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Thu, 14 Dec 2017
The World for People who Think

Propaganda

The treason of the intellectuals

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© Mr Fish
The rewriting of history by the power elite was painfully evident as the nation marked the 10th anniversary of the start of the Iraq War. Some claimed they had opposed the war when they had not. Others among "Bush's useful idiots" argued that they had merely acted in good faith on the information available; if they had known then what they know now, they assured us, they would have acted differently. This, of course, is false. The war boosters, especially the "liberal hawks" - who included Hillary Clinton, Chuck Schumer, Al Franken and John Kerry, along with academics, writers and journalists such as Bill Keller, Michael Ignatieff, Nicholas Kristof, David Remnick, Fareed Zakaria, Michael Walzer, Paul Berman, Thomas Friedman, George Packer, Anne-Marie Slaughter, Kanan Makiya and the late Christopher Hitchens - did what they always have done: engage in acts of self-preservation. To oppose the war would have been a career killer. And they knew it.

These apologists, however, acted not only as cheerleaders for war; in most cases they ridiculed and attempted to discredit anyone who questioned the call to invade Iraq. Kristof, in The New York Times, attacked the filmmaker Michael Moore as a conspiracy theorist and wrote that anti-war voices were only polarizing what he termed "the political cesspool." Hitchens said that those who opposed the attack on Iraq "do not think that Saddam Hussein is a bad guy at all." He called the typical anti-war protester a "blithering ex-flower child or ranting neo-Stalinist." The halfhearted mea culpas by many of these courtiers a decade later always fail to mention the most pernicious and fundamental role they played in the buildup to the war - shutting down public debate.

USA

Venezuelan government announces transition to US-style democrazi

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In a public broadcast yesterday the Venezuelan government announced the transition to democracy. Measures include the sale of community media to business giant Rupert Murdoch, and the privatisation of the health sector.

A Venezuelan government spokesperson told the press, "On the advice of a special US commission, the government will be expanding media diversity by selling all of its community media to Rupert Murdoch".

"The media package includes Latin America's Telesur, which will no longer report from the ground and talk to real people, but rather read US government press releases from an autocue," the government spokesperson said.

Further, the government announced it will be bringing Monsanto into the country to advise on food reform.

"We realised that organised communities shouldn't participate in politics, they don't know their own needs, only transnationals like Monsanto and Macdonalds really understand these issues," the spokesperson said.

Comment: All together now, on the count of three...

"We're all living in Amerika, Amerika, Amerika!"




Megaphone

Obama signature on Monsanto Protection Act ignites massive activism


Comment: Yet another of Obama's broken promises.

Of course he and his family would never eat GM food, but he will gladly sell the American people - all people everywhere, in fact - to those who play god with the global food supply and the very seeds of life.

Check out our recent discussion of Monsanto and GMOs on SOTT Talk Radio:

SOTT Talk Radio: Paleo food - Staying Healthy in a GMO world


Snow Globe

Scientist predicts Earth is heading for another Ice Age - next year!

As Arctic Britain prepares to shiver for at least another month, a leading scientist today predicted the world was heading for another Ice Age.
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A leading scientist predicted the world was heading for another Ice Age
Incredibly, British Summer Time officially starts tomorrow but millions of brassed off Brits pining for warmth will have to endure freezing temperatures and biting winds until May.

The misery will continue with daytime temperatures struggling to reach a bracing 5C (41F). The only ray of sunshine, forecasters said, is that it will stay dry.

As if the outlook wasn't bleak enough already, meteorologists believe the shivering start to 2013 has been the coldest in more than 200 years.

More worryingly, the combination of sub-zero temperatures and heavy snow experienced across much of the country recently could be the prelude to a new Ice Age that will begin next year and last for 200 years.

Comment: And no, Abdussamatov isn't just saying this now because winter records have been smashed in 2013. Back in 2010 he said that a new ice age would begin in 2014.


