Lab Rats for Corporate Profit: Pesticide Industry’s Poisoned Platter 

Newly released pesticide usage statistics for 2018 confirm that the British people are being used as lab rats. That’s the message environmentalist Dr Rosemary Mason has sent to Dave Bench, senior scientist at the UK Chemicals, Health and Safety Executive and director of the agency’s EU exit plan. In her open letter to Bench, Mason warns that things could get much worse.

In 2016, the UK farming minister said that the nation could develop a more flexible approach to environmental protection free of “spirit-crushing” Brussels directives if it votes to leave the EU. George Eustice, the minister in question, said that the EU’s precautionary principle needed to be reformed in favour of a US-style ‘risk-based’ system that would allow for faster approvals.

There is little doubt that Eustice had GM crops in mind: the Department of Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) says that the most promising crops suitable for introducing to England would be Roundup Ready GA21 glyphosate-tolerant crops as they synergise well with herbicides already widely used in the UK.

Similarly, Boris Johnson said in his first speech as prime minister in July 2019:

Let’s start now to liberate the UK’s extraordinary bioscience sector from anti-genetic modification rules and let’s develop the blight-resistant crops that will feed the world.

However, the ‘GM will feed the world mantra’ is pure industry spin. The technology has a questionable record and, anyhow, there is already enough food being produced to feed the global population, yet around 830 million are classed as hungry and two billion experience micronutrient deficiency. If Johnson wants to ‘feed the world’, he would do better by looking of the inbuilt injustices of the global food regime which is driven by the very corporations he seems to be in bed with.

Conservative politicians’ positive spin about GM is little more than an attempt to justify a post-Brexit trade deal with Washington that will effectively incorporate the UK into the US’s regulatory food regime. The type of ‘liberation’ Johnson really means is the UK adopting unassessed GM crops, using more glyphosate (or similar agrochemicals) and a gutting of food safety and environmental standards. It is no secret that various Conservative-led administrations have wanted to ditch the EU regulatory framework on GM for some time.

Unregulated chemical cocktail

Mason asks Bench why Defra and the Chemicals Regulation Division refuse to ban glyphosate-based herbicides in Swansea between 2014-2017 when she told them that it was poisoning her nature reserve:

Analysis of local tap water in August 2014 revealed a 10-fold increase since August 2013: from 30 ppt to 300 ppt.  I told them that these were of the order of concentrations found in a laboratory study in 2013 that showed that breast cancer cell proliferation is accelerated by glyphosate in extremely low concentrations. We had several neighbours who have recently developed breast cancer. Now, in 2019, with many scientific papers reporting apocalyptic insect declines around the world, we are facing a global Armageddon; yet the public has no idea, because the press has concealed it from them.

Bench is also asked:

Have you seen the pesticides usage statistics for 2018? They confirm what a European NGO said in 2013, that the British citizens are being used as lab rats!

Mason continues:

Dave Bench, you presented a paper at the Soil Association meeting on 20 November 2017… [it] showed that pesticide active ingredients applied to three British crops had increased between 6-18 fold between 1974 and 2016, rather than halved as farmers and industry had claimed!! As well as hearing this new evidence of increased pesticide use in the UK, the conference heard new scientific evidence from around the world showing that very low doses of pesticides, well below official ‘safety’ levels, pose a significant risk to public health via our food supply.

Were you shocked? Presumably you weren’t because you described the regulatory system for pesticides as robust and as balancing the risks of pesticides against the benefits to society. That statement is rubbish. It is for the benefit of the agrochemical industry. The industry (for it is the industry that does the testing, on behalf of regulators) only tests one pesticide at a time, whereas farmers spray a cocktail of pesticides, including over children and babies, without warning.

Ian Boyd, the former Chief Scientific Adviser to Defra, says pesticides, once they have been authorised, are never reviewed.

Mason adds there is consistent denial by the National Farmers Union (NFU), Defra and the agrochemical industry about the massive amounts of pesticides used on farmland and herbicides used in towns and cities on weeds; and there is silence from the UK corporate media.

She informs Bench that although glyphosate was relicensed in Europe by a “corrupt” group of individuals, it is distributed to every organ of the body and has multiple actions: it is an herbicide, an antibiotic, a fungicide, an antiprotozoal, an organic phosphonate, a growth regulator, a toxicant, a virulence enhancer and is persistent in the soil. It chelates (captures) and washes out the following minerals: boron, calcium, cobalt, copper, iron, potassium, magnesium, manganese, nickel and zinc.

In her previous reports, as in her letter to Bench, Mason has documented the consequences of this for human health.

Just as concerning is the UN Global Chemicals Outlook II report that indicates large quantities of hazardous chemicals and pollutants continue to leak into the environment, contaminating food chains and accumulating in our bodies, where they do serious damage. Estimates by the European Environment Agency suggest that 62 per cent of the volume of chemicals consumed in Europe are hazardous to health. The World Health Organization estimates the burden of disease from selected chemicals at 1.6 million lives. The lives of many more are negatively impacted.

Business as usual: public health crisis

Mason goes on to highlight numerous disturbing aspects of the revolving door between the pesticide industry and public bodies/government in the UK. She also notes that David Cameron appointed Michael Pragnell, founder of Syngenta, to Cancer Research UK’s (CRUK) board and awarded him a CBE in 2017 for services to cancer research.

Mason explains that the British government’s UK life sciences strategy is dependent on funding from the pharmaceutical sector which has links with the pesticide industry. In 2011, CRUK started donating money (£450 million/year) to the government’s ‘Strategy for UK Life Sciences’ while AstraZeneca (Syngenta’s parent company) was providing 22 compounds to academic research to develop medicines in the UK. She argues that Syngenta’s products cause diseases, while its parent company tries to cure them with synthetic chemicals. And CRUK is a willing enabler.

In 2014, the NFU, the Crop Protection Association (CPA) and Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC) launched ‘Healthy Harvest’ to safeguard the crop protection pesticide toolbox. The NFU and the agrochemical companies have continually defended the use of pesticides for economic reasons and complain about any attempt to restrict the 320-odd at their disposal. CPA, AIC and the NFU commissioned Andersons to write a report: ‘The effect of the loss of plant protection products on UK Agriculture and Horticulture’. Conveniently for the report’s commissioners, Andersons predicted dire economic effects on UK farming if pesticides were to be restricted.

And it is not that these powerful interests do not have the government’s full attention. Between May 2010 and the end of 2013, the Department of Health alone had 130 meetings with representatives of industry. According to Mason, it is business as usual and patently clear that the pesticides industry is being protected.

While continuing to ignore and side-line important scientific research findings which highlight inconvenient truths for government and the pesticide industry, prominent public officials and scientists as well as the media attempt to explain away all the diseases now affecting the UK as a result of individual behaviour: bad lifestyle choices.

In her various reports, Mason has discussed the importance of the gut microbiome and the deleterious effects of glyphosate which result in various health issues, such as obesity and depression. By 2018, CRUK was claiming that obesity caused 13 different cancers, but Mason argues that contamination by residues from 123 different pesticides on the fruit and vegetables supplied to schools by the Department of Health is the real reason for childhood obesity – not biscuits or poor choices.

Each year, there are steady increases in the numbers of new cancers in the UK and increases in deaths from the same cancers with no treatments making any difference to the numbers. While certain prestigious research centres are lavished with funding, Mason argues their work merely serves to strengthen the pesticide and pharmaceutical industries and implies the entire process is little more than a profitable racket at the expense of public health.

In finishing, let us remind ourselves of what the UN special rapporteur on the right to food, Hilal Elver, said in 2017:

The power of the corporations over governments and over the scientific community is extremely important. If you want to deal with pesticides, you have to deal with the companies…

Baskut Tuncak, the UN’s special rapporteur on toxics, added:

While scientific research confirms the adverse effects of pesticides, proving a definitive link between exposure and human diseases or conditions or harm to the ecosystem presents a considerable challenge. This challenge has been exacerbated by a systematic denial, fuelled by the pesticide and agro-industry, of the magnitude of the damage inflicted by these chemicals, and aggressive, unethical marketing tactics.

There is a lot more valuable information in Rosemary Mason’s 10,000-word open letter to David Bench, including many references and citations in support of her claims. Readers are urged to access ‘Pesticides usage statistics for 2018 prove that the British people are being used as lab rats’ via the academia.edu website.

Baby Shark Coup

I also write from time to time, and if any sweet breath fills my soul, it’s the light of memory … Oh the memory in prison! How it gets here and falls upon the heart, which it oils with melancholy already so decomposed …
In short, I don’t know what these people will do. We soon shall see.

