At a diplomatic do in New York the other night, someone remarked that the events that broke the Middle East wide open four years ago this season were misnamed. “It wasn’t the Arab Spring,” a smart-seeming man said. “It was more like the Arab winter of discontent.”
Nice one-liner. Clever in a small crowd. But it is sloppy logic. What began late in 2010 was indeed an Arab renewal, a bid for bottom-up democratic rule matched only (and not everywhere) by the awakening known in the history books as the independence era — the 1940s and 1950s.
What we witness now is bleak, wintry discontent times 10, yes. But this is the consequence of counterrevolutionary reaction among the region’s generals and despots and the interventions (not to say subversions) of Western powers — primarily, of course, the United States.
Take this apart. Everywhere there is crisis, violence and suffering, Washington has been active. Syria, Libya, Egypt, Iraq: All these fall into this category. Where the Obama administration and its covey of neoliberal evangelists in the State Department have allowed the events set in motion during the Arab Spring to take their course, there is at least some semblance of calm, if not better. Let Tunisia, now developing as a secular democracy, stand as the control in this experiment.
And let Egypt stand as the most grotesque, boldest-faced display of Washington’s anti-democratic intent to be found anywhere in the region. Here the lines are most clearly drawn. Here the generals within and the meddlers without got the subversion work done in front of our eyes. And here neither Secretary of State Kerry nor National Security Adviser Susan Rice nor President Obama has anything to say as Egyptians surrender all hope of a return to elected government in exchange for a reign of terror worse than those of the dictators who provoked the Tahrir Square protests.
A reign of terror. One grows heartily sick of this term in all its forms — terrorists, terrorism and so on. All movements opposed to Western interventions in the Middle East are terrorist. The Muslim Brotherhood, explicitly opposed to terror and violence and with a long record attesting to this, is terrorist. The dissident populations of eastern Ukraine are terrorists, for that matter. The word is deployed now merely to deprive those so named of any dimensionality or purpose that requires understanding. It cancels all historical perspective and altogether any recognition of causality. As a standing rule I never use it.
But I do in the case of Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s Egypt, advisedly. This guy may sit in the presidential palace, but if Egypt since he overthrew Mohammad Morsi in July 2013 is not a horror house of terror, we better call in the lexicographers. There is simply no other way to describe Egypt as he rules it.
Immediately prompting these reflections are the accounts of the mess the Morsi coup has made of the Sinai Peninsula. Look at this picture, carried in the New York Times 10 days ago. The Egyptian military is on a campaign against anti-government militias in Sinai that now takes in the destruction of entire towns and cities, so forcing thousands of innocent families out of their communities and into who knows what conditions.
In 2010, it was reported that the Russian Parliament was considering loosening the Russian law on self defense, to allow Russians who legally own firearms to carry them for the purposes of self defense. The Russian Justice Minister, Alexander Konovalov was firmly against the possibility.
In 2013, it was reported that the Russian organization, The Right to Bear Arms, had only 1,000 members. It was founded by Maria Butina, the 24 year old redhead pictured in the video and above.
Now we learn that Russian law has been changed to allow the civil population to carry lethal weapons for self defense. From sputnicknews.com, on 18 November, 2014:
MOSCOW, November 18 (Sputnik) — Russia has updated its legislation to allow civilians to carry firearms for self-defense, according to an amended decree on lethal weapons that appeared Tuesday on the official database of Russian laws and legal documents.
It is not clear who exactly will be able to qualify to own pistols, for example. It is not impossible to obtain a license to own a shotgun in Russia, but a person has to be a shotgun owner for several years before they may purchase a rifle.
The change in the law is likely related to a petition submitted by over 100,000 Russians to allow firearms to be used to defend their residences. The petition was submitted in February of 2014, for the third time. There are said to be five million legal firearms owners in Russia, though there are many more that own firearms without legal sanction.
The movement to create a right to bear arms is fairly young in Russia, but it has scored a significant victory. It has been reported that the new law only applies to long guns outside the home, in particular circumstances. A Russian correspondent writes that the law does not authorize the ownership of handguns, and that the changes are welcome but minor.
We will be watching for additional information.
Though fluoride remains in the drinking water served to millions of people around the world, many communities and even entire countries have removed fluoride from their water as a way to protect public health.
Fluoride is continuously being removed from water nationally and globally as more people start to question practices that were once accepted without a true safety assessment. These bans are a great example of how consciousness is raising on the planet and people are more cognizant of what can harm or help their overall health.
Here are a 5 things you should know about fluoride.
1. Many Municipal Water Systems are Polluted with Hydrofluorosilicic Acid
Our governments have allowed this toxic industrial waste by-product to be in our water systems for more than 60 years. But why would anyone want to add a substance that is the byproduct of the aluminum, fertilizer, steel, and nuclear industries to the water? Hydrofluorosilicic acid comes primarily from the Phosphate Mining & Production Industry, a byproduct of strip-mined rock that is placed in large vats of sulfuric acid to get rid of contaminates in the rock.
This practice resulted in not only polluting our drinking water, but also harming the environment and harming many habitats and the animals that lived in them. Industrial toxic waste was placed into our drinking water as a sneaky way for mega-corporations to get rid of pollutants they didn’t know what to do with (like arsenic, lead, mercury, and silicofluoride, among others) When the aluminum, fertilizer, steel and nuclear industries couldn’t meet certain environmental regulations imposed upon them, they looked for a creative way to get rid of this waste – and guess where it ended up?
As more people learn what fluoride is, and that it is not the ‘naturally occurring fluoride’ that fluoridation supporters try to promote, then they realize it has no business in our drinking water.
2. Fluoride has Been Banned in Numerous Countries for Good Reason
The U.S. Center for Disease Control once propagandized fluoridation of the water supply as ‘one of the top ten public health achievements of the twentieth century.” The U.S. has more fluoridated water than any other country in the world due to this deceptive campaign.
Most industrialized nations do not fluoridate their water. This includes Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Japan, many communities in Australia, Iceland, 90 percent of the UK, Spain, Scotland, Norway, Switzerland, Windsor, Canada, and numerous others who know that fluoridation is toxic to human health.
3. Fluoride is a Pollutant to the Air You Breathe – Not Just the Water You Drink
The Former VP and Senior Chemist at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Headquarters, Dr. William Hirzy, has called fluoride a pollutant. “If this stuff gets out into the air; it’s a pollutant; if it gets into a river it’s a pollutant: if it gets into a lake it’s a pollutant, but it goes right straight into your drinking water system, it’s not a pollutant. That’s amazing.”
One of the most prestigious peer reviewed medical journals has admitted that fluoride is a neurotoxin. This substance can cause all sort of developmental delays in children and dementia in older adults. The publication abstract reads:
“Neurodevelopmental disabilities, including autism, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, dyslexia and other cognitive impairments, affect millions of children worldwide, and some diagnoses seem to be increasing in frequency. Industrial chemicals that injure the developing brain are among the known causes for this rise in prevalence.
In 2006, we did a systematic review and identified five industrial chemicals as developmental neurotoxicants: lead, methyl mercury (common in vaccines), polychlorinated biphenyls, arsenic and toluene. Since 2006, epidemiological studies have documented six additional developmental neurotoxicants – manganese, fluoride, chlorpyrifos, dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, tetrachloroethylene, and the polybrominated dihenyl ethers. We postulate that even more neurotoxicants remain undiscovered.
To control the pandemic of developmental neurotoxicity, we propose a global prevention strategy. Untested chemicals should not be presumed to be safe to brain development, and chemicals in existing use and all new chemicals must therefore be tested for developmental neurotoxicity. To coordinate these efforts and to accelerate translation of science into prevention, we propose the urgent formation of a new international clearinghouse.”
In addition to this, a major Harvard study has confirmed that fluoride lowers IQ.
Jonathan Gruber’s several videotaped remarks about the gross deceptions that got ObamaCare passed in Congress should tell us a lot about the Obama administration. And the way that the mainstream media hesitated for days to even mention what Professor Gruber said, while they obsessed over unsubstantiated charges against Bill Cosby, should tell us a lot about the media.
Whatever did or did not happen between Bill Cosby and various women is not likely to affect the lives of 300 million Americans. But ObamaCare does.
For both the politicians and the media, this was not just an isolated incident. Gruber’s videotaped discussions of the complicated deceptions built into ObamaCare with his help, designed to take advantage of what he called the “stupidity” of the public, are all too typical of the role played by the political left.
Neither the politicians nor the intelligentsia — including the media — want that role exposed for what it is.
Former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi acted as if she had never heard of Jonathan Gruber, and had no idea who he was. But she too had been caught on tape, a few years ago, citing him as someone whose support of ObamaCare was supposed to show that the “experts” knew how good it was.
President Obama gave a somewhat more sophisticated version of the same act. He pointed out that Professor Gruber was not part of his staff. But he did not mention that Gruber had been to the White House 19 times, and the Obama administration had paid Gruber about $400,000 of the taxpayers’ money for his supposedly unbiased expert opinion.
Gruber’s own statements seem to indicate that his mathematical models were enough to baffle the Congressional Budget Office in its efforts to figure out how ObamaCare works. That kind of expertise apparently does not come cheap. Moreover, the 400 grand is chump change compared to the millions that Jonathan Gruber has reportedly raked in from state governments for his expertise.
Barack Obama is currently playing the same political game of parading experts by citing a list of prominent law professors who say that he is not exceeding his Constitutional power by granting amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants.
