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Nobody Told Me and They Didn’t Tell You Either

12 hours 58 min ago

As a health journalist and consumer advocate I try to challenge consumers to take care of their own health, not fall for the trappings of modern medicine, and as much of a godsend as they are, not to fall for the many exaggerations and false promises made by makers of dietary supplements either.

So, today’s health question is: what does a guy do when his prostate gland starts acting up?

Most men only like to talk about four things….. sports, cars, girls, money… But as they age another unwelcome topic enters the discussion – – – prostate problems.  The problem started much earlier in life, but nobody told me, or you, so we could head it off.

I never heard from a doctor that my prostate gland was inevitably going to harden enough to impinge on my urethra at the bottom neck of my bladder and make it difficult for me to urinate.   And at night, as the prostate gland hardens, it makes men feel like their bladder is full when it isn’t.  So, we continually get out of bed to take a pee.  But our doctors just let it all happen so it comes without warning.   In the back of many men’s minds they ask: “Is this never going to go away?”  “Oh, THIS is what they mean by old age?”  Hey, but I’m only 49! (I’m actually 74).

Even younger-aged men begin to stand at the urinal for a long time before they unload.  They never even think their prostate gland is blinking a red light at their relatively young age.  Every day their prostate gland is getting larger and larger.

Little do they know, there are abnormal cells in most men’s prostate gland by age 30.  As soon as these men have to keep getting up at night as their bladder feels full, and they begin to lose sleep, and that results in loss of memory, immunity and vigor, then and only then maybe it’s time to visit the doctor.

If you aren’t going to rely on your doctor, then where do you look?

Some men might begin to investigate alternatives on their own.  Or they can totally rely on their doctor who has only one answer – – invasive treatment (surgery or radiation).  Surgical consent forms don’t offer alternatives for men who only have prostatic enlargement and no cancer.  Now if a man can’t urinate at all, that’s another thing.  But surgical side effects, impotency, dribbling urine without control, should make a surgical option a last resort.  So short of surgery, what exists?

Here comes the rectal exam and the biopsy

Doctor’s usually start their exam by performing a gloved finger exam of your prostate gland via your rectum.  But this has been roundly dismissed as inaccurate and a fishing expedition to start the ball rolling toward a biopsy – microscopic examination of your prostate tissue.

The pathologist might return a report to your urologist stating you have “high-grade neoplasia” (abnormal cells).  But that only correlates with a marginal increase in the risk for prostate cancer.  Most of the time– you can read a bulletin from the American Cancer Society about it —  precancerous changes in your prostate cancer do not warrant surgery.

A survey of urologists reveals most (70-80%) believe surveillance is the most effective alternative for men with low-risk changes in their prostate gland and agree that surveillance is underused.  But they also say their patients aren’t interested in surveillance, they want treatment.  Really?  So, what urologists believe doesn’t get translated into their daily practice.

What happens when cancer is mentioned?

It’s shocking to learn about the same percentage of men who opt for surveillance succumb to prostate cancer as those who undergo surgical removal of their prostate.  Net sum game = zero.

But the symptoms of prostatic enlargement that brought men to visit a urologist are still not being addressed.   

Oh, most men just elect to endure prostate enlargement with accompanying symptoms, but if the doctor can say they have cancer too, most men want it out, now!  But those cells in your prostate gland looked cancerous decades ago.  The pathologist describes these abnormal cells as hyperplasia or neoplasia – precancerous.  But you heard the word cancer.   The doctor has to peel you off the ceiling of the exam room.

Do urologists take their own medicine?

So, let’s ask the question again, is there any alternative?

If you ask the doctor, he hasn’t done any unbiased study of prostate remedies that promise to shrink the prostate.  And he doesn’t know of any either.  (Maybe doctors don’t want to know.  But the urologist has a prostate gland too!  I wonder whether urologists secretly take their own medicine and have their prostate glands cut out?  My guess is no).

There is no exception to this.  Every man is going to have this problem regardless.  It is part of aging.  It comes with the territory when living long.   I can jokingly hear actor Clint Eastwood, now in his late 80s, standing at the urinal saying to his prostate gland, “Go ahead, make my day,” a popular catch phrase from the 1971 movie Dirty Harry.  I don’t care how much of a tough guy you are, or how healthy you may be, your prostate gland is going to ruin your day.

Many men with an enlarged prostate gland are mentally sharp, still are physically active, and they begin to decline solely because of their enlarged prostate gland is now governing their lives.  Men are living longer and as analytic as many men are, they don’t know what is wrong or where to look once these symptoms appear.

Naturel remedies abound, but which ones?

There are lot of natural molecules that are good for the prostate gland….. zinc, vitamin D, polyphenols like those found in grapes and wine, to name a few.  While the key ingredient that solves this male problem is on the label of most prostate dietary supplements, it is mostly just window dressing.  It’s saw palmetto berry.  But that herbal in its natural form has just a few milligrams of the key ingredient that shrinks the prostate.  It has to be extracted and provided in concentrated form.

Men may read on the SUPPLEMENT FACTS panel that saw palmetto berry provides beta sitosterol, the key ingredient that shrinks the prostate. 

Where can YOU find beta sitosterol in meaningful doses?  Well, one ethical company tested 157 different prostate formulas.  The beta sitosterol content varied greatly, sometimes varying from what the label stated by many fold.  Of the 157 prostate formulas, only 18 passed the test for any beta sitosterol whatsoever.  The leader of the pack, that is miles ahead of other brands was ProstaGenix, a brand that provides 823 milligrams of beta sitosterol in 3 capsules.  It is derived from the French Maritime pine tree, the best source.

I believe in private enterprise.  I believe in a free market where competition reigns.  But just how do you find an unbiased source so you can evaluate one prostate formula from another in this modern confusing world?

I believe answers for our health are out there, but are they truthful, accurate and is the remedy for prostate trouble affordable?  I usually break a health story like this on my own.  But I found somebody beat me to the punch.  They not only did a great job in formulating the most advanced prostate formula, they boldly tested it against other brands.

Hey, they pinned the award as “World’s #1 Prostate Supplement” on themselves for good reason.  “They” is Verified Nutrition LLC that markets PROSTAGENIX.  You can check it all out for yourself online.  Just so you know, I don’t make a dime for saying so.

Now fellas, you can go back to talking about cars, sports, girls and money.

The post Nobody Told Me and They Didn’t Tell You Either appeared first on LewRockwell.

Something Extraordinary in Sacramento

12 hours 58 min ago

Something extraordinary happened in Sacramento last week. The people protesting California’s increasingly draconian vaccine-mandate legislation—most of them mothers of vaccine-injured children—stopped playing by the rules.

On Monday, Senate Bill 714—the companion bill to SB276 which puts the determination of medical exemptions from any of the vaccines required for school into the hands of the state—was before the California State Assembly for a vote. Six women had already been arrested, including two nursing mothers and a grandmother, and the Assembly gallery was filled with protesters, waiting quietly.

The moment the bill passed, women unfurled banners and the gallery erupted in chanting. Appeals for “quiet in the Chamber!” and cries of “we’re asking for decorum” were drowned out with “You have not represented California for all!” The demonstrators succeeded in shutting down both the Assembly and Senate chambers for more than an hour.

Ultimately, the Senate did vote the bill through, and soon after, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed both SB276 and SB714 into law. But four days later the demonstrators were still there, and they have pledged to disrupt the lives and the work of those who passed this legislation for as long as it takes to reverse it.

What these parents have learned is that playing by the rules will do nothing to protect their rights. For years, these women (and some men) had been lining up in an orderly fashion and calmly giving whatever limited testimony they were allowed, only to have it ignored. For years, they had listened to haughty legislators demand that they behave in a civil manner while slicing away at their most basic freedoms.


When people come to realize that representative democracy has failed them, that the politicians who claim to represent them instead represent the interests of powerful corporations, what should they do?

Right now, there is a lot of talk about efforts to recall the governor, of a referendum to strike down the bills, or to vote the politicians who supported this legislation (all of them Democrats) out of office. Many think voting in Republicans will help. That’s understandable, as voting on these bills was completely along party lines, and states with Republican majorities seem to be defending themselves better against these kinds of bills.

But that won’t last for long. The pharmaceutical industry throws money at Republicans too, and it is only a matter of time before they are every bit as bought as the Democrats are on this issue. Voting for Republicans might be a good defensive tactic for the short-term. But it’s not going to solve the problem.


The underlying problem is that we have an institution that gives a group of people the power to dictate the terms of our lives. This institution is backed by force, and cannot be held accountable in any real way—at least, not within the confines of that institution. This institution claims to represent us (whatever that means, in a state of 39.75 million people, each with their own worldview, interests, wants and needs), but it clearly does not. The problems that are inherent in this institution cannot simply be voted away.

I wrote about this a few years ago:

“The things libertarians want – freedom, less govt. interference in markets & in personal choices, non-interventionist foreign policy… there is no money in these things for politicians. There are no big corporations and very few rich people who are willing to pay tons of money to politicians to refrain from intervening in markets, or to keep the troops home, or to let people ingest whatever substances they want to.

“…Understand that behind the empty campaign promises, politicians have essentially two things to offer to the people who support them: 1. Power, in the form of regulatory and other control, over competitors and others who may get in the way of a particular entity remaining comfortably profitable; 2. Money. Not their own money of course – your money, and my money. Taken from us in taxes, and in the continual devaluation of the government-issued money we all use. Politicians can give money to their supporters in the form of contracts for things like military equipment and public works projects, or in less direct ways, like mandating that government schools all stock epinephrine injectors that meet the same very specific product requirements that your device happens to meet.

“…In theory, politicians could offer liberty to their supporters. They could offer to cut back regulations, to end military aggression. But who is going to pay them for that? Again these are things that would benefit everyone, all of society. But the game of politics is not about benefitting all of society. And the widely accepted belief that it is is perhaps the most dangerous lie ever crafted.

