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Tue, 18 Jan 2022
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Smoking

More hysteria from the anti-tobacco crusade: LA restricts usage of e-cigarettes

Smoking fascism
© Unknown
Do e-cigarettes endanger the health of their users and secondhand inhalers and therefore require strict regulation, or are they a safer alternative to conventional lit cigarettes whose growing popularity should be welcomed?

On Tuesday Los Angeles took the plunge into this national debate, with a unanimous City Council vote to prohibit e-cigarettes wherever regular tobacco products are banned.

Comment: Maybe soon they'll also be forced to ban nicotine gum, lest one of those pesky molecules escape the chewer's mouth and cause disastrous cancer in nearby innocent bystanders. In the mean time, educate yourself: 'World No Tobacco Day'? Let's All Light Up!


Question

Bitcoin trader Autumn Radtke's death classified as 'unnatural'

bitcoin death suicide

Autumn Radtke
Update (Mar 6, 1pm): Police has classified this as a case of unnatural death. No foul play is suspected, and toxicology test results are pending. More details about her death have been added.

Update (Feb 27, 3pm): Article edited to emphasize that investigations are ongoing. While suicide has been suggested, it is not a certainty.

The startup community has lost one of its own. Autumn Radtke, CEO of First Meta, a Singapore-based virtual currency trading platform that allows users to sell bitcoin, has died on February 26, Tech in Asia has learned. She was 28 years old.

Radtke was found lying motionless at the second-level parapet of an apartment block at Cantonment Close at 7am. She was declared dead on scene by paramedics.

Circumstances surrounding the death is unclear. The Police have classified this as a case of unnatural death, which can be caused by an accident, misadventure, or suicide. Preliminary investigations indicated no foul play, but toxicology test results are pending.

According to Reuters, the American was struggling with personal and professional issues, one of which was the fact that First Meta had not gained traction as hoped.

Dollar Gold

Who is Satoshi Nakamoto? Man denies being bitcoin inventor amid media chase

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© Damian Dovarganes/AP
Dorian S Nakamoto, named by Newsweek as Satoshi Nakamoto.
Dorian S Nakamoto, the Japanese-American man named as bitcoin inventor Satoshi Nakamoto, has denied any link to the digital currency amid a farcical media chase through Los Angeles.

Nakamoto, 64, disputed a Newsweek cover story that on Thursday unmasked him as the "father of bitcoin". His denial cast doubt on a putative scoop the magazine used to relaunch its print edition.

Nakamoto made the denial in an interview with the Associated Press after a day of near-slapstick scenes in which dozens of journalists pursued him and an AP reporter through the city, provoking a social media storm. "I got nothing to do with it," he said.

It remained unclear whether Newsweek had got the right man - the enigmatic, anonymous architect of the troubled currency - or committed a credibility-shredding blunder.

Satoshi Nakamoto makes his way through a media throng outside his California home.


Folder

On applying for British citizenship: 'I never felt safe' (Newsflash: It's the same everywhere)

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© Guardian/Sara Lee
Kamila Shamsie
There's a postcard on my fridge door in London, which a South African friend sent to me 18 months ago. A replica of a Puffin picture-book cover, it has an illustration of mountain peaks below which are emblazoned the words "Everest is climbed!" My friend had already climbed the same metaphorical mountain that I had just reached the summit of, and when she had reached the top she sat down and wept, much to the surprise of all her British friends. "I knew I could stay," she had told me, describing the emotion of the moment, "finally, I knew I could stay." I might not have wept, but I did turn wobbly-kneed and lean against my kitchen counter for support the day my letter arrived from the UK Border Agency to say I'd been granted Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK.

Five years previously, when I had entered the UK on a Writers, Artists and Composers visa I thought the road to settlement, and then citizenship, was flat and paved. As long as I could maintain myself financially, continued to work as a writer, and didn't break any laws, I'd be eligible for ILR in five years, and citizenship a year later. And then there would be a citizenship ceremony to end it all, which seemed a pleasant enough idea. I'm all for rituals to mark moments of significance. But I wasn't prepared for the mutable nature of immigration laws, and their ability to make migrants feel perpetually insecure, particularly as the rhetoric around migration mounted. "I didn't think that would affect someone like you," a large number of Brits said to me over the years, with the implacable British belief that if you're middle class you exist under a separate set of laws. They weren't entirely wrong - the more privileged you are in terms of income and education the more likely it is you'll be able to clear all hurdles. It's only the rich around whose convenience immigration laws are tailored.

