Saturday, February 18, 2017

Rogue Elephant Rising: The CIA as Kingslayer/ Counterpunch

DAVID PRICE in Counterpunch
With members of the CIA and NSA leaking materials on Michael Flynn’s communications with Russian officials, we are witnessing a slow boiling domestic coup that will transform American governance and the Executive Branch’s relationships with intelligence agencies. It remains to be seen whether these moves signal broader attacks on the Presidency by agencies long accustomed to taking out administrations threatening the Agency’s perceived interests.
This moment tells us more about the CIA revolting against a particular administration than it does about Trump’s people engaging in unusually diabolical-illegal activities designed to undermine an outgoing administration. We know enough about Reagan’s pre-election dealings with Iran to know that the CIA and NSA knew about these transactions, yet these agencies were content to remain silent; apparently glad to see Carter ousted and welcoming a new era of unparalleled “peace time” military and intelligence spending. Similarly, American intelligence agencies knew of Nixon’s efforts to sabotage the Paris peace talks before the 1968 election, and the CIA did nothing to undermine a new president who was going to give the agency the war it wanted. The leaking of Flynn’s information tells us little new about how incoming administrations act, but it suggests something new about US intelligence agencies willingness to take out an administration not to their liking.
To be clear: I see nothing wrong with the leaks themselves. I like intelligence leaks. I think they are generally good for democracy and reveal important truths about power. I am not worried about leaks, I am worried about the CIA and other intelligence agencies making a significant power grab that is not being critically considered. This is a move that no future president will soon forget, and that will make him or her think twice before crossing these agencies.
The left’s widely shared disdain for Donald Trump makes the current rushing national wave of schadenfreude understandable, yet there are few on the left who appear worried about what this domestic CIA coup portends for American democracy. Because of the long history of liberals’ attractions to using the CIA, perhaps we should not be too surprised at this elation, but we need to cautiously think beyond this moment.
It is no secret that many at the CIA hold disdain for Flynn. His years at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and in command of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) coincided with efforts to move many of what had been CIA operational activities and covert operations away from CIA to DIA. With the CIA attacking the Trump administration so soon after the election with leaks of the Russian hacking report there were clear public fissures appearing between the Agency and the new Executive.
I assume that there are lots of reasons why many at the CIA and NSA wish to undermine the Trump administration—I even assume I may share a few of these reasons with them. While the agency is comfortable with much of the corporate looting that Trump appears ready to unleash, few in the agency like the sort of instability that Trump generates—and I suppose some within may take his ongoing barbs and attacks on Agency incompetence seriously.
As it is to many of us on the left, it is obvious to me that Trump is the most dangerous, unqualified, and reckless US President I have ever seen—much less imagined. And while it seems as if he will soon enough seize some opportunity to declare a national security disaster granting himself new unlimited powers, I know no reason to trust the CIA and other intelligence agencies any more than we trust Trump.
This attack on the Executive Branch is like nothing we’ve ever seen before. The most historically interesting element of this moment is the rarity of seeing the CIA operating, in real time, not in its usual historical role as a covert arm of the presidency (which Congressman Otis Pike argued was its primary function), but as the sort of rogue elephant that Senator Frank Church and others long ago claimed it is. As members of the Republic, no matter what momentary joy we might feel watching this rogue elephant canter towards our incompetent Commander and Chief, we must not ignore the danger this beast presents to one and all.
We should welcome calls to investigate Trump, Flynn, Bannon, Pence and others within the administration, but we need to also investigate and monitor the CIA for this latest in its long history of attempted coups.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

For Those Who Say the Science is Settled

That is what the Phrenologists thought, too.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

US military has failed to publicly disclose potentially thousands of lethal airstrikes conducted since 2001 in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan/ Military Times

