“Socialism Has Produced Some Very Powerful Millionaires”: As Venezuelans Starve In The Streets, The Elites Party On

“Socialism Has Produced Some Very Powerful Millionaires”: As Venezuelans Starve In The Streets, The Elites Party On | venezuela-nicolas-maduro | Special Interests World News

By: Daniel Lang, SHTFplan

It’s always funny to debate socialists on the merits of their ideology. If you point to a country like Venezuela, and say “See! This is what socialism leads to,” they’ll no doubt claim that it isn’t a real example of socialism. But if you went back in time by just a few years, you’d find that their perception of Venezuela was quite different.

Celebrities like Sean Penn, Oliver Stone, and Danny Glover praised the regime not too long ago, as did intellectuals like Noam Chomsky. Six years ago, Bernie Sanders claimed that “the American dream is more apt to be realized in South America, in places such as Ecuador, Venezuela and Argentina.” These days however, those voices are conveniently silent in regards to Venezuela. There’s always at least one “perfect” example of socialism for leftists to hold up, right up until that that shining example utterly fails.

But that is by no means the extant of their cognitive dissonance. While these same figures preach about how equitable socialism is, and rail against the 1%, socialist countries like Venezuela are run by tiny wealthy elites who are having a blast while their countrymen starve in the streets.

The country may be stricken by poverty and political violence, but a rich minority acts like they are untouched by the crisis.

Case in point: Caracas, one of the world’s most violent cities, is the first in South America to open a branch of the trendy Buddha Bar international nightclub chain.

In a country where basics such as flour and sugar are in short supply, Buddha Bar guests can order tuna steak, pork ribs or fish tacos — as long as they have dollars to pay.

“You can have as good a time here in Caracas as in New York, Dubai or Saint Petersburg,” says one of its owners, Cristhian Estephan.

Eight pieces of salmon and shrimp sushi here cost 55,700 bolivars, or the equivalent of more than a quarter of the country’s official monthly minimum wage…

…While the mass protests against President Nicolas Maduro show that Venezuelans’ anger at their hardship is boiling over, the well-off are still managing to have fun.

This always happens in socialist countries, because socialist regimes don’t distribute the wealth equally to everyone. Once the government has a firm grip on the economy, it can distribute that wealth to whoever is the most loyal to the regime.

“Wealth in Venezuela is generated by state revenues that depend on the oil sector,” says Colette Capriles, a sociologist at Simon Bolivar University.

“The state redistributes that revenue. The Chavez government used it with preference for those who needed it most,” with social welfare spending, she says.

But it also offered an opportunity for those close to power to line their pockets.

“This form of socialism has produced some very powerful millionaires,” says Capriles.

“Most of them are government officials or people close to them — and currently they are one of the main things holding up the government.”

I’m sure that fact is also conveniently ignored by leftists celebrities and intellectuals. They’re so wrapped up in their ideology that they can’t see the truth that is staring them in the face. Not only does socialism always fail, this ideology that so many leftists claim can end wealth inequality, always leaves the masses hungry and poor. It always props up a rich elite class that is insulated from the problems that they cause.

– See more at: http://www.shtfplan.com/headline-news/socialism-has-produced-some-very-powerful-millionaires-as-venezuelans-starve-in-the-streets-the-elites-party-on_06202017#sthash.285BWzLj.dpuf


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Execution by Firing Squad: The Militarized Police State Opens Fire

 Execution by Firing Squad: The Militarized Police State Opens Fire | militarized-police | Sleuth Journal Special Interests Tyranny & Police State US News

By: John W. Whitehead, The Rutherford Institute | 

“It is often the case that police shootings, incidents where law enforcement officers pull the trigger on civilians, are left out of the conversation on gun violence. But a police officer shooting a civilian counts as gun violence. Every time an officer uses a gun against an innocent or an unarmed person contributes to the culture of gun violence in this country.”—Journalist Celisa Calacal

Legally owning a gun in America could get you killed by a government agent.

While it still technically remains legal to own a firearm in America, possessing one can now get you pulled over, searched, arrested, subjected to all manner of surveillance, treated as a suspect without ever having committed a crime, shot at and killed.

This same rule does not apply to government agents, however, who are armed to the hilt and rarely given more than a slap on the wrists for using their weapons to shoot and kill American citizens.

According to the Washington Post, “1 in 13 people killed by guns are killed by police.”

Just recently, for example, a Minnesota jury acquitted a police officer who shot and killed 32-year-old Philando Castile, a school cafeteria supervisor, during a routine traffic stop merely because Castile disclosed that he had a gun in his possession, for which he had a lawful conceal-and-carry permit. That’s all it took for police to shoot Castile four times as he was reaching for his license and registration. Castile’s girlfriend and her 4-year-old daughter witnessed the entire exchange.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit ruled that Florida police will not be held accountable for banging on the wrong door at 1:30 am, failing to identify themselves as police, and then repeatedly shooting and killing the innocent homeowner who answered the door while holding a gun in self-defense. Although 26-year-old Andrew Scott had committed no crime and never fired a single bullet or lifted his firearm against police, he was gunned down by police who were investigating a speeding incident by engaging in a middle-of-the-night “knock and talk” in Scott’s apartment complex.

As attorney David French writes for the National Review, “Shooting an innocent man in his own home because he grabs a gun when an unidentified person pounds on his door or barges through it isn’t just an ‘unreasonable search or seizure.’ It’s a direct violation of his clearly established right to keep and bear arms.”

