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How The US Quietly Lost The 1st Amendment

By Tyler Durden – Zero Hedge – 10/12/2019

While many would argue that Americans’ First Amendment rights have long since dwindled from the liberties initially granted in The Bill of Rights, a decision by the European Union’s highest court could well mark the final nail in the coffin of free speech.

As Politico reports, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has ruled that Facebook can be ordered to track down and remove content globally if it was found to be illegal in any EU country. In its ruling, CJEU said that EU law allowed local judges to order the world’s largest social network to remove illegal content, as well as delete material that conveyed a similar message under certain circumstances.

The decision is not just a slap in the face of worldwide citizens’ freedom of expression, but a big defeat for Facebook as it will force them to be more responsible for what is appearing on the internet (and thus what is seen by those who make the rules as not appropriate for the genpop).

“This judgement raises critical questions around freedom of expression and the role that internet companies should play in monitoring, interpreting and removing speech,” Toby Partlett, a Facebook spokesman, said in a statement.

“We hope the courts take a proportionate and measured approach to avoid having a chilling effect on freedom of expression.”

Of course, it won’t as EU bureaucrats have hardly shown the ability to undertake measured responses when it comes to cracking down on non-sanctioned thoughts, words, and memes. Facebook officials went to exclaim that:

… the ruling “undermines the longstanding principle that one country does not have the right to impose its laws on speech on another country.”

As Politico details, the ruling stems from a lawsuit filed in 2016 by Eva Glawischnig-Piesczek, an Austrian lawmaker, who had requested that Facebook delete defamatory posts made about her by an anonymous user.

When an Austrian court sided with her, the company initially only removed the content from being viewed in Austria, but subsequent appeals had focused on whether such takedowns should apply globally, and if Facebook should be required to remove similar content once it has been made aware of the defamatory material.

Following the ruling by Europe’s highest court, her case will now be referred back to Austrian judges, who will make the final ruling about how to apply Thursday’s decision.

As one would expect, digital rights campaigners were incensed by the breadth of the decision:

“The court’s decision opens the door for serious restrictions on freedom of expression due to the takedown of legitimate speech. Extending removal to the vague concept of “equivalent” content is harmful because the context as well as motivation of users re-sharing content may significantly differ with each re-upload,” said Eliška Pírková, Europe policy analyst at Access Now, a campaigning group.

Those who believe tyranny cannot come to the United States should take a look around because it’s already here and as the EU court’s decision shows, it is not just Washington that Americans should fear.

October 12, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , | 1 Comment

Anti-Corruption is the New Corruption

Amazing Polly | October 10, 2019

I discuss how *G.Soros* is pivotal to the Globalist takeover of countries by using the example of Ukraine.

This seems to involve the CIA in its capacity as part of an underground international Intelligence Apparatus which I believe was set up during & after WW2 in Project RUSTY.

I also focus on the major role Canadians have played in Ukraine.

There’s a lot going on here, so grab a pen. :)

NOTE: the photo I say is of Oleh Havrylyshyn is not him. I put in the wrong file.

If you would like to send a financial contribution so that I can keep doing this work, please click the following link or go to my website, amazingpolly.net and check the contact page for a P.O Box address.

Paypal: https://paypal.me/PollyStGeorge twitter: https://twitter.com/99freemind

Bitchute video backup: https://www.bitchute.com/channel/99Fr…

References:

472 page collection of CIA declassified documents re Project RUSTY & the Gehlen group, which eventually became the CIA and the BND in Germany. Astonishing info: https://www.cia.gov/library/readingro…

Chrystia Freeland Macleans: https://www.macleans.ca/news/liberal-…

Anti Trump Freeland Macleans: https://www.macleans.ca/politics/what…

The World According to Soros: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/19…

Halyna Freeland and Soros: https://www.kyivpost.com/article/cont…

Soros & Ukraine: http://willzuzak.ca/lp/soros01.html

US caused Orange Revolution: https://www.theguardian.com/world/200…

Orange Revolution aftermath: https://www.npr.org/templates/story/s…

NYT Clinton Pinchuk: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/21/us…

Zelensky Pinchuk Kuchma together again: https://www.unian.info/politics/10581…

European Dev Bank, Ukraine, 2016: https://www.ebrd.com/work-with-us/pro…

Holowaty Supreme Constitutional Court, Ukraine: http://www.ccu.gov.ua/en/publikaciya/…