Someone at the Fox News Channel has checked out these professors and found that every one of them whose political registration could be traced is a Democrat.
But the names of these profs are still being paraded as if they were simply eminent scholars seeking the truth. Maybe. But maybe not.
Whether the issue is ObamaCare, amnesty for illegal immigrants or “global warming,” when you hear that “all the experts agree,” that may mean nothing more than that the fix is in. And “all” may mean considerably less than 100 percent — or even 50 percent.
No one can know for sure what motivated Professor Gruber to do what he did, or what motivated the media to stonewall as if he had never spilled the beans, or the liberal law professors to give Obama cover while he violated the Constitution.
But running through all of their actions seems to be a vision of the world, and a vision of themselves, that is a continuing danger to the fundamental basis of this country, whatever the specific issue might be.
Probably few people on the political left are opposed to the Constitution of the United States, much less actively plotting to undermine it. But, on issue after issue, what they want to do requires them to circumvent the three words with which the Constitution begins: “We, the people…”
Many on the left may want to help “the people.” But once you start from the premise that you know what is best for the people, better than they know themselves, you have to figure ways around a Constitution based on the idea that the people not only have a right to choose their government and control government policy with their votes, but also that there are vast areas of the people’s lives that are none of the government’s business.
Jonathan Gruber’s notion that the people are “stupid” is not fundamentally different from what Barack Obama said to his fellow elite leftists in San Francisco, when he derided ordinary Americans as petty people who want to cling to their guns and their religion. We need to see through such arrogant elitists if we want to cling to our freedom.
Many of my friends vote; people I love and respect vote; but I’ve given it up. That horrifies many people, but—truth be faced—it bothers them mostly because it calls their choices into question.
That’s very unfortunate, because I quite understand why they vote. And I don’t look down on them for it; I did it plenty of times myself. I just wish they’d stop punishing themselves with politics and be happy instead.
Politics is a type of slow-rolling torment. I don’t want people I love to suffer through it.
Yes, I know that my opinion seems crazy to many people, but again, it’s mostly because it differs so starkly from theirs. If my opinion is right, they’ve been wasting their time, and almost no one likes to consider that sort of thing. We fight such possibilities reflexively.
So, if you like your politics, you can keep your politics. I’m not trying to take it away from you. I’m just saying that I wish good people wouldn’t pour their time and energy down that particular drain—I don’t think it benefits them.
Now, since so many people will object, I’ll explain why I think this is so.
“Then Bad People Will Win! Things Will Get Worse!”
This is the first argument I usually hear, to which I usually respond: “It’s already bad, it’s getting worse, and none of the past ten elections have changed it.”
To that I get a lot of “Yeah, but” responses.
The truth is that repressive regimes steamroll right through politics. There were armies of politicians and endless elections in the Soviet republics, after all, and their constitution had some very attractive stuff in it. For example:
The rights of authors, inventors, and innovators are protected by the state.
The privacy of citizens, and of their correspondence, telephone conversations, and telegraphic communications is protected by law.
Citizens of the USSR are guaranteed inviolability of the home. No one may, without lawful grounds, enter a home against the will of those residing in it.
Respect for the individual and protection of the rights and freedoms of citizens are the duty of all state bodies, public organisations, and officials.
Obviously, politicians and political documents didn’t help the people of the USSR very much.
Repressive regimes, however, cannot steamroll through mid-level and lower-level operatives who fail to execute their orders. If those people fail to obey—or if the people who pump their gas or fix their heating systems stop complying—their rule ends, and quickly.
So, in real life, a repressive regime isn’t restrained by politics; it’s restrained by disobedience.
In the end, rulers can go only as far as the obedience of their subjects. If they go too far… if their subjects stop obeying… they’re done.
Power—including political power—always corrupts, and it will always expand to the limit of its subjects’ obedience. I’m not alone in saying this, you understand. Frederick Douglass said the same thing long before I did:
Find out just what people will submit to, and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them … The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.
The worst problem with politics is that it increases the obedience of the populace. The Blues always blame the Reds, the Reds forever blame the Blues, and everyone keeps right on obeying. After all, their team may win the next election, and then things might finally go their way!
So, not only is politics a drain on our lives, but it makes people more likely to robotically obey. And that is truly dangerous.
No Matter Whom You Vote for, the Government Gets Elected
When people think of the US government, they usually think of about 600 people in Washington, DC. The actual government, however, is composed of millions of employees, many of whom are almost impossible to fire. To make it worse, oceans of money are moving through this operation on a daily basis. This arrangement fosters the abuse of power, and it always will. It’s a structural issue, not “a few bad apples.”
Your government structure is corrupt and abusive, and it will stay that way until the structure itself changes.
Politics keeps us believing that things can improve anyway… once we defeat that horrible enemy party, of course. But regardless of our hopes, we always end up with something that might be called “practical rulership.” In other words, not much changes, even when the televised faces do.
Politics Relies on Superstition
Embedded in the practice of politics is a superstition, which is this:
If we complain enough, and in the right ways, we’ll get what we want without having to take any risks at all.
In other words, we want to believe that politics provides us an easy way out… that our complaints invoke magic.
But if we want things to be different, we must act to make them different. Politics shuts that down by making people think that talking is magic and passivity is a virtue.
So, we have millions of decent and capable people who are more than able to solve their own problems but who never consider acting on their own, because they’re intimidated and because they think that they can get what they want without risk, by talking correctly.
Politics has given them an attractive lie to believe in: Change your world: no pain, no strain, no risk.
Not only is this promise a rank superstition, but it also sidetracks people from actually changing their world. Why spend your blood, sweat, and tears when mere complaining will work the same or better?
Politics Is Prehistoric
Being that I study the ancient past, I can trace men ruling over men back to about 6400 BC. I can trace rulership that resembles ours back to about 5000 BC. I can trace bicameral assemblies (like our House of Representatives and Senate) back to about 2500 BC.
Most of that is what we commonly call the “prehistoric” era.
So, here’s my question: What else from before the Egyptian pyramids still rules the lives of women and men?
Men no longer pull plows. They no longer start fires with flint. Nor do they pull sleds or wooden-wheeled carts or rely upon animals for power. We have learned to write, to invent, to navigate, to cover immense distances, to drive, to fly, and to reach into the heavens. And yet…
And yet, this one relic of our primitive past remains. If there’s one area of life in which humans have failed to evolve, it’s politics.
So, I’ve made my case, and you can make of it what you will. But I’ve become happier and more productive by walking away from politics, and I’d like that for you too.
Reprinted with permission from CaseyResearch.
“Iraq no longer exists.” My young friend M, sipping a cappuccino, is deadly serious. We are sitting in a scruffy restaurant across the street from the Cathedral of St. John the Divine on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. It’s been years since we’ve last seen each another. It may be years before our paths cross again. As if to drive his point home, M repeats himself: “Iraq just doesn’t exist.”
His is an opinion grounded in experience. As an enlisted soldier, he completed two Iraq tours, serving as a member of a rifle company, before and during the famous Petraeus “surge.” After separating from the Army, he went on to graduate school where he is now writing a dissertation on insurgencies. Choosing the American war in Iraq as one of his cases, M has returned there to continue his research. Indeed, he was heading back again that very evening. As a researcher, his perch provides him with an excellent vantage point for taking stock of the ongoing crisis, now that the Islamic State, or IS, has made it impossible for Americans to sustain the pretense that the Iraq War ever ended.
Few in Washington would endorse M’s assertion, of course. Inside the Beltway, policymakers, politicians, and pundits take Iraq’s existence for granted. Many can even locate it on a map. They also take for granted the proposition that it is incumbent upon the United States to preserve that existence. To paraphrase Chris Hedges, for a certain group of Americans, Iraq is the cause that gives life meaning. For the military-industrial complex, it’s the gift that keeps on giving.
Considered from this perspective, the “Iraqi government” actually governs, the “Iraqi army” is a nationally representative fighting force, and the “Iraqi people” genuinely see themselves as constituting a community with a shared past and an imaginable future.
Arguably, each of these propositions once contained a modicum of truth. But when the United States invaded Iraq in 2003 and, as then-Secretary of State Colin Powell predicted, broke the place, any merit they previously possessed quickly dissipated. Years of effort by American occupiers intent on creating a new Iraq out of the ruins of the old produced little of value and next to nothing that has lasted. Yet even today, in Washington the conviction persists that trying harder might somehow turn things around. Certainly, that conviction informs the renewed U.S. military intervention prompted by the rise of IS.
So when David Ignatius, a well-informed and normally sober columnist for the Washington Post, reflects on what the United States must do to get Iraq War 3.0 right, he offers this “mental checklist”: in Baghdad, the U.S. should foster a “cleaner, less sectarian government”; to ensure security, we will have to “rebuild the military”; and to end internal factionalism, we’re going to have to find ways to “win Kurdish support” and “rebuild trust with Sunnis.” Ignatius does not pretend that any of this will be easy. He merely argues that it must be — and by implication can be — done. Unlike my friend M, Ignatius clings to the fantasy that “Iraq” is or ought to be politically viable, militarily capable, and socially cohesive. But surely this qualifies as wishful thinking.
The value of M’s insight — of, that is, otherwise intelligent people purporting to believe in things that don’t exist — can be applied well beyond American assumptions about Iraq. A similar inclination to fanaticize permeates, and thereby warps, U.S. policies throughout much of the Greater Middle East. Consider the following claims, each of which in Washington circles has attained quasi-canonical status.
