The Militant Libertarian

I'm pissed off and I'm a libertarian. What else you wanna know?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The State of the Weblog Address

Alright, fellow militants, I've made some decisions the past few days about a few things that need to be done. First off, though, don't worry: the site isn't going away. In the past, the idea of dropping this blog altogether or handing it over to someone else has occurred to me, but I could never bring myself to do it.

Frankly, there are too many of you coming here every day, reading the RSS feed, or otherwise participating for me to just dump it and forget it. Now, a friend from Facebook named Dan Cancade has convinced me to create some Facebook connections for this site, which I've done (note the button on the left).

That's just the beginning, however. I had planned to do that along with several other changes as well. I created the MiliLib Twitter account as the first step towards that goal, but got side-tracked with paying work and had to wait to do the rest.

I'm still not sure when exactly those new changes will be done, but it will be sooner rather than later. Before the end of the year for sure, probably in the next couple/three weeks.

The site will change in design to make it much more conducive to your reading. I'll be moving it from Blogger, so if you come to, you'll need to update your link to just, which has always pointed here. If you subscribe to the RSS, it should be through In that case, you won't need to change anything as that will follow the site to its new location.

I'll be moving it to private (paid) hosting, upgrading the blog software to WordPress, and trasferring everything here to there (maybe not the entire blog archive, but a large chunk of it anyway).

The posts themselves will change somewhat in size. The usual re-posts that I do here will become blurbs linking to the originals rather than the entire thing at once. This avoids copyright issues, but more importantly will allow for an increase in postings without flooding the works.

That increase in postings will come from volunteers who want to contribute. Those of you who're interested in that can email me and ask to be a part of it, or wait until you see the new setup and ask then.

A lot of navigation, design, and so forth will change to make this site much better than it is.

Two things that I consider the foundation of this site will not change:
1 - Open discourse without barriers: all comment areas will be available to anyone, without requiring a login, so those who wish to do so may post anonymously. Hateful comments or comments that otherwise are counter-productive (calling for direct physical attacks against individuals, generally race-based hatred, etc.) will be deleted and comments with a few too many curse words may be subject to editing to remove them. I don't mind swearing, but if the only words you know are swear words, maybe you should take an English class before you come here. Basically, comment rules will not change from what they are now.

2 - Subjects will be roughly the same. Obviously, bringing in other people to contribute with their writing or information-finding skills means that the subject matter will broaden. That's fine with me. I plan to section the site a little bit to better organize that sort of thing. I anticipate no more than half a dozen of us posting information here. I will act as Editor and work to keep everything civilized, of course, but that's about it. I will, as I have been, be open to anyone emailing me (or otherwise contacting me) to post something for them.

Overall, I think the changes will make something great. The other possibilities that changing to better software also means easier interactivity. The Twitter, Facebook, and other social networking integration will do a lot to keep us all connected and talking. It will also lighten the load on me, allowing for a degree of automation for a lot of things I have to do by hand right now.

Currently, I've created both a Facebook account for this site (and my persona here, for lack of a better term) and a group page there. Unless Facebook gets real jittery about things or closes things down, I won't be changing MilitantLibertarian to include any sort of community forums and will rely on Facebook to do that instead.

Hopefully, this will answer a few questions and get some interest going. The liberty movement has a lot of forums and areas to discuss and organize, but they're almost all geared at one or two focused things (limited gov't, the Fed, the wars, gun rights, etc.) and rarely are looking at all aspects of liberty and freedom.

That's what I aim to facilitate, with your help.

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The Last Word on Mike Adams vs. Dr. Oz

Alright, well, apparently since I'm open to criticism and willing to talk to people and (apparently) made the mistake of mentioning that I write for, I'm fair game for emails. That's what I get for putting the big "Email me, dammit" thing down there, I guess.

Oh well. The price of freedom is tolerance. If you don't know what that means, it's because you don't understand freedom or liberty.

Anyway, I got another thoughtful email from someone who bothered using an address that wasn't "@hotmail.spam" or "@onetimeemail" or something. Plus the usual crowd of hate mailers. They're mostly regulars, though. Hi, Joe and Nathaniel. Here's your fifteen minutes. :) Can't wait to see how you can construe this post to be some kind of conspiracy theory gone wild.

So, back to that thoughtful email that wasn't hate mail. The guy's name is Ken Chowder. Not sure if there's potatoes in that (bad-adung-ching), but I'm going to just reproduce his entire email without commentary or editing.

First, a fast recap:
The original post was titled Conflicts of interest? Dr. Mehmet Oz owns 150,000 option shares in vaccine technology company and was by Mike Adams, taken directly from The follow-up was by myself, referencing another post on (also by Mike Adams).

Now, the email response from Mr. Chowder, which references the second post and Adams' responding post on his site.

Hi Militant Libertarian --

You write that "Mike Adams has proven that *SIGA actually does make vaccines."* This is a statement you should retract.

Actually, Mike Adams is wrong again. And this time I find that it isn't really an innocent mistake. Read on.

Most importantly, the premise of his article is that Mehmet Oz is pumping flu vaccines and STANDS TO MAKE A PROFIT if those vaccines are used -- because of his holdings in Siga. This is absolutely untrue. Secondly, Siga does NOT make vaccines.

Let's begin with the facts.

As I mentioned the other day, Siga doesn't make vaccines. By that I don't mean that they have NEVER made vaccines; for a period they did, back 5 or 6 years ago. The fact is, they NEVER made a Flu vaccine. In other words, Oz pumping the Flu vaccine has NEVER had to do with Siga.

If you look on the "Products" on their website, you'll see the kinds of antivirals they are making or attempting to make. Yes, their compound st-246 is being tested to see if it can reduce the complications (i.e., possible occurrence of vaccinia, which is similar to smallpox itself) from SMALLPOX vaccines. In time, perhaps, people being given SMALLPOX vaccines will also be given st-246. That doesn't mean that Oz will profit from FLU vaccines.

Mike Adams makes a big deal -- as if he were doing some kind of powerful investigational reporting -- about two kinds of "links" between Siga and vaccines. Any real reporter would realize the true nature of these links, and realize he'd been led down the wrong path. But Mike crows that he's discovered some kind of genuine truth. He's way off.

None of these links comes from Siga's website itself.