Continuing its own disturbing trend of siding with police in cases of excessive use of force, a unanimous United States Supreme Court recently acquitted police who recklessly fired 15 times into a backyard shack in which a homeless couple—Angel and Jennifer Mendez—was sheltering. Angel Mendez suffered numerous gunshot wounds, one of which required the amputation of his right leg below the knee, and his wife Jennifer was shot in the back. Incredibly, the Court ruled that the Los Angeles County police officers’ use of force against the homeless couple was justified as a defensive action, because Angel was allegedly seen holding a BB gun that he used for shooting rats.

In yet another case, a Texas homeowner was subjected to a no-knock, SWAT-team style forceful entry and raid based solely on the suspicion that there were legally-owned firearms in his household. Making matters worse, police panicked and opened fire through a solid wood door on the homeowner, who had already gone to bed.

In Maryland, a Florida man traveling through the state with his wife and kids was stopped by a police officer and interrogated about the whereabouts of his registered handgun. Despite the man’s insistence that the handgun had been left at home, the officer spent nearly two hours searching through the couple’s car, patting them down along with their children, and having them sit in the back of a patrol car. No weapon was found.

In Philadelphia, a 25-year-old man was confronted by police, verbally threatened and arrested for carrying a gun in public, which is legal within the city. When Mark Fiorino attempted to explain his rights under the law to police, police ordered him to get on his knees or else “I am gonna shoot ya.” Fiorino was later released without charges.

What these cases add up to is a new paradigm in which legally owning a gun turns you into a target for government sharp-shooters.

Ironically, while America continues to debate who or what is responsible for gun violence—the guns, the gun owners, or our violent culture—little has been said about the fact that the greatest perpetrator of violence in American society and around the world is the U.S. government.

Government violence is the missing link in the gun control debate.

Violence has become the government’s calling card, starting at the top and trickling down, from the more than 80,000 SWAT team raids carried out every year on unsuspecting Americans by heavily armed, black-garbed commandos and the increasingly rapid militarization of local police forces across the country to the drone killings used to target insurgents. The government even exports violence worldwide, with one of this country’s most profitable exports being weapons.

Thus, any serious discussion about minimizing the violence in our society needs to address the manner in which the government and its cohorts (the police, the various government agencies that are now armed to the hilt, the military, the defense contractors, etc.) use violence as a means to an end, whether domestically or in matters of foreign policy.

You want to reduce gun violence? Start with the government.

Except that the government has no intention of scaling back on its weapons. To the contrary, the government’s efforts to militarize and weaponize its own agencies and employees is reaching epic proportions, with federal agencies as varied as the Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration placing orders for hundreds of millions of rounds of hollow point bullets.

Talk about a double standard.

The government’s arsenal of weapons makes the average American’s handgun look like a Tinker Toy.

Under the auspices of a military “recycling” program, which allows local police agencies to acquire military-grade weaponry and equipment, more than $4.2 billion worth of equipment has been transferred from the Defense Department to domestic police agencies since 1990. Included among these “gifts” are tank-like, 20-ton Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles, tactical gear, and assault rifles.

Ironically, while gun critics continue to clamor for bans on military-style assault weapons, high-capacity magazines and armor-piercing bullets, expanded background checks, and tougher gun-trafficking laws, the U.S. military boasts all of these and more, including some weapons the rest of the world doesn’t have.

Included in the government’s arsenal are armed, surveillance Reaper drones capable of reading a license plate from over two miles away; an AA12 Atchisson Assault Shotgun that can shoot five 12-gauge shells per second and “can fire up to 9,000 rounds without being cleaned or jamming”; an ADAPTIV invisibility cloak that can make a tank disappear or seemingly reshape it to look like a car; a PHASR rifle capable of blinding and disorienting anyone caught in its sights; a Taser shockwave that can electrocute a crowd of people at the touch of a button; an XM2010 enhanced sniper rifle with built-in sound and flash suppressors that can hit a man-sized target nine out of ten times from over a third of a mile away; and an XM25 “Punisher” grenade launcher that can be programmed to accurately shoot grenades at a target up to 500 meters away.

In the hands of government agents, whether they are members of the military, law enforcement or some other government agency, these weapons have become accepted instruments of tyranny, routine parts of America’s day-to-day life, a byproduct of the rapid militarization of law enforcement over the past several decades.

This lopsided, top-heavy, authoritarian state of affairs is not the balance of power the founders intended for “we the people.”

The Second Amendment, in conjunction with the multitude of prohibitions on government overreach enshrined in the Bill of Rights, was supposed to serve as a clear shackle on the government’s powers. As 20th century libertarian Edmund A. Opitz observed in 1964, “No one can read our Constitution without concluding that the people who wrote it wanted their government severely limited; the words ‘no’ and ‘not’ employed in restraint of government power occur 24 times in the first seven articles of the Constitution and 22 more times in the Bill of Rights.”

To founders such as Thomas Jefferson, who viewed the government as a powerful entity that must be bound “down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution,” the right to bear arms was no different from any other right enshrined in the Constitution: it was intended to stand as a bulwark against a police state.

Without any one of those freedoms, we are that much more vulnerable to the vagaries of out-of-control policemen, benevolent dictators, genuflecting politicians, and overly ambitious bureaucrats.

Writing for Counterpunch, journalist Kevin Carson suggests that prohibiting Americans from owning weapons would be as dangerously ineffective as Prohibition and the War on the Drugs:

“[W]hat strict gun laws will do is take the level of police statism, lawlessness and general social pathology up a notch in the same way Prohibition and the Drug War have done. I’d expect a War on Guns to expand the volume of organized crime, and to empower criminal gangs fighting over control over the black market, in exactly the same way Prohibition did in the 1920s and strict drug laws have done since the 1980s. I’d expect it to lead to further erosion of Fourth Amendment protections against search and seizure, further militarization of local police via SWAT teams, and further expansion of the squalid empire of civil forfeiture, perjured jailhouse snitch testimony, entrapment, planted evidence, and plea deal blackmail.”

