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I’ve lost all trust in medical research – the financial muscle of Big Pharma has been busy distorting science during the pandemic

By Malcolm Kendrick | RT | July 4, 2020

Evidence that a cheap, over-the-counter anti-malarial drug costing £7 combats Covid-19 gets trashed. Why? Because the pharmaceutical giants want to sell you a treatment costing nearly £2,000. It’s criminal.

A few years ago, I wrote a book called ‘Doctoring Data’. This was an attempt to help people understand the background to the tidal wave of medical information that crashes over us each and every day. Information that is often completely contradictory, viz ‘Coffee is good for you… no, wait it’s bad for you… no, wait, it’s good for you again,’ repeated ad nauseam.

I also pointed out some of the tricks, games and manipulations that are used to make medications seem far more effective than they truly are, or vice versa. This, I have to say, can be a very dispiriting world to enter. When I give talks on this subject, I often start with a few quotes.

For example, here is Dr Marcia Angell, who edited the New England Journal of Medicine for over 20 years, writing in 2009:

“It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgement of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as editor.”

Have things got better? No, I believe they’ve got worse – if that were, indeed, possible. I was recently sent the following email about a closed-door, no-recording-allowed discussion, held in May of this year under no-disclosure Chatham House rules:

“A secretly recorded meeting between the editors-in-chief of The Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine reveal both men bemoaning the ‘criminal’ influence big pharma has on scientific research. According to Philippe Douste-Blazy, France’s former health minister and 2017 candidate for WHO director, the leaked 2020 Chatham House closed-door discussion was between the [editor-in-chiefs], whose publications both retracted papers favorable to big pharma over fraudulent data.

The email continued with a quote from that recording: ‘Now we are not going to be able to … publish any more clinical research data because the pharmaceutical companies are so financially powerful today, and are able to use such methodologies, as to have us accept papers which are apparently methodologically perfect, but which, in reality, manage to conclude what they want them to conclude,’ said The Lancet’s editor-in-chief, Richard Horton.”

A YouTube video where this issue is discussed can be found here. It’s in French, but there are English subtitles.

The New England Journal of Medicine and The Lancet are the two most influential, most highly resourced medical journals in the world. If they no longer have the ability to detect what is essentially fraudulent research, then… Then what? Then what, indeed?

In fact, things have generally taken a sharp turn for the worse since the Covid-19 pandemic struck. New studies, new data, new information is arriving at breakneck speed, often with little or no effective review. What can you believe? Who can you believe? Almost nothing would be the safest course of action.

One issue has played out over the past few months, stripping away any remaining vestiges of my trust in medical research. It concerns the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine. You may well be aware that Donald Trump endorsed it – which presents a whole series of problems for many people.

However, before the pandemic hit, I was recommending to my local NHS trust that we should look to stock up on hydroxychloroquine. There had been a great deal of research over the years strongly suggesting it could inhibit the entry of viruses into cells, and that it also interfered with viral replication once inside the cell.

This mechanism of action explains why it can help stop the malaria parasite from gaining entry into red blood cells. The science is complex, but many researchers felt there was good reason for thinking hydroxychloroquine may have some real, if not earth-shattering, benefits in Covid-19.

This idea was further reinforced by the knowledge that it has some effects on reducing the so-called ‘cytokine storm’ that is considered deadly with Covid-19. It’s prescribed in rheumatoid arthritis to reduce the immune attack on joints.

The other reason for recommending hydroxychloroquine is that it’s extremely safe. It is, for example, the most widely prescribed drug in India. Billions upon billions of doses have been prescribed. It is available over the counter in most countries. So, I felt pretty comfortable in recommending that it could be tried. At worst, no harm would be done.

Then hydroxychloroquine became the center of a worldwide storm. On one side, wearing the white hats, were the researchers who’d used it early on, where it seemed to show some significant benefits. For example, Professor Didier Raoult, of the Institut Hospitalo-universitaire Méditerranée Infection, in France:

“A renowned research professor in France has reported successful results from a new treatment for Covid-19, with early tests suggesting it can stop the virus from being contagious in just six days.”

Then came this research from a Moroccan scientist at the University of Lille:

“Jaouad Zemmouri … believes that 78 percent of Europe’s Covid-19 deaths could have been prevented if Europe had used hydroxychloroquine… Morocco, with a population of 36 million [roughly one tenth that of the US], has only 10,079 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and only 214 deaths.

“Professor Zemmouri believes that Morocco’s use of hydroxychloroquine has resulted in an 82.5 percent recovery rate from Covid-19 and only a 2.1 percent fatality rate, in those admitted to hospital.”

Just prior to this, on May 22, a study was published in The Lancet, stating that hydroxychloroquine actually increased deaths. It then turned out that the data used could not be verified and was most likely made up. The authors had major conflicts of interest with pharmaceutical companies making anti-viral drugs. In early June, the entire article was retracted by Horton.

Then a UK study came out suggesting that hydroxychloroquine did not work at all. Discussing the results, Professor Martin Landray, an Oxford University professor who is co-leading the Randomised Evaluation of Covid-19 Therapy (RECOVERY) trial, stated:

“This is not a treatment for Covid-19. It doesn’t work. This result should change medical practice worldwide. We can now stop using a drug that is useless.”

The study has since been heavily criticized by other researchers, who state that the dose of hydroxychloroquine used was potentially toxic. It was also given far too late to have any positive effect. Many of the patients were already on ventilators.

This week, I was sent a pre-proof copy of an article about a study that will be published in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases. Its author has found that hydroxychloroquine “significantly” decreased the death rate of patients involved in the analysis. The study analyzed 2,541 patients hospitalized in six hospitals between March 10 and May 2 2020, and found 13 percent of those treated with hydroxychloroquine died and 26 percent of those who did not receive the drug died.

When things get this messed up, I tend to look for the potential conflicts of interest. By which I mean, who stands to make money from slamming the use of hydroxychloroquine, which is a generic drug that’s been around since 1934 and costs about £7 for a bottle of 60 tablets?

In this case, first, it’s those companies who make the hugely expensive antiviral drugs such as Gilead Sciences’ remdesivir, which, in the US, costs $2,340 for a typical five-day course. Second, it’s the companies that are striving to get a vaccine to market. There are billions and billions of dollars at stake here.

In this world, cheap drugs such as hydroxychloroquine don’t stand much chance. Neither do cheap vitamins, such as vitamin C and vitamin D. Do they have benefits for Covid-19 sufferers? I’m sure they do. Will such benefits be dismissed in studies that have been carefully manipulated to ensure they don’t work? Of course. Remember these words: “Pharmaceutical companies are so financially powerful today, and are able to use such methodologies, as to have us accept papers which are apparently methodologically perfect, but which, in reality, manage to conclude what they want them to conclude.” 

Unless and until governments and medical bodies act decisively to permanently sever the financial ties between researchers and Big Pharma, these distortions and manipulations in the pursuit of Big Profit will continue. Just please  don’t hold your breath in anticipation.

Malcolm Kendrick is a doctor and author who works as a GP in the National Health Service in England. His blog can be read here and his book, ‘Doctoring Data – How to Sort Out Medical Advice from Medical Nonsense,’ is available here.

September 26, 2020 Posted by | Book Review, Corruption, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | | 1 Comment

In refusing to extend New START, the US puts the world on the path of collective suicide

By Scott Ritter | RT | September 21, 2020

Statements by the US chief arms control envoy make it clear the US is committed to a nuclear arms race free of the encumbrance of the New START treaty. However, it’s a race the US cannot win, and the world will not survive.

In a fable attributed to the Ancient Greek fabulist and storyteller Aesop, a scorpion and a frog meet at the bank of a river. The scorpion asks the frog to take him to the other side. The frog turns down the scorpion’s request, noting that the scorpion will sting him halfway across and kill him. The scorpion replies that to do so would mean both would die, and, as such, that would be illogical. The frog agrees to take the scorpion across. As he feared, the scorpion stings him, sending them both to their death. Before he goes under, the frog asks the scorpion why he did so, to which the scorpion replies, “It’s in my nature.”

I use this fable in the introduction of my book ‘Scorpion King: America’s Suicidal Embrace of Nuclear Weapons from FDR to Trump’. It was published this past spring, when there was still hope the current administration might embrace reason and agree to a five-year extension of the last remaining arms control treaty in force, New START, that constrained the nuclear ambitions of the United States and Russia.

Recent statements made by Marshall Billingslea, the US special presidential envoy for arms control in an interview with the Russian newspaper Kommersant have made it clear that the Trump administration has no intention of seeking an extension to New START, which is set to expire in February 2021.

First off, Billingslea stated that the US isn’t looking for the automatic five-year extension provided for under the treaty, but rather a “memorandum of intent” of less than five years duration that presents the Russians with a “take it or leave it” proposition: accept a deal that has no constraints on NATO nuclear weapons, or the US will go forward with a nuclear modernization program unconstrained by arms control agreements. Moreover, Russia has until the US presidential election in November to accept the deal or, as Billingslea threatened, “after Trump is re-elected, the ‘entrance fee,’ as we say in the United States, will increase.”

Not surprisingly, the US ultimatum was rejected outright by Russia, with Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Rybakov declaring “We [Russia] cannot talk in this manner,” and noting that the US position constituted little more than an ultimatum which ultimately lowered any chance of the two nations reaching any agreement on extending New START.

In addition to setting unacceptable conditions regarding NATO’s nuclear arsenal, the US insistence on trilateral negotiations was likewise seen as a non-starter by both Russia and China. The effort to turn the bilateral New START treaty into a trilateral agreement has all but killed the prospects of a New START extension, opening the door to the prospect of a renewed arms race at a time when both the US and Russia are pursuing advanced strategic nuclear weapons. This reality did not appear to faze Billingslea, who noted that “Russia has largely completed its modernization of its nuclear arsenal.”

“We’re just starting ours. And we will be extremely happy to continue it without the START restrictions,” he added.

There is near-unanimous consent among most arms control experts that an extension of the New START treaty is an essential step toward engendering a modicum of stability when it comes to the strategic nuclear postures of both the US and Russia, especially at a time when relations between those two nations have worsened across the board. The decision by the Trump administration to withdraw from the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty in August 2019 further complicated the US-Russian strategic balance. By eliminating intermediate-range weapons from Europe that could strike Moscow within minutes of being launched, the INF treaty helped lower the threshold for a full-scale nuclear conflict between the US and Russia.

The New START treaty is the last remaining constraint on US and Russian strategic nuclear weapons, both in terms of numbers and capability. If it were to expire, both the US and Russia would move forward with the deployment of advanced new systems, inclusive of new hypersonic nuclear delivery vehicles, that would only further exacerbate nuclear postures on the part of both nations that are already operating at near hair-trigger alert status.

History may very well show that the tipping point regarding the viability of the American democratic experiment came when it attempted to bankroll an unnecessary nuclear arms race at a time when the US economy and society, weakened by years of neglect, and further fractured by the stresses imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic, was already teetering on the verge of collapse. Already, the Trump administration has been compelled to pare back defense spending for 2021, due to the demands placed on the overall budget by the pandemic. Billingslea’s cavalier attitude toward funding the coming arms race – “we can afford it” – isn’t reflective of reality.

The US economy is undergoing a fundamental realignment, both in terms of how it operates internally and how it interfaces with the rest of the world. The social demands created by an economy that can only function through massive infusions of government stimulus, and a healthcare system that, for many Americans, exists in name only, cannot be funded by endless borrowing, especially when one of the largest consumers of American debt, China, is engaged in a trade war in which dumping US debt is very much on the table.

In the very near future, US politicians will be confronted with the kind of existential crisis that all empires in decline eventually face, where, regardless of the decision taken, there is nothing that can be done to recover from the mess they themselves have made. The idea that the US Congress will continue to fund a new generation of strategic nuclear weapons under these conditions is absurd. This doesn’t mean, however, that the crisis has been averted – far from it.

As I write in the conclusion of ‘Scorpion King’:

The world labors on the misguided belief that the United States is a rational actor, and therefore not prone to the kind of irrational actions which would lead to a world-ending general nuclear exchange. But the available facts do not support such a conclusion. The casual manner in which the United States has shed itself of the encumbrance of binding nuclear arms control treaties and agreements while simultaneously engaging in a nuclear arms race where the weapons being procured are seen as a viable component of American military power projection suggests that the United States was custom cast as Aesop’s scorpion.

