Skip to content

Tactical Fiction: “Win At Any Cost, Even If You Have To Lie”


“Your refusal to acknowledge that you are guilty of witchcraft confirms that you are guilty of witchcraft.” The fact that you drowned in the Ducking Stool is incontrovertible proof of your guilt. ~ Kafkatrapping

Trump and the Media Dialectic

When journalists want to appear intelligent, they’ll attach the term “postmodern president” to Donald Trump.  Their reasoning goes that because Trump so often exaggerates and embellishes basic facts to reflect favorably upon himself, he has no moral compass for truth.  “Is President Trump a Stealth Postmodernist or Just a Liar?” asks New York Times columnist Thomas Edsall.  Jeet Heer of The New Republic calls the denizen of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue “America’s first postmodern president.”  David Ernst of The Federalist points out that Trump, without knowing it, turns “postmodernism against itself.”

Reading these hand-wringing accounts of Trump’s assault on ontological truth is pretty entertaining, given that they come from the jittery hands of discomfited journalists.  Trump, who has an instinctual knack for spinning good, bad, and neutral news all to his benefit, beguiles reporters because he’s figured out their trick: they care more about being arbiters of reality than reality itself.

The media, particularly in the Trump era, care more about dialectics than fact-finding.  The platonic ideal of unbiased, truth-seeking journalism is, at worst, a myth, a marketing tool used to sell papers.

Our journalists aren’t journalists; our reporters don’t report.  What they do is engage in Hegelian conversations to establish good and bad, heroes and villains.  This narrative-crafting is used to smear lawmakers they oppose and bolster those whom they support.

The dialectic was on full display when the New York Times purposefully reported that the State Department paid $52,000 on drapes for the residence of the ambassador to the United Nations.  The story was marketed in such a way that it implied that Nikki Haley, the current ambassador under President Trump, ordered the payment.  The original headline read, “Nikki Haley’s View of New York is Priceless. Her Curtains? $52,701.”  The image featured on the article was one of Haley looking cold and aloof.

The author of the report, some bug named Gardiner Harris, admits that Haley never paid for the luxurious curtains (they were ordered during the Obama administration).  But the impression given by the headline and featured image was that she did – a detail the NYT made no effort to correct while promoting the report over social media.  And since most news is digested by Facebook-users and Twitter scamps reading headlines only, the image of a hypocritically profligate Trump State Department stuck.

A long correction note came after, but the damage was already done.  In Hegelian terms, the process goes as follows: Haley spends lavishly on drapery is the thesis; Haley did no such thing is the antithesis; the notion left of the Trump administration still being composed of spendthrifts is the synthesis.

Drapegate” demonstrates how little facts matter in reporting.  If the narrative is strong enough, and if the dialectic remains consistent, no number of errors will break perception.  “If it rings true, it is true,” said journalist Michael Wolff when met with criticism about anecdotes and conjectures he included in his negative portrayal of the Trump White House, Fire and Fury.  Wolff’s book was a bestseller despite many of its fabulist accounts.  Readers didn’t much care that his reporting was unsubstantiated and, in some cases, clearly made up.  Wolff painted a portrait of a bumbling administration that was already hung in the minds of the president’s disparagers.  He provided the thesis of an incompetent, mercurial commander-in-chief; the antithesis came in the form of questions raised about its authenticity; the synthesis is Wolff’s unproven assertions being made into a television series that will further perpetuate his cooked up account.

To get a sense of what direction the dialectic is going for any political occurrence, you need only consult Twitter, journalism’s own fan fiction message board.  It is on the blue check-marked digital diary that reporters let their imaginations run wild by testing messaging, floating ideas, and launching narratives in real time.

On Twitter, where 280 characters are viewed as the optimal limit of human expression, the dialectic is established.  New York governor Andrew Cuomo, who just easily swatted away a far-left primary opponent, ridiculed this dynamic upon victory.  While boasting of his victory over a highly publicized challenger, Cuomo declared his win a “wave,” citing the exceptionally large number of votes he received.  His dominance, he asserted, was the real wave “on the numbers – not on some Twittersphere dialogue where I tweet you, you tweet me, and between the two of us we think we have a wave.”

Silly Andy.  Surely, he knows he shouldn’t antagonize the narrative gods and their own Mount Olympus.  That’s the president’s job, after all, and he’s the only one who has been effective at it.

As of this writing, the Twitter scribes are at it again, trying to scuttle the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh.  A woman has come forward alleging she was sexually assaulted by the circuit judge in high school.  There is no evidence to corroborate her claim, and 65 women have testified on behalf of Kavanaugh’s gentlemanly character.  Journalists are taking the allegations seriously, despite California senator Dianne Feinstein making them public just before the confirmation vote, even though she was informed about them back in July.

The thesis is established: Trump’s Supreme Court nominee sexually assaulted a woman; the antithesis is the dearth of evidence backing up the accuser; the synthesis will be a permanent black mark that follows Kavanaugh around, even after he reaches the high court.

The Hegelian farce of our journalism continues.  “News is what a chap who doesn’t care much about anything wants to read,” wrote Evelyn Waugh.  The only way to dispel false narratives is to care, and to think as well as read.  Discernment is the best weapon against the dialectic.

[Byline Taylor Lewis]

American Thinker (edited)
18 September 2018

Mind control (also known as brainwashing, coercive persuasion, mind abuse, thought control, or thought reform) refers to a process in which a group or individual “systematically uses unethically manipulative methods to persuade others to conform to the wishes of the manipulator(s), often to the detriment of the person being manipulated.” The term has been applied to any tactic, psychological or otherwise, which can be seen as subverting an individual’s sense of control over their own thinking, behavior, emotions or decision making. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We are training you to consciously avoid any natural tendencies to notice suspicious activity from only certain races of potential threats.” and “Try not to pay any attention to the type of people that statistically are most likely to perpetrate mass killings.”

The media chronically preys upon the public by labeling perpetrators any way they so desire. The more labels they can construct and propagandize, the more confusing it is to know who is actually the enemy.

Even so, such messages are shown to induce willingness to engage in these behaviors in the future, particularly among higher-risk individuals who reported feeling psychologically ‘transported’ during the mind-game play …

Delusions are dangerous, and more often than not, prove to be deadly distractions, but this is simply another “inconvenient truth” about misperceiving, and miscommunicating the realities of subversive ideology and the political purpose to provide “safe spaces” in which to destroy Freedom and Independence.


Flashback

“…if we are willing to work for it, and fight for it, and believe in it, then I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on Earth. This was the moment – this was the time – when we came together to remake this great nation so that it may always reflect our very best selves, and our highest ideals. Thank you, God Bless you, and may God Bless the United States of America.” —Obama’s Nomination Victory Speech In St. Paul June 3, 2008.

Obviously this worked itself out, but it was only after Obama and his administration left office. Presently we have “Making America Great Again” without all the deception and false promises.

So, if the goal then, was to actually Make America Great Again, what is the nature of all this chaos and noise now?

