, Xi, and Putin have all made national priorities. If the nature of humanity is to truly live as made in the image of the creator, then adapting like an animal to the unchangeable and unknowable cycles of nature is not compatible with our purpose.

 Endnotes

  • “Made in the living image of the creator”

(2) The earliest known document produced by Gottfried Leibniz on the topic of physical economy as a branch of science are found in his Science and Economy (1671) .

(3) The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics presumes that all fixed systems contain a fixed amount of energy, and thus for every addition of activity within the fixed system, the system as a whole has ever less energy to sustain itself, and is thus vectored inexorably towards an “equilibrium” point of heat death (ie: potential for change is always diminishing as entropy increases proportionally)

(4) Quoted in A.M. McBriar, Fabian Socialism and English Politics, 1884–1918. [1962] Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1966; pg. 9.

(5) Annie Besant. “The Future Socialism”. Bibby’s Annual (reprinted by Adyar Pamphlet).OCLC 038686071. Bessant herself was made President of the India Congress Party in 1917

(6) Under Obama, White House Chief of Staff, Deputy Chief of Staff, Budget Director, and Secretary for Homeland Security have all studied at LSE while Secretary of State Susan Rice was an Oxford Rhodes Scholar. This does not of course, imply that Yale, Harvard or Princeton are in any way reputable schools, but it is indicative of who really runs American policy.

Reprinted from The Duran.

The post The Origins of the Deep State in Noth America appeared first on LewRockwell.

Keep your eyes on the story of Jason Kenney's 'war room' -- it's going to be a boondoggle!

Rabble News - Mon, 2019-05-20 12:36
David J. Climenhaga

The discovery last week that Postmedia was trying to cash in on Alberta Premier Jason Kenney's promised $30-million anti-environmental "war room" at the same time it has its hand out to Ottawa for a federal bailout has rather surprisingly turned out to be a story with legs.

The irony of a down-on-its-luck but still influential media corporation controlled by and heavily indebted to U.S. venture funds trying to cash in on the United Conservative Party Government's effort to give credence to a conspiracy theory about Americans bankrolling the environmental movement was just too much to resist, I guess.

As many observers of the Canadian media scene have noted over this May long weekend, Postmedia has already played a highly dubious role in its one-sided coverage of the energy and global climate change stories in Canada.

Readers are advised to keep their eyes on this developing story, though -- not that they'll get much help from Postmedia.

That's because there's much more to come than just the shabby remnants of the once mighty Southam newspaper empire proving that what journalists used to call "the separation of church and state" -- that is, the metaphorical wall between the editorial and advertising departments -- is nothing more than a fond memory at English Canada's largest newspaper chain.

What to watch for? First, look for what private-sector firm gets to run the generously funded boiler room -- and it will almost certainly turn out to be a private contractor, given the UCP's market-fundamentalist predilections, rather than a formal Ministry of Truth staffed by civil servants.

This thing is going to turn out to be a boondoggle of historic proportions that makes some well-connected conservative operatives very, very rich.

Remember this when Kenney's United Conservative Party government tells you we're so short of money, what with the corporate tax cuts and everything, that classroom crowding is inevitable and essential medical services must be delisted and privatized.

So follow the money. Take note of which friends of Kenney get their paws on it. That's good advice with any political story.

And while environmental lobbies are likely justified to scoff at Kenney's threat of a legal holy war against fact and science -- truth be told, it's the greatest fund-raising opportunity the environmental movement has been handed in its short history -- readers should also watch for signs Kenney will try to turn the "war room" into a Fox News style fake news and harassment operation funded with our taxes.

After all, it would be pretty hard for anyone to argue in a court of law that saying Alberta’s oilsands are the country’s fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions, and are making it impossible us to meet our international climate-change commitments, is somehow defamatory or false.

Sure, you might be able to bully the Calgary-based Pembina Institute for speaking such an unpalatable truth, but not the federal government, which says the same thing.

So the "war room" is unlikely to get far going after major players in the environmental movement, backed as they are by the donations of huge numbers of Canadians.

But using weaponized social media and a taxpayer financed Fox News knockoff to gin up a campaign of harassment against the Alberta government’s long list of "enemies," real and imagined, is another matter entirely.

This, presumably, is the trough Postmedia is lining up to get its corporate snout into, although the record suggests Kenney's "boys in short pants" already have the skill set to deliver this without Postmedia's questionable digital expertise.

Still, why not give it a try? As noted, Postmedia has already established there is no separation of church and state in its news operations. Consider the heavily indebted corporation's pitch to the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers that it would "undertake to leverage all means editorially, technically and creatively -- through the Financial Post, Postmedia market newspapers and affiliated media partners -- to further this critical conversation." (Emphasis added.)

The corporation's propaganda assets in Alberta are considerable: Two daily newspapers and their online operations in each of the province's two largest cities and more than 30 community newspapers throughout the province.

According to the Narwhal, this even turned out to include running a couple of paid advertorial stories, nowadays known as "commercial content," with no indication they were not written by one of the corporation's diminishing cadre of real journalists.

As for those journalists, though, one is inevitably reminded of the immortal words of the distinguished British civil servant Humbert Wolfe:

You cannot hope
to bribe or twist,
thank God! The
British journalist.

But, seeing what
the man will do
unbribed, there's
no occasion to.

Jason Kenney's statement on the Battle of Monte Cassino -- it's weird

Jason Kenney's official statement yesterday marking the 75th anniversary of the Allied victory in the Battle of Monte Cassino during the Italian Campaign is just … weird.

Kenney rightly marks the sacrifice and remarkable courage of the Polish troops who finally dislodged stubborn German forces from the strategic heights on May 18, 1944, at the end of the bitter five-month campaign that was one of the bloodiest fights of the Second World War.

"On behalf of the Government of Alberta I am pleased to join with Albertans of Polish descent and all Albertans in marking this proud moment in the history of the Polish people," he says in his peroration. About 1,050 Polish soldiers are known to have died in the battle.

But beyond mentioning that many Canadians were among the 55,000 casualties of the protracted battle, there was not a mention of the sacrifice of the 855 Canadians known to have been killed in the fight for Monte Cassino.

Nor is there any acknowledgement that the long engagement might be fairly described as a pyrrhic victory -- the Germans suffered about 20,000 casualties in their strategic retreat -- and it resulted in the obliteration of one greatest cultural and artistic centres of the Middle Ages by the United States Air Force.

Tragically, it was learned later that the bombing raid was militarily useless, and probably counterproductive. Only civilians were killed and the Germans were not using the fortress-like monastery to spot artillery targets.

No acknowledgement of that in Kenney's chest thumping statement either.  Like I say, weird.

David Climenhaga, author of the Alberta Diary blog, is a journalist, author, journalism teacher, poet and trade union communicator who has worked in senior writing and editing positions with The Globe and Mail and the Calgary Herald. This post also appears on David Climenhaga's blog, AlbertaPolitics.ca

Photo: David J. Climenhaga

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Adios, Manhattan

Lew Rockwell - Mon, 2019-05-20 11:01

This is my last week in the Bagel and I’m going to give it the old college try. Two weeks without booze, ciggies, or ladies have made Taki a very dull boy. The next seven days—nights, rather—will decide.

The Bagel, of course, is not what it used to be, but then what is? I was recently looking at some grand Gotham landmarks, contemplating that they or I will not be around forever. I walked inside the San Remo on the West Side and was transported to a different era: high ceilings, thick walls, big windows, and lots of character. Only the wildest romantic would build Greek temples modeled after the monument of Lysistrata in Athens thirty stories up in the air. (They conceal twin water tanks.) From the turn of the last century until the 1929 stock market crash, most of the important apartment buildings were constructed in the beaux arts style. They look even more beautiful when compared with the glass horrors of today. The beaux arts and art deco styles continued up to the war, but then came the Bauhaus and the end of beauty and grace.

I suppose one always tends to look back when the bell for the last round goes off. Looking back is fun because one only remembers the good. Authority-defying gasbags were in short supply back then; the war had made everyone a patriot. The counterculture and the hippies were fifteen years away, the corrupt culture of Facebook sixty years in the distance. The Metropolitan Museum had not been debased and turned into a freak show by the social-climbing Anna Wintour, and Jeff (Errol Flynn) Bezos looked handsomer as DNA.

Train travel back then was romantic, and Grand Central conjured up the movie scenes of those classic meetings between soldiers and their sweethearts embracing beneath the great clock. It just wouldn’t be the same today in a lousy crowded airport full of security, would it? Yep, those were the powerful sounds and sights of childhood, the trains with names like ships, Empire Builder or Spirit of St. Louis. Penn Station was even grander than Grand Central, with more pillars, a vaster promenade, and long steps an emperor would pine for, but it always brought back sad memories of returning to boarding school. (A modern Nero named Moses knocked the place down in the ’60s.)

Another difference with the distant past was that no one I knew or came into contact with was starstruck then. In fact it was downright rude, certainly not done, to say things like “OMG” when coming across some celebrity. That was left to the so-called bobby-soxers, silly young women who screamed and fainted over singers like Sinatra or Perry Como. But those two, along with many others, were great singers carrying great tunes written by great songsmiths, not the crap one has to put up with today.

Read the Whole Article

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An Attack on Iran

Lew Rockwell - Mon, 2019-05-20 11:01

An Iraq-War redux is now in full play, with leading roles played by some of the same protagonists — President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, for example, who says he still thinks attacking Iraq was a good idea. Co-starring is Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

The New York Times on Tuesday played its accustomed role in stoking the fires, front-paging a report that, at Bolton’s request, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan has come up with an updated plan to send as many as 120,000 troops to the Middle East, should Iran attack American forces or accelerate work on nuclear weapons. The Times headline writer, at least, thought it appropriate to point to echoes from the past: “White House Reviews Military Plans Against Iran, in Echoes of Iraq War.”

By midday, Trump had denied the Times report, branding it “fake news.” Keep them guessing, seems to be the name of the game.

Following the Iraq playbook, Bolton and Pompeo are conjuring up dubious intelligence from Israel to “justify” attacking — this time — Iran. (For belligerent Bolton, this was entirely predictable.) All this is clear.

What is not clear, to Americans and foreigners alike, is why Trump would allow Bolton and Pompeo to use the same specious charges — terrorism and nuclear weapons — to provoke war with a country that poses just as much strategic threat to the U.S. as Iraq did — that is to say, none. The corporate media, with a two-decade memory-loss and a distinct pro-Israel bias, offers little help toward understanding.

Before discussing the main, but unspoken-in-polite-circles, impulse behind the present step-up in threats to Iran, let’s clear some underbrush by addressing the two limping-but-still-preferred, ostensible rationales, neither of which can bear close scrutiny:

No. 1: It isn’t because Iran is the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism. We of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity shot down that canard a year and a half ago. In a Memorandum for President Trump, we said:

“The depiction of Iran as ‘the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism’ is not supported by the facts. While Iran is guilty of having used terrorism as a national policy tool in the past, the Iran of 2017 is not the Iran of 1981. In the early days of the Islamic Republic, Iranian operatives routinely carried out car bombings, kidnappings and assassinations of dissidents and of American citizens. That has not been the case for many years.”

No. 2. It isn’t because Iran is building a nuclear weapon. A November 2007 U.S. National Intelligence Estimate concluded unanimously that Iran had stopped working on a nuclear weapon in 2003 and had not resumed any such work. That judgment has been re-affirmed by the Intelligence Community annually since then.

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal, imposed strict, new, verifiable restrictions on Iranian nuclear-related activities and was agreed to in July 2015 by Iran, the U.S., Russia, China, France, the U.K., Germany and the European Union.

Even the Trump administration has acknowledged that Iran has been abiding by the agreement’s provisions. Nevertheless, President Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Iran nuclear deal on May 8, 2018, four weeks after John Bolton became his national security adviser.

‘We Prefer No Outcome’

Fair WarningWhat follows may come as a shock to those malnourished on the drivel in mainstream media: The “WHY,” quite simply, is Israel. It is impossible to understand U.S. Middle East policy without realizing the overwhelming influence of Israel on it and on opinion makers. (A personal experience drove home how strong the public appetite is for the straight story, after I gave a half-hour video interview to independent videographer Regis Tremblay three years ago. He titled it “The Inside Scoop on the Middle East & Israel,” put it on YouTube and it got an unusually high number of views.)

Syria is an illustrative case in point, since Israel has always sought to secure its position in the Middle East by enlisting U.S. support to curb and dominate its neighbors. An episode I recounted in that interview speaks volumes about Israeli objectives in the region as a whole, not only in Syria. And it includes an uncommonly frank admission/exposition of Israeli objectives straight from the mouths of senior Israeli officials. It is the kind of case-study, empirical approach much to be preferred to indulging in ponderous pronouncements or, worse still, so-called “intelligence assessments.”

It has long been clear that Israeli leaders have powerful incentives to get Washington more deeply engaged in yet another war in the area. This Israeli priority has become crystal clear in many ways. Reporter Jodi Rudoren, writing from Jerusalem, had an important article in TheNew York Times on Sept. 6, 2013, in which she addressed Israel’s motivation in a particularly candid way. Her article, titled “Israel Backs Limited Strike against Syria,” noted that the Israelis have argued, quietly, that the best outcome for Syria’s civil war, at least for the moment, is no outcome.

Rudoren wrote:

“For Jerusalem, the status quo, horrific as it may be from a humanitarian perspective, seems preferable to either a victory by Mr. Assad’s government and his Iranian backers or a strengthening of rebel groups, increasingly dominated by Sunni jihadis.

“‘This is a playoff situation in which you need both teams to lose, but at least you don’t want one to win — we’ll settle for a tie,’ said Alon Pinkas, a former Israeli consul general in New York. ‘Let them both bleed, hemorrhage to death: that’s the strategic thinking here. As long as this lingers, there’s no real threat from Syria.’”

If this is the way Israel’s current leaders look at the carnage in Syria, they seem to believe that deeper U.S. involvement, including military action, is likely to ensure that there is no early resolution of the conflict especially when Syrian government forces seem to be getting the upper hand. The longer Sunni and Shia are at each other’s throats in Syria and in the wider region, the safer Israel calculates it will be.

The fact that Syria’s main ally is Iran, with whom it has a mutual defense treaty, also plays a role in Israeli calculations. And since Iranian military support has not been enough to destroy those challenging Bashar al-Assad, Israel can highlight that in an attempt to humiliate Iran as an ally.

Today the geography has shifted from Syria to Iran: What’s playing out in the Persian Gulf area is a function of the politically-dictated obsequiousness of American presidents to the policies and actions of Israel’s leaders. This bipartisan phenomenon was obvious enough under recent presidents like Clinton and Obama; but under Bush II and Trump, it went on steroids, including a born-again, fundamentalist religious aspect.

