Politics


Majority says national security behind Trump’s travel ban

21st Jun 2017

majority of American adults believe guarding the country against potential security threats is the driving force behind President Trump’s travel ban, according to a poll conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

Six in 10 adults said guarding the country against potential security threats is behind Trump’s travel ban, which would temporarily halt individuals from six Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States. A majority of individuals polled support the courts that have blocked the president’s executive order.

Views of Trump’s order are split among partisan lines, with 41 percent of Democrats thinking national security is behind the travel ban and 87 percent of Republicans agreeing. While 82 percent of Democrats back courts’ decisions halting the ban, 73 percent of Republicans think the courts are meddling with Trump’s authority.

While 34 percent of Republicans polled believe the order is to keep Muslims out of the United States, 64 percent of Democrats think this.

The survey was conducted from June 8 to June 11, polling 1,068 adults. It has a margin of error of 4.1 percentage points.

 

 

 

source:http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/338540-majority-says-national-security-behind-trumps-travel-ban

Police Who Pre-Emptively Kill Suspected Terrorists Will Be Protected

-pic concealed carry.com

13th June 2017

The NSW government is set to introduce new laws by the end of this month which give police immunity for pre-emptively shooting a person they suspect of terrorism, even if that person does not pose an imminent threat to others.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced that she will support all 45 of the recommendations from the coronial inquest report into the Lindt Café siege, and will prioritise those which give police more powers and protect them from civil and criminal prosecution.

New South Wales Police Commissioner Mick Fuller acknowledged that police already have the power to “shoot-to-kill” people they suspect of terrorism in situations analogous to the recent London attacks – where they pose an imminent threat to public safety.

However, he feels that situations like the Lindt Cafe siege are a grey area, as it was unclear whether Man Haron Monis was going to act upon his threats.

As it turned out, Monis was later categorised as a “deranged gunman” suffering from “mental health problems” who was not affiliated with any particular group, whether terrorist or otherwise.

Under the proposed legislation, police would be authorised to “shoot-to-kill” suspected participants once the commissioner declared an event to be a “terrorist incident”, regardless of whether those suspected of involvement pose an imminent threat to others.

Criticism

Critics point out that the proposed legislation confers virtually unfettered power on the police commissioner to determine whether an event constitutes a “terrorist incident”, and therefore when his colleagues will be protected from prosecution for wounding or killing people.

They are concerned he will declare such events “all too readily” in the interests of protecting police, thereby increasing the likelihood of police unnecessarily shooting and killing people. Critics are concerned that “rogue” police officers who carelessly shoot people will be protected, even if it turns out that their targets were completely innocent of any crime, and/or the shooting was not justified.

There are also fears that the legislation will cause the escalation of situations which could be kept under control and ultimately defused, again potentially leading to the loss of innocent lives.

There are additional concerns about the commissioner’s ability to identify whether a situation constitutes a “terrorist event”, with critics arguing that current laws which require an imminent risk to persons or the public representing a more appropriate mechanism for determining whether a particular individual should be shot or killed.

Shoot first and ask question later

New South Wales police are already being trained in specialised tactics based on a ‘confront and neutralise’ policy, and have access to semi-automatic weapons to act in order to protect themselves and members of the public.

The question, then, is whether the proposed legislation – which gives the minister significant powers, allows for the “pre-emptive” killing of suspects and protects rogue and careless police officers from prosecution – is really a good idea.

source:http://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/police-who-pre-emptively-kill-suspected-terrorists-will-be-protected/

Feminists Sue University for Failing to Protect Them from Mean Internet Comments

26th May 2017

A feminist student group at the University of Mary Washington has filed a Title IX lawsuit against the institution for failing to protect them from mean comments on the internet.

Feminists United, a student group at the University of Mary Washington, has claimed in a recently filed lawsuit that the administration failed to protect them from posts made on the anonymous social media app, Yik Yak.

The suit alleges that the university failed to protect the students by refusing to ban access to the app via the university’s wifi system. The complaint ignores the reality that most students have access to the app via LTE internet service on their cellular devices, which would render a ban on the university’s wifi system almost worthless.