— Cesar Vallejo, Letter to his brother from prison, 1921

Somehow in the shadow of the US-backed coup in Bolivia, several cultural threads seem worth examining in western society right now. One is infantilism, and all that comes with that, and another is a new theistic or cultic consensus on climate (the new *emergency*). And finally the return of and rehabilitation of fascism. Here as a side bar intro to infantilism is this

One might do well to watch Norwegian children’s programming for a compare and contrast thought experiment. (Here from Norsk Wiki….” Climbing mice and the other animals in the Hakkebakkeskogen were first dramatized for puppet theater, and were set up at Oslo Nye Teater in 1959 with Egner’s own towels and decorations and in the author’s staging. The play was played with actors in Copenhagen in 1962 and at the National Theater in 1964, with scenography by the author. Gjøvik summer theater has performed the play as an outdoor walking theater at Gjøvik farm since 2006.”) The animated film Hakkebakkeskogen premiered in 2016.

The Bolivian coup is significant for a profound absence of outrage in the West. And in large measure this is the result of all the above mentioned trends. But most importantly, perhaps, is the effectiveness of western propaganda launched against Evo Morales, a campaign that began about four or five years ago, interrupted to some degree by the campaign against Maduro in Venezuela. The return of fascist style and sensibility goes hand in hand with this new infantilism. Make it simple. Baby Shark simple. And the real point of the smearing of Morales was to impugn his green credentials. The theistic consensus reacts with disproportionate indignation at any climate apostate. Evidence and logic defy the Baby Shark formula.

There is another aspect to all this, too.

In ‘United States Penetration of Brazil’, Jan K. Black writes “It is interesting to note that in 1969, the year when U.S. economic assistance was suspended for a few months in “cosmetic” protest against the dramatic tightening of the dictatorial noose signified by the dissolution of the Congress in December 1968 and the promulgation of the Fifth Institutional Act (AI-5), the number of Brazilian policemen brought to the United States for training almost tripled that of the previous year. The number of Brazilian military trainees in the United States also increased that year and was, in fact, higher than at any other time in the post war period. The marked expansion of the training program also coincided with an increase in documented reports of the systematic torture of political prisoners and of the murders of petty criminals, as well as alleged subversives, carried out by the “Death Squads,” reportedly composed of off-duty policemen. (New York) Governor Nelson Rockefeller, as President Nixon’s special envoy in Brazil and other Latin American countries in 1969, was uninformed, unconvinced, or unconcerned about these reports. Rockefeller recommended that “the training program which brings military and police personnel from the other hemispheric nations to the United States and to training centers in Panama be continued and strengthened.”. The training program to which he referred was that of the notorious School of the Americas, which is now both re-branded and re-tooled as WHINSEC. This agency has been central to the re-configuration of Latin American militaries as glorified police forces, equipped for internal rather than hemispheric defence, since the 1960s.
Despite official US rhetoric against the Brazilian dictatorship’s increasingly egregious human rights abuses, Rockefeller’s tour of Latin America signified an intensification of US support for anti-communist dictatorial regimes who were friendly to US economic investment. On his tour, under robust military security, Rockefeller had been met with violent anti-imperialist protests in almost every city he visited, which were often subject to media blackout.

— Daniel Hunt, Brasil Wire, 2019

Nixon and Rockefeller saw Liberation Theology as a serious threat to their control of Latin America. The antidote to the communistic odor of Liberation Theology was to export a weaponized Pentecostolism. This was a tweeked version of what Oral Roberts and others had been selling during the rise of televangelism that took hold in the late 60s.

There is also a link to the eugenics branch of the climate or new green movement. The eugenics side expresses itself first with the overpopulation argument (one so debunked at this point that only a sort of rabid refusal to think allows it any traction at all…but traction it still has). And, secondly, the eugenicists (David Attenborough, Jane Goodall, Bill Gates, et al) are firmly in line with the protection of western capital. At the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio the Rockefeller Foundation created LEAD. And among the leaders for this development scheme was Marina Silva.

Allow me to quote Daniel Hunt again:

The Brazilian branch of LEAD (ABDL) was one of the first, founded in mid-1991 and according to Gazeta Mercantil (06/11/91), “The Rockefeller Foundation intends to invest US $5 million in the next five years in training environmental leaders, with The purpose of preparing opinion makers capable of having a broad view of environmental problems and their economic implications. ” All Binger, LEAD’s international director, said with surprising frankness: “We hope that in ten years many of the fellows will be acting as ministers of environment and development, university rectors and CEOs.”.

The growing Evangelical power base traded support for policy concessions throughout the 1990s and 2000s, supporting Lula and Dilma Governments but it was not until 2010 that they had a potential Presidential candidate of their own – Marina Silva, her platform a marketable synthesis of evangelical christianity, environmental campaigning and Wall Street friendly liberalism. Initially, she accepted the vice presidential candidacy for the Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB), a party that is socialist in name only.

Heiress to COA Member Itaú Bank, brother of Rockefeller’s Trilateral Commission member Roberto, Neca Setubal, was responsible for 84% of funds to Marina Silva’s institute in 2013. Former president of Citibank Alvaro de Souza ran the fundraising for Silva’s 2010 election campaign. Ex-US Chamber of Commerce, Souza had previously served on the boards of such companies as Gol and AmBev, and was chairman of WWF Brazil. In 2008, the WWF, and its President Emeritus, Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh, awarded Silva with a medal, championing her work on Amazon conservation.

Already the capitalist class recognized the potential of tying together the desire for new theologies to support and enhance the propaganda and indoctrination of western societies. Evangelicals had grown in power in the U.S. too. Today one has a vice president and secretary of state who are evangelical Dominionists. For the Rockefellers the secular theism of a new ecological movement would mirror the Pentecostal revolution in Latin America (and in the U.S. to a lesser degree and in a slightly adjusted form). The ruling class saw even by the start of the 1990s the potential for massive land grabs, various raids on social security and whatever else was left of the security net, the final destruction of unionizing, and all with enthusiastic support from the white bourgeoisie in the West, most acutely in North America.

And here is a quote from Spencer Latu (on social media)…

The fake left Greta Thunberg PR campaign, billionaire foundation-funded environmental NGO controlled opposition, and boomer memes coalesce into a brutal ruling class praxis: liquidate what remains of social programs desperately needed by the working class so that the ruling class can continue the unsustainable and omnicidal militarized industrialized US/Canada/NATO empire that wreaks havoc on people and the planet and call it “green.”

The political theatre put on by fake left actorvists, paid through laundered corporate money in tax-exempt foundations to fund environmental NGO campaigns from such eNGOs as Greenpeace, 350.org, Sierra Club and World Wildlife Foundation, and right wing corporate tool conservatives who claim everything is fine when the biosphere collapses before our eyes as the ruling class loot, plunder and pillages what is left, keeps us the working class divided and distracted. The only way to rise above the insanity is to openly and honestly investigate the facts. As I’ve stated in multiple posts with countless citations, the fake left (Liberals and NDP) have non-solutions to climate change that will further aid in exploiting the working class through greenwashing imperialism.

The coup in Bolivia provides set dressing for all the above. The new openly racist and Pentacostal opposition (and the singularly proudly racist new President by simple announcement Jeanine Anez) have direct ties to the same ruling class millionaires that carried out U.S. policy against Chavez and Maduro. Jorge Camacho, the leader of the Francoist cadre (complete with fascist salutes) ,that have terrorized supporters of Morales, is a millionaire fanatic with ties to those invisible billionaire backers of global right parties (such as Daniel Thiel, who in turn has direct ties to the CIA).

Everything Camacho does has a strong religious bond: he mentions God in all his appearances, took the Bible to the Government Palace and urges his followers to take the virgin to the mobilizations.
Telesur, Nov 2019

Of course, the rise of Hitler-admiring Jair Bolsanaro in Brazil was the benchmark for the U.S. and its new policy decisions and plans for re-taking Latin America. But western media is governed by the Baby Shark formula firstly, and, secondly, is openly tied to those obscured billionaires who can be seen behind the sudden appearance of figures such Camacho, or Bolsonaro, or Leopoldo Lopez or Juan Guaido. And, of course, the complicit western media was in line with the demonizing of Morales and barely ever corrected the egregious lies regarding Bolivia being behind the destruction of the Amazon, or the singularly bad fires this season in Brazil. And for most left or pseudo left publications in the west, there could be no real support for Morales because he had been tainted with the deadly label of green criminal.

Now the infantilism merges with a kind of new age therapy culture (with residue of Sixties kitsch mysticism). It’s worth noting that demonizing and ridiculing the sixties is itself an entire propaganda campaign that has set in motion the new anti Boomer propaganda. Blame it on the old folks, those silly befuddled guys who fought against the Vietnam War. Media forgets the work of artists who protested the war, figures like Robert Bly and Galway Kinnell, Alan Ginsburg and instead looks at head shops and tie dye and granola. But the migration of sixties mysticism to stuff like aromatherapy and EST, also found it way into the therapy culture overall, and most importantly left itself amenable to the rebranded fascism of the 1930s. Just as behaviourism was never completely eradicated, so white supremacism (and eugenics) expressed itself under cover of an identitarian banner. And it is worth remembering the Jungian associations with National Socialism, and the popularity of Jung for undergrads still today.

