Thursday, February 27

To the person from Libya that visited this blog

This is the post that was visited: "Shirley Maclaine on disappointment."
(click at the images to enlarge)

Now I realized that I should have written something else in case the person is a Libyan. Time heals but the scars remain. After having your life destroyed in the level many Libyans have you become a survivor. Time will ease the pain but that moment, that second or minutes that made you lose family members or all you have, the torture, the rape, witnessing all kind of evil men can do - some people don't know and don't wanna know because it is not easy to face brutality in such level - will be part of you.

Live my Libyan friend, cry all you have to cry, mourn as much as you need. Time will ease your pain and you'll be able to tell your story in the past

Wednesday, February 26

Disarm US campaign

Washington and allies invaded 75 countries... let's count the death toll, those who had their lives destroyed, those who were tortured... all the evil.
60% of US budget is for "security", in other words weapons.

Tuesday, February 25

International Arrest Warrants Issued for George W. Bush, Barack Obama for War Crimes

People who are on this video:
Prof. Francis Boyle - War crime prosecuter
Marjory Cohn, Attorney, author "Cowboy Republic"
Youcha Taylor, Attorney, Muslim Lawyers Association
Clare Daly, Independent - Dublin North
Scott Rickard, Former U.S. Intelligence Officer

"Russia Today is reporting that international arrest warrants have been issued for former United States President George W. Bush as well as current United States President Barack Obama by a War Crimes Tribunal in the Netherlands.  This is not the first time we’ve heard a story like this about W, but it is the first time Obama has turned up in such talk.  Surprising, since he did receive a Nobel Peace Prize for all of his positive works in the world…before he actually did anything.  Anyway, we are currently investigating this Hague tribunal and what actual level of authority they have and what it means for two of the United States’ living presidents, if anything at all.  Our gut reaction would be that while this makes an exciting story, it means nothing in the grand scheme of things.  Obviously, the American military and Secret Service will not be allowing anyone to arrest either of these men, but we are going to find out more about their credentials to push forward such an agenda.  Here is Russia Today’s report from this morning about the situation.  As you might imagine, this has not been reported in the mainstream media, despite the fact that one would think it would be breaking news on any provider.

As an additional side note, a lot is made by members of the political parties in the United States about one news organization being dedicated to one side or the other.  It is often insinuated that Fox News leans toward the Republican side, while CNN and others lean toward the Democratic side.  We have always held that it all works together to give Americans the illusion of choice in what is really a one-party political system and agenda.  Situations like this prove our case for us; if Fox News leaned Republican, why would they not be all over an arrest warrant issued for Barack Obama for war crimes?
Mum’s the word, though.  The mainstream media, regardless of political party affiliation is still subject to 100% control by the powers-that-be.  Let this be a lesson to you."

Source: Common Sense Conspiracy.

Sunday, February 23

Who is Behind Regime Change? “Revolution Business” NGO Supported by Wall Street and US Intelligence

I just received Globalresearch newsletters with this article and as I believe it must be read by as much people as possible I decided to post it here.

Exposed: Globally Renowned Activist Collaborated with Intelligence Firm Stratfor
By Carl Gibson and Steve Horn
Globalresearch, February 23, 2014