The students claim that the university’s decision to allow students to access the app via the school’s wifi network fostered a hostile environment in which the students were subjected to “overtly and/or sexist/threatening” anonymous messages.

Writing on the lawsuit for the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), Susan Kruth argued that the university did not violate Title IX policies by refusing to act on comments made on the anonymous app, Yik Yak, which was recently shut down in May.

Universities should respond to true threats and to serious allegations of sexual harassment, and they can provide non-punitive resources to people who encounter offensive speech. But to the extent that remarks are merely sexist or offensive, a public university must recognize that such language is protected under the First Amendment and decline to take unlawful steps to censor it. Throughout their complaint, the plaintiffs conflate alleged threats and a pattern of conduct that they claim deprived them of educational benefits with remarks or behavior that made them uncomfortable.

 

source/read more:http://www.breitbart.com/tech/2017/05/25/feminists-sue-university-for-failing-to-protect-them-from-mean-internet-comments/

After Katy Perry Offers ‘Open Borders’ As Terror Fix, Navy SEAL Drops Brutal 3-Word Bomb

26th May 2017

For some reason, famed celebrities seem to think they know more than the American people, and Katy Perry most recently decided to prove just that. Unfortunately for her, after suggesting that “open borders” is the best way to end terrorism, things miraculously blew up in her face – and that’s about the time a Navy SEAL put her in her place with just 3 brutally honest words.

The world and most of all England is still mourning after a Muslim man killed 22 people and injured 119 more in a Manchester bombing. Now, some liberals have decided to use the opportunity to offer their opinion where it isn’t needed, wanted, or even helpful in the slightest.

In fact, Katy Perry made an absolute fool of herself by offering her two cents while apparently knowing nothing about the situation. Sadly, celebrities still don’t see that they’re perhaps the most out-of-touch group when it comes to everyday people:

No barriers, no borders, like, we all need to just coexist,” Perry said on the Elvis Duran Show Tuesday.

“The greatest thing we can do now is just, like, unite as people, as, like, fanbases…all of it,” she offered. “Cause, like, as much as, like, whatever we say behind people’s backs, cause the internet can be a little bit ruthless as far as fanbases go, but I think that the greatest thing we can do is just unite and love one another.” [Source: Daily Caller]

Too bad for her, it seems that her “just love everyone” suggestion came at a cost – and it wasn’t pretty. According to Daily Caller, Former Navy SEAL Carl Higbie was speaking with Fox News host Shannon Bream, where he had some pretty harsh words for the clueless celebrity.

 

“If you come to America, you’re American and nothing else … but we don’t have people who respect the culture of the United States of America,” he began. “You have people like Katy Perry…this woman has said, ‘oh we need to give them hugs, hug it out.’”

Although Higbie was mocking at first, he then decided to drop a brutal 3-word bomb on Perry’s head that would put her in her place for good. “Go to hell, Katy Perry,” he said. “Hold one of your concerts in Syria and see how that goes.”

Although he went on to refer to Perry’s statements as “benign,” he added that “[celebrities] don’t understand any of this and they don’t want to understand, too. And that’s why I’m so strong against these celebrities who want to speak out.”

Being nice is one thing, but putting political correctness above the lives of people is an entirely different monster. The fact of the matter here is that the Muslim ideology can’t “coexist” as their holy text demands they Jihad their way to world domination. That’s the entire point of Islam: Kill until all that remains if for Allah.

Celebrities do have a certain amount of influence on the public, given their popularity. However, that doesn’t mean that what they’re saying is right or that they even know what they’re talking about when they speak on matters like this. When it comes down to it, celebrities need to close their fat traps and only open them when it’s time to do their job – entertain.

 

 

 

source:http://madworldnews.com/katy-perry-borders-navy-seal/

With Ice Growing at Both Poles, Global Warming Theories Implode

24th May 2017

In the Southern Hemisphere, sea-ice levels just smashed through the previous record highs across Antarctica, where there is now more ice than at any point since records began. In the Arctic, where global-warming theorists preferred to keep the public focused due to some decreases in ice levels over recent years, scientists said sea-ice melt in 2014 fell below the long-term mean. Global temperatures, meanwhile, have remained steady for some 18 years and counting, contrary to United Nations models predicting more warming as carbon dioxide levels increased.