One need hardly mention the political power of the Israel lobby and the lucrative campaign donations from the likes of Sheldon Adelson. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is riding high, at least for the now, Israeli influence is particularly strong in the lead-up to U.S. elections, and Trump has been acquitted of colluding with Russia.

The stars seem aligned for very strong “retaliatory strikes” for terrorist acts blamed on Iran. But this is not altogether new: For those unfamiliar with former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s hold on George W. Bush, I include in below a few very short, but highly illustrative examples.

Tonkin — er, I Mean Persian Gulf

Over the weekend, four vessels, including two Saudi oil tankers, were sabotaged near the Strait of Hormuz. Last evening The Wall Street Journal was the first to report an “initial U.S. assessment” that Iran likely was behind the attacks, and quoted a “U.S. official” to the effect that if confirmed, this would inflame military tensions in the Persian Gulf.The attacks came as the U.S. deploys an aircraft carrier, bombers and an antimissile battery to the Gulf — supposedly to deter what the Trump administration said is the possibility of Iranian aggression.

On Tuesday, Yemen’s Houthi rebels, with whom Saudi Arabia has been fighting a bloody war for the past four years, launched a drone attack on a Saudi east-west pipeline that carries crude to the Red Sea. This is not the first such attack; a Houthi spokesman said the attack was a response to Saudi “aggression” and “genocide” in Yemen. The Saudis shut down the pipeline for repair.

Thus the dangers in and around the Strait of Hormuz increase apace with U.S.-Iran recriminations. This, too, is not new.

Tension in the Strait was very much on Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen’s mind as he prepared to retire on Sept. 30, 2011. Ten days before, he told the Armed Force Press Service of his deep concern over the fact that the U.S. and Iran have had no formal communications since 1979:

“Even in the darkest days of the Cold War, we had links to the Soviet Union. We are not talking to Iran. So we don’t understand each other. If something happens, it’s virtually assured that we won’t get it right, that there will be miscalculations.”

Now the potential for an incident has increased markedly. Adm. Mullen was primarily concerned about the various sides — Iran, the U.S., Israel — making hurried decisions with, you guessed it, “unintended consequences.”

With Pompeo and Bolton on the loose, the world may be well advised to worry even more about “intended consequences” from a false flag attack. The Israelis are masters at this. The tactic has been in the U.S. clandestine toolkit for a long time, as well. In recent days, the Pentagon has reported tracking “anomalous naval activity” in the Persian Gulf, including loading small sailing vessels with missiles and other military hardware.

Cheney: Down to the Sea in Boats

In July 2008, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh reported that Bush administration officials had held a meeting in the vice president’s office in the wake of a January 2008 incident between Iranian patrol boats and U.S. warships in the Strait of Hormuz. The reported purpose of the meeting was to discuss ways to provoke war with Iran.

Hersh wrote:

“There were a dozen ideas proffered about how to trigger a war. The one that interested me the most was why don’t we build in our shipyard four or five boats that look like Iranian PT boats. Put Navy seals on them with a lot of arms. And next time one of our boats goes to the Straits of Hormuz, start a shoot-up. Might cost some lives.

“And it was rejected because you can’t have Americans killing Americans. That’s the kind of, that’s the level of stuff we’re talking about. Provocation.

“Silly? Maybe. But potentially very lethal. Because one of the things they learned in the [January 2008] incident was the American public, if you get the right incident, the American public will support bang-bang-kiss-kiss. Youknow, we’re into it.”

Preparing the (Propaganda) Battlefield

One of Washington’s favorite ways to blacken Iran and its leaders is to blame it for killing U.S. troops in Iraq. Iran was accused, inter alia, of supplying the most lethal improvised explosive devices, but sycophants like Gen. David Petraeus wanted to score points by blaming the Iranians for still more actions.

On April 25, 2008, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman, Adm. Mike Mullen, told reporters that Gen. David Petraeus would be giving a briefing “in the next couple of weeks” that would provide detailed evidence of “just how far Iran is reaching into Iraq to foment instability.”

Petraeus’s staff alerted U.S. media to a major news event in which captured Iranian arms in Karbala, Iraq, would be displayed and then destroyed. But there was a small problem. When American munitions experts went to Karbala to inspect the alleged cache of Iranian weapons, they found nothing that could be credibly linked to Iran.

This embarrassing episode went virtually unreported in Western media – like the proverbial tree falling in the forest with no corporate media to hear it crash. A fiasco is only a fiasco if folks find out about it. The Iraqis did announce that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki had formed his own Cabinet committee to investigate U.S. claims and attempt to “find tangible information and not information based on speculation.”

With his windsock full of neoconservative anti-Iran rhetoric, Petreaus, as CIA director, nevertheless persisted — and came up with even more imaginative allegations of Iranian perfidy. Think back, for example, to October 2011 and the outlandish White House spy feature at the time: the Iranian-American-used-car-salesman-Mexican-drug-cartel plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. And hold your nose.

More recently, the Pentagon announced it has upped its estimate of how many U.S. troops Iran killed in Iraq between 2003 and 2011. The revised death tally would mean that Iran is responsible for 17 percent of all U.S. troops killed in Iraq.

Who Will Restrain the ‘Crazies’?

Pompeo stopped off in Brussels on Monday to discuss Iran with EU leaders, skipping what would have been the first day of a two-day trip to Russia. Pompeo did not speak to the news media in Brussels, but European foreign ministers said that they had urged “restraint.”

British Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt told reporters: “We are very worried about the risk of a conflict happening by accident, with an escalation that is unintended, really on either side.” British Army Major General Christopher Ghika was rebuked by U.S. Central Command for saying Tuesday: “There has been no increased threat from Iranian backed forces in Iraq and Syria.” Central Command spokesperson Captain Bill Urban said Ghika’s remarks “run counter to the identified credible threats available to intelligence from U.S. and allies regarding Iranian backed forces in the region.”

Although there is growing resentment at the many serious problems tied to Trump’s pulling the U.S. out of the Iran deal, and there is the EU’s growing pique at heavyweights like Pompeo crashing their gatherings uninvited, I agree with Pepe Escobar’s bottom line, that “it’s politically naïve to believe the Europeans will suddenly grow a backbone.”

There remains a fleeting hope that cooler heads in the U.S. military might summon the courage to talk some sense into Trump, in the process making it clear that they will take orders from neither Pompeo nor from National Security Advisor John Bolton. But the generals and admirals of today are far more likely in the end to salute and “follow orders.”

There is a somewhat less forlorn hope that Russia will give Pompeo a strong warning in Sochi — a shot across the bow, so to speak. The last thing Russia, China, Turkey and other countries want is an attack on Iran. Strategic realities have greatly changed since the two wars on Iraq.

In 1992, still in the afterglow of Desert Storm (the first Gulf War), former Gen. Wesley Clark asked then Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Paul Wolfowitz about major lessons to be drawn from the Desert Storm attack on Iraq in 1991. Without hesitation, Wolfowitz answered, “We can do these things and the Russians won’t stop us.” That was still true for the second attack on Iraq in 2003.

But much has changed since then: In 2014, the Russians stopped NATO expansion to include Ukraine, after the Western-sponsored coup in Kiev; and in the years that followed, Moscow thwarted attempts by the U.S., Israel, and others to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

No doubt Russian President Vladimir Putin would like to “stop us” before the Bolton/Pompeo team finds an “Iranian” casus belli. Initial reporting from Sochi, where Pompeo met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday indicates there was no meeting of the minds on Iran. Both Pompeo and Lavrov described their talks as “frank” — diplomat-speak for acrimonious.

Pompeo was probably treated to much stronger warnings in private during the Sochi talks with Lavrov and Putin. Either or both may even have put into play the potent China card, now that Russia and China have a relationship just short of a military alliance — a momentous alteration of what the Soviets used to call the “correlation of forces.”

In my mind’s eye, I can even see Putin warning, “If you attack Iran, you may wish to be prepared for trouble elsewhere, including in the South China Sea. Besides, the strategic balance is quite different from conditions existing each time you attacked Iraq. We strongly advise you not to start hostilities with Iran — under any pretext. If you do, we are ready this time.”

And, of course, Putin could also pick up the phone and simply call Trump.

There is no guarantee, however, that tough talk from Russia could stick an iron rod into the wheels of the juggernaut now rolling downhill to war on Iran. But, failing that kind of strong intervention and disincentive, an attack on Iran seems all but assured. Were we to be advising President Trump today, we VIPS would not alter a word in the recommendation at the very end of the Memorandum for President George W. Bush we sent him on the afternoon of Feb. 5, 2003, after Colin Powell addressed the UN Security Council earlier that day:

“No one has a corner on the truth; nor do we harbor illusions that our analysis is irrefutable or undeniable [as Powell had claimed his was]. But after watching Secretary Powell today, we are convinced that you would be well served if you widened the discussion … beyond the circle of those advisers clearly bent on a war for which we see no compelling reason and from which we believe the unintended consequences are likely to be catastrophic.”

Reprinted with the author’s permission.

The post An Attack on Iran appeared first on LewRockwell.

Not Just a Trade War

Lew Rockwell - Mon, 2019-05-20 11:01

The Chinese came from nothing; only 40 years ago, they had nothing but a billion impoverished peasants. No money. No technology. No power. Today, they’re on par with the United States. But, if this trend continues – which it will – their economy will be triple the size of the US economy in 20 years.

Not just a trade war, but a shooting war with the Chinese seems inevitable. Because when tensions build up between states they eventually fight with each other. China is the major rising power. It’s got four times the US population, it’s soon going to be more economically powerful, and it’s going to reach military parity. It’s of a different culture than the US. The US government may figure it’s best to take them out while the balance still favors them. It’s a bit like the situation was with the USSR in the ’80s. They could see they were going into decline, and some Soviet generals figured it was “now or never” for a successful war. Fortunately they collapsed first.

The Chinese don’t like seeing US aircraft carriers off their coast any more than we would like to see Chinese aircraft carriers in the Gulf of Mexico or off Santa Catalina Island.

The last thing that we need is a war with the Chinese. But if something that’s been called the Thucydides Trap is valid – and I think it is – then it’s highly likely. It refers to the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta, at the end of 5th century BC. The Trap is sprung when a reigning power strikes out at the advancing power while they still have a chance of winning.

The American military thinks that a shooting war is inevitable. And it probably is. Why? Well, 5,000 years of history teaches us that it’s better to start a war when you’re more powerful than your enemy rather than wait until they’re more powerful than you. It’s always been this way. The Golden Rule of statecraft is: Do unto others – but do it first. It’s a very dangerous situation.

The US may do something stupid, like fabricate an incident, and launch a preemptive strike against China. Or perhaps things just get out of control, as they did in World War I.

It would make about as much sense as the Peloponnesian War, or World War I. But these things can take on a life of their own.

The wars between European powers were bad enough. But when the US fought Japan it actually turned into a race war. What happened in the Pacific was far uglier than what happened in Europe. There were basically no prisoners taken.

The next big war – as opposed to a sport war, like those in the Middle East – is likely to be with China. That could make World War II look trivial by comparison.

The Next Financial Crisis Will Be “The Big One”

Nobody has a crystal ball, but I think you can see the dominos lining up. Will this be the big one, or will it just be another recession – an inconvenience, followed by even bigger bubbles? It’s a question of odds. And the more dominos that lineup – the political, economic, social, demographic, military, and cultural dominos – the more logical that this next one is going to be much bigger than what happened in 2008.

That’s why I use the analogy of 2007-2010 being the leading edge of this hurricane. We’ve had a very big eye of the storm because of absolutely massive money printing by central banks all over the world. It’s had the effect of throwing oil on the water.

When we go into the trailing edge of this hurricane, it’s going to be much worse, much different, and much longer lasting than the unpleasantness of 2007-2010. Why? Because that was caused by inflation and debt. We’ve had vastly more of that over the last decade to paper over the problems. I think we’re re-entering the hurricane now.

But there’s always some good news. Here the good news is that most of the real wealth in the world – skills, technologies, buildings, things of that nature – won’t disappear just because the economy collapses. Most of the real wealth will still be here. It’s just going to change ownership.

I look forward to moments of crisis – assuming that the system itself is maintained in more or less its present form. In other words, it’s possible to look forward to a financial crisis, if you can position yourself to weather it. Financial crises come and go. It’s possible to position yourself to profit from a financial crisis.

I’m not, however, looking forward to an economic crisis, or a political crisis. Those can have major consequences. And I’m absolutely not looking forward to a cultural crisis, which is by far the most serious kind. Unfortunately, that is what we’re facing at this point.

Let’s just hope that what’s coming this time, over the next few years, is limited to a financial crisis. But I don’t expect that’s the case. I think it’s going to be economic, political, and cultural as well.

Reprinted with permission from International Man.

The post Not Just a Trade War appeared first on LewRockwell.

War

Lew Rockwell - Mon, 2019-05-20 11:01

What started as a reform of one Church produces an open-ended array of competing churches, which virtually no one at the time considers a good thing.

Rebel in the Ranks: Martin Luther, the Reformation, and the Conflicts That Continue to Shape Our World, by Brad S. Gregory

The Reformation played out differently in Germany, France, England, and the Low Countries.  Gregory examines each in turn.  This post will run a bit long; I am treating it more like a history lesson (for me) and I want to get through it in one post.  If this isn’t of interest for you or is otherwise unnecessary, feel free to stop here.

Germany

Gregory spends some time on The Council of Trent – spelling out the Church’s views on various aspects of Reformation theology and practice.  I will spend no time on the details of this – a mine field I would rather not traverse.  For those interested, I offer three sources: one Catholic, one Reformed, and Wikipedia.

According to Gregory, Catholic leaders reject the most fundamental Protestant premise: The Church offers false doctrines.  On a second and also important premise, there are plenty of Catholic leaders that recognize that there are and have been sinful abuses and a lack of holiness among both clergy and laity.

Further attempts are made at some sort of reconciliation between the Reformers and the Church.  The final meaningful attempt was made at Regensburg in 1541, the Colloquy (or Diet) of Regensburg.  A summary:

…a conference held at Regensburg (Ratisbon) in 1541, during the Protestant Reformation, which marks the culmination of attempts to restore religious unity in the Holy Roman Empire by means of theological debate between the Protestants and the Catholics.

Agreement was easily reached on some articles, tenuously reached on a few, and not at all on others.  Even where agreement was reached, it mattered little if Luther did not also accept these positions.  Before Luther offered any formal rejection, Rome rejected the formula for justification.  That was that.