The first kind of link is vestigial. Siga used to work on vaccines. They stopped doing that years ago. So it isn't surprising that very old links on the Net refer to that activity. By way of comparison, you could find many a link that says that Bill Clinton is the President of the United States; that does not prove that Bill Clinton is still President of the United States.

So it is that most of the "revealing" information that Mike Adams finds come from reports from five to eight years ago. It's not as if Siga has been working secretly on vaccines since then; they are working on antivirals instead.

The "tag" for Siga's website is similarly vestigial. It's just something they never got around to changing.
The other kind of link is simply inaccurate. It happens time after time that people confuse the word "vaccine" with "antiviral." Mike Adams himself did it, and then tried to pretend he hadn't by coming up with a bunch of links that made the same mistake. So it is that Mike quotes a site that calls st-246 a "smallpox vaccine." Now by now Mike himself should know that st-246 is not a vaccine; he's done enough research so he surely realizes that much. Yet he blandly quotes what he knows is a MISTAKE as if it is true. I don't have any sympathy for this. If someone says "3+3 is 8," and you reprint this, it doesn't make it true. And Mike Adams jolly well knows this.

I'm also a little perturbed by the way he writes about Siga's investor-relations company, KCSA. Every company has either an investor-relations department or hires an outside investor-relations company. Yet Mike writes about it as if this is something dark and mysterious: KCSA, he says, "represents SIGA as an 'investor relations counsel.'" There's no need for the quotation marks there. KCSA is, pure and simple, hired by Siga to do investor relations. It's not a conspiracy. It's work they do for hire.

If you go on Siga's website, you can see their products. Their lead product is st-246, which treats smallpox. They also make ANTIVIRALS to treat hemorrhagic diseases like Dengue fever, Junin, Lassa fever, and Ebola. Lastly, they are trying to produce the (rough) equivalent of penicillin to fight viruses: a wide-spectrum antiviral. As you know, penicillin destroys bacteria; Siga is working on a compound called st-669. St-669 has been shown to prevent viral replication in 8 families of virus, including the families that cause HIV, leukemia, polio, hepatitis C, Ebola, and the common cold, among others. No, they very simply don't make vaccines. You should print a retraction.

For some reason, Mike Adams seems to be very averse to admitting that he has made a mistake. No, he says, there is a conspiracy out to stop him. In this case there is no conspiracy. He's gotten his facts wrong, and the facts he's gotten wrong have destroyed the entire premise of his story. He should just man up and admit it, and stop dredging up either old links on the Net or ones that, like him, make mistakes.
Now that I've gone to the trouble to write you (I wrote you first, because you seem far more reasonable), I think I'll send a version of this on to Mike Adams.

Best --


Like I said, I'm not commenting on Ken's information there. You readers can make up your own minds based on what's been presented so far.

That's going to close the book on this for me, though. My mind is made up and I'm not going to keep discussing this ad infinitum. This sort of thing is interesting, good to know, etc., but it's not the kind of thing I write about for nor is it anything more than periphery to the types of political, social, technological, and health-related things I do write about.

It's true that most of my writing at has focused on vaccines, but it's mainly been linking vaccines with autism and all of those are based on breaking and/or peer-reviewed studies being done along those lines.

At any rate, the case is closed. You, the reader, are the judge and jury. So weigh the evidence presented and make up your own mind. Feel free to leave comments about what you decided after you dropped the gavel.

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Friday, November 13, 2009

Medicare for All!

Pretty funny parody video making fun of the health care reform "debate":

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The Unfairness of "Fair Trade"

by Prateik Dalmia

Hopkins's Pura Vida Café prides itself on being the first "fair trade, certified organic Pura Vida coffeehouse in the Baltimore area," as its Web site declares. Fair trade, as opposed to free trade, demands that trade is only permitted on terms that meet certain economic and environmental conditions.

Hopkins is not alone in joining the fair trade bandwagon. It seems to be Hollywood's latest fashion as celebrities such as the members of Coldplay, Angelina Jolie and Bono talk frequently about making trade "fair."

Their intentions appear to be noble and humane - a grand effort to lift developing countries out of poverty and "protect" them from the ups and downs of the free market.
However, as Nobel-winning economist Milton Friedman said, "One of the great mistakes is to judge policies and programs by their intentions rather than their results." And the results of such a policy of "fairness" are, most often, cruel unfairness.

Unlike free trade, which is by definition a mutually beneficial agreement, fair trade cannot help but harm every party involved.
It is harmful, first, to the American consumer because it ignores the laws of supply and demand. It hikes up prices under the assumption that government officials can establish a price fairer than the market. But who is to say what price is fair? If countries freely choose to make a trade because they believe it in their best-interest, is that not fair?

As Cato Institute associate policy analyst James Bovard said, "Fair trade means government officials decide what Americans should be allowed to buy and what prices they should be forced to pay. Fair trade is paternalism in international commerce." The American consumer is robbed of a fair price. And as a consequence of this, he will have less money to invest in productive industries, resulting in an overall decline in the American economy.

Proponents of fair-trade would say that wealthy nations such as America can afford to suffer a little if it means the development of less fortunate nations. But this too proves to be false as fair trade protectionism harms developing countries significantly more than it helps.

Artificially raising wages means that international companies can afford to employ fewer developing country workers and are more likely to look elsewhere for labor. There will be fewer opportunities for hard-working, impoverished workers just looking to make a decent living.

Not only does fair trade diminish opportunities in developing countries, but it lures workers into pursuing opportunities which are not "the most productive use of their energy," as economist Gene Callahan puts it. How does this happen?

Today, there is an overabundance of coffee growers competing and thus the market price for coffee is extremely low. Jerónimo Bollen, Director of a Fair Trade coffee cooperative in Guatemala, complains of this and said that this is why, "we need fair trade now more than ever."

Actually, this is why we need free trade more than ever. As Callahan says, "By paying more than the market price for coffee - the authentically fair price - fair traders send a signal to people in developing countries to join an already overcrowded field." Fair trade leads to an overabundance of coffee farmers and of coffee which leads to lower prices and wages. Fair trade increases the problem for which it claims to be the solution.

Callahan adds that artificially-set wages, "lure coffee farmers away from pursuing better-paying jobs that would enrich the diversity of a developing country's economy." Fair trade is a policy that "undercuts the very sustainability it wants to promote." Every cup of coffee bought at Pura Vida Café works to prevent developing countries from climbing out of poverty. If you are concerned with the environment, buy shade-grown coffee - a free market variety sold frequently by Starbucks that saves approximately 2.3 square feet of rainforest per cup (according to an article by Arbor Day Foundation in The Daily Green).

