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Friday, 24 April 2015

Kiev Snipers Trained by CIA, Polish Secret Service claims Polish MP


Commenting on a Polish MEP's recent statement that the snipers shooting indiscriminately at police and protesters during last year's Maidan Revolution were trained in Poland, Russian Foreign Ministry human rights ombudsman Konstantin Dolgov stated that the truth about the tragedy is finally beginning to emerge.

In this interview the EU Parliament Deputy and presidential candidate Janusz Korwin-Mikke also alleges that each successive Polish Government since the collapse of Communism has been much to willing to cooperate with Americans even when their conduct is in contravention of international law. Both the CIA and U.S. Department of State are quite proficient at inciting fears and animosities toward Russia, especially where it concerns the fate of the Ukraine.

"Maidan was also our operation. The snipers were trained in Poland. These terrorists shot 40 demonstrators and 20 police officers on the Maidan in order to provoke riots," – said  Korwin-Mikke.

Dolgov, the Russian Foreign Ministry's Special Representative on Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law, tweeted Tuesday about Korwin-Mikke's remarks that the Maidan snipers were trained in Poland:

"A Polish Member of European Parliament has acknowledged that the Maidan snipers were trained in Poland, and not in Russia. The truth is finding its way!"

Over the weekend, Korwin-Mikke, MEP and the leader of Poland's conservative KORWiN party, stated that the CIA and Polish security services organized the 2014 Euromaidan riots which resulted in the overthrow of the unpopular but democratically elected government of Viktor Yanukovych.

The USA exerts an inordinate degree of power and influence over Poland. Poland is known as the location of CIA black sites used as secret detention facilities, as well as the destination of various other renditions during the Bush Administration's fabricated War on Terror.

Sadistic cop ruptures man's spleen, fellow cops laugh, take pics, as he lays dying, begging for help

Orlando, Florida — An Orlando cop has been arrested after surveillance video showed him violently kneeing a handcuffed man. But further investigation into the matter shows that his fellow officers were not only complicit in covering it up, but also sadistically laughed as the man lay bleeding internally in the cell.

Orlando police Officer Peter Delio was arrested in March and charged with felony battery after surveillance video showed him kneeing a handcuffed, Robert Liese, in the gut.

Several hours later Liese underwent emergency surgery to remove his spleen.

What happened between the initial blow to the stomach and the time the paramedics were notified is disturbing, to say the least.

Robert Liese was in jail after he says a friend left him with a $60 bar tab that he was unable to pay. Besides being drunk, not once did Liese ever pose a threat to officers. In fact, he peacefully offered Delio his hands to be brought to jail after knowing that he was not going to be able to pay.

But Liese says that Delio didn't care that he was nice and then kicked the handcuffed man in the stomach as he was loading him into the squad car.

Once in jail, Liese headbutted the door because he was upset and injured, and he was trying to get the attention of someone besides the officers who were outside of the door ridiculing him.

Officer Delio, who apparently wanted to take out more frustrations on the restrained man, then walked into the cell and kneed him in the stomach so hard, that it ruptured his spleen.

The pain was so great that Liese was immobilized. Delio picks the man up like a ragdoll and laughably yells to Liese, "stop resisting."

He could barely breathe, and he fell to the floor in agony. He was then picked up and dragged out of the cell to be placed in leg restraints.

During the two hours long video after Liese was struck by the officer, he begged for help.

Sgt. Michael Faulkner reported to internal affairs that Liese not only didn't ask for medical attention, but that he refused it.

Unlike Sgt. Faulkner, however, the video does not lie. Not five, not ten, but at least twenty times Liese can be heard on video begging for medical attention.

"I need medical attention, please," Liese said.

"What do you need medical attention for?" Faulkner asked.

"I have to lay down, please. I want to lay down," Liese said. "My chest."

"What's wrong?" Faulkner asked Liese.

"I can't breathe right," Liese said.

But the sadistic Faulkner did not render aid, nor did he call paramedics; instead, he took cell phone pics of the injured man.

According to WFTV, Faulkner told internal affairs investigators that he was investigating Delio's use of force. But the video shows Liese is the one who brought it up and Faulkner never asked about it.

"I got kicked in the chest in the backseat of the car," Liese said.

Crucial minutes past that could have led to the death of Liese. During this time, the officers can be heard on the surveillance video laughing and joking about the man who lay dying just a few feet away.

"Somebody, please call the - paramedics," Liese said suffering as the laughter continued.

Finally after nearly two hours, paramedics arrived, and Liese's life was saved.

Once again, heroes are exposed for villains, thanks to the power of the camera lens. Luckily no lives were lost due to these criminal actions.

UK photographer snaps meteor leaving a 'Z' in the sky

A couple of nights ago, Hawick, UK-based photographer Sam Cornwell spent some time in the great outdoors taking pictures of the April Lyrids meteor shower that happens from April 16 to April 26 of each year. Just as he was about to call it quits and return home without a keeper, Cornwell captured the above photo of a huge "fireball" streaking across the night sky.

After returning home and taking a closer look at the burst of frames he shot, Cornwell noticed that the meteor had left a "wicked smoke trail" in the sky in the shape of an expanding (then disappearing) 'Z.' He strung the frames together into an animated GIF.

"Looks a bit like the mark of Zorro dontchafink?," Cornwell writes.

Is genetically engineered food a fraud?


A line up of test tubes holds genetically altered orange seedlings and the hope of creating plants resistant to citrus greening, a bacterial scourge sweeping through Florida’s citrus groves.

An estimated 85 percent of all food consumed in the United States now contains genetically modified organisms (GMOs)—from the cereal you feed your children to the milk you put in your coffee to the sweet corn you chomp on in summer. But because there's no labeling requirement, we don't know which foods have GMOs and which don't. We also have no hard facts about the possible health effects. In his new book, Altered Genes, Twisted Truth: How the Venture to Genetically Engineer Our Food Has Subverted Science, Corrupted Government, and Systematically Deceived The Public, public interest attorney Steve Druker takes the science community, the food industry, and the FDA to task for what he claims are their lax and irresponsible policies.

Talking from a parking lot in Michigan during his book tour, he explains how the debate about GMOs has undermined science and democracy, why the two Bills, Clinton and Gates, have got it wrong, and what advice he would give an African farmer trying to feed his starving child.



In the subtitle of your book, you name three ways that GMOs have undermined society. Talk about the first two.

First, the subversion of science has been much deeper than most people could imagine. There has been a consistent degradation of science and twisting of the truth on the part of numerous eminent scientists and scientific institutions on behalf of genetically engineered foods. The aggregate fraud to promote genetically engineered foods is by far the biggest fraud in the history of science. The corruption of government has also been very deep and multifaceted.

Probably the worst example occurred when the U.S. executive branch became convinced back in the mid 1980s, during the administration of President Reagan, that the biotechnology industry was going to be one of the main ways in which the U.S. economy would come out of its doldrums. A policy was adopted to promote the biotech industry without any new regulations. It was reported to be science-based, but scholars who studied it concluded it was not science based. It was framed and motivated by economic and political considerations. The FDA broke that law and lied about the facts in order to get GMOs on the market.

James Watson, the co-discoverer of DNA, has called the dangers imputed to GMOs an imaginary monster." He's right, isn't he?

He's quite wrong, actually, because there have been risks, but from the beginning these risks have been systematically misrepresented by the mainstream scientific establishment in order to avoid regulation by governments and keep control of the research. But the risks have been well recognized, even by the FDA's own scientists. They did a thorough study back in 1990-92, and the overwhelming conclusion was that genetic engineering differs from conventional breeding to a great degree, that the foods it generates entail different risks, and that none can be presumed safe until they have been demonstrated to be safe by rigorous scientific testing. But these tests have never been done.


