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Sun, 26 Mar 2023
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SOTT Exclusive: Anti-Russian propaganda appearing in Dutch school textbooks

Several days ago a Dutch parent posted two images from his daughter's school workbook on his facebook page. The schoolbook is "Themes in Social Studies 1 for VMBO-KGT", VMBO standing for "preparatory middle-level vocational education", and is a school track in the Netherlands, which is similar to high school. The schoolbook is provided to VMBO students (aging approx. 15-16 y/o) during the last two years of this school track.

Part of the description of the workbook reads, "The workbook is updated on an annual basis and contains many current and diverse sources with assignments." The workbook has certainly been updated, as Russia has been painted as quite an unfriendly country, clearly in line with the ongoing Western anti-Russia propaganda.

The following two images were found on page 67 of the workbook, Chapter 7: countries without democracy. The first image shows Russia as the 'evil' country trying to take Ukraine, while Europe is pictured lending a 'helping' hand. One of the questions students are asked, is: "What is Russia doing, and what is Europe doing in this picture?" Well, that isn't difficult to answer: Evil-looking Russia is obviously trying to devour poor Ukraine, while friendly Europe is looking on concerned!
© M. Philipsen

Arrow Down

Some US hospitals' mark up exceeds 1,000 percent

© Thinkstock
Some 50 hospitals in the United States charge the uninsured and out-of-network patients 10 times what's allowed by Medicare, reports a new public health study.

The study, led by Gerard F. Anderson of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and Ge Bai of Washington & Lee University was based on a review of 2012 Medicare costs reports.

"There is no justification for these outrageous rates but no one tells hospitals they can't charge them," Anderson said in a release.

"For the most part, there is no regulation of hospital rates and there are no market forces that force hospitals to lower their rates. They charge these prices simply because they can."

"For-profit hospitals appear to be better players in this price-gouging game," says Bai, an assistant professor of accounting at Washington & Lee University. "They represent only 30 percent of hospitals in the U.S., but account for 98 percent of the 50 hospitals with highest markups."

Those with insurance or seeking in-network care typically pay lower fees negotiated by their insurers.

Heart - Black

Cop arrested on child abuse charges after slamming boy to ground at middle school

© Shutterstock
A Florida police officer was arrested on child abuse charges after he was accused of slamming a teenager to the ground.

Mario Badia, a Kissimmee police school resource officer, was placed on paid administrative leave during an investigation of the May 8 incident, which was recorded on surveillance video.

Witnesses said the 40-year-old officer threw the 13-year-old student down, pinned him to the ground, and twisted the boy's arm behind his back in the front office of Kissimmee Middle School.

The teen had been arguing with his mother when the police officer intervened, authorities said. Badia yelled at the boy and attempted to grab his chin to turn the teen's face. The boy raised his hand to block the officer, who then grabbed the teen's shirt and arm, lifted him up, and threw him to the ground.

The officer "torqued" the student's arm behind his back for more than 40 second as the boy screamed in pain, police said. Badia shoved the teen into a desk after he got up.

Police said the boy never showed aggression toward the officer, who was released on $5,000 bond after his arrest.

Comment: The video evidence must have been pretty damning for the police to arrest one of their own and charge him. Clearly police are being taught that no one, not even children, is beyond being beaten and harassed by our increasingly psychopathic police forces in the U.S. The only thing that will force the police to change will be more arrests of officers who are increasingly taking the law into their own hands.

Eye 1

Society under surveillance: Free speech, Facebook and the NSA

"A person under surveillance is no longer free; a society under surveillance is no longer a democracy."—Writers Against Mass Surveillance
THE GOOD NEWS: Americans have a right to freely express themselves on the Internet, including making threatening—even violent—statements on Facebook, provided that they don't intend to actually inflict harm.

The Supreme Court's ruling in Elonis v. United States threw out the conviction of a Pennsylvania man who was charged with making unlawful threats (it was never proven that he intended to threaten anyone) and sentenced to 44 months in jail after he posted allusions to popular rap lyrics and comedy routines on his Facebook page. It's a ruling that has First Amendment implications for where the government can draw the line when it comes to provocative and controversial speech that is protected and permissible versus speech that could be interpreted as connoting a criminal intent.

That same day, Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act, the legal justification allowing the National Security Agency (NSA) to carry out warrantless surveillance on Americans, officially expired. Over the course of nearly a decade, if not more, the NSA had covertly spied on millions of Americans, many of whom were guilty of nothing more than using a telephone, and stored their records in government databases. For those who have been fighting the uphill battle against the NSA's domestic spying program, it was a small but symbolic victory.


How a Hollywood spy film brainwashes us

Why are so few of us truly fearful of the impending meltdown of capitalism, stoked by global corporations' rape and pillage? And why are so many of us passive in the face of impending environmental catastrophe?

The answers, surprisingly, are to be found in a recent spoof spy blockbuster, Kingsman - The Secret Service. American Sniper may have enraged leftists for its overt jingoism and implicit war-cheerleading, but movies like Kingsman, which exercise their spell largely below the radar of political activism, are far more important in shoring up a climate of political submissiveness and naivety.

If Joseph Goebbels were alive today, this is the kind of movie he would be making - lappped up by audiences and winning general critical plaudits. Even critics who have panned it, as several did in the UK's elite media, faulted it for its crudity; none seemed aware of its insidious faux class politics and faux environmentalism.


US prison population keep increasing

We don't just have the world's largest prison population per capita, we blow every other country out of the water. Amazing isn't it? Amazing we as Americans are told constantly we are the most free, most advanced, and most civilized society. Lady liberty, oh miss high-and-mighty!