In the long-run, protectionism and government involvement in the free market is never in anyone's best interest. Fair trade proponents fail to see this because, as Friedman said, "underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself." People turn to the government out of fear of the "oppression" of corporations and the ups and downs of the markets. In reality, however, people should fear the oppression of the government itself.

The lesson to be drawn is, to quote Friedman one last time, "A society that puts equality before freedom will get neither. A society that puts freedom before equality will get a high degree of both."

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Justice Dept. Asked For News Site's Visitor Lists

by Declan McCullagh

In a case that raises questions about online journalism and privacy rights, the U.S. Department of Justice sent a formal request to an independent news site ordering it to provide details of all reader visits on a certain day.

The grand jury subpoena also required the Philadelphia-based Web site "not to disclose the existence of this request" unless authorized by the Justice Department, a gag order that presents an unusual quandary for any news organization.

Kristina Clair, a 34-year old Linux administrator living in Philadelphia who provides free server space for, said she was shocked to receive the Justice Department's subpoena. (The Independent Media Center is a left-of-center amalgamation of journalists and advocates that – according to their principles of unity and mission statement – work toward "promoting social and economic justice" and "social change.")

The subpoena (PDF) from U.S. Attorney Tim Morrison in Indianapolis demanded "all IP traffic to and from" on June 25, 2008. It instructed Clair to "include IP addresses, times, and any other identifying information," including e-mail addresses, physical addresses, registered accounts, and Indymedia readers' Social Security Numbers, bank account numbers, credit card numbers, and so on.

"I didn't think anything we were doing was worthy of any (federal) attention," Clair said in a telephone interview with on Monday. After talking to other Indymedia volunteers, Clair ended up calling the Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco, which represented her at no cost.

Under long-standing Justice Department guidelines, subpoenas to members of the news media are supposed to receive special treatment. One portion of the guidelines, for instance, says that "no subpoena may be issued to any member of the news media" without "the express authorization of the attorney general" – that would be current attorney general Eric Holder – and subpoenas should be "directed at material information regarding a limited subject matter."

Still unclear is what criminal investigation U.S. Attorney Morrison was pursuing. Last Friday, a spokeswoman initially promised a response, but Morrison sent e-mail on Monday evening saying: "We have no comment." The Justice Department in Washington, D.C. also declined to respond.

Kevin Bankston, a senior staff attorney at the San Francisco-based Electronic Frontier Foundation, replied to the Justice Department on behalf of his client in a February 2009 letter (PDF) outlining what he described as a series of problems with the subpoena, including that it was not personally served, that a judge-issued court order would be required for the full logs, and that Indymedia did not store logs in the first place.

Morrison replied in a one-sentence letter saying the subpoena had been withdrawn. Around the same time, according to the EFF, the group had a series of discussions with assistant U.S. attorneys in Morrison's office who threatened Clair with possible prosecution for obstruction of justice if she disclosed the existence of the already-withdrawn subpoena -- claiming it "may endanger someone's health" and would have a "human cost."

Lucy Dalglish, the executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of The Press, said a gag order to a news organization wouldn't stand up in court: "If you get a subpoena and you're a journalist, they can't gag you."

Dalglish said that a subpoena being issued and withdrawn is not unprecedented. "I have seen any number of these things withdrawn when counsel for someone who is claiming a reporter's privilege says, 'Can you tell me the date you got approval from the attorney general's office'... I'm willing to chalk this up to bad lawyering on the part of the DOJ, or just not thinking."

Making this investigation more mysterious is that is an aggregation site, meaning articles that appear on it were published somewhere else first, and there's no hint about what sparked the criminal probe. Clair, the system administrator, says that no IP (Internet Protocol) addresses are recorded for, and non-IP address logs are kept for a few weeks and then discarded.

EFF's Bankston wrote a second letter to the government saying that, if it needed to muzzle Indymedia, it should apply for a gag order under the section of federal law that clearly permits such an order to be issued. Bankston's plan: To challenge that law on First Amendment grounds.

But the Justice Department never replied. "This is the first time we've seen them try to get the IP address of everyone who visited a particular site," Bankston said. "That it was a news organization was an additional troubling fact that implicates First Amendment rights."

This is not, however, the first time that the Feds have focused on Indymedia -- a Web site whose authors sometimes blur the line between journalism, advocacy, and on-the-streets activism. In 2004, the Justice Department sent a grand jury subpoena asking for information about who posted lists of Republican delegates while urging they be given an unwelcome reception at the party's convention in New York City that year. A Indymedia hosting service in Texas once received a subpoena asking for server logs in relation to an investigation of an attempted murder in Italy.

Bankston has written a longer description of the exchange of letters with the Justice Department, which he hopes will raise awareness of how others should respond to similar legal demands for Web logs, customer records, and compulsory silence. "Our fear is that this kind of bogus gag order is much more common than one would hope, considering they're legally baseless," Bankston says. "We're telling this story in hopes that more providers will press back and go public when the government demands their silence."

Update 1:59pm E.T.: A Justice Department official familiar with this subpoena just told me that the attorney general's office never saw it and that it had not been submitted to the department's headquarters in Washington, D.C. for review. If that's correct, it suggests that U.S. Attorney Tim Morrison and Assistant U.S. Attorney Doris Pryor did not follow department regulations requiring the "express authorization of the attorney general" for media subpoenas -- and it means that neither Attorney General Eric Holder nor Acting Attorney General Mark Filip were involved. I wouldn't be surprised to see an internal investigation by the Office of Professional Responsibility; my source would not confirm or deny that.

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

IEA Forecasts Global Oil Production by Gaming the Numbers

by Aaron Turpen

Not only has the International Energy Agency (IEA) shown that oil extraction peaked in 2007/08, but a whistle blower has now come forward to say that the number of existing and “future” reserves have been overstated to prevent panic.

According to a news report in the Guardian, this senior official at the IEA says that the United States played a big role in influencing the IEA to de-emphasize the rate of decline and overstate the number of new reserves likely to be found. This comes as a refutation to the IEA’s new World Energy Outlook publication that released on the 10th.

The official prediction is that oil production can be increased to 105 million barrels daily from the current 83 million. Many critics question this, saying we passed peak production in 2007/08 at 87 million/day. This huge 105m prediction is a lower number than that given a few years ago at an unbelievable 120m by 2030. The optimistic numbers are despite the fact that the past two years have shown lower, not higher production rates.