Returning to Gregory: then come the wars.  Catholic against Protestant; Catholic and Magisterial Protestants against other Protestant sects.  Next comes the Peace of Augsburg, “a Holy Roman Empire with two religions, Lutheran and Catholic.”  Wow.

Noticeably missing from this peace is Reformed Protestantism (Calvinism).  This is a problem as one and then more princes convert from Lutheranism to Reformed – sometimes referred to as Germany’s Second Reformation.  However, there is generally peace for some decades after Augsburg.  This peace would end with what is now known as the Thirty Years’ War, beginning in 1618.

The Thirty Years’ War was a war fought primarily in Central Europe between 1618 and 1648. One of the most destructive conflicts in human history, it resulted in eight million fatalities not only from military engagements but also from violence, famine, and plague.

This war ended with the Peace of Westphalia, creating a framework for Protestant and Catholics to coexist – in neighboring principalities.  Religion and politics will align within any given political border.  This basic structure would persist until the nineteenth century.

By 1650, it looks as though all the political leaders who were confident God was on their side were wrong.  Perhaps God had never been on anyone’s side.

France

There is no Lutheranism in France.  Calvinism arrives in the form of the Huguenots.  Pamphlets, trials, executions.  As late as 1554, there are still no established Calvinist churches in France – although the number of underground believers is growing.  By 1562, perhaps 800 such churches exist.  Most are far from Paris, in the south.  The growth emboldens the Huguenots: they destroy church art, deface alters and harass clergy.

They make up perhaps ten percent of the population, but a much larger proportion of the nobility – a problem because still in the sixteenth century no ruler could rule without noble support.

In 1561, Catherine de’ Medici, queen-mother and regent of the eleven-year-old King Charles IX, called the Colloquy of Poissy.  It was an attempt to reconcile the Catholics and Protestant Huguenots.  Gregory describes the meeting as an utter failure.

Beginning in 1562, a series of eight civil wars ensue; from start to finish, these last longer than the Thirty Years’ War with perhaps 3 million deaths.  As in Germany, what is described as French Wars of Religion might be better described as wars for political power: a dynastic power struggle between powerful noble families in the line for succession to the French throne – one Catholic and the other Reformed – with the reigning royal family trying to stride the middle in the form of Catholic conciliation.

Massacres, conversions, refugees, assassinations, acts of revenge.  After thirty-six years, in 1598, King Henry IV signed the Edict of Nantes, granting the Huguenots substantial rights but leaving them with no army.  Fearing an erosion of these rights – as would soon enough prove a rational fear – hundreds of thousands of Huguenots flee France for Calvinist territories in England, the Dutch Republic, the Holy Roman Empire, and the Carolina Coast of the New World.

England

During the sixteenth century, England was religiously whipsawed more than any other major kingdom in Europe.  Henry VIII authored a Latin defense of the Catholic faith; within a decade he would denounce the “Bishop of Rome” as a usurper and declared himself head of the Church of England.  A few years later, he started severing the heads of those who wouldn’t take an oath confirming this status.

Did Henry receive a vision from Luther, Calvin, or Jesus himself?  Hardly.  He wanted a divorce.  Unfortunately for Henry, his wife was the aunt of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V.  No papal dispensation would be forthcoming.

Henry’s Reformation was anti-Catholic and anti-Protestant.  Henry would punish all who challenged his authority – from any source.

On June 30, 1540, two days after he ordered the execution of Thomas Cromwell, he burned three Protestants for heresy and ordered three Roman Catholics hanged, drawn, and quartered as traitors for denying royal supremacy.

When Henry died seven years later, Reformed Protestantism would arrive with a vengeance.  Anti-Protestant laws were repealed, clergy could marry, the mass was abolished, alters were torn down, paintings and sculptures were removed from churches, church gold and silver were seized, a new liturgy was developed in English.

A new king (actually a new queen, Mary I, Henry’s daughter by Catherine) and another change – with an about face to Roman Catholicism.  She reversed everything done by her half-brother.  She revived laws against heresy, with three hundred executions carried out during her five-year reign.

Then Mary died.  Elizabeth I took the throne.  She undid everything Mary had done, severing once again England’s ties to Rome.  Her reforms are not as draconian as the back-and-forth changes that preceded her reign.  Taking a less-than-extreme approach, she upset the harder-line Protestants that desired a stronger line be drawn – popularly known as “Puritans.”

The Catholics are equally put off.  Perhaps more equally; make that much more equally.  During her reign, Elizabeth approved the executions of more than a hundred Catholic priests, dozens from the laity, and her Catholic cousin, Mary, Queen of Scots.  This was her less-than-extreme defense of Protestantism.

Elizabeth dies without an heir, opening the throne to James VI of Scotland – now James I of England as well.  He is the son of the recently beheaded Mary, yet unlike his mother he is a committed Reformed Protestant.  He is the “James” of King James fame – as in the Bible translation, much of which is adopted from Tyndale.

James moves from a committed Calvinist into at least some toleration of Arminianism; disturbing to the godly, but not nearly as disturbing as when his son ascends to the throne.  Charles I marries a French Catholic princess, opens his court to Catholics, and as if this wasn’t bad enough, he openly takes the mass himself.  Many Puritans emigrate to Massachusetts.

Strife with Calvinist Scotland over religious matters; uprisings that need to be squelched; funds required from Parliament to do so.  When Charles assembles Parliament, it is the first time this body has assembled in more than a decade.  The members are seething.

Parliamentary forces in league with the Scots defeat Royal forces.  Charles is executed as a traitor in 1649 and England is declared a republic.  A decade of instability follows, until Charles II is restored to the throne.  The King James Bible returns, along with the Book of Common Prayer.

The Low Countries

Belgium and the Netherlands; the northern provinces take their independence from Spain and support Reformed Protestantism; the southern provinces remain Catholic.

The development of the Reformation in many ways parallels developments in other regions of central Europe: Lutheran and Anabaptist heresies followed by executions – more than 1,300 executions by 1566, and more than in any other region.  Charles V is working hard to contain the heretics.

Nevertheless, in the Netherlands Reformed Protestantism continues to increase; Charles cedes control of the Low Countries to his son, Philip II, king of Spain.  Nobles petition for a softening of anti-heresy laws; the Spanish king sharply rebuffs them, saying he would rather lose all his lands than rule over heretics.

Be careful what you wish for, I guess:  In April 1566, three-hundred armed nobles ride into Brussels and present Margaret, the king’s regent, with the Compromise of the Nobility – with a demand, backed by arms, of reducing the anti-heresy laws.  Margaret has no choice but to relent; in the wake, Calvinism explodes and denunciation of Catholic idolatry and Spanish tyranny boil over.

Monasteries attacked and destroyed, the start of what we now know as the Eighty Years’ War.  Philip sends an army of more than 10,000 men, headed by the Duke of Alva: trials of more than 12,000 people take place; 9,000 are deprived of property; more than 1,000 are executed.  New taxes are imposed, provoking Calvinists and Catholics alike.

Dutch Calvinist pirates begin seizing coastal towns, eventually taking all major cities in the province except Amsterdam.  They drive out the priests and kill over 130 of them.  Philip can little afford the cost of wars against the Calvinists in the north while at the same time battling the Ottoman Turks.  Troops in the Low Countries go unpaid, so they mutiny – sacking Antwerp, killing 8,000 and destroying more than 1,000 homes.  What a mess.

The Dutch Republic is formalized in 1581; the southern provinces (essentially Belgium) go their own way.  Yet the conflicts continue:

In the judgement of some, Catholicism under Spanish control is better than the violent aggression wrought by militant Calvinists.

The fighting continues on and off until 1648 with more bloodshed and more refugees.  This is resolved along with resolution of the Thirty Years’ War in the Peace of Westphalia.

At first glance, the Dutch Republic and the Spanish Netherlands look quite similar – except for religion, obviously.  But these are quite different, and the Dutch Republic develops in a manner unique from elsewhere in Western Europe:

In the Dutch Republic there is no state church, as there are in France, Spain, England, German Lutheran territories, Scandinavian countries, or the Reformed Protestant territories of the Holy Roman Empire.

People in the Republic do not have to belong to a particular religion; while there is a state-supported church, only a small minority of the population belong to it.  The Republic becomes a haven for religious groups of all sorts, and especially in Amsterdam political authorities are relatively tolerant…

…allowing almost anyone to believe and worship together however they wish, provided they worship behind the closed doors of “hidden churches” and remain politically obedient.

That last part’s the rub, isn’t it?  Certainly one had to be politically obedient during the Middle Ages as well (when or where in history have we not?), but one also had an outlet for appeal given the decentralized nature of governance and the separate power and authority of church and king.

Conclusion

Regardless of the form it took, political power was central to the Reformation era.

Calling these wars of religion is intended to draw our gaze to the wrong culprit.  Religion was a pretext; political power was the objective.

Epilogue

The Netherlands would provide what would become the model for society that lost religion for its cohesiveness: markets in material goods.  Trade would bring men together peacefully – at least for a time and at least for a time when the continent was exhausted from war.

Reprinted with permission from Bionic Mosquito.

The post War appeared first on LewRockwell.

Prescription for Violence

Lew Rockwell - Mon, 2019-05-20 11:01

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), a mass murder occurs when at least four people are murdered, not including the shooter, over a relatively short period of time during a single incident. Over the last 30 years, the United States has seen a significant increase in mass shootings, which are becoming more frequent and more deadly.

Seemingly every time a mass shooting occurs, whether it’s at a synagogue in Pittsburgh or a nightclub in Orlando, the anti-gun media and politicians have a knee-jerk response – they blame the tragedy solely on the tool used, namely firearms, and focus all of their proposed “solutions” on more laws, ignoring that the murderer already broke numerous laws when they committed their atrocity.

Facts matter when addressing such an emotionally charged topic, and more gun control legislation has shown that law-abiding Americans who own guns are not the problem. Consider the following: The more gun control laws that are passed, the more mass murders have occurred.

Whether or not this is correlation or causation is debatable. What is not debatable is that this sick phenomenon of mass murderers targeting “gun-free zones,” where they know civilian carry isn’t available to law-abiding Americans, is happening. According to the Crime Prevention Research Center, 97.8 percent of public shootings occur in “gun-free zones” – and “gun-free zones” are the epitome of the core philosophical tenant of gun control, that laws are all the defense one needs against violence.

Therefore, when the media and politicians focus their ire on guns, specifically what types of guns are used, such as AR-styles, carbines, semi-automatics, and “high capacity” handguns, in the wake of such tragedies the American public are being intentionally drawn into an emotionally charged debate about legal gun ownership (irrespective of whether the murderer’s gun was legally or illegally obtained). This debate leads them away from the elephant in the room and one of the real issues behind mass shootings – mental health and prescription drugs.

Ignoring what’s going on in the heads of these psychopaths not only allows mass shootings to continue, it leads to misguided gun control laws that violate the Second Amendment and negate the rights of law-abiding U.S. citizens. As Jeff Snyder put it in The Washington Times:

“But to ban guns because criminals use them is to tell the innocent and law-abiding that their rights and liberties depend not on their own conduct, but on the conduct of the guilty and the lawless, and that the law will permit them to have only such rights and liberties as the lawless will allow.”

Violence, especially random violence, is a complex manifestation of various thoughts, feelings, and external factors. When a multivariate analysis of these factors is conducted, it becomes apparent that it’s not just mental health issues that are leading to such an increase. There may be an underlying substance which plays a role in a high percentage of these violent acts – the use of prescription antidepressants, specifically selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs.

At first glance, it makes sense that those involved in mass shootings may be taking antidepressants, as they’re clearly suffering from some sort of mental health issue. But the issue with SSRIs runs much deeper than just a random mental health break. These drugs are a prescription for violent crimes, and that’s a story the anti-gun media and politicians don’t want to talk about.

History of Antidepressant Use in the U.S.

To understand the rise in antidepressant use, one must first understand depression. Everyone, no matter how great their life, has periods of sadness, times when they feel down or low. This is especially true when faced with hardships or going through things like a divorce, the loss of a job, or the death of a parent.

This is not clinical depression. Clinical depression is a serious mental disorder that impacts how a person functions on a daily basis. Depression makes it hard to get out of bed. It makes it hard to go to work. It makes it hard to take a shower or answer the phone. It stops a person from functioning on the basic levels.

Understanding Depression

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, commonly referred to as the DSM-5, to be considered clinically depressed, a patient must experience five of the following symptoms most of the day, every day, for at least two weeks. What’s more, these symptoms must be so severe, they interfere with normal functioning:

  • Sadness
  • Anxiety
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Feeling worthless
  • Feeling helpless
  • Feeling “empty”
  • Feeling guilty
  • Irritable
  • Fatigue
  • Lack of energy
  • Loss of interest in hobbies
  • Slow talking and moving
  • Restlessness
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Abnormal sleep patterns, whether sleeping too much or not enough
  • Abnormal weight changes, either eating too much or having no appetite
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

Depression is a serious, and sometimes life-threatening, illness. But in the modern world, it’s highly over-diagnosed. A study published in Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics looked at 5,639 patients in the U.S. who were diagnosed with depression by their clinician and compared their symptoms to the DSM criteria for clinical depression. Of these patients, only 38.4 percent met the criteria, even though the majority of the 5,639 patients were prescribed depression medication.

Today, with the way antidepressants are prescribed, nearly one in four Americans will meet the criteria to be diagnosed with depression within their lifetime, and will be prescribed medications that interfere with how their brain functions.

The Rise of Antidepressants

In the 1950s, the first generation of antidepressants hit the market. The introductory class of antidepressants to gain Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval were monoamine oxidase inhibitors, known as MAOIs. Although highly effective, MAOIs can cause extremely high blood pressure when paired with certain foods or medications, and therefore require diet restrictions. Because of these restrictions, they’re rarely used today to treat depression except in cases where other treatments fail.

By the late 1950s, a new class of antidepressants became available – tricyclic antidepressants. Tricyclic antidepressants are also highly effective for treating depression, but are prone to side effects. Even so, this class of antidepressants remained the go-to depression treatment for years. Other drugs were tested for depression treatment, but they hadn’t proved more effective than tricyclic and MAOI antidepressants, especially for severe depression.

Fast forward to the 1980s. America’s tranquilizer dependence was becoming problematic. Quaaludes were heavily over-prescribed for anxiety, resulting in overdose deaths, as well as an increase in deaths from vehicle accidents. The Feds stepped in and in 1984, classified Quaaludes as a Schedule 1 drug, making them illegal to sell, buy, and use.

