lundi 19 mars 2018

Hitler and Stalin: Who really killed more?

So there's a truism that Stalin killed more than Hitler, having killed 20 million.

However, according to historian Tim Snyder...


Today, after two decades of access to Eastern European archives, and thanks to the work of German, Russian, Israeli, and other scholars, we can resolve the question of numbers. The total number of noncombatants killed by the Germans—about 11 million—is roughly what we had thought. The total number of civilians killed by the Soviets, however, is considerably less than we had believed. We know now that the Germans killed more people than the Soviets did.....
He goes on....


The total figure of civilians deliberately killed under Stalinism, around six million, is of course horribly high. But it is far lower than the estimates of twenty million or more made before we had access to Soviet sources.
and finally.


All in all, the Germans deliberately killed about 11 million noncombatants, a figure that rises to more than 12 million if foreseeable deaths from deportation, hunger, and sentences in concentration camps are included. For the Soviets during the Stalin period, the analogous figures are approximately six million and nine million. These figures are of course subject to revision, but it is very unlikely that the consensus will change again as radically as it has since the opening of Eastern European archives in the 1990s.

I have heard from other sources that the death figures given for Stalin have gone down since 1991. Though there are questions as to how complete the Soviet archives are. In addition, we know that the Soviets released prisoners that were in poor condition or were on the brink of death. Their death toll has not been recorded.

via International Skeptics Forum

Political Thriller in Norway - Over a Facebook Post


A social media post by Norway’s justice minister accusing the opposition Labour party of putting terrorists’ rights above national security has triggered a no-confidence vote that could bring down the country’s minority government.

Five centre-left parties have said they aim to oust Sylvi Listhaug, of the populist, anti-immigration Progress party in the parliamentary vote on Tuesday, following widespread outrage at the Facebook post, which she has since deleted.

“Labour thinks the rights of terrorists are more important than the nation’s security. Like and share,” the minister wrote on 9 March beneath a photo of masked Islamist fighters dressed in combat fatigues, black scarves and ammunition belts.

The rightwing extremist Anders Behring Breivik shot dead 69 mainly young people at a summer camp run by the youth wing of the Norwegian Labour party on Utøya island in July 2011. Eight more were killed by a car bomb in central Oslo.

Listhaug’s post, which coincided with the Oslo premiere of a film about the Utøya killings, the country’s worst peacetime massacre, unleashed a political furore and she was eventually forced to apologise eight times in parliament last week.

The minister took six days to take the post down and faced further criticism when her initial apology to MPs referred to a “communications” error rather than the offensive content of the post. She eventually made an unconditional apology, saying “of course it is not the case” that Labour was a threat to national security.
A bit of nuance is gone here. Parliament majority was ready to vote on strong criticism of Listhaug, while only the single representative of the fringe Red (Communist Party) had called for a vote of no confidence.

However, when Listhaug came to Parliament to make a public apology for her Facebook post, she made a mess of it.

She probably thought she could get away with a half-apology, and apologized for people feeling hurt.

This outraged Parliament, making her return to make a second apology.

Which was not much better, making her return to make a third apology.

Parliament was still not pleased, and she returned a fourth time where she finally apologized also for the content of her post, saying that of course Labour cares about the security of the nation.

The result of the apology made Labour, the Socialist Left Partyand the Greens immediately declare that they will now support Red's vote of no confidence. Later the Center Party also joined in, leaving the Christian Democrats - who is needed to gain majority.


The opposition Centre party on Friday joined several leftwing groups that had already said they would support the no-confidence vote, in effect leaving the fate of the justice minister – unless she resigns – to the Christian Democratic party, which was meeting on Monday to decide how it would vote.

“The polarising rhetoric and behaviour must end,” the party’s leader, Knut Arild Hareide, said before the talks started. “The conclusion has not been reached.”
The Christian Democrats have a good relationship with the coalition's Conservative Party and Liberal Party, but has a bad history with the Progress Party. Especially with Listhaug, who has previously claimed in a televised debate that Christian Democrat leader Hareide "licks the back of imams" - i.e. does anything and everything he can to please them.

Their meeting ended earlier today, and the Christian Democrats have decided that no, they don't have confidence in the Minister of Justice.

The vote is tomorrow.


Norwegian media reported over the weekend that the government would stand by Listhaug and resign if the Christian Democrats – who, while supporting Solberg as prime minister since 2013, have refused to join her coalition mainly because of their dislike of Listhaug and the Progress party – backed the motion.
This is tradition in Norway. A cabinet stands and falls together. No confidence against one minister is no confidence against the PM and the entire cabinet.

That's why the PM will most likely go before Parliament and tell them that if the vote of no confidence passes, she will resign and leave Norway without an executive branch. That might force the Christian Democrats to hold their noses and not vote yes.

