Friday, February 13, 2015

Killing Minsk: Washington Sabotaging Ukraine's Fragile Peace

Washington Wastes No Time To Sabotage Minsk

by Finian Cunningham - SCF

With their noses out of joint and egos bruised, the United States and its European lieutenants immediately got to work to undermine the Minsk ceasefire deal by twisting the terms of the accord and seeking to frame Russia for its imminent failure.

A Washington Post headline set the pace with this headline hours after the Minsk negotiations wrapped up in the Belarus capital. ‘Putin announces ceasefire with Ukraine,’ declared the Post, mendaciously implicating Russia as a protagonist in the year-old conflict, which, it is inferred, is now suing for a peace settlement.

US Secretary of State John Kerry, along with trusty British and Polish allies, warned Russia of more sanctions if the Minsk truce was not «fully implemented».

«The United States is prepared to consider rolling back sanctions on Russia when the Minsk agreements of September 2014, and now this agreement, are fully implemented,» Kerry said in a statement.

In other words, Washington is still peddling the hoary narrative that Moscow is an aggressor and is to blame for the conflict. Rolling back sanctions «when» Minsk is «fully implemented» is the US giving itself a licence to covertly sabotage the ceasefire at every turn and to maintain its unwarranted sanctions on Russia, as well as following up on promised supply of weapons to the Kiev regime.

There seems little doubt that the Americans are reeling from the diplomatic coup that Russian President Vladimir Putin pulled off in Minsk this week, along with German and French leaders, Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande.

Amid threats from the US last week that it was going to flood Ukraine with more heavy weapons, Putin and his European counterparts managed to broker a ceasefire to the conflict after marathon 17-hour negotiations. The truce is to be implemented this weekend and, it has to be said, constitutes only a slim prospect of bringing the civil war in Ukraine to a halt. It is fraught with many thorny issues, such as withdrawal of fighting units on both sides and the accepted definition of a demarcation line. The autonomous status of the separatist Donbas region is also far from clear, or whether Kiev is prepared to follow up with mutual negotiations with the breakaway ethnic Russian population.

Nevertheless, the mere agreement, in principle, by the Kiev regime and the pro-separatist rebels of the eastern Ukrainian region is a welcome chance for a cessation in violence that has cost nearly 5,500 lives and more than one million refugees. That Putin, along with Merkel and Hollande, managed to achieve this tentative breakthrough is something of a feat in diplomatic skills and commitment. The development also tends to negate the official Western narrative that purports to paint Russia as an aggressor and threat to European peace.

The Minsk deal properly frames the conflict as a civil war between the Kiev regime and the Donbas separatists, which Russia is trying to dampen by acting as a facilitator of negotiations between the warring sides.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was on the mark when he said after the Minsk talks that Russia is a guarantor of the peace deal, not a party obliged to fulfil its implementation. He reiterated that Moscow is not a participant in the conflict, as Western media have, and continue, to assert.

«Russia is the country that was called by the parties of the conflict,» said Peskov. «This is the country that called on the parties of the conflict to sign a complex of measures to fulfil the Minsk agreements. But Russia is not one of the parties to fulfil these measures. This is the country that is acting as the guarantor, that comes forward with a call, but, obviously, it’s not a party that needs to take any actions for [the fulfilment]. We simply can’t do this physically because Russia is not a participant in the conflict,» added the Kremlin spokesman.

It was left to the British premier David Cameron and the ex-Polish president Donald Tusk to undermine the latest Minsk chance for peace by casting aspersions on Russia and re-framing the conflict as one of external aggression on Ukraine.

Cameron talked, with typical British haughtiness, of Putin needing to change his behaviour, while Tusk added to the narrative of demonising the Russian leader by insinuating that he is not trustworthy.

Cameron, speaking at an EU summit in Brussels on Thursday, said: «If this is a genuine ceasefire, then of course that would be welcome. But what matters most of all is actually actions on the ground rather than just words on a piece of paper. I think we should be very clear that Putin needs to know that unless his behaviour changes, the sanctions we have in place won’t be altered.»

Tusk, who is now the European Council President, said: «If [the Minsk agreement] does not happen we will not hesitate to take the necessary steps. Our trust in the goodwill of President Putin is limited. This is why we have to maintain our decision on sanctions.»

Given that the Western-backed Kiev regime has serially violated past ceasefires, which led to the latest escalation of violence, it would be naive to expect that the latest peace bid will be honoured. The Kiev junta has been emboldened to prosecute its criminal war against the Donbas population because of the unswerving political, financial and military support that Washington has indulged. Massive, systematic war crimes by Kiev have been whitewashed and absolved by Washington with spurious, unfounded claims of «Russian aggression».

This is because the US-backed regime-change operation in Ukraine that brought the Kiev junta to power last February is fundamentally predicated on Washington’s long-term objective of destabilising Russia. That is why the prospects of a ceasefire being implemented are something of an oxymoron. A peace settlement in Ukraine would only be an impediment to Washington’s geopolitical objective of undermining Russia.

The criminal regime in Kiev has become something of a specialist in committing false flag terrorist atrocities, which it and its Western sponsors then duly attribute to «Russian-backed rebels». The massacre in Donetsk on January 21, in Mariupol on January 24, and this week in Kramatorsk, in which up to 17 people were killed from Smerch rockets, have all the hallmarks of false-flag operations perpetrated by the US-backed, trained and equipped Kiev regime forces.

In the Kramatorsk incident, on the eve of the Minsk summit, the Kiev regime claimed that the Smerch rockets were fired from separatist-held Gorlovka, which is 80 kilometres away, and the outer limit of the munition’s range. The separatists denied the attack, saying that they do not target civilian areas. Hours after the massacre, Kiev President Petro Poroshenko arrived in Kramatorsk for photo-opportunities with victims lying on hospital beds. That Poroshenko would hurry to a town that is under fire is doubtful if the rebel threat was real. Also speaking as if from a script, he said: «It is savages who use cluster bombs against civilians. It is a crime against humanity when civilians are killed by Russian weapons in their homes.»

The next day, the «outraged» Poroshenko was in Minsk warmly shaking hands with Putin. So much for Russia war crimes.

To say that the latest ceasefire will be easily sabotaged is an understatement, given the past conduct of the Kiev regime. All it has to do is to keep fighting and committing crimes and that will be «evidence» of Russia not implementing Minsk. That will then allow Washington and its dutiful British and Polish allies, along with the obliging Western news media propagandists, to blame Russia for the failure in «fully implementing» the ceasefire. More American weapons can then be funnelled into Ukraine and more sanctions ratcheted up.

Russian President Vladimir Putin deserves huge credit for showing statesmanlike leadership over the Ukraine crisis. The trouble is that the Americans are playing a very different and dirty game in which there are no rules to abide by.

Voice from the Throne: The Imaginary World of Christy Clark

Christy Clark’s LNG-fueled Fudge-it Budget…and the enabling NDP

by Rafe Mair - Common Sense Canadian


Welcome to Ruritania! Where is Peter Sellers when we need him?

We now have a legislature pretending to act like big kids do, leaders acting as if they really are in charge, a government out of control, and an opposition dedicated more to supporting the government than to raising issues.


Through the looking glass: Clark’s surreal throne speech

The Throne Speech was really quite funny when you think of it. The more LNG companies withdraw their undertaking, the more money we make. The fewer the LNG plants developed, the more jobs we’ll have. The worse our environmental record is in fracking for LNG, the less it matters.

If we go on having companies withdraw from LNG in BC, God knows how much money we’ll all make and how rich we’ll all become!

Thanks to Christy Clark, Alice in Wonderland has become not a fairy tale, but a documentary!

LNG looked bad from the beginning

BG Group is one of many companies to abandon ship on BC LNG

In looking back at the history of LNG in BC, one is reminded Casey Stengel, managing “them amazing Mets”, in 1962, when he asked “can’t anyone here play this game?”

From the outset, Common Sense Canadian publisher Damien Gillis and I have raised questions about the viability of an LNG economy, given the global situation. Our concerns arose because we did simple research, largely using government and industry publications. We also were much helped by our resident economist, Erik Andersen.

It was abundantly apparent that there would be a glut of natural gas on the world market, that the United States, long so dependent upon the Middle East, was going to be self-sufficient and competing with us on exports, and that the cost of getting our LNG to China was – surprise, surprise – much higher than shipping gas from China to China.

We weren’t rocket scientists, just ordinary people like you who had learned early on how to read.

It didn’t take a crystal ball…

Our predictions steadily came true and if anything more quickly than we thought. Each time one came true, Christy Clark, and her poodle, Rich Coleman, had even more money rolling in to British Columbia. As time went on, and more companies withdrew their support, Christy Clark’s view of things got even rosier.