* The presence of U.S. forces in the Islamic world contributes to regional stability and enhances American influence.
* The Persian Gulf constitutes a vital U.S. national security interest.
* Egypt and Saudi Arabia are valued and valuable American allies.
* The interests of the United States and Israel align.
* Terrorism poses an existential threat that the United States must defeat.
For decades now, the first four of these assertions have formed the foundation of U.S. policy in the Middle East. The events of 9/11 added the fifth, without in any way prompting a reconsideration of the first four. On each of these matters, no senior U.S. official (or anyone aspiring to a position of influence) will dare say otherwise, at least not on the record.
Yet subjected to even casual scrutiny, none of the five will stand up. To take them at face value is the equivalent of believing in Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy — or that John Boehner and Mitch McConnell really, really hope that the Obama administration and the upcoming Republican-controlled Congress can find grounds to cooperate.
Let’s examine all five, one at a time.
The Presence of U.S. Forces: Ever since the U.S. intervention in Lebanon that culminated in the Beirut bombing of October 1983, introducing American troops into predominantly Muslim countries has seldom contributed to stability. On more than a few occasions, doing so has produced just the opposite effect.
Iraq and Afghanistan provide mournful examples. The new book “Why We Lost” by retired Lieutenant General Daniel Bolger finally makes it permissible in official circles to declare those wars the failures that they have been. Even granting, for the sake of argument, that U.S. nation-building efforts were as pure and honorable as successive presidents portrayed them, the results have been more corrosive than constructive. The IS militants plaguing Iraq find their counterpart in the soaring production of opium that plagues Afghanistan. This qualifies as stability?
And these are hardly the only examples. Stationing U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia after Operation Desert Storm was supposed to have a reassuring effect. Instead, it produced the debacle of the devastating Khobar Towers bombing. Sending G.I.’s into Somalia back in 1992 was supposed to demonstrate American humanitarian concern for poor, starving Muslims. Instead, it culminated in the embarrassing Mogadishu firefight, which gained the sobriquet Black Hawk Down, and doomed that mission.
Even so, the pretense that positioning American soldiers in some Middle East hotspot will bring calm to troubled waters survives. It’s far more accurate to say that doing so provides our adversaries with what soldiers call a target-rich environment — with Americans as the targets.
The Importance of the Persian Gulf: Although U.S. interests in the Gulf may once have qualified as vital, the changing global energy picture has rendered that view obsolete. What’s probably bad news for the environment is good news in terms of creating strategic options for the United States. New technologies have once again made the United States the world’s largest producer of oil. The U.S. is also the world’s largest producer of natural gas. It turns out that the lunatics chanting “drill, baby, drill” were right after all. Or perhaps it’s “frack, baby, frack.” Regardless, the assumed energy dependence and “vital interests” that inspired Jimmy Carter to declare back in 1980 that the Gulf is worth fighting for no longer pertain.
Access to Gulf oil remains critically important to some countries, but surely not to the United States. When it comes to propping up the wasteful and profligate American way of life, Texas and North Dakota outrank Saudi Arabia and Kuwait in terms of importance. Rather than worrying about Iraqi oil production, Washington would be better served ensuring the safety and well-being of Canada, with its bountiful supplies of shale oil. And if militarists ever find the itch to increase U.S. oil reserves becoming irresistible, they would be better advised to invade Venezuela than to pick a fight with Iran.
Does the Persian Gulf require policing from the outside? Maybe. But if so, let’s volunteer China for the job. It will keep them out of mischief.
Arab Allies: It’s time to reclassify the U.S. relationship with both Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Categorizing these two important Arab states as “allies” is surely misleading. Neither one shares the values to which Washington professes to attach such great importance.
For decades, Saudi Arabia, Planet Earth’s closest equivalent to an absolute monarchy, has promoted anti-Western radical jihadism — and not without effect. The relevant numbers here are two that most New Yorkers will remember: 15 out of 19. If a conspiracy consisting almost entirely of Russians had succeeded in killing several thousand Americans, would U.S. authorities give the Kremlin a pass? Would U.S.-Russian relations remain unaffected? The questions answer themselves.
Meanwhile, after a brief dalliance with democracy, Egypt has once again become what it was before: a corrupt, oppressive military dictatorship unworthy of the billions of dollars of military assistance that Washington provides from one year to the next.
Israel: The United States and Israel share more than a few interests in common. A commitment to a “two-state solution” to the Palestinian problem does not number among them. On that issue, Washington’s and Tel Aviv’s purposes diverge widely. In all likelihood, they are irreconcilable.
For the government of Israel, viewing security concerns as paramount, an acceptable Palestinian state will be the equivalent of an Arab Bantustan, basically defenseless, enjoying limited sovereignty, and possessing limited minimum economical potential. Continuing Israeli encroachments on the occupied territories, undertaken in the teeth of American objections, make this self-evident.
It is, of course, entirely the prerogative — and indeed the obligation — of the Israeli government to advance the well being of its citizens. U.S. officials have a similar obligation: they are called upon to act on behalf of Americans. And that means refusing to serve as Israel’s enablers when that country takes actions that are contrary to U.S. interests.
The “peace process” is a fiction. Why should the United States persist in pretending otherwise? It’s demeaning.
Terrorism: Like crime and communicable diseases, terrorism will always be with us. In the face of an outbreak of it, prompt, effective action to reduce the danger permits normal life to continue. Wisdom lies in striking a balance between the actually existing threat and exertions undertaken to deal with that threat. Grown-ups understand this. They don’t expect a crime rate of zero in American cities. They don’t expect all people to enjoy perfect health all of the time. The standard they seek is “tolerable.”
That terrorism threatens Americans is no doubt the case, especially when they venture into the Greater Middle East. But aspirations to eliminate terrorism belong in the same category as campaigns to end illiteracy or homelessness: it’s okay to aim high, but don’t be surprised when the results achieved fall short.
Eliminating terrorism is a chimera. It’s not going to happen. U.S. civilian and military leaders should summon the honesty to acknowledge this.
My friend M has put his finger on a problem that is much larger than he grasps. Here’s hoping that when he gets his degree he lands an academic job. It’s certain he’ll never find employment in our nation’s capital. As a soldier-turned-scholar, M inhabits what one of George W. Bush’s closest associates (believed to be Karl Rove) once derisively referred to as the “reality-based community.” People in Washington don’t have time for reality. They’re lost in a world of their own.
Reprinted with permission from TomDispatch.com.
Jonathan Gruber, MIT economist and paid architect of Obamacare, has shocked and disgusted many Americans. In 2013, he explained to a University of Pennsylvania audience: “This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure (the Congressional Budget Office) did not score the mandate as taxes. If CBO scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies.” He added that the “lack of transparency is a huge political advantage.” Most insulting were his previous statements that “the American voter is too stupid to understand” and his boast of Obamacare’s “exploitation of the lack of economic understanding of the American voter.”
We recall that back in 2010, then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi infamously said, “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.” That comment was just as insightful as her response to a CNSNews.com reporter who asked, “Madam Speaker, where specifically does the Constitution grant Congress the authority to enact an individual health insurance mandate?” Unable to respond intelligently, Speaker Pelosi gave her best political response: “Are you serious? Are you serious?” When asked recently about Gruber, Pelosi said: “I don’t know who he is. He didn’t help write our bill.” She was quickly caught in a lie because during the 2009 health care debate, she mentioned Gruber’s analysis at a news conference.
One little-noticed feature of Gruber’s speeches was the type of place where he felt comfortable talking about the use of deception and mocking American intelligence. His speeches took place at the University of Pennsylvania, Washington University in St. Louis and the University of Rhode Island. Universities are home to the academic elite — people who believe they have more intelligence than and superior wisdom to the masses. They believe they have been ordained to forcibly impose that wisdom on the rest of us. Gruber and his fellow academic elite have what they consider to be good reasons for restricting the freedom of others. But every tyrant who has ever lived has had what he considered good reasons.
America’s elite found on university campuses, in news media and in political office are chief supporters of reduced private property rights and reduced rights to profits, and they are anti-competition and pro-monopoly.
They are pro-control and coercion by the state. Their plan requires the elimination or attenuation of the free market and what is implied by it — voluntary exchange. Their reasoning is simple. Tyrants do not trust that people acting voluntarily will do what the tyrants think they should do. Therefore, tyrants want to replace the market and voluntary exchange with economic planning. Economic planning is nothing more than the forcible superseding of other people’s plans by the powerful elite backed up by the brute force of government.
In a 1991 speech, Yale University President Benno Schmidt warned: “The most serious problems of freedom of expression in our society today exist on our campuses. The assumption seems to be that the purpose of education is to induce correct opinion rather than to search for wisdom and to liberate the mind.” I watched the videos of Gruber’s speeches. Academics raised little concern as to either the dishonesty of Obamacare or the claim that Americans were too stupid to understand.
A study by my George Mason University colleague Daniel B. Klein, along with Charlotta Stern of the Swedish Institute for Social Research, titled “Professors and Their Politics: The Policy Views of Social Scientists” (http://tinyurl.com/qxne3db) concluded: “The academic social sciences are pretty much a one-party system. Were the Democratic tent broad, the one-party system might have intellectual diversity. But the data show almost no diversity of opinion among the Democratic professors when it comes to the regulatory, redistributive state: they like it. Especially when it comes to the minimum wage, workplace-safety regulation, pharmaceutical regulation, environmental regulation, discrimination regulation, gun control, income redistribution, and public schooling.”