Between 1856 and 1863, Gregor Mendel, an Austrian monk, experimented with pea plants and developed the principles of heredity, thereby paving the way for the science of genetics.

For proponents, GMOs are a magic bullet to cure world hunger. For opponents, these are 'frankenfoods' that will poison us. Is there any middle ground?

I never use the term "frankenfood." I'd rather not throw around names. The other side throws names around, branding people who have concerns about GMOs as "anti-science" or "Luddites." Instead of talking about middle ground, I think it's important to talk about the scientific ground and the evidence-based ground. Too many of the proponents of GMOs are not speaking as scientists, but as spin-doctors.

You repeatedly say how dangerous GMOs are. The only known outbreak of a mass infection occurred in Japan in the late 80s in connection with the health supplement, L-tryptophan. Yet the most you claim is that "genetic engineering cannot be ruled out." It's a pretty weak case, isn't it?

That is not actually what I claim. That's what the FDA has admitted in private. In public, it claims genetic engineering had nothing to do with the incident. But there is a memo in the FDA files, which I uncovered in a lawsuit, in which the FDA's biotechnology manager admitted genetic engineering could not be ruled out as the cause of that epidemic. I state that the weight of the evidence points towards genetic engineering as the most likely cause of the epidemic.


The agricultural biotechnology giant Monsanto has automated the search for genes with desirable traits. A chipper (above, left) cuts samples from corn kernels (above, right); machines then analyze the DNA from each sample.

The father of modern genetics, Gregor Mendel, altered the genetic makeup of peas by crossbreeding. In what way is genetic engineering different from that?

What Mendel was doing was traditional crossbreeding, not altering genes. Nature is set up to encourage genetic diversity and change combinations of genes. But what the genetic engineers are doing is radically restructuring the makeup of genes and DNA. This is something unprecedented. Nobel laureate and biology professor at Harvard, the late George Wald stated that,

"Genetic engineering is the biggest break in nature that has occurred in human history."

A lot of the horror stories are about bizarre interventions like inserting a salmon gene into a tomato. These are extreme cases, aren't they?

To my knowledge, nothing like that particular product has been commercialized. But any breaking down of the natural species boundaries is a very radical intervention. Foreign genes can't express themselves unless powerful, viral boosters are inserted. And these foreign genes are now contained in most of the plants on the market. That's highly unnatural and in itself entails risks.

Monsanto was driven out of England after widespread protests against seed trials. Why are the Europeans so much more critical of GMOs?

Because Europeans have been better informed of the facts. The media in Europe, up to a few years ago, reported this scientific controversy fairly. People knew many well-credentialed scientists did not agree with the claim that these foods were safe. Adverse research showing harm to lab animals got publicized. As a result, European citizens made it clear they didn't want these foods. Here, the media has not reported the controversy fairly. They've almost always presented the pro-GMO side. As a result, the American public has been systematically deceived.

According to the UN, GM technology enhanced farm income in South Africa by $156 million between 1998 and 2006. But isn't it true there are few proven cases of potential health effects or economic drawbacks?

Even if we grant there have been some economic benefits, according to U.S. law, it is illegal to offset risks by benefits. Foods have to be demonstrated safe to a reasonable certainty of no harm. And none of them has been. In fact, several well-conducted studies published in peer-reviewed scientific journals have demonstrated even severe harm to laboratory animals forced to dine on genetically engineered foods. So there is no reason to think that the risks for us are minimal.


Genetically modified high yield soybeans developed by Monsanto travel on a conveyer belt. The company is a leading developer of genetically modified seeds.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation funded a GMO banana in Uganda that didn't get banana wilt, a disease that was decimating crops. Surely, that's a good thing.

Only if there were not risks that might impact health in ways we don't yet know. As I said, when it comes to food safety, benefits should not be considered in offsetting risks. Everybody has to eat food and changes to food should not entail new risks, no matter what the purported benefits. Several studies by the UN and World Bank also concluded that genetic engineering is not needed to meet the world's food needs. One of the directors of these studies was asked, "What role do you see for GMOs in the future of food?" He said, "Actually none. They aren't needed. They haven't been boosting yields. Small scale, agro-ecological methods are what's needed in the Third World."

For opponents of GMOs, Monsanto is the villain. Yet you say scientists themselves are the main "propagandists." Why would they do this - if they didn't believe they are right?

[Laughs] Oh, I do think that most of them believe that they're right. That's not the issue. A large percentage of "life scientists" have financial interests, one way or another, in genetic engineering. Either they have helped found biotech firms, or they have consulting contracts with biotech firms. Even those scientists and foundations that don't have such conflicts of interest, have overlooked many of the risks. Contrary evidence has been suppressed, research showing risks is attacked unfairly, the scientists who did the research have had their reputations destroyed. Even the American Association for the Advancement of Science released a statement calculated to defeat a labeling initiative in California, which had several significant misrepresentations in it. When those misrepresentations were called to their attention, they would not retract them. That helped swing the election and defeated the labeling initiative, by misleading many Californians.

Recently, the tide seems to have turned towards an acceptance of GMOs. The UN, Bill Gates, and President Clinton have all come out in support. Even writer Michael Pollan, a well-known opponent, now believes there is no threat to human health. Surely, these people can't all be wrong, can they?

They can be misled, yes. Based on the misrepresentations that continue to come from scientists, whom people like Michael Pollan and Bill Gates have a right to trust, I can understand why they think what they think. If you have the National Academy of Science and the American Association for the Advancement of Science consistently stating that these foods are safe why not believe them? But the National Academy of Sciences' supposedly "gold standard" risk assessment is a joke. It's internally self-contradictory, the logic is weak, and it overlooks several key facts. By contrast, a risk-assessment study released by the Royal Society of Canada in 2001, a few years before the National Academy of Science, came out with an opposite conclusion. It said that genetic engineering is different from traditional breeding, that you can't assume the products are safe, and that the current regulatory system is extremely flawed. The scientific establishment here never refuted it. They've just ignored it. I challenge any fair thinking, good-willed scientist, or intelligent man or women, to read this book and decide for him or herself where the evidence lies—who has been telling the truth and has not been telling the truth.


A scientist checks on tomato plants in a Monsanto greenhouse. Though the tide seems to have turned in favor of genetically modified crops, not everyone is convinced of their safety.

What would you say to an African farmer who wants to use GMOs to feed his starving child today rather than worry about an imaginary threat tomorrow?

First I would say: Read what the UN and World Bank-sponsored reports have said. You don't need GMOs. Many organizations are trying to educate farmers in Africa and the Third World on the best, agro-ecological methods. The problem is not that organic methods can't work, but that farmers often haven't had the knowledge they need. But there are solutions that do not rely on GMOs, which have been proven to work in Africa. So I would say: Get with the sound science, spend less money, and solve your food problem in a way that will create healthy soil, a healthy family and a healthy Africa.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

Simon Worrall curates Book Talk. Follow him on Twitter or atsimonworrallauthor.com.

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Drought spurs rodent problems across California


© Reuters/Lisi Niesner

The four year-old drought in California is causing an influx of rats and mice to seek sustenance inside homes and around public water sources during their spring breeding season, according to reports.

With less available water outdoors, rodents are using structural vulnerabilities and accessible lawn foliage to gain access inside California homes that provide the necessary water sources, in Sacramento reported.

"It's a very busy time especially with the drought situation," Kevin Carpenter of Good Earth Pest Control told of rodent breeding season.

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Seeking at least an ounce of water a day, rodents target cracks or openings only as large as the width of a human thumb.

Carpenter said low-hanging trees that allow rodents to reach roofs are also a point of accessibility.

"Those rodents will climb right up. They're excellent climbers and they will climb right up the trees and drop down on the roof," he said.

Outside of sealing foundation openings, homeowners can prevent rodent infestation by eliminating nearby outdoor sources of water, such as pet water bowls, he added.