Well. I use that term ‘cult’ to describe the social organisation that Jung gathered around himself after his break with Freud. He was living at the time in Küsnacht, Zurich, in Switzerland. Essentially, at first, he gathered primarily German-speaking Swiss around him, and a few Germans, then people from Britain and the United States. His biggest catch was the daughter of John D. Rockefeller who, in 1916, poured more than a million dollars (in 1997 US dollars) into his enterprises.
— Richard Noll, Interview with Ivan Tyrrell

It has been argued that the political ideology of the Nazis concerning racial cleansing could only be carried through by appealing to established spiritual belief systems and myths. This theory derives from the many similarities that can “e seen from the old Pagan traditions that experienced a revival with the many oddities and traditions of the Nazi Party. Early in the twentieth century the Ariosophy movement began as the merging of German nationalism with racism based on occult beliefs which are now described as corresponding to the term völkisch.
— Elizabeth Ping, Michigan State, Graduate thesis

Hollywood, of course, has been profoundly influential in this regard with turning Philip K Dick on his head (Man in the High Castle) to allow for massive displays of National Socialist symbolism. And the revanchism of the volkisch style codes so popular with the Nazis returns via Greta, but also with feature films and TV. And, again, things bleed into one another. A quick sampling of the current TV series Treadstone or Jack Ryan give ample evidence of direct CIA influence in the writers’ rooms of Hollywood, and with a growing open anti-communism. And that anti communism often finds side-bar assists from Israeli propaganda in Hollywood (equating Soviets with anti semitism and not Nazis).

The Orientalism at work in Hollywood is glaring and un-apologetic. The endless numbing repetitions of Muslim caricatures and Serbian or Russian gangsters seem bottomless. And I and others have written about this often. It’s just that by virtue of the sheer volume of these cop and spy franchises (or medical shows or lawyer shows) it seems or feels worse. And maybe it is. But I have noticed something else, too. Moral outrage at consensual sex if the characters are minors. A recent episode of Chicago PD saw a suspect in custody nearly beaten for having sex with a 17 year old (he was mid 20s). A 17 year old (!!). The age of consent in Colorado, Illinois, Louisiana, Missouri, New Mexico, New York, and Wyoming is, in fact, 17. In a few others it is 18 and in the rest it is 16! So the new morality fits with a growing secular climate theism. One which is highly sex negative (for the good of the planet). I have actually had a man write on social media (attacking me) about the “psychosis of breeding”. Such is the new eco-Puritan. And I don’t think this is a ‘MeToo’ effect, I think, rather, it is tied to the influence of a this new religiosity. I will return to this below.

The volkisch nostalgia (which is active now, not just a period curiosity) is wed to the therapeutic new age Green moralism (that makes heretics of climate deniers) and the seamless meshing with de facto but resurgent anti-communism. Now I am speaking of the privileged white bourgeoisie here. That thirty some percent who are educated and visible. They are the courtiers to the ruling class. And like ‘the Squad’, they’re reflexively reactionary. They don’t like the poor, but won’t admit it. They don’t like Muslims or Muslim countries, or Indians or Chinese. None of this admitted. They go on vacation to these countries, but they do not like the people. They do not like Evo Morales. In a sense they are far closer in temperament to Jeanine Azez then they are to Maduro or Chavez or Morales. They are certainly closer to a Joe Biden than they are to Subcomandante Marcos. When pundits wonder why Biden still clings to a poll lead, the answer is because Joe is one of them, if not literally (he has wealth, they do not) he is in spirit. And he represents something of an aspirational class dream. And Joe feels as if he stepped out of a TV show, he is a purely TV character, shallow, banal, and completely forgettable.

The liberals in the U.S. are more in tune with a George Will or Joe Biden than they are with any Marxist critique. They are comfortable in the presence of George Will. And this is why Trump angers them so much. Why Ocasio Cortez drools in admiration for William F. Buckley. Trump does not make anyone, save for his son in law maybe, feel comfortable. George Bush Sr and Jr are the WASP wealth dream, their values are actually exactly the values of the liberal bourgeoisie today. And this suggests that the *issues* that separate them, the issues that are made much of in media, issues that launch a thousand op-eds are perhaps not the important issues. Anything today that gets to the Supreme Court has already been decided. Identity issues …gay rights or the various academic scandals and trigger warnings or the so-called culture wars, or even important stuff like abortion rights are somehow trivialized when forced to go through the apparatuses of government. Official state bureaucracy kills stuff. It is the soul killer for people and ideas. Even when you win, you lose.

Now the climate crisis (or emergency etc) is being trivialized, too. If a woman’s right to her body can be ruled on by a John Roberts, then the climate equivalent is listening to David Attenborough or Bill McKibben or Al Gore. The Extinction Rebellion and the Green New Deal and whatever else is in the pipeline are investment projects. They are not charity and nobody is donating money. Not even Bill Gates. These are investments in control, in furthering the goal of creating a world in their own image. In each case that is a whiter world, a world where the transference of wealth to the top 3% of the populace is complete. And it nearly is already. The goal is a world of free trade zones (slave states) surrounded by national parks and environmental research projects where only those vetted, those with good paper, those with good genes, in fact, can enter or use.

It is useful to go back and read or re-read Mike Davis’ the “Homegrown Revolution” chapter in City of Quartz.

Growth control politics in the Bay Area have been incubated in a specific regional tradition of patrician conservationism represented by the Sierra Club, the Bay Conservation and Development Commission, and California Tomorrow. ‘Responsible environmentalism’ constitutes a hegemonic discourse in which all sides, developers and their community opponents, must formulate their arguments. The tap-root of slow growth in the South, however, is an exceptionalistic local history of middle-class interest formation around home ownership. Environmentalism is a congenial discourse to the extent that it is congruent with a vision of eternally rising property values in secure bastions of white privilege. The master discourse here – exemplified by the West Hills secessionists – is homestead exclusivism, whether the immediate issue is apartment construction, commercial encroachment, school busing, crime, taxes or simply community designation.

It is a profoundly prescient chapter, in a brilliant book overall. And maybe because I’m from LA, I especially appreciate it (I am also a footnote in it, I’m proud to say). But the seeds of this new white privileged eco-consciousness can be traced back, at least, to the mid-’80s that Davis describes. In one sense the Bay Area (of Northern California) is ground zero for the Arcadian vision of a de-populated and managed landscape of white post card perfect nature.

If the slow-growth movement, in other words, has been explicitly a protest against the urbanization of suburbia, it is implicitly – in the long tradition of Los Angeles homeowner politics – a reassertion of social privilege.
— Mike Davis  (Ibid.)

Social privilege is embedded in the climate discourse and curiously it is rarely a topic of debate. But then debate is pretty much absent from the climate discussion altogether. And this raises again the strange contradictions of the entire climate discourse. The alarmist end of this (expressed best by The Guardian) predicts endless apocalypses (plural) and yet none of the people I have debated with, those who believe in overpopulation and human extinction in the near future are doing anything about it. Not on a personal level. I mean none that I am aware of are hoarding supplies or water, moving to places with more protection from storms or flooding, nothing. This suggests that either extinction is viewed with some degree of appeal, a fantasy version of Hollywood end of time films, or that actually nobody quite knows what to believe. Or maybe it’s compartmentalized denial. I don’t know. But the sex negative theism — apparent when middle-aged white guys come to the defense of Greta’s honor. In reality, most of the educated white bourgeoisie don’t want anything to interrupt their vaguely pleasing lives…even if miserable, they want nothing to interrupt this endless daydream. The new cult of climate provides a purpose, and meaning for lives lived on auto pilot for decades.

It also bears repeating that such manufactured PR narratives take energy and focus away from the real environmental issues, which begin with militarism, mining, and the idea of progress.

Now, the lack of outrage at the right wing fascist coup in Bolivia suggests with clarity that American racism is as deep and indelible as it has ever been. It means there is a belief that only white westerners deserve to make important decisions. The first call of congratulation that Jeanine Azez received was from Mike Pompeo.

So this is the meeting point, the convergence, of radical extremist Pentecostal fundamentalism and the new green theism. Behind both is military muscle.

Before going further let me link to a piece by Luke Osborne on the relationship between pollution and climate and the military.