This is exactly what those who drafted the U.S. Constitution feared: that laws and law enforcers would be used as tools by a despotic government to wage war against the citizenry.

This phenomenon is what philosopher Abraham Kaplan referred to as the law of the instrument, which essentially says that to a hammer, everything looks like a nail. As I explain in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, we the citizenry have become the nails to be hammered by the government’s battalion of laws and law enforcers (its police officers, technicians, bureaucrats, spies, snitches, inspectors, accountants, etc.), and we’re supposed to take the beatings without complaint or reproach.

Now don’t get me wrong.

I do not sanction violence, nor do I believe that violence should ever be the answer to our problems. As John Lennon warned, “When it gets down to having to use violence, then you are playing the system’s game. The establishment will irritate you—pull your beard, flick your face—to make you fight. Because once they’ve got you violent, then they know how to handle you.”

Still there’s something to be said for George Orwell’s view that “that rifle hanging on the wall of the working-class flat or labourer’s cottage is the symbol of democracy. It is our job to see that it stays there.”

The Second Amendment serves as a check on the political power of the ruling authorities. It represents an implicit warning against governmental encroachments on one’s freedoms, the warning shot over the bow to discourage any unlawful violations of our persons or property.

Certainly, dictators in past regimes have understood this principle only too well.

As Adolf Hitler noted, “The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to allow the subject races to possess arms. History shows that all conquerors who have allowed their subject races to carry arms have prepared their own downfall by so doing.”

It should come as no surprise, then, that starting in December 1935, Jews in Germany were prevented from obtaining shooting licenses, because authorities believed that to allow them to do so would “endanger the German population.”

In late 1938, special orders were delivered barring Jews from owning firearms, with the punishment for arms possession being 20 years in a concentration camp.

The rest, as they say, is history. Yet it is a history that we should be wary of repeating.

Delivered by The Daily Sheeple

We encourage you to share and republish our reports, analyses, breaking news and videos (Click for details).


Contributed by John W. Whitehead of The Rutherford Institute.

Since 1996, John W. Whitehead has taken on everything from human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia, protection of religious freedom, and child pornography, to family autonomy issues, cross burning, the sanctity of human life, and the war on terrorism in his weekly opinion column. A self-proclaimed civil libertarian, Whitehead is considered by many to be a legal, political and cultural watchdog—sounding the call for integrity, accountability and an adherence to the democratic principles on which this country was founded.

Time and again, Whitehead hits the bull’s eye with commentaries that are insightful, relevant and provocative. And all too often, he finds himself under fire for his frank and unadulterated viewpoint. But as he frequently remarks, “Anytime people find themselves under fire from both the liberal left and the conservative right, it means that that person is probably right on target.”

Mr. Whitehead’s commentaries have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Washington Post, Washington Times and USA Today.


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Canada’s Spies, Police and Border Agents are Quiestly Coordinating on Biometrics

Canada's Spies, Police and Border Agents are Quiestly Coordinating on Biometrics | canadian-spies | Science & Technology Special Interests World News

(MOTHERBOARD) For over a year, Canadian military, intelligence, police, and border agencies have been meeting to develop and coordinate their biometric capabilities, which use biological markers like facial recognition and iris scanning to identify individuals.

This initiative—details of which were revealed to Motherboard in documents obtained through an access to information request—shows that the Canadian government is reigniting its focus on biometrics after a similar attempt a decade ago fizzled out. According to these documents, which include emails, meeting agendas, and briefing reports, the meetings are an effort to coordinate the critical mass of biometrics programs that exist across many government agencies, particularly those relating to national security.

The US has put together such working groups before, like the National Science and Technology Council‘s subcommittee on biometrics. Established in 2003, the initiative was a formal working group to coordinate biometrics efforts and it regularlyreleased public reports. In contrast, the Canadian effort is “informal,” spokespeople emphasized, and it hasn’t been promoted by the government except for four tweets from Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC), the department that spearheaded the initiative.

Spokespeople for various government branches also stressed that no actual biometric information is being shared between agencies at these meetings, which would be a major concern for privacy advocates. But documents show that database sharing was part of the discussions, raising questions about how Canadians’ biometric information is handled behind closed doors.

“If information is being shared behind the scenes with organizations or agencies that an individual is not informed about, then that wipes out consent,” Brenda McPhail, director of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association’s privacy project, told me. “Our privacy laws are based on consent.”

READ MORE…


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We Already Have a Universal Basic Income

By: Laurence M. Vance, lewrockwell.com

Harvard dropout and Facebook billionaire Mark Zuckerberg recently gave the commencement address at Harvard. In his speech he proposed a “universal basic income to make sure everyone has a cushion to try new ideas.”

But Zuckerberg is not alone.

First it was Milton Friedman, then it was Charles Murray, and then it was Matt Zwolinski. Now it is Michael Tanner and Jesse Walker. Why are some libertarians even talking about a universal basic income or a guaranteed minimum income? Why are some libertarians trying to be efficiency experts for the welfare state?

We already have a universal basic income. It is called welfare.

There are in the United States about eighty means-tested welfare programs. These are programs that limit benefits or payments based on the beneficiary’s income and/or assets. There are also welfare programs that most Americans have never heard of. And there are other welfare programs that most Americans don’t consider to be welfare programs.

Welfare is welfare, no matter what it is called and no matter what people think about.

The elderly have Social Security and Medicare.

The elderly poor also have access to the Elderly Nutrition Program and the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP).