State wildlife officials said avoiding rodent poison will also help birds like owls and hawks maintain a healthy diet of rats and mice.

"These wildlife are right around us and you might not notice them but they're actually there. And they're helping control rodent populations and as long as you're able to protect them, they will do that for you," Stella McMillan told .

In the San Francisco area, there have been reports of more rats out in public than usual, as the area's water shortage has drawn them in search of nourishment.

"There's no water source for them right now so they're going outside to get it," Tina O'Keefe, of Dirty Rats Rodent Removal, told the Bay Area's NBC affiliate. "They eat plants. They eat meat. They're going to the dog park because there are water bowls. They're going to horse stables because there's water."

Areas like Heron Head Park, just south of San Francisco, have attracted major infestations thanks to abnormal weather patterns.

"This has not happened before," Renee Dunn Martin, a spokeswoman for the Port of San Francisco, told the . Heron Head Park is owned by the port system.

"It's an open space, and a natural habitat for a lot of creatures, but regarding the rats, we are definitely on top of that issue and doing our best to address it," Dunn Martin added.

Turkey foreign ministry condemns Putin's words on Armenian genocide


© Alexei Nikolsky/Russian presidential press service/TASS
Armenia's president Serzh Sargsyan, Russia's president Vladimir Putin, France's president Francois Hollande and president of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades during a flower laying ceremony at the Armenian Genocide memorial complex.

Turkey has condemned the statement of Russian President Vladimir Putin calling the 1915 events in the Ottoman Empire genocide, the foreign ministry said on Friday.

"Despite our warnings and appeals, Russian President Vladimir Putin evaluated the events of 1915 as genocide," the statement says. "We do not accept it and condemn it. Such political statements that are a direct violation of law can have no legal effect."

Turkey's Foreign Ministry noted that "Russia should better know what genocide is like and what legal aspects it has."

"We know that once in ten years the [State] Duma [lower house of Russia's parliament] has a habit of making political statements which support Armenia's one-sided interests," it said. "Duma did not break this tradition and on April 24, 2015 issued a respective statement. We condemn it, too."

Besides, "Russian president's participation in the events held in Yerevan on April 24 should be regarded as part of Armenia's propagandistic campaign."

"Russia can do one thing - to renounce its unilateral position and to positively enhance implementation of Turkey's appeals to the Armenians about friendship and peace," it said.

Earlier in the day, in his speech at the Remembrance ceremony in Yerevan Putin said: "Russia's stance was and remains consistent: we have always thought that mass killings of people cannot be justified."

On April 22 Kremlin said that Ankara should regard with understanding the upcoming visit of President Vladimir Putin to Yerevan to participate in the events in memory of the 1915 Armenian genocide.

"In this regard, there was a conversation between leaders of the two countries and [Turkish President] Recep Tayyip Erdogan knows well about Putin's plans to go to Armenia and this is well known that the country will be represented there at a rather high level on April 24 in Turkey," presidential aide Yuri Ushakov told reporters on Wednesday.

Putin's visit to the Armenian capital comes at the invitation of President Serzh Sargsyan.

Earlier, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Putin's visit to Armenia on April 24 to participate in the commemorative events dedicated to the 100th anniversary of Armenian genocide in the Ottoman Empire will not damage Russia's relations with Turkey,

"In this case, these events cannot be interpreted as those inflicting damage on something," Peskov said, answering a question if the Kremlin fears that the visit to Yerevan could hurt the prospects of building the Turkish Stream pipeline.

Peskov said Turkey is a close partner of Russia and the bilateral relations have a "very solid basis of mutually beneficial economic cooperation." "Our positions on many global issues coincide," he said.

"At the same time, Armenia is our neighbour and a country tied to us with myriads of various threads," Peskov said, adding that this refers to the prospects of further integration and the accession to the Eurasian Economic Union.

Statue Of Liberty evacuated following bomb threat and suspicious package

The Statue of Liberty was evacuated Friday afternoon after someone called in a bomb threat and parks police reported a suspicious package, law enforcement sources tell .

The NYPD's bomb squad was called to the scene, along with EMS workers. A security sweep of the island is also being conducted. As yet, no devices have been found.

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The FBI said it is aware of the package and is monitoring the situation.

Hopium: How far can irrational optimism take the U.S. economy?

If enough people truly believe that things will get better, will that actually cause them to get better? There is certainly something to be said for being positive and thinking that anything is possible. And as Americans, optimism seems to come naturally for us. However, no amount of positive thinking is ever going to turn the sun into a block of wood or turn the moon into a block of cheese. Any good counselor will tell you that one of the first steps toward recovery is to stop being delusional and to come to grips with how bad things really are.

When we deny reality and engage in irrational wishful thinking, we are engaging in something called "hopium". This is a difficult term to define, but the favorite definition of hopium that I have come across so far goes like this:

"The irrational belief that, despite all evidence to the contrary, things will turn out for the best."

In hundreds of articles, I have documented how the U.S. economy is mired in a long-term decline which is about to get a lot worse. But most Americans see things very differently. In fact, according to a brand new CNN/ORC poll, 52 percent of Americans describe the U.S. economy as "very" or "somewhat good", and more than two-thirds of all Americans believe that the U.S. economy will be in "good shape" a year from right now. But if you asked most of those people why they are so optimistic, they would probably mumble something about "Obama" or about how "we're Americans and we always bounce back" or some other such gibberish. Well, it's wonderful that so many people are feeling good and looking forward to the future, but are those beliefs rational?

We witnessed a perfect example of this "hopium" on Wednesday. Sales at McDonald's restaurants have been in decline for quite a while, and the numbers for the first quarter of 2015 were just abysmal...

The ubiquitous burger-and-fries chain said US sales, the largest share of global income, fell 2.6 percent from a year ago for comparable outlets.

Sales in the Asia-Pacific and Middle East region dropped 8.3 percent, helping bring overall global sales down 2.3 percent, "reflecting negative guest traffic in all segments," the company said.

Total revenue sank 11 percent to $5.96 billion in the quarter to March 31, and net income plunged 32.6 percent to $812 million, or 84 cents a share (-31 percent).

So you would think that the stock price would have tanked on Wednesday, right?


Thanks to news that a "turnaround plan" would be announced on May 4th, McDonald's stock actually skyrocketed...

McDonald's closed up 3.13 percent after spiking more than 4.5 percent in early trade as investors cheered a turnaround plan expected on May 4. However, the fast food chain's earnings missed on both the top and bottom lines.

This is pure hopium. Why don't McDonald's executives just tell us what the plan is now? But instead, the mystery of a "secret turnaround plan" gives people just enough hope to keep the stock from tumbling - at least for the moment.

And of course there are all sorts of other stocks that are being massively inflated by hopium right now.

Many years ago, when I was an undergraduate, I was taught that a price to earnings ratio of more than 20 was really, really high.

But these days that is the norm on Wall Street, and at the moment there are quite a few stocks that actually have price to earnings ratios that are greater than 100...

There are 10 stocks in the Standard & Poor's 500, including industrial giant General Electric, video-streamer Netflix and oil and gas explorer Cabot Oil & Gas that are trading for 100 times their diluted earnings the past 12 months excluding extraordinary items, according to a USA TODAY analysis of data from S&P Capital IQ.

And if you can believe it, General Electric has a PE on its training earnings of more than 200...

Take General Electric, the industrial giant that's swiftly selling off banking assets so it can return to its manufacturing roots. GE sports a PE on its trailing earnings of 227, says S&P Capital IQ.

This is completely and totally irrational. General Electric is a giant mess and is being very badly mismanaged. But investors continue to pay a massive premium for GE stock because they hope that things will turn around eventually.

Look, hope will get you a lot of things in life, but it won't put money in your pockets or dinner on the table.

