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Home country: USA
Current location: Former USSR
Member since: Wed Oct 25, 2006, 02:04 PM
Number of posts: 3,428

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Has anyone bought glasses with progressive lenses online?

I've bought from Zenni Optical a few times, but only normal prescriptions. I'm was thinking of getting progressives this time, again from Zenni, but saw something that made me a bit leery.

Figured I'd go with Zenni again, since they did a good job with the regular prescriptions. But apparently the pupillary distance (PD) is different with near vision and far vision. I have a measured distance of 68 and 63, a difference of 5, while apparently Zenni automatically default the difference to 3. Zenni will let you put in 2 PD, but only left and right, in case your nose is off-center, I guess. You cannot enter a near and far PD. I asked Zenni about this, but didn't really get a suitable answer. So questions...

1. Are buying progressives online reliable or more of a crap shoot?

2. If you've bought progressives online, where did you buy them? What is your experience with this company?

3. Any other information or suggestions are welcome!

John Pilger on Paris, ISIS and Media Propaganda

John Pilger interview starts around 3:15

Erdogan’s Dirty Dangerous ISIS Games | New Eastern Outlook

In October 2014 US Vice President Joe Biden told a Harvard gathering that Erdoğan’s regime was backing ISIS with “hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of tons of weapons…” Biden later apologized clearly for tactical reasons to get Erdoğan’s permission to use Turkey’s Incirlik Air Base for airstrikes against ISIS in Syria, but the dimensions of Erdoğan’s backing for ISIS since revealed is far, far more than Biden hinted.

ISIS militants were trained by US, Israeli and now it emerges, by Turkish special forces at secret bases in Konya Province inside the Turkish border to Syria, over the past three years. Erdoğan’s involvement in ISIS goes much deeper. At a time when Washington, Saudi Arabia and even Qatar appear to have cut off their support for ISIS, they remaining amazingly durable. The reason appears to be the scale of the backing from Erdoğan and his fellow neo-Ottoman Sunni Islam Prime Minister, Ahmet Davutoğlu.

Nice Family Business

The prime source of money feeding ISIS these days is sale of Iraqi oil from the Mosul region oilfields where they maintain a stronghold. The son of Erdoğan it seems is the man who makes the export sales of ISIS-controlled oil possible.

Bilal Erdoğan owns several maritime companies. He has allegedly signed contracts with European operating companies to carry Iraqi stolen oil to different Asian countries. The Turkish government buys Iraqi plundered oil which is being produced from the Iraqi seized oil wells. Bilal Erdoğan’s maritime companies own special wharfs in Beirut and Ceyhan ports that are transporting ISIS’ smuggled crude oil in Japan-bound oil tankers.

Gürsel Tekin vice-president of the Turkish Republican Peoples’ Party, CHP, declared in a recent Turkish media interview, “President Erdoğan claims that according to international transportation conventions there is no legal infraction concerning Bilal’s illicit activities and his son is doing an ordinary business with the registered Japanese companies, but in fact Bilal Erdoğan is up to his neck in complicity with terrorism, but as long as his father holds office he will be immune from any judicial prosecution.” Tekin adds that Bilal’s maritime company doing the oil trades for ISIS, BMZ Ltd, is “a family business and president Erdoğan’s close relatives hold shares in BMZ and they misused public funds and took illicit loans from Turkish banks.”

-----> http://journal-neo.org/2015/08/24/erdogan-s-dirty-dangerous-isis-games/

Do you find yourself longing for the apocalypse? (Commercial)

A Game Worth the Candle: Terror and the Agenda of our Elites

People see the carnage in Paris, and cry, “When will this end?” The hard answer is that it is not going to end, not any time soon. We are living through the horrific consequences of decisions and actions taken long ago, as well as those of being taken right now. The currents and movements set in motion by these actions cannot be quelled in an instant — not by wishing, not by hashtags of solidarity or light shows on iconic buildings … and certainly not by more bombing, destruction, repression and lies, which are the main drivers of our present-day hell.

