Sunday, November 19, 2017
Search

Natural Remedies - search results

If you're not happy with the results, please do another search

Natural remedies for depression

Do you find ever find yourself feeling depressed? If so, you may be looking for relief. Depression is a medical condition that can be...

Natural Cold Remedies You May Not Know About

By Dr. Mercola Your nose is running, your eyes are itchy and watery, you have a low-grade fever and you’ve been sneezing all day. You...
video

Video: Julia Fairfax “Why Is It Still Illegal To Promote Natural Treatment & Remedies...

Please Support The Show – http://richieallen.co.uk/ https://www.facebook.com/therichieallenshow http://www.youtube.com/RichieAllenShowMedia Tune in at ... Via Youtube

Demand for US solar power may fall by 2/3rds over company’s plea for industry...

A new study is sending shockwaves throughout the US solar panel industry over fears of trade...

Pondering Poison Ivy Remedies and Itch Relief

Spend any amount of time in the outdoors or in your yard, it’s very likely you’ll come in contact with this evil plant. It has successfully reduced men, women, and children to miserable, scratching beasts.

Antidepressants Use Up 400%: 5 Ways to Boost Happiness Naturally

Christina Sarich RINF Alternative News A few years back, Harvard conducted a study to reiterate what many in the psych professionals already know — Americans are addicted to...

Flu Happens: Here’s What You Can Do About it Naturally

Despite your best efforts at prevention, sometimes the flu just happens.  If you work with the public or have children in school, you and your family will be exposed, and sometimes those viruses are simply tougher than your immune system. Transmission rates are increasing to a worrisome point, according toRead the Rest...

Sensitive Teeth? Two Ayurvedic Remedies Curb Hypersensitivity

sensitive teeth ayurvedic remedies

New research has determined that two natural remedies used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries can eliminate or at least curb teeth hypersensitivity.

Food-Sourced Melatonin Provides Natural Way to Help Sleep

Studies on melatonin have documented that the body's own melatonin production helps us fall asleep, yet research on supplemental melatonin has been disappointing. What...

Food-Sourced Melatonin Provides Natural Way to Help Sleep

Studies on melatonin have documented that the body's own melatonin production helps us fall asleep, yet research on supplemental melatonin has been disappointing. What...

Food-Sourced Melatonin Provides Natural Way to Help Sleep

Studies on melatonin have documented that the body's own melatonin production helps us fall asleep, yet research on supplemental melatonin has been disappointing. What...

UCLA Study Shows Radiation Treatment Makes Breast Cancer Worse, Natural Therapies Do Not

Christina Sarich Natural SocietyAugust 2, 2013 Published in the well-respected Cancer journal, a recent study conducted...

Traditional Herbal Remedies Proven to Increase Breast Milk Production

Research on herbal remedies for increasing breast milk production have found that several natural compounds have the ability to safely stimulate an increase in...

The Case for Natural Sleep Aids — Taking Prescription Sleep Meds Increases Risk of...

If you’re an insomnia sufferer, you know that there are few things worse than not being able to sleep regularly. It’s no wonder that so many turn to prescription sleep solutions such as Ambien, Lunesta and Rozerem for help. Given the fact that there are many risks inherent in taking prescription sleep and anxiety medications, especially over the long term, isn’t it worth your time to explore alternative sleep aids?

Stumbled Upon

Can Kidney Disease Be Reversed?

Western medicine does not understand the kidneys like Chinese doctors do. Western doctors knew that the kidneys are responsible for fluid balance, waste elimination,...

Just Say NO to the State

This year, the 4th of July simply makes me sad. I was trying to summon up a rush of pride to write about what makes...

Our Crooked, Violent Future

My friend George, in his mid-60’s, was a vice president of an insurance company. He’s told me a few amusing stories of fraud. A...

Account Upgrade?

Would you like to stay ahead of the curve? Learn how to unleash your untapped potential? Gain more of what you love & less of what...

The Axis Against Your Health

Bill Sardi RINF Alternative News In Latest Effort To Gouge Health Insurance Pools National Institutes of Health and Pharmaceutical Interests Ignore A More Economical Remedy...

Forget the Flu Shot: Hand-washing and Elderberry Extract Are the Best Defenses Against the...

H1N1, or “swine flu” is sweeping across the country, prompting the mainstream media to trumpet, “DOOM APPROACHES!!! GET YOUR FLU SHOT BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE!!!” Don’t fall for the escalating propaganda that is being propelled by a fear campaign.  The flu vaccine is NOT the best way to protect yourselfRead the Rest...

Progressive Muscle Relaxation Decreases Afternoon Sleepiness

daytime sleepiness and progressive muscle relaxation

Sleepy on the job? New research finds natural relaxation method curbs afternoon sleepiness among workers.

Avocados Found to Contain Antioxidant, Anticancer Fats

Avocados

New research finds that some of the fats in avocado are antioxidant and block cancer growth. This in addition to the incredible array of health properties of the humble avocado.

Western Diet and Refined Sweeteners Impair Liver Function

liver disease and saturated fats

Research has now confirmed what many nutritionists and doctors have observed among some of their patients: That the Western diet and refined sugars impair liver function and increase the risk of liver failure.

Do Daylight Savings Changes have Negative Health Effects?

We know that daylight saving time and its reversal in the fall changes our clocks. But does it change our body clocks and does...

Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia Linked to Poor Sleep

alzheimers and dementia linked with lack of good sleep

New research has found that lack of sleep increases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, increases the risk of dying from the disease, and increases the risk of dementia.

RINFORMATION

USA Topics 9/11 Agenda 21 Assassinations Banks Bush, George Jr Boston Bombings Bohemian Grove CIA Cointelpro Corruption DARPA Democrats Disinformation Congress Drones Eugenics FBI Federal Reserve Guantanamo HAARP ...

The coming plague will not be stopped by drugs: CDC now admits era of...

Mike Adams Natural News September 17, 2013 In a breakthrough moment of truth for the CDC, the agency now openly admits that prescription antibiotics...

Snowden Headed to Ecuador for Asylum?

As of Monday morning June 24, Edward Snowden’s whereabouts were unknown despite an international effort to track him down. His final destination was also...

Snowden Headed to Ecuador for Asylum?

As of Monday morning June 24, Edward Snowden’s whereabouts were unknown despite an international effort to track him down. His final destination was also...

Relief In Sight For Back Pain Sufferers

by Erin Bryers HOUSTON, TX, Sept. 6, 2010 — Back pain sufferers now have a new online resource to refer to for anything related to...

Big Pharma’s New Mass-Drugging Agenda Pushes Statin Drugs for Healthy People

By Mike Adams | Drug companies used to sell products for the treatment of disease. But it didn't take long for Big Pharma to...

Media Censorship at Olympics in China Mirrors FDA Censorship of Health Product Claims in...

NaturalNews | The U.S. media is loudly protesting the censorship of their reporters at the Olympics in Beijing. Betraying its promise to the International...

MRSA Infections Killing More Americans than AIDS

An antibiotic-resistant strain of the common staph bacteria is now responsible for more deaths in the United States than AIDS, according to a study...

Anonymous – Why we fight Scientology

1. What is Scientology? To understand Anonymous — what it is and why it exists — it is necessary to understand the Church of Scientology...

Science is being distorted to promote political and corporate agendas

By Mike Adams In the United States today, science is no longer a pure study. The science primarily publicized today is science that supports the...

Dismantling Power: The Zapatista Indigenous Presidential Candidate's Vision to Transform Mexico From Below

The Zapatistas and National Indigenous Congress (CNI) held an assembly in May in which they chose María de Jesús Patricio Martínez, a Nahua indigenous...

Dismantling Power: The Zapatista Indigenous Presidential Candidate's Vision to Transform Mexico from Below

The Zapatistas and National Indigenous Congress (CNI) held an assembly in May in which they chose , and coalesce as agreements as peoples that...

Blurred Vision in One Eye?

Blurred vision can be temporary or chronic, and in some cases, people can experience blurred vision in only one eye. To properly manage blurred...

Improve Your Vision

Many changes occur as we age. Our skin becomes less tight, our hearing may fade, and our vision could deteriorate. But growing older doesn’t...

NC Lawmakers Want to Shield Factory Farms from Big Damage Payments to Victims

Legislation moving through the North Carolina General Assembly would prevent people living near the state's numerous factory farms from recovering more than token damages...

Survive a Hangover

In normal times or times of trouble, New Year’s Eve is a time where many break out the Smoky Mountain Moonshine and end up regretting it the next...

The Trouble With Multivitamins

Multivitamins present the most practical and economical opportunity for the public to make up for gaps in the high calorie/nutrient insufficient American diet. Despite alleged...

The Real Enemy of Both Koreas

Warring hotspots all over the world are flaring up in 2016 in what amounts to preparation for World War III between the military forces...

As the UN Finally Admits Role in Haiti Cholera Outbreak, Here Is How Victims...

The United Nations has, at long last, accepted some responsibility that it played a part in a cholera epidemic that broke out in Haiti...

Vertigo

Vertigo – also called benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) – is described as a sensation of spinning and dizzy spells and can be quite...

Ibuprofen & other common drugs, supplements may cause, exacerbate heart failure – study

Commonly-prescribed and -used medications, such as Ibuprofen, and nutritional or natural supplements may trigger or worsen...

Fire in Your Belly?

A burning stomach, or a burning sensation in the stomach, can cause pain, fatigue, and stress to the stomach. Burning stomach is becoming a...

Never Be Without Baking Soda

By Dr. Mercola You probably have at least one box of baking soda in your home right now. If you’re like many Americans, you might...

Statue of Liberty, other world sites, vulnerable to 'threat multiplier' climate change – report

Increasing temperatures, rising sea levels and intensifying weather are just some of the threats to the...

Israel’s Fascistization of Judaism

Norman Pollack RINF Alternative News Yom Kippur, only days away, a time of repentance, lately, the utter savagery in attacking Gaza and its people, the burning...

A Finger in My Soup

I'd heard of such horror stories and assumed they were mostly fictional or concocted as the bases for lawsuits, and then I was actually served a bowl of soup that had a finger in it.  I'm not going to name the well-known chain restaurant where I w...

