Covid-19: Cuba’s people-before-profit approach pays off as capitalism proves a bitter pill for the US

Source

rt.com
By Pablo Vivanco, a journalist and analyst specializing in politics and history in the Americas, who served as the Director of teleSUR English. Recent bylines include The Jacobin, Asia Times, The Progressive and Truthout. Follow him on Twitter @pvivancoguzman
Havana has punched above its weight for decades when it comes to health. But never have the differences between its socialist system and the market-based system of its strongest detractor, America, been so apparent.

Even before it reported novel coronavirus cases of its own in March, Cuba’s fingerprints were all over the efforts to stem the global pandemic, from China’s use of antivirals developed on the island to treat the infected, to the docking of a British cruise ship in Havana in order to allow the 1,000 people on board – including five Covid-19 carriers – to return home.

The MS Braemar, filled mostly with British citizens, was refused permission to disembark at several ports it approached. According to some reports, the US – a principal British ally – was one of the countries that turned it down. The ship’s operator, Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, has not commented on the US specifically, saying they explored a number of options and would not disclose the details of those negotiations. The fact that the vessel ultimately found refuge on Cuba’s shores serves to illustrate the difference in approaches to this pandemic.

Despite considerable risk factors, including a high percentage of people over the age of 60 and a high number of visitors to the country, Cuba has been able to keep Covid-19 cases to just under 1,370 as of April 27, with just 54 deaths.

This is largely due to the fact that the Caribbean island not only has the highest ratio of doctors to population in the world, but also a free, universal health system based on proactive, community response.

ALSO ON RT.COMEcuador’s Covid-19 catastrophe is man-made disaster — because for political elites ordinary Ecuadorians are just disposablesThe country’s socialist government has been tempered by decades of crisis management – from the devastating Special Period of the 1990s to the almost annual mobilization for hurricane season – and quickly responded to minimize damage and, most importantly, loss of life.

The measures that began in January included training and preparation for medical professionals and facilities, but by March these extended into other sectors and included a virtual shutdown of the tourism industry – a huge chunk of Cuba’s economy.

Still, authorities maintained that Cuban doctors would continue to go to countries that needed support in controlling the spread of the virus. These same medical brigades were instrumental in supporting African nations in curbing and controlling the Ebola outbreak that began in 2014.

ALSO ON RT.COMThe Covid-19 pandemic exposes deep flaws in America’s broken healthcare system

But now, for the first time, Cuban doctors have been received with open arms in European countries like Italy and Andorra, and they have even been welcomed back by some of the very same US-allied governments in Latin America that vilified and kicked them out just months ago.

The number of Cuban-trained doctors working in other countries is even higher when you count the graduates from Havana’s Latin American School of Medicine, which has provided free education to 35,000 doctors in 138 countries since 1999.

All of this has been accomplished under the severe limitations and resources that are the intentional consequence of barbaric US sanctions, which were recently intensified by the Trump administration.

ALSO ON RT.COM‘Immoral & inhumane’: Russian FM denounces US sanctions hampering worlds’ efforts against Covid-19 pandemic

Exporting its doctors and nurses abroad is a vital revenue-earner for Cuba. It brings in around $11 billion each year – a bigger source of income than the island’s tourism industry. At any one time, there are around 50,000 Cuban doctors working across 67 countries, an ‘army of white coats’, as officials describe them.

But while Cubans have put themselves in harm’s way to support people and countries all over the planet, the US has been doing the exact opposite.

In an audacious demonstration of hypocrisy, Washington has pressured countries to not accept Cuban doctors, while offering little support of its own, and has also deliberately (and perhaps illegally) seized shipments of medical equipment meant for other countries, including some of its closest allies.

To be fair, even if it had the will, the US government is not in a position to lend much support to anyone at the moment.

The weaknesses of America’s health system, which paradoxically has the highest per capita funding in the world by far, were laid bare even before the pandemic, as Democratic presidential hopefuls outlined their plans to provide adequate healthcare to the more than 70 million Americans who lack it.

Just a few weeks into this crisis, the picture is even bleaker, with millions more losing access due to job losses, and hospitals lacking proper equipment for patients and staff.

To make matters worse, the discrepancy in measures at the state and local level demonstrates that the country’s overall response is nothing less than schizophrenic. Meanwhile, decisions from the White House – including having tapped a dog breeder to lead the pandemic response and suggesting people inject disinfectant – have become increasingly indiscernible from satire. It’s like ‘Tiger King’, but on healthcare.

In this tragic and farcical situation, the differences between the healthcare systems and approaches in the US and Cuba have become more apparent.

