Targeting Terrorists, Genocide Prevention, R2P, Humanitarian Intervention, Democracy Promotion, Right to Self-Defense

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Be Your Own Medicine

I recently saw a slogan that encapsulated what’s wrong with the U.S. healthcare system: Be Your Own Medicine. To Be Your Own Medicine is the essence of prevention, and a way of taking full ownership of one’s health, body, mind, diet, fitness and daily habits.

Alas, being your own medicine strips the $3.5 trillion healthcare system of profit, power and control, so the last thing the healthcare cartels want is for us to be our own medicine, as that would reduce our reliance on highly profitable pharmaceuticals, tests, procedures and high-cost facilities.

Note the slogan isn’t “take your own medicine” or “make your own medicine”–it’s be your own medicine, which suggests that health is a way of being, not just a way of consuming, though what we consume is integral to being your own medicine.

Our materialist-consumerist culture focuses almost exclusively on data, so “health” is quickly reduced to FitBit readings, test results and an obsessive monitoring of calories and diets, to the general exclusion of the mind-body as an integral system.

The importance of what we put in our mouths is expressed by the old Chinese saying: disease comes in through the mouth, i.e. what we consume. But what we consume is not limited to food (or what is sold as “food”): it also includes what our minds consume in the way of “news”, entertainment, knowledge, etc., and what inputs we experience as stress.
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Jill Stein’s Platform More Viable Than Bernie’s

By David Swanson, American Herald Tribune

I asked Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein about her platform this week and came away believing it had a better chance of winning than Bernie Sanders’. I know that platforms don’t run, people do, and they do so within a two-party dominated system. But this already crazy presidential election could turn into a crazier five-way race. And, even if it doesn’t, or if it does but still nobody ever learns that Jill Stein exists, there is nonetheless much for us and for the other candidates to learn from her platform.

If you think free college is popular, you should see what young people think of free college and erasing all existing student debt.

If single-payer healthcare with raised taxes (but net savings, if you make it to that fine print) excites voters, how do you think they’d respond to single-payer healthcare with no raised taxes?

If fewer wars and asking Saudi Arabia to do more of the funding and fighting sounds promising, what would you say to no more wars, a 50 percent cut in the $1 trillion/year military spending, no more weapons sales to Saudi Arabia which is doing more than enough killing, thank you, no more free weapons for Israel either, and investment of some of the savings in a massive green energy jobs campaign producing a sustainable energy policy and a full-employment economy?

Senator Bernie Sanders’ domestic proposals have got millions excited, but the (unfair and misleading) criticism that he’ll raise taxes may be a tragic flaw, and it’s one he opens himself up to by refusing to say that he’ll cut the military. Stein would cut at least half of the single biggest item in the discretionary budget, an item that takes up at least half of that budget: military spending. She’d cut fossil fuel subsidies, as well, and expect savings to come from healthcare, including as a result of cutting pollution and improving food quality. But the big immediate item is the military. Cutting it is popular with voters, but not with Democratic or Republican presidential candidates. Sanders will be labeled the Tax Man by the corporate media, while Jill Stein will have to be attacked in a different way if she gets mentioned.

“Cutting the military budget is something that we can do right now,” Stein told me, “but we want to be clear that we are putting an end to wars for oil – period. And that is part of our core policy of a Green New Deal which creates an emergency program, establishing twenty million living wage jobs, full-time jobs, to green the economy, our energy, food, and transportation systems, building critical infrastructure, restoring ecosystems, etc. This is an emergency program that will get to 100 percent renewable energy by 2030. So this is a war-time-level mobilization in order to completely detoxify our energy system, and that means both nuclear and fossil fuel. In doing that, we deprive the empire of this major justification for wars and bases all around the world. So we want to be clear that that emphasis is gone, and goading the American public into war so as to feed our fossil fuel energy system – that ends and makes all the more essential and possible the major cutting of the military budget.”

Which 50 percent of the military would Stein cut? Two places she named that she would start with (there would have to be much more) are foreign bases (she’d close them) and the U.S. nuclear weapons program. Would she unilaterally scrap U.S. nukes? I asked.