Of course, all of that is great news for humanity — call off the carbon taxes and doomsday bunkers! However, as global-warming theories continue to implode on the world stage, the latest developments will pose a major challenge for the UN and its member governments. Later this month, climate “dignitaries” will be meeting in New York to forge an international agreement in the face of no global warming for nearly two decades, record ice levels, and growing public skepticism about the alleged “science” underpinning “climate change” alarmism.

As The New American reported last month, virtually every falsifiable prediction made by climate theorists — both the global-cooling mongers of a few decades ago and the warming alarmists more recently — has proven to be spectacularly wrong. In many cases, the opposite of what they forecasted took place. But perhaps nowhere have the failed global-warming doom and gloom predictions been more pronounced than in the Antarctic, where sea-ice levels have continued smashing through previous records. For each of the last three years, ice cover has hit a new record high.

The most recent data show that the Antarctic is currently surrounded by more sea ice than at any other point since records began. In all, there are right now about 20 million square kilometers of frozen sea area surrounding the Antarctic continent. That is 170,000 square kilometers more than last year’s previous all-time record, and more than 1.2 million square kilometers above the 1981-to-2010 mean, according to researchers.

“This is an area covered by sea ice which we’ve never seen from space before,” meteorologist and sea ice scientist Jan Lieser with the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) told Australia’s ABC. “Thirty-five years ago the first satellites went up which were reliably telling us what area, two dimensional area, of sea ice was covered and we’ve never seen that before, that much area. That is roughly double the size of the Antarctic continent and about three times the size of Australia.”

Despite having predicted less ice — not more — as a result of alleged man-made global warming, some alarmists have comically tried to blame the record ice on “global warming.” Indeed, in a bizarre attempt to explain away the latest findings, Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems CRC boss Tony Worby tried to blame “the depletion of ozone” and the “warming atmosphere” for the phenomenal growth in sea ice — contradicting previous forecasts by warming alarmists, who warned that ice would decrease as temperatures rose along with CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere.

The biggest problem with Worby’s claim, however, is the fact that the undisputed global temperature record shows there has been no warming for about 18 years and counting — contradicting every “climate model” cited by the UN to justify planetary alarmism, carbon taxes, energy rationing, massive wealth transfers, and more. Dozens of excuses have been concocted for what alarmists refer to as the “pause” in warming, as many as 50 by some estimates. The Obama administration’s preferred explanation, for which there is no observable evidence, is often ridiculed by critics as the “Theory of the Ocean Ate My Global Warming.”

However, scientists and experts not funded by governments to promote the alarmist narrative say the observable evidence simply shows the man-made CO2 theories and “climate models” pushed by the “climate” industry are incorrect. More than a few climate experts and scientists have even warned that a prolonged period of global cooling is approaching quickly. The consequences could potentially be devastating — especially if warming alarmists succeed in quashing energy and food production under the guise of stopping non-existent “warming.”

Also in response to the fast-expanding ice, some die-hard alarmists and warming propagandists styling themselves “journalists”have recently been hyping a relatively tiny part of the Antarctic ice sheet that may — centuries or even millennia from now — go into the sea. Numerous independent scientists and experts quickly debunked the fear-mongering, however, pointing out that it was almost certainly due to natural causes and was nothing to worry about.

In an ironic incident that sparked laughter around the world, a team of “climate scientists” who set out to show how Antarctic ice was supposedly melting ended up getting their ship trapped in record-setting ice — in the summer! Millions of taxpayer dollars and massive quantities of fossil fuels and CO2 emissions were required to rescue the stranded and embarrassed warming alarmists after their misguided adventure.

Another key tactic of the warmists to deflect attention from the expanding polar ice in the Southern Hemisphere has been to hype changes occurring in the Arctic instead. Unfortunately for the alarmists, however — critics often ridicule the movement as a “cult” for desperately clinging to its beliefs despite the evidence, not to mention the “Climategate” scandal — that will now be much harder to do with a straight face.

