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Sun, 18 Feb 2018
The World for People who Think


Storms Batter The Netherlands: All Five Dutch Storm Gates Closed For The First Time In History

storm nederland
© Tineke Dijkstra
Strong storm on the Dutch coast. The storm led to high water levels near the shore.
When storm Eleanor was sweeping through Europe in early January, the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI) issued a code orange weather warning for northwestern provinces due to powerful wind gusts. The storm caused widespread damage and chaos in the Netherlands: Trees crashed down blocking the roads, flights were canceled, and several buildings were damaged.

It also led to high water levels, which moved the Dutch infrastructure agency, Rijkswaterstaat, to simultaneously close all five flood barriers for the first time in history. These storm surge barriers are:
  • The Maeslantkering, a flood barrier on the Nieuwe Waterweg, which closes if the city of Rotterdam is threatened by floods.
  • The Hartelkering, another barrier which lies in the city of Spijkenisse. The last time this gate was closed, was in November 8th, 2007, after a storm hit the Dutch coast.
  • The five-mile-long Oosterscheldekering in the province Zeeland, south-west of the country.
  • The Hollandsche IJsselkering in the province Zuid-Holland, near the city of Rotterdam.
  • The Balgstuw Ramspol, an inflatable rubber dam, which lies between the lakes Ketelmeer and the Zwarte Meer, in the province of Flevoland.

Magic Hat

Russiagate Circus Comes to Mexico

Russia Moscow Circus
As I watched 'Russian interference' spread through Europe last year, I remember joking that Russiagate might also come to Mexico. The joke is on me now.

Weeks ago, US National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster gave a speech at the Jamestown Foundation in which he commented on the as yet unfounded claim that Russia has been meddling in democratic processes around the world. The Jamestown Foundation is D.C.'s preeminent anti-Russian 'think-tank', founded as it was in 1984 to gather all Soviet defectors for propaganda purposes against Moscow, so he was speaking to a crowd that is only too willing to believe any allegation against Russia.

"We've seen that this is really a sophisticated effort to polarize democratic societies and pit communities within those societies against each other," McMaster told the imperial gathering. He added that this is what happened in the referendum for Catalonian independence, and now "you've seen, actually, initial signs of it in the Mexican presidential campaign already."

McMaster didn't elaborate on how Russia is supposedly doing this, nor did his office at the White House return a request for comments from Reuters. That was literally all he said about Mexico. Naturally, Russia's Ambassador to Mexico Eduard Malayan called the allegation "foolish" and an attempt "to keep the subject afloat."


Praise the Lord! Freedom House Says Trump "Abdicating" US Role as Worldwide Democracy Promoter

Trump thumbup
The orange-faced duck-haired God-Emperor of the United States doesn't get much good press. In fact, even his good press tends to be bad press, except when it's coming from places like Breitbart and Fox. But sometimes even the most 'eminent' and 'respectable' sources can't help but pay Trump an unintentional compliment. The neocon-infested, U.S.-government-backed NGO Freedom House released a report today with attention-grabbing conclusions that would make Chicken Little die in a fit of acrobatic hysterics.

According to Freedom House, democracy is "under assault and retreating" around the world. The U.S. is "abdicating" its "traditional role" of acting as galactic champion of "democratic ideals". The Demon-Spawn Nations of Russia and China are "increasing repression" and exporting their "malign influence" abroad. Indeed, this is democracy's "most serious crisis in decades"; basic democratic tenets are "under siege" across the world, according to Freedom House President, Michael Abramowitz. The gates of hell have been opened, Satan has appeared, and he looks a lot like Xi, Putin and Trump.


Obnoxious, Arrogant, Imperial America in Syria

us troops syria
© AP Photo/ Hammurabi's Justice News
Leveraging core competencies, one jihadist at a time: US troops somewhere in northeastern Syria, July 2017.
When the US govt./deep state first decided that 'regime change' was necessary in Syria (circa 2006) - primarily as a way to hem in Iran - it decided (along with its Gulf allies and Israel) to use a proxy force of tens of thousands of jihadist mercenaries along with Kurdish factions to do the fighting with US-supplied weapons and training. The goal was to destroy the Syrian military, overthrow the democratically-elected Assad government and install a vassal administration. Cover for this imperial conquest was provided by initiating a 'color revolution' in 2011 that had little support among the Syrian people - Western media propaganda notwithstanding - and from there launch their proxy war.