The disabled have Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and are also eligible for Social Security and Medicare.

The poor have Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP [formerly known as food stamps]), section 8 housing vouchers, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), subsidized phone service, community health centers, public housing, and family planning programs.

Hungry children have school breakfast and lunch programs.

Low-income taxpayers have refundable tax credits like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC), and the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC).

The unemployed have free federal job training programs.

Those who get laid off from their jobs have unemployment compensation.

Low-income pregnant women and new mothers have Healthy Start and Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).

Low-income students have Pell Grants and all students have access to federal student loans.

Farmers have farm subsidies.

Refugees have assistance programs.

Homeowners have low-cost federal flood insurance.

All parents can send their children to public schools at no cost.

Let’s take a closer look at just one of the above welfare programs: the EITC.

Unlike regular tax credits, refundable tax credits are a form of welfare. A regular tax credit is a dollar-for-dollar reduction of the amount of income tax owed. Tax credits may reduce the tax owed to zero, but if there is no taxable income to begin with, then no credit can be taken. A refundable tax credit is treated as a payment from the taxpayer like federal income tax withheld or estimated tax payments. If the tax credit “payment” is more than the tax owed after the regular tax credits are applied, then the “taxpayer” receives a refund of the money he never actually paid in. The money is simply taken from real taxpayers and transferred to him.

According to the IRS:

The Earned Income Tax Credit, EITC or EIC, is a benefit for working people with low to moderate income. To qualify, you must meet certain requirements and file a tax return, even if you do not owe any tax or are not required to file. EITC reduces the amount of tax you owe and may give you a refund.

For the tax year 2016, the maximum EITC amounts are:

$6,269 with three or more qualifying children

$5,572 with two qualifying children

$3,373 with one qualifying child

$506 with no qualifying children

To qualify for the EITC, if one is single, earned income and adjusted gross income (AGI) must each be less than $14,880 (no children), $39,296 (1 child), $44,648 (2 children), or $47,955 (3 or more children). For married taxpayers, the amounts are $20,430 (no children), $44,846 (1 child), $50,198 (2 children), $53,505 (3 or more children).

If one has three children, the sweet spot to receive the maximum EITC is achieved when one has income of at least $13,900 but less than $18,200 (single) or $23,750 (married). And don’t think that people receiving the EITC don’t have some idea of this.

Americans who receive the EITC get another added benefit as well. According to page 58 of the IRS’s 1040 instructions for 2016:

Any refund you receive as a result of taking the EIC can’t be counted as income when determining if you or anyone else is eligible for benefits or assistance, or how much you or anyone else can receive, under any  federal  program or under any state or local program  financed in whole or in part with federal funds. These programs include Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income  (SSI), and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps). In addition, when determining eligibility, the refund can’t be counted as a resource for at least 12 months after you receive it. Check with your local benefit coordinator to find out if your refund will affect your benefits.

The problem with a guaranteed minimum income, like the problem with welfare in general, is that it is the government that is the guarantor. But before the government can give, it must first take from productive members of society. This is what makes all welfare immoral.

Libertarians who talk in any way about a universal basic income should make the immorality of welfare the central theme, not an afterthought.

Welfare doesn’t need to be reformed, improved, changed, replaced, fixed, saved, revamped, simplified, trimmed, or made more effective or efficient. It doesn’t need to have more stringent enrollment requirements, it doesn’t need drug testing for recipients, it doesn’t need stronger work requirements, and it doesn’t need time limits. It needs to be completely eliminated in its entirety, and all the government bureaucrats that administer welfare programs be laid off, not reassigned. The welfare state doesn’t need libertarian efficiency experts. It needs to be destroyed root and branch.


Laurence M. Vance [send him mail] writes from central Florida. He is the author of The War on Drugs Is a War on Freedom; War, Christianity, and the State: Essays on the Follies of Christian Militarism; War, Empire, and the Military: Essays on the Follies of War and U.S. Foreign Policy; King James, His Bible, and Its Translators, and many other books. His newest book is Gun Control and the Second Amendment. Visit his website.

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The [John] McCain Institute Funded by George Soros and Saudi Arabia, EXPOSED

The [John] McCain Institute Funded by George Soros and Saudi Arabia, EXPOSED | Soros-mccain | Politics Special Interests

By: Alex Christoforou, The Duran |

Neocon Arizona Republican Senator John McCain may have his own little Clinton Foundation pay-to-play scheme operating in the halls of the US Senate.

The Daily Caller investigative group has learned that in 2012 McCain turned over nearly $9 million in unspent funds from his failed 2008 presidential campaign to a new foundation bearing his name, the McCain Institute for International Leadership.

The McCain Institute for International Leadership’s mission is to serve as a “legacy” for John McCain and “is dedicated to advancing human rights, dignity, democracy and freedom”, but many readers certainly are well aware that human rights and dignity are the furthest things from the neocon warmonger’s mind.

The institute is a tax-exempt non-profit foundation and has assets valued at $8.1 million, associated with Arizona State University.

Bloomberg reported in 2016 on a $1 million Saudi Arabian donation to the institute. The McCain Institute to date has refused to publicly explain the Saudi Arabian million dollar contribution.

The McCain Institute’s donor list gets even more nefarious with more digging, as revealed by The Daily Caller, linking McCain to regime change globalists like George Soros…

Critics worry that the institute’s donors and McCain’s personal leadership in the organization’s exclusive “Sedona Forum” bear an uncanny resemblance to the glitzy Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) that annually co-mingled special interests and powerful political players in alleged pay-to-play schemes.