Many world governments utilize the IEA numbers in assuming supply figures for coming decades. The United States relies in part on those numbers, the British government almost entirely, and the Australian and others do as well. With the accusations of this whistle blower, it’s no wonder the U.S. doesn’t base it’s entire policy on the IEA’s numbers, but we have to question why they would be pushing for a lie.

According to the unnamed whistle blower, it’s because allowing the real numbers to be released would mean a panic and a rush on oil futures. If this is true, why haven’t the “alternative energy loving” Obama Administration and the politicians who tout Cap and Trade and all the rest backed off from this pressure or allowed the truth to come out?

Well, it could be that there is no “truth” to be let out and the IEA’s numbers are perfectly accurate (or as reasonably accurate as can be expected). Or it could be that Obama and the Congress aren’t really sold on alternative energy and are only giving it lip service and further realize that Cap and Trade will do nothing to curb oil usage. Given the track record of our politicians, I’m more likely to accept the latter explanation.

Regardless, there are others to back up the peak oil claims being made. The UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC), the Oil Depletion Analysis Centre (ODAC), and others have said we’re already at, near, or past the peak production and the IEA is wrong. The IEA’s own graphs show these critics to be correct.

In The Sustainability Factor, I talked about how Peak Oil would be just the tip of the iceberg as we reach Peak Everything and our modern consumerism will throw us into the garbage pit with the rest of our refuse. It’s time to start re-thinking our ways and realizing that these government stooges don’t have our best interests at heart.

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Conflicts of interest? Dr. Mehmet Oz - Changes and Retractions

I ran a reprint from NaturalNews, written by the editor Mike Adams, titled Conflicts of interest? Dr. Mehmet Oz owns 150,000 option shares in vaccine technology company.

Since then, the story at NaturalNews has been amended to change some of the information which turned out to be incorrect. Those changes appear in the new version.

Last night, I received a note from fellow writer Ken Chowder as a copy of a note sent to Mike Adams regarding his piece. That note pointed out the following:

Siga Technologies does NOT make vaccines. None. Zero. It makes antivirals -- cures, or treatments -- for various diseases. These are not vaccines. Oz does pump vaccines against the flu; but Siga will not profit if those vaccines are used.

Current work at SIGA appears to be focused on smallpox anti-virals used in conjunction with or as a treatment for adverse reactions to the smallpox vaccine.

However, to be clear, SIGA does work on vaccines. So while Dr. Oz promoting swine flu vaccinations is not a direct conflict of interest, his continual promoting of vaccines in general is obviously in his long term interest. It would require little on his part to make that disclaimer. Just as I'm doing here:

Disclosure: I am a paid freelance writer for, though I did not write Mike Adams' article in question.

For the record, I think that both parties should come clean. Adams' article should be clarified to reflect this information (though he links to the same stuff I do, and it was written as an opinion piece) and Dr. Oz should publicly make clear his interests in SIGA and any other medical technology company in which he has financial interest.

Update: Nevermind. Mike Adams can keep his words to himself, as he's proven that SIGA actually does make vaccines. Here's the latest:

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Foreign-Policy Blowback at Ft. Hood

by Jacob G. Hornberger

Amidst all the debate over whether the Ft. Hood killer is a terrorist, murderer, enemy combatant, traitor, sleeper agent, or insane person, there is one glaring fact staring America in the face: what happened at Ft. Hood is more blowback from U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, specifically the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. Even at this early stage of the investigation, the evidence is virtually conclusive that the accused killer, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, was motivated to kill U.S. soldiers at Ft. Hood by deep anger and rage arising from the things that the U.S. government has been doing to people in the Middle East for many years.

Oh, I can already hear the interventionists exclaiming, “You’re a justifier! You’re justifying what he did!”

Isn’t that what they said after the 9/11 attacks, when we libertarians pointed out that those attacks were motivated by the deep anger and rage that had boiled over in the Middle East because of what the U.S. government had been doing to people there?

“You’re a justifier,” the interventionists cried. “You’re justifying what they did.”

In fact, isn’t that what they said after Timothy McVeigh’s terrorist attack on the federal building in Oklahoma City, when we libertarians pointed out that he had been motivated by deep anger and rage arising from the federal massacre of U.S. citizens at Waco, including innocent women and children?

“You’re a justifier,” they said. “You’re justifying what McVeigh did.”

The reason the interventionists go off on this “You’re a justifier” tirade is that the last thing they want to be confronted with is the wrongdoing of the U.S. government and its responsibility for the blowback — the retaliatory consequences — from such wrongdoing.

Think back to the 1993 terrorist strike on the World Trade Center. The following is an excerpt from a statement made by convicted terrorist Ramzi Yousef to the federal judge at Yousef’s sentencing hearing. As you read what he said, see if you detect anger and rage within this man:

“You keep talking also about collective punishment and killing innocent people to force governments to change their policies; you call this terrorism when someone would kill innocent people or civilians in order to force the government to change its policies. Well, when you were the first one who invented this terrorism.... And now you have invented new ways to kill innocent people. You have so-called economic embargo which kills nobody other than children and elderly people.... You are the ones who invented terrorism and using it every day. You are butchers, liars, and hypocrites.”

That terrorist attack at the World Trade Center took place in 1993. That was after the Persian Gulf War, when the Pentagon knowingly and intentionally destroyed the water-and-sewage facilities in Iraq with the specific intent of spreading infectious illnesses among the Iraqi people. It was also the second year of the brutal sanctions that were contributing to the deaths of Iraqi children, many from infectious illnesses.

That was what Yousef was referring to when he mentioned the “embargo which kills nobody but children and elderly people.” That’s just one of the things that the U.S. government was doing to people in the Middle East that were causing people’s anger and rage to reach a boiling point.

Here at The Future of Freedom Foundation, we repeatedly warned — prior to 9/11 — that unless the U.S. government ceased and desisted from its wrongful conduct in the Middle East, the United States would be hit with another terrorist attack. We were repeatedly pointing out that the anger and rage were going to reach another boiling point, just like they had in 1993, and culminate in a terrorist attack on American soil.

Of course, one might say, “But the Pentagon, the president, and the CIA probably weren’t reading your essays prior to 9/11 and so they wouldn’t have known about such warnings.”