Serbia’s Srdja Popovic is known by many as a leading architect of regime changes in Eastern Europe and elsewhere since the late-1990s, and as one of the co-founders of Otpor!, the U.S.-funded Serbian activist group which overthrew Slobodan Milošević in 2000.
Lesser known, an exclusive investigation reveals that Popovic and the Otpor! offshoot CANVAS (Centre for Applied Nonviolent Action and Strategies) have also maintained close ties with a Goldman Sachs executive and the private intelligence firmStratfor (Strategic Forecasting, Inc.), as well as the U.S. government. Popovic’s wife also worked at Stratfor for a year.
These revelations come in the aftermath of thousands of new emails released by Wikileaks’ “Global Intelligence Files.” The emails reveal Popovic worked closely with Stratfor, an Austin, Texas-based private firm that gathers intelligence on geopolitical events and activists forclients ranging from the American Petroleum Institute and Archer Daniels Midland to Dow Chemical, Duke Energy, Northrop Grumman, Intel and Coca-Cola.
Referred to in emails under the moniker “SR501,” Popovic was first approached by Stratfor in 2007 to give a lecture in the firm’s office about events transpiring in Eastern Europe, according to a Stratfor source who asked to remain confidential for this story.
In one of the emails, Popovic forwarded information about activists harmed or killed by the U.S.-armed Bahraini government, obtained from the Bahrain Center for Human Rights during the regime’s crackdown on pro-democracy activists in fall 2011. Popovic also penned a blueprint for Stratfor on how to unseat the now-deceased Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez in September 2010.
Stratfor’s Global Activist Connector
Using his celebrated activist status, Popovic opened many doors for Stratfor to meet with activists globally. In turn, the information Stratfor intended to gain from Popovic’s contacts would serve as “actionable intelligence”—the firm billed itself as a “Shadow CIA”—for its corporate clients.
Popovic passed information to Stratfor about on-the-ground activist events in countries around the world, ranging from the PhilippinesLibya,  Tunisia,  Vietnam,  Iran,  Azerbaijan,  Egypt,  TibetZimbabwePoland and BelarusGeorgiaBahrainVenezuela and Malaysia. Often, the emails reveal, Popovic passed on the information to Stratfor without the consent of the activists and likely without the activists ever knowing that their emails were being shuttled to the private security firm.
In the U.S., this investigation’s co-author, Carl Gibson (representing US Uncut), and the Yes Men’s Andy Bichlbaum had a meeting with Popovic shortly after their two respective groups used a media hoax to play a prank on General Electric, ridiculing the company over itsnon-payment of U.S. taxes.
The pair gave Popovic information about both groups’ plans for the coming year and news later came out that Stratfor closely monitored the Yes Men’s activities. (The blow photograph taken by Bichlbaum in April 2011 shows Popovic (L) and US Uncut’s Carl Gibson.)
During the Arab Spring, in Egypt in January 2011, Popovic received an interview invitation for an appearance on CNN. The first people he turned to for talking points were Stratfor employees, who provided him with five talking points to lead with.
Stratfor said Popovic’s main use for the firm was his vast array of grassroots activist contacts around the world.
“A little reminder that the main utility in this contact is his ability to connect us to the troublemakers around the world that he is in touch with. His own ability to discern situation on the ground may be limited, he mainly has initial contact with an asset and then lets them do their own thing,” reads a May 2010 email written by former Stratfor Eurasia Analyst Marko Papic. “He does himself have information that may be useful from time to time. But, the idea is to gather a network of contacts through CANVAS, contacts that we can then contact independently.”
Popovic was so well-received by Stratfor that he even got his wife, Marijah, a job there. She worked for a year from March 2010 through March 2011 as the weekend open source intelligence analyst at Stratfor. The other candidate for the job, Jelena Tancic, also worked for CANVAS.
“The Canvas guy [Popovic] is a friend/source [for Stratfor], and recommended her to us,” Stratfor’s Vice President of Analysis Scott Stewart said in a March 2010 email, leaving out that the two were dating at the time.
Popovic and his wife grew so close to Stratfor, in fact, that Popovic invited numerous members of the Stratfor staff to their wedding in Belgrade, Serbia.
Helping Stratfor Manufacture Revolutions
Stratfor saw Popovic’s main value not only as a source for intelligence on global revolutionary and activist movements, but also as someone who, if needed, could help overthrow leaders of countries hostile to U.S. geopolitical and financial interests. So useful was Popovic to Stratfor that the firm gave him a free subscription, dubbed “legit sources we use all the time as a company” by Papic.
In a June 2011 email, Papic referred to Popovic as a “great friend” of his and described him as a “Serb activist who travels the world fomenting revolution.”
