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‘The US has no role to play in bringing peace to Syria, because Washington has been the main architect of the war in Syria, a political commentator has told Press TV.

“The US has seemingly backed the so-called moderate rebels to attack the Syrian government forces since 2011 but the fact is that the American weapons have gone into the hands of terrorist groups,” Joe Iosbaker said on Saturday.

The so-called Free Syrian Army, he said, have mostly joined forces with al-Qaeda and Daesh after losing their war against the Syrian government, while the US continues supplying them with weapons.’

Read more: ‘US may give anti-aircraft missiles to al-Qaeda’

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Class conflict cannot exist in a society without classes, which is what we’re told we have as citizens of the world’s greatest democracy, its most exceptional nation, and other political-religious beliefs to accompany the big economic one about our magnificent free market where nothing is free.

We used to have a middle class and there is an upper middle class living in luxury towers and dining at fine restaurants, and we certainly have poor and rich people, but that doesn’t make us a class society. Does it? Many foreigners think Americans have no class at all but they may be giving the word another meaning. When it comes to economic stratification and wealth inequality, true believers in an alleged democracy that makes us all equal will swear that despite differences in personal bankrolls, by george we are the same in having free choice.

Especially in that fantastic free market where rich or poor, the same products are available to all of us if we just choose them.

Which is why poor people can live in gated communities, penthouses, large estates and lavish mansions, and rich folks can live in slums, housing projects, under freeways and on the street. It’s completely up to them and the educated choices they make at that free market where nothing is free. That’s why some of us eat gourmet as opposed to junk food, ride limos as opposed to bikes, and why some of us visit low-end emergency rooms for common illness while others visit high-end specialists for uncommon ills. Free choice, right?

If you believe any of that it’s amazing you’ve been able to read this far since you either dropped out of elementary school in fourth grade, or you’re employed by the ruling rich as a professional member of their body, mind and soul servant class. Even if you are a member of both those groups, joining with your fellow citizens to create real democracy would bring about a much better world than the one we live in, but if you really believe continued worship of minority wealth is what’s best for us all, you are anti-democratic and possibly fascist no matter how perversely patriotic you may think yourself for standing for the national anthem after lying about your taxes, cheating at your business, or discriminating against other alleged minorities as alienated as you are.

Obedience to symbols can be a sincere and heartfelt behavior but when it’s accompanied by hateful bigotry that would embarrass Nazis it’s a meal to make jackals and hyenas vomit. And hungry people cannot eat symbols of food, nor can homeless people reside in symbolic housing. But symbol worship is another religious observance forced upon good people in hopes that they won’t notice the material ugliness those symbols too often cover for.

The growing pro-democracy movement is learning that the way ruling class minority control of everything is maintained is by reducing the majority to identity group minorities and having them battle over getting a part of the professional class semi-luxury available by obeying the rules of the market religion and thus having some special members of their groups prayers answered by being allowed entry into that privileged group of servants. Unfortunately, it still works for many who not only stand for the anthem but symbolically bend over for their rulers at the same time.

While some of us are terrorized by racism, Trump, staggering debt, Trump, a warfare state, Putin, unemployment, Trump, climate change, Assad, poverty, Trump and a host of other real and imagined menaces, especially the one with which Consciousness Control is obsessing much of the nation, Donald Trump, a host of all too real problems are depicted as only those of certain groups, certainly not all of us. Alleged minorities of beings are Balkanized into believing ourselves separate ethnic-racial-religious-cultural-gender identities which somehow categorize us as different in human substance. Once we are beaten into mental submission that accepts our minority status, the rest is easy for our rulers.

While recent stories of a seemingly disgusting trend towards rape of unconscious women are shocking, more of us will die in automobile crashes and the fatalities will not be sexually segregated or only befall minority subsets of the nation. Yet we are not terrified by media harping on that story about a menace that kills more than thirty thousand americans every year, but rather a disgusting crime which, thankfully, the overwhelming majority of women will never suffer. Why are some menaces hyped to the point of giving us nightmares even if the odds of our enduring them are tiny, while other, real dangers are hardly spoken of at all? Could the fact that automobiles, fossil fuels, health insurance, and related businesses are multi billion dollar profit makers have something to do with it? Duh?