This ridiculous situation continued until the present day and I shudder in excitement thinking of all the money we’ll make when the last LNG company abandons us.

The Opposition that refuses to oppose

This article today, is not really about Christy Clark. It’s about leadership in general.

There is no nice way to say it – John Horgan, the NDP leader, has done an appalling job. Given the Christy Clark/Coleman saga, any decent opposition would have a field day.

It’s indeed ancient times but in my day the leaders were Dave Barrett and Bill Bennett, as unalike as chalk and cheese, yet each, in his way, hugely effective. Barrett was the master of the instant put down. On the government side, you were constantly on the defensive and, as I quickly learned, woe betide anyone who heckled him.

Bennett, always better informed, though no orator, was a plodder with the ability to come up with a killing comeback instantly.

They heartily disliked each other and for those who know them well, it is so sad to see them both in an advanced stage of Alzheimers. Two great guys, two great leaders.

The point is that both sides of the legislature and those that supported them outside knew they had a leader. That may not sound like much but it is hugely important, especially for the opposition. The government, without an opposition ready to take over, is able to coast. For an opposition to be effective it must be a government in waiting, with policies ready to implement. That requires leadership that is both ready to lead and appears to be.

The NDP response to the Throne Speech, where the premier assured us again of the riches to come from vanishing LNG producers, was that the government talked too much about LNG and should move on to other subjects. This particularly came from Mike Farnworth, who ought to know better and that the point was that Clark has nothing else to talk about except failure.

Clark has nothing

Think about it for a second. Apart from the phoney LNG business, Clark has no policy whatsoever. They have nothing whatever concrete to offer in terms of the economy and, of course, are bankrupt on such matters as the environment. There is, therefore, a huge political vacuum.

It’s not brain surgery to realize that this is the spot the NDP step in. The first thing they do is to kill what remains of the LNG enthusiasm falsely raised by the Liberals. It’s sheer idiocy for them to proceed into the next election, just over two years away, allowing the Liberals to sail on promising another Umpty-dump billion dollars for LNG projects.

LNG threatens environment

Before moving on, one must observe that the NDP also has a huge obligation to expose the environmental concerns surrounding LNG – I dare say the majority of people in British Columbia have those concerns and in some areas, Squamish particularly, it is a very real impending threat. Their doughty city Council in has had no encouragement whatsoever from the Opposition to plans that would materially and adversely alter the lifestyle of that lovely town and the surrounding area.

In order for the NDP to complete its apparent suicide commitment, it should stop shilly-shallying and just support the Liberals’ LNG policy, being that these foreign companies may do as they please as they are used to doing; cheat on their taxes and utterly ignore environmental concerns as just an avoidable nuisance.

Both parties either underestimate the public’s feeling about the environment or don’t give a damn.

Public hungry for change

I’ve watched that feeling develop over a good many years. Much of what people generally feel now was espoused by the NDP 40 years ago – their problem being that then their opposition was more whining than practical. Moreover, it is always very difficult to be ahead of public opinion.

The public has dramatically changed. Even when I was in government it would be unthinkable to try to stop an interprovincial pipeline, let alone two of them. Alberta was looked upon as a pal to be envied.

But, in 25 years, the world has dramatically changed, as we all know. The question of fossil fuels has become first a very serious scientific one and then, logically, a political one. Global warming is for real and the vast majority of the public knows that – the exception being some politicians.

We’ve reached the position, then, where the public is far, far ahead of its political masters who would have us believe that the environmentalist is against all development and wants to crawl into a cave, chew on the leg of a sabre-toothed tiger and spend the rest of his life drawing pictures on walls.

I consider myself an environmentalist. So does Damien and a great many other people I know, who not that long ago wouldn’t have considered supporting the NDP and wouldn’t today if it weren’t for the Clark/Coleman Neanderthals.

Making a living and enjoying a living

The growing concern, which has enveloped all of us, is for the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the surroundings in which we live. We’re convinced that making a living and enjoying a living are compatible ambitions. Of course it requires some sacrifice – anything of importance does.

What environmentalists have done, however, is to annoy the hell out of the establishment because we no longer believe a word it says. This isn’t cynicism – it’s bitter experience. One only has to look at the Woodfibre LNG’s Indonesian owner and their tax-cheating overseas, to say nothing of their wanton environmental destruction, to realize that when they tell us that they will be good corporate citizens, care for our environment and pay their taxes that they’re lying through their teeth.

The trust just isn’t there

This is a huge societal dichotomy, no doubt about that. There was a time when most of us looked at the captains of industry and political leaders and thought that that deep down they really cared about the people and the environment in which we live.

Experience has taught us that this is a load of crap. We’ve learned about hugely expensive internal and external public relations exercises devoted simply to deceiving the public.

Naively, we expected our politicians to reflect our feelings but have learned that they reflect only the interests of the establishment. As it always has, money talks.

Out of all of this comes a sense of keen frustration.

I no longer have the faintest hope that the Liberals will do anything but reflect those who invest money in them.

Where does that leave us?

I had hoped that John Horgan would be able to offer the kind of leadership the public could listen to and perhaps follow. Unfortunately this has not proved to be the case.

I’ve expressed hopes for the Green Party, however I am realistic enough to know that they won’t be forming a government in the near future.

It’s obvious that choices are severely limited and that if the Throne Speech proves nothing else, it’s that the government is bankrupt, lacking a semblance of moral compass, and the opposition are useless.

If the Green Party has nothing else going for it, at least the alternatives are far worse.

Rafe Mair, LL.B, LL.D (Hon) a B.C. MLA 1975 to 1981, was Minister of Environment from late 1978 through 1979. In 1981 he left politics for Talk Radio becoming recognized as one of B.C.'s pre-eminent journalists. An avid fly fisherman, he took a special interest in Atlantic salmon farms and private power projects as environmental calamities and became a powerful voice in opposition to them. Rafe continues to make regular appearances on radio and television, writes regularly for, and writes a regular blog at
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Thursday, February 12, 2015

Big Pharma’s Freak-out Measles Media Blitz

What’s Behind Big Pharma’s Freak-out Media Blitz Over Measles?

by Dr. Gary G. Kohls  - Global Research 


“It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!” – Upton Sinclair, anti-fascist, anti-imperialist American author who wrote in the early 20thcentury
“No vaccine manufacturer shall be liable…for damages arising from a vaccine-related injury or death.” – President Ronald Reagan, as he signed The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act (NCVIA) of 1986, absolving drug companies from all medico-legal liability when children die or are disabled from vaccine injuries.
”The AAP leadership knows very well that vaccines cause autism. We need not waste anymore efforts in trying to educate them; we need to indict them.” – Dr David Ayoub

“When a well-packaged web of lies has been sold gradually to the masses … the truth will seem utterly preposterous and its speaker, a raving lunatic.” - Dresden James

“In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” – George Orwell

“Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” – Lord Acton

Everybody is well aware of the fear-based, 24/7 media freak-out over the 150 cases of red measles in the US, an unreported number of which had already been fully or partially vaccinated against measles. Some of them may possibly have been exposed to a recent vaccinee who was still actively shedding the live virus from that inoculation.

No conscientious truth-telling person in a position of authority has been allowed to come forward with all the facts that we need to know before ignorant non-scientist legislators go off half-cocked and pass laws demanding that every child everywhere be forced to get every CDC-recommended shots that keep the “well-child” clinics humming (despite the fact that the “crisis” is only about measles).

The blitz has all the markings of an orchestrated campaign, perhaps a good example of “crisis capitalism” revealed to us in Naomi Klein’s seminal work, “The Shock Doctrine”. Whomever the hidden persuaders are, we know who will benefit from the freak-out. They are the Big Pharma megacorporations, their shareholders and others who are trying to shine up the honor of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Family Practice, and other medical trade organizations, all of which are highly dependent on Big Pharma’s largesse (in the form of advertising revenues and financial support for their medical conventions).

The 150 measles victims that everybody is talking about reside in the most highly vaccinated nation in the world. With 320,000,000 people as of January 1, 2015, there are still 320,000,850 unaffected people, many of whom have never been vaccinated against measles. I’m one of them, having gotten natural wild measles in childhood, which confers lifetime immunity, whereas the inoculations that contain the live measles virus does not confer lifetime immunity. A lot of people will take their chances, especially since the shots have become more and more unaffordable ever since corporations like the pharmaceutical companies have come to rule the nation, have bribed most of the politicians and have bought up most of the media.

At noon today (Monday, Feb 9) I heard Dr Michael Osterholm, MA, PhD give a speech on MPR about his perceived need for the American government to spend more money and effort preparing for the massive number of. infectious diseases that might theoretically threaten the US in the future. He claimed that more vaccines are needed and they might need to be forcefully administered to reluctant subjects. I didn’t hear him say anything about the need for optimal nutrition, the main factor that made all the other infectious disease epidemics essentially disappear before the vaccines for them came on the market (see chart immediately below for one example).