“They…basically go around the world trying to topple dictators and autocratic governments (ones that U.S. does not like ;) ,” Papic says in one email. Replying to a follow up to that email, he states, “They just go and set up shop in a country and try to bring the government down. When used properly, more powerful than an aircraft carrier battle group.”
In response to the “aircraft battle group” email, Stratfor Vice President of Intelligence Fred Burton sardonically said that perhaps they could be sent into Iran. Emails also reveal Popovic served as an information source intermediary for on-the-ground activists in Iran, also informing Stratfor of the funding struggle for “democracy programs” there, as the U.S. government pushed a “soft power” agenda.
Another March 2010 email from Stewart to Burton said that CANVAS was “trying to get rid of Chavez,” referring to the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. In 2007, CANVAS trained activists to overthrow Chavez.
“If I remember correctly, we use hushmail communication to contact him regarding Venezuela due to the sensitivity of using a revolutionary NGO as a source considering we have clients who operate in country,” Papic said in a January 2011 email of Popovic.
Stratfor grew so enamored of CANVAS’s ability to foment regime change abroad that it invited Popovic to its Austin headquarters in 2010 to give seminars on the subject, and paid for his trip there.
CANVAS’s Goldman Sachs Cash
One of CANVAS’s major funders is Muneer Satter, a former Goldman Sachs executive who stepped down from that position in June 2012and now owns Satter Investment Management LLC. Stratfor CEO Shea Morenz worked for ten years at Goldman Sachs as well, where he served as Managing Director in the Investment Management Division and Region Head for Private Wealth Management for the Southwest Region.
Satter is meanwhile a major funder of the Republican Party, giving over $300,000 to Karl Rove’s Super PAC Crossroads GPS before the 2012 election, and another $100,000 to the Republican Governors Association in the first half of 2013 prior to the 2014 mid-term elections.
Living in a massive, $9.5 million mansion in Chicago’s North Shore suburb of Lake Michigan, Muneer also gave $50,000 toward President Obama’s inaugural fund in 2009.
When it came time to connect Muneer with the global intelligence firm, Popovic served as the middle man introducing Satter to Stratfor Chairman George Friedman.
“Whenever I want to understand the details behind world events, I turn to Stratfor,” reads an endorsement from Satter on Stratfor’s website. “They have the most detailed and insightful analysis of world affairs and are miles ahead of mainstream media.”
Otpor!: A Counter-History
To understand how Popovic came to aide Stratfor in its intelligence-gathering efforts, it’s crucial to examine Otpor! and CANVAS critically. A close examination demonstrates that Popovic was a natural choice to be a Stratfor informant and close advisor.
Often valorized by grassroots activists and Western media, there was far more to the “Bulldozer Revolution” that led to the overthrow of Milošević and subsequent Eastern European regimes than meets the eye.
“In principle, [Serbia] was an overt operation, funded by congressional appropriations of around $10 million for fiscal 1999 and $31 million for 2000. Some Americans involved in the anti-Milosevic effort said they were aware of CIA activity at the fringes of the campaign, but had trouble finding out what the agency was up to,” explained a 2000 investigative piece appearing in The Washington Post.
“The lead role was taken by the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development, the government’s foreign assistance agency, which channeled the funds through commercial contractors and nonprofit groups such as NDI and its Republican counterpart, the International Republican Institute (IRI).”
“In fact between 1997 and 2000 the National Endowment for Democracy and US government may have accomplished what NATO’s 37,000 bombing sorties had been unable to do: oust Milosevic, replace him with their favoured candidate Vojislav Kostunica and promote a neoliberal vision for Serbia,” independent scholar Michael Barker wrote for Z Magazine. “In much the same way as corporate front groups and astroturf groups recruit genuinely committed supporters, strategically useful social movements can potentially dominate civil society when provided with the right resources (massive financial and professional backing).”
Otpor! was so successful that it was ushered into Ukraine to help manufacture regime change there in 2004, using the template applied originally in Serbia with $65 million in cash from the U.S. government.
“We trained them in how to set up an organization, how to open local chapters, how to create a ‘brand,’ how to create a logo, symbols, and key messages,” an Otpor! activist told U.S.-funded media outlet Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty. “We trained them in how to identify the key weaknesses in society and what people’s most pressing problems were—what might be a motivating factor for people, and above all young people, to go to the ballot box and in this way shape their own destiny.”