All of us are endangered by the intellectual rape of an unconscious public kept “drugged with religion and sex and tv” according to John Lennon in song back in the sixties. What might John be singing now, with 24-hour cable news mind assaults convincing us that perpetual war is normal, online anti-social media lynch squads aroused over almost anything, narrower minded and louder than ever pundit pinheads, richer and more powerful than ever big Pharma joining the orgy of weapons, drugs, gossip, scandal and the further reduction of passive citizens in an idealized democracy into a fanatic mob of zombie consumers at a realized dystopian mall?

Many of us are so mentally abused by the lies of ruling power that we believe only the most far fetched tales of plots seemingly conducted by forces of evil invisible to all but the anointed who can spot false flags a mile away but are blind to political economics staring them in the face. Reduced to an endless mob of consumers buying bullets, cosmetics, pizza, fashion, beer or pet food, and a parade of proles carrying plastic bags filled with merchandise, garbage or dog poop, most of us are innocently swept up in whatever trend of the moment comes via our networks of believability. And all those networks are directly or indirectly owned by the same financial powers which have nothing to do with fantastic schemes or the illuminati but everything to do with what is quite visible, material and threatens the world we all live in whether compelled to wave fabric painted red white and blue or coerced to carry truly false banners denoting a sub-human status forced upon us as alleged minorities.

The real and most threatening minority is that of the relative handful of billionaires – just over 400 in America – whose domination of the global economy is growing more critical and dangerous as unemployment, poverty and mass murder is suffered by more people while prosperity is enjoyed by a much smaller upper-middle class of servants clinging to the belief that it’s status not only reflects a general condition, but is entirely justified by the rules and regulations of the religious economy; the alleged free market under the control and dominance of a tiny minority growing obscenely richer by the day as a global majority carries the massive public loss caused by their private profits. How can they get away with this?

The tactic of dividing and conquering the opposition is among the oldest known to minority power, but in the age of instant electronic communication, it has become a tool for wielding more power than ever in the past. Royalty, feudal lords, slave owners and other deities of bygone eras would have been orgasmic if they could have had such instantaneous control over what reached the minds of their vassals, peasants, slaves and armies. While the digital age has made possible more direct communication among the people than was ever imaginable before, it has also placed incredible power of consciousness control and mind management in the hands of ruling classes never before as rich, dominant or dangerous.

Great masses of people under the heel of minority rule in what were called empires of the past were no more than national neighborhoods. Now, private capital’s continued and faster rape of the earth and its people in pursuit of ever greater profit for some at ever greater loss for most threatens the planet itself, and not just one or another fiefdom, kingdom or community. While the degradation of poorer and less developed nations is more criminal than ever, what is called the developed world suffers not only a spiritual and moral epidemic of social degeneracy but a vast material breakdown as well. All the more reason for ruling power to keep people relatively isolated on the equivalent of mental plantations, kept from any notion of the potential for global democracy and chained to the idea of national, cultural and most ignorant of all, racial difference making it necessary to band together in only the smallest possible groups which guarantee the ruling minority its continued power and make the collective danger much worse.

This continued rule division plays out in the lesser evil politics employed by regimes of capital in supposed democracies like America that allows their subjects to choose between a demublican representative of Goldman Sachs and the Israeli Lobby or a republicrat representative of the Koch Brothers and the Gun Lobby, with full assurance that whether the selected lesser evil needs a proctologist to conduct a brain scan or a pus removal from veins to allow a blood test, Goldman Sachs, the Israel lobby, the Koch Brothers and the Gun Lobby will maintain their control. They will serve and maintain a system by appealing to fictional minorities that insure the tiniest, richest and only real minority still dominates.

That system needs to be radically transformed by a unified, organized majority that acts for the common identity of humanity, which is all the more reason ruling regimes need to keep it divided. More of us seem to be moving in the direction of such organization and that is making capital’s minority rulers, like rats on a sinking ship, more desperately dangerous than ever. Which means the people need to find our identity as a human race sooner than ever or it will be stripped from all of us, no matter what hyphens, accents, beliefs, skin tones or other divisions we have been conditioned to accept as making us somehow un-human, less-human, more-human, super-human or sub-human.

