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Mon, 19 Feb 2018
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Leave Them Kids Alone! Micromanaging Kids to Death by Banning Best Friends

best friends
© Getty
I hope those smiles aren't exclusive between the two of you. Please distribute those smiles equally among the class.
There's a scourge plaguing the children of today; an outdated, outmoded concept that continues to interfere with the freedom our children need and deserve. That scourge is best friends. Having a best friend is a terror upon childhood, and it needs to be stopped.

Or so says Dr. Barbara Greenberg , PhD, child and adolescent psychologist, in an op-ed piece for U.S. News. Well, that's a bit of an exaggeration. What Dr. Greenberg actually says is that there's "merit to the movement to ban having best friends," and goes on to argue for that "merit". Apparently this is a thing, with Greenberg citing best-friend-banning as being an "emerging trend among European schools, and now some American schools as well." She doesn't give any reference for this, so I guess we'll just have to take her word for it (OK, I looked it up. It's a thing).

When I first encountered the headline of the piece, "Should Schools Ban Kids From Having Best Friends?", my first thought was, 'No, of course not. What a silly idea'. And reading the piece in its entirety didn't do anything to change my mind. The argument can be boiled down to 'because feelings', and outright ignores the importance of friendship and particularly best friends.

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Behind the Headlines: Trump Wags the Iran Riot Dog, Kim Talks Korean Peace

anti-government Iran protesters
© Lucy Nicholson / Reuters
People protest in Los Angeles, California, U.S., in support of anti-government protesters in Iran
Before the end of last year, protests broke out in Iran, quickly hijacked by rioters on the streets and neocons on Twitter. Economic demands, criticisms of the Islamic rulers, calls for all-out regime change: distinctions between the various demands were ignored by Western pundits eager to capitalize on the unrest and frame it in terms of their own myopic worldview. The hysteria has largely died down, but not the hypocrisy. Such protests are dealt with more harshly in Western democracies, but you wouldn't think it by looking at the news commentary.

Meanwhile, the war of blustery rhetoric between arch trolls Kim Jong-un and Donald J. Trump reached heights of comedic mastery in a comparison of nuclear-button-size. While those without a sense of humor worried about post-apocalyptic dystopia, the effect has been quite the opposite: North Korea calling for direct peace talks with their neighbors in the South.

As for the serialized slapstick comedy known as Russiagate, the "prosecution's" case continues to fall apart as the DOJ, FBI, and DNC are repeatedly exposed as dim-witted, naive marks for unsophisticated con-men like Chris Steele and his mentally deranged supporters. Once again, clown-in-chief Trump ends up looking like the sane one.

Tune in to Behind the Headlines at 6-8pm CET (4-6pm UTC / 12-2pm EST), on the SOTT Radio Network.

Running Time: 01:54:56

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Better Earth

Happy New Year: Here's What to Expect

World on fire
2018 is going to be a fun fun year. And to better prepare yourself for all the merrymaking here is a calendar of some of the more delightful things to look forward to.

Megaphone

Twitter's #FreeIran and #IranProtests: Hyperbole, Deception and Outright Lies to Further Western 'Regime Change' Narrative

Hijab Stick
© unknown
Beauty and the Beast
Twitter is a bizarre place. Depending on the circumstances, it can be both immensely helpful and potentially dangerous at the same time.

A vast majority of tweets seem to fall into the "meaningless fluff" category; superficial, nonsensical and relevant to only a select few of the person's followers. Being that less than a quarter of Americans are reported to be active on this particular social media platform suggests that many conversations will end up being dominated by the more vocal and politically extreme on either end of the spectrum.

For those of us who prefer more in-depth, detailed information, Twitter seems to work best when a tweet redirects to a specific article that has the space to effectively articulate the author's point of view, and that bolsters their arguments with data from various sources.

Many do try and use Twitter to form a cogent argument or convincing narrative, but ultimately fail because a mere 140 - 280 characters is unfortunately a too limited amount of space in which to properly frame and elucidate ideas in their proper context.

So, what often ends up happening is that those on either side of a divisive issue engage in a series of pithy one-liners, appeals to emotion, short insults and back and forth name-calling, not dissimilar to a junior high school cafeteria food fight.

The main problem with this sort of conflict seems to be a lack of nuance and an incomplete understanding of complex issues from participants on both sides.