And allow me another quote from the invaluable Cory Morningstar…

Many Westerners have bought into the “war propaganda” of this global push for a “green” tech fueled, militarily enforced capitalism. As both the economic and environmental situations deteriorate, perhaps the push for widespread adoption will indeed reach the kind of fevered pitch Bill McKibben advocates. This could very well come at a time when the militaries which avoided substantive critique and were instead elevated as potential allies in the “climate fight” come on full display. In this future where comforting narratives like McKibben’s steer the populace away from the much darker truth, manufactured humanitarian disasters provide the palatable cover for the dirty work of securing access to raw materials needed for battery production and wind turbines by armies whose bases are hardened for sea level rise, yet whose tactical vehicles are still necessarily dependent upon dense fossil fuel power. At this time of great uncertainty, a genuine dissent which had languished under the spell of false promises of “green” technology and ignored the mass violence that underpins modern industrial society, emerges out of necessity from the growing direness of global crop failures and economic breakdown. This growing dissent, which threatens the illegitimate power held by the global elites, is met with heavy repression that draws upon decades of unimpeded surveillance tech implementation, the militarization of global police forces, and the use of private security. { } Climate change at its core is about conflict. It is a conflict between how humans live with each other and with the planet, and this conflict builds on centuries of violence and exploitation that are enmeshed, often unseen by the privileged, within the economic, social, and political systems to this day. We can either face our own discomfort and confront the structures of violence that have brought us to this turning point in human history, or we can soothe ourselves with comfortable narratives and allow the internal conflicts inherent in the system to catapult us far beyond the breaking point.”
— Wrong Kind of Green, Cory Morningstar

By the by, Naomi Klein and Greta both have thrown Morales under the bus. In both cases under cover of green concern (Klein by tweets suggesting it was not really, you know, a *coup*) and Greta by retweeting the now rather notorious Minh Ngo tweet that blamed the Amazonian fires on Bolivia and Morales. Now, yes, Greta is just being used. But I’m not sure that matters at this point. For the reality is that white privilege and their disingenuous feigning of concern is in clear agreement with the US and its clients at the AOS.

Western culture, baby shark culture, contains under its new umbrella the institutionalising of art in general. MFA programs and academia has all but killed completely theatre in the U.S. And what they didn’t destroy the extermination of an alternative media has. Not so long ago the alternative press fought heroically against the Vietnam war, while providing a critical dialogue on art and culture. Those days are long gone. I remember when major newspapers changed their arts section to *Entertainment* and started providing figures for what a new film grossed in its opening weekend (formally the province of the business section). So, infantilism, a trend toward sub-literacy overall and resurgent anti-communism (of course, for the underclass there is a clear uptick in interest about communism, but you will never hear that on mainstream media) — is wed to the giant colossus of corporate media and a propaganda regarding the climate and pollution of the planet, and the new theistic psychological life raft of the climate consensus and the offspring of this infernal union is a screen habituated near comatose man child with compulsions for porn, a jaded but numbed attraction to violence, and a 6th grader’s grasp of spirituality. And near total historical amnesia.

A consensus now brought to you by a billionaire class of vampiric white speculators looking to de-populate the poor and take control of literally the entirety of earth. That’s where we are. Worry about rising sea levels may or may not be rational, but before one discusses that it makes sense to consider the death merchants and fanatics who are destroying entire nations and stealing remaining resources. (See Lithium and Bolivia). And, yes, Bolivia has enormous lithium resources. It does not, however, have reserves of it, as I understand it, and in truth Lithium is not all that rare. Argentina has a huge lithium resource, too. As does Chile. Still, it might be a factor in the timing of this coup, though I somehow doubt it. This coup was to push back the Pink Tide, to discipline Latin America and make clear the continent still belongs to the US ruling elite. Lithium is the resource to be stolen. All colonies are stripped of their resources).

Also, at some point there is a question in all this that has to do with science, or rather scientists…and experts in general. Scientists in the capitalist west are tools of the ruling class, and by extension they are tools of corporate power and they instinctively know how to gravitate toward power. They are instruments for “proving” what governments want them to prove. Even if they often just instinctively know what is expected. The climate debate, or non debate, is inextricably bound up with science. The totality of it is science. And some of the challenge is to separate real science from junk science or compromised science. Is all of bourgeois science compromised? Bought? Yes, though that does not mean it’s not true. It only means often it is not.

The trajectory of this tradition, from positivism to the current variety of postpositivist philosophies of science, has reflected the pressure of a complex reality upon conceptions too restricted to give an adequate account of it.
— Helena Sheehan, Marxism and the Philosophy of Science

Science is part of the ideological super-structure of society.

It is not difficult to follow the historical course of his thought in the works collected in the ‘Holy Family’ and in the ‘German Ideology’. Here Marx already advances and solves quite differently from the philosophers who had preceded him the two chief questions, what is nature-the object of natural science, and what is natural science-the science of nature.

Marx criticises Hegel’s formal, abstract, mystical conception of nature. If real nature is a natural-philosophical form of logical foundation, the reflection of the idea, then it is something lower than the idea, nature is “an imperfect being”. The natural sciences from this point of view are directly bound up with theology and teleology, and can have no real importance, since they study the expression of the real creator of reality-the idea. Marx showed that the basis of this mysticism was the divorcing of nature from the practical activity of man. According to Hegel philosophical thinking must combine the practical attitude to nature with the theoretical. But with Hegel the determining basis remains the course of thought, the idea, and not practical activity, So with Hegel the picture of nature is distorted and fixed in its separation from man.

As distinct from Hegel, Marx looked at nature in its development, in its unity with man. Man is himself a part of nature. Man is historical nature and nature is natural history. It might appear at first glance as though Marx in not yet using the category of man as a totality of social relations, completely shares the outlook of Feuerbach. In reality Marx here also, in the works collected in the Holy Family, had already grasped the specific link, industry, which made the foundation for new views both on nature and on its relationship to man, as well as on the specific environment which man makes for himself in the general limits of nature.
— Y.M. Uranovsky, Marxism and Natural Sciences

There is a profound need for a discussion and dialogue on science, on what it is, what it does, and how it functions under capitalism. This is the Enlightenment discussion again and reminds me just how important is Adorno and Horkheimer’s Dialectic of Enlightenment.

The coup has also stimulated an outpouring of violent racist hatred directed against Bolivia’s Indigenous peoples. Right-wing opponents of Morales celebrated his resignation by burning the Wiphala flag, which is a symbol of resistance of the Indigenous peoples and Bolivia’s second official flag. The pro-coup Bolivian police, meanwhile, have been filmed cutting the indigenous flag off their uniforms. In his televised resignation speech, Morales said “my sin was being indigenous, leftist and anti-imperialist.
— Fiona Edwards, The Canary, November 2019

With the hostile takeover of all mainstream media by private equity investors early in the 21st Century, investigative journalism died in mainstream newsrooms. This void in mass communication has since been supplanted with propaganda created by public relations (PR) firms hired by transnational corporations.
— Jay Taber, Global Netwar, 2019

I leave you with the opening to Lorca’s New York, Office and Attack. A poem from Poet in New York. Translated by Robert Bly.

Beneath all the statistics
there is a drop of duck’s blood.
Beneath all the columns
there is a drop of sailor’s blood.
Beneath all the totals, a river of warm blood;
a river that goes singing
past the bedrooms of the suburbs,
and the river is silver, cement, or wind
in the lying daybreak of New York.

and Bly’s own great anti-war poem, The Teeth Mother Naked At Last.

Iran rattled by anti-government demonstrations

Hard on the heels of the violence and political confusion in Israel and of anti-government protests in Lebanon, Iraq and Kuwait, the unrest is spreading to Iran sparked by a petrol price rise. Saudi Arabia should be next in line. The Iranian economy has registered a 10 percent GDP drop since the US withdrew from the 5 + 1 agreement (May 8, 2018). The price of western imports has quadrupled whereas the income of certain categories of workers and artisans has been halved. Unable to work out (...)

The Killing Fields of American Health Care

And all the devils are here.
Hell is empty,

The Tempest (I.ii.)

American health care is being crushed under the iron heel of a cabal of ruthless and merciless robber barons. Indeed, this primitive and backward system continues to be a source of horrendous suffering, as the health insurance companies, hospital executives, and pharmaceutical companies repeatedly place their insatiable lust for profit over the lives of their fellow Americans. And the health care oligarchs should be proud of what they have achieved: For they have created a health care system that is unrivaled in the industrialized world for its degradation and barbarity.

As economic inequality grows in America, so too does inequality of health care. Writing for The Harvard Gazette, David Cecere points out that tens of thousands of Americans die each year due to a lack of health insurance. Unsurprisingly, life expectancy is directly proportional to income in the United States, as evidenced by the fact that Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota has a life expectancy of 47 for men and 52 for women. This inequality continues unabated as pharmaceutical CEOs rake in unprecedented profits.

According to a Johns Hopkins study, more than 250,000 Americans die each year due to medical errors. This is inextricably linked with the fact that hospitals prioritize profit-making over patient care. Consequently, administrators are forcing physicians, and residents in particular, to work extremely exploitative and unsafe hours. Obamacare, which should really be called the Unaffordable Care Act, caused premiums and deductibles to go up, and failed to address the problem of health care either being tied to one’s job or to a fluctuating salary if the patient is an independent contractor.

