Smoking cessation: $22 billion market at a crossroads

Public health issues are so complex that they do not lend themselves to simplification. Nonetheless, the stakes are clear: it’s all about saving lives. That is the case in the fight against smoking, which is now at a crossroads.

The only way to understand current policies in the fight against smoking is by analyzing the history of this public health nuisance.

First of all, the initial phase of recognizing that tobacco damages health was long and chaotic. The scientific facts connecting smoking to various cancers were at first denied, then covered up. Next, vast marketing resources were deployed to ensure market growth for a notoriously harmful and dangerous product that continued to attract new users. Lastly, misleading products were devised, including so-called “light” cigarettes that gave the false impression that they would be less carcinogenic.

The other main element of the problem is the focus on nicotine. In the 60s, experts identified nicotine as the addictive ingredient in tobacco. That created the misconception that nicotine was the harmful ingredient in cigarettes. In reality, while nicotine is a chemical composition with downsides in terms of health, it is very benign. In any case, it is not responsible for causing cancers. As Professor Michael Russel wrote in 1976: “People smoke for nicotine, but they die from the tar.”

As the tobacco industry had proven its malice and nicotine had been identified as public enemy number one, the strategy for the fight against smoking seemed clear: preaching total abstinence as the only way to protect one’s health. One major drawback appeared fairly quickly: the task was insurmountable for most smokers…

Enter a new player: the pharmaceutical industry. Identifying a colossal market, and having noted that, rather than being the enemy, nicotine could be an ally, Big Pharma entered the market for alternative nicotine products sold in pharmacies. Patches, lozenges, chewing gum: the idea was to calm your urge with a dose of nicotine while no longer inhaling the smoked fumes that are responsible for cancer. It is a market that some experts estimate will reach 22 billion dollars by 2024, and which launched the idea of “harm reduction”: chewing nicotine gum is certainly not ideal, but still considerably lowers damage, compared to smoking cigarettes.

While it is an effective quitting tool for some, this industry has nonetheless proved itself incapable of offering most users a way out from tobacco, due to complex social and anthropological reasons.

Technological innovation has since offered a new tool, in keeping with the idea of harm reduction. With electronic cigarettes (and now heat-not-burn products), the logic is the same: nicotine is delivered to the former smoker without the smoke and tar connected to burning tobacco in a traditional cigarette. These solutions seem to offer an alternative that works for many smokers who want to quit. The act of bringing the electronic device to the mouth, and the vapor that comes out (reminiscent of smoke) are surely part of the success with former tobacco addicts.

But at the same time, the hand-to-mouth movement and the vapor riles advocates of plain and simple abstinence, who see electronic alternatives as nothing more than a disguised continuation of the cigarette that might even encourage the very young to start. The precedent of the “light” cigarette left its mark. Especially since Big Tobacco is looking to gain a foothold in these new markets, which are expected to offer them and their shareholders a much-needed cash windfall.

That is what some specialists have started calling the “tobacco paradox”: a situation in which one of the answers to tobacco’s public health nuisance is in the hands of those initially responsible for it.

After independent studies by the Food and Drug Administration, Public Health England, the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment, as well as the British Committee on Toxicology, it is now understood that alternative cigarettes expose the user to about 90% fewer chemical compounds than combustible cigarettes. The scientific debate is therefore behind us. The central battle now is to educate the public, which is made tough amidst a backdrop of deep distrust and caution by public health officials, due to a lack of long-term clinical data.

This is the finding of a recent publication by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), the highest public health authority in Great Britain. For Professor Gillian Leng, Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Health and Social Care at NICE, the central issue now is to give good information to those who want to stop smoking. He reminds us that on one hand, the dangers of smoking cigarettes are well known, beyond even a shadow of a doubt. On the other, independent studies show that the harmful components in the vapor produced by e-cigarettes are either absent or present in very reduced quantities. At the same time, the scientific community is still evaluating the more long-term issues of e-cigarettes, which explains why they cannot communicate more definitively on the subject.

However, Gillian Leng concludes, it is disturbing to find that due to these ongoing studies, some smokers refuse to switch to e-cigarettes, and are thus literally encouraged to continue smoking. According to her, the fact that complete clinical studies have not yet been carried out does not negate the scientific community’s conviction that these products are most likely less dangerous than cigarettes, and that smokers should receive information to this effect from health practitioners.

In fact, the results of the annual “State of smoking” study, published by the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World, are disconcerting. They show that most smokers around the world believe that e-cigarettes are more dangerous than cigarettes. For instance, in England, less than 10% of people questioned understand that nicotine is not responsible for cancers. In short, the lack of public knowledge regarding these questions is costing lives, if we are to believe a study published by the renowned Tobacco Control magazine, which says that switching to e-cigarettes could save millions of lives in the United States each year.

This lack of knowledge has its roots in the history of the fight against tobacco, but also in the general public’s weak scientific background. Unfortunately, it is also due to an often ill-informed echo chamber in the general press, which is more interested in catching attention with shocking headlines and giving space to the most alarmist voices than truly explaining a complex subject.