Having embraced the notion that American security is predicated on a new generation of nuclear weaponry unconstrained by the limitations imposed by arms control agreements, having the ability to procure these weapons due to social and financial collapse only exacerbates the threat these weapons were supposed to deter. It doesn’t matter that no such threat exists; perception makes its own reality, and the perception of those, like Marshal Billingsley, who advocate for new nuclear weapons is that such a threat exists.

Like Aesop’s frog, the rest of the world will more than likely seek to help the United States navigate the troubled times ahead. And like Aesop’s scorpion, the United States will very likely reward this kindness by embarking on irresponsible military-based policies designed to offset its own social and economic failings, and trigger a nuclear conflict that destroys it and the rest of the world.

Because it is our nature.

Scott Ritter is a former US Marine Corps intelligence officer and author of ‘SCORPION KING: America’s Suicidal Embrace of Nuclear Weapons from FDR to Trump.’ He served in the Soviet Union as an inspector implementing the INF Treaty, in General Schwarzkopf’s staff during the Gulf War, and from 1991-1998 as a UN weapons inspector. Follow him on Twitter @RealScottRitter

September 23, 2020 Posted by | Book Review, Economics, Militarism | , , | 1 Comment

Why Bob Woodward’s ‘Rage’ is a lie built on a lie, and what Trump vs ‘Military Messiah Syndrome’ really is about

By Scott Ritter | RT | September 16, 2020

Bob Woodward’s new insider account of the Trump administration, ‘Rage’, details the multi-faceted controversies surrounding President Trump’s approach to governance – none more so than his relationship with the military.

Bob Woodward is a legendary reporter whose talent for getting insiders to speak about the most sensitive matters in government dates back to Watergate and the Nixon presidency. His most recent presidential expose, ‘Rage’, touches on a wide range of controversies, from the coronavirus pandemic to issues relating to war, and the promise of war.

It is Trump’s tortured relationship with the military that stands out the most, especially as told through the eyes of former Secretary of Defense Jim ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis, a retired marine general. It is clear that Bob Woodward spent hours speaking with Mattis – the insights, emotions and internal voice captured in the book show a level of intimacy that could only be reached through in-depth interviews, and Woodward has a well-earned reputation for getting people to speak to him.

The book makes it clear that Mattis viewed Trump as a threat to the US’ standing as the defender of a rules-based order – built on the back of decades-old alliances – that had been in place since the end of the Second World War.

It also makes it clear that Mattis and the military officers he oversaw placed defending this order above implementing the will of the American people, as expressed through the free and fair election that elevated Donald Trump to the position of commander-in-chief. In short, Mattis and his coterie of generals knew best, and when the president dared issue an order or instruction that conflicted with their vision of how the world should work, they would do their best to undermine this order, all the while confirming to the president that it was being followed.

The military is trapped in an inherited reality divorced from the present

This trend was on display in Woodward’s telling of Trump’s efforts to forge better relations with North Korea. At every turn, Mattis and his military commanders sought to isolate the president from the reality on the ground, briefing him only on what they thought he needed to know, and keeping him in the dark about what was really going on.

In a telling passage, Woodward takes us into the mind of Jim Mattis as he contemplates the horrors of a nuclear war with North Korea, and the responsibility he believed he shouldered when it came to making the hard decision as to whether nuclear weapons should be used or not. Constitutionally, the decision was the president’s alone to make, something Mattis begrudgingly acknowledges. But in Mattis’ world, he, as secretary of defense, would be the one who influenced that decision.

Mattis, along with the other general officers described by Woodward, is clearly gripped with what can only be described as the ‘Military Messiah Syndrome’.

What defines this ‘syndrome’ is perhaps best captured in the words of Emma Sky, the female peace activist-turned adviser to General Ray Odierno, the one-time commander of US forces in Iraq. In a frank give-and-take captured by Ms. Sky in her book ‘The Unravelling’, Odierno spoke of the value he placed on the military’s willingness to defend “freedom” anywhere in the world. “There is,” he said, “no one who understands more the importance of liberty and freedom in all its forms than those who travel the world to defend it.”

Ms. Sky responded in typically direct fashion: “One day, I will have you admit that the [Iraq] war was a bad idea, that the administration was led by a radical neocon program, that the US’s standing in the world has gone down greatly, and that we are far less safe than we were before 9/11.”

Odierno would have nothing of it. “It will never happen while I’m the commander of soldiers in Iraq.”

“To lead soldiers in battle,” Ms. Sky noted, “a commander had to believe in the cause.” Left unsaid was the obvious: even if the cause was morally and intellectually unsound.

This, more than anything, is the most dangerous thing about the ‘Military Messiah Syndrome’ as captured by Bob Woodward – the fact that the military is trapped in an inherited reality divorced from the present, driven by precepts which have nothing to with what is, but rather by what the military commanders believe should be. The unyielding notion that the US military is a force for good becomes little more than meaningless drivel when juxtaposed with the reality that the mission being executed is inherently wrong.

The ‘Military Messiah Syndrome’ lends itself to dishonesty and, worse, to self-delusion. It is one thing to lie; it is another altogether to believe the lie as truth.

No single general had the courage to tell Trump allegations against Syria were a hoax

The cruise missile attack on Syria in early April 2017 stands out as a case in point. The attack was ordered in response to allegations that Syria had dropped a bomb containing the sarin nerve agent on a town – Khan Shaykhun – that was controlled by Al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamic militants.

Trump was led to believe that the 59 cruise missiles launched against Shayrat Airbase – where the Su-22 aircraft alleged to have dropped the bombs were based – destroyed Syria’s capability to carry out a similar attack in the future. When shown post-strike imagery in which the runways were clearly untouched, Trump was outraged, lashing out at Secretary of Defense Mattis in a conference call. “I can’t believe you didn’t destroy the runway!”, Woodward reports the president shouting.

“Mr. President,” Mattis responds in the text, “they would rebuild the runway in 24 hours, and it would have little effect on their ability to deploy weapons. We destroyed the capability to deploy weapons” for months, Mattis said.

“That was the mission the president had approved,” Woodward writes, clearly channeling Mattis, “and they had succeeded.”

The problem with this passage is that it is a lie. There is no doubt that Bob Woodward has the audio tape of Jim Mattis saying these things. But none of it is true. Mattis knew it when he spoke to Woodward, and Woodward knew it when he wrote the book.

There was no confirmed use of chemical weapons by Syria at Khan Shaykhun. Indeed, the forensic evidence available about the attack points to the incident being a false flag effort – a successful one, it turns out – on the part of the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamists to provoke a US military strike against Syria. No targets related to either the production, storage or handling of chemical weapons were hit by the US cruise missiles, if for no other reason than no such targets could exist if Syria did not possess and/or use a chemical weapon against Khan Shaykhun.

Moreover, the US failed to produce a narrative of causality which provided some underlying logic to the targets that were struck at Khan Shaykhun – “Here is where the chemical weapons were stored, here is where the chemical weapons were filled, here is where the chemical weapons were loaded onto the aircraft.” Instead, 59 cruise missiles struck empty aircraft hangars, destroying derelict aircraft, and killing at least four Syrian soldiers and up to nine civilians.

The next morning, the same Su-22 aircraft that were alleged to have bombed Khan Shaykhun were once again taking off from Shayrat Air Base – less than 24 hours after the US cruise missiles struck that facility. President Trump had every reason to be outraged by the results.

But the President should have been outraged by the processes behind the attack, where military commanders, fully afflicted by ‘Military Messiah Syndrome’, offered up solutions that solved nothing for problems that did not exist. Not a single general (or admiral) had the courage to tell the president that the allegations against Syria were a hoax, and that a military response was not only not needed, but would be singularly counterproductive.

But that’s not how generals and admirals – or colonels and lieutenant colonels – are wired. That kind of introspective honesty cannot happen while they are in command.

Misleading the American public 

Bob Woodward knows this truth, but he chose not to give it a voice in his book, because to do so would disrupt the pre-scripted narrative that he had constructed, around which he bent and twisted the words of those he interviewed – including the president and Jim Mattis. As such, ‘Rage’ is, in effect, a lie built on a lie. It is one thing for politicians and those in power to manipulate the truth to their advantage. It’s something altogether different for journalists to report something as true that they know to be a lie.

On the back cover of ‘Rage’, the Pulitzer prize-winning historian Robert Caro is quoted from a speech he gave about Bob Woodward. “Bob Woodward,” Caro notes, “a great reporter. What is a great reporter? Someone who never stops trying to get as close to the truth as possible.”

After reading ‘Rage’, one cannot help but conclude the opposite – that Bob Woodward has written a volume which pointedly ignores the truth. Instead, he gives voice to a lie of his own construct, predicated on the flawed accounts of sources inflicted with ‘Military Messiah Syndrome’, whose words embrace a fantasy world populated by military members fulfilling missions far removed from the common good of their fellow citizens – and often at conflict with the stated intent and instruction of the civilian leadership they ostensibly serve. In doing so, Woodward is as complicit as the generals and former generals he quotes in misleading the American public about issues of fundamental importance.

Scott Ritter is a former US Marine Corps intelligence officer and author of ‘SCORPION KING: America’s Suicidal Embrace of Nuclear Weapons from FDR to Trump.’ He served in the Soviet Union as an inspector implementing the INF Treaty, in General Schwarzkopf’s staff during the Gulf War, and from 1991-1998 as a UN weapons inspector. Follow him on Twitter @RealScottRitter

September 16, 2020 Posted by | Book Review, Deception, Fake News, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | | 1 Comment

Science, Skepticism, and Irony

By Donna Laframboise | Big Picture News | August 31, 2020

Psychologist Stuart Ritchie is the author of a new book, Science Fictions: How Fraud, Bias, Negligence, and Hype Undermine the Search for Truth. In the words of his publisher, it demonstrates that “failures in peer review and mistakes in statistics have rendered a shocking number of scientific studies useless.” 

Ritchie declares the scientific publication process “badly broken.” He argues persuasively that enormous resources are being wasted, and that our heads “are being filled with ‘facts’ that are either incorrect, exaggerated, or drastically misleading.”

These arguments overlap many found in my 2016 report, Peer Review: Why Skepticism is Essential. But new scandals and controversies have emerged since then, and Ritchie does a great job of explaining why all of this matters.  

But there’s a catch. Here we have an author lamenting delusion and self-deception. Here we have an author championing skepticism and hard-headed empiricism. Yet he, himself, utterly refuses to confront what all of the above implies about climate science.

If significant numbers of peer-reviewed papers in psychology, economics, evolutionary biology, organic chemistry, geoscience, and medicine can’t be reproduced/replicated when third parties attempt to do so, if many published studies really are useless, on what basis shall we go on imagining that climate research is a separate case? How can that field possibly be exempt from problems that are widespread elsewhere?

Environmental research has, after all, been highly politicized for at least two decades. Cambridge University Press was urged by scientists to withdraw Bjorn Lomborg’s The Skeptical Environmentalist from publication – to essentially burn his book back in 2002. A reasonable observer might therefore suspect that climate research is saturated with tribalism and bias, rather than the opposite.

Ergo: many of the studies on which politicians now base their climate decisions must be unreliable. How ironic that Ritchie is incapable of following his own arguments to their logical conclusion.

Nevertheless, it’s difficult not to feel sympathy for this young academic. His book was no doubt completed late last year. He had no way of anticipating that a deadly new coronavirus was about to spread across the globe, and that John Ioannidis, one of the people he cites extensively in his book, would respond to the pandemic in unexpected ways.

Two weeks before Science Fictions was released in mid-July, Ritchie published an essay titled There should never be heroes in science. It begins by telling us about the late Hans Eysenck, once the most-cited psychologist in Britain. Throughout the latter half of the 20th century, this eminent personality (who died in 1997), devoted much of his energy to keeping his own profession honest. As Ritchie tells it, Eysenck authored “blistering critiques of psychoanalysis and psychotherapy, noting the unscientific nature of Freudian theories and digging into the evidence base for therapy’s effects on mental health.”