NGO Transparency measures: http://www.ukrweekly.com/uwwp/wp-cont…

Soros Information war: https://www.newspapers.com/image/4847…

Zlochevsky Burisma Biden: http://www.ukrweekly.com/uwwp/biden-i…

Ottawa Citizen Chomiak: https://ottawacitizen.com/news/nation…

Deeper dive into Chomiak: http://johnhelmer.net/michael-chomiak…

October 12, 2019 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , | Leave a comment

The Vela Flash: Forty Years Ago

Edited by William Burr, Avner Cohen, and Richard Wolfson | National Security Archive | September 22, 2019

Washington D.C. – An unidentified flash on 22 September 1979 in the far South Atlantic had a “90% plus” probability of being a nuclear test, according to a CIA finding from later that year. The document, among others uncovered recently through archival research, adds significant weight to the argument that the flash, detected by a U.S. VELA satellite, was not a natural event, as White House science advisers later insisted.

On the fortieth anniversary of the Vela incident, the National Security Archive supplements its earlier postings with documents recently obtained from the Jimmy Carter Library.

The collection includes new information on scientific intelligence provided by the Arecibo Observatory (Puerto Rico) concerning an ionospheric disturbance on 22 September that corresponded to similar evidence from Soviet nuclear tests in the  early 1960s.

The documents also put an unflattering cast on the methods of White House science experts who discounted the views of the intelligence agencies, eventually agreeing to hear them out only so “we can more safely ignore them later.” While chief White House scientist Frank Press argued that the intelligence community had no convincing case, recent scientific studies suggest that the case for a nuclear event interpretation is formidable.

____________________________________________________________

Forty years ago, on 22 September 1979, the bhangmeters on a U.S. VELA satellite picked up signals that were initially interpreted as most likely originating from a nuclear test in the far South Atlantic but which a high-level White House panel chaired by MIT professor Jack Ruina later interpreted as more probably the result of a non-nuclear event (e.g., a striking meteoroid) on or around the satellite. That view became the semiofficial public interpretation but it was contested and controversial. By contrast, according to a White House report published today by the National Security Archive, the Central Intelligence Agency had “assessed the probability of a nuclear test as 90% plus.” [See Document 5]

The CIA and White House science advisers raised their views almost entirely within the walls of government secrecy. In the intervening decade bits and pieces on the Vela incident—and the controversy over it—started to get declassified. Besides the CIA estimate of high probability, another release, a November 1979 memorandum from the Department of Energy included data from the Arecibo Ionospheric Observatory in Puerto Rico on an ionospheric disturbance that some interpreted as corroborating evidence of a nuclear explosion [See document 2].

Today’s posting introduces for the first time previously declassified but obscure and previously unpublished documents from the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum. Collectively shedding light on the controversy over the Vela flash, the new documents supplement the two major collections published by the National Security Archive in 2006 and 2016.

These documents confirm that a number of senior government officials at the Energy Department, the Defense Department, Defense Intelligence Agency, and the CIA, among others, held the view that a nuclear explosion had taken place on 22 September 1979. Nevertheless, White House scientific advisers and officials were so strongly committed to the Ruina panel’s non-nuclear interpretation that they dismissed alternative explanations. They only agreed to hear out the views of dissenting officials “so that we can more safely ignore them.” [See Document 5]

In recent years, the Ruina panel’s arguments have come under critical scrutiny with scientists in the security studies field systematically reinterpreting the Vela data to make the case for a nuclear event. In recent publications, Lars-Erik De Geer (Swedish Defence Force Institute) and Christopher M. Wright (Australian Defence Force Academy) reviewed the publicly available evidence and concluded that the argument for a nuclear explosion is “founded upon three pillars, which include the original optical signal, the iodine-131 evidence, and the hydroacoustic signal.” According to De Geer and Wright, each of the pillars “by itself, is a strong indicator of a nuclear explosion.” For example, they found that the Vela signals provided stronger evidence of a test than the Ruina panel would credit. They further argued that the hydroacoustic data indicated that the test took place on or around the barren Prince Edward Island, some 955 nautical miles off the southern coast of South Africa.[1]