Cuba has long prioritized healthcare as a right that all people should have, while America believes that the market should dictate who has access and who doesn’t. Cuba has exported its doctors across the globe to help stem the pandemic’s tide, while the US has tightened the stranglehold on the island in a futile attempt to stop it from doing so.

ALSO ON RT.COMCuba enraged over ‘cruel & genocidal’ US blockade impeding anti-coronavirus efforts

The schism between the two is less a matter of money than a matter of philosophy. Cuba, for all its shortcomings, has maintained an indomitable commitment to the health and lives of people, and it has been vindicated during this pandemic.

Meanwhile, its wealthy neighbor to the north sinks deeper into a death spiral, intent on proving the superiority of the capitalist orthodoxy its government wants applied to every sphere of life, in every part of the planet.

Why It’s Ugly To Criticize Trump For Dodging The Vietnam Draft

 

There’s a popular tweet going around saying “Do you know what the 58,220 American Dead from the Vietnam War will have in common with the 58,220 American dead expected this midweek? Donald Trump refused to fight for either one of them.”

The tweet has thousands of shares and made it to the front page of Reddit today. Liberals love it.

While it is certainly legitimate to criticize Trump for his many spectacular failures in dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic, it is entirely illegitimate to criticize him for dodging America’s most evil and idiotic war in living memory. Anyone who avoided fighting in Vietnam was absolutely right to do so, regardless of their motives and regardless of the means they used.

For years hitting Trump on his “bone spurs” medical deferment of questionable validity has been a common line of attack used by mainstream liberals, and by self-described progressive pundits like TYT’s Cenk Uygur. We are seeing this attack reinvigorated as Trump’s critics begin highlighting the fact that the official number of US Covid deaths is about to surpass the US death toll in the Vietnam War, as in this Washington Post article titled “This pandemic is Trump’s Vietnam. He has earned his bone spurs.” which opens, “President Bonespurs finally gets to fight a war. Unfortunately for us, he’s re-fighting the Vietnam War.”

This criticism has been leveled many times since Trump’s election, and we can expect it to get a lot more mentions as November draws closer. And everyone using it will have one thing in common: a lack of appreciation for how senseless, pointless, worthless, destructive and unforgivably evil the Vietnam War actually was.

Not one good thing came about as a result of anyone killing or being killed in that war. Not a one. All of the US soldiers who died in Vietnam died for no legitimate reason, and nothing was accomplished by their deaths. They did not fight for Americans. They did not fight for freedom. They fought for the same thing all US service members fight for in modern wars: war profiteers and idiotic geostrategic agendas of global domination.

Americans were deceived into beginning the Vietnam War, were deceived throughout its duration, and were deceived into continuing itMillions of human lives were violently ended. Unarmed civilians were horrifically massacred. Unspeakably brutal weapons like napalm and Agent Orange were used liberally. The CIA’s Phoenix Program routinely tortured enemies and suspected enemies using starvation, gang rape, rape using snakes or eels, attack dog maulings, electrical wires attached to genitals, and other vicious methods designed to inflict unimaginable human suffering.

US soldiers were sent into hell, for no legitimate reason and with no discernible objectives. The horror, brutality and insanity of it all left hundreds of thousands of veterans struggling with mental health disorders for decades. Commanders being murdered by their own troops became commonplace. Young men were sent to be killed, wounded, ruined and driven into madness for nothing. For nothing.

That is what you are condemning Trump for when you slam his medical deferment. For using the means that were available to him to escape a situation in which he would have been forced to inflict permanent trauma and have permanent trauma inflicted upon him for no legitimate reason whatsoever and to no gain for the greater good at all.

The Vietnam War was an unforgivable evil that should never have happened, and this sort of “draft dodger” argument kills off the natural revulsion and outrage we should all still hold about its having been inflicted upon our species. It’s impossible to make such arguments without the tacit assumption that there was something good and noble about going to fight in that inferno of insanity, and there simply wasn’t. You are necessarily implying that those who went were morally superior in some way to those who avoided going, and they simply weren’t.

Whenever I voice this unpopular opinion, Trump’s critics often claim, correctly, that the president didn’t dodge the draft for any kind of moral reason; he wasn’t a conscientious objector, he was a privileged kid who didn’t want to get killed. But I insist that this doesn’t matter. There is no wrong reason for avoiding a monstrous war that should never have happened, and every single person who did so was absolutely right to do so regardless of their motives.

People sometimes claim, correctly, that Trump was a rich man’s son who had access to means which would have enabled him to dodge the draft that less privileged individuals would not have had available to them. But I insist that this, too, doesn’t matter. Everyone who avoided the Vietnam draft was right to do so, regardless of the means they used to do so. The fact that others did not have Trump’s means does not mean he was wrong to make use of them. Anyone in his place would have been absolutely right to do the same.

