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Break the Judicial Power

Ven, 10/02/2017 - 07:01

“Disheartening and demoralizing,” wailed Judge Neil Gorsuch of President Trump’s comments about the judges seeking to overturn his 90-day ban on travel to the U.S. from the Greater Middle East war zones.

What a wimp. Did our future justice break down crying like Sen. Chuck Schumer? Sorry, this is not Antonin Scalia. And just what horrible thing had our president said?

A “so-called judge” blocked the travel ban, said, Trump. And the arguments in court, where 9th Circuit appellate judges were hearing the government’s appeal, were “disgraceful.” “A bad student in high school would have understood the arguments better.”Did the president disparage a couple of judges? Yep.

Yet compare his remarks to the tweeted screeds of Elizabeth Warren after her Senate colleague, Jeff Sessions, was confirmed as attorney general.

Sessions, said Warren, represents “radical hatred.” And if he makes “the tiniest attempt to bring his racism, sexism & bigotry” into the Department of Justice, “all of us” will pile on.

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Now, this is hate speech. And it validates Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s decision to use Senate rules to shut her down.

These episodes reveal much about America 2017.

They reflect, first, the poisoned character of our politics. The language of Warren — that Sessions is stepped in “racism, sexism & bigotry” echoes the ugliest slander of the Hillary Clinton campaign, where she used similar words to describe Trump’s “deplorables.”

Such language, reflecting as it does the beliefs of one-half of America about the other, rules out any rapprochement in America’s social or political life. This is pre-civil war language.

For how do you sit down and work alongside people you believe to be crypto-Nazis, Klansmen, and fascists? Apparently, you don’t. Rather, you vilify them, riot against them, deny them the right to speak or to be heard.

And such conduct is becoming common on campuses today.

As for Trump’s disparagement of the judges, only someone ignorant of history can view that as frightening.

Thomas Jefferson not only refused to enforce the Alien & Sedition Acts of President John Adams, his party impeached Supreme Court Justice Samuel Chase who had presided over one of the trials.

Jackson defied Chief Justice John Marshall’s prohibition against moving the Cherokees out of Georgia to the west of the Mississippi, where, according to the Harvard resume of Sen. Warren, one of them bundled fruitfully with one of her ancestors, making her part Cherokee.

When Chief Justice Roger Taney declared that President Abraham Lincoln’s suspension of the writ of habeas corpus violated the Constitution, Lincoln considered sending U.S. troops to arrest the chief justice.

FDR proposed adding six justices to emasculate a Supreme Court of the “nine old men” he reviled for having declared some New Deal schemes unconstitutional.

President Eisenhower called his Supreme Court choices Earl Warren and William Brennan two of the “worst mistakes” he made as president. History bears Ike out. And here we come to the heart of the matter.

Whether the rollout of the president’s temporary travel ban was ill-prepared or not, and whether one agrees or not about which nations or people should be subjected to extreme vetting, the president’s authority in the matter of protecting the borders and keeping out those he sees as potentially dangerous is universally conceded.

That a district judge would overrule the president of the United States on a matter of border security in wartime is absurd.

When politicians don black robes and seize powers they do not have, they should be called out for what they are — usurpers and petty tyrants. And if there is a cause upon which the populist right should unite, it is that elected representatives and executives make the laws and rule the nation. Not judges, and not justices.

Indeed, one of the mightiest forces that has birthed the new populism that imperils the establishment is that unelected justices like Warren and Brennan, and their progeny on the bench, have remade our country without the consent of the governed — and with never having been smacked down by Congress or the president.

Consider. Secularist justices de-Christianized our country. They invented new rights for vicious criminals as though criminal justice were a game. They tore our country apart with idiotic busing orders to achieve racial balance in public schools. They turned over centuries of tradition and hundreds of state, local and federal laws to discover that the rights to an abortion and same-sex marriage were there in Madison’s Constitution all along. We just couldn’t see them.

Trump has warned the judges that if they block his travel ban, and this results in preventable acts of terror on American soil, they will be held accountable. As rightly they should.

Meanwhile, Trump’s White House should use the arrogant and incompetent conduct of these federal judges to make the case not only for creating a new Supreme Court, but for Congress to start using Article III, Section 2, of the Constitution — to restrict the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, and to reclaim its stolen powers.

A clipping of the court’s wings is long overdue.

The post Break the Judicial Power appeared first on LewRockwell.

Dear Head of the Snake

Ven, 10/02/2017 - 07:01

When Barack Obama was still in office, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, one of the perpetrators of the 9/11 terror attacks, penned a letter to him. Though a judge recently ruled that letter could be sent to the White House before the outgoing president left office, the contents were to be withheld from the public until a month later — until after President Trump had assumed power.

This week, the Miami Herald obtained and published the contents of the 18-page letter, originally written in 2015 and titled “LETTER FROM THE CAPTIVE MUJAHID KHALID SHAIKH MOHAMMAD TO THE HEAD OF THE SNAKE, BARACK OBAMA, THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, THE COUNTRY OF OPPRESSION AND TYRANNY.” It contains the Kuwait-born Pakistani terrorist’s insights into why 9/11 occurred, as well as surprisingly accurate assessments of American politics.

One of the main reasons for 9/11, according to Mohammed, is one terrorists have referenced before: American foreign policy. His explanation is rooted both in history and in current affairs.

The American people were misled by the Johnson administration and the Pentagon into waging a war in Vietnam that cost 58,000 U.S. lives and millions of Vietnamese lives and ultimately led to a humiliating defeat,” he writes, correctly referencing Johnson’s false flag attack in the Gulf of Tonkin, which the Democratic president used to push the U.S. into a prolonged, messy, and ultimately failed war.

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Mohammed also focused on U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East and the Muslim world specifically, providing a long list of reasons why the “U.S. reaped what it sowed on 9/11.” One of those grievances was the U.S. government and CIA’s scheme to back and support  “the Indonesian dictator Suharto when his army-led massacres slaughtered hundreds of thousands of landless farmers,” though his examples span the globe.

He cites America’s notorious desire for oil, referencing when the U.S. built “military bases in the Arabian Peninsula in Tabuk, Dhahran, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, and U.A.E – which is prohibited by Sharia laws – to secure a non-stop flood of oil to [their] country at the cheapest price.” He argues this was “to support the dictatorial rule of monarchial families and oppressive, corrupt, dynastic regimes and looting the wealth of the Muslim Ummah population; and to accomplish [U.S.] military objectives there.”

He references the CIA’s 1953 coup in Iran — conducted in conjunction with their British intelligence counterparts — to overthrow the country’s democratically elected leader and empower the “Shah of Iran and Safak, the brutal Iranian intelligence agency, for 40 years.”

Discussing Iraq in the 1990s, he references “when Anglo-Saxon crusaders imposed sanctions against the Iraqi people in a manner of collective punishment that resulted in the death of half a million civilians.” He later addresses former U.N. ambassador Madeleine Albright’s claim that the deaths of half a million children were “worth it.”

Mohammed also points out hypocrisies in American foreign policy, such as the American officials’ ties to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad before they wanted to oust him. He also points out that before invading Iraq, the U.S. “supported Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq War, even when he was using poison mustard gas against the Kurds…”

Mohammed discusses at length the centuries of Western attacks on Muslims and their countries, also noting the way Western countries broke up formerly Ottoman nations in the early 20th century, dividing them up and claiming control in the region.

He circles back to indict the whole of American foreign policy, noting the U.S. has escaped prosecution for their “brutal and savage massacres against the American Indian and [their] crimes in Vietnam, Korea, Tokyo, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Dresden, and Latin America; and for [their] support for the Chinese Dictator, Chiang Kai-Shek, and Mexico’s dictator, Santa Ana.”

You can keep your military bases in Japan, Germany, Italy, and elsewhere,” he writes, “but Muslim land will never accept infidels army bases in their land.” He credits Allah with helping them fight back against Western aggression, frequently weaving in religious sentiments as justification for further violence.

Though Mohammed focuses largely on U.S. imperialism, one of his main grievances is the U.S. government’s support for Israel throughout the decades. He argues America reaped what it sowed on 9/11 in part because of America’s backing of Israel “in the political arena, when you blocked resolutions in the United Nations Security Council more than 45 times to protect repeated Israeli crimes.” Mohammed cites the U.S.’ support for Israel’s invasions of Lebanon throughout the years, ultimately arguing that jihadists fight for all oppressed Muslims. He claims they represent Palestinians and others who have been crushed by Western influence and invasion (of course, it is impossible to prove all victimized Muslims support terrorism as recourse, making this claim rather grandiose).

He discusses Obama’s ongoing efforts to continue providing weaponry to Israel even as the former president openly questioned Israeli settlements. “While your children may play safely in the White House backyard, the entire world is watching your weapons kill Palestinian children at play on the Gaza beach during Holy Month of Ramadan or studying in their classrooms.”

Mohammed criticizes American politicians’ repeated claims that Israel “has a right to defend itself.”

Why can’t you or any American president before you say that the Palestinians have a right to defend themselves against Israeli crimes?” he wonders. “The answer is very clear but you can’t say it because your lords will be very angry.” Indeed, Israel wields significant influence over American policy.

The notion that American politicians are beholden to higher powers is echoed throughout the letter, but not just with regard to Israel’s influence through lobbying organization AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee). With surprising accuracy, Mohammed details corporate influence throughout government. Early in the letter, he points out that politicians must serve their donors, whether they are in the healthcare industry, the prison industry, or “Blackwater, Halliburton, or any other arms industry of weapons firm.” He says the latter industry requires politicians “to push the DoD and U.S. soldiers into more wars…

He condemns American capitalism and the farce of democracy throughout the letter, referring to politicians as mercenaries working for their financiers. He asserts that “[i]n the end, this will lead the rich to grow richer and the poor to grow poorer. The country will sink into debt and finally the nation will die.

Mohammed also singles out Obama, citing his drone strikes, which killed countless innocent civilians and children. He condemns Obama’s assassination of American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki without trial — followed by the killing of his 16-year-old son — as well as the president’s establishment of indefinite detention and his failure to close Guantanamo, where Mohammed has been imprisoned for years.

He calls out Western media, as well. “Don’t let Fox, CNN, BBC, or American and pro-Israeli channels cover your eyes because they never show the truth, their main task is brainwashing,” he argues. “They are experts at lying and distorting the facts to achieve their masters’ ends.

(Instead, he praises Al-Jazeera, which is, in fact, a news agency originally funded by the oil-rich Qatari government, an ally of the United States.)

Since 9/11, the political establishment’s narrative has asserted Islamic terrorists target the United States because they hate us for our freedom, because their religion is violent, and because they are hellbent on destroying anyone who disagrees with their ideology. While it’s indisputable that anyone who would seek to kill 3,000 civilians is a cold-blooded murderer, his explanation has been echoed by terrorists before; the Charlie Hebdo shooters, the Boston Marathon bombers, and the Orlando night club shooter all referenced violent, imperialistic American policy as reasons for their attacks.

Mohammed concludes:

If your government and public won’t tolerate 9/11, then how can you ask Muslims to tolerate your 60 years of crimes in Palestine, Lebanon, the Arabian Peninsula and the whole Muslim World?

As former congressman and longtime non-interventionist Dr. Ron Paul warned in 1998 — long before 9/11:

“Far too often, the bombing of declared (or concocted) enemies, whether it’s the North Vietnamese, the Iraqis, the Libyans, the Sudanese, the Albanians, or the Afghans, produces precisely the opposite effect to what is sought. It kills innocent people, creates more hatred toward America, unifies and stimulates the growth of the extremist Islamic movement and makes them more determined than ever to strike back with their weapon of choice – terror.”

The post Dear Head of the Snake appeared first on LewRockwell.

Cronies Buy Conservative/Libertarian Thinktanks

Ven, 10/02/2017 - 07:01
The Irrepressible Rothbard Essays of Murray N. Rothbard Edited by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr. .


November 1993

I’m puzzled. I’d like to know why so many free-marketeers, so many free-market think-tanks and pundits, are not simply pro-Nafta, but are fervently, frantically, almost hysterically pro-Nafta. Look, I can understand, though not agree with, mild approval. An old libertarian friend of mine, for example, told me that he was mildly pro-Nafta but not really interested in the entire topic. That seems sensible. So why the furor, the passion, the enormous resources poured into praising Nafta and reviling its critics? Why is there a highly active free-market Nafta Network, when no one has ever bothered forming a Repeal-the-Income Tax Network, or an Abolish-the-Fed Network? And if we want to confine passion to more directly political issues, why was there no Lower-Taxes Network, or Stop-the-Clinton-Budget Network? Why is the entire pack: the Cato crowd, the rest of the Kochtopus or Koch Machine, the majority of Heritage, the Tony Snows and the Steve Chapmans, why are they going all out, playing hardball, in their frenzy to get this thing passed? Why are these gentry acting as if their lives depended on the passage of Nafta? Could it be because if not their lives, at least their fortunes (though scarcely their sacred honor), do in fact depend on it?