The U.S. military under former President Barack Obama quietly hid “potentially thousands of lethal airstrikes” from the American public that likely killed hundreds of civilians in war-ravaged Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan, the Military Times has found.
In 2016 alone, U.S. combat aircraft conducted at least 456 airstrikes in Afghanistan that were not recorded as part of an open-source database maintained by the U.S. Air Force, information relied on by Congress, American allies, military analysts, academic researchers, the media and independent watchdog groups to assess each war's expense, manpower requirements and human toll. Those airstrikes were carried out by attack helicopters and armed drones operated by the U.S. Army, metrics quietly excluded from otherwise comprehensive monthly summaries, published online for years, detailing American military activity in all three theaters. 
Most alarming is the prospect this data has been incomplete since the war on terrorism began in October 2001. If that is the case, it would fundamentally undermine confidence in much of what the Pentagon has disclosed about its prosecution of these wars, prompt critics to call into question whether the military sought to mislead the American public, and cast doubt on the competency with which other vital data collection is being performed and publicized. Those other key metrics include American combat casualties, taxpayer expense and the military’s overall progress in degrading enemy capabilities...
U.S. Central Command, which oversees military activity in all three war zones, indicated it is unable to determine how far back the Army’s numbers have been excluded from these airpower summaries. Officials there would not address several detailed questions submitted by Military Times, and they were unable to provide a full listing of annual airstrikes conducted by each of the Defense Department's four military services.  
Now why would the DOD want to publish false information?  Well, it helps in the effort to achieve "plausible deniability" --by denying a US mission took place when the US military commits a potential war crime, like deliberately bombing hospitals or bombing elite counter narcotics forces in Afghanistan, which the USG initially denied.  In fact, an unnamed Army official quoted in the article said he did not consider Apache helicopter attacks airstrikes! While according to Boeing, its manufacturer, “The Apache is the world's best armed, integrated and connected attack helicopter in production and in operational use today. It’s a flying weapons system that is fully integrated. It has options to have missiles, rockets or guns depending on what your enemy is."

If you have no report of thousands of air attacks, instead of bombing ISIS, you can bomb anti-ISIS targets and likely get away with it. There could be so many reasons to hide US military missions.
UPDATE:  From the Sept 7, 2015 Wall Street Journal, we learn that a US "friendly fire" airstrike in southern Afghanistan on Sept 6 "hit a 30 member elite counternarcotics police unit as they were on a mission..." [to stop opium trafficking.  We stopped them all right.]
At least 11 died in "one of the deadliest friendly fire incidents in the country in recent years.Here is the Reuters story. The US denied the strike in Helmand province, but admitted to airstrikes in the adjacent province of Kandahar. According to the Guardian"The US is the only member of the NATO coalition known to have carried out bombing raids in Afghanistan this year." The AP/WaPo on 9/8/15 reported that, "Brigadier General Shoffner [Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications in Afghanistan] said 'based on information we received [on 9/8], we feel it is prudent to investigate the airstrike our forces conducted in Kandahar.'"
Deliberately falsifying the number of  US airstrikes in Afghanistan makes it impossible to know what was spent, how many Afghanis were killed, and what actually is being "accomplished" in Afghanistan.  

It makes it harder than ever to know why we are in Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq, what our targets truly are, and what has been done in our name.  As I discussed here, the US presence in Afghanistan can only be explained as a grab for at least a trillion dollars' worth of oil and minerals, a pipeline, and a renewable resource called heroin.  

On "killers" working for OUR government, Trump spoke the truth—and our "free press" freaked out....

​By Mark Crispin Miller

Attacking everything Trump says as wholly false, just because Trump said it, is just as mindless as Trump's own knee-jerk attacks on everything his critics say.


And since Trump, now and then, surprisingly refutes some Big Lie that no other president—or any other major player in the political establishment (the press included)—has ever dared to question publicly, reflexively dismissing everything he says is not just mindless, but dangerous.


It's dangerous, because those Big Lies that Trump now and then contests in his erratic way have done more harm, by far, than Trump's wild, flagrant and, for the most part, trivial lies could ever do.


That is certainly the case with Trump's (recent) jaw-dropping pushback in the face of Bill O'Reilly's ritual assertion that Putin (just like Stalin) "is a killer": "There are a lot of killers. You think our country's so innocent?"


Well, yeah. Duh. No kidding. Though there is, of course, NO reason to assume that the thin-skinned, revenge-obsessed and Mob-connected Trump has any moral qualms about the state employing "killers" to whack inconvenient persons, there also are NO grounds to doubt Trump's cheeky implication that the US government itself has quite "a lot of killers" on the payroll, and not just on the battlefield abroad, and has had for a very long time.


Anybody who's read much at all about our history since World War 2 knows full well that the dark side of "our" government has (to quote LBJ) "been running a damn Murder, Inc." all over the world—the USA included, despite the old canard that they don't do that here. That they unquestionably do—and that a comprehensive list of their domestic hits would put the dreaded Putin in the deepest shade—is clear enough to anyone who knows even a little bit (as Bill O'Reilly does) about the epic carnival of murder that BEGAN with the assassination of John Kennedy, followed by the hits on Bobby Kennedy, Martin Luther King and Malcolm X; a carnival including the related murders of innumerable witnesses, accomplices and inconvenient journalists and investigators.