Simple Tips on Staying Beautiful, From a Beautician

Since I moved to Bellevue I have found it tricky to find a great beauty clinic like I used in my old place, the magnificent Sono Bello. I found the clinic thanks to the glowing Sono Bello reviews but I have been unable to find anywhere as good since. Thankfully, however, I have a great friend from back home who has gone on to become a beautician, at a pretty high level. Fiona has always offered me great beauty tips and in light of the fact that I don’t have a clinic or parlor nearby, she has been sharing some super simple tips for me, in order to maintain healthy looking skin and body. Here are some of the helpful comments that Fiona has shared with me, simple things which will amp up the condition of your skin, hair and body.


At times Fiona sounds like a broken record when she constantly reminds me to drink more water, in fact, she sends a message every few days or so to remind me. Fiona told me that water is one of the most important aspects of maintaining healthy skin and looking my best. She says that when the body doesn’t have enough water it can easily become dehydrated which means it takes moisture from other areas of the body, leaving your skin, hair and nails in terrible shape.


Fiona is also constantly reminding me of the benefits of getting at least 8 hours sleep per night. During the night is when the skin replenishes and rejuvenates, it is also when the skin rests and cleanses. Without sufficient sleep you can end up with bags under your eyes, dry and flaky skin, and hair which is tough to manage. Fiona really stresses the importance of sleep and tells me that it is more important than any cream, moisturizer or beauty treatment.


Fiona has explained to me in great details about the importance which your diet has on your beauty in general and in truth the way she explains it makes absolute sense. Fiona tells me to review what I am eating each day, and in simple terms, if there is too much fat or grease in the meal, I need to start cutting it out. Greasy food leads to greasy skin and it is easy to understand why.


Finally, Fi has put me on to some brilliant tutorial pages and beauty videos which show you how you can do treatments at home, without the need for an expert. I don’t employ this each week of course, but once a month I will, under Fiona’s advice, have a go at a new beauty treatment and it really isn’t as hard as it looks. The tutorials talk through the whole process and you can comment and leave a review under the video if you have any issues or questions.

As my friend always says, beauty doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive, it is about getting the basics right.

Schiff Hires MSNBC Analyst Who Has Already Decided Trump Is A Criminal

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff has vamped up his investigation of President Trump with the hire of a former federal prosecutor and MSNBC analyst who has already determined that Trump committed numerous felonies.

Daniel Goldman, who served as assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District of New York, will oversee the Intelligence Committee’s investigation of Trump, according to NBC News.

Goldman joined NBC and MSNBC as a legal analyst after leaving the government in 2017.

As a pundit, Goldman has made his thoughts about Trump clear, repeatedly asserting, without evidence, that Trump and his campaign associates colluded with the Russian government to influence the 2016 election.

“We already now know that the president has committed a felony in order to obtain the office of the presidency,” he said in a Dec. 14, 2018 segment on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

Goldman was seemingly referring to the case involving Michael Cohen, the former Trump attorney who pleaded guilty to several crimes, including making illegal campaign contributions in the form of payments to porn star Stormy Daniels.

Trump is identified in court filings in that case as “Individual-1.” Cohen has claimed that Trump directed him to make payments to Daniels in October 2016 in order to keep her from revealing an affair she had with Trump in 2006.

Goldman also endorsed a now-debunked McClatchy report as evidence of  “collusion!!” with Russia.

The article cited by Goldman claimed that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has received evidence that Cohen’s cell phone pinged off of a tower near Prague. If true, the story would have seemingly verified claims made in the Steele dossier. Cohen is accused in that report of meeting in Prague in August 2016 with Kremlin officials to pay off Russian hackers.

But in congressional testimony last Wednesday, Cohen said that he had never been to Prague or the Czech Republic. He disputed other claims made about him in the dossier during a closed-door deposition with the House Intelligence panel on Thursday.

Schiff has said that he is expanding an investigation into possible collusion, as well as into whether Trump’s business dealings opened him up to being compromised by foreign governments. The investigation will focus heavily on Trump’s finances.

Republicans on the committee released a report on April 28 that found no evidence of collusion. California Rep. Devin Nunes, the top Republican on the committee, led an investigation into the FBI’s handling of the dossier.

Strategic Command and State Dept. confirm: Russia is building UP its nuke arsenal

For many years, this writer has been warning against any reductions in the US nuclear arsenal, based on the fact that Russia was building up its own, China’s nuclear arsenal’s size was unknown and likely to be in the thousands of warheads, and North Korea’s nuclear capabilities were steadily increasing.

Accordingly, this writer has always consistently opposed any cuts in the US nuclear arsenal, including those mandated by the New START treaty, and has argued vocally against proposals by Obama admin officials and non-governmental arms control advocates like the “Arms Control Association” to cut the nuclear deterrent even further.

As time passed, more and more evidence emerged proving this writer’s claims – and proving nuclear disarmament advocates wrong.

But last Wednesday, the most powerful piece of evidence arrived: State Department cables from Moscow and Congressional testimony by Adm. Cecil Haney, commander of the Strategic Command, in charge of America’s entire nuclear commander.

According to US State Department diplomats in Moscow, who monitor Russia daily, Moscow is “vastly increasing” its nuclear arsenal and aims to reach “nuclear superiority over, not nuclear parity with, the US”, as Bill Gertz reports in his newest column in the Washington Free Beacon.