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The twists and turns of this crowd have been truly a sight to see. First, they confidently strode forth to represent the “free trade” cause, denouncing their opponents as leftists or ignorant protectionists. But then, when hard-core free marketeers and free traders such as people at Triple R, the Mises Institute, and the Competitive Enterprise Institute weighed in to attack Nafta as a managed trade and international statist scam in “free-trade” clothing, the pro-Nafta gang wheeled around to denounce us as free-trade “purists,” or, as Tony Snow called it in all his tom-fool ignorance, “the Adam Smith objection.” But even if this crowd has no shame, surely their sudden change of front must be causing them some tactical embarrassment. For how can they pose as the champions of free trade while at the same time denouncing genuine free traders as “purists”?

The “free traders” for Nafta confront their biggest problem when we point out that, under Nafta, super-governmental commissions, unaccountable to any taxpayers, will be able to enforce and “upwardly harmonize” ever greater environmental and labor regulation standards against the wishes of the citizens of each country. The reply of the pro-Nafta people is that these are scare tactics, that these enforcement provisions are really petty and minor – nothing to worry about. Well, let’s consider the crucial enforcement provisions that Nafta and its side agreements hand over to these supra-national commissions. Tony Snow and Steve Chapman assure us that these provisions are petty and meaningless. But on the other hand, Kathleen Rogers, counsel to the savvy environmentalist Audubon Society, supports Nafta precisely because of these enforcement provisions. Most important, Clinton’s own Trade Czar, Mickey Kantor, assures one and all that under Nafta, “no country in the agreement can lower its environmental standards – ever,” and he applies that assurances of all-out enforcement to labor regulations (e.g., labor laws, workplace standards, minimum wages) as well.

So, if there’s a difference of opinion on the strength of enforcement between Snow and Chapman on the one hand, and Mickey Kantor of the Clinton administration on the other, whose interpretation do you think will win out?

There is only one sensible interpretation of these “free marketeers”: that they are serving as a rather feeble figleaf for the naked seizure of power by international statism. To return to the $64 question: why are they investing so much passion in this effort?

Here is a possible clue to this puzzle. Take this seeming anomaly. On the one hand, in Annex 602.3 to Nafta, the allegedly “free-market” Salinas government of Mexico “reserves to itself,” in no uncertain terms, all possible provision of and investment in every aspect of the exploration, production, or refining of crude oil and natural gas. And yet, despite that grim fact, the heads of both the Natural Gas Supply Association and the American Gas Association, express their great enthusiasm for Nafta. As President Michael Baly of the American Gas Association puts it: “The AGA supports Nafta because it would benefit natural gas energy, equipment, technology, and services trade with Mexico and Canada.”

Oh? How can this be, if the Mexican government insists on socializing all aspects of oil and natural gas? Methinks we can smell a rat. It is not generally known that the most enthusiastic advocates of socialized energy production in the case of electricity, in the 1930s – of Boulder Dam, TVA, etc. – were the private electric utility companies. For the government built the dams, provided the electricity at cheap rates subsidized by the hapless taxpayers, and then resold that electricity to the private utility companies, who benefited from government-subsidized primary electricity. The private energy middlemen reaped the profits.

There is a vital lesson here: much of Big Government, much of the welfare-interventionist State, is pushed by private businesses in order to force the taxpayers to subsidize their own costs. (Just as in the even more flagrant case of military industries, the government provides contracts at whatever cost plus a guaranteed profit.) In short, business groups don’t mind socialism at all when the government is socializing their cost.

So may it not be true that American natural gas companies expect to benefit by purchasing gas, whose cheap production will be subsidized by the unfortunate Mexican taxpayer? And doesn’t this provide a lesson about our own “free-market” institutes and pundits, many of whom are subsidized heavily, past, present or hopefully in the future, by Wichita, Kansas, oil billionaires Charles and David Koch, whose mammoth privately held Koch Industries concentrates on the transportation of oil and natural gas? Query: Does Koch Industries – which in November 1992 purchased 9,271 miles of natural gas pipelines to Mexico for $1.1 billion – expect to benefit heavily from Nafta? And so such expectations account for the passion, for the fervor, of those persons and institutions who form part, in reality or in hope, of the giant Koch Machine?

As for those free marketeers not in the Koch network, how much of the massive Mexican government lobbying in Washington is funneling moolah into these institutions? Let us not forget that part of “free-market” Nafta involves an estimated $20 billion of foreign aid which the conned U.S. taxpayers will be pouring into the coffers of the Mexican government. How much Mexican lobbying, and how many of the possible bribes, are a down payment on this promised boodle?

If we really had a press and a media responsive to the American people not to the malignant power elite, these questions would be investigated, and fast. In the meanwhile, we should follow our noses, and apply to the “free-market” and “free-trade” protestations of these worthies a liberal dose of salt. How many times will we be fooled until we realize that it is concrete policies, not cheap and cloudy rhetoric, that counts?

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A Tire Too Good To Be True?

Ven, 10/02/2017 - 07:01

You can’t inflate it – and you can’t puncture it. It always runs flat. Potholes don’t faze it – and there’s no possibility of bending the wheel because there isn’t one to bend.

That’s the hype for the non-pneumatic tire (NPT) and wheel – an integrated assembly made of a flexible polyurethane material formed into a spoked/honeycomb-like lattice around a central hub. The wheel/tire combo can deform with road imperfections and eliminates even the possibility of a flat tire, as well as the need to worry about keeping track of air pressure.    

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Some lawn mowers, golf carts and commercial equipment such as skid steers already have NPT tires – and the military uses them on rough terrain and in hostile conditions, where a flat tire can be more than just a hassle.

Resilient Technologies makes them for the latter – and Michelin (“Tweel”) Hankook (“i-Flex”) Bridgestone, Yokohama and other major players in the civilian tire business are developing them for possible use on the cars the rest of us drive.

Maintenance costs would be lower and – in theory – the hassles associated with conventional pneumatic tires (including government-mandated tire pressure monitors that often don’t work) would be things of the past.

It’s an intriguing idea – and it might could work –  but don’t throw away your can of Fix-a-Flat (or spare tire) just yet.

According to Jacques Bajer, a tire engineer who helped to develop the low aspect ratio (short sidewall) tires that are common on cars today and who holds numerous patents related to tire design, it’s not yet known whether NPT tires would maintain their structural integrity over time, in the real-world driving conditions that passenger cars – as opposed to golf carts, lawn mowers, skid steers and military vehicles – have to cope with.

In particular, sustained high speed driving and cornering.

Bajer says the elastic spokes that support the car (in lieu of the air inside a pneumatic tire) might degrade over time, as a result of extended use as well as exposure to the elements. They could also be affected by extremes of heat and cold.

A major potential worry is physical damage to the spokes – which could unbalance the wheel/tire combo. Foreign material such as packed snow or rocks/road debris could get lodged in between the spokes, which could result in weird, even dangerous handling/braking characteristics.

Who’s gonna be the guinea pig? Who’s gonna pay the tab for the guinea pig’s class-action lawsuit?

No one really knows how long NPT tires would last, either.

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Everyday Stuff for Wilderness Survival

Ven, 10/02/2017 - 07:01

Ever wonder what you could do with a soda can tab, gum wrapper, Ramen noodles, and a q-tip?  No, this isn’t a pitch for an episode of MacGuyver.  Survival expert Creek Stewart offers practical, potentially life-saving tricks and uses for these and many more common items in his recent release Survival Hacks: Over 200 Ways to use Everyday Items for Wilderness Survival.

Rundown

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The softcover book provides plenty of survival ideas using found objects, common goods, and overlooked items we all have laying around the house.  In the list of over 200 hacks, I guarantee you’ll look at more than a few run-of-the mill items in a new way.  I know I made a few new additions to my bug out bag and survival packs after reading.

Whether packing for an uneventful camping trip or planning for a backcountry adventure, Stewart has ideas galore with plenty of illustrations to make each more understandable.  Some, like “Use Ice to Make Your Shoes more Comfortable” or “Gum Wrapper Fire” are better practiced in the kitchen or backyard before thinking you can do it successfully in adverse conditions. Still others like “Hack Tarp Boat” will require more than a little luck to be successful. The majority, however, are simple, achievable, and creative.

The author is very thorough and covers all the big survival bases: shelter, water, fire, food, staying healthy, and gear choices.  He breaks the book down further into sections like: clothing and footwear, fire starting, cooking, gathering, fishing, hunting, first aid, navigation, and self-defense, among others.  There is even a special section at the end covering different kinds and choices for survival kits.

Without divulging too many of the books secrets, here are a few of our favorite hack topics: Pantyhose Prevention, Pop Tab Tensioner, Makeup Aisle to Fire Tinder, When Your Zippo Goes Blippo, Ramen Noodle Stove, and Horsefly Shotgun.  If that’s not enough to pique your interest, readers will also learn how rotten wood, q-tips, and moose poop can save your life (in a pinch, of course).

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Never Fall for the Tax Reform Trick

Ven, 10/02/2017 - 07:01

Many Americans who have wrestled with a 1040 form, or who have paid someone to prepare their taxes, no doubt cheered the news that Congress will soon resume working on tax reform. However taxpayers should temper their enthusiasm because even in the unlikely event tax collection is simplified, tax reform will not reduce the American people’s tax burden.

Congressional leadership’s one nonnegotiable requirement of any tax reform is “revenue neutrality.” So any tax reform plan that has any chance of even being considered, much less passed, by Congress must ensure that the federal government does not lose a nickel in tax revenue. Congress’s obsession with protecting the government’s coffers causes reformers to mix tax cuts with tax increases. Congress’s insistence on “offsetting” tax cuts with tax increases creates a political food fight where politicians face off over who should have their taxes raised, who should have their taxes cut, and who should have their taxes stay the same.

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One offset currently being discussed is an increased tax on imports. This “border adjustment” tax would benefit export-driven industries at the expense of businesses that rely on imported products. A border adjustment tax would harm consumers who use, and retailers who sell imported goods. The border adjustment tax is another example of politicians using tax reform to pick winners and losers instead of simply reducing everyone’s taxes.

When I was in Congress, I was often told that offsets do not raise taxes, they simply close loopholes. This is merely a game of semantics: by removing a way for some Americans to lower their taxes, closing a loophole is clearly a tax increase. While some claim loopholes are another way government distorts the market, I agree with the great economist Ludwig von Mises that “capitalism breathes through loopholes.”

By allowing individuals to keep more of their own money, loopholes promote economic efficiency since, as economist Thomas DiLorenzo put it, “private individuals always spend their own money more efficiently than government bureaucrats do.” Instead of making the tax system more “efficient” by closing loopholes, Congress should increase both economic efficiency and economic liberty by repealing the income tax and replacing it with nothing.

The revenue loss from ending the income tax should be “offset” with spending cuts. All federal spending, whether financed by taxes or by debt, forcibly removes resources from the private sector. Thus, all government spending is, in essence, a form of taxation. Therefore, cutting income and other taxes without cutting spending merely replaces one type of taxation with another. Instead of directly paying for the big government via income taxes, deficit spending means citizens will be hit with an increase in the inflation tax. This tax, imposed on the people with the Federal Reserve’s monetization of debt, is the worst form of tax because it is both hidden and regressive.

Unfortunately, while Congress may make some small cuts in domestic spending, those cuts will be dwarfed by spending increases on infrastructure Keynesianism at home and military Keynesianism abroad. As long as Congress refuses to make serious reductions in spending, the American people will be subject to the tyranny of the IRS and the Federal Reserve.

The suffering will only get worse when concerns over government debt cause the dollar to lose its status as the world reserve currency. This will lead to a dollar crisis and a major economic meltdown. The only way to avoid this fate is for the people to demand a return to limited government in all areas, sound money, and an end to the income tax.

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The Neocon Cure for an Opioid Epidemic

Ven, 10/02/2017 - 07:01

The National Institute for Health and the National Institute on Drug Abuse recently released a disturbing report on drug overdose deaths. The number of drug overdoses from both legal and illegal drugs increased from approximately 22,000 in 2002 to over 52,000 in 2016, making it a leading cause of accidental death.

Even more disturbing is the increase in the number of overdose deaths from heroin. As recently as 10 years ago the number of heroin overdose deaths was stable at around 2,000 per year. After four years of increases, the number of such deaths has increased from approximately 3,000 in 2010 to 13,000 in 2015, or a 328% increase!