Focusing only on Professor Gruber’s arrogance, we ignore the more important fact that he is highly representative of the academic mindset — the people who are brainwashing our youngsters.
Why is Malaysia not in the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) probing the MH 17 crash of July 17 2014?
Aren’t there guidelines that spell out which parties should constitute the probe team in the event of a disaster of the magnitude of MH 17? As the owner of MH 17 it is logical and sensible that Malaysia is part of the probe. Malaysia has more rights to be in the JIT than some of its present members. One can understand why Ukraine is in the team since that is where the plane was shot from the sky. We can understand the Netherlands’ membership of the JIT since the flight originated from Amsterdam. But why is Belgium in the JIT? Is it because Brussels is the administrative capital of the European Union and the EU may have some aviation responsibilities over commercial flights in the continent? If that is the case, then it is the EU, not Belgium, which should have a place in the team. What about Australia? Is it a member of the probe because a large number of Australians were killed in that tragedy? If that is the consideration, then Malaysia should also be in the JIT since 43 of our citizens were killed, the second largest number after the Dutch, 193 of whom perished in the calamity. Perhaps the Unites States should also be included since Boeing is the manufacturer of the aircraft.
It is alleged that Malaysia has been excluded from the JIT because we have not pointed a finger at Russia as the cause of the MH 17 disaster as the four members of the JIT have done. Malaysia refuses to heap blame on Russia or pro-Russia rebels in Eastern Ukraine, or anyone else for that matter, without hard, incontrovertible evidence. Neither the Ukraine government nor the US Administration has been able to offer such evidence to the public. Comprehensive military data from satellite images of the incident would have convinced a lot of people.
Instead, right from the outset, the Ukraine, the US and a number of their allies have constructed a narrative about how pro-Russia rebels in Eastern Ukraine shot down MH 17 with a Buk system supplied by Russia — a narrative which has been widely disseminated through a biased global media that has raised no questions about the motives behind such an action or who would have benefitted from it. In the meantime, the anger generated by this mass murder in the skies especially in Europe has enabled certain parties to expand and reinforce their economic sanctions against Russia.
Given this situation, Malaysia is absolutely right in adopting a principled position on MH 17 which refrains from condemning any party until all the investigations have been completed. This is why we are insisting upon total access to the crash site to enable investigators to collect all relevant evidence. Malaysia is also demanding that it be given a seat in the JIT.
It is a demand that undoubtedly has the support of the entire nation. One hopes that the UMNO general assembly — the annual meeting of the party that is the backbone of the government — which will take place from 25 to 29 November 2014, adopts a resolution that endorses this demand. Since the Malaysian Parliament is also in session, it should lend its weight to a demand which is at the heart of our integrity and sovereignty as a nation.
Most of all, ours is a just demand. It is just not only because MH 17 is ours. It is just because we have a fair and balanced approach to the tragedy and its probe. We want the entire truth to be known. Our participation in the investigation will at least help to check any attempt to conceal or camouflage the real story behind one of the most heinous crimes in recent times.
Reprinted with permission from GlobalResearch.ca.
For most of my career in international investing, I had always placed a great deal of faith in Switzerland’s financial markets. In recent years, however, as the Swiss government has sought to hitch its wagon to the flailing euro currency and kowtow increasingly to U.S.-based financial requirements, this faith has been shaken. But this week (November 30th) a referendum in Switzerland on whether its central bank will be required to hold at least 20% of its reserves in gold, will offer ordinary Swiss citizens a rare opportunity to reclaim their country’s strong economic heritage. It’s a vote that few outside Switzerland are following, but the outcome could make an enormous impact on the global economy.
Traditionally, the Swiss franc had always attracted international investors looking for a long-term store of value. That’s because the Swiss government had always kept sacred the idea of conservative central banking and fiscal balance. When the idea of the European common currency was first proposed, the Swiss were wise to stay out. They did not want to exchange the franc for an unknown and untried pan-national currency. The creators of the euro had suggested that it would become the heir to the strong Deutsche mark. Instead, it has become the step-child of the troubled Italian lira and the Greek drachma. In retrospect, the Swiss were wise to take no part in the experiment.
But the decision of the Swiss government in 2011 to peg the franc to the euro, in order to prevent the franc from rising, has meant that the nation has adopted the euro de facto. In order to effect this peg, the Swiss government has had to intervene massively in the currency exchange market to buy and stockpile euros, thereby weakening the franc. The raw numbers are so staggering that rank and file Swiss have taken notice. Over the last few years the Swiss economy has stagnated along with the rest of Europe, and Swiss citizens have come to understand that the current policy will require an open-ended commitment to keep doing more of the same. This frustration has given birth to the referendum movement.
In 1999, Switzerland became the last industrial nation to go off the gold standard, a system that had served the world well for centuries. At that time, the Swiss National Bank held about 2,600 tons of gold, representing about 41% of its total currency reserves. By the end of 2008 its gold holdings had dwindled to just 21% of reserves. And as of August this year, they had fallen to just 7.9%. The raw tonnage has fallen over that time to just 1,040 tons, a 60% decline from 1999.
But the real action can be seen in the Swiss National Bank’s holding of foreign currencies, mostly the euro, which now sits at a whopping 453 billion francs’ ($495 billion). That’s about 56,000 francs ($61,000) per man, woman and child in the country, almost 90% of which have been accumulated in just the past six years. The stated aim of all these purchases is to depress the value of the franc against the euro. Currency valuation directly translates into purchasing power, which means that the Swiss are poorer for these efforts. For a family of four that means the Swiss government has diverted almost $33,000 worth of purchasing power every year for the past six years to citizens of other European countries who had mistakenly adopted the euro. That’s a lot of money, even for a rich country.
Swiss politicians have said that purchases have been needed to protect the citizenry from falling prices and from the diminished exports that would result from a rising currency (In my latest newsletter, read how this central bank concern about deflation is strictly a 21st century paranoia). Putting aside the evidence to suggest that the Swiss economy has prospered under a rising currency, this idea assumes that exports are a means, rather than an end. The purpose of exports is to pay for the stuff that you import and consume. There are many things that the Swiss people want that they don’t make. To get those things, they export the things that they do make (i.e. watches, chocolate, cheese, etc.). The beauty of a strong currency means that you don’t need to export as much of the stuff you make to get the stuff you want. In other words, you don’t have to work as hard to enjoy greater consumption. Swiss living standards could have been much higher today if Swiss bankers and politicians had not tethered the franc to the euro.
A 20% gold reserve requirement would severely limit the ability of the Swiss government to continue its pegging policy. In order to reach the new target reserve levels, the Bank would either have to sell hundreds of billions of currency reserves or buy thousands of tons of gold on the open market. Critics contend that this would be a disaster for Switzerland. But the large amount of gold reserves before 1999 did not weigh on the Swiss economy. In fact, before that time, it was the envy of the world. While other countries were undermined by the promises politicians made with a printing press, the Swiss economy prospered thanks to the discipline provided by gold. Economists and politicians who are urging the Swiss to reject the proposal make the case that inflation is a prerequisite for growth, but many Swiss know that that is a lie.
While the pundits see little chance of success for the gold vote, I am encouraged by the recent results of another recent Swiss referendum that rejected the imposition of what would have been the highest minimum wage in the world. Swiss voters were smart enough to understand that an arbitrarily high wage costs would simply destroy employment opportunities without offering any tangible benefits in return. Perhaps they will be equally wise about the usefulness of sound and stable currency.
As an American, I envy the choice that the Swiss have given themselves. If successful, the vote could be seen as the first major counterattack against the forces of fiat currencies and unlimited global QE. A successful outcome may also mean the requirement for the Swiss government to buy gold would add significant demand in the gold market and should thereby help put the metal back on track.
All eyes should now be focused on the Swiss voters. I wish them courage.
The US led war against the Islamic State is a big lie.
Going after ” Islamic terrorists”, carrying out a worldwide pre-emptive war to “Protect the American Homeland” are used to justify a military agenda.
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) is a creation of US intelligence. Washington’s “Counter-terrorism Agenda” in Iraq and Syria consists in Supporting the Terrorists.
The incursion of the Islamic State (IS) brigades into Iraq starting in June 2014 was part of a carefully planned military-intelligence operation supported covertly by the US, NATO and Israel.
The counter-terrorism mandate is a fiction. America is the Number One “State Sponsor of Terrorism”
The Islamic State is protected by the US and its allies. If they had wanted to eliminate the Islamic State brigades, they could have “carpet” bombed their convoys of Toyota pickup trucks when they crossed the desert from Syria into Iraq in June.
The Syro-Arabian Desert is open territory (see map below). With state of the art jet fighter aircraft (F15, F22 Raptor, CF-18) it would have been -from a military standpoint- a rapid and expedient surgical operation
In this article, we address 26 concepts which refute the big lie. Portrayed by the media as a humanitarian undertaking, this large scale military operation directed against Syria and Iraq has resulted in countless civilian deaths.
It could not have been undertaken without the unbending support of the Western media which has upheld Obama’s initiative as a counter-terrorism operation.
THE HISTORICAL ORIGINS OF AL QAEDA
1. The US has supported Al Qaeda and its affiliated organizations for almost half a centurysince the heyday of the Soviet Afghan war.