To take the most recent protests in Iran as an example...

Last week the hashtags #IranProtests and #FreeIran were both trending on Twitter during the height of the demonstrations, with people in both camps tweeting for or against their respective causes. Lost in this verbal melee was the subtle but complicated understanding that many different perspectives of the various players can be true simultaneously.

Comment: For an excellent analysis of the US-backed MEK terrorists, Niall Bradley's in-depth report is a must read!

MEK Terrorist Death Cult: Meet Washington's 'Iranian Opposition'


Cult

MEK Terrorist Death Cult: Meet Washington's 'Iranian Opposition'

iran protests
© Mohammad ALI MARIZAD / AFP
Pro-government demonstrators march in Iran's holy city of Qom on January 3, 2018
As hundreds of thousands of Iranians take to the streets in support of their government and against recent violent demonstrations in the country, the chief commander of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) reports that the rioting seen in several Iranian cities over the last week is now under control. Claiming that "the Iranian nation has been targeted due to its resistance against the US and its lackeys and for its support for oppressed nations worldwide," Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari also reported that "a large number of the arrested trouble-makers at the center of the sedition had received training from counter-revolutionaries and the terrorist Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization [MKO/MEK - People's Mujahedin of Iran, aka National Council of Resistance of Iran]."

When President Rouhani spoke with French President Macron yesterday, he urged France to stop hosting the MEK, which has been based in Paris since its leaders fled Iran after the 1979 revolution. Macron didn't acknowledge his country's support for the MEK, but he did call on the US, Saudi Arabia and Israel to cool their aggressive rhetoric. Much as the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights spoon-feeds Western media with fake intel about what is going on there, and just as Turkey has to worry about the US-based fifth columnist Gulen network, Iran has to contend with a dodgy expatriate organization that Hillary Clinton got de-listed from the US List of Terror Organizations in 2012.

Undeterred by the sheer fantasy that a 'democratic revolution' could occur in a country that holds regular elections, it's all-systems go for the US media in its effort to 'catapult the propaganda' against the Iranian 'Islamic regime'. Fox News yesterday gave a platform to Alireza Jafarzadeh, deputy director of the Washington office of the MEK, in which he urged the Trump government to impose crippling sanctions (additional, presumably, to the existing ones) and to recognize his organization as the new government of Iran.

The heroic story of a righteous underdog fighting for noble ideals against a tyrannical regime has galvanized the US polity - right and left, including some among the ostensibly anti-globalist 'alt-media' - to proclaim their impassioned support for 'the Iranian opposition', whom they portray as democratic white knights against the theocratic despots ruling Iran. But a closer look at the 'better option' certain Westerners have deigned the 'saviors' of Iran reveals quite a different tale.

Comment: For the inside scoop on the MEK and its activities in France, see this excellent Press TV documentary.


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The Health & Wellness Show: The Smarter Your Phone, The Dumber Your Brain

Image
There are estimated to be over 200 million smartphone addicts worldwide and 46% of Americans say that they can't live without their smartphones. Mobile phones were initially an adjunct to the home phone, useful for emergencies while out on the road, but have morphed into an ever-present source of addiction for children and adults alike. Users check their phones up to 85 times a day, interact more with their phones than they do with other people and live in a state of continuous distraction. Warnings of the dangers of smartphone overuse have fallen on deaf ears as the technology has invaded every aspect of life. Researchers are finding that as we become more dependent on smartphone apps our cognitive capacities weaken considerably and we are left dumbed down, moody and distanced from reality.

Join us on this episode of The Health and Wellness Show where we discuss the dumbness of smartphones (and their owners) and if society can ever turn back after Pandora's smartphone has been unboxed.

Also stay tuned for Zoya's Pet Health Segment where she discusses the use of a common cooking spice as a solution for dog's itching.

