How Venezuela’s Oil Output Dived

Venezuela has the world’s largest proven oil reserves. But its oil output, once Latin America’s largest, has fallen faster in the past year than Iraq’s after the American invasion in 2003, according to data from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

See Teresa Bo’s video report here.

John Pilger, interviewed by RT – the War on China & other issues

On this season finale special episode of Going Underground, legendary journalist and film-maker John Pilger rounds up all the latest issues. John describes the current state of global affairs as in a state of warfare, warning that the ‘coming war on China’ has now arrived. He also discusses the Hong Kong protests and why they have grown, along with US involvement in the unrest. He discusses the collapse of the INF Treaty and the beginning of a new arms race with Russia, amid a situation where he describes it as Washington’s goal to break up the Russian Federation under Putin. He also warns of the increased risk of nuclear war as nuclear superpowers such as Pakistan and India are also entering major tensions between each other. John Pilger also discusses his concern with John Bolton being in charge, and how Brexit has created mass-distraction in the UK from the most pressing of issues at home (such as austerity and the NHS) and abroad. He slams sanctions on Venezuela and Iran and also updates us on the condition of Julian Assange, after he visited him recently in Belmarsh prison.

My comment: Pilger, in not too many words, reveals his disappointment with Bernie Sanders and the others, the so-called Democratic Socialists – which he correctly labeled as social democrats. While on this subject, I can’t help but point out the utter idiocy of rebranding social democracy, liberal social democracy to be more precise, into ‘democratic socialism’ by people who claim to represent the Left. Socialism – the social state – by definition, implies democracy. Even an absolutist ‘social monarchy,’ like that envisioned by Ferdinand Lassalle in the 19th century, would hold elections, in which the people get to have a say on how the country’s run. Whether elections would be real, or just for show, that’s another matter entirely. But I digress…

On the issue of China, Pilger’s forecast is right as can be. Not only is Trump’s change in relations with Beijing bipartisan in Washington – despite PR attempts to the contrary, aimed at the brainwashed US public – but Trump’s zealous supporters, who are critical of the establishment, are applauding the trade war and supporting the Hong Kong protests. Alex Jones propagates the idea that the Chinese are deliberating hurting US farmers, in an effort to destroy the United States, and invokes Thomas Jefferson’s wisdom that it’s the farmers who will provide the bulwark against the country’s collapse. Jones’ falsehood is that he portrays the Chinese tariffs on US food as completely unprovoked, rather than retaliatory. I don’t understand the need for all these lies; because tories are going to vote Trump anyway, even at the cost of a recession. Or maybe that’s not really the case? And US farmers are wise on Trump’s tariff war implications? In that case, in makes sense for Zionist manipulation agents like Alex Jones to make use of this sophistry and square all the blame on China. There’s many a reason to bash the Communist Government, but at the end of the day, this particular issue is a matter of Chinese national sovereignty. How would they feel if a separatist current manifested itself in message and action in say, Hawaii – and the Chinese stated they supported the separatists? It’s incredibly hypocritical. Moving on… I enjoyed Pilger’s nuance on the Hong Kong protesters. He said that there are legitimate concerns and grievances among the population, and it’s not all an artificial uprising sponsored by the West. The world is definitely getting more volatile, and I personally have little faith in the European establishment to break away from Washington’s ruinous, syphilitic schemes.

Tlaib & Omar aren’t really helping the Palestinian cause

In this Duran article, Seraphim Hanisch writes: […] many Palestinians may see a light of hope in rhetoric from Congresswomen Tlaib and Omar. And to be sure, sometimes what they say is very accurate. To give these two ladies credit, especially Ilhan Omar, never has the nature of what is going on in Israel with regard to Palestine been as baldly exposed as it has in her fiery comments. Nevertheless – and this is likely to be very aggravating for pro-Palestinian folks – these two women are probably the worst possible choices to idolize and support with regards to this situation. […]
The narratives and established opinions by great powers is set in place and it is too strong to beat in the way that has been attempted for over fifty years. Israel cries victim at the drop of a hat, and the most powerful nation in the world is in their pocket, so they will win every time they are attacked. That is not going to change as long as the image of the Palestinian people is that of a bunch of zealots and terrorists. Even with the liberal press often more supportive of Palestinian oppression, there is no effect on the image problem of suicide bombings and rocket attacks that appear largely unprovoked and pure manifestations of Palestinian rage. There has to be a different path. […] So far, the Palestinian response to various aspects of that [Kushner] plan have not done their cause any credit – the news is that they flatly refused to even look at it. This is not negotiating from a position of strength for the Palestinians because of their surrounding reputation for violence. This makes them look untrustworthy. […] fifty-plus years points to the fact that nothing has changed as it was done before, and history shows that nonviolent opposition to a tyrannical power defeats the tyrannical power. The man who developed this strategy, Moandas K. Gandhi said that it is a provocative fight, and one that will hurt.