Evil Rays

Journalist beaten with lead pipe by Venezuelan opposition protesters

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© Federico Parra
A photograph that Ultimas Noticias claims shows Hernandez being beaten by opposition demonstrators
Venezuelan opposition protesters in Caracas attacked three journalists following a march demanding "greater freedom of the press". Meanwhile, barricades in Tachira state have claimed another life.

Luis Gutierrez Camargo was killed instantly during a collision with an opposition roadblock in Tachira state yesterday, communication minister Delcy Rodriguez announced via Twitter.

Rodriguez condemned the use of street barricades, describing them as "murderous methods".

"Were the violent ones who organised these barricades unaware that they can end the life of another person? This is a protest?" Rodriguez stated.

Comment: See how the private media of Venezuela have been instrumental in spreading lies and easing former coups:




War Whore

With friends like these, who needs terrorists? Notorious Ukrainian nationalist Aleksandr Muzychko on international wanted list over Chechnya killings

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© TVRivne1
Aleksandr Muzychko
Russia's Investigative Committee initiated a criminal case against notorious Ukrainian nationalist, Aleksandr Muzychko. The Ukrainian is accused of torturing and murdering at least 20 captured Russian soldiers as he fought alongside the Chechen militants.

Also known as Sashko Bilyi, the man took active part in the First Chechen War in 1994-1995, when he headed a group of Ukrainian nationalists fighting against Russian troops.

"Today a court in the city of Essentuki, Stavropol region, issued a decree on indictment of Aleksandr Muzychko as a defendant, and an international arrest warrant has also been issued," stated Vladimir Markin, the spokesman for Russia's Investigative Committee.

Muzychko is charged with forming and supervising an armed gang organized for the purpose of attacking Russian citizens, Markin said.

Gold Seal

RT's response to the U.S. corporate media: 'About Abby Martin, Liz Wahl and media wars'

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Today RT America anchor Liz Wahl resigned on air, claiming she disagrees with the channel's editorial stance. And here's what I have to say about it.

These days it takes a lot of courage to work for RT. Never before have I seen RT and its journalists bullied like this. See for yourselves what they did to poor Abby. First, she openly voiced disagreement with Russia's stance on air - and was virtually made an American hero. But then Abby reminded everyone how much she disagrees with America's stance as well, adding she takes pride in working at RT, where she is free to express her views. Less than an hour passed before Abby had her name dragged through something I have difficulty finding a decent name for this late at night. The US mainstream media even went as far as claiming we had orchestrated the whole thing as a publicity move. They labeled Abby a conspiracy theorist, bringing to light her past as an activist. In less than 24 hours, they first sang her praises and then excoriated her. All of this in front of her colleagues, including Liz Wahl. How do you think they felt watching that?

Yesterday I spent quite some time explaining to a New York Times correspondent why I consider Russia's position to be right. I'm Russian. I support my country and I will fight for the truth for as long as it takes. Neither Abby, nor Liz, nor many other employees are Russian nationals, but foreign. And now their country is likening my country to Nazi Germany. For many years they have worked for RT in good faith, proving every day that a voice that stands out from the mainstream media can be beautiful and strong, attract an audience that grows daily. These are the people who were the first to tell their country about the Occupy movement, who were detained at protest rallies, handcuffed for hours and then tried in court for doing their job. These are the people who were outraged by US hypocrisy in Syria, Libya - you can finish the list yourself - and reminded the world who used chemical weapons most often, even resorting to nuclear bombs. These are the people who did things the Western mainstream media would have never done. But those were peaceful times. And now we've got a genuine war going on - no, thank God, it's not in Crimea. It's a media war. Every single day, every single hour the guys who work for us are told, "You are liars, you are no journalists, you are the Kremlin propaganda mouthpiece, you've sold yourselves to the Russians, it's time you quit your job, and everybody is laughing at you, so change your mind before it's too late."

Comment: The vehemence RT staff are confronted with daily from their Western counterparts is something SOTT.net has been up against daily in the alt.media community, particularly since we began researching and writing about the psychopathic nature of the dominant forces in this world. RT's stance is as admirable as it is unusual: a 'mainstream' media outlet that reports the news in an effort to inform people rather than confuse them. We put 'mainstream' in quotation marks because while it has the clout to compete with the dominant media, for a large organization its ethos is rather exceptional, especially amidst the pathos of just about all the rest of 'modern civilization'. It has not yet succumbed to ponerization*, as Al Jazeera did in a CIA coup of sorts sometime in 2010, though as we've seen, individual members capitulate under the pressure. It is unsurprising that they should be two of its US members based in Washington, DC, surely one of the most psychopathic enclaves on the planet.