Last year, more than a dozen of Eysenck’s papers were retracted. Dozens more are now officially considered questionable. An investigation by Kings College London concurred with critics who’ve long been concerned about the quality of Eysenck’s data and “the implausibility of the results presented.” In other words, this “strong advocate of rigour in science” was better at identifying the flaws in other people’s reasoning, than in producing bulletproof research of his own.

Ritchie then turns his attention to Ioannidis:

It’s fair to say that Stanford University’s John Ioannidis is a hero of mine. He’s the medical researcher who made waves in 2005 with a paper carrying the firecracker title “Why Most Published Research Findings are False”, and who has published an eye-watering number of papers outlining problems in clinical trials, economics, psychology, statistics, nutrition research and more.

…Ioannidis’s contribution to science has been to make it far more open, honest, and self-reflective about its flaws. How odd it is, then, to see his failure to follow his own advice.

Ritchie points to a March 2020 article in which Ioannidis legitimately observed that politicians were making decisions about how to respond to the coronavirus “without reliable data.” Five months on, that’s still true. Many of the numbers currently available to us are compromised in one way or another.

But whether Ioannidis’ own hunches are correct is a different matter altogether. Writes Ritchie:

The most memorable part of the article was his prediction – on the basis of his analysis of the cursed cruise ship Diamond Princess – that around 10,000 people in the US would die from COVID-19…As US deaths have just hit 125,000, I don’t need to emphasise how wrong that prediction was.

Yesterday, American deaths from COVID-19 exceeded 187,000. Even if that count is wrong by 20% in either direction, we’re definitely talking a different ballpark.

Ritchie tells us Ioannidis has since authored more than one piece of COVID-related research marred by serious design flaws. Even the best minds amongst us, therefore, succumb to bias. Even professional skeptics can exhibit, as Ritchie says, a “strong aversion to having their cherished theories proved wrong.” Here’s the last paragraph in Ritchie’s essay:

Above, I should really have said that John Ioannidis was a hero of mine. Because this whole episode has reminded me that those self-critical, self-correcting principles of science simply don’t allow for hero-worship. Even the strongest critics of science need themselves to be criticised; those who raise the biggest questions about the way we do research need themselves to be questioned. Healthy science needs a whole community of sceptics, all constantly arguing with one another…Who watches the watchmen in science? The answer is, or at least should be: all of us. [bold added; italics in the original]

I invite you to re-read that sentence in bold font. So says a man whose book dismisses climate skeptics in peremptory fashion. In fact, Ritchie ends his final chapter by referencing a famous cartoon that implies climate policies will automatically create a “better world” even if the climate crisis turns out to be overblown.

This is unfortunate. Ritchie’s argument is that improving the way research is conducted makes sense even if we reject his contention that “something has gone very wrong with science.” But that famous climate cartoon naively presupposes that good intentions are enough, that climate programs have no negative consequences, that government policies are never counterproductive, ill-conceived, or designed to financially benefit political donors.

I critiqued that climate cartoon last year.

LINKS:

August 31, 2020 Posted by | Book Review, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | Leave a comment

Roosevelt’s Fraud at Yalta and the Mirage of the “Good War”

By James Bovard | FFF | August 25, 2020

This year is the 75th anniversary of the end of World War Two. One of the biggest frauds of the final stage of that war was the meeting at Yalta of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and President Franklin Roosevelt. Yalta has become a synonym for the abandonment of oppressed people and helped inspire the 1952 Republican campaign theme, “20 years of treason.”

The American media uncorked a barrage of tributes to Roosevelt on the 75th anniversary of his death in April. CNN, for instance, trumpeted Roosevelt as “the wartime president who Trump should learn from.” But there was scant coverage of one of his greatest betrayals.

Roosevelt painted World War II as a crusade for democracy — hailing Stalin as a partner in liberation. From 1942 through 1945, the U.S. government consistently deceived the American people about the character of the Soviet Union. Roosevelt praised Soviet Russia as one of the “freedom-loving nations” and stressed that Stalin is “thoroughly conversant with the provisions of our Constitution.” But as Rexford Tugwell, one of Roosevelt’s Brain Trusters and an open admirer of the Soviet system, groused, “The Constitution was a negative document, meant mostly to protect citizens from their government.” And when government is the personification of benevolence, no protection is needed.

Harold Ickes, one of Roosevelt’s top aides, proclaimed that communism was “the antithesis of Nazism” because it was based on a “belief in the control of the government, including the economic system, by the people themselves.” The fact that the Soviet regime had been the most oppressive government in the world in the 1930s was irrelevant, as far as Roosevelt was concerned. As Georgetown University professor Derek Leebaert, author of Magic and Mayhem, observed, “FDR remarked that most of what he knew about the world came from his stamp collection.”

Giving Stalin everything

The Roosevelt administration engineered a movie tribute to Stalin — Mission to Moscow — that was so slavish that Russian composer Dimitri Shostakovich observed that “no Soviet propaganda agency would dare to present such outrageous lies.” In his 1944 State of the Union address, Roosevelt denounced those Americans with “such suspicious souls — who feared that I have made ‘commitments’ for the future which might pledge this Nation to secret treaties” with Stalin at the summit of Allied leaders in Tehran the previous month. Roosevelt helped set the two-tier attack that permeated much of postwar American foreign policy — denouncing cynics, while betraying foreigners whom the U.S. government claimed to champion. (Someone should ask the Kurds if anything has changed on that score.)

Prior to the Yalta conference, Roosevelt confided to the U.S. ambassador to Russia that he believed that if he gave Stalin “everything I possibly can and ask for nothing in return, noblesse oblige, he won’t try to annex anything and will work with me for a world of democracy and peace.” Stalin wanted assurances from Roosevelt and Churchill that millions of Soviet citizens who had been captured during the war by the Germans or who had abandoned the Soviet Union would be forcibly returned. After the war ended, Operation Keelhaul forcibly sent two million Soviets to certain death or long-term imprisonment in Siberia or elsewhere. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn called Operation Keelhaul “the last secret” of World War II and it was covered up or ignored by Western media until the 1970s. The fact is that those mass deaths that were facilitated by the U.S. and British governments rarely rated even an asterisk by the media-beloved historians who tout the “Good War.”

In the final communiqué from Yalta, Roosevelt, along with Churchill and Stalin, declared that “a new situation has been created in Poland as a result of her complete liberation by the Red Army.” Liberation? Tell that to the Marines. A few weeks later, on March 1, 1945, he gave a speech to Congress touting his triumph at Yalta. In it he declared, “The decision with respect to the boundaries of Poland was, frankly, a compromise…. It will include, in the new, strong Poland, quite a large slice of what now is called Germany.” He agreed with Stalin at Yalta on moving the border of the Soviet Union far to the west — thereby effectively conscripting 11 million Poles as new Soviet Union citizens.

Poland was “compensated” with a huge swath of Germany, a simple cartographic revision that spurred vast human carnage. As author R.M. Douglas noted in his 2012 book Orderly and Humane: The Expulsion of the Germans after the Second World War (Yale University Press), the result was “the largest episode of forced migration, and perhaps the single greatest movement of population, in human history. Between 12 million and 14 million German-speaking civilians — the overwhelming majority of whom were women, old people, and children under 16 — were forcibly ejected from their places of birth in Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, Yugoslavia, and what are today the western districts of Poland.” At least half a million died as a result. George Orwell denounced the relocation as an “enormous crime” that was “equivalent to transplanting the entire population of Australia.” Philosopher Bertrand Russell protested, “Are mass deportations crimes when committed by our enemies during war and justifiable measures of social adjustment when carried out by our allies in time of peace?” Roosevelt signed those death warrants at Yalta. Freda Utley, the mother of the late publisher and author Jon Utley, did some of the first and best reporting on the vast suffering ensuing from the German expulsions. Chapters from her book The High Cost of Vengeance are available at fredautley.com. (The U.S. government approved similar brutal mass forcible transfers in former Yugoslavia during the Clinton administration.) But the German civilians killed after the war were simply another asterisk that could safely be ignored by Good War chroniclers.

Roosevelt boasted to Congress, “As the Allied armies have marched to military victory, they have liberated people whose liberties had been crushed by the Nazis for four long years.” At that point, he and the State Department knew that this was a total lie for areas that had fallen under the control of the Red Army, which was busy killing or deporting to Siberia any potential political opponents. Roosevelt claimed that the deal at Yalta was “the most hopeful agreement possible for a free, independent, and prosperous Polish people.” But he betrayed the exiled Polish government in London and signed off on Soviet-style elections with no international observers — effectively giving Stalin unlimited sway on choosing Poland’s rulers. Any illusions about Soviet benevolence towards Poland should have been banished when the Red Army massacred the Polish officer corps at Katyn Forest — an atrocity that the U.S. government assiduously covered up (and blamed on the Nazis) during the war.

The façade of benevolence

In a private conversation at Yalta, Roosevelt assured Stalin that he was feeling “more bloodthirsty” than when they previously met. Immediately after the Yalta conference concluded, the British and American air forces turned Dresden into an inferno, killing up to 50,000 civilians. The Associated Press reported that “Allied air bosses” had adopted “deliberate terror bombing of great German population centers as a ruthless expedient to hasten Hitler’s doom.” Ravaging Dresden was intended to “‘add immeasurably’ to Roosevelt’s strength in negotiating with the Russians at the postwar peace table,” as Thomas Fleming noted in The New Dealers’ War. Vast numbers of dead women and children became simply one more poker chip. Shortly after the residents of Dresden were obliterated, Roosevelt pompously announced, “I know that there is not room enough on Earth for both German militarism and Christian decency.” Government censorship and intimidation helped minimize critical coverage of the civilian carnage resulting from U.S. carpet-bombing of cities in both Germany and Japan.

Roosevelt told Congress that the Yalta Agreement “spells the end of the system of unilateral action and exclusive alliance and spheres of influence.” By the time he died the following month, he knew that democracy was doomed in any turf conquered by the Red Army. But the sham had been immensely politically profitable for Roosevelt, and his successors kept up much of the charade.

U.S. government secrecy and propaganda efforts did their best to continue portraying World War Two as the triumph of good over evil. If Americans had been told in early 1945 of the barbarities that Yalta had approved regarding captured Soviet soldiers and the brutal mass transfer of German women and children, much of the nation would have been aghast. War correspondent Ernie Pyle offered a far more honest assessment than did Roosevelt: “The war gets so complicated and confused in my mind; on especially sad days, it’s almost impossible to believe that anything is worth such mass slaughter and misery.”

In the decades after Yalta, presidents continued to invoke lofty goals to justify U.S. military intervention in Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria. In each case, massive secrecy and perennial lies were necessary to maintain a façade of benevolence. Americans have still not seen the secret files behind the harebrained, contradictory interventions in Syria from the George W. Bush administration onwards. The only certainty is that, if we ever learn the full truth, plenty of politicians and other government officials will be revealed to be bigger scoundrels than suspected. Some of the orchestrators of mass misery might even be compelled to reduce their speaking fees.

“Presidents have lied so much to us about foreign policy that they’ve established almost a common-law right to do so,” George Washington University history professor Leo Ribuffo observed in 1998. Presidents have perennially used uplifting rhetoric to expunge their atrocities. On the 75th anniversary of Yalta, Americans have no reason to presume that presidents, top government officials, or much of the media are more trustworthy now than they were during the finale of the Good War. Have there been other Operation Keelhaul equivalents in recent years that Americans have not yet learned about? Yalta’s betrayals are another reason to be wary when pundits and talk-show hosts jump on the bandwagon for the next killing spree abroad.

August 29, 2020 Posted by | Book Review, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | | 1 Comment

Gardasil Lawsuit – Deaths and Serious Injuries Linked to HPV Vaccine

Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman Trial Lawyers

The Gardasil vaccine, manufactured by Merck & Co., was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2006 for use in preventing infection from only a few of the hundreds of types of human papillomavirus (HPV). Since hitting the market, however, thousands of adolescents and adults have reported serious and disabling Gardasil side effects after receiving the HPV vaccine, including death.

Gardasil was fast-tracked to the market, achieving FDA approval in six months, which usually takes three years. Even one of the principal investigators of the Gardasil clinical trials (the human testing that precedes FDA approval) said the process “went too fast.”