“We don’t even need to do it unilaterally,” Stein said, “because the Russians have been begging to revive the process of nuclear disarmament, which the U.S., in its wisdom, undercut. … The Russians have been persistently trying to restore those nuclear talks for the purpose of disarmament. And that would be step one – is to make major reductions between the U.S. and Russia and then to convene a world forum to put an end to nuclear weapons altogether.”

The “war on terror,” Stein pointed out, has only created more terror, while costing each U.S. household $75,000. “That’s not going to make people terribly enthusiastic for it, particularly when you point out that all this has done is create failed states, worse terrorist threat, whether you look at the Taliban, the globalization of al-Qaeda, the creation of ISIS. This has been an utter, unmitigated disaster, and the massive refugee crisis which is threatening to tear apart the European Union. This is absolutely unsustainable by any count.”

To change U.S. foreign policy, Stein proposed financial reforms unheard of in any presidential debate thus far. She suggested that military and other government contractors should face “pay to play protections” preventing them from “buying their way into policy.” Stein explained: “If you establish that anyone who contributes, who provides campaign contributions, or who lobbies is not eligible for contracting with the government, the minute you break that umbilical cord, then the industry loses its power to corral Congress and dictate foreign policy.” Stein said such protections could also block U.S. government facilitation of weapons sales to foreign buyers.

“War profiteering should not be allowed,” Stein explained, “in the same way that energy profiteering is not compatible with our survival.” Ultimately, the big profits, Stein said, are in healthcare: “We spend a trillion dollars plus on the military industrial complex every year, but we spend three trillion and counting every year on the sick care system, which doesn’t make us well. It just enables us to tread water while we cope with these disastrous health impacts of the war economy and the fossil fuel economy.”

Stein did not hesitate to highlight differences when I asked her about Bernie Sanders. She cited his “support, for example, for the F-35 weapons system which has been an incredible boondoggle.” While Sanders would keep killing with drones and “fighting terrorism,” Stein calls “fighting terrorism” an oxymoron and points to counterproductive results: “Terrorism is a response to drones that sneak up on you in the night and to night raids and this is where we recruit and we enable ISIS and al-Qaeda to continue expanding … something Bernie hasn’t quite gotten straight by saying the solution here is to turn the Saudis loose; the Saudi’s need to ‘get their hands dirty’.”

“We can actually begin to rein in the Saudis with a weapons embargo and by impounding their bank accounts,” Stein said. The same goes for Israel, she added, stressing the need to respect the law. Should the United States join the International Criminal Court, I asked. “Oh, my god, of course!” was Stein’s reply. “And the treaty on land mines?” “Of course! My god. Yes. … There are all sorts of treaties that are ready to move forward. In fact the Soviets and the Chinese have been prime movers in expansion of treaties to prohibit weapons in space and to establish the rule of law in cyberspace.”

So, what would President Jill Stein do about ISIS? She answered that question with no hesitation: “Number 1: we don’t stop ISIS by doing more of what created ISIS. This is like the elephant in the room that none of the other presidential candidates are willing to acknowledge, even Rand Paul, I might say, surprisingly. So we don’t bomb ISIS and try to shoot ISIS out. We’ve got to stop ISIS in its tracks by ending the funding of ISIS and by ending the arming of ISIS. How do we do that? We do that with a weapons embargo. And so the U.S. can unilaterally move forward on that, but we need to sit down and talk with the Russians as well, and Putin tried to do this.

“You know, Putin, our arch enemy Putin, was actually trying to create a peace process in Syria. … We need to begin talking with Russia and with other countries. We need to build on our relative détente with Iran to engage them, and we need to bring our allies into the process. Right now, the peace process, as I understand it, is held up by, guess who — Saudi Arabia, who wants to bring in known terrorist groups as the representatives of the opposition. The Saudis should not be defining the way forward here … Our ally Turkey needs to understand that their membership in NATO or their position with the U.S. and other allies around the world should not be taken for granted, and that they cannot be in the business either of funding ISIS and related groups through the purchase of their oil [or of] shipping weapons. They also need to close down their border to the movement of the militias.”