Two thirds of all bankruptcies filed in the United States are medical bankruptcies, and over half a million American families file for bankruptcy each year as a result of medical bills they cannot pay. Indeed, this vitally important institution is in thrall to the forces of privatization, and this has transformed what was once a healing profession into a machinery of oppression and mass murder.

Pharmaceutical Totalitarianism

While unnecessary drugs and medical procedures are sometimes prescribed so that a doctor can milk a good insurance plan, vitally important drugs and procedures are even more likely to be inaccessible should a patient’s insurance be inadequate. For example, the cost of insulin has become prohibitively expensive for a growing number of Americans, leading many diabetics to resort to rationing which has resulted in premature death. As Ralph Nader writes in “Big Pharma: Gouges, Casualties, and the Congressional Remedy:”

In 2017, the U.S. consumers spent $333.4 billion on prescription drugs.

There are no price controls on drugs in the U.S. as there are in most countries in the world. Senator Bernie Sanders just took a bus tour to a Canadian pharmacy where insulin cost patients one tenth of what it costs them in the U.S.

The price of an EpiPen, made by Mylan, has also skyrocketed, and EpiPens are indispensable in warding off severe allergic reactions that can lead to anaphylactic shock and death. In “Life-Saving Allergy Treatment is Becoming Too Expensive for Families to Afford,” published in 2016, Laurel Raymond points out that “Over the past nine years, since Mylan bought the rights to the EpiPen, the price for the easy-to-use injectors has quintupled — increasing about 450 percent, from around $50 for one injector to $600 for a pack of two.”

The growing unaffordability of the device has resulted in patients carrying around expired EpiPens and resorting to dangerous jerry-rigged alternatives. The prices for anti-epileptic drugs have likewise soared, also putting patients’ lives at risk.

Prior authorizations (PAs), where health insurance companies place significant obstacles in place to get a drug or procedure approved, have led to needless suffering and death. Discussing the results of a survey where 1,000 physicians were asked about their experience with PA, Andis Robeznieks writes in “1 in 4 Doctors Say Prior Authorization Has Led to a Serious Adverse Event:”

More than nine in 10 respondents said PA had a significant or somewhat negative clinical impact, with 28 percent reporting that prior authorization had led to a serious adverse event such as a death, hospitalization, disability or permanent bodily damage, or other life-threatening event for a patient in their care.

Few realize that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is not engaged in impartial third party testing of drugs, and that the pharmaceutical companies are simply supplying the FDA with their invariably fudged statistics. Incredibly, the FDA admits this on their own website, stating that the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) “doesn’t actually test drugs itself, although it does conduct limited research in the areas of drug quality, safety, and effectiveness standards.”

There are growing conflicts of interests, where MDs that sit on FDA panels receive monetary payments from the companies that make the very drugs they are charged with evaluating. The payments are doled out after the drugs are approved, allowing the officials to get away with not disclosing conflicts of interest before the drug is placed under review.

Acknowledging the disastrous consequences that have ensued due to the absence of a responsible regulatory body, Donald W. Light writes in Risky Drugs: Why The FDA Cannot be Trusted, published with Harvard’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics:

Every week, about 53,000 excess hospitalizations and about 2400 excess deaths occur in the United States among people taking properly prescribed drugs to be healthier. One in every five drugs approved ends up causing serious harm, while one in ten provide substantial benefit compared to existing, established drugs. This is the opposite of what people want or expect from the FDA.

Prescription drugs are the 4th leading cause of death.

Physicians are increasingly being fed manipulated data, and duped into believing that new drugs always do what their manufacturers claim that they do. This degradation of regulatory constraints imposed on industry is rooted in the fact that the firefighter has become a pyromaniac.

This corruption has had a deleterious impact on the doctor-patient relationship. In “Institutional Corruption of Pharmaceuticals and the Myth of Safe and Effective Drugs,” published with The Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, the authors caution that “industry has commercialized the role of physicians and undermined their position as independent, trusted advisers to patients.” The pharmaceutical companies are also frequently testing new drugs against placebos, which is unethical as it leaves clinicians with no meaningful benchmarks.

There is competition between the different drug companies to be the first to get their drugs to market, and the FDA is expected to dutifully rubber-stamp new drugs of which very little is known. Commenting on the FDA’s new role as a poodle for the pharmaceutical companies, Caroline Chen writes in “FDA Repays Industry by Rushing Risky Drugs to Market:”

The FDA is increasingly green-lighting expensive drugs despite dangerous or little-known side effects and inconclusive evidence that they curb or cure disease. Once widely assailed for moving slowly, today the FDA reviews and approves drugs faster than any other regulatory agency in the world.

Clinicians have also been bribed into prescribing drugs which they might otherwise not have prescribed, as transpired with Nuplazid, manufactured by Acadia Pharmaceuticals. Chen writes, “The top five prescribers of Nuplazid in Medicare, the government’s health program for the elderly, all received payments from Acadia.” Nuplazid, a drug designed to treat Parkinson’s, has been associated with thousands of adverse side effects and over eight hundred deaths.

Vioxx is a particularly chilling example of the horrors that can unfold amidst the growing collusion between the FDA and the pharmaceutical industry. Whistleblower David Graham, MD, who is a senior researcher within the FDA’s Office of Drug Safety, has confirmed that Merck knew that Vioxx posed a significant risk of heart disease. Testifying before the US Senate Committee on Finance on November 18, 2004, he said:

Prior to approval of Vioxx, a study was performed by Merck named 090. This study found nearly a 7-fold increase in heart attack risk with low dose Vioxx. The labeling at approval said nothing about heart attack risks.

In an article published with The New England Journal of Medicine, Eric Topol, MD, of the Cleveland Clinic posits that 160,000 heart attacks and strokes were caused by Vioxx. Internal Merck memos reveal that the company sought to conceal these dangers from physicians. Vioxx led to the deaths of around 55,000 Americans and netted $11 billion for Merck, which spent over a hundred million a year marketing the drug. Interviewed on PBS, Dr. Graham said that “FDA is an institution that has become a factory for the approval of new drugs and safety is not a consideration.”

The New Opium Wars

Along with suicides, a significant factor contributing to the decline of American life expectancy has been the opioid crisis, and it is likely that the history of opioid addiction was deliberately withheld from medical students and trainees, thereby making them malleable to the machinations of industry. Many have forgotten that there was a terrible opioid epidemic that ravaged the US in the later part of the 19th century, and which began with the Civil War, as doctors had little knowledge of how to treat pain aside from opioids and amputation, and the military technologies of the day far surpassed 19th century medical knowledge. Yet even before the birth of Christ, there were physicians that understood the dangers of opium-based drugs. Diagoras of Cyprus (3rd century BC) and the Greek physician Erasistratus (304 BC-250 BC) both understood that opium use was fraught with danger. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “On average, 130 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose.”

There is also a connection between the overprescribing of opioids, illicit opioid use, and heroin, as four out of five heroin users used prescription opioids prior to starting heroin. Under the spell of the pharmaceutical companies, American doctors wrote over 240 million opioid prescriptions each year from 2009 to 2014. Even in 2017, after the carnage was obvious to all but the most insouciant, American physicians still wrote over 190 million opioid prescriptions.

Health insurance companies have also contributed to the crisis. As Linda Girgis, MD, points out in “Calling Responsible Parties to Task for their Role in the Opioid Epidemic,” insurance companies often refuse to cover alternative treatments for pain, such as massage, acupuncture, chiropractics and Lidoderm patches.

The breakdown in checks and balances has been total and absolute, and the regulator and the regulated are now intertwined like two knavish devils waltzing in hell. Dr. Curtis Wright, the FDA official that oversaw the testing of OxyContin, a drug manufactured by Purdue Pharma and which played a significant role in the opioid crisis, later went on to work for that very company.

Taking absurdity to new heights, drug companies are even permitted to fund continuing medical education courses that teach doctors how to prescribe opioids. Indeed, this is emblematic of how the American oligarchy has developed a hostility, not only to the humanities, but also towards science.

The complete degradation of credibility within the FDA has its roots in the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA), which was passed in 1992, and authorized the FDA to collect fees directly from pharmaceutical companies for the purpose of financing the review process for new drugs. Cognizant of the fact that there is presently no impartial political body that can curb their unscrupulous designs, drug companies have vigorously lobbied Congress to protect their interests. Groups such as the Pain Care Forum receive funding and support from pharmaceutical companies, and spend millions of dollars lobbying congress to keep opioid regulatory measures lax.