Perhaps it’s because …The psychopolitician has the advantage of naming as a delusory symptom any attempt on the part of a subject to expose commands. The psychopolitician has his reward in the nearly unlimited control of populaces, in the uninhibited exercise of passion, and the glory of Communist conquest over the stupidity of the enemies of the People. […]


In conclusion, we should now be well aware that liberal politicians don’t actually believe in ‘live and let live’, nor do they play non-zero sum games. Their religion is dogmatic partisan politics, and their political belief lack any moral or ethical compass, and is all about bullying.

Advertisements

This is not the Cold Case you were looking for: Wasting Time and Taxpayer Money… as usual


Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer says Republicans on the Judiciary Committee (for some reason) can’t be trusted to conduct an impartial review of the allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

(Referencing the orchestrated smear) Schumer says voting on Kavanaugh scheduled for this week must be delayed so (more of) these “serious and credible” allegations can be (made up and) investigated by the FBI (even though the statute of limitations have run out, and if there were the possibility they may have occurred, they were either not reported or considered not to have been capital crimes at that time, which happened to be over thirty years ago).

(Edited excerpt) Read more at washingtontimes.comChuck Schumer calls for FBI probe of Kavanaugh accusation (after the FBI has already made a thorough background check and made it clear that it will not investigate.)

However, Chuck Schumer, the holier-than-thou Democrat who repeatedly used the same tactics and called for Judge Roy Moore to drop out of the Senate race in 2017 over bogus sexual assault charges, may have his own skeletons in the closet of sex scandals soon to be under further investigation. One particular incident supposedly lead to the alleged suicide death of a minor after two abortions and the payment of several million dollars in hush money. (See below)


Could it be the right questions have already been asked of Kavanaugh’s accuser, like:

1) When the event happened did you make a complaint with the police ?
2) Did you disclose this event to anyone in authority?
3) Did you tell any acquaintances at the time?
4) Given the fact that you were young, did you make a report to any authority in the ensuing 5 years?
5) When the perpetrator started to become prominent in the community, did you make a report to any authority or to a media outlet?
6) Is there ANY corroborating documentation of any kind since the event? If you cannot answer “yes” to any of these questions, AND if you oppose the person in question politically, AND if this is the eve of the person’s greatest honor, you have forfeited any credibility in this matter.

But would that be of any concern to the obstructionists if they already were?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The establishment of Republics, with their philosophy of open government and rule by the people, compelled Aristocratic minorities to plot more subtle ways of obstructing the truth and thus maintaining their hold over the world without exposing themselves to retribution from the masses. Thus, the complex art of disinformation was born. And thereby, the technique, and the “magic” of the lie, was refined and perfected. 

Saul Alinsky sermonized about the need for confrontation in society, his debate tactics are actually designed to circumvent real and honest confrontation of opposing ideas with slippery tricks and diversions.

Alinsky’s Strategy: Win At Any Cost, Even If You Have To Lie

Their goal is malicious, and socially radical; instead of expending the impossible energy needed to dictate the very form and existence of the truth, they will allow it to drift, obscured in a fog of contrived data. They will wrap the truth in a Gordian Knot of misdirection and fabrication so elaborate that they feel certain the majority of people will surrender, giving up long before they ever finish unraveling the deceit. The goal is not to destroy the truth, but to hide it in plain sight.

Excerpts from Disinformation: How It Works


Not surprisingly, there are other allegations of sexual harassment against Schumer by a woman who worked as a staffer for the senator from 2009 to 2012. So, did they make that go away?

Then there is this…

r
19 December 2017

The alleged affair between Democrat Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and his daughter’s best friend from high school has been confirmed by the girl’s mother and by medical records obtained by subpoena from Planned Parenthood. The young girl, just 16-years-old when she was seduced by Schumer, committed suicide before her 20th birthday.

Schumer’s daughter, Lisa, first broke the story because she thought her dad was being a “hypocrite about the Roy Moore scandal.” Schumer has been one of the most vocal opponents of Judge Moore’s Senate run on the grounds of some fantasy tale told by a woman who we’re expected to believe can remember details from 1977 like it was yesterday, even though she managed to forget for 40 years.

What will end up being the nail in Schumer’s coffin is the report from Planned Parenthood showing that Schumer paid for not one but two abortions and was the “responsible party” who picked the girl up from the murder clinic when she was done. Schumer’s own wife, Kaitlyn, paid the girl’s mother nearly $2 million to go away. Until now, she was happy to stay in the shadows:

“Now that the story is public and my daughter isn’t the one who did wrong, I can finally grieve and she can finally rest.”

Schumer might want to consider paying her a little bit more money before she opens up completely. He is expected to resign over the allegations as soon as Congress returns from Christmas break.


Related

BREAKING: Chuck Schumer’s Daughter Breaks Her Silence About Her Dad’s Affair With A High School Cheerleader 
09 December 2017

Things just keep getting worse for the Democrat party. As Republicans like Roy Moore are being exonerated left and right, Democrats are falling like dominoes to accusations of sexual assault.

The latest may be the worst.Chuck Schumer, the holier-than-thou Democrat who has repeatedly called for Judge Roy Moore to drop out of the Senate race over bogus sexual assault charges, may be facing a sex scandal of his own.

Schumer’s daughter, Lisa, has come forward to admit that her father was quite the ladies man…to her high school cheerleader friends: “My dad is being a hypocrite and that’s why I’m speaking out. When I was in high school he dated my best friend Rebecca and even got her pregnant twice. He paid for her abortions twice and spent a ton of money on her at Steak and Shake and Victoria’s Secret. She fell in love with him and he broke her heart.

My Mom paid her to be quiet and go away. Three years later she committed suicide.” The girl in question may not be able to testify in court, but her diaries, which could be admitted as a dying declaration, are apparently very detailed. Lisa Schumer says her friend’s mother entrusted her with the secret, telling her to keep it a secret forever if she could. Lisa says she “was very concerned that her daughter’s name would be dragged through the mud.”The story is set to break on Reuters and Breitbart first thing in the morning, according to Fred Bernswallow.


Is all this true? Obstructing minds probably don’t want to know. In fact they even have the audacity to say, “We believe the individual responsible for forging the document should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law to prevent other malicious actors from doing the same.” Unless of course, it happens to a somewhat Conservative Supreme Court nominee or anyone that just happens to be of the Republican persuasion.