Valium, a benzodiazepine prescribed for anxiety, was also extremely popular, and was the most prescribed medication in the U.S. from 1969 through 1982. In 1978, the year the medication peaked, more than 2.3 billion pills were sold in the U.S. But Valium was highly addictive and it was believed that a serotonergic medication was a better option to fill the void that was left when Quaaludes were outlawed.

In 1987, Prozac, the first SSRI, was released for depression. Along with it came the idea that depression could be the underlying cause of anxiety. The idea took off, as did the sales of Prozac, and within a few years, it overtook the antidepressant market. Soon, other SSRIs followed.

Along with these SSRIs came direct-to-consumer advertising, which became legal in 1985. By the mid-1990s, the FDA regulations became looser and direct-to-consumer ads exploded into the market. Prozac and other medications showed Americans through glossy advertisements that unhappiness, stress, and anxiety could be treated with a pill.

Instead of doctors recommending a specific medication, patients started coming in, requesting a medication they saw in a magazine or on television.

SSRI sales skyrocketed.

By 2010, 11 percent of Americans over the age of 12 were prescribed an antidepressant, making it the third most prescribed medication, topped only by nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen and naproxen. When looked at over time, there has been a 400-percent increase in antidepressant use from 1988 through 2008.

SSRIs 101: What You Should Know

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, a class of drugs commonly referred to as SSRIs, are the most prescribed antidepressant in the United States. These second-generation antidepressants are marketed to doctors and patients as safe and effective, with relatively minimal side effects. SSRIs are designated to treat mild to moderate depression, as well as anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, and bulimia nervosa.

How do SSRIs work?

SSRIs work to increase the amount of serotonin in the brain. A neurotransmitter that helps neurons communicate, serotonin is associated with many different body functions, but is best known for its influence on mood. Sometimes called “the happy chemical,” serotonin plays a role in a person’s happiness and general feelings of wellbeing.

Low levels of serotonin are linked to depression, although the relationship is not clear. Research has not determined if the low neurotransmitter level causes depression or if depression causes the level of serotonin to drop. It should also be noted that a large amount of serotonin, up to 90 percent, is produced in the gut and may be influenced by what a person eats and drinks.

SSRI medication does exactly what its name says. When two neurons communicate, one releases neurotransmitters, which causes the other neuron to react in a certain way. Because this is constantly going on, these chemicals are always present in the brain. To keep the brain’s chemical balance correct, neurons regulate the amount of neurotransmitters released by a process called reuptake, which involves the reabsorption of the chemical by a neuron.

For instance, if there’s a high level of serotonin, the neuron knows to release less through reuptake, keeping the level balanced. If levels of the neurotransmitter are low, reuptake tells the neurons to release more.

SSRIs inhibit the reuptake of serotonin, causing neurons to release more of the neurotransmitter, therefore increasing the amount of the chemical found in the brain.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a variety of SSRIs, including:

  • Citalopram (Celexa)
  • Escitalopram (Lexapro)
  • Fluoxetine (Prozac)
  • Paroxetine (Paxil and Pexeva)
  • Sertraline (Zoloft)
  • Vilazodone (Viibryd)

When it comes to effectiveness, SSRIs don’t appear to have an influence on those with moderate to severe depression, with virtually no improvement seen when comparing SSRI use to placebos. Instead of a popular drug with a high efficiency, modern SSRIs have become popular based on an effective marketing campaign and little more.

Too Much of a Good Thing: Serotonin Syndrome

Sometimes serotonin levels become too high, causing Serotonin Syndrome. A potentially life-threatening disease, it occurs when serotonin levels in the brain increase to a toxic level, often caused by too much medication or taking two serotonin-increasing medications that use different mechanisms to increase the neurotransmitter.

Along with physical symptoms of excessive nerve activity, such as dilated pupils, elevated heart rate, and high blood pressure, those with the syndrome may also experience:

  • Agitation
  • Restlessness
  • Confusion
  • Anxiety
  • Disorientation
  • Excitement

The Connection Between SSRIs and Violence

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, a class of drugs commonly referred to as SSRIs, are the most prescribed antidepressant in the United States. These second-generation antidepressants are marketed to doctors and patients as safe and effective, with relatively minimal side effects. SSRIs are designated to treat mild to moderate depression, as well as anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, and bulimia nervosa.

How do SSRIs work?

SSRIs work to increase the amount of serotonin in the brain. A neurotransmitter that helps neurons communicate, serotonin is associated with many different body functions, but is best known for its influence on mood. Sometimes called “the happy chemical,” serotonin plays a role in a person’s happiness and general feelings of wellbeing.

Low levels of serotonin are linked to depression, although the relationship is not clear. Research has not determined if the low neurotransmitter level causes depression or if depression causes the level of serotonin to drop. It should also be noted that a large amount of serotonin, up to 90 percent, is produced in the gut and may be influenced by what a person eats and drinks.

SSRI medication does exactly what its name says. When two neurons communicate, one releases neurotransmitters, which causes the other neuron to react in a certain way. Because this is constantly going on, these chemicals are always present in the brain. To keep the brain’s chemical balance correct, neurons regulate the amount of neurotransmitters released by a process called reuptake, which involves the reabsorption of the chemical by a neuron.

For instance, if there’s a high level of serotonin, the neuron knows to release less through reuptake, keeping the level balanced. If levels of the neurotransmitter are low, reuptake tells the neurons to release more.

SSRIs inhibit the reuptake of serotonin, causing neurons to release more of the neurotransmitter, therefore increasing the amount of the chemical found in the brain.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a variety of SSRIs, including:

  • Citalopram (Celexa)
  • Escitalopram (Lexapro)
  • Fluoxetine (Prozac)
  • Paroxetine (Paxil and Pexeva)
  • Sertraline (Zoloft)
  • Vilazodone (Viibryd)

When it comes to effectiveness, SSRIs don’t appear to have an influence on those with moderate to severe depression, with virtually no improvement seen when comparing SSRI use to placebos. Instead of a popular drug with a high efficiency, modern SSRIs have become popular based on an effective marketing campaign and little more.

Too Much of a Good Thing: Serotonin Syndrome

Sometimes serotonin levels become too high, causing Serotonin Syndrome. A potentially life-threatening disease, it occurs when serotonin levels in the brain increase to a toxic level, often caused by too much medication or taking two serotonin-increasing medications that use different mechanisms to increase the neurotransmitter.

Along with physical symptoms of excessive nerve activity, such as dilated pupils, elevated heart rate, and high blood pressure, those with the syndrome may also experience:

  • Agitation
  • Restlessness
  • Confusion
  • Anxiety
  • Disorientation
  • Excitement

The Connection Between SSRIs and Violence

Regardless if depression is overdiagnosed and America has a habit of over-prescribing mind-altering medications, there’s little doubt that SSRIs have a risk of increasing violence in patients, even in patients who have no previous history of violence or aggression before taking the medication.

This risk of violent behavior, both to the individual taking the medication and those around them, is so significant, it has led to the FDA mandating a black box warning on all SSRI medications. These black box warnings are designed to provide information and draw attention to the fact that the medication has serious and life-threatening risks.

As of 2004, all antidepressants in the U.S. are labeled:

“Anxiety, agitation, panic attacks, insomnia, irritability, hostility, aggressiveness, impulsivity, akathisia, hypomania, and mania have been reported in adult and pediatric patients being treated with antidepressants for major depressive disorder as well as for indications, both psychiatric and nonpsychiatric.”

SSRIs Can Increase the Risk of Suicide

In one study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, patients suffering from depression, but free of serious suicidal ideation, were given fluoxetine. Within two to seven weeks of starting the medication, six patients developed an intense, preoccupation with violent suicide. Although all were immediately taken off the medication, this preoccupation persisted from three days to three months, depending on the case. In all six cases, the patient had never experienced such a severe level of depression or troubled state of mind before or with other psychotropic prescriptions.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Surveillance for Violent Deaths, in 2013, 35.3 percent of those who committed suicide tested positive for antidepressants at the time of their death.

The risk of SSRIs and suicide is most prevalent in patients under the age of 25. It’s also more likely to occur shortly after starting the medication, after a dosage increase, or after a patient stops taking the medication.

SSRIs Can Increase the Risk of Violence Against Others

Some of the side effects caused by SSRIs can increase the risk of violence against others. Perhaps the most risky, emotional blunting (or detachment) has been linked to SSRI use and many people who’ve taken the drugs report “not feeling” or “not caring” about anything. There’s also been an established causal relationship between SSRI use and psychosis and hallucinations, both of which are known to increase the risk of violence in individuals.

According to a review of the FDA’s database, 484 drugs were identified as triggers to serious adverse events significant enough to warrant a case study during the five-year period from 2004 through 2009. Of these 484 medications, 31 were identified to have a “disproportionate” association with violence. These 31 drugs make up 78.8 percent of all cases of violence toward others in the FDA’s database and included multiple psychotropic medications:

  • 11 antidepressants
  • 6 hypnotic/sedatives
  • 3 ADHD medications
  • 1 smoking cessation drug

Researchers concluded that violence against others was a “genuine and serious adverse drug event” and that of the 484 medications, the drugs that were most consistently and strongly associated with violence were the smoking cessation medication, varenicline (Chantix), and SSRIs.

The list includes five SSRI antidepressants:

  • Fluoxetine: Prozac increased aggressive behavior 10.9 times
  • Paroxetine: Paxil increased violent behavior 10.3 times
  • Fluvoxamine: Luvox increased violent behavior 8.4 times
  • Venlafaxine: Effexor increased violent behavior 8.3 times
  • Desvenlafaxine: Pristiq increased violent behavior 7.9 times

While a surprise to the American public, this shouldn’t have been a surprise to the drug companies. During the clinical trials for paroxetine, hostility, which was the term to include homicidal idealization and aggression, presented in 60 of the 9,219 participants (.65 percent). Hostile acts were documented both while taking the medication and after tapering off. Children with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) taking the medication were the most at risk for becoming hostile, with a 17-times higher probability than the rest of those in the clinical study.

In a Swedish study published in PLoS, researchers looked at information on over 850,000 patients prescribed SSRIs in the Swedish Prescribed Drug Register, which is a national database of all dispensed medications. They then compared the violent crimes committed during a three-year period and compared it to violent crimes committed by the same individuals when not taking the medications. When age was taken into effect, a significant association was apparent between violent crime convictions and SSRI use in patients between the ages of 15 and 24.

In one 2001 case, Cory Baadsgaard, a 16-year-old who attended Wahluke High School in Washington, was first prescribed Paxil, which caused hallucinations, and then was switched to Effexor. He started at a 40 mg dosage that, over the course of three weeks, increased to 300 mg. On the first day of that high dose, he woke with a headache and returned to bed. He then got up, took a rifle to his high school, and held 23 classmates hostage.

Baadsgaard’s testimony claims he has no recollection of the event, or of his principal convincing him to put the gun down and release the hostages.

In 2002, the BBC aired the documentary Panorama, which focused on paroxetine. The producers received 1,374 emails from viewers, the majority of whom told stories of violence or self-harm while taking the medication, particularly when starting and when increasing the dosage.

What’s more, in 2009, after investigating the connection between SSRIs and violence, the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare revised the label warnings on these drugs to read: “There are cases where we cannot rule out a causal relationship [of hostility, anxiety, and sudden acts of violence] with the medication.”

Connection Between SSRI and Murder

In most cases, the vast majority of people who suffer from mental illness are nonviolent. Even those who self-harm are highly unlikely to hurt others. In fact, these individuals are more likely to become victims of violent crimes than the general public.

Yet after each mass shooting tragedy, the media fills with psychiatrists who say that the individual didn’t seek the help they needed and that with the proper treatment, the tragedy may have been prevented. But research doesn’t support that philosophy.

In fact, depression in particular doesn’t lead to violence, yet since the increase in SSRI antidepressants being widely prescribed, the rise in mass shootings has increased right along with it. And evidence shows that many mass shooters were either taking or had recently taken SSRIs.

Here are just some examples:

  • 1989: Joseph T. Wesbecker walked into his former employer Standard Gravure Corp and shot 20 workers, killing nine. He had been taking Prozac for a month. This shooting led to a landmark case, where the survivors sued the makers of Prozac, Eli Lilly. Wesbecker used a semiautomatic Chinese AK-47-style firearm, a 9mm pistol, and a .38 Special snubnose revolver – all of which he purchased legally, passing his background check.
  • 1995: Jarred Viktor was 15 when he was prescribed Paxil. Ten days after starting it, Viktor stabbed his grandmother 61 times.
  • 1996: At 18, Kurt Danysh murdered his father just 17 days after being prescribed Prozac by his family doctor, who failed to do even one psychological test. During his police confession, Danysh told police the medication made him feel odd, “I just act differently. I don’t have the energy or personality I used to. I spend half the time in a trance.”
  • 1997: Luke Woodham stabbed his mother, then traveled to Pearl High School, where he was enrolled, using a .30-30 to shoot two students and wound six others; he was stopped by his assistant principal (aka a good guy with a gun) who used his own .45 ACP handgun to force Woodham’s surrender.
  • 1998: 15-year-old Kip Kinkel shot both of his parents, then carried a 9mm handgun, .22 rifle, and a .22 pistol to his Thurston High School, where he murdered two classmates and injured 22 more, all while taking Prozac.
  • 1999: Eric Harris, 17, with Dylan Klebold, killed 12 students, one teacher, himself, and wounded 23 others during the Columbine school shooting; he had been prescribed Zoloft and then Luvox before he used a 12 gauge shotgun received through a straw purchaser and a 9mm TEC-DC9.
  • 2001: Christopher Pittman, a 12-year-old, was prescribed Zoloft, which caused him to become agitated, jittery, and experience tactile hallucinations; Pittman told psychiatrist Dr. Lanette Atkins that he heard voices telling him, “Kill, kill, do it, do it.” He took a .410 shotgun and shot his grandparents, then burned their house down.
  • 2001: Andrea Yates drowned all five of her children. She was taking Effexor and was suffering from delusions about satanic possession. The murder of her children led Effexor to list homicidal thoughts in the medication’s side effects. Although it’s a rare side effect, manifesting in one in 1,000 patients, over 19 million prescriptions were written and filled in 2005. That’s an estimated 19,000 people suffering from homicidal thoughts because of the medication.
  • 2005: 16-year-old Jeff Weise was taking 60 mg/day of Prozac, the highest dosage for adults, when he shot his grandfather, his grandfather’s girlfriend, murdered 10 students at Red Lake, Minnesota, and wounded 12 more, before shooting himself. He was armed with a .40 caliberpistol, .22 pistol, and a 12 gauge shotgun.
  • 2008: Steven Kazmierczak was prescribed Prozac, Xanax, and Ambien, a sleeping medication, three weeks before walking into Northern Illinois University, killing six people and wounding 21, with three pistols (one chambered in 9mm and two in .380 ACP) and a shotgun. Kazmierczak had stopped taking the antidepressant “because it made him feel like a zombie.”
  • 2009: Two weeks after starting Lexapro, Robert Stewart walked into his estranged wife’s work at Pinelake Health and Rehab, and opened fire. He killed eight elderly patients and wounded three others. He doesn’t remember the incident.
  • 2012: James Holmes, also known as the Batman Movie killer, was taking sertraline when he walked into the showing of The Dark Knight with two .40 caliber pistols, an AR-style .223 rifle, and a 12 gauge shotgun, killing 12 people and injuring 70 others. In his personal notebook, which he sent to his psychiatrist the same day as the shooting, shows that as the medication decreased his anxiety, he lost his fear of consequences. As the dosage became higher, his thoughts became more obsessive and psychotic.
  • 2013: At the time of the Washington Navy Yard shooting, Aaron Alexis was a civilian contractor working at the yard and was prescribed trazodone, a serotonin antagonist and reuptake inhibitor (SARI) that works much like an SSRI to increase serotonin levels in the brain. He killed 12 people and injured eight others.
  • 2014: Ivan Lopez was a 34-year-old U.S. soldier who shot 15 of his comrades, killing three of them, at his base in Fort Hood, Texas. He was undergoing mental health treatment through the Veterans’ Administration, which is known for over-prescribing medication. The VA confirmed that Lopez was taking antidepressants (the VA only uses SSRI antidepressants) during the time of the shooting and his subsequent suicide.
  • 2015: From the moment it occurred, the Charleston Church shooting has been deemed an act of white supremacy, a race crime against blacks. But two years after Dylann Roof shot and killed nine people and injured another, the court released documents that show it was more mental health than hatred that led to the murders. The documents confirmed he was taking antidepressants.
  • 2016: Arcan Cetin, who was just 20 years old, walked into the Cascade Mall where he shot and killed four women, one just a teen, and shot one man, who later died at the hospital. Records show that Cetin was under the care of a psychiatrist and taking medication for depression and ADHD, including Prozac.