Our politicians and the mainstream media continue to sell us hard on the idea that things are getting better in America, but meanwhile our economic infrastructure continues to decay. Just check out what is happening in the steel industry...

United States Steel Corporation issued layoff notices to 1,404 workers in the latest sign of struggle for the American steel industry. The missives went out in recent days to workers producing pipe and tube products that are used in the oil and gas sector. Job cuts could come as early as June for 17 to 579 employees at a plant in Lone Star, Texas, 166 at a factory in Houston, 255 at a mill in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and 404 managers across the company's tubular operations nationwide.

Since last June, the company has informed 7,800 employees of potential job cuts, a tally from Pittsburgh Business Times indicated. U.S. Steel spokeswoman Sarah Cassella said the ongoing layoffs are the result of "challenging market conditions and global influences in the market including a high level of imports, reduced prices for oil and natural gas and reduced steel prices."

A little over a month ago, I published an article entitled "10 Charts Which Show We Are Much Worse Off Than Just Before The Last Economic Crisis" in which I demonstrated that we are in far worse economic shape than we were just prior to the last recession, and now another great economic crisis is at our door.

Unfortunately, most Americans have no idea what is going on out there. Most of them get their news from the giant propaganda matrix that very tightly controls the flow of ideas and information in this country. This is something that I explain on my new DVD. Six colossal corporations control over 90 percent of the news, information and entertainment that Americans consume, and that gives them an awesome amount of power.

And right now that propaganda matrix is assuring the American people that everything is going to be just fine.

Well, they better be right. Because if not, they are going to have millions of people extremely angry with them when things really start falling to pieces.

Psychopath caught on camera: Hidden nanny cam catches man savagely abusing cat

A family that opened their home to a houseguest was shocked to discover that the man who they thought was a trustworthy friend was actually a vicious animal abuser.

Jordan Lindquist

Kaleb Cloward allowed his friend 19-year-old Jordan Lindquist to stay at his family's home. Kaleb's mother, Colleen, told CBS Las Vegas that Lindquist seemed like a "nice young man." But when the family's cat Shadow began to have health problems, the Clowards installed a nanny cam to figure out what was going on.

The hidden camera captured Lindquist abusing Shadow. The man was caught shaking the cat, punching the feline in the head, and slamming the cat to the ground. Police who saw the footage called the act "torture."

The Clowards had spent hundreds of dollars on vet bills before deciding to install the camera.

"It's definitely heart-wrenching," Kaleb told reporters. "I was furious."

After Kaleb confronted Lindquist, the 19-year-old disappeared from the property and returned a few days later to pick up his belongings. At that time, Lindquist was arrested on charges of animal cruelty. Lindquist did post $5,000 bail.

Hopefully the nanny-cam footage can help authorities pursue a felony cruelty charge in this case. No animal should suffer such terrible abuse.

WARNING: The below video contains some disturbing and graphic content that some may find difficult to watch. Please be warned.

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100 years later: The Armenian genocide of 1915 (VIDEO)

© Agence France Presse
An image from 1915. Turkey deported two thirds of the Armenian population; many were either killed or died of starvation during the journey

In remembrance of the Armenian genocide, here are three videos depicting the history of this mass atrocity - still denied by many today. The first is a silent film, , produced in the US in 1919, based on the book by Aurora Mardiganian, who witnessed many of the events depicted, and who also starred in the film. The second, , tells the story of survivor Margaret Garabedian Der Manuelian and narrated by her 21-year-old great-granddaughter. And the third, , was produced in 1992 by Michael Jones for Channel 4.

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USGS: Earthquake Magnitude 6.2 - 182km WSW of Bella Bella, Canada

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Pilgrim killed by wild boar in Kerala, India


© DJS Photography
Wild Boar

65-year-old pilgrim, Govinda Swami from Peramballoor in Tamil Nadu, was killed in an attack by a wild boar at Pandithavalam at the Sabarimala Sannidhanam on Friday.

Akhila Bharatha Ayyappa Seva Sanghom stretcher service captain Thanchavur Damodaran said the pilgrim had gone to Pandithavalam for tea around 5 a.m. when he was fatally attacked by the animal.

Volunteers rushed him to the Sannidhanam Government Hospital, where he died.

The body was later shifted to the General Hospital in Pathanamthitta for post-mortem examination.

Govinda Swami reached Sabarimala on Thursday with a 50-member group from Peramballoor, sources said.

Authorities investigate two dead gray whales off Santa Cruz County coast


© Jodi Frediani
A woman snaps a photo of a young gray whale on Wednesday that washed ashore at Pajaro Dunes Beach on the southern end of Santa Cruz County.

Two gray whale carcasses washed up in Santa Cruz County this week, prompting Long Marine Lab officials to investigate their deaths.

The whales — one at the northern end of the county and the other at the southern end — were first reported Wednesday, but officials couldn't conduct necropsies when they were reported because of the tide, said Terri Sigler, marine mammal stranding coordinator for Long Marine Lab.

A necropsy conducted Thursday on a 40-foot adult gray whale that washed ashore near Waddell Beach near Davenport couldn't determine the cause of death, Sigler said.

The team did say there was no evidence of the animal dying because of a ship strike or entanglement and likely was dead for at least a couple of days, she said.

"Because of the incoming tide, the necropsy was curtailed," said Sigler, though an abridged version was performed.

The team won't likely return to conduct a second necropsy on the animal because it's in a precarious location.

A second gray whale at Pajaro Dunes in South County, a 23-foot yearling, had killer whale teeth marks across its body and was missing its tongue and jaw.

Though officials have yet to conduct a necropsy, the cause of death was likely orcas, based on the whale's injuries, Sigler said.

"This time of the year, it's not uncommon for calves and smaller whales to be predated on by killer whales," she said.

The gray whales are on their northern migration route from Baja California in Mexico to their feeding grounds in the northern waters of Alaska, said Nancy Black, a marine biologist and owner of Monterey Bay Whale Watch.

Black spotted the gray whale carcass floating in the water when she took a tour group out Monday morning. The group watched as a pod of four orcas pulled the carcass down into the water to eat it, Black said.

Black said the whales likely killed the calf between Sunday night and Monday morning.

"I was thinking it was particularly spectacular to know that only four killer whales were able to do this," she said. "Often times, there's maybe 10 to 15 killer whales doing this."

The territory is prime hunting ground for the orcas because of the submarine canyon that bisects the shallow coastal waters along the shore.

"At some point, (the gray whales) have to cross the deep water. The killer whales patrol the canyon, going back and forth along the edge of the canyon," she said.

The Key War on Terror Propaganda Tool: Only Western Victims Are Acknowledged

In all the years I’ve been writing about Obama’s drone killings, yesterday featured by far the most widespread critical discussion in U.S. establishment journalism circles. This long-suppressed but crucial fact about drones was actually trumpeted as the lead headline on the front page of The New York Times yesterday:

The reason for the unusually intense, largely critical coverage of drone killings yesterday is obvious: the victims of this strike were Western and non-Muslim, and therefore were seen as actually human.

Pakistani lawyer Shahzad Akbar, who represents 150 victims of American drones and was twice denied entry to the U.S. to speak about them, told my Intercept colleague Ryan Devereaux how two of his child clients would likely react to Obama’s “apology” yesterday:

“Today, if Nabila or Zubair or many of the civilian victims, if they are watching on TV the president being so remorseful over the killing of a Westerner, what message is that taking?” The answer, he argued, is “that you do not matter, you are children of a lesser God, and I’m only going to mourn if a Westerner is killed.”