If the Vela sensors did detect a nuclear explosion, who set it off has also been a matter of speculation and controversy. A leading theory, advanced by former Senate staffer Leonard Weiss and others, is that it was an Israeli test conducted with South African logistical assistance.[2] In a major report the CIA also looked at scenarios involving both Israel and South Africa, among other countries, but its conclusions remain classified. President Jimmy Carter shared the view that Israel most likely played a lead role. On 27 February 1980, he wrote in his diary that “We have a growing belief among our scientists that the Israelis did indeed conduct a nuclear test explosion in the ocean near the southern end of South Africa.” [3]

By now, forty years later, it is clear enough that South Africa could not be a suspect.  South Africa was not in a position to conduct such a test, as former South African scientists openly acknowledged years later. Israel, although presumably assisted by the South Africans, remained the sole suspect.[4]

It would be worth knowing which scientists President Carter had in mind, because the Ruina panel would have strongly disagreed with his assessment. He may have become acquainted with scientific intelligence reports as part of his daily briefing, but what they were is unknown. With major studies still classified, such as a critically important report by the Naval Research Laboratory (which the NRL cannot locate) and CIA studies as well as White House files still under declassification review or under appeal, much remains to be learned about U.S. government intelligence collection and analysis as well as the role that politics and diplomacy played in internal discussions of the Vela incident.

Documents

Document 1

White House Situation Room, Situation Room Log, “Reflections of South African Nuclear Event,” 25 October 1979, Secret

1979-10-25

Source: Zbigniew Brzezinski Material, Country Files [NSA 6] Box 72, South Atlantic Nuclear Event, 9/79-6/80

Since its creation during the Kennedy administration, the White House Situation Room has functioned as a communications center and a site for holding sensitive meetings. This record of situation room interactions with various agencies concerning the 22 September event provides an overview of the delayed and unsuccessful efforts to detect the radioactive debris that a nuclear test could have produced. The excised portions are probably a reference to the Air Force Technical Applications Center [AFTAC], which under various names has been monitoring overseas nuclear developments since the late 1940s and which played a role in the search for radioactive samples in the South Pacific after the Vela Incident..

Even though AFTAC found no traces of fallout, analysis of thyroid glands of sheep slaughtered in Australia in October 1979 showed “abnormally high levels” of Iodine 131, a “short-lived isotope that occurs as the result of a nuclear event.”

Document 2

John Deutch, Deputy Secretary of Energy, to Ambassador Henry Owen, enclosing “21-22-September Acoustic Gravity Wave Detection, Arecibo Ionospheric Observatory, Puerto Rico Facility,” 8 November 1979

1979-11-08

Source: Zbigniew Brzezinski Material, Country Files [NSA 6] Box 72, South Atlantic Nuclear Event, 9/79-6/80

Writing to Ambassador-at-Large Henry Owen, who had overlapping roles at the White House and the State Department, John Deutch sent a report of a “traveling ionospheric disturbance”—a wave in the upper atmosphere—detected by the Arecibo Observatory, a giant radio telescope nestled into the mountains of Puerto Rico. According to Deutch, the data on the ionospheric disturbance “possibly may confirm the signal from the VELA system.”

The Arecibo Observatory (now a National Science Foundation facility) can detect signals in the upper atmosphere that originate in violent events at Earth’s surface—including volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, nuclear explosions, and even rocket launches. Such events can produce strong sound waves of very low frequency (pitch), far below what the human ear can detect (the periods of these waves are measured in minutes or longer, as opposed to thousandths of seconds for humanly audible sound). These waves propagate upward through the atmosphere. When they reach the ionosphere, a layer of electrically charged particles beginning about 80 kilometers (50 miles) above Earth, they may induce so-called traveling ionospheric disturbances (TIDs).

The Arecibo Observatory is one of the best instruments in the world for observing TIDs. It does conventional radio astronomy for studying the cosmos, but it also sends powerful radar beams into the upper atmosphere to probe Earth’s ionosphere. Several hours after the VELA flash detection, Arecibo observed a TID. Initially downplayed in part because of Aricebo’s location thousands of miles from the VELA event, the observation produced a different perspective from DOE, which suggested that the TID was consistent with “an earthquake or explosion source” and that the wave speed was consistent with an event having come from the VELA source—although ambiguities in the exact type (mode) of the wave made a shorter distance also possible. The available declassified information notes that similar observations (although pre-Arecibo) have been associated with nuclear tests in the Soviet arctic in 1961.