The list goes on and on. And with the implication of patient privacy laws, getting information on the medication and mental health diagnoses of people has become harder and harder, even with mounting evidence that there’s a connection between SSRI use and violence.

In 1996, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act commonly referred to as HIPAA, was set in place. HIPAA represents the U.S.’s first attempt at national regulations for the use and disclosure of a person’s personal health information, or PHI. HIPAA makes it more difficult for medical personnel to release information regarding a person’s medical care, diagnosis, and prescription drugs, including those involved with mental health related crimes.

For example, in the 2008 Virginia Tech shooting, perpetrator Seung Hui Cho had multiple interactions with the mental health department on campus, some for suicidal ideation, but yet his parents nor authorities were never notified. University officials stated privacy laws restricted them from sharing the information.

Beyond the necessity for communication prior to these horrific shootings, after the incident, the person’s records are often protected. Even in situations where the perpetrator dies during the shooting, HIPAA protects their records for 50 years.

Because of this, the American public doesn’t know what kind of medications these people were taking and if it may have had an affect on their actions. Just looking at public shootings over the last five years, there’s a huge list of murderers who were likely on SSRIs. Here are a few:

  • Zephen Xaver and the SunTrust Bank shooting
  • Ian David Long and the Thousand Oaks Nightclub shooting
  • Travis Reinking and the Waffle House shooting
  • Nikolas Cruz and the Parkland, Florida school shooting
  • Devin Patrick Kelley and the Texas church shooting

The Push for Stronger Mental Health Legislation

With the media’s coverage of mass shootings, more and more legislation arises limiting the rights of those with mental health issues. While no one wants firearms in the hands of the mentally ill, the lack of clear language surrounding mental illness, and the limitations caused by government red tape, make knee-jerk mental health legislation dangerous and lay a path for more government control.

In general, people with mental illness are rarely violent to other people. Many mental health experts and advocates agree that policies that focus on the violence of mental illness make scapegoats of the individuals, who are likely to never act violently against another person.

What’s more, according to the MacArthur Violence Risk Assessment Study (MVRAS), substance abuse was significantly more responsible for violence committed by discharged psychiatric patients than their mental health. Those patients who didn’t abuse drugs or alcohol showed no higher risk for violence than the others in their communities without mental health issues.

Laws are being created that don’t focus on the research, but on the fear of guns, thinking that stricter gun laws will keep people safer.

Red flag laws are the newest gun legislation making their way through Congress. Considered a “protective order,” red flag laws will allow a family member or law officer to petition a temporary seize on someone’s firearms if they’re deemed a threat. What a “threat” consists of isn’t clearly defined.

There’s also a push for universal background checks on all gun sales, even those sold between private individuals, and the FixNICS campaign. The philosophy behind FixNICS is that the background check system can only be as strong as the records it contains. And it’s currently missing a lot, especially when it comes to mental health issues and domestic violence.

For instance, documentation of an individual diagnosed as “mental defective,” having been involuntarily committed to a mental health setting, or having engaged in domestic abuse disqualifies that person from purchasing or owning a firearm. When this information is present in the NICS, it flags the background check and stops the sale of the firearm. But too many of these records are missing.

That was the case with the 2017 Sutherlands Springs church shooting. The gunman Devin Patrick Kelley was prohibited from purchasing firearms due to a 2012 court martial for two counts of domestic abuse. The U.S. Air Force failed to provide this information to the NICS, allowing Kelley to erroneously pass his background check and to purchase an AR-style 5.56 rifle – which he used to kill 26 people and injure 20 more. He was confronted and pursued by a neighbor, another good guy with a gun.

Gun Control, Mental Health, and SSRIs: What’s the Solution?

When it comes to mass shootings, there’s no easy solution. Violence, especially random violence, is a complex manifestation of various thoughts, feelings, and external factors. While it may be impossible to fully stop mass murders, ignoring the fact that certain medications, including SSRIs, play a role in a high percentage of these violent acts, no justice is being served.

Gun control is obviously not the solution, as the rate of mass shootings has increased over  the last 30 years, at a time when multiple gun control lawshave been implemented. Taking firearms away from law abiding citizens has not and will not stop the problem.

Personal Responsibility

Instead, doctors need to educate patients and make them aware of the risks, as well as take the time to explain warning signs to loved ones. If patients are taking medication for a mental health disorder, including depression, then they should see a mental health professional and be involved in mental health treatment. After all, medication – even mental health medication – does nothing to fix the problem, it only masks the symptoms.

Patients need to take some responsibility for their lives, improving their health before reaching for a mind-altering pill to make them feel good about themselves. A healthy diet, physical activity, and time spent in nature are ways to boost the mood that can help relieve the symptoms of mild depression.

The FDA-Big Pharma Connection

Lastly, the government and big pharmaceutical companies need to be held accountable for not sharing what they know about the medications they create. A study published in The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) looked at drug company sponsored clinical trials on antidepressants.

Of the 74 FDA-registered trials the study looked at, 38 had positive outcomes, 36 had negative outcomes. Thirty-seven of the positive outcome trials were published, but of the 36 negative outcomes trials, 22 were not published and 11 were written in a way that initially presented the data to convey a misleading positive outcome. Only three were published with unbiased and accurate information about the drug.

With this type of misrepresentation of clinical trials on medications, particularly antidepressants, the medical community and the public can’t trust medical literature for honest and reliable drug information, nor the government agency that’s designed to monitor new pharmaceuticals for safety. When medical professionals can not rely on the FDA to provide unbiased and honest clinical trial information, a true risk-benefit ratio can’t be determined and patients suffer the consequences.

Political Influence of Big Pharma

The connection between the FDA and big pharma goes beyond clinical studies. Drug companies lure FDA employees to sit on their regulatory boards. They hire their spouses. These pharmaceutical giants utilize the field’s leading experts, who happen to be the same experts who are invited by the FDA to sit on screening panels.

Big pharma’s influence over the FDA goes even deeper. Drug companies spend billions of dollars on political lobbying and campaign contributions. Direct payments support the FDA budget. And in response, the FDA conceals risks and looks the other way when necessary.

The FDA also gives its own kickback to the drug companies. Only FDA-approved medications can be prescribed for government health insurance programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and through the VA. And to ensure Big Pharma continues to sell its drugs, the federal program only allows treatment claims on FDA-approved drugs.

The FDA Approval Process

The FDA approval process is a laborious and expensive endeavor, which typically takes more than a year and can cost up to a million dollars to complete. The process allows drug companies to patent their product. But when it comes to natural supplements, they can’t be patented, and therefore don’t go through the FDA approval process. Therefore supplements, which are often highly effective with little to no side effects, can not claim to “treat” a condition, even when there’s research that supports that claim.

On the surface, this may not seem like too big of a deal, but let’s circle back to Prozac, which hit the market in 1988. In the fall of 1989, the FDA recalled the supplement L-tryptophan, an amino acid that’s a precursor for serotonin and highly effective in treating depression. The recall occurred after one supplement company had an additive that caused a flu-like reaction. On March 22, 1990, the FDA issued a complete ban of L-tryptophan for public sale. Four days later, on March 26, 1990, Prozac was featured on the cover of Newsweek, along with a lead article about its benefits.

In 2001, the ban on L-tryptophan was lifted and since, research has shown it has huge therapeutic potential in the treatment of pain, insomnia, depression, seasonal affective disorder (SAD),  bulimia, premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), attention disorders, sleep disorders, and chronic fatigue.

A quick note about PMDD. Premenstrual dysphoric disorder is a severe form of premenstrual syndrome, otherwise known as PMS. It officially became a medical condition in 2013 with the newest addition of the DSM-V. Yet in July of 2000, the FDA approved a new medication from Eli Lilly, the same pharmaceutical company that created Prozac. The drug was Sarafem and it was marketed to treat PMDD, which technically wasn’t even a fully recognized medical condition at the time.

Sarafem is, quite literally, the exact same medication as Prozac, only in a different color capsule. Why would Eli Lilly issue the exact same drug under a different name? It just so happens that the patent for Prozac expired in August of 2001, which allowed generic versions to be made. Eli Lilly changed the medication’s name, indicated it for this “new” disease, and the company had a new patent for Sarafem that would last until 2007.

Situations like this demonstrate that the more aspects the government controls, the worse this corruption and mismanagement becomes. Federal agencies in the hands of big pharmaceutical companies, and politicians using gun control to give a false hope to the American people, distracts them from the real cause of the current state of the nation and the frequency of mass shootings.

It’s time to personally explore the evidence surrounding the issues and come to your own conclusions.

Originally published at Ammo.com.

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Hostile Coexistence

Lew Rockwell - Mon, 2019-05-20 11:01

Remarks to the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies China Program

Ambassador Chas W. Freeman, Jr. (USFS, Ret.)
Senior Fellow, Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, Brown University
Stanford, California, 3 May 2019

President Trump’s trade war with China has quickly metastasized into every other domain of Sino-American relations.   Washington is now trying to dismantle China’s interdependence with the American economy, curb its role in global governance, counter its foreign investments, cripple its companies, block its technological advance, punish its many deviations from liberal ideology, contest its borders, map its defenses, and sustain the ability to penetrate those defenses at will.

The message of hostility to China these efforts send is consistent and apparently comprehensive.  Most Chinese believe it reflects an integrated U.S. view or strategy.  It does not.

There is no longer an orderly policy process in Washington to coordinate, moderate, or control policy formulation or implementation.  Instead, a populist president has effectively declared open season on China.  This permits everyone in his administration to go after China as they wish.  Every internationally engaged department and agency – the U.S. Special Trade Representative, the Departments of State, Treasury, Justice, Commerce, Defense, and Homeland Security – is doing its own thing about China.  The president has unleashed an undisciplined onslaught.  Evidently, he calculates that this will increase pressure on China to capitulate to his protectionist and mercantilist demands.  That would give him something to boast about as he seeks reelection in 2020.

Trump’s presidency has been built on lower middle-class fears of displacement by immigrants and outsourcing of jobs to foreigners.  His campaign found a footing in the anger of ordinary Americans – especially religious Americans – at the apparent contempt for them and indifference to their welfare of the country’s managerial and political elites.  For many, the trade imbalance with China and Chinese rip-offs of U.S. technology became the explanations of choice for increasingly unfair income distribution, declining equality of opportunity, the deindustrialization of the job market, and the erosion of optimism in the United States.

In their views of China, many Americans now appear subconsciously to have combined images of the insidious Dr. Fu Manchu, Japan’s unnerving 1980s challenge to U.S.  industrial and financial primacy, and a sense of existential threat analogous to the Sinophobia that inspired the Anti-Coolie and Chinese Exclusion Acts.

Meanwhile, the ineptitude of the American elite revealed by the 2008 financial crisis, the regular eruptions of racial violence and gun massacres in the United States, the persistence of paralyzing political constipation in Washington, and the arrogant unilateralism of “America First” have greatly diminished the appeal of America to the Chinese elite.

As a result, Sino-American interaction is now long on mutual indignation and very short on empirically validated information to substantiate the passions it evokes.  On each side, the other is presumed guilty of a litany of iniquities.  There is no process by which either side can achieve exoneration from the other’s accusations.  Guesstimates, conjectures, a priorireasoning from dubious assumptions, and media-generated hallucinations are reiterated so often that they are taken as facts.  The demagoguery of contemporary American populism ensures that in this country clamor about China needs no evidence at all to fuel it.  Meanwhile, Chinese nationalism answers American rhetorical kicks in the teeth by swallowing the figurative blood in its mouth and refraining from responding in kind, while sullenly plotting revenge.  君子报仇十年不长.[1]

We are now entering not just a post-American but post-Western era.  In many ways the contours of the emerging world order are unclear.  But one aspect of them is certain: China will play a larger and the U.S. a lesser role than before in global and regional governance.  The Trump administration’s response to China’s increasing wealth and power does not bode well for this future.  The pattern of mutual resentment and hostility the two countries are now establishing may turn out to be indelible.  If so, the consequences for both and for world prosperity and peace could be deeply unsettling.

For now, America’s relationship with China appears to have become a vector compounded of many contradictory forces and factors, each with its own advocates and constituencies.  The resentments of some counter the enthusiasms of others.  No one now in government seems to be assessing the overall impact on American interests or wellbeing of an uncoordinated approach to relations with the world’s greatest rising power.  And few in the United States seem to be considering the possibility that antagonism to China’s rise might end up harming the United States and its Asian security partners more than it does China.  Or that, in extreme circumstances, it could even lead to a devastating trans-Pacific nuclear exchange.