By the summer of 2015 the project was close to achieving its aims; the Syrian Arab Army was severely pressed and on the brink of defeat. But in late September 2015, the Russian military intervened in the conflict and, over the last two years, routed Western-backed proxy forces and turned the tide decisively in favor of the Syria Arab Army, securing the Assad government in the process. One would have thought that having had its plans thwarted in Syria, the USA would bow out gracefully, but we're talking about the 'exceptional nation' here, which neither knows nor recognizes defeat.


Bullshit For Breakfast: Kellogg's Processed Breakfast Cereal Health Claims Are Reasonably Unbelievable

Special K advertisement

I feed my unborn baby heat-treated extruded grain slurry with added low quality folic acid because advertising.
Sometimes you just have to marvel at the lies we're surrounded by. The number of untruths proffered by advertising is so blatant that it's rather astounding that it isn't illegal. Well, technically it is illegal, but it seems advertisers are well aware of ways around the rules, or simply break them until they're called out.

In a previous piece, I detailed a lawsuit filed against Coca-Cola by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) for claims the company had made for their product "Vitaminwater," a sugary soft drink masquerading as a health beverage. In the legal proceedings, Coke's lawyers argued that "no consumer could reasonably be misled into thinking Vitaminwater was a healthy beverage." Essentially, Coca-Cola's stance is that if you're stupid enough to believe them, that's too bad for you, and that it is within their rights to lie, exaggerate or otherwise skew the truth about their product in advertising it to the public because there's no risk of anyone reasonably believing it.

Since the writing of that piece, the suit has been resolved. From CSPI:
The agreement approved yesterday by Magistrate Judge Robert M. Levy of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York bars Coca-Cola from making those health claims in connection with Vitaminwater, as well as such statements as "vitamins + water = what's in your hand," "vitamins + water = all you need," and "this combination of zinc and fortifying vitamins can... keep you healthy as a horse." The company will also prominently add the words "with sweeteners" on two places on the label where the brand's name appears.
How about 'vitamins + water + sugar + hype = soda - bubbles'? Can they put that on the bottle? That seems reasonable.

Road Cone

California Mudslides, a Sign of Worse to Come?

oprah mudflow

Oprah Winfrey surveys the damage from the mudflow on her property in Montecito, southern California
13 years to the day since the La Conchita landslide killed 10 people following a deluge, the same stretch of southern California between Santa Barbara and Los Angeles was hit with another deluge that produced instant and devastating mudflows. With the area torched by the Thomas Wildfire the preceding month, the heavy rain that fell on 9-10 January produced instant run-off from higher ground that washed away everything in its path, all the way down to the ocean.

As more dead bodies are found in the disaster zone, local authorities have gradually increased the death toll - which currently stands at 20 - while they report that another 8 people remain missing. The surge also injured about 200 people and destroyed or damaged about 500 homes in Montecito, Santa Barbara County - located just a few kilometers from La Conchita - and washed out a 30-mile stretch of the 101 Freeway.

From above, the debris flow appears to have converted the wealthy neighborhood - which is home to mega-stars like Oprah and Ellen - into a brown swamp.


Statin Drugs - The Real Reason Official Guidelines Still Demonize Fats Despite the Evidence?

lardo di colonnata

Lardo di Colonnata - A lard specialty from Tuscany, real Mediterranean food!
Nina Teicholz, investigative journalist and author of the International bestseller The Big Fat Surprise, wrote an article for the BMJ (formerly the British Medical Journal) in September 2015, which makes the case for the inadequacy of the scientific advice that underpins the Dietary Guidelines (Teicholz, 2015). The title of the article was "The scientific report guiding the U.S. dietary guidelines: is it scientific?" Ian Leslie writing for The Guardian reports that the response of the nutrition establishment was ferocious: 173 scientists - some of whom were on the advisory panel, and many of whose work had been critiqued in Teicholz's book - signed a letter to the BMJ, demanding it retract the piece (Leslie, 2016). Prominent cardiovascular and nutrition scientists from 19 countries called for the retraction. However, to this day, the article remains published. The BMJ has officially announced that it will not retract the peer-reviewed investigation after stating that two independent experts conducted formal post-publication reviews of the article and found no grounds for retraction (Sboros, 2016).