This is consistent with previous media and think-tank reports that Russia was building up its nuclear arsenal, was building additional strategic Tu-160 bombers, and had ordered 400 new ICBMs. The State Department and Bill Gertz have now simply confirmed this.

Thus, we have irrefutable evidence that a) Russia is dramatically increasing its nuclear arsenal, and b) its buildup is aimed at achieving nuclear superiority over, not parity with, the US. Which also proves that  New START is a treasonous treaty highly dangerous to US and allied security, because it requires nuclear arsenal cuts only of the US, while allowing Russia to dramatically increase its own arsenal.

Russia currently has:

  • About 414-434 ICBMs capable of delivering at least 1,684 (and probably more) nuclear warheads to the CONUS, with its fleet of 68-75 SS-18 Satan ICBMs alone being able to deliver 10 warheads each (750 in total);
  • 13 ballistic missile submarines, each armed with 16 ballistic missiles (20 in the case of the sole Typhoon class boat), each missile being itself capable of delivering 4-8 warheads (12 in the future, when Bulava and Liner missiles replace the currently-used Skiff) to the CONUS even if launched from Russian ports (Moscow has had such long-ranged missiles since the late 1980s), meaning over 1,400 warheads in total deliverable by Russia’s strategic submarine fleet;
  • 251 strategic bombers (Tu-95, Tu-160, Tu-22M), each capable of delivering between 7 (Tu-95) and 12 (Tu-22M) nuclear warheads to the CONUS. Russian bombers have, in recent years, repeatedly flown close to, and sometimes into, US airspace.
  • 2,800 strategic nuclear warheads in total, of which 1,500 are now deployed – and more will be deployed in the future – on the forementioned ICBMs, submarines, and bombers.
  • Over 20 attack and cruise missile submarines, each carrying nuclear-armed cruise missiles (one such submarine of the Akula class popped up last year near the US submarine base at King’s Bay, GA).
  • The world’s largest tactical nuclear arsenal, with around 4,000 warheads deliverable by a very wide range of systems, from short-range ballistic missiles to artillery pieces to tactical aircraft (Su-24, Su-25, the Flanker family, Su-34), to surface ships using nuclear depth charges.
  • Illegal (banned by the INF Treaty) intermediate-range nuclear-armed missiles (Yars-M, R-500, Iskander-M) that can target any place in Europe and China. (Nonetheless, despite these facts, the Obama administration and NATO are too afraid to recognize and name Russia as an INF Treaty violator.)

Russia is now dramatically increasing that arsenal, as the State Department and the Strategic Command’s leader have now confirmed. In addition to deploying more warheads and building more bombers from stockpiled components, it is:

  • Deploying new submarine-launched ballistic missiles (the Bulava and the Liner) that can carry 10-12 warheads each. Russia plans to procure around 140-150 missiles of each type; when these are fully deployed on Russia’s 13 ballistic missile subs, that fleet will be able to carry 2,000-2,200 nuclear warheads all by itself.
  • Deploying additional Yars-M, R-500, and Iskander-M IRBMs – in violation of the INF Treaty.

Russia is also steadily modernizing its existing nuclear arsenal and fleet of delivery systems. It is:

  • Developing and deploying a new class of ballistic missile submarines capable of carrying missiles such as the Bulava and the Liner. Two of them have already been commissioned and at least eight in total will be built.
  • Developing a next-generation intercontinental bomber, slated to first fly in 2020 – before the USAF’s planned Long Range Strike Bomber will.
  • Developing a new submarine-launched cruise missile, the Kaliber;
  • Procuring and deploying a new air-launched cruise missile, the Kh-101/102;
  • Developing and deploying three new ICBM types – the light Yars (RS-24, SS-29) to replace the single-warhead Topol and Topol-M missiles, the midweight Avangard/Rubezh (slated to replace SS-19 Stiletto missiles), and the Sarmat (AKA Son of Satan), intended to replace the SS-18 Satan heavy ICBMs.
  • Developing a rail-based ICBM type on top of the forementioned ICBM classes.
  • Developing a hypersonic missile that could carry nuclear warheads to any point on Earth in an hour and easily penetrate US missile defenses.

Note that the RS-24 (SS-29) Yars ICBMs will be able to carry 10 warheads each, whereas the missiles they’re replacing – the Topol (SS-25 Sickle) and Topol-M (SS-27 Sickle-B) – can carry only one warhead. Therefore, as these missiles enter service, the warhead carriage capacity of the Russian ICBM fleet will greatly increase beyond the (already huge) number of 1,684 warheads immediately deliverable to the CONUS.

By 2018, 80%, and by 2021, 100% of Russia’s ICBMs will be missiles of the new generation – the he Avangard/Rubezh, and the Sarmat heavy ICBM, as well as the forementioned rail-based ICBM.