The overthrow of Milošević was accompanied by U.S.-funding for the creation of a robust media apparatus in Serbia, and Popovic’s wife worked at one of the U.S.-funded radio and TV outlets as a journalist and anchor B92 from 2004-2009.
“By helping Radio B92 and linking it with a network of radio stations (ANEM), international assistance undermined the regime’s direct and indirect control over news and information,” a January 2004 policy paper released by USAID explained. “In Serbia, independent media supported by USAID and other international donors facilitated the regime change.”
Critics point out that what happened in Eastern Europe was regime change, not revolution in any real sense of the term.
“[They] were not revolutions at all; actually, they were little more than intra-elite power transfers,’” Portland State University Professor of Urban Studies and Planning, Gerald Sussman, explained in his book, “Branded Democracy: U.S. Regime Change in Post-Soviet Eastern Europe.”
“Modern tactics of electioneering were employed to cast regime change as populist, which took advantage of the unstable and vulnerable situations in those regions following the breakup of the Soviet Union,” he wrote.
Given Otpor!’s ties to powerful factions in the U.S. government, perhaps it’s unsurprising that Popovic felt comfortable giving a lecture to the Air Force Academy in May 2010, and attending a National Security Council meeting in December 2009.
A powerful individual who lobbied the U.S. government to give money to CANVAS early on was Michael McFaul, the current U.S. Ambassador to Russia for the State Department and someone who “worked closely with” Popovic while serving as a Senior Fellow at theright-wing Hoover Institution at Stanford University.
Critics Chime In, Popovic Responds
Maryam Alkhawaja, director of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, said she had known Popovic for several years as an activist and had no knowledge of his outside relationships before the Wikileaks release of Stratfor emails.
“Srdja is someone I’ve met more than once. He was very supportive of the Bahrain revolution, supportive of the human rights fight,” Alkhawaja said in a phone interview. “When he gave me their information, that’s what surprised me the most.”
Alkhawaja said that at the time she wasn’t aware of what kind of firm Stratfor was, but she became immediately suspicious after reading Stratfor’s questions to her. She never corresponded with Stratfor due to what she felt was the suspicious nature of the emails coming from the firm.
“It was a series of really weird intelligence agency-like questions, given that they knew I was working in a human rights group. They were asking questions like, who’s funding the party coalition, how many members do they have, questions that even I didn’t know the answers to,” she said. “The fact that they asked questions like that, made me question the motive behind the email I received. That’s why I never responded.”
“Whenever we get emails like that or were contacted by people who seemed very interested in asking intelligence agency-like questions, we usually block them, because we know they probably work for the government,” Alkhawaja continued. “Journalists know the kind of work we do so they wouldn’t ask those questions in the first place. I just found the email very weird and thats why I actually never responded.”
In a Skype interview, one of Otpor!’s co-founders, who left the movement and asked to maintain his confidentiality, said his primary concern from the Wikileaks emails was that Popovic was giving out activists’ information to a third party without their prior consent.
An interview with Popovic sang a different tune about CANVAS. He stated, “We definitely wouldn’t jeopardize any of our activists’ safety, so we always follow their lead and never expose them to anybody without their consent.”
Popovic also said CANVAS would speak to anyone and everyone—without any discrimination—about nonviolent direct action.
“CANVAS will present anywhere — to those committed to activism and nonviolent struggle, but also to those who still live in the Cold War era and think that tanks and planes and nukes shape the world, not the common people leading popular movements,” he said.
“If we can persuade any decision maker in the world, in Washington, Kremlin, Tel Aviv or Damascus that it is nonviolent struggle that they should embrace and respect – not foreign military intervention, or oppression over own population – we would do that.”
Yet, given Popovic’s track-record—and specifically, who buttered his bread during the long professional career he pursued in activism—critics say Popovic fit like a glove at Stratfor.
“A group of Serbs cannot lead a protest movement anywhere outside Serbia, but his techniques are nonetheless instrumental in helping achieve certain political aims,” Professor Sussman said in an interview. “He also serves as an intelligence gatherer in the process—of use to private and state intelligence agencies. That’s what Stratfor saw as his use.” 