The British-Yemeni journalist Abubakr Al-Shamahi put it succinctly: “It makes me angry that non-Western civilian victims of drone strikes are not given the same recognition by the US administration.” The independent journalist Naheed Mustafasaid she was “hugely irritated by the ‘drone strikes have killed good Westerners so now we know there are issues with drones’ stories.” The Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson this morning observed: “It is all too easy to ignore … the dubious morality of the whole enterprise — until the unfortunate victims happen to be Westerners. Only then does ‘collateral damage’ become big news and an occasion for public sorrow.”

This highlights the ugliest propaganda tactic on which the War on Terror centrally depends, one in which the U.S. media is fully complicit: American and Western victims of violence by Muslims are endlessly mourned, while Muslim victims of American and Western violence are completely disappeared.

When there is an attack by a Muslim on Westerners in Paris, Sydney, Ottawa, Fort Hood or Boston, we are deluged with grief-inducing accounts of the victims. We learn their names and their extinguished life aspirations, see their pictures, hear from their grieving relatives, watch ceremonies honoring their lives and mourning their deaths, launch campaigns to memorialize them. Our side’s victims aren’t just humanized by our media, but are publicly grieved as martyrs.


First they came for the Anti-Vaxxers


© memegenerator.net

Earlier this year I spent a few days at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center with my daughter who was having an EEG done. On our way home, I learned that there had been an outbreak of an antibiotic-resistant bacteria while we were there, that it had infected seven people and killed two of them. My daughter and I were fine - the infection having been limited to people using a particular kind of duodenoscope.

When the story hit the news, I fully expected nationwide outcry similar to that inspired by the recent measles "epidemic" that began at Disneyland. That outbreak killed no-one, yet set the country on fire with calls for mandatory vaccination and even prison sentences for parents who choose not to vaccinate their children. Drug-resistant "superbugs" kill nearly 15,000 people a year in the US and a recent report predicts that they could kill as many as 300 million people by 2050. Surely this far more deadly health threat would lead to similar widespread outrage and calls for those even remotely responsible to be held accountable.

I expected to see editorials calling for anyone who engaged in the overuse of antibiotics to be shunned by society; doctors who prescribed them unnecessarily (around 50% of all prescriptions by some estimates) to be censured and perhaps lose their licenses; parents who asked for antibiotics every time their child had an ear infection - despite the fact that the vast majority are not bacterial and are unaffected by antibiotics - to be thrown in jail for endangering the rest of us. But I saw nothing along these lines. Why not?

The manipulation of the conversation around vaccines in the mainstream media has been nothing short of a tour de force. If you read only mainstream publications, you might come away with the impression that outbreaks of measles are the most serious public health crisis since the Black Death. You might think that those who do not vaccinate are uneducated, superstitious, "anti-science" zealots who get their information from daytime talk shows. You might even start to feel outrage at these people who - for no good reason at all - have decided to endanger everyone else by refusing to do what every doctor knows is perfectly safe, effective and the socially responsible thing to do.

The presentation of this issue has been a study in just how easy it can be to generate mass hysteria around a particular threat - even while much more serious threats inspire no such response. It's as if every mainstream reporter has been given the same playbook to use in putting together their articles about vaccines - a playbook designed to elicit the above response from the public. I've tried to imagine what this playbook must look like and I think I've come up with a pretty decent facsimile. Here it is, along with my own annotations:

1. Make it clear that parents who choose not to vaccinate their children are only getting their information from Jenny McCarthy, Jim Carey and other celebrities with absolutely no scientific credentials.

Pretend that doctors and scientists who are critical of vaccines - doctors like Dr. Suzanne Humphries, Dr. Robert Sears, Dr. Kenneth Stoller, Dr. Robert Rowen, Dr. Janet Levatin, Dr. Stephanie Cave, Dr. Sherri Tenpenny, Dr. Meryl Nass, Dr. Jay Gordon, Dr. Jane Orient, and many of the members of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, CDC researcher Dr. William Thompson, and all of the doctors and scientists listed here and here - don't exist. Because really, if you don't write about them, they don't.

2. Always equate the views of the CDC, medical journals and pharmaceutical company spokespeople with "science." Some people will try to tell you that science is a method, not a conclusion, that scientific truths cannot be determined by consensus or by appeal to authority, but you can just ignore them.

As one (self-proclaimed) scientist put it:

"In my personal and scientifically backed opinion, the war against disease is a hundred fold more important than the mum-led war against vaccines. Do you want your child to die a slow, painful, agonizing death? If not, then shut the f*** up with your so called 'facts' you got from Yahoo Answers and get your kid vaccinated.

"I am going to sound derogatory, but if you don't have formal education in at least biology, you have no role to talk about the way vaccines should be done." (Sic.)

In other words, if you don't have the same training we do, you don't get to be part of the discussion. Even when the topic of that discussion is whether or not we get to forcibly inject things into your bodies and the bodies of your children. Just shut up and trust the scientists. But not these scientists - they are all anti-science scientists. Only trust these ones.

3. Remind your readers that, however heart wrenching or tragic, anecdotal accounts are just that. They are not scientific, they don't say anything about relative risk, and should play no role in influencing your opinion about vaccines.

Until you want to tell them the heart wrenching story of how author Roald Dahl lost his daughter to measles, or about the death of a young girl from rotavirus that inspired Dr. Paul Offit to develop a vaccine for that disease.

Anecdotal accounts of people suffering from vaccine-preventable illnesses are fine. Anything else though is just irrational. Take for example the thousands of stories from parents whosechildren were perfectly healthy until they received one or more vaccines and then suddenly lost the ability to speak, to walk, to feed themselves, or who started having seizures, stopped breathing or died. Many of the parents in these cases report that their doctors insist the vaccines had nothing to do with their child's injury, even when no other explanation is apparent. Indeed, the vaccine manufacturers and the CDC insist that most such cases are simply coincidences and have nothing to do with the vaccines. But given the well-documented degree of conflict of interest and fraudulent practices within the CDC and the medical research community as a whole, many parents are understandably skeptical of such claims.

4. Remind your readers that "correlation is not causation."

Unless you want to show them this graph and tell them it proves that vaccines save lives:


© sciencebasedmedicine.org



To listen to the mainstream media, one would think that measles was a deadly affliction on a par with Ebola or the plague. Vaccine advocates distort the dangers of measles by pointing to adverse effects experienced by populations in underdeveloped countries, where even the mildest of diseases can be deadly due to things like poor nutrition and sanitation.

By the 1950s in the United States though, measles was considered a mild childhood disease that nearly everyone caught before adulthood and lived through with no serious consequences. Says Dr. Donald Miller:

"With good sanitation and nutrition, the pre-vaccine mortality rate of measles in the U.S. was less than 1 in a million (compared with 14 deaths per 100,000 in 1900); seizures occurred in 1 in 3,000 people; and encephalitis, 1 in 100,000, with full recovery in 75 percent of those cases."

It is also worth noting that the CDC's statement that "(f)or every 1,000 children who get measles, one or two will die from it" relies on reported cases of measles. A more accurate estimate puts the death rate at closer to 1 out of 10,000 cases.

Meanwhile, in the past ten years there have been only a handful of measles deaths in the US, but VAERS data report 109 deaths associated with the measles vaccine since January of 2004, and the US Court of Federal Claims has settled 111 claims related to harm from the MMR vaccine in that same time.

Not only is measles a relatively benign illness for healthy people living in developed countries, contracting and surviving the disease confers benefits to the immune system - as well as strengthening herd immunity - in ways that vaccines cannot.

Far from protecting the most vulnerable demographic groups, widespread vaccination has increased the risk of serious harm from measles in some of these populations: Infants and very young children, as well as adults. Normally, measles wouldn't appear in these age groups - but now it does, thanks to the vaccine. As Lawrence Solomon reported in the Financial Post last year:

"In the pre-vaccine era, when the natural measles virus infected the entire population, measles — 'typically a benign childhood illness,' as Clinical Pediatrics described it — was welcomed for providing lifetime immunity, thus avoiding dangerous adult infections. In today's vaccine era, adults have accounted for one quarter to one half of measles cases; most of them involve pneumonia, one-quarter of them hospitalization.