By contrast, the US, under the Obama administration, has unilaterally retired and scrapped its nuclear-armed Tomahawk submarine-launched cruise missiles and their warheads, plans to kill the procurement of conventional Tomahawks, has no program to replace its ICBMs or air-launched cruise missiles, has delayed the induction of its next-generation bomber until the mid-2020s (and plans to procure only 80-100 of these crucial aircraft), has no plans to develop or deploy mobile ICBMs or medium- or short-range ballistic missiles, and has delayed its ballistic missile submarine replacement program. And even when these boats enter service, there will be only 12 of them, each carrying 16 missiles as opposed to the current Ohio class carrying 24 missiles each.

This is as simple as “Russia and China have nuclear-armed submarine- and ground-launched cruise missiles and IRBMs, the US does not.”

Which means that, even without further cuts, the US will be at a nuclear disadvantage vis-a-vis Russia (and China).

Russia would’ve been a huge nuclear threat necessitating the maintenance of the US nuclear arsenal at no less than its current size even WITHOUT this nuclear buildup. With it, it is becoming an even greater nuclear threat, thus necessitating that the US nuclear arsenal be increased, too.

This isn’t just Zbigniew Mazurak speaking; this is the State Department (through its diplomats in Moscow) and the Strategic Command’s leader, Adm. Haney (who is in charge of all US nuclear weapons), speaking. As Bill Gertz of the Washington Free Beacon reports:

“The blunt comments [by Adm. Haney – ZM] came in response to reports that Russian strategic nuclear forces recently held a large-scale nuclear exercise coinciding with saber-rattling conventional military deployments close to Russia’s eastern border with Ukraine.

Haney said the Russians conduct periodic nuclear war games and in 2013 produced a YouTube video that highlighted “every aspect of their capability.” (…)

State Department cables sent to Washington earlier this year included dire warnings that Russia is vastly increasing its nuclear arsenal under policies similar to those Moscow followed during the Soviet era. The cables, according to officials familiar with them, also stated that the Russian strategic nuclear forces buildup appears aimed at achieving nuclear superiority over the United States and not nuclear parity.

The nuclear modernization has been “continuous” and includes adding fixed intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and mobile ICBMs, along with a new class of strategic missile submarines, Haney said in testimony.

“Russia has articulated their value in having strategic capability, and as such, each area they have invested in both in terms of nuclear strategic capability as well as space capability and cyberspace capability in terms of things,” Haney said.

“And as a result, we have seen them demonstrate their capability through a variety of exercises and operations. They maintain their readiness of that capability on a continuous fashion. And it’s a capability I don’t see them backing away from.”

By contrast, Haney testified to the committee that U.S. nuclear forces are in urgent need of modernization to update aging nuclear weapons, delivery systems, and support and production infrastructure, most of which were made decades ago. Under budget sequestration, which could be re-imposed in 2016, U.S. nuclear force modernization will be undermined.”

These facts utterly refute any claims – including those of Barack Obama, Congressional Democrats, and other nuclear disarmament advocates like the Arms Control Association and the Ploughshares Fund – that the US has too many warheads and can afford to cut its nuclear arsenal safely, or that this arsenal is a “Cold War relic” cutting which is “overdue and in the national interest.”

These despicable traitors wanted – and still want – America to cut its nuclear arsenal further and unilaterally, without Russian reciprocation. And for that, they should be severely punished with the maximum penalty foreseen by law for treason.

They have been blatantly lying. All of their claims, without any exception, are blatant lies. No, the US nuclear is not “too large”, “ripe for cuts”, nor a “Cold War relic.” No, its mission is not obsolete by any means – on the contrary, its mission (nuclear deterrence) is more important now than ever. No, cutting the US nuclear arsenal is not “overdue” nor “in the national interest” – it would be completely AGAINST the US national interest and utterly suicidal. It would invoke a Russian nuclear first strike on the US.

No, America cannot afford to cut its nuclear arsenal ANY FURTHER. It should increase, not cut, her nuclear arsenal.

Specifically, the US must:

  • Not enter into any more arms reduction agreements ever again, especially not with countries which routinely violate such treaties, like Russia.
  • Not reduce its nuclear arsenal by even one warhead and not retire any warheads except those whose service lives cannot be extended.
  • Begin quickly increasing its arsenal and the production of cheap, simple plutonium-based warheads. Ample plutonium for their production can be easily obtained from spent fuel from American nuclear reactors.
  • Resume nuclear testing.
  • Accelerate the development of the Long-Range Strike Bomber and procure 200, not 80-100, of these aircraft; and require that they be certified as nuclear-capable from the moment they enter service.
  • Quickly begin developing and procuring new, longer-ranged, stealthy replacements for the USAF’s cruise missiles as well as the Navy’s Tomahawk. The new cruise missiles should be of the same type, launchable from a wide range of platforms, and capable of delivering nuclear and conventional warheads. Their range should be at least 2,000 kms.
  • Accelerate the development of hypersonic weapons. The B-52, the B-1, and the B-2 should all be made capable of launching hypersonic missiles. The HTV and Blackswift programs should also be resumed.
  • Accelerate the Ohio class replacement program.
  • Develop and deploy a new ICBM for the USAF, which should come in rail- and silo-based variants.
  • Build more tactical nuclear warheads to reassure US allies around the world.


January Jobs Report Smashes Expectations Despite Government Shutdown

The Department of Labor released the January jobs report showing 304,000 jobs were created in the month of January despite the partial government shut down the longest in American history.