The Department of Energy’s Los Alamos Laboratory developed its thinking on the Arecibo signal, treating it as a possible indicator of a nuclear event. Nevertheless, the Ruina panel would discount the Arecibo data on grounds of “mathematical errors,” although the defense and energy departments strongly disagreed. Pending declassification requests may shed more light on the debate over the Arecibo data.

Document 3

White House Science and Technology [Staff] Report to National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, “Evening Report,” 9 November 1979, Secret

1979-11-08

Source: Staff Material Science and Technology Files [NSA 30], Box 5, [Marcum Chron file]: 1-12/79

According to national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski’s aides, a panel organized by White House science adviser Dr. Frank Press and chaired by MIT professor Jack Ruina was already reviewing data and heading toward a “preliminary finding” that the Vela flash was not a nuclear event. According to the early findings, “it is entirely possible that the September 22 signal could have been caused by a meteroid of somewhat different velocity, size and rotational motion.” Moreover, the Vela signal “itself differs in some important ways from previous nuclear signals.” Without corroborating data, “these facts tended to make the panel somewhat skeptical that a nuclear explosion actually occurred.”

The report also mentioned Deutch’s report on the newly interpreted data from the Arecibo Observatory. While noting that the Arecibo data “has a very different timescale” and that the “relationship between nuclear explosions and ionospheric disturbances is much less well understood than for optical signals recorded by bhangmeters [on VELA satellites],” it “represents the best lead yet in the search for corroborative data.”

Document 4

Henry Owen/Jerry Oplinger, White House Staff, to National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, “South Atlantic Event,”9 January 1980, Secret

1980-01-09

Source: Staff Material Global Issues Files [NSA 28], Box 55, Proliferation – South Atlantic Nuclear Event, 1/80

On 9 January 1980, a “mini-SCC [Special Coordinating Committee]” meeting discussed the 22 September event. According to participants, “The consensus was that we don’t know what happened, and must proceed in policy terms accordingly.” The effort to politicize science is implicit. In a way, that conclusion matched the findings of the Ruina panel. Agnostic semi-official conclusions notwithstanding, important elements of the intelligence community continued to hold that a nuclear event had been detected, as evidenced in a report included in the National Security Archive’s 2016 posting.

Document 5

Jerry Oplinger, National Security Council/Science and Technology Staff, to Ambassador Henry Owen, “South Atlantic Event,” 25 January 1980, Secret, Excised copy

1980-01-25

Source: Staff Material Global Issues Files [NSA 28], Box 55, Proliferation – South Atlantic Nuclear Event, 1/80

This report conveys the approach that senior White House staff took toward dissenting views on the 22 September event. A scheduled presentation by representatives of the Departments of Energy and Defense would provide an opportunity for them to express arguments that a nuclear event had occurred; they would be heard out, according to this memo, “so that we can more safely ignore them.” This can arguably be seen as another possible demonstration of a “whitewash” effort to politicize scientific evidence.

According to Oplinger’s memorandum, the CIA’s “Safeguards-D” report had “assessed the probability of a nuclear test as 90% plus.” The Safeguards-D report was one required by the U.S. Senate when it ratified the Limited Test Ban Treaty in 1963. Consistent with proposals by the Joint Chiefs of Staff that the treaty be ratified on the basis of specific conditions, the Senate required the Kennedy administration to take specific implementing actions, such as recommendation D: “The improvement of our capability, within feasible and practical limits, to monitor the terms of the treaty, to detect violations, and to maintain our knowledge of Sino-Soviet nuclear activity, capabilities, and achievements.”

Having heard rumors that the CIA wanted to rewrite its safeguards report so that it corresponded to the findings of the Ruina panel, Oplinger wanted to make sure that CIA did no such thing because “nothing would suggest a whitewash more effectively.” If the CIA later decided that it wanted to update the earlier report that would be another matter as long as it could “provide solid and objective reasons.”

Document 6

Frank Press to Stan Turner, “Possible South Atlantic Nuclear Explosion,” 6 June 1980, Secret

1980-06-06

Source: Zbigniew Brzezinski Material, Country Files [NSA 6] Box 72, South Atlantic Nuclear Event, 9/79-6/80

In this memorandum to Director of Central Intelligence Stansfield Turner, Frank Press, White House science adviser, explained the reasoning behind the Ruina panel’s conclusion that the Vela flash was “probably not from a nuclear explosion” and “more likely … caused by a natural event.” He could not have written to Turner, however, without acknowledging the dissents expressed by “key officials” at the Defense Intelligence Agency, the CIA’s Nuclear Intelligence Panel (NIP), and the DOE weapons laboratories, who believed that the Vela signal detected a nuclear event. According to Press, “this is due primarily to the fact that the signal so closely resembles those from previous nuclear explosions, but the weapons laboratories have been unable to come up with a physical explanation that could explain the discrepancies observed in the signal.”

