Donald Trump’s nuclear fixation – from the 1980s to now

Protesters outside the White House call for a de-escalation in tensionsImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionProtesters outside the White House call for a de-escalation in tensions

Donald Trump’s warning that North Korea could face “fire and fury the likes of which the world has never seen” has been widely interpreted as a threat backed by the destructive power of the US nuclear arsenal.

In case that message wasn’t clear, the following morning the president boasted that US nuclear weapons were “far stronger and more powerful than ever before”.

“Hopefully we will never have to use this power,” he tweeted, “but there will never be a time that we are not the most powerful nation in the world!”

The president’s recent nuclear sabre-rattling shouldn’t be viewed as an isolated incident, however. Mr Trump has displayed a keen interest in the utility of atomic weapons for decades.

TrumpImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES

It’s part of a political worldview that has long since solidified into firm beliefs for the septuagenarian. His thoughts on trade have been influenced by the American industrial might of the post-World War Two era. His demographic views of the nation hark back to an ethnic homogeneity that has long since vanished. And his thoughts on atomic weaponry reflect a certain strain of Cold War arms-race enthusiasm and diplomatic brinkmanship.

  • North Korea: Are Trump’s assumptions about the nuclear threat right?
  • The North Korea crisis in 300 words
  • Trump and the nuclear codes

Last December President-elect Trump emphasised that the US had to “greatly strengthen and expand” its nuclear weaponry and would “outmatch” any adversaries.

In August MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough reported that candidate Trump had asked his foreign policy advisers several times why the US couldn’t use its nuclear weapons – a claim the Trump campaign denied.

The report, however, followed on the heels of an April 2016 town hall forum exchange between Mr Trump and MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, who asked him why he had refused to categorically rule out the use of nuclear weapons.

“Would there be a time when it could be used?” Trump replied. “Possibly. Possibly.”

trumpImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES

When pressed on the risks of openly talking of using nuclear weapons, Mr Trump said: “Then why are we making them? Why do we make them?”

(The US no longer makes new nuclear warheads. It maintains its current arsenal.)

He repeated that he is not going to take any of his “cards off the table”.

Digging back further, in 1990 Mr Trump gave an interview with Playboy Magazine in which the topic of atomic weaponry came up.

“I’ve always thought about the issue of nuclear war; it’s a very important element in my thought process,” Mr Trump said. He called it the “ultimate catastrophe” and compared it to an illness no one wants to talk about it.

“I believe the greatest of all stupidities is people’s believing it will never happen,” he continued, “because everybody knows how destructive it will be, so nobody uses weapons. What [expletive].”

US troops regularly hold training drills with South KoreaImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionUS troops regularly hold training drills with South Korea

In 1984 – at the height of the Cold War – Mr Trump even told a Washington Post interviewer he wanted to be put in charge of US-Russia nuclear arms negotiations.

“It would take an hour-and-a-half to learn everything there is to learn about missiles,” Mr Trump said. “I think I know most of it anyway.”

Around the time of this interview a computer game called Balance of Power, which simulated the Cold War struggle between the US and Soviet Union, became a surprise hit.

Players could sabotage, scheme and sabre-rattle up to the brink of nuclear war. The trick was you were never quite sure how close you could get before the missiles started flying. Escalation could lead to inadvertent annihilation.

And if it did, this was the message, displayed in white letters on a black screen: “You have ignited an accidental nuclear war. And no, there is no animated display of a mushroom cloud with parts of bodies flying through the air. We do not reward failure.”

Media captionIt’s not the first time North Korea has made threats against Guam

If Mr Trump’s past comments are any guide, he appears to be making the calculus that the US nuclear arsenal is ineffective if adversaries don’t believe the nation is willing to pull the trigger. It’s all part of the “unpredictability” strategy he repeatedly touted during his presidential campaign (and plugged again in a recent tweet).

Mr Trump – and his Defence Secretary Jim Mattis – have spoken of how the US will prevail in any military confrontation with North Korea. Largely left unmentioned amid the bluster, however, is the danger that an extended standoff could spin out of control and the high cost in human lives – in civilian lives on both sides of the Korean demilitarised zone and for US military personnel – that any such conflict would entail.

The US would almost certainly prevail, but it would be difficult to view such a result as anything but a failure.