“After the very high melt rates of the 2007-2012 period, the trend reversed in 2013 and especially in 2014 when the melt fell below the long-term average,” explained German professor and environment expert Fritz Vahrenholt, adding that the heat content of the North Atlantic was also plummeting. “In other words: The 21st century climate catastrophe is not taking place.”

Decades ago, of course, Newsweek reported that Arctic ice was growing so quickly due to man-made “global cooling” that “scientists” were proposing to melt the polar ice cap using black soot. Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed. More recently, “climate” guru Al Gore had been regularly predicting that the entire polar ice cap would be gone by now. Instead, it is now far more extensive than when he made his now-discredited predictions.

Of course, UN bureaucrats, many of whom depend on sustainable alarmism for their livelihood, still have their heads in the sand about the implosion of their theory. On a call with reporters last week, for example, UN “climate team director” Selwin Hart, who serves under Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, claimed an upcoming global-warming summit in New York “will be a major turning point in the way the world is approaching climate change.” He may be right, though probably not in the way he intended. The conference, which will be skipped by key world leaders, is meant to put climate alarmism “back on top of the international agenda,” Hart added.

In the United States, meanwhile, as the evidence continues to contradict the alarmist predictions, polls consistently show that a solid majority of Americans reject the UN’s man-made global-warming theories. Like the UN, however, Obama continues to act as if the discredited theories were gospel, promising to save humanity from their carbon sins by lawlessly bypassing the U.S. Senate and the Constitution to foist a planetary “climate” regime on the American people. Lawmakers have vowed to prevent any such schemes, but it remains unclear how far the White House is willing to push the issue. After failing even with a Democrat-controlled Congress, the EPA is already working to impose Obama’s anti-CO2 schemes on America by executive decree.

With the evidence discrediting UN global-warming theories literally piling up on both ends of the Earth and everywhere in between, alarmists face an increasingly Herculean task in their bid to shackle humanity to a “climate” regime at next year’s UN summit in Paris. However, to protect the public — and especially the poor — from the devastation such a planetary scheme would entail, Americans must continue to expose the baseless alarmism underpinning what countless scientists now refer to as the “climate scam.”

 Photo of typical Antarctic landscape

Alex Newman is a correspondent for The New American, covering economics, education, politics, and more. He can be reached at anewman@thenewamerican.com. Follow him on Twitter @ALEXNEWMAN_JOU.

Related articles:

Embarrassing Predictions Haunt the Global-Warming Industry

Obama Plotting to Bypass Congress on UN Climate Regime

Media Ridiculed for Hyping “Antarctic Collapse” Amid Record Ice

Global Warming Alarmists Stuck In Antarctic Sea Ice

Record Antarctic Sea Ice Chills Climate-change Projections

Desperate Dash of Global Warming

UN Carbon Regime Would Devastate Humanity

Climate Alarmists Push Chinese Communism, Population Control

In Historic Blow to Climate Hysteria, Australia Kills Carbon Tax

Carbon Scam by UN and World Bank Behind “Genocidal” Land Grabs

Desperate Dash of Global Warming

 

source:http://principia-scientific.org/ice-growing-poles-global-warming-theories-implode/

Peter Dutton declares ‘game is up’ for ‘fake refugees’ living in Australia

21st May 2017

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has given 7,500 asylum seekers living in Australia until October to lodge an application for protection, or face deportation, declaring the “game is up” for “fake refugees”.

Mr Dutton said the asylum seekers had all arrived by boat under the previous Labor government, most without identity documents, and had so far either failed or refused to present their case for asylum with the Immigration Department.

“If people think they can rip the Australian taxpayer off, if people think that they can con the Australian taxpayer, then I’m sorry, the game’s up,” he said.

“They need to provide the information, they need to answer the questions and then they can be determined to be a refugee or not.”

The asylum seekers have now been given until October 1 to lodge an application for processing or they will be cut off from Government payments, subject to removal from Australia, and banned from re-entering the country.

According to Mr Dutton, the group is costing taxpayers about $250 million each year in income support alone and the deadline would ensure the Government is “not providing financial support to people who have no right to be in Australia”.

South Australian Senator Nick Xenophon said the new policy would have public support, and appeal to the Coalition’s support base, but urged the Government to take a “calm, methodical and fair” approach.