Nature’s hurricanes, tsunamis, droughts and other events, and societies wars, pollution and poverty are all tending to get worse and do not differentiate among humans when they become all encompassing. The way to avoid the fire next time is to stop the fire hazard now. That hazard is anti-democratic, minority-controlled capitalism and the only way to stop it is with democracy. That means the only identity group that is real, humanity, needs to un-divide, unite, and conquer. Period.

http://legalienate.blogspot.com/2016/09/americas-least-powerful-identity-group.html

email: fpscott@gmail.com

Frank Scott writes  political commentary and satire which appears online at the blog Legalienatehttp://legalienate.blogspot.com

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Yeah… today is the Fourth of July. Today we celebrate our freedom but that’s a sham. There is no freedom when you are chained to a wheel and where you have surrendered your liberty in the false hope of a non existent security. It doesn’t get taken from you. You give it up. No one becomes a slave until they cease to be their own master. Like the country western song says, “If you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything.”

SOURCE: Smoking Mirrors

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Almost 45 years of the “War on Drugs” have left a trail of death and devastation in Central and South America, fostering corruption, impunity and record homicide rates. In this first part of the special investigative series, RT America’s Manuel Rapalo speaks to former DEA agent turned whistleblower Celerino Castillo and human rights lawyer Azadeh Ahahshahani, and sits down with RT America’s Lindsay France for a follow-up.

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In this episode we are going to make the case that our upside-down political conspiracy governing system is masquerading as legitimate, while branding the legitimate minority as conspiracy theorists: A system where real criminals are protected and rewarded: From players of mega financial institutions to those corrupt thieves occupying the seats of Congress; A system in which the real thieves are legitimized and rewarded monetarily and the robbed citizenry is left to bleed. And we’ll showcase a system where the worst President in history (that is, when it comes to wars of aggression, butchering liberties at home, murdering and assassinating people abroad, and prosecuting and jailing truth-tellers) is rewarded handsomely with prizes.

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‘Government has, for thousands of years, refined its methods of extracting wealth from people, perhaps with no greater efficiency than in 20th century America. The Federal Reserve, corporatism, and consumerism proved a winning combination for achieving what is known as The Great Fleecing.

While this brought about the largest transfer of wealth in history from the middle class to the 1 percent, through taxes it has also fueled the growth of an incomprehensible leviathan. The Pentagon alone “spends” (actually borrows from the Fed) $600 billion a year using our tax dollars to perpetuate endless war, and it’s never been audited.’

Read more: How Government Takes Away Your Right To Do Something And Sells It Back To You As A ‘License’

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I’ve been telling you about this for years.

A message to “quack busters” who attack natural health behind a phony mask of “scientific skepticism”: put your own house in order—that’s where the real quacks are.

The structures of medical propaganda are cracking.

The Washington Post (“Researchers: Medical errors now third leading cause of death in United States,” May 3) reports on a new Johns Hopkins study. I’ll give you the Post’s explosive quotes and then analyze them.

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“…a new study by patient safety researchers provides some context…Their analysis, published in the BMJ on Tuesday [‘Medical error—the third leading cause of death in the US,’ 03 May 2016], shows that ‘medical errors’ in hospitals and other health care facilities are incredibly common and may now be the third leading cause of death in the United States — claiming 251,000 lives every year, more than respiratory disease, accidents, stroke and Alzheimer’s.”

“Martin Makary, a professor of surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine who led the research, said in an interview that the category includes everything from bad doctors to more systemic issues such as communication breakdowns when patients are handed off from one department to another.”

“’It boils down to people dying from the care that they receive rather than the disease for which they are seeking care,’” Makary said.

“His calculation of 251,000 deaths [per year] equates to nearly 700 deaths a day — about 9.5 percent of all deaths annually in the United States.”

“Moreover, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention doesn’t require reporting of [medical] errors in the data it collects about deaths through billing codes, making it hard to see what’s going on at the national level.”

“Frederick van Pelt, a doctor who works for The Chartis Group, a health care consultancy, said another element of harm that is often overlooked is the number of severe patient injuries resulting from medical error.”

“’Some estimates would put this number at 40 times the death rate,’ van Pelt said.”

There you have it. Now let’s dig in.

