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Tue, 16 Oct 2018
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The Health & Wellness Show: Exercise Schmexercise: What the hell are we running from?

weight lifting
Approximately 10% of Americans claim to be regular runners. Almost 60 million Americans belong to a gym and about $19 billion dollars a year are spent on gym membership fees. The plethora of fitness centers along with their yoga, aerobics, spinning and CrossFit classes, hiking clubs and sports leagues would suggest that in this country, at least, we're quite fit. Wrong. As a nation, we're fatter and sicker than ever. Why? What happened to all the bikini bods, six pack abs and boundless energy that exercise proponents and personal trainers promised? Why has "eating less and exercising more" proven to be little more than a weight loss pipe dream for most people?

Sure there are multiple proven benefits to regular exercise but it seems that the practice has been vastly oversold, over-emphasized and over-hyped. Is it time we stopped getting all hot and bothered over working up a sweat? Join us for this episode of The Health and Wellness show as we take a closer look at the workout fad, what it's good for and what aspects need to be disregarded.

And stay tuned for Zoya's Pet Health Segment, where she tells us about the shrinking brains of domesticated animals.

Running Time: 01:09:44

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Blue Planet

A New Myth For a New Time: The Re-sovereigntisation of Nation And People

nationalism vs globalism
In his autobiography, Carl Jung tells of "a moment of unusual clarity", during which he had a strange dialogue with something inside him:
In what myth does man live nowadays, his inner-self enquired? "In the Christian myth: Do you live in it?" (Jung asked of himself. And to be honest with himself, the answer that he gave was 'no'): "For me, it is not what I live by." Then do we no longer have any myth, asked his inner-self? "No", Jung replied, "evidently not". Then what is it, by which you live, his inner-self demanded? "At this point, the dialogue with myself became uncomfortable. I stopped thinking. I had reached a dead end," Jung concluded.
Many today, feel similarly. They feel the void. The post-war era - perhaps it is the European Enlightenment phenomenon, itself - that has run its course, people believe. Some regret it; many more are disturbed by it - and wonder what is next.

We live in a moment of the waning of two major projects: the decline of revealed religion, and - simultaneously - of the discrediting of the experience of secular Utopia. We live in a world littered with the debris of utopian projects which - though they were framed in secular terms, that denied the truth of religion - were in fact, vehicles for religious myth.

The Jacobin revolutionaries launched the Terror as a violent retribution for élite repression -- inspired by Rousseau's Enlightenment humanism; the Trotskyite Bolsheviks murdered millions in the name of reforming humanity through Scientific Empiricism; the Nazis did similar, in the name of pursuing 'Scientific (Darwinian) Racism'.

The American millenarian 'myth', then and now, was (and is), rooted in the fervent belief in the Manifest Destiny of the United States, and is, in the last resort, nothing other than one particular example in a long line of attempts to force a shattering discontinuity in history (through which human society would then subsequently, be re-made).

In other words, all these utopian projects - all these successors to apocalyptic Judaic and Christian myth - saw a collective humankind pursuing its itinerary to a point of convergence, and to some sort of End Time (or End to History).


Skripal Suspects: Russian Agent Identity Confirmed? Not Even Close

skripal suspects
© MET Police
Their best sides -"Ruslan Boshirov" and "Alexander Petrov" make sure to be caught on CCTV at Salisbury Station on March 3, 2018 in an image handed out by the Metropolitan Police in London, Britain September 5, 2018
UPDATE: The Kommersant Evidence

Kommersant publishes interviews with people from Chepiga's home village. The article makes clear he has not been seen there for many years. It states that opinions differ on whether Chepiga is Boshirov. One woman says she recognised Boshirov as Chepiga when he appeared on TV, especially the dark eyes, though she had not seen him since school. Another woman states it is not Chepiga as when she last saw him ten years ago he was already pretty bald, and he has a more open face, although the eyes are similarly brown.

Naturally mainstream media journalists are tweeting and publishing the man's evidence and leaving out the woman's evidence.

But the Kommersant article gives them a bigger challenge. Kommersant is owned by close Putin political ally, Putin's former student flatmate, Chariman of Gazprominvestholdings and the UK's richest resident, Alisher Usmanov. That Russia's most authoritative paper, with ownership very close to Putin, is printing such open and honest reporting rather belies the "Russia is a dictatorship" narrative. And unlike the Guardian and BBC websites, on Kommersant website ordinary Russians can post freely their views on the case, and are.