Dr Osterholm is a non-physician epidemiologist, a member of the Council of Foreign Relations and a former director of the Minnesota Health Department who once worked with Merck Vaccine chief Dr Julie Geberding. Geberding did the revolving door thing – leaving her post as Director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for a more lucrative position at Merck (one of the largest vaccine producers in the world and the company responsible for 60,000 cardiac deaths – with unknown millions more sickened – from their now banned blockbuster arthritis pill Vioxx).

I was offended when I heard Osterholm accuse as frauds and charlatans those well-respected and well-informed physicians and scientists like those listed below who are far more knowledgeable that he is about the neuroscience of the over-vaccination programs that our vulnerable and innocent children are subjected to. I’m sure the millions of vaccine-injured families were equally offended when he dismissed them as hysterical and misinformed by the internet research they have done.

I suspect that Dr Osterholm has never listened to any parent of a vaccine injured child, nor has he read the lectures and writings of such courageous, knowledgeable and articulate physicians and scientists like Dr Russell Blaylock, Dr Sherri Tenpenny, Dr Suzanne Humphries, Dr Kenneth Stoller, Dr Andrew Wakefield, Dr Mark Geier, or Dr Joseph Mercola, to name only a few.

I challenge my readers, and Dr Osterholm, to honestly study the research and insights of those scientists. But I doubt that he ever will, because, as Upton Sinclair said, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary and job depend upon his not understanding it!“

Even On Point Radio has Joined the Cacophony

Also today I heard a very one-sided panel discussion on On Point Radio, one of my favorite public radio programs, hosted by the usually well-informed Tom Ashbrook, who today seemed quite cozy with the vaccine establishment. Ashbrook had a totally unbalanced panel of pro-vaccine professionals and apologists who did not reveal their financial or professional conflicts of interest. I very much doubt that Ashbrook will be inviting Dr Blaylock, Dr Tenpenny, Dr Humphries, Dr Stoller, Dr Wakefield, Dr Geier, or Dr Mercola to appear on his program. (In fairness to Ashbrook, he did say that he had invited Barbara Loe Fisher, the director of the National Vaccine Information Center ( to join the panel, but she wisely declined to appear unless she was given adequate time (the full hour, which is actually woefully inadequate) to state her case about the unpleasant truth about the dangers and lack of efficacy of many vaccines.

One of the panel members on today’s On Point Radio was a Democratic Party California state Senator from Sacramento, Richard Pan, who once was a practicing pediatrician.

Dr Pan’s contribution to the program was actually a repetition of the old pro-vaccine talking points that supported non-individualized mass vaccination programs for any and every vaccine approved by the FDA. This was actually irrelevant because the hour was supposed to be about the outbreak of measles cases at Disney World.

Probably a good politician and a good speaker, Dr Pan did sound like he was just spewing memorized talking points from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and Big Pharma’s lobbyists, who use the same arguments over and over again in order to convince ignorant legislative policy-makers in DC and in most of the state capitals. Dr Pan failed to reveal that the AAP and the medical journals he reads are heavily subsidized by amoral and very wealthy pharmaceutical corporations.

He also failed to reveal that many unnamed pharmaceutical corporations invested in his political campaigns or that the AAP strongly supported his campaigns, presumably also by financial contributions. Like most politicians who are beholden to their paymasters, Dr Pan is – not surprisingly – likely paying back his corporate supporters by introducing favorable legislation to deny parents (who may know the truth about the lethal and disabling vaccine injury epidemic) the chance to exempt their children for philosophical or religious reasons. Some observers would call that pharmacofascism.

A second panelist on the On Point Radio show was non-physician, biostatistician and computer science professor at Johns Hopkins University, Dr Steven Salzberg, who apparently blogs a lot but obviously knows far, far less that the Vaccine Truth group mentioned above (lately derogatively labeled “anti-vaxers”. Salzberg uttered a number of typical pro-vaccine talking points as well, but then also failed to reveal any possible conflicts of interest.

The third panelist was Liz Szabo, another non-physician, and a health reporter for USA Today. Szabo has written many fear-inducing USA Today articles about vaccines. To cast doubt on the veracity of her reporting, it should be noted that USA Today earns huge fees from Big Pharma advertising. Those advertisers would not appreciate Ms Szabo doing any balanced reporting by, say, interviewing any of the parents of the millions of vaccine damaged children who are now permanently disabled because of their products. Unless she wants to risk losing her job, she will also not do any unbiased interviews with any of the aforementioned Vaccine Truth physician/scientist experts like Blaylock, Tenpenny, Humphries, Stoller, Wakefield, Geier, or Mercola. (See links to some of their work farther below.)

Thinking persons should be alarmed that the mainstream media is offering no balanced coverage, no real journalism, just one-sided propaganda and ad hominem attacks, and the pro-vaccine groups are doing exactly the same. The minority – and truthful – view gets excluded from the airwaves or shouted down when they are ever given a chance to speak truth to power.

DemocracyNow did a More Balanced Discussion on the Issue

Last week on NPR’s Democracy Now, Amy Goodman actually had a Vaccine Truth activist on the program, although she was sandwiched between two pro-vaccine folks, including Dr Paul Offit. The guest was an Age of Autism consulting attorney named Mary Holland, who is the mother of a child who unequivocally regressed from total normalcy into severe autism following an MMR vaccination. Ms Holland is the co-author of “Vaccine Epidemic: How Corporate Greed, Biased Science and Coercive Government Threaten Our Human Rights, Our Health and Our Children.” Her website is

The DemocracyNow program can be heard at: ( The Age of Autism’s comments about the program can be heard at

Holland’s segment was followed by a nearly hysterical rant by BigPharma’s favorite son, the very biased Dr Offitt, who has made millions of dollars developing, licensing and selling Rototeq, a rotovirus vaccine that sheds in the stool for weeks after the shot. Rototeq has caused 350 deaths and was once found to be contaminated with pig viruses. Offit’s vaccine was taken off the market temporarily because it caused occasionally fatal intussusception in infants. The highly compromised Offit is obviously working hard to save his honor and to justify his proposal that forced vaccinations be begun for infants for each and every infectious disease that Big Pharma can think of making a vaccine for.

Many Vaccine Ingredients Qualify for Hazardous Waste Designations

Incredibly, Dr Offit once proclaimed that vaccines are so safe that an infant could be given a thousand vaccine doses without harming the child! And yet, a few years ago, when there was an $10,000 reward offer for any physician who would swallow the contents of a typical vaccine after being informed of the toxic ingredients. There were no takers. After all, why would a healthy person want to swallow such toxic stuff (and yet physicians are quite willing to inject the same toxic ingredients into their well babies!). It is interesting to note that if vaccines were to be dumped in an EPA monitored landfill, they would have to be labeled as hazardous waste, because of the presence of mercury, aluminum, formaldehyde, propylene glycol (antifreeze), squalene, viral particles and many other contaminants of many of the vaccines.

Offit’s forced vaccination proposals, if enacted, would be disastrous for the neurologic, psychiatric and immunologic health of America’s babies. Fully vaccinated American children are already among the most chronically ill group of children in the world (some say that, congruent with the autism epidemic, nearly 50% of America’s over-vaccinated children have vaccine-induced chronic illnesses such as diabetes (both type I and type II), autistic spectrum disorders, ADHD, conduct disorders, brain damage, food allergies, asthma, arthritis, immune deficiency disorders, mitochondrial disorders, inflammatory bowel disorders and cancer and are doomed to be permanent disabled patients, having to see doctors regularly and take prescription drugs for the rest of their lives.

Since Ronald Reagan signed the 1986 bill into law, absolving every vaccine manufacturer of legal responsibility for death or damage caused by their vaccines, the Big Pharma has pumped out dangerous, poorly tested and often contaminated products, knowing that they will have no liability for the damage they might cause (we taxpayers are responsible for the damages!) Many of Big Pharma’s vaccines are manufactured in China, which has a reputation for poor purity standards. The autism epidemic started just a few years after Reagan’s law and the incidence of autistic spectrum disorders has risen precipitously – congruent with the increasing number of inoculations.

Dr Tenpenny says that the vaccine industry has 200 new vaccines in development at the present time. That will surely make things intolerably worse for our children, but the drug companies will profit immensely if Dr Offit’s and Dr Pan’s self-serving plan to force all parents to have their kids get inoculated.