“I only hope that the Government puts as much effort into dealing with job seekers as it does with asylum seekers,” Senator Xenophon said on Insiders.

But refugee advocates have slammed the “arbitrary” deadline as “cruel and unfair”.

GetUp’s human rights director Shen Narayanasamy said while many of the asylum seekers had been in Australia for years, they were only given the go ahead to lodge an application for protection last November.

“Asylum claims are incredibly long, torturous documents,” she said.

“And what Peter Dutton has failed to tell you is that he has denied them interpreters and access to legal assistance.”

Of the 50,000 asylum seekers who arrived by boat between 2008 and 2013, 43,000 have now been processed — which means they have either been granted a visa or had their claims rejected — or are currently having their claims assessed.

However, there are 7,500 asylum seekers “outside the process” and that is the group now subject to the October 1 deadline.

Asylum seeker statistics

  • 50,000 Illegal Maritime Arrivals arrived in Australia between 2008 and 2013
  • Labor processed 20,000 of these people
  • It stopped processing IMAs in August 2012 leaving 30,500 people yet to be processed — this is known as the Legacy Caseload
  • 23,000 of the Legacy Caseload have applied for Temporary Protection Visas or Save Haven Visas
  • Of those 6,500 have been granted a TPV or SHEV
  • 3,000 have already been found not to be refugees and must leave Australia
  • 13,000 are having their claims assessed
  • Around 7,500 remain outside the process and have not presented their case for protection

Source: Federal Government

 

 

source:http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-05-21/peter-dutton-october-deadline-asylum-seekers-protection/8544890

Barack Obama Talked Directly with Mark Zuckerberg About Facebook Concerns

21st May 2017

Former president Barack Obama spoke directly with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg during the latter’s drafting of a 5,700-word manifesto outlining the company’s future goals.

Obama was one of the instigators of the “fake news” panic that has put Facebook in the establishment’s CROSSHAIRS following the election of Donald Trump. Obama has repeatedly addressed the issue and even discussed it privately with European leaders prior to leaving office.

According to a major New York Times Magazine feature on the future of Facebook, he is also holding private discussions with Mark Zuckerberg.

Earlier that day, Zuckerberg’s staff had sent me a draft of a 5,700­ word manifesto that, I was told, he spent weeks writing. The document, “Building Global Community,” argued that until now, Facebook’s corporate goal had merely been to connect people. But that was just Step 1. According to the manifesto, Facebook’s “next focus will be developing the social infrastructure for community — for supporting us, for keeping us safe, for informing us, for civic engagement, and for inclusion of all.” If it was a nebulous crusade, it was also vast in its ambition.

According to the piece, Zuckerberg — after a “pause” — admitted that he had been in talks with former president Obama during the drafting of the manifesto.

When I asked if he had chatted with Obama about the former president’s critique of Facebook, Zuckerberg paused for several seconds, nearly to the point of awkwardness, before answering that he had.

Facebook’s spokespeople then called the New York Times Magazine reporter to clarify the CEO’s comments, which the reporter interpreted as an attempt to counter the perception that the new manifesto was “partisan” and “anti-Trump.”

Facebook’s spokespeople later called to stress that Obama was only one of many people to whom he had spoken. In other words: Don’t read this as a partisan anti-­Trump manifesto. But if the company pursues the admittedly airy aims outlined in “Building Global Community,” the changes will echo across media and politics, and some are bound to be considered partisan. The risks are especially clear for changes aimed at adding layers of journalistic ethics across News Feed, which could transform the public’s perception of Facebook, not to mention shake the foundations of its business.

 

 

source: http://www.breitbart.com/tech/2017/05/19/revealed-barack-obama-talked-directly-mark-zuckerberg-facebook-concerns/

Chelsea Manning released from prison

17th May 2017

Chelsea Manning, the army private who released a vast trove of US state secrets and was punished by the US military for months in penal conditions denounced by the UN as torture, has been released from a military prison in Kansas after serving seven years of a 35-year sentence.

Manning walked out to freedom after 2,545 days in military captivity. She was arrested in May 2010 outside a US army base on the outskirts of Baghdad, having leaked hundreds of thousands of documents and videos downloaded from intelligence databases to WikiLeaks.

