“While anti-Semitism is in the headlines of all French media, it is curious to note that no commentator, representative of political parties, or government questions the role of political Islam incarnated by the Muslim Brotherhood in this sudden upsurge of immoral acts.”
Originally published in French by Mediapart blogger Tanya Klein
The definite rise in antisemitism in North America as well as throughout the world correlates with the rise in activity by Muslim Brotherhood and their affiliates. We need to pay attention to this most definite threat to our democracies.
But what is the nature of this blindness? Is it voluntary, if so, what is it hiding? Or is…
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Groups set up on social media platforms to promote anti-vaccination messages are targeting vaccine advocates in online harassment campaigns, reports claim.
In an interview with The Guardian, Elias Kass—a naturopathic primary care physician, licensed midwife and prominent pro-vaccine advocate—talked about the targeted abuse he had received for stating his views.
On February 20, Kass testified before a Washington state Senate committee in support of a measure that would eliminate personal and philosophical exemptions for childhood vaccinations. The move came amid a measles outbreak in the state that has infected 66 people—most of whom weren’t immunized—at the time of writing.
Kass—who won a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention immunization advocacy award in 2017—said that someone called him “a disgusting liar” in a hallway soon after the hearing, but this was nothing compared to the torrent of abuse that he found online several hours later, The Guardian reported.
When he logged onto Facebook, he noticed that profile was filled with one-star reviews from people who were calling him everything from a “disgrace” and a “pedophile” to a “Nazi pharma shill” and “scumbag shilling for infanticide.” The abuse continued even after he disabled the review feature, simply moving onto the comments section of his page.
“Their goal is to tell my patients what a bad person I am, so I lose business,” Kass told The Guardian several days after the hearing. “It’s made me reluctant to engage online. Now, when we’re at the grocery store, if someone is looking at me, I’m wondering, ‘Did you see a meme where I had an X over my face and was holding a bunch of aborted babies?’”
Kass’s story is by no means unique. There is a dedicated network of closed Facebook groups—some of which boast hundreds of thousands of members—that spread anti-vaccination messages and often work to silence and intimidate those who advocate vaccinations, The Guardian reported.
Among these are the groups “Stop Mandatory Vaccinations” (around 150,000 members,) “Holistic Lives Matter” (about 53,000 members) and “VaccineChoices – Fact VS Fiction, Conversations & Research” (around 40,000 members.)
After the state committee hearing, the creators of the former two groups posted links to Kass’s Facebook account alongside criticisms of his testimony, which is potentially how some of the online abusers found their way to his page.
Larry Cook—a prominent anti-vaxxer and the creator of Stop Mandatory Vaccinations—told The Guardian when asked for comment about the tactics he used to direct people to Kass’s page: “My intent is to ensure that those who oppose vaccine mandates know who favor vaccine mandates just like your intent is to name those who are against vaccine mandates.”
Todd Wolynn and Chad Hermann from Kids Plus Pediatrics (KPP) in Pittsburgh told The Guardian they were the target of a similar incident in September 2017 which they described as a “coordinated terrorist attack from inside an anti-vaxx Facebook group.”
The previous month, their practice had posted a video online encouraging the uptake of the HPV vaccine. But by mid-September KPP began receiving torrents of online abuse, which led Hermann—KPP’s CEO and communications director—to ban more than 800 accounts and delete more than 10,000 comments from the clinic’s Facebook page. The trolls also posted negative reviews on KPP’s Google and Yelp ratings—a tactic that could potentially cause “real financial harm” for medical practices, according to Wolynn.
While KPP’s Yelp ratings have recovered due to the company’s stringent process for dealing with fraudulent reviews, their Google maps page still features numerous one-star ratings from the attack.
“Many providers and even whole hospitals are afraid of posting pro-vaccine material on Facebook simply for fear of putting a bullseye on their backs,” Hermann said. “When they stop posting that information, it leaves a vacuum, and we all know who is going to fill that.”
When talking about drug abuse and drug-related death in the U.S., most conversations and statistics do not include alcohol. Although alcohol is classified as a depressant, the amount consumed and type of alcohol determine the outcome and thus, most individuals think of it as separate from other drugs. But that doesn’t change the impact that alcohol has on the body, the mind, or the shocking statistics of abuse and death that are attributed to alcohol use and abuse.
In fact, many people use alcohol as either a substitute or a compliment to other kinds of drugs
In fact, alcohol is the 3rd leading preventable cause of death in the United States, with an estimated 88,000 people (approximately 62,000 men and 26,000 women) dying from alcohol-related causes every year. Further, according to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 6.2% of adults over the age of 18 (more then 15 million) and 2.5% of 12-17 year olds (more than 600,00) have an alcohol use disorder (AUD).
However, new graphics created by the American Addiction Centers’ River Oaks Treatment facility show just how significant – and different – state level use and abuse of alcohol and other drugs can be. Using CDC data from 2013-2017, the facility looked at per capita death rates from drugs and alcohol, tracking the percentage change from both causes for each year as well as the overall death rate.