One thing this does stand up is that Chepiga definitely exists.

Comment: See also: On Twitter, Elena Evdokimova has made a compelling case that most of bellingcat's documents are forgeries. See the threads below:

According to Peskov, there is no record of Chepiga receiving the award bellingcat alleges he received:
"Yes, I have checked. I have no information that a person with this name was awarded," Peskov told reporters.

The day before, Peskov said he would verify reports that Putin had allegedly decorated Col. Anatoliy Chepiga and then would provide that information to reporters.


Is Vladimir Putin Evil? (2/3)

Almost from the very start of his presidency, Vladimir Putin has been relentlessly vilified in the western media. If their portrayal of Mr. Putin reflected the objective truth, we should believe that the man has no redeeming qualities whatsoever. As I noted in the first in this series of excerpts from Grand Deception, systematic demonization of a nation's leader predisposes many people to consent to war or regime change as means to help a stricken nation rid itself of a rotten, tyrannical leader. If we detest Vladimir Putin, we might approve of our intelligence communities orchestrating a coup to throw him out of power, even if the blood of some Russians is spilled in the process. It should be an honorable deed done for a greater good. Indeed, those who are desperate to have a regime change in Russia should be very keen for us to detest Mr. Putin. Hence the nonstop, un-nuanced negative coverage. Here I offer a different perspective: what if Putin isn't an arch-villain? What if he does in fact have redeeming qualities? Should we not try to get to know the man a bit better before we shrug off another regime change or war to rid the world of tyrants?
putin on holiday
© Kremlin
According to his chief of security, Alexander Korzhakov, Boris Yeltsin worked about two hours per day. The rest he spent eating, drinking, playing tennis, hunting or enjoying some other pastime. Vladimir Putin reportedly works exceptionally long hours and several of his advisers and ministers have testified to working with him until very late into the night and then receiving a call from him early in the morning the next day. Exiled banker and former oligarch Sergei Pugachev described his experience:
"...we hardly parted company, we met on a daily basis - from early morning to late evening until 3, until 4 AM, every day, every day. We naturally discussed matters of state business development, the state of the economy and so on. Putin needed someone who understood and knew those matters well." (Harding, Smith and Maynard 2015)

Gift 3

Absence of True 'Rules-Based' World Order no Prettier With Liberal Lipstick on it

woman red lipstick
© Getty
There is nothing "exceptionally" bad about Donald Trump. Rather, he represents "business as usual" for the empire.

Last weekend, I was a guest speaker as usual at the How the Light Gets In festival, which normally takes place in the village of Hay-on-Wye on the English-Welsh border but the venue this time was in the liberal lands of North London. I'm the token "noble savage" at this event, the short-sword fighter amid the better or more expensively educated cognoscenti, virtually exclusively wedded to the neo-liberal orthodoxy. I'm usually more noble than savage in the teeth of them - apart from anything, where else would I eat vegan schnitzel for lunch - but this time the savage beast broke free.

The motion was that the Trump presidency represents an "aberration" - a disruption of the "rules-based" world order. Speaking in favor was the chairwoman, Mary Ann Sieghart, an achingly liberal feminist, a first-rate intellectual herself, a fine writer and thinker, who has been a member of the Broadcasting Content Board of Ofcom. She's therefore currently contemplating taking me off both television and radio.


Stephen Cohen: Who Putin is not

Putin montage
© enVolve
Falsely demonizing Russia's leader has made the new Cold War even more dangerous.

Stephen F. Cohen, professor emeritus of Russian studies and politics at Princeton and NYU, and John Batchelor continue their (usually) weekly discussions of the new US-Russian Cold War. (Previous installments, now in their fifth year, are at TheNation.com.) This post is different. The conversation was based on Cohen's article below, completed the day of the broadcast.
"Putin is an evil man, and he is intent on evil deeds."
- Senator John McCain
"[Putin] was a KGB agent. By definition, he doesn't have a soul."
"If this sounds familiar, it's what Hitler did back in the 1930s."
- 2016 Democratic Presidential Nominee Hillary Clinton
The specter of an evil-doing Vladimir Putin has loomed over and undermined US thinking about Russia for at least a decade. Henry Kissinger deserves credit for having warned, perhaps alone among prominent American political figures, against this badly distorted image of Russia's leader since 2000: "The demonization of Vladimir Putin is not a policy. It is an alibi for not having one."