“In order for a seeker of liberty to win at this game, that person would have to compete with the campaign donations and other inducements made by military contractors, major pharmaceutical companies, oil companies – but these are all entities that have been made rich by virtue of government interventions and direct largesse. How can a liberty seeker hope to offer the same level of financial inducements to politicians as these people, when they are not also on the receiving end of the government slush?”

This problem cannot be solved from within the institution, because the institution itself is the problem.


I say that the laws passed in Sacramento last Monday are illegitimate because they are the product of a system based on coercion and not consent. But even those who don’t agree with me about that can recognize that these laws are not legitimate.

It should be clear to everyone by now that the people who proposed this legislation and those who voted for it do not represent the people of California (again, whatever that means), but the interests of the pharmaceutical industry. Even those who believe that representative democracy is a legitimate way of making decisions over everyone’s lives should have a problem with this.

More fundamentally though, these laws represent a violation of some of our basic rights: The right to bodily autonomy for ourselves and for our children, and the right to associate freely with others (in this case, schools) without interference from the state. In essence, the State of California is holding hostage our children’s ability to attend school (public or private), unless we subject them to medical procedures we may not approve of.

So what do we do when we are faced with illegitimate laws that violate our rights?

Those mothers had the right idea when they shut down the California Senate last Monday: Disrupt the activities of those who would trample our rights, and make it impossible for them to do their jobs.

They are right about something else too: This is not just about California, or even just about the United States. The people who want to force vaccines on the entire population see this as a global effort, and we need to see it that way too.

On Monday, while the mothers in California were shutting down the Senate, parents in New York were storming the state’s Education Department building, where the Board of Regents were meeting. The parents filled the halls, chanting “our taxes, our schools!” in opposition to the removal of the religious exemption for vaccines in their state.

It is time for more of this. It is time for some Gandhi-style peaceful civil disobedience, and not only in California and New York.

It is also time to start holding accountable those who help to enforce laws that violate our rights. In this case, that might mean disrupting the activities of local school administrators, of the health department, of the State Medical Board, or of the Department of Education, making it impossible  for them to do their jobs, as long as doing their jobs means enforcing illegitimate laws.

It has never before been so clear to so many that the lawmakers are the criminals. If we let them take this, if we let them violate the bodily autonomy of our children and take away our right to make medical decisions as parents, then there will be nothing they cannot take. It is essential that we find the right tools to stop them.

The post Something Extraordinary in Sacramento appeared first on LewRockwell.

Will Trump Take the Neocon Bait

12 hours 58 min ago

The recent attacks on Saudi oil facilities by Yemeni Houthi forces demonstrate once again that an aggressive foreign policy often brings unintended consequences and can result in blowback. In 2015 Saudi Arabia attacked its neighbor, Yemen, because a coup in that country ousted the Saudi-backed dictator. Four years later Yemen is in ruins, with nearly 100,000 Yemenis killed and millions more facing death by starvation. It has been rightly called the worst humanitarian catastrophe on the planet.

But rich and powerful Saudi Arabia did not defeat Yemen. In fact, the Saudis last month asked the Trump Administration to help facilitate talks with the Houthis in hopes that the war, which has cost Saudi Arabia tens of billions of dollars, could finally end without Saudi crown prince Mohammad bin Salman losing too much face. Washington admitted earlier this month that those talks had begun.

The surprise Houthi attack on Saturday disrupted half of Saudi Arabia’s oil and gas production and shocked Washington. Predictably, however, the neocons are using the attack to call for war with Iran!

Sen. Lindsay Graham, one of the few people in Washington who makes John Bolton look like a dove, Tweeted yesterday that, “It is now time for the US to put on the table an attack on Iranian oil refineries…” Graham is the perfect embodiment of the saying, “when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” No matter what the problem, for Graham the solution is war.

Likewise, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo – who is supposed to represent US diplomacy – jumped to blame Iran for the attack on Saudi Arabia, Tweeting that, “Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply.” Of course, he provided no evidence even as the Houthis themselves took responsibility for the bombing.

What is remarkable is that all of Washington’s warmongers are ready for war over what is actually a retaliatory strike by a country that is the victim of Saudi aggression, not the aggressor itself. Yemen did not attack Saudi Arabia in 2015. It was the other way around. If you start a war and the other country fights back, you should not be entitled to complain about how unfair the whole thing is.

The establishment reaction to the Yemeni oilfield strike reminds me of a hearing in the House Foreign Affairs Committee just before the US launched the 2003 Iraq war. As I was arguing against the authorization for that war, I pointed out that Iraq had never attacked the United States. One of my colleagues stopped me in mid-sentence, saying, “let me remind the gentleman that the Iraqis have been shooting at our planes for years.” True, but those planes were bombing Iraq!

The neocons want a US war on Iran at any cost. They may feel temporarily at a disadvantage with the departure of their ally in the Trump Administration, John Bolton. However, the sad truth is that there are plenty more John Boltons in the Administration. And they have allies in the Lindsay Grahams in Congress.

Yemen has demonstrated that it can fight back against Saudi aggression. The only sensible way forward is for a rapid end to this four-year travesty, and the Saudis would be wise to wake up to the mess they’ve created for themselves. Whatever the case, US participation in Saudi Arabia’s war on Yemen must end immediately and neocon lies about Iran’s role in the war must be refuted and resisted.

The post Will Trump Take the Neocon Bait appeared first on LewRockwell.

What Is It That Libertarians Don’t Get about the Military?

12 hours 58 min ago

I expect to get negative responses from conservatives when I write articles about the U.S. military. I don’t expect to get them from libertarians.

In response to my recent article, “Should We Honor Military Personnel?,” I received e-mails from two libertarians. Perhaps there were others. I never assume that everyone who contacts me after I write an article for LewRockwell.com is a libertarian. One, not everyone who reads LRC is a libertarian. I myself, a libertarian, read many conservative and liberal websites. And two, many times my LRC articles are reposted by a variety of websites. I never know if someone read my article on LRC or some other website.

Both libertarians who wrote me took issue with the basic premise of my article: military personnel who actually defend the country like they are supposed to shouldn’t be honored any more than a cook at Waffle House. I didn’t address the issue of honoring military personnel who don’t actually defend the country like they are supposed to. My position on that has been consistently and vehemently negative since I began writing about the warfare state after the United States invaded Iraq.

One libertarian writer termed my article “snarky” and a “huge EMBARRASSMENT” to him as a libertarian. We should “‘honor’ members of the military, current, honorably discharged, and retired, for their SERVICE, without having to agree where and why they served.” I am guilty of “committing the mistake of blaming the servant for the perceived misdeeds of the master.” I should be “thankful” that the U.S. Navy “has carrier groups and supporting craft, including the attack boats (submarines), and especially the nuclear missile boats.” He asks me if I am “one of those despicable cretins that spat on our servicemen returning from Vietnam.” For the record, I am not. And for the record, I don’t believe the canard about Vietnam vets being spit on.

Another libertarian writer, who has “been both an enlisted man for six years and a commissioned officer for about 21 years,” says that “most people who grow vegetables and work at waffle house, while certainly honorable and praiseworthy in their own right, do not take an oath to defend the Constitution, agree to be sent away from their families for extreme lengths of time and prepare themselves mentally, emotionally and spiritually to lay down their own lives if necessary.” People who approach military service like this “are usually fine folks and are worthy of general respect.” Although they are “flawed as anyone else,” most of them “really sacrificed and believed” they “were serving the Lord’s purposes while doing so.”

What is it that libertarians don’t get about the U.S. military?

Here are ten things about the U.S. military that I have mentioned scores of times over the years in my articles about the U.S. military:

  1. The U.S. military is the president’s personal attack force.
  2. The U.S. military doesn’t defend our freedoms.
  3. The U.S. military carries out a reckless, belligerent, and meddling U.S. foreign policy.
  4. The U.S. military goes places it has no business going.
  5. The U.S. military kills people it has no business killing.
  6. The U.S. military engages in offense, not defense.
  7. The U.S. military fights unjust and immoral wars.
  8. The U.S. military bombs countries that were no threat to the United States.
  9. The U.S. military creates terrorists, insurgents, and militants because of its actions.
  10.  The U.S. military is a global force for evil.

These ten things are more than enough.

No member of the military should be honored no matter where or why he “served.” Individual soldiers should be blamed for the misdeeds (and they are not perceived; they are real) of the military because (1) individual soldiers joined of their own freewill and (2) individual soldiers are the ones who commit the misdeeds. The fact that they took an oath to defend the Constitution means nothing if they don’t actually defend it. No soldier should have to be sent away from his family for extreme lengths of time or prepare himself mentally, emotionally and spiritually to lay down their lives if necessary. Not if he was actually engaged in defending the country against real threats instead of fighting foreign wars.

The huge embarrassment to libertarianism is for anyone who calls himself a libertarian to honor U.S. military personnel just because they “served” when, even in their best state, they should not be honored any more than a cook at Waffle House.

The post What Is It That Libertarians Don’t Get about the Military? appeared first on LewRockwell.

A View From the Brink

12 hours 58 min ago

Welcome to the world where things don’t add up. For instance, some people did some things to the Saudi Arabian oil refinery at Abqaiq over the weekend. Like, sent over a salvo of cruise missiles and armed drone aircraft to blow it up. They did a pretty good job of disabling the works. It is Saudi Arabia’s largest oil processing facility, and for now, perhaps months, a fair amount of the world’s oil supply will be cut off. President Trump said “[we] are waiting to hear from the Kingdom as to who they believe was the cause of this attack, and under what terms we would proceed!” Exclamation mark his.

How many times the past few years has our government declared that “we have the finest intelligence services in the world.” Very well, then, why are we waiting for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to tell us who fired all that stuff into Abqaiq? Whoever did it, it was unquestionably an act of war. And, of course, what are we going to do about it? (And what will some people do about it?)