Yet, behind every mainstream medical practice, strict questionable guidelines are still followed faithfully every day. Doctors are still following cholesterol targets that are often unattainable without cholesterol lowering drugs, but many do try to achieve their targets with extremely low fat diets recommended irresponsibly in dietary guidelines.

Unfortunately the rest of the world has followed suit on these dietary changes. Traditional high fat foods have been given up for the low fat scam. Promoters of the highly touted Mediterranean diet, with its olive oil and 'low animal fat', fail to mention the fact that there are still fat loaded recipes that were passed from generation to generation among the Mediterranean people. Lardo di Colonnata with its cured strips of fatback and herbs and spices; Greek barbecue which often involves an entire lamb roasted on a spit; or the kokoretsi which is made from the internal organs of the lamb - liver, spleen, heart, glands - threaded onto skewers along with the fatty membrane from the lamb intestines, all of these are foods of the long-lived Mediterranean people. Yet the 'American style Mediterranean Diet' selectively picks foods from the diet of the Mediterranean people to give the picture they desire. Ironically, many of the Mediterranean people have adopted this Americanized version of the 'Mediterranean Diet'.


Why is The Trump Administration Selling Weapons to Ukraine?

Javelin antitank missile
© Getty
The Trump administration approved the sale of Javelin anti-tank missiles to Ukraine.
Last month, the Trump administration approved the largest US sale of lethal weapons to Ukraine since 2014 by approving a commercial license authorizing the export of sniper systems to Ukraine for $41.5 million. A few days later, the antitank Javelin missiles that the Ukranian government requested were added to the sale - the total package is now valued at $47 million. Although the US State Department announced the measure as providing Ukraine with "enhanced defensive capabilities as part of our effort to help Ukraine build its long-term defense capacity", Russia has rightly suggested it will exacerbate the conflict. Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov stated that the US has become an accomplice in the war and that the sale makes it impossible for Russia to remain "indifferent".

Writer Daniel Larison calls Trump "a fool" for arming Ukraine, as Russia will respond more aggressively and will always outmatch whatever support the US gives, because it has far more at stake. The situation will lead to a "fruitless and unnecessary competition with another major power" - a power that Trump promised barely a month earlier to seek a good relationship with. Likewise, Professor Stephen Cohen is right when he says it doesn't make any geopolitical or strategic sense.

Alarm Clock

Even Ethnic Male Feminists Aren't Safe From #MeToo

Aziz Ansari
© Greg Doherty/Getty Images
Apparently not "woke" enough, Feminism eats another ally. When will they learn?
Apparently the intersectional victim hierarchy has finally been made clear. Women are at the top, even above ethnic minority males when it comes to #MeToo. At least that seems to be the lesson from the latest #MeToo allegations, this time against minority comedian and 'woke' male feminist Aziz Ansari.

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The Truth Perspective: Left by the Wayside on a Right-hand Turn: What Happened to SOTT.net?

trump maga
The polarizing effect Trump has had on people - both in the US and globally - is a phenomenon to behold. On what seems to be a weekly basis, Trump does or says something that triggers twitter-storms and media hysteria, prompting another round of indignant outrage and renewing each time calls for his impeachment on the grounds that he is "unfit to be president of the USA."

But we're not going to talk about that orange "stable genius" today, at least not principally.

Whether or not one supports Trump is largely irrelevant. His main function seems to be as a catalyst for the revealing of a whole host of hot-topic and divisive issues in American and Western society that have been festering in the background for many years. Poverty, class, gender, identity, immigration, democracy, human rights, the wage gap, racism, sexism, the patriarchy, evil corporations... our language is steeped in abstract terms that are open to interpretation and, most importantly, form the basis of overlapping ideologies rallying around injustice.

And nobody likes injustice, right?

Join us on The Truth Perspective this Sunday, 14 January 2018, from 12 - 1:30pm EST / 5 - 6:30pm UTC / 6 - 7:30pm CET for a reality-check on where 'the war against injustice' has taken society, and where it could yet go.

Running Time: 01:51:36

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