So corrupt has the FDA become, that the FDA approved the Sanofi-Aventis drug Ketek, even when the FDA was aware of the fact that the data supplied by Sanofi-Aventis was fraudulent and based on a study that never even happened. The FDA was later forced to remove the drug after four cases of death due to Ketek-induced liver failure. Accutane, Rezulin, Selacryn, Diethylstilbestrol (DES), and Meridia are some of the other “wonder drugs” that the FDA has shamelessly unleashed on an unsuspecting public, and which later had to be recalled after inflicting grievous bodily harm and death.

Psychiatry and the War on Thoughtcrime

Another source of obscene profits for the pharmaceutical industry has been psychotropic drugs, and the complicity of the FDA and mainstream psychiatry with the push to enslave Americans to these dangerous and highly addictive substances is irrefutable. This is yet another example of how science is being degraded by the quackery of the drug companies and their paid “experts.”

The fondness of mainstream psychiatry for pseudoscience is matched only by its hostility towards informed consent, and this has resulted in a forging of alliances with deeply reactionary and anti-democratic forces. Speaking at the annual meeting of the National Council for Mental Hygiene on June 18th, 1940, British military psychiatrist J. R. Rees openly espoused totalitarian tactics, and called for psychiatrists to infiltrate every aspect of society. Undoubtedly, he would be pleased with the reign of terror unleashed by psychotropic drugs on Americans today, and the particularly devastating toll these drugs have taken on children, soldiers and veterans.

In “Psychiatric Drugs are False Prophets with Big Profits: Psychiatry Has Been Hijacked,” by psychiatrist Robert Berezin, the author bemoans the demise of ethics in his profession:

The real source of human suffering is not, nor ever has been, the brain. The issues are in the person, the human being, in the context of damage to the play of consciousness, created by deprivation and abuse in the formation of our character. My life’s work has taught me that the art, the science, the discipline, and the wisdom of psychotherapy attends to this damage. There are no miracles and no shortcuts, as drugs, like the other somatic therapies, always promise. Never mind the harm done. We have repeated the same mistakes over and over again, and we are doing so today. It doesn’t seem to matter that the chemical imbalance theory has been discredited. It doesn’t seem to matter that the multibillion dollar pharmaceutical industry and its influence peddling in academic psychiatry has been exposed as financially and scientifically corrupted and manipulated. The drug companies have engaged in study suppression, falsification, strategic marketing, and financial incentives.

In “10 Reasons Why Psychiatry Lives On—Obvious, Dark, and Darkest,” psychologist Bruce Levine writes that the demonic power of psychiatry continues to grow despite the fact that “numerous studies have found that so-called ‘antipsychotics’—especially in the long-term—are essentially pro-psychotics; and that so-called ‘antidepressants’—especially in the long-term—are essentially pro-depressants.” Levine also warns that psychiatry has become a tool which can be used to suppress dissent:

Psychiatry maintains the societal status quo by its attributions that emotional suffering is caused by defects in individual biochemistry and genetics rather than by trauma and societal defects created by the ruling elite. Psychiatry covers up the reality that the root of much of what is commonly labeled as “mental illness” is a dehumanizing society—one orchestrated to meet only the needs of the wealthy and powerful and not designed to meet the needs of everybody else for autonomy, meaningfulness, and genuine community.

While the mass media has been unable to conceal the fact that hundreds of thousands of Americans have died from the opioid epidemic, they are less enthusiastic about covering psychosis, homicidal ideation, and suicidality triggered by Prozac, Paxil, and other selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Indeed, dozens of school shootings have been carried out by young people, either on, or suffering withdrawal from, psychiatric drugs.

Ominously, the virus of privatized health care is spreading to Europe, and in 2018 English doctors wrote over 70 million prescriptions for antidepressants. Andreas Lubitz, the German pilot who on March 24, 2015, intentionally crashed his airplane en route from Barcelona to Düsseldorf into the Alps killing everyone on board, was taking mirtazapine along with a number of other psychotropic drugs. Geert Michels, the driver of the vehicle in the Sierre bus tragedy, who drove his bus into a wall in a tunnel in Switzerland killing 28 people, 22 of whom were children, had traces of Paxil in his system.

Pharmaceutical chemist and whistleblower Shane Ellison, who has worked for Eli Lilly, has acknowledged that psychiatrists are inventing diseases so as to expand the clientele of the drug companies. In a 1993 letter to the editor of the New York Times, distinguished psychiatrist Peter Breggin wrote, “Since most antidepressants are highly toxic and frequently used in successful suicide attempts, their widespread availability probably increases the overall suicide rate, much as the availability of guns increases the murder rate.” According to the Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), there are over seven million American children (from toddler to the age of 17) on psychiatric drugs.

There used to be a time when we gave American youth literature, history, math, science, music, art and a sense of community. Now we tell our sons and daughters that they have “learning disabilities” and get them addicted to drugs that can cause brain damage. Every child’s mind is sacred. It is our duty to protect the liberty, sanctity, and inviolability of their souls.

There is a distinct possibility that the most intelligent and creative children are frequently the ones being medicated. As the brightest students are often the ones who shout out the answer before raising their hand, there is a real danger that these students will be diagnosed with ADD, ADHD, or any number of imaginary diseases and placed on mind-altering drugs. Many of these vulnerable patients, betrayed by their doctors in the cruelest possible manner, go on to take their own lives.

Even dermatologists, who delight in arm-twisting patients with inferior insurance into being medical models without their consent, are still engaged in the legitimate science of studying and treating skin cancers. What would possess a physician to abandon, not only science, but all traces of human morality and ethics? As Voltaire once wrote in Questions sur les miracles: “Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.”

Once a child has been labeled as “mentally ill” it is difficult to escape the crosshairs of the inquisitors. Indeed, it is not unusual for such a youth to be seized by Child Protective Services should their parents resist having their son or daughter placed on psychotropic drugs. This underscores the authoritarianism that is inseparable from the cult of psychiatry. Moreover, the technology now exists through the use of a digital pill for psychiatrists to easily coerce patients to take their “medication.”

Allied with a gang of zealots who are more than happy to peddle their poisons, the pharmaceutical companies have long since abandoned all considerations except that of profit-making. Harriet Fraad writes in The Guardian that “Every major company selling anti-psychotics – Bristol Meyers Squibb, Eli Lilly, Pfizer, Johnson and Johnson and AstraZeneca – has either settled investigations for healthcare fraud or is currently being investigated for it.” Should a patient attempt to stop their psychoactive drugs and suffer terrible withdrawal symptoms, Iago, now armed with a white coat and a stethoscope, will simply whisper in their victim’s ear that this is because their disease has returned.

In addition to fomenting totalitarianization, the psychiatrization of the culture is inextricably linked with the hysteria of liberal fundamentalists who believe that their ideological adversaries are not only “racist,” “homophobic,” and “sexist” – but also mentally ill. Hence, a dubious love triangle has formed between avaricious drug companies, whose lust for profit is insatiable; psychiatrists, who have autocratic tendencies and are hostile to both due process and habeas corpus; and liberals, who believe that we are living in a utopia, and who take offense with those that do not share this worldview.

In a passage that could have been taken from a government edict issued by the totalitarian regime in Orwell’s 1984, the Australian mental health organization, WayAhead, states on their website that “It is not uncommon for a person with a mental illness to deny they are ill or that they need help.” We are also informed that someone may have a serious mental illness if they “have thoughts which are not in tune with reality.” And whose reality would that be?

As the late Thomas Szasz, who authored over thirty books on psychiatry, wrote in the introduction to Psychiatry: The Science of Lies:

Because there are no objective methods for detecting the presence or establishing the absence of mental diseases, and because psychiatric diagnoses are stigmatizing labels with the potential for causing far-reaching personal injury to the stigmatized person, the “mental patient’s” inability to prove his “psychiatric innocence” makes psychiatry one of the greatest dangers to liberty and responsibility in the modern world.

Prescribing medicines that aren’t real medicines, to treat diseases which aren’t real diseases, the thought police thrive precisely in this environment of lawlessness and unaccountable government that has emerged following the attacks of September 11th. Indeed, the Patriot Act, the Military Commissions Act, the National Defense Authorization Act, the revival of the Espionage Act, and the RESPONSE Act all serve to empower the cult of psychiatry.

Gog and Magog: Barbarism Abroad and Barbarism at Home

As a child I used to think of drug dealers as vampires that would strike suddenly, waylaying innocent passersby in the dead of night. It is no small irony that the most diabolical drug dealers would turn out to be psychiatrists that prescribe psychotropic drugs and physicians that overprescribe opioids. This scourge of amorality is tied to the dismantling of the humanities, without which medical ethics cannot survive.

Overspecialization, a military-style hierarchy, and subjecting residents to such exploitative working conditions that they frequently suffer from sleep deprivation over prolonged periods of time, also contribute to inculcating these impressionable young minds with blind obedience. In this way are sentient human beings transformed into mindless unthinking automatons.