No, I am not a medical doctor, but it should seem obvious that the overall increase in drug overdoses is in part attributable to the increase in the number of prescriptions of dangerous drugs. My guess is that in the vast majority of cases the cost of a prescription (total price paid, plus all the complications, interactions, side effects, risks, etc.) far outweigh the benefits vs. simple lifestyle changes. The number of prescription overdoses increased from 7,523 in 1999 to 29,728 in 2015. That is a nearly 300% increase, and a 15% increase last year alone. In 2015, there were 4.4 billion prescriptions or nearly 13.6 for every woman, man, and child in America.1

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The Connection Between Heroin and Prescription Drugs 

One class of prescription drugs is directly related to the heroin epidemic, on which I have recently reported. To recap, drug companies that make opiate painkillers have influenced the American Academy of Pain Medicine to change their guidelines for prescribing painkillers. The changes in the guidelines have made it much more likely for doctors to prescribe painkilling opiate drugs such as Oxycontin and Vicodin for things like ordinary injuries and surgeries. The DEA, FDA, and the AMA monitor prescribing behavior of doctors, so they are more likely to follow such guidelines to avoid the risk of sanction.

These drugs are highly effective for pain but can be addictive and deadly themselves (16,000 deaths in 2015 alone). When the injuries heal, addicted patients can no longer get refills for the drugs. For those who have become addicted their choices are going cold turkey, enter an addiction treatment program, or obtain the drugs on the black market. In other words, they have no good choices.

For those who choose the black market alternative, the costs can be very high; as much as $25 a pill as well as being exposed to black market drug dealers, and even being arrested. The next choice is heroin, which can be purchased on the black market (from the same dealers they have recently met) for as little as $4 per dose if purchased in large quantities. The main reason why there are so many deaths is that black market heroin comes in an unknown potency and is often adulterated with highly dangerous ingredients and other powerful drugs.

The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) recently published an article, “How to treat an opioid epidemic,” by psychiatrist and addiction treatment specialist, Sally Satel. The article first appeared in the January 13 edition of the Wall Street Journal.

According to Satel:

I endorse treatment over punishment. But the medicalized rhetoric of the public-health establishment — namely, that addiction is a brain disease in which neural circuits are “hijacked” by drugs — oversimplifies the problem.

She goes on to explain the multiple reasons for the high failure rate of addiction treatment programs and alternative public health options and the truly daunting challenges of overcoming addiction to opiates like heroin. In particular, the high dropout rate from treatment programs is the big reason for failure because many of the addict’s challenges are not overcome in time.

Satel’s “Enlightened” Paternalism: Throw Addicts in Jail 

Less time in treatment means that addicts have less time to learn recovery strategies, like identifying the specific circumstances in which they are most vulnerable to craving the drug. Rushed treatment in the office of a primary-care doctor also means less attention to fixing the often broken lives of addicts. Healing family rifts, reintegrating into the workforce, creating healthy social networks, finding new modes of fulfillment — all are imperative, but they take time and focused therapeutic care.

She then tenderly presents her “enlightened systems of care” to better resolve the problem of addiction:

I speak from long experience when I say that few heavy users can simply take a medication and embark on a path to recovery. It often requires a healthy dose of benign paternalism and, in some cases, involuntary care through civil commitment.

In clearer words, throw the addicts in jail. Paternalism is the Orwellian idea that the state should limit some person’s liberty for what is presumed to be that person’s best interest. She even suggests that some people “voluntarily” agree to such incarceration.

I agree that in the current context some addicts are a danger to themselves and to others. However, if we are talking about such fundamental reforms, then let us think outside of the methadone clinic box of Sally Satal’s heartless recommendations.

Legalizing heroin would go a long way to eliminate black market heroin and the overdose deaths it causes. In exchange for a consoling session on how to use and not use legal heroin, the addict could purchase pure low-dose heroin. They could subsequently decide to increase or decrease their dose. This is called the maintenance approach. Clinics would open that would maintain and wean addicts off of heroin while simultaneously addressing physical, emotional, and other issues.

I know that some reader will revolt at such a suggestion. However, let us take a look at what would likely result: (1) a huge decrease in heroin overdose deaths; (2) an indefinite period of time for the addict to adjust to stress conditions, solve family problems, overcome economic problems, and to become resigned to beat their addiction; and (3) an alleviation of the anxiety the addict suffers from having to worry about finding a reliable supply, and having to spend a vast amount of time and money acquiring a supply.

Medical marijuana, i.e., cannabis, could also play a role. Cannabis might act as a substitute for addicts trying to wean themselves off of heroin. Cannabis can act to relieve many of the symptoms of withdrawal such as nausea, pain, agitation and restlessness, fatigue, anxiety, insomnia, and drug cravings.

Of course, it should go without saying that doctors should stop prescribing opiate drugs unless absolutely necessary and return to the use of non-opiate painkillers of the past.

I have been told that wealthy addicts can appear to lead normal and productive lives and that many addicts simply grow out of their addictions. Let’s give them that chance.

Notes

  1. If you want to try to reduce the number of prescriptions you are taking I would recommend the Dr. Doug McGuff and Professor Robert Murphy book The Primal Prescription.

Note: The views expressed on Mises.org are not necessarily those of the Mises Institute.

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Is Marxism Dead?

Ven, 10/02/2017 - 07:01

About ten years ago I published a book, The Strange Death of Marxism, which argued strenuously that the present Left is not Marxist, but post-Marxist. Unlike traditional Marxists and European democratic socialists, the type of Left that has gained ground since and even before the fall of the Soviet Empire is culturally radical but only secondarily interested in economic change. Our present Left makes its peace with private enterprise and even large corporations, providing it can impose its idea of social and cultural transformation on increasingly powerless citizens and their increasingly indoctrinated children. Not that this Left is particularly friendly to anything that is private, including economic transactions. But it treats the economy as something that it can influence without having to nationalize, thereby avoiding those disastrous policies that socialist governments of the past tried to enact. Our own master class has sensibly concluded that it’s better to allow market forces to operate while making sure that public administration can dip, when it advances a pretext, into the profits. Further, the master class endlessly bullies the public into going along with increasingly complicated behavioral guidelines, supposedly intended to fight “discrimination.” It is the culture and only instrumentally the government that the post-Marxist Left seeks to dominate; and the type of administrative state that has expanded explosively in every Western country since the 1960s is an effective instrument by which social engineers and sensitivity commissars can do their work.

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Although I haven’t change my view about how the Left has transformed itself since I wrote my book, it does seem that in some ways there’s been more continuity between the old and the new Lefts than I once suggested. Old-time Marxists here and in Europe became multiculturalists almost overnight, while our current leftists still admire Communists of the past (like Castro) and associate anti-Communists with fascism. Moreover, as I’ve watched the organized anti-Trump hysteria that is gripping our grievance-crowds, soi-disant entertainment industries, and unhinged media, it is obvious that the PC-multicultural Left is following the older, more cerebral Marxist Left in three critical respects.

  1. Like the Communists and also like the Italian Fascists, the multicultural Left never sees itself as occupying positions of authority and or being able to force the unwilling to comply with its demands. As the Left understands its situation, it is always struggling to take power. Also when it seems to be on the verge of getting somewhere (as in Obama’s America), it is still in danger of being crushed by hostile forces. Just as the Left once contended that no socialist revolution had ever been fully carried out and that Communist countries were still “on the way to becoming socialist,” so too are today’s PC regimes, as viewed by their advocates, only tentative first steps toward overcoming the past. They are first steps on the long march to power; and even these steps became threatened when Hillary Clinton failed to win the presidency.
  2. There is no way that the Left can retreat from what it has achieved in transforming society without the entire edifice of change being imperiled. This corresponds to Trotsky’s formula that if the revolution is made to retreat from stage D to stage C, then the entire march toward the new society could be reversed. Therefore the march out of the gloomy repressive past must be continued unconditionally, and any retreat from it is tantamount to counterrevolution — or in the leftist fear-mongering phrase, having women forced to have abortions in back alleys, re-imposing racial segregation, and jailing homosexuals. This kind of thinking makes perfectly good sense if one begins with the assumption that one is in an “all or nothing” situation. It also doesn’t matter that President Obama stopped flights to the U.S. from Iraq in 2011 or that Bill Clinton spoke in a State of the Union address in 1994 about stopping the presence of illegals in the U.S. Nor should we notice that Donald Trump’s predecessor opposed gay marriage at the time he was elected to the presidency. It is our duty to protect whatever revolution is underway in its most advanced state. Any retreat from the present into the past, even the recent past, should be seen as an attempt to undo every bit of Progress that’s been gained until now.
  3. Anyone who threatens the still fragile, reversible process of change must be dehumanized. There can be no honest disagreements with those who either by design or because of dangerous ignorance are working against “hope and change.” One is, therefore, justified in condemning these reactionaries as the lowliest and most malevolent of beings. Like the Communists, the current Left, particularly in Western Europe, characterizes its opponents as “fascists.” Note that for the old Left, “fascism” had a quasi-scientific meaning. It referred to the defenders of a form of late capitalism, which had already reached a point of mortal crisis. “Fascists” repressed socialist revolution by creating right-wing nationalist dictatorships. In the process, phony “fascist” revolutionaries drove real leftist revolutionaries underground.

For the multicultural Left, by contrast, the once meaningful Marxist term “fascist” has been reduced to a smear. It now signifies those the Left is combatting, that is, those who disagree with all or some aspect of the Left’s social agenda. Those who oppose this agenda may or perhaps should be attacked as Nazis and even Holocaust-deniers (which an acquaintance of mine recently called me for voting for Donald Trump). If the people under attack don’t deny Nazi crimes explicitly, their view of “social justice” is so hopelessly negative that presumably, they would have enthusiastically endorsed Hitler. What else should one think of someone who is trying to push us back into the Dark Ages, perhaps as far back as 2008?

Reprinted with the author’s permission.

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Berkeley Commies

Gio, 09/02/2017 - 10:02

Everyone is no doubt grimly aware of the events that transpired at the University of California at Berkeley days ago when writer and speaker Milo Yiannopoulos attempted to deliver a speech. He was met with violent protesters who smashed windows and ATMs, set things on fire, destroyed property of various kinds, and beat people senseless.

Milo has since confirmed his intention to return to Berkeley at some point in the future.

Leftist protesters, surveying the situation and its aftermath, have persuaded themselves that the whole thing went really quite smoothly.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, organizers of the riot (it wasn’t really a “demonstration”) are calling it “stunningly successful.”

“Everyone played a part,” said Berkeley Law School alum Roland Cruz, of the group By Any Means Necessary. “Some engaged in breaking windows – others held signs and made sure that the fascists and the police did not attack anyone.”

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Yes, really smooth.

The “fascists,” of course, were the regular people who wished to attend the event. Unlike leftists, these folks are not known for committing acts of violence, so as usual the snowflakes didn’t have much to worry about.

Meanwhile, the whole country sees a pleasant and articulate young guy – who made many media appearances as a result of the incident – having to flee for his life from a raging mob. The mob thought breaking windows and destroying property, not to mention beating people up, was an appropriate way to indicate their disagreement with Milo’s views.

Yeah, that’s super smooth. Americans really go for that.

“This was self-defense,” Cruz said. “Windows can be replaced. People can’t be.”

Self-defense.

Sure.

So far no deaths yet reported from a Milo speech, but we’ll keep watching.

Oh, and how generous of Cruz to note that windows can be replaced. Cruz isn’t quite generous enough to do the replacing himself, of course. That will be done by capitalist insurance companies.

Meanwhile, Google searches for “Milo” shot through the roof, and Milo’s Facebook page saw an increase of at least 100,000 likes.

Smooth, lefties! Smooth!

Then, too, Milo’s book, which isn’t being released until next month, shot to number 1 on Amazon.

Yep, those leftists sure showed Milo!

Every time something like this happens, Milo’s star rises still more. The effect is so obvious that even the left-wing Robert Reich noted it, suggesting that perhaps Milo put the protesters up to the violence in order to capitalize on it in precisely this way.

Lefties, here’s some advice: when people are guessing that you must be on Milo’s payroll because you’re helping him so much, your thing may not have gone so smoothly after all.

It’s rather like (if I may borrow an example that may resonate with them) when Stalinists called the Five Year Plan “stunningly successful.”

When Cruz was told of Milo’s intention to return, he replied: “I would be surprised if he tries to after his humiliating defeat. But if he wants to be defeated again, he will be if he tries.”

A major media tour, a substantial increase in his notoriety, and a #1 bestselling book, and Cruz thinks this is a “humiliating defeat.”

Stupidity at that level deserves a prize. Like the “everyone gets a trophy” kind of prize that Cruz no doubt got plenty of as a kid.

I have more fun at these (and other) folks’ expense in my new eBook, Sane Space: Libertarian Dispatches from Bizarro America, which I’m giving away for free.

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30 New Words Make the Big-Tim

Gio, 09/02/2017 - 07:01

The team over at Merriam-Webster is responsible for keeping a vigilant eye on shifting language trends. They’ve made some pretty bold moves recently (like declaring that a hot dog is a sandwich). Now, they’re adding over 1000 new words to the dictionary, some of which are sure to raise a few eyebrows.