There will be no end to rampant terrorism soon because our leaders are not really interested in quelling terrorism. This is simply not a priority for them. For example, in the past 12 years they have utterly destroyed three largely secular governments (Iraq, Libya and Syria) and turned them into vast spawning grounds for violent sectarianism. They did this despite reports from their own intelligence services and military analysts telling them that the spread of violent extremism would almost certainly be the outcome of their interventions. But for our leaders — both the elected ones and the elites they serve — their geopolitical and macroeconomic agendas outweighed any concerns over these consequences. Put simply, to them, the game was worth the candle. They would press ahead with their agenda, knowing that it would exacerbate extremism and terrorism, but doubtless hoping that these consequences could be contained — or better yet, confined to nations seen as rivals to that agenda, or to remote places and peoples of no worth to our great and good.

Our leaders are not opposed to terrorism, neither as a concept nor as a practical tool. Over the past several decades, our leaders and their allies and puppets around the world have at times openly supported terrorist violence when it suited their aims. The prime example is in Afghanistan, where Jimmy Carter and his Saudi allies began arming and funding violent jihadis BEFORE the Soviet incursion there. In fact, as Carter’s own foreign policy guru, Zbigniew Brzezinski, has openly stated, the United States began supporting Islamist terrorism in Afghanistan precisely in order to draw the Soviet Union into the country. Despite fierce internal opposition in the Kremlin, the Soviets finally took the bait, and sent in troops to save the secular government it was backing from the fundamentalist rebellion.

Ronald Reagan continued and expanded this policy. The same type of men now in charge of ISIS and al Qaeda were welcomed to the Oval Office and praised by Reagan as “the moral equivalent of our founding fathers.” They were given arms, money and training in terrorist tactics by our military and intelligence services. They were given textbooks — prepared, financed and distributed by the US government — to indoctrinate schoolchildren in violent jihad. The creation of this worldwide network of Islamic extremists was aimed at weakening the Soviet Union. This was the overriding geopolitical concern of the time. Any other consequences that might flow from this policy — creating a global infrastructure of sectarian extremism, seeding a radical minority with arms, funds and innumerable contacts and connections with state were considered unimportant. But we are now living with those consequences.

-----> http://www.chris-floyd.com/Articles/2532-a-game-worth-the-candle-terror-and-the-agenda-of-our-elites.html

The F-35 Could Provide 23 Years of Free College for Everyone

$1.45 trillion is a lot of money. That’s the estimated total cost of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, which can’t even fire its own gun until 2019 due to software issues. It’s also the estimated cost of providing tuition-free public higher education for every student in the US until 2039. Which one would you choose?

The F-35 is the epitome of Pentagon waste and cronyism. The US has already spent roughly $400 billion on the jet, made by top defense contractor Lockheed Martin. The Pentagon has already promised to buy 2,443 jets for the Air Force, Navy, and Marines in an effort to “modernize” the current fleet of fighter jets.

But the F-35 is a lemon. Last year, it was revealed the F-35’s 25mm cannon couldn’t fire due to inefficient computers, and even once it does, the jet is unable to carry even a minimal amount of ammunition.

“There will be no gun until 3F , there is no software to support it now or for the next four-ish years,” an anonymous Air Force official told the Daily Beast. “Block 3F is slated for release in 2019, but who knows how much that will slip?”

Along with weapons issues, the F-35 can’t even fly — its fleet was grounded for month in June of 2014 after engine malfunctions resulting in the jet catching fire before takeoff. Since 2007, the F-35 has been grounded 13 times due to takeoff issues. In 2008, the RAND corporation tested the F-35 in a simulated air battle with China, and graded the F-35’s performance as “double-inferior,” warning in its report that the F-35 “can’t turn, can’t climb, can’t run.”

-----> http://usuncut.com/politics/how-the-f-35-could-provide-23-years-of-free-college-for-everyone/

••• Choose wisely America! Oh right, you've already chosen, haven't you? •••

The Weekend Economists travel the Yellow Brick Road, November 14-15.