People sometimes claim, correctly, that Trump is sending soldiers off to kill and be killed (usually kill) in foreign wars while himself being unwilling to fight in Vietnam. But this argument cannot be made without taking it as a given that someone who had gone to kill Vietnamese people and undergo irreparable trauma would have had more legitimacy in waging those wars, and this is simply not the case. America’s warmongering was evil and inexcusable during Vietnam, and it is evil and inexcusable today. Trump has the same amount of moral authority to continue these endless wars that Vietnam veteran John McCain would have had if he’d beaten Obama in 2008, namely zero. Mass murder by someone who also murdered Vietnamese people isn’t any more moral than mass murder by someone who stayed home.

There are many, many, many perfectly valid criticisms that can be accurately leveled against Trump, from pretty much anywhere on the political spectrum. From my point of view he’s a vicious warmonger who has been advancing many longstanding agendas of the same corrupt political establishment he pretends to oppose, claiming he’s draining the swamp while maintaining a cabinet filled with establishment swamp monsters. There is no shortage of accurate and productive criticisms to level at this president, and indeed anyone who values truth, justice and peace will do so frequently. But dodging the Vietnam draft is not one of them.

The only blame to be case for the Vietnam War lies in those who inflicted that terrible trauma upon our world. Nobody who avoided it was wrong to do so, and in fact it would have been better if everyone would have avoided it altogether. The US armed services are continuing to leave generation after generation of soldiers damaged, desperate and suffering, and the more people find ways to avoid being funneled into the gears of the American war machine, the better.

________________________

Thanks for reading! The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for my website, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook, following my antics onTwitter, checking out my podcast on either YoutubesoundcloudApple podcasts or Spotify, following me on Steemit, throwing some money into my hat on Patreon or Paypalpurchasing some of my sweet merchandise, buying my books Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone and Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish, use or translate any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge.

The best material for homemade face masks may be a combination of two fabrics


Carnival of Venice - Wikipedia

Source

http://www.sciencedaily.com

April 24, 2020
Source:
American Chemical Society

Summary:

Researchers report that a combination of cotton with natural silk or chiffon can effectively filter out aerosol particles — if the fit is good.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people wear masks in public. Because N95 and surgical masks are scarce and should be reserved for health care workers, many people are making their own coverings. Now, researchers report in ACS Nano that a combination of cotton with natural silk or chiffon can effectively filter out aerosol particles — if the fit is good.

SARS-CoV-2, the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19, is thought to spread mainly through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes, speaks or breathes. These droplets form in a wide range of sizes, but the tiniest ones, called aerosols, can easily slip through the openings between certain cloth fibers, leading some people to question whether cloth masks can actually help prevent disease. Therefore, Supratik Guha at the University of Chicago and colleagues wanted to study the ability of common fabrics, alone or in combination, to filter out aerosols similar in size to respiratory droplets.

The researchers used an aerosol mixing chamber to produce particles ranging from 10 nm to 6 μm in diameter. A fan blew the aerosol across various cloth samples at an airflow rate corresponding to a person’s respiration at rest, and the team measured the number and size of particles in air before and after passing through the fabric. One layer of a tightly woven cotton sheet combined with two layers of polyester-spandex chiffon — a sheer fabric often used in evening gowns — filtered out the most aerosol particles (80-99%, depending on particle size), with performance close to that of an N95 mask material. Substituting the chiffon with natural silk or flannel, or simply using a cotton quilt with cotton-polyester batting, produced similar results. The researchers point out that tightly woven fabrics, such as cotton, can act as a mechanical barrier to particles, whereas fabrics that hold a static charge, like certain types of chiffon and natural silk, serve as an electrostatic barrier. However, a 1% gap reduced the filtering efficiency of all masks by half or more, emphasizing the importance of a properly fitted mask.

The authors acknowledge use of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Center for Nanoscale Materials user facility at Argonne National Laboratory and funding from the U.S. Department of Defense’s Vannevar Bush Fellowship.