The institute has accepted contributions of as much as $100,000 from billionaire liberal activist-funder George Soros and from Teneo, a for-profit company co-founded by Doug Band, former President Bill Clinton’s “bag man.” Teneo has long helped enrich Clinton through lucrative speaking and business deals.

The McCain-Soros friendship runs deep, and may help to explain why Republican neocon McCain appears to always be politically aligned with globalist neo-liberal Soros (think Ukraine, Syria and Russian sanctions)…

McCain and Soros reportedly became friends after the senator was exposed as a member of the “Keating Five” during the savings and loan (S&L) industry scandal during former President George H.W. Bush’s administration. As the S&L bank chairman, Charles Keating paid $1.3 million to bribe five members of Congress to interfere with government regulators on behalf of the savings bank.

The experience so scarred McCain that he became a vigorous advocate of campaign finance reform and in the process reportedly became friends with Soros.

The Daily Caller reports that in addition to donations made by Saudi dictators and George Soros (the man widely held to be the architect behind the 2014 neo-nazi coup in Ukraine), McCain has accepted large amounts from various groups working to shape US foreign policy.

In addition, the institute has taken at least $100,000 from a Moroccan state-run company tied to repeated charges of worker abuse and exploitation. The McCain group has also accepted at least $100,000 from the Pivotal Foundation, which was created by Francis Najafi who owns the Pivotal Group, a private equity and real estate firm.

The Pivotal Foundation has in the last three years given $205,000 to the National Iranian-American Council (NIAC), which has been a vocal advocate for the Iranian nuclear deal the Obama administration negotiated.

“This is a very real conflict of interest,” Craig Holman, a government affairs lobbyist at Public Citizen, told TheDCNF. “This is the similar type of pattern we received with the Clinton Foundation in which foreign governments and foreign interests were throwing a lot of money in the hopes of trying to buy influence.”

Lawrence Noble, general counsel for the Campaign Legal Center, told the DCNF that accepting contributions in the name of a sitting senator like McCain raises troubling issues.

“In terms of the ethics of it, it does raise a broad question of people trying to get good will with the elected official,” he said. “From a personal standpoint, I’d rather not see these entities exist.”

John McCain recently stated that he had no involvement with the institute, saying “I’m proud that the institute is named after me, but I have nothing to do with it.”


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What Happens to Your Body When You Use the Internet (VIDEO)

What Happens to Your Body When You Use the Internet (VIDEO) | internet-technology-cell-phone-laptop | General Health Medical & Health Multimedia Science & Technology Special Interests

The internet has made connecting with new business partners, discovering health information and finding long lost friends, easier and cheaper. However, while digital connections have distinct advantages, digital dependence does not. You’ve likely seen — or have been part of — a family outing where one by one, everyone pulls out their phone to check notifications, text messages or email.

It happens in restaurants, on busy streets and commuter trains. The desire to be rewarded by your phone may have even been so great that you endangered your life by attempting to read a text or send one while driving. Toddlers get their own devices to keep them busy and 10-year-old children are carrying their own phones.1 Where once children talked on the phone, set up face-to-face time and engaged with real people in real situations, they now spend hours keeping a “streak” alive.

Dependence on digital communication presents several physical and emotional health challenges. Mitochondrial damage, exposure to electromagnetic radiation and failing social skills are just the tip of an iceberg that may have deeper roots than anticipated. Recent research has now identified immediate physical symptoms that occur when your digital devices are just out of reach.

Digital Dependence Affecting More Than Teens

Cellphone ownership has reached 95 percent in America, up from 68 percent measured in 2015. Of those owners, 77 percent use a smartphone.2 The people who own the smartphones are distributed equally across gender, age and ethnicity, with the lowest number of people owning smartphones being over the age of 65.

Dependence or addiction to a digital device hooked to the internet affected 6 percent of the world population in 2014.3 This number may not appear to be significant on the surface, but consider that 6 percent of the world population was over 420 million people.4Comparatively speaking, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 3.5 to 7 percent of the world population between 15 and 64 years had used an illicit drug in the past year.5

The percentage of those addicted to the internet may actually be higher as only 39 percent of the world in 2014 had access to the internet,6 driving the real percentage of those addicted to 15 percent. Symptoms of addiction are similar to other types of addiction, but are more socially acceptable. The authors of the study found an internet addiction (IA) is:7

 “… [G]enerally regarded as a disorder of concern because the neural abnormalities (e.g., atrophies in dorsolateral prefrontal cortex) and cognitive dysfunctions (e.g., impaired working memory) associated with IA mimic those related to substance and behavioral addiction. Moreover, IA is often comorbid with mental disorders, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and depression.”

Reach Out Recovery identifies conditions that may trigger internet addiction or compulsions, including anxiety, depression, other addictions, social isolation and stress.8  Internet activity may stimulate your brain’s reward system, much like drugs and alcohol, providing a constant source of information and entertainment. While each person’s internet use is different, the results may be the same. Long-term effects may include:

Irritation when someone interrupts your interaction online Difficulty completing tasks Increasing isolation
Experiencing euphoria while online Inability to stop despite the consequences Increasing stress

Physical Effects of Internet Withdrawal

The physical and mental effects of addiction, coupled with the physical effects of withdrawal, may increase your risks for long-term health conditions. In a recent study involving 144 people between the ages of 18 and 33, researchers discovered both heart rate and blood pressure are affected in those who report spending extended periods of time online.9

Past research has associated cold turkey withdrawal of the internet from heavy users will produce anxiety type symptoms, similar to those experienced by people addicted to drugs or alcohol.10 The current study also linked physiological changes, including an average of a 3 to 4 percent increase in blood pressure and heart rate of the participants.11 Some participants experienced up to an 8 percent increase.