10 Medicinal Weeds That May Grow In Your Backyard

Some of the most common weeds in our backyard yield amazing healing abilities.weeds, herbs, medicinal plants

Raising Competent Kids in an Incompetent World

Don't allow your kids to become crippled by a world that babies them in the name of convenience.

America’s Posture Toward Russia is Nothing if not Consistent–and Consistently Misrepresented

Jason Hirthler  RINF Alternative News During frantic post-Second World War planning sessions in the West, the British Foreign Office noted its fears of “ideological infiltration” from...

Text of UN Human Rights Council Report on US Human Rights Abuses

UN Human Rights Council Report on US Human Rights Abuses
ADVANCED UNEDITED VERSION
Human Rights Committee
Concluding observations on the fourth report of the United States of America

1. The Committee considered the fourth periodic report of the United States of America (CCPR/C/USA/4 and Corr.1) at its 3044th, 3045th and 3046th meetings (CCPR/C/SR/3044, CCPR/C/SR/3045 and CCPR/C/SR/3046), held on 13 and 14 March 2014. At its 3061st meeting (CCPR/C/SR/3061), held on 26 March 2014, it adopted the following concluding observations.
A. Introduction
2. The Committee welcomes the submission of the fourth periodic report of the United States of America and the information presented therein. It expresses appreciation for the opportunity to renew its constructive dialogue with the State party’s high level delegation which included representatives of state and local governments on the measures that the State party has taken during the reporting period to implement the provisions of the Covenant. The Committee is grateful to the State party for its written replies (CCPR/C/USA/Q/4/Add.1) to the list of issues (CCPR/C/USA/Q/4), which were supplemented by the oral responses provided by the delegation and for the supplementary information provided to it in writing.
B. Positive aspects
3. The Committee notes with appreciation the many efforts undertaken, and the progress made in protecting civil and political rights by the State party. The Committee welcomes, in particular, the following legislative and institutional steps taken by the State party:
(a) The full implementation of article 6(5) of the Covenant in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s judgment in Roper v. Simmons, 543 U.S. 551 (2005), despite the State party’s reservation to the contrary;
(b) The recognition by the Supreme Court in Boumediene v. Bush, 553 U.S. 723 (2008), of the extraterritorial application of constitutional habeas corpus rights to aliens detained at Guantánamo Bay;
(c) The Presidential Executive Orders 13491 (“Ensuring Lawful Interrogations”), 13492 (“Review and Disposition of Individuals Detained at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base and Closure of Detention Facilities”) and 13493 (“Review of Detention Policy Options”), issued on 22 January 2009;
(d) The support for the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples announced by President Obama on 16 December 2010;
(e) The Presidential Executive Order 13567 establishing periodic review for detainees at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility who have not been charged, convicted, or designated for transfer, issued on 7 March 2011.
C. Principal matters of concern and recommendations
Applicability of the Covenant at national level 
4. The Committee regrets that the State party continues to maintain its position that the Covenant does not apply with respect to individuals under its jurisdiction but outside its territory, despite the contrary interpretation of article 2(1) supported by the Committee’s established jurisprudence, the jurisprudence of the International Court of Justice and state practice. The Committee further notes that the State party has only limited avenues to ensure that state and local governments respect and implement the Covenant, and that its provisions have been declared to be non-self-executing at the time of ratification. Taken together, these elements considerably limit the legal reach and the practical relevance of the Covenant (art. 2).  
The State party should:
(a) Interpret the Covenant in good faith, in accordance with the ordinary meaning to be given to its terms in their context, including subsequent practice, and in the light of its object and purpose and review its legal position so as to acknowledge the extraterritorial application of the Covenant under certain circumstances, as outlined inter alia in the Committee’s general comment No. 31 (2004) on the nature of the general legal obligation imposed on States parties to the Covenant;
(b) Engage with stakeholders at all levels to identify ways to give greater effect to the Covenant at federal, state and local levels, taking into account that the obligations under the Covenant are binding on the State party as a whole, and that all branches of government, and other public or governmental authorities, at every level are in a position to engage the responsibility of the State party under the Covenant (General Comment. No. 31, para. 4);
(c) Taking into account its declaration that provisions of the Covenant are non-self-executing, ensure that effective remedies are available for violations of the Covenant, including those that do not, at the same time, constitute violations of U.S. domestic law, and undertake a review of such areas with a view to proposing to the Congress implementing legislation to fill any legislative gaps. The State party should also consider acceding to the Optional Protocol to the Covenant providing for an individual communication procedure.
(d) Strengthen and expand existing mechanisms mandated to monitor the implementation of human rights at federal, state, local and tribal levels, provide them with adequate human and financial resources or consider establishing an independent national human rights institution, in accordance with the principles relating to the status of national institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights (Paris Principles) (General Assembly resolution 48/134).
(e) Reconsider its position regarding its reservations and declarations to the Covenant with a view to withdrawing them. 
Accountability for past human rights violations
5. The Committee is concerned at the limited number of investigations, prosecutions and convictions of members of the Armed Forces and other agents of the U.S. Government, including private contractors, for unlawful killings in its international operations and the use of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment of detainees in U.S. custody, including outside its territory, as part of the so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” program. While welcoming the Presidential Executive Order 13491 of 22 January 2009 terminating the programme of secret detention and interrogation operated by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Committee notes with concern that all reported investigations into enforced disappearances, torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment that had been committed in the context of the CIA secret rendition, interrogation and detention programmes were closed in 2012 leading only to a meagre number of criminal charges brought against low-level operatives. The Committee is concerned that many details of the CIA programme remain secret thereby creating barriers to accountability and redress for victims (arts. 2, 6, 7, 9, 10, and 14).
The State party should ensure that all cases of unlawful killing, torture or other ill-treatment, unlawful detention, or enforced disappearance are effectively, independently and impartially investigated, that perpetrators, including, in particular, persons in command positions, are prosecuted and sanctioned, and that victims are provided with effective remedies. The responsibility of those who provided legal pretexts for manifestly illegal behavior should also be established. The State party should also consider the full incorporation of the doctrine of ‘command responsibility’ in its criminal law and declassify and make public the report of the Senate Special Committee on Intelligence into the CIA secret detention programme.
Racial disparities in the criminal justice system
6. While appreciating the steps taken by the State party to address racial disparities in the criminal justice system, including the enactment in August 2010 of The Fair Sentencing Act and plans to work on reform of mandatory minimum sentencing statutes, the Committee continues to be concerned about racial disparities at different stages in the criminal justice system, sentencing disparities and the overrepresentation of individuals belonging to racial and ethnic minorities in prisons and jails (arts. 2, 9, 14, and 26). 
The State party should continue and step up its efforts to robustly address racial disparities in the criminal justice system, including by amending regulations and policies leading to racially disparate impact at the federal, state and local levels. The State party should ensure the retroactive application of the Fair Sentencing Act and reform mandatory minimum sentencing statutes.
Racial profiling
7. While welcoming plans to reform the “stop and frisk” program in New York City, the Committee remains concerned about the practice of racial profiling and surveillance by law enforcement officials targeting certain ethnic minorities, and the surveillance of Muslims undertaken by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the New York Police Department (NYPD) in the absence of any suspicion of wrongdoing (arts. 2, 9, 12, 17, and 26).   
The State party should continue and step up its measures to effectively combat and eliminate racial profiling by federal, state and local law enforcement officials, inter alia by: (a) pursuing the review of the 2003 Guidance Regarding the Use of Race by Federal Law Enforcement Agencies and expanding protection against profiling on the basis of religion, religious appearance or national origin; (b) continuing to train state and local law enforcement personnel on cultural awareness and inadmissibility of racial profiling; and (c) abolishing all “stop and frisk” practices.
Death penalty
8. While welcoming the overall decline in the number of executions and the increasing number of states that have abolished the death penalty, the Committee remains concerned about the continuing use of the death penalty and, in particular, racial disparities in its imposition that affects disproportionately African Americans, exacerbated by the rule that discrimination has to be proven case-by-case. It is further concerned by the high number of persons wrongly sentenced to death, despite existing safeguards, and by the fact that 16 retentionist states do not provide for compensation for the wrongfully convicted and other states provide for insufficient compensation. Finally, the Committee notes with concern reports about the administration by some states of untested lethal drugs to execute prisoners and the withholding of information on such drugs (arts. 2, 6, 7, 9, 14, and 26).  
The State party should (a) take measures to effectively ensure that the death penalty is not imposed as a result of racial bias; (b) strengthen safeguards against wrongful sentencing to death and subsequent wrongful execution by ensuring inter alia effective legal representation for defendants in death penalty cases, including at the post-conviction stage; (c) ensure that retentionist states provide adequate compensation for the wrongfully convicted (d) ensure that lethal drugs for executions originate from legal, regulated sources, and are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and that information on the origin and composition of such drugs is made available to individuals scheduled for execution; (e) consider establishing a moratorium on the death penalty at the federal level and engage with retentionist states with a view to achieving a nationwide moratorium. The Committee also encourages the State party, on the 25th anniversary of the Second Optional Protocol to the Covenant aiming at the abolition of the death penalty, to consider acceding to the Protocol. 
Targeted killings using unmanned aerial vehicles (drones)
9. The Committee is concerned about the State party’s practice of targeted killings in extraterritorial counter-terrorism operations using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) also known as ‘drones’, the lack of transparency regarding the criteria for drone strikes, including the legal justification for specific attacks, and the lack of accountability for the loss of life resulting from such attacks. The Committee notes the State party’s position that drone strikes are conducted in the course of its armed conflict with Al- Qaida, the Taliban, and associated forces and in accordance with its inherent right of national self-defense and are governed by international humanitarian law, as well as by the Presidential Policy Guidance that sets out standards for the use of lethal force outside areas of active hostilities. Nevertheless, the Committee remains concerned about the State party’s very broad approach to the definition and the geographical scope of an armed conflict, including the end of hostilities, the unclear interpretation of what constitutes an “imminent threat” and who is a combatant or civilian taking a direct part in hostilities, the unclear position on the nexus that should exist between any particular use of lethal force and any specific theatre of hostilities, as well as the precautionary measures taken to avoid civilian casualties in practice (arts. 2, 6, and 14). 
The State party should revisit its position regarding legal justifications for the use of deadly force through drone attacks. It should: (a) ensure that any use of armed drones complies fully with its obligations under article 6 of the Covenant, including in particular with respect to the principles of precaution, distinction and proportionality in the context of an armed conflict; (b) subject to operational security, disclose the criteria for drone strikes, including the legal basis for specific attacks, the process of target identification and the circumstances in which drones are used; (c) provide for independent supervision and oversight over the specific implementation of regulations governing the use of drone strikes; (d) in armed conflict situations, take all feasible measures to ensure the protection of civilians in specific drone attacks and to track and assess civilian casualties, as well as all necessary precautionary measures in order to avoid such casualties; (e) conduct independent, impartial, prompt and effective investigations of allegations of violations of the right to life and bring to justice those responsible; (f) provide victims or their families with an effective remedy where there has been a violation, including adequate compensation, and establish accountability mechanisms for victims of allegedly unlawful drone attacks who are not compensated by their home governments.
Gun violence 
10. While acknowledging the measures taken to reduce gun violence, the Committee remains concerned about the continuing high numbers of gun-related deaths and injuries and the disparate impact of gun violence on minorities, women and children. While commending the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights’ investigation of the discriminatory effect of “Stand Your Ground Laws”, the Committee is concerned about the proliferation of such laws that are used to circumvent the limits of legitimate self-defence in violation of the State party’s duty to protect life (arts. 2, 6, and 26). 
The State Party should take all necessary measures to abide by its obligation to effectively protect the right to life. In particular, it should: (a) continue its efforts to effectively curb gun violence, including through the continued pursuit of legislation requiring background checks for all private firearm transfers in order to prevent possession of arms by persons recognized as prohibited individuals under federal law and strict enforcement of the Domestic Violence Offender Gun Ban legislation of 1996 (the “Lautenberg Amendment”); and (b) review Stand Your Ground Laws to remove far-reaching immunity and ensure strict adherence to the principles of necessity and proportionality when using deadly force in self-defence.
Excessive use of force by law enforcement officials
11. The Committee is concerned about the still high number of fatal shootings by certain police forces, including, for instance, in Chicago, and reports of excessive use of force by certain law enforcement officers including the deadly use of tasers, which have a disparate impact on African Americans, and use of lethal force by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at the U.S.-Mexico border (arts. 2, 6, 7, and 26).  
The State Party should  (a) step up its efforts to prevent the excessive use of force by law enforcement officers by ensuring compliance with the 1990 UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officers; (b) ensure that the new CBP directive on use of deadly force is applied and enforced in practice; and (c) improve reporting of excessive use of force violations and ensure that reported cases of excessive use of force are effectively investigated, alleged perpetrators are prosecuted and, if convicted, punished with appropriate sanctions, that investigations are re-opened when new evidence becomes available, and that victims or their families are provided with adequate compensation. 
Legislation prohibiting torture
12. While noting that acts of torture may be prosecuted in a variety of ways at both the federal and state levels, the Committee is concerned about the lack of comprehensive legislation criminalizing all forms of torture, including mental torture, committed within the territory of the State party. The Committee is also concerned about the inability of torture victims to claim compensation from the State party and its officials due to the application of broad doctrines of legal privilege and immunity (arts. 2 and 7).
The State party should enact legislation to explicitly prohibit torture, including mental torture, wherever committed and ensure that the law provides for penalties commensurate with the gravity of such acts, whether committed by public officials or other persons acting on behalf of the State, or by private persons. The State party should ensure the availability of compensation to victims of torture. 
Non-refoulement
13. While noting the measures taken to ensure compliance with the principle of non-refoulement in cases of extradition, expulsion, return and transfer of individuals to other countries, the Committee is concerned about the State party’s reliance on diplomatic assurances that do not provide sufficient safeguards. It is also concerned at the State party’s position that the principle of non-refoulement is not covered by the Covenant despite the Committee’s established jurisprudence and subsequent state practice (arts. 6 and 7). 
The State party should strictly apply the absolute prohibition against refoulement under articles 6 and 7 of the Covenant, continue exercising the utmost care in evaluating diplomatic assurances, and refrain from relying on such assurances where it is not in a position to effectively monitor the treatment of such persons after their extradition, expulsion, transfer or return to other countries and take appropriate remedial action when assurances are not fulfilled. 
Trafficking and forced labour
14. While acknowledging the measures taken by the State party to address the issue of trafficking in persons and forced labour, the Committee remains concerned about cases of trafficking for purposes of labour and sexual exploitation, including of children, and criminalization of victims on prostitution-related charges. It is concerned about the insufficient identification and investigation of cases of trafficking for labour purposes and notes with concern that certain categories of workers, such as farm workers and domestic workers, are explicitly excluded from the protection of labour laws, thus rendering these categories of workers more vulnerable to trafficking. The Committee is also concerned that workers entering the U.S. under the H-2B work visa programme are also at a high risk of becoming victims of trafficking/forced labour (arts. 2, 8, 9, 14, 24, and 26).
The State party should continue its efforts to combat trafficking in persons, inter alia by strengthening its preventive measures, increasing victim identification and systematically and vigorously investigating allegations of trafficking in persons, prosecuting and punishing those responsible and providing effective remedies to victims, including protection, rehabilitation and compensation. It should take all appropriate measures to prevent the criminalization of victims of sex trafficking, including child victims, to the extent that they have been compelled to engage in unlawful activities. The State party should review its laws and regulations to ensure full protection against forced labour for all categories of workers and ensure effective oversight of labour conditions in any temporary visa program. It should also reinforce its training activities and provide training to law enforcement and border and immigration officials, as well as to other relevant agencies such as labour law enforcement agencies and child welfare agencies. 
Immigrants
15. The Committee is concerned that under certain circumstances mandatory detention of immigrants for prolonged periods of time without regard to the individual case may raise issues under article 9 of the Covenant. It is also concerned about the mandatory nature of the deportation of foreigners without regard to elements such as the seriousness of crimes and misdemeanors committed, the length of lawful stay in the U.S., health status, family ties and the fate of spouses and children staying behind, or the humanitarian situation in the country of destination. Finally, the Committee expresses concerns about the exclusion of millions of undocumented immigrants and their children from coverage under the Affordable Care Act and the limited coverage of undocumented immigrants and immigrants residing lawfully in the U.S. for less than five years by Medicare and Children Health Insurance, all resulting in difficulties in access of immigrants to adequate health care (arts. 7, 9, 13, 17, 24 and 26).
The Committee recommends to the State party to review its policies of mandatory detention and deportation of certain categories of immigrants in order to allow for individualized decisions, to take measures ensuring that affected persons have access to legal representation, and to identify ways to facilitate access of undocumented immigrants and immigrants residing lawfully in the U.S. for less than five years and their families to adequate health care, including reproductive health care services.
Domestic violence 
16. The Committee is concerned that domestic violence continues to be prevalent in the State party, and that ethnic minorities, immigrants and American Indian and Alaska Native women are at a particular risk. The Committee is also concerned that victims face obstacles to obtaining remedies, and that law enforcement authorities are not legally required to act with due diligence to protect victims of domestic violence, and often inadequately respond to such cases  (arts. 3, 7, 9, and 26)
The State party should, through the full and effective implementation of the Violence against Women Act and the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act, strengthen measures to prevent and combat domestic violence, as well as to ensure that law enforcement personnel appropriately respond to acts of domestic violence. The State party should ensure that cases of domestic violence are effectively investigated and that perpetrators are prosecuted and sanctioned. The State party should ensure remedies for all victims of domestic violence, and take steps to improve the provision of emergency shelter, housing, child care, rehabilitative services and legal representation for women victims of domestic violence. The State party should also take measures to assist tribal authorities in their efforts to address domestic violence against Native American women.
Corporal punishment 
17. The Committee is concerned about the use of corporal punishment of children in schools, penal institutions, the home, and all forms of child care at federal, state and local levels. It is also concerned about the increasing criminalization of students to tackle disciplinary issues arising in schools (arts. 7, 10, and 24).
The State party should take practical steps, including through legislative measures where appropriate, to put an end to corporal punishment in all settings. It should encourage non-violent forms of discipline as alternatives to corporal punishment and should conduct public information campaigns to raise awareness about its harmful effects. The State party should also promote the use of alternatives to the application of criminal law to address disciplinary issues in schools.
Non-consensual psychiatric treatment
18. The Committee is concerned about the widespread use of non-consensual psychiatric medication, electroshock and other restrictive and coercive practices in mental health services (arts. 7 and 17).
The State party should ensure that non-consensual use of psychiatric medication, electroshock and other restrictive and coercive practices in mental health services is generally prohibited. Non-consensual psychiatric treatment may only be applied, if at all, in exceptional cases as a measure of last resort where absolutely necessary for the benefit of the person concerned provided that he or she is unable to give consent, for the shortest possible time, without any long-term impact, and under independent review. The State party should promote psychiatric care aimed at preserving the dignity of patients, both adults and minors.