Kudos, RT.
* 'Ponerization', a description of the process from Political Ponerology

The first step in the ponerization of a group often appears as a moral distortion of the group's original ideology. The existence of simplistic concepts (e.g., whether moral or legal) blocks any ability for critical thought in relation to the existence of psychopaths or their possible influence on the initial warping of the group's ideology. Such doctrinaire concepts are prevalent in the neoconservative ideology. For example, "You're either with us or against us (in the War on Terror)" and the completely arbitrary use of the labels "terrorist," "terrorist sympathizer", and "suspected terrorist."

In the case of the RT journalists, both of whom appealed to moral reasons for their actions, one appealed to the simplistic, doctrinaire, jingoistic assertion that she was "a proud American", while the other used what's called a 'paramoralism', in which she placed Russia's justified defense of ordinary people from psychopathic invasion in economically and culturally connected Ukraine on a par with America's unjustified invasions for personal gain in numerous unconnected countries, and under false pretexts, in the process selecting and substituting readily available data that exposes each behaviour to be fundamentally different, not identical.

Just as it is normal in the life of any human to experience a decline in psychological or physiological resistance (thus leading to moral failings or bacteriological infection), groups experience such crises. The pressure leading to such crises may be caused by the influence of other groups, a heightened hysterical condition, or a general spiritual crisis in the environment.

The resulting weakness in proper reasoning and critical thinking skills leaves an opening for the activity of psychopaths and characteropaths. Their influence then results in a further decline in moral and intellectual functioning. The absurdity of such a dynamic can be seen in the fact that Richard Cheney, an obvious psychopath, was allowed to hold the position of vice-president. Even when he shoots a hunting partner in the face, the media and public will studiously rationalize his coarse and psychopathic behavior.

When such individuals are treated as normal, more perceptive individuals will leave the group. When the group has become sufficiently pathological, members will either perceive its new direction in moral terms (e.g., "We must kill them all on the principle of justice and democracy"), or as a form of psychological terror. As more healthy people leave the group, taking on more counter-revolutionary positions, individuals with psychological anomalies join, removing their masks of sanity ever more often. Without adequate knowledge, normal individuals who have been ejected from such a group will suffer immensely, cut off from their original ideological reason for joining. Infected with unhealthy emotions and pathological material, they can assume positions opposite to those which they formerly followed.

New members are psychologically screened. No one with too much independence or psychological normality is allowed in the group. (Such screening should have taken place to root out psychological deviants in the first place.) Detractors are treated with paramoral condemnation. In short, the patients have overtaken the asylum.



Family

Health insurance marketplaces signing up few uninsured Americans - the Affordable Care Act's central goal‏

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© Jon Elswick/Associated Press
Open enrollment ends March 31st. One survey suggests that just one in 10 uninsured people have signed up for a private health plan.
The new health insurance marketplaces appear to be making little headway in signing up Americans who lack insurance, the Affordable Care Act's central goal, according to a pair of new surveys.

Only one in 10 uninsured people who qualify for private plans through the new marketplaces enrolled as of last month, one of the surveys shows. The other found that about half of uninsured adults have looked for information on the online exchanges or planned to look.

Cloud Grey

ABC, CBS exclude comments from scientists critical of global warming for more than 1,300 Days‏

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Like a simple parlor trick, the networks are able to make skeptical scientists vanish, at least from the eyes of their viewers.

In some cases, the broadcast networks have failed to include such scientists for years, while including alarmist scientists within the past six months. ABC, CBS and NBC's lengthy omission of scientists critical of global warming alarmism propped up the myth of a scientific consensus, despite the fact that many scientists and thousands of peer-reviewed studies disagree.

Comment: When the mainstream media has to work so hard to bolster one side of a debate, while suppressing the other side, it's clear that we are facing a propaganda operation and that the truth is being purposely hidden.


Network

'Newsweek' identification of Bitcoin founder sparks frenzy‏

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© Newsweek

Newsweek
, the weekly magazine once thought to be on journalistic life support, returns to print life Friday with a bang.

Its cover piece, which ran online Thursday, revealed the unconfirmed identity of the elusive founder of crypto-currency Bitcoin, birthing a literal interpretation of reporters chasing a story.

In a bizarre sequence, reporters at other news outlets rushed Thursday to the house belonging to Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto in Temple City, Calif., near Los Angeles, and waited to confirm Newsweek's piece. As Nakamoto, who later seemed to be denying his role in Bitcoin, fled the throng with a reporter from the Associated Press, a chase ensued through the freeways of Los Angeles.

"It's been overwhelming," says Newsweek editor Jim Impoco, a veteran business journalist who previously worked for Fortune, Reuters, the AP and The New York Times. "I was happy to have low expectations, and I think we over-delivered."