Embedded YouTube videos are not showing

I don't know how to solve it. Just did a research and found no answer.
I'll try later.
I'm sorry for that.

Update: The problem is in my computer as Mark has told me in a comment.
I'll download the thing that is missing.

I downloaded and installed shokwave even thou it was activated.
The problem persists.

Problem solved after disabling a plugin as explained in this site:
How to Fix the Shockwave Flash Error in Google Chrome.

Finish keyboard player Hella

Hella's biography:

"Hella´s original human identity and origins remain unknown, despite intensive investigations. All that is known for sure is that she is one of the victims of the notorious madman just known as Ruiz, and is the twisted result of his insane experiments . Hella was captured and held in captivity for months by Ruiz, until eventually she was brutally cast in plastic and rubber. Ruiz´s sick compulsion was to try to build a real living life-size doll for his own amusement. A dozen dead bodies of young girls were found in his cellar at the time of his arrest in the summer of 1985. They were all severely burned when they were dipped in hot plastic, their joints were punctured, and bones were broken by handmade maximum sized metallic bolts and screws. Some of the victims had their scalps cut off and replaced by blond wigs. Their eyes removed and replaced by poorly painted glass eyes as well. These operations ultimately lead to the victims deaths. Plenty of physical evidence remained, leading to the conclusion that there was a 13th victim. But her body was never found. This undeniably disturbing evidence, one eyeball and a scalp, was found to belong to one mysterious girl who miraculously was able to not only stay alive, but also managed to escape after her operations. Her whereabouts are unknown, but many eye witness reports have been made during the years of her. This one sole survivor, ”living doll” is known as Hella."

Source: this site.
Update: Hella plays keyboard at the Finish band Lordi. More about the band at their site

Saturday, February 22

Vandalism is not terrorism: NO to Brazilian bill 499/2013

Brazil is in a serious situation since the protests, backed by CIA, started in 2013.
For those who lived under dictatorship when those who were fighting were called many names, and terrorist was among them, the Bill 499/2013 triggers some memories and the fear of another police state is haunting many Brazilians.
As a Brazilian citizen I want to show my total and complete repudiation to this bill that is neither a solution for the problems we are facing now neither is a preventive measure for the World Cup or 2016 Olympiad.
Read about the bill here and here.

Friday, February 21

Nicolai Bessonov artist, wirter, theater artist, journalist and antrhopologist

I just came across with the work of Nicolai Bessonov and felt like sharing.

I'm still getting in touch with his work so I copied the biography he left at his site. It is a Google translation:

Nikolai Bessonov Vladyslavovych.
was born in Moscow in 1962.
He graduated with honors majoring MVHPU "metal artist" in 1984. Was assigned to the Institute of Atomic Energy. Since 1988, the position of "human free profession."

Created several cycles of paintings , he worked in the field of book illustration and design. Tried his hand as a theater artist. He was a consultant on television; published articles in journals and collections of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Wrote several books in the genre of journalism and popular scientific literature currently published two issues of "Gypsies and the press" and "History of the Gypsies - a new look." In addition to ethnography in the interests of - Witching processes, as well as the history of slavery in the New World. Book "Trials of witchcraft" has already been published, and the study of African-Americans to be published.

Personal painting exhibition held in Madrid in 1992, in the building of the State Duma in 1998 and in the Czech Cultural Center in 2001. Over the last decade paintings were exhibited at the Central House of Artists Gallery "action."

Workshop studio located in the suburban village bulls.

Married. Two daughters, the eldest - Artist theater "Romen"

Monday, February 17

Edward Said for dummies

On the first anniversary of 11 September a leading Palestinian, Edward Said, has warned the US against taking further military action against Iraq. In an interview for BBC HARDtalk, Mr Said told Tim Sebastian that many Arab countries are keen to seek a diplomatic solution to the Iraqi crisis. Professor Said, who for many years been a spokesman in America for the Palestinian cause, said: "I think it's possible to salvage something from the ruins, but it cannot be done quickly unfortunately, and it cannot be done by military means and that's what makes me so despondent."