Magnify

The fun-filled ocean resort at Guantánamo Bay

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© John Moore/Getty Images
Guantánamo inmates kneel at prayers.
A growing hunger strike among detainees is mocked by gullible journalists spouting familiar Potemkin Village propaganda

If you're looking for a fun activity-filled resort to take your family for a summer vacation, you simply cannot do better than Club GTMO, according to a new glossy travel guide just published by Robert Johnson, the Military and Defense Editor of Business Insider, under the guise of a news article. Scrumptious meals. Video games galore for the kids. Outdoor sports. Newspapers from your hometown delivered by smiling bellhops to the front door of your villa. Picturesque Caribbean vistas. All that and more can be yours - provided that you're "compliant". What more could vacationers - or prisoners kept in a cage for more than a decade with no charges thousands of miles away from their family - possibly want? They are, proclaims Johnson, treated "absurdly well". Not just well: absurdly well. They are, he actually writes, lavished with "resort treatment".

The context for Johnson's glowing thumbs-up is an intensifying hunger strike among (totally ungrateful) prisoners at the camp. Lawyers for the detainees say the hunger strike was triggered "as a protest of the men's indefinite confinement without charge and because of what they said was a return to harsh treatment from past years, including more intrusive searches and confiscation of personal items such as mail from their families." That includes, the lawyers say, a lack of sanitary drinking water which has "already caused some prisoners kidney, urinary and stomach problems". Detainees also complain about the recent manhandling of Korans. One lawyer for 11 detainees, Carlos Warner, identifying himself as a "liberal" supporter of Obama, told CNN that the detainees are now deprived of some privileges they had all the way back in 2006 and said the situation there was "dire".

The US military, needless to say, denies these claims. While detainee lawyers insist that the overwhelming majority of detainees are participating in the hunger strike, US military officials claim that "only" 31 of the 166 are doing so. They do acknowledge that some are being force-fed, a few have been hospitalized for dehydration, and that more and more are participating in the strike. As the New York Times' Charlie Savage notes this morning, the conflicting claims are difficult to resolve. That is in part because journalists have very restricted access to the camp and no access to the detainees.

Bad Guys

Military suicides hit epidemic levels - is it stress or the drugs used to treat it?

Unimaginable stress, irrepressible memories, psychoactive prescription drugs make lethal combination.

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Is it the post-traumatic stress from repeated tours in war zones or Big Pharma’s drugs that are being used to treat it?
With what must be one of the strangest statistics in the history of wartime, the Pentagon has released the fact that more soldiers are dying overseas by committing suicide than from combat wounds - about one a day. July 2012 was the worst on record, a month that saw 38 soldiers take their own lives and with 349 recorded for the year. These figures have doubled in the past decade.

More alarming yet is the report that America's returning vets are committing suicide at the unprecedented rate of more than 20 each day - "one every 65 minutes," reported Daily News of New York City - but there is no official answer as to why this happening.

Is it the post-traumatic stress from repeated tours in war zones or Big Pharma's drugs that are being used to treat it?

Heart - Black

From the horse's mouth: Head of Eurogroup shared the plan (which he later retracted) and created chaos in the markets

Jeroen Dijsselbloem
© John Thys/Agence France-Presse/Getty
Dutch finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem has rowed back on his statement that future bailouts would follow the Cypriot model, but the true intentions of the Eurogroup are already out of the bag
The good news for the eurozone was that the markets reacted well to the bailout deal for Cyprus. The bad news was that the rally lasted barely until lunchtime. By then investors were running scared at the prospect that the terms imposed on one of the single currency's smaller members would be the template for rescue packages for bigger countries.

Credit for the change of mood goes to Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who chairs meetings of eurozone finance ministers and who decided it would be a good idea to go public with the idea that Cyprus was not such a special case after all.

For the past week the message has gone out that there are no comparisons between a country that allowed itself to become the tax haven of choice for high-rolling Russians and other, better-managed, members of the eurozone.

Then, in a couple of interviews, Dijsselbloem said Cyprus would be used as the model for future bailouts.