"Also importantly, measles during pregnancies have risen dangerously because expectant mothers no longer have lifetime immunity. Today's vaccinated expectant mothers are at risk because the measles vaccine wanes with time and because it often fails to protect against measles.

"...The danger extends to babies, whose bodies are too immature to receive measles vaccination before age one, making them entirely dependent on antibodies inherited from their mothers. In their first year out of the womb, infants suffer the highest rate of measles infections and the most lasting harm. Yet vaccinated mothers have little antibody to pass ononly about one-quarter as much as mothers protected by natural measlesleaving infants vulnerable three months after birth, according to a study last year in the Journal of Infectious Diseases. [Emphasis mine.]

"Factors such as these increased the death rate for adults and the very young, helping to reverse the decline in deaths seen in previous decades, according to a 2004 study in the Journal of Infectious Disease, authored by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health."

As discussed below, childhood illnesses like measles and mumps can help to develop the immune system in ways that help to protect against things like asthma, autoimmune disease and even cancer. So the proposition that eliminating measles - rather than simply reducing its deadliness - is a worthy public health goal is a questionable one.

5. Whenever possible, present the debate as if there are no legitimate reasons to choose not to vaccinate - only "personal beliefs" and "irrational fears."

The reality is that there are legitimate and documented concerns about vaccine safety. Nobody denies this - all that is in dispute is the magnitude of the harm caused by vaccines. Vaccine manufacturers and their institutional supporters of course insist that any harm from vaccines is minuscule and easily outweighed by the benefits. However this claim is suspect for a number of reasons, not least of which is the stunning degree of conflict of interest and outright fraud within the world of medical research. Leaving aside these issues though, there remain good reasons to distrust the manufacturers' claims.

Numerous studies fly in the face of the manufacturers' claims, showing connections between vaccines and autoimmune disease, asthma, allergies, cancer, encephalopathy, and yes, autism. And even assuming integrity in the clinical trial process, these are not sufficient to demonstrate vaccine safety, as they typically only look at reactions that occur within a few weeks of vaccination, and only compare the adverse events experienced with one vaccine against those experienced with another vaccine - not against an unvaccinated sample. Even the Cochrane Review of the literature on the MMR vaccine, for example, came to the conclusion in 2012 that

"(t)he design and reporting of safety outcomes in MMR vaccine studies, both pre- and post-marketing, are largely inadequate."

Studies that purport to demonstrate the safety of vaccines are similarly flawed and limited in their scope. Indeed, of the list of 42 studies put forward by the American Academy of Pediatrics, with an invitation to parents to "examine the evidence", none compare vaccinated against unvaccinated populations, and most look only at either the MMR vaccine or at Thimerosal.

Meanwhile, because of a law that removes any liability from the makers of vaccines for any harm caused by their products, the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) has paid out nearly $3 billion in damages to the families of those who claim they have been injured by vaccines since its inception in 1988. This is despite the elimination by the DHHS of most of the original adverse events from the "Table of Compensable Events", and what NVIC President Barbara Loe Fisher calls "...a highly adversarial, lengthy, expensive, traumatic and unfair imitation of a court trial for vaccine victims and their attorneys."

And every year, around 30,000 reports are made to the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) which records adverse reactions immediately following vaccination, as reported by doctors, other medical professionals, pharmaceutical companies, patients and parents. Thirteen percent of these are classified as "serious" (including death).

Of course these numbers don't mean very much without a comparison to the background rate of such adverse events in the general population, not immediately following vaccination. Some studies have shown no increased adverse events after vaccination as compared to the general population. Other studies (including some that use post-vaccination data for other vaccines for comparison, rather than population-wide background rates) show higher rates of adverse events immediately post-vaccine.

Vaccine proponents argue that the VAERS numbers are not an accurate reflection of vaccine damage, because each case reported has not been conclusively proven to be caused by a vaccine. It is a legitimate point - and is largely due to the fact that in most cases there is no way to confirm vaccination as the cause of the event.

The much bigger problem though is the degree to which the VAERS numbers suffer from significant underreporting. Says president of the National Vaccine Information Center and advocate for parental choice regarding vaccines Barbara Loe Fisher:

"There have been estimates that perhaps less than 5 or 10 percent of doctors report hospitalizations, injuries, deaths, or other serious health problems following vaccination. The 1986 Vaccine Injury Act contained no legal sanctions for not reporting [via VAERS]; doctors can refuse to report and suffer no consequences."

Indeed, one study found that while 68% of cases of vaccine-associated polio were reported, only 4% of MMR-associated thrombocytopenia were reported. An earlier study found that only 1% of adverse events following prescription drug use were reported. And in 1994, a survey found that only 18% of 159 doctors' offices made reports when children suffered serious health problems following vaccination. In New York, this number was one out of 40.

Some argue that adverse events are also over-reported to VAERS, presumably by distraught parents, but this charge is less credible. All the evidence shows that doctors and other healthcare providers are extremely reluctant to report events to VAERS. Healthcare providers account for 36% of all reports to VAERS, with vaccine manufacturers accounting for another 37%. Vaccine recipients and their parents or guardians account for only 7% of reports.

So what is the real risk of overall vaccine injury? The only honest answer is that nobody knows. The number of genuine vaccine injuries is likely much higher than what is reported in VAERS, but how much higher nobody can reliably say. The science on vaccine safety is conflicted, it is insufficient and it is badly corrupted by special interests. It is anything but "settled."

But there's more.

There is evidence that vaccines may cause harm well beyond what would show up in an adverse events report - harm that may manifest over many years, rather than in the days and weeks immediately following vaccination. Vaccines have been connected to increased rates of cancer, severe allergies and autoimmune disease:

As Dr. Donald Miller explains:

"Measles helps a child's immune system grow strong and mature.

"Once past the immunologic barriers of skin and mucosa, our (2-trillion-cell) immune system has two components: An innate system, which all animals have; and an evolutionarily more recent adaptive system that vertebrates have. The childhood diseases—measles, mumps, rubella, and chickenpox—play a constructive role in the maturation of the adaptive immune system. Two kinds of helper T-cells (Th) manage this system:cellular T-cells (Th1); and humoral T-cells (Th2), which make antibodies. The Th1 cellular T-cells are especially important because they attack and kill cells in the body that run amok and become cancerous. And they also kill cells that become infected with viruses.

"Measles (and other viral childhood diseases) stimulate both the Th1 and Th2 components. The MMR vaccine stimulates predominately the Th2 side. Overstimulation of this part of the adaptive immune system provokes allergies, asthma, and auto-immune diseases. Since the Th1 side thwarts cancer, if it does not get fully developed in childhood a person can wind up being more prone to cancer later in life. Women who had mumps during childhood, for example, have been found to be less likely to develop ovarian cancer compared with women who did not have mumps."

(The study can be found here.)

According to the CDC, food allergies in children increased by about 50% between 1997 and 2011. Asthma rates have also been on the rise, with an increase of 28% between 2001 and 2011. And childhood cancer rates have been increasing since the 1970s. The National Institutes of Health reported in 1996 that the incidence of childhood cancer had increased by 10% between 1973 and 1991, and a 1999 report in the International Journal of Health Services said that:

"From the early 1980s to the early 1990s, the incidence of cancer in American children under 10 years of age rose 37 percent, or 3 percent annually. There is an inverse correlation between increases in cancer rates and age at diagnosis; the largest rise (54 percent) occurred in children diagnosed before their first birthday. "

There are no definitive explanations for these dramatic increases in potentially life-threatening conditions among children, and in all likelihood there is no single cause responsible for any one of them. However parents have good reason to be concerned about harmful environmental factors, including vaccines. Indeed, several studies show increased rates of immunological problems associated with vaccination.