Running Time: 01:20:05

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Everyone Is Putin's Agent! Poroshenko and Saakashvili Each Accuse the Other of Colluding with Russia

Saakashvili

"Damn you, Russia!"
Infamous tie-eater, wanted criminal, ex-leader of Georgia, ex-leader of Odessa region in Ukraine, current figurehead for the "Ukrainian opposition" and all-around sorry excuse for a human being Mikheil Saakashvili is currently undergoing some legal trouble in Kiev. His Ukrainian citizenship was revoked back in December, prompting a series of self-preservation-inspired publicity stunts after he re-entered Ukraine and promised to stay. Since then, he has been taken into custody, rescued, questioned and released on numerous occasions. He and his supporters have called for Poroshenko's impeachment because of his corruption - Saakashvili says he's ready to become Ukraine's next prime minister. And just yesterday Saakashvili stunned the world by revealing the man behind all his current troubles: Vlad "The Man" Putin himself.

At the hearing, prosecutors sought to have Saakashvili placed under house arrest after he refused to answer questions from the SBU (Ukraine's security service). After refusing to speak, he revealed the dark hand of Putin to the media, accusing President Poroshenko of colluding with Putin to manufacture the charges against him. What charges? That Saakashvili himself is an agent of Putin! What a tangled web of Russian agents we have here.

Arch Russia-hater Mikheil Saakashvili accuses his arch enemy Poroshenko of being a Putin tool. Arch Russia-hater Poroshenko in turn is accusing Saakashvili of being a Putin tool. It doesn't get any better than this, folks. Talk about slap stick comedy! Just a couple weeks ago, famous Russian phone pranksters "Vovan and Lexus" rang up Poroshenko pretending to be calling from the Georgian special services. In their conversation, Poroshenko told them, "We found the connection between Mikheil Saakashvili and Russian special services. They financed him. We caught them red-handed."

Cards

Trump's Jerusalem Card and the 'Obama-Hezbollah' Scandal

trump aipac
Shortly before Christmas, a pronounced belch of methane erupted from the Washington Swamp with the 'revelation' that Obama had put the kibosh on a decade-long US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) investigation into a global cocaine racket allegedly run by none other than Hassan Nasrallah, Secretary-General of the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah. The goal of the Obama administration was to 'appease' the Iranians and secure the 'Iran nuke deal' in early 2016.

Although US media stopped short of suggesting that the former US president did so because he's an inveterate commie Muslim at heart, that sentiment was certainly in the air as the New York Post thundered about the "deafening media silence" following the 'revelation' and Bloomberg bellowed about Obama peddling in "alternative facts". If nothing else, the episode represented a brief but jarring turnaround in media fortunes for the globalists' favorite liberal.

Snakes in Suits

Dutch Teacher Abuses 13-year-old Girl, Court Acquits Him of Rape Because 'No Question of Violence'

Terra-school Assen
© Robbert Willemsen
The school in Assen, The Netherlands, where the teacher used to work
A teacher of the Terra College in Assen, The Netherlands, who sexually abused his 13-year-old pupil and mentee has been jailed today for 30 months, which includes a 10 month suspended sentence. Last month the prosecutor sought a rape acquittal, as 'there was no question of violence or threat of violence'. This case follows in the footsteps of two separate rape cases in France last year when two men were acquitted of the same crime, as the French court was of the opinion that their victims - two 11-year-old girls - had consented.

The website SPECTR reported:
The events took place in 2009. A 22-year-old man took an 11-year-old girl to the park in Champs-sur-Marne, in the vicinity of Paris. He undressed her, asked her to lie on the ground and had sexual relations with the child. Despite her young age the girl became pregnant. She gave birth to a son in 2010.

In light of the facts the prosecutor asked an 8-year sentence. However, the court acquitted the man. As there was no question of coercion, nor threats or violence - the French legal criteria for rape - no unlawful act was committed, or so the judge argued. Therefore, the girl would have consented implicitly to the sexual act in the park, at least according to the court in question. [...]

The case is also remarkable as a very similar news item came to light in the end of September 2017. At the time the French prosecutor decided not to prosecute a 28-year-old pedophile for rape of another 11-year-old girl. Again, it was argued that the girl in question had not resisted, so one could speak of "consent". However, the lawyer who represented the girl said that the girl "[...] had been terrified and had felt ashamed" and therefore, had not uttered a sound.

2 + 2 = 4

Iran Protests Through the Prism of Geopolitics

Iran1
What's happening in Iran? Are the protests genuinely spontaneous? Are the grievances authentic and deep-rooted? Or is it a drama created by covert, regime-change puppeteers? And what are the geopolitical implications of the success or failure of these events?