As you might expect, the latest batch features plenty of internet-bred slang terms. If you’ve ever been at a loss when someone tells you they just finished binge-watching their favorite NSFW mumblecore films, Merriam-Webster can now help you translate. The new entries also include words related to fields like sports, medicine, and politics. For a sample of the most recent additions to the dictionary, refer to the listicle below:

1. AIRBALL (V.)

To completely miss the basket, rim, and backboard with a shot: to shoot an air ball.

2. BINGE-WATCH (V.)

To watch many or all episodes of (a TV series) in rapid succession.

3. BOKEH (N.)

The blurred quality or effect seen in the out-of-focus portion of a photograph taken with a narrow depth of field.

4. CONLANG (N.)

An invented language.

5. ELDERFLOWER (N.)

The flower of an elderberry (such as Sambucus nigra) used especially in making wines, liqueurs, and teas.

6. FACE-PALM (V.)

To cover one’s face with the hand as an expression of embarrassment.

7. FAST FASHION (N.)

An approach to the design, creation, and marketing of clothing fashions that emphasizes making fashion trends quickly and cheaply available to consumers.

8. FIRST WORLD PROBLEM (N.)

A usually minor or trivial problem or annoyance experienced by people in relatively affluent or privileged circumstances especially as contrasted with problems of greater social significance facing people in poor and underdeveloped parts of the world.

9. FOOD INSECURE (ADJ.)

Unable to consistently access or afford adequate food.

10. GHOST (V.)

To abruptly cut off all contact with (someone, such as a former romantic partner) by no longer accepting or responding to phone calls, instant messages, etc.

11. GINGER (N.)

A person with red hair.

12. HUMBLEBRAG (V.)

To make a seemingly modest, self-critical, or casual statement or reference that is meant to draw attention to one’s admirable or impressive qualities or achievements.

13. LISTICLE (N.)

An article consisting of a series of items presented as a list.

14. MICROAGGRESSION (N.)

A comment or action that subtly and often unconsciously or unintentionally expresses a prejudiced attitude toward a member of a marginalized group (such as a racial minority).

15. MICROBIOME (N.) 

A community of microorganisms (such as bacteria, fungi, and viruses) that inhabit a particular environment and especially the collection of microorganisms living in or on the human body.

Read the Whole Article

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Curing the Heroin Epidemic

Gio, 09/02/2017 - 07:01

A heroin epidemic has been spreading across the United States, expanding enormously for the last several years. With it, the number of people dying has also increased dramatically. While politicians offer failed solutions like “securing the borders,” the real solution is to legalize drugs.

The number of drug overdoses in the US is approaching 50,000 per year. Of that number nearly 20,000 are attributed to legal painkillers, such as Oxycontin. More than 10,000 die of heroin overdoses. I believe these figures vastly underestimate the number of deaths that are related to prescription drug use.

The “face” of the heroin epidemic has changed since the 1960s when it was largely contained to urban “junkies” and Vietnam veterans. In recent years the epidemic spread to suburbia as heroin became a low-cost substitute for other drugs. In more recent times, the epidemic has spread to rural areas such as fishing villages in Maine and coal mining towns in Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

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The problem of the epidemic rests with two causes. The first is the War on Drugs which creates profit incentives in the black market for the distribution of the most dangerous drugs. The second is the pharmaceutical-medical-FDA complex, or Big Pharma, which profits from treating pain with dangerous pharmaceutical drugs.

The Problem with Illegal Opiates

The War on Drugs makes the business of black market drugs more risky and expensive. Hundreds of thousands are arrested every year for illegal drug violations. If drug smugglers can make their shipments of, for example, 1,000 doses or units smaller, they are better able to avoid detection, capture, and punishment. The best and most obvious way to achieve this is to smuggle more potent versions of the drug, or more potent drugs.

Marijuana growers sought to meet the demand of smugglers by offering better processed, better grown, and eventually genetically engineered products tightly packed into “bricks.” As a result, the potency of THC in marijuana increased from less than 0.5 percent when the War on Drugs began in the early 1970s, to almost 10 percent today.

Of course, the incentive from the War on Drugs does not stop there. It also encourages producers to switch to other drugs that are more compact and potent. Therefore, marijuana as a class of drug is disadvantaged compared to more potent and more dangerous drugs like cocaine and heroin. This leaves a black market where one dose of marijuana is relatively more expensive than one dose of heroin.

In the black market, consumers do not know how potent their purchases will be until after the product has been consumed. In the free market, the potency of a Bayer aspirin is always the same. In the black market, the potency of products can vary widely over time. Also, a consumer’s tolerance for a drug changes over time. Daily users may have to increase their dose over time, while new users or relapsed addicts may only need small doses. If any individual takes much more than the appropriate dose for them, then they will stop breathing and can die.

Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s overdose death helps illustrate the pitfalls created by the War on Drugs. Hoffman was a drug addict that had been off of drugs for many years. When he became overwhelmed with personal problems he relapsed and died from a combination of prescription and potent illegal drugs. There have also been numerous reports about heroin being sold that contain both heroin and a legal opiate, Fentanyl, which is often lethal.

In a free market, heroin would come in an unadulterated pharmaceutical grade form of various identified doses. It would have warning labels and instructions. You might have to consult a medical doctor or pharmacist before purchasing heroin, or you might have to go to a clinic. The producers, distributors, and retailers would have some liability for negligence. Before it was made illegal in 1914 one of the most popular heroin products was Bayer’s Heroin.

The Problem with Legal Opiates

One of the biggest problems with legal opiates and heroin is that the medical-pharmaceutical-FDA complex has achieved a much greater use rate in recent years. Essentially, the pharmaceutical companies bribe medical researchers, doctors, and heath bureaucrats to recommend to authorities such as the FDA to promote the use of drugs such as Oxycontin and Vicodin, instead of less powerful and less addictive alternatives that were used in the past. Of course, the taxpayer ends up paying for most of the bill.

A couple of years ago while traveling I went to a “Doc in the Box” for a minor medical issue. I was examined by a physician’s assistant and was asked what pharmacy I used. I picked up the prescription after leaving and took one pill when I arrived at the motel. I sat in a chair and later became groggy and almost lost my balance when I stood up. As soon as I steadied myself, I went to check the prescription. To my amazement, it was Oxycontin!

The problem gets worse from there because physicians are also under pressure from the government to not overprescribe strong painkillers. They, for example, cannot continue to prescribe painkillers after a wound has obviously healed. The result is that people are addicted and then cut off from these powerful opiate prescriptions.

Their alternatives include entering an addiction treatment program which can be expensive, time-consuming, and ineffective. As a result, these freshly minted addicts can turn to the black market for Oxycontin and Vicodin. The problem here is that it can cost $10–25 per pill and addicts require multiple pills per day. Also, the supply of such pills can be erratic.

Their next alternative is the black market heroin which seems to be more available than ever and often at a lower price per dose. If you buy in large quantities you can obtain a dose for as little as $4.00 and possibly lower.

Legal Use Leads to Illegal Use

This explains why we have seen the heroin epidemic spread across the country. Doctors are prescribing legal opiates to people like fishermen and coal miners who sustain painful injuries on a regular basis. They become addicted and then get cut off. Eventually, they cannot afford the black market prescription drugs, so they turn to the often deadly alternative, heroin.

How can the drug legalization help solve this vexing problem? First of all, in a free market, you would not have Big Pharma rigging the medical practices of doctors around the country creating thousands of addicts each month. Second, drug addiction treatment programs could use the maintenance and withdrawal method which was used somewhat effectively prior to the passage of the Harrison Narcotics Act in 1914.

Third, in a free market, drugs like heroin would be produced and sold on a commercial basis. It would be a standardized product(s) and companies that sold dangerous and addictive products would do so under several legal constraints, such as liability and negligence law. Fourth, cannabis would be legal and produced for several medical purposes, like it was prior to the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937. Many of the pre-prohibition products were used to treat pain, as well as many of the symptoms associated with opiate withdrawal, such as muscle aches, anxiety, inability to sleep, nausea, and vomiting.

With drug legalization, the number of overdose deaths would plummet and tens of thousands of families would not have their lives ruined every year.

Note: The views expressed on Mises.org are not necessarily those of the Mises Institute.

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Trump’s Sorehead Senate Enemies

Gio, 09/02/2017 - 07:01

A group of prominent US senators is leading a bipartisan effort to push through the so-called Russia Review Act, which would allow the Senate to veto any attempt of newcomer President Donald Trump to loosen sanctions on Moscow.

The group, which currently consists of six senators, is growing, according to a report by CNN, which sees the initiative as Congress’ latest warning to Trump signifying that it will not tolerate unilateral moves by the executive branch to reconcile with Moscow, especially the lifting of sanctions.

The group led by Senators Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and Ben Cardin (D-Maryland) also includes Marco Rubio (R-Florida), John McCain (R-Arizona), Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri), and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio).

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On Wednesday, they are planning to introduce legislation that would subject any decision the president takes concerning Russia to a 120 day review, during which Congress could put any move to lift sanctions to a vote, according to a copy of the draft shown to CNN.

If Trump was to order the lifting of sanctions without Russia pulling out of Crimea, the Florida senator believes there’s strong enough opposition among legislators to veto the move. The US still considers Crimea to be part of Ukraine.

“I think if there was a real threat of lifting sanctions minus the respect for Ukrainian sovereignty and meeting those conditions, my sense is that we would have the votes to pass that in the Senate and we would be able to pass it with a veto-proof majority,” Rubio told the news network.

Meanwhile, another bill is being formulated by another group of a dozen senators who wish to impose an additional set of comprehensive sanctions on Moscow, on top of those already in place. They justify the move citing Crimea’s decision to reunite with Russia in a referendum following an armed coup in Kiev (referred to as “annexation” by Washington), as well as unproven allegations that Russia carried out cyber-attacks to influence the US election.

No date has been set for a vote on that bill.

Both acts would require a supermajority of 67 Senate votes, which sponsor Ben Cardin of Maryland believes is achievable.

The news comes before the dust has even settled on Trump’s interview with Bill O’Reilly on Fox, during which the host tried to coax the president into making harsh comments about Vladimir Putin, even going so far as to call the Russian president a “killer.” Trump refused to take the bait, however, causing quite a stir in anti-Russian circles on Capitol Hill.

Reports about the new bill come as tensions between Moscow and Kiev have increased over the issue of holding elections in the Donbass region. Moscow believes elections should go ahead, provided that free and fair electoral procedures are observed and the safety of all candidates is ensured, while Kiev insists that no elections can be held until it has to establish full control over the rebel regions and their borders with Russia. Moreover, ultranationalist and neo-Nazi elements in Ukraine have been putting pressure on the Kiev government, threatening to oust Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko if elections in the breakaway regions take place.

Reprinted from RT News.

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Hillary’s Son-in-Law’s Firm Goes Belly-Up

Gio, 09/02/2017 - 07:01

Marc Mezvinsky quietly shut down his hedge fund Eaglevale Partners back in December.

Bloomberg reports that Mr. Chelsea Clinton and his partners are now working to return money to investors, including Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd C. Blankfein.

The decision to shutter the fund came just a few weeks after Mezvinsky’s mother-in-law Hillary lost the election to president Donald Trump.

Mezvinsky has kept a low profile ever since Hillary’s loss in the election, but was photographed by DailyMail.com heading out for a weekday jog in the middle of the afternoon last week.

He and his wife are now both without a full-time job.

It was revealed last May that Mezvinsky suffered a huge loss after trying to bet on the revival of the Greek economy, forcing him to shut down one of his hedge funds.

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He and his partners, former Goldman Sachs colleagues Bennett Grau and Mark Mallon, raised $25million from investors to buy up bank stocks and debt from the struggling nation.

That fund however has lost 90 percent of its value, investors with direct knowledge of the situation told The New York Times, and was closed. 

Eaglevale Partners was started in 2011 by Mezvinsky and his partners, with their former boss, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd C. Blankfein, one of the first investors.

Another is leading financier, Marc Lasry, co-founder of $13 billion hedge fund Avenue Capital, where Chelsea worked after graduating from Stanford.

‘I gave them money because I thought they would make me money,’ Mr Lasry told The Times last year, after investing $1 million in Eaglevale and urging a relative to do the same.

Mezvinsky was long gone from his job at Goldman in October 2013 when his mother-in-law Hillary was paid to give a speech to executives at the company during a technology conference in Arizona.

She was reportedly paid $225,000 for that appearance.

Mezvinsky and his partners had written to clients in 2014 to declare confidence in their ‘Hellenic Opportunity’ fund, predicting that Greece was on the path to a ‘sustainable recovery’.

By that point they had collected $25 million but stopped taking money by the end of that year when it became clear the country’s economy would collapse without a massive Eurozone bailout.

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Millennials Are Struggling at Work

Gio, 09/02/2017 - 07:01

Bosses the world over are struggling with their millennial employees – they say we confound leadership, are self-entitled, narcissistic, lazy and tough to manage.

But according to motivational speaker and author Simon Sinek, this is the result of our parents’ “failed parenting strategies.”