Let’s face it: the USA has had a hard-on for Iran for forty years, ever since they overthrew their shah, invaded the US embassy in Tehran, and took fifty-two American diplomats and staff hostage for 444 days. On the other hand, the Arabians and Iranians have had a mutual hard-on for centuries, long before the Saud family was in charge of things, and back when Iran was known as Persia, a land of genies, fragrant spices, and a glorious antiquity (while Arabia was a wasteland of sand populated by nomads and their camels).

The beef was formerly just about which brand of Islam would prevail, Sunni or Shia. Lately (the past fifty years) it has been more about the politics of oil and hegemony over the Middle East. Since the US invaded Iraq and busted up the joint, the threat has existed that Iran would take over Iraq, with its majority Shia population, especially the oil-rich Basra region at the head of the Persian Gulf. The presence of Israel greatly complicates things, since Iran has a hard-on for that nation, too, and for Jews especially, often expressed in the most belligerent and opprobrious terms, such as “wiping Israel off the map.” No ambiguity there. The catch being that Israel has the capability of turning Iran into an ashtray.

The world has been waiting for a major war in the Middle east for decades, and it might have one by close of business today. Or perhaps some people will do nothing. The Iran-backed Houthi rebels of Yemen supposedly claimed responsibility for the attack. That’s rich. As if that rag-tag outfit has a whole bunch of million-dollar missiles and the knowledge and capacity to launch them successfully, not to mention the satellite guidance mojo. A correspondent suggests that the missiles were fired from a pro-Iranian military base in Iraq, with the Houthis brought in on flying carpets to push the launch buttons.

President Trump is trumpeting America’s “energy independence,” meaning whatever happens over there won’t affect us. Well, none of that is true. We still import millions of barrels of oil a day, though much less from Saudi Arabia than before 2008. The shale oil “miracle” is hitting the skids these days. Shale oil production has gone flat, the rig-count is down, companies are going bankrupt, and financing for the debt-dependent operations is dwindling since the producers have demonstrated that they can’t make a profit at it. They’re trapped in the quandary of diminishing returns, frontloading production, while failing to overcome steep decline curves in wells that only produce for a couple of years.

It’s also the case that shale oil is ultra-light crude, containing little heavier distillates such as diesel and aviation fuel (basically kerosene). Alas, American refineries were all built before shale oil came along. They were designed to crack heavier oil and can’t handle the lighter shale. The “majors” don’t want to invest their remaining capital in new refineries, and the many smaller companies don’t have the ability. So, this makes necessary a high volume of oil swapping around the world. Without diesel and aviation fuel, US trucking and commercial aviation has a big problem, meaning the US economy has a big problem.

With the new crisis in the Middle East, benchmark West Texas Intermediate oil is up from around $55-a-barrel to just over $60 at the market open (European Brent crude is just above $70). That’s a pop, but not a spectacular one, considering that a whole lot more damage might ensue in the days ahead. China, Korea, and Japan stand to lose bigly if the players in the Middle East really go at it and bust up each other’s assets. If that happens, the world will never be the same. You can kiss the global economy goodbye for good. Let’s hope some people don’t do something.

Reprinted with permission from Kunstler.com.

The post A View From the Brink appeared first on LewRockwell.

Sen. Graham Wants To Bomb Iran in Response to Houthi Attack on Saudi Oil

12 hours 58 min ago

Following the early morning attack on Saudi Arabia’s Abqaiq oil processing facility—the largest oil processing plant in the world—and a similar drone attack at the Khurais oil field on Saturday, the neocon senator from South Carolina, Lindsey Graham, has called for attacking Iran. 

It is now time for the U.S. to put on the table an attack on Iranian oil refineries if they continue their provocations or increase nuclear enrichment.

— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) September 14, 2019

Although the Houthis claimed responsibility for the crippling attack, there is little evidence who is actually responsible. It is just as likely the Saudis did this to 1) ramp up hostilities against their arch enemy, Shia Iran, 2) jack up the price of oil, and 3) in the process make the impending Aramco IPO more lucrative.

In addition, the Saudis fear the end of the illegal war on the people of Yemen negotiated by the US:

US in Direct Talks With Yemen’s Houthis
Talks ‘narrowly focused on trying to end the war’#Yemen #SaudiArabia #UAE #Houthishttps://t.co/5uSQgVnfh8 pic.twitter.com/CL48LIqsHR

— Antiwar.com (@Antiwarcom) September 6, 2019

Zerohedge notes:

According to Reuters reports the drone attacks will impact up to 5 million bpd of oil production, which suggests that the price of oil—already severely depressed by the recent news that John Bolton is out, making de-escalation with Iran far more likely—is set to soar when trading reopens late on Sunday, just what the upcoming Aramco IPO desperately needs, which in turn has prompted some to wonder if the “Yemen” attack on Saudi Arabia wasn’t in fact orchestrated by Saudi interests. (Emphasis mine.) 

Meanwhile, the corporate media, as should be expected, is placing the blame indirectly on Iran. From the beginning of the Saudi campaign to bomb the daylights out of Yemen, creating one of the worst humanitarian crises in recent memory, the corporate media has stated as an indisputable fact the Houthis are an Iranian proxy doing the bidding of the mullahs in Tehran. 

The attack by the Iranian-backed Houthi militias against the two Aramco pumping stations proves that these militias are merely a tool that Iran’s regime uses to implement its expansionist agenda in the region, and not to protect the people of Yemen as the Houthis falsely claim.

— Khalid bin Salman خالد بن سلمان (@kbsalsaud) May 16, 2019

On the contrary, the Iranians have very little to do with supporting the Houthis, a fact rarely mentioned because it conflicts with the narrative that fallaciously states Iran is the most vicious terror state in the world (that designation is better suited for the United States and Israel). 

Thomas Juneau, the assistant professor at the University of Ottawa’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs and an analyst with Canada’s Department of National Defense, wrote for The Washington Post in 2016, “Tehran’s support for the Houthis is limited, and its influence in Yemen is marginal. It is simply inaccurate to claim that the Houthis are Iranian proxies.” 

Breaking News: Drone strikes set 2 major oil refineries ablaze deep in Saudi Arabia. Houthi rebels in Yemen, who are supported by Iran, claimed responsibility.https://t.co/N8qk7MOdE9

— The New York Times (@nytimes) September 14, 2019

Iran’s assistance “remains limited and far from sufficient to make more than a marginal difference to the balance of forces in Yemen, a country awash with weapons. There is, therefore, no supporting evidence to the claim that Iran has bought itself any significant measure of influence over Houthi decision-making.”

Graham sits on a number of committees—including the Foreign Relations Committee, and he is the chairman of the Subcommittee on the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs—so it really isn’t possible he doesn’t know the oft-claimed accusation Iran controls the Houthis is little more than war propaganda.  

But then Graham, as a neocon fellow traveler, is enthusiastically in favor of Israel’s wars in the Middle East. If it takes a few lies to get things moving, so be it. Iran must be bombed because it cannot be allowed to challenge the Zionist apartheid state, and condemn its disruptive behavior, violation of human rights, and relentless agitation for a war that would suck in America and crash an already teetering world economy.  

Reprinted with permission from Global Research.

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If You Think The Price of Oil Is Skyrocketing Now

12 hours 58 min ago

In the aftermath of the most dramatic attack on Saudi oil facilities that we have ever seen, the price of oil has exploded higher.  The Wall Street Journal is calling this attack “the Big One”, and President Trump appears to be indicating that some sort of military retaliation is coming.  Needless to say, a direct military strike on Iran could spark a major war in the Middle East, and that would be absolutely devastating for the entire global economy.  Just about everything that we buy has to be moved, and moving stuff takes energy.  When the price of oil gets really high, that tends to create inflation because the price of oil is a factor in virtually everything that we buy.  In addition, a really high price for oil also tends to slow down economic activity, and this is something that we witnessed just prior to the financial crisis of 2008.  And if this crisis in the Middle East stretches over an extended period of time, it could ultimately result in a phenomenon known as “stagflation” where we have rapidly rising prices and weaker economic activity simultaneously.  The last time we experienced such a thing was in the 1970s, and nobody really remembers the U.S. economy of the 1970s favorably.

The damage caused by the “drone attacks” in Saudi Arabia was immense.  According to the Daily Mail, “huge plumes of black smoke” could be seen pouring out of a key Saudi oil facility…

Infernos raged at the plant in Abqaiq, Bugayg, and the country’s second largest oilfield in Khurais yesterday morning after Tehran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen fired a flurry of rockets.

Huge plumes of black smoke could be seen coming from the oil facility.

Houthi rebels in Yemen have publicly taken responsibility for the attacks, but they may or may not be telling the truth.

At this point, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is completely rejecting that explanation, and he is claiming that there is “no evidence the strikes had come from Yemen”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed Iran for coordinated strikes on the heart of Saudi Arabia’s oil industry, saying they marked an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply.

The strikes shut down half of the kingdom’s crude production on Saturday, potentially roiling petroleum prices and demonstrating the power of Iran’s proxies.

Iran-allied Houthi rebels in neighboring Yemen claimed credit for the attack, saying they sent 10 drones to strike at important facilities in Saudi Arabia’s oil-rich Eastern Province. But Mr. Pompeo said there was no evidence the strikes had come from Yemen.

And according to Reuters, another unnamed “U.S. official” told them that the attacks came from “west-northwest of the targets”…

The U.S. official, who asked not to be named, said there were 19 points of impact in the attack on Saudi facilities and that evidence showed the launch area was west-northwest of the targets – the direction of Iran – not south from Yemen.

The official added that Saudi officials had indicated they had seen signs that cruise missiles were used in the attack, which is inconsistent with the Iran-aligned Houthi group’s claim that it conducted the attack with 10 drones.

Of course drones don’t have to travel in a straight line, and cruise missiles don’t either, and so we may never know for sure where the attacks originated.

But we do know that the Houthi rebels in Yemen are being backed by Iran, and we also know that the Shia militias in Iraq are also being backed by Iran.

So whether the attacks originated in Yemen, southern Iraq or Iran itself, it is not going to be too difficult for U.S. officials to place the blame on the Iranians, and we should expect some sort of military response.

