Aletho News


Violent Intolerance – U.S. Style

By Robert Fantina | Aletho News | February 10, 2015

There is an old cliché that says if one is not concerned about current conditions in the world, one is not paying attention. While this writer generally attempts to avoid tired clichés, this one certainly seems applicable today.

There sometimes comes a time when white is seen as black, and black as white, and much of society accepts this unquestioningly. One thinks of the fabled emperor, parading down the street in clothes that only intelligent people could see, when he was, in fact, naked. Yet those around him, wanting to appear intelligent, fawned all over him, proclaiming the beauty of his non-existent clothes.

Today, the extreme right wing has millions of followers who have been convinced that all Muslims are terrorists, intent on destroying the United States and killing all Christians. This group also believes that the growing acceptance of marriage equality will bring down the wrath of an angry, intolerant God upon society. They cling to the twisted, inexplicable belief that government-provided health care is an unspeakable evil. These and other bizarre and dangerous beliefs are accepted without question when proclaimed by entertainment shows masquerading as news programs, or by sobbing televangelists demanding money to save America.

Can we possibly step back and take a critical look at just these few issues, to try, probably with little success, to understand why they cause so much anger and hostility?

  • Islam and terrorism. A nation with a long tradition of prejudice, subtle or blatant, against anyone who is not white, seems to find it difficult to break out of that outdated stereotype. People who have grown up seeing mainly whites in their neighborhoods, schools and churches, without exposure to anyone who might speak a different language or have differing religious traditions, can be fearful of the unknown. Certainly when one is taught from childhood that the ‘American Way’, whatever that is, is superior to everything else, anyone who strays from the narrow traditions of that concept must be inferior, and probably dangerous.And what is shown on the news? Stories of people who adhere to some twisted offshoot of Islam, and use that philosophy to commit crimes, are sensationalized. The killing of several people at the offices of the magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris spawned international pseudo-solidarity with the victims, creating a brand new hashtag for all the world to enjoy. Yet on the same day that that tragedy occurred, at least 50 Muslims, including children as young as 18 months and adults as old as seventy, were slaughtered by so-called Christian militias in the Central African Republic, yet most news stations didn’t see any reason to report on that incident. After all, that happened in Africa, a mostly black nation, so one expects them to go around killing each other. No news there; just more dead black Muslims. Perhaps, just perhaps, if the people who are so fearful of anyone who wears a hijab or a kufeyah were to actually meet a Muslim, and spend a few hours with him or her, perhaps over dinner, they might begin to question what they hear on FOX news. If they were to see such people dropping their children off at school, doing yard work at their home, grocery shopping in the very same store that caters to the local white population, there might begin to be a glimmer of a belief that they are not so different after all, and that that hijab or kufeyah actually represents a religious belief or cultural tradition, and is not in fact hiding a bomb.
  • Marriage equality. The reactions to this among the right-wing are so extreme that volumes could be written attempting to counteract them. However, this writer will attempt to summarize these ideas with a few salient points. First, same-sex marriage has been legal in Canada, where this writer now resides, for years. Amazing as it may seem, life goes on. People go to work and school, have children, grow up, retire, travel, shop and do all the things that people in nations where same-sex marriage is not legal do. Canada has elections, elected officials meet to debate and pass laws, and the fact that marriage equality is the law of the land doesn’t impact any of those activities. No one is forced to marry anyone they don’t want to marry; no church is forced to perform a wedding ceremony if it violates their doctrines.Secondly, since most Christians focus on the New Testament, which records the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, where this angry, vengeful God comes from is a mystery to this writer. As a Christian familiar with both the Old and New Testaments, he is certainly aware of the angry God depicted in the Old Testament. Yet we are told that, with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, all things became new. And nowhere did Jesus Christ condemn any sinner with the exception of the hypocrites (rightwing ministers and newscasters, please take note). He embraced society’s outcasts, and invited everyone to come unto him. As mentioned, this writer is quite familiar with scripture, and he knows of no situation in which Jesus Christ threatened to send plagues if a nation approved same-sex marriage.
  • Health care. Will it bore the reader if this writer brings up this topic yet again? Have we not all grown tired of it? There does not seem to be any logical reason for the peculiar belief that health care is a bad thing. Nor is there any evidence to support the concept that there is only so much health care out there, and if more people get it, some of those who already have it will somehow have less.

