Day: July 11, 2017

Single-Payer Socialized Health Care: What Would It Mean for Innovative and Alternative Medicine?


The threats to freedom of choice that single-payer represents will impact not only the availability and quality of life-saving drugs, surgery, end of life care, and other mainstays of the American health care system. It will also adversely impact the growing field of alternative medicine that — largely under the radar of official attention — has gained the interest and support of about one-half of the adult population.

It’s All About Control — and Making Money

On March 21, 2009 Obamacare was rammed through an overwhelmingly Democrat-controlled Congress on a straight party line vote. Obamacare represented a major step forward in the long march toward socialized medicine — helping as it did to establish widespread public acceptance of the concept of “health care as a right.”

H.R. 3590 The Affordable Care Act or Obamacare (2009-2010) Photo credit

The day after the Obamacare vote, the senior member of the House of Representatives, Rep. John Dingell (D-MI), a strong supporter of government-run health care since he first got elected to the Congress in the mid-1950s, appeared as a guest on a local Detroit radio program. I learned about the Dingell interview courtesy of someone in Detroit who heard the broadcast and posted a comment about it at a blog that I stumbled upon. After some research, I was able to identify the Detroit talk show — it was the Paul W. Smith program on radio station WJR — and locate an audio file of the Dingell segment on WJR’s Web site before it scrolled offline.

Sure enough, as he gleefully celebrated the passage of Obamacare on Smith’s program, Dingell blurted out that the Democrats had finally learned how “to control the people:”

The harsh fact of the matter is when you’re going to pass legislation that will cover 300 [million] American people in different ways it takes a long time to do the necessary administrative steps that have to be taken to put the legislation together to control the people.

When news of Dingell’s interview and his telling comment was published in American Thinker in an article by this author, and was picked up by the mainstream media including Fox News,  Dingell’s office issued a statement claiming that the aging Congressman’s comments had been “taken out of context.” The unedited recording of the interview, however, speaks for itself.

That one comment by Dingell on March 22, 2009 exposed the truth in the situation: The purpose of government-run health care is to control the people.

This is no surprise to anyone who has studied the history of socialism and communism. Nationalized mandated health care has always been a goal of the collectivist, statist, communist model of governance.

Writing in 2007 in National Review Online, Mark Steyn put it succinctly:

Socialized health care is the single biggest factor in transforming the relationship of the individual to the state.

That transformation entails an army of bureaucrats, PR specialists, enforcers, lobbyists, and hundreds of thousands — perhaps millions — of individuals functioning at various levels of the medical Establishment — which it might surprise many readers to learn is the biggest business in the United States, dwarfing annual spending on the military by a factor of more than five to one. According to government figures, in 2015 U.S. military spending was about $600 billion, while spending on all U.S. medical care that year reached $3.2 trillion. About 64% of the total health care bill was directly paid for by the government.

Not only is conventional medical care expensive, its costs have exploded during the past half century. According to an article in The New England Journal of Medicine in 2006, “Adjusted for inflation, annual medical spending per person [in the United States] has increased from approximately $700 in 1960 to more than $6,000 today [2006], tripling as a share of the gross domestic product (GDP).” Between 2006 and 2015, medical spending per person increased even more, to $10,000 annually.

The shocking rise in the costs of medical care since the 1960s has been exacerbated if not largely caused by the government’s increasing involvement and meddling in the field.

As usual, the figures — the bottom line — tell us a lot. With $10,000 per person (2015 figures) in play, multiplied by a population of 330 million consumers, the market for medical care and the potential profits are unprecedented in the history of the world.

Alternative Medicine: More Popular than Conventional Medicine?

The purpose of this article is not to explore the obscene costs or other obnoxious elements inherent in the conventional medical system. Rather, it is to examine how this system — as it is now transforming itself into a classic socialist model — has affected and will continue to influence medical innovation and the availability of alternative medicine options. Since its inception, alternative medicine has relied on the American climate of freedom and choice — a context that is rapidly receding in the face of socialism’s advance.

A frequently cited study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1993, a quarter century ago now, was a turning point in establishing the prevalence, popularity, and utilization of alternative — or “unconventional” — medical practices in the United States. The lead author of the study was David M. Eisenberg, M.D., a physician and Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

David M. Eisenberg, M.D. in his office at Harvard University

Unconventional or alternative medicine generally refers to things like nutritional medicine (including vitamin supplements), homeopathy, chiropratic care, herbal medicine, naturopathic medicine, acupuncture, Traditional Chinese Medicine, alternative cancer therapies, prayer, and a number of other practices

Excerpts from the 1993 New England Journal of Medicine article, the full text of which is available here:

We found that unconventional medicine has an enormous presence in the U.S. health care system. An estimated one in three persons in the U.S. adult population used unconventional therapy in 1990. The estimated number of visits made in 1990 to providers of unconventional therapy was greater than the number of visits to all primary care medical doctors nationwide, and the amount spent out of pocket on unconventional therapy was comparable to the amount spent out of pocket by Americans for all hospitalizations.


The use of unconventional therapy was not confined to any narrow segment of U.S. society. The rates of use ranged from 23 to 53 percent in all sociodemographic groups we considered.


Extrapolation to the total U.S. household population suggests that in 1990 an estimated 61 million Americans used at least 1 of the 16 unconventional therapies we studied and approximately 22 million Americans saw providers of unconventional therapy for a principal medical condition.


The estimated number of ambulatory visits to providers of unconventional therapy in 1990 was 425 million (95 percent confidence interval, 302 million to 548 million). This number exceeds the estimated 388 million visits in 1990 to all primary care physicians (general and family practitioners, pediatricians, and specialists in internal medicine) combined

The surprisingly widespread acceptance and use of alternative or unconventional medical practices documented in the mainstream New England Journal of Medicine in 1993 occurred despite decades of denigration by the American Medical Establishment — working hand in glove with the federal government and its agencies, including the FDA, FTC, DOJ, etc.

This condemnation of alternatives relied on a variety of tactics including surveillance, harassment, prosecutions, bans of alternative treatments, dirty tricks, and an ongoing collusion with the mainstream media to dismiss and blacklist unconventional medical options. The history of this censure is long, dark, and convoluted, but it is available to anyone who wishes to delve into it.

Since the 1993 study by Eisenberg et al, the popularity of alternative medicine has continued to grow — a decade ago 4 in 10 American adults were using some form of complementary alternative medicine, according to a 2008 government study, the most recent one that could be found. This growth in popularity has been aided by a limited degree of Establishment cooperation as the name of the field was changed from alternative to complementary and then to integrative medicine. In 1992, the federal government climbed on the bandwagon with a new, Congressionally-mandated Office of Alternative Medicine at the National Institutes of Health. The office’s name was later changed to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine and then to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. The name changes are not insignificant: “Alternative” connotes a truly alternative treatment option that might be offered as a primary therapy, while “complementary” and “integrative” suggest that the alternative method is at best a complement, and therefore secondary, to the dominant conventional medical model that remains the gold standard in health care. Something that is “integrative” is ultimately less threatening — less of a challenge — than an outright alternative to the hegemony of orthodox medicine.

Leading practitioner of Alternative Medicine Linda L. Isaacs, M.D.

One way of looking at all of this is that a primary alternative therapy for cancer — for example, a regimen involving a special diet, nutritional supplements, and detoxification, like the one practiced by Linda L. Isaacs, M.D. in New York City — might treat the patient without using any of the standard conventional therapies for cancer like surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy. In contrast, a complementary/integrative approach provides a gentle “alternative light” modality like herbs or massage to help the patient avoid unpleasant side effects and feel more comfortable while she undergoes surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy. The integrative approach, while not without value, does not challenge the primacy of the conventional medical model.

Alternative medicine: Once again squarely in the cross-hairs

It needs to be kept in mind that alternative medicine — whatever name it is going by — has thrived in the context of the mixed climate of the for-profit private sector and government-endorsed, -supported, and -influenced medical care that has been in effect in the United States since the end of World War II. Over time, starting in the 1960s, the public at the grassroots level began to explore and then demand access to medical alternatives, and the private sector — with minor and grudging government support — responded. The underlying philosophy of freedom including the somewhat laissez-faire free market environment in this country made the ascent of alternative medical approaches possible.