In fact, President Trump posted the following message to Twitter just a little while ago

Saudi Arabia oil supply was attacked. There is reason to believe that we know the culprit, are locked and loaded depending on verification, but are waiting to hear from the Kingdom as to who they believe was the cause of this attack, and under what terms we would proceed!

Of course U.S. airstrikes against Iran itself could ultimately spark World War 3, and most Americans are completely clueless that we could literally be on the precipice of a major war.

According to the Saudis, the equivalent of 5.7 million barrels a day of oil production were affected by the attacks.  Saudi Arabia typically produces about 9.8 million barrels a day, and so that is a really big deal.

When the markets reopened on Sunday night, oil futures exploded higher.  In fact, according to Zero Hedge this was the biggest jump ever…

With traders in a state of near-frenzy, with a subset of fintwit scrambling (and failing) to calculate what the limit move in oil would be (hint: there is none for Brent), moments ago brent reopened for trading in the aftermath of Saturday’s attack on the “world’s most important oil processing plant“, and exploded some 20% higher, to a high of $71.95 from the Friday $60.22 close, its biggest jump since futures started trading in 1988.

As I write this article, the price of Brent crude is currently sitting at $66.89, although at least one analyst is warning that the price of oil could soon shoot up to “as high as $100 per barrel” if the Saudis are not able to quickly resume their previous level of production…

The oil market will rally by $5-10 per barrel when it opens on Monday and may spike to as high as $100 per barrel if Saudi Arabia fails to quickly resume oil supply lost after attacks over the weekend, traders and analysts said.

Saudi officials have already told us that they anticipate that a third of the lost oil output will be restored on Monday.

But because of the extensive damage that has been done, restoring the remainder of the lost output could take “weeks” or even “months”.

In the short-term, President Trump has “authorized the release of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve“, and that should help stabilize prices somewhat.

However, if a full-blown war with Iran erupts, nothing is going to be able to calm the markets.  In such a scenario, the price of oil could easily explode to a level that is four or five times higher than it is today, and that would essentially be the equivalent of slamming a baseball bat into the knees of the global economy.

The times that we are living in are about to become a whole lot more serious, but most Americans are not even paying attention to these absolutely critical global events.

In fact, even the mainstream media seems to believe that the new allegations against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh are more important.

That is because they don’t understand what is really happening.

Trust me, keep a close eye on the Middle East, because things are about to start breaking loose there in a major way.

Reprinted with permission from The Economic Collapse.

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The Black Swan Is a Drone

12 hours 58 min ago

What was “possible” yesterday is now a low-cost proven capability, and the consequences are far from predictable.

Predictably, the mainstream media is serving up heaping portions of reassurances that the drone attacks on Saudi oil facilities are no big deal and full production will resume shortly. The obvious goal is to placate global markets fearful of an energy disruption that could tip a precarious global economy into recession.

The real impact isn’t on short-term oil prices, it’s on asymmetric warfare: the coordinated drone attack on Saudi oil facilities is a Black Swan event that is reverberating around the world, awakening copycats and exposing the impossibility of defending against low-cost drones of the sort anyone can buy.

(Some published estimates place the total cost of the 10 drones deployed in the strike at $15,000. Highly capable commercially available drones cost around $1,200 each.)

The attack’s success should be a wake-up call to everyone tasked with defending highly flammable critical infrastructure: there really isn’t any reliable defense against a coordinated drone attack, nor is there any reliable way to distinguish between an Amazon drone delivering a package and a drone delivering a bomb.

Whatever authentication protocol that could be required of drones in the future–an ID beacon or equivalent–can be spoofed. For example: bring down an authenticated drone (using nets, etc.), swap out the guidance and payload, and away it goes. Or steal authentication beacons from suppliers, or hack an authenticated drone in flight, land it, swap out the payload–the list of spoofing workaround options is extensive.

This is asymmetric warfare on a new scale: $20,000 of drones can wreak $20 million in damage and financial losses of $200 million–or $2 billion or $20 billion, if global markets are upended.

If it’s impossible to defend against coordinated drone attacks, and impossible to differentiate “good” drones from “bad” drones, then the only reliable defense is to ban drones entirely from wide swaths of territory.

So much for the lightly regulated commercialization of drones.

What sort of light bulbs are going off in the minds of copycats? It doesn’t take much imagination to see the potential for mayhem–and without sacrificing your own life. I won’t elaborate on the possibilities here, but they’re obvious to us all.

The range and payload of low-cost drones is limited. The big drones can fly hundreds of miles and carry hundreds of pounds of weaponry, but these can be targeted by radar and conventional ground-to-air missiles. So-called hobby drones skimming over the rooftops (or deserts or forests) are difficult to shoot down, especially if the attack is coordinated to arrive from multiple directions.

Small hobby drones may only carry 3 KG (roughly 6 pounds), but how much damage can 3 KG of high explosives cause? The answer is “considerable” if the target is flammable, or lightly shielded electronics.

Larger commercially available drones can carry up to 20 KG or 40 pounds–more than enough explosive capacity to take out any number of targets.

Defense and intelligence agencies have no doubt war-gamed the potential for coordinated drone attacks, and the world’s advanced militaries are already exploring the potential for self-organizing “drone hordes” of hundreds or even thousands of drones overwhelming defenders with sheer numbers. The success of the oil facilities attack proves the effectiveness of much smaller scale drone attacks.

Read the Whole Article

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Edward Snowden Prepares To Release Memoir

12 hours 58 min ago

Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden has written a memoir, telling his life story in detail for the first time and explaining why he chose to risk his freedom to become perhaps the most famous whistleblower of all time.

Snowden, who now lives in Russia to avoid prosecution in the U.S., says his seven years working for the NSA and CIA led him to conclude the U.S. intelligence community ‘hacked the Constitution’ and put everyone’s liberty at risk and that he had no choice but to turn to journalists to reveal it to the world.

‘I realized that I was crazy to have imagined that the Supreme Court, or Congress, or President Obama, seeking to distance his administration from President George W. Bush’s, would ever hold the IC legally responsible – for anything,’ he writes.

The book, Permanent Record, is scheduled to be released Tuesday. It offers by far the most expansive and personal account of how Snowden came to reveal secret details about the government’s mass collection of Americans’ emails, phone calls and Internet activity in the name of national security.

His decision to turn from obscure IC wonk to whistleblower in 2013 set off a national debate about the extent of government surveillance by intelligence agencies desperate to avoid a repeat of the September 11 attacks.

Intelligence officials who conduct annual classified assessments of damage from Snowden’s disclosures say the documents will continue trickling out into the public domain for years to come.

Though the book comes six years after the disclosures, Snowden, who fled first to Hong Kong and then Russia, attempts in his memoir to place his concerns in a contemporary context.

He sounds the alarm about what he sees as government efforts worldwide to delegitimize journalism, suppress human rights and support authoritarian movements.

‘What is real is being purposely conflated with what is fake, through technologies that are capable of scaling that conflation into unprecedented global confusion,’ he says.

The story traces Snowden’s evolution from childhood, from growing up in the 1980s in North Carolina and suburban Washington, where his mother worked as a clerk at the NSA and his father served in the Coast Guard.

He came of age as the Internet evolved from an obscure government computer network and describes how a youthful fascination with technology – as a child, he took apart and reassembled a Nintendo console and, as a teenager, hacked the Los Alamos nuclear laboratory network – eventually led him to a career as an NSA contractor, where he observed high-tech spy powers with increasing revulsion.

Analysts used the government’s collection powers to read the emails of current and former lovers and stalk them online, he writes.

Read the Whole Article

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The World Is Sleepwalking Into Total Nuclear War

12 hours 58 min ago

Limiting nuclear arsenals doesn’t make the world safer – not while the elites, who have never seen a big war, complacently believe they never will. This dangerous illusion invites apocalyptic conflict, a renowned scholar believes.

Humankind’s history might be a history of wars, but for several decades there was a sort of lull, with no really big armed conflict affecting leading world powers. That is, in part, thanks to nuclear weapons. Fear of their power kept the Cold War from becoming a hot one and restricted the actual fighting to proxy conflicts.

And that, in turn, has led to a situation where many of those currently in power don’t take the threat of war with the gravity it deserves, says Sergey Karaganov, a researcher of international relations and a dean at Moscow’s Higher School of Economics.

Complacency breeds danger

“The previous generations had a gut fear of war because their fathers or they themselves experienced World War II. But modern generations think of war very lightly,” he told RT.

This attitude is a major reason why the world now is in fact a more dangerous place than it was at the height of the US-Soviet confrontation, he believes. Some powers believe they are entitled to live in peace and cannot imagine that a smaller conflict elsewhere may escalate into a nuclear Armageddon. Meanwhile old mechanisms meant to prevent such a disaster are rapidly deteriorating, he said.

This year Washington scrapped one of the key Cold War agreements restricting nuclear weapons – the INF Treaty – and indicated that another one – New START – would not be extended beyond 2021. The US changed its nuclear posture and now doesn’t rule out responding with nukes to a cyberattack. The Pentagon’s generals want a larger toolbox of smaller nuclear weapons and are weighing up options on how to use them in regular conflicts.

These days, it’s more complicated than just nukes

That said, those old mechanisms are also failing for purely technological reasons. In the 1970s there was a reasonably clear distinction between strategic weapons and everything else, so ensuring parity was relatively simple. Basically the US and the USSR settled on numbers of missiles, long-range bombers, submarines and warheads they were comfortable with and agreed ways to verify that each party sticks to the limits.

“There are people in our country, as well as in other countries, who are stressing that we should go as we have been going in the 1960s and the ‘70s and the ‘80s. I must say I am very skeptical, because even in the ‘70s and the ‘80s we were basing our analysis on the very, very strange presumption of what was called parity,” Karaganov says.

But the distinction between “nuclear and non-nuclear, conventional and non-conventional” is blurred today. How does one take into the equation, for example, a conventional precision missile that can be fired across the border and take out the other nation’s military headquarters? Or a satellite that can blind an ICBM early warning spacecraft? Or a hypersonic glider? Or a computer virus that can shut down the power grid?