Fair enough. But surely many of them were familiar with the works of Chalmers Johnson, professor emeritus at the University of California, San Diego, who served as a consultant for the CIA from 1967-1973. In his book Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire, Johnson made the same point — that U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East was inevitably going to lead to retaliatory terrorist blowback on American soil. His book was published in March 2000, more than a year before the 9/11 attacks.

Did the U.S. government learn anything at all after the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center? Did it change its interventionist foreign policy? Did it stop doing bad things to people in the Middle East?

On the contrary, it not only continued its interventionist policies that had precipitated the 1993 retaliatory blowback on the World Trade Center, it expanded upon them for the next several years, until the anger and rage in the Middle East once again reached a boiling point that erupted in full force on 9/11.

For example, consider the brutal sanctions that were contributing to the deaths of countless Iraqi children that had filled Ramzi Yousef and many other people in the Middle East with anger and rage. Those sanctions continued … and continued … and continued, with the death toll mounting year after year after year — along with rising anger and rage.

Click here for a compilation of articles that provide an excellent summary of the nature and consequences of the sanctions on Iraq.

By the mid-1990s the death toll for Iraqi children from the sanctions had reached the hundreds of thousands.

What was the response of U.S. officials to this rising death toll? Nothing but callous indifference. They simply didn’t care. In 1996 U.S. Ambassador to the UN Madeleine Albright expressed the official position of Washington when she responded to a question put to her by “Sixty Minutes” regarding the half-a-million children who had died as a result of the sanctions: She said that such a price was “worth it.” By “it” she meant U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, specifically the attempt to oust Saddam Hussein from power and replace him with a U.S.-approved ruler.

In other words, U.S. officials were willing to trade the lives of any number of Iraqi children, no matter how high such a number might reach, to achieve the U.S. foreign policy goal of “regime change.”

The brutal sanctions continued throughout the 1990s and in to the 2000s, amidst a growing outcry all over the world, not to mention the rising anger and rage within people in the Middle East. In order to cover its wrongdoing, the U.S. got the UN to enact the infamous oil-for-food program, a crooked, corrupt, bureaucratic, socialistic government program that was nothing more than a charade to cover up the rising death toll and the callous indifference to the horror.

In 2000, in a crisis of conscience, two high UN officials, Hans van Sponeck and Denis Halliday, even resigned their posts in protest to what was being described as genocide. “As a UN official, I should not be expected to be silent to that which I recognise as a true human tragedy that needs to be ended,” von Sponeck stated. "How long the civilian population, which is totally innocent on all this, should be exposed to such punishment for something that they have never done?" he asked.

Those brutal sanctions continued all way up to the U.S invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t all that the U.S. government did after the Berlin Wall collapsed, when people were questioning the necessity of an enormous Cold War military and military-industrial complex. The U.S. government also did such things as station troops on Islamic holy lands, knowing full well the adverse effect this would have on the sensitivities of Muslims. It also enforced the brutal no-fly zones over Iraq, which were used as the excuse to kill more Iraqis — zones which, by the way, had never been approved by either Congress or the UN. And on top of all this death, destruction, and humiliation, was the never-ending unconditional financial and military foreign aid given to the Israeli government.

I ask you: What better formula for boiling anger and rage among people in the Middle East than that?

Did anything change after the 9/11 attacks? Did the U.S. government learn any lessons from those attacks? Did it abandon any of its interventionist policies?

On the contrary, it not only continued the policies that had given rise to the anger and rage, it used the attacks to expand the interventionist policies.

First and foremost, the 9/11 attacks were used as the excuse to effect regime change not only in Iraq but also in Afghanistan.

In other words, what 11 years of brutal and deadly sanctions had failed to achieve in Iraq — regime change — was quickly achieved with a military invasion and occupation.

The U.S. government had provided Afghanistan with millions of dollars in foreign aid immediately prior to the 9/11 attacks, with full knowledge that Osama bin Laden was based in Afghanistan. But when the Taliban refused to comply with President Bush’s unconditional and non-negotiable demand to turn bin Laden over to the United States without the production of any evidence, the U.S. resorted to invasion and occupation to oust the Taliban from power and replace them with a U.S.-approved ruler, in the process killing countless Afghanis who had absolutely nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks.

Compare the deadly and disastrous consequences from the military approach used to try to capture bin Laden to the criminal-justice approach that was used to capture Ramzi Yousef. Yousef today is residing in a U.S. federal penitentiary as a result of the sentence he received by a federal judge who treated terrorism as the federal crime it is. Also, no one was killed by U.S. bombs in Pakistan, where Yousef was ultimately arrested.

Compounding the invasions and long-term occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan has been the callous indifference to the loss of innocent life in those two countries. Year after year, U.S. officials have professed to be killing and destroying out of love for the Iraqi and Afghani people. Sure, we’re killing you but it’s all for your own good because in the long run, you will have democracy and so it will all be worth it, U.S. officials have exclaimed. Don’t fret about losing your mother or father, or your bride, or your sister, or your friend. In the long run, you will thank us because you will find that democracy will be worth it.

What could be more wrongful, more immoral than that — the intentional killing of human beings in order to achieve a political-welfare goal? And keep in mind that there has never been an upward limit on the number of Afghanis and Iraqis who could be killed to achieve “democracy.” Any number of deaths, no matter how high, would be considered “worth it.”

Longtime supporters of The Future of Freedom Foundation know that ever since our inception in 1989, we have led the way in opposition to a pro-empire, pro-interventionist foreign policy. In fact, one of earliest books was The Failure of America’s Foreign Wars, followed later by Liberty, Security, and the War on Terrorism, published after 9/11, followed by innumerable essays since then.

Since 9/11, we have consistently opposed both the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan, arguing fervently that not only were these two wars illegal (no declaration of war, as required by the U.S. Constitution) but that they were nothing more than a continuation of the policies that had produced the boiling anger and rage that had erupted in 1993 and then again on 9/11.

We must never lose sight of the fact that in Iraq, it is the U.S. government that is the aggressor — the invader — the occupier. It is the U.S. government that started this war. It is the Iraqis who are the defenders, the victims of what the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal called a “war of aggression.”

We should also never lose sight of the fact that while Afghanistan bore a tangential relationship to 9/11, the decision to treat the attack as a military problem rather than a criminal-justice one has been an unmitigated disaster. By killing countless Afghanis who had nothing to do with 9/11, the U.S. government has simultaneously swelled the ranks of people whose anger and rage have propelled them into the ranks of those who seek retaliation, including it now seems beyond any doubt, the alleged Ft. Hood killer, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan.