But, one might say, isn’t this unnecessary and intrusive government involvement in the personal lives of individuals? Well, no, it isn’t. Since the death panels that Sarah Palin was so concerned about, and that some members of the right wing continue to warn of, don’t now and never did exist, and since personal health care decisions are still left up to the individual and his/her physician, there is nothing intrusive here. However, while we are on the topic of intrusive government involvement in the personal lives of individuals, how does regulating the use of birth control not qualify? Also, is not governing who one can and cannot marry somewhat intrusive?

In 1960, Senator John Kennedy of Massachusetts, a Roman Catholic was the Democratic nominee for president. His religion was controversial, but he was elected. In 1984, New York Representative Geraldine Ferraro was the unsuccessful Democratic vice-presidential nominee, the first woman to run for that office for a major party. In 2006, Keith Ellison became the first Muslim elected to the House of Representatives. In 2008, Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, an African-American won the presidential election, despite his race. In 2012, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, a Mormon, was the unsuccessful standard-bearer for the Republican Party.

For four of the five people mentioned above, there was much talk about how historic their candidacy was, how the nation had obviously evolved and thrown off early prejudices, since it was able to elect a Catholic and an African-American, and nominate a woman and a Mormon. Yet Mr. Ellison’s election was not heralded with the same lofty words, especially when he chose to take the oath of office with his hand on a copy of the Qur’an rather than the Bible. Conservative columnist Dennis Prager, who took great umbrage, said this: “America, not Keith Ellison, decides what book a Congressman takes his oath on.” No, Mr. Prager, that choice is left to the individual taking the oath of office. And Representative Virgil Goode (R-VA) had this dark warning to issue, saying that Mr. Ellison’s use of the Qur’an was a threat to “… the values and beliefs traditional to the United States of America… [and] if American citizens don’t wake up and adopt the Virgil Goode position on immigration there will likely be many more Muslims elected to office and demanding the use of the Qur’an.” So it seems that those prejudices weren’t jettisoned quite as successfully as one might like to think. Right wing comments following the 2012 presidential election also reflect this fact. FOX News demi-god Bill O’Reilly proclaimed in despair that “It’s not a traditional American anymore”. The racist ‘tweets’ that filled the Internet following the election also clearly demonstrate that racism is alive and well in the U.S.

So here we are in 2015. The anger, hostility and violence that were perpetrated against African Americans fifty years ago have now been directed towards Muslims. Right wing commentators decry the fact that Muslims have equal rights, proclaiming that the Constitution was meant for Christians only. A new movie, glorifying a serial killer whose victims were mostly Muslim, is a box-office smash. The U.S. government continues to support and finance apartheid Israel, allowing the further savage victimization of its mostly Muslim victims.

While we shake our heads in awe and disgust that U.S. citizens a generation ago were lynching African-Americans for sport, with crowds watching gleefully, future generations will question our current actions. Scenes of Israelis picnicking while watching the slaughter of Palestinians in 2014 will be hung beside photos of angry whites screaming at young black girls walking into newly-integrated schools in the U.S. south in the early 1960s, both indicating the racism and barbarism of an earlier, primitive age. Yet this is the age we are living in, and the one we have some control over. It is beyond time to act, to fight the ignorance that breeds violence, and the strident voices that fan the deadly flames of intolerance. This is not work for someone else to do; there is, unfortunately, no one else to do it.

February 10, 2015 Posted by | Islamophobia | , | 1 Comment

Obama the War President


By Dave Lindorff | This Can’t Be Happening! | February 6, 2015

The Nobel Peace Laureate President Barack Obama, the guy who once campaigned claiming one US war — the one against Iraq — was a “bad” one, and the other — against Afghanistan — was a “good” one, turns out to be a man who, once anointed commander-in-chief, can’t seem to find a war he doesn’t consider to be a “good” idea.