I don't know how dramatic this sounds to a non-Norwegian, but it's the biggest political thriller in my lifetime. The whole nation is holding its breath, waiting for what happens in Parliament tomorrow.

Source from The Guardian.

via International Skeptics Forum

AE911T reaches inflationary limit and names "The General Population" as guilty party

This is priceless!

AE911Truth, in a new post at Facebook yesterday, admits they may never figure out 9/11, and they assign blame!

And the culprits are:
  • The US Government
  • The Media
  • The Education System
  • The General Population
  • plenty of other institutions

In other words: Everybody, probably the whole world over.

AE911Truth has thus reached, perhaps even surpassed, the Inflationary Limit of Conspiracy Theories, at least for the "cover-up". (Of course R.Mackey already called it more than 8 years ago.)

Full post:
"A number of hypotheses have been put forth within the 9/11 Truth Movement as to what brought the three World Trade Center towers down on 9/11. Some of them don't hold a candle to the evidence for controlled demolition with the use of explosives and nano-thermite — a theory that AE911Truth has documented and supports.

But the one thing that is agreed upon by everyone in the 9/11 Truth community is that fire could not have been the main cause of the sudden, rapid, and complete destruction of WTC Buildings 1, 2, and 7. We may never know exactly how this crime was accomplished, so all we can do is put the pieces together as best we can. At the same time, we can declare with confidence that the narrative we've been fed by the government is not — and cannot possibly be — true.

The 9/11 Truth Movement is about peeling back the layers of deception and exposing the obvious fabrications. In doing this, we are up against a giant machine whose job it is to make sure the official 9/11 story is the only one that is heard and believed.

One would think that the substantial physical evidence and credible eyewitness testimony alone would prompt people into thinking differently about the events of the day.

Not so. Thus, when the public brushes off our attempts to be heard, we can thank the following guilty parties:

* The US Government: At certain levels, those in the upper echelons of power in Washington, D.C., had to have had some knowledge of what was to happen; at the very least, they allowed the event to take place. After the fact, their official reports on their so-called investigations have been proven to be full of fraudulent claims and omissions of critical data.

* The Media: Rarely do the mainstream media allow the real facts about 9/11 to be presented to their audience. When actual facts are occasionally allowed to filter through the MSM's "fake news," the presenters of these facts are treated as objects of ridicule, and the information they impart is never followed up on or verified by these pretend journalists. Lately, independent online news sites and video makers who dare to find and tell the truth about 9/11 (and other false flags) are being removed at an alarming rate by social media site owners — YouTube being the primary example.

* The Education System: Most students in grade 12 or below weren't alive on September 11, 2001. When their teachers bring up the subject, they defer to the simplistic, government-sanctioned version of events (for example, Some university professors have been relieved of their teaching posts (and even their tenure) for trying to educate pupils on this politically charged issue.

* The General Population: There seems to have been a major shift in people’s attitudes since 9/11 when it comes to questioning the government in general — from speaking freely about controversial subjects to self-censorship. If one dares express doubts about how the towers came down, he is made to feel unpatriotic. Moreover, so many unconstitutional rights-taking acts have been passed by Congress that the populace is afraid that if they criticize authority figures or question the party line on 9/11, federal agents or state/county/local police (the latter increasingly controlled the feds) will "come and get us and lock us up." Thus, many are wary of even uttering the word "9/11" in polite company.

There are plenty of other institutions to blame for suppressing 9/11 Truth. We who have worked hard to hold some of these entities to account still have some heavy lifting to do. We can't abandon the effort, because the worldwide consequence of doing nothing is more tyranny, more corruption at the top, more loss of privacy and legal rights and peace.

It's up to each of us to decide what role we will play in bringing the truth to light. Of one thing we can be sure: Being open to the truth about 9/11 and being courageous enough to tell that truth isn't an option if we want our children and grandchildren to live in a just, upright society. No, it's not an option. It's a must."

via International Skeptics Forum

Self-Driving Uber Car Kills Arizona Pedestrian

Self-Driving Uber Car Kills Arizona Pedestrian

via International Skeptics Forum

Weather Control and the Jews.

In a video uploaded to his official Facebook page on Friday morning, White referenced the Rothschilds, a European Jewish banking family who have been linked to anti-Semitic conspiracy theories for years.

"Man, it just started snowing out of nowhere this morning, man. Y'all better pay attention to this climate control, man, this climate manipulation," he says in the video, which was shot through windshield of a car driving through downtown Washington. "And DC keep talking about, 'We a resilient city.' And that's a model based off the Rothschilds controlling the climate to create natural disasters they can pay for to own the cities, man. Be careful."
An apology for his insensitive remarks was soon posted.