This was the first controlled demonstration of physiological changes triggered by internet use.12 The increases noted during the study were not enough to be immediately life-threatening; however, these types of changes are associated with anxiety and a reduction in the function of the immune system.

The changes in anxiety levels may also be a physiological trigger for users to re-engage with their digital devices in order to reduce the physical response and anxiety level. Dr. Lisa Osborne, co-author of the study from Swansea University, commented:13

“A problem with experiencing physiological changes like increased heart rate is that they can be misinterpreted as something more physically threatening, especially by those with high levels of anxiety, which can lead to more anxiety, and more need to reduce it.”

In other words, especially in people who may experience anxiety more frequently, the physical symptoms of internet withdrawal may increase their anxiety and lead to behaviors to reduce it — namely, going back to using the internet.

Putting Down Your Phone May Raise Your Anxiety Level

Forty percent of the participants in this study admitted they had some level of an internet-related problem and acknowledged they spent too much time online. Participants reportedly spent an average of five hours each day on the internet and 20 percent spent over six hours a day. By far the most common reasons for engaging online were social media and shopping.

Previous studies from this same group of researchers have demonstrated study participants would experience short-term increases in anxiety levels when their digital devices were removed.14 When those devices were removed for longer periods of time, they reported increases in loneliness and depression, with some researchers finding changes to the actual structures in the brain.

Research psychologist Larry Rosen, Ph.D., and his colleagues at California State University looked at the effect technology has had on our anxiety levels. They have found the typical person checks their phone every 15 minutes, whether or not they heard a notification from the device. In his words you may be thinking:15

 “Gee, I haven’t [checked] in [on] Facebook in a while. I haven’t checked on this Twitter feed for a while. I wonder if somebody commented on my Instagram post.”

These thoughts generate increased secretion of cortisol, which begins to increase your anxiety levels. Eventually, you notice the rising anxiety and seek a way to reduce the experience. Checking in to your social network on your phone may be one of the ways you’ve found to reduce your anxiety.

The authors of the study from Swansea University speculate that internet use is driven by more than short-term excitement or the joy of using technology. Instead, it may produce negative physiological and psychological changes, such as anxiety that may drive you back to the device that is causing the problem in the first place.16

Multiple studies from around the world have demonstrated overuse of the internet and digital devices leads to physical and psychological symptoms of addiction17 and family dysfunction.18 Poor health, unhappiness and depression were found in men and women who report overuse of the internet, but depressed girls demonstrate a higher rate of internet addiction than boys.19 Overall, those with an addiction to the internet have lower impulsivity control.20

Google Would Like You to Keep On Using

It should come as no surprise that companies that make money when more people spend more time and money on the internet are consciously trying to manipulate your behavior. Former Google product manager Tristan Harris revealed how digital giants are engineering smartphone apps and social media feedback to get you checking and double-checking online.21

However, while internet use is more socially acceptable, digital companies aren’t the only businesses using neurological and psychological strategies to increase their profit margins.22 Behavior patterns are often etched into neural pathways,23 and when those behaviors are also linked to hormone secretion and physiological responses, they become even more powerful.

In fact, Harris describes the reward process of using a smartphone as “playing the slot machine.”24 And, Google has discovered a way to embed that reward system as you use the apps on your phone. This process is so important to digital corporations that Apple turned down a new smartphone app for their store that would help people to reduce their use of the internet and their smartphones.

The goal of any corporation is to increase your use of their product and the potential you will spend more money with them. In the case of smartphone devices, these companies are contributing to programing your actions, and how you think and feel. This is how companies satisfy their advertisers, who are paying for the privilege of your eyes on their ads.

Have You Been ‘Brain Hacked?’

Some programmers call this process “brain hacking,” as they incorporate more information from neuropsychology into the development of digital interfaces that increase your interaction with the program. For instance, getting likes on Facebook and Instagram, the “streaks” on Snapchat or cute emojis on text messaging, are all designed to increase your engagement and desire to return.

The continual scroll on Facebook keeps you engaged on the page longer, with a greater chance you’ll click an advertisement on the page. Keeping a “streak” alive on Snapchat keeps you coming back to the app, especially when you have multiple streaks going with multiple people.

Harris describes it as a race to the bottom of the brainstem where fear and anxiety live, two of the most powerful motivators known to advertisers. Both advertisers and computer software developers are using these techniques to write code that will engage your attention.25

More Physical Effects From Your Digital Devices

Unfortunately, your engagement is not the only physiological or psychological change these techniques trigger in your brain and your body. This short video highlights several changes you may experience after hours of digital use. However, there are also permanent changes that occur to the structure of your brain after watching a flickering screen for hours.

One of the functional changes you may have noticed is a reduced ability to think deeply about one subject.26 The focus of gathering information online often results in you flitting from one website to another as the topic of your research changes, as portrayed in the video above. Another way of saying this is a constant state of distraction, disruption and interruption from notifications and website engagement.

Nicholas Carr, author of the book, “The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains,” finds in the years after publication, with rising use of digital devices, millennials are experiencing even greater problems with forgetfulness than seniors.27 This is the “dark side” of neurological plasticity that allows your brain to adapt to changes in your environment. This type of plasticity is one way your brain recovers after a stroke has permanently damaged one area.

The truth is, as your brain is plastic, most everything you do and practice will change your brain.28 Using the internet may damage your ability to remember facts, but it also appears to improve your ability to research information. However, a few positive changes may not outweigh the negative aspects of long-term internet overuse. For instance, brain scans indicate those who use the internet consistently have a reduced amount of gray matter.29,30

A loss of white matter,31,32 reduced cortical thickness33,34 and impaired cognitive functioning35 are other brain structure and functional changes that have been demonstrated from long-term internet use. It is impossible to ignore that these devices are changing your brain structure, and the experience is also increasing your exposure to microwave radiation and large amounts of blue light at night, thereby impacting your body’s ability to produce melatonin.