Obama turned out, on taking office, to have a hard time saying good-bye to the occupation of Iraq, only leaving when he was forced out by an Iraqi government that refused to continue giving US forces legal immunity for killing Iraqi civilians. In Afghanistan, he decided to copy the same “surge” — a massive increase in targeted assassinations and violence — that he had once condemned in Iraq. Then he stepped up drone-launched rocket attacks and bombings in seven other countries.

More recently he has begun an air war against Syria (okay, he says it’s against the so-called Islamic State, but the whole world, with the exception of a lot of ill-informed US citizens, knows it’s ultimately against the Syrian government), and now his Secretary of Defense (sic) Ashton Carter and his Secretary of State John Kerry are pushing for sending heavy arms and, inevitably, US “advisors” to Ukraine to escalate US involvement in the civil war there. What makes that latest war particularly dangerous is that all the while, Peace Laureate Obama makes it clear that the “enemy” is Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Russian military.

Never mind that it is the US that originally orchestrated and encouraged the fascist coup that overthrew the elected government of Ukraine, setting in motion a huge pogrom against ethnic Russians in the east of that country and provoking the current armed conflict, and never mind that Russian concern about the Ukraine stems from a decades long history of the US pushing NATO ever closer to Russia’s western border, with Ukraine kind of the last straw.

Anyone looking objectively at the warmaking and war-promotion of this administration would have to conclude that President Obama is one of the most bellicose Chief Executives in the history of the United States.

February 10, 2015 Posted by | Economics, Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , | 1 Comment

Ukraine Woman from Zaporozhia region Brilliantly Takes down the War and the Draft

February 10, 2015 Posted by | Militarism | , | 1 Comment

How Brian Williams Can Regain Our Trust

By Kevin Ryan | Dig Within | February 9, 2015

NBC News anchor Brian Williams is taking heat for having repeatedly lied to the public about an Iraq War experience that he never had. Williams has decided to take a few days off to see if the whole affair will blow over but that strategy is not likely to work given the legs that the story has grown. There is a way for Williams to turn it all around, although it would be tougher than anything he has done in the past. He could save face by coming clean on something important that he once reported and never mentioned again.

On September 11, 2001, Williams was covering the terrorist attacks of the day. Late that afternoon a third skyscraper collapsed at the World Trade Center (WTC) and Williams interviewed a New York City fireman named David Restuccio about it. Just after the building collapsed, NBC broadcast the live scene as Williams remarked, “This is like watching the collapse of an active volcano. And the dust from it is not unlike that from a volcano.” He brought Restuccio on and continued, “You guys knew this was coming all day.” Restuccio replied, “We had heard reports that the building [WTC 7] was unstable and that it would be best if it would either come down on its own or it would be taken down.”

This was the point at which a good journalist would have stopped and asked, “It would be taken down”? How could a 47-story skyscraper be “taken down” just like that, in the same place where two other towers had just experienced unprecedented collapse? Instead, Williams carried on as if he had not heard the remark. He went on for the next thirteen and a half years ignoring many questions about 9/11 and the official explanations for those crimes. For example, Williams reported on the “WTC meteorite,” said to be composed of once molten steel. He claimed that it was evidence of “temperatures as hot as the inner earth.” Yet Williams never returned to the subject to clarify that jet fuel-fed office fires cannot melt steel, nor has he reported on the compelling evidence for how steel could have melted at the WTC.

Many people knew that WTC 7 would come down, not just Restuccio. They didn’t think it might come down—they knew with certainty that it would. The collapse of the building was announced hours in advance and somehow BBC and CNN prematurely reported it as having collapsed long before it actually did.

However, the U.S. government position on the matter denies any suggestion of foreknowledge. And the officially reported explanation for the collapse of WTC 7, crafted by the government agency NIST over a period of 7 years, could not have been predicted by anyone. That explanation depends on a series of unpredictable factors that supposedly came together only minutes, or seconds, before the collapse took place. Moreover, the NIST explanation is known to be demonstrably false.