"I want to apologize to the Jewish Community and anyone I have offended," councilmember Trayon White Sr. wrote on Twitter and Instagram. "I did not intend to be anti-Semitic, and I see I should not have said that after learning from my colleagues."
Unless Mr. White was merely indulging in satire, I would have expected some sort of explanation for his sounding so ignorant while on the DC council.

So, did he actually think anyone has that kind of control over the weather?


via International Skeptics Forum

The Opioid Crisis

I guess it being put back on the front page of the news is a good enough reason to start a general discussion thread about it.

For context right now America is a pretty big upward trend of deaths due to overdose deaths from opioids, usually legally (if arguably overly) prescribed for treatment of chronic pain conditions. A lot of chronic pain sufferers claim that only opioids are effective at treating their conditions, while studies seem to refute this.

Some info:

- As of this writing over 42,000 people have died from opioid overdoses.

- ~115 people a day die from intentional or unintentional opioid misuse.

- Roughly a quarter of patients that are prescribed opioides misuse them

So I am interested in hearing whatever thinks of this and what should be done.

CNN Opioid Crisis Fast Facts:

Department of Health and Human Services Page on the Opioid Crisis:

NBC News: Jury's in, opioids are not more effective:

National Institute on Drug Abuse: Opioid Overdose Crisis:

via International Skeptics Forum

How truly skeptical is our skepticism?

I self-describe as skeptic. On the other hand, my skepticism is of fairly recent vintage. That is, while I’ve always been skeptical of very many things, a generally skeptical outlook (towards everything, not just some individual things) is something I’ve ‘converted’ to not very long back.

Here’s one stumbling block I seem to have come up against, and I was wondering if any of the more seasoned skeptics here might have thoughts about this. (And while this occurs to me only now, perhaps this has already been discussed elsewhere, in which case you could just point me to those discussion/s.)

I was, just now, reading this article about some studies that turned out to be rigged by pharmaceutical companies. The article went on to talk about how “evidence-based medicine” is sometimes, in specific instances, not really “evidence-based” at all. It was a newspaper article, which I read in today’s (physical) paper, and I’m not attempting to search the article out online and link to it here, since the article itself is only incidental. I mention it only because it set me thinking : how truly skeptical is our skepticism? Or are there limits to (individual) skepticism?

Our overall (rational) worldview comprises so many elements that we take simply on trust. Our trust in medication that research apparently pronounces beneficial is one egregious example of this. Similarly, our trust in certain dietary and lifestyle choices that research apparently validates (and which research could be vitiated by junk-food manufacturers, for example, or tobacco manufacturers, or cell phone manufacturers, just as medical research is sometimes subverted by pharmaceutical companies). But these examples are very focused, very specific. What I’m talking about now, in this post and thread, is in a more general sense, and this applies to most things that make up our worldview.

Take, for instance, the ‘fact’ that nothing can go faster than light. Even schoolchildren ‘know’ this. But you and I, ordinary individuals, how sure are we of this after all? If we wanted to make sure of this, at the individual level, then what would we do? Read up a bit. Browse through the Internet. Read some books. Talk with friends and acquaintances who happen to be physicists. Perhaps laboriously work our way through some research papers. And yet, these are only words written online, talks delivered by someone online, or words written in a book or paper. How ‘true’ are they?

If we’re really really determined, we could educate ourselves, get the necessary training in physics and mathematics to be better able to evaluate this question. Perhaps we could go even further, and get ourselves the qualifications, perhaps even the jobs, that would give us direct access to actual experiments, and we could then actually verify this for ourselves. Yes, then we could really and truly verify this!

But doing this would take up years and years of our life! And what we’d have verified would be only one single thing/idea, or at least, one single class of things/ideas. That would still leave unverified all of the other things that we think we know about the world. To take a random instance, the veracity of, say, evolution. That’s a wholly different subject altogether, a wholly different disciple. And these two (the speed of light, and evolution) were just two random examples, there are so many other things the “knowledge’ of which we simply take for granted, isn’t it?

My point is, all of our skepticism notwithstanding, it seems to me that we are still, at the individual level, reduced to taking most of the elements of what we know simply on trust.

Had we been born five, six centuries before today, perhaps a couple of millennia before today, then could our skepticism (assuming we could have somehow, magically, been equipped with an uncompromisingly skeptical outlook back then) have led us to reject the nonsense that made up the worldview of people back then? We could have read, and ‘researched’, and still gone round and round exploring the minutiae of theology and philosophy. But could we have broken out of the system, into realization that we don’t actually know anything at all? Back five hundred years ago, or a couple millennia ago, I mean?

Can we really do it now, today? At the individual level? (And after all, for true skepticism, the “individual level” is ultimately the only/truly meaningful level, right? Or am I wrong in assuming that?)

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this!

via International Skeptics Forum