Well, I was going to try to tie this weekends WEE into events yesterday in France, but realized it might take me hours to get up to speed. So, on to the regularly planned Weekend Economists!


Think back to your school years. Remember being assigned a book to read. Now, maybe you actually tried and finished reading that book (good for you), or maybe you just skimmed it, or maybe you just read the Cliff Notes. So now you go into class, knowing that you know this stuff. The teacher starts discussing the assigned book, and you're left pondering, "just what book is he/she talking about? There was nothing like that in the book I read." Yeah, we've all been there.

Fast forward a decade or a dozen (years, not decades), and you become aware on you own that there are certain books, movies, TV shows, even music, that have a hidden meaning beyond that which is obvious. This is the path we are taking today. I, for one, will focus on one book, The Wizard of Oz, mostly because I'm doing this WEE on short notice. But there are certainly numerous other examples. Feel free to join the main discussion, or add your own somewhere down the line.


The Wizard of Oz. Just a children's book, correct? A storm displaces a girl far far away from home, and all she wants is to go home. But there have been several other reinterpretations of this book, the most famous of which follows.

Do remember that this following discussion is about the book. A few things were changed or eliminated in the movie.


The Wizard of Oz as a satirical allegory of money and politics in 1900

Dorothy (and Toto) of Kansas

Dorothy, the protagonist of the story, represents an individualized ideal of the American people. She is each of us at our best-kind but self-respecting, guileless but levelheaded, wholesome but plucky. She is akin to Everyman, or, in modern parlance, "the girl next door." Dorothy lives in Kansas, where virtually everything-the treeless prairie, the sun-beaten grass, the paint-stripped house -- even Aunt Em and Uncle Henry -- is a dull, drab, lifeless gray. This grim depiction reflects the forlorn condition of Kansas in the late 1880s and early 1890s, when a combination of scorching droughts, severe winters, and an invasion of grasshoppers reduced the prairie to an uninhabitable wasteland. The result for farmers and all who depended on agriculture for their livelihood was devastating. Many ascribed their misfortune to the natural elements, called it quits, and moved on. Others blamed the hard times on bankers, the railroads, and various middlemen who seemed to profit at the farmers' expense. Angry victims of the Kansas calamity also took aim at the politicians, who often appeared indifferent to their plight. Around these economic and political grievances, the Populist movement coalesced.

In the late 1880s and early 1890s, Populism spread rapidly throughout the Midwest and into the South, but Kansas was always the site of its most popular and radical elements. In 1890, Populist candidates began winning seats in state legislatures and Congress, and two years later Populists in Kansas gained control of the lower house of the state assembly, elected a Populist governor, and sent a Populist to the U.S. Senate. The twister that carries Dorothy to Oz symbolizes the Populist cyclone that swept across Kansas in the early 1890s. Baum was not the first to use the metaphor. Mary E. Lease, a fire-breathing Populist orator, was often referred to as the "Kansas Cyclone," and the free-silver movement was often likened to a political whirlwind that had taken the nation by storm. Although Dorothy does not stand for Lease, Baum did give her (in the stage version) the last name "Gale"-a further pun on the cyclone metaphor.

The name of Dorothy's canine companion, Toto, is also a pun, a play on teetotaler. Prohibitionists were among the Populists' most faithful allies, and the Populist hope William Jennings Bryan was himself a "dry." As Dorothy embarks on the Yellow Brick Road, Toto trots "soberly" behind her, just as the Prohibitionists soberly followed the Populists.


The Three Amigos

In the hope that the Wizard will help her return to Kansas, Dorothy embarks on the Yellow Brick Road to Emerald City. After traveling several miles, she encounters the Scarecrow, who does not "know anything" because he has "no brains at all." The brainless Scarecrow represents the midwestern farmers, whose years of hardship and subjection to ridicule had created a sense of inferiority and self-doubt. Populist leaders such as William Peffer and "Sockless" Jerry Simpson were often portrayed as deluded simpletons who failed to understand the true causes of their economic plight. The Populists' "stupidity" was also attested to by their apocalyptic rhetoric, conspiracy theories, and radical agenda, which included nationalization of the railroads, a graduated income tax, and the unlimited coinage of silver. Critics scoffed at their overblown rants, mocked their paranoid style, and dismissed their simplistic nostrums as the distempered ravings of "socialist hayseeds."