“Now strategic parity is almost impossible to count.”

Stop trying to limit nukes – change the thinking

Karaganov recently co-authored a report on this persistent danger. He admits it doesn’t have all the right answers, but offers some ideas where to begin – and philosophy is at least as important as politics or technicalities.

For example, nations should acknowledge that geopolitical rivalry was not an aberration of the ideologically-divided past but rather a natural order of things. Strong players have great appetites and will use any means to impose their will on weaker ones. Unfair, but such is life.

The next step would be to embrace a new multilateral deterrence arrangement that would include additional players, first and foremost China, and somehow incorporate non-nuclear things like cyber weapons into the calculation.

“The aim of the strategic policy of all responsible nuclear powers should not be doing away or even reducing their nuclear weapons, but strengthening mutual deterrence, and that is a completely different philosophy,” Karaganov suggests.

Essentially, he and his colleagues suggest ditching the old idea of nuclear stability – achieved through the reduction and capping of the two largest superpowers’ arsenals. Instead, any new treaties should focus on transparency – as well as developing protocols to wind down a nuclear conflict once it does start, which is much more likely to happen by accident than by intention.

The result may be somewhat of a Mexican standoff, but the alternative is far more dangerous, the scholars argue. An armed conflict involving nuclear-capable powers has the potential to spiral out of control, with sides trading increasingly serious blows and hoping the other one will chicken out.

A few decades ago the fear of nuclear weapons put a reasonably low cap on such games of nerves, but it is no longer the case and the risks are rising by the year. The solution would be for the great powers to put de-escalation as the paramount goal whenever a clash brews and treat any potential war between them as a doomsday in the making.

Reprinted with permission from RT News.

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An Interview with ’The Trayvon Hoax’Director Joel Gilbert

12 hours 58 min ago

Hollywood film director Joel Gilbert will hold a press conference and film screening today, September 16, at 1 PM at the National Press Club in Washington, DC for his new film and book, The Trayvon Hoax: Unmasking the Witness Fraud that Divided AmericaThe public is invited to the event. Last week I spoke with Gilbert to get a deeper insight into what I believe is the most substantial work of investigative reporting by an individual journalist in recent memory.

Cashill: What effect did the Zimmerman trial have on America?

Gilbert: The Zimmerman trial literally divided America. Prior to the trial in 2013, both blacks and whites rated race relations as positive. These numbers have been negative ever since. The trial spawned Black Lives Matter and subsequently the Ferguson Effect, a crime disaster for black neighborhoods with homicides up 33 percent nationwide. Also, the modern era of fake news and race hoaxes took wing with this case.

Cashill: What is The Trayvon Hoax?

Gilbert: The Trayvon Hoax is two things. It’s the story of how a real phone witness to Trayvon Martin’s final minutes was switched for a fake witness. The Trayvon Hoax is also the name I give to the hoax the media play on black Americans every day: that blacks should vote Democrat to protect themselves from a racist America where whites want to harm them because of their skin color.

Cashill: Why didn’t the media figure out that Rachel Jeantel was a fraudulent witness?

Gilbert: In 2012, the media wanted to turn out black voters for Obama’s reelection. They all went with the race-fueled narrative that a white racist shot a smallish black child who was just trying to get home with Skittles and iced tea. Accordingly, the media made no effort to investigate Rachel Jeantel’s credibility, even though she admitted on the witness stand lying about her name, her age, and hospitalization.

Cashill: What’s the story of Trayvon’s real girlfriend, Diamond Eugene?

Gilbert: Brittany Diamond Eugene was on the phone with Trayvon in his final minutes. She was only 16 at the time and tried very hard to just disappear. However, she faced enormous pressure to come forward from Trayvon’s friends, parents, and their family Attorney Benjamin Crump. Crump even admitted to Court TV, “We pushed her making a statement.” When Diamond finally acquiesced to a recorded phone interview, she mostly replied to Crump in the affirmative and repeated back his “Skittles and Iced Tea” narrative she’d heard on TV. Then Diamond disappeared again, and 18-year-old Rachel Jeantel was substituted for Diamond. When I met Diamond, she impressed me as a good person who made some terrible decisions, at only 16, under incredible pressure.

Read the Whole Article

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Insane and Ill-Advised

12 hours 58 min ago

It’s an inconvenient truth: the president of the United States has no coherent foreign policy. Period. At times Donald Trump talks sensibly about pulling out of quagmires in Syria and Afghanistan, while simultaneously ratcheting up threats against America’s favorite (at least since 1979) punching bag — Iran.  He’s also loaded up his administration with the most hawkish of Iranophobes: National Security Adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Those two have never seen a problem they couldn’t blame on Iran or a solution that didn’t include regime change. Furthermore, there’s nothing that Israel’s about-to-be-indicted, corrupt Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would like more than to drum up a U.S. war with Iran. American blood (and money) for Israeli interests — now that’s “King Bibi’s” style.  Still, before jumping into this next absurd policy adventure, perhaps it’s appropriate to review the troubled history between the United States and Iran, deflate some myths about the supposedly monstrous Islamic Republic, and consider just how bloody and destabilizing such a war would be.

The Islamic Republic of Iran’s theocratic government is, obviously, not the preferred system of the United States, but it is their sovereign system. More important, Iran does not pose a strategic or existential threat to the Homeland. Furthermore, the United States would do well not to overestimate the military threat of Iran; alienate the growing, youthful, pro-Western populace within the country; or rush into an ill-advised, hasty, and potentially costly, attempt at forced regime change.

Nuance is the key to understanding Iran. In truth it is neither as autocratic nor Islamist Universalist as its detractors claim, nor as benevolent as its protectors insist.  Iran’s military is neither the aggressive behemoth that Washington alarmists fear, nor is it a weak pushover ripe for regime change. Iran’s geography, population, and inherent popular nationalism present an immediate challenge to regime-change fantasies. Moreover, the clerical establishment atop the Islamic Republic is far from stable or certain to last indefinitely.  Protests during the “Green Revolution,” and, more recently, in 2017, illustrate that quite clearly.

In his more lucid moments, Trump has shown real foreign-policy leadership as well as skepticism regarding increased military invention in both his recent outreach to nuclear North Korea and comments indicating a desire to militarily de-escalate in Syria. There is, therefore, still (just a little) reason for optimism that this administration will eschew ill-advised military action and instead focus on a twin policy of de-escalation, and, where possible, engagement with Iran.

The decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA) was absolute folly and probably undertaken by Trump only because of his insecure obsession with undoing everything associated with his predecessor, Barack Obama. Still, this withdrawal does not necessarily presage war. Other diplomatic options remain on the table to ensure that Iran — unlike North Korea —does not go nuclear.

Thus, I will argue that the realistic bottom line on Iran policy is as follows:

  • Iran has not posed and does not pose any sort of existential challenge to the United States. The Islamic State is far from the convenient bogeyman of neoconservative/neoliberal imaginations.
  • War or U.S.-imposed regime change in Iran is ill-advised, impractical, and risky — to be avoided at all costs.
  • Trump’s decision to withdraw from the JCPOA (the Obama nuclear deal) does not have to augur imminent war. Attempts should be made to negotiate a new, more comprehensive deal, and — short of that — to implement other levers of diplomacy to de-escalate tensions.
  • Russia and Iran are cooperating in Syria and have certain overlapping interests. However, they are not natural allies and have a long history of discord. The United States should avoid any overtly hostile activity that further binds those two adversaries in a long-term alliance.
  • Iran’s military has significant weaknesses and should not be overestimated. America’s partners in the region (Israel and the GCC countries) possess more than enough military capacity to deal with local threats. The U.S. military is unnecessary in the region and only raises tensions.
  • Nevertheless, Iran’s large population, difficult terrain, and significant asymmetric military capabilities, when combined with America’s many commitments around the world, make military action in Iran a risky endeavor best avoided. More bluntly: a regime-change ground invasion would be as foolish and militarily disastrous as Vietnam and Iraq.
  • Iran is neither fully democratic nor fully autocratic. Its youthful, disgruntled population is surprisingly amenable to the West. The United States should take no action to alienate this segment of the population — which has the potential to alter the political calculus of a future Iran.

A troubled history: A true look at U.S.-Iran relations

Iran, unlike many of its neighbors in the Gulf region, enjoys very secure geography. Mountain ranges hem its strategic core, and its borders have been stable for centuries. Its geographic security has meant that Iran has been conquered only a handful of times in its thousands of years of history. Those who have conquered it have been absorbed by another of its strengths: its distinct Persian culture, which once exerted a strong influence on elites from Turkey to India.

In the twentieth century, Iran experienced waves of nationalism and resistance to outside influence that were independent of any particular regime. Charges of subservience to foreign powers have provoked crisis after crisis in Iranian politics, going back to a movement against concessions to Britain on tobacco sales in 1890. That movement highlighted another important trend in modern Iranian politics: the power of the clergy as an independent political force. Its later aftershocks would also see the emergence of movements to constrain Iran’s monarchs with a constitution.

The discovery of oil in Iran at the beginning of the twentieth century increased Iran’s geopolitical importance, but also increased resentment of foreign power within Iran. Nationalists were appalled by the great wealth flowing from Iran to Britain by means of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company — the ancestor of today’s British Petroleum. That resentment led to Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh’s nationalization of the oil industry, which, coupled with growing political instability under Mossadegh and fears of Soviet influence, led to a U.S.-backed coup against him in 1953.The coup restored the faded power of Iran’s monarch, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. Older Iranians have never forgiven the United States for this overthrow of a democratically elected leader.