My comment: First, I want to point out that the Palestinian side has every right to regard the Kushner plan with disdain. Many analysts, including Israeli commentators, have deemed it [based on the draft] as not serious and more like a bribe, than an actual peace deal. Second, I agree with Mr. Hanisch that the two women are definitely not real Muslims, given their ‘new age’ values. I also agree that Tlaib and Omar aren’t the best advocates for the Palestinian cause; but my reasons for believing that are based on the national view as opposed to the globalist way of doing business and on geopolitics, rather than religious animosities between Christians, Muslims, and Jews – which are secondary impediments in my opinion. You can’t campaign in the USA against borders and immigration rules, while at the same time supporting the creation of a Palestinian state, with its own borders and immigration laws.

Furthermore, Saudi Arabia is a major agent of influence in the whole equation. Mahmoud Abbas [after Turkey shared the recording of Khashoggi’s murder by the Crown Prince’s goons to Germany, France, Britain, and the United States] was quick to publicly express his enduring fealty to the house of Saud. And, as regular readers of the Duran know, Saudi Arabia and Israel have a good track record of cooperation, especially in recent times. Saudi Arabia doesn’t grant citizenship to Palestinian immigrants living on its territory – the only nationality to be discriminated against in this fashion under Saudi law. Hamas’ support to Daesh shouldn’t be neglected either. Ironically, later on, ISIS ended up accusing Hamas of being a tool of the Israelis – when the group didn’t retaliate militarily after Washington recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. I think it’s safe to say that they’re useful idiots. Talk about disunity among the Arab peoples… Let’s remember Israel’s role in creating the opposition it now loathes. It helped to spawn Hamas, in order to counter the secular PLO. The religious zealots in both Israel and the occupied territories feed off one another – and are unable to sell their agenda to the public otherwise, or if they are, with much greater difficulty.

Lastly, a two state solution isn’t economically-viable; it would render Palestine a de facto vassal of Israel in terms of access to real resources. The only solution that makes economic sense is a one state solution: a multi ethnic, multi racial, secular state called Israel-Palestine, with a strong written constitution to protect the public from the excesses of any political party or coalition that might come to power. As for taxes, there should be a site value tax to replace taxation on labor, buildings, sales and enterprise; and community land trusts should be established. By decommodifying land – treating it as the Natural Commons – giving everyone access to land and providing affordable housing, ethnic and religious tensions can be greatly mitigated. A Westphalian approach is required for this to work – forgiving and forgetting all the bad blood – and a national system of political economy needs to be implemented to ensure that this new [wiped] slate remains unsullied. Without a minimum degree of civic nationalism, no nation can survive. Without this basic, fundamental glue – a country fractures into tribes, and cults, and enclaves, and it fractures violently. I can’t help but feel Tlaib and Omar are making the US Israel First policy and Palestinian issue part of the usual political soccer game between Democrats and Republicans – a PR game that Trump and his camp are bound to win based on perception alone; while the Palestinian case sadly and unfairly ends up linked with the ‘loony left.’ And, of course, the left itself uses shaming tactics and virtue signalling against ideological opponents, like David Duke, whenever their views happen to coincide and they do on the situation of Palestinians living under Israeli-imposed Apartheid.

No Need for Fluoride

by Serban V.C. Enache

To the statement – Scientific studies demonstrate that the process of adding fluoride to public water reduces the IQ of the individuals in those areas – Snopes has a clear label: FALSE. But are the ‘gatekeepers’ of factual truth really honest with us? Some research argues the contrary on fluoride, but mainstream academics, news outlets, and business groups have their minds made up. They don’t want higher volumes and deeper levels of scientific inquiry; it’s more cost-effective for them to simply label the opposition “conspiracy theorists.”

In Developmental Fluoride Neurotoxicity: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis [Choi, Sun, Zhang, Grandjean, 2012], children in high-fluoride areas had significantly lower IQ scores than those who lived in low-fluoride areas. The authors used MEDLINE, EMBASE, Water Resources Abstracts, and TOXNET databases through 2011 for eligible studies – and also searched the China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI) database, because many studies on fluoride neurotoxicity have been published in Chinese journals only. In total, they identified 27 eligible epidemiological studies with high and reference exposures, end points of IQ scores, or related cognitive function measures with means and variances for the two exposure groups. The results supported the possibility of an adverse effect of high fluoride exposure on children’s neurodevelopment. Future research should include detailed individual-level information on prenatal exposure, neurobehavioral performance, and covariates for adjustment. But you don’t hear politicians and journalists, especially the big names, drawing attention to this issue.

According to these statistics, prepared using water system data reported by states to the CDC Water Fluoridation Reporting System as of December 31, 2010, and the US Census Bureau estimates from 2010, fluoride is still added to 70 percent of US public drinking water supplies.