Criminalization of homelessness
19. While appreciating the steps taken by federal and some state and local authorities to address homelessness, the Committee is concerned about reports of criminalization of people living on the street for everyday activities such as eating, sleeping, sitting in particular areas etc. The Committee notes that such criminalization raises concerns of discrimination and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment (arts. 2, 7, 9, 17, and 26).
The State party should engage with state and local authorities to: (a) abolish criminalization of homelessness laws and policies at state and local levels; (b) ensure close cooperation between all relevant stakeholders including social, health, law enforcement and justice professionals at all levels to intensify efforts to find solutions for the homeless in accordance with human rights standards; and (c) offer incentives for decriminalization and implementation of such solutions, including by providing continued financial support to local authorities implementing alternatives to criminalization and withdrawing funding for local authorities criminalizing the homeless.  
Conditions of detention and use of solitary confinement
20. The Committee is concerned about the continued practice of holding persons deprived of their liberty, including juveniles and persons with mental disabilities under certain circumstances, in prolonged solitary confinement, and about detainees being held in solitary confinement also in pretrial detention. The Committee is furthermore concerned about poor detention conditions in death row facilities (arts. 7, 9, 10, 17, and 24).
The State party should monitor conditions of detention in prisons, including private detention facilities, with a view to ensuring that persons deprived of their liberty be treated in accordance with the requirements of articles 7 and 10 of the Covenant and the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners. It should impose strict limits on the use of solitary confinement, both pretrial and following conviction, in the federal system, as well as nationwide, and abolish the practice in respect of anyone under the age of 18 and prisoners with serious mental illness. It should also bring detention conditions of prisoners on death row in line with international standards.
Detainees at Guantánamo Bay 
21. While noting President Obama’s commitment to close the Guantánamo Bay facility and the appointment of Special Envoys at the Departments of State and Defense to continue to pursue the transfer of detainees designated for transfer, the Committee regrets that no timeline for closure of the facility has been provided. The Committee is also concerned that detainees held in Guantánamo Bay and in military facilities in Afghanistan are not dealt with within the ordinary criminal justice system after a protracted period of over a decade in some cases (arts. 7, 9, 10, and 14).
The State party should expedite the transfer of detainees designated for transfer, including to Yemen, as well as the process of periodic review for Guantánamo detainees, and ensure either their trial or immediate release, and the closure of the Guantánamo facility. It should end the system of administrative detention without charge or trial and ensure that any criminal cases against detainees held in Guantánamo and military facilities in Afghanistan are dealt with within the criminal justice system rather than military commissions and that those detainees are afforded the fair trial guarantees enshrined in article 14 of the Covenant. 
NSA surveillance
22. The Committee is concerned about the surveillance of communications in the interests of protecting national security, conducted by the National Security Agency (NSA) both within and outside the United States through the bulk phone metadata program (Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act) and, in particular, the surveillance under Section 702 of Amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) conducted through PRISM (collection of the contents of communications from U.S.-based companies) and UPSTREAM (tapping of fiber-optic cables in the U.S. that carry internet traffic) programs and their adverse impact on the right to privacy. The Committee is concerned that until recently, judicial interpretations of FISA and rulings of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) have largely been kept secret, thus not allowing affected persons to know the law with sufficient precision. The Committee is concerned that the current system of oversight of the activities of the NSA fails to effectively protect the rights of those affected. While welcoming the recent Presidential Policy Directive (PPD-28) that will now extend some safeguards to non-US persons “to the maximum extent feasible consistent with the national security”, the Committee remains concerned that such persons enjoy only limited protection against excessive surveillance. Finally, the Committee is concerned that those affected have no access to effective remedies in case of abuse (arts. 2, 5(1), and 17).
The State party should:
(a) take all necessary measures to ensure that its surveillance activities, both within and outside the United States, conform to its obligations under the Covenant, including article 17; in particular, measures should be taken to ensure that any interference with the right to privacy complies with the principles of legality, proportionality and necessity regardless of the nationality or location of individuals whose communications are under direct surveillance;
(b) ensure that any interference with the right to privacy, family, home or correspondence be authorized by laws that (i) are publicly accessible; (ii) contain provisions that ensure that collection of, access to and use of communications data are tailored to specific legitimate aims; (iii) are sufficiently precise specifying in detail the precise circumstances in which any such interference may be permitted; the procedures for authorizing; the categories of persons who may be placed under surveillance; limits on the duration of surveillance; procedures for the use and storage of the data collected; and (iv) provide for effective safeguards against abuse;
(c) reform the current system of oversight over surveillance activities to ensure its effectiveness, including by providing for judicial involvement in authorization or monitoring of surveillance measures, and considering to establish strong and independent oversight mandates with a view to prevent abuses;
(d) refrain from imposing mandatory retention of data by third parties;
(e) ensure that affected persons have access to effective remedies in cases of abuse.
Juvenile justice and life without parole sentences
23. While noting with satisfaction the Supreme Court decisions prohibiting life without parole sentences for children convicted of non-homicide offenses (Graham v. Florida), and barring mandatory life without parole sentences for children convicted of homicide offenses (Miller v. Alabama) and the State party’s commitment to their retroactive application, the Committee is concerned that a court still may, within its discretion, sentence a defendant to life without parole for a homicide committed as a juvenile and that a mandatory or non-homicide related sentence of life without parole may still be applied to adults. It is also concerned that many states exclude 16 and 17 year olds from juvenile court jurisdictions and thus juveniles continue to be tried in adult courts and to be incarcerated in adult institutions (arts. 7, 9, 10, 14, 15, and 24). 
The State party should prohibit and abolish all juvenile life without parole sentences irrespective of the crime committed, as well as all mandatory and non-homicide related sentences of life without parole. It should also ensure that all juveniles are separated from adults during pretrial detention and after sentencing and that juveniles are not transferred to adult courts. States that automatically exclude 16 and 17 year olds from juvenile court jurisdictions should be encouraged to change their laws.
Voting rights
24. While noting with satisfaction Attorney General Holder’s statement of 11 February 2014 calling for a reform of prisoner disenfranchisement State laws, the Committee reiterate its concern about the persistence of state-level felon disenfranchisement laws, its disproportionate impact on minorities, and the lengthy and cumbersome state voting restoration procedures. The Committee is further concerned that voter identification and other recently introduced eligibility requirements may impose excessive burdens on voters resulting in de facto disenfranchisement of large numbers of voters, including members of minority groups. Finally, the Committee reiterates its concern that residents of the District of Columbia are denied the right to vote for and election of voting representatives to the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives (arts. 2, 10, 25, and 26).
The State party should ensure that all states reinstate voting rights to felons who have fully served their sentences, provide inmates with information about their voting restoration options and remove or streamline lengthy and cumbersome state voting restoration procedures, as well as review automatic denial of the vote to any imprisoned felon, regardless of the nature of the offence. It should also take all necessary measures to ensure that voter identification requirements and the new eligibility requirements do not impose excessive burdens on voters resulting in de facto disenfranchisement. The State party should also provide for the full voting rights of residents of Washington, D.C. 
Rights of indigenous people
25. The Committee is concerned about the insufficient measures being taken to protect the sacred areas of indigenous peoples against desecration, contamination and destruction as a result of urbanization, extractive industries, industrial development, tourism and toxic contamination. It is also concerned about restricted access of indigenous people to sacred areas essential for preservation of their religious, cultural and spiritual practices and the insufficiency of consultation conducted with indigenous peoples on matters of interest to their communities (art. 27).
The State party should adopt measures to effectively protect sacred areas of indigenous peoples against desecration, contamination and destruction and ensure that consultations are held with the communities that might be adversely affected by State party’s development projects and exploitation of natural resources with a view to obtaining their free, prior and informed consent for the potential project activities.
26. The State party should widely disseminate the Covenant, the text of the fourth periodic report, the written responses that it has provided in response to the list of issues drawn up by the Committee and the present concluding observations so as to increase awareness among the judicial, legislative and administrative authorities, civil society and non-governmental organizations operating in the country, as well as the general public. The Committee also requests the State party, when preparing its fifth periodic report, to continue its practice of broadly consulting with civil society and non-governmental organizations.
27. In accordance with rule 71, paragraph 5, of the Committee’s rules of procedure, the State party should provide, within one year, relevant information on its implementation of the Committee’s recommendations made in paragraphs 5, 10, 21 and 22 above.