After the NIST WTC 7 Report was finally issued, California physics teacher David Chandler helped NIST to become more honest about the whole thing. That is, he helped NIST admit that WTC 7 was in free-fall for a period of its descent. In correcting itself, NIST admitted that the building “descended essentially in free fall, indicating negligible support from the structure below.” NIST clarified in its amended Report that “this free fall drop continued for approximately 8 stories.”

As Chandler made clear, buildings cannot free-fall through their own solid structure without the help of explosives. Others, including licensed structural engineers, have noted that many hundreds of high-strength steel bolts and steel welds would have had to vanish instantaneously for an 8-story section of the building to fall without any resistance. This is not possible except through demolition.

There is no doubt that increasing numbers of people will come to know about WTC 7 and its demolition. They will learn about the military and intelligence agencies that occupied the building, and about the powerful people like Donald Rumsfeld who had curious links to the building and yet lied about their knowledge of its destruction. And they will wonder why the media never covered the facts.

This is where Williams has a chance to use his past reporting on the WTC to regain the public trust. We know that reporters often lie to the public and they do it for a number of understandable, albeit despicable, reasons. But as Williams takes a few days off to consider his career in that cycle of deception, he might also consider what future generations will think and where the practices of intentional media deception will ultimately lead. Someone like Williams will eventually recognize the harm it does and use his or her celebrity status to openly call for the truth about WTC 7. It could be him.

February 10, 2015 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , | 2 Comments

So Far this Year, All Identified Cop Killers, Were Also Cops

By Jay Syrmopoulos | The Free Thought Project | February 9, 2015

Nocona, Texas – An officer responding to a domestic disturbance at a North Texas residence, shot and killed off-duty sheriff’s deputy Larry Hostetter, 41, shortly after midnight.

Police were tight-lipped about the incident other than to say that the Texas Rangers are leading the investigation.

In a news conference Monday morning, Sheriff Paul Cunningham said Hostetter was a good person, had been a law enforcement officer since 2000 and that being a sheriff’s deputy was everything to him, according to NBC 5.

Cunningham added that Hostetter, of Fredericksburg, was married and had three children.

“We just want to give our condolences and sympathies to everybody involved,” Cunningham said.

This is not the first time in recent weeks where we have seen that thin blue line injuring its own.

At the end of January, we reported on a Yonkers police officer who shot a suicidal officer from another precinct, claiming he feared for his safety.

Earlier in the January we also reported on an undercover Albuquerque police officer who was shot by another officer during a drug bust over $60 worth of meth.  The media called it a “tragic accident” while, in reality, it was another example of police shooting someone who poses no threat to them.

In another tragic incident, John Ballard Gorman was shot and killed by fellow officer during a training exercise in Tunica, MS last month. The officer who shot Gorman failed to switch out his weapon for a training weapon and fired a real round into his fellow officer, killing him.

While 116 citizens have been killed at the hands of law enforcement thus far this year, the only shooting deaths of officers this year have all been attributed to fellow officers. Over the weekend in Dallas an officer was killed in a murder-suicide but the shooter has not been identified.

The recent chorus from cops, that blue lives matter seems to ring hollow, as it isn’t officers that are being gunned down in the streets on a daily basis by citizens.

Judging from the incidents that have transpired so far this year, it seems the greatest deadly threat to blue lives, is other blue lives.

February 10, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture | , | 1 Comment

BBC interview with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad

February 10, 2015 Posted by | Video | | 1 Comment

US plans to establish military base in Kurdistan

MEMO | February 10, 2015

The United States is planning to establish a military base in the Iraqi Kurdistan town of Erbil, the regional capital. The intention is to provide logistical support to military aircraft deployed against ISIS positions, it has been report by Anadolu.