2. CIA training camps were set up in Pakistan. In the ten year period from 1982 to 1992, some 35,000 jihadists from 43 Islamic countries were recruited by the CIA to fight in the Afghan jihad.
“Advertisements, paid for from CIA funds, were placed in newspapers and newsletters around the world offering inducements and motivations to join the Jihad.”
3. Since the Reagan Administration, Washington has supported the Islamic terror network.
Ronald Reagan called the terrorists “freedom fighters”. The US supplied weapons to the Islamic brigades. It was all for “a good cause”: fighting the Soviet Union and regime change, leading to the demise of a secular government in Afghanistan.
4. Jihadist textbooks were published by the University of Nebraska. “. “The United States spent millions of dollars to supply Afghan schoolchildren with textbooks filled with violent images and militant Islamic teachings”
5. Osama bin Laden, America’s bogyman and founder of Al Qaeda was recruited by the CIA in 1979 at the very outset of the US sponsored jihadist war against Afghanistan . He was 22 years old and was trained in a CIA sponsored guerilla training camp.
Al Qaeda was not behind the 9/11 Attacks. September 11, 2001 provided a justification for waging a war against Afghanistan on the grounds that Afghanistan was a state sponsor of terrorism, supportive of Al Qaeda. The 9/11 attacks were instrumental in the formulation of the “Global War on Terrorism”.
THE ISLAMIC STATE (ISIL)
6. The Islamic State (ISIL) was originally an Al Qaeda affiliated entity created by US intelligence with the support of Britain’s MI6, Israel’s Mossad, Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Saudi Arabia’s General Intelligence Presidency (GIP), Ri’āsat Al-Istikhbārāt Al-’Āmah ( رئاسة الاستخبارات العامة).
9.There are Western Special Forces and Western intelligence operatives within the ranks of the ISIL. British Special Forces and MI6 have been involved in training jihadist rebels in Syria.
10. Western military specialists on contract to the Pentagon have trained the terrorists in the use of chemical weapons.
“The United States and some European allies are using defense contractors to train Syrian rebels on how to secure chemical weapons stockpiles in Syria, a senior U.S. official and several senior diplomats told CNN Sunday. ( CNN Report, December 9, 2012)
12. Recruited by America’s ally, a large number of ISIL mercenaries are convicted criminals released from Saudi prisons on condition they join the ISIL. Saudi death row inmates were recruited to join the terror brigades.
Jihadist fighters have met Israeli IDF officers as well as Prime Minister Netanyahu. The IDF top brass tacitly acknowledges that “global jihad elements inside Syria” [ISIL and Al Nusrah] are supported by Israel. See image here.
SYRIA AND IRAQ
14 The ISIL are the foot soldiers of the Western military alliance. Their unspoken mandate is to wreck havoc and destruction in Syria and Iraq, acting on behalf of their US sponsors.
15. US Senator John McCain has met up with jihadist terrorist leaders in Syria. (see picture right)
16 The Islamic State (IS) militia, which is currently the alleged target of a US-NATO bombing campaign under a “counter-terrorism” mandate, continues to be supported covertly by the US. Washington and its allies continue to provide military aid to the Islamic State.
17. US and allied bombings are not targeting the ISIL, they are bombing the economic infrastructure of Iraq and Syria including factories and oil refineries.
18. The IS caliphate project is part of a longstanding US foreign policy agenda to carve up Iraq and Syria into separate territories: A Sunni Islamist Caliphate, an Arab Shia Republic, a Republic of Kurdistan.
THE GLOBAL WAR ON TERRORISM (GWOT)
19. “The Global War on Terrorism” (GWOT) is presented as a “Clash of Civilizations”, a war between competing values and religions, when in reality it is an outright war of conquest, guided by strategic and economic objectives.
20 U.S. sponsored Al Qaeda terror brigades (covertly supported by Western intelligence) have been deployed in Mali, Niger, Nigeria, the Central African Republic, Somalia and Yemen.
These various affiliated Al Qaeda entities in the Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa and Asia are CIA sponsored “intelligence assets”. They are used by Washington to wreck havoc, create internal conflicts and destabilize sovereign countries.
21 Boko Haram in Nigeria, Al Shabab in Somalia, the Libya Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) (supported by NATO in 2011), Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Jemaah Islamiah (JI) in Indonesia, among other Al Qaeda affiliated groups are supported covertly by Western intelligence.
22. The US is also supporting Al Qaeda affiliated terrorist organizations in the Xinjiang Uighur autonomous region of China. The underlying objective is to trigger political instability in Western China.
Chinese jihadists are reported to have received “terrorist training” from the Islamic State “in order to conduct attacks in China”. The declared objective of these Chinese-based jihadist entities (which serves the interests of the US) is to establish a Islamic caliphate extending into Western China. (Michel Chossudovsky, America’s War on Terrorism, Global Research, Montreal, 2005, Chapter 2).
23 The Terrorists R Us: While the US is the unspoken architect of the Islamic State, Obama’s holy mandate is to protect America against ISIL attacks.
24 The homegrown terrorist threat is a fabrication. It is promoted by Western governments and the media with a view to repealing civil liberties and installing a police state. The terror attacks by alleged jihadists and terror warnings are invariably staged events. They are used to create an atmosphere of fear and intimidation.
In turn, the arrests, trials and sentences of “Islamic terrorists” sustain the legitimacy of America’s Homeland Security State and law enforcement apparatus, which has become increasingly militarized.
The ultimate objective is to instill in the minds of millions of Americans that the enemy is real and the U.S. Administration will protect the lives of its citizens.
25. The “counter-terrorism” campaign against the Islamic State has contributed to the demonization of Muslims, who in the eyes of Western public opinion are increasingly associated with the jihadists.
26 Anybody who dares to question the validity of the “Global War on Terrorism” is branded a terrorist and subjected to the anti-terrorist laws.
The ultimate objective of the “Global War on Terrorism” is to subdue the citizens, totally depoliticize social life in America, prevent people from thinking and conceptualizing, from analyzing facts and challenging the legitimacy of the inquisitorial social order which rules America.
The Obama Administration has imposed a diabolical consensus with the support of its allies, not to mention the complicit role of the United Nations Security Council. The Western media has embraced the consensus; it has described the Islamic State as an independent entity, an outside enemy which threatens the Western World.
Reprinted with permission from GlobalResearch.ca.
Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away and the Christmas season will soon be in full swing. Theft and other crimes seem to increase when people are out and about shopping or partying and not paying much attention to anything else.
The other day the management company left a flyer on our door about a “Resident Meeting” regarding apartment safety. I was concerned enough that I attended the evening meeting after work. A couple of policemen and the building management were in attendance. The reason for the meeting was to discuss recent criminal activity in the area, and to warn residents about personal safety.
My neighborhood is in the middle of the city of Houston. If you ever visit the city, you will notice very quickly that the city does not have strict zoning laws. As a result,most areas include a mix of residential, commercial and industrial. One block could be a nice residential area, and across the street would be high rises or industrial parks, unless you live in a planned community in the suburbs. So you can live in a block with nice residences, but go two blocks and you can quickly find yourself in an unsavory looking area. Being careful and aware of your surroundings is very important. Not being critical or negative, that is just the way it is. While we carefully picked the apartment we live in, checked crime statistics and all that, crime in any area is inevitable.
Back to the meeting. Apparently, the management company decided to have a meeting due to a recent shooting that occurred in the complex. They wanted to reassure the residents that it was not a random event but a shooting between acquaintances, a “drug deal gone bad.” There were no fatalities, the shooter was arrested and the victim was shot in the leg. I was still unsettled by the incident – it is not very reassuring to hear that a resident was doing a drug deal. The resident has since been evicted; at least he is not around anymore. The cops also informed us there have been car break-ins and some theft.
Staying safe during the holiday season
- This meeting has just reinforced my feeling that there is no such thing as a “safe area.” We need to be on guard at all times, and always aware of our surroundings. Always find out about what’s going on around you. Surprisingly, for a complex this large, not a lot of tenants attended the meeting, considering it was about something important.
- Maintain an alert stance and scan the people around you. Thieves avoid people whom they perceived is too alert and may have already noticed them
- If you start to have a bad feeling about your surroundings, stop and pay attention to these feelings, it is your intuition telling you not to proceed.
- Thieves try to target people whom they perceive as more vulnerable: the elderly, women alone or women and children.
- To avoid being targeted by thieves, think about what attracts these criminals: flashy jewelry, a large purse that looks stuffed with goodies, smart phones, shopping bags, etc.
From the bank that a few days ago informed us that “People Are Talking About Helicopter Money And Debt Cancellation Being The End Game“, comes the logical next step. Here it is, without commentary and the key section highlighted:
From Deutsche bank Behavioral Finance: Daily Metals Outlook
Although gold market operators are currently pre-occupied with the prospect of the SNB finding itself obliged by referendum to buy large quantities of bullion, another central bank raised the same possibility yesterday: the ECB. As odd as it sounds, given the contentious internal debate this year over asset purchases in general, ECB board member, Yves Mersch, reminded journalists that the Bank could in theory buy any asset within a QE program. This could mean government debt, equities, ETFs, or even gold. Indeed, within an effective asset purchase program it matters not so much what the asset is, than who the seller is. Given that the eurozone banking system still appears to be a bottleneck in the monetary transmission mechanism, there might be some wisdom in bypassing it. Banks do not hold gold. However, this ‘theoretical’ possibility would quickly run into practical constraints, not least the volume limitations and the problem of having to pick winners and losers.