Like Layers of an Onion, So is the Democracy of Our Lives


~~~ Beware the Trends of Shadow Censorship ~~~

It was plain that there was wide acceptance of the deliberately misleading propaganda put out by the regime.

But in origin the National Socialists had been a radical anti-capitalist party, and this part of the National Socialist programme was not only taken seriously by many loyal Party members but was of increasing importance in a period of (partisan political) economic depression.

‘Night of the Long Knives’  (1934)

************

Democrats: ‘Let’s Do the Time Warp Again’

Looking back on the week’s events, it occurs to me that the Democrats’ new theme song should be “Let’s Do the Time Warp Again” as they reprise the demagogic lies and smear tactics that once worked for them but are now failing for anyone with a memory longer than a week or two.  On the other hand, watching the Russian collusion fizzle, it might be “I’m Waiting for Ships that Never Come In.”

Let’s start with Hurricane Florence.  It’s doing a lot of damage, and we naturally share concern for the well-being of those in its path.  But it was no sooner announced than the usual demagogues claimed falsely that it was the result of climate change and somehow pulling us out of the economically devastating and factually pointless Paris Accords made the president responsible for the devastation.  In any event, Florence quickly dropped from a Category 5 hurricane to a Category 1.  I’m waiting for these same critics to credit Trump for that turn of events.

Perhaps in recognition of the storm’s force downturn, they sprang a new lie, this time claiming that 3,000 people had died in Puerto Rico because the president’s response to that hurricane was inadequate.  In fact, the number was about a fifty times too great, the hawkers of this tale counting every death for any reason there for months afterward.

Doubtless, some frail people died because of lack of supplies and transport, but it’s not that FEMA failed.  It’s that a collapsing infrastructure and grossly corrupt local government failed its duty in the face of a hurricane.

I’m reminded of the gross exaggerations when Katrina hit New Orleans while G.W. Bush was president and the mayor and governor did not do their jobs.  It’s not the only comparison between the two incidents that fits.  This week, we learned that a raid on the local power company revealed that equipment delivered there to rebuild the plant and get the island up and running had been hoarded and never distributed or put into service.  Once again, the media ignored that competent federal efforts to relieve suffering were hampered by a corrupt, incompetent local Democratic establishment.

While we’re on the subject, television coverage of these storms is again exposed as comedic.  In this case, the Weather Channel shot a scene of a reporter seeming to struggle to retain his balance in the face of strong winds – a shot undermined by casual passersby strolling nonchalantly behind him.

It reminds me of earlier storm coverage on the Today Show in which a reporter sat in a canoe paddling through what we were supposed to believe were high waters.  Behind her walked some people in what was about an ankle-deep stream.

That’s the problem with TV news.  It’s visual, so reporters need visual effects and most of them are cropped, staged, and acted and often – more often than not – utter baloney.

Speaking of baloney, the Russian collusion story has completely fizzled out.  Even Bob Woodward, who apparently can interview a comatose witness (William Casey), says he studied this for two years and found no evidence of all of such collusion.

But the press, so deeply wedded to the idea of collusion, had a hard time honestly reporting on Paul Manafort’s plea deal this week.  In fact, Manafort’s plea implicated Greg Craig, Barack Obama’s former White House counsel; Tony Podesta (brother of Hillary’s campaign chairman John Podesta); the law firm Skadden Arps; and former congressman Vin Weber’s Mercury Group.  In any event, in a sign that Mueller is about to shut down the witch hunt, Manafort has agreed to testify before the grand juries in D.C. and elsewhere about the activities of these people and outfits.  The inquiries into Podesta, Mercury Public Affairs, and Skadden Arps are being conducted by the U.S. attorney’s office in the Southern District of New York, not by the Mueller team.

Politico reported (probably through tears) that as part of his pro-Ukraine campaign (which, like Tony Podesta, he’d failed to properly register), Manafort’s group met with President Obama; Vice President Biden; and, as had been previously reported, “dozens of members of Congress, congressional staffers, and Obama administration officials.”

The cooperation agreement Manafort entered into won’t be about the Trump campaign, which even NPR concedes.

Rob Reiner, Hollywood’s resident political genius, jumped the gun and tweeted:

Sorry, Rob. Foiled by facts again.

Over at Powerline blog, Steve Hayward has more weather news for the Democrats:

Hurricane Florence was downgraded to a Category 1 storm by the time it made landfall, which means it’s but a puny thing compared to Hurricane Trump, the Category 5 storm that hit Washington DC on January 20, 2017, and whose wind speed hasn’t abated yet.  Talk about a stalled-out storm system!  The winds of change can be like that sometimes.  (Pssst, liberals: I’ve got more heavy weather news for you.  Hurricane Kavanaugh will make landfall at the Supreme Court next week.  Definitely a Cat 5.)

In a Hail Mary play so transparent that it will forever tarnish her reputation, Senator Dianne Feinstein announced that she’d received a concerning anonymous report about Brett Kavanaugh’s conduct in high school, which she was referring to the FBI.  The account was preposterous.  Let me satirize it and apply it to her:

I have a letter sent me by an anonymous person, which he received, from someone unnamed about a witness who will refuse to come forward about some peccadillo involving DiFi, her husband, and a Chinese spy when they were in high school.  Should I publicly announce that I’m sending it to the FBI?

Clearly, she hoped the announcement would help her in her tough nomination fight against someone farther to the left than she, or maybe it might persuade some weak-kneed Republican to agree to further hearings and delay Kavanaugh’s confirmation until after the midterms, when – with the same religious intensity with which they believed in Russian collusion – they might retake Congress and kill it altogether.

Those at the FBI responded that they weren’t investigating it and would put it in the file for the president’s consideration.

Her eleventh-hour smear attempt (she had the letter in July) fell flat and didn’t seem to assuage the left’s bloodlust.

At TheBlaze, Michael Tomasky either missed the point of her ploy or is feeding stale candy to his readers.

Did she think she’d be able to sit on this letter forever and not even refer it to the FBI?  Hot documents have a way of getting out in this town.  At the very least, when her colleagues started asking her about it, she should have owned up and told them the truth and shared it with them and asked their advice.

And now where are we?  She’s made an absolute disaster of things.  It got out anyway.  If anything, by holding it so long, she has helped facilitate the discrediting of the woman who is accusing Kavanaugh here, because it looks desperate and eleventh-hour, whereas if she’d made this public before, people would have had time to process it and Republicans couldn’t have made that accusation.

Even Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg denounced the “highly partisan show” that these confirmation hearings have become since she was confirmed, though she wasn’t asked about the outrageous Robert Bork or Clarence Thomas hearings, which preceded it and were certainly of a piece.

Elections have consequences, and so does judicial overreach.  When the Supreme Court decisions are based on the text of the law, not subjective emotion (“emanations ” and “penumbras”), these confirmation hearings will be less irksome, confined to the question of competence.  And when Democrats decide to abide by the election results, they and we will be better off by far.

Speaking of which, it looks as though Congress will appropriate $5 billion to build the wall right after the midterms, and the Senate has already locked in $1.6 billion in construction funding.

Why after the election?  Because otherwise, the Democrats would use this as a budget bargaining chip for their latest extravagant funding notions.

[Byline Clarice Feldman]

American Thinker (edited)