Big Pharma’s vaccine makers and marketers are worried about the bleak future for new patentable drugs in their “pipelines”, and they see vaccines as their major growth potential. Big Pharma and their co-opted federal “regulatory” agencies also want to get the public’s eyes off of an important, potentially explosive whistleblower lawsuit against Merck over false efficacy claims for the mumps portion of their MMR shot. That trial is certain to damage Merck’s and the CDC’s reputations. (For more information, see:

Getting patients and legislators to believe Big Pharma’s aggressive propaganda is essential for it and also important for the stock portfolios of many physicians and for-profit medical corporations. Share price is central to the industry and no bad news can be tolerated, especially in this volatile stock market.

When big money is involved, corporations are known to lie, cheat, steal, name call, threaten, smear and destroy other people’s reputations in order to get their way or beat the competition (see information about the Dr Andrew Wakefield case by reading his two books “Callous Disregard: The Truth Behind a Tragedy” and “Waging War on the Autistic Child” or actually listening to his testimony about how the British Medical Journal, the Rupert Murdoch pseudo-journalist Brian Deer, GlaxoSmithKline (Murdoch’s son was on Glaxo’s board of directors) conspired together to smear and destroy Wakefield’s profession for his “Crime” of doing honest research and publishing – along with a number of co-authors - a peer-reviewed Lancet journal article that proved a direct connection between Glaxo’s MMR vaccine and a dozen disabled (with autism, chronic diarrhea and abdominal pain) autistic children whose bowels and lymph nodes were found to be infected with the vaccine’s proliferating measles viruses. A lawsuit in Britain totally exonerated one of Wakefield’s co-authors, but Wakefield, now an ex-patriot in America, was unable to afford legal counsel and therefore remains “guilty” of the trumped up charges.

The Plausible but Unproven Theory of Herd Immunity

When I went to medical school in the mid-1960s, we were taught the “plausible” theoretical concept of herd immunity. The theory says that if a certain majority of the population was immune to a communicable disease, there would be a decreased likelihood of epidemics for that disease. In the 1960s the goal to reach was 60 or 75%. Nowadays the goal has crept up to 90 or 95%, depending on how much the thought-leaders are influenced by the medical trade associations or the special interest lobbyists for the vaccine industry.

Exposing Big Pharma’s Deeply Flawed Vaccine (Pseudo)science

Below is a collection of established vaccination information that ethical journalists need to know before blindly accepting – and then regurgitating – the disinformation that is coming from the mainstream media, the CDC, the US Public Health system, the AAP, the AAFP and the AMA. I am ashamed to see how low the professional organizations that I used to revere have stooped. Follow the money.

Immediately below are comments and research reports from 8 very knowledgeable (and therefore black-listed) physicians who have considerable expertise and experience regarding the dangers and lack of proof of efficacy of America’s childhood (over)vaccination program.

These physicians have exposed as deeply flawed the perverted science of Big Pharma’s “studies”, the FDA’s lapdog approvals and the CDC’s propaganda campaign promoting America’s obscenely profitable, immunotoxic and neurotoxic vaccination program.

Essential Reading and Viewing for Every Unbiased Person Who is Truly Searching for the Truth About Vaccines

Dr Russell Blaylock’s video, “Vaccines & Brain Development” can be found at Blaylock’s evaluation of the scandalous and illegal Simpsonwood Conference can be found at:

Dr Kenneth Stoller, MD – Video, entitled “Autism, Vaccines, Mercury and the Culpability of the American Academy of Pediatrics” -

Dr Sherri Tenpenny, video lecture, entitled “What the CDC documents say about vaccines” at: This is the most thorough expose of the perverted science of America’s vaccination program.. It is understandable to laypersons as well as medical professionals.

Dr Suzanne Humphries: Video presentation at: Article at:

Dr Gary Null, Video documentary “Vaccine Nation”. (See trailer at

Richard Gale, co-author (with Gary Null) of review article – “Vaccine McCarthyism”; posted at

Dr Andrew Wakefield – videos of this tragic vaccine/autism researcher who was falsely vilified and smeared by BigPharma (especially GlaxoSmithKline, the British pharma giant and manufacturer of the MMR vaccine – and other pro-vaccine profiteers). Another lecture is at:

Dr Meyer Eisenstein debunks the mythical “36,000 flu deaths per year” - (Dr Eisenstein’s Chicago-area Home First Clinic does not force vaccinations on his patients and he has had ZERO autism patients and very few chronically ill patients among those he has served over several decades!)

Dr David Ayoub wrote an article about the dangers of giving mercury-laden flu shots to pregnant women (and therefore to the brains and bodies of their highly vulnerable unborn babies)

Dr Mark Geier Video on the dangerous pseudoscience of the vaccine industry and the resultant willful ignorance of the medical profession about the dangers and lack of proof of effectiveness of most vaccines -

Dr Joseph Mercola Video lecture on Influenza and Vit D prevention”

From Video: “What toxic chemicals are in vaccines?”

The Autism Epidemic Began in 1988 Widely Believed to be Caused by Environmental Factors

10 inoculations for infants up to age 15 months was the norm back in 1986, when the incidence of autism was 1/10,000. This was just prior to Ronald Reagan’s National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 that absolved a bunch of very relieved Big Pharma corporations of responsibility for vaccine injuries or death.

Between 1988 and 1996, the following vaccines were eagerly added to the CDC schedule for children in the first 15 months of life, doubling and tripling the neurotoxic ingredients. Without any medico-legal liability restraining them, vaccine manufacturers saw huge economic opportunities to fast track vaccines through the “watchdog/lapdog” federal agency, the FDA. Each added vaccine increased the toxic burden on every baby to unsustainable levels and the autism and chronic illness epidemics began with a vengeance.

· HiB – Improved Hib conjugate vaccine licensed in December 1987, and single dose added to childhood schedule in 1988.

· DTaP – Additional dose at younger age added around 1990.

· HiB – Three additional doses added to schedule in 1991.

· Hep B – Three doses – Added to childhood schedule in 1992.

· Chicken Pox – Approved in 1995, added to schedule in 1996

And today the CDC mandates 36 vaccines by the age of 18 months, 68 vaccines until age 12 and the rate of autism, chronic illnesses and other neurodegenerative diseases has predictably soared from 1 out of every 10,000 to 1 out of every 88 American children. The guilty parties can be seen on every news report right now (even on NPR and PBS), desperately trying to convince the easily duped public that they are innocent of these crimes against humanity and also trying to convince the public that the vaccine damaged children and families are idiot conspiracy theorists rather than good, caring parents who know what really happened to their children and who did it to them.

Don’t fall for it. Be skeptical of those opinion leaders who are on the side of the amoral corporations, who have done so much damage to America’s kids. Do your independent research, starting with the above internet links.

Dr Kohls has spent many hours researching the obscenely powerful and profitable pharmaceutical industry and the many false claims that their lobbyists have been making. He knows many families whose lives have been devastated by vaccine injuries, including regressive autism that unequivocally began with routine vaccination. He practiced holistic mental health care for the last decade of his career. He writes a weekly column for the Reader Weekly, an alternative newsweekly published in Duluth, Minnesota, USA. The last three years of Dr Kohls’ columns are archived at

Mending Fences: Hamas Back to the Drawing Board

Mending 'Axis of Resistance': Hamas Returns to Square One

by Ramzy Baroud - Middle East Eye

Despite its success in repelling Israeli military advances in Gaza, Hamas’s regional political manoeuvres of recent years are not bearing fruit. Jointly isolated by Israel and other Arab parties, unaided by the Palestinian Authority (PA) of Mahmoud Abbas, the Islamic Resistance Movement is once again facing difficult choices, and it seems to be choosing a cautious return to its old camp of Iran and Hezbollah. The manoeuvre this time is particularly risky.


Isolation, isolation, isolation

Hamas’s other options, however, are too limited or simply don’t exist. Few Arab countries seem interested in throwing out Hamas, which is left to cater to Gaza’s needs following the deadliest of Israel’s wars on the Strip. The movement, however, is facing formidable challenges: a mired economy, ruined infrastructure, destroyed Rafah tunnels and a persisting Israeli siege.

The progress of the Hamas-Fatah agreement, followed by the formation of a new government, were meant to be prerequisites to other anticipated moves, including the reformation of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO). The once promising push for unity was interrupted by Israel’s massive war, the so-called Operation Protective Edge, which killed and wounded thousands. The war also left the already distraught Gaza in its worse shape yet.

Instead of speedily setting up government ministries in Gaza, funnelling money into the devastated Strip and beginning the reconstruction process right away, the Ramallah-based government of Rami Hamdallah delayed everything in what could only be understood as political reasoning. Little of the money promised to rebuild Gaza has yet to be delivered anyway. Even Gaza’s creativity in the art of survival is finding its limitations. Without an outlet, however restricted, Gaza will not be able to cope for much longer.

Hamas’s attempt at engaging Egypt as a way of finding an alternative space to break the siege has not achieved results either. Since the advent of now President Abdul Fatah al-Sisi in July 2013, the Egyptian government has perceived the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas as one and the same, and quickly declared Hamas a terrorist organisation last March.