MORE HERE

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fbi-in-child-pornBy Justin Gardner

The FBI has embarked on a new strategy to catch people dwelling in the depraved world of online child pornography, and it is raising some eyebrows. For almost two weeks, the FBI ran one of the Internet’s largest child pornography websites and allowed users to download thousands of illicit images and videos.

“The Justice Department acknowledged in court filings that the FBI operated the site, known as Playpen, from Feb. 20 to March 4, 2015. At the time, the site had more than 215,000 registered users and included links to more than 23,000 sexually explicit images and videos of children, including more than 9,000 files that users could download directly from the FBI. Some of the images described in court filings involved children barely old enough for kindergarten.”

For all of this dissemination of child porn to people around the country and the world, the FBI brought charges against just 25 people, nine of whom remain unidentified. They have been unable to link specific people to these nine network addresses.

The obvious question is, was it worth letting 215,000 people have access to a giant library of child porn for two weeks in order to catch 25 people? Is it not enough to shut down the site and apprehend the enabler(s), to stop it as soon as possible?

more: http://www.activistpost.com/2016/01/the-fbi-just-gave-215000-sickos-child-porn-so-they-could-make-25-arrests.html

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by Frank Scott

 

Once again, a black man innocent of any crime is dead, a city torn by outbursts of anger, but the nation hopefully pushed to acting on a reality. America has many serious problems, high among them de-humanized race relations. But none of those problems are removed from the political economics that make us a nation under the control of minority wealth in a system which enables some to do very well, some not very well, a small minority to live in luxury beyond belief and a larger minority to live in miserable poverty.

To believe that such a place is an exceptional democratic nation striving towards equality for all, as our bi-partisan leadership regularly claims, is to believe the tooth fairy created the world. What has been advertised as an American dream of comfort and security for citizens moves closer to becoming an American nightmare of, at best, unpayable debt for consumers, and at worst, being murdered by public servants.

The latest headlined tragedy in Baltimore should help us concentrate less on simply finding guilty individuals and institutional servants, all of whom can act no differently as long as the present system prevails, and more on total transformation of that system.

In the action taken to charge six officers in the death of Freddy Gray it is notable that three were “people of color” – presently acceptable divisive terminology even if implying they were green or blue – and two were women. This alleged gender and racial balance in the police force is a form of what is called affirmative action, but it did absolutely nothing to affirm the life of Freddie Gray. Changing the skin tone or sex of the work force in the military, at the bank, among our clerks, scientists, cab drivers, teachers or pet trainers does nothing to change the foundation of the system. Integrating our workforce so that more members of one or another minority and one majority sex occupy equal roles in dispensing the wonders, joys and benefits of the market place while also seeing to it that people remain homeless, alienated, poor, and too often, dead, only represent progress and equality to the demented.

Whether we murder people here or in far greater numbers in foreign countries, rest assured their loved ones don’t feel better because members of a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-racial, gay, straight or neuter minority may have played a role in killing them.

While Baltimore authorities initially reacted in near panic, calling for martial law over a serious situation that warranted thought and not infantile racism, the charges against the officers brought a measure of reason and an attempt at getting to justice. But the city in which a man was killed after being arrested for an imaginary crime having more to do with what he looked like to the police – three of whom looked like him – has suffered particular economic pain during a time in which Baltimore experienced the fate of many former industrial centers in America.

When corporations moved to cheaper, more profitable foreign labor markets and dumped workers and communities in the USA, we were told by economic servants of capital that manufacturing was an outmoded process no longer necessary. Now we had to develop computers, smart phones and apps to do everything for us and didn’t need old mechanical devices. Sure. So the industries went to foreign countries which also, coincidentally, produce the electronics we use to order pizzas, aim drones, open garage doors before we get home and make coffee before we wake up in the morning. The economic blight that was the fate of places like Detroit and Baltimore reduced once reasonably prosperous areas to near degradation, poverty, high unemployment, low social esteem and crime. This is often written off to racism alone but we need a broader view of america than one defined only by one or another minority, especially when that view excludes the most powerful minority which profits most from social destruction: the wealthiest tiny percentile at the top of the economy.

Given our wretched history of slavery and its generational impact still only dealt with by greeting card slogans and divisive programs, “people of color” suffer most. And even minimal affirmation for some has been accompanied by maximum negation for most.