16 September 2018

Related

The Deep State, Obama, and Destroying America


Politicians and their corporate counter-parts have made lucrative careers out of manipulating the public, controlling subordinates, inciting fear and scaring off their competition.

Partisan political bullying and psychological warfare are just several aspects of the seedier side of their business, and without at least an awareness of how they operate, the uninformed citizen is destined to perish among the sharks. Anyone can point out the importance of professional ethics, but at the end of the day, they aren’t going to do anything to help them overcome a tenacious domestic enemy, the one who won’t stop at anything in order to get what they want.

————-

See Also

Disinformation: How It Works

Twenty-Five Rules of Disinformation

Politicizing every little thing … and then some.


“Media bias isn’t just how they cover what they cover; it’s what they choose to ignore. The profession that congratulates itself with more awards and honors than any other and prides itself for “speaking truth to power” has been fully exposed as the shield and the sword for the powerful. That is a rigged system.” –Derek Hunter

What dystopian novels’ events will next appear in our news? Our passivity and apathy about the course of America might have calamitous results. It is not too late for us, yet.

Let the Two Minutes Hate commence …. And there you have it.

“ That terminator algorithm it’s out there. It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead.”

Its time people began to see the very real horrors and consequences of burying our collective heads in the sand, we think it will simply go away or that it will not come on us, that it wont come here, but it is coming,

Too many want to sit and see no pain, but if enough don’t wake up soon on their own, they’ll be jolted awake when it arrives on their doorstep and with none to help.

The hardest thing to explain is the glaringly evident which everybody had decided not to see – Ayn Rand

See Also

The System Really Is Rigged

Bring forth the Sacrificial Alchemists


Meet the Anarchists Making Their Own Medicine

The Four Thieves Vinegar Collective is a network of tech-fueled anarchists taking on Big Pharma with DIY medicines.

The first time I encountered Michael Laufer, he was throwing thousands of dollars worth of homemade medicine into a packed audience at Hackers on Planet Earth (HOPE), a biennial conference in New York City.

“Does anyone here suffer from anaphylactic shock and not have access to epinephrine?” Laufer asked the audience. A few hands went up and Laufer stuffed a homemade EpiPen into one of them. “That’s one of the original ones we made,” he said. “Use it well.”

After a few minutes of gloating about pharma bro Martin Shkreli “rotting at Fort Dix” for raising the price of Daraprim, a lifesaving HIV medicine, from $13 to $750, Laufer grew serious. “It’s been two years, but despite everything that’s happened, the price of Daraprim hasn’t changed,” he said. He reached into his pocket and produced a handful of white pills. “I guess I better hand out some more,” Laufer said as he tossed the Daraprim into the audience.

With a shaved head, dark beard, and an ever-present camo jacket, Laufer doesn’t look like the type of person you’d seek out for medical advice—but that’s exactly his point. As the founding member of Four Thieves Vinegar, a volunteer network of anarchists and hackers developing DIY medical technologies, Laufer has spent the last decade working to liberate life-saving pharmaceuticals from the massive corporations that own them. Laufer has no formal training in medicine and he’ll be the first to tell you he’s not a doctor. In fact, from a regulatory standpoint he’s more qualified to do mathematical work on nuclear weapons than treat patients. But Laufer’s never really been the type to let rules and regulations stand in his way.

I met Laufer at a bar across the street from HOPE after he finished his talk on DIY medicine. He was meeting with his Four Thieves collaborators who had flown in from all over the country to attend the conference and unveil the new medical technologies under development by the collective. Laufer kicked off the celebration with a toast.

“A toast to the dead, for children with cancer and AIDS,” Laufer said, raising a glass of bourbon and quoting the hip hop artist Felipe Andres Coronel, better known as Immortal Technique. “A cure exists, and you probably could have been saved.”

In the last decade, Four Thieves has run afoul of the Food and Drug Administration, billionaire pharma executives, doctors, and chemists at some of the United States’ most prestigious universities. Indeed, Laufer and his collaborators can’t stop pissing off powerful people because Four Thieves is living proof that effective medicines can be developed on a budget outside of institutional channels.

At the pharmacy, a pair of single use Mylan epipens can cost over $600 and the company’s generic version costs $300 per pair, but an ongoing shortage means you probably can’t find them, even if you can afford them. In response, Four Thieves published the instructions for a DIY epipen online that can be made for $30 in off-the-shelf parts and reloaded for $3. Shkreli drove the price of the lifesaving HIV medicine Daraprim sells up to $750 per pill. So Four Thieves developed an open source portable chemistry lab that allows anyone to manufacture their own Daraprim for just 25 cents apiece.

The pharmaceutical industry is valued at $446 billion in the US and its walls are tightly policed by regulatory agencies like the FDA and Drug Enforcement Administration. By freely distributing plans for medical devices and pharmaceuticals, a loose collective of anarchists and hackers is threatening to pull the rug out from under one of the most regulated and profitable industries in the world. And they’re just getting started.

FREE DRUGS

Four Thieves claims to have successfully synthesized five different kinds of pharmaceuticals, all of which were made using MicroLab. The device attempts to mimic an expensive machine usually only found in chemistry laboratories for a fraction of the price using readily available off-the-shelf parts. In the case of the MicroLab, the reaction chambers consist of a small mason jar mounted inside a larger mason jar with a 3D-printed lid whose printing instructions are available online. A few small plastic hoses and a thermistor to measure temperature are then attached through the lid to circulate fluids through the contraption to induce the chemical reactions necessary to manufacture various medicines. The whole process is automated using a small computer that costs about $30.

To date, Four Thieves has used the device to produce homemade Naloxone, a drug used to prevent opiate overdoses better known as Narcan; Daraprim, a drug that treats infections in people with HIV; Cabotegravir, a preventative HIV medicine that may only need to be taken four times per year; and mifepristone and misoprostol, two chemicals needed for pharmaceutical abortions.

Given the Trump administration’s candidates for Justice Anthony Kennedy’s seat on the Supreme Court, the collective feels an increasing sense of urgency to perfect its abortion drugs. They fear that the federal government will soon allow states to choose whether or not abortions can legally be offered and many residents will be left without any recourse to abort a pregnancy. This was a motivating factor for Tim Heilers, a former Navy sonar technician from Louisville, to join Four Thieves last February.

“Kentucky is a very conservative state and I think we have a very real possibility of becoming the first state with no abortion access whatsoever,” Heilers told me. “Giving people the ability to make mifepristone if they need it is something I think is very important.”

Although Four Thieves has successfully produced five drugs, so far only the Daraprim is available for download on the collective’s website. This is partly due to the disparities in how hard the various molecules are to produce. Naloxone, for example, is particularly challenging because the antidote to opiate overdoses uses the same precursors as the opiates themselves. These precursors are controlled by the federal government and only allowed to be possessed by approved labs in small doses. To get around this issue, Laufer and his collaborators adopted a seemingly counterintuitive protocol: They’d make medicine from poison.

Even though they couldn’t legally buy the Naloxone precursors, Laufer realized that the opiates themselves are remarkably easy to obtain. After obtaining oxycontin on the street, collective members were able to perform a few chemical reactions to extract the necessary precursors from the drug and used them to make the Naloxone.