The picture of the Scarecrow is not so one-sided. His conduct on the journey through Oz is marked by common sense, resilience, and rectitude. He is not so dumb after all. As we learn near the end of the story, the Scarecrow-cum-farmer had brains all along-perhaps brains enough to grasp the true causes of his misery and the basics of monetary policy.


Proceeding down the road, the duo encounter the Tin Woodman. Once healthy and productive, the Woodman was cursed by the wicked Witch of the East, lost his dexterity, and accidentally hacked off his limbs. Each lost appendage was replaced with tin until the Woodman was made entirely of metal. In essence, the Witch of the East (big business) reduced the Woodman to a machine, a dehumanized worker who no longer feels, who has no heart. As such, the Tin Man represents the nation's workers, in particular the industrial workers with whom the Populists hoped to make common cause. His rusted condition parallels the prostrated condition of labor during the depression of 1890s; like many workers of that period, the Tin Man is unemployed. Yet, with a few drops of oil, he is able to resume his customary labors-a remedy akin to the "pump-priming" measures that Populists advocated.


Having liberated the Tin Man, the trio proceeds through the forest, only to be accosted by a roaring lion. He is none other than William Jennings Bryan, the Nebraska representative in Congress and later the Democratic presidential candidate in 1896 and 1900. Bryan (which rhymes with "lion," a near homonym of "lying") was known for his "roaring" rhetoric and was occasionally portrayed in the press as a lion, as was the Populist Party itself. Bryan adopted the free-silver mantra and won the Populists' support in his first race against McKinley. Like the Lion of Oz, Bryan was the last to "join" the party. His defeat in the general election was largely owing to his failure to win the support of eastern workers, just as the Lion's claws "could make no impression" on the Tin Man.

Although Bryan's supporters considered him courageous, his critics thought him "cowardly" for opposing war with Spain in 1898 and the subsequent annexation of the Philippines. Yet, for anti-imperialists, who counted many Populists among their ranks, Bryan's unpopular stand was courageous indeed. Less courageous, however, were his final decision to vote for annexation (albeit as a tactical move) and his failure to fight vigorously for free silver in the election of 1900, both of which disappointed Populists.


Oz, Emerald City, and the Wacky Wizard

The Land of Oz, with its varied landscape and diverse inhabitants, is a microcosm of America, and Emerald City, its center and seat of government, represents Washington, D.C. In an effort to be made whole, Dorothy and her band travel to the capital to see the Wizard, who presumably has the power to grant them their wishes. The journey to Emerald City corresponds to the Populist effort to acquire power in Washington, and the travelers recall the "industrial armies" who marched on the capital during the depression of 1893-97. The most famous of these, "Coxey's Army," was led by a successful businessman who urged the government to fund public-works programs (most notably a "good roads bill") to alleviate unemployment. Coxey, who hoped to meet with President Cleveland, was arrested for trespassing, and his proposals were ignored. Dorothy and company also face hazards on the road to Emerald City and are turned away by the Wizard, who shows little sympathy for their plight.

The Wizard, who "can take on any form he wishes," represents the protean politicians of the era, especially the presidents of the Gilded Age. Given the even division of Democrats and Republicans, and the razor-thin majorities of most presidential elections, candidates rarely took clear stands on the issues. As a result, voters often had difficulty in determining what the candidates stood for. The Wizard fits this description, for "who the real Oz is," Dorothy is informed, "no living person can tell." Indeed, when the foursome enter the throne room, the Wizard appears to each in a different form. Like many politicians, he is unwillingly to help them without a quid pro quo: "I never grant favors without some return."