But that is now changing. The first blow came in 2009 with the passage of Obamacare, which fully went into effect in 2013. Otherwise absurdly known as the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare added thousands of pages of new regulations to the practice of medicine, increased government spending on (and control of) medical care, discouraged smaller primary medical practices while encouraging consolidation and centralization, hired thousands of new IRS employees or agents to enforce Obamacare’s mandates on individual citizens, and required the implementation of onerous and Orwellian electronic medical records (EMRs) and something called evidence based medicine at every level of medical practice. Today, the hands of the individual physician are being tied tighter than ever as the government increasingly is coming between the physician and his patient.

Many if not most alternative therapies — especially the ones that are still employed as primary treatments — are not approved by the government, state medical licensing boards, Medicare and Medicaid bureaucrats, etc. Even under the heel of Obamacare, however, these interlocked players were unable to exert total control over the practice of medicine at the grassroots level, where true medical innovation and alternatives are thriving. But under the looming single payer socialized medicine scheme, this is all about to change.

Charlie Gard

Connie Yates and Chris Gard with their son Charlie

Addenda: As this article is being written, an emotionally wrenching medical case is playing out in the UK that has direct relevance to some of the issues being discussed here. Charlie Gard is an 11-month old baby who has mitochondrial depletion syndrome, a “rare genetic disorder that causes brain damage and prevents muscles from developing.” He is hospitalized in London in what National Health Service (NHS) physicians say is a terminal and hopeless condition. His case has gained worldwide attention with the Pope and President Donald Trump weighing in.

Charlie’s parents have been fighting the British medical and legal Establishments in an effort to regain custody of their son so he can be taken to the United States or another country where innovative treatments exist that, they say, might offer the possibility of Charlie’s survival and clinical improvement. The London hospital took the case to a court, which agreed with the government doctors and NHS bureaucrats that Charlie needs to have his life support removed so that he can die in hospital, the parents’ wishes be damned.

It remains to be seen if a new effort by the parents to appeal the court’s decision will prevail. In the meantime, the case illustrates several points. In a socialized, single-payer medical system like the one that has been in place in the UK since the NHS was mandated in 1948, the patient — or in this case, his parents — is not in control; the medical bureaucrats under the color of law have the final say over one’s life and death.

 

It is also noteworthy that innovative options that might help a patient like Charlie are emanating not from Britain — where socialism and the NHS have hindered medical innovation and impaired successful treatment outcomes — but from the United States, where the practice of medicine has yet to fall under the complete and suffocating yoke of socialism.

 

To be continued.

 

Peter Barry Chowka has reported on health care, with an emphasis on alternative medicine, since 1972. Between 1992-’94 he was an advisor to the National Institutes of Health. His new Web site is AltMedNews.net.

In the midst of the myriad destructive elements that are plaguing modern society or quickly coming into play, the looming transformation of the medical system in the United States into a single-payer socialist nightmare is one of the most alarming developments facing us.

The inability of the Republican controlled Congress to repeal and replace Obamacare, and the increasing popularity of a single-payer system, suggest that socialized medicine cannot be kept at bay for much longer. Leaders of the Democratic Party, including prominent contenders for the party’s 2020 nomination for President, now support the concept of single-payer. The current debate in the media and political circles — dominated by disagreements over costs, how many people might “lose coverage,” the issue of preexisting conditions, and cuts to Medicaid — overlooks a key point: the fact that government-run socialized medicine at its core is evil. Once enacted, it will be one of the final nails in the coffin of Americans’ increasingly tenuous hold on individual liberty and freedom.

The threats to freedom of choice that single-payer represents will impact not only the availability and quality of life-saving drugs, surgery, end of life care, and other mainstays of the American health care system. It will also adversely impact the growing field of alternative medicine that — largely under the radar of official attention — has gained the interest and support of about one-half of the adult population.

It’s All About Control — and Making Money

On March 21, 2009 Obamacare was rammed through an overwhelmingly Democrat-controlled Congress on a straight party line vote. Obamacare represented a major step forward in the long march toward socialized medicine — helping as it did to establish widespread public acceptance of the concept of “health care as a right.”

H.R. 3590 The Affordable Care Act or Obamacare (2009-2010) Photo credit

The day after the Obamacare vote, the senior member of the House of Representatives, Rep. John Dingell (D-MI), a strong supporter of government-run health care since he first got elected to the Congress in the mid-1950s, appeared as a guest on a local Detroit radio program. I learned about the Dingell interview courtesy of someone in Detroit who heard the broadcast and posted a comment about it at a blog that I stumbled upon. After some research, I was able to identify the Detroit talk show — it was the Paul W. Smith program on radio station WJR — and locate an audio file of the Dingell segment on WJR’s Web site before it scrolled offline.

Sure enough, as he gleefully celebrated the passage of Obamacare on Smith’s program, Dingell blurted out that the Democrats had finally learned how “to control the people:”

The harsh fact of the matter is when you’re going to pass legislation that will cover 300 [million] American people in different ways it takes a long time to do the necessary administrative steps that have to be taken to put the legislation together to control the people.

When news of Dingell’s interview and his telling comment was published in American Thinker in an article by this author, and was picked up by the mainstream media including Fox News,  Dingell’s office issued a statement claiming that the aging Congressman’s comments had been “taken out of context.” The unedited recording of the interview, however, speaks for itself.

That one comment by Dingell on March 22, 2009 exposed the truth in the situation: The purpose of government-run health care is to control the people.

This is no surprise to anyone who has studied the history of socialism and communism. Nationalized mandated health care has always been a goal of the collectivist, statist, communist model of governance.

Writing in 2007 in National Review Online, Mark Steyn put it succinctly:

Socialized health care is the single biggest factor in transforming the relationship of the individual to the state.

That transformation entails an army of bureaucrats, PR specialists, enforcers, lobbyists, and hundreds of thousands — perhaps millions — of individuals functioning at various levels of the medical Establishment — which it might surprise many readers to learn is the biggest business in the United States, dwarfing annual spending on the military by a factor of more than five to one. According to government figures, in 2015 U.S. military spending was about $600 billion, while spending on all U.S. medical care that year reached $3.2 trillion. About 64% of the total health care bill was directly paid for by the government.

Not only is conventional medical care expensive, its costs have exploded during the past half century. According to an article in The New England Journal of Medicine in 2006, “Adjusted for inflation, annual medical spending per person [in the United States] has increased from approximately $700 in 1960 to more than $6,000 today [2006], tripling as a share of the gross domestic product (GDP).” Between 2006 and 2015, medical spending per person increased even more, to $10,000 annually.

The shocking rise in the costs of medical care since the 1960s has been exacerbated if not largely caused by the government’s increasing involvement and meddling in the field.

As usual, the figures — the bottom line — tell us a lot. With $10,000 per person (2015 figures) in play, multiplied by a population of 330 million consumers, the market for medical care and the potential profits are unprecedented in the history of the world.

Alternative Medicine: More Popular than Conventional Medicine?

The purpose of this article is not to explore the obscene costs or other obnoxious elements inherent in the conventional medical system. Rather, it is to examine how this system — as it is now transforming itself into a classic socialist model — has affected and will continue to influence medical innovation and the availability of alternative medicine options. Since its inception, alternative medicine has relied on the American climate of freedom and choice — a context that is rapidly receding in the face of socialism’s advance.

A frequently cited study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1993, a quarter century ago now, was a turning point in establishing the prevalence, popularity, and utilization of alternative — or “unconventional” — medical practices in the United States. The lead author of the study was David M. Eisenberg, M.D., a physician and Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

David M. Eisenberg, M.D. in his office at Harvard University

Unconventional or alternative medicine generally refers to things like nutritional medicine (including vitamin supplements), homeopathy, chiropratic care, herbal medicine, naturopathic medicine, acupuncture, Traditional Chinese Medicine, alternative cancer therapies, prayer, and a number of other practices

Excerpts from the 1993 New England Journal of Medicine article, the full text of which is available here:

We found that unconventional medicine has an enormous presence in the U.S. health care system. An estimated one in three persons in the U.S. adult population used unconventional therapy in 1990. The estimated number of visits made in 1990 to providers of unconventional therapy was greater than the number of visits to all primary care medical doctors nationwide, and the amount spent out of pocket on unconventional therapy was comparable to the amount spent out of pocket by Americans for all hospitalizations.


The use of unconventional therapy was not confined to any narrow segment of U.S. society. The rates of use ranged from 23 to 53 percent in all sociodemographic groups we considered.


Extrapolation to the total U.S. household population suggests that in 1990 an estimated 61 million Americans used at least 1 of the 16 unconventional therapies we studied and approximately 22 million Americans saw providers of unconventional therapy for a principal medical condition.