Some of the complaints against China from the squirming mass of Sinophobes who have attached themselves to President Trump are entirely justified.  The Chinese have been slow to accept the capitalist idea that knowledge is property that can be owned on an exclusive basis.  This is, after all, contrary to a millennial Chinese tradition that regards copying as flattery, not a violation of genius.  Chinese businessfolk have engaged in the theft of intellectual property rights not just from each other but from foreigners.  Others may have done the same in the past, but they were nowhere near as big as China.  China’s mere size makes its offenses intolerable.  Neither the market economy in China nor China’s international trade and investment relationships can realize their potential until its disrespect for private property is corrected.  The United States and the European Union (EU) are right to insist that the Chinese government fix this problem.

Many Chinese agree.  Not a few quietly welcome foreign pressure to strengthen the enforcement of patents and trademarks, of which they are now large creators, in the Chinese domestic market.  Even more hope the trade war will force their government to reinvigorate “reform and opening.”  Fairer treatment of foreign-invested Chinese companies is not just a reasonable demand but one that serves the interests of the economically dominant but politically disadvantaged private sector in China.  Chinese protectionism is an unlatched door against which the United States and others should continue to push.

But other complaints against China range from the partially warranted to the patently bogus.  Some recall Hermann Göring’s cynical observation at Nuremberg that: “The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy.  All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.”   There is a lot of this sort of manipulative reasoning at play in the deteriorating U.S. security relationship with the Chinese.  Social and niche media, which make everything plausible and leave no truth unrefuted, facilitate this.  In the Internet miasma of conspiracy theories, false narratives, fabricated reports, fictive “facts,” and outright lies, baseless hypotheses about China rapidly become firm convictions and long-discredited myths and rumors find easy resurrection.

Consider the speed with which a snappy phrase invented by an Indian polemicist – “debt-trap diplomacy” – has become universally accepted as encapsulating an alleged Chinese policy of international politico-economic predation.  Yet the only instance of a so-called a “debt trap” ever cited is the port of Hambantota, commissioned by the since-ousted autocratic president of Sri Lanka to glorify his hometown.  His successor correctly judged that the port was a white elephant and decided to offload it on the Chinese company that had built it by demanding that the company exchange the debt to it for equity.  To recover any portion of its investment, the Chinese company now has to build some sort of economic hinterland for the port.  Hambantota is less an example of a “debt trap” than of a stranded asset.

Then too, China is now routinely accused of iniquities that better describe the present-day United States than the People’s Middle Kingdom.  Among the most ironic of such accusations is the charge that it is China, not a sociopathic “America First” assault on the international status quo, that is undermining both U.S. global leadership and the multilateral order remarkably wise American statesmen put in place some seven decades ago.  But it is the United States, not China, that is ignoring the U.N. Charter, withdrawing from treaties and agreements, attempting to paralyze the World Trade Organization’s dispute resolution mechanisms, and substituting bilateral protectionist schemes for multilateral facilitation of international trade based on comparative advantage.

The WTO was intended as an antidote to mercantilism, also known as “government-managed trade.”  China has come strongly to support globalization and free trade.  These are the primary sources of its rise to prosperity.  It is hardly surprising that China has become a strong defender of the trade and investment regime Americans designed and put in place.

By contrast, the Trump administration is all about mercantilism – boosting national power by minimizing imports and maximizing exports as part of a government effort to manage trade with unilateral tariffs and quotas, while exempting the United States from the rules it insists that others obey.

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US-Iran Showdown Is One False-Flag Attack Away

Lew Rockwell - Mon, 2019-05-20 11:01

Hypocritical to the core, the execution of false-flag events spare aggressive states the ignominy of appearing in public as the warmongering psychopaths they are, lest their subjects get the wrong idea as to exactly who is governing over them.

The last thing tyrannical rulers want, after all, are battles raging on two fronts, especially if one of those fronts just happens to be back in the Heartland. Psychopaths are mentally deranged, of course, but that does not mean they are necessarily stupid.

Thus, once again, the United States is flying its jolly tricolors from the Mediterranean Sea into the Persian Gulf led by the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, as well as nuclear-capable B-52 bombers and a Patriot missile battery on standby. But America’s reputation as a rabble-rouser and hell raiser long preceded its entry into the Gulf, as did the frenetic rhetoric.

Just as the fleet was en route, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered a warning that was so far beyond the pale of reality that it sounded as though it were scripted by a Hollywood film director with a penchant for embellishing American history.

“The response of the United States and our partners and allies has been clear: We do not seek war,” the statement reads. “But Iran’s forty years of killing American soldiers, attacking American facilities, and taking American hostages is a constant reminder that we must defend ourselves.”

Forty years of killing Americans? Really? That comment brought to mind Pompeo’s recent display of braggadocio as he reminisced over his former CIA days. “We lied, we cheated, we stole,” he confessed with a hearty chuckle to an audience from Texas A&M University last month. “We had entire training courses. It reminds you of the glory of the American experiment.”

Ah yes, the glory days. Next he’ll be shooting off about how he enjoys shaving with napalm in the morning, or some such nonsense.

In any case, the prospect of America’s leading diplomat who basically admits to being a bald-faced liar, and darn proud of it, delivering a fiery shot across the bow of the Iranian Republic at the same time a large US naval group is entering the Persian Gulf and Iran is struggling under severe sanctions does very little to instill much comfort or confidence.

NEW from @SecPompeo: We do not seek war. But Iran’s forty years of killing American soldiers, attacking American facilities, and taking American hostages is a constant reminder that we must defend ourselves. pic.twitter.com/2b8dYIKHRS

— Christina Ruffini (@EenaRuffini) May 9, 2019

One week before the US naval fleet turned up in Gulf waters, Pompeo was already laying the necessary groundwork for the buildup, saying that the US has observed “escalatory actions from the Iranians, and it is equally the case that we will hold the Iranians accountable for attacks on American interests,” he said, without providing any details. “If these actions take place — if they do by some third-party proxy, a militia group, Hezbollah — we will hold the Iranian leadership directly accountable for that.”

Now for anyone who followed the protracted Syrian crisis understands, that is exactly the sort of crazy talk that inspires friends and foes alike to pull off a false-flag attack that will force the United States to live up to its word and go after the villains, which will predictably be – as was the case following the chemical attacks against the Syrian rebels when the ‘Assad regime’ was duly blamed – the Islamic Republic of Iran.

So where did the information regarding a possible Iranian strike on some “American interest” derive? According to Axios, that news was delivered to National Security Advisor John Bolton by an Israeli delegation led by national security adviser Meir Ben Shabbat.

It is not too much of a stretch of the imagination to figure that the Israelis may have produced the report knowing full well that it would ratchet up tensions between Washington and Tehran, and more so when it is understood that the mad hatters Pompeo and Bolton figure into the calculus. Who knows? Perhaps they really do mean what they have been saying for years about Iran and would relish the prospects of an ‘Iranian attack,’ or false flag event in order to get World War III, which they both seem to anticipate with more excitement than the Second Coming.

Meanwhile, it should come as no surprise that the mainstream media is doing everything in its power to stoke the flames. On Monday, the New York Times, citing unnamed sources, published an article alleging that the White House was drafting plans to deploy some 120,000 troops to the Middle East in the event Iran attacked US forces or expedited work on nuclear weapon research. The paper giddily reported that such a force “would approach the size of the American force that invaded Iraq in 2003.” Trump, however, ruined the war party, flat out denying the claim, saying he would send a lot more than 120,000 troops under such circumstances.

To underscore exactly how dangerous the situation is becoming, Sputnik reported that four commercial ships – two Saudi, one Emirati and one Norwegian – were targets of a “sabotage attack” off the coast of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Sunday.

It should come as no surprise as to what country was blamed. “Iranian or Iranian-backed proxies” are thought to be behind the attack, according to US officials.

Although Iran in the past may have played down such provocations, this time around they are showing a striking level of confidence in the face of American firepower. “An aircraft carrier that has at least 40 to 50 planes on it and 6000 forces gathered within it was a serious threat for us in the past,” Amirali Hajiadeh, who heads Iran’s Revolutionary Guard’s aerospace unit, told the Iranian Students’ News Agency (ISNA), as reported by RT. “But now, the threats have switched to opportunities,” he added.

The only thing left to consider now is whether Trump left Bolton and Pompeo to their own mischievous devices in their dealings with Iran and even Israel, or is there some sort of safety catch on the gun, so to speak.

Considering that Trump didn’t seem to be fully informed as to what was happening in Venezuela with regards to puppet president Juan Guaido’s recent failed attempt at a coup, it makes one wonder if Trump is equally in the dark as to what is happening with Iran. The prospect of such a possibility is simply too terrifying to even contemplate.

The views of individual contributors do not necessarily represent those of the Strategic Culture Foundation.

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Actor James Woods & Others

Lew Rockwell - Mon, 2019-05-20 11:01

For a very long time, “the conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses” has been “an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of.”

This secret government has been discussed by multiple politicians and presidents around the world for decades. The quote above comes from Edward Bernays (Propaganda 1928), and we talk about this “secret government” in a recent episode on CETV discussing the black budget. We provide multiple examples in there of the “invisible government” that owes “no allegiance” and acknowledges “no responsibility” to the people. (Roosevelt)

This article is about the censoring of opinion and information that’s currently taking place. One of these ‘fake news’  watchdogs is NewsGuard, and they are aiming to hold independent media accountable for their stories. Funded by Clinton donors and big pharma, with ties to the CFR, NewsGuard seems to have a clear agenda in favour of mainstream media. You can read more about that story here.

This is exactly why we created CETV, because we’ve been demonetized on Youtube, and our other revenue streams have greatly decreased due to the massive amount of internet censorship that’s taking place. The elite have labelled credible information as ‘fake news,’ and have decided to determine for the people what is real and what is fake. CETV is our platform to combat this censorship.

Since when does anybody have the right to censor information? Why can’t the people be allowed to decide for themselves what’s real and what’s not by examining sources and doing their own research? Why should we give our minds away to the powerful people who are now determining what one can say, what one can’t say, what’s real, and what’s not real?

This fake news effort is not really an attempt to vet the news, which has become clear to most. With this effort, the elite have exposed themselves even more by shutting down any information or narrative, no matter how credible, that seems to threaten specific political and corporate agenda’s as well as profits. The voice of opposition has become extremely threatening, and as a result they are trying to shut down our ability to even question certain things like vaccine safety or genetically modified foods, for example.

When these topics are presented by mainstream media, massive amounts of ridicule usually follow, along with character assassination. The mainstream media never seems to address the points made, but rather uses ridicule and labels certain things as “conspiracy” theories to make their point, among other efforts.

This censorship is a direct breach of our human rights and our freedom of speech. The global elite have long been ‘making up problems’ in order to propose a new solution or rule. 9/11 is an excellent example of this, as that event was used to justify the invasion of Iraq.

Have we really gotten to the point where authoritative figures need to regulate and control what we say, what we think, and what we feel?

This recently happened to prominent actor James Woods, and this really goes to show why people with such large followings, like Hollywood stars, have always been careful to share their opinions on anything controversial. If they do, their careers could be shut down, among other things.

James Woods has reportedly been banned from Twitter after a post advocating to “hang them all” in response to the Russia report from Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Apparently, the tweet that reportedly led to his ban read, “‘If you try to kill the King, you best not miss’ #HangThemAll,” and was posted on April 19. There has been no activity on Woods’ Twitter account since that day. That being said, you can still scroll through his twitter feed and this tweet doesn’t seem to be visible.

Donald Trump and many others took to their social media accounts to condemn the block. His account has not been removed, he’s just been blocked from posting anything.

Trump stated on his twitter that:

How can it be possible that James Woods (and many others), a strong but responsible Conservative Voice, is banned from Twitter? Social Media & Fake News Media, together with their partner, the Democrat Party, have no idea the problems they are causing for themselves. VERY UNFAIR!

The last time I shared a tweet from James Woods, it was in the form of a re-tweet. You can read more specifically about this story here.

James Woods first caught my attention when he was sharing Pizzagateinformation, which was also something that was supposedly “debunked” by mainstream media. In addition to the tweets you see above, Woods has also been quite active in calling out mainstream media news sources.

Below is one of his most recent tweets.

You can check out his twitter account HERE if you’re interested seeing more of his past posts.

His posts aren’t “extremist.” Again, these are simply labels used by the mainstream to mold the minds of the masses. Anything that opposes their agenda, or any person for that matter, is being quietly wiped away, blocked and censored. This is very wrong, and to shut down any type of discussion or information in general is also very wrong.

Edward Snowden said it best:

“The problem of fake news isn’t solved by hoping for a referee, but rather because we as citizens, we as users of these services, help each other. We talk and we share and we point out what is fake. We point out what is true. The answer to bad speech is not censorship, the answer to bad speech is more speech. We have to exercise and spread the idea that critical thinking matters, now more than ever, given the fact that lies seem to be getting more popular.” (source)

It’s quite clear what is going on here, is it not? I mean, let’s take a closer look at the people calling out mainstream media like Woods has been. Did you know that award-winning journalists from these mainstream platforms are also doing the same?

William Arkin, a longtime, well-known military and war reporter, who is best known for his groundbreaking, three-part Washington Post series in 2010 is the latest example. He recently went public outing NBC/MSNBC as completely fake, government run agencies. You can read more about that story here.  He is one of multiple whistleblowers, and in that article you will find more articles and links to documents explaining how intelligence agencies have a very close relationship with mainstream media.

Reprinted with permission from Collective Evolution.

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The Normalization and Institutionalization

Lew Rockwell - Mon, 2019-05-20 11:01

Normalizing and institutionalizing fraud undermines the foundations of the economy and the financial system.

I am indebted to Manoj Samanta (twitter: @flation_debate) for the insightful concept the commoditization of fraud. The first step in the commoditization of fraudis to normalize fraud as Business as Usual (BAU) to the point that it’s no longer viewed as “wrong,” destructive or an aberration of evil-doers but as an accepted way to maximize gain and offload risk onto others.

The last step in the process is to institutionalize fraud within central banking and government policies.

How is selling shares in a money-losing corporation at outlandish valuations not the commoditization of fraud? The fraud has been normalized into a game of hoping that greater fools will be so enamored of the normalized fraud that they’ll take the IPO shares off your hands at ever-higher valuations until the fraud breaks down.

But by then, the instigators of the fraud–the IPO–have escaped with billions in gains and zero liability.

How is private equity loading companies up with debt as a means of paying outlandish dividends to themselves not commoditized fraud? How is paying dividends with debt rather than earnings not fraud? The net result of this fraud is the debt-burdened company eventually defaults on its debt, defrauding the investors who were suckered into the scam.

But once again, the instigators of the fraud–private equity–have escaped with billions in gains and zero liability.