Press also noted that some of the agencies point to the “few pieces of geophysical data from September 22 that might have been related to a nuclear explosion.” He most likely referred to Arecibo data, and quite possibly also to the acoustic signals as analyzed by the naval Research Laboratory. Nevertheless, Press discounted it all: the data had “been thoroughly analyzed and none can be clearly correlated with the VELA signal.” We do not know if CIA Director Turner responded in writing to this memorandum. In the late 1990s, Turner told one of us (Avner Cohen) that he (and the Agency) had no doubt that it was a test and almost certainly an Israeli test.

Believing that White House scientists were not acting in good faith, by the spring of 1980, DIA experts saw the nuclear interpretation as settled in light of Naval Research Laboratory acoustic data that had not been available to the CIA or the Ruina panel. According to a senior DIA official, the acoustic signals were “unique to nuclear shots in a maritime environment.’”

Notes

[1]. Lars-Erik De Geer and Christopher M. Wright, “The 22 September 1979 Vela Incident: The Detected Double-Flash,” Science and Global Security 25 (2017): 95-124, and “The 22 September 1979 Vela Incident: Radionuclide and Hydroacoustic Evidence for a Nuclear Explosion,” Ibid, 26 (2018): 20-54.

[2]. Weiss has written extensively on this issue. See “Israel’s 1979 Nuclear Test and the U.S. Cover-up,” Middle East Policy,” Vol. 18 No.4 (2011); “The 1979 South Atlantic Flash: The Case for an Israeli Nuclear Test,” in Henry Sokolski, ed., Moving Beyond Pretense: Nuclear Power and Nonproliferation (Harrisburg, PA: Strategic Studies Institute and U.S. Army War College Press, 2014), 345-371; and “Flash from the Past: Why an Apparent Israeli Nuclear Test in 1979 Matters Today,” The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, (8 September 2015). “Flash from the Past: Why an Apparent Israeli Nuclear Test in 1979 Matters Today.” See also Timothy McDonnell, “International Conference: The Historical Dimensions of South Africa’s Nuclear Weapons Program,”4 January 2013, Nuclear Proliferation International History Project.

[3]. Jimmy Carter, White House Diary, (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2010), p. 405.

[4]. See Sasha Polakow-Suransky, The Unspoken Alliance: Israel’s Secret Relationship with Apartheid South Africa (New York: Pantheon Books, 2010), at 136 and 141, and Nic von Wielligh and Lydai von Wielligh-Steyn, The Bomb: South Africa’s Nuclear Weapons Programme (Pretoria: Litera Publications, 2015), at 157.

October 12, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , | 2 Comments

Buying US weapons & placing trust in Washington won’t bring security, Zarif warns Saudis

RT | October 12, 2019

If Riyadh is seeking regional security, it should focus on building better relations with its neighbors instead of stockpiling weapons and turning to Washington for guidance, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has said.

In an interview with TRT, Zarif urged Saudi Arabia to rethink its foreign policy, arguing that the kingdom must change course if it wants peace in the Middle East.

“Buying weapons will not buy you security. If Saudi Arabia wants to be secure, the best way is to end the war in Yemen, to start good relations with its neighbors and the neighborhood, and not to trust the US.”

The Iranian foreign minister stressed that Tehran has “always” been open to dialogue with its regional rival.

“We don’t have any choice but to talk to each other, and we have been open to talking to Saudi Arabia either directly or through intermediaries,” Zarif said.

His comments come as Iran attempts to drum up support for a new peace plan, the Hormuz Peace Endeavor (HOPE), proposed by President Hassan Rouhani during his recent speech at the annual meeting of the UN General Assembly. The initiative calls on “all eight countries in the Persian Gulf region to join in an attempt to bring peace through dialogue.”

October 12, 2019 Posted by | Militarism | , | 1 Comment

Iran Open to Dialogue with Saudi, Has Better Option for Turkey on Syria: Zarif

Al-Manar – October 12, 2019

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Tehran welcomes efforts by intermediaries to mediate between Tehran and Riyadh.