The comments were an open invitation to any investor with more than €100,000 in a eurozone bank to remove it without delay, which some then did.

Book 2

The Heretic: Who is Thomas Nagel and why are so many of his fellow academics condemning him?

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© C.F. Payne

Last fall, a few days before Halloween and about a month after the publication of Mind and Cosmos, the controversial new book by the philosopher Thomas Nagel, several of the world's leading philosophers gathered with a group of cutting-edge scientists in the conference room of a charming inn in the Berkshires. They faced one another around a big table set with pitchers of iced water and trays of hard candies wrapped in cellophane and talked and talked, as public intellectuals do. PowerPoint was often brought into play.

The title of the "interdisciplinary workshop" was "Moving Naturalism Forward." For those of us who like to kill time sitting around pondering the nature of reality - personhood, God, moral judgment, free will, what have you - this was the Concert for Bangladesh. The biologist Richard Dawkins was there, author of The Blind Watchmaker, The Selfish Gene, and other bestselling books of popular science, and so was Daniel Dennett, a philosopher at Tufts and author of Consciousness Explained and Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life. So were the authors of Why Evolution is True, The Really Hard Problem: Meaning in a Material World, Everything Must Go: Metaphysics Naturalized, and The Atheist's Guide to Reality: Enjoying Life without Illusions - all of them books that to one degree or another bring to a larger audience the world as scientists have discovered it to be.

Contemporary philosophers have a name for the way you and I see the world, a world filled with other people, with colors and sounds, sights and sensations, things that are good and things that are bad and things that are very good indeed: ourselves, who are able, more or less, to make our own way through life, by our own lights. Philosophers call this common view the "manifest image." Daniel Dennett pointed out at the conference that modern science, at least since the revelations of Darwin, has been piling up proof that the manifest image is not really accurate in any scientific sense. Rather science - this vast interlocking combine of genetics, neuroscience, evolutionary biology, particle physics - tells us that the components of the manifest image are illusory.

Heart - Black

"Castrate them!" "Burn them!" "Bullet in the head!": Facebook Israelis react to photo of Palestinian kids

boys in tent
© Shadi Hatem


An image of three Palestinian boys sparked an outpouring of violent and sadistic fantasies after it was reposted to an Israeli Facebook page
Having regularly documented the horrifying racism and violent fantasies frequently expressed by Israelis on Facebook or Instagram, I thought I had seen everything.

But this may be the worst yet. On Wednesday, the picture above of three Palestinian boys in a tent was posted on a popular Facebook page titled in Hebrew "We are all in favor of death to terrorists." Under the picture is the following caption:
Arab boys in the illegal Arab outpost established near Maale Adumim. What should the Israeli army do to them?
This is an apparent reference to the peaceful "Bab al-Shams" encampment established by Palestinians near Jerusalem to protest Israel's plans to seize more land for settlements. The protest was timed to coincide with the visit of US President Barack Obama.
"Run the tent over with a truck/Merkava tank/a bus/ whatever it takes to crush and kill these children," suggested Facebook user Lidor Swisa.

Calculator

Iraq War deaths exceed Vietnam War numbers

Department of Veterans Affairs Reports 73 Thousand U.S. Gulf War Deaths

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More Gulf War Veterans have died than Vietnam Veterans. This probably is news to you. But the truth has been hidden by a technicality. So here is the truth.

The casualties in the Vietnam War were pretty simple to understand. If a soldier was dead from his combat tour, he was a war casualty. There are 58,195 names recorded on the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, DC.

Some of these brave men died in the jungles of Vietnam while others died in Medivac units or hospitals in Japan and America. A dead soldier can surrender his life anywhere in service to his country. It really doesn't matter where this happens. The location of a soldier's death in no way colors his sacrifice.

But something odd has happened with the Iraq War. The government, under the Bush administration, did something dishonest that resulted in a lie that's persisted since the war began -- and continues to this very day. They decided to report the war deaths in Iraq only if the soldier died with his boots on the ground in a combat situation.

What's the difference, you might ask?

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