Even the ongoing war in Sinai that stretches back years is often blamed on Hamas by many in Egyptian media. That demonisation reached its peak when the military wing of Hamas, Izz el-Deen Al-Qassam Brigades recently found itself banned and accused of “terrorism” by an Egyptian court. The brigades’ attempt at defending itself saying that it has never intervened in the affairs of any Arab countries, fell on deaf airs.

With the tunnels destroyed, and a “buffer zone”established and fortified around the Gaza Strip from the Egyptian side of the border, the siege is now complete.

Yet Gaza could have survived, except that the Israeli war has left behind thousands of homeless families, over 11,000 wounded and entrenched in poverty.

A donors’ conference in Cairo last year pledged to rebuild Gaza, but few have delivered. The United Nations and the Arab League are back appealing for aid promises to be met. But even if they do, the US and its allies insist that the money is not channelled through Hamas.


Shifting political gear, again

So, what is Hamas to do?

Before the so-called Arab Spring, the region was divided in two political camps. One is known as the “axis of resistance,” also the “rejectionist” camp. It consisted of Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas. The other is the camp of “moderates” which pools US regional allies. The latter was positioned to offset the former.

Then, the Sunni-Shia divide existed, but was hardly as pronounced as it is today. The existence of Hamas, a Sunni organisation within a largely Shia-group and the clear demarcation of the fight that is between the US-Israel vs. the “axis of resistance” relegated any sectarian difference as insignificant.

Initially, the Arab Spring in 2011 brought ample promise, before it dealt the whole region a massive blow. It wrought war and other bloody conflicts, but also unprecedented political and sectarian polarisation.

Hamas, the product of a national liberation movement with a religious ideology of its own, couldn’t escape the sectarian labelling that has suddenly become the litmus test of Middle East politics.

A war in Syria seemed like a best case scenario for various western powers, including the US and Israel. Other Arab regimes followed suit, injecting massive armaments to the once popular and peaceful uprising, leaving no room for a negotiated settlement to the crises. Iran and Russia soon jumped into the fray, each with a different set of objectives. For Iran, war arguably became its opportunity to extend its regional influence. With Hezbollah joining the fighting - which by then included numerous groups that are home grown and foreign - the Sunni-Shia side of the conflict became palpable.

Neither side would have allowed Hamas to operate outside the ugly sectarian paradigm anyway. The group was expected to take sides, and quickly. Egypt, under deposed President Mohammed Morsi, which was in a position to mediate a region-based solution to the Syria crisis, also took sides. His move severed any chance of leading a negotiated transition to democracy in Syria.

Meanwhile, Palestinians remained disunited even when their unity mattered most. Even the plight of the large Palestinian refugee population in Syria seemed unworthy of a united Palestinian political front. While small groups fought alongside Damascus, others sided with the opposition. Abbas’s PA remained engaged in an inane ‘peace process’ discourse, paying little attention to the thousands of dead and starving Palestinian refugees in Syria.

Hamas’s manoeuvers proved costly. It broke away from the Iran-Syria-Hezbollah axis, joining an Arab front that was united in wanting to see the ousting of the regime of Bashar al-Assad.

But the war grew more grisly on both sides, and the opposition splintered between many groups, including the notoriously violent so-called Islamic State (IS). The calls for democracy and reforms were no longer a dominant discussion as IS declared a Caliphate, and the conflict’s main vocabulary were dominated by sectarian and religious language.

The upheaval in Egypt complicated things further for Hamas. When Morsi was overthrown, Sisi’s backers unleashed a massive war on the Muslim Brotherhood and anyone affiliated with them, Hamas included. Hamas’s gamble didn’t pay off in the least. Further impoverished and isolated, Hamas sought respite by joining forces with Abbas’s Fatah, to end division and seek an outlet from what became a hopeless paradigm.


The other Israeli war on Gaza

Then, Israel attacked Gaza. The media discussion was centred on Hamas’s unproven connection to the kidnapping and killing of three Israeli teenage settlers. That was rarely the story. With Hamas’s departure from the “axis of resistance” and its isolation by the “moderate” Arab camp, the movement was at its weakest. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu found an opportunity to deliver a final blow to Hamas as he hit Gaza with unmatched brutality. He intended to break Hamas politically before degrading its military capabilities.

The massive destruction of the infrastructure - schools, hospitals, factories, government buildings, shops, tunnels and thousands of homes - was not Israel’s everyday callousness in its treatment of Palestinians. It was meant to ensure that Hamas would have no chance to govern Gaza after the war, and simply collapse under the impossible task to rebuild the Strip, with no aid, no cement and no material lifeline whatsoever.

While the war has itself ended at a high toll of over nearly 2,200 dead Palestinians, an economic war is still being fought at two different fronts: Israel and Egypt. And as the PA in Ramallah lazily ponders its return to Gaza, Hamas has begun looking to Tehran for help.


Restoring the axis

Arabs were either consumed with their own problems or watched Gaza’s severe punishment by Israel with a mix of dread, amusement and anticipation. Those who urged Hamas to part ways with Iran failed to move forward and fill the existing gap of weapons, money and other material aid. Not only did many in Hamas see that as a betrayal, others who never sought a break up with Iran began pushing the movement to reconsider its political alliances once more.

In fact, the process of mending ties with Iran has been in the making for months, and numerous - however imprecise - signs of some kind of rapprochement between Iran and Hezbollah on one hand, and Hamas on the other, have been adding up towards a foreseeable conclusion.

Aside from the Israeli war on Gaza, three other factors pushed for further cementation of ties between the two parties: one, the return to political consensus among Gulf countries and the pressure on Qatar to distance itself from the brotherhood; two, the lack of any political horizon being offered through the failed or delayed reconciliation with Fatah; and three, the permanent closure of the Rafah border.


The opportunity

When an Israeli helicopter gunship hit a car convoy in the Syrian province of Quneitra on Jan 18, killing six Hezbollah fighters including the son of the legendary leader Imad Mughaniya - himself killed in a Mossad-CIA operation - along with an Iranian commander, Hamas was quick to offer condolences. The most notable of these messages came from Mohammed al-Deif, the leader of the al-Qassam Brigades. Deif called for the directing of rifles in a joint battle against Israel.

Political messages also poured in, one from former Hamas government Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh (who is the current deputy chief of the movement’s political bureau). "We declare our full solidarity with Lebanon and the Lebanese resistance," he said, calling for unity against the “principal enemy of the ummah”. This, in addition to Hamas’s leader, Khaled Meshaal’s call for peaceful resistance in Syria, indicating that the Hamas search for a return to the Iran camp was a matter of time.

In fact, that return will happen sooner rather than later, as suggested by Ahmed Yousef, Haniyeh’s former top advisor, and an influential member in the movement. He said that Meshaal should be heading to Tehran soon to meet with top Iranian leaders.


Back to the start

Hamas’s possible return to the Iran camp is likely to be cautious, calculated and also costly. There is a crisis of trust among all parties. For some in Hamas, however, that return was inevitable, if not essential for the survival of the movement as it faces mounting pressures.

But Iran and Hezbollah also need Hamas, at least to break away, genuinely or otherwise from the dominant sectarian narrative that has embroiled the region. Iran and Hezbollah’s image, the latter once seen as the bulwark of resistance, is at an all-time low.

Of course, many are frustrated by Hamas’s shift in tactics, insisting on not seeing the group’s impossible dilemma. The Syria opposition has made its feelings clear.

But for Hamas the choices are stark, and equally difficult. An Arab poet once described such tough choices as “two matters, the sweetest of which is bitter”.

Some will chastise Hamas’s new strategy, others will praise its return to common sense. But for Hamas and Palestinian resistance in Gaza, it is a mere matter of survival.

Ramzy Baroud – - is an internationally-syndicated columnist, a media consultant, an author of several books and the founder of He is currently completing his PhD studies at the University of Exeter. His latest book is My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story (Pluto Press, London).

A Republican Vision of Canada's Future: Keystone, Cold War 2.0, and the GOP Century to Come

Keystone XL, Cold War 2.0, and the GOP Vision for 2016: How Energy Coordination on One Continent Could Bring the Planet to Its Knees

by Michael T. Klare  - TomDispatch


It’s a ritual long familiar to observers of American politics: presidential hopefuls with limited international experience travel to foreign lands and deliver speeches designed to showcase their grasp of foreign affairs.

Typically, such escapades involve trips to major European capitals or active war zones like Iraq and Afghanistan. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, however, has broken this mold.

Before his recent jaunt to London and into the thickets of American vaccination politics, he chose two surprising destinations for his first trips abroad as a potential Republican candidate.