Beyond those four "iconic" murders, and the awesome list of further killings consequent upon them (from J.D. Tippit, Lee Oswald, David Ferrie, Jack Ruby, Dorothy Kilgallen and Mary Pinchot Meyer to Johnny Roselli, Sam Giancana, George de Mohrenschildt, Roger Craig and William Sullivan: just to name a few related to JFK's murder alone), the tally of more recent deaths premature, convenient and anomalous enough to be considered probable assassinations by the state (as they would be for sure, if they went down that way in Russia), includes, in no particular order, Michael Hastings, William Colby, Danny Casolaro, Philip Marshall, Athan Gibbs, Ray Lemme, Seth Rich, Gary DeVore, Barry Jennings, Vince Foster (yes), Mike Connell, Gary Caradori, Deborah Jeane Palfrey, Paul Wellstone and maybe (the evidence suggests it) Antonin Scalia, just to name a few.
Only in America, where one succeeds in journalism not just by refusing to investigate such stories, but by learning to stay perfectly UNCONSCIOUS of them, could the press decry Trump's common-sense remark as somehow scandalous.


And that is dangerous indeed; because we'll never overcome the looming dangers to American democracy unless we know exactly what they are, and that Trump/Pence is only one of them.

Monday, February 6, 2017

How little we know about lifestyle and longevity

I recently spent a lot of time in Spain, did a lot of reading about Spain, and got some surprises.

The Spanish are the longest-lived people in Europe (barring tiny places like Monaco and San Marino), and are between the 5th and 10th most long-lived nation in the world, depending on who is counting.

The Spanish live several years longer than Americans, and also exceed Canadians, French, British, Germans, Greeks, Italians.  Estimated life expectancy, per the WHO, is 80 for men and 86 for women.

They spend 9% of their GDP on healthcare, half what the US spends (17-18%).  And because the US has a higher GDP per capita, the Spanish actually spend about 1/3 as much as Americans on healthcare, or $3,000 per person per year, while the US now spends $10,000 pppy.

How do the Spanish do it?  Do they have really healthy diets and lifestyles?

I would answer that what I thought was an optimal diet (mainly fresh fruits and vegetables) may not be.  Or, at least, such a diet does not seem to explain Spanish longevity.

As far as diet goes, the consumption of vegetables in Spain (besides potatoes) is LOW.  The consumption of bread and meat is HIGH.  Most of the meat is ham, from black pigs that ate oak acorns in the wild. Iberian ham is 'dry cured':  soaked in brine and then hung up for 1-3 years.

In The New Spaniards (2006 edition) John Hooper reports that Spaniards spend more on lottery tickets than they do on fruits, vegetables and dairy, combined.

The Spanish eat a lot of pastry, and the pastries are very sweet and very high in saturated fats.  (More so than in the US.)  I have never seen so many pastry and candy shops per capita as in Spain.  It seems the 'evils' of sugar and saturated fats are not causing the Spanish problems.

The Spanish tend to consume smaller amounts at each sitting, eating about 5 times a day.  They definitely eat more (locally grown) olives, olive oil, and almonds than Americans.

They spend a lot of time outdoors, and there is a LOT of sunshine.  Jerez (the sherry capital) gets between 3,000 and 3,200 hours of sunshine each year, for example.

The Spanish drink a lot of coffee and get an hour less sleep per night than the rest of Europe, perhaps because the midday break for 3-4 hours results in late nights.  Thirty per cent are smokers.  Alcohol consumption is about average for Europe.

Spanish city centers tend to be difficult to drive in, and more and more streets have been pedestrianized.  I believe the Spanish walk a lot more than Americans, but could not find data on this. In terms of formal exercise, Spaniards seem like Americans.  The OECD claims there is more obesity in Spain than in most western European countries, while I found the Spanish to be slim.

So, there you have it.  Neither diet, weight, smoking, drinking, sleep or exercise explain Spain's remarkable longevity.

I have to admit that, despite copious study and a professional focus on healthy lifestyle, I have been ignorant.  I apologize for the certainty with which I counseled patients about diet in the past.  OTOH, it is possible that if the Spanish started eating more fruits, veggies and dairy and less pastries, they would live even longer.  But how do you ask the winners of the longevity race to change?

And now excuse me while I grab a sunny table at a cafe and get a Napoletana (a chocolate-filled croissant) and a cafe Americano.