28. The Committee requests the State party, in its next periodic report, due to be submitted on 28 March 2019, to provide specific, up-to-date information on all its recommendations and on the Covenant as a whole

Surveillance Reaffirmed

Norman Pollack  RINF Alternative News The scene: January 17, Obama is speaking at the Department of Justice, a solid bank of American flags behind him. In...

Misplaced Lessons of Tahrir

I still want Dirty Wars to win the Oscar, but The Square is a documentary worth serious discussion as we hit the three-year point since the famous occupation of Tahrir Square in Cairo that overthrew Mubarak -- in particular because a lot of people seem...

Is BDS the Left’s “Save Darfur”?

In the mid-2000s the “Save Darfur Coalition,” backed by Christian and Jewish groups as well as the US House of Representatives, sought military intervention...

Neoliberalism and the End of Shorter Work Hours

While in previous crises shorter work hours were discussed as a measure to combat growing unemployment, an astonishing feature of the current economic downturn...

The Importance of Integrative Medicine in the Treatment of HIV/AIDS (Part I)

Gary Null, PhD RINF Alternative News On December 2, 2013 president Obama marked the 25th Anniversary of World AIDS Day by pledging $100 million toresearch on...

Ginger Treats Osteoarthritis with Topical Application

ginger topical anti-inflammatory osteoarthritis

Ginger is already known for its anti-inflammatory abilities. New research is now confirming an ancient therapy of applying ginger topically to treat osteoarthritis pain and inflammation.

Health Tricks: Crazy But Effective

Weird Health Tricks Here’s a round up of strange – but real – health tricks. Duct Tape Removes Warts A study published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine shows that duct tape is better at removing warts than … Continue reading

Health Tricks: Crazy But Effective was originally published on Washington's Blog

Gaza is Flooded with Sewage and Conspiracies

The latest punishment of Gaza may seem like another familiar plot to humiliate the strip to the satisfaction of Israel, Mahmoud Abbas's Palestinian Authority,...

Savage Irrationalities

The titans of American capitalism no longer control their useful idiots; just talking them down from the ledge was touch and go.  The Tea Party has become their Frankenstein.

Their favorite political instrument, the GOP, is already a casualty; it may be damaged beyond repair.  And who can say, at this point, how much harm Tea Party shenanigans over the debt ceiling have done to their already shaky hold over the world economy?

It doesn’t stop there; to get their way, Tea Party zealots were happy to court a worldwide economic catastrophe.  That seems to have been averted – for now.  But there is always tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Democrats, including the handful who comprise the so-called “democratic wing of the Democratic Party” — the very people who let themselves be taken in five years ago — are begging for it again.

Robert Borosage’s piece in the October 21 Nation magazine, “The New Populist Insurgency,” illustrates this pathology perspicuously.  Unlike some of his co-thinkers, Borosage doesn’t even call on Democrats to break free from the grip of the Clinton family.  Saving the world, for him, is about moving Hillary, and like-minded opportunists, off dead center.

Is there anyone who doesn’t realize by now that the Obama presidency has been about continuing the policies of its predecessors, and that it has been more useful to the Tea Party’s paymasters than a dozen Tea Parties could have ever been?