Trump Saw A Disturbing Video, Then He Shut Down The CIA’s Covert Syria Program

While we’ve carefully documented the dynamics in play behind Trump’s decision to end the CIA’s covert Syria program, as well as the corresponding fury this immediately unleashed among the usual hawkish DC policy wonks, new information on what specifically impacted the president’s thinking has emerged.

Thomas Joscelyn, a Middle East analyst for the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, explains in the August edition of The Weekly Standard:

Earlier this year, President Donald Trump was shown a disturbing video of Syrian rebels beheading a child near the city of Aleppo. It had caused a minor stir in the press as the fighters belonged to the Nour al-Din al-Zenki Movement, a group that had been supported by the CIA as part of its rebel aid program.

The footage is haunting. Five bearded men smirk as they surround a boy in the back of a pickup truck. One of them holds the boy’s head with a tight grip on his hair while another mockingly slaps his face. Then, one of them uses a knife to saw the child’s head off and holds it up in the air like a trophy. It is a scene reminiscent of the Islamic State’s snuff videos, except this wasn’t the work of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s men. The murderers were supposed to be the good guys: our allies.

Trump pressed his most senior intelligence advisers, asking the basic question of how the CIA could have a relationship with a group that beheads a child and then uploads the video to the internet. He wasn’t satisfied with any of the responses:

Trump wanted to know why the United States had backed Zenki if its members are extremists. The issue was discussed at length with senior intelligence officials, and no good answers were forthcoming, according to people familiar with the conversations. After learning more worrisome details about the CIA’s ghost war in Syria—including that U.S.-backed rebels had often fought alongside extremists, among them al Qaeda’s arm in the country—the president decided to end the program altogether.

Screenshot of the horrific video of a CIA-backed Syrian group beheading a boy named Abdullah Issa.

At the time the beheading video surfaced (July 2016), many in the American public naturally wanted answers, but the story never really picked up much momentum in the media. As Joscelyn describes, it caused nothing more than “a minor stir in the press.” The State Department seemed merely satisfied that the group responsible, Harakat Nour al-Din al-Zenki, claimed to have arrested the men that committed the gruesome crime, though nothing more was known. Absurdly, a US government spokesperson expressed hope that the child-beheading group would “comply with obligations under the law of armed conflict.”

The only press agencies that publicly and consistently challenged the State Department at the time were RT News and the Associated Press, yet even these attempts didn’t get picked up beyond the confines of the State Department’s daily briefing. When the AP’s Matt Lee initially questioned spokesman Mark Toner as to whether Zenki would continue to receive any level of US assistance, Toner casually replied “it would give us pause” – which left Lee taken aback.

Meanwhile, it wasn’t just the US government which had aided Zenki, but as fighting in Aleppo raged it became a favored group among both the mainstream media and prominent think tank pundits. One of the UK’s major broadcasters (Channel 4) even went so far as to attempt to delete and hide its prior online content which sought to normalize the beheaders as “moderate” and heroic once news of the video got out.

 Follow

Charles Lister

@Charles_Lister

Controversial, but @AbuJamajem is largely right:

– “In #Syria, U.S. Can Keep Its Hands Clean or Get Things Done”https://tcf.org/?p=15688 

Photo published for In Syrian Proxy War, America Can Keep Its Hands Clean or It Can Get Things Done

In Syrian Proxy War, America Can Keep Its Hands Clean or It Can Get Things Done

Last month, video of a Syrian rebel apparently beheading a child captive stunned the world. In the amateur cell phone footage, a fighter from Aleppo factio

tcf.org

Twitter Ads info and privacy

Among think tankers, Zenki’s most prominent public supporter, frequently presenting the terror group as actually representative of Syria’s “secular” and supposedly democracy-promoting armed opposition (even after the beheading video emerged), was Charles Lister. Lister was finally confronted not by mainstream media, but by AlterNet’s Max Blumenthal at a DC event held by the (largely Gulf funded) Atlantic Council.

Only by the time of this January 2017 public forum, and after being persistently questioned, did Lister awkwardly back off his previous enthusiastic promotion of Zenki:

We can imagine that Trump saw other things beyond the shocking Zenki beheading video which made him fully realize the utter criminality of the CIA program (Thomas Joscelyn further emphasizes that Trump came to understand the full scope of CIA cooperation with al-Qaeda in Syria)

US Ready For War with North Korea

Donald Trump ready for war with North Korea, senator says

DONALD Trump would rather go to war to destroy North Korea than allow it to develop a long-range nuclear-armed missile.

Influential Republican and foreign policy expert Lindsey Graham told NBC’s Today Show the President had told him so himself and warned patience with the rogue state was running thin.