Story Source:

Materials provided by American Chemical SocietyNote: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Abhiteja Konda, Abhinav Prakash, Gregory A. Moss, Michael Schmoldt, Gregory D. Grant, Supratik Guha. Aerosol Filtration Efficiency of Common Fabrics Used in Respiratory Cloth MasksACS Nano, 2020; DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.0c03252

American Stonehenge: Monumental Instructions for the Post-Apocalypse

Source
http://www.wired.com
AUTHOR: 04.20.09

The Georgia Guidestones may be the most enigmatic monument in the US: huge slabs of granite, inscribed with directions for rebuilding civilization after the apocalypse. Only one man knows who created them—and he’s not talking. Photo: Dan Winters The strangest monument in America looms over a barren knoll in northeastern Georgia. Five massive slabs of polished granite rise out of the earth in a star pattern. The rocks are each 16 feet tall, with four of them weighing more than 20 tons apiece. Together they support a 25,000-pound capstone. Approaching the edifice, it’s hard not to think immediately of England’s Stonehenge or possibly the ominous monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Built in 1980, these pale gray rocks are quietly awaiting the end of the world as we know it.

Called the Georgia Guidestones, the monument is a mystery—nobody knows exactly who commissioned it or why. The only clues to its origin are on a nearby plaque on the ground—which gives the dimensions and explains a series of intricate notches and holes that correspond to the movements of the sun and stars—and the “guides” themselves, directives carved into the rocks. These instructions appear in eight languages ranging from English to Swahili and reflect a peculiar New Age ideology. Some are vaguely eugenic (guide reproduction wisely—improving fitness and diversity); others prescribe standard-issue hippie mysticism (prize truth—beauty—love—seeking harmony with the infinite).

What’s most widely agreed upon—based on the evidence available—is that the Guidestones are meant to instruct the dazed survivors of some impending apocalypse as they attempt to reconstitute civilization. Not everyone is comfortable with this notion. A few days before I visited, the stones had been splattered with polyurethane and spray-painted with graffiti, including slogans like “Death to the new world order.” This defacement was the first serious act of vandalism in the Guidestones’ history, but it was hardly the first objection to their existence. In fact, for more than three decades this uncanny structure in the heart of the Bible Belt has been generating responses that range from enchantment to horror. Supporters (notable among them Yoko Ono) have praised the messages as a stirring call to rational thinking, akin to Thomas Paine’s The Age of Reason. Opponents have attacked them as the Ten Commandments of the Antichrist.

Whoever the anonymous architects of the Guidestones were, they knew what they were doing: The monument is a highly engineered structure that flawlessly tracks the sun. It also manages to engender endless fascination, thanks to a carefully orchestrated aura of mystery. And the stones have attracted plenty of devotees to defend against folks who would like them destroyed. Clearly, whoever had the monument placed here understood one thing very well: People prize what they don’t understand at least as much as what they do.

The story of the Georgia Guidestones began on a Friday afternoon in June 1979, when an elegant gray-haired gentleman showed up in Elbert County, made his way to the offices of Elberton Granite Finishing, and introduced himself as Robert C. Christian. He claimed to represent “a small group of loyal Americans” who had been planning the installation of an unusually large and complex stone monument. Christian had come to Elberton—the county seat and the granite capital of the world—because he believed its quarries produced the finest stone on the planet.

Joe Fendley, Elberton Granite’s president, nodded absently, distracted by the rush to complete his weekly payroll. But when Christian began to describe the monument he had in mind, Fendley stopped what he was doing. Not only was the man asking for stones larger than any that had been quarried in the county, he also wanted them cut, finished, and assembled into some kind of enormous astronomical instrument.

What in the world would it be for? Fendley asked. Christian explained that the structure he had in mind would serve as a compass, calendar, and clock. It would also need to be engraved with a set of guides written in eight of the world’s major languages. And it had to be capable of withstanding the most catastrophic events, so that the shattered remnants of humanity would be able to use those guides to reestablish a better civilization than the one that was about to destroy itself.

Monumental Precision ——————–

Built to survive the apocalypse, the Georgia Guidestones are not merely instructions for the future—the massive granite slabs also function as a clock, calendar, and compass.

The monument sits at the highest point in Elbert County and is oriented to track the sun’s east-west migration year-round.On an equinox or solstice, visitors who stand at the west side of the “mail slot” are positioned to see the sun rise on the horizon.An eye-level hole drilled into the center support stone allows stargazers on the south side to locate Polaris, the North Star.A 7/8-inch hole drilled through the capstone focuses a sunbeam on the center column and at noon pinpoints the day of the year.Text: Erik Malinowski; illustration: Steve Sanford

Fendley is now deceased, but shortly after the Guidestones went up, an Atlanta television reporter asked what he was thinking when he first heard Christian’s plan. “I was thinking, ‘I got a nut in here now. How am I going get him out?'” Fendley said. He attempted to discourage the man by quoting him a price several times higher than for any project commissioned there before. The job would require special tools, heavy equipment, and paid consultants, Fendley explained. But Christian merely nodded and asked how long it would take. Fendley didn’t rightly know—six months, at least. He wouldn’t be able to even consider such an undertaking, he added, until he knew it could be paid for. When Christian asked whether there was a banker in town he considered trustworthy, Fendley saw his chance to unload the strange man and sent him to look for Wyatt Martin, president of the Granite City Bank.