Oddly enough, China, a country ruled and looked at as mostly Authoritarian takes 7th place in the world in incarceration rate. Which of course makes you wonder, what the hell is going on in America? Are we just a society of misfits, rabble-rousers, and outright criminals? Or, is it something else?

The answer may surprise you.

Comment: Another sad statistic for the 'exceptional' USA!

Eye 1

American war crimes: Details of CIA torture of U.S. resident Majid Khan

Shocking new details have emerged about how the CIA tortured a former resident of Baltimore, Maryland, who has been in U.S. detention since 2003, first at a CIA black site, then at Guantánamo. Majid Khan is the only known legal resident of the United States to be held at Guantánamo. Over the years, Khan has detailed U.S. torture practices to his attorneys at the Center for Constitutional Rights, but until recently much of the information remained classified. According to the declassified notes, Khan was waterboarded on two separate occasions, he was hung on a wooden beam for days on end, he spent much of 2003 in total darkness, and he experienced repeated beatings and threats to beat him with tools, including a hammer. Khan also faced rectal feeding, which his lawyers described as a form of rape. Part of Khan's torture was outlined in last year's Senate torture report, but the declassified information provides new details on the abuse. We are joined by Majid Khan's lawyer, J. Wells Dixon, a senior staff attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights.

Comment: See also: Detainee at Gitmo alleges new forms of sexual abuse by CIA

Star of David

"We will shoot you if you do anything": Palestinians speak to RT after forced Israeli evictions

© Reuters / Finbarr O'Reilly
Palestinians evicted from their homes by Israeli forces spoke to RT about how they were abused and mistreated by the police as they desperately attempted to retain their property.

The family of Emad Abu Khaled was evicted Tuesday as Israeli authorities arrived to demolish two houses in the Silwan neighborhood of East Jerusalem. The forced eviction was caught on camera.

"They came to our house at 4 in the morning and told us that they wanted to destroy it, and brought two bulldozers," Emad Abu Khaled told RT. "They also threatened us with guns and said, 'We will shoot you if you do anything.' They don't care what you do, if you resist and stay inside they can demolish the building with you inside it."

Although Israeli authorities claim the construction of the houses was illegal, Palestinians say the permits are nearly impossible to obtain. Many families are currently receiving demolition orders and live in constant fear of eviction, which is often followed by violent actions.

Comment: The Israelis have been perpetrating this kind of violence on the Palestinian people for years, yet no one in the world is willing to stand up for them and for justice. What is happening in Palestine is inhumane and psychopathic. How long before the Israelis and their U.S. supporters finally reap what they sow?


Grand jury indicts ex-police officer Michael Slager in shooting death of Walter Scott

© Charleston County Sheriff's office
Mugshot of South Carolina police officer Michael Slager
A grand jury on Monday indicted a white former police officer on a murder charge for the shooting death of a black man in North Charleston, South Carolina, according to the prosecutor overseeing the case.

Michael Slager, 33, was fired from his patrolman job after being charged with murder in the April 4 death of 50-year-old Walter Scott, who was running away from the officer following a traffic stop when he was fatally shot in the back.

If convicted of murder, Slager would face between 30 years and life in prison without the possibility of parole, said Scarlett Wilson, solicitor for the Ninth Judicial Circuit.

Scott's death reignited a public outcry over police treatment of African Americans that flared last year after killings of unarmed black men in Ferguson, Missouri, New York City and elsewhere.

The deadly shooting was captured on video by a bystander using his cell phone, but Wilson said that evidence did not make the case a slam dunk.

"Just because you have video in this case, it doesn't mean it's the be-all and end-all," she said at a news conference in Charleston. "The issue is the people who were there who were involved, who saw or heard anything, who can demonstrate what they saw and heard."

Comment: See:

Heart - Black

Ayn Rand's insane manifesto 'Atlas Shrugged': 10 lessons in psychopathic thinking

Ayn Rand
© Last Week Tonight (YouTube)
Ayn Rand
Over the past year, I've been reading and reviewing Ayn Rand's massive paean to capitalism, Atlas Shrugged. If you're not familiar with the novel, it depicts a world where corporate CEOs and one-percenters are the selfless heroes upon which our society depends, and basically everyone else — journalists, legislators, government employees, the poor — are the villains trying to drag the rich down out of spite, when we should be kissing their rings in gratitude that they allow us to exist.

Rand's protagonists are Dagny Taggart, heir to a transcontinental railroad empire, and Hank Rearden, the head of a steel company who's invented a revolutionary new alloy which he's modestly named Rearden Metal. Together, they battle against evil government bureaucrats and parasitic socialists to hold civilization together, while all the while powerful industrialists are mysteriously disappearing, leaving behind only the cryptic phrase "Who is John Galt?"

Atlas Shrugged is a work of fiction, but as far as many prominent conservatives are concerned, it's sacred scripture. Alan Greenspan was a member of Rand's inner circle, and opposed regulation of financial markets because he believed her dictum that the greed of businessmen was always the public's best protection. Paul Ryan said that he required his campaign staffers to read the book, while Glenn Beck has announced grandiose plans to build his own real-life "Galt's Gulch," the hidden refuge where the book's capitalist heroes go to watch civilization collapse without them.

Reading Atlas Shrugged is like entering into a strange mirror universe where everything we thought we knew about economics and morality is turned upside down. I've already learned some valuable lessons from it.

Comment: Rand's world view produced some seriously twisted behaviors on her part: Her works gave lethal legitimacy to the predators of society. We are now reaping the results of her ideas. Still, she and her acolytes were not above hypocritically taking advantage of government benefits: