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Fri, 29 Jul 2016
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Ayn Rand's insane manifesto 'Atlas Shrugged': 10 lessons in psychopathic thinking

© 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:


Stormtrooper

Pool party turns violent when police show up and assault and nearly shoot multiple unarmed teens

© YouTube
A weekend pool party in Texas turned violent after a McKinney police officer on a power trip began brutalizing a young woman.

According to video post on Facebook, the police were called to a McKinney residence because of the large number of people attending a pool party.

The police officers were in some sort of feeding frenzy as they were rounding up young teens, armed only with their swimsuits and forcing them to a patch of grass on the roadside.

As the video begins, one officer is seen doing a barrel roll as if he's in a war zone.

Once the officers seemed to have calmed down, one of them began to attack a young woman who was doing absolutely nothing wrong. As he was assaulting the young woman, several bystanders tried to intervene. At this point, things almost got deadly.

The officer then pulled his gun to ward off the good Samaritans who attempted to stop his brutal attack on a young woman. Luckily for all those involved, two of the crazed officer's co-workers stopped him from shooting people. As he had his gun drawn on multiple teenagers, the two officers patted him on his back in an apparent attempt to calm him down.

"On your face!" screams the abusive officer as he slams a young girl's head into the ground.

At the end of the video, the officer attempts to justify his brutal actions by telling the teens that the entire situation was their fault because they failed to prostrate themselves fast enough.

"I told you to sit!" the officer exclaims as if the teenagers were dogs who disobeyed his commands.


Pistol

Armed open carry activists defy police in Texas

After concealed-carry activists in Texas took their firearms onto private property, they were approached by police carrying assault rifles leading to a tense standoff caught on video.

White concealed-carry activists were walking around with assault rifles slung around their backs. When police approached them, one of the activists yelled at the police for approaching them, one of them having his gun drawn.

Open Carry Texas, a gun-rights group, posted the video on YouTube.


Comment: The fact that these men were not immediately told to drop their weapons and get on the ground speaks volumes about the intrinsic racism in police departments.


Arrow Down

Hypocritical legislation: South Carolina takes action against Israeli boycotts

State law bars public entities from contracting with companies that boycott "based on race, color, religion, gender or national origin."
© Reuters
South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley.
WASHINGTON - South Carolina's governor has signed into law a bill to stop efforts to boycott, divest and sanction Israel on Thursday afternoon, in a first for the nation on a statewide level.

The bill makes no mention of Israel directly, but prevents public entities from contracting with businesses engaging in the "boycott of a person or an entity based in or doing business with a jurisdiction with whom South Carolina can enjoy open trade."

The premise of the law is that the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, colloquially known as BDS, discriminates against the people of Israel and weakens the economy of South Carolina.

"Boycott," for the purposes of the law, is defined as the effort by companies to "blacklist, divest from or otherwise refuse to deal with a person or firm when the action is based on race, color, religion, gender or national origin of the targeted person or entity," according to the text.

Companies also must agree not to engage in boycott activities going forward.

Comment: Israel has proven itself time and again that it is no friend to the United States, and it is unbelievably hypocritical for US states to ban economic sanctions in an effort to protect Israel, a terrorist state and committer of international war crimes against Palestinians, but say nothing about the sanctions against Russia who has consistently been peacefully protecting its interests in Ukraine. This is a slap in the face to those who have suffered so much in Palestine at the hands of their Israeli occupiers.


Stormtrooper

Officer repeatedly sprayed mace in woman's vagina as punishment: Lawsuit

A New Mexico woman suffered for weeks with painful urination and swollen, burning genitals after an officer repeatedly sprayed mace inside of her vagina to "punish" her, according to an ACLU lawsuit.

"It's tantamount to torture," Peter Simonson, the Executive Director of ACLU of New Mexico said in an interview.

Marlene Tapia was apparently arrested for a drug-related issue.

She was taken to the Metropolitan Detention Center, where two officers made her strip naked.

They then forced her to bend over at the waist.

The officers claimed that Tapia had a "plastic baggie" in her vagina.

Rather than sending her to medical staff to get it removed, one of the officers began spraying mace inside Tapia as punishment, according to the lawsuit.

"It's just the maliciousness, the wanton disregard, wanton maliciousness that the corrections officer demonstrated," said Simonson.

View the court records here:


Video

'Network': The last brilliant film about the Media

Diana the Huntress, Queen of Television News

Image
© cinema1544.wordpress.com
"You have meddled with the primal forces of nature, Mr. Beale, and I won't have it!! Is that clear?!... You are an old man who thinks in terms of nations and peoples. There are no nations. There are no peoples. There are no Russians. There are no Arabs. There are no third worlds. There is no West. There is only one holistic system of systems, one vast and immane, interwoven, interacting, multivariate, multinational dominion of dollars. Petro-dollars, electro-dollars, multi-dollars, reichmarks, rins, rubles, pounds, and shekels. It is the international system of currency which determines the totality of life on this planet. That is the natural order of things today. That is the atomic and subatomic and galactic structure of things today! And YOU have meddled with the primal forces of nature, and YOU WILL ATONE!" (Arthur Jensen, to Howard Beale, Network, 1976)

In the brilliant 1976 film, Network, written by Paddy Chayefsky, the programming head of a giant television network, Diana Christensen, shifts the whole news department over to the entertainment division.

Thus emerge new shows with galloping ratings: Howard Beale, Prophet of the Air Waves; The Mao Tse-Tung Hour, in which a guerrilla group films itself carrying out armed bank robberies; and Sybil the Soothsayer, a Tarot reader.

Diana becomes the network's new executive star.

There is no longer even a pretense of a need for news anchors to appear authoritative, objective, or rational.

Diana Christensen is unstoppable. She sees, with burning clarity, that audiences are bored to the point of exhaustion; they now require, as at the end of the Roman Empire, extreme entertainment. They want more crime, more violence, more insanity, out in the open. On television.

Radar

Tracking down Macedonia's gang of kidnappers

Hundreds of migrants at a time are being held by a kidnapping gang at a house in Macedonia. Reporter Ramita Navai tracked the house down.


The messages from Mohammed were desperate: please help us; we are so scared.

Mohammed then describes the conditions - about 300 migrants locked inside a few small rooms, crushed in so tightly at times it was hard to breath; at night bodies piled on top of each other to sleep. The house was patrolled by armed guards 24 hours a day, the windows were blacked out with bin bags. Beatings were frequent. Food was scarce. There was no escape.

He sent the messages from his phone when the kidnappers had turned on the internet. The hostages were told to contact their families to send ransom money. But Mohammed and his friend Ahmed, both university students from Syria, had no one to turn to.

Image
© Channel 4 News
Ahmed has not heard from his family since he fled the bombing and Mohammed's mother has lost everything in the war. When they left their home town Aleppo they could never imagine they would find themselves hostages in the heart of Europe, human commodities traded by Afghan people smugglers.

Comment: The war on terror has not only killed millions and left millions more living in destitution, but as we see in this article it has also opened up those who have suffered atrocities to further exploitation by elements of organized crime. How much more suffering must humanity endure at the hands of psychopaths before Mother Nature wipes the slate clean?


Airplane

WestJet Flight 588 slides off runway, "we hit like a fog patch"

Image
Transportation Safety Board officials are investigating what caused a WestJet Boeing 737 from Toronto to skid off the runway while landing at Montreal's Trudeau airport Friday afternoon.

WestJet officials said via Twitter that no one was injured on Flight 588, which was carrying 110 passengers.
Flight #WS588, Toronto to Montreal, exited the runway onto the grass upon arrival. All guests and crew reported safe. More to follow.
@WestJet

Airplane

Japan flight makes emergency landing after cockpit 'haze'

© AFP 2015/ TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA
A Japanese domestic flight was forced to make an emergency landing on the island of Okinawa today after white haze was seen in the Boeing's cockpit, carrier All Nippon Airways said.

The pilot on flight ANA 90, travelling from southern island of Ishigaki to Haneda airport in Tokyo, noticed the "haze-like thing" around 12:50 pm local time as the plane flew near Okinawa, less than an hour after departure, according to an ANA spokeswoman.

"The pilot decided to divert to Naha airport" on Okinawa, she said.

The haze disappeared quickly in the Boeing 767, but the pilot reported a burning smell, she said.

None of the plane's 101 passengers and eight crew members was hurt, and passengers were switched to another flight to Tokyo.

ANA stressed that the case was not regarded as a serious incident, but added that they are investigating the cause.

Comment: On Tuesday an "unusual smell" in the cabin forced an Australian charter plane to make an emergency landing. In the US, a plane heading from Newark to Bradley Airport on Friday, made an emergency landing after a small fire broke out in the cockpit.

Plane related incidents like these seem to be increasing world-wide, see:

Sott Exclusive: Mayhem and Maydays in May skies: Aircraft crashes, accidents, glitches, mishaps and near misses


Apple Green

People over profits: New Boston grocery store helping to reduce both food waste and unaffordability

© DailyTableDorchester
In an attempt to kill two birds with one stone fruit, a former grocery store chain president has opened a new, nonprofit store in Boston, Massachusetts that hopes to tackle both food waste and the unaffordability of healthy food among the working poor.

Daily Table, a not-for-profit grocery store, opened Thursday in Dorchester, a working-class neighborhood in Boston, featuring cheap, yet healthy foods that traditional grocers are unwilling to sell because of arbitrary 'use by' dates.

The store is the brainchild of Doug Rauch, the former president of Trader Joe's, after seeing tons of perfectly good food tossed out because the items were close to or had surpassed their listed sell-by dates.

Comment: What a fine example of how one person with a self-less idea can bring about a drastic and positive change in the lives of others. Good on him!