Evidently, the answer is Yes.  Democratic Party cheerleaders face reality no better than befuddled Tea Partiers.  And their views are nearly as preposterous.

Therefore, when “progressives” set out to revive Obamamania under Hillary’s aegis, are they really less nutty than the Republican legislators who stood firm (for a while) on cutting the salaries of their own staffs (by removing employer contributions to their health insurance)?  The call could go either way.

With so much insanity about, and with a general sense that things cannot go on this way forever, what better time could there be to step back and reflect on the ideology that helped bring us to this point?

By “ideology,” I mean what Marx had in mind when in The German Ideology he declared the ruling ideas of any epoch, the ideas of its ruling class.

Today’s ruling ideas are eminently susceptible to criticism.  But there is no need to go that route to gain a purchase on how far off things have gotten.  The prevailing ideology shows that well enough.

It illuminates and helps explain the nature and extent of the irrationalities that afflict us.  They are becoming more savage with each passing episode of “bipartisan” craziness.

* * *

Let’s agree that in principle we can measure how much individuals’ desires are satisfied; call that measure utility.  The idea that utility is what matters — that value is utility — has long been a dogma of our intellectual culture.

It is not always clear how to measure utility levels or how to make comparisons between individuals; in many instances, there seems to be no way.  But no one thinks these problems undo the prevailing dogma.  It is enough that desire satisfaction is real and that there is always more or less of it.

The idea that value is utility has always coexisted with other conceptions, drawn from earlier strains of ethical or religious thought or from modern criticisms of the prevailing assumption.

A frequently leveled charge is that identifying value with utility misidentifies what matters with what matters for individuals.  This criticism has come both from the left and the right, from socialists and from conservatives.  It is a sensible reproach, but, as I said, there is no need to pursue it here.

I mention it, though, to underscore the fact that the idea that value is utility is not and never has been uncontested.  Nevertheless, throughout the modern era, it has been a basic, often unacknowledged, assumption of mainstream economic and philosophical thought.

Its importance depends in part on its connection with another dogma, the idea that what rational agents do is maximize utility.  In other words, the idea is that rational individuals will seek to obtain as much utility as they can in the circumstances they confront.

Observation often bears this contention out, but, strictly speaking, the identification of rational agency with utility maximizing is a normative, not an empirical, claim.

This would be true even if we suppose that we know what kinds of outcomes generate more or less utility for individuals — perhaps because we know, or think we know, what human beings generally desire.

Theories of human desire, sometimes based on theories of human nature, generally go along with the usual understanding of rational agency.

But, in principle, we could be wrong about desires, and it would still be the case that reason is (utility) maximization.  Like the idea that value is utility, this dogma of the prevailing intellectual culture is a normative stipulation.

Conceptions of rational agency have differed over time, but rationality itself, on one understanding or another, has been the most fundamental normative standard in Western thought since the birth of Western philosophy in Greek antiquity.

From that time too, rationality has been understood to have both a theoretical and a practical dimension – theoretical reason governs belief; practical reason governs action.

Mathematical demonstrations are the gold standard for belief acceptance; anyone who understands a proof and then denies its conclusion cannot be reached by rational argument.

There is also another standard that is more widely applicable and nearly as good – namely, that it is rational to believe what evidence supports, and therefore irrational to believe what evidence disconfirms.

There are no similarly timeless standards, golden or otherwise, for rational conduct.  But in the modern period, there is the widespread conviction that Reason compels individuals to maximize utility, and therefore that anyone who fails to do so is in violation of a fundamental norm.

* * *

If value is utility and reason is (utility) maximization, the question arises: what, if anything, can we say about the consequences (again, for individuals) at the societal (aggregate) level of individual maximizing choices?

This is essentially the question posed by Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679).  His answer has served as a point of departure for political philosophers ever since.

Hobbes showed how, if we make certain (uncontroversial) assumptions about human nature and the human condition, unconstrained individual utility maximizing will lead to a devastating “war of all against all.”

This outcome, he argued, is worse than need be – not compared to some ideal standard, but in precisely the sense that utility maximizers assume.  In a state of war, individuals get less utility than they otherwise could.

As Hobbes famously put it, because a “state of nature,” a world without political authority relations, is a state of war, life in a state of nature is “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.”  It need not be so, however; indeed, it would be far better for everyone if the consequences of untrammeled utility maximizing could somehow be kept in bounds.

The basic question of Hobbesian and post-Hobbesian political philosophy, then, is how to get from a state of nature to that better, more peaceful, condition?

Hobbes excluded solutions that involve peace being imposed from outside by a superior force – say, by a pre-existing political state.  He also broke from the tradition that held that God, as superior a force as can be, is the source of political authority relations, that rulers rule by “divine right.”  In the Hobbesian account, to escape a war of all against all, individuals – all relatively equal in natural endowments — have only their own resources upon which to rely.

And acting irrationally is not an option; the rationality standard cannot be breached.

In Hobbes’s view, the only way out is for individuals to turn states of nature into political states – by establishing a sovereign power, an overwhelming force capable of assuring compliance through the use or threat of force.

* * *

He deployed considerable ingenuity in showing how utility maximizers living in state of nature conditions could do precisely that.

Philosophers after Hobbes have had different views about the nature and extent of sovereignty, but they are all Hobbesians in the sense that they accept the idea that sovereignty is indispensable; they all agree that it is rationally required.

The only exceptions are anarchists who think that people can coordinate their activities well enough without coercion.  Their influence has been nil.

Individuals in a Hobbesian state of nature find themselves in what game theorists call a prisoners’ dilemma.  In a prisoners’ dilemma game, players would be better off if they could coordinate their activities, but they are unable to do so because it would be irrational for them to forbear from doing what is individually best.

The well-known “tragedy of the commons” illustrates their situation.  Suppose that sheep graze on a commons and that there is always a market for their meat.  When the carrying capacity of the commons is exceeded, thanks to excessive grazing, yields decline.  But each individual sheepherder still has an incentive to add sheep, and so, if unregulated (coercively or cooperatively), they will keep adding sheep (because it is in their interest to do so), while making less money from selling sheep than they did before.  If this goes on long enough, the sheepherders will improve themselves to ruin.

Of course, they could agree voluntarily not to add sheep beyond a certain point; perhaps, under certain conditions, they could even find ways to abide by the agreements they make.

But, according to Hobbes, this is not the case in a state of nature.  Hobbes’s argument, universally accepted (except by a handful of anarchists), holds that individuals cannot cooperate their way out of that.

The only solution is political – the requisite degree of coordination must be achieved coercively.

It is remarkable when real world situations have prisoners’ dilemma structures; most human interactions have no discernible structure at all.  When this is the case, it is impossible to conclude, on a structural basis alone, what the outcome at the aggregate level of individual utility maximizing will be.

But some real world situations do have determinate structures, and they are not all prisoners’ dilemmas.  There are also invisible hand situations.

These are, in fact, the opposite of prisoners’ dilemmas.  In these cases, the unintended consequences of doing what is individually best are, in well-defined senses, as good as can be at the aggregate (societal) level.

This was what Adam Smith conjectured for unfettered market transactions in private ownership economies.   Nearly two centuries later, neoclassical economists demonstrated that his conjecture was sound – but only if a host of background conditions that do not obtain, and that never can obtain (outside highly stylized models), are actually the case.

Among other things, there would have to be no monopolies (all economic agents would have to be “price takers,” unable by themselves to set the terms of trade), no economies of scale (so that costs of production are the same no matter how much or how little is produced), no externalities (economically relevant consequences for parties not directly involved in transactions), complete sets of markets (including futures markets), no information asymmetries (all economic agents would have to have access to the same information), and so on.

Contrary to what pro-capitalist ideologues insist, when these conditions do not hold, when they are not even roughly approximated, all bets are off.  Then, to make sense of what is going on, abstract structural models are of little use.

This is usually the case in the real world of politics – particularly when systemic and counter-systemic forces conflict.

There is therefore, in general, no substitute for theoretically informed, sustained, historical investigations – for what Lenin called “the concrete analysis of concrete situations.”

Marx himself was perhaps the greatest practitioner of this line of inquiry.  His analysis, for example, of “primitive (capital) accumulation” in the first volume of Capital is unsurpassed.

Nowadays, for reasons that are more political than theoretical, hardly anyone even attempts investigations of this kind.  Hardly anyone examines – in close enough detail – how prevailing property relations affect the development of productive capacities, or how the tensions between them affect the lives human beings lead.

* * *

Analyzing political and economic specificities with a view to making sense of historical trajectories and uncovering the material and political possibilities humankind confronts is an urgent task, especially in a world careening towards economic and ecological catastrophe.

And there is no mystery about where to look for precedents, and no need to reinvent the wheel; as already indicated, Marx’s accounts of the very different capitalist societies of his time remain viable – and obvious — points of departure.

It is equally obvious that, in our time, what needs most to be explained is the ever-intensifying “contradiction” (structural instability) between what Marx called forces and relations of production.

The problem, in short, is that while productive capacities (forces of production) have developed to a remarkable degree, prevailing property relations (relations of production) increasingly impede their deployment in ways that make human life better.

To be sure, it is better in some respects.  There is now more stuff around, and people, even badly off people, have more access to it than in the past.  There is no gainsaying the fact that increasing consumption improves the quality of life.

There is also no denying that its appeal, especially to people who are already fairly well off, is in large part meretricious.

It is also plain that on-going forms of consumption have deleterious consequences for other factors that bear on the quality of life, and that what we must do to produce all the stuff we consume invites environmental catastrophes.

As productive capacities increase, it should become increasingly possible for humankind to free itself not just from burdensome toil, but also from meaningless work.  Yet just the opposite is the case.

If only in this respect, capitalist exigencies make things worse for everybody, even the few at the top who have garnered most of the benefits of economic growth.

And, for the vast majority, global capitalism is now even holding back advances in consumption levels, the one thing earlier forms of capitalism had been good for.  The more most people in “developed” societies work, the less they have.

Their grievances are obvious.  But even the few at the top should realize, in their more reflective moments, that capitalism, in its current phase, is bad for everybody, the whole hundred percent.

It is bad because, compared to what is now materially and humanly possible, it delivers less of what matters most – less meaningful human interaction, less satisfaction at work and play, and less time and energy to enjoy the things they have.