How is understating inflation so Social Security retirees get near-zero cost of living adjustments as real-world inflation pushes 7% not normalized, institutionalized fraud? We all understand the motivation for this institutionalized fraud: to limit the increasing cost of Social Security and mask the erosion of household income’s purchasing power.

While the Social Security recipient and the minimum wage worker are getting squeezed, those getting nearly free money from the Federal Reserve to plow into stocks are piling up trillions of dollars in gains. How is the Fed’s fee money for financiers not commoditized, institutionalized fraud? Those who can borrow outlandishly large sums at a discount are in effect being given the tools to defraud the financial system and all the other players who aren’t as close to the money spigot of the central bank.

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WHO’s 2050 Prediction

Lew Rockwell - Mon, 2019-05-20 11:01

The discovery and widespread use of antibiotics many decades ago have saved millions of lives. Infections that were once a death sentence were easily treated with the medications. Unfortunately, many antibiotics are now becoming ineffective because bacteria have become resistant to the drugs.

We have overused antibiotics with reckless abandon and are now beginning to see the consequences. Some bacteria have mutated into “superbugs”.

We’ve used antibiotics so freely, some bacteria have mutated into so-called “superbugs.” They’ve become resistant to the very drugs designed to kill them. A study commissioned by the British government estimates that by 2050, 10 million people worldwide could die each year from antibiotic-resistant bacteria. That’s more than currently die from cancer. (source)

Infections by drug-resistant microbes may eventually be the leading cause of death.

The World Health Organization predicts that worldwide death rates from drug-resistant microbes will climb from the current 700,000 per year to 10 million by 2050. At that point, they will have surpassed cancer, heart disease, and diabetes to become the main cause of death in the human race.

Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest health threats of our time, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

Antibiotic resistance has the potential to affect people at any stage of life, as well as the healthcare, veterinary, and agriculture industries, making it one of the world’s most urgent public health problems.

Each year in the U.S., at least 2 million people are infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and at least 23,000 people die as a result. (source)

Karen Hoffmann, who heads the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, told Newsweek those figures may be on the low side:

“It’s probably a vast underestimate. We don’t have a good reporting system for multiresistant organisms, so we don’t really know.”

Studies suggest the cost to the U.S. health care system of treating patients with these resistant infections tops $3 billion a year.

Bacterial infections are becoming more difficult to treat.

Infections caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria are difficult (and sometimes impossible) to treat. In most cases, antibiotic-resistant infections require extended hospital stays, long-term medical care, and costly and toxic alternatives.

Earlier this year, four patients became infected with an unusual version of E. coli at Columbia University’s Irving Medical Center in New York earlier this year. Because E. coli has developed resistance to several drugs, for some infected patients their last hope is the antibiotic colistin, a toxic substance with potential side effects that include kidney and brain damage. But, the Columbia E. coli had a mutation in a gene, MCR-1, that confers a terrifying attribute: imperviousness to colistin.

“We’re looking to the shelf for the next antibiotic, and there’s nothing there,” says Erica Shenoy, associate chief of the infection control unit at Massachusetts General Hospital, told Newsweek. “We’re facing the specter of patients with infections we can’t treat.”

E. coli isn’t the only bacterium that is becoming resistant to treatment.

Drug-resistant strains of StaphylococcusEnterobacteriaceae, and Clostridium difficile have been steadily overcoming antibiotics. According to Newsweek, “one study found that the number of deaths due to resistant infections quintupled between 2007 and 2015.”

Other kinds of infections are also becoming resistant to treatment.

Just as antibiotic overuse has contributed to the rise of resistant bacteria, overuse of antimicrobial drugs is helping fungi becoming resistant.

Treatment-resistant versions of the fungus Candida auris have been occurring across the world. Last May, an elderly man became infected and doctors were not able to save him.

What happened after his death is horrifying:

The man at Mount Sinai died after 90 days in the hospital, but C. auris did not. Tests showed it was everywhere in his room, so invasive that the hospital needed special cleaning equipment and had to rip out some of the ceiling and floor tiles to eradicate it.

“Everything was positive — the walls, the bed, the doors, the curtains, the phones, the sink, the whiteboard, the poles, the pump,” said Dr. Scott Lorin, the hospital’s president. “The mattress, the bed rails, the canister holes, the window shades, the ceiling, everything in the room was positive.” (source)

Scientists are exploring alternatives to antibiotics.

In response to the growing number of bugs that are drug-resistant, scientists are learning to identify and isolate them in hopes of preventing large outbreaks. They are also making efforts to tighten up the use of antibiotics in an effort to slow the development of resistant strains, but many experts say it is too late, and that these actions will only buy us a little time:

At the moment, the oldest and weakest patients in hospitals are most affected, but the risks are spreading. “We’re seeing healthy young people with urinary tract and skin infections that we don’t have a pill for,” says Helen Boucher, an infectious disease specialist at Tufts Medical Center in Boston. “And we may not be able to perform organ transplants, and even routine surgeries like joint replacements. We should all be scared.”

Medical experts are pinning their hopes on entirely new strategies for dealing with infection. To find novel ways of killing bugs, they’re looking in exotic places—in viruses and fish slime and even on other planets. They’re using insights gained in genomics and other fields to come up with new technologies to kill bugs and keep them from spreading. And they are re-examining practices in hospitals and other spreading-grounds for bacteria, putting in place more holistic strategies for managing the bacteria in our bodies and in our hospitals and doctors’ offices.

The alternatives sound promising, but they are far off. It’s not clear that we can invent new weapons before the superbugs, like a zombie army at the gates, overwhelm our defenses.

“We need to make a huge investment in other approaches,” says Margaret Riley, a drug-resistance researcher at the University of Massachusetts. “And we need to make it 15 years ago.” (source)

There isn’t much incentive to develop new antibiotics, mainly because the development of one new antibiotic costs about $2 billion and takes about 10 years, and the likelihood of drug companies making a profit on such drugs is low.

“The point of having a new antibiotic would be to use it as infrequently as possible, for as short a time as possible,” Jonathan Zenilman, chief of the division of infectious diseases at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore, told Newsweek. “Why would a pharma company want to develop a drug for a market like that?”

Researchers are looking into antibiotic alternatives, including the use of special soaps and infection control techniques, treatment with genetically-modified viruses called bacteriophages that are a natural enemy of bacteria, and other non-antibiotic treatments.

A recent 60 Minutes report explored the danger posed by superbugs, starting with the shocking case of David Ricci.

To read the transcript of this video, please click here: Could Antibiotic-Resistant “Superbugs” Become a Bigger Killer Than Cancer?

Reprinted with permission from The Organic Prepper.

The post WHO’s 2050 Prediction appeared first on LewRockwell.

Why Glucose and Glutamine Restrictions

Lew Rockwell - Mon, 2019-05-20 11:01

Thomas Seyfried, Ph.D., professor of biology at Boston College, is a leading expert and researcher in the field of cancer metabolism and nutritional ketosis. His book, “Cancer as a Metabolic Disease: On the Origin, Management and Prevention of Cancer” is a foundational textbook on this topic, and in August 2016, he received the Mercola.com Game Changer Award for his work.

Here, we discuss the mechanisms of cancer and the influence of mitochondrial function, which plays a crucial role in the development and treatment of this disease. His landmark cancer theory is available as a free PDF

Many of his views are now encapsulated in his most recent paper,1 “Mitochondrial Substrate-Level Phosphorylation as Energy Source for Glioblastoma: Review and Hypothesis,” published online December 27, 2018. He’s also published a number of other papers2,3,4 on the metabolic underpinnings of cancer.

“The paper … is a review and hypothesis paper identifying the missing link in Otto Warburg’s central theory,” Seyfried explains. “[Warburg] defined the origin of cancer very accurately back in the 1920s, ’30s, ’40s and ’50s in his work in Germany. Basically, he argued and provided data showing that all cancer cells, regardless of tissue origin, were fermenters. They fermented lactic acid from glucose as a substrate.

Even in the presence of oxygen, these cells were fermenting. This is clearly a defect in oxidative phosphorylation. The problem is that for decades, people said Warburg was wrong — mainly because we see a lot of cancer cells take up oxygen and make adenosine triphosphate (ATP) from within the mitochondria … People began to question, ‘If cancer cells have normal respiration, why would they want to use glucose as a fermentable fuel?’

The whole concept became distorted … The cancer cells simply choose to ferment rather than respire. Now, of course, if you look under the electron microscope at majority of cancers, you’ll see that the mitochondria are defective in a number of different ways. Their structures are abnormal. The numbers are abnormal. There are many abnormalities of mitochondria seen directly under electron microscopy. Clearly, Warburg was not wrong.”

Why Biopsies Are Risky

Before we go delve into the meat of how cancer actually occurs it would be good to review a diagnostic strategy that nearly all of us are offered when confronted with a cancer diagnosis. It is vital to understand that this may not be your best strategy and that for many it would be wise to avoid the biopsy.

Seyfried warns against doing biopsies, as this procedure may actually cause the cancer to spread. A tumor is basically a group of proliferating cells in a particular part of your body. For purposes of diagnosis, a small biopsy sample will often be taken to ascertain whether the tumor is benign or malignant.

The problem is that when you stab into the cancer microenvironment to remove a part of the tissue, it creates a wound in that microenvironment that in turn elicits the invasion by macrophages and other immune cells.

If you already have an acidic microenvironment, you run the risk of causing a fusion hybridization event in that microenvironment between your macrophages and cancer stem cells (as discussed below). This could turn a potentially benign situation into a malignant one, and if the tumor is malignant, stabbing into it could make a bad situation worse.

“The question is, what is the value of doing a biopsy in the first place? We take biopsies of breast tissue to get a genomic readout of the different kinds of mutations that might be in the cells. Now, if cancer is not a genetic disease and the mutations are largely irrelevant, then it makes no sense to do that in the first place. If the tumor is benign, why would you want to stab it? If the tumor is malignant, why would you ever want to stab it?

I came to this view by reading so many articles in the literature based on brain cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, liver cancer showing how needle biopsies have led to the dissemination of these tumor cells, putting these people at risk for metastatic cancer and death,” Seyfried says.

In metabolic therapy, you would not touch the tumor; you would not disturb the microenvironment. By leaving it alone, you allow the tumor to shrink and go away.

“When you start to look at this as a biological problem, many of the things that we do in cancer make no sense. We have, in brain cancer, people say, ‘You have a very low-grade tumor. Let’s go in and get it out.’ What happens is you go in and get it out, and then the following year it turns into a glioblastoma.

How did that happen? Well, you disturbed the microenvironment. You allowed these cells that are marginally aggressive to become highly aggressive. Then you lead to the demise of the patient,” Seyfried says.

“That happens significantly because it’s called secondary glioblastoma arising from therapeutic attempt to manage a low-grade tumor. The same thing can happen with all these different organs. You stab breast tumors, you stab colon tumors, you run the risk of spreading the cells …

My argument is the following: If the patient has a lump, whether it’s in the breast, in the colon, lung or wherever or a lesion of some sort, that should be the cue to do metabolic therapy.

Do metabolic therapy first. In all likelihood, it will shrink down and become less aggressive. Then the option becomes, ‘Should we debulk completely rather than doing some sort of a biopsy?’ We want to reduce the risk, because if we can catch the whole tumor completely, then we don’t run the risk of spreading it …

In our procedure, you bring the body back into a very high state of metabolic balance, and then you strategically go and degrade the tumors slowly without harming the rest of the body.

Radiation, chemo and the strategies that we’re using today don’t do this. They’re based on the gene theory of cancer that genetic mutations are causing the cell cycle to grow out of control. Well, this is not the case. Again, a lot of these toxic procedures need to be rethought, reanalyzed in my mind.”

Solving the Warburg Theory’s Dilemma

In biology, structure determines function. This is an evolutionarily conserved concept. So, how can mitochondria be structurally abnormal in tissue, yet have normal respiration? As Seyfried notes, this doesn’t make sense. Confusion has arisen in part because many study cancer in culture, and “make profound statements and comments regarding what happens in culture,” Seyfried says.

“If you look at cancer cells in culture, many of them do take in oxygen and make ATP, but at the same time, they’re fermenting. This was the conundrum. They called it the Warburg Effect. They’re fermenting, but many people at the same time thought their respiration was normal.

This was the main problem with Warburg’s theory. But Warburg clearly said in his papers [that] it’s not the fact that they take in oxygen; it’s how much ATP they can generate from oxidative phosphorylation, which is the normal respiratory capacity of the mitochondria.”

As explained by Seyfried, if you measure ATP and look at oxygen consumption in tumor cells, it appears they’re making ATP and taking in oxygen, therefore, their respiration is assumed to be normal. However, when you look at the tissues in cancer patients, the mitochondria are abnormal.

“What I and Dr. Christos Chinopoulos from Semmelweis University in Budapest, Hungary, who is the world-leading expert on mitochondrial physiology and biochemistry … realized [was] that the mitochondria of tumor cells are actually fermenting amino acids, glutamine in particular. They’re not respiring. They’re fermenting an alternative fuel, which is glutamine,”Seyfried says.

Warburg’s Cancer Theory Proves Correct

With this understanding, Warburg’s theory can be proven correct — cancer arises from damage to the mitochondria’s ability to produce energy through respiration in their electron transport chain.

The compensatory fermentation involves not only lactic acid fermentation, but also succinic acid fermentation using glutamine as a fermentable fuel. It’s been known for decades that glutamine is a main fuel for many different kinds of cancers, but most people thought it was being respired, not fermented.

Seyfried and Chinopoulos’ discovery confirms that cancer cells in fact have damaged respiration, and to survive, the cancer cells must use fermentation. The two most available fermentable fuels in the cancer microenvironment are glucose and glutamine. Hence, targeting glucose and glutamine is a crucial component of cancer treatment.

Without glucose and glutamine, the cancer cells will starve, as they cannot use ketones. The simplest approach to cancer then is to bring patients into therapeutic ketosis, and then strategically target the availability of glucose and glutamine.

“Basically, what we’re saying [is] that mitochondrial substrate-level phosphorylation is a non-oxidative metabolism mechanism inside the mitochondria that would generate significant amounts of energy without oxidative phosphorylation,” Seyfried says.

Genetic Mutations Are Not the Cause of Cancer

According to Seyfried, mitochondrial dysfunction is at the heart of nearly every type of cancer. Unfortunately, few oncologists have this understanding and many still believe cancer is the result of genetic defects. However, nuclear transfer experiments clearly show cancer cannot be a genetic disease.

“There’s been no rational scientific argument that I have seen, to discredit the multitude of evidence showing that the [genetic] mutations are not the drivers but the effects [of mitochondrial dysfunction],” Seyfried says.