The clinical trials for the Gardasil HPV vaccine reveal several disturbing side effects that were not disclosed on the package insert:

  • The miscarriage rate for subjects who were injected with Gardasil was 25%. The miscarriage rate for women under 30 in the U.S. is 12.5%.
  • In the Gardasil group, 5 babies were born with congenital abnormalities. There were none in the control group (the group that does not receive treatment).
  • 10.9% of women who took Gardasil reported reproductive and breast disorders within 7 months. In the Protocol 18 placebo group, that figure was 1.2% (through 12 months).
  • The rate of Gardasil deaths in the clinical trials was 8.5 per 10,000, nearly double the background U.S. death rate for young women ages 15 to 24.

There are more than 64,000 case reports of HPV vaccine adverse reactions in the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System database.

It is estimated that only 1% of serious adverse events are actually reported to VAERS.

Researcher Peter C. Gøtzsche in his book Vaccines: Truth, Lies, and Controversy noted some of the research inadequacies in the HPV vaccine clinical trials

“It is a requirement for registration of drugs that randomized trials have been carried out where one group received the drug and the control group received placebo or nothing. This allows assessment of both the benefits and harms of drugs. I have done research on non-vaccine drugs for decades and was shocked when I learned through my work with vaccines against human papilloma virus (HPV) that the regulatory requirements are much less for vaccines. Almost all the HPV vaccine trials have a control group receiving a hepatitis vaccine or a strongly immunogenic adjuvant, which makes it impossible to find out what the harms of the HPV vaccines are.”

Today, the Gardasil shot has left many young women and men suffering (FDA also approved Gardasil for boys), and it has been a living nightmare for parents whose children have experienced severe adverse reactions to the vaccine. They all trusted Gardasil, never suspecting the grave illnesses and disabilities that could follow. […]

What is the Gardasil Controversy?

Underlying the entire Gardasil controversy are clinical trials (human testing) that victims allege were fraudulently conducted and reported. Preliminary evidence compiled by a team of Gardasil attorneys and investigators suggests that the clinical trials Merck conducted for the Gardasil HPV vaccine were flagrantly deceptive and unscientific.

According to Mary Holland and Kim Mack Rosenberg, and Eileen Iorio, co-authors of the book, The HPV Vaccine On Trial: Seeking Justice For a Generation Betrayed, “none of the participants in the [Gardasil] clinical trials received a true saline placebo,” which means the clinical trials failed to measure the effects of Gardasil against a true control. Instead of receiving a placebo, some clinical trial subjects received aluminum-containing adjuvants, chemical mixtures, and other vaccines, which masked adverse events and made Gardasil seem safer than it would have otherwise.

According to Holland, Mack Rosenberg, and Iorio, “HPV vaccines have never been proven to prevent against cervical or other cancer.” … Full article

August 29, 2020 Posted by | Book Review, Corruption, Science and Pseudo-Science | | Leave a comment

Enjoy Saturated Fats, They’re Good for You!

By Donald W. Miller, Jr., MD | Lew Rockwell | July 19, 2011

This article is taken from a talk I gave at the 29th Annual Meeting of the Doctors for Disaster Preparedness in Albuquerque last week, on the controversial subject of saturated fats. Some of the slides that I used for this talk are put in here [not included].

The medical establishment and government health authorities say that consumption of saturated animal fats is bad for us and causes heart disease. According to the lipid hypothesis — the label used for the diet-cholesterol theory of heart disease — saturated fats raise serum cholesterol levels, and high blood cholesterol causes obstructive plaques to form in arteries, called atherosclerosis. This pathologic process causes coronary heart disease and the need for coronary artery bypass surgery, which is what I do.

Types and Structure of Fats

Animals and tropical plants contain saturated fats while plants outside the tropics have mostly unsaturated fats. Saturated animal fats are in milk, meat, eggs, butter, and cheese. And tropical coconut and palm oil contain a lot of saturated fat.

The food industry makes trans fats. They do this by shooting hydrogen atoms into polyunsaturated vegetable oils. This straightens out the fatty acid molecules and packs them closer together, giving vegetable oil so treated a solid texture like lard. Trans fats are used to make margarine, with yellow bleach added so it looks like butter. They are also used to prolong the shelf life of bakery products, snack chips, imitation cheese, and other processed foods.

Fats have a string of 3 to 22 carbon atoms. The carbon atoms of saturated fats have a full complement of hydrogen atoms attached to them. Unsaturated fats lack a full complement of hydrogen atoms. Artificially created trans fats have hydrogen atoms that wind up being located on opposite sides of the carbon double bond, which straightens the molecule out and makes it mimic saturated fat.

Crisco

A hundred years ago less than one in one hundred Americans were obese and coronary heart disease was unknown. Pneumonia, diarrhea and enteritis, and tuberculosis were the most common causes of death. Now, a century later, the two most common causes of death are coronary heart disease and cancer, which account for 75 percent of all deaths in this country. There were 500 cardiologists practicing in the U.S. in 1950. There are 30,000 of them now — a 60-fold increase for a population that has only doubled since 1950.

In 1911, Procter and Gamble started marketing Crisco as a new kind of food. The name Crisco is derived from CRYStalized Cottonseed Oil. It was the first commercially marketed trans fat. Crisco was used to make candles and soap, but with electrification causing a decline in candle sales, Procter and Gamble decided to promote this new type of fat as an all-vegetable-derived shortening, which the company marketed as a “healthier alternative to cooking with animal fats.” At the time Americans cooked and baked food with lard (pork fat), tallow (beef and lamb fat), and butter. Procter and Gamble published a free cookbook with 615 recipes, from pound cake to lobster bisque, all of which required Crisco. The company succeeded in demonizing lard, and during the 20th century Crisco and other trans fat vegetable oils gradually replaced saturated animal fats and tropical oils in the American diet.

Evidence Supporting the Lipid Hypothesis

Rabbits, Cholesterol, and Atherosclerosis

In 1913 a Russian physiologist fed high doses of cholesterol to rabbits and showed that cholesterol caused atherosclerotic changes in the rabbit’s arterial intima like that seen with human atherosclerosis. Over the ensuing decades other investigators did atherosclerosis research on cholesterol-fed rabbits, which they cited in support of the diet-cholesterol theory of heart disease.

Framingham Heart Study

In 1948, government-funded investigators began following some 5,000 men and women in Framingham, Massachusetts to see who developed coronary heart disease. They found that people with elevated cholesterol were more likely to be diagnosed with CHD and die from it.

Six years later the American Heart Association began promoting what it called the Prudent Diet, where “corn oil, margarine, chicken, and cold cereal replaced butter, lard, beef, and eggs.”

Ancel Keys Six-Country and Seven-Country Studies

Ancel Keys, the father of K-rations for the military, published a study in 1953 that correlated deaths from heart disease with the percentage of calories from fat in the diet. He found that fat consumption was associated with an increased rate of death from heart disease in the six countries that he studied.

He followed this up with a more detailed Seven Country Study published in 1970, using three of the countries that were in the original six-country study — Italy, Japan, and the U.S. — and four other countries — Finland, Greece, The Netherlands, and Yugoslavia. This study further cemented the association of fat consumption and death from heart disease, which led to the McGovern Report.

McGovern Report

The U.S. Senate Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs, chaired by Senator George McGovern, released, in 1977, its “Dietary Goals for the United States,” designed to reduce fat intake and avoid cholesterol-rich foods. These dietary goals became become official government policy.

Further Developments

McDonalds and the Center for Science in the Public Interest

Next, in 1984 the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a consumer advocacy group, joined the fray and started to coerce fast-food restaurants and the food industry to stop baking and frying food with animal fats and tropical oils. McDonalds fried its French fries with beef fat and palm oil. That’s why they tasted so good. But the Center for Science in the Public Interest’s well-orchestrated saturated fat attack coerced McDonalds and other fast-food chains to switch to partially hydrogenated, trans-fat vegetable oil.

USDA Food Pyramid

Adhering to the now well established low fat dogma, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in 1992, published its Food Guide Pyramid. The “pyramid” arranges food in sections that convey the message, “Fat is bad” and “Carbohydrates are good.” Carbohydrate-rich bread, cereal, rice, and pasta fill the large bottom space. and are to be consumed in abundant amounts, “6–11 servings” a day. Further up, as the pyramid narrows, fruit, which is also high in carbohydrates, is accorded “2–4 servings”; whereas the portion that includes meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs, and nuts is allowed only “2–3 servings.” Fats and oils are placed in the small top portion of the pyramid and labeled “Use sparingly.”

Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010

Beginning in 1980, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Department of Health and Human Services has published every five years an updated Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The most recent one, published in December 2010, recommends reducing saturated fat intake to 7 percent of caloric intake, down from its previously recommended 10 percent.

Meet the Fats

The USDA dietary guidelines and the American Heart Association group trans fats and saturated fats together and demonize them both as solid fats. The heart association’s website has a “Meet the Fats” link where the bad fats brothers are Sat and Trans — saturated fats and trans fats. The better fats sisters are Poly and Mon — polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats.

Swedish Heart Institute, Seattle and Dean Ornish

Indoctrinated in low-fat dogma by health organizations, nutrition authorities, and the government, I would instruct my heart surgery patients to eat a low fat diet, telling them to cut all the fat off their meat and not eat more than one egg a week. And following the USDA food pyramid I did not express any concerns about how much carbohydrates they might consume, from starch in bread, pasta, rice, and potatoes and sugar in fruit, fruit juices, pastry, and sodas.

When I was the director of the heart institute at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle in the 1990s I looked into establishing a Dean Ornish Program for Reversing Heart Disease at Swedish. The Ornish Program limits fat intake to less than 10 percent of calories in the diet, with, as one study shows, only 1 percent saturated fat. I had a cardiologist at Swedish accompany me to New York to visit the leading Dean Ornish Program there. We came back and recommended that Swedish establish one in Seattle.

I was wrong. Several years later, after leaving Swedish and rejoining the faculty the University of Washington, I came upon an article by Dr. Mary Enig and Sally Fallon titled “The Oiling of America” that was published in the magazine Nexus in 1999. It stimulated me to look more carefully into this subject.

Sleeper

Oscar Wilde said “Life imitates art.” He noted that “Life imitates art far more than art imitates life.” In his film Sleeper Woody Allen plays Miles Monroe, part owner of the Happy Carrot Health Food Restaurant in Greenwich Village. He was cryogenically frozen in 1973 after a botched peptic ulcer operation done at the now closed St. Vincent’s Hospital. Two hundred years later scientists wake him up and revive him.

Scene from movie

In a scene from this movie (shown at the meeting), the two scientists have this exchange. Dr. Aragon: “Has he asked for anything special?” Dr. Melik: “Yes. This morning for breakfast he requested something called wheat germ, organic honey, and tiger’s milk.” Dr. Aragon: “Oh yes. Those were the charmed substances that some years ago were felt to contain life-preserving properties.” Dr. Melik: “You mean there was no deep fat? No steak or cream pies or hot fudge?” Dr. Aragon: “Those were thought to be unhealthy, precisely the opposite of what we now know to be true.” Dr. Melik: “Incredible!” The YouTube title of this scene is Woody Allen’s 1973 film Sleeper may accurately portray healthy eating in the future, (available HERE),

Tiger’s milk is said to be America’s original carbohydrate-rich, protein-rich nutrition bar. It was popular in the 1970s and is still sold. I got this one from Amazon.com (that I show at the meeting). As this cinematic work of art predicts, in 2173 deep fat, steak, cream pies, and hot fudge will have replaced wheat germ, organic honey, and tiger’s milk as health foods.

But if life does imitate art, what about all the evidence that shows saturated fats and cholesterol clog arteries and cause atherosclerosis?

Evidence Against the Lipid Hypothesis

Feeding Cholesterol to Omnivores Does Not Cause Atherosclerosis

Plants do not contain any cholesterol. Animals are the only source of cholesterol, and herbivores do not eat animal products. Rabbits, being a herbivore, are not designed to digest animal fat and cholesterol, so when it is fed high doses of cholesterol one should not be surprised if the cholesterol winds up getting stuck in any part of the poor rabbit, including its blood vessels. Feeding high doses of fat and cholesterol to omnivores, like rats and dogs, does not produce atherosclerotic lesions in them.