In 2011, the World Health Organization International Agency for Research on Cancer declared cellphones a Group 2b “possible human carcinogen”36 related to the microwave radiation emitted from the phone. Even cellphone manufacturers place warnings on their products to keep them at least 1 inch from your body.37

Yet another challenge to using digital devices is the blue light emitted from the screens, which reduce your melatonin and signal your body to wake up. You may be able to reduce this effect by wearing blue-blocking sunglasses after sundown, and turning off your digital devices at the same time.

Meditation May Reduce Your Withdrawal Symptoms

Consider setting a goal to reduce your screen time and digital communication. In the video above, Julie Schiffman demonstrates the use of Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) to reduce stress and anxiety. These are strategies you may easily use in public or private to assist your efforts to reduce your screen time — whether on your phone, computer or on your tablet. Remember, the physiological, structural and psychological changes occur no matter what type of device you’re using.

REFERENCES


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The post What Happens to Your Body When You Use the Internet (VIDEO) appeared first on The Sleuth Journal.


Source: Alternative news journal

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U.S. Customs and Border Protection Reveals Next Level of Biometrics at Airport

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Reveals Next Level of Biometrics at Airport | us-border-and-customs-protection | Science & Technology Sleuth Journal Special Interests Surveillance TSA US News

[image: Joe Raedle/Getty]

By: NICHOLAS WEST, Activist Post | 

Over the last month, some very stark writing has appeared on the wall regarding the advancement of mandatory biometric IDs being imposed for U.S. air travelers.

On May 19th I reported on a new program initiated by Delta Airlines at Minneapolis-St. Paul airport to have automated baggage kiosks for “priority customers” that will first scan a traveler’s passport, then their face in order to match identity to checked luggage. It was promoted as a “pilot program” that Delta launched to seek customer feedback in the hope that it could be rolled out more widely in the future.

This announcement was followed by JetBlue who stated they will “test facial- and fingerprint-recognition technology at two U.S. airports to replace boarding passes, building on industry efforts to increase security and ease passage through airports.”

These announcements in and of themselves are enough to heighten concern about additional data collection and databasing that any form of biometric ID entails, but the JetBlue announcement contained an ominous new level of integration between public and private entities:

JetBlue is working with U.S. Customs and Border Protection and SITA, an information-technology provider for airlines.

“This is the first integration of biometric authorization by the CBP with an airline and may prove to be a solution that will be quick and easy to roll out across U.S. airports,” Jim Peters, SITA’s chief technology officer, said in the statement. (emphasis added)

An article published just days ago by FedScoop further confirms what the independent media has been warning for years – namely, that enhanced security measures which many believed would be used only against specific groups of supposedly scary people is set to trickle down to any and all of the traveling public. Even the title of the FedScoop article is a vindication of those “conspiracy theorists” who had the temerity to suggest a much wider plan for an incremental rollout when these measures first were hinted at.

In the article “CBP will implement long-mandated biometric exit at airports, official says” we discover the length of the plan, the hurdles that needed to be overcome and why we most likely are witnessing intensified media coverage at this moment:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is finally addressing the 15-year-old-plus legislative mandate to check the identity of departing foreign visitors using biometrics, CBP Deputy Executive Assistant Commissioner John Wagner said Thursday.

Wagner said the goal would be accomplished by making use of existing data collection, the latest facial recognition technology and cloud computing. He acknowledged there would be privacy issues – particularly because the facial recognition technology would capture images of U.S. citizens as part of the overall process.

“We’re out of time, we’re out of excuses,” Wagner said.

The “overall process” it turns out must be sweeping in nature due to the sluggish nature of retrieving and cross-referencing the already hundreds of millions of fingerprints and photos. Even though that process would take only 2 minutes for each traveler, when multiplied by the number of travelers it would create even worse headaches during the boarding process.

The a-ha moment, he said came with the thought, “What about leveraging existing processes, existing data we’re already collecting?”

“What if we could use that [biographical data] to pull the photos of the departing passengers on that flight into a segmented cloud” and then check the faces of those boarding the plane, one-to-many, against that dataset, which he said would take only a few seconds because of its small size and the efficiency of the latest matching algorithms.

It’s “easy for travelers, not as imposing as us taking fingerprints,” he said and the infrastructure was “A camera on a pole.”

Moreover, he added, the same process could be used “any place you have to show your ID [in the airport] … the TSA checkpoint, the duty free store, the [executive] lounge.” Instead of showing an ID, a passenger’s identity and flight could be confirmed using facial recognition, checked against the picture in the CBP segmented cloud.

Apparently, in the name of efficiency, (perceived) security and government mandate, the acknowledged privacy concerns are slated for eventual dismissal.

Nonetheless, Wagner said, CBP were determined to push ahead. “We’re gonna build that cloud space,” he said.

This should be viewed as the next stage of incrementalism where all becomes revealed as self-evident that this is not about the control of any one group, but is designed for all. People are now openly being transformed into digital organisms made easier for scanning and processing. The political will is there, the databases exist, and the technology is clearly being rolled out across every meaningful area of human activity.


Nicholas West writes for ActivistPost.com. He also writes for Counter Markets agorist newsletter.


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Source: Alternative news journal

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Why It Was Easier to Be Skinny in the 1980s

Why It Was Easier to Be Skinny in the 1980s | weight-loss-scale | Environment General Health Special Interests Toxins

You can eat less and exercise more—but you’ll still probably gain more weight (about 10 percent more) than someone your age would have gained 20 – 30 years ago, eating and exercising the same amount.