Like its cousin, the military industrial complex, the medical industrial complex has repeatedly demonstrated a total disregard for human life, and makes tens of billions of dollars off of death, misery and suffering. This slow motion coup d’état which has been unfolding inexorably since the 1980s, and which has resulted in the health care oligarchs being able to acquire a stranglehold over our health care system, has transformed a once respectable profession into a cruel and brutal machine that repeatedly harms instead of heals. As American health care has degenerated into a depraved and wicked business, it would seem that primum non nocere has been usurped by caveat emptor.

Which Would You Prefer: Nuclear War or Climate Catastrophe?

To: The people of the world
From: The Joint Public Relations Department of the Great Powers

The world owes an enormous debt of gratitude to Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping, Narendra Modi, Boris Johnson, and other heroic rulers of our glorious nations. Not only are they hard at work making their respective countries great again, but they are providing you, the people of the world, with a choice between two opportunities for mass death and destruction.

Throughout the broad sweep of history, leaders of competing territories and eventually nations labored at fostering human annihilation, but, given the rudimentary state of their technology, were only partially successful. Yes, they did manage to slaughter vast numbers of people through repeated massacres and constant wars. The Thirty Years War of 1618-1648, for example, resulted in more than 8 million casualties, a substantial portion of Europe’s population. And, of course, World Wars I and II, supplemented by a hearty dose of genocide along the way, did a remarkably good job of ravaging populations, crippling tens of millions of survivors, and blasting much of world civilization to rubble. Even so, despite the best efforts of national rulers and the never-ending glory they derived from these events, large numbers of people somehow survived.

Therefore, in August 1945, the rulers of the great powers took a great leap forward with their development―and immediate use―of a new, advanced implement for mass destruction: nuclear weapons. Harry Truman, Winston Churchill, and Joseph Stalin were all eager to employ atomic bombs against the people of Japan. Upon receiving the news that the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima had successfully obliterated the population of that city, Truman rejoiced and called the action “the greatest thing in history.

Efforts to enhance national grandeur followed during subsequent decades, as the rulers of the great powers (and some pathetic imitators) engaged in an enormous nuclear arms race. Determined to achieve military supremacy, they spared no expense, employed Nazi scientists and slave labor, and set off vast nuclear explosions on the lands of colonized people and in their own countries. By the 1980s, about 70,000 nuclear weapons were under their command―more than enough to destroy the world many times over. Heartened by their national strength, our rulers threw down the gauntlet to their enemies and predicted that their nations would emerge victorious in a nuclear war.

But, alas, the public, failing to appreciate these valiant efforts, grew restive―indeed, disturbingly unpatriotic. Accordingly, they began to sabotage these advances by demanding that their governments step back from the brink of nuclear war, forgo nuclear buildups, and adopt nuclear arms control and disarmament treaties. The popular clamor became so great that even Ronald Reagan―a longtime supporter of nuclear supremacy and “winnable” nuclear wars―crumpled. Championing nuclear disarmament, he began declaring that “a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.” National glory had been sacrificed on the altar of a cowardly quest for human survival.

Fortunately, those days are long past. In the United States, President Trump is determined to restore America’s greatness by scrapping nuclear arms control and disarmament agreements, spending $1.7 trillion on refurbishing the entire U.S. nuclear weapons complex, and threatening to eradicate other nations through nuclear war. Meanwhile, the president’s good friends in Moscow, Beijing, London, Paris, New Delhi, and elsewhere are busy spurring on their own national nuclear weapons buildups. As they rightly insist: The only way to stop a bad nation with the Bomb is with a good nation with the Bomb.

Nor is that all! Recently, our rulers have opened up a second opportunity for a planetary destruction: climate catastrophe. Some scientists, never satisfied with leaving the running of public affairs to their wise rulers, have claimed that, thanks to the burning of fossil fuels, rising temperatures are melting the polar icecaps, heightening sea levels, and causing massive hurricanes and floods, desertification, agricultural collapse, and enormous wildfires. As a result, they say, human and other life forms are on their way to extinction.

These scientists―and the deluded people who give them any credence―are much like the critics of nuclear weapons: skeptics, nay-sayers, and traitorously indifferent to national grandeur. By contrast, our rulers understand that any curbing of the use of fossil fuels—or, for that matter, any cutbacks in the sale of the products that make our countries great―would interfere with corporate profits, undermine business growth and expansion, and represent a retreat from the national glory that is their due. Consequently, even if by some remote chance we are entering a period of climate disruption, our rulers will refuse to give way before these unpatriotic attacks. As courageous leaders, they will never retreat before the prospect of your mass death and destruction.

We are sure that you, as loyal citizens, are as enthusiastic as we are about this staunch defense of national glory. So, if you notice anyone challenging this approach, please notify your local Homeland Security office. Meanwhile, rest assured, our governments will also be closely monitoring these malcontents and subversives!

Naturally, your rulers would love to have your feedback. Therefore, we are submitting to you this question: Which would you prefer―destruction by nuclear war or destruction by climate catastrophe? Nuclear war will end your existence fairly quickly through blast or fire, although your death would be slower and more agonizing if you survived long enough to die of radiation sickness or starvation. On the other hand, climate catastrophe has appealing variety, for you could die by fire, water, or hunger. Or you might simply roast slowly thanks to unbearable temperatures.

We’d appreciate receiving your opinion on this matter. After all, providing you with this kind of choice is a vital part of making our nations great again!

Plundering Iraq

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Victor Hugo said of the devastated Balkans in the 19th century: "The Turks have passed by here. All is in ruins or mourning."

Welcome to modern Iraq.

The British were always masters of efficient imperialism. In the 19th century, they managed to rule a quarter of the Earth’s surface with only a relatively small army supported by a great fleet.

Many of their imperial subjects were so overawed by the pomp and circumstance of British rule that they often willingly cooperated, or at least bent the knee.

Call it colonialism 101. Ardent students of Roman history, the British early on adopted the Roman strategy of "divide et impera," divide and conquer. The application of this strategy allowed the British Empire to rule over vast numbers of people with minimal force.

In my last book, "American Raj," I sought to show how the American Empire was using techniques of the British Imperial Raj (raj = rule in Hindi) employed in India to control the Mideast. Now, we are seeing the same strategy in forgotten Iraq.

Few talk or think about Iraq these days; the media ignores this important but demolished nation. Iraq, let’s recall, was the target of a major western aggression concocted by George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Britain’s Tony Blair, financed and encouraged by the Gulf oil sheikdoms and Saudi Arabia.

Most people don’t understand that Iraq remains a US-occupied nation. We hear nothing about the billions of dollars of Iraqi oil extracted by big US oil firms since 2003. For the US, Iraq was a treasure house of oil with 12 percent of world reserves. It was OPEC’s 2nd largest producer.

Recall one of the leading neocons who engineered the invasion of Iraq, Paul Wolfowitz, claimed the US could finance its entire invasion of Iraq (he estimated the cost at about $70 billion) by plundering Iraq’s oil. Today, the cost of the occupation has reached over $1 trillion. Wolfie is nowhere to be seen. Meanwhile, President Trump says the US will grab Syria’s oil fields. Wherever it may be, oil is as American as apple pie.

So where did all the money go? A large amount for corrupt Iraqi politicians and more for the ten plus US bases in Iraq. Perhaps a modest payoff for neighboring Iran, and Iraq’s Shia clergy, or helping finance Iraq and Syria’s ISIS. But that still leaves a huge amount of unaccounted cash from oil plundered by the US. One day we may find out.

In recent weeks, Shia and Sunni Iraqis have been rioting to protest continuing US proxy rule via a Washington-installed puppet regime in Baghdad that, curiously, also has some Iranian support. As of this writing, 120 Iraqis have been shot dead and some 6,000 wounded. This while scores of Palestinians are being killed by Israel in Gaza.

In the Cheney-Wolfowitz’s plan, Iraq was to serve as the principal US military base to control the entire Mideast, Iran and Afghanistan. This didn’t happen because of fierce Iraqi resistance to US-British rule. But the US has still kept some army, marine and, most important, air bases in Iraq. Supposedly ‘independent’ Iraq is not allowed modern air or armored forces and its air space remains under US control. The US troops that were recently sent to Syria came from the Iraq garrison – a small version of Dick Cheney’s imperial dream.

Ever since the 2003 invasion, Iraq has been ruled by a succession of US-appointed figureheads who have proven as corrupt as they are inept. During the war, the US destroyed most of Iraq’s water and sewage systems, causing some 500,000 children to die from water-borne diseases, wrecking much of its industry and commerce, leaving millions of men unemployed. Public services have broken down.

Before the US invasion, Iraq led the Arab world in industry, farming, medicine, education and women’s rights. All that was destroyed by the ‘liberation.’