“Some very clever drug dealers in the 90s discovered that you can do a one shot reaction [with oxycontin] and get oxymorphone, which is something like six times as powerful,” Laufer said. “You can make Naloxone from oxymorphone in one step. It’s fairly easy and now you’ve made medicine from poison.”

These sorts of unorthodox approaches to healthcare are the name of the game in pharma hacking, where the goal is to help people at any cost.

There’s a drug called cabotegravir, for instance, which is a pre-exposure prophylactic that has been demonstrated to prevent the spread of HIV through shared needles in macaques. Unlike other pre-exposure prophylactics that need to be taken daily, cabotegravir may only need to be taken four times per year to protect the user from HIV. Although the initial clinical results with cabotegravir were extremely promising, Four Thieves grew impatient with waiting for it to become commercially available. (The drug is currently undergoing Phase III FDA trials, which means it’s being clinically tested on a large cohort of human subjects.) Moreover, based on other pre-exposure prophylaxis drugs, cabotegravir would almost certainly be sold at an exorbitant cost—Truvada, a comparable drug that needs to be taken daily, costs around $2,000 for a 30-day supply. So the group figured out how to make it themselves.

Cabotegravir is still in pre-clinical trials but that hasn’t stopped Four Thieves from trying to get pre-exposure prophylactics (PrEPs) into the hands of those who need it. As the group continues to experimenting with synthesizing its own cabotegravir, some Four Thieves affiliates have started purchasing a commercially available PrEP called tenofovir, compounding it with an inert buffer, and then providing it to heroin dealers who can choose to cut their product with the PrEP as a “service” for their customers. For those customers who decide to take the dealers up on their service, “their heroin has a new side effect,” Laufer said. “You don’t get HIV from it any more.”

Clearly, Four Thieves Vinegar Collective walks a fine line when it comes to the legality of their enterprise. Although Laufer has turned subversion of the medical industry into an artform, litigation remains a perennial threat to his mission to liberate medicine. When a pharmaceutical company manufactures a new drug, they own the patent on the molecules that make the drug effective. Nevertheless, Laufer and his colleagues are able to reproduce these molecules because they are described in patent filings and often in academic journals. All it takes is the right technology.

Since Four Thieves isn’t actually selling or distributing the medicines made by its members, what they’re doing isn’t technically illegal in the eyes of the FDA, even though the agency has issued a public warning about the collective’s DIY methods. Shortly after Four Thieves unveiled its $30 DIY epipen, the FDA issued a statement to the media that said “using unapproved prescription drugs for personal use is a potentially dangerous practice,” but didn’t refer to Four Thieves by name. Ironically, only a few months later, the FDA issued a warning letter to Pfizer for failing to investigate “hundreds” of complaints about epipen failures, some of which resulted in the death of the user. In May, the FDA issued another warning that declared a chronic epipen shortage.

As for the DEA, none of the pharmaceuticals produced by the collective are controlled substance, so their possession is only subject to local laws about prescription medicines. If a person has a disease and prescription for the drug to treat that disease, they shouldn’t run into any legal issues if they were to manufacture their own medicine. Four Thieves is effectively just liberating information on how to manufacture certain medicines at home and developing the open source tools to make it happen. If someone decides to make drugs using the collective’s guides then that’s their own business, but Four Thieves doesn’t pretend that the information it releases is for “educational purposes only.”

“The rhetoric that is espoused by people who defend intellectual property law is that this is theft,” Laufer told me. “If you accept that axiomatically, then by the same logic when you withhold access to lifesaving medication that’s murder. From a moral standpoint it’s an imperative to enact theft to prevent murder.”

“So yeah, we are encouraging people to break the law,” Laufer added. “If you’re going to die and you’re being denied the medicine that can save you, would you rather break the law and live, or be a good upstanding citizen and a corpse?”

DOCTORS WITHOUT ORDERS

The catalyst for Four Thieves Vinegar Collective was a trip Laufer took to El Salvador in 2008 when he was still in graduate school. While visiting a rural medical clinic as part of an envoy documenting human rights violations in the country, he learned that it had run out of birth control three months prior. When the clinic contacted the central hospital in San Salvador, it was informed the other hospital had also run out of birth control. Laufer told me he was stunned that the hospitals were unable to source birth control, a relatively simple drug to manufacture that’s been around for over half-a-century. He figured if drug dealers in the country were able to use underground labs to manufacture illicit drugs, a similar approach could be taken to life-saving medicines.

Laufer started the collective shortly after he returned from Central America, but its existence was only made public at HOPE in 2016. During his first talk at the hacker conference, Laufer demoed the group’s $30 DIY “EpiPencil,” distributed some homemade Daraprim to the audience, showed off an early prototype of the MicroLab, and gave Martin Shkreli a call on stage (he didn’t answer.) When Four Thieves began, Laufer was mostly working by himself. Now that it’s emerged from the underground, the group is much larger, although Laufer said it’s impossible to know its actual size—members come and go as they please, contributing as much knowledge and time as they can.

Everyone I spoke with at Four Thieves comes from a technical background, but none of them were medical professionals. Laufer, for instance, has a background in nuclear physics and is the director of the math program at Menlo College in Silicon Valley for his day job. The result of Four Thieves’ diverse pool of technical expertise speaks for itself. The collective now has independent biology, chemistry, data science, programming, and hardware teams whose degree of collaboration is dictated by the project at hand.

Four Thieves doesn’t sell anything, but the collective has two core ‘products.’ The first is open source hardware like the epipencil and MicroLab chemical synthesizer, which can be made from off-the-shelf and 3D printed components. The second is the instructions for how to use these tools to produce the drugs, which includes everything from how to use the MicroLab to perform simple reactions to how to procure chemical precursors.

“I think it’s absolutely imperative that information about how to make your own medicines should be as easily accessible as possible to everyone who might have even a passing interest,” Laufer told me. “The goal of the group is to make it possible for people to be able to do these things on their own. The idea that someone could download the instructions, read the list of materials, order them, read the instructions for how to assemble it and program it, upload the code, order precursor chemicals, and then manufacture medicine.”

All of Four Thieves’ tools were developed on a virtually non-existent budget—the only money the collective has is whatever its members supply out of their own pockets—and so far the medicines they have produced haven’t killed anyone. Yet some experts caution against taking medicines produced by DIY tech that hasn’t been sufficiently vetted.

HARM REDUCTION

Eric Von Hippel, an economist at MIT that researches “open innovation,” is enthusiastic about the promise of DIY drug production, but only under certain conditions. He cited a pilot program in the Netherlands that is exploring the independent production of medicines that are tailor made for individual patients as a good example of safe, DIY drug production. These drugs are made in the hospital by trained experts. Von Hippel believes it can be dangerous when patients undertake drug production on their own.