The unemployment rate did increase slightly to 4% as more Americans began seeking work in the tight jobs market.

Economists expected only 179,000 jobs in the month of January beginning a year many economists have been predicting would see a slow down in economic growth.

“The Dow Jones gained 7.2% in the month of January after a very rough end to 2018. The S&P 500 finished 7% up in January. For both the Dow Jones and the S&P 500 it has been the best January in 30 years. 

Wall Street stocks finished a banner month on a mostly positive note Thursday (Jan 31), with the Dow notching its best January in 30 years, reversing the bruising finale to 2018.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the month at 24,999.67, a 0.1 percent dip for the session, but up 7.2 percent for all of January.

The broad-based S&P 500 closed at 2,704.10, up 0.9 percent for the session and 7.9 percent for the month.

The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite performed even better, closing the month at 7,281.74, up 1.4 percent for the session and 9.7 percent for the month.

The highlights of the session included banner results from Facebook that lifted the social media giant 10.8 percent.

Stocks also picked up momentum late in the session when President Donald Trump hailed “tremendous” progress in US-China trade negotiations held over the last two days in Washington.

In a letter from Chinese leader Xi Jinping to Trump that was read out by the Chinese delegation, Xi said relations were at a “critical” stage and that he hoped “our two sides will continue to work with mutual respect.”

The economic performance is outperforming expectations and if the US and China can reach a deal then 2019 may become a year for growth far beyond the wildest dreams of the most optimistic economist.

Elizabeth Warren Caught Officially Calling Herself ‘American Indian’ Again

As a young lawyer in the 1980s, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren described herself as “American Indian” on a registration form for the State Bar of Texas, even though the 2020 presidential hopeful has scant Native American ancestry.

The Washington Post obtained a form that Warren filled out in April 1986 for a legal license in Texas which showed that the Democrat signed the form and, in her own handwriting, wrote that she was “American Indian.”

Warren was working at the time for the University of Texas law school in Austin.

“She is sorry that she was not more mindful of this earlier in her career,” Kristin Orthman, a spokeswoman for Warren’s campaign, told The Post.

The newspaper buried the lead of the story, which is headlined “Elizabeth Warren apologizes for calling herself Native American.”

Warren, who was born in Oklahoma, has been plagued by revelations that she falsely claimed minority and Native American status throughout her professional career.

When Warren began working at Harvard University in 1995, she approved being listed as Native American. The Ivy League school included Warren in its tally of minority faculty from 1995 through 2004, The Post notes.

Warren, who has earned the nickname “Pocahontas” from President Trump, also changed her ethnicity from white to Native American when she worked at the University of Pennsylvania. She made the request two years after she started working at the school.

Warren has compounded her woes by undergoing a DNA test which showed that she was 1/1024th Native American. She has since apologized for taking the test and acknowledged that she is not a person of color.

Review: Bohemian Rhapsody-The Movie

Bohemian Rhapsody tells the story of Freddie Mercury and Queen from their start to their final concert at the Live Aid concert in the mid-80’s. It portrays Freddie as a very conflicted multi-faceted personality as he goes from extremely outgoing, controlling and manipulative to very inward and dark and foreboding after he leaves the group and enters into the gay scene of London and his bout with aids that eventually killed him in 1991.

In 1970, Farrokh Bulsara, an Indian-British Parsi college student and baggage handler at Heathrow Airport, watches a local band who he has been following for a while, named Smile, perform at a nightclub. After the show, he meets Smile guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor and offers to replace their singer Tim Staffell, who has quit the band to join Humpy Bong.  With the addition of bassist John Deacon, the band – now known as Queen – plays gigs across Britain until they sell their van to produce their debut album. Their musical style lands them a contract with EMI Records. At the same time, Farrokh legally changes his name to Freddie Mercury and becomes engaged to Biba store clerk Mary Austin. The Album hits the charts in America and during the band’s U.S. tour, Freddie begins to question his sexuality.

Rami Malek portrays Mercury and turns in a stunning and accurate performance even looking exactly like Mercury at the beginning with long rock star hair to later cutting it short while the others still retain their rock style look.

While Malek sang some parts in the film, producers inserted vocal stems from Queen songs as well as filling in parts with Canadian vocalist Marc Martel, a winner of the Queen Extravaganza Live Tour auditions.

There are several amusing scenes as when Freddie is thinking of a name for the new band and he has a Queen logo drawn on a paper, his girlfriend walks in and says, “Queen.  Is that the name of the group?”  to which Freddie replies, “Yes like in ‘her royal majesty’. It’s also outrageous and I’m outrageous.”

Late on when the band is trying to sell their new song Bohemian Rhapsody to an EMI producer the producer says to them, “Bohemian Rhapsody? What kind of title is that?” to which Freddie says, “It’s from poetry.”

The producer then says, “What   kind of words are these ‘Galileo,’ ‘Scaramooch’  What does it all mean?” At which time guitarist Brian May says “explaining the mystery takes all the fun out of it.”

The producer decides not to go with the song because it is too long at six minutes and no radio station would play a song longer than three minutes. He later regrets that decision when the song becomes a giant hit with another record company.