The estimated number of ambulatory visits to providers of unconventional therapy in 1990 was 425 million (95 percent confidence interval, 302 million to 548 million). This number exceeds the estimated 388 million visits in 1990 to all primary care physicians (general and family practitioners, pediatricians, and specialists in internal medicine) combined

The surprisingly widespread acceptance and use of alternative or unconventional medical practices documented in the mainstream New England Journal of Medicine in 1993 occurred despite decades of denigration by the American Medical Establishment — working hand in glove with the federal government and its agencies, including the FDA, FTC, DOJ, etc.

This condemnation of alternatives relied on a variety of tactics including surveillance, harassment, prosecutions, bans of alternative treatments, dirty tricks, and an ongoing collusion with the mainstream media to dismiss and blacklist unconventional medical options. The history of this censure is long, dark, and convoluted, but it is available to anyone who wishes to delve into it.

Since the 1993 study by Eisenberg et al, the popularity of alternative medicine has continued to grow — a decade ago 4 in 10 American adults were using some form of complementary alternative medicine, according to a 2008 government study, the most recent one that could be found. This growth in popularity has been aided by a limited degree of Establishment cooperation as the name of the field was changed from alternative to complementary and then to integrative medicine. In 1992, the federal government climbed on the bandwagon with a new, Congressionally-mandated Office of Alternative Medicine at the National Institutes of Health. The office’s name was later changed to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine and then to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. The name changes are not insignificant: “Alternative” connotes a truly alternative treatment option that might be offered as a primary therapy, while “complementary” and “integrative” suggest that the alternative method is at best a complement, and therefore secondary, to the dominant conventional medical model that remains the gold standard in health care. Something that is “integrative” is ultimately less threatening — less of a challenge — than an outright alternative to the hegemony of orthodox medicine.

Leading practitioner of Alternative Medicine Linda L. Isaacs, M.D.

One way of looking at all of this is that a primary alternative therapy for cancer — for example, a regimen involving a special diet, nutritional supplements, and detoxification, like the one practiced by Linda L. Isaacs, M.D. in New York City — might treat the patient without using any of the standard conventional therapies for cancer like surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy. In contrast, a complementary/integrative approach provides a gentle “alternative light” modality like herbs or massage to help the patient avoid unpleasant side effects and feel more comfortable while she undergoes surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy. The integrative approach, while not without value, does not challenge the primacy of the conventional medical model.

Alternative medicine: Once again squarely in the cross-hairs

It needs to be kept in mind that alternative medicine — whatever name it is going by — has thrived in the context of the mixed climate of the for-profit private sector and government-endorsed, -supported, and -influenced medical care that has been in effect in the United States since the end of World War II. Over time, starting in the 1960s, the public at the grassroots level began to explore and then demand access to medical alternatives, and the private sector — with minor and grudging government support — responded. The underlying philosophy of freedom including the somewhat laissez-faire free market environment in this country made the ascent of alternative medical approaches possible.

But that is now changing. The first blow came in 2009 with the passage of Obamacare, which fully went into effect in 2013. Otherwise absurdly known as the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare added thousands of pages of new regulations to the practice of medicine, increased government spending on (and control of) medical care, discouraged smaller primary medical practices while encouraging consolidation and centralization, hired thousands of new IRS employees or agents to enforce Obamacare’s mandates on individual citizens, and required the implementation of onerous and Orwellian electronic medical records (EMRs) and something called evidence based medicine at every level of medical practice. Today, the hands of the individual physician are being tied tighter than ever as the government increasingly is coming between the physician and his patient.

Many if not most alternative therapies — especially the ones that are still employed as primary treatments — are not approved by the government, state medical licensing boards, Medicare and Medicaid bureaucrats, etc. Even under the heel of Obamacare, however, these interlocked players were unable to exert total control over the practice of medicine at the grassroots level, where true medical innovation and alternatives are thriving. But under the looming single payer socialized medicine scheme, this is all about to change.

Charlie Gard

Connie Yates and Chris Gard with their son Charlie

Addenda: As this article is being written, an emotionally wrenching medical case is playing out in the UK that has direct relevance to some of the issues being discussed here. Charlie Gard is an 11-month old baby who has mitochondrial depletion syndrome, a “rare genetic disorder that causes brain damage and prevents muscles from developing.” He is hospitalized in London in what National Health Service (NHS) physicians say is a terminal and hopeless condition. His case has gained worldwide attention with the Pope and President Donald Trump weighing in.

Charlie’s parents have been fighting the British medical and legal Establishments in an effort to regain custody of their son so he can be taken to the United States or another country where innovative treatments exist that, they say, might offer the possibility of Charlie’s survival and clinical improvement. The London hospital took the case to a court, which agreed with the government doctors and NHS bureaucrats that Charlie needs to have his life support removed so that he can die in hospital, the parents’ wishes be damned.

It remains to be seen if a new effort by the parents to appeal the court’s decision will prevail. In the meantime, the case illustrates several points. In a socialized, single-payer medical system like the one that has been in place in the UK since the NHS was mandated in 1948, the patient — or in this case, his parents — is not in control; the medical bureaucrats under the color of law have the final say over one’s life and death.

 

It is also noteworthy that innovative options that might help a patient like Charlie are emanating not from Britain — where socialism and the NHS have hindered medical innovation and impaired successful treatment outcomes — but from the United States, where the practice of medicine has yet to fall under the complete and suffocating yoke of socialism.

 

To be continued.

 

Peter Barry Chowka has reported on health care, with an emphasis on alternative medicine, since 1972. Between 1992-’94 he was an advisor to the National Institutes of Health. His new Web site is AltMedNews.net.



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Soros Is No Dreyfus


Anti-Semitism should always be condemned. But it is somewhat ironic that leaders of Hungary’s Jewish community and Israel’s Ambassador in Budapest are rallying on behalf of a man who demeans Jews and gives millions to anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian organizations. That man, who is Jewish by birth, but proud for growing up in an “anti-Semitic home,” is George Soros.

The Hungarian government is fighting Soros, who is campaigning against the Hungarian government’s immigration policies in the effort to force it to open its borders to illegal immigrants. As part of this fight, the Hungarians are attempting to curb the billionaire’s funding of opposition groups, as well as his Budapest-based Central European University by legislating education reforms that would close the institution, unless it complies with the country’s laws.  

Soros, dubbed as the “only private citizen who had his foreign policy,” whose efforts to change Hungary’s domestic policies and reverse the law that would shut down the CEU has failed, addressed the European Commission’s annual economic meeting last June. He denounces the “the deception and corruption of the mafia state the Orban regime has established,” and led the European Union to take legal action against the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

Orban responded with a billboard campaign featuring a smirking Soros with the caption: Let’s not allow Soros to have the last laugh.” It didn’t take long before Soros and his supporters evoked his Jewishness and accused the government of anti-Semitism. Orban’s spokesperson responded: “The Hungarian government’s goal is to stop Soros’s migrant campaign, which is supporting the migration of illegal migrants into our country. The government is not criticizing George Soros for his Jewish origin, but for his supporting the growing number of migrants entering in uncontrolled crowds into Europe.” And Hungary is not alone in limiting the number of illegal, mostly Muslim immigrants who pose a great economic and security threat. Other European nations are also taking steps to stem the seemingly endless tide. 

As for anti-Semitism, in November 2003, as Operation Iraqi Freedom was underway and anti-American and anti-Israeli/anti-Semitic demonstrations spread throughout Europe, Soros spoke at a meeting of the Jewish Funders Network in New York. Soros claimed that “The policies of the Bush administration and the Sharon administration contribute” to the rise of anti-Semitism. He assured his audience that once Bush and Sharon are removed from office, the world will go back to not hating Jews. “If we change that direction, then anti-Semitism also will diminish. I can’t see how one could confront it directly,” he said. On December 4, 2003, Ira Stoll reported in the New York Sun that Soros declared “Israel “likely” was a big but secret reason for America’s war in Iraq.” 

Soros has rewritten Middle Eastern history to better jibe with his idea of the “poignant and difficult case” of “victims turning perpetrators.”  Soros, much like the virulent anti-Semitic graphic daily propaganda in Arab, Palestinian and Iranian newspapers, has been comparing Israel’s self-defense against repeated attempts of annihilation by the Islamist/Arab terrorists to Nazi atrocities. The successful defense against terrorism, especially preemptive actions, is never appropriate in Soros’ book.