However, the idea of gold purchases has merit because of the possible sellers. Much gold is held in private households, especially in countries like Germany. In some cases these are unwanted remnants of crisis-driven investments five years ago. A program that targeted these holdings would liberate dormant liquidity, some of which might even flow into consumption.
In other words, all the world’s central banks would need to do to “liberate dormant liquidity” , held, as DB suggests, by private households in various “unwanted” troves of physical gold, and in the process also build up their gold holdings, would be to make said gold unattractive to hold.
And if that fails, well, FDR already showed the world how to deal with an intransingent public which does not want to part with its gold in Executive Order 6102, something which the Dutch Central Bank which also made the news recently when it secretly repatriated 122 tons of gold from the NY Fed, already did years ago when it advised pension funds to sell their gold: confiscation.
Reprinted with permission from ZeroHedge.
Someone must have noticed that I waste a lot of my time, because I received today, through the Internet, an offer of a new method of something called personal time management. The new method was necessary, apparently, because the old methods “no longer work in a networked business world that never stands still.”
I was not aware until now that I had ever managed my time. Every day I think of what needs urgently to be done and then do something else, like a mouse confronted by a cat. This is not quite as foolish or inefficient as it sounds, for eventually the urgent thing becomes so urgent that it concentrates my mind wonderfully (like hanging in a fortnight, according to Doctor Johnson), and then I work at maximal speed and brainpower.
The new method on offer would allow me to “identify and switch off personal stress causes and time thieves,” “re-organise my daily work according to my personality,” “efficiently prioritise tasks and delegate if needed,” and “get back on top form with successful self-management.”
Ah, top form, what is it in my case? I haven’t a clue, unless it were the absence of the low back pain from which I sometimes suffer. And is the self an entity that can or ought to be managed? Surely the self and its manager in this case are one and the same. Or must I appeal to my inner department of human resources?
“Efficiently prioritise”—what a beautiful phrase! Poetic, don’t you think? As for switching off my personal stress causes and time thieves, I am reminded of a remark made by a professor of medicine, who said, when the British government decided to promote something it called clinical governance: “This is a phrase that is untranslatable into any other language, including English.”
There must be a market for this kind of thing, I suppose; otherwise it wouldn’t exist. In fact I know it exists because airport bookstands are full of it, and have been ever since I started to frequent airports almost 50 years ago. Calls to efficiency are like calls to virtue: they are perpetually necessary because man is a fallen creature who fritters away his time and does not prioritize properly. Surely the reflection of Richard II, that “I wasted time, and now doth time waste me,” is true of the vast majority of us. As for management books, they recall another of Richard’s reflections:
Thoughts tending to ambition, they do plot
Unlikely wonders …
If you need to read books about how to be a successful businessman, you will never be a successful businessman. The entire genre is bogus, the modern equivalent of 19th-century patent medicine.
Every year, without fail, the president dies all over again. For a few days every autumn, the entire media is overwhelmed by those haunting photos from Dallas. Those cruelly happy and innocent pictures of a young president smiling and waving at bystanders, the first lady clutching a bouquet of roses. With their soft, prelapsarian colors, they seem to hail from another universe—one that has been stolen from us.
Perhaps it is that feeling of loss that explains the lingering sense of grief over John F. Kennedy’s assassination year after year, when the anniversaries of other, equally shocking events—from Pearl Harbor to 9/11—are generally quieter affairs. But there is also something unfinished about Kennedy’s death, a lingering suspicion that no one has ever been able to banish.
For the public has never embraced the official verdict, handed down by the Warren Commission in September 1964. After less than a year of hearings and deliberations, the team—led by Chief Justice Earl Warren—concluded that President Kennedy had been shot and killed by Lee Harvey Oswald, a 24-year-old ex-Marine portrayed by the Commission as a shiftless loner with communist sympathies. But they could not explain why.
The most obvious question about the murder was also the one that could not be answered. Not only had Oswald been murdered in police custody two days after the assassination, but the Commission had been unable to find a single person who remembered Oswald criticizing Kennedy. On the contrary, Oswald had frequently expressed his admiration for the president. The Commission interviewed at least six witnesses who remembered Oswald praising Kennedy.
Faced with a substantial hole in their case, the Commission tried to plug it by filling the report with airy speculation about Oswald’s tormented psyche. Oswald, they insisted, was someone who had been driven by “resentment of all authority,” “antagonism toward the United States” and an “urge to try to find a place in history.” Perhaps he had shot the president, the Report blandly suggested, because of his “inability to enter into meaningful relationships with people.”
But this conclusion was not reached in a vacuum. From the moment it was established, the Warren Commission was under tremendous pressure to calm a hysterical public and quash the widespread rumors of a conspiracy that exploded across the country in the days following the public killing of the president’s accused assassin. As Deputy Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach put it in a memo written hours after Oswald’s death, “We need something to head off public speculation or Congressional hearings of the wrong sort.”
That “speculation” never went away. In 1966, the first national poll taken on the subject found that 46 percent of Americans believed that JFK had been struck down by a plot. Last year, a Washington Post-ABC News poll found that 62 percent of the public rejected the idea that a single man had killed the president.
The Revolution of 2019 began, curiously enough, in fall of 2019 when Mary Lou Johnson, the nine-year-old daughter of a ranching family outside of Casper, Wyoming, came home from her sex-ed class at Martin Luther King Elementary with a banana, a packet of condoms, and a book called Sally Has Two Mommies. Her mother Janey Lou, a political reactionary, took one look and began screaming. “Goddamit! Goddamit! I’m not going to take it anymore!”
She grabbed the shotgun, a nice Remington 870 loaded with double-ought buck, and headed for the school.
Historians would debate just what led the surrounding population spontaneously to join her. Much of it seemed to have something to do with the schools. One father reported that he snapped when his daughter came home during Harriet Tubman Week, and he asked her about Robert E. Lee.
Another father, objecting to students who wore low-hanging pants, said, “It’s supposed to be a school, not a frigging proctology workshop.” A common concern was that in a fifth-grade class on Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay, and Transgendered Rights, the teacher had criticized Primate Privilege, saying that animals had rights too. She then gave the class a pamphlet called Mommy Says Moo. Wyoming was cattle country. Local wives were wroth. They thought it an invitation to infidelity.
There then followed the now-infamous Near Death March, in which the entire faculty of the school was run across the Montana line by infuriated citizens wielding cattle prods. These, dubbed the Poor Man’s Taser, were then turned against anyone associated with the federal government. “The bastards won’t leave us alone. I’m gonna tase’m where the sun don’t shine. They’ll sail back to Washington in one hop like a damn electrified bull frog.”
The uprising, which had started locally with Janey Lou’s shotgun, began to spread both geographically and in its content. Apparently people were fed up with a lot of things. Nobody in government had noticed.
It is now agreed that the catastrophic events which followed occurred in part because Washington, which was celebrating American-African History Week, simply did not recognize the depth of resentment in the country. The city traditionally was inward-looking. Few knew exactly where Wyoming was. Their sources of information were chiefly talking heads talking to each other about each other.
By unfortunate happenstance, the Supreme Court had just issued its landmark decision that public display of the Bible contravened the constitutional prohibition of the establishment of religion. Mere possession, the justices said, would not be sufficient to trip the prohibition and lead to prosecution, but “a reasonable reticence in display” should be practiced. It was agreed that the Holy Book could be carried in a sealed bag with a child-proof lock. That this happened during Moslem Heritage Week further fueled ire among the intolerant.
The Court’s ruling had ripple effects unforeseen in the capital, as most things were. When the rebellion metastasized to Rosa Parks County (formerly Jackson County), Virginia, forty miles outside of Richmond, they were shocked. The provoking incident occurred in Sojourner Truth High School in a rural and not very Reconstructed county.
Specificallly, Johnny Loggins, in the tenth grade, had been issued a condom and, in the back of his African Civilization class, was discovered to be praying for a chance to use it. This also constituted an establishment of religion. He was arrested by several of the thirty-five police patrolling the corridors and remanded for psychiatric evaluation.
Runors flew, fanning the flames. The Democrats, having elected the first black president and then Hillary, the first woman, were said to be looking for a transvestite for 2024. In respect to 2032, the ominous word “trans-phylum” floated about.
The insurrection went viral thanks to the internet. Incident followed incident. In Brooklyn on Sixth Avenue, seven teens between the ages of 21 and 28 beat to death a 95-year old white veteran in a wheel chair, shouting “Kill Whitey!” and “That’s for Travon!” and “White dude bleed a lot.” The chief of police undertook a thorough investigation. He reported that there was no evidence of racial motivation. Jesse Jackson said it was unfortunate, but white men in wheel chairs needed to learn not to attack black teenagers.
After an enraged mob of R-Cubed—the movement was now calling itself Rural, Retrograde, and Right, the Three Rs—had surrounded Columbia Teachers College and burned it, Washington recognized that things were getting out of hand. Reporters asked why the arsonists had, well, arsoned Columbia. An irate woman screamed:
“My kid is fifteen, can’t read, and doesn’t know who Thomas Jefferson was but he’s had three different classes on safe anal sex. I didn’t raise him to be an analphabetic butt-plug. Excuse me. I need to find a professor.” She left, brandishing her ball-bat.