The tall and courtly Martin—the only man in Elberton besides Fendley known to have met R. C. Christian face-to-face—is now 78. “Fendley called me and said, ‘A kook over here wants some kind of crazy monument,'” Martin says. “But when this fella showed up he was wearing a very nice, expensive suit, which made me take him a little more seriously. And he was well-spoken, obviously an educated person.” Martin was naturally taken aback when the man told him straight out that R. C. Christian was a pseudonym. He added that his group had been planning this secretly for 20 years and wanted to remain anonymous forever. “And when he told me what it was he and this group wanted to do, I just about fell over,” Martin says. “I told him, ‘I believe you’d be just as well off to take the money and throw it out in the street into the gutters.’ He just sort of looked at me and shook his head, like he felt kinda sorry for me, and said, ‘You don’t understand.'”

Martin led Christian down the street to the town square, where the city had commissioned a towering Bicentennial Memorial Fountain, which included a ring of 13 granite panels, each roughly 2 by 3 feet, signifying the original colonies. “I told him that was about the biggest project ever undertaken around here, and it was nothing compared to what he was talking about,” Martin says. “That didn’t seem to bother him at all.” Promising to return on Monday, the man went off to charter a plane and spend the weekend scouting locations from the air. “By then I half believed him,” Martin says.

When Christian came back to the bank Monday, Martin explained that he could not proceed unless he could verify the man’s true identity and “get some assurance you can pay for this thing.” Eventually, the two negotiated an agreement: Christian would reveal his real name on the condition that Martin promise to serve as his sole intermediary, sign a confidentiality agreement pledging never to disclose the information to another living soul, and agree to destroy all documents and records related to the project when it was finished. “He said he was going to send the money from different banks across the country,” Martin says, “because he wanted to make sure it couldn’t be traced. He made it clear that he was very serious about secrecy.”

Before leaving town, Christian met again with Fendley and presented the contractor with a shoe box containing a wooden model of the monument he wanted, plus 10 or so pages of detailed specifications. Fendley accepted the model and instructions but remained skeptical until Martin phoned the following Friday to say he had just received a $10,000 deposit. After that, Fendley stopped questioning and started working. “My daddy loved a challenge,” says Fendley’s daughter, Melissa Fendley Caruso, “and he said this was the most challenging project in the history of Elbert County.”

Construction of the Guidestones got under way later that summer. Fendley’s company lovingly documented the progress of the work in hundreds of photographs. Jackhammers were used to gouge 114 feet into the rock at Pyramid Quarry, searching for hunks of granite big enough to yield the final stones. Fendley and his crew held their breath when the first 28-ton slab was lifted to the surface, wondering if their derricks would buckle under the weight. A special burner (essentially a narrowly focused rocket motor used to cut and finish large blocks of granite) was trucked to Elberton to clean and size the stones, and a pair of master stonecutters was hired to smooth them.

Fendley and Martin helped Christian find a suitable site for the Guidestones in Elbert County: a flat-topped hill rising above the pastures of the Double 7 Farms, with vistas in all directions. For $5,000, owner Wayne Mullinex signed over a 5-acre plot. In addition to the payment, Christian granted lifetime cattle-grazing rights to Mullinex and his children, and Mullinex’s construction company got to lay the foundation for the Guidestones.

With the purchase of the land, the Guidestones’ future was set. Christian said good-bye to Fendley at the granite company office, adding, “You’ll never see me again.” Christian then turned and walked out the door—without so much as a handshake.

From then on, Christian communicated solely through Martin, writing a few weeks later to ask that ownership of the land and monument be transferred to Elbert County, which still holds it. Christian reasoned that civic pride would protect it over time. “All of Mr. Christian’s correspondence came from different cities around the country,” Martin says. “He never sent anything from the same place twice.”

Daybreak: A carefully cut slot in the Guidestones’ center column frames the sunrise on solstices and equinoxes.
Photo: Dan WintersThe astrological specifications for the Guidestones were so complex that Fendley had to retain the services of an astronomer from the University of Georgia to help implement the design. The four outer stones were to be oriented based on the limits of the sun’s yearly migration. The center column needed two precisely calibrated features: a hole through which the North Star would be visible at all times, and a slot that was to align with the position of the rising sun during the solstices and equinoxes. The principal component of the capstone was a 7\8-inch aperture through which a beam of sunlight would pass at noon each day, shining on the center stone to indicate the day of the year.