No, not Kabul or Baghdad or even Paris, but Mexico City and Alberta, Canada. And rather than launch into discussions of immigration, terrorism, or the other usual Republican foreign policy topics, he focused on his own top priority: integrating Canada and Mexico into a U.S.-led “North American energy renaissance.”

By accelerating the exploitation of fossil fuels across the continent, reducing governmental oversight of drilling operations in all three countries, and building more cross-border pipelines like the Keystone XL, Christie explained, all three countries would be guaranteed dramatic economic growth. “In North America, we have resources waiting to be tapped,” he assured business leaders in Mexico City. “What is required is the vision to maximize our growth, the political will to unlock our potential, and the understanding that working together on strategic priorities... is the path to a better life.”

At first glance, Christie’s blueprint for his North American energy renaissance seems to be a familiar enough amalgam of common Republican tropes: support for that Keystone XL pipeline slated to bring Canadian tar sands to the U.S. Gulf Coast, along with unbridled energy production everywhere; opposition to excessive governmental regulation; free trade… well, you know the mantra. But don’t be fooled. Something far grander -- and more sinister -- is being proposed. It’s nothing less than a plan to convert Canada and Mexico into energy colonies of the United States, while creating a North American power bloc capable of aggressively taking on Russia, China, and other foreign challengers.

This outlook -- call it North Americanism -- is hardly unique to Christie. It pervades the thinking of top Republican leaders and puts their otherwise almost inexplicably ardent support of Keystone XL in a new light. As most analysts now concede, that pipeline will do little to generate long-term jobs or promote U.S. energy independence. (Much of the tar sands oil it’s designed to carry will be refined in the U.S., but exported elsewhere). In fact, with oil prices plunging globally, it looks ever more like a white elephant of a project, yet it remains the Republican majority’s top legislative priority. The reason: it is the concrete manifestation of Christie-style North American energy integration, and for that reason is considered sacred by Republican proponents of North Americanism. “This is not about sending ‘your oil’ across ‘our land,’” Christie insisted in Calgary. “It’s about maximizing the benefits of North America’s natural resources for everybody.”

Tomgram: Michael Klare, A Republican Neo-Imperial Vision for 2016

[Note for TomDispatch Readers: Thank you for being so generous so early in 2015 and sending in those donations of $100 (or more) in return for copies of American Reckoning: The Vietnam War and Our National Identity, Christian Appy’s remarkable new book about how the Vietnam War was finally pacified in this country. For anyone who wants a signed, personalized copy of the book but didn’t get around to it, the offer still stands. Just check out our donation page for the details. One way or another, make sure to get your hands on American Reckoning! Tom]

Don’t think for a minute that this president isn’t proud of his climate-changing energy program. To be clear, however, I don’t mean his efforts to check the advances of climate change. Consider the introduction to the new U.S. National Security Strategy (NSS) his administration unveiled last week. It’s a 29-page document filled with the usual braggadocio about America’s “indispensable” role in global leadership in a “complex world.” And it’s true that part of that indispensability, the document claims, involves offering leadership when it comes “to turn[ing] the corner on global carbon emissions.” Hence, assumedly, the recent deal with China on capping those emissions.

But when the president and his national security officials really walk the walk and talk the talk, that’s not what they’re focused on. Read the NSS and the first fossil fuel reference you come upon, smack-dab in the middle of the second paragraph of that intro, goes like this: “America’s growing economic strength is the foundation of our national security and a critical source of our influence abroad... We are now the world leader in oil and gas production.” You can practically hear the cheering in the background. And just in case you think that’s a bit of passing bravado, here’s a key paragraph from a section later in the document entitled “Advance Our Energy Security”:

“The United States is now the world leader in oil and gas production. America’s energy revival is not only good for growth, it offers new buffers against the coercive use of energy by some and new opportunities for helping others transition to low-carbon economies. American oil production has increased dramatically, impacting global markets. Imports have decreased substantially, reducing the funds we send overseas. Consumption has declined, reducing our vulnerability to global supply disruption and price shocks. However, we still have a significant stake in the energy security of our allies in Europe and elsewhere. Seismic shifts in supply and demand are underway across the globe. Increasing global access to reliable and affordable energy is one of the most powerful ways to support social and economic development and to help build new markets for U.S. technology and investment.”

Keep in mind that President Obama understands well the dangers of global warming. His sideline moves -- increasing vehicle fuel efficiency, reducing coal-powered plants in the U.S., setting aside parts of Alaska’s Arctic seas as no-drill areas -- reflect an often repeated “commitment” to bringing climate change under control. At the same time, however, he has overseen a startlingly drill-baby-drill energy program from the Gulf of Mexico and the Bakken oil fields of North Dakota to the waters of the coastal southern Atlantic, which his administration has just opened to a future bonanza of oil and natural gas drilling. He has, in short, presided for six years over the turning of this country into “Saudi America.”

And mind you, that’s actually the good news: now, for the bad news, which comes to us thanks to the invaluable Michael Klare, TomDispatch regular and author of The Race for What’s Left. No matter what Obama does to open the way for the further exploitation of American fossil fuel reserves, his Republican opponents blast him as a wimp, a hopeless weakener of American global power. They mean it, too. They imagine the U.S. they would run as a “Saudi North America” which would, if they had their way, turn Russia into rubble and the Arctic into Club Med. Tom  

Keystone XL, Cold War 2.0, and the GOP Vision for 2016: How Energy Coordination on One Continent Could Bring the Planet to Its Knees

by Michael T. Klare

While North American energy integration may, in part, appeal to Republicans for the way it would enrich major U.S. oil companies, pipeline firms, and some energy-industry workers -- the “everybody” in Christie’s remarks -- its real allure lies in the way they believe it will buttress the more hawkish and militarized foreign policy that so many in the GOP now favor. By boosting fossil fuel production in North America, Keystone’s backers claim, the U.S. will be less dependent on imports from the Middle East and so in a stronger position to combat Russia, Iran, ISIS, and other foreign challengers.

Authorization for Keystone XL and related energy infrastructure is important “not just for economic development, not just for jobs and growth,” Senator Ted Cruz of Texas declared in January, “but also for the enormous geopolitical advantages that it will present to the United States [by strengthening] our hands against those who would be enemies of America.”

Brace yourself. This combination of fossil fuel optimization and North American solidarity against a potentially hostile world is destined to become the core of the Republican economic and national security platforms in the 2016 presidential election. It will similarly govern action in Congress over the next two years. So, if you want to understand the dynamics of contemporary American politics, it’s crucial to grasp the new Republican vision of an energy-saturated North America.

Exxon’s Neo-Imperial Vision

Republican-style North Americanism is, in fact, an amalgam of two intersecting urges. The first of them involves a quest by U.S.-based giant oil companies to gain greater access to the oil and natural gas reserves of Canada and Mexico; the second, a drive by neoconservatives and national security hawks in Washington to rev up Cold War 2.0, while stepping up combat with both Iran and the Islamic State.

Let’s start with the altered world energy order once dominated by privately owned giants like BP, Chevron, and ExxonMobil -- a.k.a. the international oil companies, or IOCs. For most of the twentieth century, these companies controlled a majority of the world’s oil and gas reserves and so almost completely dominated the global trade in hydrocarbons. In the 1970s and 1980s, however, many of their overseas assets were systematically appropriated by governments in oil-producing countries like Saudi Arabia, Algeria, and Venezuela, and placed under the control of state-owned, national oil companies, or NOCs. In response, the IOCs sought to increase their production from reserves in Canada and the U.S., as well as in Mexico, which has its own state-owned oil company but was facing declining output. This led those big companies to believe that, in the long run, Mexico would be forced to open its doors to greater foreign involvement.

Their strategy proved widely successful in the U.S., where the application of new technologies, including hydro-fracking, horizontal drilling, and deepwater drilling, has led to spectacular increases in oil and gas output. According to the Energy Information Administration of the Department of Energy, U.S. field production of crude oil jumped from five million barrels per day in 2008 to 8.6 million barrels in the third quarter of 2014. Over the same period, the production of natural gas similarly rose from 21.1 to 25.7 trillion cubic feet. The current plunge in oil prices is expected to slow the pace of U.S. drilling, but not prevent further gains.

Stepped-up investment by the big energy companies led to a comparable increase in production from Canada’s tar sands (also called oil sands). According to BP, Canadian crude output climbed from 3.2 million barrels per day in 2008 to nearly 4.0 million barrels by the end of 2013, thanks purely to those tar sands. But the producers of all this added oil have run into a major obstacle to its successful commercialization: there are not enough pipelines to transport this particularly carbon-dense crude to refineries in the United States, where it can be processed into usable petroleum products. Hence, the need for additional pipelines, beginning with Keystone XL. Indeed, with the recent fall in oil prices, Keystone has become even more important, as other modes of transport, including delivery by rail, are far more costly.