The shah’s rule saw massive changes in Iranian society, driven in part by rising oil prices and in part by his efforts to impose social and economic reforms. A number of those reforms targeted the clergy’s power and attempted to secularize the public sphere; protests against the reforms elevated a young cleric, Ruhollah Khomeini, to prominence — and forced him into exile. More than a decade later, in the mid 1970s, Iran’s rapid growth slowed, creating a period of chaos and political violence. The shah’s diverse opposition coalesced around Khomeini, who ultimately succeeded in toppling him. In the chaos after the shah’s fall, Khomeini’s followers marginalized secular and leftist forces. In addition, his supporters occupied the U.S. embassy and took its staff hostage, an action that led to the collapse of a more moderate Iranian government, helped cement Khomeini’s power, and set the foundation for decades of hostile relations with the United States.

Shortly after the revolution, Saddam Hussein’s Iraq invaded Iran, kicking off a devastating war that would last into 1988. The United States, fearful that Khomeini-style revolutionary Islamism would spread across the region, provided some support to Iraq, as did many Arab and European states. However, in a moment of strategic backsliding the Reagan administration also sold arms to Iran in exchange for hostages held in Lebanon in the infamous Iran-Contra affair. Shortly before the war’s end, an American cruiser mistakenly shot down an Iranian airliner, killing 290.

The postwar period saw Iran struggling to recover economically, even as its foreign policy kept it from normalizing relations with the West. Between 1989 and 1992, the regime carried out a string of overseas assassinations of Iranian dissidents and terrorist actions. Those actions contributed to the U.S. decision to pursue a policy of “dual containment” — pressuring both Iraq and Iran at the same time — to block an Iranian oil deal with the American firm Conoco, and to impose new sanctions.

The late 1990s and early 2000s saw a brief window of opportunity for an opening. In Iran, reformist president Mohammad Khatami, who promised a “dialogue of civilizations” and began opening the political space, was elected. The September 11 terror attacks in the United States gave the two countries a common enemy (the Taliban, with whom Iran had nearly gone to war a few years before) and saw them work together at the Bonn Conference to build Afghanistan’s new government. Iran allowed the U.S. military to enter the country to deliver aid in the wake of a massive earthquake in 2003. Iran may have even offered a “grand bargain” aimed at reconciliation in the same year, although that incident remains disputed. Either way, the U.S. blew an opportunity for détente and engagement.

As a result, Khatami would ultimately be succeeded in 2005 by the hardline Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Meanwhile, the controversy over Iran’s nuclear program was building, driven by the public exposure of an undeclared enrichment facility at Natanz in 2002 and the failure of an EU-led negotiation effort to freeze the Iranian nuclear program. Those two trend lines converged in 2006 and 2007, with the adoption of Security Council sanctions against Iran.

The Bush administration had a strong current of skepticism toward Iran. Iran’s inclusion in Bush’s 2002 “Axis of Evil” speech shocked many in Iran and undermined those who had pursued a reduction in tensions. The presence of U.S. forces on Iran’s eastern and western borders increased Iranian fear. U.S.-Iranian tensions grew rapidly in Iraq in 2006 and 2007, as Iran supplied Shia militias with advanced bombs designed to target the U.S.-led coalition’s armored vehicles, and U.S. forces raided the Iranian consulate in Erbil.

During the first term of the Obama administration, the United States and international community began applying growing pressure on Iran over its nuclear program. Intensified sanctions combined with the Ahmadinejad government’s severe economic malpractice to produce deep disruptions, culminating in 40 percent inflation. Mass unrest following the 2009 presidential election — labeled the “Green Revolution” — saw brutal repression and the house arrest (which continues to today) of major political figures. Talk of an American or Israeli airstrike on the Iranian nuclear program became common, and each side participated in a wave of bombings and cyber-attacks, including Iranian attacks on Israeli diplomats and apparently Israeli-backed assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists.

The beginning of direct U.S.-Iranian talks in Oman in early 2013 paved the way for a new round of negotiations. Together with the subsequent election of Hassan Rouhani, a relative moderate, the war talk and violence died down. Following two years of negotiations with the United States, Europeans, Russia, and China, Iran inked the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Under this arrangement, all Iranian pathways to sufficient fissile material for a nuclear weapon were blocked for approximately fifteen years, in addition to a major increase in inspections, some permanent restrictions, and some temporary measures to slow Iran’s nuclear research and acquisition of military hardware, including missile technology. However, in 2018, Donald Trump — as he’d earlier threatened — announced U.S. withdrawal from the JCPOA. However, all other parties to the deal remain in the agreement as written. The United States was now acting like an international pariah.

To better understand Iranian foreign policy, it is important to recognize that the history Iranians remember of their relations with America is very different from the history Americans remember. Americans’ memory centers on the hostage crisis; terrorist actions such as the bombings of the U.S. embassy in Beirut (April 1983, 63 dead), U.S. and French peacekeepers’ barracks in Beirut (October 1983, 305 dead), and Iranian overseas terror attacks in the 1980s and 1990s; and Iran’s supply of advanced weapons to Shia militias as they targeted American servicemen in Iraq during the war there.

Younger Iranians’ memory, on the other hand, centers less on the coup against Mossadegh and more on the Iran-Iraq War — on the international community’s failure to condemn Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Iran, its support for Saddam even as he used chemical weapons against Iranian troops, Iraqi actions (including the gassing of Halabja and the missile attack on the frigate USS Stark) for which the U.S. blamed both sides, and the U.S. downing of the Iranian airliner.  Nearly all of Iran’s neighbors and most of the great powers supported Saddam in one way or another. That led to a strong Iranian sense of isolation, including distrust of the international community, of international institutions, and especially of the United States

The Iran-Iraq War was a formative experience for most of Iran’s current leaders, whether they participated in it directly, were engaged in overseeing it, or conducted Iran’s foreign relations during it. The different readings of history, in which each side sees itself as the victim, contribute to deep mistrust between the two sides, making major improvements in relations difficult and unlikely. Contemporary disagreements over Iran’s support for the Assad regime in Syria and America’s withdrawal from the JCPOA also divide in a binary manner between U.S. and Iranian perceptions of each event.

Reprinted with permission from The Future of Freedom Foundation.

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We Are All Hostages of 9/11

Mon, 2019-09-16 11:01

Afghanistan was bombed and invaded because of 9/11. I was there from the start, even before 9/11. On August 20, 2001, I interviewed commander Ahmad Shah Massoud, the “Lion of the Panjshir,” who told me about an “unholy alliance” of the Taliban, al-Qaeda and the ISI (Pakistani intel).

Back in Peshawar, I learned that something really big was coming: my article was published by Asia Times on August 30. Commander Massoud was killed on September 9: I received a terse email from a Panjshir source, only stating, “the commander has been shot.” Two days later, 9/11 happened.

And yet, the day before, none other than Osama bin Laden, in person, was in a Pakistani hospital in Rawalpindi, receiving treatment, as CBS reported. Bin Laden was proclaimed the perpetrator already at 11am on 9/11 – with no investigation whatsoever. It should have been not exactly hard to locate him in Pakistan and “bring him to justice.”

In December 2001 I was in Tora Bora tracking bin Laden – under B-52 bombers and side by side with Pashtun mujahideen. Later, in 2011, I would revisit the day bin Laden vanished forever.

One year after 9/11, I was back in Afghanistan for an in-depth investigation of the killing of Massoud. By then it was possible to establish a Saudi connection: the letter of introduction for Massoud’s killers, who posed as journalists, was facilitated by commander Sayyaf, a Saudi asset.

For three years my life revolved around the Global War on Terror; most of the time I lived literally on the road, in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, the Persian Gulf and Brussels. At the start of ‘Shock and Awe’ on Iraq, in March 2003, Asia Times published my in-depth investigation of which neo-cons concocted the war on Iraq.

In 2004, roving across the US, I re-traced the Taliban’s trip to Texas, and how a top priority, since the Clinton years all the way to the neo-cons, was about what I had baptized as “Pipelineistan” – in this case how to build the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline, bypassing Iran and Russia, and extending US control of Central and South Asia.

Later on, I delved into the hard questions the 9/11 Commission never asked, and how Bush’s 2004 reelection campaign was totally conditioned by and dependent on 9/11.

Michael Ruppert, a CIA whistleblower, who may – or may not – have committed suicide in 2014, was a top 9/11 analyst. We exchanged a lot of information, and always emphasized the same points: Afghanistan was all about (existent) heroin and (non-existent) pipelines.

In 2011, the late, great Bob Parry would debunk more Afghanistan lies. And in 2017, I would detail a top reason why the US will never leave Afghanistan: the heroin rat line.

Now, President Trump may have identified a possible Afghan deal – which the Taliban, who control two-thirds of the country, are bound to refuse, as it allows withdrawal of only 5,000 out of 13,000 US troops. Moreover, the US ‘Deep State’ is absolutely against any deal, as well as India and the rickety government in Kabul.

But Pakistan and China are in favor, especially because Beijing plans to incorporate Kabul into the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and have Afghanistan admitted as a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, thus attaching the Hindu Kush and the Khyber Pass to the ongoing Eurasia integration process.

Read the Whole Article

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Concerning Government and Mainstream Media

Mon, 2019-09-16 11:01

“The receptivity of the masses is very limited, their intelligence is small, but their power of forgetting is enormous. In consequence of these facts, all effective propaganda must be limited to a very few points and must harp on these in slogans until the last member of the public understands what you want him to understand by your slogan.” ~ Adolf Hitler

And so began the task! In order for the powerful to control the masses, a compliant populace is required. Those who hold the real power over the political class and media have been successful in their efforts to gain this control. This has always been, and given the human condition, will most likely always be. If only it were not so easy to fool the crowd, all could be different. But then, any crowd is easy to please, and easy to fool, that is the nature of the beast that is the mob.

Common people, generally speaking, believe what they want to believe, and most often choose the most comfortable path. Personal conflict due to the shattering of accepted norms is avoided at all costs, and any truth that can cause doubt is quickly rejected. So long as the lies fed to the crowd fit their belief system, and so long as the public can avoid emotional discomfort, they will accept most anything and forget almost everything. It all comes down to those in power knowingly taking advantage of the mental imperfections so obvious among the mob by stoking their ego and alleviating their fears. This manipulative coddling is all that is normally necessary to calm any question or stifle dissent by the people.