The main feature of the monument, though, would be the 10 dictates carved into both faces of the outer stones, in eight languages: English, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, Arabic, Hebrew, Hindi, and Swahili. A mission statement of sorts (let these be guidestones to an age of reason) was also to be engraved on the sides of the capstone in Egyptian hieroglyphics, classical Greek, Sanskrit, and Babylonian cuneiform. The United Nations provided some of the translations (including those for the dead languages), which were stenciled onto the stones and etched with a sandblaster.

By early 1980, a bulldozer was scraping the Double 7 hilltop to bedrock, where five granite slabs serving as a foundation were laid out in a paddle-wheel design. A 100-foot-tall crane was used to lift the stones into place. Each of the outer rocks was 16 feet 4 inches high, 6 feet 6 inches wide, and 1 foot 7 inches thick. The center column was the same (except only half the width), and the capstone measured 9 feet 8 inches long, 6 feet 6 inches wide, and 1 foot 7 inches thick. Including the foundation stones, the monument’s total weight was almost 240,000 pounds. Covered with sheets of black plastic in preparation for an unveiling on the vernal equinox, the Guidestones towered over the cattle that continued to graze beneath it at the approach of winter’s end.

The monument ignited controversy before it was even finished. The first rumor began among members of the Elberton Granite Association, jealous of the attention being showered on one of their own: Fendley was behind the whole thing, they said, aided by his friend Martin, the banker. The gossip became so poisonous that the two men agreed to take a lie detector test at the Elberton Civic Center. The scandal withered when The Elberton Star reported that they had both passed convincingly, but the publicity brought a new wave of complaints. As word of what was being inscribed spread, Martin recalls, even people he considered friends asked him why he was doing the devil’s work. A local minister, James Travenstead, predicted that “occult groups” would flock to the Guidestones, warning that “someday a sacrifice will take place here.” Those inclined to agree were hardly discouraged by Charlie Clamp, the sandblaster charged with carving each of the 4,000-plus characters on the stones: During the hundreds of hours he spent etching the guides, Clamp said, he had been constantly distracted by “strange music and disjointed voices.”

Continue:

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Declassified: Pentagon officially releases three UFO VIDEOS to ‘clear misconceptions’

It’s official, UFOs are real! Yeah, we knew it all along. Now what?

rt.com
Declassified: Pentagon officially releases three UFO VIDEOS to ‘clear misconceptions’
More than two years after they were leaked online, the Pentagon has officially released three short clips from the encounters of US pilots with what they called ‘unidentified aerial phenomena.’

The infrared videos, filmed from US Navy planes in 2004 and 2015, showed ‘unidentified aerial phenomena’ (UAPs), better known to the general public by their old name, unidentified flying object (UFO). The objects can be seen traversing the skies in unexplained manner and at extremely high speeds. Two of the videos contained the recordings of the communications by the pilots, who were clearly blown away by the velocity of the unknown aircraft.

The Department of Defense said it was making an official release “in order to clear up any misconceptions by the public on whether or not the footage that has been circulating was real, or whether or not there is more to the videos.”

The move was greenlit after “a thorough review,” which established that their release “does not reveal any sensitive capabilities or systems… and does not impinge on any subsequent investigations of military air space incursions by unidentified aerial phenomena,” Pentagon spokesperson Sue Gough pointed out.

The DoD has already confirmed that the clips were authentic, when Navy spokesman Joseph Gradisher said last September that they really featured UAPs. However, he pointed out that those videos were never authorized to be released to the public.

The Pentagon was opening up on the sightings of the ‘unidentified aerial phenomena’ in order to ‘destigmatize’ the whole issue and encourage the pilots to report the encounters with them – which turned out to be quite “frequent” – more willingly, Gradisher explained.

ALSO ON RT.COMVideo emerges from Siberia of UFO flying overhead — experts bamboozled (VIDEO)

The three UFO videos were leaked online between December 2017 and March 2018 by a company co-founded by Tom DeLonge, a member of the punk band Blink-182, who is obsessed by finding signs of alien life.

The Pentagon ran a classified program to study UFO encounters between 2007 and 2012, which was pushed through by now-retired Senator Harry Reid (D-Nevada).

Senator Harry Reid

@SenatorReid

I’m glad the Pentagon is finally releasing this footage, but it only scratches the surface of research and materials available. The U.S. needs to take a serious, scientific look at this and any potential national security implications. The American people deserve to be informed. https://twitter.com/CBSNews/status/1254802527595515906 

CBS News

@CBSNews

Pentagon formally releases 3 Navy videos showing “unidentified aerial phenomena” https://cbsn.ws/2KFa3bC 

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China Slams Hostile US Actions, America’s Failed System

Source

 

In pursuit of its imperial aims, the US needs enemies. None exist so they’re invented.