Great improvement in social status and material standards have been gained through Affirmative Action programs, and these mostly to women even more than the blacks they were originally intended for, but there have been great losses and more suffering for those who continue to receive negative action from the system of private profits for a minority and public loss for most.

The professional and upper middle class population among African Americans – what people of color or blacks are called when they reach that state – has grown but at the same time the population of poor, unemployed, and imprisoned black americans has skyrocketed beyond the numbers that existed even under apartheid racism of the past.

Obama in the white house, blacks in positions of authority in government, in law and at the university mean nothing at all to the black men regularly shot dead in the streets, or in the Baltimore case who die while being taken to jail. Our prisons are so crowded we are among the most jailed population in what is called the civilized world. And the number of those prisoners who have darker skin are out of all proportion to their percentage in the population at large. Race looms very large in this ugly picture, but economics looms even larger and concentration on only one to the exclusion of the other means continued injustice, perhaps unequally distributed but universally felt.

Black lives do indeed matter, but they won’t if we concentrate on the police departments without noticing who and what the departments work for. War does not happen because armies decide to go to foreign countries to kill people and the police are the local armies of capital, composed of good people and bad, like bus drivers, teachers and the rest of us. They work for a living. At least if they have jobs. We need democratic control of that process to make all life matter.

 

email: fpscott@gmail.com

Frank Scott writes  political commentary and satire which is available online  at Legalienate

http://legalienate.blogspot. com

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There is a thesis in it.  Versions of it certainly circulate: smaller, and weaker powers, tend to pre-empt the wishes of their masters or those who would promise to protect them.   If performed successfully, rewards might issue from the mighty protector, be it in the form of dispensations and further guarantees of security.

The political environment of a democracy is peculiar in that regard, given that political pre-emption tends to be the internal province of police states. (To be in the dictator’s special invitations list, best try to predict what his wishes might be.) The democratic system adds the complication of “the people” – those wishes of the electorate which have to be abided by. The elected classes do, however, have to undertake some elaborate window dressing when dumping a policy on the sceptics and people who might suspect they are being taken for a dangerous and lack lustre ride.

Australia provides the most acute example of this play between the constituency that needs to be bribed, if not deluded, and a government that wishes to be in the good books of its great behemoth of an “ally”. (The term ally in the Australian-US relationship is more akin to a shotgun marriage between inherently unequal partners.) For that reason, ground must be smoothed out, and electors prepared for what those in Washington would want. It doesn’t pay to reveal how demeaning that state of affairs actually is – Australia is, after all the fluff about special relationships, essentially subordinate, its sovereignty qualified and conditioned by US strategic thinking.

There is some precedent for this. An ongoing argument made by such individuals as Geir Lundestad, director of the Norwegian Nobel Institute, is that the United States and its entrenched presence in Western Europe during the Cold War was the product of “empire by invitation”. The subtext there was one of pre-emption: the US will want their security enhanced by actually protecting Western Europe from the Soviet hordes. This also stood to reason, given that the American empire had come into being. “The American expansion went so deep and affected so many different parts of the world that it can be said to have resulted in an American empire.”[1]

Lundestad then ventures the notion that the cobbled empire that stumbled into the barracks and the institutions of Europe was a short-lived experiment, suggesting a rather naïve assessment.

By the 1970s, the US-European relationship had to be redefined in the wake of declining American influence, but that never meant that US bases, or US influence, would vanish. Some guests are reluctant to leave, and while the Soviet Union wearily packed up after its torturous decline in 1990, taking its place on the mantelpiece of history, Washington’s imperial juggernaut was reshaped.

The Abbott government has been doing its level best to second, even third guess, the decisions of the Obama administration. This has proven difficult in a sense, given the not infrequent bouts of indecisiveness that seem to arise in Washington. Will it re-deploy US forces in Iraq to add meat to air strikes against ISIS positions? Will there be a need for further sanctions on Russia to pressure separatists in Ukraine?