Later on, the band has some creative differences with saying they are a family and Freddie shouldn’t be the one getting all the credit on the labels. Freddie is offered a solo career that pays four million dollars. The band is upset with him for wanting to leave. As Freddie is contemplating where his life is going he meets his manservant Jim Hutton who is gay and is attracted to him. He later looks him up and hooks up with him. Actually, in real life Jim Hutton was a hairdresser Freddie met in a nightclub.

It is interesting to see the roots of how the songs began with just a few notes and toe-tapping rhythms and handclaps such as “We Will Rock You”  “Another One Bites The Dust” ‘We Are the Champions “and  “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

Freddie learns he has aids and informs the band he does and not to tell anyone as he didn’t want it getting out and they understand. The band gets an invite to perform worldwide at the Live Aid concert in 1985 which featured anybody who is anybody in the rock and roll field such as David Bowie, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, etc. They accept and the film ends with their concert for Live Aid. Another inaccuracy in the film is that Freddie didn’t learn he had aids until after the Live Aid concert. He died in 1991.

Overall this is a fantastic performance and emotionally captivating and tugs at the heartstrings though it was met with mixed reactions as a film. I’d highly recommend it, especially if you are a Queen fan. Check out the exciting trailer!!

Rebuttal of Greg Thielmann’s lies about Russia’s nuclear arsenal

In recent years, Russian President Vladimir Putin has taken many steps to build up Russia’s nuclear arsenal, which had previously declined sharply after the Soviet Union’s collapse in 1991. This buildup has seen Russia increase its number of nuclear warheads – deployed and nondeployed alike – and their delivery systems – missiles, submarines, and bombers.

Concurrently, Russian officials’ nuclear-related rhetoric towards the West has escalated in recent months.

Yet, the pro-unilateral-disarmament lobby in the West still denies that Russia poses any serious nuclear threat to NATO’s or America’s security. One of the people propagating such disinformation is Greg Thielmann, an ex-State Department official who is now a “Senior Fellow” with the Arms Control Association, a far-left group seeking America’s unilateral disarmament.

In his latest garbage screed, published in the National Interest magazine, Thielmann falsely claims:

“Most of Putin’s nuclear maneuvers are less significant militarily than headlines would have you believe.

In early June, for example, President Putin trumpeted the news that Russia would deploy forty new ICBMs in 2015 with multiple, independently-targetable reentry vehicles (MIRVs), but that number was actually lower than the figure he had used last December. Moreover, even if this were a net increase—unlikely because older systems are being retired—it would leave Russia’s deployed ballistic missile totals well below both U.S. levels and the 700 limit allowed under the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START). Adding newer MIRVed missiles might permit Russia to reach New START’s 1,550 limit on deployed warheads and bombers as its 10-warhead SS-18 ICBMs are retired, but it would not increase its target coverage of NATO countries.”

In reality, Russia is ALREADY above New START’s 1,550 deployed warheads limit, as the latest State Department data shows. Deploying multiple-warhead-carrying missiles will take Russia even further above this limit – which is not surprising, because Russia is building up, not reducing, its strategic nuclear arsenal (unlike the US). Before New START was ratified, Russia was below the treaty’s ceiling, but since then, she’s been steadily building up her nuclear arsenal and is now above the treaty’s limits. Deploying multiple-warhead-carrying (MIRVed) missiles will only take Russia further above these limits – even if these MIRVed missiles replace old ones.

And Putin’s June remarks make it clear he intended to INCREASE Russia’s intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) fleet, not merely replace old missiles with new ones. This is in line with Putin’s spring 2012 promise to the Russian people to procure 400 new ICBMs (currently Russia has 375). So in any case, Russia’s ICBM fleet WILL increase – and new, multiple-warhead missiles will be replacing old, Soviet ones capable of carrying just one warhead.

Consequently, Russia’s target coverage of NATO countries WILL be increased – significantly.

By the way, the 40 new ICBMs the Russian military would procure under Putin’s newest plan will not be replacing the 10-warhead SS-18 Satan ICBMs; for that, the Russian military has a separate missile program, called the Sarmat missile (or Son of Satan). That missile, however, will not enter service until the early 2020s – and only then will the older SS-18 Satan missiles be retired.

By the way, Mr Thielmann, the 1,550 ceiling is a limit on deployed WARHEADS, not “deployed warheads and bombers”. Bombers are covered by the treaty under separate ceilings – for deployed and nondeployed delivery systems. You can’t get even THAT right.

Thielmann also falsely claims that

“Russia’s Air Force chief Col.-Gen. Viktor Bondarev confirmed in late May Putin’s decision to restart production of Russia’s most advanced heavy bomber, the Tu-160 Blackjack, with plans to build at least fifty of a modernized variant, tripling the country’s strategic bomber force.

Press coverage in both Russia and the U.S. featured pictures of the sleek swing-wing bomber, the largest in the world, but the fine print left a different impression. The decision to build more of the Cold War-era bombers was reportedly necessitated by slippage in the schedule for replacing them with a fifth-generation system, the PAK DA. The new Tu-160s would start rolling out around 2023, allowing Russia to maintain viable bomber forces (including cruise missiles) through the decade, but these forces would be less numerous and less capable than those envisioned for the U.S. bomber leg.”