Mexico presents a different set of obstacles. Under the Mexican Constitution, all hydrocarbon deposits are the property of the Mexican people and their exploitation is reserved solely for the state-owned company, Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex). The country’s expropriation of foreign oil assets on March 18, 1937, is considered a pillar of Mexican sovereignty and that day is still celebrated as a national holiday (Día de la Expropiación Petrolera). As a result, the only way the giant oil companies could gain access to Mexico’s vast reserves of oil and gas would be if its leaders were willing to amend existing laws to allow the involvement of foreign firms in the development of these assets.

In response to such obstacles, the major U.S.-based oil companies and their financial backers have developed a strategy to promote North American energy interdependence, while stressing the beneficial value of increased U.S. participation in Canada’s and Mexico’s energy industries and the elimination of barriers to cross-border pipelines and other transnational energy infrastructure.

Although oil company executives have rarely discussed such strategic planning in public, there was an exception. In 2012, before the Council on Foreign Relations, Rex Tillerson, chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil, gave its North American strategy an unusually candid airing. “Canada has a huge resource endowment,” he noted. “The United States has a huge resource endowment; Mexico has a huge resource endowment.” In that light, he suggested that the major U.S. energy firms coordinate the full-scale exploitation of all three countries’ fossil fuels. “[If] we approach energy policy and energy security from a North American perspective, the resource base, the technologies that are available, and the like-minded policies that could be put in place could rapidly achieve that energy security that we have been in quest of for all of my career.”

Canada and the U.S., he pointed out then, were already moving to embrace such “like-minded policies,” but Mexico still had a long way to go. “We’re hopeful,” he added, “that Mexico, as it continues its pathway to reforms around how it manages its own oil and natural gas resources... will open up opportunities for greater partnerships and collaborations [while] bringing technology to bear on the huge resources that Mexico has as well.”

The task, then, was simply to persuade the leaders of Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. to harmonize their energy policies. As Tillerson explained, “It’s my hope that at some point energy security can become a policy issue in our foreign policy discussions with Mexico, Canada, and the United States.” In this Big Oil view of how North America should work lay the foundations for the new Republican strategic vision that Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, and other presidential candidates for 2016 are going to turn into an overarching political mantra.

The New Cold War

Now, imagine a second river of energy exuberance flowing into Big Oil’s strategic vision. This would be the reinvigorated Cold War stance of Republican hawks and neocons. Led by Senator John McCain (now chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee), these advocates for an ever more aggressive foreign/military policy are pushing the idea that a series of foreign adversaries -- Russia, China, Iran, and Islamic terrorists -- are ratcheting up the dangers for this country and that the Obama administration’s response is woefully feeble.

The president’s failure to effectively resist belligerent moves by Russia in the Crimea and Ukraine, McCain argues, has “fed a perception that the United States is weak,” and for figures like Russian President Vladimir Putin, “vacillation invites aggression.” Not only has the president’s claimed policy weakness invited further assaults from Russia in Eurasia, but it has also “emboldened other aggressive actors -- from Chinese nationalists to al-Qaeda terrorists and Iranian theocrats.”

As McCain, other Senate and House war hawks, and their neocon allies see it, there is only one appropriate response to such threats: a vigorous counterattack, involving beefed-up support for NATO, copious arms deliveries to the Ukrainians, and increased defense expenditures at home. “When aggressive rulers or violent fanatics threaten our ideals [and] our interests,” McCain typically asserted last November, the country needs “not good intentions, or strong words, or a grand coalition, [but] the capability, credibility, and global reach of American hard power.”

While “hard power” may be the preferred response of such hawks, most do recognize that the direct use of military force by the United States in Ukraine and a number of other places is unlikely, even under a future Republican administration. Public fatigue over American wars in the Greater Middle East coupled with mounting budget woes and a lack of support from Washington’s allies rules out such moves. This means another powerful form of pressure is needed -- and here’s where energy enters the picture.

As McCain and his allies see it, an energy-based North Americanism could prove to be an effective tool in the new Cold War. Noting that many of Washington’s NATO allies are heavily dependent on Russian natural gas and so -- it is claimed -- vulnerable to future political pressure from Moscow, they are, for instance, promoting the production of ever more natural gas via hydro-fracking to ship off to Europe in the form of liquefied natural gas (LNG). This, they insist, should be one of the country’s top future priorities. “Today, the U.S. has the leverage to liberate our allies from Russia’s stranglehold on the European natural gas market,” McCain and fellow Republican Senator John Hoeven wrote in July. All that is needed, they insist, is to eliminate government obstacles to drilling on federal lands and the approval of the construction of additional LNG export facilities.

The Republican Grand Strategy

This approach has been embraced by other senior Republican figures who see increased North American hydrocarbon output as the ideal response to Russian assertiveness. In other words, the two pillars of a new energy North Americanism -- enhanced collaboration with the big oil companies across the continent and reinvigorated Cold Warism -- are now being folded into a single Republican grand strategy. Nothing will prepare the West better to fight Russia or just about any other hostile power on the planet than the conversion of North America into a bastion of fossil fuel abundance.

This strange, chilling vision of an American (and global) future was succinctly described by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in a remarkable Washington Post op-ed in March 2014. She essentially called for North America to flood the global energy market, causing a plunge in oil prices and bankrupting the Russians. “Putin is playing for the long haul, cleverly exploiting every opening he sees,” she wrote, but “Moscow is not immune from pressure.” Putin and Co. require high oil and gas prices to finance their aggressive activities, “and soon, North America’s bounty of oil and gas will swamp Moscow’s capacity.” By “authorizing the Keystone XL pipeline and championing natural gas exports,” she asserted, Washington would signal “that we intend to do exactly that.”

So now you know: approval of the Keystone XL pipeline isn’t actually about jobs and the economy; it’s about battling Vladimir Putin, the Iranian mullahs, and America’s other adversaries. “One of the ways we fight back, one of the ways we push back is we take control of our own energy destiny,” said Senator Hoeven on January 7th, when introducing legislation to authorize construction of that pipeline.

And that, it turns out, is just the beginning of the “benefits” that North Americanism will supposedly bring. Ultimately, the goals of this strategy are to perpetuate the dominance of fossil fuels in North America’s energy mix and to enlist Canada and Mexico in a U.S.-led drive to ensure the continued dominance of the West in key regions of the world. Stay tuned: you’ll be hearing a lot more about this ambitious strategy as the Republican presidential hopefuls begin making their campaign rounds.

Keep in mind, though, that this is potentially dangerous stuff at every level -- from the urge to ratchet up a conflict with Russia to the desire to produce and consume ever more North American fossil fuels (not exactly a surprising impulse given the Republicans’ heavy reliance on campaign contributions from Big Energy). In the coming months, the Obama administration and Hillary Clinton’s camp will, of course, attempt to counter this drive. Their efforts will, however, be undermined by their sympathy for many of its components. Obama, for instance, has boasted more than once of his success in increasing U.S. oil and gas production, while Clinton has repeatedly called for a more combative foreign policy. Nor has either of them yet come up with a grand strategy as seemingly broad and attractive as Republican North Americanism. If that plan is to be taken on seriously as the dangerous contrivance it is, it evidently will fall to others to do so.

This Republican vision, after all, rests on the desire of giant oil companies to eliminate government regulation and bring the energy industries of Canada and Mexico under their corporate sway. Were this to happen, it would sabotage efforts to curb carbon emissions from fossil fuels in a major way, while undermining the sovereignty of Canada and Mexico. In the process, the natural environment would suffer horribly as regulatory constraints against hazardous drilling practices would be eroded in all three countries. Stepped-up drilling, hydrofracking, and tar sands production would also result in the increased diversion of water to energy production, reducing supplies for farming while increasing the risk that leaking drilling fluids will contaminate drinking water and aquifers.

No less worrisome, the Republican strategy would result in a far more polarized and dangerous international environment, in which hopes for achieving any kind of peace in Ukraine, Syria, or elsewhere would disappear. The urge to convert North America into a unified garrison state under U.S. (energy) command would undoubtedly prompt similar initiatives abroad, with China moving ever closer to Russia and other blocs forming elsewhere.

In addition, those who seek to use energy as a tool of coercion should not be surprised to discover that they are inviting its use by hostile parties -- and in such conflicts the U.S. and its allies would not emerge unscathed. In other words, the shining Republican vision of a North American energy fortress will, in reality, prove to be a nightmare of environmental degradation and global conflict. Unfortunately, this may not be obvious by election season 2016, so watch out.

Michael T. Klare, a TomDispatch regular, is a professor of peace and world security studies at Hampshire College and the author, most recently, of The Race for What’s Left. A documentary movie version of his book Blood and Oil is available from the Media Education Foundation.