“There is a military option: To destroy North Korea’s program and North Korea itself,” he said.

Just this week, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un boasted that his country could now strike any target in the United States after carrying out its latest intercontinental ballistic missile test.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said Donald Trump has told him he would go to war to destroy North Korea rather than allow it to develop a long-range nuclear-armed missile. Picture: Brendan Smialowski/AFPSource:AFP

World powers have been trying to stifle Pyongyang’s weapons program through United Nations-backed sanctions, but have failed to daunt the regime and Washington is growing frustrated.

Mr Graham said that if diplomacy, and in particular pressure from the North’s neighbour China, fails to halt the program then the United States will have no choice but to take devastating military action.

“They’ve kicked the can down the road for 20 years. There will be a war with North Korea over the missile program if they continue to try to hit America with an ICBM,” he said, describing his discussions with Mr Trump.

“He’s told me that. I believe him. If I were China, I would believe him, too, and do something about it. You can stop North Korea, militarily or diplomatically.

“I prefer the diplomatic approach. But they will not be allowed to have a missile to hit America with a nuclear weapon on top.”

It come as Mr Trump told reporters at his second full Cabinet meeting that he would handle North Korea.

“We will handle North Korea. We are gonna be able to handle them. It will be handled. We handle everything,” Mr Trump said.

The tough war of words is in stark comparison to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson who said the US doesn’t want to topple the North Korean government.

“We do not seek a regime change, we do not seek a collapse of the regime, we do not seek an accelerated reunification of the peninsula, we do not seek an excuse to send our military north of the 38th Parallel,” Mr Tillerson told reporters at the State Department.

“We are not your enemy … but you are presenting an unacceptable threat to us, and we have to respond.

“And we hope that at some point they will begin to understand that and we would like to sit and have a dialogue with them.”

The Brightest Meteor Shower In The Recorded Human History Is Happening

There is going to be a meteor shower on 12th of August, 2017. According to astronomers this will be the brightest shower in the recorded human history. It will light up the night sky and some of these might even be visible during the day. This meteor shower is being considered as once in a lifetime opportunity as the next meteor shower of such kind will be after 96 years.

The Perseid meteor shower, one of the brighter meteor showers of the year, occurs every year between July 17 and August 24. The shower tends to peak around August 9-13.

 

Greenwich’s Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2013 David Kingham combined 23 individual stills over several hours to depict a Perseid meteor shower. DAVID KINGHAM (THE NATIONAL MARITIME MUSEUM ROYAL OBSERVATORY) / PNG

The best time to view the Perseids, and most other meteor showers, is when the sky is the darkest. Most astronomers suggest that depending on the Moon’s phase, the best time to view meteor showers is right before dawn.

The Perseids can be seen in the Northern Hemisphere. Look between the radiant, which will be in the north-east part of the sky, and the zenith (the point in the sky directly above you).

While you can easily see a shooting star with the naked eye just looking straight up, the table below shows the exact direction of the Perseids from your location.

The Perseids can be seen in the Northern Hemisphere. Look between the radiant, which will be in the north-east part of the sky, and the zenith (the point in the sky directly above you).

While you can easily see a shooting star with the naked eye just looking straight up, the table below shows the exact direction of the Perseids from your location

U.S. Urges Americans to Leave North Korea

U.S. to ban travel to North Korea from September 1, says Americans should leave

From nbcnews.com:

WASHINGTON — The United States is urging Americans in North Korea to get out before a travel ban goes into effect on Sept. 1.

The State Department is issuing a new travel warning for North Korea that reflects the Trump administration’s new travel ban. That ban was announced last month and was published Wednesday in the Federal Register. That triggers a month-long period before it takes effect.

The warning says exceptions to the travel ban need special permission that will only be granted “under very limited circumstances.” The State Department says it doesn’t yet know when it will release information on how to apply for an exception.

Previous U.S. travel warnings also urged Americans not to travel to North Korea.

Girl Taken From Parents By CPS, Murdered By Pedophile Foster Parents

Child Protection Services in Arizona have come under fire after they snatched a girl away from her loving parents, leaving her to die at the hands of pedophile foster parents.

[ynw] In one of the most horrific examples of state-sponsored child abuse in recent history, a lawsuit alleges that Arizona’s Department of Child Safety placed a toddler with a man who ran a “pornographic pedophile ring” out of his home. According to the lawsuit, the foster mother burned her with scalding water over 80 percent of her body, which eventually led to her death.