Are we here at The Future of Freedom Foundation surprised by the Ft. Hood killings? Why would we be? In fact, what surprises us is that we haven’t seen more of this type of thing. How can it be otherwise?

I’m going to repeat what we’ve been saying since before 9/11: the U.S. government needs to get out of the Middle East and Afghanistan. Pull the troops out now. There is no other genuine way to support them. Stop the killing. End the occupations. The U.S. military and the CIA have had eight years to do all the killing, torturing, humiliating, and destroying they want. Now it is time to bring it to an end. Enough is enough.

And I’m going to repeat our predictions of what Americans should expect should the U.S. government continue its pro-empire, pro-interventionist foreign policy in the Middle East and Afghanistan: Americans should prepare themselves to reap the full bounty of what their government’s foreign policy is sowing. An evil seed will produce an evil tree that will bear evil fruit. As the anger and rage arising from the U.S. government’s foreign policy periodically boils over, everyone should prepare himself for more acts of terrorism, murder, treason, war, insanity or whatever other label you wish to put on the retaliatory killing, not to mention the monetary disaster that looms ahead from all of the out-of-control spending to finance this imperialist and interventionist madness.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Report: 237 millionaires in Congress

by Erika Lovley, Politico

Talk about bad timing.

As Washington reels from the news of 10.2 percent unemployment, the Center for Responsive Politics is out with a new report describing the wealth of members of Congress.

Among the highlights: Two-hundred-and-thirty-seven members of Congress are millionaires. That’s 44 percent of the body – compared to about 1 percent of Americans overall.

CRP says California Republican Rep. Darrell Issa is the richest lawmaker on Capitol Hill, with a net worth estimated at about $251 million. Next in line: Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.), worth about $244.7 million; Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.), worth about $214.5 million; Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), worth about $209.7 million; and Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), worth about $208.8 million.

All told, at least seven lawmakers have net worths greater than $100 million, according to the Center’s 2008 figures.

“Many Americans probably have a sense that members of Congress aren’t hurting, even if their government salary alone is in the six figures, much more than most Americans make,” said CRP spokesman Dave Levinthal. “What we see through these figures is that many of them have riches well beyond that salary, supplemented with securities, stock holdings, property and other investments.”

The CRP numbers are somewhat rough estimates – lawmakers are required to report their financial information in broad ranges of figures, so it’s impossible to pin down their dollars with precision. The CRP uses the mid-point in the ranges to build its estimates.

Senators’ estimated median reportable worth sunk to about $1.79 million from $2.27 million in 2007. The House’s median income was significantly lower and also sank, bottoming out at $622,254 from $724,258 in 2007.

But CRP’s analysis suggests that some lawmakers did well for themselves between 2007 and 2008, even as many Americans lost jobs and saw their savings and their home values plummet.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) gained about $9.2 million. Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) gained about $3 million, Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) had an estimated $2.6 million gain, and Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) gained about $2.8 million.

Some lawmakers have profited from investments in companies that have received federal bailouts; dozens of lawmakers are invested in Wells Fargo, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and Bank of America.

Among executive branch officials, CRP says the richest is Securities and Exchange Commission Chairwoman Mary L. Schapiro, with a net worth estimated at $26 million.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is next, worth an estimated $21 million. President Barack Obama is the sixth-wealthiest, worth about an estimated $4 million. Vice President Joe Biden has often tagged himself as an original blue collar man. The CRP backs him up, putting his net worth at just $27,000.

He’s hardly the worst off.

Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.), freshman Rep. Harry Teague (D-N.M.), Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.), Rep. John Salazar (D-Colo.) and Rep. Sander Levin (D-Mich.) each a net worth of less than zero, CRP says.

One caveat on those numbers: Federal financial disclosure laws don’t require members to list the value of their personal residences. That information could alter the net worth picture for many lawmakers.

Even so, Levinthal said, “It is clear that some members are struggling financially.

“Over a calendar year, one’s wealth can change drastically. Many peoples’ investments took a nose dive over night in the last year,” he said.

A number of lawmakers are estimated to have suffered double-digit percentage lossed in their net worth from 2007 to 2008. The biggest losers include Kerry, who lost a whopping $127.4 million; Warner lost about $28.1 million; Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) lost about $11.8 million; and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) lost about $10.1 million.

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Conflicts of interest? Dr. Mehmet Oz owns 150,000 option shares in vaccine technology company

by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger

(NaturalNews) Dr. Mehmet Oz is a huge promoter of vaccines. He's been on television reinforcing fear about H1N1 swine flu and telling everyone to get vaccinated. But what he didn't tell his viewing audience is that he holds 150,000 option shares in a vaccine company that could earn him millions of dollars in profits as the stock price rises. It is in Dr. Oz's own financial interest, in other words, to hype up vaccines and get more people taking them so that his own financial investments rise in value.

Evidence describing these facts was delivered to NaturalNews by a private investigator named Joseph Culligan ( That evidence includes an SEC document detailing how Dr. Oz. bought options on stocks for SIGA Technologies in 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2009. SIGA Technologies (stock symbol SIGA) is a vaccine technology company with many advanced developments whose success depends on the widespread adoption of vaccines. According to SEC documents, Dr. Mehmet Oz. currently holds 150,000 option shares on SIGA Technologies, purchased for as little as $1.35 back in 2005.

At the time of this writing, SIGA Technologies is trading at $7.10, making those options bought in 2005 worth $5.75 in profits today. If all the 150,000 options purchased by Dr. Oz. were exercised today, they would be worth roughly $180,000 in profits (they were bought at different prices, not all at $1.35). This is all revealed in what the SEC website calls an "insider transaction" document (link below).

These options won't expire until the years 2015 - 2019, and the higher the stock price of SIGA gets before then, the more profit can be realized when these options are cashed out. You can see the 2019 expiration date in this "insider transaction" form:

If the stock price of SIGA Technologies could be pumped up even more -- say, from someone hyping up vaccines in front of a national audience -- these options could mathematically be worth millions of dollars.

Dr. Oz. isn't merely a holder of SIGA stock options, by the way: He's on the Board of Directors! As SIGA's own website explains, Dr. Oz has served on the board since 2001 and continues his role there today. This brings up the obvious question:

Is it right for someone talking about whether vaccines are safe on television to also be carrying stock options and serving on the board of directors of a vaccine company at the same time?