Other Countries with CHD-Death and Fat Consumption Data

Evidence against fat wilts upon close scrutiny. In his Six Country Study, Ancel Keys ignored data available from 16 other countries that did not fall in line with his desired graph. If he had chosen these six other countries [on the left side], or even more strikingly, these six countries [on the bottom right] he could have shown that increasing the percent of calories from fat in the diet reduces the number of deaths from coronary heart disease.

22 Countries with Such Data including four other groups of people

If Keys had included all 22 countries in his study, the result would have been a clutter of dots like this.

In fact, it turns out that people who have highest percentage of saturated fat in their diets have the lowest risk of heart disease.

Diets in People with the Lowest Risk of Heart Disease — Masai, Inuit, Rendille, Todelau

The diet of the Maasai tribe in Kenya and northern Tanzania consists of meat, milk, and blood from cattle. It is 66 percent saturated fat.

The diet of Inuit Eskimos in the Artic, consisting largely of whale meat and blubber, is 75 percent saturated fat; and they live long healthy lives free of heart disease and cancer.

The Rendille tribe in the Kaisut Desert in NE Kenya subsist on camel milk and meat, and a mixture of camel milk and blood, known as “Banjo.” Their diet is 63 percent saturated fat.

The Tokelau live well, without cardiologists, on three atoll islands that are now a territory of New Zealand. Their diet consists of fish and coconuts, which is 60 percent saturated fat.

Like these groups of people around the world, breast-fed infants in developed first-world countries also have a diet that is high in saturated fats. The fat in human mother’s milk is 54 percent saturated fat.

The Hunter-Gatherer Diet

The study referenced here, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, is considered to be the most comprehensive analysis done on the Paleolithic hunter-gather diet. Anthropologists have assessed the diets of 229 hunter-gather populations that survived into the 20th century and can be viewed as surrogates for our Paleolithic, Stone Age ancestors.

When they can get it, these modern-day hunter-gatherers consume high amounts of animal food, which can make up to 85-100 percent of their calories, like the Maasi, Inuit, and Rendille peoples. They eat virtually all of the fat on the animal, including its organs, tongue, bone marrow, and brain. Other carnivores do the same thing. Lions, for example, will eat the organs and fat of their kill and leave the lean muscle meat for scavengers.

Since hunter-gatherers do not engage in agriculture, they have no corn, rice, or wheat to eat. They obtain only a low amount of carbohydrates from wild plants, gathering seeds, nuts, roots, tubers, bulbs, and fruits from them.

The Human Diet Throughout History

The Paleolithic Era, or Stone Age, lasted two-and-a-half million years, beginning with our human ancestor Homo hablis, and progressing through a succession of species to ours, Homo sapiens, which has existed for some 200,000 years.

The Agriculture Age began approximately 10,000 years ago and during this time, through 500 generations, carbohydrate consumption gradually increased. Even so, at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution 250 years ago, sugar consumption was one-fifth of what it is today. Now we are eating a greatly increased amount of carbs in cereal grains, dairy products, beverages, refined sugar, and candy, along with processed vegetable oils and dressings that did not exist in our diet for 99.9 percent of human history. During this time the human genome became adapted to follow a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet. Nevertheless, health authorities today say that we should do the opposite and follow a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet.

As calories, fat and carbs are interchangeable, protein less so. One can eat and digest only so much protein. When the protein content of the diet exceeds 35 percent of calories, nausea, diarrhea, and weakness ensue. These symptoms disappear when protein is dropped to 20-25 percent of calories.

YouTube on Ancel Keys

The new social media of Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube is not only helping to overthrow dictators and autocratic regimes but also wrong medical dogmas. This one, titled Big Fat Lies (shown at the meeting), exposes the chicanery Ancel Keys practiced in his work (available HERE).

The Framingham Study 30-years on

But what about the Framingham Study? In 1987, in the Journal of the American Medical Association Framingham Study investigators reported these two important findings: 1) Over age 50 there is no increased overall mortality with either high or low serum cholesterol levels, and 2) In people with a falling cholesterol level (over the first 14 years of the study), for each 1% mg/dl drop in cholesterol there was an 11 percent increase in all-cause mortality over the next 18 years. (JAMA 1987;257:2176-2180)

Contrary Long-term Findings of the Framingham Heart Study

Then, in 1992, in the Archives of Internal Medicine, the third director of the study, Dr. William Castelli, reported: “In Framingham, Mass., the more saturated fat one ate, the more cholesterol one ate, the more calories one ate, the lower the person’s serum cholesterol” … We found that the people who ate the most cholesterol, ate the most saturated fat, ate the most calories, weighed the least, and were the most physically active.” (Arch Int Med 1992;152:1271-2)

Most doctors have not heard about these findings because medical organizations, notably the American Heart Association, government agencies, and the pharmaceutical industry have ignored them. After all, prescribing statin drugs to lower cholesterol is a $25 billion/year industry.

The Politics Behind the McGovern Report

What about our government and the McGovern Report? The YouTube video titled “The McGovern Report” (shown at the meeting) deals with it in a pithy way (available HERE).

Mary Enig, Ph.D., a researcher at the University of Maryland, is interviewed in the video. In 1978, she was the lone whistleblower warning people about the dangers of trans fats. The medical establishment, government, and the food and drug industry belittled and ignored her findings that trans fats interfere with critical enzyme systems in the body and suppressed these findings for 25 years. As evidence of their dangers continued to grow the FDA, finally, in 2003, announced that beginning in 2006 the food industry must display how much trans fat the product contains on its nutrition facts label. Having ignored the subject since its inception in 1980, the government’s 2005 Dietary Guidelines for American at last warned them to restrict their consumption of trans fats. In 2006 New York became the first city in the nation to ban trans fats in restaurant food.

Saturated Fat and Heart Disease

Evidence that the McGovern Committee did not have in the 1970s is this 2005 report of European Cardiovascular Disease Statistics.

They show an inverse correlation with saturated fat consumption and rate of heart disease. Countries with the lowest consumption of saturated fat have the highest rates of heart disease. Georgia, Tajikistan, Azerbaijan, Moldova, Croatia, Macedonia, and Ukraine all have a saturated fat consumption that is less than 7.5% of calories, which is what the USDA and American Heart Association recommend, but their death rate from heart disease is quite high. Austria, Finland, Belgium, Iceland, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and France have high levels of saturated fat in their diet and low rates of heart disease. France, with the highest fat consumption, has the lowest rate of deaths from heart disease amongst these 14 European countries.

Reasons Why Saturated Fats Are Good For Us

The Biologic Importance of Saturated Fat

There is good reason why 54 percent of the fat in mother’s milk is saturated fat. Cell membranes need saturated fatty acids to function properly and be “waterproof.” The heart prefers saturated long-chain 16-carbon palmitic and 18-C stearic acid (over carbohydrates) for energy. Bones need them to assimilate calcium effectively. They protect the liver from the adverse effects of alcohol and medications like Tylenol. Lung surfactant is composed entirely of saturated 16-C palmitic acid, and when present in sufficient amounts prevents asthma and other breathing disorders. Saturated fats function as signaling messengers for hormone production.

They play an important role in the immune system by priming white blood cells to destroy invading bacteria, viruses and fungi, and to fight tumors. And medium-chain 12-C lauric acid and 14-C myristic acid (in butter) kill bacteria and candida fungus.

Saturated fats signal satiety, so you stop eating because you feel full, lose fat, and maintain a normal weight.

And, importantly, eating saturated fats reduces consumption of health-damaging carbohydrates and polyunsaturated vegetable oils.

Cracks in the Wall of Diet-Cholesterol Heart Orthodoxy

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition is a leading establishment medical journal that defends the lipid hypothesis. Even this journal has backed down and is now reporting cracks in the wall of diet-cholesterol-heart orthodoxy. A meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies evaluating the association of saturated fat with cardiovascular disease does not support the notion that saturated fats increase the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, or peripheral vascular disease.

And this journal also recently published a prospective cohort study of 53,000 women and men comparing their intake of carbohydrates and saturated fats and found that replacement of saturated fats with high glycemic index carbohydrates significantly increases the risk of heart attacks.

A Randomized Double-Blind Trial on the Effects of Coconut Oil on Abdominal Obesity

This trial, published in the journal Lipids, enrolled 40 women with a waist circumference > 35 inches. Twenty were randomized to take 30 ml — two tablespoons — of coconut oil a day (Group C) over a 12-week period. The other 20 took 30 ml soybean oil/day (Group S).

The Group C women taking the coconut oil exhibited a significant reduction in waist circumference (for the statisticians among us the P value was 0.005) with no change in the soybean Group S. And the only thing that the saturated fat-laden coconut oil did to cholesterol levels was to raise HDL cholesterol, the one that advocates of the lipid hypothesis call the “good” cholesterol. (Lipids 2009;44:593-601)

Eat Fat Lose Fat

Dr. Mary Enig and Sally Fallon, president of the Weston Price Foundation, have written a book titled Eat Fat Lose Fat: Lose Weight and Feel Great with Three Delicious, Science-based Coconut Diets. I highly recommend it. The fat content of coconut oil is 92 percent saturated fat, the highest saturated fat content of any food. I now start each day with two tablespoons of coconut oil.

Other Considerations

Roles Cholesterol Play

What about cholesterol? As with saturated fat, it is not a villain. On the contrary, cholesterol is critical for good health. It is an essential component in every cell in the body. Although few doctors know this, more than 20 studies have shown that elderly people with a high cholesterol blood level live longer than do those who have a low cholesterol blood level.

Cholesterol is the mother of hormones. It is converted into stress and sex hormones, like cortisol, testosterone, and estradiol, in the adrenal cortex. The liver turns cholesterol into bile salts needed for intestinal absorption of fats and the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. And when exposed to UVB rays in sunlight or at a tanning salon, the skin turns cholesterol into vitamin D.

Cholesterol also is the body’s fire brigade. It repairs damage to the body’s tissues, particularly the damage in arteries inflammation does to cause atherosclerosis. Blaming cholesterol for atherosclerosis is like blaming firemen for the fire they have come to put out.

Along with saturated fats, cholesterol is also an integral component of cell membranes.

The brain and nerve tissue contain the highest concentration of cholesterol in the body. It is a key component in forming synapses — cell connections — needed for good mental functioning, learning, and memory.

If not cholesterol, then what causes heart disease?

Atherosclerosis is an inflammatory process brought on by eating too many carbohydrates and omega-6 vegetable oils. Stress plays a role and possibly also bacterial infection.

A deficiency of various vitamins shown here may also play a role in causing atherosclerotic heart disease, as may an excess or deficiency of various minerals.

U.S. Dietary Fat: Animal and Vegetable Sources 1909 and 1985

Over the past century, butter consumption has plummeted from 18 grams per person per day to 5 grams. Consumption of lard has dropped substantially while use of shortening has almost tripled. In 1909, shortening was a natural product made with coconut oil and lard. Shortening used today is made out of partially hydrogenated vegetable oil.

Consumption of margarine made with trans fats has gone up five fold, and vegetable oils, more than fifteen-fold. Along with trans fats, these often rancid vegetable oils are new to the human diet.

A good case can be made that these changes in fat-and-oil consumption over the last hundred years are the major cause of the epidemic of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer, and learning disabilities in children. Observing the increasing use of vegetable oils during the 1940s and 1950s, a few physicians, notably Dr. Weston A. Price and Dr. Francis Pottenger, predicted that there would be increasing rates of such diseases.

Prevalence of Obesity among US adults 1950-2010

An epidemic of obesity has accompanied the adoption of a low-fat diet. With only 1 in 150 people obese when the century began, by 1950 nearly 10 percent of Americans were obese. Thirty years later, in 1980, it had risen to 15 percent. Then following publication of the U.S. Dietary Guidelines and its every-five-year updates, obesity in Americans has steadily risen. Now two-thirds of the American public is overweight, with more than one-third, obese. Today the average American weighs 30 pounds more that he or she did 100 years ago. American women weigh and average 167 pounds and men, 191 pounds.