“We’ve always been open to discussing anything with Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is our neighbor. We’re going to be here together permanently,” Mohammad Javad Zarif told Turkey’s TRT World.

“We don’t have any choice but to talk to each other, and we have been open to talking to Saudi Arabia either directly or through intermediaries,” he added.

When asked about the upcoming visit of Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan to Tehran, the top diplomat said, “We’ve never rejected any intermediary… We’ve always been open to mediation, and we’ve always been open to direct talks with our Saudi neighbors.”

Khan is likely to visit Iran and Saudi Arabia, the Pakistani foreign office said on Friday, weeks after Islamabad said Washington had asked it to mediate with Tehran.

The announcement of the possible visit comes after Khan last month revealed a request by US President Donald Trump, asking the Pakistani leader to help defuse tensions with Iran.

Khan said after a meeting with Trump on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York that he was “trying and mediating” and had also spoken with Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani.

Syria Offensive

Meanwhile on the Turkish offensive in northern Syria, the top Iranian diplomat stressed that security will not be achieved through acts of aggression and invasion against Syria, revealing that his country has offered better options to Turkey to settle the issue.

While Iran understands Turkey’s security concerns, it does not believe that security could be achieved through acts of aggression and invasion against Syria, Zarif told TRT World.

While Iran understands Turkey’s security concerns, it does not believe that security could be achieved through acts of aggression and invasion against Syria, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in an interview with Turkey’s TRT World.

“We have better alternatives, which we have presented to our friends in Turkey,” Zarif added, referring to the Adana agreement.

“The Adana agreement is still valid,” said Zarif, adding “we can bring the Kurds, the Syrian and Turkish governments together, so that the Syrian Army, in cooperation with the Turkish government, can be in charge of border security. This can be the better path to achieve security.”

October 12, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , | 2 Comments

Chicken Littles vs Adelie Penguins

By Jim Steele | Watts Up With That? | October 12, 2019

Throughout recorded history dooms day cults attract thousands of gullible people. Charismatic cult leaders of the Order of the Solar Temple or Heaven’s Gate convinced their followers to commit suicide due to a coming “environmental apocalypse”. To prevent environmental collapse, a recent mass shooter justified his killings as reducing over-population, while a Swedish scientist has suggested cannibalism. Thus, it’s worrisome that charismatic congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez similarly warns our world is doomed in 12 years. Equally disturbing is the carefully orchestrated fear-mongering, such that the United Nations gave ill-informed, 16-year old Greta Thunberg center stage to rage that CO2 is causing ecosystem collapse. Terrifying children with ‘the sky is falling’ fears will only bring about dire, unintended consequences.

Who is filling our children’s heads with stories of ecosystem collapse?

For one Al Gore wrote in 2012, “The fate of the Adelie Penguins, A message from Al Gore”: “As temperatures rise along the West Antarctic Peninsula and the winter sea ice blankets the ocean three months fewer per year than 30 years ago, the local ecosystem is in danger. Everything from the base of the food chain – the phytoplankton (microscopic plants and bacteria) and krill (shrimp like creatures), to one of the continent’s most iconic inhabitants, the Adelie penguins, are under threat… There is an important lesson for us in the story of the Adelie penguins.”

Indeed, Adelie penguins provide an “important lesson”. Don’t trust apocalyptic hype!

Adelie penguins may be the best studied bird on earth. In 2009, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) estimated between 4 and 5 million adults, happily listing them as a species of “Least Concern”. However, using dubious IPCC climate models, scientists led by ornithologist David Ainley predicted the most northerly Adelie colonies would soon disappear as ice-melting warmth crept southward. They predicted between the years 2025 and 2052, 70% of the total Adelie population would be lost. Bullied by that virtual death count, the IUCN downgraded Adelies from “Least Concern” to “Near Threatened”.

In real life, by 2016 Adelie abundance had nearly doubled to 7.6 million, and once again Adelies are a species of Least Concern. So how were scientists so misled?

Ice Age glaciers had forced Adelies to abandon most of Antarctica’s coast. With warming, glaciers retreated and Adelies rapidly returned to breed and multiply. However, there was one exception. For over 5,400 years Adelies avoided ice free coastlines along Antarctica’s northwestern peninsula. Scientists dubbed this the “northern enigma”. Due to the region’s unfavorable weather, breeding Adelies still avoid much of that region, currently labeled the “Adelie Gap”. As might be expected, breeding colonies adjacent to the “Adelie Gap” are the least stable with some colonies experiencing population declines, and those declining colonies were enough to confirm some scientists’ climate fears.