Follow TomDispatch on Twitter and join us on Facebook. Check out the newest Dispatch Book, Rebecca Solnit's Men Explain Things to Me, and Tom Engelhardt's latest book, Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World.

Copyright 2015 Michael T. Klare

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Talking to Imbeciles: Americans Clueless on Ukraine and More

Moscow's Problem: Dealing with Imbeciles and Vassals

by Finian Cunningham - SCF

Russia is in a dilemma. How can it work through a peaceful settlement over the Ukraine conflict – and avoid a wider, more terrible war – when it is having to communicate with imbeciles and vassals? We are referring to the American and European leaders, respectively.

The problem of trying to have a conversation with imbeciles is that they are simply incapable of understanding anything outside of their obtuse reality. They suffer from cognitive dissonance and are proud of it. In fact, the more cognitively dysfunctional, the more the imbecile is celebrated as being strong. Imbeciles cannot be enlightened; their ignorant and boorish way of looking at the world is impervious to any different, even more correct perspective. Indeed, they have a visceral aversion to correction, which only retrenches their imbecility all the more.

The problem in dealing with vassals is that they are powerless to change course – even if they have a residual ability to think independently and to recognise an alternative perspective as being more correct, or at least reasonable.

Thus we have the dilemma facing Russia in its dealings with Washington and its European allies over the Ukraine conflict.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, speaking in Munich last weekend, deplored the lack of European independence in averting Washington’s systematic vandalism of the international order. Lavrov was scoffed at for daring to speak the truth and more so because he used logic and historical evidence to support his argument.

The imbecilic Americans substitute axioms and accusations for rational dialogue. They are guided by their own self-serving propaganda and are deluded by every word of it. And proud of it! God bless America!

US President Barack Obama, who is supposed to be one of the most thoughtful American politicians, evidently can’t think beyond the uniform straitjacket narrative that posits, without a scintilla of evidence, that the conflict in Ukraine as «all Russia’s fault».

Speaking with German Chancellor by his side at the White House this week, Obama said that he was considering sending lethal weapons to the Kiev regime «to help Ukraine bolster its defences in the face of separatist aggression». Obama accused Russia of fuelling the conflict and of trying to violate Ukraine’s territorial integrity «down the barrel of a gun».

Reality check. Ethnic Russians are being killed in their homes, basements, schools and streets, by the Western-backed Kiev regime, which launched a gratuitous war on eastern Ukraine ten months ago, resulting in over 5,500 dead and more than a million people displaced – and yet Obama condemns the violence as «separatist aggression» and wants to send more deadly weapons to the offenders.

From Obama on down the political ladder, it only gets worse. The Vice President Joe Biden told the security conference in Munich last weekend that «Ukrainians have the right to defend themselves» and so the US should send military support to ward off «Russian aggression».

So, Mr Biden, what about the right of ethnic Russian Ukrainians defending themselves? Are they debarred from doing so? Are they not Ukrainians? Or maybe because they are ethnic Russians that makes them inferior in your view?

America’s top diplomat John Kerry, a supposedly urbane, multilingual cosmopolitan, reiterates the same baseless, brainless accusations against Russia, claiming the latter to be the «biggest threat to Ukraine». Kerry also wants to send weapons to Ukraine to teach Russia a lesson.

Ditto Ashton Carter, the incoming Defence Secretary. Ditto Michel Flournoy, who is tipped to be Defence Secretary if Hillary Clinton wins the 2016 presidency. Ditto Bobby Jindal who is a hot contender for the Republican presidential candidacy. Ditto Republican foreign policy chief Bob Corker. Ditto the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey. Ditto the members of America’s foreign policy establishment at the Brookings Institute and Atlantic Council. Ditto the editorial boards of America’s top media corporations, including the New York Times and Washington Post. All of them unblinkingly repeat the mantra that the Ukraine conflict is due to Russian aggression and that arming the Kiev regime is a swell idea for peace. All of them regurgitate a corny travesty of history which paints Russian President Vladimir Putin as «a mid-20th Century dictator» in the same «expansionist» vein as Adolf Hitler or Benito Mussolini. (Without a whit of understanding that mid-20th Century fascism was fomented as a covert policy of Western capitalist powers to attack the Soviet Union, and resulted in 30 million dead Russians. A policy that continues today in the form of US support for the neo-Nazi regime in Kiev as a destabilising force towards Russia.)

The scary thing about American imbeciles is that they don’t have an inkling that they might be brainwashed. They are Orwellian clones who believe that war is peace, slavery is freedom, and truth is whatever you are told it is.

American politicians attending the Munich Security Conference derided efforts by Germany’s Merkel and French President Francois Hollande to engage Putin in political dialogue over the Ukraine crisis as «bullshit».

The three leaders are proposing to follow up lengthy discussions held in Moscow last weekend with a further meeting in Minsk, the Belarus capital, this week. It’s far from certain that Putin, Merkel and Hollande can achieve a breakthrough to get the Kiev regime to sit down and talk with the pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. The uncouth Americans are certainly trying their best to scupper dialogue before it is even given a chance to progress.

In contrast to the gung-ho Americans, there is a new consensus among the Europeans that pouring more weapons into Ukraine is no solution, indeed is to be avoided, and that the separatists have reasonable grounds for political autonomy deserving a respectful hearing.

The Europeans, at least publicly, may still adopt the hoary narrative that Russia is destabilising Ukraine covertly with its troops or military support for the separatists. Moscow flatly denies those claims. But at least the Europeans seem to have enough intellectual subtlety to realise that maximalist finger-pointing against Putin is counterproductive and that there might be more than one side to the story.

To her credit, Angela Merkel has stood firm in her opposition to American calls for increasing military involvement in Ukraine. While in Washington this week, she categorically ruled out supporting the idea of sending more weapons into Ukraine. Merkel’s opposition to US proposals has been denounced by leading Republican Senators as «appeasement» of Putin, with asinine analogies to Chamberlain and Hitler at the 1938 Munich conference.

Dealing with American imbeciles is thus impossible. They inhabit a different mental world from most other people. Their world is formed by ahistorical propaganda and a boorish attitude that makes dialogue, reciprocation, or socratic elucidation a dim prospect. Their arrogance and ignorant conceit are obstacles to genuine communication and understanding. It’s all Putin’s fault; it’s all due to those morose Russian hordes; it’s the evil Soviet empire making a comeback. A US-backed regime-change illegal operation in Kiev against an elected government? A US-backed regime waging war on ethnic Russian people in eastern Ukraine? Are you nuts, you Putin-pussy-apologist?

How can you deal with such people? You can’t.

However, the additional problem is that the Europeans are not free to really act on their incipient independent thoughts. It is clear that Merkel and Hollande, and many other European leaders, realise that US plans to flood Ukraine with even more lethal weapons is a woeful idea that potentially could spark World War III. It is clear that many Europeans think US-led sanctions against Russia are not only counterproductive, but actually an unreasonable, hostile policy that is hurting European workers, farmers and economies as much as it is Russia’s.

The problematic fact is that European states are vassals of America. They are not free to act out of line from Washington’s dictate, no matter how ludicrous is the latter. Germany is considered the powerhouse of Europe and the fourth largest economy in the world. Yet, as German political analyst Christof Lehmann reminds us, Germany has never had genuine political independence since the end of the Second World War. It does not have a constitution befitting a modern state, and it continues to be occupied by military forces belonging to the «victorious» American and British allies. «Germany is a de facto colony of the US», says Lehmann. «At any time, under the postwar basic law, American troops can take over the government of Germany, which technically and legally is an occupied state, a vassal state».

The American NSA spying on Chancellor Merkel revealed in 2013 by Edward Snowden is a case in point. More telling is how Merkel did not respond to that gross infringement of German «sovereignty» with the political force that that American violation merited. She meekly accepted the intrusion as a condition of American postwar hegemony.

Lehmann points out how any past moves by Germany to create an independent foreign policy, and one in particular that involves rapprochement with Russia, have been serially vetoed by the US and its British ally. «We saw that under Chancellors Willy Brandt and Gerhard Schroeder, their efforts at adopting a more friendly relation with Russia were sabotaged at every step by Washington and London», says Lehmann.

That is why Merkel deserves much credit for making her bold stand this week against American militarism in Ukraine. Her dissent is highly significant of a potential cleavage in US-European relations. What she is doing is challenging a fundamental red line in Washington: namely, that European states, and Germany especially, cannot, must not, dare to question American hegemony and its longterm policy of hostility towards Russia.

Merkel and Hollande may be finally getting the message from the millions of ordinary EU citizens who deeply object to American warmongering towards Russia at Europe’s expense. But given the tradition of European vassalage to the imbecilic Americans, the chances of a positive breakthrough for peaceful relations remain elusive. European leadership is still a captive of Washington’s clutches. But the disgusted European masses might just be forcing a break in the imbecilic bonds.