The measuring of what the US will do is important for the amateur psychoanalysts in the Prime Minister’s office. If the murmurings are humanitarian, then the Australian response is to anticipate that. Abbott has spoken to US officials about the “potential humanitarian disaster” in Northern Iraq that awaits if the planes aren’t flown in and the supplies aren’t dropped. “President Obama has already said that it has the potential to become a genocide and that’s why it’s important for Australia to join with our international partners in doing what we can to render humanitarian assistance.”[2] Note: it matters not a jot what the Australian assessment on the ground would have been – what Obama says, goes.

Humanitarian aid drops have a tendency of becoming military drops – food aid gives way to weapons when the moral rhetoric gets steamy with righteous indignation. Abbott is careful to underline the monstrosity he, and his colleagues, are facing while trumpeting the need to “protect civilians from a murderous onslaught.” The fate of the refugees of the Yazidi sect are coming in for some heavy publicity. Describing the capacity of the Royal Australian Air Force in terms of its humanitarian credentials is one thing (“a fleet of six C-17A Globemaster heavy lift aircraft as well as C-130 Hercules transport aircraft”[3]); adding the military edge to it is something that will come in due course. “We are talking to our … security partners about what we can usefully do to help.”

At this writing, the prospects of troops joining a mission against ISIS is very real indeed. Minister for Defence, Senator David Johnston, has left that road open despite the fact that Washington has not approached either he or the Prime Minister. This, despite US Secretary of State John Kerry claiming on Tuesday that there would be “no reintroduction of American combat forces.”

Abbott has, instead, decided to split hairs. “There is a world of difference between getting involved to prevent genocide and the kind of involvement that we’ve seen in recent years by Western countries in the Middle East.” With such flexible reasoning, one that uses terms of invasion as if they were policing metaphors, anything is possible.

What is surprising about all of this is that the Canberra policy hacks should be surprised when other powers retaliate. The Russian foreign ministry has found Australian efforts to piggyback on the sanctions regime against Moscow primitively unimaginative. It is – the Australian reliance on commodity exports places it at the mercy of powers who might wish to turn off the tap of demand. The powers of reading what the US might do then will come to naught.

Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge.  He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne. Email: bkampmark@gmail.com

original link@ http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-australia-us-military-relationship-australian-troops-to-iraq/5396338

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Dr Jim Willie has been talking about the BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, China, India and South Africa) being joined by other nations to take down the dollar. He says there are now 80 nations in the BRICS alliance who have joined together to end the dollar’s reign as the international reserve currency. China could have taken down the US economy any time it wanted to after it had accumulated more than a trillion dollars in US Treasury bonds. All it had to do was to sell them and buy real assets until the US government collapsed and surrendered.

The Chinese are playing a much more sophisticated game. Their goal is to take down the dollar and the British pound but not to hurt their customers in Africa, Latin America, Australia and elsewhere. He thinks a Northern euro will emerge leaving southern Europe and France far behind. Italy’s future was hurt when they mistakenly decided to send half of their gold to New York. That gold is in Asia along with the bullion from the Netherlands and Germany. Dr Willie agrees with Jim Rickards who says the dollar will be devalued 80%. This will make imported goods 500% more expensive. And it will also enable foreigners to buy food off the shelves of America and Great Britain. Please note that the British pound is being targeted by the BRICS 80 as well.

Dr Willie also believes that J P Morgan and other financial firms in the US and the UK are helping China to manipulate gold and silver. The Chinese want to buy gold for a low price and spend it at a much higher price when everything goes to hell and Americans have to sell off their few remaining assets to feed themselves. He says the London and New York banks have been sending a thousand tons of gold to China every month since April of 2012. The dollar will collapse and the price of gold will skyrocket when there is no gold left in London and New York to send to China.

The Federal Reserve balance sheet has grown from $800 billion in 2009 to $3.9 trillion today. That is almost a 500% increase in less than 5 years. You would think that would be inflationary. But the federal government lies about employment, economic outlook and inflation. John Williams at Shadow Stats says the inflation rate is really almost 9%. Since GDP is flat, the real economy after factoring in the inflation rate is contracting at 9%.

Read more@ http://vidrebel.wordpress.com/2014/05/08/jim-willie-brics-80-preparing-to-take-down-the-dollar/

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3-Day Lite Emergency Kit

War: The Big Picture

All of the talk of war in the Ukraine and Syria is confusing … so here’s an executive summary:

more@ http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2014/04/war-big-picture.html

 

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. According to a Justice Department study more than half of the prisoners in the U.S. suffer from a bona fide mental illness. Among female inmates, about three-quarters have a diagnosable mental disorder.