A spokesperson for the Peshmerga Ministry, which looks after military affairs for the autonomous Kurdish government, said on Monday that military officials and aircraft will be based in Erbil as soon as construction work is finished. “The aircraft will carry out surveillance,” said Helgurt Hikmet, “but those on bombing missions will not take off from the new base.” He did not disclose how many aircraft will be based in Erbil, but said that all 60 member states of the coalition fighting ISIS could make use of the new facilities.

The US-led coalition has launched numerous airstrikes against ISIS targets in both Iraq and Syria in recent months.

Hikmet added that military advisors from eight countries are helping to train Peshmerga personnel.

February 10, 2015 Posted by | Militarism | , | 1 Comment

HRW: ‘No Position for or against the War’

Reflections on HRW and Amnesty International

By Bruno Jantti | teleSUR | February 9, 2015

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has just published its 25th annual report. World Report 2015 runs 644 pages, reviewing human rights situation in over 90 countries.

HRW’s Executive Director Kenneth Roth laments what the organization labels as a “circle-the-wagon approach to human rights.” According to Roth, “Human rights violations played a major role in spawning or aggravating many of today’s crises,” highlighting that “[p]rotecting human rights and ensuring democratic accountability are key to resolving them.”

Fine. Considering the report’s analysis on the human rights climate in the Middle East, however, one cannot but notice how HRW is quite careful in dealing with the subtleties of advocating for respect for human rights, on one hand, yet conveniently dismissing the issue of U.S. power in the region, on the other.

Although its clout is in decline, the U.S. is the most influential external power operating in the Middle East. Besides the immensely destructive U.S. invasion of Iraq, the military footprint of the U.S. in the Middle East is substantial. The U.S. has a permanent deployment of its military personnel in Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, UAE, Saudi-Arabia, Turkey and Egypt.

For an American NGO seeking to raise the profile of human rights, one obvious question regarding the U.S. and the Middle East could be, for starters: How much is there room for improvement in the region’s human rights climate if the U.S. continues to back states that it deems sympathetic to U.S. foreign policy interests — such as Saudi-Arabia, Israel and Egypt — and which happen to be among the worst human rights violators in the world?

The question of the legitimacy of U.S. power in the Middle East is of primary importance. Here are some basic factors to consider.

First of all, as far as one can tell from the available data and research on public opinion in Middle Eastern countries, there is little popular support for, and quite a bit of opposition to, U.S. hegemony. Secondly, economic wealth and political power are highly concentrated and the degree of militarization and the number of armed conflicts is exceptionally high in the Middle East. Thirdly, most of the regional powers are close U.S. allies which are able to continue to breach human rights partly due to massive U.S. backing.

This might lead to the conclusion that the U.S. influence in the region is not a bed of roses. But despite its startling simplicity, this equation is nowhere to be seen in the domestic U.S. political discourse, not even in the human rights camp. HRW is indeed able to criticize particular aspects of U.S. foreign policy, including its foreign policy in the Middle East, but HRW avoids touching the overriding issue of the legitimacy of U.S. clout in the region. Nonetheless, given the realities outlined above, it is a no-brainer that the U.S. cannot under any stretch of the imagination maintain such clout without being in fundamental conflict with realization of human rights and democratic principles.

No state has been able — nor probably willing — to exercise power in an area outside of its borders against the will of the area’s population while simultaneously respecting and enforcing human rights. This should be obvious. Hence, an American human rights organization that merely demands that U.S. adheres to the principles of human rights ends up lacking credibility, for such a demand rings hollow if the broader question of U.S.-imposed influence is not addressed.

After the Second Intifada had erupted, I became one of Amnesty International’s (AI) country coordinators on Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territories. Before I joined the AI team, I had come to the conclusion that conventional human rights work would serve the cause of Palestinian self-determination. I was wrong.

Our group, and AI as a whole, was calling on Israel to abide by international law. I still agree with that. But the Israel-Palestine conflict is a political conflict and highly political topics may or may not be resolvable by the mere enforcement of human rights and international law. To illustrate, rather than demanding an immediate end to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories, AI simply asks Israel to respect human rights in the territories. But to ask a state which maintains a military occupation of an area against the will of the people in that area to merely respect human rights seems absurd — somewhat as useful as asking a mugger to be polite.