Her assertion was not entirely implausible. A recent poll by the New York Times had showed that 87% of college freshmen, or freshpersons, couldn’t find the Pacific Ocean on a map of California, and fully 54% didn’t know what “Ocean” meant. (“Didn’t she sing with Grody Kate and the G-Spots?” asked one female junior.) Others couldn’t identify Jesus Christ, Mother Theresa, or George Washington, but were “sure or almost sure” that they were racists.
Washington was soon surrounded by R-Cubed insurgents, many of whom proved to be well-armed and with military experience. They soon revealed their true colors as homophobes. Rampaging, they burned gay bars such as Moby Dick and The White Swallow, shouting, “We don’t care where you stick it, but we don’t want to hear about it.” Much squealing and a mass exodus followed.
Surprisingly, it was Maxwell Birnbaum, inevitably know as “Ol’ Burn and Bomb,” who led the hous- to-house fighting. He was not a soldier, or ex-soldier, but a classics professor from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. As the Three R’s fought their way through Arlington in the Virginia suburbs of Washington and reached Key Bridge, key to the city itself, Birnbaum told a reporter, “Twenty-five hundred years of European civilization, and we’re going to give it up to people whose Mothers Say Moo? Like hell we are. Did trilobites scuttle the Cambrian seas to bring us Clitler? Hillary, I mean. If they had known, they would have stopped reproducing. I won’t stand for it.”
The rest is well known. Congress in its entirely was slaughtered, and hung upside-down from lamp posts though, unlike Mussolini, they were not emasculated. It was pretty much agreed that they had taken care of this themselves long ago.
Peace returned. Janey Lou put away the shotgun, and made lunch.
There are a few things that make me cringe: getting struck by lightning, swimming naked with chum in shark-infested waters, and hearing or reading words that are just plain annoying or incorrect within the firearms and tactical community.
Plinking, in my opinion, is for amateurs. When I think of plinking, I recall the times I went out with my friends as a kid and blasted glass bottles and trash with my .22 rifle. We had a good backstop, but we definitely weren’t shooting at a gun range. It was more like a garbage dump.
That said, plinking a few cans with .22s can be fun, as long as it’s safe. Even professionals should take time out with their kids to plink every once in a while.
The crème de la crème of tactical experts are referred to as operators. In the past, the term operator was limited to a select few who worked inside of the most elite special operations units. For example, Dalton Fury, the former Delta Force commander, would be accurately referred to an operator. SpecOps warriors like Tom Spooner and Kenan Flasowski can be called operators too.
There are also a small handful of other people I’d refer to as operators, but then again, I’ve been fortunate to meet and/or work with some really skilled…well, operators.
But I see the term operator thrown around so much that it gets quite annoying. Bottom line: not everyone who carries a gun is an operator. Not everyone who trains is an operator. In fact, most folks who call themselves operators are posers.
3. “Shoot to kill”
While there are certainly times to kill, anyone familiar with the criminal justice system opts to say, “shoot to stop the threat.” In the bright light of the courtroom, “moral” people don’t usually seek to kill others. Besides, if you are a student of ballistics you would know that even blasting someone several times in the chest doesn’t mean they’ll die.
Tactically speaking, understanding that multiple rounds to the chest or even a couple shots to the head might not stop someone will help you win lethal confrontations. The tactically superior mindset is, instead of assuming your bullets will kill the target, to shoot to stop the threat, then, after the threat is ended — at least when you’re not at war and maybe even when you are — administer medical attention to the person you just shot. It’s a rare occasion when civilly-minded people shoot to kill … unless of course they’re hunting animals.
As recently reported by the Project On Student Debt, 7 in 10 seniors who graduated from public and nonprofit colleges in 2013 had student loans, with an average debt load of $28,400 per borrower. This represents a two percent increase from the average debt of 2012 public and nonprofit graduates. It is also a new record high.
Those curious about the geographic breakdown of the student debt burden by state, can do so at the following interactive map:
It goes without saying that while student debt is bad, record student debt – which at the Federal level amounts to over $1.2 trillion and rising exponentially – is worse.
In fact, as shown previously, the unprecedented debt burden on the Millennial generation has been used to explain why the largest generational cohort in US history is unable to carry the weight of the economy on its shoulders, why the Millennials are perhaps the most financially disenfranchised generation, and why the labor force participation rate has collapsed in the past five years, as older workers rush back into the work force (thanks to ZIRP crushing the value of their savings) while young Americans chose to remain in university (where they can take remedial high school classes among other things) and out of the labor force in hopes of holding out a better job market (for the 6th year in a row).
However, since all college educations are most certainly not created equal, one outstanding item has been the debt breakdown by field of study, or major.
This is where the latest project and research paper from the Hamilton Project, which comes in handy. It examined earnings for approximately 80 different majors and as the NYT summarizes, allows people to look up typical debt burdens by major, over the first decade after college – which is when people tend to repay their loans.
The project authors note that for the graduate with typical debt level and earnings, payments under the standard 10-year repayment plan take up 14.1% of earnings in the first year, but gradually fall to only 6.5% of earnings in the tenth and final year. This repayment strategy, however, can place a particularly heavy burden on graduates from majors whose earnings start low before rising later in the career. For these students, college may not provide the cash flow needed to easily pay off loans in years immediately following graduation.
The study’s four conclusions:
- Debt burdens vary a lot across majors. In the sixth year of repayment, typical drama, music, religion and anthropology majors are still devoting more than 10 percent of their earnings to loan repayment. Other majors with fairly high early repayment burdens include philosophy, psychology and education. By contrast, engineering, computer science, economics and nursing majors are paying 6 percent or less of earnings in their sixth year.
- In the first five years after earning a bachelor’s degree, the typical student receives a 65 percent raise. (This rise for an individual person, as she ages and becomes more experienced, is occurring even as pay growth across the economy is weak. Today’s 30-year-old is making more than he did at 25, but not much more than a 30-year-old was five years ago.) Unfortunately in recent years, wage increases have become deminimis, suggesting that this may no longer be uniformly true.
- Many of the majors that pay the least directly out of college also have the biggest raises in the first few years. Graduates who major in therapy professions, nutrition or fine arts, for instance, all make less than $20,000 coming out of college, but all see their pay more than double in the first five years. A typical nurse, by contrast, makes almost $45,000 in the first year but receives about a 20 percent raise over the next five years.
- The growth of earnings for most college graduates means that some of the discussion about student debt has the wrong focus. The overall amount of debt isn’t a problem for most graduates: The typical debt, for someone who has debt, is about $26,500, a manageable sum in most college-graduate careers. The problem for many, instead, is when they must repay their loans: early in their careers, when they’re making the least. In some majors, including health education and drama, the typical graduate with debt must devote an imposing 25 percent of her earnings in the first year out of college to loan repayment. “Repayment issues for the bulk of students,” Mr. Hershbein says, “are a matter of timing, not the amount of student debt.”
And since more and more students seek the safety of college to avoid the “hardship” of a job that pays less than your average Millennial expected, or though they were worth, and thus are forced to dilute their field of study and pick increasingly less monetizable majors, it becomes a Catch 22 whereby students increasingly find it impossible to overcome a staggering debt burden early on in their career, which in turn hinders normal career formation, and skews the economy adversely leading to such unintended consequences as the Fed looking at a sub-6% unemployment rate, while the slack-filled economy has rarely if ever been weaker and real wages are at same level as during the Lehman collapse.
Below is the student loan repayment calculator that shows the share of earnings necessary to service traditional loan repayment for 80 majors. Readers can choose or search from each of these majors, as well as change the size and features of the student loan using the selection boxes above. By default, loan features reflect the experience of a typical graduate borrower, and earnings include part-time workers and those who experience unemployment throughout the year (but exclude those with graduate degrees, as these individuals often accumulate additional debt).
Feel free to play around with the interest rate selector: it shows yet another reason why the regime simply can not afford to send interest rates levitating higher despite the optical effect it would have on expectations for an “economic recovery.”
In retrospect it is clear why 24% of Millennials (and rising) “Expect” student loan forgiveness, and why increasingly more private (and soon public) lenders are starting to grant it.
Reprinted with permission from ZeroHedge.
Lew Rockwell, in his important book, Fascism versus Capitalism, argues that the United States rather than having a capitalist economy, at its core has a fascist economy:
The state, for the fascist, is the instrument by which the people’s common destiny is realized, and which the potential for greatness is to be found. Individual rights, and the individual himself, are strictly subordinate to the state’s great and glorious goals for the nation.
In Rockwell’s view, via fascism, although the means of production are technically owned by the private sector, the rules are set for much of the economy by the government:
The reality of bureaucratic administration has been with us at least since the New Deal, which was modeled on the planning bureaucracy that lived in World War I. The planned economy — whether in Mussolini’s time or ours — requires bureaucracy. Bureaucracy is the heart, lungs, and veins of the planning state. And yet to regulate an economy as thoroughly as this one is today is to kill prosperity with a billion tiny cuts.
How accurate is Rockwell in his view that the state now plays a major role in directing the economy for the goals of the state?
Many examples can be shown, but perhaps it is most instructive when a former government official, William Isaac, former chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., clearly explains how government is using regulations to snuff out entire industries:
The Justice Department touts its Operation Choke Point as a good-faith effort to crack down on illegal businesses, weed out fraud and protect consumers. None of these claims is true.