There is solid evidence that this epidemic of obesity has resulted from replacing saturated fat in the American diet with carbohydrates and processed polyunsaturated vegetable oils.

Carbohydrate Consumption and Obesity

The rise in obesity parallels closely the rise in carbohydrate intake. As Gary Taubes shows in his book Why We Get Fat: and what to do about it, carbohydrates, not overeating or a sedentary life, are what make you fat. Eating fat and protein don’t make us fat, only carbohydrates do.

The Primal Blueprint Carbohydrate Curve

This graph, in Mark Sisson’s book The Primal Blueprint, compares carbohydrate intake with weight.

Consuming less than 150 grams of carbs a day enables one to maintain a stable weight. More than that and you gain weight. One burns more fat and will lose weight when carbohydrate intake is less than 100 grams a day. Unfortunately, Americans today consume between 300-500 grams of carbs a day.

The Epidemic of Diabetes

Over a 30-year period from 1980-2008 the prevalence of diabetes more than tripled. Now, in 2011, according to the National Diabetes Fact Sheet, 25.8 million children and adults in the U.S., 8.3 percent of the population, have diabetes; and 79 million people, based on their fasting glucose and hemoglobin A1c levels, are prediabetic.

Diabesity

Diabetes and obesity go together, so much so that these disorders are now being called “diabesity”. Body mass index (BMI) is the commonly used measure for obesity, calculated by dividing one’s weight in kilograms (Kg) by one’s height in meters squared (Kg/m2). One is considered to be obese if the BMI ≥30, and morbidly obese with a BMI of ≥35.

People with a BMI ≥35 are 10 times more likely to develop diabetes in their lifetimes than those with a normal BMI of 18.5-25. The lifetime risk of diabetes is around 30 percent for people who are overweight with a BMI of 25-30, 50 percent for obese people with a BMI of 30-35, and around 70 percent for people who are morbidly obese.

Disease Trends and Butter Consumption

Consumption of butter has dropped precipitously while cancer and heart disease has soared. The rise in cancer and heart disease certainly cannot be blamed on high-saturated-fat butter.

The Health-Damaging Effects of a Low-Fat, High-Carbohydrate Diet

These books prove beyond a reasonable doubt that today’s chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer are nutritional diseases, a result of eating a low-fat (mainly polyunsaturated vegetable oil), high-carbohydrate diet. Alice and Fred Ottoboni wrote Modern Nutritional Diseases: heart disease, stroke, type-2 diabetes, obesity, cancer, and how to prevent them; Barry Groves, Trick and Treat: how healthy eating is making us ill; and Zoë Harcombe, The Obesity Epidemic: What caused it? How can we stop it?, Barry Groves, in particular, citing more than 1,000 references, documents how so-called “healthy” eating is making us ill.

Liquid Candy

A 12-ounce can of coke has ten teaspoons of sugar, which contain 42 grams of sugar, supplying 167 calories. A 20 ounce bottle has 17, and a 30 ounce bottle, 27 teaspoons of sugar. The average American drinks 600 cans (56 gallons) of soft drinks a year, up from 216 can in 1971. The average American teenager drinks 3 to 6 cans of soda a day!

One-third of our dietary sugar comes from sodas, and they have become America’s number one source of calories.

Disasters

Disasters that may confront us can be divided into ones that are natural and those that are human made. The natural ones range from an earthquake to an impact event, like the one 65 million years ago where an asteroid six miles in diameter collided with the earth and wiped out the dinosaurs, and all other life forms larger than a small chicken.

Human-made disasters include political, economic, and martial types, a number of which Doctors for Disaster Preparedness has addressed. To this list must be added the nutritional disaster of a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet.

Weapons of Mass Destruction

These trucks laden with soda pop serve as its weapons of mass destruction.

Health Benefits of a Low-Carbohydrate, High-Saturated Fat Diet

In addition to Eat Fat, Lose Fat, I recommend two more books that can help us reduce our carbohydrate intake. One is Life Without Bread: how a low-carbohydrate diet can save your life. It describes diets that limit carbohydrate intake to 72 grams a day, which is equivalent to 6 slices of bread. The other one is Why We Get Fat: and what to do about it by Gary Taubes. Noting that meat, fish, and eggs contain no carbohydrates, he suggests that you can eat as much of them as you like, along with leafy green vegetables. (Try chicken salad wrapped in lettuce rather than as a sandwich between two slices of bread.)

The ideal caloric ratio between carbohydrates, fats, and protein is carbohydrates, 10-15 percent; proteins, 15-25 percent; and fats, 60-70 percent of calories, with the majority of them being saturated fats. Among the different kinds of fats, saturated fats and monounsaturated fats are good; except for omega-3 and a small amount of omega-6 essential fatty acids, polyunsaturated fats are bad in the high quantities that they are eaten in a Western diet, particularly industrially processed vegetable oils; and trans fats are terrible. Saturated animal fat is best obtained from grass-fed beef and pastured chickens, along with nitrate-free, additive-free bacon and sausage; and seafood from wild, not farm-raised, fish.

The Sacred Cow

Healthy milk and meat comes from contented cows on pasture, eating grass food that they are genetically designed to eat.

The “Efficient” Industrial Confinement Model

Confinement operations like these produce meat that is too high in omega-6 polyunsaturated fat and too low in vitamins. It being certified “organic” is not sufficient. The turkeys in the photo in the lower left can be sold as organic because they are “cage free”! The best meat to eat is that which is “Certified humanely treated” or “100% grass-fed/finished.”

The Pastured Poultry Model

Pastured poultry produce eggs much richer in nutrients such as vitamins A and D and omega-3 fatty acids. Like with the turkeys so confined, organic eggs are produced mainly in barns. One wants to eat pastured eggs like those sold at a farmer’s market.

Three types of eggs

The color of the yolk is an indication of the presence of nutrients. The pastured egg, with its dark orange color, is full of nutrients. The organic store egg less so. The supermarket egg, pale as it is, would be even whiter if the chickens weren’t fed orange foods and dyes.

Confinement Butter vs. Grass-Fed Butter

The butter on the right was made from cream from cows on green pasture. The deep yellow color is indicative of high levels of omega-3 fats and fat-soluble vitamins. The butter on the left was made with cream from confined cows. Commercial butter like this has artificial color added to it so the consumer will not know that it is actually colorless.

Conclusion

Enjoy eating saturated fat but preferably from grass-fed animals.

For further reading on this subject, I recommend two articles, which are available online. One is the article that prompted me to question the lipid hypothesis. The second one is my now more enlightened view on this subject.

I did a podcast on the health benefits of a low-carbohydrate, high-saturated-fat diet on the Livin La Vida Low Carb Show. The show’s host, Jimmy Moore, has titled it, “Cardiac Surgeon Dr. Donald Miller Tells Dr. Dean Ornish to Take a Hike.” A link to it is HERE (and on my website).

Two Books

For those of you who would like to delve further into this subject, I highly recommend these two books written by a cardiologist, Dr. Ravnskov, Fat and Cholesterol are GOOD for You, published in 2009, and Ignore the Awkward! How the Cholesterol Myths are Kept Alive, published last year. These two books are a must read for anyone taking statins to lower their cholesterol.

Supporters of the orthodox view that saturated fats and cholesterol cause heart disease who dismiss these books, unread, bring to mind George Orwell’s definition of orthodoxy: “Orthodoxy means not thinking, not needing to think.” And Frank Zappa put it well when he said, “The mind is like a parachute, it works only when it is open.” One needs to approach this subject with an open mind.

Julia Child’s view on the matter

The last word on this subject should go to Julia Child. It is on YouTube (shown at the meeting) under the title, 1995 Clip: Julia Child on McDonald’s French Fries (available HERE).

Enjoy eating saturated fats, they’re good for you!

August 23, 2020 Posted by | Book Review, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | 3 Comments

Keep it Real: A Review of Diana Johnstone’s Book “Circle in the Darkness: Memoirs of a World Watcher”

By Rick Sterling | American Herald Tribune | August 19, 2020

Diana Johnstone has written a compelling and insightful book. It is mostly a review and analysis of significant events from the past 55 years. It concludes with her assessment of  different trends that are being debated on the Left today including “identity politics”, Antifa and censorship. This is a book to be read, enjoyed and discussed.

Circle in the Darkness” gives glimpses into Johnstone’s personal life. She was born in St. Paul, Minnesota and grew up there and in Washington DC. She studied and taught at the University of Minnesota before moving and living most of her life in Europe – mostly in France with stints in Germany and Italy.

Her parents divorced when she was young. She had a special love and connection with her father who, ironically, was an analyst for the Pentagon. Evidently he also had an open and critical mind, writing the memoir “From MAD to Madness: Inside Pentagon Nuclear War Planning“.

Diana had a daughter at a relatively young age and largely raised her on her own. She finished her PhD in French literature, then worked as a teacher, translator,  photographer and journalist.

There are interesting observations and comparisons. As Diana and her daughter moved between Minnesota and France, she compared the different educational systems. She notes, “There is a tendency in American grade schools for the kids to gang up against whichever unfortunate schoolmate has been selected by class bullies for tormenting ….. from my observation it is not like this in France.” She also describes the difficulties being a single mother before it was more common.

The book is full of insights based on her first hand experience living in Yugoslavia as a young exchange student, being a photographer for Associated Press, translating news reports for Agence France Presse,  reporting on the end of the Cold War for In These Times and being press officer for the coalition of Green Parties in the newly formed European Union.

Grass Roots Activism

One theme running through the book is the need to reach out and engage with regular people. She recounts her experiences opposing the US war on Vietnam. Johnstone and her allies launched a campaign to educate and engage with regular Minnesotans, to explain what was happening in Vietnam and why the war should be opposed. She helped organize teams of students and teachers who went door to door in Minneapolis. Later, they sent a citizens delegation to Paris to meet with and hear from the Vietnamese representatives. Afterward, they reported back to communities throughout the state and country. Johnstone says these actions did not get the media attention but deepened opposition to the war in profound ways. The students and teachers going into the neighborhoods had to educate themselves in advance; they learned from the questions (and sometimes opposition) of community members; the delegation which met the Vietnamese representatives in Paris were deeply impressed and conveyed their experience on their return.

Johnstone is an unusually perceptive analyst. For example, her analysis of the Watergate scandal and Nixon resignation raises important but overlooked issues. Rather than seeing this as the hallmark of investigative journalism, she notes that it established the model of journalism relying on unidentified government sources. Looking back, the Watergate scandal effectively deflected attention from the ongoing slaughter in Southeast Asia. “Getting rid of Nixon was a brilliant coup that united generations, torn asunder by opposing attitudes toward the war ….. Watergate washed away the national sins. It prepared America to be ‘born again’ first as the innocent Gerald Ford and then as the good Christian Jimmy Carter, champion of human rights.”  Moreover “The shenanigans around Watergate were a distraction from the most significant acts of the Nixon administration, in particular the shakeup of the world economy by the August 1971 decision to suspend (meaning to end) the convertibility of the dollar into gold. This was a direct result of the huge U.S. debt resulting from the cost of the Vietnam War.”

The author has a stark assessment of what happened to the Left. “As for the American antiwar movement, half a century later, it has vanished almost without a trace as an influential political force. There are perhaps more intelligent critics of war than ever before, but they are largely confined to the virtual world of the web, without significant impact on a political system which is totally integrated into a military industrial complex that relies on endless conflicts.”

Critical International Events

Through her work at Associated Press and Agence France Presse, Johnstone saw how stories are selected and prioritized depending on establishment bias. She also saw how the media can promote certain types of protest leaders. There are critical assessments of some protest leaders who became famous including Daniel Cohn Bendit. She gives a scathing critique of celebrity French philosopher Bernard Henri Levy.

Johnson has valuable insights on many events over the 1970’s and 80’s.  A few examples are

* the assassination of Swedish Prime Minister Olaf Palme, who was likely behind it  and how it has led to Swedish subservience to the US

* the causes and consequences of the assassination of Aldo Moro by ultra-leftists in Italy

* the murder of Palestinian moderate Dr. Issa Sartawi at a Socialist Party conference

* the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II by a Turkish militant and the propaganda campaign trying to link him to Bulgaria and Soviet Union

* the growing influence of Israel in western foreign policy

In the 1980’s and early 1990’s,  Johnstone watched closely, interviewed key players and reported on the rise of detente between the USA and Soviet Union She concludes, “Not enough credit is given to Mikhail Gorbachev and to the 1980s peace movement”.