Politicians are also infamous for failing to keep promises, and the great Oz is no different. When Dorothy's party returns after killing the Witch of the West, the Wizard keeps them waiting, then puts them off. By accident, the all-powerful Wizard is exposed and his true identity revealed. Far from a mighty magician, "Oz, the Terrible" is merely a "humbug," a wizened old man whose "power" is achieved through elaborate acts of deception. The Wizard is simply a manipulative politician who appears to the people in one form, but works behind the scenes to achieve his true ends. Such figures are terrified at being exposed; the Wizard cautions Dorothy to lower her voice lest he be discovered and "ruined."


Much much more at the link.....

-----> http://www.usagold.com/gildedopinion/oz.html


So now, tell me. Aren't thing today much like things back then? The eastern bankers oppressing everyday people. Candidates that rarely took clear stands of issues, or today, a candidate that takes every stand on every issue. Workers reduced to machines. A brainless mass of people. People and politicians with no courage at all. It goes on and on.

Elmer Fudd, Wildlife Photographer

If you grew up watching Looney Tunes cartoons, you probably know Elmer Fudd as the hunter whose life mission is to capture or kill Bugs Bunny. But did you know that Fudd’s character originally started out as a wildlife photographer? In the first episode featuring Fudd, he’s actually a photographer trying to shoot his bunny nemesis with a camera rather than a hunter trying to shoot him with a gun.

The Phoblographer writes that the episode originally aired back in 1939 and is titled “Elmer’s Candid Camera.” It depicts Elmer Fudd as a guy who’s trying to get into the art of wildlife photography.

After getting all his camera gear together, Fudd goes out into the wild to make pictures. He then runs into Happy Rabbit, an early character that went on to become Bugs Bunny. As Fudd tries to capture a perfect shot of the rabbit, the bunny begins to foil the shots and torment Fudd.

-----> http://petapixel.com/2015/10/20/elmer-fudd-was-originally-a-wildlife-photographer/

Apparently can't post a DailyMotion video on DU, so here's a link to DM.


A history of sugar – the food nobody needs, but everyone craves

It seems as though no other substance occupies so much of the world’s land, for so little benefit to humanity, as sugar. According to the latest data, sugarcane is the world’s third most valuable crop after cereals and rice, and occupies 26,942,686 hectares of land across the globe. Its main output – apart from commercial profits – is a global public health crisis, which has been centuries in the making.

The obesity epidemic – along with related diseases including cancer, dementia, heart disease and diabetes – has spread across every nation where sugar-based carbohydrates have come to dominate to the food economy.

So at this time, it pays to step back and consider the ancient origins of sugar, to understand how it has grown to present an imminent threat to our landscapes, our societies and our health.

Stepping back

Human physiology evolved on a diet containing very little sugar and virtually no refined carbohydrate. In fact, sugar probably entered into our diets by accident. It is likely that sugarcane was primarily a “fodder” crop, used to fatten pigs, though humans may have chewed on the stalks from time to time.

-----> http://theconversation.com/a-history-of-sugar-the-food-nobody-needs-but-everyone-craves-49823

Aung San Suu Kyi & Myanmar's 'Muslim-free' election - Al Jazeera English

Aung San Suu Kyi has appeared in at least two different threads today, so I'm sorry to report...

Myanmar's main opposition party, led by the Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, deliberately bypassed Muslim candidates ahead of the November election, a senior party member told Al Jazeera's Investigative Unit.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, the source said Suu Kyi ordered an "Islamic purge" in the National League for Democracy (NLD) to appease growing anti-Muslim sentiment fuelled by hardline Buddhist nationalists.

Not one of the NLD's 1,151 candidates standing for regional and national elections is Muslim, despite there being around five million Muslims - or between 4 and 10 percent of the population - in the country.

There are also no Muslim candidates in the military-backed, governing Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) running in what has been billed as the country's first free and fair general election in 25 years.

In the run-up to the vote, local election commissions reportedly rejected dozens of Muslim candidates with authorities denying that their parents were citizens, claims which many of the shunned candidates denied.

"I think Suu Kyi is a bit concerned about the Ma Ba Tha, so it became an Islamic purge here," said the source.

-----> http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2015/10/myanmar-muslim-free-election-151024182312301.html
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