I still tried to make it work. Everything will be fine if we all just adhere to the law, respect human rights and never breach anything that the Fourth Geneva Convention states.

Then I began to notice stumbling blocks that were completely unjustifiable. AI would be quite willing to accuse Palestinian armed groups of crimes against humanity, yet letting Israel off the hook with just the “excessive use of force” accusation. Observing this was a turning point.

In 2004, for example, AI’s press release stated on attacks carried out by armed Palestinian groups:

“Such deliberate attacks against civilians, which have been widespread, systematic and in furtherance of a stated policy to attack the civilian population, constitute crimes against humanity, as defined by Article 7 (1) and (2)(a) of the 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal.”

How come AI was so reluctant to use the same terminology when describing Israel’s conduct? To this day, no satisfactory answer has been provided since no satisfactory answer exists.

Since I left the AI country coordinator team, not much has changed. AI and HRW still produce top-notch research on human rights violations and legal aspects of various wars and conflicts, yet their political analysis remains as inadequate as it was back in the days when I was at AI.

To conclude, here is what HRW’s Kenneth Roth wrote about U.S. invasion of Iraq:

“Human Rights Watch ordinarily takes no position on whether a state should go to war. The issues involved usually extend beyond our mandate, and a position of neutrality maximizes our ability to press all parties to a conflict to avoid harming noncombatants. — Because the Iraq war was not mainly about saving the Iraqi people from mass slaughter, and because no such slaughter was then ongoing or imminent, Human Rights Watch at the time took no position for or against the war.”

I rest my case.

February 10, 2015 Posted by | Militarism, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Spinning with a Changing Climate


A new website spoofs preposterous claims regarding climate change:

“I’ve started a website with the idea of making it entertaining as well as informative. The website presents global warming predictions that have been made over the past 40 or so years, especially predictions that are either contradictory or alternatively plainly ridiculous and thus amusing.”


Earth speeds up

Climate change can also affect the Earth’s spin. Previously, Felix Landerer of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. and colleagues showed that global warming would cause Earth’s mass to be redistributed towards higher latitudes. Since that pulls mass closer to the planet’s spin axis, it causes the planet to rotate faster – just as an ice skater spins faster when she pulls her arms towards her body. – New Scientist 20 Aug 2009

Earth slows down

Belgian scientists have identified a hitherto unsuspected benefit of global warming – more time for all of us. They say increasing levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere will slow the Earth’s rotation. They used computer models to analyse the effect of adding 1% more CO2 to the atmosphere annually. – BBC News, 12 Feb 2002


February 10, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | , , | 2 Comments

FDA fails to report fraud in clinical trials – study

RT | February 10, 2015

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) routinely fails to report evidence of fraud or misconduct when it inspects the way researchers conduct clinical trials, leaving the public unaware of which research is credible and which isn’t.

Researchers at New York University found that in dozens of published papers where the FDA had uncovered faults in clinical trials, only three ever indicated that violations occurred. In a stem cell trial, for example, all patients were said to have experienced improvement – despite one having a foot amputated.

The New York University study examined 57 clinical trials that received a notice of violation from the FDA for poor record keeping, false information, and poor patient study. Researchers found that findings from those clinical trials were used in 78 published papers – but only in three instances were the faults in the clinical trials mentioned in the papers.

In the other cases, none of the published papers containing data from faulty trials were corrected or retracted.

“These are major things,” Professor Charles Seife, the study’s author, told Reuters. “No one really knows unless you go through these documents that anyone is question the integrity of the trials.”

In one case, an entire clinical trial was considered unreliable by the FDA, but the published paper didn’t mention the violation at all. In another trial, researchers covered up a patient’s death.

Of the 57 published clinical trials, 39 percent had evidence of false information, 25 percent reported adverse events, 61 percent had record keeping problems, and 35 percent failed to protect the safety of the patient or had issues with oversight or informed consent.