The book is subtitled “Memoirs of a World Watcher”. Johnstone describes how radical islamists were used to undermine the socialist Afghanistan government beginning 1979. When the Soviet Union collapsed, the US had no restraints. She summarizes “Mikhail Gorbachev was a naive negotiator, outfoxed by the Americans” and “The total surrender of ‘real existing’ communism in the East contributed to the defeat of the Western Left”.

In 1991 the US seemingly invited Saddam Hussein to go into Kuwait, then built up a huge force to expel and then massacre thousands of retreating Iraqi soldiers. With operation “Desert Storm” viewed as a military success, President Bush declared “The Vietnam syndrome is over!”

Yugoslavia and “Humanitarian Imperialism”

With the dissolution of the Soviet Union, neoliberal economic policies quickly dominated the globe. The European Union was formed in 1992. Johnstone describes how the EU imposed rules and requirements that favored private banks and institutions and restricted or prevented state intervention and solutions. Yugoslavia, as the sole remaining socialist holdout, was under increasing pressure and media attack.

Johnstone describes how “humanitarian imperialism” emerged at this time. With the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact in 1991, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) needed a new mandate and reason for existing. They found this new purpose in media distortion and demonization of Serbia and Yugoslavia. NATO promoted the “Kosovo Liberation Army” and other divisive elements then bombed Serbia for 78 consecutive days. Yugoslavia was broken into pieces.

In 2002 Johnstone wrote a book about the NATO attack, western propaganda and show trial. Her book is titled “Fool’s Crusade: Yugoslavia, NATO and Western Delusions”. She was attacked in the media for challenging the dominant assumptions about the conflict. She responded to the attacks saying,“I do not deny atrocities, but unlike others I give them a political context.” Others strongly defended her. Canadian law professor Michael Mandel wrote, “Fools Crusade is not only the definitive work on the Balkans Wars, it is also an inspiring example of how to rescue truth from the battlefield when it has become war’s first casualty”.

Western media distortion and intervention in Yugoslavia went almost unopposed. The antiwar movement was widely confused and silent. This was followed by the US invasions of Afghanistan then Iraq.

Along with media distortions and comparisons to Hitler and the Holocaust, there emerged the justification for violating national sovereignty based on the “Right to Protect” (R2P). This was the pretext for overthrowing the Libyan government of Moammar Gadhafi. Johnstone discusses how R2P has been used to confuse and silence antiwar forces, even some prominent traditional antiwar analysts. Johnstone has interacted with Noam Chomsky many times over decades and is overall very positive. But she notes that “even he might get something wrong”. She documents how the co-author of  “Manufacturing Consent” was evidently fooled into believing media reports from Benghazi Libya. Chomsky said the western sponsored uprising was “wonderful”. It is now clear that media reports and NGO accusations from  Benghazi were false. They were the pretense to launch the NATO campaign to overthrow the government.

Western intervention, including the sponsorship of terrorist armies in Syria, has been sold to the unwitting public using this model. Wherever the US and NATO wish to intervene, there is a “humanitarian crisis” and “responsibility to protect”.

Critical Current Issues

“Circle in the Darkness” analyzes many current issues of contention and debate on the left. She argues that suppression of debate and free speech, whether by the Right or Left, is counter-productive. She also argues that violence and vandalism hurts the progressive cause even when it gives a spurt of publicity and media attention. She describes many examples over the past 50 years and how frequently the instigators were government or police agents.

Johnstone describes the spectacular growth of the “Yellow Vest” movement in France. She documents how it began, how it was supported and joined by common people and how it reached across party lines. She contrasts the broad support of the Yellow Vest movement with narrow support of the student protests of May 1968. She writes, “Sociologically, this revolt was the opposite of May ’68. Instead of privileged students, imagining a non-existent working class revolution in a time of prosperity, this was the working class itself, in hard times.”

Johnstone describes how French police then attacked the Yellow Vest protesters with many injuries and even deaths. She writes, “Curiously, all this heavy handed repression totally failed to prevent masked ‘Black Bloc’ members from taking advantage of this opportunity to attack the police, set fires, break shop windows ….. Police did nothing to prevent unidentified intruders from invading the ground floor of the Arc de Triomphe to smash up a statue of Marianne…. It is noteworthy that almost all the seriously injured were peaceful Yellow Vest protesters, whereas the Black Blocs often got away unscathed. Perhaps the Black Blocs believe they are fighting the system. Whatever their intentions, they have served as a useful auxiliary to government repression.”

Johnstone notes the massive media effort to control popular thoughts and anger. “The mainstream media have moved farther and farther away from informing the public and nearer to instructing them in what they should think and do.” She thinks the Left is also infused with dogma. Diana Johnstone recounts the falling out with Counterpunch magazine after they published a “barrage of attacks” on the analyst and writer Caitlin Johnstone (no relation). “That was indeed the start of Caitlin’s rise to great prominence in anti-war circles and the beginning of CounterPunch’s decline from ‘fearless muckraking’ to snide sniping at the genuine heirs to the independent spirit of the founder, Alexander Cockburn. The gist of the CounterPunch attacks on the Australian Johnstone were that she dared say she would join even with someone on the right against war. That is simple good sense, but it was picked up by the Antifa purification squad as proof of tendencies toward fascism. When I saw them coming after Caitlin, I figured they’d be coming after me, and that my association with CounterPunch was soon coming to an end.”

Johnstone argues in favor of working for peace with all forces which agree on that issue, whether or not they agree on all issues of “identity politics”. She argues that we should not be distracted from the root causes of war and social inequality. When the Left focuses on the fringe right, the establishment is not only happy, they encourage and promote this diversion.

“The specialty of the AntiFa is to situate the threat of tyranny on the powerless margins of society – from isolated groups of costume party neo-Nazis to outspoken persons on the left accused of ‘red-brown’ tendencies. This amounts to keeping the Left herded into its sheep pen, while the wolves roam freely.”

Johnstone is hopeful and encouraged by two things: a new generation of truth seekers and the fact that life is full of surprises.

This book is full of insights and analysis about where the world is at and how we got here. It includes important ideas and thoughts about what we can do to resist the drift toward global war and catastrophe. Above all, Diana Johnstone argues for the importance of discussion, debate and keeping it real.

August 19, 2020 Posted by | Book Review, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | | Leave a comment

Don’t Forget Trump’s Deal with the CIA on the JFK Records

By Jacob G. Hornberger | FFF | August 17, 2020

In April 2018, President Trump issued an order to the National Archives to continue keeping thousands of CIA records relating to the John Kennedy assassination secret from the American people. The new deadline, which could be extended again by either Trump or a President Biden, was set for October 2021.

Since the order was issued early in the Trump regime, no doubt he felt confident that there would be no adverse political consequences flowing from his order. But now that Trump is engaged in a heated race with Joe Biden, he ought to be called upon to explain and justify his order for continued secrecy in an assassination that took place almost six decades ago.

Given the official narrative of the Kennedy assassination, the massive secrecy in which the Pentagon and the CIA engaged after the assassination has never made any sense.

The official narrative says that a lone nut former U.S. Marine communist killed Kennedy with no apparent motive. The most that proponents of the lone-nut theory have ever come up with on a possible motive is that a little man wanted to become a big man by killing a big man. The big problem with that theory is that the accused assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, denied that he did it and even contended that he was being framed for the crime. If a little man wanted to become a big man by killing a big man, wouldn’t he be acknowledging that he did it and even boasting about it?

IN 1991, Oliver Stone come out with his movie JFK, which posited that Kennedy had been assassinated as part of a U.S. domestic regime-change operation intended to protect “national security” from a president who had declared an end to the Cold War and an intention to establish peaceful and friendly relations with the Soviet Union and the rest of the communist world. (See FFF’s book JFK’s War with the National Security Establishment: Why Kennedy Was Assassinated by Douglas Horne, who served on the staff of the ARRB.)

At the end of JFK, Stone inserted a blurb pointing out the continued secrecy of federal agencies with respect to records relating to the Kennedy assassination some 30 years after the assassination in what had been presented as nothing more than a lone-nut murder of a president.

While the mainstream media was poo-pooing Stone’s movie, the American people were outraged over the continued secrecy. Public pressure caused Congress to enact the JFK Records Collection Act in 1992, which mandated the release of all assassination-related records of federal agencies, including the Pentagon and the CIA.

To enforce the law, Congress called into existence the Assassination Records Review Board. In its four years of operation, the ARRB secured the release of tens of thousands of records relating to the assassination, some of which pointed to the fraudulent nature of the autopsy that the U.S. military conducted on the president’s body. (See my books The Kennedy Autopsy  and The Kennedy Autopsy 2.)

There were two strange parts of the JFK Records Act:

1. The law expressly prohibited the ARRB from investigating any aspect of the JFK assassination. Doesn’t that seem to be a rather strange provision? If a matter that had intentionally been kept secret for 30 years needed to be investigated, wouldn’t you think that Congress would want it investigated? The no-investigation provision was strictly enforced on the ARRB staff by the ARRB board of trustees.

2.The law permitted federal agencies to keep their records secret for another 25 years, a provision that the CIA took advantage of. Given that this was supposedly just a lone-nut murder, why was secrecy necessary in the first place? What “national security” concern would there have been? And wouldn’t a lapse of 30 years be sufficient for any such “national security” concern? Why another 25 years, especially since continued secrecy would only serve to buttress Stone’s thesis in JFK?

Back in the 1990s, 25 years must have seemed like a long time away, long enough that the CIA and the Pentagon could rest easy. Anyway, by the time those 25 years expired, there was a good chance that no one would care anyway, especially within the mainstream press.

But when that deadline rolled around in 2018, there were people who still cared. They were demanding that Trump release the records.

That’s not what Trump did. Instead, he granted the CIA’s request for at least another 3 1/2 years of secrecy.

Back in 2018, Trump didn’t have to justify his decision, but now that he’s running for reelection, he should be made to account for what he did by being asked the following questions:

1. How could the release of the CIA’s long-secret JFK-assassination-related records possibly pose a threat to “national security”?

2. Why not order an immediate release of those long-secret records now rather than wait until October of next year?

3. If the CIA has nothing to hide, why is it still hiding it almost 60 years after the Kennedy assassination?

The big problem, of course, is the deep loyalty that the mainstream press, Democrats, Republicans, and even some conservative-oriented libertarians have toward the CIA, not to mention the deep fear of being labeled a “conspiracy theorist.” That is why it is unlikely that Trump will be required to justify his deference to the CIA and its desire for continued secrecy in the Kennedy assassination.

Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education.

August 18, 2020 Posted by | Book Review, Deception, Film Review, Timeless or most popular | , , | 6 Comments

Butter: Nature’s Perfect Fat

By Donald W. Miller, Jr., MD | Lew Rockwell | February 21, 2017

Sally Fallon Morell has written a new book, published last month, titled Nourishing Fats: Why We Need Animal Fats for Health and Happiness. In a smoothly flowing 182 pages, she shows why saturated fat and cholesterol are not the villains they are made out to be.

Parents of infants and young children will be drawn first to Chapter 8, “Remember the Little Ones: Why Children Need Animal Fats.” Beneath this title in the table of contents she writes: “Children need animal fats for normal growth and the development of their brains. But at the two-year checkup, doctors warn moms not to give saturated fats to their toddlers, and whole milk is forbidden in school lunches—despite consistent science showing that children on low fat diets are more likely to suffer from allergies, asthma, learning disorders and obesity. We are literally starving our children in the name of phony science.”

The human brain continues to make billions of new brain cells after birth for some number of years. They need saturated fats and cholesterol to form healthy, waterproof cell membranes. Fallon Morell spells out the many important roles saturated fats and cholesterol play in the body, like supporting the “formation of sex hormones, needed in copious quantities during pregnancy.” She points out that “Nearly half of the fatty acids in human breast milk are saturated, suggesting that dietary saturated fats are critical to the development of infants and young children. Saturated fats are so important during these critical stages of development that their abundant presence in breast milk is universal among mammals.”