VICTORIA — Two new studies say the federal and provincial governments must do more to reduce alcohol consumption after determining damages from drinking have surpassed tobacco use.
As part of the Canadian Alcohol Policy Evaluation project, researchers graded the federal, provincial and territorial governments on policy efforts to reduce alcohol-related harms.
Tim Stockwell, director with the University of Victoria’s Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research, said the federal government earned a 38 per cent grade while the provinces and territories collectively achieved 44 per cent.
Ontario scored the highest grade with a C, although Stockwell said it has “gone backwards” after Premier Doug Ford moved to lower the price of alcohol with his “buck-a-beer” legislation.
“We’re used to people being disinterested in these policies but what’s unusual with Ontario is that they’re deliberately, and publicly, and with glee, and relish going in an opposite direction that will create more problems,” he said.
“I guess that’s populism for you, isn’t it.”
About 80 per cent of Canadians drink, and most enjoy a drink or two, so making alcohol cheaper is a nice, quick, popular thing to do, he said.
But people forget there’s a bill at the end of making alcohol cheap and readily available, Stockwell said, noting that some of the tragic consequences include death, economic costs, and more people with cancers and liver diseases.
“But that happens quietly in the background and claiming success in those areas doesn’t get you elected as well it does giving people cheap beer,” he said.
Norman Geisbrecht, a senior scientist at the Toronto-based Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, said while the impact of alcohol is more noticeable in accidents, behaviour and certain chronic diseases, there may also be an indirect impact on people’s mental health.
Heavy drinking practices will have an impact on the workforce, absenteeism and affect performance at work because people may come in when they are hung over or semi-intoxicated, Geisbrecht said.
“If you make alcohol more widely available it becomes a challenge with regard to people who are maybe addicted or maybe in recovery,” he said.
“Or it becomes more difficult for them to retain their abstinence or control their drinking if alcohol is more widely available or if its cheaper and if found at many different outlets.”
Stockwell said researchers looked at 11 different types of alcohol policy including availability, pricing and taxation, and health and safety messaging and then developed best practices based on extensive international research.
“There’s excellent practices in many areas and by most jurisdictions but they are very, very thinly spread,” he said.
Manitoba has a “wonderful” minimum pricing strategy, he said, adding that British Columbia and some other provinces have “fantastic” laws to deter impaired driving.
“And they’re being very effective but across the whole board every province falls down significantly in some areas even though they perform quite well in others.”
Provinces that scored the lowest were New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nunavut and the Yukon.
Recommendations from the researchers include introducing a comprehensive minimum price of $1.75 per standard drink for liquor store sales and $3.50 per standard drink for bars and restaurants, and independent monitoring of alcohol promotions, including both social and other media.
Tobacco comes with graphic warning images of “people dying in hospital beds,” black teeth and diseased lungs, while there’s a “whole slew of warning messages” about pregnancy, schizophrenia and impaired driving on cannabis packages, Stockwell said.
“With alcohol we get lovely images of rolling vineyards or images of people looking intoxicated, strange names of drinks that encourage intoxication — so the opposite of health information,” he said. “There’s an absence of health information.”
While a lot of people would not be opposed to a few tough restrictions on these policies, most politicians hesitate to implement them, he said.
“For the same reason that Doug Ford was able to get elected promising a buck-a-beer. Because we do like our alcohol and we do tend to frown on people who point out that there are problems.”
BUCHAREST – Thousands of Romanians protested across the country on Sunday after the government passed an emergency decree that critics said chipped away at prosecutors’ independence in one of the European Union’s most corrupt states.
The decree, approved without public debate, is the latest in a slew of legislative and personnel changes by the ruling Social Democrats since they took power more than two years ago that have raised concerns over rule of law.
The European Commission, U.S. State Department and thousands of magistrates have warned the changes threaten judicial independence.
In an unprecedented protest, prosecutors have said they will only work on emergency cases from Monday for three to seven days. Many judges will follow suit.
Magistrates declined an invitation to meet Prime Minister Viorica Dancila on Monday to discuss the decree.
“The independence of the judiciary is non-negotiable,” a statement signed by magistrates’ associations said.
“Any dialogue regarding the approval of the … decree should have been initiated before it was approved, not after. The only solution left now is to revoke the decree in its entirety.”
In the capital Bucharest, an estimated 7,000 people protested outside government headquarters, blocking traffic and chanting “Justice, not corruption,” “Magistrates, don’t give up,” and “Shame!” Thousands more rallied in cities across the country.
The decree changes the way chief prosecutors are appointed and removes most oversight of a prosecuting unit that investigates magistrates, something critics say was created to intimidate.
On Friday, a Texas judge ruled that the Selective Service System (SSS) violates the Constitution by requiring only men to register for the draft. The court ruled with the National Coalition for Men (NCFM) in a lawsuit claiming the male-only draft constitutes discrimination against men. NCFM’s lawyer told PJ Media that even if the SSS appeals, they are likely to lose again. He also suggested the Pentagon will not end the draft, so women may have to register.