Monday, January 30, 2017

New article showing lack of evidence for healthcare workers' flu shots/ PLOS

The issue of healthcare worker (HCW) flu vaccine mandates is of particular interest because no one has shown the shots help patients.  Healthcare workers have had to accept many vaccines, including that for Hepatitis B, for decades.  But flu vaccination mandates are particularly egregious.

The flu shot is given yearly.  It does not prevent flu infections or flu deaths in patients.  And the more often you get a flu shot, the less well it works.  It may reduce absenteeism, but only by a small amount-- because the effectiveness of the shots is low.  Effectiveness is estimated at 37%, averaging CDC data on effectiveness over the past 12 years.  Per the Cochrane Collaboration, you need to vaccinate 71 people to prevent one case of clinical flu.  (I have added all these citations to earlier posts.)

The experts at CDC, FDA, NIH and their parent DHHS know this.  We all read the same literature, and they hold and attend conferences where this is discussed. The federal govt paid for some of the research.

So why does the federal government insist on pushing these shots? Why must healthcare workers get them, or in many cases, be fired?  Some thoughts:

1.  Who controls healthcare? Healthcare workers (HCWs) must be trained to march in lockstep with what their anointed health agencies tell them, irrespective of the science. Loyalty must be to government and employer, rather than to professional standards. Doctors may no longer interpret the medical literature for themselves. Hospital administrators have happily issued draconian edicts and fired disloyal employees, increasing their power in the process.

2.  Once doctors and healthcare workers have been pacified, the rest of the adult population, like the pediatric population, can be made to take whatever vaccines the government designates.

3.  Autonomy is to be chipped away.  We are not to be in control of our own bodies; rather, the government is, for the good of the community.  Will mandated drugging be next?

4.  While the flu shot program is being sold using the powerful memes of patient protection and Science, everyone who has looked into the science knows neither is true. But (as in George Orwell's 1984) it is the memes we must bow down to, not the science.

Anyway, the new PLOS study concluded, as have others: 
The impression that unvaccinated HCWs place their patients at great influenza peril is exaggerated. Instead, the HCW-attributable risk and vaccine-preventable fraction both remain unknown and the NNV (number needed to vaccinate) to achieve patient benefit still requires better understanding. Although current scientific data are inadequate to support the ethical implementation of enforced HCW influenza vaccination, they do not refute approaches to support voluntary vaccination or other more broadly protective practices, such as staying home or masking when acutely ill.
I believe the last sentence is  directed at healthcare administrators, who a) demand unvaccinated staff wear face masks throughout flu season (totally stupid since you can't spread flu when you don't have it--but then, that is not why the mask edict was issued) and b) make it very difficult for HCWs to stay home when they are sick.  

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Draining the swamp: moving in the right direction/ Reuters

From Reuters came a short piece on a new Executive Order, without much commentary to put it into perspective re how things worked in former administrations.
President Donald Trump on Saturday put restrictions on the kind of lucrative lobbying gigs his White House aides and other administration officials can accept after they leave government. 
Trump, a Republican businessman whose campaign was based in part on getting rid of Washington insiders, had pledged during last year's election campaign to "drain the swamp" of political practices that he said made politicians beholden to business interests. 
On his executive order making good on that pledge, Trump said his appointees would agree to refrain from lobbying their own agency for five years after leaving, and would not lobby any government appointee for two years.Trump's order also requires his officials to agree to a lifetime ban on working on behalf of foreign governments or foreign political parties.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Robert F Kennedy Jr. on why we have a vaccine problem and a CDC problem