“If one does not do chemical reactions under just-right conditions, one can easily create dangerous by-products along with the drug one is trying to produce,” von Hippel told me in an email. “Careful control of reactor conditions is unlikely in DIY chemical reactors such as the MicroLab design offered for free by the Four Thieves Vinegar Collective.”

His colleague, Harold DeMonaco, a visiting scientist at MIT, agreed. DeMonaco suggested that a more rational solution to the problems addressed would be for patients to work with compounding pharmacies. Compounding pharmacies prepare personalized medicine for their customers and DeMonaco said they are able to synthesize the same drugs Four Thieves is producing at low costs, but with “appropriate safeguards.”

“Unless the system is idiot proof and includes validation of the final product, the user is exposed to a laundry list of rather nasty stuff,” DeMonaco told me in an email. “Widespread use [of Four Thieves’ devices] would provide an entire new category for the Darwin Awards.”

Von Hippel and DeMonaco were in agreement that the ability to purify DIY drugs and run quality control tests on the final product is paramount for their safe use by patients. Von Hippel suggested that scientists with a background in medicinal chemistry will be necessary to address these issues in DIY pharma.

“I see Michael Laufer’s activities as a valuable form of social activism that points the way to a promising future,” von Hippel said. “But I think the equipment and the medicinal science issues have to be much further developed before DIY medicine production will be safe.”

In a way, Four Thieves is just doing a small-scale version of what many hospitals are doing already. Faced with rising drug prices and shortages, many hospitals have started to manufacture their own medicines on site to save costs. The difference, however, is that these hospitals often have access to sophisticated laboratories and trained medical personnel, which significantly lowers the risk of something going wrong.

Four Thieves isn’t naive about the risks of providing the documentation to allow others to make their own medicine. It’s always possible that someone follows the group’s instructions incorrectly and inadvertently produces a toxic chemical. Yet there are ways to reduce the likelihood of this happening and one of Four Thieves’ most significant contributions to DIY medicine is prioritizing harm reduction in its research and development.

There’s more than one way to produce a given molecule and some synthesis pathways are simpler or allow for far greater margins of error than others. Thus Four Thieves aims to discover synthesis pathways that lower the risk of toxic reactions to the lowest possible level. When the collective was first starting out, they had help doing this from a startup called Chematica, which had collected 250 years of research on organic chemical synthesis into a database and developed software that used this data to predict and create new synthesis pathways to desired molecules. With this database and software, Four Thieves was able to create simple and safe synthesis pathways that would produce life-saving drugs.

This worked great until Chematica was bought by Merck, an international pharmaceutical giant, last year. After the sale, Four Thieves lost access to the software and, more importantly, the database. Laufer told me that the Four Thieves data science team has created an open source version of Chematica’s software and has even compiled a small database of organic chemicals to test it on. The software is crude compared to Chematica’s, but Laufer said that it works well enough. To improve the software, however, the collective needs more data, which is now the property of Merck.

But as any hacker knows, sometimes data “falls off a truck,” which is a nice way of saying that Chematica’s database is currently posted on a password protected website on the dark web. During his talk at HOPE this year, Laufer implored the audience to help with cracking the password and releasing the data into the world. Getting access to Chematica’s data on synthesis pathways would blow open the door for a new suite of DIY medicines, but until then it’s going to be pretty slow going.

THE FUTURE OF DIY MEDICINE

The most expensive drug on the market is called Glybera and is used to treat familial lipoprotein lipase deficiency, a hereditary disease found in only about 7,000 people worldwide. Lipoprotein lipase deficiency prevents the normal breakdown of body fats, which results in abdominal pains, acute pancreatitis, enlarged livers and kidneys, and the buildup of fat deposits under the skin. Glybera helps treat these symptoms and is critical to the quality of life of those with FLLD. The only catch is the medicine costs each patient $1.2 million per year—if it’s even available to them. In 2017, UniQure, the company that produces Glybera, stopped selling the drug in Europe due to the extremely limited demand. This means that the approximately 1,200 Europeans with FLLD are out of luck when it comes to treatment.

The situation is more or less the same for those afflicted with other orphan diseases, which are defined as conditions that affect fewer than 200,000 people worldwide. If a drug for the disease exists, it is generally prohibitively expensive to obtain. If the company doesn’t see enough demand for its product, it will likely pull it from the market. So for many rare diseases, a cure or palliative medicine may exist but is too expensive for patients or not profitable enough to put on the market.

In the future, Laufer wants Four Thieves to focus on manufacturing drugs for orphan diseases so that those with rare conditions will never be without their medicine. Yet these types of medicines come with their own unique problems.

For instance, Laufer said that many of the medicines for orphan diseases are made of biological material, such as fungus. Laufer said that Four Thieves is working to create a BioTorrent site to distribute the organic material needed to manufacture orphan medicines. BioTorrent would be like a normal file sharing site like the PirateBay, but instead of downloading music and movies, people could download instructions for how to synthesize their own medicine and share the organic material among one another. Since biological cells are self-replicating, this would simply require one user to grow a sufficient amount of cells for themselves before shipping some cells to another user who would repeat the process, similar to the way people ‘seed’ a media file on torrent sites.

The question, then, would be how to ship the biological material cheaply and without getting caught. To this end, Four Thieves is investigating the use of books and CD cases as grow media for biological precursors. Mycelia are basically the ‘roots’ of many fungi and feed on cellulose, which is found in abundance in the pages of a book. So Laufer and his collaborators began injecting books with mycelium, which feed upon the pages and grow out of the book. Similarly, compact discs are similar enough to petri dishes that if they’re streaked properly they can be used as a growth medium for bacteria and other biological precursors. The advantage of this is that Four Thieves members using the BioTorrent site could ship these cells using the cheaper “media rate” charged by the US Postal Service for items like books and compact discs while avoiding scrutiny from law enforcement.

In the meantime, however, Four Thieves is still mostly focused on improving its MicroLab and synthesizing new medicines. Recently the collective began producing its own custom circuit boards for the MicroLab, which will make it even easier to set up the device at home. Laufer said he plans to begin giving these circuit boards away as early as next month. At the same time, the group is working on perfecting the synthesis of Solvadi, a one-time treatment that can cure Hepatitis C. This drug has been on the market for nearly five years, but its $84,000 price tag makes it inaccessible to many people who need it. If Four Thieves has its way, Hepatitis C will soon be a thing of the past for everyone, regardless of their income.

At a time when many Americans lack even basic health care services, Laufer’s ideas seem as intuitive as they are radical. His work is predicated on the notion that too many critical decisions about our health have been outsourced to private actors who care more about their bottom line than their customers’ well being. For Laufer, Four Thieves is as much about medicine as it is about the right to the free flow of information and personal autonomy. As far as he’s concerned, one cannot exist without the other.

“Pursuing science is a human right,” Laufer said. “In fact, it’s the human right from which all other rights flow. You have to be able to do whatever you want to your body and to think the way you want.”