His history of how Israel fought for its independence could have been written by Noam Chomsky or Yasser Arafat. “After the war [World War II], Jews resorted to terrorism against the British in Palestine in order to secure a homeland in Israel,” Soros wrote in 2003  in The Bubble of American Supremacy.  “Subsequently, after being attacked by Arab nations, Israel occupied additional territory and expelled many of the inhabitants. Eventually, the Arab victims also turned perpetrators, and Israel started suffering terrorist attacks.” 

This Soros’ interpretation denies the number of Arab invasions and the brutal tactics used that led Israel to occupy the lands these attacks were launched from in the first place. As for the “expulsions,” most left of their own accord because the surrounding Arab nations ordered them to leave. The Arab plan was to kill all the Jews as soon as possible and move back. For defending themselves, the Jews are apparently getting what they deserve, in Soros’ mind. By surviving Arab/Muslim violence all these years, and by defending themselves, the Jews in Israel and elsewhere bear the responsibility for rising anti-Semitism and anti-Israel activities.

Soros’ comments did not sit well with quite a few public figures: “It’s a warped view of the Holocaust and its aftermath, of Israel, and America,” than the national director of the Anti-Defamation League, Abraham Foxman, told the New York Sun. “It’s outrageous. To call it obscenity is not strong enough a word. It is so perverted and so perverse.” The New York Daily News ran an editorial describing Soros as a “man who lacks even a remotely balanced view of history and the nature of evil. He has demeaned the Holocaust and placed moral responsibility for anti-Semitism on its victims rather than its perpetrators.” Even Democratic representative Eliot Engle also called Soros statements “morally reprehensible” and advised his “hear no evil/see no evil” Democratic brethren that he didn’t think that, “People shouldn’t kiss up to” Soros simply because “he wants to give money.” 

Documents hacked from Soros’s global organizations network and released on DC Leaks in 2016 revealed not only his funding of groups that follow his globalist (no borders) pro-illegal immigration, anti-capitalist, anti-Judeo-Christian and Western values agenda, but also pro-Muslim Brotherhood and anti-Zionist, pro-Palestinian activities.  These include Adalah, which claims to be an “independent human rights organization” that has been campaigning, as the Palestinians and Iran, against alleged Israeli war crimes, advocating for Israel diplomatic isolation and for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. It also funds Israeli Arab organizations’ activities against Israel. 

Captain Alfred Dreyfus, who loyally served his country, fell victim to anti-Semitic conspiracy accusing him of treason. The public outcry led by Emile Zola and a second trial led to Dreyfus’ exoneration. He was reinstated, promoted, and created an Officer of the Legion of Honor.   

Soros, unlike Dreyfus, is loyal only to himself. His tremendous wealth has allowed him to buy politicians and influence domestic and international politics, which he advances through a myriad of organizations. In the case of Hungary, it is mostly about the government’s threat to close his “educational legacy” — the CEU. The religion he was born into, which he disdains, has nothing to do with his political actions. He personifies this agenda and should be held responsible for his efforts to intervene in Hungary’s, Israel’s the U.S. and a host of other countries.

Anti-Semitism should always be condemned. But it is somewhat ironic that leaders of Hungary’s Jewish community and Israel’s Ambassador in Budapest are rallying on behalf of a man who demeans Jews and gives millions to anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian organizations. That man, who is Jewish by birth, but proud for growing up in an “anti-Semitic home,” is George Soros.

The Hungarian government is fighting Soros, who is campaigning against the Hungarian government’s immigration policies in the effort to force it to open its borders to illegal immigrants. As part of this fight, the Hungarians are attempting to curb the billionaire’s funding of opposition groups, as well as his Budapest-based Central European University by legislating education reforms that would close the institution, unless it complies with the country’s laws.  

Soros, dubbed as the “only private citizen who had his foreign policy,” whose efforts to change Hungary’s domestic policies and reverse the law that would shut down the CEU has failed, addressed the European Commission’s annual economic meeting last June. He denounces the “the deception and corruption of the mafia state the Orban regime has established,” and led the European Union to take legal action against the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

Orban responded with a billboard campaign featuring a smirking Soros with the caption: Let’s not allow Soros to have the last laugh.” It didn’t take long before Soros and his supporters evoked his Jewishness and accused the government of anti-Semitism. Orban’s spokesperson responded: “The Hungarian government’s goal is to stop Soros’s migrant campaign, which is supporting the migration of illegal migrants into our country. The government is not criticizing George Soros for his Jewish origin, but for his supporting the growing number of migrants entering in uncontrolled crowds into Europe.” And Hungary is not alone in limiting the number of illegal, mostly Muslim immigrants who pose a great economic and security threat. Other European nations are also taking steps to stem the seemingly endless tide. 

As for anti-Semitism, in November 2003, as Operation Iraqi Freedom was underway and anti-American and anti-Israeli/anti-Semitic demonstrations spread throughout Europe, Soros spoke at a meeting of the Jewish Funders Network in New York. Soros claimed that “The policies of the Bush administration and the Sharon administration contribute” to the rise of anti-Semitism. He assured his audience that once Bush and Sharon are removed from office, the world will go back to not hating Jews. “If we change that direction, then anti-Semitism also will diminish. I can’t see how one could confront it directly,” he said. On December 4, 2003, Ira Stoll reported in the New York Sun that Soros declared “Israel “likely” was a big but secret reason for America’s war in Iraq.” 

Soros has rewritten Middle Eastern history to better jibe with his idea of the “poignant and difficult case” of “victims turning perpetrators.”  Soros, much like the virulent anti-Semitic graphic daily propaganda in Arab, Palestinian and Iranian newspapers, has been comparing Israel’s self-defense against repeated attempts of annihilation by the Islamist/Arab terrorists to Nazi atrocities. The successful defense against terrorism, especially preemptive actions, is never appropriate in Soros’ book.

His history of how Israel fought for its independence could have been written by Noam Chomsky or Yasser Arafat. “After the war [World War II], Jews resorted to terrorism against the British in Palestine in order to secure a homeland in Israel,” Soros wrote in 2003  in The Bubble of American Supremacy.  “Subsequently, after being attacked by Arab nations, Israel occupied additional territory and expelled many of the inhabitants. Eventually, the Arab victims also turned perpetrators, and Israel started suffering terrorist attacks.” 

This Soros’ interpretation denies the number of Arab invasions and the brutal tactics used that led Israel to occupy the lands these attacks were launched from in the first place. As for the “expulsions,” most left of their own accord because the surrounding Arab nations ordered them to leave. The Arab plan was to kill all the Jews as soon as possible and move back. For defending themselves, the Jews are apparently getting what they deserve, in Soros’ mind. By surviving Arab/Muslim violence all these years, and by defending themselves, the Jews in Israel and elsewhere bear the responsibility for rising anti-Semitism and anti-Israel activities.

Soros’ comments did not sit well with quite a few public figures: “It’s a warped view of the Holocaust and its aftermath, of Israel, and America,” than the national director of the Anti-Defamation League, Abraham Foxman, told the New York Sun. “It’s outrageous. To call it obscenity is not strong enough a word. It is so perverted and so perverse.” The New York Daily News ran an editorial describing Soros as a “man who lacks even a remotely balanced view of history and the nature of evil. He has demeaned the Holocaust and placed moral responsibility for anti-Semitism on its victims rather than its perpetrators.” Even Democratic representative Eliot Engle also called Soros statements “morally reprehensible” and advised his “hear no evil/see no evil” Democratic brethren that he didn’t think that, “People shouldn’t kiss up to” Soros simply because “he wants to give money.” 

Documents hacked from Soros’s global organizations network and released on DC Leaks in 2016 revealed not only his funding of groups that follow his globalist (no borders) pro-illegal immigration, anti-capitalist, anti-Judeo-Christian and Western values agenda, but also pro-Muslim Brotherhood and anti-Zionist, pro-Palestinian activities.  These include Adalah, which claims to be an “independent human rights organization” that has been campaigning, as the Palestinians and Iran, against alleged Israeli war crimes, advocating for Israel diplomatic isolation and for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. It also funds Israeli Arab organizations’ activities against Israel. 

Captain Alfred Dreyfus, who loyally served his country, fell victim to anti-Semitic conspiracy accusing him of treason. The public outcry led by Emile Zola and a second trial led to Dreyfus’ exoneration. He was reinstated, promoted, and created an Officer of the Legion of Honor.   