The Myth of the "Clash of Civilizations"
In 1993 Harvard Professor Samuel P. Huntington wrote an essay titled "The Clash of Civilizations?" and later he expanded into a book with the same title, but without the question mark. Edward Said, late Columbia professor rips Huntington's thesis to shreds.

Saturday, February 15

Aldous Huxley's The Ultimate Revolution: 1962 Lecture on control of the mind and body

"...refinement in the methods of terror. they combine messages of terror with messages or acceptance..."

Aldous Huxley, a renowned futurist, and eugenicist can be heard here in a 1962 speech given to The Berkley Language Center in which he admits that dystopic novels "Brave New World" and "1984" were not just fiction, but blueprints for two types of controlled and enslaved societies by an oligarchy who will rule over the servitude.
Aldous Huxley, author of Brave New World, speaks to an audience at University of California, at The Berkeley Language Centre, surrounding the use of terrorism and pharmaceuticals to create willing slaves out of the population.
There is a part transcripted  here.
"Today we are faced, I think, with the approach of what may be called the ultimate revolution, the final revolution, where man can act directly on the mind-body of his fellows. Well needless to say some kind of direct action on human mind-bodies has been going on since the beginning of time. But this has generally been of a violent nature. The Techniques of terrorism have been known from time immemorial and people have employed them with more or less ingenuity sometimes with the utmost cruelty, sometimes with a good deal of skill acquired by a process of trial and error finding out what the best ways of using torture, imprisonment, constraints of various kinds."

"And it is of course true that pharmacologists are producing a great many new wonder drugs where the cure is almost worse than the disease. Every year the new edition of medical textbooks contains a longer and longer chapter of what are Iatrogenic diseases, that is to say diseases caused by doctors (laughter} And this is quite true, many of the wonder drugs are extremely dangerous. I mean they can produce extraordinary effects, and in critical conditions they should certainly be used, but they should be used with the utmost caution. But there is evidently a whole class of drugs effecting the CNS which can produce enormous changes in sedation in euphoria in energizing the whole mental process without doing any perceptible harm to the human body, and this presents to me the most extraordinary revolution. In the hands of a dictator these substances in one kind or the other could be used with, first of all, complete harmlessness*, and the result would be, you can imagine a euphoric that would make people thoroughly happy even in the most abominable circumstances."

"I mean these things are possible. This is the extraordinary thing, I mean after all this is even true with the crude old drugs. I mean, a housemate years ago remarked after reading Milton's Paradise Lost, He Says "And beer does more than Milton can to justify God's ways to man" (laughter). And beer is of course, an extremely crude drug compared to these ones. And you can certainly say that some of the psychic energizers and the new hallucinants could do incomparably more than Milton and all the Theologicians combined could possibly do to make the terrifying mystery of our existence seem more tolerable than it does. And here I think one has an enormous area in which the ultimate revolution could function very well indeed, an area in which a great deal of control could be used by not through terror, but by making life seem much more enjoyable than it normally does. Enjoyable to the point, where as I said before, Human beings come to love a state of things by which any reasonable and decent human standard they ought not to love and this I think is perfectly possible."

"And the same way with various technological advances now, I mean we need to think about the problems with automation and more profoundly the problems, which may arise with these new techniques, which may contribute to this ultimate revolution. Our business is to be aware of what is happening, and then to use our imagination to see what might happen, how this might be abused, and then if possible to see that the enormous powers which we now possess thanks to these scientific and technological advances to be used for the benefit of human beings and not for their degradation."

* The drugs being used are not harmless.