Correction (8/2/2018): A previous version on this article stated that Four Thieves was giving a pre-clinical pre-exposure prophylactic called cabotegravir that the group had synthesized itself to heroin dealers. The actual PrEP used is tenofovir, which is commercially purchased by a group connected to Four Thieves, compounded with heroin, and the offered to distributors as a “service” for their customers. Motherboard regrets the error.

Read More: Americans Are Afraid of Biohacking Even When It’s Good For You

See Motherboard For Full Article & Images

[Byline Daniel Oberhaus]

Motherboard
26 July 2018


See Also

EpiPen too expensive? You can get the same dose for ten bucks

Note: The EpiPen type delivery system cannot be patented. Any company can use it since it was developed by the US for the military.

***********

Epinephrine injection kit

Epinephrine injection kit Source: Christian Hauser ABC22Now

HAMILTON (WRGT)– If your child has an allergy you are probably aware of the increasing cost of the EpiPen from Mylan.

A Miami Valley doctor wants parents to know they have alternatives to the costly EpiPen.

Dr. Marcus Romanello is the Chief Medical Officer and the Emergency Medicine Physician at Ft. Hamilton Hospital in Hamilton. He knows all too well how scary it is for parents of children with allergies.

“I have a child, my oldest is actually allergic to tree nuts and has had anaphylactic reactions before and we’ve had to use his EpiPen before,” said Dr. Romanello. “The number of children with food allergies has spiked over the past decade or so.”

He took note when he saw the skyrocketing price of the EpiPens.

“The sudden rise in cost is alarming because I worry about parents who are literally having to choose between carrying a life-saving device and putting food on the table,” said Dr. Romanello

He wants parents to know they can save hundreds of dollars.

“I paid $5.89, cash price for this (bottle of epinephrine), no insurance required,” said Dr. Romanello.

Less than $6 for the life-saving medicine. Add an Altoid tin and syringe and you’ve got an epinephrine injector kit for under $10.

“Attach the needle. Pop the top and draw up the prescribed amount,” said Dr. Romanello.

But you lose the convenience of the EpiPen.

He says when your doctor gives you the prescription, they can show you how to give the shot.

“It does require some degree of medical comfort with a needle and syringe, drawing up the appropriate dose. If someone were to draw up a little too much, not an issue. In a setting of anaphylactic reaction too much is not going to hurt,” said Dr. Romanello.

Dr. Romanello hopes this will help families who might consider saving expired EpiPens that have passed their expiration date to save some cash.

School nurses are allowed to give the shots so you can bring the kit into your child’s school.

[Byline Christian Hauser ABC22Now] (edited)

27 August 2016
Excerpt via American Thinker


Related

The EpiPen Scandal Is Worse Than You Think: What You’re Not Being Told

Company Gouging Price Of EpiPens Is A Clinton Foundation Donor And Partner

EpiPen Alternatives Exist, and They May be Cheaper

Biological Health Hazard – (High-Risk Travel Advisory) Crime and breakdown of the medical infrastructure: Socialist Utopia of Venezuela


U.S. State Department Travel Advisory – Level 3: Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela

Venezuela Map

Map of Venezuela, Image: Nations Online Project.

Reconsider travel to Venezuela due to crime, civil unrest, poor health infrastructure, and arbitrary arrest and detention of U.S. citizens. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory.

Do not travel:

  • On roads after dark outside of Caracas due to crime.
  • To certain neighborhoods within Caracas due to crime.
  • Within 50 miles of the Colombian border due to crime.

Violent crime, such as homicide, armed robbery, kidnapping, and carjacking, is common.

Political rallies and demonstrations occur, often with little notice. Demonstrations typically elicit a strong police and security force response that includes the use of tear gas, pepper spray, water cannons, and rubber bullets against participants and occasionally devolve into looting and vandalism.

There are shortages of food, electricity, water, medicine, and medical supplies throughout much of Venezuela. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a Level 3 ‘Avoid Nonessential Travel’ notice on May 15, 2018 due to inadequate healthcare and the breakdown of the medical infrastructure in Venezuela.

Security forces have arbitrarily detained U.S. citizens for long periods. The U.S. Embassy may not be notified of the detention of a U.S. citizen, and consular access to detainees may be denied or severely delayed.

Read the Safety and Security section on the country information page.

If you decide to travel to Venezuela:

  • Do not travel between cities after dark.
  •  Avoid travel between Simón Bolívar International Airport and Caracas at night.
  • Do not take unregulated taxis from Simón Bolívar International Airport and avoid ATMs in this area.
  • Avoid demonstrations.
  • Bring a sufficient supply of over-the-counter and prescription medicines.
  • Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Review the Crime and Safety Report for Venezuela.
  • U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.

Areas outside Caracas

The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens outside of Caracas as U.S. government employees must obtain special authorization to travel outside of Caracas. Inter-city travel by car from 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. is strongly discouraged and, in some cases, may be prohibited for U.S. government employees.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

Certain neighborhoods in Caracas

The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services in certain neighborhoods in Caracas as U.S. government personnel and their families are subject to travel restrictions for their safety and well-being. U.S. government personnel are prohibited from traveling in the following neighborhoods on personal business:

  • Western Libertador (Coche, El Valle, El Retiro, 23 de Enero, Blandin, La Vega, La Rinconada, Las Mayas, Tazón, Oropeza Castillo, Lomas de Urdaneta, Propatria, Casalta, Lomas De Propatria, Carapita, Antímano, Tacagua, Ruíz Pineda, Caricuao, La Quebradita, El Atlántico, Sarría, San Martín and La Yaguara)
  • Eastern Sucre (Barrio Píritu, Barrio La Rubia, Barrio Altavista, Petare, Caucaguita, La Dolorita, Paulo Sexto, El Llanito)
  • Specific neighborhoods in Baruta (Las Minas, Santa Cruz del Este, Ojo de Agua, La Naya, Las Minitas)

U.S. personnel are also prohibited from travel outside of the Embassy’s housing area between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 2:00 a.m. in a single, unarmored car. Additionally, all U.S. personnel are required to be out of public venues and physically located within the Embassy’s housing area or another specified secure location from 2:00 a.m. until 6:00 a.m.

See the Safety and Security section of the country information page for additional details.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

Colombian border

Drug traffickers and armed groups are active in the Colombian border states of Zulia, Tachira, and Apure. Cross-border violence, kidnapping, drug trafficking, and smuggling occur frequently in these areas. Some kidnap victims are released after ransom payments, while others are murdered.

The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens within 50 miles of the Colombian border as U.S. government employees must obtain special authorization to travel there.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

Travel.State.Gov
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE — BUREAU OF CONSULAR AFFAIRS

Updated: April 27, 2018


Update: Warning – Level 3, Avoid Nonessential Travel

CDC warns against non-essential travel to Venezuela: Outbreaks, breakdown of the medical infrastructure

Key Points

  • CDC recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to Venezuela.
  • The country is experiencing outbreaks of infectious diseases, and adequate health care is currently not available in most of the country.
  • If you must travel to Venezuela, then protect yourself by following CDC’s recommendations (below).

What is the current situation?