Stein was sounding an awful lot like the leader of the Labour Party in Britain, Jeremy Corbyn, and I asked her about him. “I have already met with Jeremy Corbyn,” she said, “when I was in Paris for the climate talks, … and we had a surprising amount of time to talk and we agreed completely on collaborating on this ‘peace offensive,’ which is the name we have given to our solution to the problem of ISIS. Peace is not passive. We need an active, interventionist program based on peace which means to stop the flow or arms and money, etc. So, we’ve already agreed that we see eye-to-eye on foreign policy.”

But Corbyn is in office with a shot at becoming prime minister. With the U.S. public completely sold on the hopelessness of third-party bids, at least by non-multi-billionaires, what is Stein’s plan for actually becoming president?

“First of all,” she says, “there are 43 million young people and not-so-young people who are trapped in debt, in student debt. My campaign is the only campaign that will be on the ballot that will abolish student debt. We did it for the bankers who plunged us into this economic crisis that persists in spite of what they say. And they did that by way of their waste, fraud, and abuse. Yet we bailed them out to the tune of $16 trillion and counting.

“So, isn’t it about time we bail out the victims of that waste, fraud, and abuse — the young people of this country whose leadership and whose civic engagement is essential for blazing the trail to our future? It has always required a fresh generation to re-envision, you know, what our future looks like. So, we need to bail out the young people, for their benefit and for ours. That can be done through another quantitative easing which is relatively simple, does not cost us, essentially expands the money supply in a way that works as a stimulus to the economy, unlike the bailout that they provided to Wall Street which has only created a stimulus for more reckless gambling – waste, fraud, and abuse. … I have yet to find a young person in debt who doesn’t become a missionary for our campaign the minute they learn that we will cancel their debt. … The 43 million young people – that is a plurality of the vote. In a three-way race, that’s enough to win the vote.”

Stein also pointed to 25 million Latinos who, she said, “have learned that the Democrats are the party of deportation, of night raids, and of detention, of refugees who are fleeing a crisis in their home countries that we created. How? Through NAFTA, though illegal coups and CIA-sponsored regime changes, and through the drug wars. … If people want to fix the immigration problem, the answer is, ‘Stop causing it.'”

But will Stein be in the debates for the general election? “In my experience,” she told me, “all you have to do is have a real conversation, have an open mic, a true presidential debate that actually allows presidential candidates to debate who have broad enough support that they are on the ballot for a majority of Americans and could numerically win the election. We are challenging the Commission on Presidential Debates in court and we will be challenging them soon with a direct action campaign, so stay tuned, because the American public deserves to know about the issues. The American public deserves the right to vote. And they have a right to know who they can vote for and what they are voting about.”

Here’s audio of the interview that produced this report.

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Ralston Saul: Neo-Liberalism / Neo-Conservatism a Low-Level Form of God-Worship

Pulitzer-winning journalist Chris Hedges interviews John Ralston Saul, an ‘award-winning philosopher, novelist and essayist’ who is considered ‘Canada’s leading public intellectual’.

Some points detailed in the discussion:

-Neo-liberalism / neo-conservatism relate to neither ‘liberalism’ or ‘conservatism’.  They are an ideology and form of religion and god-worship, based on self-interest and the whitewashing of memory.  ‘At the end of the day, it’s about power and money.’

-Declarations of ‘truth’ and ‘inevitability’ are two aspects of ideology highly prevalent in neo-liberalism/conservatism.

-Neos claiming Edmund Burke as their ‘godfather’ indicates lunacy and denial of history; like other lunatics claiming Christ or Muhammad to justify other unacceptable things.

-Adam Smith’s ‘invisible hand’ is a low-level image of the hand of god.  But when one talks to the neos about Adam Smith, one discovers they haven’t read him.  He isn’t taught.  People only know quotes.  They don’t know Smith was actually ‘incredibly distrustful’ of powerful businessmen and said things like ‘never allow them to be alone in a room together; they’ll combine and falsify the market’, etc.

-At this point, [for example, as illustrated by latest Oxfam report], all of the promises made by neo-liberal globalization [summarized in discussion, 13:30] have collapsed.  None of them happened; it’s the exact opposite.  We are now in the most nationalist period we’ve seen since the 1930s, with all the dangers that go along with it.
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Negative Interest Rates Show Desperation of Central Banks

Image: MarketWatch

Japan has joined the EU, Denmark, Switzerland and Sweden in imposing negative interest rates.