This is also dead wrong. The PAK DA bomber program is not delayed, and the new Tu-160s will be entering service alongside, not instead of, the stealthy PAK DAs. Moreover, the Russian Air Force (VVS) and Naval Aviation already have a LARGER bomber fleet than the USAF. It includes 64 Tu-95 Bear, 16 Tu-160 Blackjack, and 171 Tu-22M Backfire bombers, capable of carrying 6, 12, and 10 nuclear- or conventional-armed cruise missiles (and in the Tu-95s’ and Tu-160’s case, also a nuclear freefall bomb in the bomb bay). Alternatively, they can carry dozens of bombs in their bays. Only the B-52 can carry a greater amount of cruise missiles or other ordnance. So other than a lack of stealthiness, Russia’s bomber fleet is not inferior to America’s in anything at all.

Thielmann also falsely claims that:

“It is important not to overreact when Russian military gestures are made for mostly symbolic reasons or for managing domestic politics. Moscow often appears intent to goad the West into a response, which can then support Russia’s narrative that it is the victim and not the cause of belligerence and tension.

Accordingly, NATO has been wise to so far resist the urgings of some in the West to deploy nuclear weapons onto the territories of its eastern-most members or to assume NATO-like defense obligations toward Georgia or Ukraine. Likewise, Russian testing (not deployment) of banned INF ground-launched cruise missiles has been the subject of private talks and public rebukes, but it has not (yet) provoked counterproductive military deployments of comparable systems.”

These are blatant lies, just like everything else Thielmann writes. Russia’s military gestures are not intended for its domestic audience and are seldom made for symbolic reasons. Russia makes its military gestures in order to intimidate its neigbhors and Western countries – which is Vladimir Putin’s preferred way of conducting foreign policy, especially with any nation Russia has disputes with.

Intimidation and aggression is Putin’s preferred way of doing things – which is no surprise to those of us who are actually knowledgeable about Russia and her foreign policy. This is a man who has already perpetrated aggression against two sovereign countries (Georgia and Ukraine), illegally occupied and annexed their territories, massacred the Chechen people, and threatened any former Soviet republic or satellite that wishes to have at least some independence from Moscow with military force, including nuclear weapons. (His nuclear threats have rightly earned him widespread condemnation in the West, including from even such leftists as Rose Goettemoeller and Jens Stoltenberg.) Putin’s Russia has even threated neutral countries such as Sweden, and minor NATO members such as Denmark, with nuclear weapons.

Putin, like Hitler before him, is an imperialist aggressor. It is not his domestic audience that’s the problem. Putin himself is the problem.

The first step that needs to be taken to counter Russian aggression is for Western leaders and officials to finally recognize who Putin really is – a Hitler-like imperialist aggressor – instead of continually indulging the fantasy that he’s a normal leader.

What Thielmann calls “overreacting” and “counterproductive military deployments” would actually amount to the West finally defending itself against potential aggression and equipping itself for the task. To refuse to do so is to refuse to defend oneself – and that is what the West is STILL foolishly doing, on the poisonous “advice” of pro-Russian, pro-unilateral disarmament propagandists like Thielmann (who advocates, among other things, unilateral cuts in America’s nuclear deterrent).

What Thielmann calls “overreacting” and “counterproductive military deployments” would actually be a just, proportional, and longtime overdue response necessary to deter Putin from committing further aggression. The West should be ashamed of itself that it STILL hasn’t taken these necessary steps.

Thielmann approvingly quotes Undersecretary of Defense Brian McKeon, an Obama appointee who falsely claims – in the face of a massive Russian nuclear buildup – that “in particular, there is currently no need to expand the role for U.S. nuclear weapons, or to change our nuclear posture.” Thielmann himself falsely claims that “increasing reliance on nuclear weapons cannot be considered an acceptable option.”

But what Thielmann and McKeon deceptively call “increasing reliance on nuclear weapons” would actually mean recognizing the fact that ONLY nuclear weapons can protect the US – and the entire West – from an aggressive, nuclear-armed Russia that is steadily buildup up its arsenal and flagrantly violating arms limitation treaties.

What they deceptively call “increasing reliance on nuclear weapons” would actually simply mean modernizing the West’s nuclear deterrent, bringing it up to par with the growing Russian nuclear threat, and recognizing its primordial role in protecting the Western civilization from Russian (and not just Russian) aggression.

Thielmann further falsely claims that

“Numerical advantages in nuclear arsenals confer little to no advantage between nuclear weapons states.”

This is also dead wrong. A significantly larger nuclear arsenal allows a country to destroy another nuclear power’s much smaller arsenal in a preemptive, disarming first strike – with the larger power having enough nuclear weapons to destroy the other nation’s smaller arsenal many times over, while the opponent can’t do the same because of his arsenal’s insufficient size.

Thielmann further lies that:

“The military threat posed to Ukraine has been conventional, not nuclear.”