Iran is US public enemy No. 1 in the Middle East, China considered Washington’s leading adversary globally — despite no threat posed by either country.

Demeaning China is all about its growing economic, industrial, and technological development, its political influence, and military strength able to defend against US aggression if occurs.

The world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism USA consistently blames other nations for its own high crimes.

Operating as press agents for wealth and power, establishment media repeat false accusations against targeted nations with disturbing regularity.

For weeks after COVID-19 outbreaks emerged, Trump falsely claimed they’d “disappear” on their own.

As they increased to the present day, he, hardliners surrounding him, and Congress have been indifferent toward the health, rights and welfare of ordinary Americans.

They failed to provide states with personal protective equipment, funding to combat outbreaks, or treatment for infected individuals.

Despite advance warning of what could happen, they let a public health crisis fester, focusing almost entirely on handing favored business interests trillions of dollars of free money.

They delayed in authorizing nationwide testing that remains woefully inadequate.

All along, Trump praised his response that remains dismal for ordinary Americans he’s indifferent toward.

Instead of correcting flawed policies, he blames China for his failures, a nation on top of the problem swiftly, able to bring it under control in about two months while the US continues to struggle.

China’s official People’s Daily broadsheet responded to unacceptable Trump regime accusations.

It slammed Pompeo, calling him one of China’s “most radical critics,” ignoring the country’s achievements while “the coronavirus ravages the country he serves,” adding:

“A leaked Republican strategy memo tells the GOP to ‘attack China’ over coronavirus.”

“(A) top Republican strategist advis(ed) party candidates to address the coronavirus crisis by aggressively attacking China.”

Beijing stressed that the GOP strategy is doomed to fail, including claims that China caused COVID-19 and its spread to other nations.

China’s Global Times (GT) slammed the US notion that Beijing is responsible for spreading COVID-19 outbreaks.

At a time when world community cooperative relations are needed to address and contain a common problem, US hardliners focus on shifting blame for its failures onto others, notably China.

On Sunday, a GT editorial slammed the Trump regime for unacceptably “scapegoating China” to distract attention from its own failures in dealing with coronavirus outbreaks.

Its epicenter is in the US, not China or other countries. While outbreaks are largely contained in China, they remain a major problem in the US and West.

As for Pompeo, GT called him “sinister…a political hooligan, (an) an enemy (of) world peace…playing with fire…steering the US State Department into becoming the” CIA, operating as an anti-diplomat, not the other way around.

He’s not alone. The Trump regime and Congress are infested with like-minded extremists.

Trump and others like him are unfit for any public office, Biden no better.

US-led Western-style predatory capitalism “can’t be repaired, economist Richard D. Wolff stressed, calling how it operates structurally flawed, asking:

“Are we experiencing capitalism’s historic decline?”

“For the 21st century, the most popular slogan on socialists’ banners will likely be “Democratize the Enterprise.”

US economic collapse at a time of an inadequately addressed public health crisis brought to light the inequities of how the US-led West operates — serving privileged interests exclusively at the expense peace, equity, the rule of law and justice.

Ordinary Americans are protesting against failed public policies at the federal and state levels, including against unacceptable conditions for workers on the job.

Hundreds of Amazon workers staged sick-outs for lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) and overall unsafe working conditions.

Whole Foods workers walked off the job over similar complaints, the company owned by Amazon.

Instacart workers called for strike action for lack of PPE and hazard pay. So did Detroit and Birmingham Alabama bus drivers, Pittsburgh sanitation workers, Kroger warehouse employees, and others in the US for similar reasons.

Growing numbers are not showing up for work, calling in sick, and staging wildcat strikes.

On May 1, a first of the month US general strike action is set to begin, involving workers, students, and other segments of society.

Achieving vitally needed social justice that eroded to a shadow of its New Deal/Great Society status depends on how widespread and sustained actions become.

Current US conditions reflect a failed system. Resistance against inequity and injustice is the only chance for responsible change.

With growing mass unemployment and indifference toward public health and welfare by US ruling authorities, now is the time for large-scale public actions for restoration and enhancement of vital social programs.

Ordinary people have power when mobilized to use it. Positive change requires sustained struggle.

Former Supreme Court Justice William Douglas said “(p)ower concedes nothing without a demand.”

Social movements can be pivotal forces. Disruptive activism works when ordinary people challenge what’s unacceptable.

Electoral politics doesn’t work. Changing names and faces assures continuity.

America’s political system reflects how power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Scattered reforms are woefully inadequate and won’t work, major change needed.