Indeed, more than a fifth of the world’s GDP is now covered by a central bank with negative interest rates.

The Wall Street Journal notes:

TOKYO—Japan’s central bank stunned the markets Friday by setting the country’s first negative interest rates, in a desperate attempt to keep the economy from sliding back into the stagnation that has dogged it for much of the last two decades.

BBC writes:

The country is desperate to increase spending and investment.

***

Japan has been desperate to boost consumer spending for years. At one point it even issued shopping vouchers to stimulate demand.

The New York Times writes:

Moving to negative rates reflects a measure of desperation on the part of central banks. Their traditional tools have been largely exhausted, as most countries’ interest rates have been pushed to almost nothing.

MarketWatch’s senior markets writer, William Watts, notes:

This might not be the sort of capitulation stock-market investors were anticipating.

The Bank of Japan’s surprise decision Friday to start charging depositors for parking excess reserves at the central bank triggered a global equity rally. But several monetary policy watchers and market strategists worried that the move was an acknowledgment that the world’s central banks are running out of ammunition in the battle against deflation.
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Posted in Business / Economics, Politics / World News | 9 Comments

An American Big Lie About ‘Terrorism’

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org

Micah Zenko is a blogger who posts on a main site of America’s foreign-policy establishment, the Council on Foreign Relations, and he posted there on January 6th, “How Many Bombs Did the United States Drop in 2015?” He calculated: “Last year, the United States dropped an estimated total of 23,144 bombs in six countries. Of these, 22,110 were dropped in Iraq and Syria.”

His curiosity about this question had been sparked because he noticed that, “The primary focus — meaning the commitment of personnel, resources, and senior leaders’ attention — of U.S. counterterrorism policies is the capture or killing (though, overwhelmingly killing) of existing terrorists. … I often ask U.S. government officials and mid-level staffers, ‘what are you doing to prevent a neutral [Islamic] person from becoming a terrorist?’ They always claim … this is not their responsibility, and point toward other agencies, usually the Department of State (DOS) or Department of Homeland Security (DHS), where this is purportedly their obligation internationally or domestically, respectively.” But, Zenko noted, “The problem with this ‘kill-em’-all with airstrikes’ rule, is that it is not working.”

One reader-comment there was, “This is b/c we are fighting an IDEOLOGY. We are not fighting a traditional military.” However, whereas in the non-Islamic world, it’s an “ideology,” it is instead a sect within the Islamic world; and, right now, it’s a rapidly growing one. It is, in fact, an offshoot of the Wahhabist sect of Sunni Islam that the Saud family have been advocating and promoting ever since the year 1744, and upon which they have established the nation that they now own. But, recently, it is inflaming much of the world.

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The Populist Revolution: Bernie and Beyond

By Ellen Brown, EllenBrown.com

The world is undergoing a populist revival. From the revolt against austerity led by the Syriza Party in Greece and the Podemos Party in Spain, to Jeremy Corbyn’s surprise victory as Labour leader in the UK, to Donald Trump’s ascendancy in the Republican polls, to Bernie Sanders’ surprisingly strong challenge to Hillary Clinton – contenders with their fingers on the popular pulse are surging ahead of their establishment rivals.

Today’s populist revolt mimics an earlier one that reached its peak in the US in the 1890s. Then it was all about challenging Wall Street, reclaiming the government’s power to create money, curing rampant deflation with US Notes (Greenbacks) or silver coins (then considered the money of the people), nationalizing the banks, and establishing a central bank that actually responded to the will of the people.

Over a century later, Occupy Wall Street revived the populist challenge, armed this time with the Internet and mass media to spread the word. The Occupy movement shined a spotlight on the corrupt culture of greed unleashed by deregulating Wall Street, widening the yawning gap between the 1% and the 99% and destroying jobs, households and the economy.

Donald Trump’s populist campaign has not focused much on Wall Street; but Bernie Sanders’ has, in spades. Sanders has picked up the baton where Occupy left off, and the disenfranchised Millennials who composed that movement have flocked behind him.
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Major Study: Antidepressants Double Risk of Suicide and Aggression In Young People … Drug Companies Covered Up Stats

We’ve previously documented that the new generation of antidepressants increase suicides … and may be contributing to school shootings.