After the astounding success of his video on millennials in the workplace, which has had over 56 million views on Facebook alone, Sinek spoke to The Independent about how our parenting, combined with social media, working environments, and our impatience have created a generation plagued by low self-esteem, and what we can do about it.

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According to Sinek, 43, parents of millennial have now realised that their well-intentioned parenting strategies may have backfired.

They told us we were special all the time and could have anything we want in life. We got medals for coming in last and if we didn’t get into the best clubs, our parents complained. This meant entering the real world was a shock and our self-images were shattered.

“It was a time when greed was good and parents raised their kids encouraging them to be individual and put themselves first,” Sinek explains.

“Whilst really great in theory, parents were also pushing their kids to get the top grades, focus on rankings and make money, which left them conflicted.”

Sinek knows of millennials who’ve gone to their bosses asking for a promotion, but openly saying they only want the title, not a pay-rise. The reason is that many millennials feel the need to show on Facebook and LinkedIn that they’re rising through the ranks quicker than anyone else – seeing a peer get a promotion inevitably creates stress that your career isn’t progressing fast enough.

And another problem is that we’ve been brought up to focus on having a healthy work/life balance – “the message is correct, but it seems to have been exaggerated and misinterpreted,” Sinek explains.

He believes the pendulum has swung too far the other way – while older generations may have felt chained to their desks, many millennials leave work on the dot of 5pm every day and refuse to answer work calls or emails over the weekend. This attitude is one of the reasons we have a reputation for entitlement.

Studies may show that the millennial generation reports having high self-esteem, but that largely includes narcissism and extrinsic rewards: “Reporting that you’re self-confident and being self-confident are not the same thing,” Sinek points out.

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The Number-One Mind-Control Program at US Colleges

Gio, 09/02/2017 - 07:01

Here is a staggering statistic from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI): “More than 25 percent of college students have been diagnosed or treated by a professional for a mental health condition within the past year.”

Let that sink in. 25 percent.

Colleges are basically clinics. Psychiatric centers.

Colleges have been taken over. A soft coup has occurred, out of view.

You want to know where all this victim-oriented “I’m triggered” and “I need a safe space” comes from? You just found it.

It’s a short step from being diagnosed with a mental disorder to adopting the role of being super-sensitive to “triggers.” You could call it a self-fulfilling prophecy. “If I have a mental disorder, then I’m a victim, and then what people say and do around me is going disturb me…and I’ll prove it.”

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The dangerous and destabilizing effects of psychiatric drugs confirm this attitude. The drugs DO, in fact, produce an exaggerated and distorted sensitivity to a person’s environment.

You want to know where a certain amount of violent aggressive behavior on campuses comes from? You just found it. The psychiatric drugs. In particular, antidepressants and speed-type medications for ADHD.

You want to know why so many college students can’t focus on their studies? You just found one reason. The brain effects of the drugs.

The usual variety of student problems are translated into pseudoscientific categories of “mental disorders”—and toxic drugging ensues.

A college student says to himself, “I’m having trouble with my courses. I don’t understand what my professors want. My reading level isn’t good enough. I don’t like the professors who have a political bias. I’m confused. I miss my friends back home. I feel like a stranger on campus. I’d like to date, but I don’t know where to start. There are groups on campus. Should I join one? Well, maybe I need help. I should go to the counseling center and talk to a psychologist. That’s what they’re there for. Maybe I have a problem I don’t know about…”

And so it begins.

The student is looking for an explanation of his problems. But this search will morph into: having a socially acceptable excuse for not doing well. Understand the distinction.

After a bit of counseling, the student is referred to a psychiatrist, who makes a diagnosis of depression, and prescribes a drug. Now the student says, “That’s a relief. Now I know why I have a problem. I have a mental disorder. I never knew that. I’m operating at a disadvantage. I’m a victim of a brain abnormality. Okay. That means I really shouldn’t be expected to succeed. Situations affect my mood. What people say affects my mood.”

And pretty soon, the whole idea of being triggered and needing a safe space makes sense to the student. He’s heading down a slippery slope, but he doesn’t grasp what’s actually going on. On top of that, the drug he’s taking is disrupting his thoughts and his brain activity. But of course, the psychiatrist tells him no, it’s not the drug, it’s the condition, the clinical depression, which is worsening and making it harder to think clearly. He needs a different drug. The student is now firmly in the system. He’s a patient. He’s expected to have trouble coping. And on and on it goes.

Buckle up. Here is the background. Here is what psychiatry is all about—

Wherever you see organized psychiatry operating, you see it trying to expand its domain and its dominance. The Hippocratic Oath to do no harm? Are you kidding?

The first question to ask is: do these mental disorders have any scientific basis? There are now roughly 300 of them. They multiply like fruit flies.

An open secret has been bleeding out into public consciousness for the past ten years.

THERE ARE NO DEFINITIVE LABORATORY TESTS FOR ANY SO-CALLED MENTAL DISORDER.

And along with that:

ALL SO-CALLED MENTAL DISORDERS ARE CONCOCTED, NAMED, LABELED, DESCRIBED, AND CATEGORIZED by a committee of psychiatrists, from menus of human behaviors.

Their findings are published in periodically updated editions of The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), printed by the American Psychiatric Association.

For years, even psychiatrists have been blowing the whistle on this hazy crazy process of “research.”

Of course, pharmaceutical companies, who manufacture highly toxic drugs to treat every one of these “disorders,” are leading the charge to invent more and more mental-health categories, so they can sell more drugs and make more money.

In a PBS Frontline episode, Does ADHD Exist?, Dr. Russell Barkley, an eminent professor of psychiatry and neurology at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, unintentionally spelled out the fraud.

PBS FRONTLINE INTERVIEWER: Skeptics say that there’s no biological marker—that it [ADHD] is the one condition out there where there is no blood test, and that no one knows what causes it.

BARKLEY: That’s tremendously naïve, and it shows a great deal of illiteracy about science and about the mental health professions. A disorder doesn’t have to have a blood test to be valid. If that were the case, all mental disorders would be invalid… There is no lab test for any mental disorder right now in our science. That doesn’t make them invalid. [Emphasis added]

Oh, indeed, that does make them invalid. Utterly and completely. All 297 mental disorders. They’re all hoaxes. Because there are no defining tests of any kind to back up the diagnosis.

You can sway and tap dance and bloviate all you like and you won’t escape the noose around your neck. We are looking at a science that isn’t a science. That’s called fraud. Rank fraud.

There’s more. Under the radar, one of the great psychiatric stars, who has been out in front inventing mental disorders, went public. He blew the whistle on himself and his colleagues. And for years, almost no one noticed.

His name is Dr. Allen Frances, and he made VERY interesting statements to Gary Greenberg, author of a Wired article: “Inside the Battle to Define Mental Illness.” (Dec.27, 2010).

Major media never picked up on the interview in any serious way. It never became a scandal.

Dr. Allen Frances is the man who, in 1994, headed up the project to write the latest edition of the psychiatric bible, the DSM-IV. This tome defines and labels and describes every official mental disorder. The DSM-IV eventually listed 297 of them.

In an April 19, 1994, New York Times piece, “Scientist At Work,” Daniel Goleman called Frances “Perhaps the most powerful psychiatrist in America at the moment…”

Well, sure. If you’re sculpting the entire canon of diagnosable mental disorders for your colleagues, for insurers, for the government, for Pharma (who will sell the drugs matched up to the 297 DSM-IV diagnoses), you’re right up there in the pantheon.

Long after the DSM-IV had been put into print, Dr. Frances talked to Wired’s Greenberg and said the following:

“There is no definition of a mental disorder. It’s bullshit. I mean, you just can’t define it.”

BANG.

That’s on the order of the designer of the Hindenburg, looking at the burned rubble on the ground, remarking, “Well, I knew there would be a problem.”

After a suitable pause, Dr. Frances remarked to Greenberg, “These concepts [of distinct mental disorders] are virtually impossible to define precisely with bright lines at the borders.”

Frances might have been obliquely referring to the fact that his baby, the DSM-IV, had rearranged earlier definitions of ADHD and Bipolar to permit many MORE diagnoses, leading to a vast acceleration of drug-dosing with highly powerful and toxic compounds.

If this is medical science, a duck is a rocket ship.

To repeat, Dr. Frances’ work on the DSM IV allowed for MORE toxic drugs to be prescribed, because the definitions of Bipolar and ADHD were expanded to include more people.

Adverse effects of Valproate (given for a Bipolar diagnosis) include:

* acute, life-threatening, and even fatal liver toxicity;* life-threatening inflammation of the pancreas;* brain damage.

Adverse effects of Lithium (also given for a Bipolar diagnosis) include:

* intercranial pressure leading to blindness;* peripheral circulatory collapse;* stupor and coma.

Adverse effects of Risperdal (given for “Bipolar” and “irritability stemming from autism”) include:

* serious impairment of cognitive function;* fainting;* restless muscles in neck or face, tremors (may be indicative of motor brain damage).

Dr. Frances self-admitted label-juggling act also permitted the definition of ADHD to expand, thereby opening the door for greater and greater use of Ritalin (and other similar compounds) as the treatment of choice.

So…what about Ritalin?

In 1986, The International Journal of the Addictions published an important literature review by Richard Scarnati. It was called “An Outline of Hazardous Side Effects of Ritalin (Methylphenidate)” [v.21(7), pp. 837-841].

Scarnati listed a large number of adverse effects of Ritalin and cited published journal articles which reported each of these symptoms.

For every one of the following (selected and quoted verbatim) Ritalin effects, there is at least one confirming source in the medical literature:

* Paranoid delusions* Paranoid psychosis* Hypomanic and manic symptoms, amphetamine-like psychosis* Activation of psychotic symptoms* Toxic psychosis* Visual hallucinations* Auditory hallucinations* Can surpass LSD in producing bizarre experiences* Effects pathological thought processes* Extreme withdrawal* Terrified affect* Started screaming* Aggressiveness* Insomnia* Since Ritalin is considered an amphetamine-type drug, expect amphetamine-like effects* Psychic dependence* High-abuse potential DEA Schedule II Drug* Decreased REM sleep* When used with antidepressants one may see dangerous reactions including hypertension, seizures and hypothermia* Convulsions* Brain damage may be seen with amphetamine abuse.

In the US alone, there are at least 300,000 cases of motor brain damage incurred by people who have been prescribed so-called anti-psychotic drugs (aka “major tranquilizers”). Risperdal (mentioned above as a drug given to people diagnosed with Bipolar) is one of those major tranquilizers. (source: Toxic Psychiatry, Dr. Peter Breggin, St. Martin’s Press, 1991)

This psychiatric drug plague is accelerating across the land.

Where are the mainstream reporters and editors and newspapers and TV anchors who should be breaking this story and mercilessly hammering on it week after week? They are in harness.

Thank you, Dr. Frances.

Let’s take a little trip back in time and review how one psychiatric drug, Prozac, escaped a bitter fate, by hook and by crook. It’s an instructive case.

Prozac, in fact, endured a rocky road in the press for a while. Stories on it rarely appear now. The major media have backed off. But on February 7th, 1991, Amy Marcus’ Wall Street Journal article on the drug carried the headline, “Murder Trials Introduce Prozac Defense.”

She wrote, “A spate of murder trials in which defendants claim they became violent when they took the antidepressant Prozac are imposing new problems for the drug’s maker, Eli Lilly and Co.”

Also on February 7, 1991, the New York Times ran a Prozac piece headlined, “Suicidal Behavior Tied Again to Drug: Does Antidepressant Prompt Violence?”

In his landmark book, Toxic Psychiatry, Dr. Peter Breggin mentions that the Donahue show (Feb. 28, 1991) “put together a group of individuals who had become compulsively self-destructive and murderous after taking Prozac and the clamorous telephone and audience response confirmed the problem.”

A shocking review-study published in The Journal of Nervous and Mental Diseases (1996, v.184, no.2), written by Rhoda L. Fisher and Seymour Fisher, called “Antidepressants for Children,” concludes:

“Despite unanimous literature of double-blind studies indicating that antidepressants are no more effective than placebos in treating depression in children and adolescents, such medications continue to be in wide use.”

An instructive article, “Protecting Prozac,” by Michael Grinfeld, in the December 1998 California Lawyer, opens several doors. Grinfeld notes that “in the past year nearly a dozen cases involving Prozac have disappeared from the court record.” He was talking about law suits against the manufacturer, Eli Lilly, and he was saying that those cases had apparently been settled, without trial, in such a quiet and final way, with such strict confidentiality, that it is almost as if they never happened.

Grinfeld details a set of maneuvers involving attorney Paul Smith, who in the early 1990s became the lead plaintiffs’ counsel in the famous Fentress lawsuit against Eli Lilly.

The plaintiffs made the accusation that Prozac had induced a man to commit murder. This was the first action involving Prozac to reach a trial and jury, so it would establish a major precedent for a large number of other pending suits against the manufacturer.