A study in New Zealand found a higher rate of asthma among those who had been vaccinated (Kemp et al, 1997); Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Study in the US showed that children vaccinated with DTP or Tetanus vaccines were twice as likely to develop asthma as unvaccinated children (Hurwitz and Morgenstern, 2000), and another study showed that the MMR vaccine can cause human white blood cells to develop IgE antibodies - one of the main characteristics of asthma (Imani and Kehoe, 2001). A 2008 study found that delaying DPT vaccination was associated with reduced risk of childhood asthma.

Other studies have found a link between vaccines and allergies and autoimmune disease. A 1996 study in Africa found higher rates of allergies among those who had been vaccinated against measles than among those who had survived the disease. The study concluded that "(m)easles infection may prevent the development of atopy in African children."

A 2001 study confirmed

"A causal association between measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine and idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP)..."; A study in 2014 found a strong correlation between hepatitis B vaccination and higher rates of multiple sclerosis; a 1999 study in Japan found that "...gelatin-containing DTaP vaccine may have a causal relationship to the development of this gelatin allergy"; and in 2009, a Japanese study that gave mice repeated immunizations with antigen found that "(s)ystemic autoimmunity appears to be the inevitable consequence of over-stimulating the host's immune 'system' by repeated immunization..."

In the journal Autoimmunity, Vared Molina and Yehudi Shoenfeld write

"Vaccines, in several reports were found to be temporally followed by a new onset of autoimmune disease. The same mechanisms that act in infectious invasion of the host, apply equally to the host response to vaccination. It has been accepted for diphtheria and tetanus toxoid, polio and measles vaccines and GBS. Also this theory has been accepted for MMR vaccination and development of autoimmune thrombocytopenia, MS has been associated with HBV vaccination."

Those who would force vaccinations on the rest of us are fond of repeating bromides like "your right to be sick ends where public health begins." But who gets to decide what constitutes "public health"? Who decided that the eradication of every childhood illness is in the best interests of "public health"? Why are not increased rates of childhood cancer and life-threatening allergies relevant to "public health"? Why can I not demand that everyone vaccinating their children because doing so directly threatens the ability of mine to contract childhood diseases which might help strengthen their immune systems?

6. If you must acknowledge that critics of vaccines have actual reasons for their concerns, restrict the discussion to the fear that vaccines may cause autism, and be sure to stress that the only basis for this concern is the retracted 1998 study by Andrew Wakefield.

You can also mention some of the studies that "prove" there is no causal link between vaccines and autism. Just be sure not to mention any of the ones that do show a connection, like this one, this one or this one. Be especially careful not to mention this one, this one, or any of these, these or these.

At all costs, never ever mention any of the concerns listed in "4." above.

For bonus points, see if you can create the impression that the only potential problem with vaccines is thimerosal, and then declare that thimerosal has been removed from all vaccines. (It hasn't.)

7. When in doubt, pepper your stories with some of the following affirmations. Remember: The more you say them, the truer they become: "Vaccines save lives"; "parents who don't vaccinate are selfish" ("ignorant", "anti-science" and"hippies" all work well too.); and above all: "the science is settled."

You may have to repeat this last one many many times before your readers come to understand and accept it.

8. Don't even address vaccines directly. Simply include some mention of vaccine skepticism as an example of the kind of irrational thinking some people (especially, strangely, well-educated ones) still engage in despite "everyone knowing" how foolish it is.

This is perhaps the most powerful tool you can use to sway your audience. Nobody wants to be seen as foolish, and most people don't have the time or inclination to look closely at the evidence for and against vaccine safety. If people keep hearing that "everyone knows" vaccines are safe and effective, most of them will tend to go along with that position even if they don't know much about the topic - if only to avoid being seen as crackpots. Fear of public humiliation can be a beautiful thing in the right hands.

9. If the icky topic of conflict of interest or corruption of the research by vested interests comes up, just laugh it off. Remember: Writing in a derisive tone about other people's claims or concerns is exactly the same as refuting them.

Amy Wallace, who wrote this Wired piece handled this especially well. And not only did she fail to interview a single critic of vaccines for the article, she cunningly created the impression that she had included their views by visiting an Autism One conference and mentioning and briefly quoting - but never actually speaking with - NVIC president Barbara Loe Fisher. Well done Amy Wallace!

Be sure to quote Dr. Paul Offit and to cite him as a "vaccine expert". Don't bother disclosing that he has made millions of dollars from the Rotavirus vaccine he developed. The whole notion of disclosing conflicts of interest within a story is so passé. Also anti-science.

Vaccine advocates like to point to studies that show no increased risk of harm from vaccines. They assert that these studies invalidate the findings of other studies that do show a link between vaccines and asthma, allergies, autism and other conditions. In a world in which scientific institutions could be trusted to conduct honest, objective research and produce credible results, this might provide some comfort. In the real world though, there is little reason to give credence to much of the research that gets produced on vaccines - and much less so to results that in any way favor the manufacturers of those vaccines.

Lest anyone suspect that this kind of cynicism about the scientific establishment is confined to anti-vaccination activists, here is what Marcia Angell, former editor in chief of the New England Journal of Medicine, wrote in 2009:

"...(C)onflicts of interest and biases exist in virtually every field of medicine, particularly those that rely heavily on drugs or devices. It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of The New England Journal of Medicine." [Emphasis mine.]

Angell adds:

"No one knows the total amount provided by drug companies to physicians, but I estimate from the annual reports of the top nine US drug companies that it comes to tens of billions of dollars a year. By such means, the pharmaceutical industry has gained enormous control over how doctors evaluate and use its own products. Its extensive ties to physicians, particularly senior faculty at prestigious medical schools, affect the results of research, the way medicine is practiced, and even the definition of what constitutes a disease."

Likewise, in his 2013 book Bad Pharma, physician (and vaccine advocate) Ben Goldacre writes:

"Overall, the pharmaceutical industry spends around half a billion dollars a year on advertising in academic journals. The biggest - NEJM, JAMA - take $10 or $20 million each, and there is a few million each for the next rank down."

Goldacre adds that "(a)dvertising is not the only source of drug company revenue for academic journals", and cites "supplements" - special editions sponsored by drug companies - and reprints of individual academic papers that can bring in up to a million dollars each. And he cites a 2009 study demonstrating that industry-funded studies are more likely to be accepted by journals.

The real-world impact of this control has been well documented, from the FDA concealing fraud in medical trials, to built-in biases in studies, to pharmaceutical companies misleading practitioners as to the safety and efficacy of their products, to allegations of fraudulent misconduct brought by scientists turned whistleblowers.

Recently, two former Merck scientists charged that the pharmaceutical giant "...fraudulently misled the government and omitted, concealed, and adulterated material information regarding the efficacy of its mumps vaccine..." And in August of last year, senior CDC scientist William Thompson came forward with the statement that he and other researchers had omitted statistically significant data from a 2004 article published in the journal Pediatrics. (It is worth noting that Dr. Thompson's earlier studies at the CDC were hailed as "definitive" in refuting the Thimerosal-autism link by none other than Dr. Paul Offit.)

According to Thompson's statement

"(t)he omitted data suggested that African American males who received the MMR vaccine before age 36 months were at increased risk for autism. Decisions were made regarding which findings to report after the data were collected, and I believe that the final study protocol was not followed."

In a secretly recorded conversation, Dr. Thompson told with Dr. Brian Hooker, "I have a boss who is asking me to lie. The higher ups wanted to do certain things and I went along with it." He told Dr. Hooker that "...the CDC has not been transparent, we've missed ten years of research, because the CDC is so paralyzed right now by anything related to autism. They're not doing what they should be doing. They are afraid to look for things that might be associated..."