The Telegraph reports this week that a major new study confirms that antidepressants can double the risk of suicide and aggression in young people … and that the drug companies have been covering up the stats:

Antidepressants can raise the risk of suicide, the biggest ever review has found, as pharmaceutical companies were accused of failing to report side-effects and even deaths linked to the drugs.

An analysis of 70 trials of the most common antidepressants – involving more than 18,000 people – found they doubled the risk of suicide and aggressive behaviour in under 18s.

***

The review – the biggest of its kind into the effects of the drugs – was carried out by the Nordic Cochrane Centre and analysed by University College London (UCL) who today endorse the findings in an editorial in the British Medical Journal (BMJ).

The Cochrane group is widely respected.  Newsweek notes:

The Cochrane Collaboration [is] a group of doctors and researchers known for their comprehensive reviews—which are widely regarded as the gold standard of scientific rigor in assessing effectiveness of public health policies ….

The Telegraph continues:

After comparing clinical trial information to actual patient reports the scientists found pharmaceutical companies had regularly misclassified deaths and suicidal events in people taking anti-depressants to “favour their products”.
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Oklahoma Earthquakes Shake Up Scientists, Rattle Politicians

By David Haggith, the Great Recession Blog

By Brian Sherrod, United States Geological Survey (United States Geological Survey Multimedia Gallery) [Public domain], via Wikimedia CommonsOklahoma earthquakes have shoved California out of first-place as the most seismically active state in the union. In fact, Oklahoma has become more seismically active than all lower forty-eight states combined. It is now one of the most active regions in the world, and the danger, according to the USGS, is greater than you think.

Oklahoma earthquakes break new ground

“I have never seen anything like it anywhere in the world,” said a USGS scientist about Oklahoma’s earthquakes, which have increased in number and intensity at an exponential rate:

According to Daniel McNamara, a research geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey, the state has already seen five earthquakes of a 4.0 or greater in 2016, which is double the monthly rate for 2015…. [in less than two weeks] “I don’t know what to say frankly. It’s incredible. I’ve never seen anything like it anywhere in the world. The only time you get this kind of activity might be after a very large earthquake, like a seven or eight (magnitude) in a place like Nepal or China or Indonesia or in volcanic regions.”

Geologically tired Oklahoma, however, is not one of those regions. It’s foundation is some of the oldest solid rock on earth; but it’s coming alive now. The state was shaken on January 6, 2016, by two of the largest quakes it has experienced, a 4.7 and 4.8. It is not the present size that is of concern, though, but the awakening … and the fact that the size of the Oklahoma earthquakes keeps growing. The area has had nineteen earthquakes over 3.0 on the Richter scale in the week following that last shake up. Counting all smaller quakes, the state has had seventy quakes in one week. Yet, all of that is just a tiny part of the escalating ground tremors over the past decade.
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NY Times in-depth article on US heroin epidemic gets the cause and the solution all wrong

By Meryl Nass, M.D.  Dr. Nass is  a board-certified internist and a biological warfare epidemiologist and expert in anthrax. Nass publishes Anthrax Vaccine.

On October 30, 2015 the NY Times published an in-depth article on the heroin epidemic, focused on New Hampshire, which saw the greatest increase in deaths from drug overdoses (74%) in the US between 2013 and 2014.  New Hampshire is a bucolic place, where villages of tidy white capes and saltboxes lie sprinkled among the mountains and pine forests.

Manchester, New Hampshire’s largest city, has a population of 110,000.  In one 6 hour period on September 24, Manchester police responded to 6 separate heroin overdoses. Manchester saw over 500 overdoses and over 60 deaths between January 1 and September 24, 2015.

At presidential campaign stops throughout the state, candidates were forced to respond to the problem when New Hampshire citizens demanded answers.  Hillary has a $10 billion dollar plan for prevention and treatment of abuse.  Chris Christie prefers treatment to jail time for first offenders. Obama announced a $5 million initiative in August to combat heroin addiction and trafficking. NH has designated a drug czar. NH Senator Ayotte says “We’ve got to reduce the stigma.”  Narcan, an opiate antidote that has been made widely available, is admittedly a band-aid.  It saves lives from acute overdoses, but does absolutely nothing to stem the tide of abuse.
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Posted in Politics / World News | 10 Comments