There has been a breakdown of the medical infrastructure in Venezuela. There are shortages of food, water, electricity, medicine, and medical supplies that have contributed to an increasing humanitarian crisis affecting much of the country. Adequate health care is currently not available through the public health system in Venezuela. For this reason, in addition to crime and civil unrest, the US government has limited ability to provide emergency services to US citizens. Please visit the Department of State Travel Advisory for Venezuela for more information.

Infectious diseases are on the rise, and several large outbreaks are occurring:

  • During the past year, over 1,000 confirmed cases of measles, including more 50 deaths, have been reported in 9 states.
  • In the past 2 years, over 1,600 suspected cases of diphtheria, including over 140 deaths, have been reported in 22 states.
  • In 2017, over 400,000 cases of malaria were reported.

What can travelers do to protect themselves?

CDC recommends that US residents avoid all nonessential travel to Venezuela.
If you must travel to Venezuela, then protect yourself by following the health advice of CDC (below) and reviewing the Department of State country information page for Venezuela.

  • Make an appointment with a travel medicine specialist or your healthcare provider to get needed vaccines and medicines at least 4 to 6 weeks before you leave.
    • CDC recommends all travelers be up to date on all recommended vaccines, such as the Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis (DTaP) vaccine and Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR) vaccine.
    • CDC recommends all travelers take prescribed medicine to prevent malaria.
  • Pack a travel health kit with your prescription medicines and over-the-counter medicines (enough to last your whole trip, plus a little extra), first aid supplies, and your health insurance card. Authorized humanitarian aid workers may need to pack additional items.
  • Monitor the Department of State’s Travel Advisory and Alerts for Venezuela.
  • Prepare for the unexpected.
    • Leave copies of your itinerary, contact information, credit cards, and passport with someone at home, in case they are lost during travel.
    • Buy travel health and medical evacuation insurance. If you are injured or get sick during your trip, medical care is likely to be unavailable in Venezuela.

Traveler Information

Content source:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (NCEZID)
Division of Global Migration and Quarantine (DGMQ)

Page last updated: May 15, 2018

They’re the same recycled lies, M’kay


Obama overlooks own actions, cherry-picks survey results in Trump attacks, AP fact check finds

WASHINGTON — Barack Obama’s recent denunciation of President Donald Trump’s treatment of the press overlooks the aggressive steps the Justice Department took to keep information from the public when he was president. Obama also made a problematic claim that Republican “sabotage” has cost 3 million people their health insurance.

With his return to the political donnybrook on behalf of Democrats in the November elections, Obama has brought a once-familiar style back into the discourse. It’s measured, nuanced and distinct from the torrent of misstatements from Trump. That doesn’t mean Obama always tells the story straight.
Excerpt: The Washington Times

“‘The organizer’s first job is to create the issues or problems,’ and ‘organizations must be based on many issues.’ The organizer ‘must first rub raw the resentments of the people of the community; fan the latent hostilities of many of the people to the point of overt expression. He must search out controversy and issues, rather than avoid them, for unless there is controversy people are not concerned enough to act.…An organizer must stir up dissatisfaction and discontent.’” –Saul Alinsky


Besides lying, See what he’s doing here?

“…….we don’t threaten the freedom of the press because they say things or publish stories we don’t like.
I complained plenty about Fox News, but you never heard me call them enemies of the people.” 

— Barack H. Obama, rally at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

Obama bragged, he never called Fox “enemies of state.”

No, he didn’t ….he just unleashed the full force of the DOJ, in the person of AG Eric Holder to pounce on Fox reporter James Rosen And to intimidate Rosen’s family.

Holder and Obama issued a court order for Fox News reporter James Rosen’s emails labeling Rosen a criminal “co-conspirator.”

The Justice Department did more than seize a Fox News reporter’s emails while suggesting he was a criminal “co-conspirator” in a leak case — it did so under one of the most serious wartime laws in America, the Espionage Act. It is now well known that the Obama justice department has prosecuted more government leakers under the 1917 Espionage Act than all prior administrations combined – in fact, double the number of all such prior prosecutions. But as last week’s controversy over the Obama DOJ’s pursuit of the phone records of AP reporters illustrated, this obsessive fixation in defense of secrecy also targets, and severely damages, journalists specifically and the news-gathering process in general.

New revelations emerged yesterday in the Washington Post that are perhaps the most extreme yet when it comes to the DOJ’s attacks on press freedoms. It involves the prosecution of State Department adviser Stephen Kim, a naturalized citizen from South Korea who was indicted in 2009 for allegedly telling Fox News’ chief Washington correspondent, James Rosen, that US intelligence believed North Korea would respond to additional UN sanctions with more nuclear tests – something Rosen then reported. Kim did not obtain unauthorized access to classified information, nor steal documents, nor sell secrets, nor pass them to an enemy of the US. Instead, the DOJ alleges that he merely communicated this innocuous information to a journalist – something done every day in Washington – and, for that, this arms expert and long-time government employee faces more than a decade in prison for “espionage”.

The focus of the Post’s report yesterday is that the DOJ’s surveillance of Rosen, the reporter, extended far beyond even what they did to AP reporters. The FBI tracked Rosen’s movements in and out of the State Department, traced the timing of his calls, and – most amazingly – obtained a search warrant to read two days worth of his emails, as well as all of his emails with Kim. In this case, said the Post, “investigators did more than obtain telephone records of a working journalist suspected of receiving the secret material.” It added that “court documents in the Kim case reveal how deeply investigators explored the private communications of a working journalist”.

But what makes this revelation particularly disturbing is that Obama’s DOJ, in order to get this search warrant, insisted that Fox’s Rosen – a journalist – committed serious crimes. The DOJ specifically argued that by encouraging his source to disclose classified information – something investigative journalists do every day – Rosen himself broke the law. Describing an affidavit from FBI agent Reginald Reyes filed by the DOJ, the Post reports [emphasis added]:

“Reyes wrote that there was evidence Rosen had broken the law, ‘at the very least, either as an aider, abettor and/or co-conspirator’. That fact distinguishes his case from the probe of the AP, in which the news organization is not the likely target. Using italics for emphasis, Reyes explained how Rosen allegedly used a ‘covert communications plan’ and quoted from an e-mail exchange between Rosen and Kim that seems to describe a secret system for passing along information. . . .

However, it remains an open question whether it’s ever illegal, given the First Amendment’s protection of press freedom, for a reporter to solicit information.

No reporter, including Rosen, has been prosecuted for doing so.” Under US law, it is not illegal to publish classified information. That fact, along with the First Amendment’s guarantee of press freedoms, is what has prevented the US government from ever prosecuting journalists for reporting on what the US government does in secret. This newfound theory of the Obama DOJ – that a journalist can be guilty of crimes for “soliciting” the disclosure of classified information – is a means for circumventing those safeguards and criminalizing the act of investigative journalism itself.

These latest revelations show that this is not just a theory but one put into practice, as the Obama DOJ submitted court documents accusing a journalist of committing crimes by doing this.—SNIP—

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/may/20/obama-doj-james-rosen-criminality

Related

Holder says ‘subpoena’ to Fox News reporter is his one regret

Barack Obama’s Disastrous Legacy