The great Hegelian tradition out of which Marx’s thinking emerged depicted Revolution as a consequence of – and ultimately a culminating moment – in Reason’s unfolding; at the end of History’s trajectory, Reason would be in
control, and Revolution would have put it there.

It is worth recalling that one of the most widely read philosophical-political tracts of the late sixties and early seventies identified the two in its title – Reason and Revolution (by Herbert Marcuse, published originally in 1941).

The basic idea is that a rational society is one that accords with basic human needs or, to the extent there is a difference, with the desires of genuinely autonomous rational beings.

No one talks about Revolution any more; the idea has come to seem quaint and vaguely pernicious. And these days rationality at the societal level just means what the dominant ideology implies.

Nowadays, a rational society is just a collection of utility maximizers.

Yet, it is that very rationality that increasingly immiserates humankind and jeopardizes the ecological sustainability of the planet.  What is rational by its lights is blatantly irrational in the more robust, Hegelian sense.

How ironic that as the need for a more robust conception of rationality at the societal level becomes ever more pressing, and at a time when awareness of this need is becoming increasingly widespread, the concept of revolution with which it is historically and conceptually associated has gone missing!

Today, remedies for ills that were less rampant back when talk of revolution was still in the air seem entirely beyond human reach.

As the illness intensifies, no one any longer even dares imagine remedies.

* * *

Revolution has been off the agenda for quite a while — though the idea lived on in the imaginations of people in modern societies until just a few decades ago.

And so it was that, until not long ago, the question – reform or revolution? – shaped the contours of political life.

Unlike revolution, reform plainly was on the agenda.  Indeed, for most of the twentieth century, conditions of life under capitalism improved significantly thanks, in large part, to the sustained efforts of dedicated reformers.

The (still lingering) specter of revolution haunted their efforts and, to at least some extent, energized their reforming zeal.

But, as the Cold War unfolded, the idea of revolution became increasingly confounded with official Communism, and lost much of its appeal.  In time too, ever larger swathes of the population came to believe that the very idea of political redemption through revolutionary change is an illusion.  The conventional wisdom then had it that this illusion does more harm than good.

Meanwhile, thanks to evolving economic and political circumstances, capitalism itself changed – taking a monopolistic and then a financial turn.

In conjunction with technological developments in transport, communications and cybernetics, it therefore became (economically) “rational” and increasingly feasible to dissociate production from consumption geographically.

Capitalism had always been a world system, but in recent decades its far-flung regions have become increasingly integrated.  This has been a mixed blessing, but it is fair to say that, on the whole, for most of the world’s peoples, it has not been a boon.

It fell to low wage countries on the periphery to produce a good deal of what would then be sold to consumers in deindustrializing capitalist centers – permitting consumption levels in developed countries to be maintained, even as jobs disappeared and wages stagnated or declined.

The inevitable consequence is now becoming apparent: efforts to mitigate the vicissitudes of life in capitalist societies at the political level are losing their efficacy.  Increasingly, markets rule; and there is almost nothing states, especially small states, can do about it.

Thus reform too is going the way revolution did.  It is not yet off the agenda, but it nowadays lives on mainly in the imaginations of peoples whose political institutions can no longer do much to reform away the ills that the emerging neoliberal order creates.

In short, a “democracy deficit” is becoming a fact of life.

In countries that call themselves democracies, citizens still vote and elections are still, for the most part, free and fair.  But their outcomes matter less than they used to because economic “realities” limit what political entities are able to do.

We Americans have learned this lesson well.  By voting for “hope” and “change,” we elected a Wall Street toady who has made hash of privacy and due process rights and whose drones and assassins spread terror throughout the world.

In smaller states, even the ones joined together in the European Union, the lesson is even clearer.  Who anywhere wants austerity?  Who would vote for it?  And yet that is what elected governments impose — time and again.

Elections still have consequences, but only at the margins.  On most everything else, and certainly on what matters fundamentally, global capital rules.

The irrationality of our overripe economic system is therefore more insulated than it used to be from political remediation.

This is not a situation that we can elect our way out of, any more than individuals in a Hobbesian state of nature can cooperate their way out of a war of all against all.

Like those Hobbesian individuals, we can do better; and like them too, we all know it.  The problem is getting from here to there.

But there seems to be now way.

“The only solution, revolution.”  Never has that slogan rung more true nor been more urgent; and never has the prospect seemed so remote.

The reason is that the old way of building a new world on the ashes of the old – the model that came to fruition in the French Revolution – seems to have run its course.

Is there another way, another kind of Revolution, one that is consonant with prevailing circumstances?

Put differently: is there a way to put Reason in control – not the impoverished rationality of utility maximizers, but the robust kind envisioned in the great tradition of classical German philosophy, the tradition of Kant and Hegel and Marx?

At this point, the only sure thing is that the more unable we are to reform away the disabling irrationalities of the existing system, the more radical solutions must become.

No longer, then, is the pertinent question: reform or revolution?  The alternatives now are a yet unimagined form of Revolution or an indefinite prolongation of an increasingly untenable status quo.

This question will likely remain pertinent for as long or even longer than the question it has succeeded; and its resolution is more far-reaching.

For it is not just the old political models that have run their course, but the condition for their possibility as well.  How much longer, after all, can a system as irrational as actually existing capitalism survive?

It seemed after World War I that a new form of civilization was at hand.  It took many decades for that expectation to be crushed.  This was a tragedy of world historical dimensions because the need for epochal change is greater now than it ever was.

But needs don’t by themselves make changes happen; there must also be forces capable of bringing them about.  For the time being, those seem woefully lacking.

Instead, we have Tea Partiers and Democrats, with “moderate” Republicans wedged in between, fighting over Obamacare or whatever else partisan opportunists settle on as the casus belli du jour.

If only, at least, they were not all in the dominant ideology’s thrall!

It is a deplorable state of affairs.  And it will only get worse – until means arise for forging transformations as radical as the situation demands.

Will that ever happen?  Only time will tell.

ANDREW LEVINE is a Senior Scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies, the author most recently of THE AMERICAN IDEOLOGY (Routledge) and POLITICAL KEY WORDS (Blackwell) as well as of many other books and articles in political philosophy. His most recent book is In Bad Faith: What’s Wrong With the Opium of the People. He was a Professor (philosophy) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Research Professor (philosophy) at the University of Maryland-College Park.  He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).

Lock and Load: Are You Prepared for Civil Unrest?

Do you get the feeling that we are right on the verge of chaos? With the government shutdown, the congressional budget deadline of...

Lock and Load: Are You Prepared for Civil Unrest?

Every civil unrest scenario is different. You must make a personal plan based on your environment, your neighbors, and the type of situation that triggered the unrest...

Lock and Load: Are You Prepared for Civil Unrest?

civil-300x213

Do you get the feeling that we are right on the verge of chaos?  With the government shutdown, the congressional budget deadline of the 17th, the EBT system under threat, and assorted “drills” that, if history proves to be any guide, could be a loose cover for an upcoming false flag, we could be looking at civil unrest in a matter of days.

These are all situations that we, as individuals, have little control over.

What we CAN control is our response to a crisis.

By planning ahead, we can avoid the fear, panic, and confusion that leads people to rush to the store and clear the shelves like a horde of hungry locusts.  We can stay away from the angry masses, the rioters who will use any excuse to steal, and the hungry people who are determined to feed their kids no matter who stands in their way.

Whether the next few weeks lead to pandemonium due to the welfare strings being cut or some type of martial law, a prepared mindset, a defense plan, and a well-stocked home can help to keep you and your family out of harm’s way.

In her article Anatomy of a Breakdown, Tess Pennington wrote:

“When you take the time to understand how a breakdown behaves and how it progresses, only then can you truly prepare for it.

This glimpse into a systemic breakdown is based on an isolated, limited disaster or event where emergency responders have been deployed. I must emphasize that all bets are off if the event is wide spread, affecting multiple tens of millions of people simultaneously.”

Here are the most vital things that you can do to be prepared for civil unrest.

Get home

In a perfect world, we’d all be home, watching the chaos erupt on TV from the safety of our living rooms.  However, reality says that some of us will be at the store, at school, or in the car when unrest occurs.  You need to develop a “get-home” plan for all of the members of your family, based on the most likely places that they will be.

Devise an efficient route for picking up the kids from school.  Be sure that anyone who might be picking up the children already has permission to do so in the school office.

Discuss the plan with older kids – there have been rumors that children could be moved by the schools to a secondary location in the event of a crisis.  Some families have formulated plans for their older kids to leave the school grounds in such an instance and take a designated route home or to another meeting place.

Keep a get-home bag in the trunk of your car in case you have to set out on foot.

Stash some supplies in the bottom of your child’s backpack – water, a snack, any tools that might be useful, and a map.  Be sure your children understand the importance of OPSEC.

Find multiple routes home – map out alternative backroad ways to get home as well as directions if you must go home on foot.

Find hiding places along the way.  If you work or go to school a substantial distance from your home, figure out some places to lay low now, before a crisis situation.  Sometimes staying out of sight is the best way to stay safe.

Avoid groups of people.  It seems that the mob mentality strikes when large groups of people get together.  Often folks who would never ordinarily riot in the streets get swept up by the mass of people who are doing so.

Keep in mind that in many civil disorder situations the authorities are to be avoided every bit as diligently as the angry mobs of looters. Who can forget the scenes of innocent people being pepper sprayed by uniformed thugs in body armor just because they happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time?

Stay home

Once you make your way home or to your bug-out location …. STAY THERE.

By staying home, you are minimizing your risk of being caught in the midst of an angry mob or of sitting in stalled traffic while looters run amok.  In most scenarios you will be far safer at home than you will be in any type of shelter or refuge situation. (Obviously if there is some type of chemical or natural threat in your immediate neighborhood, like a toxic leak, a flood, or a forest fire, the whole situation changes – you must use common sense before hunkering down.)

This is when your preparedness supplies will really pay off. If you are ready for minor medical emergencies and illnesses, a grid down scenario, and a no-comm situation, you will be able to stay safely at home with your family and ride out the crisis in moderate comfort.