MERCURY and VACCINES

I am pro vaccine. I had all of my six children vaccinated. I believe that vaccines save millions of lives.  So let me explain why I edited the book Thimerosal: Let The Science Speak, which exposes the dangerous—and wholly unnecessary—use of the mercury-based preservative thimerosal in vaccines being given to millions of children
and pregnant women here and around the world.
Vaccines are big business. Pharma is a trillion-dollar industry with vaccines accounting for $25 billion in annual sales. CDC’s decision to add a vaccine to the schedule can guarantee its manufacturer millions of customers and billions in revenue with minimal advertis- ing or marketing costs and complete immunity from lawsuits. High stakes and the seamless marriage between Big Pharma and government agencies have spawned an opaque and crooked regulatory system. Merck, one of America’s leading vaccine outfits, is currently under investigation for deceiving FDA regulators about the effectiveness of its MMR vaccine. Two whistleblowers say Merck ginned up sham studies to maintain Merck’s MMR monopoly.
Big money has fueled the exponential expansion of CDC’s vaccine schedule since 1988, when Congress’ grant of immunity from lawsuits suddenly transformed vaccines into paydirt. CDC recommended five pediatric vaccines when I was a boy in 1954. Today’s children cannot ­­ school without at least 56 doses of 14 vaccines by the time they’re 18.
An insatiable pharmaceutical industry has 271 new vaccines under development in CDC’s bureaucratic pipeline in hopes of boosting vaccine revenues to $100 billion by 2025. The industry’s principle spokesperson, Dr. Paul Offit, says that he believes children can take as many as 10,000 vaccines.
Public health may not be the sole driver of CDC decisions to mandate new vaccines. Four scathing federal studies, including two by Congress, one by the US Senate, and one by the HHS Inspector General, paint CDC as a cesspool of corruption, mismanagement, and dysfunction with alarming conflicts of interest suborning its research, regulatory, and policymaking functions. CDC rules allow vaccine industry profiteers like Dr. Offit to serve on advisory boards that add new vaccines to the schedule. In a typical example, Offit in 1999 sat on the CDC’s vaccine advisory committee and voted to add the rotavirus vaccine to CDC’s schedule, paving the way for him to make a fortune on his own rotavirus vaccine. Offit and his business partners sold the royalties to his rotavirus vaccine patent to Merck in 2006 for $182 million. Offit told Newsweek, “It was like winning the lottery!” A 2009 HHS Inspector General’s report found that the CDC certified financial disclosure forms with at least one omission for 97% of committee members—and most forms had more than one type of omission. The same report stated that as many as 64% of committee members had potential conflicts of interest that CDC did not identify or resolve before certifying their forms. In addition to lucrative business partnerships with Merck, Offit holds a $1.5 million research chair, funded by Merck, at Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia. From this industry sinecure, he broadcasts vaccine industry propaganda and annually publishes books urging unlimited vaccinations and vilifying safe-vaccine advocates.
The corruption has also poisoned CDC’s immunization safety office, the research arm that tests vaccines for safety and efficacy. In August 2014, seventeen-year CDC veteran, Dr. William Thompson, who is author of the principal study cited by CDC to exculpate mercury- preserved vaccines from the autism link, invoked whistleblower protection, and turned extensive agency files over to Congress. Thompson, who is still employed at CDC, says that for the past decade his superiors have pressured him and his fellow scientists to lie and manipulate data about the safety of the mercury-based preservative thimerosal to conceal its causative link to a suite of brain injuries, including autism.
Thimerosal is 50% ethylmercury, which is far more toxic and persistent in the brain than the highly regulated methylmercury in fish. Hundreds of peer reviewed studies by leading government and university scientists show that thimerosal is a devastating brain poison linked to neurological disorders now epidemic in American children. My book, Thimerosal: Let the Science Speak, is a summary of these studies, which CDC and its credulous jour- nalists swear don’t exist. Although Thompson’s CDC and vaccine industry colleagues have created nine patently fraudulent and thoroughly discredited epidemiological studies to defend thimerosal, no published study shows thimerosal to be safe.