Courthousenews.com reports: Fleming and Curti PLC, court-appointed guardian of Jane Doe, sued Arizona, its Department of Child Safety, other state agencies, the Christian Family Care Agency and a host of other institutions and people, in Pima County Court.

The Department of Child Safety, formerly Child Protective Services, removed Jane Doe from her biological mother’s home in 2013, when she was 2, and placed her with David and Barbara Frodsham, a state-licensed foster home, according to the June 16 lawsuit.

The state allowed Jane to stay with the Frodshams for 18 months, despite her biological mother’s complaints of “Jane Doe’s repeated documented urinary tract infections,” the complaint states.

“Instead of investigating Jane Doe’s biological mother’s concerns of abuse, [DCS] and the defendant caseworkers accused her of making false and exaggerated reports to DCS,” according to the complaint.

The state did not act until David Frodsham, driving drunk, left 3-year-old Jane and another child in his parked car while he was collecting his foster parent check in a state office, while “visibly drunk and acting belligerent.” Police were called and found Frodsham had a .28 blood alcohol concentration. They removed Jane from his care but did not investigate his home, the complaint states.

It continues: “Later, David Frodsham was arrested and accused of sexual misconduct with a minor, procuring minors for sex, and possessing and/or manufacturing child pornography. Law enforcement’s investigation revealed a video made by David Frodsham of a 3- or 4-year-old girl being penetrated by an adult male and screaming for her mommy. David Frodsham pled guilty rather than face a trial and has been sentenced to 17 years in the Arizona Department of Corrections. David Frodsham was part of a pornography ring involving numerous children in his pornography and the procurement of sex for the ring.” (Citation to sentencing document omitted.)

Four more state and federal cases involving a child placed in Frodsham’s home are pending against him, and more are expected to be filed, according to the complaint.

Unfortunately, things did not improve much when the state moved Jane into the care of Justin and Samantha Osteraas, her guardian says. According to the complaint, “Defendant Samantha Osteraas submerged and held down Jane Doe, a 5-year-old, in a bath of scalding hot water. Jane Doe suffered severe burns over 80 percent of her body. When police arrived, there was blood on the floor and piece of Jane Doe’s skin were falling off her body. There were bruises to her neck and arms along with other signs of trauma.”

Jane had to be placed in a medically induced coma, suffering from organ failure. She lost her toes to amputation “and will undergo lifelong operations to replace 80 percent of the skin on her body and will need incredible amounts of care for the duration of her life as a result of the abuse she suffered in the Osteraases’ home.”

Samantha Osteraas, 28, was arrested in January this year and charged with child abuse. The state then removed her three biological children from her home, according to the Arizona Daily Star. She is awaiting trial.

Jane’s guardian seeks punitive damages for negligence, respondeat superior, breach of duty, intentional infliction of emotional distress, assault and battery, and constitutional violations.

Here are the defendants: State of Arizona; Arizona Department of Child Safety; Arizona Department of Economic Security; Child Protective Services; Division of Children, Youth and Families; Christian Family Care; Catholic Community Services of Southern Arizona Inc.; St. Nicholas of Myra; Mark Brnovich; Gregory McKay; Charles Flanagan; Clarence Carter; Jeannette Sheldon; Eva Pena; Katherine Mayer; Cassie Dixon; Monica Reyes; Norel Alviti; Rosette Codner; Jack Roddy; David Frodsham; Barbara Frodsham; Samantha Osteraas; and Justin Osteraas.

Jane is represented by the Cadigan Law Firm and Carillo Law Firms of Tucson, and by Manly, Stewart & Finaldi in Irvine, Calif.

A DCS spokesperson said the agency does not comment on pending litigation

Earthquake Swarm Hits Yellowstone Super-Volcano, Time Bomb For North America

A “swarm of earthquakes” is currently happening in close proximity to one of North America’s most potentially dangerous natural features: the massive volcano at Yellowstone, Wyoming, known as the the Yellowstone Caldera, or the Yellowstone Supervolcano.

According to Express:

Volcano has been struck by 1,400 earthquakes in recent weeks, leading to fears that the supervolcano is ready to blow and WIPE OUT life on Earth.

Seismic activity around the Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, US, is not uncommon, but the heaviest swarm in half a decade has people very concerned.

Since June 12, there has been over 1,400 tremors in the region, and experts state that the swarm could go on for another month.