The case: On September 14, 1989, Joseph Wesbecker, a former employee of Standard Gravure, in Louisville, Kentucky, walked into the workplace, with an AK-47 and a SIG Sauer pistol, killed eight people, wounded 12 others, and committed suicide. Family members of the victims subsequently sued Eli Lilly, the maker of Prozac, on the grounds that Wesbecker had been pushed over the edge into violence by the drug.

The trial: After what many people thought was a very weak attack on Lilly by plaintiffs’ lawyer Smith, the jury came back in five hours with an easy verdict favoring Lilly and Prozac.

Grinfeld writes, “Lilly’s defense attorneys predicted the verdict would be the death knell for [anti-]Prozac litigation.”

But that wasn’t the end of the Fentress case. “Rumors began to circulate that [the plaintiffs’ attorney] Smith had made several [prior] oral agreements with Lilly concerning the evidence that would be presented [in the Fentress case], the structure of a post-verdict settlement, and the potential resolution of Smith’s other [anti-Prozac] cases.”

In other words, the rumors declared: This plaintiff’s lawyer, Smith, made a deal with Lilly to present a weak attack, to omit evidence damaging to Prozac, so that the jury would find Lilly innocent of all charges. In return, the case would be settled secretly, with Lilly paying out big monies to Smith’s client. In this way, Lilly would avoid the exposure of a public settlement, and through the innocent verdict, would discourage other potential plaintiffs from suing it over Prozac.

The rumors congealed. The judge in the Fentress case, John Potter, asked lawyers on both sides if “money had changed hands.” He wanted to know if the fix was in. The lawyers said no money had been paid, “without acknowledging that an agreement was in place.”

Judge Potter didn’t stop there. In April 1995, Grinfeld notes, “In court papers, Potter wrote that he was surprised that the plaintiffs’ attorneys [Smith] hadn’t introduced evidence that Lilly had been charged criminally for failing to report deaths from another of its drugs to the Food and Drug Administration. Smith had fought hard [during the Fentress trial] to convince Potter to admit that evidence, and then unaccountably withheld it.”

In Judge Potter’s motion, he alleged that “Lilly [in the Fentress case] sought to buy not just the verdict, but the court’s judgment as well.”

In 1996, the Kentucky Supreme Court issued an opinion: “…there was a serious lack of candor with the trial court [during Fentress] and there may have been deception, bad faith conduct, abuse of the judicial process or perhaps even fraud.”

After the Supreme Court remanded the Fentress case back to the state attorney general’s office, the whole matter dribbled away, and then resurfaced in a different form, in another venue. At the time of the California Lawyer article, a new action against attorney Smith was unresolved. Eventually, Eli Lilly escaped punishment.

Based on the rigged Fentress case, Eli Lilly silenced many lawsuits based on Prozac inducing murder and suicide.

Quite a story.

And it all really starts with the institution of psychiatry inventing a whole branch of science that doesn’t exist, thereby defining 300 mental disorders that don’t exist.

Here are data about psychiatric drugs and violence from several studies:

February 1990 American Journal of Psychiatry (Teicher et al, v.147:207-210) reports on “six depressed patients, previously free of recent suicidal ideation, who developed `intense, violent suicidal preoccupations after 2-7 weeks of fluoxetine [Prozac] treatment.’ The suicidal preoccupations lasted from three days to three months after termination of the treatment. The report estimates that 3.5 percent of Prozac users were at risk. While denying the validity of the study, Dista Products, a division of Eli Lilly, put out a brochure for doctors dated August 31, 1990, stating that it was adding `suicidal ideation’ to the adverse events section of its Prozac product information.”

An earlier study, from the September 1989 Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, by Joseph Lipiniski, Jr., indicates that in five examined cases people on Prozac developed what is called akathesia. Symptoms include intense anxiety, inability to sleep, the “jerking of extremities,” and “bicycling in bed or just turning around and around.” Dr. Peter Breggin comments that akathesia “may also contribute to the drug’s tendency to cause self-destructive or violent tendencies … Akathesia can become the equivalent of biochemical torture and could possibly tip someone over the edge into self-destructive or violent behavior … The June 1990 Health Newsletter, produced by the Public Citizen Research Group, reports, ‘Akathesia, or symptoms of restlessness, constant pacing, and purposeless movements of the feet and legs, may occur in 10-25 percent of patients on Prozac.’”

The well-known publication, California Lawyer, in a December 1998 article called “Protecting Prozac,” details some of the suspect maneuvers of Eli Lilly in its handling of suits against Prozac. California Lawyer also mentions other highly qualified critics of the drug: “David Healy, MD, an internationally renowned psychopharmacologist, has stated in sworn deposition that `contrary to Lilly’s view, there is a plausible cause-and-effect relationship between Prozac’ and suicidal-homicidal events. An epidemiological study published in 1995 by the British Medical Journal also links Prozac to increased suicide risk.”

When pressed, proponents of these SSRI antidepressant drugs (Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, etc.) sometimes say, “Well, the benefits for the general population far outweigh the risk.” But the issue of benefits will not go away on that basis. A shocking review-study published in The Journal of Nervous and Mental Diseases (1996, v.184, no.2), written by Rhoda L. Fisher and Seymour Fisher, called “Antidepressants for Children,” concludes: “Despite unanimous literature of double-blind studies indicating that antidepressants are no more effective than placebos in treating depression in children and adolescents, such medications continue to be in wide use.”

In wide use. This despite such contrary information and the negative, dangerous effects of these drugs.

There are other studies: “Emergence of self-destructive phenomena in children and adolescents during fluoxetine treatment,” published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (1991, vol.30), written by RA King, RA Riddle, et al. It reports self-destructive phenomena in 14% (6/42) of children and adolescents (10-17 years old) who had treatment with fluoxetine (Prozac) for obsessive-compulsive disorder.

July, 1991. Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Hisako Koizumi, MD, describes a thirteen-year-old boy who was on Prozac: “full of energy,” “hyperactive,” “clown-like.” All this devolved into sudden violent actions which were “totally unlike him.”

September, 1991. The Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Author Laurence Jerome reports the case of a ten-year old who moves with his family to a new location. Becoming depressed, the boy is put on Prozac by a doctor. The boy is then “hyperactive, agitated … irritable.” He makes a “somewhat grandiose assessment of his own abilities.” Then he calls a stranger on the phone and says he is going to kill him. The Prozac is stopped, and the symptoms disappear.

Here’s a coda:

This one is big.

The so-called “chemical-imbalance theory of mental disorders” is dead. The notion that an underlying chemical imbalance in the brain causes mental disorders: dead.

Dr. Ronald Pies, the editor-in-chief emeritus of the Psychiatric Times, laid the theory to rest in the July 11, 2011, issue of the Times with this staggering admission:

“In truth, the ‘chemical imbalance’ notion was always a kind of urban legend — never a theory seriously propounded by well-informed psychiatrists.”

Boom.

However…urban legend? No. For decades the whole basis of psychiatric drug research, drug prescription, and drug sales has been: “we’re correcting a chemical imbalance in the brain.”

The problem was, researchers had never established a normal baseline for chemical balance. So they were shooting in the dark. Worse, they were faking a theory. Pretending they knew something when they didn’t.

In his 2011 piece in Psychiatric Times, Dr. Pies tries to protect his colleagues in the psychiatric profession with this fatuous remark:

“In the past 30 years, I don’t believe I have ever heard a knowledgeable, well-trained psychiatrist make such a preposterous claim [about chemical imbalance in the brain], except perhaps to mock it…the ‘chemical imbalance’ image has been vigorously promoted by some pharmaceutical companies, often to the detriment of our patients’ understanding.”

Absurd. First of all, many psychiatrists have explained and do explain to their patients that the drugs are there to correct a chemical imbalance.

And second, if all well-trained psychiatrists have known, all along, that the chemical-imbalance theory is a fraud…

…then why on earth have they been prescribing tons of drugs to their patients…

…since those drugs are developed on the false premise that they correct a chemical imbalance?

Here’s what’s happening. The honchos of psychiatry are seeing the handwriting on the wall. Their game has been exposed. They’re taking heavy flack on many fronts.

The chemical-imbalance theory is a fake. There are no defining physical tests for any of the 300 so-called mental disorders. All diagnoses are based on arbitrary clusters or menus of human behavior. The drugs are harmful, dangerous, toxic. Some of them induce violence. Suicide, homicide. Some of the drugs cause brain damage.

So the shrinks need to move into another model, another con, another fraud. And they’re looking for one.

For example, genes plus “psycho-social factors.” A mish-mash of more unproven science.

“New breakthrough research on the functioning of the brain is paying dividends and holds great promise…” Professional gibberish.

It’s all gibberish, all the way down.

Meanwhile, the business model still demands drugs for sale.

So even though the chemical-imbalance nonsense has been discredited, it will continue on as a dead man walking, a zombie.

Big Pharma isn’t going to back off. Trillions of dollars are at stake.And in the wake of Colorado, Sandy Hook, the Naval Yard, and other mass shootings, the hype is expanding: “We must have new community mental-health centers all over America.”

More fake diagnosis of mental disorders, more devastating drugs.

You want to fight for a right? Fight for the right to refuse toxic medication. Fight for the right of every parent to refuse toxic medication for his/her child.

Here is a story Dr. Breggin tells in his classic book, Toxic Psychiatry. It says it all:

“Roberta was a college student, getting good grades, mostly A’s, when she first became depressed and sought psychiatric help at the recommendation of her university health service. She was eighteen at the time, bright and well motivated, and a very good candidate for psychotherapy. She was going through a sophomore-year identity crisis about dating men, succeeding in school, and planning a future. She could have thrived with a sensitive therapist who had an awareness of women’s issues.

“Instead of moral support and insight, her doctor gave her Haldol. Over the next four years, six different physicians watched her deteriorate neurologically without warning her or her family about tardive dyskinesia [motor brain damage] and without making the [tardive dyskinesia] diagnosis, even when she was overtly twitching in her arms and legs. Instead they switched her from one neuroleptic [anti-psychotic drug] to another, including Navane, Stelazine, and Thorazine. Eventually a rehabilitation therapist became concerned enough to send her to a general physician, who made the diagnosis [of medical drug damage]. By then she was permanently physically disabled, with a loss of 30 percent of her IQ.

“…my medical evaluation described her condition: Roberta is a grossly disfigured and severely disabled human being who can no longer control her body. She suffers from extreme writhing movements and spasms involving the face, head, neck, shoulders, limbs, extremities, torso, and back—nearly the entire body. She had difficulty standing, sitting, or lying down, and the difficulties worsen as she attempts to carry out voluntary actions. At one point she could not prevent her head from banging against nearby furniture. She could hold a cup to her lip only with great difficulty. Even her respiratory movements are seriously afflicted so that her speech comes out in grunts and gasps amid spasms of her respiratory muscles…Roberta may improve somewhat after several months off the neuroleptic drugs, but she will never again have anything remotely resembling a normal life.”

WARNING [from Dr. Breggin, published on his site, breggin.com]: “Most psychiatric drugs can cause withdrawal reactions, sometimes including life-threatening emotional and physical withdrawal problems. In short, it is not only dangerous to start taking psychiatric drugs, it can also be dangerous to stop them.”

“Withdrawal from psychiatric drugs should be done carefully under experienced clinical supervision. Methods for safely withdrawing from psychiatric drugs are discussed in Dr. Breggin’s book, Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal: A Guide for Prescribers, Therapists, Patients and Their Families.”

I’ll offer another illustration. This one is from The Daily Mail (Feb, 7, 2008). A young woman of 25, Eleanor Longden, tells her story to reporter Claire Campbell:

“Through a drugged haze I heard the doctor’s words as he gazed down at me, lying in bed on a locked psychiatric ward, far away from my family and friends, and feeling more lost, lonely and terrified than I had ever done in my life.”

“I felt ashamed, too, as though it was my fault that I’d been diagnosed as mentally ill.”

“Getting out of bed, I stumbled to the bathroom, walking awkwardly and, to my immense embarrassment, drooling from the mouth as a result of the side-effects of the medication I had been given. I felt dazed, my thoughts confused, unable even to remember exactly how long I had been in hospital.”

“I looked at myself in the mirror and got a shock. I was scarcely able to recognise the person I saw there from the shy, 17-year-old who had left home for the first time only a few weeks before, full of excitement about her first term at university.”

“I wondered: ‘Why am I here?’ I still didn’t really understand. It was true that those first few weeks at college had been stressful for me. Like many of my fellow freshers, I had felt homesick and uncertain of myself. At school I had been diligent and conscientious.”

“Arriving at college, I felt torn between continuing to work hard or re-inventing myself as a ‘cooler’, more popular, party girl. All around me I saw other students pretending to be someone they weren’t, and the pressure of sustaining this seemed enormous.”

“But I had managed slowly to make friends, and find my way around the campus, as well as start speaking up for myself in tutorials.”

“Then one morning, out of the blue, I heard a quiet voice in my head, commenting: ‘Now she’s going to the library.’