The US military confirmed that Manning was released on Wednesday morning.

The disclosures included Collateral Murder, the footage of a US Apache helicopter attack in Baghdad in which two Reuters journalists and other civilians were killed.

Her seven-year ordeal has seen her held captive in Iraq, Kuwait and the US, always in male-only detention facilities. In that time, she has waged a relentless legal battle to be respected as a transgender woman, winning the right to receive hormone treatment but still being subjected to male-standard hair length and dress codes.

Barack Obama granted Manning clemency in his final days in office in January. In commuting to time served her 35-year sentence – the longest ever penalty dished out in the US to an official leaker – the outgoing commander in chief said that “justice had been served”.

Speaking from her prison cell as she prepared for release last week, Manning said: “I’m looking forward to breathing the warm spring air again.

“I want that indescribable feeling of connection with people and nature again, without razor wire or a visitation booth. I want to be able to hug my family and friends again. And swimming – I want to go swimming!”

Obama’s decision to release the soldier early leaves her with legal challenges still hanging over her. Foremost of those is the fact that her sentence from 2013 under the Espionage Act remains in full force ­– a fact that her lawyers regard as ominous given the current incumbent of the White House.

As a result, even in freedom Manning will continue to press vigorously for her sentence to be overturned. Her appeal, filed almost exactly a year ago in the US Army court of criminal appeals, argued that her 35 year sentence was “perhaps the most unjust sentence in the history of the military justice system”.

Manning’s appeal lawyer, Nancy Hollander, told the Guardian: “People keep assuming that just because someone is released their appeal is over. The rest of her case is still out there and we want to clear her name. She was convicted of crimes that I don’t believe she committed and her whole prosecution was unfair.”

A fundraising drive to help Manning raise the legal fees needed to keep going with the appeal has been launched by Courage Foundation together with the German branch of Reporters Without Borders and the Wau Holland Foundation.

Manning’s mother Susan Manning, who is Welsh, told the Press Association that she was rejoicing at news of the release. “I am so proud of Chelsea and delighted she will finally be free again.”

Manning moved to Haverfordwest in Wales in 2001 when she was 14 to live with her mother, but returned to the US where she was born and brought up after school ended.

 

 

source:https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/may/17/chelsea-manning-released-from-prison?CMP=fb_gu

Murdered DNC staffer ‘DID have links to Wikileaks

16th May 2017

DNC staffer Seth Rich did have contact with Wikileaks before he was gunned down in Washington DC last year, a new investigation has claimed.

Mr Rich, 27, was shot dead in the city’s affluent Bloomingdale neighborhood in the early hours of July 10 while on the phone to his girlfriend after a night out in what police claim was a ‘botched robbery’.

His father has insisted his son was not behind the mammoth leak of tens of thousands of DNC emails prior to the 2016 presidential election, including messages from seven key staffers, which led to the resignation of chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

The emails were released by Wikileaks over several months before Hillary Clinton lost the election.

And Rod Wheeler, a private investigator hired by the Rich family, claims there is evidence on Rich’s laptop which suggests he was communicating with Julian Assange’s site.

Mr Wheeler says either DC police or the FBI are holding the data analyst’s laptop as part of a conspiracy to cover up his death.

The police department nor the FBI have been forthcoming,’ said Wheeler in a report to be aired on Fox News today.

He goes on: ‘They haven’t been cooperating at all. I believe that the answer to solving his death lies on that computer, which I believe is either at the police department or either at the FBI. I have been told both.’

Mr Wheeler claimed sources have given him ‘confirmed’ evidence that Mr Rich was in contact with Wikileaks while a DC police insider has told him they were ‘told to stand down on this case’.

WikiLeaks published thousands of hacked DNC emails less than two weeks after Rich’s death.

 

source; http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4509952/DNC-staffer-Seth-Rich-DID-links-Wikileaks.html?ito=social-facebook

Medical studies are almost always bogus

7th May 2017

How many times have you encountered a study — on, say, weight loss — that trumpeted one fad, only to see another study discrediting it a week later?