The Yellowstone Caldera supervolcano last erupted 70,000 years ago but a spike in seismic activity around the national park has unsettled nerves.

A seismographic map of the Yellowstone National Park earthquake swarm. University of Utah – newsweek.com

If the Wyoming volcano were to erupt it would kill an estimated 87,000 people immediately and make two-thirds of the USA immediately uninhabitable. The as the large spew of ash into the atmosphere would block out sunlight and directly affect life beneath it creating a “nuclear winter” and threatening ALL life on earth.
The volcano is 80 km (50 mi) long 20 km (12 mi) wide and the 1500F chamber of molten rock beneath the surface is seven miles deep.

The massive eruption could be a staggering 6,000 times as powerful as the one from Washington’s Mount St Helens in 1980 which killed 57 people and deposited ash in 11 different states and five Canadian provinces.

Additionally, a climate shift would ensue as the volcano would spew massive amounts of sulphur dioxide into the atmosphere, which can form a sulphur aerosol that reflects and absorbs sunlight.
Following Montana’s biggest earthquake in 34 years, a 5.4 tremor in early June, which is on the same fault line as Yellowstone, and coupled with the swarm of quakes in the National Park, many are convinced that the supervolcano is now ready to blow.

One local wrote on Twitter: “Earthquake in Bozeman = truly terrified Yellowstone volcano gonna go off.”

However, seismologists state that there is nothing to be concerned about yet.

Jamie Farrell at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City told New Scientist: “This is a large swarm but it is not the largest swarm we’ve recorded in Yellowstone.

“Earthquake swarms are fairly common in Yellowstone.

“There is no indication that this swarm is related to magma moving through the shallow crust.”

Experts have long claimed an eruption there could have world-changing catastrophic impacts.”

Simply the notion of talking about the possibility of life on Earth being severely affected by the volcano is a testament to how powerful it is.

However, this is the type of disaster that cannot be prepared for: if it happens, it happens. I don’t know how people would prepare for such a thing, unless they want to move far away from the volcano.

Life has a way of disrupting plans to avoid the inevitable

NEWS US Troops Are Now Officially Fighting On The Ground In Middle-East

The Pentagon won’t rule out more troops being sent to Yemen in the coming weeks.

(ANTIWAR.COM) — A day after the US was reported to have participated in an anti al-Qaeda offensive in southern Shabwa Province of Yemen, the Pentagon is confirming that a “small number” of US ground troops have been deployed into Yemen for an ongoing operation against the al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) force.

Details are still scant, but the operation is said to be taking place across central Yemen in a major al-Qaeda stronghold. The Pentagon said the main purposes of their presence is “intelligence sharing,” at least for now.

That’s because the Pentagon said they are not ruling out sending even more troops into Yemen in the coming weeks, as they appear to intend to continue escalating the fight against AQAP, in an offensive which apparently is being coordinated with the United Arab Emirates.

This operation is distinct from the Saudi-led war in Yemen, which is not focused on fighting against AQAP, but the presence of US ground troops in the country at all is likely to be controversial, given the human rights disaster the US-backed Saudi conflict has turned into.

By Jason Ditz / Republished with permission / ANTIWAR.COM / Report a typo

Mainstream Normalizes Pedophilia with ‘Victoria Secret’-Style Lingerie Show Featuring 5yo Girls

The latest movement within media and Hollywood pop culture is a distinctive agenda to normalize pedophilia and the sexualization of children. The latest example of this growing trend within mainstream media is a fashion show that many feel crossed the line from – with scantily clad girls, who appear to be as young as five-years-old, walking the runway in a Victoria’s Secret–style show.

Photo: australscope

The show, held at a shopping mall in China, revealed shocking images of young girls wearing nothing but lingerie, costume wings, and headpieces. This comes on the heels of Kim Kardashian sparking controversy last month after she posted images of her new children’s line, which included a bikini and lace slip dress.

“I’m not dressing my 4-yr-old daughter in a leopard n lace slip dress Kim Kardashian Kids Line,” one disgruntled parent replied.

Photo: australscope

What you see talking place is simply the latest manifestation of what is, without question, a creeping agenda within the mainstream of pop culture to normalize and force public acceptance of pedophilia.

We’ve previously reported on the constant drive within pop culture to normalize pedophilia:

In the current age of political correctness, some sects of society know no limits as to how far they will go to force acceptance to avoid offending others. In one extreme case of forcing such political correctness, Salon magazine implies that society must be accepting of pedophiles. In two separate articles, Salon refers to pedophilia as an ‘alternate sexual preference’ and suggests that society should embrace these differences by insinuating that this poor man is just misunderstood.