In the 1990s, the northwestern sector of the Antarctic peninsula coincidentally experienced rising temperatures and declining sea ice. Although Antarctica sea ice was not decreasing elsewhere, researchers believed the melting ice and warmer temperatures were just what CO2-driven climate models predicted. But then the peninsula’s winds shifted. The peninsula’s sea ice has now been growing and temperatures have been cooling for over a decade. Furthermore in contrast to Ainley’s models, colonies at the most northerly limits of the Adelies’ range are not disappearing. Those colonies are thriving and increasing such as the Sandwich Island colonies, and northerly colonies on the Antarctic peninsula’s east side.

Media headlines are guided by the maxim ‘if it bleeds it leads.’ Likewise, scientific journals. Good news about thriving colonies, or no change, fail to capture headlines. But the addiction to eye-catching catastrophes misleads the public and scientists alike. Despite no warming trend at an Emperor penguin colony, David Ainley was so inebriated by global warming fears, he fabricated a warming temperature graph to falsely explain the colony’s decline! Similarly, extreme researchers of polar bear populations wrongly argued, “we’re projecting that, by the middle of this century, two-thirds of the polar bears will be gone from their current populations”. Again, in reality polar bear abundance has increased.

By perpetuating bogus claims of a world ending in 12 years, the Chicken Littles are doing far more harm than blinding children to scientific evidence that many species, from polar bears to Adelie penguins, are thriving. Our children miss the “important lesson” that a “climate crisis” is only a theory supported by scary narratives, not facts. So how do we protect our children from Chicken Littles who seek to enroll vulnerable minds into their doomsday cults? How do we motivate our children to be good critical thinkers, and not blind group thinkers mesmerized by fear and ‘end of the earth’ scenarios?

Jim Steele is director emeritus of the Sierra Nevada Field Campus, SFSU and authored Landscapes and Cycles: An Environmentalist’s Journey to Climate Skepticism.

October 12, 2019 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science | 1 Comment

Colossal WASTE in US healthcare spending surpasses military budget at nearly $1 trillion per year, study says

RT | October 12, 2019

Waste and needless spending in America’s healthcare system could amount to almost $1 trillion each year, topping total US military expenditures in 2019 – the world’s largest defense budget – according to new research.

Encompassing administrative overhead, fraud and abuse, inflated pricing and other inefficiencies, a study published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association found the cumulative waste in US healthcare ranged from $760 billion to $935 annually, or 25 percent of what Americans spend each year on health services. And they spend a lot – approximately 18 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP), or more than $10 000 per individual a year on average. Medical bills also contribute to up to 50 percent of bankruptcies in the country.

The study looked at six “domains” of waste, finding the most significant problems in the realm of administrative tasks – such as billing, record keeping and other clerical activities – which account for some $266 billion of the total waste.

Dr. Donald Berwick, CEO of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, said much of the waste is linked to number of “payers” in the system, resulting in extra complication and reams of paperwork.

“Right now you’re billed for the hospital room, by the ambulance company, by every doctor, rehab facility – everyone is keeping their own records and doing their own billing and dividing it up into tiny pieces, which makes it hard for the patient and hard for the caregivers,” Berwick told CBS News.

Coming in second place behind administrative costs is the pricing system itself, where fees have vastly outpaced the consumer price index (CPI) – a statistical tool used to determine the general rate of price inflation – making up between $231 and $241 billion of the yearly waste.

“The prices of health care don’t reflect what would happen in a competitive market,” Berwick said.

Among the factors keeping healthcare prices inflated are an onerous licensing system, regulations, as well as lobbying from special interests in the medical field, which together help to restrict “the supply of physicians, hospitals, insurance and pharmaceuticals,”writes market analyst Mike Holly.

The other four domains – failures in care delivery and care coordination, overtreatment and fraud and abuse – accounted for another $400 billion of waste or excess spending.

“It’s a serious problem,” Berwick said of fraud and abuse, including the outright “overbilling” of customers. “I don’t know any other industry in which it’s this onerous, and where it’s taking money right out of the wallets of patients and families who are bearing greater and greater burdens of payment.”

October 12, 2019 Posted by | Corruption, Economics | | 2 Comments