“The male-only registration requirement of the Military Selective Service Act … violates the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution,” U.S. District Judge Gray H. Miller ruled on Friday.
Marc Angelucci, NCFM’s lawyer, told PJ Media he does not know whether or not the Selective Service will appeal. “I don’t think they’ll win an appeal,” he said.
If the ruling stands, the Pentagon will either have to scrap the draft altogether or force women to register. “They could do either of those, but I don’t think they’ll get rid of the draft because the Pentagon is arguing strongly to keep the draft,” Angelucci said.
As Samir Gasim reels off the problems facing his Khartoum confectionery and packaging factories, already running well below capacity, the power cuts and generators kick in.
Now he fears the plants may close entirely due to a sudden, eightfold hike in industrial diesel prices imposed by a government desperately short of foreign currency and facing the biggest popular protests since President Omar al-Bashir came to power 30 years ago.
“We are in favor of eliminating subsidies, but gradually, over five years. Not overnight,” said Gasim, seated in his spartan factory office. “Otherwise it will be a disaster.”
Sudan’s worsening economic crisis has caused fuel, cash and bread shortages that in turn set off a wave of unrest that has surged across the country over the past two months.
The economic slide has also alienated the professional classes, who blame Bashir and the ruling National Congress Party for their troubles, according to businessmen, activists and academics. That has undermined Bashir’s authority and encouraged a protest movement that has persisted despite a security crackdown in which dozens have died.
The Sudanese Professionals’ Association, which has posted calls for protests on social media and organized strikes, draws in doctors, teachers and lawyers and others complaining of decades of economic mismanagement and isolation.
BUCHAREST (Reuters) – Magistrates protested outside courthouses across Romania on Friday and many prosecutors will stop work next week, in an unprecedented protest against changes in judicial legislation that have raised alarm bells over the rule of law.
Romania’s government used an emergency decree to alter the legislation on Tuesday, mostly stripping prosecutors of more of their powers. It was the latest in a series of changes the ruling Social Democrats have made in the past two years that have triggered massive street protests.
The European Commission, U.S. State Department and thousands of Romanian magistrates have said the changes threaten the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law.
Racist, Genocidal and Terrorist war criminal Omar al-Bashir tries to hold on power is the people of North Sudan are protesting against him and his war criminal, racist, terroristic and genocidal government.
Sudan’s president, Omar al-Bashir, has appointed a new prime minister, but left the country’s current defence, foreign and justice ministers in place following the declaration of a one-year state of emergency.
Just hours after announcing that he would dissolve the country’s central and state governments, Bashir appointed new state governors who were all from the military, according to a presidency statement.
Bashir, who seized power in a 1989 coup, said on Friday he would postpone pushing for constitutional amendments that would allow him to seek a third term in office.
Facing genocide charges, Bashir’s rule has been rocked by civil wars and increasing street demonstrations. A heavy security crackdown has left scores of protesters dead. At least 57 people have been killed since December.
“Our country is passing through a difficult and complicated phase in our national history,” Bashir said in a speech televised live from the presidential palace in Khartoum. “We will get out of it stronger and more united and determined.”
In a rare acknowledgment, Bashir described the demands of the protesters as “legitimate” but said there were attempts to exploit the youth protests “to take the country to the unknown”
The state of emergency will give the security forces a free hand in cracking down on protesters and carrying out detentions and it places heavier restrictions on the press and opposition parties.
The announcements were instantly met with street demonstrations, demanding Bashir step down. Witnesses said riot police fired teargas and arrested a number of protesters.
Sudan has been gripped by nationwide protests since 19 December. The demonstrations, which show no sign of abating, were triggered by rising prices and shortages but quickly turned to calls for Bashir to step down.
Bashir’s term ends in 2020 and he has repeatedly promised not to make new runs for the presidency. Without amending the constitution, he cannot run for a third term. His announcement came days after a parliamentary committee that is amending the constitution to scrap presidential term limits cancelled its meetings.
The Sudanese Professional Association, which is spearheading the country’s demonstrations, warned of any measures that could “turn against” the demands of the Sudanese people and vowed that it would respond with escalating street protests.
“The demands of this revolution are crystal clear,” the statement said. “The regime and its head must step down.”
However, Bashir warned the opposition of the “zero sum” game that created chaos, pointing to the wave of the Arab spring uprisings that led to civil wars in countries such as Libya and Yemen.
As he was speaking in the presidential palace, dozens of protesters were taking to the streets in Khartoum and other places, chanting, “just fall”.
Shelving intentions to amend the constitution to pave the way for a third term in office appears to be the only political concession Bashir has made so far after two months of demonstrations.
“What Bashir presented are tactics to keep his regime alive,” said Mubarak al-Mahdi of the Umma party. “Declaring a state of emergency means suppressing freedom of expression and demonstration and tightening grip on the revolution.”
Sudan’s main opposition groups called for a four-year transitional government followed by elections.