Be sure you have a supply of the following:

  • Water
  • Necessary prescription medications
  • Food and an off grid way to cook it
  • Or food that requires no cooking
  • First aid supplies
  • Lighting in the event of a power outage
  • Sanitation supplies (in the event that the municipal water system is unusuable, this would include cleaning supplies and toilet supplies)
  • A way to stay warm in harsh winter weather
  • Over-the-counter medications and/or herbal remedies to treat illnesses at home
  • Survival and first aid manuals (hard copies in case the internet and power grid are down)
  • Alternative communications devices (such as a hand-crank radio) so that you can get updates about the outside world
  • Off-grid entertainment:  arts and craft supplies, puzzles, games, books, crossword or word search puzzles, needlework, journals

Be prepared to defend your home

Sometimes despite our best intentions, the fight comes to us.  Even though we stay home, something about our place draws the attention of an unsavory person or group.  Defense is two-fold.  Your best defense is avoiding the fight altogether. You want to stay under the radar and not draw attention to yourself.  The extent to which you strive to do this should be based on the severity of the unrest in your area. Some of the following recommendations are not necessary in an everyday grid-down scenario, but could save your life in a more extreme civil unrest scenario.

Keep all the doors and windows locked.  Secure sliding doors with a metal bar.  Consider installing decorative gridwork over a door with a large window so that it becomes difficult for someone to smash the glass and reach in to unlock the door.

Put dark plastic over the windows. (Heavy duty garbage bags work well.)  If it’s safe to do so, go outside and check to see if any light escapes from the windows. If your home is the only one on the block that is well-lit, it is a beacon to others.

Don’t answer the door.  Many home invasions start with an innocent-seeming knock at the door to gain access to your house.

Keep cooking smells to a minimum.  If everyone else in the neighborhood is hungry, the meat on your grill will draw people like moths to a flame.

Remember that first responders may be tied up.  If the disorder is widespread, don’t depend on a call to 911 to save you – you must be prepared to save yourself.  Also keep in mind, as mentioned earlier in the article – the cops are not always your friends in these situations.

If, despite your best efforts, your property draws the attention of people with ill intent, you must be ready to defend your family.

Many preppers stockpile weapons and ammunition for just such an event.  When the door of your home is breached, you can be pretty sure the people coming in are not there to make friendly conversation.  Make a plan to greet them with a deterring amount of force.

Have a safe room established for children or other vulnerable family members.

Plan an escape route.  If the odds are against you, devise a way to get your family to safety.

*****

Every civil unrest scenario is different.  You must make a personal plan based on your environment, your neighbors, and the type of situation that triggered the unrest.  By thinking ahead, you’ve already increased your family’s chances at surviving unscathed.


Please feel free to share any pat of this article in part or in full, giving credit to the author and including a link to The Organic Prepper website and the following bio.

Daisy Luther is a freelance writer and editor.  Her website, The Organic Prepper, offers information on healthy prepping, including premium nutritional choices, general wellness and non-tech solutions. You can follow Daisy on Facebook and Twitter, and you can email her at [email protected]

Lock and Load: Are You Prepared for Civil Unrest?

civil-300x213

Do you get the feeling that we are right on the verge of chaos?  With the government shutdown, the congressional budget deadline of the 17th, the EBT system under threat, and assorted “drills” that, if history proves to be any guide, could be a loose cover for an upcoming false flag, we could be looking at civil unrest in a matter of days.

These are all situations that we, as individuals, have little control over.

What we CAN control is our response to a crisis.

By planning ahead, we can avoid the fear, panic, and confusion that leads people to rush to the store and clear the shelves like a horde of hungry locusts.  We can stay away from the angry masses, the rioters who will use any excuse to steal, and the hungry people who are determined to feed their kids no matter who stands in their way.

Whether the next few weeks lead to pandemonium due to the welfare strings being cut or some type of martial law, a prepared mindset, a defense plan, and a well-stocked home can help to keep you and your family out of harm’s way.

In her article Anatomy of a Breakdown, Tess Pennington wrote:

“When you take the time to understand how a breakdown behaves and how it progresses, only then can you truly prepare for it.

This glimpse into a systemic breakdown is based on an isolated, limited disaster or event where emergency responders have been deployed. I must emphasize that all bets are off if the event is wide spread, affecting multiple tens of millions of people simultaneously.”

Here are the most vital things that you can do to be prepared for civil unrest.

Get home

In a perfect world, we’d all be home, watching the chaos erupt on TV from the safety of our living rooms.  However, reality says that some of us will be at the store, at school, or in the car when unrest occurs.  You need to develop a “get-home” plan for all of the members of your family, based on the most likely places that they will be.

Devise an efficient route for picking up the kids from school.  Be sure that anyone who might be picking up the children already has permission to do so in the school office.

Discuss the plan with older kids – there have been rumors that children could be moved by the schools to a secondary location in the event of a crisis.  Some families have formulated plans for their older kids to leave the school grounds in such an instance and take a designated route home or to another meeting place.

Keep a get-home bag in the trunk of your car in case you have to set out on foot.

Stash some supplies in the bottom of your child’s backpack – water, a snack, any tools that might be useful, and a map.  Be sure your children understand the importance of OPSEC.

Find multiple routes home – map out alternative backroad ways to get home as well as directions if you must go home on foot.

Find hiding places along the way.  If you work or go to school a substantial distance from your home, figure out some places to lay low now, before a crisis situation.  Sometimes staying out of sight is the best way to stay safe.

Avoid groups of people.  It seems that the mob mentality strikes when large groups of people get together.  Often folks who would never ordinarily riot in the streets get swept up by the mass of people who are doing so.

Keep in mind that in many civil disorder situations the authorities are to be avoided every bit as diligently as the angry mobs of looters. Who can forget the scenes of innocent people being pepper sprayed by uniformed thugs in body armor just because they happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time?

Stay home

Once you make your way home or to your bug-out location …. STAY THERE.

By staying home, you are minimizing your risk of being caught in the midst of an angry mob or of sitting in stalled traffic while looters run amok.  In most scenarios you will be far safer at home than you will be in any type of shelter or refuge situation. (Obviously if there is some type of chemical or natural threat in your immediate neighborhood, like a toxic leak, a flood, or a forest fire, the whole situation changes – you must use common sense before hunkering down.)

This is when your preparedness supplies will really pay off. If you are ready for minor medical emergencies and illnesses, a grid down scenario, and a no-comm situation, you will be able to stay safely at home with your family and ride out the crisis in moderate comfort.

Be sure you have a supply of the following:

  • Water
  • Necessary prescription medications
  • Food and an off grid way to cook it
  • Or food that requires no cooking
  • First aid supplies
  • Lighting in the event of a power outage
  • Sanitation supplies (in the event that the municipal water system is unusuable, this would include cleaning supplies and toilet supplies)
  • A way to stay warm in harsh winter weather
  • Over-the-counter medications and/or herbal remedies to treat illnesses at home
  • Survival and first aid manuals (hard copies in case the internet and power grid are down)
  • Alternative communications devices (such as a hand-crank radio) so that you can get updates about the outside world
  • Off-grid entertainment:  arts and craft supplies, puzzles, games, books, crossword or word search puzzles, needlework, journals

Be prepared to defend your home

Sometimes despite our best intentions, the fight comes to us.  Even though we stay home, something about our place draws the attention of an unsavory person or group.  Defense is two-fold.  Your best defense is avoiding the fight altogether. You want to stay under the radar and not draw attention to yourself.  The extent to which you strive to do this should be based on the severity of the unrest in your area. Some of the following recommendations are not necessary in an everyday grid-down scenario, but could save your life in a more extreme civil unrest scenario.

Keep all the doors and windows locked.  Secure sliding doors with a metal bar.  Consider installing decorative gridwork over a door with a large window so that it becomes difficult for someone to smash the glass and reach in to unlock the door.

Put dark plastic over the windows. (Heavy duty garbage bags work well.)  If it’s safe to do so, go outside and check to see if any light escapes from the windows. If your home is the only one on the block that is well-lit, it is a beacon to others.

Don’t answer the door.  Many home invasions start with an innocent-seeming knock at the door to gain access to your house.

Keep cooking smells to a minimum.  If everyone else in the neighborhood is hungry, the meat on your grill will draw people like moths to a flame.

Remember that first responders may be tied up.  If the disorder is widespread, don’t depend on a call to 911 to save you – you must be prepared to save yourself.  Also keep in mind, as mentioned earlier in the article – the cops are not always your friends in these situations.

If, despite your best efforts, your property draws the attention of people with ill intent, you must be ready to defend your family.

Many preppers stockpile weapons and ammunition for just such an event.  When the door of your home is breached, you can be pretty sure the people coming in are not there to make friendly conversation.  Make a plan to greet them with a deterring amount of force.

Have a safe room established for children or other vulnerable family members.

Plan an escape route.  If the odds are against you, devise a way to get your family to safety.

*****

Every civil unrest scenario is different.  You must make a personal plan based on your environment, your neighbors, and the type of situation that triggered the unrest.  By thinking ahead, you’ve already increased your family’s chances at surviving unscathed.


Please feel free to share any pat of this article in part or in full, giving credit to the author and including a link to The Organic Prepper website and the following bio.

Daisy Luther is a freelance writer and editor.  Her website, The Organic Prepper, offers information on healthy prepping, including premium nutritional choices, general wellness and non-tech solutions. You can follow Daisy on Facebook and Twitter, and you can email her at [email protected]

Lock and Load: Are You Prepared for Civil Unrest?

Do you get the feeling that we are right on the verge of chaos?  With the government shutdown, the congressional budget deadline of the 17th, the EBT system under threat, and assorted “drills” that, if history proves to be any guide, could be a loose cover for an upcoming falseRead the Rest...

Can Homeopathy Really be Used to Treat Cancer?

can homeopathy treat cancer?

Medical researchers from around the world have been investigating the ability of homeopathy to treat cancer. A new study adds to the controversy.

Top 5 Health Benefits of Cherries

Elizabeth Renter Natural SocietySeptember 12, 2013 Cherries are a delicious summer treat, sweet and fun to...

Are Seniors the Vanguard of American Yoga?

It's one of the paradoxes of today's youth- and beauty-obsessed yoga culture that one of the oldest and most established yoga styles has become...