* Please click the headline link above or here for all source annotations

The common canard that US autism rates rose after drug makers removed most thimerosal from pediatric vaccines in 2003 is wrong. That same year, CDC added flu shots containing massive doses of thimerosal to the pediatric schedule. As a result, children today can get nearly as much mercury exposure as children did from all pediatric vaccines combined in the decade prior to 2003. Worse, thimerosal, for the first time, is being given to pregnant women in flu shots. Furthermore, CDC’s current autism numbers are for children born in 2002, when kids were still getting thimerosal in their pediatric vaccines. The best science suggests that thimerosal’s complete removal from vaccines is likely to prompt a significant decline in autism. For example, a 2013 CDC study in JAMA Pediatrics shows a 33% drop in autism spectrum disorder in Denmark following the 1992 removal of thimerosal from Danish vaccines. That paper is among 37 peer-reviewed studies linking thimerosal to the autism epidemic.
Thimerosal has precipitated a journalistic as well as a public health crisis. Big Pharma pumps over $3.5 billion annually into TV, newspapers, and other advertising, targeting news departments, which have become vehicles for pharmaceutical sales and propa- ganda platforms for the industry. Television and print outlets feature spokespeople like Dr. Offit—without identifying their industry ties— while censoring criticisms of vaccine safety andexcluding the voices of informed vaccine safety advocates. Busy journalists parrot the deceptive talking points dispensed by government and pharma officials rather than reading the science themselves. Unable to argue the science, they bully, pillory, and demonize vaccine safety advocates as “anti-vax,” “anti-science,” and far worse. The unwillingness of the press to scrutinize CDC has emboldened both industry and agency to follow the lowest paths of easy profit and bureaucratic preservation.
The measles scare was classic disaster capitalism, with media outlets dutifully stoking public hysteria on editorial pages and throughout the 24-hour broadcast cycle. With Dr. Offit leading the charge, CDC, drug makers, and industry-funded front groups parlayed a garden variety annual measles outbreak into a national tidal wave of state legislation to ban religious and philosophical vaccine exemptions. The national media frenzy over 159 measles cases left little room for attention to the the autism cataclysm which has debilitated 1 million American children since the pandemic began in 1989, with 27,000 new cases annually. CDC refuses to call autism an “epidemic.” In defiance of hard science, and common sense, CDC and Offit have launched a denial campaign to gull reporters into believing the autism plague is an illusion created by better diagnosis.
Big Pharma is among the nation’s largest political donors, giving $31 million last year to national political candidates.  It spends more on political lobbying than any other industry, $3.0 billion from 1998 to 2014—double the amount spent by oil and gas and four times as much as defense and aerospace lobbyists. By February, state legislators in 36 states were pushing through over one hundred new laws to end philosophical and religious vaccine exemptions. Many of those state lawmakers are also on the industry payroll. You can see how much money bill sponsors from your state took from Big Pharma on http://www.maplight.org
Normally plaintiffs’ tort lawyers would provide a powerful check and balance to keep vaccines safe and effective and regulators and policymakers honest. But Pharma’s dirty money has bought the industry immunity from lawsuits for vaccine injury no matter how dangerous the product. An obliging Congress disposed of the Seventh Amendment right to jury trial, making it impossible for vaccine-injured plaintiffs to sue pharmaceutical companies for selling unsafe vaccines. That’s right! No Class Actions. No discovery. No depositions and little financial incentive for the industry to make vaccines safer.
Vaccine industry money has neutralized virtually all of the checks and balances that once stood between a rapacious pharmaceutical industry and our children. With the re- search, regulatory, and policymaking agencies captured, the courts closed to the public, the lawyers disarmed, the politicians on retainer and the media subverted, there is no one left to stand between a greedy industry and vulnerable children, except parents. Now Big Pharma’s game plan is to remove parental informed consent rights from that equation and force vaccine hesitant parents to inject their children with potentially risky vaccines that the Supreme Court has called “unavoidably unsafe.”
Ending exemptions is premature until we have a functioning regulatory agency and a transparent process. The best way to insure full vaccine coverage is for the vaccine program to win back public trust by ending its corrupt financial ties with a profit-making industry.
To educate yourselves about CDC corruption and the truth about vaccine science, I hope you will read Thimerosal: Let the Science Speak and download the important movie Trace Amounts43 and insist your legislators watch it before voting on any of these bills.
—Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

Why The American Press Does Not Want You To Read this Article
My manifesto (printed below) ran in USA Today as a full-page ad in the weekend issue April 24-26.  The broadside is partially a jeremiad on press suppression of the thimerosal issue – the debate that CBS reporter Sharyl Atkinson calls “the most censored and misreported story”of the century. Ironically, my manifesto had already run afoul the Kafkaesque industry taboo that one national reporter has characterized as “a borglike impenetrable cocoon” Before we ran it as a full-page ad, opinion editors at virtually all of the nation’s leading papers rejected a shorter version of the same article.  
read more >
“Why is everyone lined up against you?”
RFK, JR on Bill Maher (04/24/15)
Vaccine Courts Trampling Justice and Public Health
“In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved.”
In 2005, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. wrote an article that was co-published by Rolling Stone magazine and Salon.com about the connection between the vaccine preservative thimerosal and the autism epidemic. After several revisions to the article and nearly 6 years after the original publication date, Salon.com retracted the article from its website archives without consideration or opportunity for rebuttal. Below is the full corrected article, a link to Salon’s retraction and the real reason behind it, as well an email delivered to Robert F. Kennedy Jr. by David Talbot, the founder and former editor-in-chief of Salon.com
Deadly Immunity article – Rolling Stone 2005
The full Rolling Stone version including all of the corrections

Friday, January 20, 2017

Most Physicians Overestimate Treatment Benefits, Underestimate Harms/ Medscape

An interesting study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, was discussed yesterday on Medscape.  Unsurprisingly, it appears we doctors overestimate the benefit of what we do, and underestimate the risk--by a lot.