Soros, unlike Dreyfus, is loyal only to himself. His tremendous wealth has allowed him to buy politicians and influence domestic and international politics, which he advances through a myriad of organizations. In the case of Hungary, it is mostly about the government’s threat to close his “educational legacy” — the CEU. The religion he was born into, which he disdains, has nothing to do with his political actions. He personifies this agenda and should be held responsible for his efforts to intervene in Hungary’s, Israel’s the U.S. and a host of other countries.



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Teen dies from using cellphone while taking a bath


A Texas teen died Sunday morning while using her cellphone in a bathtub, according to reports.

Madison Coe, 14, was electrocuted taking a bath at her father’s home in Lovington, New Mexico, news station KCBD reported.

Relatives told KCBD that the accident was caused either when she plugged in her phone while in the bathtub or grabbing the phone as it was being charged.

The 14-year-old, who is from Lubbock, Texas, had recently graduated from eighth grade at Terra Vista Middle School.

“It is with heavy hearts that Frenship Independent School District mourns the loss of Madison Coe. We wish to share our heartfelt sympathy with her family and friends as we carry the burden of this tragedy together,” district officials said in a statement.

Friends created a GoFundMe page Sunday to raise money for her funeral.

Click for more from NYPost.com



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CNN Committed Multiple Felonies


So arrogant and self-righteous have liberal news outlets become, that they now take it upon themselves to hunt down and blackmail private citizens who dare to mock their pomposity or make fun of the self-appointed hall monitors of news. Blackmail is a harsh term, but it applies to what CNN did to the Reddit user who made the now-famous wrestling GIF showing Trump pummeling an opponent with a CNN logo for a head. As Fox News Insider reported:

On Sunday, the president tweeted a GIF of himself wrestling and punching a man with the CNN logo superimposed over his head. In an article Tuesday, Kaczynski wrote that he uncovered the identity of the Reddit user who created the GIF — user name “HanA**holeSolo” — by comparing information posted on Reddit to Facebook profiles…


“CNN is not publishing HanA**holeSolo’s name because he is a private citizen who has issued an extensive statement of apology, showed his remorse by saying he has taken down all his offending posts, and because he said he is not going to repeat this ugly behavior on social media again,” the article stated. “CNN reserves the right to publish his identity should any of that change.”


Now, some are accusing CNN and Kaczynski of “blackmailing” HanA**holeSolo by threatening to release his identity.

I count myself among those who believe CNN committed crimes by their actions. CNN took upon itself the role of social media traffic cop with the power to regulate the free speech of others. This multinational media conglomerate was so afraid of an Internet troll that it took police state action against an individual whose opinions, however bizarre, it disagreed with. Bow, everyone, before CNN.

Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas has come forward with a suggestion that I agree with — that CNN, by threatening exposure of the Reddit user who created the Trump/CNN wrestling gif, committed a felony. The only question may be which one — or maybe more than one.

Cruz took to Twitter to suggest that Atlanta-based CNN may be in violation of Georgia state law regarding what is called “theft by extortion”:

“Troubling. I assume CNN’s lawyers are examining GA § 16-8-16 Theft by extortion. If CNN constructively obtained the gif-maker’s IP… it’s a GA crime if they threatened to ‘Disseminate any information tending to subject any person to hatred, contempt, or ridicule….’” he wrote, citing a portion of the statute.

But there are also federal and New York State statues that CNN arguably violated, according to Fox News legal analyst Gregg Jarrett and Trump aide Anthony Scaramucci:

Speaking on ‘Hannity’ Wednesday night, guest-host Jeanine Pirro asked Fox’s Gregg Jarrett and Trump aide Anthony Scaramucci to weigh-in on allegations that CNN violated state and federal law when it threatened the source behind the infamous Trump-wrestling video clip.


“Think about what CNN has done,” said Jarrett. “They have said, ‘If you Mr. Reddit user do something that we don’t like, we’re going to publicly expose you to contempt and ridicule and scorn.’ That’s a violation of the law.”


“The real straight-forward law of coercion says you can’t threaten somebody to coerce them in to abstaining from otherwise legal behavior, that’s an absolute crime,” he added.


Jarrett went on to explain that not only did CNN violate New York State Coercion laws, it also violated a specific federal statute.


“You also have a federal law, it’s called ‘Conspiracy Against Rights.’ It basically says you can’t threaten and intimidate somebody for using their constitutional right to freedom of speech under the first amendment,” he said.

Belligerent and malicious CNN has jumped the shark before and faced a $100 million lawsuit after falsely linking Scaramucci to Russian operatives. CNN had to retract the false story after which three of those responsible chose to “resign:”

The specter of a $100 million libel suit scared CNN into retracting a poorly reported story that slimed an ally of President Trump’s — and forcing out the staffers responsible for it, The Post has learned.


CNN immediately caved after Scaramucci, a financier and frequent network guest, cried foul and threatened to take legal action, sources said Tuesday.


Scaramucci got an unusual public apology but still hired a top Manhattan lawyer to put further pressure on CNN and “look after [his] interests in this matter,” one source said.


Sources also said the three journalists responsible for the retracted story — reporter Tom Frank, editor Eric Lichtblau and Lex Haris, who headed the CNN Investigates unit — were urged to resign.

Wikilealks founder Julian Assange has come forward to cite the actual statutes CNN arguably violated. While the phrase “consider the source” might apply, others, including Jarrett, have made the same citations, specifically 135.60 of the New York criminal code regarding “coercion: and 18 U.S. Code 241 — conspiracy against rights: As Ronn Blitzer of the legal website LawNewz points out:

Now, Assange could just be having some fun at CNN’s expense for beating the GIF story further into the ground — and putting themselves at the center of it, but the truth is, he has a point. Andrew Kaczynski, the author of the article, is based in New York (as per his Twitter profile), so the NY statute could apply, assuming that’s where he and CNN published the article. Taking a look at the elements of the statute itself, New York Penal Law § 135.60 says that a person is guilty of coercion in the second degree if he:


compels or induces a person to… abstain from engaging in conduct in which he or she has a legal right to engage… by means of instilling in him or her a fear that, if the demand is not complied with, the actor or another will… Expose a secret or publicize an asserted fact, whether true or false, tending to subject some person to hatred, contempt or ridicule


CNN is saying that they will reveal the user’s private identity, currently kept anonymous in his Reddit posts, if he doesn’t stop to post offensive material (which he is legally allowed to do). That sure sounds like it fits the bill.


The federal law that Assange tweeted about is a little iffier. That statute defines conspiracy as:


If two or more persons conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States[.]

Kaczynski is one person and the second could be anyone at CNN that approved the story’s thrust and purpose. Granted, we live in an era where obviously guilty felons such as Lois Lerner and Hillary Clinton get a free pass and leakers of classified material remain unidentified and unprosecuted. But, as they say, there’s a new sheriff in town. Freedom of the press is not a license to coerce, intimidate or otherwise blackmail perceived critics. The press is protected by law, but it is not above the law. Here, quite clearly, CNN — the Criminal News Network — broke the law.

Daniel John Sobieski is a freelance writer whose pieces have appeared in Investor’s Business Daily, Human Events, Reason Magazine and the Chicago Sun-Times among other publications.          

So arrogant and self-righteous have liberal news outlets become, that they now take it upon themselves to hunt down and blackmail private citizens who dare to mock their pomposity or make fun of the self-appointed hall monitors of news. Blackmail is a harsh term, but it applies to what CNN did to the Reddit user who made the now-famous wrestling GIF showing Trump pummeling an opponent with a CNN logo for a head. As Fox News Insider reported:

On Sunday, the president tweeted a GIF of himself wrestling and punching a man with the CNN logo superimposed over his head. In an article Tuesday, Kaczynski wrote that he uncovered the identity of the Reddit user who created the GIF — user name “HanA**holeSolo” — by comparing information posted on Reddit to Facebook profiles…


“CNN is not publishing HanA**holeSolo’s name because he is a private citizen who has issued an extensive statement of apology, showed his remorse by saying he has taken down all his offending posts, and because he said he is not going to repeat this ugly behavior on social media again,” the article stated. “CNN reserves the right to publish his identity should any of that change.”


Now, some are accusing CNN and Kaczynski of “blackmailing” HanA**holeSolo by threatening to release his identity.

I count myself among those who believe CNN committed crimes by their actions. CNN took upon itself the role of social media traffic cop with the power to regulate the free speech of others. This multinational media conglomerate was so afraid of an Internet troll that it took police state action against an individual whose opinions, however bizarre, it disagreed with. Bow, everyone, before CNN.

Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas has come forward with a suggestion that I agree with — that CNN, by threatening exposure of the Reddit user who created the Trump/CNN wrestling gif, committed a felony. The only question may be which one — or maybe more than one.

Cruz took to Twitter to suggest that Atlanta-based CNN may be in violation of Georgia state law regarding what is called “theft by extortion”:

“Troubling. I assume CNN’s lawyers are examining GA § 16-8-16 Theft by extortion. If CNN constructively obtained the gif-maker’s IP… it’s a GA crime if they threatened to ‘Disseminate any information tending to subject any person to hatred, contempt, or ridicule….’” he wrote, citing a portion of the statute.

But there are also federal and New York State statues that CNN arguably violated, according to Fox News legal analyst Gregg Jarrett and Trump aide Anthony Scaramucci:

Speaking on ‘Hannity’ Wednesday night, guest-host Jeanine Pirro asked Fox’s Gregg Jarrett and Trump aide Anthony Scaramucci to weigh-in on allegations that CNN violated state and federal law when it threatened the source behind the infamous Trump-wrestling video clip.


“Think about what CNN has done,” said Jarrett. “They have said, ‘If you Mr. Reddit user do something that we don’t like, we’re going to publicly expose you to contempt and ridicule and scorn.’ That’s a violation of the law.”


“The real straight-forward law of coercion says you can’t threaten somebody to coerce them in to abstaining from otherwise legal behavior, that’s an absolute crime,” he added.


Jarrett went on to explain that not only did CNN violate New York State Coercion laws, it also violated a specific federal statute.


“You also have a federal law, it’s called ‘Conspiracy Against Rights.’ It basically says you can’t threaten and intimidate somebody for using their constitutional right to freedom of speech under the first amendment,” he said.

Belligerent and malicious CNN has jumped the shark before and faced a $100 million lawsuit after falsely linking Scaramucci to Russian operatives. CNN had to retract the false story after which three of those responsible chose to “resign:”

The specter of a $100 million libel suit scared CNN into retracting a poorly reported story that slimed an ally of President Trump’s — and forcing out the staffers responsible for it, The Post has learned.


CNN immediately caved after Scaramucci, a financier and frequent network guest, cried foul and threatened to take legal action, sources said Tuesday.


Scaramucci got an unusual public apology but still hired a top Manhattan lawyer to put further pressure on CNN and “look after [his] interests in this matter,” one source said.


Sources also said the three journalists responsible for the retracted story — reporter Tom Frank, editor Eric Lichtblau and Lex Haris, who headed the CNN Investigates unit — were urged to resign.

Wikilealks founder Julian Assange has come forward to cite the actual statutes CNN arguably violated. While the phrase “consider the source” might apply, others, including Jarrett, have made the same citations, specifically 135.60 of the New York criminal code regarding “coercion: and 18 U.S. Code 241 — conspiracy against rights: As Ronn Blitzer of the legal website LawNewz points out:

Now, Assange could just be having some fun at CNN’s expense for beating the GIF story further into the ground — and putting themselves at the center of it, but the truth is, he has a point. Andrew Kaczynski, the author of the article, is based in New York (as per his Twitter profile), so the NY statute could apply, assuming that’s where he and CNN published the article. Taking a look at the elements of the statute itself, New York Penal Law § 135.60 says that a person is guilty of coercion in the second degree if he:


compels or induces a person to… abstain from engaging in conduct in which he or she has a legal right to engage… by means of instilling in him or her a fear that, if the demand is not complied with, the actor or another will… Expose a secret or publicize an asserted fact, whether true or false, tending to subject some person to hatred, contempt or ridicule


CNN is saying that they will reveal the user’s private identity, currently kept anonymous in his Reddit posts, if he doesn’t stop to post offensive material (which he is legally allowed to do). That sure sounds like it fits the bill.


The federal law that Assange tweeted about is a little iffier. That statute defines conspiracy as:


If two or more persons conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States[.]

Kaczynski is one person and the second could be anyone at CNN that approved the story’s thrust and purpose. Granted, we live in an era where obviously guilty felons such as Lois Lerner and Hillary Clinton get a free pass and leakers of classified material remain unidentified and unprosecuted. But, as they say, there’s a new sheriff in town. Freedom of the press is not a license to coerce, intimidate or otherwise blackmail perceived critics. The press is protected by law, but it is not above the law. Here, quite clearly, CNN — the Criminal News Network — broke the law.

Daniel John Sobieski is a freelance writer whose pieces have appeared in Investor’s Business Daily, Human Events, Reason Magazine and the Chicago Sun-Times among other publications.          



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‘Charming’ particle discovery


The world’s largest atom smasher has revealed a new kind of particle, and so far, it leads a charmed existence.

The discovery of the particle, which is made up of two so-called charm quarks, validates the predictions of the Standard Model, the current reigning model of particle physics.

The new particle was discovered at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), a 16-mile-long (27 kilometers) underground ring near Geneva, Switzerland, where protons zoom at near light-speed before smashing into each other. As the protons disintegrated in a recent experiment, the new particle, called the Xi-cc-plus-plus (the “Xi” is pronounced “ksi”), emerged.

Photos: The World’s Largest Atom Smasher 

More From LiveScience

 

New member of the particle zoo

The Xi joins a menagerie of other particles that form the world of the very small. The Xi is a baryon, which means a particle made of three even smaller particles called quarks. The most famous baryons are protons and neutrons, which make up everyday matter. Quarks, meanwhile, come in six varieties (called “flavors”), and by mixing and matching different flavors and numbers of quarks, nature produces baryons with different masses and charges. The quark flavors are: up, down, top, bottom, charm and strange.

The newly discovered Xi particle is a heavyweight. Consisting of two charm quarks and an up quark, it weighs in at 3,621 million electron volts (MeV), according to a statement from CERN , the European Organization for Nuclear Research, which runs the LHC. For comparison, a proton, which is made of two up quarks and a down quark, weighs in at 938 MeV. (Because mass can be translated into energy using Albert Einstein’s E=mc^2, particle masses are measured in electron volts, which is how much energy their mass represents.)

The new, exotic particle wasn’t seen directly at the LHC, because it lasts for only a tiny fraction of a second. In this instance, researchers identified the Xi-cc by its decay products. The Xi decays into a particle called the lambda baryon and three lighter particles, the K- (or kaon) and two pions.

Strange Quarks and Muons, Oh My! Nature’s Tiniest Particles Dissected 

Long-sought particle finally found

Physicists previously predicted the existence of the Xi-cc, but it wasn’t clear what the mass of the particle would be; nobody knew if the theoretical predictions were correct.

As it happened, the theories were right — the mass was what it was supposed to be. “If there were anomalies, uncharted interactions among the quarks, they might show up as the masses being off from predictions,” said Jonathan Rosner, an emeritus professor of physics at the University of Chicago who outlined a theoretical mass for the Xi in 2014.

The mass of the Xi turned out to be about 3,621 MeV. Rosner’s study got a figure that was quite close: 3,627 MeV.

An earlier experiment at Fermilab, called the Segmented Large X Baryon Spectrometer (SELEX), had appeared to find the Xi in 2002, but Rosner noted that the mass estimate seemed too low.

“They got a mass 100 MeV lower than reasonable predictions,” Rosner told Live Science.

Had the LHC found such a low mass, it would have shown that there was something wrong in the Standard Model, Rosner said. But that didn’t happen; the Xi behaved as Rosner predicted, and the Standard Model has survived yet another experiment.

Charmed existence

The discovery also proved baryons with two heavy quarks actually exist, something physicists couldn’t say for sure until now even though the theories all said they should, according to CERN. Previous experiments had produced many particles with one heavy quark, but never two. Baryons like the Xi that have two charm quarks are called “doubly charmed.”

Another weird thing about the Xi, compared to its more ordinary cousins, is that the massive charm quarks leave the lightweight up quark “orbiting” its heavier cousins. (Strictly speaking this isn’t quite how things work, because quarks are quantum mechanical objects, so they don’t have positions like bowling balls do, but rather behave more like waves ). In a proton, the quark masses are more similar, so they move around each other in a different way.

“In contrast to other baryons, in which the three quarks perform an elaborate dance around each other, a doubly heavy baryon is expected to act like a planetary system, where the two heavy quarks play the role of heavy stars orbiting one around the other, with the lighter quark orbiting around this binary system,” Guy Wilkinson, former spokesperson for an LHC experiment called LHCb, said in a statement.