The late Doug Dowd called the US “a sick and dangerous nation run by a handful of the politically powerful” — serving the country’s privileged class by exploiting most others at home and abroad.

Equitable transformational change is the only acceptable option.

At a time of overwhelming public duress, the moment is now to challenge authority for responsible change — collective defiance and disruption the way to go.

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Award-winning author Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Narrative Managers Argue China-Like Internet Censorship Is Needed

 

Neoconservative publication The Atlantic has published an article authored by two university professors titled “Internet Speech Will Never Go Back to Normal”, subtitled “In the debate over freedom versus control of the global network, China was largely correct, and the U.S. was wrong.”

The article is actually worth reading in full, not just because it’s outrage porn for anyone who values human communication that is unregulated by oligarchs and government agencies, but because it’s actually packed full of extensively sourced information about the way Silicon Valley tech giants are collaborating with western governments to censor speech. The only difference between this article and something you might read on some libertarian website is that this article argues that all of these regulations on speech are a good thing.

Here’s an archive of the article if you don’t want to give clicks to The Atlantic, whose editor-in-chief Jeffrey Goldberg once assured the world that “the coming invasion of Iraq will be remembered as an act of profound morality.” Do give it a look if this interests you and you have time.

“In the great debate of the past two decades about freedom versus control of the network, China was largely right and the United States was largely wrong,” argue the article’s authors, one of whom is a former Bush administration lawyer. “Significant monitoring and speech control are inevitable components of a mature and flourishing internet, and governments must play a large role in these practices to ensure that the internet is compatible with a society’s norms and values.”

The article paints an accurate picture of the ways in which supposedly independent social media platforms have been collaborating with governments and with each other to regulate speech and have increased that collaboration during the Covid-19 pandemic, noting how “In March 2019, Zuckerberg invited the government to regulate ‘harmful content’ on his platform” and how “As in other contexts, Facebook relies on fact-checking organizations and ‘authorities’ (from the World Health Organization to the governments of U.S. states) to ascertain which content to downgrade or remove.”

“These platforms have engaged in ‘strategic collaboration‘ with the federal government, including by sharing information, to fight foreign electoral interference,” The Atlantic reports after outlining ways in which Facebook, Twitter and Youtube have been censoring speech in “aggressive but still imperfect steps to fend off foreign adversaries.”

“The harms from digital speech will also continue to grow, as will speech controls on these networks,” the article’s authors assert. “And invariably, government involvement will grow. At the moment, the private sector is making most of the important decisions, though often under government pressure. But as Zuckerberg has pleaded, the firms may not be able to regulate speech legitimately without heavier government guidance and involvement. It is also unclear whether, for example, the companies can adequately contain foreign misinformation and prevent digital tampering with voting mechanisms without more government surveillance.”

This article comes out days after journalist Whitney Webb published another article worth reading titled “Techno-Tyranny: How The US National Security State Is Using Coronavirus To Fulfill An Orwellian Vision“. Webb details how FOIA-obtained document by a US government organization called the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence (NSCAI) argues for the need to implement authoritarian measures like increased surveillance more in line with those used in China, in order to prevent the PRC from technologically surpassing the United States.

Webb notes for example how the document “cites the use of mass surveillance on China’s ‘huge population base’ is an example of how China’s ‘scale of consumer market’ advantage allowing ‘China to leap ahead’ in the fields of related technologies, like facial recognition.”

We’re also seeing an increase in surveillance being pushed for in a new report by the think tank Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, arguing that a drastic increase in tech surveillance is “a price worth paying” in order to fight Covid-19. Which is, of course, hilarious, because having the think tank of a Bush lapdog Prime Minister argue that more surveillance is a price worth paying to stop coronavirus is a lot like a bunch of muggers arguing that time saved by cutting through dark alleyways is worth the increased risk of mugging.

So that’s great. We’re seeing mainstream narrative managers shriek about the need for new cold war escalations against China’s bad, bad authoritarian government, while simultaneously arguing that western governments should espouse Beijing’s worst authoritarian impulses. This, as we’ve discussed previously, is because consent needs to be manufactured in order for the US-centralized empire to take drastic steps to prevent China from surpassing it and creating a multipolar world, and the freer people are to think and act and organize, the harder that’s going to be.

Oligarchs have no business controlling what we can and cannot say to each other. Governments have no business bringing more and more transparency to us while bringing more and more opacity to themselves. This is ugly, it is abusive, and it must end.

Freedom of speech is actually about freedom of thought. Speech is the carrying agent of thought; controlling human communication is actually about controlling the spread of ideas. Censorship is about controlling the thoughts that the public think in their heads. Speech control is mind control.

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