Some might think this a cynical attitude to take, but they would be mistaken, as reality can never be classified as cynical for it is simply truth. If any were to honestly assess the condition of America today, and the path traveled to get here, it would seem that the bulk of society has always been content being slaves to a voluntarily accepted tyrannical system.

The truth has become a lie, and lies have become truth. This could only happen in a land where logic and reason have been replaced by emotion and ignorance. This is a classic result in any society where the individual thinker is shunned in favor of the common collective. Since intelligence does not exist collectively, the masses are left with little more than confusion, gullibility, and indifference.

The only way to reach a full understanding of our political predicament, especially regarding government as a whole, and the government controlled media, is to believe nothing and question everything. This advice should be taken literally, as anything less can lead only to confusion and a detachment from reality. Those who fail to question will be left in a state of bondage, and relegated to a life consumed by ignorance.

We now live in a world where fake news is an everyday occurrence, and given current and future technological capabilities, this phenomenon can only worsen from here. But lies and fakery are not new, and the atrocities committed by the ruling class in the name of its citizens, have been continually allowed to happen due to the complicity and support of the people. There is nothing new about the lies used by those in power to brainwash and control the general population, but more frightening is the fact that the average American has apparently learned nothing throughout history about the deception of those in power. The masses continue to be fooled into not only sanctioning the evil and barbaric acts of the elites, but also at the same time reveling in the festivity of false “patriotism.”

Just in the past one hundred years, there were the lies that led to World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Cold War, and Vietnam. None of these wars were legitimate, and all were based on lies and deceit, but still most of the American public supported these horrific events. The same is true in modern times of the entire so-called “War on Terror,” which has led to wars of aggression against Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and others. It has even led to a war against all Americans as well. All of these aggressions were based on lies, and supported by the masses.

Countless assassinations, military coups, false flag events, cover-ups, political corruption, economic manipulations, and illegitimate wars continue without pause, and the people rarely question the official narratives given to them by their masters about these government crimes. This is true even when the evidence against these narratives is overwhelming.  Think about events in the past like Pearl Harbor, the Gulf of Tonkin incident, the Oklahoma City bombing, 9/11, weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the so-called killing of Osama bin Laden, and many, many more.

As I write this today, a drone attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil fields is being blamed on Iran, which could lead to more horrific war. Already, the public is being prepared to accept $100 dollar a barrel oil, and possibly to back attacks against Iran. Regardless of all the mainstream news about this “attack,” nothing is known, and no factual evidence whatsoever has been presented in support of any accusations. None will likely be forthcoming. Is this the next big lie being sold to the public?

Deception by the government and media are ever present. Propaganda and lies are constant. Disinformation is the rule, and honesty is almost non-existent. The only way to combat this insanity is to believe nothing and question everything in order to find the truth. Most are conditioned to not question authority, to accept what they are told, and to go with the herd, but most are always wrong. To escape the chains of the mindless hoard and find the truth, one must walk alone. Only then will light replace the darkness, and the truth be exposed.

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The Off-Road End Run

Mon, 2019-09-16 11:01

Speed does kill – if you get caught doing it.

We live in the Hut! Hut! Hut! era. Armed government workers (AGWs) wearing Batman-style utility belts packed with multiple mags and high-powered “assault” weapons over their Robocop body armor are far more likely to end your life than doing 70 in a 55.

Every encounter with them is a threat to our safety.

Even if you aren’t Tazed and dragged out of your car by one of these odd juxtapositions of muscled-up and tattoo’d poltroonery (I feared for my safety!) and hair-trigger brutality (stop resisting!) most people just can’t afford to “speed” anymore.

The extortion note – styled a “ticket” – the AGW forces you to sign at gunpoint (see what happens if you decline to sign) is just the beginning. The Oz Panopticon will take note the moment you’re duly convicted and then comes the second extortion note – this one from the insurance mafia. The already-absurdly expensive “coverage” you’re forced to buy, also at gunpoint (see what happens if you stop paying) suddenly costs 20 percent more . . . for the next five years.

That’s for something like 48 in a 35 – i.e., driving with the flow of traffic – but today it’s your turn to be the one picked from the herd for a shearing. If you’re driving a car that looks speedy, the odds of this happening to you today – and tomorrow – go up.

If you get caught actually using a speedy car – laying rubber, driving faster than 80 on the highway (something an ’86 Yugo could do) you risk a “reckless” driving bust and thousands of dollars in legalized theft, plus the very real possibility of being Hut! Hut! Hutted! by an armed government worker.

Even if you always drive the speed limit and never get Hut! Hut! Hutted! the insurance mafia will make your speedy (in theory) car a very expensive car to own, which will make you not want to drive it. Which in turn renders pointless the buying of it. You pay more to go no faster than the herd – plus the higher gas bills and cramped back seats.

It’s as silly as paying ribeye prices for oatmeal.

This probably explains the declining interest in speedy cars – and the much-increased-interest in 4×4 trucks and SUVs. There are no speed traps off-road and you’re much less likely to encounter a Hut! Hut! Hutting! AGW on your favorite trail. These are usually abundant as well as free – in contrast to track time for a speedy car. Track days are a rich man’s hobby – and a hassle. Drive there, pay there – then drive back. Often, the drive there is hours long.

But you can turn off the paved road pretty much anywhere. If you have land – or a friend who has land – you can go there, too. There is a great deal of appeal in this. What’s down that dirt road?

Let’s see!

Read the Whole Article

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Saudi Attacks May Nudge US to ‘Go to War’ With Iran and Seize its Oil

Mon, 2019-09-16 11:01

The Trump administration, which has long demonised Iran and been trying to choke off its oil exports, has blamed the latest attacks on Saudi oil processing facilities on the Islamic Republic, despite Yemeni Houthi rebels claiming responsibility. Iran rejects the accusations.

The United States will emerge as the “biggest beneficiary” of Saturday’s drone attacks that targeted a Saudi Aramco processing facility and oilfield in eastern Saudi Arabia, internet tycoon Kim Dotcom has suggested.

The attacks are expected to trigger a jump in oil prices when markets reopen on Monday, given that Saudi Arabia has halted half its oil production – around five million barrels of crude per day, or around 5 percent of the world’s daily output.

The millionaire Megaupload founder, who is fighting extradition to the US on charges of fraud and online piracy, predicted the attacks would embolden the US – the largest oil producer – to “blame Iran, go to war, [and] take control of Iran’s oil which pays for the war.”

Who’s the biggest beneficiary of Saudi oil facilities burning?


Spy Pigeons & Killer Cigars

Mon, 2019-09-16 11:01

The CIA has declassified documents revealing its Cold War spy pigeons program, the latest revelation of the truly bizarre lengths the US went to to win the war which included killer cigars, trained dolphins and acoustic kitties.

Pigeon spies

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has declassified details of its secret spy-pigeon mission during the Cold War, named ‘Tacana’. It used the birds to secretly photograph sites inside the Soviet Union. The avian species was chosen because of their ability to navigate their way back home, and they apparently flew their missions while expensive cameras were strapped to them.

From the sky … and the sea

The new documents also reveal how the CIA used ravens to drop bugging devices on window sills, and trained dolphins for underwater “harbour penetration” missions. The mammals were also tested to see if they could carry sensors to detect Soviet nuclear submarines and traces of radioactive weapons. In Key West Florida, the US tried to use dolphins in underwater attacks against enemy shipping. 

Castro-killing cigars, diving suits & seashells

The US spy agency dreamt up a number of strange – and futile – plots to assassinate Cuban President Fidel Castro during the Cold War, including schemes involving explosive seashells and killer cigars.

The CIA planned to take Castro out with a box of poisoned cigars in 1960. The cigars were spiked with a strong botulinum toxin and delivered by an “unidentified person” in 1961, but Castro never smoked them.

The agency also floated the idea of coating the inside of one of his diving wetsuits with a fungus that produced madera foot, a chronic disease, and contaminating the suit’s breathing apparatus with tuberculosis bacilli, according to a declassified 1967 report by the Inspector General, part of the National Archives’ 2017 release of John F. Kennedy assassination records.

It also considered planting a “booby trap spectacular seashell” which would be submerged in an area where Castro would often dive.

Acoustic kitty 

The CIA spent $14 million to put listening devices inside cats in the 1960s. The plan was for them to roam around and listen to Russian intelligence. The mission failed on day one, when a cat implanted with such a device was run over outside the Soviet embassy in Washington.

Scientologist psychics

Convinced that the Soviets were researching extrasensory perception (ESP) for espionage, the CIA started the ‘Star Gate’ project in 1970 that was headed up by a scientologist. It recruited people, including many scientologists, who claimed to have psychic powers, to uncover intelligence secrets. Needless to say, that project didn’t bear fruit either.

LSD for mind-control

The CIA’s project MK-ULTRA was a covert human research program secretly launched in the 1950s that tested the effects of drugs like LSD and MDMA for potential mind control and torture. The drugs were tested on human subjects, many of whom were unaware they were being experimented on. At least one participant’s death – US Army bioweapons researcher Frank Olson – has been linked to the program.

Reprinted from RT News.

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Red Flag Gun Laws Are Rooted In Communist Methods of Oppression

Mon, 2019-09-16 11:01

This week government officials are set to come back from their summer recess, and I have heard from a couple different sources that the US Senate in particular is seeking to fast track legislation on Red Flag gun laws as well as a possible ban on private party transfers of firearms and a possible ban on high capacity magazines. I can only hope that these are just rumors, but I suspect they are accurate.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has publicly vowed to pursue any new gun control legislation that the Trump Administration supports, and Donald Trump has openly called for Red Flag gun laws involving mental health guidelines. The mainstream media now claims that a majority of Americans on both sides of the political divide support red flag legislation, but we all know how rigged such polls can be. The real question is, does the average American even know what red flag laws would entail? I think they do not.