Are Seniors the Vanguard of American Yoga?

It's one of the paradoxes of today's youth- and beauty-obsessed yoga culture that one of the oldest and most established yoga styles has become...

The Day After the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom

August 28, 1963 was a high-water mark for the civil rights movement: the massive March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Two goals of the...

What Will The End Be Like For Me If I Don’t Prepare?

This article has been shared with the SHTFplan community by long-time contributor Be Informed. It is a continuation of efforts to alert and inform...

Torturing Animals With GMOs

“A Culture that views pigs as inanimate piles of protoplasmic structure to be manipulated however cleverly the human mind can conceive will view its...

Never Again Enough

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/never_again_enough_20130801/ Posted on Aug 1, 2013 By William deBuys, TomDisaptch...

Food Allergies Linked with Lack of Vitamin D and Sunshine

We already knew sunshine and vitamin D were important to health - given the over 70 diseases now associated with their deficiency. Now research...

Political Dreaming in the Twenty-First Century

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/political_dreaming_in_the_twenty-first_century_20130727/ Posted on Jul 27, 2013 By...

Eight great ways to enjoy coconut and coconut oil

PF Louis Natural News July 19, 2013 The whole issue of saturated fat dangers is falling apart gradually, although there are still...

What is it about Cow's Milk that Causes Constipation in Children?

Many studies have illustrated the ability of cow's milk to produce constipation in children, and it is a known allergen. University and Health Department...

Hot Topics, Cold Truth

Dr. S. Fred Singer interviewed by John F. McManus   Q. Do you have a position regarding global warming? A. I certainly do. The climate warms and...

Hot Topics, Cold Truth

Dr. S. Fred Singer interviewed by John F. McManus   Q. Do you have a position regarding global warming? A. I certainly do. The climate warms and...

Angelina Jolie inspires women to maim themselves by celebrating medically perverted double mastectomies

Mike AdamsNatural NewsMay 15, 2013 Angelina Jolie announced yesterday that she had both of her breasts...

Germany Vs Japan Currency War Heats Up

Germany and Japan have a long tradition of cooperating, at least when it comes to various iterations of world war, generically in the conventional sense (and where they tend to end up on the less than winning side). Which is why it may come as a surprise to some that earlier today German politician Michael Meister launched what is now the third shot across Japan's bow in what is rapidly escalating as the most dramatic case of global currency warfare between the world's net exporters (at least legacy net exporters: thanks to Japan's recent political snafus, it has now become a net importer as it is rapidly losing the Chinese market which accounts for some 20% of its exports) which started as long ago as 2010 when it was quite clear that currency warfare is what the insolvent world can expect, before it devolves into outright protectionism, and finally regular war as Kyle Bass explained recently. To wit: “What can Japan’s competitors do?” Meister said today in a telephone interview. “Either we’re all smart and do nothing, or we follow suit and create a spiral that hurts us all.

Something tells us the "we will follow suit" is the right answer, as the only option left for the world which has no internal demand (i.e., consumer credit capacity to fund in house purchases of goods and services) and is destined to seek outside trade markets and inbound flows to generate inflation. But then again, none of this should be news, although perhaps it is to the EUR which has seen a rather rapid deterioration now that it is becoming very clear that what we have said, namely that Germany needs a weaker EUR to boost exports, is the only option for Europe.

And, as noted, he is not the first, nor the second, but the third in just one week to warn of what is coming. From Bloomberg: "Meister is the third senior German official to take issue with Abe in a week. Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble attacked Japan’s “false understanding” of monetary policy in a Jan. 16 speech to the lower house, saying it will pump “excessive liquidity” into global financial markets. Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann said in a speech in Frankfurt yesterday that Abe risked “politicizing” the yen’s exchange rate."

Japan's response: Open-Yended monetization as reported last night. Certainly everyone will just sit there and watch as Japan does all it can to control an even greater portion of the export market and boost its GDP at the expense of all other trade deficit surplus nations. Certainly. This, naturally, ignores the very "GDP boosting" almost real war that Japan and China are increasingly finding themselves in.

From Bloomberg:

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s move to invigorate exports by pushing the yen lower against competitors is “very worrying,” said Michael Meister, a senior member of Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union who is due to meet with government officials in Japan starting on Feb. 7. Germany will probably seek support from fellow G-20 nations to urge Japan to change its course, he said.

Meister is the third senior German official to take issue with Abe in a week. Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble attacked Japan’s “false understanding” of monetary policy in a Jan. 16 speech to the lower house, saying it will pump “excessive liquidity” into global financial markets. Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann said in a speech in Frankfurt yesterday that Abe risked “politicizing” the yen’s exchange rate.

German discomfort at Japan’s monetary policy occurs at a critical juncture in the health of the euro-area economy, including that of its German motor. Merkel, who is seeking a third term at federal elections this fall, may have to fall back on German exports to help bolster economic growth that the government forecasts to be just 0.4 percent this year.

Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, whose exports are forecast to grow 2.8 percent this year from 4.1 percent in 2012, will probably seek the support of fellow Group of Eight and G-20 states to persuade Japan to rethink manipulating the yen’s exchange rate, said Meister.

Aside from a potential backlash from Japan’s G-20 partners, any economic gains from the policy may be short-lived as monetary steps to reflate the economy bring higher import prices, said Meister. “The Japanese economy’s real problems are structural and beg structural remedies, not tampering with the exchange rate,” he said.

Abe, sworn in as Japan’s prime minister on Dec. 26, has called on the Bank of Japan to unleash unlimited monetary easing and accept a higher central bank inflation target to help revive the world’s third-biggest economy. The yen rallied today after the Bank of Japan said it will wait a year to begin open-ended asset purchases. The yen has declined 12 percent in the past three months, leveraging its competitiveness against its main competitors.

The market's response to what is now a loud and clear piling of German and Japanese FX currency troops? Green.

Your rating: None Average: 3 (2 votes)

Are Detox Diets and Cleanses Dangerous?

Advocates of detox diets, cleanses and flushes swear they purge the body of toxins. But do they actually work?

January 7, 2013  |  

Photo Credit: © Bartosz Luczak/ Shutterstock.com

Like this article?

Join our email list:

Stay up to date with the latest headlines via email.

After a month-long national eating binge in December, Americans wake up on January 1 hoping to wipe the slate clean and start fresh in the new year.  How do we undo the damage we did to our bodies with all of the eggnog and Christmas cookies? Many hit the gym. Others decide it’s time to detox.

Detox diets, sometimes known as cleanses or flushes, are often advocated as ways to purge the body of toxins. Some even claim to help you expel gallstones. But do these extreme diet regimes actually work? Or are they, in fact, ineffective and even dangerous?

Cleanses and flushes tend to take two main forms. The first, known as the Master Cleanse or the lemonade diet, instructs people to fast for 10 days while consuming only a special lemonade made with lemon juice, water, maple syrup, and cayenne. Additionally, one must take laxatives before bed and then drink salt water in the morning to induce a bowel movement.

The second, often called a liver flush or a liver and gallbladder flush, originates from the work of Randolph Stone. Stone was a natural medicine doctor who developed what he called Polarity Therapy in the 1940s. There are many variations of Stone’s liver flush around today, but most involve the same main components.

Some versions begin with a fast during which one consumes only apples and apple juice. Some also include instructions to drink water mixed with Epsom salts (a laxative). But all of the variations include two main components: drinking a mixture of lemon juice, garlic juice and olive oil followed an herbal tea. The herbal tea usually consists of flax seeds, fenugreek and fennel seeds, but may also include other ingredients like burdock root and peppermint. Last, some versions of the flush say to eat a special diet for the rest of the day. This procedure may be repeated for a period of days, and some versions instruct one to do the flush at regular intervals throughout the year.

What does one achieve with such a strange regimen of foods? Let’s just say you’ll spend some quality time with your toilet if you give this flush a try. Most of the core ingredients in the flush are laxatives or diuretics. Some Web sites claim you will actually excrete up to 2,000 gallstones with this flush.

As it turns out, you won’t excrete gallstones at all, although the flush will cause you to excrete what looks like little green “stones.” So what are they? “Saponified olive oil,” answers clinical herbalist Rosalee de la Forêt. Remember, you just drank a large amount of olive oil and lemon juice, and it has to come out the other end. The olive oil actually turns into soap inside your body. The soap absorbs bile, turning it green – although it’s been shown that when someone drinks red dye along with the liver flush mixture, the stones will be red on the inside.

When asked about the effects of Master Cleanse and liver flushes, experts like De la Forêt, herbalist Sean Donahue and registered dietitian Melinda Hemmelgarn are surprisingly consistent with one another – and frustratingly vague.

Donahue, who teaches at the School of Western Herbal Medicine at Pacific Rim College, feels that the impacts of these regimes “vary a lot according to the person's general health,” adding that, “often people who are looking to these solutions are people who are already depleted. Really pushing the body hard to do things that are physically stressful for it under those conditions at the very least kind of saps your vital reserves and at the worst can really stress your vital organs."

Common Sense Eczema Treatment — Cure Eczema By Going Back To Basics

Frustrated with the ineffectiveness and harmful side effects of conventional eczema treatments, Audrey Lynn decided to take on treating her young son's eczema herself....

Constitutional Dead Letters

by Roger Roots | Historians of Soviet Russia occasionally note that the communist workers’ paradise was originally intended to adhere to a written constitution that...

Solutions for a Sustainable World

TNI | The Schumacher lectures are traditionally held in Bristol but have now branched out so that Schumacher North, based in Leeds, also organises the...

How Pot Became Demonized

The following is an excerpt from "Dying to Get High" by Wendy Chapkis and Richard J. Webb (NYU Press, 2008). (c) 2008 NYU Press....

How Corporations Took Over The Supreme Court

The headquarters of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, located across from Lafayette Park in Washington, is a limestone structure that looks almost as majestic...

The Drugs in Your Toothpaste Can Affect Your Health

One of the fastest ways to absorb anything into the body is through the mouth. Drugs such as nitroglycerine for heart conditions and natural...

The Secret Food Code Conspiracy

Westpress.co.uk Listen to the podcast here    Imagine a world in which no food product could be penalised because of its origins or the way in which it...