The findings could bring new insights about the strong interaction , the force that binds particles together, researchers said.

“Finding a doubly-heavy-quark baryon is of great interest as it will provide a unique tool to further probe quantum chromodynamics, the theory that describes the strong interaction, one of the four fundamental forces,” Giovanni Passaleva, spokesperson for the LHCb collaboration, said in a statement. “Such particles will thus help us improve the predictive power of our theories.”

The study outlining the results has been submitted to the journal Physical Review Letters.

Originally published on Live Science.



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Can We Make the Internet of Things Secure?


In the simplest terms, Internet of Things (IoT) is the addition of some internet connectivity to everyday objects.  Security cameras, for example, previously had to be hardwired.  Now they are generally WiFi-connected, allowing camera information to be transmitted to the security control system and allowing the security control system to broadcast its collected information to a remote command center or even to a tablet or smartphone.  Then, if the camera has PTZ (pan, tilt, and zoom) functions, the user can redirect the camera, zoom in on an anomaly, or follow an object.

There is hardly a new product that does not try in some way to offer IoT capability.  The simplest products gather information from the broader internet and relay it to the user.  A “smart” refrigerator can tell you when your grapes are getting low or close to spoilage.  It can order grapes for you and have them delivered, or tell you where grapes are on sale and how close to your house the sale is.  A “smart” TV can search out genres of programs for you based on preferences you pre-load, or by deriving recommendations by tracking your use behavior on the internet.  A “smart” TV can become a point of sale device linked to Amazon, eBay or other outlets, letting you order on impulse while watching your favorite sports or house-hunting program. (“We can deliver a pizza now!”  “How about calling Joe at Friendly Realty?  He can find you a great home at a terrific price.”)

As artificial intelligence (A.I.) gains ground, home and business assistants will answer your questions or even make suggestions.  Alexa from Amazon already has a large user base, with Google and Apple coming along.  “Would you like me to turn on the lights downstairs as it is past 9PM?”  “Can I recommend a really great restaurant that just opened near you?  I can make a reservation for you; just tell me when you would like to try it.”  Or “Keep in mind that you need to take into account local taxes when figuring prices for your latest product.  Do you want me to calculate that for you?”

Intelligent assistants will start doing a lot of the work that paid help once provided, will do it 24×7 without complaint, with minimal overhead, and will not only be cost-effective, but can also be a profit center.  For example, a really great sales digital assistant will not only call customers, but be capable of managing a conversation, promoting new offers, providing technical help, and even asking for customer opinions and integrating findings into a master package for the company.  These go far beyond current-day answering systems. (“Press 1 if you want to speak to a nurse, 2 to make an appointment, or 3 to collect the dead body.”)

This is an environment wide open to mischief, and the mischief is starting.  Suppose I turn on your smart TV camera (yes, you have one) and record activity without your knowledge.  Suppose I misdirect your GPS and send you off in the wrong direction or to the wrong destination.  Suppose I create a fake traffic jam ahead (this has already been done) and make you take a dead-end detour.  Suppose I order products you did not buy.  Or deliver a pizza, an Uber, or a new car to your front door.

And that’s only the beginning.  Suppose I invite you to a meeting at a certain time and use it to carry out a kidnapping or worse.  Now we are getting to the really dirty stuff.

The truth is that, aside from your common sense, there isn’t much to prevent the misuse of IoT.  In fact, most IoT devices are intentionally not secure.  They don’t require a user ID, and they have no built in system to sense outrageous or fake commands.  There are no security standards for IoT devices and none known to be in the works.  Most of the hardware and local software for these devices is produced offshore, creating countless opportunities to plant bugs into IoT systems, as already has happened with smartphones.

But even lacking rudimentary security, IoT systems will gain significant market share.  People want them even though they are security hazards.  So how do you get security into devices that are inherently risky?  

It is possible to create protections in hardware by introducing some biometric access tools – e.g., face or voice recognition.  This will make it harder to get into these devices locally (the place where they are actually used), but if the devices are used remotely (e.g., for turning on the heat or checking on the babysitter), biometric security won’t accomplish a great deal.  

Because people using IoT are churning out large amounts of actionable data (like your pizza preference) and because that information can be captured and exploited without your authorization, there is an enormous privacy issue looming.  While they naturally claim to protect your privacy, companies including Google and Yahoo can scan your email to extract your preferences and then use that information directly for their own marketing or sell to others.  This is called “monetizing privacy,” and there are no rules or standards that protect individuals. 

It follows, then, that IoT providers have to become truly responsible for security.

The answer is not only in technology, although IoT clearly needs a verification system; the courts will be increasingly important in determining the rules for future internet privacy.  In general, American courts have not been friendly to privacy issues, partly because there were national security questions and the court understood that government needed information to prevent terrorism.  But with personal use of IoT exploding, there needs to be a rebalancing, and there has lately been a shift in court attitudes. 

If the rules for IoT change, the technology will follow.

In the simplest terms, Internet of Things (IoT) is the addition of some internet connectivity to everyday objects.  Security cameras, for example, previously had to be hardwired.  Now they are generally WiFi-connected, allowing camera information to be transmitted to the security control system and allowing the security control system to broadcast its collected information to a remote command center or even to a tablet or smartphone.  Then, if the camera has PTZ (pan, tilt, and zoom) functions, the user can redirect the camera, zoom in on an anomaly, or follow an object.

There is hardly a new product that does not try in some way to offer IoT capability.  The simplest products gather information from the broader internet and relay it to the user.  A “smart” refrigerator can tell you when your grapes are getting low or close to spoilage.  It can order grapes for you and have them delivered, or tell you where grapes are on sale and how close to your house the sale is.  A “smart” TV can search out genres of programs for you based on preferences you pre-load, or by deriving recommendations by tracking your use behavior on the internet.  A “smart” TV can become a point of sale device linked to Amazon, eBay or other outlets, letting you order on impulse while watching your favorite sports or house-hunting program. (“We can deliver a pizza now!”  “How about calling Joe at Friendly Realty?  He can find you a great home at a terrific price.”)

As artificial intelligence (A.I.) gains ground, home and business assistants will answer your questions or even make suggestions.  Alexa from Amazon already has a large user base, with Google and Apple coming along.  “Would you like me to turn on the lights downstairs as it is past 9PM?”  “Can I recommend a really great restaurant that just opened near you?  I can make a reservation for you; just tell me when you would like to try it.”  Or “Keep in mind that you need to take into account local taxes when figuring prices for your latest product.  Do you want me to calculate that for you?”

Intelligent assistants will start doing a lot of the work that paid help once provided, will do it 24×7 without complaint, with minimal overhead, and will not only be cost-effective, but can also be a profit center.  For example, a really great sales digital assistant will not only call customers, but be capable of managing a conversation, promoting new offers, providing technical help, and even asking for customer opinions and integrating findings into a master package for the company.  These go far beyond current-day answering systems. (“Press 1 if you want to speak to a nurse, 2 to make an appointment, or 3 to collect the dead body.”)

This is an environment wide open to mischief, and the mischief is starting.  Suppose I turn on your smart TV camera (yes, you have one) and record activity without your knowledge.  Suppose I misdirect your GPS and send you off in the wrong direction or to the wrong destination.  Suppose I create a fake traffic jam ahead (this has already been done) and make you take a dead-end detour.  Suppose I order products you did not buy.  Or deliver a pizza, an Uber, or a new car to your front door.

And that’s only the beginning.  Suppose I invite you to a meeting at a certain time and use it to carry out a kidnapping or worse.  Now we are getting to the really dirty stuff.

The truth is that, aside from your common sense, there isn’t much to prevent the misuse of IoT.  In fact, most IoT devices are intentionally not secure.  They don’t require a user ID, and they have no built in system to sense outrageous or fake commands.  There are no security standards for IoT devices and none known to be in the works.  Most of the hardware and local software for these devices is produced offshore, creating countless opportunities to plant bugs into IoT systems, as already has happened with smartphones.

But even lacking rudimentary security, IoT systems will gain significant market share.  People want them even though they are security hazards.  So how do you get security into devices that are inherently risky?  

It is possible to create protections in hardware by introducing some biometric access tools – e.g., face or voice recognition.  This will make it harder to get into these devices locally (the place where they are actually used), but if the devices are used remotely (e.g., for turning on the heat or checking on the babysitter), biometric security won’t accomplish a great deal.  