Dr. Dean Burk, who in 1937 co-founded the U.S. National Cancer Institute (NCI) and headed its cytochemistry department for more than 30 years, co-authored a biochemical study, “The Determination of Enzyme Dissociation Constants,” published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society in ’34. In this interview he equates water fluoridation to “public murder,” referring to this study, done on the 10 largest US cities with fluoridation compared to the 10 largest without it. It demonstrated that deaths from cancer abruptly rose in as little as a year or two after fluoridation began. Mind you, this was government-ordered research.

Two studies from a few years ago don’t do the fluoride defenders any favors. Prenatal Fluoride Exposure and Cognitive Outcomes in Children at 4 and 6–12 Years of Age in Mexico [2017, Bashash, Thomas, Hu, Martinez-Mier, Sanchez, Basu, Peterson, Ettinger, Wright, Zhang, Liu, Schnaas, Mercado-Garcia, Tellez-Rojo, Hernandez-Avilla]. In this study, higher prenatal fluoride exposure, in the general range of exposures reported for other general population samples of pregnant women and nonpregnant adults, was associated with lower scores on tests of cognitive function in the offspring at age 4 and 6–12 years.

Water fluoridation for the prevention of dental caries [2015, Iheozor-Ejiofor, Worthington, Walsh, O’Malley, Clarkson, Macey, Alam, Tugwell, Welch, Glenny]. Authors included only prospective studies with a concurrent control that compared at least two populations – one receiving fluoridated water and the other non‐fluoridated water. For the assessment of fluorosis, authors included any type of study design, with concurrent control, that compared populations exposed to different water fluoride concentrations. Populations of all ages that received fluoridated water (naturally or artificially fluoridated) or non‐fluoridated water were included. Authors used an adaptation of the Cochrane ‘Risk of bias’ tool to assess risk of bias in the included studies. Conclusions: there is insufficient information to determine whether initiation of a water fluoridation programme results in a change in disparities in caries across socioeconomic status (SES) levels. There is insufficient information to determine the effect of stopping water fluoridation programmes on caries levels. No studies that aimed to determine the effectiveness of water fluoridation for preventing caries in adults met the review’s inclusion criteria. Over 97 percent of the studies were at high risk of bias and there was substantial between‐study variation.

Even if one’s highly skeptical of fluoride’s effects on cognitive ability, its supposed dental benefits aren’t a strong enough reason for State authorities to promote it into the water supply, or allow private agents to put it in children’s / baby products. Tribal societies in the non-modern parts of the world, who don’t drink fluoridated water, who don’t have our modern diets, who don’t use tooth paste, have a pretty good dental health bill. Weston Price documented this in his book, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration.

Most developed nations DO NOT fluoridate their water. In Western Europe, for example, only 3 percent of the population consumes fluoridated water. While 25 countries have water fluoridation programs, 11 of these countries have less than 20 percent of their population consuming fluoridated water: Argentina (19), Guatemala (13), Panama (15), Papa New Guinea (6), Peru (2), Serbia (3), Spain (11), South Korea (6), the United Kingdom (11), and Vietnam (4). Only 11 countries in the world have more than 50 percent of their population drinking fluoridated water: Australia (80), Brunei (95); Chile (70), Guyana (62), Hong Kong (100), the Irish Republic (73), Israel (70), Malaysia (75), New Zealand (62), Singapore (100), and the United States (64). In total, 5 percent of global population drinks artificially fluoridated water. More people in the United States drink it than the rest of the world combined. There is no difference in tooth decay between Western nations that fluoridate their water and those that don’t.

If society at large is really concerned with the welfare of people’s teeth, how about we curtail all the advertising on sugar products [i.e. the over-consumption and sale of sugar (and at outrageous markups too)], we promote rich protein diets alongside aerobic and anaerobic active lifestyles, ensure adequate Vitamin D supplementation, and access to health care services – instead of pushing this highly controversial substance, fluoride, on large sections of the population, particularly infants.

[Not so] Green New Deal Modeled

Using the Energy Information Administration’s model, we tested to see how high a carbon tax would have to go to meet the Green New Deal’s emission targets. We ratcheted the tax up to $300 per ton, which dropped emissions 58% below 2010 levels—but not until 2050. That left us far short of reaching the deal’s targets, but when we tried to push the tax higher, the model crashed.

[…]we found that a $300 per ton carbon tax and associated regulations would cost a family of four nearly $8,000 per year in income lost to higher energy costs, consumer prices, and foregone wages. […] During that same 20-year period, the tax would siphon off an average of 1.1 million jobs per year and diminish gross domestic product by a total of more than $15 trillion.

Running this model, [for the Assessment of Greenhouse Gas Induced Climate Change, developed at the National Center for Atmospheric Research] we found that overhauling America’s economy—as envisioned in the Green New Deal—would abate global warming by approximately 0.2 degree Celsius by the year 2100. The reduction in sea-level rise would be less than 2 centimeters.

Read the whole article here.