Comment: Their problem with Putin is indeed, from their perspective, a fundamental one: he is incorruptible.

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NewsReal: Israeli-French Deception Downs Russian Spy Plane Off Syria, US Escalates 'Regime Change' Against Iran

NewsReal Russian plane Syria
Israel has finally been called to the carpet by Russia over its deceitful actions last week that led to the accidental downing of a Russian IL-20 reconnaissance plane off the coast of Latakia in western Syria that killed 14 of its servicemen. This week on NewsReal with Joe & Niall, they discuss the incident in the context of last week's surprise announcement of a Turkish-Russian plan to deal with 'the Idlib cauldron' jointly.

Also, a bloody terror attack in Ahvaz, southwestern Iran on Saturday underscored the urgency that renewed sanctions bring to that country's predicament: is 'regime change' imminent? And will the US/Israel 'go for the jugular' in the course of generating socio-economic upheaval in yet another country, they believe, is 'ripe for democracy'?

Live audio broadcast this Sunday 23rd September from 16:00 UTC / 12:00 EST / 18:00 CET. Video podcast available here later.

Running Time: 01:39:14

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Niall Bradley on Sputnik: 'Kerry Shadow Diplomacy Exposes US-Israeli Urgency to Contain Iran Before it Acquires Strategic Deterrence'

john kerry mohammad zarif
Fmr. US Sec. of State John Kerry recently admitted to carrying out 'shadow diplomacy' in order to 'save' the Iran Deal, for which he was lambasted by the Trump administration for undermining its hard-line anti-Iran policy. Kerry is almost certainly in violation of the Logan Act prohibiting civilians from conducting diplomacy on any issue that is contrary to the government's position. The Logan Act, which dates from 1799, is unlikely to be used against Kerry, but a more recent precedent saw Trump's initial National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, punished for a far less serious diplomatic transgression (namely, speaking on the phone with the Russian ambassador in Washington, DC).

Sott.net editor Niall Bradley joined Andrew Korybko on his Sputnik 'Trendstorm' show this week to discuss what Kerry's game-plan might be here, concluding that, whichever Iran policy 'wins' in Washington, the race is on between US 'good cops' and 'bad cops' to prevent Iran from achieving strategic military deterrence, thereby 'containing' its economic and military development, and thus its influence in the wider southwest Asian region.

Originally published as an .mp3 Trendstorm podcast on Sputnik

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The Truth Perspective: How Postmodernism Usurped the Western Mind

Intersectionality postmodern liberal leftist
Today on the Truth Perspective we tackle the Gordian Knot that is Postmodernism. From degrading art to bizarre philosophy, Postmodernism has relied primarily on confusion and a mask of 'mystique' to secure its rise to prominence. Today we dispel much of that confusion by discussing it historically and philosophically while putting it back into the context of that thing called "reality" which its adherents have so vehemently denied.

Charting its course from the Enlightenment through the conflict between Capitalism and Communism and on to the rise of the SJW, we examine how, where, and why it came to such prominence in Western thought and society. In the process we find that Postmodernism, far from being the confusing mess it portends to be, is indeed a rational movement, yet one that has at its core an old and malevolent spirit.

Running Time: 01:18:21

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Is Vladimir Putin Evil? (1/3)

putin stern
© Alexey Druzhinin/Ria Novosti/Agence France-Presse
Western corporate media has cast Vladimir Putin as the main villain of today's geopolitics. If their coverage of Russia's president were truthful and objective, we'd have to conclude that Putin has no redeeming qualities whatsoever, that he is the greediest, most ruthless tyrant since Genghis Khan and that he had turned his government into a lawless mafia state. Indeed, unflattering, negative coverage of Vladimir Putin is pervasive, but where concrete evidence should be presented, ceaseless repetition of allegations is taken as sufficient proof.

Joseph Goebbels' technique of the big lie entails deceiving people with big, brazen lies and repeating them unrelentingly. If truth is to set us free, we must spread it with boldness and determination. We must push back and expose the lies. They who desire wars are few, and we who desire peace are many. Even if they can silence some of us, they can not silence us all. Do your part, reject fear and the lies, and together we can put an end to today's dystopian state of permanent war.