Just to make things a little more interesting, SIGA Technologies recently received a $3 million grant in taxpayer dollars from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The purpose of the grant money? To fund the study of a chemical adjunct named ST-246 to be used in future vaccines. So taxpayer money is now being used to fund a vaccine technology company whose stock price increases will financially benefit the very celebrity doctor who is hyping up vaccines to a national audience.

Something sounds fishy here...

Conflict of interest?

To my knowledge, Dr. Oz. has never disclosed to his viewing audience the fact that he owns 150,000 option shares of SIGA Technologies. And yet, with an audience of millions, Dr. Oz has continued to beat the drum of the vaccine industry, urging people to get vaccinated while implying that vaccines protect people from swine flu (even though there is absolutely no scientific evidence to back up that claim).

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Secret Copyright Treaty Threatens Internet Freedom

by Shelly Roche,

The internet chapter of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, a secret copyright treaty whose text Obama's administration refused to disclose due to "national security" concerns, has leaked. It's bad. It says:

* That ISPs have to proactively police copyright on user-contributed material. This means that it will be impossible to run a service like Flickr or YouTube or Blogger, since hiring enough lawyers to ensure that the mountain of material uploaded every second isn't infringing will exceed any hope of profitability.

* That ISPs have to cut off the Internet access of accused copyright infringers or face liability. This means that your entire family could be denied to the internet -- and hence to civic participation, health information, education, communications, and their means of earning a living -- if one member is accused of copyright infringement, without access to a trial or counsel.

* That the whole world must adopt US-style "notice-and-takedown" rules that require ISPs to remove any material that is accused -- again, without evidence or trial -- of infringing copyright. This has proved a disaster in the US and other countries, where it provides an easy means of censoring material, just by accusing it of infringing copyright.

* Mandatory prohibitions on breaking DRM, even if doing so for a lawful purpose (e.g., to make a work available to disabled people; for archival preservation; because you own the copyrighted work that is locked up with DRM)

See Shelly's website for complete documentation by clicking here.

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Government Statistics and Lies

by Rep. Ron Paul

There has been a lot of talk in Washington recently about senior citizens, mostly about how various healthcare reform models would help or hurt them. But there is another critical issue that has quietly devastated seniors financially over the last few decades. It concerns how the cost of living is calculated. How does the administration justify not giving a cost of living increase to Social Security recipients this year?

According to the official Consumer Price Index calculation, life has gotten cheaper for the first time in decades. If the government can show statistically that the cost of living has gone down, not up, then they can make the case for not giving a cost of living increase to social security recipients. But does this match reality? Using older calculations of CPI, the cost of living has actually increased – by roughly 5 percent!

The CPI (Consumer Price Index) is a calculation based on the average price of a fixed basket of goods that was initially designed to help businesses adjust for inflation. The government eventually started using it to determine cost of living adjustments for entitlement programs. Couple that with politicians’ discovery that they could raid the social security trust fund to pay for new spending programs, and you have a perfect storm to deny seniors what they were promised, while hiding the true size of the deficit. For politicians, it is a win-win.

For seniors, it is a different story. Economist John Williams of Shadow Government Statistics has estimated that if the original methodology of CPI had not changed, Social Security checks would be nearly double what they are today. This represents a lot of money that politicians have been able to literally steal from seniors, to spend on their own wasteful programs. One example of how they do this is to substitute hamburger for steak, which lowers the average price of that basket of goods. But living on hamburger, or maybe dog food, instead of steak does not represent a constant standard of living. This renders the measurement virtually meaningless, even though politically it comes in very handy.

I have introduced legislation to keep politicians in Washington from ever raiding the Social Security trust fund again. HR 219 The Social Security Preservation Act would assure that all monies collected by the Social Security Trust Fund would only be used in payments to beneficiaries, or be placed in interest bearing certificates of deposit. This would at least stop the bleeding of the fund, and take away some incentive to tease and torture the numbers in order to give seniors the minimal amount. This would also cut off a source of funding for government growth, so it is not likely to get easy support from many politicians.

It is bad enough that Washington imposes high payroll taxes on American workers. The least Congress could do is use the tax dollars for their stated purpose. Instead, seniors will have a harder and harder time trying to survive on a fixed income in an economy based on variables and deception. For them, it is too late to start over. Today’s young people will be forced to pay into the system for years to come. The first step towards solving the impending crisis facing Social Security is to stop politicians from raiding the trust fund and to significantly cut federal government spending.

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What the Pelosi Health-Care Bill Really Says

by Betsy McCaughey, WSJ

The health bill that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is bringing to a vote (H.R. 3962) is 1,990 pages. Here are some of the details you need to know.

What the government will require you to do:

• Sec. 202 (p. 91-92) of the bill requires you to enroll in a "qualified plan." If you get your insurance at work, your employer will have a "grace period" to switch you to a "qualified plan," meaning a plan designed by the Secretary of Health and Human Services. If you buy your own insurance, there's no grace period. You'll have to enroll in a qualified plan as soon as any term in your contract changes, such as the co-pay, deductible or benefit.

• Sec. 224 (p. 118) provides that 18 months after the bill becomes law, the Secretary of Health and Human Services will decide what a "qualified plan" covers and how much you'll be legally required to pay for it. That's like a banker telling you to sign the loan agreement now, then filling in the interest rate and repayment terms 18 months later.

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Associated Press
Protestors wave signs in front of the Capitol on Thursday.
On Nov. 2, the Congressional Budget Office estimated what the plans will likely cost. An individual earning $44,000 before taxes who purchases his own insurance will have to pay a $5,300 premium and an estimated $2,000 in out-of-pocket expenses, for a total of $7,300 a year, which is 17% of his pre-tax income. A family earning $102,100 a year before taxes will have to pay a $15,000 premium plus an estimated $5,300 out-of-pocket, for a $20,300 total, or 20% of its pre-tax income. Individuals and families earning less than these amounts will be eligible for subsidies paid directly to their insurer.

• Sec. 303 (pp. 167-168) makes it clear that, although the "qualified plan" is not yet designed, it will be of the "one size fits all" variety. The bill claims to offer choice—basic, enhanced and premium levels—but the benefits are the same. Only the co-pays and deductibles differ. You will have to enroll in the same plan, whether the government is paying for it or you and your employer are footing the bill.