Because people using IoT are churning out large amounts of actionable data (like your pizza preference) and because that information can be captured and exploited without your authorization, there is an enormous privacy issue looming.  While they naturally claim to protect your privacy, companies including Google and Yahoo can scan your email to extract your preferences and then use that information directly for their own marketing or sell to others.  This is called “monetizing privacy,” and there are no rules or standards that protect individuals. 

It follows, then, that IoT providers have to become truly responsible for security.

The answer is not only in technology, although IoT clearly needs a verification system; the courts will be increasingly important in determining the rules for future internet privacy.  In general, American courts have not been friendly to privacy issues, partly because there were national security questions and the court understood that government needed information to prevent terrorism.  But with personal use of IoT exploding, there needs to be a rebalancing, and there has lately been a shift in court attitudes. 

If the rules for IoT change, the technology will follow.



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Toothpaste rationing in Venezuela…



Tear gas wafts among buildings in the Chacao municipality of Caracas during anti-government protests on June 12. (Luis Robayo/AFP/Getty Images)

Five years ago, when Hugo Chávez was president and Venezuela was a much different place, Ana Margarita Rangel could still afford to go to the movies and the beach, or to buy the ingredients she needed to bake cakes.

Even three years ago, when the country’s economy was beginning a severe contraction,Rangel earned enough for an occasional treat such as soda or ice cream.

Now she spends everything she earns to fend off hunger. Her shoes are tattered and torn, but she cannot afford new ones. A tube of toothpaste costs half a week’s wages.

“I’ve always loved brushing my teeth before going to sleep. I mean, that’s the rule, right?” said Rangel, who lives in a hillside slum 25 miles west of Caracas, the capital, and works in a cosmetics factory down in the suburban city of Guarenas.

“Now I have to choose,” she said. “So I do it only in the mornings.”

Rangel earns minimum wage, as does 32 percent of Venezuela’s workforce, according to the most recent official numbers available, released in 2015. That used to mean something in the country with the world’s largest oil reserves and a socialist government, led by Chávez, that presented itself as a champion of Venezuelan workers.

But 700 percent annual inflation and chronic shortages of food and medicine have changed the meaning of Venezuela’s “minimum” in profoundly painful ways.

“I remember the times when, like they say around here, we were millionaires and we didn’t know it,” Rangel said.

Venezuela’s intensifying economic and political crisis has brought thousands of anti-government protesters into the streets over the past three months, and at least 75 people have died in the unrest. A large number of Venezuelans are spending everything they earn to avoid starving.

The minimum wage is enough to buy just one-quarter of the food needed by a family of five in one month, according to calculations by the Center of Documentation and Analysis for Workers, an independent advocacy group.


Workers package bread to sell at a bakery in Caracas in March. The government has ordered bakers to use scarce supplies of flour to produce price-controlled loaves, allocating only 10 percent to make unregulated pastries. (Wil Riera/Bloomberg News)

On July 1, President Nicolás Maduro raised the monthly minimum wage for the third time this year, to about 250,000 “strong bolivars’ ” worth of cash and food stamps — a 20 percent increase.

With Venezuela’s currency rapidly losing value, the new minimum wage is enough for only about six pounds of milk powder or five cartons of eggs. At the country’s informal exchange rate, the raise brings the average worker’s income to roughly $33 per month. That is far below the minimum monthly wage in neighboring Colombia — about $250 — or even Haiti, where it is $135.

The government sets price caps on some basic food items, such as pasta, rice and flour. But those items can usually be obtained only by standing in lines for hours or by signing up to receive a subsidized monthly grocery box from the government with enough to feed a family of five for about a week.


A woman sets off with a bag of bread as others wait to make their purchases at a bakery in Caracas in March. (Wil Riera/Bloomberg News)

Since 2014, the proportion of Venezuelan families in poverty has soared from 48 percent to 82 percent, according to a study published this year by the country’s leading universities. Fifty-two percent of families live in extreme poverty, according to the survey, and about 31 percent survive on two meals per day at most. Households that depend on breadwinners earning up to twice the minimum wage are in the latter group.

“With Chávez, we were doing much better,” said Romer Sarabia, 44, a security guard at a government health clinic in a town 35 miles south of Caracas. On payday, he said, he used to take his family out for soup. “And I would buy candy for the children.”

Every two weeks, Sarabia goes to an informal market near his home and buys about two pounds of sugar, a pound of milk powder and nine pounds of broken-grain rice that smells of bird food and is typically used as chicken feed. He seasons it with bones or scrap meat.

His three children and wife supplement that with whatever they are able to grow in the nearby fields — mostly plantains, yucca and mangoes — unless neighbors steal the crops.

“What’s going to happen with us if we continue like this for another year?” he said, looking at his wife, who nodded and smiled weakly.

Rangel, the cosmetics-factory worker, considers herself lucky, because she pools her income with the earnings of her three sons. But even with four adults making minimum wage, the refrigerator is almost always empty.

The family has eliminated beef, chicken, salad and fruit from its diet. Instead, Rangel and her sons eat rice, beans, yucca, plantains, sardines and sometimes eggs. “We used to be able to have juice with our meals,” Rangel said. “I miss it so much.”

“And chocolate! We can’t even afford to buy a little cup of coffee on our way to work,” she said.

In Rangel’s neighborhood, it is not uncommon to find people like Rainer Figueroa, a 30-year-old with sleepy eyes who has lost a significant amount of weight. Figueroa has shed 24 pounds in the past six months, he said, because his minimum wage is only enough for him to eat small portions of food twice a day. The rest of the groceries are for his wife and three children.

Figueroa said he stopped playing soccer this year. “I can’t afford to burn calories or wear out my sneakers,” he said.

Just three years ago, the family would go to a nearby shopping mall for fast-food meals to celebrate Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. There would be enough money to pay for bus rides to public parks on the weekends. “It didn’t use to be like this,” he said, with his 7-year-old son standing barefoot beside him.


Children play in the slum where Ana Margarita Rangel lives with her three grown sons. But even with four adults pooling their minimum-wage incomes, the family’s refrigerator is almost always empty. (Rachelle Krygier for The Washington Post)

Figueroa works at a diaper factory that has stopped producing diapers. With shortages of raw materials and imports falling, many Venezuelan plants are operating at half-capacity or less, a situation many economists blame on government mismanagement of prices and currency rates.

Since taking office in 2013 after Chávez’s death, Maduro has decreed 16 increases to the minimum wage. But the purchasing power afforded by the raises in pay is wiped out almost as soon as the ink dries on Maduro’s orders.

In the past three years, the country’s economy has contracted by 24.5 percent, including 11 percent in 2016, according to the independent data firm Ecoanalítica.

“Wage raises make it all worse, because if you don’t take productivity into account, you’ll just generate more inflation,” said Asdrúbal Oliveros, director of Ecoanalítica. “This year, people’s purchasing power is headed to go down by 40 percent.”

Every weekday, Rangel wakes at 4 a.m. to take two buses from the slum to the factory. When she comes home around 2 p.m., she doesn’t do much. “I don’t spend my afternoons cooking anymore, because I don’t have meat to season or vegetables to cut,” she said.

Gone are the days when her neighbors would get together for barbecues and dance parties.

She said she doesn’t even like meeting with her friends anymore. “We always end up talking about all those things we can’t get anymore,” she said, her eyes welling up with tears.

She turns on the television instead. “I love watching the Kardashians, because you see how people that have everything live,” she said. “And for a moment you forget what your life is like.”



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Report: 174 percent pay increase for LA school board


A Los Angeles commission on Monday voted to give members of the L.A. Board of Education a 174 percent raise that increase their pay from $45,637 to $125,000 a year, The Los Angeles Times reported.

The increase fell short a former member’s call to increase their salaries to match a city council member: $191,000 annually.

A first-year teacher in the city pulls in $50,368 to $80,116 a year.

The report said that board compensation is set by an outside comittee every five years. In 2012, the economy was blamed for no salary increase.

“It’s very obvious how much hard work the school board members put in day in and day out,” Efren Martinez, a commission member, told the paper. Martinez said that an average school board district is larger than City Council district. He called $125,000 “a good starting point.”

The LAUSD Board of Education Compensation Review Committee, a seven-member body, voted unanimously for the raise. The committee is set up by officials outside the school district.

The report said that most board members carry a heavy workload.

The school board election was last month and its new majority is backed by charter school advocates, The L.A. Daily News reported. One of the biggest challenges that the board will have to reportedly confront will be labor negotiations.



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