In the first chapter, “The Greatest Villains,” she tracks the unfolding demonization of saturated fat and cholesterol. It began in 1912 with the pernicious marketing of Crisco—its name comes from CRYStalized Cottonseed Oil—by Proctor and Gamble. The company promoted this hydrogenated trans-fat, first used to make candles and soap, as a “healthier alternative to cooking with animal fats.” At the time, Americans used lard (pork fat), tallow (beef and lamb fat), and butter for cooking and baking food. She next addresses the fake science of cholesterol studies in rabbits, who as herbivores are not designed to digest animal fats and cholesterol. Then there is the Framingham Heart Study, where largely ignored follow-up reports contradict its initial findings that high cholesterol blood levels cause heart disease. She shows how the 1977 McGovern Report advocating low-fat “Dietary Goals for the United States” and the 1984 Cholesterol Consensus Conference have played fast and loose with the science.

Other chapters include “A Short Lesson on the Biochemistry of Fats,” “The Many Roles of Saturated Fat,” and “Animal Fats for the Mind.” In the Table of Contents below a chapter titled “Not Guilty as Charged” she writes: “Animal fats get the blame for everything from cancer to ingrown toenails—and none of these accusations is true! The science shows that saturated animal fats actually protect us from chronic disease.”

The last chapter’s title is “The Queen of Fats: Why Butter is Better.” Below it she writes, “The queen of fats, butter is loaded with nutrients the body needs to be healthy and happy. Starve yourself of butter during the day and you’ll crave ice cream when nighttime rolls around. Modern processing technologies cannot come close to providing in spreads and margarines the range of vitamins and lipid components present in butter. Nature’s fat for optimal growth and development.”

Fallon Morell confirms that butter contains a variety of healthful saturated fats. These include, among others, short chain (4-carbon) butyric acid, medium chain (12-carbon) lauric acid, and long chain (14-carbon) myristic acid. Butyric acid occurs almost exclusively in butter and has anti-fungal properties as well as anti-tumor effects. It also helps increase the number of thyroid hormone receptors on cells. Lauric acid has both strong anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties. Only the mammary glands in humans can make lauric acid. These two fats are absorbed directly without any help from bile salts into the bloodstream and provide quick energy. Butter also is the most common source of myristic acid, which plays important roles in the body. (Coconut oil contains large quantities of lauric acid.)

Butter also contains the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, and K2. Fallon Morell devotes a separate chapter to them, with this caveat: “Critical vitamins A, D, and K2 occur uniquely in animal fats—and Westerners are woefully deficient in these nutrients. The body uses vitamins A, D and K2 for everything from proper vision to growth to fertility.” These vitamins help produce and activate various proteins, notably matrix GLA (gamma-carboxyglutamic) protein that removes calcium from coronary arteries that supply blood to the heart. One action of Vitamin A, among many, is that it helps the body deal with dioxins and pesticides

“Food” producers make imitation butter with solid, colorless trans-fats, adding yellow dye to make this dangerous fat look like butter. Now outed, industrial processed trans-fats cause cancer, interfere with insulin receptors in the cells, and interfere with the (desaturase) enzymes required to convert the parent Omega-6 (linoleic) and Omega-3 (alpha linolenic) acids into their important elongated versions, AA (arachidonic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) respectively. She devotes wo chapters to this subject, titled “The Rancid and the Trans” and “AA and DHA.”

The healthiest butter comes from cream that free ranging, contented cows eating grass in sunlit pastures produce. This butter has a natural deep yellow color indicative of high levels of Omega-3 fats and fat soluble vitamins. Butter from industrially confined cows denied access to green pastures has 10 to 13-times less vitamin A and 3-times less vitamin D than grass-fed cows. My wife and I consume Amish butter, which we purchase at a local grocery store in the small town where we live. Amazon has it.

As President of the Weston A. Price Foundation and Editor of Wise Traditions: in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts (the Foundation’s quarterly journal), Sally Fallon Morell commands an encyclopedic knowledge of butter and saturated fats. She states, “No one studied butter more thoroughly than Dr. Weston A. Price. Throughout the 1930s, he analyzed thousands of butter samples shipped to him from all over the world.”

She dedicates Nourishing Fats “To the memory of Mary G. Enig, PhD” (1931-2014), her long-time colleague, friend, and coauthor of key articles and books. The two books they wrote together are Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and Diet Dictocrats (1995) and Eat Fat, Lose Fat: The healthy Alternative to Trans Fats (2005). More than 30 years ago, Dr. Enig exposed the connection between trans-fat margarine and heart disease and cancer. The medical establishment first ignored her, then vilified her, and finally years later treated her findings concerning trans-fat as an unsurprising, obvious fact.

Sally Fallon Morell is a skilled writer with a sharp scientific mind. She cites 707 up-to-date references in this book, which I was pleased to see includes this one: “Statins stimulate atherosclerosis and heart failure: pharmacological mechanisms,” by Okuyama H, et al., in the March 2015 issue of Expert Review of Clinical Pharmacology (volume 8[2], pages 389-99). This book also has 32 pages of recipes and 22 pages of notes.

A careful reading of Nourishing Fats: Why We Need Animal Fats for Health and Happiness will change what you eat and thus improve your health. Despite what the medical establishment, government health authorities, pharmaceutical companies, and the soybean industry still say, saturated animal fats, saturated tropical oils (coconut and palm oil), and cholesterol are not villains. Orthodox claims that they are bad for us wilt and become thoroughly discredited when held up to scientific scrutiny.

The bottom line: “Start eating butter, lots of butter!”

Note

I address this subject in my 2011 Lew Rockwell article “Enjoy Saturated Fats, They’re Good for You!” It is drawn from a talk I gave on saturated fats earlier that year at the 29th Annual Meeting of the Doctors for Disaster Preparedness in Albuquerque. This 53-minute talk is available on YouTube HERE (there have been 325,000 views of it so far).

Graduating from medical school in 1965 and pursuing a 40-year career as an academic member of the medical establishment performing and teaching heart surgery, I unquestioningly adhered to the low-fat creed. For far too long. Then, in 2005, I came upon an article that Mary Enig, PhD and Sally Fallon (now Sally Fallon Morell) wrote titled “The Oiling of America,” first published in the magazine Nexus in 1999. This article stimulated me to look more carefully into the matter and discover that the conventional wisdom regarding saturated fats and cholesterol is false.


Donald Miller [send him mail] is a retired cardiac surgeon, a Professor Emeritus of Surgery and former Chief of the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle. He is a member of Doctors for Disaster Preparedness and writes articles on a variety of subjects for LewRockwell.com. His website is www.donaldmiller.com.

August 4, 2020 Posted by | Book Review, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | 2 Comments

A mutilation of young lives: How the radical transgender bandwagon is wrecking girls’ bodies and destroying their mental health

© Abigail Shrier “Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters” / Blackstone Publishing, 2020
By Debbie Hayton | RT | July 29, 2020

A new book, Irreversible Damage, reveals how teenage girls are being duped into believing they want to be male, and are pushed into taking puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and undergoing double mastectomies.

Whether it is a statement or a question, the title of this book conveys the necessary urgency of this desperately sad story. Amid the trans debate, seemingly a battle between grown adults, vulnerable children are prey to a malevolent ideology that survivors call a cult.

In a superb piece of investigative journalism, Abigail Shrier focusses on teenage girls – most with no history of gender dysphoria – who become captivated by the belief that they are transgender. Behind the glittery exterior portrayed in the media, she encounters damaged children – many alienated from their families – in poor mental health and facing the prospect of infertility and medication for life.

Shrier, a writer with the Wall Street Journal, pulls no punches when describing phalloplasty, the construction of an artificial penis. The complications can be horrific. She reports the experience of one nineteen-year-old, “whose phalloplasty resulted in gangrene and loss of the appendage.” On the cusp of adulthood, that young person has been left without normal genitalia, for either sex, and tethered to a catheter.

I am a transgender person, but I transitioned as an adult when I could understand the implications on my body and my relationship with society. Besides, by then I’d had my own children. Yet children too young to even give consent for a tattoo are being corralled into making truly life-changing decisions.

Whether you agree or disagree with her, this is a book that needs to be read. Shrier’s informed analysis flows from dozens of interviews, including medical experts and parents. From Dr Kenneth Zucker, who oversaw the writing of the medical definition of “gender dysphoria,” to ordinary families whose children seem to them to have been swept along by this cult, Shrier talks directly to those with first-hand experience.

The facts are clear: there is a contagion spreading among teenage girls who suddenly believe themselves to be boys. While there is documented history of young feminine boys expressing a desire to be girls, never before have girls dominated the work of paediatric gender clinics. The statistics are staggering. In the UK, for example, referrals of teenage girls rose by 4400% in the last decade.

Shrier interviewed Lisa Littman, an American doctor who conducted an observational study and found that nearly 70 percent of the teenagers belonged to a peer group in which at least one friend had also come out as transgender. In some groups, most of the friends had done so. Transgender identification was encouraged and intensified by friends and social media and, astonishingly, appeared to precede the experience of gender dysphoria itself.

Shrier explores possible reasons why these daughters, often from liberal progressive households, want to be sons. First, social media where children are influenced by strangers while their parents are kept in the dark. Second, the educational system where adults who ought to know better have been enthralled, or threatened, by transgender activists. Ignoring both science and basic safeguarding, they have bought into the notion that we all have an immutable gender identity which may or may not match our sex.

With overwhelming folly, children are being transitioned in their schools with new names and pronouns. If their parents might be unsupportive, then they are not told, in case their children might feel “unsafe.” But this is something all parents need to know: this phenomenon is catching, and to be forewarned is to be forearmed.

But nothing could have happened without the cooperation of policy makers, and not only within the education system. Therapists – the very people who should be helping children to challenge their thinking – have been blindly affirming whatever their young patients have picked up from the internet.

Anyone who has stood against this has faced censure and condemnation. But as Jungian analyst Lisa Marchiano explained, “This idea that a kid’s going to come in and tell us that they’re trans and that within a session or two or three or four, that we’re going to say, ‘Yep, you’re trans. Let me write you the letter.’ That’s not therapy.”

Even the medical profession itself has been found wanting. Eminent sexologist Dr Ray Blanchard told Shrier that “I can’t think of any branch of medicine outside of cosmetic surgery where the patient makes the diagnosis and prescribes the treatment.” While the zealots who actually believe that children can change their sex are perhaps in a minority, those professionals who remain silent in education, therapy and medicine are complicit in this unfolding scandal.

Shrier credits the sterling work of parental groups such as 4thWaveNow and Transgender Trend who have stood firm against the ideology. They have been condemned as bigots and transphobes for protecting children from themselves, the first duty of parents since the dawn of time.

The book is well-referenced and easy to read, making it suitable for a wide readership. The most obvious audience are parents concerned for the wellbeing of their daughters. But teachers, therapists and doctors, some of whom remain silent out of ignorance or fear, also need to hear these stories. Finally, the wider public would find Shrier’s analysis accessible, clear and educational. Those only vaguely aware of transgender ideology may be tempted to think that it cannot be true: young girls taking powerful cancer drugs to halt puberty, or induce an artificial menopause if started. But it is happening across the world, and Shrier catalogues it.

The time has come for society to take responsibility. Much has happened covertly, and the startled onlooker may need time to catch up, but Shrier’s book fills in the background, identifies the problems, explains the impact, and proposes clear and workable ways forward. This is a must-read for those with children, anyone who works with children and everyone who cares about them.

Debbie Hayton is a teacher and a transgender campaigner, based in the UK. She tweets @DebbieHayton

July 29, 2020 Posted by | Book Review, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | 2 Comments

Everyone Lost in World War II

Tales of the American Empire • August 16, 2019

Hitler had sent Winston Churchill peace offers several times in 1940, proposing that Germany withdraw from occupied areas except for traditional German regions that were seized after World War I. Churchill should have accepted this offer, but he was an arrogant, selfish, bumbling, alcoholic, psychopath whose actions destroyed Europe and the British Empire.

July 26, 2020 Posted by | Book Review, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , | 9 Comments