This is utterly false. The military threat to Ukraine has been both nuclear and conventional – but primarily nuclear, because Vladimir Putin has threatened to raise the alert of his nuclear arsenal and even to aim or use it against Ukraine, while Kiev suicidally gave up its nuclear deterrent in 1994 in exchange for worthless promises from Moscow to respect its independence and territorial integrity.

The military threat posed by Russia to NATO and the US has been EXCLUSIVELY nuclear, for a simple reason: nuclear weapons are the ONLY means by which Russia can threaten the West. Russia’s conventional military is decidedly inferior to America’s (not to mention America’s NATO allies). President Putin himself knows this and has even said that without nuclear weapons, Russia would’ve been a third-rate power. Therefore, the ONLY Russian threat the West is facing is the threat posed by Moscow’s huge nuclear arsenal – against which the West can protect itself ONLY with a large nuclear umbrella. Nothing else will do.

Thielmann also lies blatantly that:

“For NATO’s easternmost members, the pressure exerted by Moscow has been more psychological and economical than military. The utility tools are not nuclear weapons, but economic clout, soft power, and tangible evidence of political commitment.”

For NATO’s easternmost members, the pressure exerted by Moscow has been overwhelmingly military, backed by a threat of cutting off oil and gas supplies to these countries. These are the only means by which Russia can threaten these countries (or anyone else for that matter). Russia has threatened these countries with nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles on multiple occassions, with no effective response from NATO, and has begun deploying nuclear-armed SS-26 ballistic missiles (which violate the INF Treaty) in its Kaliningrad District, on Poland’s and Lithuania’s border, to further intimidate these countries.

Soft power is utterly useless against aggressors like Putin. Soft power will not stop Russian tanks rolling into other countries, Russian troops assaulting their territory, or Russian nuclear-armed missiles if they’re launched at other countries.

Economic clout is also useless against aggressors like Putin. The European Union has the world’s largest economy, over 7 times larger than Russia’s. Add to that the US economy, and you have a huge bloc with 14-15 times more economic clout than Moscow. France, Britain, and Germany alone, all by themselves, have larger economies (and much better standards of living) than Russia. In response to Russian aggression, these countries have imposed a slew of targeted sanctions against Moscow. Yet, NONE of that has stopped further Russian aggression – Moscow is now considering whether to revoke its recognition of the Baltic states, a prelude to invading them.

The only thing that can stop aggressors like Putin is military power – the only thing they respect.

Political commitments are utterly worthless and lack any credibility if they’re not backed up with specific and significant steps to fulfill them. In NATO members’ case, that means significant deployments of Western weapons, including nuclear weapons, on their soil. Without such deployments, “political commitments” will completely lack any “tangible evidence.” They will be commitments on paper only, not backed up by anything.

In sum, Greg Thielmann’s claims are all blatant lies. If the West fails to adequately arms itself – with nuclear as well as conventional instruments of deterence – and does not permanently deploy adequate amounts of these on its easternmost members’ soil, it will be completely unprepared and defenseless against further Russian aggression. That, in turn, will only encourage more of it – and make the entire world much less stable and secure. The Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania) will probably be the next victims of Russian aggression. All of that will be the fault of pacifist-minded Western officials who share Thielmann’s thinking.

It is not economic clout and “soft power” that protect NATO today and have protected it since 1949. It is military power – in particular, nuclear weapons. Nothing else can do the mission.

FLASHBACK: John Brennan Predicted Additional Mueller Indictments Just Two Weeks Ago

Former Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan predicted just two short weeks ago that President Trump’s family members or associates would be indicted in the special counsel’s probe, a forecast that proved far off the mark on Friday after Robert Mueller ended his investigation without issuing new indictments.

During an appearance on MSNBC on March 5, Brennan predicted that Mueller would issue indictments related to a “criminal conspiracy” involving Trump or his associates’ activities during the 2016 election.

“If anybody from the Trump family…is going to be indicted, it would be in the final act of Mueller’s investigation because Bob Mueller and I think his team knows that if he were to do something, indicting a Trump family member, or if he were to go forward with an indictment on a criminal conspiracy involving U.S. persons that would basically be the death knell of the special counsel’s office,” Brennan told anchor Lawrence O’Donnell.

“I don’t believe that Donald Trump would allow Bob Mueller to continue in the aftermath of those actions,” he added.

Brennan’s pipe dream was all but obliterated on Friday when Mueller submitted his report to the Justice Department. Officials at the agency said that no more indictments will be submitted in the 22-month old investigation. There are also no indictments that have been issued under seal. The last indictment in the investigation was handed down on Jan. 24 against Trump confidant Roger Stone.

Of the three dozen indictments or guilty pleas obtained in the investigation, none have involved charges of conspiracy between Trump associates and Russian government officials.

It does remain unclear whether Mueller recommended Trump for impeachment proceedings, or whether he found non-criminal evidence of links between Trumpworld and the Kremlin. Attorney General William Barr said in a letter Friday afternoon that he will likely provide a summary of the investigation to the Houe and Senate Judiciary Committees as soon as this weekend.

Brennan, an outspoken critic of Trump, has stoked much of the speculation about the Trump investigation, which has centered on possible collusion between the campaign and Russia.

Brennan said that he believed at the time he was in CIA that “there was going to be individuals that were going to have issues with the Department of Justice.”