Thursday, February 13

A garden on your window: Barreau&Charbonnet's easy solution

I came across with Barreau&Charbonnet's volet végetal while searching for a way to hang plants on my window.
There is one apartment in my building that has one of the windows full of plants and i cannot figure how it was done.
This is a very easy do-it-yourself structure and you can find the explanation on how to do it at this page of Barreau&Charbonnet's site.
Can't they sell the thing ready? I'm not very skilled with these materials and not eager to learn it by now.
I watched the video, no, no, not for me. They didn't paint the wood and I don't like the green version either.
Could it be produced in red please? My phone number to inform me when it is ready: 983759275027576720q83.
Thank you! (blue would do)

I wish you you here...

...and I wish I was there.

Tuesday, February 11

The war on smoking: Too late to stop smoker's stigma

I came across with this article but I truly believe it is too late to stop stigmatization.
It is amazing how propaganda works and brainwash people in such a way that it borders fanaticism.
I have already heard that "smoking is a sin" not once or twice but many times. It would take another campaign to reverse it all but we know that it will not be done because what really matters is: profiting.

Let's Not Wage War on Smokers
Quitting smoking is good. Stigmatizing smokers isn't.
by Alice Robb

The praise being lavished on CVS in response to its promise to stop selling cigarettes is as profuse as it is predictable. When the drugstore announced last week that it plans to pull tobacco products as it continues to expand into the health care market, doctors, journalists and even the president applauded. “We came to the decision that cigarettes and providing health care just don’t go together in the same setting,” said CEO Larry J. Merlo. "I congratulate–and thank–the CEO of CVS Caremark, Larry Merlo, the board of directors, and all who helped make a choice that will have a profoundly positive impact on the health of our country," said Obama.

CVS’s decision is only the latest in a string of anti-smoking measures that have gone into effect with almost no pushback. In November, Michael Bloomberg’s bill banning the sale of cigarettes to New Yorkers under the age of 21 was met with near-universal support—even though his campaigns against soda and trans fats became fodder for national debates about individual rights and personal freedom. In December, the traditionally smoker-friendly EU voted to implement stricter anti-smoking regulations, including a total ban on the sale of flavored cigarettes.

The lack of resistance to these policies is a reflection of greater awareness of the health risks of smoking, but it’s also a sign of the stigma that’s come to surround cigarettes and the people who still buy them. Tobacco control policies have played a big role in slashing smoking rates—which have fallen from 56 percent of American adults in 1965 to 18 percent today—but they’ve also stigmatized smokers, forcing them to huddle outside public buildings, bars, and now parks. Stigma can be useful if it deters people from smoking, but it can have nasty side effects—like tempting smokers to hide their habits from their doctors, placing an added burden on already vulnerable populations, and making diagnoses of smoking-related diseases embarrassing (on top of life-threatening). Health care officials know this: that’s why they’ve fought to lessen the stigma attached to other conditions and behaviors, from AIDS to depression. “Stigmatization represented a profound psychological and social burden on those with AIDS or HIV infection and it also fuelled the spread of the epidemic,” wrote Jennifer Stuber and Ronald Bayer in a 2006 paper in the American Journal of Public Health. “Yet, in this instance, the concerns about the impacts of stigmatization have been given little consideration.”

Thanks to anti-smoking crusaders, “The fragrant has become foul,” wrote medical historian Allan Brandt in 1988. “An emblem of attraction has become repulsive; a mark of sociability has become deviant; a public behavior now is virtually private.” More recently, psychologists have found that smokers are seen as “outcasts” and even “lepers.”

For a recent paper in the Journal of Social Policy, Professor Hilary Graham of the UK’s York University charted the changing focus of anti-smoking campaigns.

In the US and the UK, health promotion campaigns were initially focused on the risks to the smoker…From the mid-1970s, the risks to others, and specifically to children born to pregnant smokers, were incorporated into government campaigns… Through the 1980 s and 1990 s, smoking was increasingly recast as a threat to the wider public, a shift in public health discourse that was particularly marked in the US.

In 2006, sociologist Hannah Farrimond and psychologist Helene Joffe asked 40 British adults what they thought about smokers. It wasn’t nice.