. According to a Justice Department study more than half of the prisoners in the U.S. suffer from a bona fide mental illness. Among female inmates, about three-quarters have a diagnosable mental disorder.

“We have embraced the idea that being mentally sick is a crime.”

It is way past time to overhaul the U.S. prison system.

I’m not talking about a little tweak here and there. I’m talking about throwing a massive metaphorical hand grenade into the entire system and starting over from scratch. We should be ashamed of ourselves for allowing the system to have morphed into what it has.

Why should you care about this? Well, because you’re paying for it. Between states and the federal government the U.S. spends about $74 billion a year housing, feeding, providing health care (such as it is in prison) for inmates and supervising the newly released.

The Bureau of Justice Statistics reported in 2012 there were nearly 7 million Americans under the supervision of adult correctional systems. Translated: one in every 108 adults in the United States was incarcerated, a per-capita world record.

The problem, as I see it, centers on who we are locking up. The Washington Post reports that only one percent of them are in for murder. Four percent are serving time for robbery. The most serious charge against 51 percent of them is a drug offense.

But here is the most startling, heart-wrenching statistic of them all. According to a Justice Department study more than half of the prisoners in the U.S. suffer from a bona fide mental illness. Among female inmates, about three-quarters have a diagnosable mental disorder.

Why in the world are we locking up the mentally ill in the same place we house violent and predatory criminals? The answer is simple. Because there is nowhere else to put the “crazy people,” so we put them in jail after they act out. Many times their families have spent years begging for mental health care for their disturbed loved one to no avail. And sometimes, the “crazy people” deliberately commit crimes knowing they will be housed, fed and minimally medicated in lockup.

Back in the mid-’50s, psychotropic drugs like Thorazine were found to be so successful in quelling mental patient’s delusions and agitation that within a decade society decided it was cruel to continue to institutionalize them. The abuse of patients and unsanitary conditions found at some mental hospitals were ascribed to all such institutions so we closed them down. Patients were given a prescription for their meds and told they were “free.” No one seemed to notice that the planned community mental health centers never materialized and when one of these former patients had a problem there were very few places they could go for help.

The pattern continues to this day. There are simply not enough mental health beds to service everyone who needs help. Today, commitment is difficult and, sadly, we have to wait for the mentally ill to actually commit a crime before the state steps in. In the last few years, many of America’s mass murders were committed by untreated mentally ill people who should have been in a mental health care facility — for their protection and for ours.

It’s ironic, isn’t it? The very society that once agreed it was unjust to lock people up in mental hospitals now allows the mentally disturbed to be locked up in much more dangerous jails and prisons.

We have turned our backs on these folks and our prisons have become de facto psychiatric facilities. We have decided that these are throwaway human beings and embrace the idea that being mentally sick is a crime. Our children and grandchildren are going to look back and wonder what was wrong with us.

I could fill this entire page with quotes from wardens describing the horror of what happens to sufferers of schizophrenia, bi-polar disorders and other mental illnesses once they enter prison. But the ugly truth is that some of those same wardens employ practices that are, literally, creating even more disturbed individuals.

The widespread use of solitary confinement in prisons has been shown to have a tremendously negative effect. Mostly because inmates — be they habitually violent, in danger from other prisoners or simply a rule breaker — are often held for months and even years in isolation. You know what being locked up, alone, for years at a time does to the human mind?

According to Dr. Stuart Grassian, a veteran psychiatrist from Harvard who is considered an expert on the effects of solitary confinement, prolonged seclusion only leads inmates to exhibit more impulsive and violent behavior.

“Ninety-five percent of these people will get out and be released back on the streets,” Grassian said on a National Geographic documentary. “All isolation will have done is make them as violent, crazy and dangerous as possible when they get out.”

So how long does the system continue doing what we know doesn’t work? When do the priorities shift away from warehousing chronic drug addicts with the hope that they will somehow cure themselves by their release date? When do we stop thinking it is morally defensible to house the mentally ill alongside career gang-bangers, rapists and killers? And, what will it take to convince prison administrators to reject the rage-filling practice of prolonged solitary confinement?