“After that I occasionally heard the voice again. It never said anything dramatic, and I didn’t find it threatening at all.”

“I remembered having listened to a radio programme which described this experience as one that sometimes occurred to lone yachtsmen, or prisoners in solitary confinement, and put it down to loneliness.”

“Sometimes the voice was also a useful indicator to me of how I was really feeling – such as the day it sounded angry following a tutorial in which another student had unfairly criticised me.”

“After I returned to class the next day and put my point of view across more forcefully, the voice in my head once more resumed its usual calm tone. This reassured me that far from being some sinister psychiatric symptom, the phenomenon was probably no more than my own externalised thoughts.”

“But then I made the fatal mistake of confiding in a friend. I will never forget the horror in her expression as she backed away, repeating: ‘You’re hearing what?’ when I mentioned the voice.”

“She looked really scared, and told me I needed to see the college doctor as soon as possible.”

“Her reaction frightened me. I made an appointment immediately.”

“The doctor’s face became very serious at the mention of the voice, and he insisted on referring me to what he called a hospital ‘specialist’, but who turned out to be a consultant psychiatrist.”

“What I wanted and needed was to talk to someone about my feelings of anxiety and low self-esteem since I had arrived at college. But the psychiatrist kept emphasising the significance of the voice – as though we were discussing a mathematical formula in which having this experience automatically meant I must be insane.”

“Even when I talked about my work for the student television station, I could tell from her face that she thought this was fantasy.”

“I felt I walked into that room as a normal, if slightly stressed and vulnerable young girl, but left it labelled with a diagnosis of a paranoid schizophrenic, my interest in broadcasting dismissed as ‘delusional’.”

“Even at that first meeting, the consultant was already discussing with me the possibility of in-patient treatment at a psychiatric hospital.”

“She also put me straight onto a course of Risperidone [aka Risperdal], a strong antipsychotic drug whose side-effects include weight gain, involuntary tremors and difficulty in walking.”

“From that moment on, I felt cut off, alienated not only from my university friends and teachers, but from my family and upbringing. Suddenly I was no longer a middle-class, educated young woman with a bright future ahead of me, but a potentially dangerous mental patient.”

“Feeling the stigma of this, I did not tell anyone that I had been referred for weekly sessions with a psychiatric nurse, as well as further monthly appointments to see the consultant.”

“During these meetings I tried again to talk about my search for identity since leaving home. But these very ordinary feelings of adolescent insecurity were immediately interpreted as symptoms of a diseased mind. Although I didn’t believe I was mad, I trusted – as most people would – the medical view of the psychiatrist over my own instincts.”

“At my second meeting with the consultant two months later, she suggested I admit myself to hospital ‘only for three days’ to undergo tests.”

“Not wanting to worry my parents, I confided in my personal tutor, who assured me that details of the nature of my illness would be kept private.”

“I was shocked when I arrived at the psychiatric hospital, which had once been a Victorian asylum. It was very old-fashioned, with bars on the windows, double-locked doors and, to my horror, mixed wards. I was by far the youngest female patient there and I felt very vulnerable.”

“I knew straightaway this was not somewhere I would get well. Four hours after I was admitted, I tried to leave, but was coaxed into remaining by a nurse on the ward who told me: ‘Everyone feels like this at first’.”

“Over the course of the next few days, I underwent a routine brain scan, which found no evidence of abnormality, but had no therapy of any kind. I was simply given medication and left alone.”

“At the end of four days, I felt I’d had more than enough of the hospital and asked to be discharged—only to find myself under the threat of being forcibly restrained if I tried to leave.”

“I was absolutely terrified, and contacted my parents at the end of that first week to let them know where I was and ask them to come to see me.”

“But by the time my mother arrived, the effects of the drugs had started to kick in, making me confused and sleepy. I felt unable to explain properly to her why I was there or what was wrong.”

“In the meantime, the one calm voice in my head had been joined by another more strident and critical voice. Over the course of the next few weeks, the number of voices, some now male as well as female, and far more frightening, gradually increased until finally there were 12.”

“Of these, by far the most dominant—and demonic—was the threatening tone of a man. At first, it was only his voice I heard. But one night during my second month in hospital, I awoke to a hallucination of him standing by my bed, hugely tall and swathed in black, a hook where his hand should have been—like a character from a horror film.”

“I thought this was the result of the drugs I had been taking and of my distress at being confined in hospital. But the consultant convinced me this was a further symptom of paranoid schizophrenia. I stared at my reflection in the mirror, wondering if it might be true that I was mad.”

“I felt as if I was trapped in a nightmare. Having needed nothing more than reassurance about my normal feelings of insecurity after having left home, I was now labelled as a schizophrenic, drugged and confined to a locked ward.”

“Yet inside I still felt sane. I knew I had to get out of hospital before I started to see myself as a mental patient. Each time a nurse asked me if I thought there was anything wrong with me, I had answered ‘No’. This was clearly not what they wanted to hear.”

“Now I decided to try answering ‘Yes’ and see what happened. As soon as I began acquiescing to treatment, taking all my medication and agreeing to do what I was told, I was finally allowed to return to college.”

“After three months in hospital, I went back to university—a very different and far more disturbed student than when I had left. As a result of the side-effects of my drug treatment, my weight had ballooned from 9st to 15st.”

“I also suffered from constant trembling and a stumbling walk.” [drug-effects]

“I still don’t know how the other students found out where I’d been, but they obviously had. Within a week of my return, my door in the halls of residence had been defaced with graffiti and I had been spat at on my way to a lecture.”

“Worst of all was the tutorial where, after I’d had an essay criticised by a tutor, another student leant across to me and whispered: ‘That’s finished you off, psycho!’”

“I ran back to my room in tears, staying there for the next few days and feeling I wanted to hide from the world.”

“In the meantime, the dominant demonic voice became even more horrific, telling me the only way I would ever get better was if I agreed to follow his instructions.”

“These included not only self-harming but also cutting off my hair. He threatened terrible punishments, such as burning my room down, if I refused.”

“Desperate for some peace, I started to obey his bizarre instructions. Word now got round the university that I was behaving oddly, talking to imaginary people and cutting my arms.”

“Walking through the student bar one night, a group of students mockingly suggested I stub a cigarette out on my forearm. When I did it, they cheered.”

“I felt defeated and demoralised, no longer caring whether I lived or died.”

“At my next appointment with the consultant, I said I thought my medication was making the voices worse, and asked if I could stop taking it. But she insisted I had to continue.”

“When I admitted that I felt suicidal as a result of the way I was being bullied at college, she sent me back to hospital for a further seven week[s].”

“For the next four months I struggled on at university, as well as having another two brief psychiatric admissions. By the time the summer vacation arrived, I knew I could not carry on battling both against the voices and the cruelty of the students.”

“I returned home to my parents, my self-confidence totally destroyed.”

“My parents were wonderful—really supportive—but confused, because there was no history of mental illness in my family.”

“Over the course of the next few months, I was referred to the local psychiatric services in Bradford. My first appointment was with a male psychiatrist called Pat Bracken, who I later found out had worked with men and women tortured and raped in Uganda, and with child soldiers in Sierra Leone and Liberia.”

“He asked me why I had come to see him and I replied obediently: ‘I am 18 and I am a paranoid schizophrenic’.”

“Later on in my treatment, Pat told me he thought my answer was the saddest statement he had ever heard from a young girl—but at the time all he said was: ‘Tell me what you think would help you’.”

“I asked him to reduce my medication. To my amazement, he agreed immediately.”

“We talked about the voices and he suggested I stop seeing them as a symptom of mental illness and start looking on them as a way of finding out about myself. This encouraged me to tell him about my first experience of the female voice.”

“Up until now everyone had treated me as if I was completely passive, but Pat showed me a way of helping myself to get better.”

“Over the course of the next seven months I saw Pat for regular weekly sessions, gradually reducing my medication until I stopped the drugs completely.”

“During this time, I discovered that if I engaged with the voices, they became less frequent. I also learnt to challenge the more threatening voice, refusing to do what it told me and telling myself it was no more than a symbol of my own externalised anger.”

“One by one the voices gradually disappeared, until I was only occasionally hearing one.”

“Three years on, I am healthy, happy and perfectly stable. Schizophrenia is a frightening and misleading label which stigmatises people. While the doctors insist I was schizophrenic, I don’t know if the label really applied to me.”

“I think, like many young people leaving home for the very first time, I was stressed and unhappy. Going to university, and the lack of support there, tipped me over the edge. All I ever did was hear voices.”

“Now I have learned how to deal with them.”

“I am now studying for a doctorate in clinical psychology, as well as working on a medical team that helps teenagers suffering from the sudden onset of psychosis.”

“I often wonder what would have happened to me if I hadn’t found a psychiatrist who understood how to treat me.”

“If I do hear a voice now, I am no longer frightened because I understand why it’s happening. My mother’s signal for knowing she’s stressed is an attack of migraine. Mine is the voices.”

—Children, adolescents, and adults have problems. Those problems arise from many different sources, and they come in all shapes and sizes. Severe nutritional deficits, toxic environmental chemicals, drugs, abuse at home, parents not present, poverty, bullying, hostile crime-ridden neighborhoods, peer pressure, grossly inadequate education, etc.

THE TRANSLATION OF THESE PROBLEMS INTO SO-CALLED MENTAL DISORDERS IS SCIENTIFIC FAKERY AND FRAUD. AND THE EFFCTS OF THE DRUGS GIVEN TO TREAT THESE “CONDITIONS” ARE TOXIC AND DAMAGING.

THE MERE DIAGNOSIS OF A MENTAL DISORDER SETS THE STAGE FOR A PERSON TO VIEW HIMSELF AS A VICTIM. HE CAN OPT FOR BIZARRE ALTERNATIVES, SUCH AS “BEING TRIGGERED” AND “NEEDING SAFE SPACES.”

In a very real sense, the entire profession of psychiatry is a mind-control operation.

It has invaded college campuses. It has spread across all sectors of the country and the world.

It is eating societies and cultures from the inside.

Reprinted with permission from Jon Rappoport’s Blog.

The post The Number-One Mind-Control Program at US Colleges appeared first on LewRockwell.

Got Bloodshot Eyes?

Gio, 09/02/2017 - 07:01

Waking up to red, bloodshot eyes can leave you scrambling for a way to get rid of them, but before you head to the pharmacy, why not give some natural remedies a try? Check out some of the most effective natural treatments for red eyes below, and learn how to prevent them from reoccurring.

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Red eyes can be caused by a variety of things, from exhaustion to an infection. Treating them does depend on what the cause of the redness is, so if you feel it may be something more serious than just a lack of sleep or exposure to allergens, you should check with your doctor and discuss which treatment options are best for you. However, if the red, bloodshot appearance is because of minor irritation, you can try some of these natural remedies.

Fennel seeds: Fennel has been found to help treat and prevent glaucoma, as it decreases pressure in the eyes and aids in blood vessel dilation. Ease your red eyes by adding half a teaspoon of fennel seeds to one cup of boiling water and leaving it to cool completely. Strain the seeds from the solution, then use the now cool liquid to rinse your eyes.

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Chamomile: If your red eyes are caused by allergies, the anti-inflammatory properties found in chamomile can help soothe the irritation and get rid of the redness. Add one teaspoon of chamomile flowers to one cup of water and boil. Let the mixture cool, then strain the flowers out. Use the remaining liquid as an eye wash to bring down and soothe the inflammation.

Warm milk and honey: Mix half a cup of honey into half a cup of warm milk, then dip a clean cloth into the mixture. Use the now damp cloth as a compress, holding it gently against your eyes for approximately 20 minutes to soothe any irritation causing redness.

Cucumber slices: Cut two thin slices of cucumber and place them over your closed eyes for approximately ten minutes. For best results, keep the cucumber in the fridge beforehand so that it is even cooler and can better reduce the redness and inflammation.

Cold compress: Splash your face with cold water to bring down any initial irritation, then wrap some ice cubes in a clean towel and lay it over your eyes.

Rose water: Store your rose water in the fridge, and when you experience red, bloodshot eyes you will have an easy remedy on hand. Simply dip a cotton ball in the cool rose water and place it on your closed eyes to soothe away the redness.

Potatoes: Grate a potato into a pulpy texture and apply this to your eyelids. Leave it on for approximately 15 minutes and the astringent properties of the vegetable will help ease any soreness. After about three days of this treatment, you will notice a reduction in the redness and irritation.

Tea bags: Steep the tea bags in hot water, then put them in the fridge to chill for about 15 minutes. Once they are cool to the touch, place them over your eyelids for relief from your red eyes.

Cold spoons: Place a clean, metal spoon into a glass of ice water to chill it. Then, dry the spoon and place it against your eyelid. The cold temperature can increase blood flow while decreasing redness.

Apple cider vinegar: Create a soothing, anti-bacterial solution for your eyes by combining one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with one cup of water. Dip a cotton ball into the mixture and apply it to your eyelids.