Non-smokers use terms such as ‘outcast’, ‘persecuted’, ‘lepers’, ‘under-class’ and ‘blacklisted’ to describe smokers’ status in society….Non-smoking participants associate smokers with a strong negative aesthetic. This comprises two aspects, smell (e.g. ‘reek’, ‘pong’, ‘stink’, ‘stale’, ‘old’) and negative appearance (‘stained yellow fingers’, ‘grey, dry, wrinkly skin’, ‘brown teeth’)…several non-smokers see smokers as lacking in cleanliness and engaging in poor self-care.

And in 2008, Stuber interviewed 816 current and former smokers in New York City.

Most respondents agreed that ‘‘Most people would not hire a smoker to take care of their children’’ (81%) and that ‘‘Most non-smokers would be reluctant to date someone who smokes’’ (72%). The prevalence of the perception ‘‘Most people believe smoking is a sign of personal failure’’ (21%) and, ‘‘Most people think less of a person who smokes ’’(39%), were endorsed less frequently but still indicate substantial stigma. The first two items measure social distance from smokers, whereas the second two items are measures of the devaluation of smokers


More educated smokers are better at rationalizing their behavior, while smokers of lower socio-economic status are more likely to internalize the stigma. “Smokers’ sense of the social disapproval they face varies as a function of socio-economic group,” Farrimond and Joffe found.

Higher SES smokers tend to challenge the ‘facts’ on which this stigmatization is based, whereas lower SES smokers internalize the stigmatized aspersions…Higher SES smokers also tend to use the pollution metaphor to their advantage to mitigate any perceived blame, by arguing that pollution caused by their personal smoking is equivalent or of lesser impact than other types of pollution…. Higher SES smoking participants also tend to argue that the health risk for passive smokers is relatively low, both in comparison to their own personal risk and in general.


In 2004, a team of health scientists at Oxford interviewed 45 people with lung cancer and found that felt even more stigma than other cancer patients:

Participants experienced stigma commonly felt by patients with other types of cancer, but, whether they smoked or not, they felt particularly stigmatized because the disease is so strongly associated with smoking… Some patients concealed their illness, which sometimes had adverse financial consequences or made it hard for them to gain support from other people.

In fact, ten percent of lung cancer patients have never smoked, though they may have a hard time getting doctors to believe them: one patient the team interviewed said that doctors refused to believe he’d never smoked, in spite of his own promises and the testimony of his wife.

In a 2008 study published in the journal Clinical Lung Cancer, researchers administered a questionnaire to 172 cancer patients—96 with lung cancer, 30 with breast cancer and 46 with prostate cancer—and found “perceived cancer-related stigma” to be highest in the lung cancer group. “A belief that one caused one's own cancer,” they noted, “is correlated with higher levels of guilt, shame, anxiety, and depression.”

Friday, February 7

10th anniversary of Cymbalta victim Traci Johnson: drug induced suicidal ideation

Since 2008 I remember Traci Johnson tragic death in Eli-Lilly facilities during Cymbalta clinical trials.
I started posting at my blog Justana and now I publish there and here.
This beautiful and great woman hanged herself as a side effect of the drug Cymbalta.
Her story is known by all of those who are trying hard to raise awareness about the side effects of psychiatric drugs whether they are patients or doctors like Peter Breggin, David Healy and so many others.
When I first saw her picture I was amazed because I thought she resembles me. I asked my dad and he agreed.
Maybe this resemblance affected my choice among so many other hideous stories of young people and children losing their lives because of antidepressants SSRIs.
I found the left picture yesterday when I was searching to make this post and the picture at the right by Jacqueline Larma/AP showing - "Pallbearers carry the coffin of Traci Johnson out of the Philadelphia church where she was active in everything from teaching Sunday school to singing in the choir. Johnson, 19, committed suicide Saturday in an Indianapolis clinic."

R.I.P. little angel.
I am representing all the colours because you are shining so much that your light is seen from far.

Wednesday, February 5

Van Gogh's realistic studies of hands

These are studies Van Gogh did in 1885.
For those who think that impressionists cannot draw here is the answer.
They did it not as an end in itself but as an exercise to achieve what they wanted to paint. There are other studies and I'll publish them this week.