“The FDA has repeatedly hidden evidence of scientific fraud not just from the public, but also from its most trusted scientific advisers, even as they were deciding whether or not a new drug should be allowed on the market,” Seife wrote at Slate. “For an agency devoted to protecting the public from bogus medical science, the FDA seems to be spending an awful lot of effort protecting the perpetrators of bogus science from the public.”

Seife said his team could have uncovered even more instances from the 600 clinical trials mentioned in the documents, but most of the documents obtained from the FDA were heavily redacted. “In some cases, you can’t even tell which drug is being tested,” he said.

Every year, the FDA inspects several hundred clinical sites performing biomedical research on human participants and occasionally finds evidence of violations of good clinical practices and misconduct. The study said, however, that the FDA has no systematic method for communicating these findings to the scientific community, and its findings go unremarked in peer-reviewed literature.

In a statement to Reuters, the FDA said it is “committed to increasing the transparency of compliance and enforcement activities with the goal of enhancing the public’s understanding of the FDA’s decision, promoting the accountability of the FDA, and fostering an understanding among regulated industry about the need for consistently safe and high-quality products.”


US spends most on this drug… and no one knows how it works

GMO potato seeks FDA approval, opponents say safety risks remain

February 10, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Economics, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Major climate science reporting fail by Minnesota Public Radio

By Sierra Rayne | American Thinker | February 3, 2015

In an article at the Grand Forks Herald, Minnesota Public Radio goes all in on climate hysteria – and fails in what is simply terrible science journalism by a public broadcaster.

The fact-checking can start with the opening sentences:

St. Patrick’s Day 2012 was the crowning moment of one of Minnesota’s mildest winters: Jubilant parade spectators wore flip flops, Miss Shamrock beamed in sleeveless, emerald satin, and the beer never tasted so refreshing as temperatures hit 80 degrees.

Three months later, the dazzling sunlight was nowhere to be found when rain sheets pummeled the Duluth area. Muddy torrents of chocolate, fuming floodwaters tore through town, leaving shock and devastation.

Both extremes happened in a Minnesota our descendants never knew. It’s warmer, especially in the winter, and rising global temperatures have stacked the deck in favor of heavier rains.

The hottest temperature during that March 2012 in Duluth was 75 degrees. Not even close to the record of 81 degrees set in 1946.

But, the alarmists may say, St. Patrick’s Day 2012 was on March 17, and we’ve never seen temperatures this high on that date before. Perhaps, but one day in one month in one year doesn’t make a trend. Over the past century, and also since 1970 and during the past three decades, there has not been any sign of a significant trend in maximum temperatures on March 17 for the Duluth area.  Same goes with absolute maximum temperatures during March. No significant trends over any of these time frames, and during the last 30 years, the correlation is negative – toward lower extreme maximum temperatures in March.

In the Minneapolis-St. Paul region, the 80 degrees in March 2012 was tied with 1967 as only the fifth highest March extreme maximum temperature on record, behind 1986, 1968, 1910, and 2007.  No significant trends in maximum temperatures for March 17, either, and the last three decades have a negative correlation toward lower – not higher – extreme maximum temperatures in this month.

Thus, the problems in this article start early. And they continue.

The growing season in the Twin Cities is several weeks longer than it was even in the 1970s.

This classifies as cherry-picking 101, and it is egregious science journalism. Has there been a statistically significant increase in the growing season for the Twin Cities since the 1970s?  Yes.  But here is the growing season length dating back to when records began in 1873.

Since records began in the 1870s, there is an overall negative correlation toward a shorter – not longer – growing season in the Twin Cities region. Even with the increase in growing season length since the 1970s, the area is only back up to where it historically was before the 1970s.

Between 1873 and 1969, the area averaged a growing season length of 165 days. The average since 1970 has been 164 days.  Some climate change.