"Clinicians are likely to underestimate harms and overestimate benefits of tests and treatments, according to the results of a review of 48 studies published online January 9 in JAMA Internal Medicine. 
"[P]atients cannot be assisted to make informed decisions if clinicians themselves do not have accurate expectations of intervention benefits and harms," write study authors Tammy Hoffman, PhD, and Chris Del Mar, MD, from the Centre for Research in Evidence-Based Practice at Bond University in Queensland, Australia. 
The review showed that the majority of clinicians correctly estimated harms only 13% of the time, and benefits only 11% of the time. Previous studies on patient expectations show that they, too, overestimate benefits and underestimate harms of many aspects of their care. 
The clinicians' estimates varied widely across specialties and treatments. For example, more than 90% overestimated hormone replacement therapy's ability to reduce the risk for hip fracture, whereas more than 90% underestimated the risk for fatal cancer from bone scans..."

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Why is the Deep State Fighting So Hard Against Trump? His treatment of women, Mexicans, Muslims is the last thing they care about

From Mike Whitney at Counterpunch, what we all should consider, as we seek to understand the craziness of the last several months : 
"Trump wants to fundamentally change Washington’s  approach to policy, that is, he wants to abandon the destabilizing wars and regime change operations that have characterized US policy in the past and work collaboratively with countries like Russia that have a mutual interest in establishing regional security and fighting terrorism.
This has not been warmly received in Washington, in fact, Trump’s recommendations have triggered a firestorm among elites who now believe that he is a serious threat to their interests. Recent attacks in the media and preemptive provocations with Russia, suggest that an effort to remove the new president from office is already underway. We expect that these attacks will only intensify in the weeks ahead. Here’s an excerpt from the speech Trump delivered in Cincinnati on December 1 that is the source of the controversy: 
“We will pursue a new foreign policy that finally learns from the mistakes of the past…We will stop looking to topple regimes and overthrow governments…. Our goal is stability not chaos, because we want to rebuild our country [the United States]… We will partner with any nation that is willing to join us in the effort to defeat ISIS and radical Islamic terrorism …In our dealings with other countries, we will seek shared interests wherever possible and pursue a new era of peace, understanding, and good will.” 
None of the major media published Trump’s comments, and for 'good' reason. The statement is a straightforward repudiation of the last 70 years of US foreign policy during which time the United States has either overthrown or attempted to overthrow 57  foreign governments according to author William Blum. Removing governments that refuse to follow Washington’s diktats has been a mainstay of US foreign policy for the better part of the last century. Regime change is what we do. And while GOP administrations have relied more on direct military power (Re: Afghanistan, Iraq) as opposed to the more covert operations (proxy-wars –Syria, Ukraine, Libya) preferred by the Democrats,  both parties fully support the violent and illegal ousting of foreign leaders provided Washington’s geopolitical objectives are achieved. 
Trump has charted a different course altogether, which is why the media, the Intelligence Community, the political establishment and the deep state puppet-masters who operate behind the curtain,  have abandoned all restraint and are doing whatever they can to delegitimize him, back him into a corner and potentially remove him from office. .."

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Trump is saying/doing some great, important things, and people aren't getting it

I don't understand why many people are still upset about Donald Trump's election victory. The movement to keep all things Trump stirred up is unprecedented. The only conclusion I can draw is that many Americans have gotten lost in the jungle of identity politics that was created by and for the Hillary campaign, and are unable to see the Trump woods for the trees. Don't forget that Hillary and her team may have to face serious judicial music under Trump, and creating a post-election storm of disinfo and vitriol seems their only post-election Plan B.

Instead, forget about what Trump may have said, and look at what he is doing.  Remember the last 8 years. When you examine what Obama said while he was campaigning, it sounded wonderful, but he failed to follow through on those campaign promises. Did the media hold his feet to the fire?  Did they try to take him down with fake news?  

Remember that the candidates are acting and only telling us what they think we need to hear to elect them. The mainstream media's focus on words, to the exclusion of deeds, is deliberate. Don't be fooled.

Look at some big positives for Mr. Trump, positives that would have been inconceivable in a Hillary presidency.

1. Trump actually has the establishment freaked out.  The establishment has been worsening things for the 99% for a long time -- and so i.m.h.o. freaking them out is a very good sign.  We don't know where this is going to go, but the establishment hysteria has proved itself real, which tells us that Trump does intend to change things.  I say give him a chance, and I say Bravo!

2.  He is appointing billionaires to some Cabinet posts.  Well, one thing you can say about billionaires is that they have no need to steal from the rest of us. While this doesn't mean they will be great Secretaries, it removes one strike against them that Hillary, and presumably her people, had: she used her position to steal, and had long-honed knowledge of how to do so.  (More on that below.)