That’s because many medical studies are junk. It’s an open secret in the research community, and it even has a name: “the reproducibility crisis.”

For any study to have legitimacy, it must be replicated, yet only half of medical studies celebrated in newspapers hold water under serious follow-up scrutiny — and about two-thirds of the “sexiest” cutting-edge reports, including the discovery of new genes linked to obesity or mental illness, are later “disconfirmed.”

Though erring is a key part of the scientific process, this level of failure slows scientific progress, wastes time and resources and costs taxpayers excesses of $28 billion a year, writes NPR science correspondent Richard Harris in his book “Rigor Mortis: How Sloppy Science Creates Worthless Cures, Crushes Hope, and Wastes Billions” (Basic Books).

“When you read something, take it with a grain of salt,” Harris tells The Post. “Even the best science can be misleading, and often what you’re reading is not the best science.”

Take one particularly enraging example: For many years research on breast cancer was conducted on misidentified melanoma cells, which means that thousands of papers published in credible scientific journals were actually studying the wrong cancer. “It’s impossible to know how much this sloppy use of the wrong cells has set back research into breast cancer,” writes Harris.

Another study claimed to have invented a blood test that could detect ovarian cancer — which would mean much earlier diagnosis. The research was hailed as a major breakthrough on morning shows and in newspapers. Further scrutiny, though, revealed the only reason the blood test “worked” was because the researchers tested the two batches on two separate days — all the women with ovarian cancer on one day, and without the disease the next. Instead of measuring the differences in the cancer, the blood test had, in fact, measured the day-to-day differences in the machine.

So why are so many tests bogus? Harris has some thoughts.

For one, science is hard. Everything from unconscious bias — the way researchers see their data through the rosy lens of their own theses — to the types of beaker they use or the bedding that they keep mice in can cloud results and derail reproducibility.

Then there is the funding issue. During the heyday of the late ’90s and early aughts, research funding increased until Congress decided to hold funding flat for the next decade, creating an atmosphere of intense, some would say unhealthy, competition among research scientists. Now only 17 percent of grants get funded (compared to a third three decades ago). Add this to the truly terrible job market for post-docs — only 21 percent land tenure track jobs — and there is a greater incentive to publish splashy counterintuitive studies, which have a higher likelihood of being wrong, writes Harris.

One effect of this “pressure to publish” situation is intentional data manipulation, where scientists cherry-pick the information that supports a hypothesis while ignoring the data that doesn’t — an all too common problem in academic research, writes Harris.

“There’s a constant scramble for research dollars. Promotions and tenure depend on making splashy discoveries. There are big rewards for being first, even if the work ultimately fails the test of time,” writes Harris.

‘Promotions and tenure depend on making splashy discoveries. There are big rewards for being first, even if the work ultimately fails the test of time.’

This will only get worse if funding is cut further — something that seems inevitable under proposed federal tax cuts. “It only exacerbates the problems. With so many scientists fighting for a shrinking pool of money, cuts will only make all of these issues worse,” Harris says.

Luckily, there is a growing group of people working to expose the ugly side of how research is done. One of them is Stanford professor John Ioannidis, considered one of the heroes of the reproducibility movement. He’s written extensively on the topic, including a scathing paper titled “Why Most Published Scientific Research Findings Are False.”

He’s found, for example, out of tens of thousands of papers touting discoveries of specific genes linked to everything from depression to obesity, only 1.2 percent had truly positive results. Meanwhile, Dr. Ioannidis followed 49 studies that had been cited at least a thousand times — of which seven had been “flatly contradicted” by further research. This included one that claimed estrogen and progestin benefited women after hysterectomies “when in fact the drug combination increased the risk of heart disease and breast cancer.”

Other organizations like Retraction Watch, which tracks discredited studies in real time, and the Cochrane group, an independent network of researchers that pushes for evidence-based medicine, act as industry watchdogs. There is also an internal push for scientists to make their data public so it’s easier to police bad science.

The public can play a role, too. “If we curb our enthusiasm a bit,” Harris writes, “scientists will be less likely to run headlong after dubious ideas.”

 

 

source: http://nypost.com/2017/05/06/medical-studies-are-almost-always-bogus/