Then there are the extreme rains:

In Minnesota and the Midwest generally, 37 percent more rain falls in these big 2.5-inch-plus storms than did 50 years ago, said researcher Ken Kunkel of the National Climatic Data Center in North Carolina. ‘We’ve found that the last decade actually has the largest number of these events since the network began in the late 19th Century.’

There are no significant trends in the number of days per year with 2.5+ inches of precipitation for any of the state’s climate subregions in the National Weather Service database. The Twin Cities and Duluth climate areas have the longest records for this metric, and here are the non-existent trends since the early 1870s.

See a climate crisis? No, because there isn’t one. Next issue.

The 2-inch rains historically have come about every five years in a given place. And then there are the really big storms that bring at least 6 or 7 inches of rain over a huge geographic area, with powerful enough spots within the storm dumping 8 inches or more. These types of storms are occurring more frequently, at least partly because warmer air can hold more water.

Two-inch rains come about every five years in the historic record?  No chance. Between 1872 and 1970 for the Duluth region, they came about every 1.5 years (i.e., 0.65 per year on average). Overall from 1872 to 2014, they come about every 1.3 years. For the Twin Cities, the average is 0.93 per year since the 1870s, or one per year.  All a far cry from “about every five years.”

As for the 6- to 7-inch megastorms, the Duluth region has never (at least during recorded history) received 6 inches of precipitation in a day. The record is 5.20 inches, set in 1909, followed by 4.14 inches in 2012 and 4.00 inches in 1876, all of which seems to contradict this claim:

The 2012 storm in Duluth was considered a 500-year event. It overwhelmed culverts and took out streets.

In June 2012, Duluth received 4.14 inches over one day, and 7.25 inches over two consecutive days, with no rain on the third day. But back in July 1909, the city received 5.20 inches in one day, 6.68 inches over two consecutive days, and 7.83 inches over three consecutive days. Ergo, storms of this magnitude have happened before since records began in the late 1800s, leading to the question as whether the 2012 event was really a 500-year event, and if such events are really becoming more common.

The Saint Cloud area’s top four record daily rainfalls all came before 1957, and none was more than 5 inches. The Twin Cities received 9.15 inches in a single day during 1987, and the next three daily rainfall maxima occurred in 1977, 1892, and 1903.  The International Falls region’s record daily rainfall is only 4.82 inches, set back in 1942. The next highest 24-hour totals are from 1966 and 1898.It is certainly debatable whether extreme rain events are on the rise.

Then come the omnipresent concerns over unpredictability, as if weather or climate were ever predictable:

A third facet of the change in Minnesota’s climate, in addition to more heat and bigger storms, is murkier because it involves scientists asking whether things are in fact getting more variable and unpredictable.

For example, because big rainstorms account for a bigger portion of total rainfall, the state can dry out for weeks without reducing annual precipitation.

Some meteorologists call it ‘flash drought.’ Suddenly, after a wet spring, the spigot turns off. The big May 2012 storm in Duluth gave the St. Louis River its highest-ever discharge crest. But six months later, the river was at drought levels.

Actually, both the Twin Cities and Duluth regions have positive correlations since records began in the 1870s – and statistically significant trends over the past century – toward more days per year with precipitation, not less.

Finally, we have the 2012 storm (which was in June, not May) in Duluth that “gave the St. Louis River its highest-ever discharge crest.” Here is the USGS peak streamflow record for the St. Louis River at Scanlon, just upstream from Duluth:

Yes, 2012 set a record, but look at the peak flow trend since the 1970s: declining with no unusual variability aside from the single data point in 2012. One data point does not make climate change.

And about those “drought levels” in the river six months after the flood – which would mean December 2012 – the flow in the river during December was only the 18th lowest on record (i.e., hardly unusual) and almost threefold higher than the record low December flow set back in 1910.  By the way, the trend since records began on the river in 1908 is toward more December flow – not less – so climate change isn’t leading to wintertime “drought” flows on the river, either.

So ends the examination of but one climate change story in a single relatively small newspaper from the American Midwest. There is climate reality, but science journalism by the mainstream media is getting farther away from it.

February 10, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , | Leave a comment