I was in Iraq in 2001 and 2003 and saw how much it had developed in spite of the draconian rule of Saddam Hussein. I was one of only a few journalists trying to dispute the western lies about Iraq. The dim-witted Iraqi secret police threatened to hang me as a spy – after I revealed their germ warfare plant at Salman Pak had been set up and was secretly run by British technicians.

Today, Iraq is far worse off than during the days of Saddam Hussein. It is being plundered and exploited while its people suffer. So much for ‘liberation.’

Reprinted with permission from EricMargolis.com.

Israeli Zionist Racism Unmasked

Imagine if following the recent federal election in Canada, where the Liberal Party was left with a minority government, that prime minister Justin Trudeau had stated, “We are facing an emergency that is unprecedented in the history of Canada.”

Why?

Imagine that Trudeau explained that “setting up a government that depends on the First Nation parties is an even bigger disaster. It’s a historic danger to Canada’s security. It will gravely hurt the security of Canada.”

Would that be acceptable for most Canadians?

Granted there is no official First Nations party in Canada, but such a situation could exist. This is a hypothetical situation posed to highlight the situation faced by indigenous Palestinians in Israel.

Or let’s flip it to the United States context.

Imagine if following the upcoming 2020 US election that some third-party Black candidates were to be elected leaving both Democrats and Republicans forced to try and form a minority government. Imagine if the president Donald Trump were to say, “We are facing an emergency that is unprecedented in the history of the United States.”

Because, said Trump, “Setting up a government that depends on the Black parties is an even bigger disaster. It’s a historic danger to America’s security. It will gravely hurt the security of America.”

Would that be acceptable for most Americans?

Supporters of an Israeli soldier, Elor Azaria, charged with manslaughter after he shot a wounded Palestinian alleged attacker as he lay on the ground in Hebron in 2016 — Reuters

How then should people consider the similar situation in which Zionist Jews view Palestinians in Israel?

Because this is how Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded about the possibility that his opponent Benny Gantz will establish a minority government backed by Arab lawmakers: “We are facing an emergency that is unprecedented in the history of the State of Israel.”

“[S]etting up a government that depends on the Arab parties is an even bigger disaster. It’s a historic danger to Israel’s security. It will gravely hurt the security of Israel,” said Netanyahu.1

Should that be acceptable to anyone inside or outside Israel?

Why is there any doubt that Israeli Zionism is racist at its core? How is it that western governments staunchly support Israel and demonize the victims of Israeli occupation, oppression, and racism?

*****

  1. For more on Zionist Israeli Racism read Kim Petersen and BJ Sabri, “Defining Israeli Zionist Racism,” Dissident Voice, Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12.
  2. David Sheen, “Black lives do not matter in Israel,” Aljazeera, 29 March 2018.
  1. See Jonathan Lis, “Netanyahu Warns of ‘Unprecedented Emergency’ if Gantz Forms Government Backed by Arab Party,” Haaretz, 16 November 2019.

Covert Operative In Ukraine Controversy Revealed To Be Associated Press

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Amid wildly conflicting stories about the Ukraine scandal one thing’s for sure. Someone’s not telling the truth. That means some of the news reports are based on misinformation.

Who is spreading the misinformation? Associated Press has been caught as one guilty party. That troubling revelation comes not from the ubiquitous news stories we see carrying an AP byline. It has been conducted out of view of the general public.

AP’s vehicle for this covert activity involves an AP publication that is generally unknown to the public at large. But for news editors and journalists it is a bible. It’s called the AP Stylebook. News people rely upon it as a reference on style matters, such as whether to write website or Web site, or how to spell the name of China’s president.

The Stylebook goes beyond that, however. For instance AP just released a supplement titled, “Impeachment Inquiry Topical Guide.” [http://bit.ly/326iL9f] It recommends how to spell Ukraine’s new president’s surname and the country’s capital city. But it goes further than that. It delves into the political arena. And that’s where AP went wrong. Under the guise of providing the news community with useful background it has snuck in one-sided versions of controversial issues that are far from settled.

One example appears in the background on the unusual role of Rudolph Giuliani in the Ukraine affair. AP makes reference to “the discredited theory that Ukraine and not Russia tried to intervene in the 2016 election.” Stating that this has been categorically discredited is a boldly false statement.

The facts are that the issue is presently the subject of a criminal investigation by a US Attorney. Surely AP is aware of that, and indeed it reported on October 24, 2019, “DOJ review of Russia probe now a criminal inquiry.” An honest report on the cited theory would have said that the matter is sharply contested and currently an issue within a criminal investigation.

Another example is the question of whether President Trump has violated his oath of office. His opponents have made a strong allegation on that. AP advised editors that “House committees are trying to determine if President Donald Trump violated his oath of office by asking a foreign country to investigate a political opponent.”

But that allegation is far from being self evident. By not warning of that fact, AP has misled the journalists again.

How is it not self evident? Here’s the presidential oath of office:

“I, Donald John Trump, do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will, to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

The premise of AP’s argument is that asking a foreign country to investigate a political opponent violates the oath of office. But the oath of office is clearly silent on any such type of activity. It is an open issue on whether Trump committed a transgression here. Maybe he did, maybe he didn’t. That’s a subject being considered by highly visible Congressional inquiries in which some parties are seeking to impute meanings into the oath. But for now the allegation is unsettled and the supposed violation is not in the oath per se.

AP’s transgressions continue in the Guide’s section on “Key Places.” It states that Russia “annexed Ukraine’s Crimea region” as if that were a settled matter. However, it is clearly in dispute. Most Crimeans rebut the annexation claim, believing that they voted to be reunited with Russia.

It is true that the United Nations passed a non-binding resolution that claims the Crimean referendum on independence from Kyiv was invalid. “Non-binding” is a critical term here. What’s more, that resolution would seem to conflict with the very Charter of the UN that cites “the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples.”

This is plainly a contested political battle in which AP is playing the role of a combatant.

AP could learn a lot from the National Geographic Society. While claims still abound that Crimea remains subject to Ukrainian sovereignty, the Society has drawn its maps to show Crimea as an integral part of Russia. The organization’s director of editorial and research for National Geographic Maps put it simply: “We map the world as it is, not as people would like it to be.”

Even on simple matters AP misrepresents. For instance it announces a style change from Kiev to Kyiv. There’s nothing wrong with that. But AP’s rationale is mistaken. It claims that change is “in line with the government’s preferred transliteration to English.” But it is not a “transliteration” issue. The name for Ukraine’s capital city is Kiev in the Russian language. In Ukrainian it’s Kyiv. It’s a language difference, not one of transliteration. It’s like we say Moscow, they say Moskva.

And then there’s the matter of how to spell the surname of Ukraine’s president. AP recommends that editors and journalists use “Zelinskiy.” But the common usage in English has been Zelensky. A Google search with that latter spelling netted 15,100,000 hits. For “Zelinskiy” it is only 64,700.

Unlike the capital city name, this spelling issue really is a matter of transliteration. And AP seems to be going with the wrong choice. AP claims that Zelensky himself requested AP to use the “Zelinskiy” transliteration. But when I asked them to substantiate that claim they failed to respond. Incidentally, the president himself on his official English language website spells it “Zelenskyy.” That nets 44,000 hits on Google.

There are still additional signs of bias in AP’s Guide that are more serious than spelling. They seem to indicate a persistent application of bias. It makes frequent use of loaded terms.

For instance, it says that “Russia tried to intervene in the election” of 2016. By any common definition of the word “intervene” AP’s usage is inappropriate. There was no force or threat of force, there was no demonstrable hindrance or modification, there was no demonstrable interference in an outcome. At worst, what Russia has been alleged to have done is what is commonly called propaganda. Given all the distortions in AP’s guide it seems likely that its use of “intervene” is a deliberate provocation of fear.

At this point it is necessary to reflect upon what AP is up to. What kind of role is it playing in bringing vital political news to American voters? A quote from Walter Cronkite can help put this into perspective:
We all have our likes and our dislikes. But… when we’re doing news — when we’re doing the front-page news, not the back page, not the op-ed pages, but when we’re doing the daily news, covering politics — it is our duty to be sure that we do not permit our prejudices to show. That is simply basic journalism.
I can’t think of a rational argument that would support a notion that AP is practicing even basic journalism. It has exploited the presumptive trust enjoyed by its Stylebook — a bible in the journalism field — to covertly propagate one-sided “background” to its unsuspecting readers.

If one accepts Cronkite’s concept of journalism, there no longer seems to be reason to trust AP’s Stylebook. It’s wrong on the political issues. It’s even wrong on the simple matter of how to spell the Ukrainian president’s name. The Stylebook might more honestly be termed a political document that manifests an insidious propensity to propagate false and misleading information.

What a sad and troubling conclusion that is.

Reprinted with author's permission from Eurasia Review.

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