Red flag gun laws are a method of gun control by which a family member or law enforcement can petition the court to confiscate a person’s firearms on the SUSPICION that the person may present a danger to themselves or others. But it doesn’t necessarily stop there. Some reports indicate that Trump is seriously considering using big tech companies like Amazon and Apple to monitor people’s behavior and link this data to a social credit system similar to the system that already exists in China. Your gun rights could then be determined by algorithms that mark you as a potential risk simply by what you post online.

Prosecution using the public to spy on itself is a hallmark of these kinds of laws. It is also nothing new. The Puritans in early America used intangible evidence, such as “spectral evidence” to punish people of various crimes including witchcraft. This encouraged extreme collectivism and conformity, for anyone stepping outside the lines of what the group saw as righteous behavior could find themselves secretly accused using rhetorical evidence and unable to defend themselves. Their only option was to admit to the crime, whether they were guilty or not, and then repent.

But in a social or political witch hunt, you are not repenting to get in God’s good graces, but to get in the good graces of the collective. You are supposed to sublimate yourself for the group and beg their forgiveness; not for the crime you are accused, but for the crime of acting as an individual. The message is clear – There is no way to fight back. Just give in and if you are lucky the collective will let you continue living, under their watchful eye, of course.

This might sound like something that could never happen in the US today, but it already has. The existence of the No Fly List, which is generated in secret, is often politically motivated and is based on evidence that the accused is never allowed to see.  It is a perfect example of a “law” that is similar to Red Flag legislation. While the no fly list has been confronted in court numerous times, it still endures and is little changed since its inception. Once ingrained, these laws are rarely ever removed.

It is likely that Red Flag gun laws will operate in the same way. One day you may walk into the sporting goods store and be denied a gun purchase by the ATF. There will be no explanation, only the denial of your rights.

Accusations can come from anywhere, even complete strangers using anonymous online applications (this is how the Chinese social credit system works). They could be based on legitimate behavior, such as suicide or murder threats, or they could be based on a political statement you wrote or said years ago. It doesn’t matter. The goal will be to take gun rights away from as many people as possible while the government still claims to support the 2nd Amendment. It’s about the back door destruction of gun rights, not public safety.  It’s also about silencing public dissent.

The bottom line is, if you allow pre-crime judgment based on hearsay evidence for one person, then you are allowing it for ALL people including yourself. And, it might not stop with whether or not a person is allowed to buy or own a gun. These systems of control expand into every facet of life. Again, simply look at what is happening in China.

The method of using “mental health” or social disruption as an excuse to silence dissent was not actually mastered by China, however.  It was standardized in communist Russia during the reign of the Soviets.  The mental health excuse was exploited on a regular basis in order to quietly sweep government critics and dissidents under the rug never to be seen again. The metal hospitals where these deplorables were kept were called “Psikhushka”, an ironic diminutive label. The hospitals worked hand in hand with the Cheka secret police and their vast networks of civilian informants.

‘See Something Say Something’ began under communists in the East.  It’s only being recycled today in the West.

For the Soviets, the methodology made sense. The message they were sending was that anyone who criticized socialism/communism MUST be crazy. And, in a way, this is how Red Flag laws function. For if you are put on the list, or denied gun rights, then there MUST be something mentally wrong with you. And, by extension, if you are placed on the list for political reasons, then your political beliefs or convictions MUST also be psychologically disturbed. You see how this works?

Red Flag laws and social credit systems take the Psikhushka and flip it around. They don’t need mental health prisons, they simply turn the whole country into a mental health prison. The wardens and guards of this prison will be the citizenry, and they will police each other.

Make no mistake, the mainstream media and the government have been conditioning the public for years to the concept that certain ideals and political activists are on the “fringe”. They are “conspiracy theorists”. They are exhibiting “defiance disorders”. They are not right in the head. Red Flag gun laws are meant for people like me, or perhaps people like you.

Precursor testing of denial of gun rights based on mental health accusations has already taken place against war veterans in the US based on PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder).  It makes sense that the government would seek to disarm trained combat experienced veterans first, as they tend to present the biggest source of resistance to a totalitarian shift.

I can’t say that Trump’s open support of Red Flag laws surprises me in the slightest. Trump’s long term business relationships and debts to the Rothschild banking elites as well as his many dubious cabinet choices including Pompeo, Ross, Mnuchin, Kudlow, Lightheizer, etc., indicate to me that Trump is not on the side of liberty activists.

John Bolton’s recent exit from the White House does not impress me.  It is clearly a crumb thrown to conservatives as a means to keep them close to the Neo-Con table.  The goal of the elites to lure conservatives into blind adulation of the Trump Admin. is starting to fail, and they had to do something.  Also, it is not uncommon for elitist members to jump ship from an administration right before their agenda’s are implemented so that they get none of the blame for the consequences.

Bolton should never have been in Trump’s cabinet to begin with, he was there for years, and just because Bolton is leaving doesn’t mean his agendas will be leaving.  Trump has many elitist handlers, and I’m sure Bolton will be replaced with yet another reprehensible ghoul in due course.

In my recent article ‘The Real Reasons Why The Media Is Suddenly Admitting To The Recession Threat’, I noted that if an economic crisis strikes in the next year, then it’s highly unlikely that Trump is slated to be president after the 2020 elections. If he supports Red Flag laws, then it is almost assured that he will not be president for another term.

In our controlled political machine in which presidents from both parties are merely puppets for elitist interests, these kinds of liberty crushing laws are not generally designed for the current Administration’s use. Rather, they are supported by one president or party, and then exploited by the next president or party in power. In this way, conservatives could be tricked into backing unconstitutional laws in the name of “helping their side win”, only to discover that the laws they supported (or ignored) are being used against them by Democrats a few years later.

I think this would be especially true for Red Flag legislation. If conservatives do not raise hell in response to these laws just because they don’t want to derail the Trump train, then they will find themselves complicit in their own disarmament if markets tank and the Dems take over in 2020. The socialist front runners will say that we “asked for this” under Trump, and now we’re getting what we wanted. And, once these laws are in the books, expect that a majority of police will comply with them and enforce them.

Of course, this leads to an inevitable outcome – War. There are millions of people in the US that are not going to fold to the dismantling of gun rights or gun confiscation. No doubt, we would all be labeled terrorists, and our defiance would be held up as further proof of our mental instability. So be it.

Once the Pandora’s box of pre-crime and hearsay evidence is opened, the sky is truly the limit for the violation of American constitutional rights.

For whatever it’s worth, now would be a good time for gun rights advocates to contact their representatives and warn them that Red Flag laws are unacceptable. Also keep in mind that the government may push a long list of new gun control restrictions on top of Red Flag laws as a means to frighten the public. They will then rescind many of the items on the list (except the red flag legislation) in order to make it appear as though we “got lucky”. The real goal here is the mental health restrictions and the ability for government to deny your rights according to hearsay evidence.

Gun ownership is as integral to a free society as free speech and property rights. Without firearms ownership, the public is at the mercy of any criminal or criminal government that seeks to oppress them. Remember, if your “military style” rifle was not a threat to the elites then they would not constantly seek to take it away. Never let it go.

Reprinted with permission from Alt-Market.com.

The post Red Flag Gun Laws Are Rooted In Communist Methods of Oppression appeared first on LewRockwell.

Remembering Tim

Mon, 2019-09-16 11:01

He was a Falstaff in his drinking and in celebrating life, but his greatness lay in his friendships. Like his closest friend Nick Scott, who left us three years ago, he roamed the world making friends and being as generous to them as a fairy godfather. The years, with all their disappointments, teach us caution, but Tim Hoare remained reckless to the end. This is High Life about him fifteen years ago: “We hit a hurricane while sailing off the Riviera last week, a hurricane called Tim Hoare. I have never in my long life met anyone quite like him. The words, in posh English vintage 1940s tones, tumble out so fast, enwrapped in alliteration and so clogged with onomatopoeia, that a poor little Greek boy like me misses three out of every four.” On that particular trip, Tim’s private plane blew an engine in mid-flight and was turning uncontrollably in circles. He was alone with the two pilots. So he rang us but failed to tell us he was in trouble. He just said he might be a while. He spent only one night on Bushido, and presented me with the grandest and most beautiful old Cartier lighter, which has stood proudly on a mantelpiece ever since. It is half a foot high and was made in the ’20s.

A friend described him as Falstaffian in girth and height, with a booming voice—also assured and confident, generous to a fault, extremely intelligent and well-read, and atop it all possessing an abundant shock of jet-black hair. He and Bob Geldof were like brothers and made a very strange couple: the rich old Etonian clubman, the proud and extremely talented Irishman playing the poor Irish lad scrounging a living. Nick Scott was the third musketeer.

Now it looks as if things are coming to an end, like an Agatha Christie novel, but without the mystery of who’s next. Three of us in the merry band of Pugs are in our 80s, but fear of the man in the white suit is not the problem. Missing those who have recently left us is. Tim never lost touch with the overflowing joy and curiosity of the young. And like the young, he remained confident of the future despite the degradation of our culture. Toward the end he expressed love to all his friends and thanked them for a life of happiness. Whatever sorrow he may have felt for his untimely upcoming death he kept to himself. That is what courage is all about.

Read the Whole Article

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Armageddon on the Horizon?

Mon, 2019-09-16 11:01

Trump supporters should let Trump hear from them as he is about to commit the United States to a war of Israel’s choosing.  A mutual defense treaty between the US and Israel would give Israel the ability to commit the US to a war in Israel’s behalf.  

Remember history.  It was British prime minister Chamberlain’s guarantee to Poland that started World War II.  The idiot British lost control over their own policy and gave it to a crazed and irresponsible Polish military dictatorship.  

The attack on the Saudi oil fields that Trump and Israel are blaming on Iran is almost certainly an  attack by Israel.  The attack is being used to start a war with Iran.

Putin needs to speak up now before the war starts, because it is impossible that Russia will be able to avoid involvement.  The chances are substantial that Armegeddon is about to unfold while the world sits stupidly.

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