Look, I’m not advocating letting anyone out of prison. I’m suggesting its way past time to take a fresh look at revolutionary new ways to spend that $74 billion every year.

How about we start with a plan that separates the hardcore, habitual criminals from the mentally sick and persistently addicted? Keep the first group in a standard prison setting. Then, turn some of our prisons into psychiatric centers to help the more fragile inmates. The past confirms that an overwhelming majority of those who suffer from mental illness and addiction are not violent. They are lost souls who could possibly get their lives set straight if exposed to the right therapies and medications.

I’m embarrassed that we have adopted a toss-and-forget attitude about so many of our weakest citizens. Prison is not where they belong and it certainly isn’t where they will ever learn to become contributing members of society again. By continuing our current policies we insure only one thing: America’s per-capita standing as the world’s number one jailer.

original link

 

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While Americans comprise only 5 percent of the world population, we consume an incredible 50 percent of Big Pharma’s drugs, as explained in Jeff Hays’ documentary film, Doctored. Make no mistake. These drugs are meant to keep us imprisoned in poor health, not heal us. It’s time to kick the drug habit America. Tell the drug pushers – Merck, Pfizer, Novartis, Roche, GlaxoSmith Kline, Abbott, Astra-Zeneca, Amgen, Eli Lilly, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Sanofi (along with the FDA and CDC) that you are going cold turkey, and learn what true health really means.

Sadly, Americans are more familiar with names like Abilify, Nexium, Humira, Plavix, Crestor, Advair Diskus, Enbrel, and Cymbalta, the top selling drugs of Big Pharma, than  names like Aloe barbadensis, Curcuma longaAllium sativumMoringa oleiferaVitis vinifera L, all indigenous plants that have healed millions around the world.

You’ve likely heard the phrase before – just a dozen huge corporations are keeping Americans popping pills while they rake in billions, but have you really thought of what these numbers translate into, in terms of real health?

 

Annual sales for just one drug, Humira, was $9.3 billion. That puts Abott squarely at the top of the list as one of the most successful drug companies of all time.

One drug. One year. $9.3 billion.

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People inspect the wreckage of a car hit by an air strike in the central Yemeni province of al-Bayda April 19, 2014. (Reuters)

People inspect the wreckage of a car hit by an air strike in the central Yemeni province of al-Bayda April 19, 2014. (Reuters)

Dozens are reportedly dead in Yemen, including at least three civilians, as the result of a series of drone strikes that started in the southern part of the country on Saturday and is alleged to still be occurring two days later.

By noontime in Washington, DC on Monday, the Associated Press reported that 55 Al-Qaeda militants were among those that had been killed in an hours-long series of strikes that targeted a training camp operated by the group, according to Yemen’s interior ministry. The United States is alleged to have carried out the strikes using unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, but does not legally have to acknowledge any operations conducted by its Central Intelligence Agency and has not commented.

People inspect the wreckage of a car hit by an air strike in the central Yemeni province of al-Bayda April 19, 2014. (Reuters)

People inspect the wreckage of a car hit by an air strike in the central Yemeni province of al-Bayda April 19, 2014. (Reuters)

While reports consider the strikes carried out by US-operated drones, outlets like The Bureau of Investigative Journalism say that, as of early Monday evening EDT, it is ultimately unknown whether Yemen military forces were involved or if the attacks were indeed executed with unmanned drones. A “high-level Yemeni government official” told CNN the attacks were “a joint US-Yemeni operation.” He added that, “unfortunately, a civilian truck was also hit.”

Among the 55 believed to be killed in that series of strikes, the AP reported, were three senior but unnamed Al-Qaeda leaders. The AFP also corroborated that claim by reporting that witnesses on the scene in Shabwa province early Monday said three alleged militants were indeed killed when a missile struck the car the men were traveling in that morning.

At the same time on Monday, an anonymous Yemeni government official briefed on the strikes told CNN that the strikes had yet to cease and that at, by his count, at least 30 alleged militants had been killed. Statistics regarding the death toll remain fluid, but preliminary reports concerning the strikes suggest that the number of those killed since Saturday is in the dozen.

More @ http://rt.com/usa/drone-yemen-dozens-dead-880/

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