It is becoming clear that the real goal of the program announced last year—or at the very least a desired collateral benefit—is to target entire industries deemed undesirable by putting regulatory pressure on the banks that serve them. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee recently released evidence that “federal regulators are pressuring banks to terminate relationships with legal yet disfavored industries, without regard to the legitimacy or risk profile of individual companies.”…
The government has gone after two dozen businesses including ammunition dealers, check-cashers, payday lenders, telemarketers, firearms and fireworks vendors, raffles, pharmaceutical sellers, surveillance-equipment firms and home-based charities. The Justice Department and several regulators have pressured banks to close accounts with these businesses—on a sweeping, industry-wide basis—without any proof of wrongdoing. By choking off their access to bank services, the government is attempting to shut these industries down or drive them underground.
An economy where the government snuffs out entire industries through back-door regulations is hardly a free market system. And the more that individuals look to government for solutions to problems, often largely caused in the first-place by government regulations already on the books, the more we move toward even more fascist-type rule, where it is the government who decides what firms are allowed to live and which are killed off. The march to this type of regulation is doing nothing but putting the ghost of the fascist Mussolini in charge.
Reprinted with permission from Economic Policy Journal.
President Obama, who is just now un-ending again the ending of the endless war on Afghanistan, has never made a secret of taking direction from the military, CIA, and NSA. He’s escalated wars that generals had publicly insisted he escalate. He’s committed to not prosecuting torturers after seven former heads of the CIA publicly told him not to. He’s gone after whistleblowers with a vengeance and is struggling to keep this Bush-era torture report, or parts of it, secret in a manner that should confuse his partisan supporters.
But the depth of elected officials’ obedience to a permanent war machine is usually a topic avoided in polite company — usually, not always. Back in 2011, the dean of the law school at UC Berkeley, a member of Obama’s transition team in 2009, said publicly that Obama had decided in 2009 to block prosecutions of Bush-era criminals in part because the CIA, NSA, and military would revolt. Ray McGovern says he has a trustworthy witness to Obama saying he would leave the crimes unpunished because, in Obama’s words, “Don’t you remember what happened to Martin Luther King?” Neither of those incidents has interested major media outlets in the slightest.
As we pass the 51st anniversary of the murder of President John F. Kennedy, many of us are urging Senator Mark Udall to make the torture report public by placing it into the Congressional Record, as Senator Mike Gravel did with the Pentagon Papers in 1971. Gravel is alive and well, and there’s every reason to believe that Udall would go on to live many years deeply appreciated for his action. But there is — let us be honest for a moment — a reason Udall might hesitate that we don’t want to speak about.
The general thinking is that because Udall’s term ends this month, he doesn’t have to please those who fund his election campaigns through the U.S. system of legalized bribery, and he doesn’t have to please his fellow corrupt senators because he won’t be working with them any longer. Both of those points may be false. Udall may intend to run for the Senate again, or — like most senators, I suspect — he may secretly plan on running for president some day. And the big payoffs for elected officials who work to please plutocracy always come after they leave office. But there is another consideration. The need to please the permanent war machine ends only when one is willing to die for something — what Dr. King said one must be willing to do to have a life worth living — not when one leaves office.
Presidents and Congress members send large numbers of people to risk their lives murdering much larger numbers of people in wars all the time. They have taken on jobs — particularly the presidency — in which they know they will be in danger no matter what they do. And yet everyone in Washington knows (and no one says) that making an enemy of the CIA is just not done and has not been done since the last man to do it died in a convertible in Dallas. We’ve seen progressive members of Congress like Dennis Kucinich leave without putting crucial documents that they thought should be public into the Congressional Record. Any member of Congress, newly reelected or not, could give the public the torture report. A group of 10 of them could do it collectively for the good of humanity. But nobody thinks they will. Challenging a president who does not challenge the CIA is just not something that’s done.
To understand why, I recommend reading Jim Douglass’ book JFK and the Unspeakable. Douglass is currently writing about three other murders, those of Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., and Robert Kennedy. Distant history? Something that doesn’t happen anymore? Perhaps, but is that because we’ve run out of lone nuts with guns? Clearly not. Is it because the permanent war machine has stopped killing its enemies? Or is it, rather, because no one has presented the same challenge to the permanent war machine that those people did? Peace voices are no longer allowed in the U.S. media. Both political parties favor widespread war. War has become a matter of routine. Enforcement has become unnecessary, because the threat, or other influences that align with it, has been so successful.
I recommend checking out ProjectUnspeakable.com, the website of a play by Court Dorsey that recounts the killing of JFK, Malcolm, Martin, and RFK. (Or check out a performance in Harlem planned for February 21.)
The play consists almost entirely of actual quotes by public figures. While no attempt is made, of course, at including a comprehensive collection of information, enough evidence is included in the play to completely erase belief in the official stories of how those four men died. And evidence is included showing who actually killed them, how, and why.
As if that weren’t enough to persuade the viewer that our society is mentally blocking out something uncomfortable, the glaring obviousness of what happened in those years of assassinations is highlighted. President Kennedy was publicly asked if he might be murdered exactly as he was, and he publicly replied that it could certainly happen. His brother discussed the likelihood of it with Khrushchev for godsake. The killing of Malcolm X was not the war machine’s first attempt on his life. He and King both saw what was coming quite clearly and said so. Bobby Kennedy knew too, did not believe the official account of his brother’s murder. King’s family rejects the claim that James Earl Ray killed MLK, pointing instead to the CIA killer shown in the photographs of the assassination but never questioned as a witness. A jury has unanimously agreed with King’s family against the government and the history books.
The attention to President Kennedy has always been so intense that fear and suppression have been required. The doctors said he was shot from the front. Everyone agreed there were more bullets shot than left the gun of the official suspect, who was positioned behind the target. But investigators and witnesses have died in very suspect circumstances. The other deaths have not been in exactly the same glaring spotlight. New evidence in the killing of Robert Kennedy emerges every few years and is chatted about as a curiosity for a moment before simply being ignored. After all, the man is dead.
Let’s try an analogy. I live in Charlottesville, Va., where the University of Virginia is. This week, Rolling Stone published an article about violent gang rapes of female students in a fraternity house. I had known that rape victims are often reluctant to come forward. I had known that rape can be a hard charge to prove. But I had also known that young women sometimes regret sex and falsely accuse nonviolent well-meaning young men of rape, and that UVA held rallies against date rape, and that opposition to sexual assault and harassment was all over the news and widely accepted as the proper progressive position. With California passing a law to clarify what consent is, I had assumed everyone knew violent assault had nothing to do with consent. I had assumed brutal gang attacks by students who are expelled if they cheat on a test or write a bad check could not go unknown. And now it seems there’s something of a widely known unspoken epidemic. In the analysis of the Rolling Stone article, women deny rape goes on to shield themselves from the fear, while men deny it in order to shield themselves from any discomfort about their party-going fun-loving carelessness. And yet some significant number of students knew and stayed silent until one brave victim spoke, just as every whistleblower in Washington exists alongside thousands of people who keep their mouths shut.
What if someone in Washington were to speak? What if the unspeakable were made speakable?
Parasites – Yuck! Parasites are an often overlooked cause of certain health problems today.
Parasites are actually very common in nature and more common in humans than we would like to think. Approximately one half of the population of the world carries at least one form of parasite. If you add yeast/fungus (another form of parasite) to that, it includes almost the entire world population.
Having good hygiene does not exempt us from parasites. In fact, our diet of refined foods tends to weaken our immune systems and make us more susceptible to parasitic infection. Remember, parasites like a weak host; so poor diets (lots of white sugar and white flour products) give these critters plenty of people to choose from.
Parasites are not just found in our intestinal tracts. They can infest any body part such as the lungs, the liver, the muscles and joints, the brain, the blood, the skin and even the eyes.
Most people think of worms – round, pin, tape, etc. when they hear the work “parasite”. However, many of these are microscopic.It is very easy to come into contact with parasites. Contaminated water, undercooked meats, improperly washed fruits and vegetables are just some of the common sources of parasitic infections. Transmission from pets, insect or spider bites, or other people is also common.
Symptoms of parasitic infection can include chronic digestive problems, gas, constipation, diarrhea, skin rashes, stomach pains, and or fatigue. Parasitic infections may contribute to a variety of major diseases including Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, arthritis, and chronic fatigue syndrome.
Parasites can be very difficult to detect in conventional laboratory analysis. Of over 1000 species of parasites that could infect humans, only 40 to 50 have tests available to detect them. Medical testing procedures for parasites are not always accurate due to poor laboratory technique, not enough different stool samples, use of the wrong test, or not catching the parasite in a phase that is easily detected.
I love it when people walk into the store and tell me that they have been to over 7 or 8 medical doctors and their skin rash, or digestive issue, or whatever doesn’t go away with whatever they are prescribed. These problems, more often than not, resolve with a simple parasite cleanse that has no harmful side effects. Wow!
There are many good herbal products available that rid the body of parasites. Different formulas are used depending on the type of parasitic infection. Common herbs used include black walnut, artemisia or wormwood, cloves, garlic, oregano, grapefruit seed extract and olive leaf. Parasites are not affected by these herbs during certain stages of their life cycle, so it is helpful to repeat dosage after a 10 to 14 day break.
In my grandmother’s time, “spring tonics” were common. These “tonics” typically included herbs to rid the body of parasites or worms. Although these have fallen out of fashion, nature has not changed and parasites still find good homes in humans. People with pets and livestock routinely treat their animals for parasites but do not think about treating themselves.
Remember that parasites are part of nature and they can infect any living creature not just animals.