The article and video on Salon deal with pedophiles known as ‘non-offending’ — meaning while these individuals admit they are sexually attracted to prepubescent children, they claim they’ve never acted on it. However, the subject of one Salon article, Todd Nickerson admitted to seeking out jobs as a babysitter and noted that he “fell in love” with a five-year-old whom he babysat.

The U.S. corporate mainstream media is, without a doubt, the most sophisticated propaganda operation in the history of humankind, according to political philosopher Noam Chomsky, author of Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of Mass Media.

The mainstream media works diligently to alter and shape our perceptions and values. It seems clear that the propagandists are attempting to engineer a society that is accepting of pedophilia as a normalized behavior.

Both Elijah Wood and Corey Feldman have publicly discussed the fact that Hollywood is a den of pedophilia – noting that numerous powerful moguls and others within the Hollywood scene prey on the vulnerable like “vultures.”

Revealing exactly how the normalization propaganda operates, the New York Times published an op-ed proclaiming that pedophilia is “not a crime” – instead sympathetically characterizing pedophilia as a “disorder” that “these people [pedophiles] are living with.”

The sell is that people who rape, or who fantasize about exploiting or raping children are portrayed as victims living with a condition that they have little choice over. The article goes on to insert tidbits about “recent studies,” which is an appeal to authority meant to imply that the author’s normalization agenda is backed by science.

Thus, claims such as: “Men with pedophilia are three times more likely to be left-handed or ambidextrous, a finding that strongly suggests a neurological cause,” leaving readers to discern the credibility of the author’s opinion based on an unprofessional interpretation of the actual study.

Essentially, the idea being forwarded is that people who want to have sexual relations with children are suffering from a “disorder,” and thus are not subject to a moral evaluation, but instead are in need of compassion. The idea that pedophilia is a “condition,” rather than an internal mental process involving desires and attitudes, leaves the pedophile blameless.

It’s clearly a sign of the times when the New York Times devotes more time to making excuses for pedophilia than it does defending innocent and victimized children!

Interestingly, the CEO of the New York Times, Mark Thompson, was involved in the cover-up of cases involving British child rapist Jimmy Saville — who raped as many as 500 children over the coarse of his career – while being protected by media moguls and celebrities alike.

Further revealing the nefarious agenda, when recent news broke of a massive pedophile ring being busted in Norway, numerous mainstream outlets deleted published reports on it – including the Washington Post, ABC News, and the New York Times.

Actions such as these give pause as to what exactly is the agenda of these major media outlets engaging in such actions.

Concern over lack of funding for IVF and sterilisation options in England

Egg storage for in vitro fertilisation (IVF)
 Egg storage for in vitro fertilisation (IVF). Photograph: Getty Images/Science Photo Library

Even worse than the postcode lottery on IVF treatment being introduced by clinical commissioning groups (Report, 7 August) is the short-termism and lack of joined-up thinking in deciding what patient services to axe in order to save money.

In my area (Herts Valleys), at a recent public consultation event, proposals were not only to cease providing “IVF and specialist fertility services” but also to stop funding vasectomy and female sterilisation operations. But funding of pregnancy/birth/postnatal care as well as abortions will continue.

It should not need spelling out that prevention is always better than cure and to know that reducing unwanted/unplanned pregnancies is cheaper than dealing with the results of such pregnancies. When pointing this out, I was told that the CCG would continue to supply very effective contraceptives.

Unfortunately figures and surveys show that contraceptives may be effective, but the human beings who use/do not use them are fallible. In real life, male or female sterilisation is the only 100% effective method of preventing pregnancy and it is sad that highly paid professionals tasked with spending our money efficiently do not appear to know this.
Diane Munday
Wheathampstead, Hertfordshire

 One in six couples in the UK now struggle to conceive. That’s a hefty portion of the population. Many people will have family or friends who are going through gruelling fertility treatment. But the sweeping cuts to NHS funding will sentence so many who long to be parents to remain forever childless. The physical and emotional blitz of treatment is brutal enough without adding financial worry. And the gift of having a child through IVF should not be restricted to those who can afford to pay for it privately.
Diane Chandler 
Author of Moondance, London

A recent study in New Zealand suggests that with IUI, compared with trying to conceive naturally, the live birth rate could increase from 9% to 31% when paired with a drug that boosts ovulation.