So says a new study published in the journal Obesity Research & Clinical Practice. The study found, as reported in The Atlantic, that someone, in 2006, eating the same amount of calories, taking in the same quantities of macronutrients like protein and fat, and exercising the same amount as a person of the same age did in 1988, would have a BMI (Body Mass Index) that was about 2.3 points higher.

The study’s authors posited three possible explanations for their findings:

1. Today we’re exposed to more chemicals—pesticides, flame retardants, the substances in food packaging—that may be messing with our hormones.

2. We’re taking more drugs, especially antidepressants, many of which are linked to weight gain.

3. Our gut bacteria are changing, possibly because we’re eating more meat—and that meat is now being treated with growth-promoting hormones and antibiotics.

It all makes sense. Except the statement by one of the study’s authors, who told The Atlantic that the body weights of Americans today are influenced by “factors beyond their control.”

Noooooo . . . we can control our own exposure to pesticides, antidepressants, and factory farm meat. By going organic. And staying off drugs. What’s more, we must continue to fight the corporate control of our food system that’s led to this mess.

And we better hurry up. Because according to another new study, 107 million children and 603 million adults are now obese.

Read the study

Learn more

h/t: Organic Consumers Organization


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Source: Alternative news journal

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Professor Calls White People Inhuman

Professor Calls White People Inhuman | professor | Sleuth Journal

A Connecticut professor recently called white people “inhuman assholes” and shared an article about letting “bigots” die in a post on Facebook.

Trinity College professor Johnny Eric Williams shared his thoughts publicly on social media, saying, “fed the fuck up with self-identified ‘white’s’ daily violence directed at immigrants, Muslims, and sexual and racially oppressed people. the time is now to confront these inhuman assholes and end this now,” Campus Reform reports.

Williams also said, “It is past time for the racially oppressed to do what people who believe themselves to be ‘white’ will not do, put end to the vectors of their destructive mythology of whiteness and their white supremacy system. #LetThemFuckingDie.”

The “let them die” part of that post refers to a Medium article he shared on his Facebook page titled, “Let Them Fucking Die.”

 

Read the full article at The Daily Caller.


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Surprise, Goyim, Surprise: Analysts Now Expect American Soldiers To Spend Generations In Afghanistan

Surprise, Goyim, Surprise: Analysts Now Expect American Soldiers To Spend Generations In Afghanistan | AP-Photo-of-Afghan-Suicide-Bombing | Government Corruption Military Sleuth Journal Special Interests US News War Propaganda

[image: AP]

Didn’t Donald Trump promise us a total withdrawal of American military forces from foolish bases around the globe- or at least a large reduction in the number of soldiers wasting time and resources on a daily basis?

Like, I even recall him briefly mentioning a departure from South Korea, Japan, and the possibility of granting Germany back their sovereignty – he alluded to seventy years of occupation as being long enough.

As for Afghanistan, it should be plainly evident that the only contributions Americans have given the area involve horrid corruption within the puppet regimes, a massive increase in opium production (the Taliban actually stopped the drug trade on many levels), and easy tickets to the United States for hordes of barbarian Moslem “refugees.”

But perhaps if we fight for another thirty years or so, we’ll at last obtain victory – just keep hoping and keep dying, White Man.

From RT:

Americans may stay on Afghan soil for a “long-haul” mission that could evolve into several decades of “generational struggle,” General David Petraeus, ex-commander of US troops in Afghanistan, admitted.

The current war in Afghanistan is unlikely to end in the foreseeable future, David Petraeus, who led the US military campaign there back in the 2000s, told PBS News Hour. 

Though the retired General argued that “we went there for a reason and we stayed for a reason,” to defeat Al-Qaeda following the 9/11 attacks, he hinted that “a generational struggle” may unfold in the war-ravaged country.

“This is not something that is going to be won in a few years. We’re not going to take a hill, plant a flag, go home to a victory parade,” he said. “And we need to be there for the long haul, but in a way, that is, again, sustainable,” he added.

To back his remarkable statement, he cited other examples of US deployments in other parts of the world that have lasted decades.

“We have been in Korea for 65-plus years because there is an important national interest for that,” Petraeus said.

However, Petraeus “doesn’t think the US involvement will last that long” in Afghanistan.

The general argued “I think we should not approach this as a year-on-year mission,” noting that this kind of tentativeness gives Afghan leaders “the jitters.”

Embrace the feelings of primitive goat herders, Goyim.

Embrace their worries and their sorrows the come from the thought that White Americans will no longer stay in their country to have their legs blown off and their intestines strewn all over the ground.

The interview was released as media reports have emerged indicating that the Trump administration is preparing to deploy an additional 4,000 troops in Afghanistan to train the nation’s army and battle the resurging Taliban. The figure, though sizeable, nonetheless pales compared to the previous number of troops stationed in Afghanistan, which reached 100,000 at peak times.

Petraeus, who commanded the US troops and NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) from 2010 to 2011, insisted “it did actually turn back the Taliban.”

However, he then took a more measured tone, saying, “as I said, we are not going to permanently win this.”

Wait, what?

If there is no conceivable chance to win the war (and the Taliban is in fact stronger than ever before thanks to American involvement), why would a nation wish to keep troops fighting into the middle of the century?

One of the great unanswered questions of our time, that’s for sure.


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The post Surprise, Goyim, Surprise: Analysts Now Expect American Soldiers To Spend Generations In Afghanistan appeared first on The Sleuth Journal.


Source: Alternative news journal

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