“As a matter of fact, there’s new information now where people are finding so-called genetic drivers of cancer expressed and present in normal cells, normal skin and also esophagus … This is another [issue] — how you get these so-called driver mutations in normal tissues. We’re also finding some cancers that have no mutations, yet, they’re fermenting and growing out of control.

There are a number of new observations coming out that challenge the concept that cancer is a genetic disease. And once you realize that it’s not a genetic disease, then you have to seriously question the majority of therapies being used to manage the disease. This [helps] explain [why] we have 1,600 people a day dying from cancer in the United States.

Why do we have such an epidemic of suffering and death when we have been studying this disease for decades? Well, if you look at the massive amounts of scientific papers being written on cancer, you’ll often find that they’re structured around gene defects.

What I’m saying is that if cancer is not a genetic disease and the mutations are downstream epiphenomena, why would the field continue to focus on things that are mostly irrelevant to the nature of the disease? What I’m saying is very devastating, because I’m telling the majority of the people in the field that they’re basically wasting their time …

I think we can drop the death rate of this disease by about 50% in 10 years if cancer is treated as a mitochondrial metabolic disease, targeting fermentable fuels rather than using toxic therapies that are focused on downstream effects.

Radiation is designed to stop DNA replication. DNA replication requires energy. If you pull the plug on their fermentable fuels, they’re not going to be able to replicate anyway … All of the things that we’re doing to treat cancer is basically approaching the disease from a misunderstanding of the biology …

We know viruses can cause cancer. We know radiation causes cancer. We know carcinogens cause cancer. We know intermittent hypoxia causes cancer. We know systemic inflammation causes cancer. We know just getting older puts you at risk for more cancer.

We know there are inherited mutations in the genome that can cause cancer. But how are all these things linked through a common pathophysiological mechanism? The common pathophysiological mechanism is damaged through the structure and function of the mitochondria.”

Every one of the issues … including inherited mutations, damage the respiration of a particular population of cells in a tissue. You look at the breast cancer gene (BRCA 1), for example. People will say, ‘Cancer must be a genetic disease because you inherit a mutation that causes the disease.’

You only get the disease if that mutation disrupts the function of the mitochondria. Fifty percent of women who carry the mutation never get cancer or breast cancer because the mutation, for some reason, did not damage the mitochondria in that person.”

So, to summarize, the true origin of cancer is damage to the respiratory function of the mitochondria, triggering compensatory fermentation, which is run by oncogenes. Oncogenes play a role by facilitating the entry of glucose and glutamine into the cell to replace oxidative phosphorylation.

Why and How Cancer Spreads

Seyfried also has a very different view on the biology of metastasis (the spread of cancer). He explains:

“We’ve looked at cancer stem cells in a number of our preclinical models … These guys grow like crazy in place. The tumor just keeps expanding, but it doesn’t spread. It doesn’t spread into the bloodstream or metastasize to various organs.

We discovered a very unusual cancer 20 years ago. It took us 10 to 15 years to figure out what it was. You can put a few of these cells anywhere in the mouse’s body and within three to four weeks, this mouse is full of metastatic cancer. It made the cover of the International Journal of Cancer, when we published this back in 2008, but we had worked on the problem for years.

We couldn’t figure out what it was that made these cells so incredibly metastatic. We found out that once we identified the biology of the cell, it turned out [it has] many characteristics in common with the macrophage, which is one of the most powerful immune cells in our body.

We said, ‘Wow. Is this unique only to this kind of cell or do metastatic cancers in humans also express characteristics of macrophages?’ We looked and we found that almost every major cancer that metastasizes has characteristics of macrophages. Then we said, ‘Well, how could this possibly happen? Is it coming from the macrophage?’

A number of scientists … have all clearly shown that there is some fusion hybridization character going on. In other words, macrophages, our wound-healing cells, they come into a microenvironment where you might find many proliferating neoplastic stem cells, but they don’t have the capacity to metastasize.

It’s only when the macrophages fuse with these stem cells that you have a dysregulated energy metabolism coming in this hybrid cell. This hybrid cell now has characteristics of both stem cells and macrophages.

The stem cell is not genetically equipped to enter and exit tissue. The macrophage, as a normal cell of your body, is genetically equipped to enter and exit tissue and live in the bloodstream. They’re very strongly immunosuppressive. These are all characteristics of metastatic cancer.”

Metastatic Cancer Is a Hybrid Cell Combination

According to Seyfried, metastatic cancer cells are essentially a hybrid, a mix of an immune system cell and a dysregulated stem cell, the latter of which could originate from a disorganized epithelial cell or something similar. In short, it’s a hybrid cell with macrophage characteristics.

Macrophages are essential for wound healing and part of our primary defense system against bacterial infections. They live both in the bloodstream and in tissues, and can go anywhere in the body. When an injury or infection occurs, they immediately move in to protect the tissue.

“The metastatic cancer cell has many of those same properties,” Seyfried explains, “But the energy and the function of the cell is completely dysregulated, so it proliferates like crazy but has the capacity to move and spread through the body, so it’s a corrupted macrophage. We call it a rogue macrophage.”

Like macrophages, metastatic cancer cells can also survive in hypoxic environments, which is why most angiogenic therapies are ineffective against metastatic cancer.

So, what do these metastatic hybrid cells need to survive? Both macrophages and immune cells are major glutamine consumers, and according to Seyfried, you can effectively kill metastatic cells by targeting glutamine.

Conventional Cancer Treatments Are Unnecessarily Deadly

However, it must be done in such a way so as to not harm the normal macrophages and the normal immune cells. In other words, it must be strategic. For this reason, Seyfried developed a “press-pulse therapy” for cancer, which allows the patient to maintain normal immune system function, while at the same time targeting the corrupted immune cells — the macrophage fusion hybrid metastatic cells — as well as inflammation.

“The therapies we are using to attempt to kill these [metastatic] cells put us at risk for having the cells survive and kill us. You can control these cells for a short period of time, but they can hunker down and enter into some sort of a slightly dormant state, but they reappear.

People say, ‘Oh, these tumor cells are so nifty and smart they can come back at you.” The problem is you’ve never really challenged them on their very existence, which is they depend on fermentation to survive. If you don’t target their fermentation, they’re going to continue to survive and come back at you.

Many of the therapies that we use — radiation, chemo and some of these other procedures — are not really going after the heart of the problem. That oftentimes put you at risk for the recurrence of the disease. Your body is already seriously weakened by the toxic treatments. And in the battle, you lose. If you are fortunate enough to survive … your body is still beat up.

You have now put your [body] at risk for other kinds of maladies … Why are we using such toxic therapies to kill a cell when we know what its weaknesses are? These are the paradigm changes that will have to occur as we move into the new era of managing cancer in a logical way.”

A Strategic Approach to Killing Cancer Cells

To properly address cancer, then, you need to clean up the microenvironment, because the microenvironment will strategically kill cells that are dependent on fermentation while enhancing cells that aren’t. At the same time, the microenvironment will also reduce inflammation.

“You also have to be very careful not to kill your normal and healthy immune cells, because they need glutamine too,” Seyfried says. “What we find is that when we strategically attack the tumor this way, it turns out that our immune cells are paralyzed.

The cancer cells are killed, but the normal immune cells are paralyzed. They’re not dying, they’re just not doing their job. What we do is we back off the therapy a little; allow the normal immune cells to regain their biological capacity, pick up dead corpses, heal the microenvironment, and then we go after the cancer cells again.

It’s a graded response, knowing the biology of the normal cells and the abnormal biology of the tumor cells. This is a beautiful strategy. Once people know how you can play one group of cells off another, and how you can strategically kill one group of cells without harming the other cells, it really becomes a precision mechanism for eliminating tumor cells without harming the rest of the body.

You don’t need to be poisoned and irradiated. You just have to know how to use these procedures to strategically kill the cells. Protecting normal macrophages is part of the strategic process. Killing the corrupted ones is part of the strategic process. Again, you have to put all of these together in a very logical path. Otherwise, you’re not going to get the level of success that we should be getting.”

The Press-Pulse Strategy

This strategy is what Seyfried calls “press-pulse treatment,” and essentially involves restricting the fermentable fuels — glucose and glutamine — in a cyclical fashion to avoid causing damage to normal cells and tissues. Glucose is effectively restricted through a ketogenic diet. Restricting glutamine is slightly trickier.

The press-pulse strategy was developed from the concept of press-pulse in the field of the paleobiology. A “press” was some chronic stress on populations, killing off large numbers, but not everything, because some organisms can adapt to stress. The “pulse” refers to some catastrophic event.

The simultaneous occurrence of these two unlikely events led to the mass extinction of almost all organisms that existed on the planet. This was a cyclic event over many hundreds of millions of years. The geological records show evidence for this press-pulse extinction phenomenon.

“What we simply did was take that concept and say, ‘Let’s chronically stress the tumor cells.’ They need glucose. You can probably kill a significant number of tumor cells by just stressing their glucose. That’s the press. The press is different ways to lower blood sugar. You put that chronic stress on top of the population either by restricted ketogenic diets [or] therapeutic fasting. There are a lot of ways that you can do this.

Also, emotional stress reduction. People are freaked out because they have cancer, therefore their corticoid steroids are elevated, which elevates blood sugar. Using various forms of stress management, moderate exercise — all of these will lower blood sugar and contribute to a chronic press and stress on the cancer cells.

However, you’re not going to kill all cancer cells if you just take away glucose. Because the other fuel that’s keeping the beast alive is the glutamine. We have to pulse, because we can’t use a press for glutamine targeting, because then you’re going to kill your normal immune cells or impair them, and they are needed for the eventual resolution of the disease.

What we’re going to do is we’re going to pulse various drugs. We don’t have a diet system that will target glutamine. Glutamine is everywhere. It’s the most abundant amino acid in your body … But you have to use [the drugs] very strategically; otherwise they can harm our normal immune system and then be counterproductive …

I think that once we understand how we can target effectively glutamine without harming our normal immune cells … this is the strategy that will make most of these other therapies obsolete … It’s cost-effective and non-toxic and it will work very well.

But we’re still at the very beginning of this. We need to continue to develop the doses, timing and scheduling of those drugs that are most effective in targeting glutamine that can be done without harming the rest of the cells in our body.”

If you would like to support Dr. Seyfried’s research, please consider making a donation to the “Foundation For Metabolic Cancer Therapies.” The donation tag is on the top row of the of the foundation site (http://www.foundationformetaboliccancertherapies.com/). This Foundation is dedicated to supporting Dr. Seyfried’s studies using metabolic therapy for cancer management with 100% of the donated funds going directly to research on metabolic therapy for cancer.

Sources and References

The post Why Glucose and Glutamine Restrictions appeared first on LewRockwell.

Panic Grips Pakistan After Children's Doctor Infected Over 500 With HIV

Zerohedge (BFFBT) - Mon, 2019-05-20 10:40

A horrific story has sent shock and panic through Pakistan, further entering global headlines at the end of this week: Pakistani police are holding a doctor on suspicions that he intentionally infected over 500 people, including 400 children, with the HIV virus.

The investigation began after an HIV epidemic was uncovered in an urban district of Pakistan's south starting in February, and after over ten families accused a local doctor of treating their children with used syringes.

Local residents have flocked to makeshift testing clinics after the scandal hit headlines, via the AFP.

From there, attention focused on a child specialist in the small city of Ratodero named Muzaffar Ghangharo, who himself reportedly has Aids, and may have infected hundreds with HIV using contaminated needles, but he claims he didn't do it intentionally, which a police investigation is now trying to determine. 

According to Al Jazeera the HIV outbreak has sparked a wave of national panic

Parents flock to screening rooms set up at a makeshift clinic to get their children examined for HIV in a village in southern Pakistan, where hundreds of people have been allegedly infected by a doctor using a contaminated syringe.

At least five different screening rooms have been set up in the last month in the village of Wasayo on the outskirts of Larkana in Sindh province.

"They are coming by the dozens," says a doctor at the makeshift clinic, beset by a lack of equipment and personnel to treat the surging number of patients.

Historically, the Islamic conservative country has long had a low prevalence for HIV, but reports this week say it's now spreading at an "alarming rate". 

Families in rural areas impacted, but with little resources and only access to hospitals with poor sanitation practices, are outraged and desperate according to reports. 

The child specialist Muzaffar Ghangharo is due in court on May 21st, with Pakistani doctors telling reporters they've counted the total number of infected related to his clinic at a stunning figure of over 500 people, which includes at least 437 children

Pakistani police are investigating whether a doctor intentionally infected over 500 people, including 400 children, with the HIV virus

— TRT Worldpic.twitter.com/rSx42lAw33

— EHA News (@eha_news) May 18, 2019

A local police officer involved in the investigation told The Guardian of the suspect's confession: “He said that he didn’t do anything intentionally. Ghangharo said that in his statement to police. [But] four kids have died and their parents have blamed the doctor for killing them.”

Reports further say the child doctor's professional credentials are unknown at this point. "For the sake of saving money, these quacks will inject multiple patients with a single syringe. This could be the main cause of the spread of HIV cases," one local health official said

Health workers are now mass screening residents of Sindh province, where the outbreak is concentrated, and have reportedly already tested 16,000 in the past couple months. The province's Aids control program director identified that after testing thousands, which identified hundreds of infected, “Sixty per cent are children less than five years.”

Muzaffar Ghangharo has been in jail awaiting trial as the investigation focuses on whether he intentionally infected over 500 people with the deadly HIV virus. Image source: EPA via The Sun

Some of the personal family accounts are absolutely gut-wrenching, such as the following

A few months ago, Fatima Emaan came down with a persistent fever. So her father, Syed Shah, took the infant to a few doctors, including a local child specialist in Ratodero, a small city in Pakistan’s south.

But the visits seemed only to worsen the 16-month-old girl’s condition. In February, a doctor told Shah his daughter was presenting the symptoms of HIV. On 1 March, her results came back. “They double- and triple-checked it and told us that Fatima is suffering from HIV,” Shah said.

Shah says his daughter was the first child to be diagnosed in what has become an HIV epidemic in the district...

The shocking incident has spotlighted hospital and medical practices and sanitation especially in remoter parts of Pakistan.

This includes complaints of high numbers of unqualified doctors along with the "reuse of syringes, unsafe blood transfusions, and other unsafe medical practices" according to an expert on infectious diseases,  Bushra Jamil, at the Aga Khan University in Karachi, in an interview with Al Jazeera.

Nationwide, Pakistan’s health ministry has put the total figure of registered HIV cases at 23,000 — which is tragically expected to grow after the latest crisis. 

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