Bloodshot red eyes prevention tips

The best treatment for red, bloodshot eyes is to prevent their occurrence in the first place. Time spent staring at computer and phone screens can harm your eyes and cause redness, so do your best to limit the time you spend in front of these devices. If you work on a computer, make sure you take breaks to give your eyes a rest. Drinking and smoking can also aggravate your eyes and cause redness, so avoiding these habits is a good way to prevent your eyes from turning red. Drinking lots of water to prevent dehydration can also help prevent eye redness, as well as getting a good night’s sleep.

While red, bloodshot eyes may be caused by a variety of ailments from allergies to infections, there are plenty of natural methods available to soothe them. Next time your allergies flare up, try using cucumber slices or cold spoons to bring down the puffiness and irritation.

Reprinted with permission from Bel Marra Health.

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Has the Establishment Opted for Thermo-Nuclear War?

Gio, 09/02/2017 - 07:01

If you want to be an American TV talking head or a Western presstitute, you are required to be brain-dead and integrity-challenged like Bill O’Reilly, CNN, MSNBC, and the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal and all the rest.

In an interview with President Donald Trump, O’Reilly said: “Putin is a killer.”

O’Reilly is indifferent to the fact that thermo-nuclear war is a killer of planet Earth. For O’Reilly, President Trump’s desire to normalize relations with Russia is an indication that the President of the US is comfortable making deals with killers as if America’s last three presidents have not been mass killers comfortable with their destruction in whole or part of many countries and millions of peoples.

President Trump’s response to O’Reilly’s was: “We’ve got a lot of killers. What do you think – our country’s so innocent?”

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The only thing wrong with President Trump’s response is that it implicitly accepts that Putin is no different from Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton. Yet there is no evidence that Putin is a “killer.” This accusation is an assertion from those who prosper from having a “Russian threat” to keep the money and power flowing to themselves.

As Finian Cunningham shows, Trump should have reprimanded O’Reilly for his unsupported and undiplomatic accusation against the president of a country with which President Trump hopes to restore normal relations.

President Trump’s statement of an obvious fact was quickly branded “defense of a killer” by congressional Republicans, Hillary Democrats, the liberal, progressive, left-wing, and the Western presstitutes.

Even online sites, such as politico.com, jumped in to criticize “Donald Trump’s defense of Vladimir Putin’s homicidal history.” Allegations of “Putin’s homicidal history” are astonishing after 24 years of Washington’s genocide against Muslins in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Yemen, Pakistan, and Syria, and non-Muslims in Yugoslavia and the Russian regions of Ukraine. Washington ranks as one of the worst mass murderers in human history, but the Western presstitutes brand Putin as the one who is homicidal.

Listen to these members of Congress who represent Americans in Washington:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel (R, Ky) said referring to the thrice elected President of Russia: “He’s a thug.” McConnel has gone along with Washington’s mass murder of peoples for 15 years, and this accomplice to mass murder said that Washington’s murder of countless millions, which have sent refugees all over the Western world, are not evidence against America. In his response to Trump’s statement, McConnel actually said: “We don’t operate in any way the way the Russians do. I think there’s a clear distinction here that all Americans understand, and I would not have characterized it that way.”

The Republican senator from Florida, Marco Rubio, said: “We are not the same as Putin.” Of course, we aren’t. We are mass murderers.

The Republican senator from Nebraska, Ben Sasse, said, and this is a level of ignorance hard to believe even for Americans, that “Putin is an enemy of political dissent. The U.S. celebrates political dissent and the right for people to argue free from violence about places or ideas that are in conflict [as at Cal Berkeley]. There is no moral equivalency between the United States of America, the greatest freedom loving nation in the history of the world, and the murderous thugs that are in Putin’s defense of his cronyism.”

The Wall Street Journal’s Bret Stephens said: “Trump puts the US on a moral par with Putin’s Russia. Never in history has a President slandered his country like this.”

No, Bret, you have it backward. No US president has ever slandered Russia like this. There is no moral equivalency between Washington and Moscow. Washington is totally devoid of all morality. Russia is not. It is not Russia that has murdered, maimed, and displaced peoples in at least 9 countries in the last 15 years, sending refugees all over the Western world, some of whom no doubt bear legitimate grudges.

Trump’s vice president, Mike Pence, rushed to tell NBC that Trump didn’t mean that Washington is not morally superior to Putin’s Russia. Of course, the US is morally superior to everyone. The millions of peoples we kill and dislocate are proof of our unquestioned moral superiority. Every time we bomb a wedding, a funeral of the wedding guests, a children’s soccer game, innumerable hospitals and medical centers, schools, farms, public transportation, we exceptional and indispensable Americans are demonstrating our moral superiority over the Earth. Only the morally superior can commit vast crimes against humanity without being held accountable.

Normal relations with Russia do not seem to be in the cards. The demonization and lies will continue. The New Cold War is too important to the ruling establishment, and to the members of the House and Senate who are dependent on military/security campaign donations, for Trump to be allowed to normalize relations with Russia.

Everything that Reagan and Gorbachev achieved has been undone. The material interest of a few has again placed humanity at risk.

“The greatest freedom loving nation in the history of the world” can’t even have a debate about it, because a debate is Putin apologetics and moral equivalency.

The post Has the Establishment Opted for Thermo-Nuclear War? appeared first on LewRockwell.

That So-Called Judge

Gio, 09/02/2017 - 07:01

Last week, in a public courtroom in the federal courthouse in Seattle, the states of Washington and Minnesota — after suing President Donald Trump, alleging injury caused by his executive order that suspended the immigration of all people from seven foreign countries — asked a federal judge to compel the president and all those who work for him to cease enforcing the order immediately. After a brief emergency oral argument, the judge signed a temporary restraining order, which barred the enforcement of the president’s order everywhere in the United States.

The president reacted with anger, referring to the judge as a “so-called judge,” and immigrant rights groups praised the judicial intervention as a victory for the oppressed. The president meant, I think, that Judge James L. Robart had not acted properly as a judge by second-guessing him — that he had acted more like a politician; and the immigrant rights groups felt, I think, that the United States was once again a beacon of hope for refugees.

Here is the back story.

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A 1952 federal statute permits the president to suspend the immigration status of any person or group whose entry into the United States might impair public health or safety or national security. Trump exercised that authority in accordance with the 1952 law when he signed his Jan. 27 order banning all immigration from the seven named countries.

When the president exercises powers granted to him by the Constitution or federal statues or when Congress passes bills, one cannot simply sue the government in federal court because one does not like what has been done. That is so because the Constitution has preconditions for a lawsuit in federal court. One of those preconditions is what lawyers and judges call “standing.” Standing means that the plaintiff has alleged and can most likely show that the defendant has caused the plaintiff an injury in fact, distinct from all others not in the case.

Hence, it is curious that the plaintiffs in the Seattle case were not people whose entry had been barred by Trump’s order but rather the governments of two states, each claiming to sue in behalf of people and entities resident or about to be resident in them. The court should have dismissed the case as soon as it was filed because of long-standing Supreme Court policy that bars federal litigation alleging harm to another and permits it only for the actual injury or immediate likelihood of injury to the litigant.

Nevertheless, the Seattle federal judge heard oral argument on the two states’ emergency application for a temporary restraining order against the president. During that oral argument, the judge asked a lawyer for the Department of Justice how many arrests of foreign nationals from the seven countries singled out by the president for immigration suspension there have been in the United States since 9/11. When the DOJ lawyer said she did not know, the judge answered his own question by saying, “None.”

He was wrong.

There have been dozens of people arrested and convicted in the United States for terrorism-related crimes since 9/11 who were born in the seven countries. Yet even if the judge had been correct, his question was irrelevant — and hence the answer meaningless — because it does not matter to a court what evidence the president relied on in this type of order. This is the kind of judicial second-guessing — substituting the judicial mind for the presidential mind — that is impermissible in our system. It is impermissible because the Constitution assigns to the president alone nearly all decision-making authority on foreign policy and because Congress has assigned to the president the power of immigration suspension as a tool with which to implement foreign policy.

These rules and policies — the requirement of standing before suing and the primacy of the president in making foreign policy — stem directly from the Constitution. Were they not in place, then anyone could sue the government for anything and induce a federal judge to second-guess the president. That would convert the courts into a super-legislature — albeit an unelected, unaccountable, opaque one.

I am not suggesting for a moment that the courts have no place here. Rather, they have a vital place. It is to say what the Constitution means, say what the statutes mean and determine whether the government has exercised its powers constitutionally and legally. It is not the job of judges to decide whether the government has been smart or prudent, though.

One of the arguments made by the state of Washington to explain why it had standing was laughable. Washington argued that corporations located in Washington would suffer the irreparable loss of available high-tech-qualified foreign employees if the ban were upheld. Even if this were likely and even if it were provable, it would not establish injury in fact to the government of Washington. When pressed to reveal what entity Washington was trying to protect, it enumerated a few familiar names, among which was Microsoft.

Microsoft? The government of the state of Washington is suing to protect Microsoft?! Microsoft could buy the state of Washington if Starbucks were willing to sell it.

I jest to make a point. The rule of law needs to be upheld. Carefully paying attention to constitutional procedure protects personal freedom. In similar environments, the late Justice Antonin Scalia often remarked that much of what the government does is stupid but constitutional and that the courts’ only concern is with the latter.

The DOJ is now challenging the Seattle restraining order in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and this case may make its way to the Supreme Court. Will federal judges be faithful to the rule of law? We shall soon find out.

Reprinted with the author’s permission.

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Though Trump’s No Grand Master

Gio, 09/02/2017 - 07:01

During the last 18 months or so I’ve heard a lot of talk about chess. This guy or that guy is playing chess while everyone else is playing checkers or some mastermind is playing 3-dimensional chess, etc. I find it odd that these statements are made given that only a tiny percentage of Americans know how to play chess with that number sitting around 5% or slightly over 14 million people. This is too bad because if the population, as a whole, had a better understanding of chess than the actions of President Trump would make perfect sense.

History: The school district where I was employed drastically cut its music programs and decided that chess would be an appropriate alternative to music instruction. I was not entirely opposed to this as there were published research papers extolling the virtues of chess and there appeared to be a direct relationship between playing chess and higher academic achievement. Besides, anyone can play chess while not everyone has the dexterity to be a musician. Wishing to be part of the solution, I agreed to become a coach and took on after school chess programs on three different campuses.

Our school district was kind enough to foot the bill for some necessary chess coaching and needed chess supplies. Not only that but I had the great fortune of having World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov’s former full-time coach as my new teacher as the former Russian coach had relocated to the very city where I lived and had been contracted by the School District to get us up to speed. Private lessons with Kasparov’s coach! Can you imagine it?

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It took my new coach all of about 30 seconds to figure out my level of chess competence which was not very high and I will paraphrase what he said next: “You are not very good and there is not enough time to teach you the correct way. But, I can teach you simple rules that will enable you to defeat anyone that doesn’t study chess full time.” He called his method “active chess” whereas a weak player like myself could use a simple formula to play the most aggressive game possible and win against stronger players. He believed that strategy flowed from tactics and his method allowed for a very fluid game of strategy. So, what did he teach me and how does it relate to our president? Is Trump playing chess?

Chess is a game where the number of possible positions rises at an astronomical rate. By the 2nd move of the game there are already 400 possible positions and after each person moves twice, that number rises to 8902. My coach explained to me that I was not trained enough to even begin to keep track of those things and that my only chance of ever winning was to take the initiative and never give it up. “You must know what your opponent will do next by playing his game for him.” was the advice I received.

Now, I won’t bore you with the particulars but it boiled down to throwing punches each and every turn without exception. In other words, if my opponent must always waste his turn responding to what I am doing then he never gets an opportunity to come at me in the millions of possibilities that reside in the game. Again, if I throw the punch – even one that can be easily blocked, then I only have to worry about one combination and not millions.

My Russian chess coach next taught me that I should Proudly Announce what exactly I am doing and why I am doing it. He explained to me that bad chess players believe that they can hide their strategy even though all the pieces are right there in plain sight for anyone to see. A good chess player has no fear of this because they will choose positions that are unassailable so why not announce them? As a coach, I made all of my students tell each other why they were making the moves that they made as well as what they were planning next. It entirely removed luck from the game and quickly made them into superior players.

My Russian coach next stressed Time as something I should focus on to round out my game. He said that I shouldn’t move the same piece twice in a row and that my “wild punches” should focus on getting my pieces onto the board and into play as quickly as possible. So, if I do everything correctly, I have an opponent that will have a disorganized defense, no offense and few pieces even in play and this will work 9 out of 10 times. The only time it doesn’t work for me is when I go against players that have memorized hundreds of games and have memorized how to get out of these traps. With all that said, let’s see if President Trump is playing chess.

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Russia and Iran Want War

Gio, 09/02/2017 - 07:01

The following graphics prove that Russia and Iran want war:

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Credit: Small People Against Big Government

Credit: Azizonomics

Credit: Iblagh

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