3.  He says we should have lower drug prices and they should be negotiated.  Well, that's a no brainer. Did Obama, the healthcare Prez, do anything about that?  Bernie Sanders just backed Trump up on this.  Update:  thirteen Democrats in the Senate just voted down cheaper medications.

4.  Trump says we need to look into vaccine safety.  Of course we need the safest vaccines we can get. Why would this be controversial? Only because the drug/vaccine industry has bought the media, politicians and federal agencies, do we hear it's controversial, when it clearly is not.

How many television commercials advertise drugs?  Pharma owns TV.  How many Pharma lobbyists are there for each member of Congress?  Three: a lobbyist army to be reckoned with.

The federal government has paid out $3.5 billion dollars' compensation for vaccine injuries. The chorus of 'medical authorities' who are having a cow over Trump's questioning vaccine safety choose to ignore the facts. Where does their media-anointed 'authority" come from, we should ask.  Are their remarks thoughtful and well-informed, or designed to shut down discussion of something important to us all, the safety of what gets injected into ourselves and our families, often as a result of government mandates. Especially when the manufacturers have no legal liability for the end product.

Vaccines are a highly diverse group of substances, and their safety and effectiveness vary considerably between products and brands; due to the age, nutritional status, and genetics of the person being inoculated; and to the integrity of the manufacturing process.  These are well-established facts. Every vaccine is relatively safe and relatively effective.  If they were all 100% safe you wouldn't use doctors to prescribe them. Instead, you could buy them in bubble gum machines.

In fact, CDC emphasizes the importance of maintaining an "active and ongoing vaccine safety program" in its #1 vaccine reference book, the Pink Book:
"The Importance of Vaccine Safety Programs
Vaccination is among the most significant public health success stories of all time. However, like any pharmaceutical product, no vaccine is completely safe or completely effective. While almost all known vaccine adverse events are minor and self-limited, some vaccines have been associated with very rare but serious health effects. The following key considerations underscore the need for an active and ongoing vaccine safety program..." 
So much for the medical establishment being up in arms because vaccine safety needs to be watched. Everyone but the Pharma-paid media and its carefully selected shills knows it needs to be watched.  The meme that 'investigating vaccine safety is dangerous' is an oxymoron. It's just more fake news.

5.  Trump is pissed off at the lying, war-making, fake news-spreading "intelligence" agencies and appears to want to rein them in.  For this we should be immensely grateful, as they have caused so much damage around the world and domestically -- inciting wars we have no business to be in, wars in which the public has no idea why the US is involved.  Not to mention fomenting plots to terrorize at home and abroad. Pretty please, do rein them in.

6.  He wants peace with Russia, while Hillary did her best to antagonize Russia.  Hang up the nukes for the next 4 years: I say that's a very good thing!

Obama said a lot of pretty things, but what did he do?  Got us into more wars, didn't get us out of any. He sold us a pig in a poke 'Affordable Care Act' that many people (mainly those who never had to use it) were conned into thinking was a big improvement over what came before. In fact, Obamacare changed the landscape of health insurance, ushering in an era of higher copays and reduced benefits not only for beneficiaries of the A.C.A., but also for those buying commercial insurance in other markets.

What about Hillary?  Come on, we know who her constituency really is:  they 'donated' billions to her campaign and to her Foundation, and paid her killer fees for speeches.  The Clinton Foundation, starting to unravel, is looking like a pay-to-play scheme that led to the resignation of the New Zealand PM (some of the NZ Herald reportage is no longer accessible) and announcements by Australia and Norway that they will cease funding the Foundation.

Don't people understand yet that her strategy to become President was to foster racial, religious, sexual orientation and gender divisiveness, and then ride in on a white horse to fix the mess she had fed and exploited?  In truth, she represented only the Business and War Party.  Her campaign relied on the politics of gender, religion, sexual orientation and race, because championing them does not cost business anything, and because it allowed her to skirt the much more threatening issue of economic injustice.

Hillary cheated Bernie out of the nomination.  Sixteen years ago, she stole White House gifts and furniture. Were those items loot from pay-to-play when Bill was in office? I suspect she collected on foreign policy decisions made when she was Secretary.  She certainly was the main cheerleader (why?) for the destruction of Libya and Syria, and bears significant responsibility for the current refugee crisis, which she says is bigger than any refugee crisis since the Second World War.

Hillary played us.  Stop being played, the election is over.  Let's see what Mr. Trump can do.