Put simply: The scientific establishment has lost any right to be taken at its word on this issue.

10. "Muh Herd Immunity!"

Remind your readers of our long-treasured right to herd immunity: The right to demand - at gunpoint if necessary - that others take every possible precaution against contracting communicable diseases, regardless of the risks to themselves of doing so. This is a right our forefathers fought and died for and we're not about to give it up now.

Actually, no.

Those who support imposing vaccines by force argue that those who do not vaccinate threaten herd immunity for the entire population. The idea that vaccines can successfully provide herd immunity is already questionable, as - unlike many childhood diseases - they do not confer lifetime immunity. Nor do they offer 100% immunity to those vaccinated. But more importantly this argument presumes that "herd immunity" is something anyone has a right to in the first place.

For centuries, people have been aware that being out in public carries certain risks - among them, the risk that one might contract a disease from another person. Never before have people widely asserted that they have the right to demand that everyone around them take all possible precautions at whatever cost to themselves to make this environment absolutely risk free. If, as the mandatory vaccination proponents contend, we can demand that everyone around us take every conceivable precaution against every communicable disease, what else can we demand of them?

For starters, the recently vaccinated (with live-virus vaccines) should be excluded from all public property. And if not, why not? They pose far more of a risk than does anyone who has simply not been vaccinated. What are some other risky practices Americans should no longer tolerate from each other? Going out in public with a cold? Being a poor driver? Being in possession of any substance that might cause a severe allergic reaction in someone else?

How about superbugs? What are we going to do about all those people who abuse antibiotics, ultimately leading to the creation of superbugs. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are responsible for nearly 15,000 deaths in the US each year, far outstripping pre-vaccine deaths for measles, mumps and whooping cough combined. Can we not hold the irresponsible people who take antibiotics every time they have a minor infection accountable for this?

Personally, I avoid antibiotics for myself and my family as much as possible. I have never given them to a child with an ear infection (and yes, we've had some.) Should my preferences be imposed on everyone else? Doing so would clearly strike a blow against the propagation of superbugs. So why not?

Here's why not: Because your right to protect "public health" - whatever you think that may be given the interest-driven media hysteria of the moment - ends where my body begins.

Herd immunity is not something anyone has a "right" to. It is a positive externality, and like other such externalities it is not something you have a right to demand that your fellow human beings provide for you. More to the point, you do not have a right to demand that other parents impose risks on their children that they are not comfortable with, in order to protect your child or anyone else's children.

The Forced Vaccination Threat: a Tragedy of the Commons

Can there ever be a point where spreading a disease becomes "assault"? Of course there can: A person who knows that they are infected with Ebola, for example, stepping into a crowded subway car and proceeding to cough all over the other passengers, could easily be considered guilty of assault. But measles is hardly Ebola (it is not even on the federal government's list of quarantinable diseases), and - contrary to the media frenzy that insists otherwise - not being vaccinated does not equate to being infected with a disease, far less to knowingly infecting others. Failure to take every precaution against getting a disease is hardly "assault."

Even in the case of a truly deadly illness like Ebola, there is no justification for forcing a particular method of prevention on those who have not contracted it, or forcing treatment on anyone who has. All that anyone has a right to do is demand that those people not infect others.

It should be obvious by now that none of this would even be an issue if we lived in a society that honored self-ownership and private property. In the event of an outbreak of a truly dangerous disease - or even a disease that posed a serious risk to only a small segment of the population - each property owner could make their own decision about whether to exclude those who were infected or indeed, even those who chose not to be vaccinated against the disease, presuming there was a vaccine for it.

As economist Robert Murphy writes:

"Private businesses aren't stupid; they don't need the government to order them to keep lepers away. And if a particular church, say, wants to open its doors to such a person, that's perfectly within their rights. (As a matter of courtesy, we would hope this policy would be announced to others who might not want to visit the same building.) Indeed, the final repository for such people would be buildings where the owners thought they could safely contain the disease. And the common name people would use for these buildings is "hospital." In a free society, to be "quarantined" would simply mean that most owners (of roads, sidewalks, malls, hotels, factories, etc.) would refuse access, and so a contagious person would have few choices outside of treatment facilities."

Rather than having a one-size-fits-all solution imposed upon everyone by some authority, everyone would make choices based on their own perception of the risks. Businesses that responded to the risk sensitivities of their customers would do well and those that did not would suffer. And because not all people have the same perception of or sensitivity to the same risks, there would be a wide variety of choices: Schools that allow unvaccinated children and schools that do not; restaurants that cater to those with severe allergies and those that do not; parks, libraries, cinemas and other establishments that specialize in serving immunocompromised and other medically fragile individuals, and those that do not.

In the absence of a "commons" - property that is used by everyone but owned by no-one (or, more realistically, owned by the state) there would be no calls for anyone to have vaccines forced upon them at gunpoint. Those who believe vaccinations are absolutely necessary would frequent businesses and venues that enforced strict vaccination policies, and those who did not would frequent places that had more relaxed policies.

My own guess is that for the most part, the issue would simply go away. People would come to realize that the real risk to themselves and their families posed by those who do not vaccinate is in fact minuscule - particularly in comparison to other risks we all expose ourselves to daily. In the absence of a "commons" managed by people who do not have to earn the costs of their operation, most business owners would find that they stood to lose more by excluding "non-vaxxers" than they did to gain by allowing them in.

It is only in a world where property rights are not clearly defined, where there are great swathes of "commons" (either "public" property or nominally private property over which owners do not have genuine decision-making powers) that there can be a conflict between "public" health and individual rights. Eliminate the commons and you eliminate that conflict - replacing it with a myriad of voluntary solutions to meet the differing wants and needs of diverse individuals.

Whatever Your Views on Vaccines, the Prospect of Forced Vaccination Ought to Make You Very Very Afraid

Do those who believe in mandated vaccination really want to establish the precedent of granting a government body the power to compel people to be injected with substances against their will? You may support the forced vaccination of other people's children because you think vaccines are undeniably beneficial and problem-free. But you may not be so thrilled about the next substance the state decides everyone should have forced into their veins.

Do you really want to establish the precedent of being able to demand from your neighbors that they pose no risk to you at all? The corollary of course being that they may then demand the same of you? If as a society we decide that we have the right to demand a 100% risk-free environment in which to live then the potential intrusions into our lives are infinite.

Even if the manufacturers' claims are correct and the risk of serious injury from vaccines is infinitesimal, for most people it is impossible to know ahead of time whether or not they will be injured by a vaccine. Nobody has the right to force another person to choose that risk - however small it may be - over the risks of the diseases the vaccines are intended to prevent.

The state already controls vast swathes of what we can do with our lives: What professions we may enter, how and where we may conduct business, what substances we cannot ingest, how much of the money we earn we are allowed to keep, how we may travel and what indignities we must tolerate in order to do so, when and where we may protest, and the list goes on and on. If you do not believe that individuals have the right to control what goes into their own bodies then I have to wonder what rights - if any - you do believe people still have.

It seems to me that, save choosing our mates for us, the last remnant of our self ownership lies in our right not to be directly assaulted, not to have unwanted drugs or other substances forced into our bodies. If you believe that the state has the right to do this, then there is essentially nothing left that it does not have a right to do.

The pro-vaccine lobby has done a phenomenal job of inciting fear among the American public in a way that happens to serve its interests: Fear of little children who may not have been vaccinated; fear of other parents who may make choices different from yours; fear of a disease that in the developed world is far less deadly than lightning strikes. But they've left out one of the most frightening specters of all, one that has a truly horrifying historical record of death and destruction: An all-powerful state that can literally do whatever it wishes to those living under it. If that prospect frightens you less than the remote possibility that you might contract measles from my five year old, then quite frankly you scare the hell out of me.

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