• Sec. 59b (pp. 297-299) says that when you file your taxes, you must include proof that you are in a qualified plan. If not, you will be fined thousands of dollars. Illegal immigrants are exempt from this requirement.

• Sec. 412 (p. 272) says that employers must provide a "qualified plan" for their employees and pay 72.5% of the cost, and a smaller share of family coverage, or incur an 8% payroll tax. Small businesses, with payrolls from $500,000 to $750,000, are fined less.

Eviscerating Medicare:

In addition to reducing future Medicare funding by an estimated $500 billion, the bill fundamentally changes how Medicare pays doctors and hospitals, permitting the government to dictate treatment decisions.

• Sec. 1302 (pp. 672-692) moves Medicare from a fee-for-service payment system, in which patients choose which doctors to see and doctors are paid for each service they provide, toward what's called a "medical home."

The medical home is this decade's version of HMO-restrictions on care. A primary-care provider manages access to costly specialists and diagnostic tests for a flat monthly fee. The bill specifies that patients may have to settle for a nurse practitioner rather than a physician as the primary-care provider. Medical homes begin with demonstration projects, but the HHS secretary is authorized to "disseminate this approach rapidly on a national basis."

A December 2008 Congressional Budget Office report noted that "medical homes" were likely to resemble the unpopular gatekeepers of 20 years ago if cost control was a priority.

• Sec. 1114 (pp. 391-393) replaces physicians with physician assistants in overseeing care for hospice patients.

• Secs. 1158-1160 (pp. 499-520) initiates programs to reduce payments for patient care to what it costs in the lowest cost regions of the country. This will reduce payments for care (and by implication the standard of care) for hospital patients in higher cost areas such as New York and Florida.

• Sec. 1161 (pp. 520-545) cuts payments to Medicare Advantage plans (used by 20% of seniors). Advantage plans have warned this will result in reductions in optional benefits such as vision and dental care.

• Sec. 1402 (p. 756) says that the results of comparative effectiveness research conducted by the government will be delivered to doctors electronically to guide their use of "medical items and services."

Questionable Priorities:

While the bill will slash Medicare funding, it will also direct billions of dollars to numerous inner-city social work and diversity programs with vague standards of accountability.

• Sec. 399V (p. 1422) provides for grants to community "entities" with no required qualifications except having "documented community activity and experience with community healthcare workers" to "educate, guide, and provide experiential learning opportunities" aimed at drug abuse, poor nutrition, smoking and obesity. "Each community health worker program receiving funds under the grant will provide services in the cultural context most appropriate for the individual served by the program."

These programs will "enhance the capacity of individuals to utilize health services and health related social services under Federal, State and local programs by assisting individuals in establishing eligibility . . . and in receiving services and other benefits" including transportation and translation services.

• Sec. 222 (p. 617) provides reimbursement for culturally and linguistically appropriate services. This program will train health-care workers to inform Medicare beneficiaries of their "right" to have an interpreter at all times and with no co-pays for language services.

• Secs. 2521 and 2533 (pp. 1379 and 1437) establishes racial and ethnic preferences in awarding grants for training nurses and creating secondary-school health science programs. For example, grants for nursing schools should "give preference to programs that provide for improving the diversity of new nurse graduates to reflect changes in the demographics of the patient population." And secondary-school grants should go to schools "graduating students from disadvantaged backgrounds including racial and ethnic minorities."

• Sec. 305 (p. 189) Provides for automatic Medicaid enrollment of newborns who do not otherwise have insurance.

For the text of the bill with page numbers, see

Ms. McCaughey is chairman of the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths and a former Lt. Governor of New York state.

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Fort Hood Mystery

by Michael Gaddy

The facts as presented by the Army and the media reference the shooting at Fort Hood just don’t compute. While I routinely dismiss any "facts" disseminated by the Army and the state’s propaganda wing, sometimes referred to as the mainstream media (MSM), there are some glaring inconsistencies in what has been reported about this tragedy.

First is the report the perpetrator was dead and then hours later the revelation that he was still alive. Exactly how long does it take to determine if a person is dead or alive? Could it be no one knew whom the shooter or shooters were and a story had to be concocted for public consumption? What happened to the two other "suspects" that were detained? What did they do to qualify as suspects and more importantly, what information surfaced that led to their release? One of the suspects reportedly stated he "was with the shooter."

Second is the number of victims from a single shooter. Let us not forget this shooting did not occur at the mall, it occurred on a military installation where the victims had been trained in military tactics and some were combat veterans. We are to believe they did nothing to stop a single shooter and he was allowed to reload several times and continue shooting and the only thing that stopped him was the arrival of a police officer after the gunman had gunned down over 40 people?

And how so very convenient for the state, a perpetrator who was both anti-war and a Muslim; just doesn’t get any better than that. Could this be an example of following the philosophy of Rahm Emanuel on dealing with a crisis?

Third was the shutting down of communications in and around Ft. Hood for hours. While the Army and the media will explain this in various scenarios, it also provided the Army with a chance to create whatever story it was they wanted to provide the public on the terrible tragedy. Of course we all know the Army would never distort or lie about the facts involving the deaths of innocents. Well, there is that My Lai thing. People on the ground have told me cell phone towers were jammed to prevent unauthorized dissemination of information after the shooting. Again, the Army would not want any information contrary to the company line emerging from this disaster.

All too convenient for the Army was the rapid release of negative information related to the alleged shooter. It was said he received a negative evaluation report and that he had caused "red flags" to be raised some months ago concerning emails. Do we know anything this detailed about the "suspects" who were released? The caveat was added that it was unclear as to whether the suspect was the author of those emails. So, months ago, alarms were raised about emails the suspect might have sent, yet, in all those months the Army has been unable to determine who wrote them. Yeah, right. If red flags were in fact raised months ago, why did the Army do nothing? Going back to the 9/11 paradigm, we see the same evidence exhibited: the state had prior warnings but did not act on them. This proves unequivocally the government is either incompetent or complicit in both events. Yet, the state would have us all unarmed and depending on them for protection.

President Obama pledged, "to get answers to every single question about this event" but he also promised an end to signing statements, a transparent government, no more torture of detainees, and many more lies.

There has been speculation on the Internet that the shooting could have been a revolt against the Army from soldiers faced with stop-loss and multiple combat tours to Iraq and Afghanistan. While there is no evidence to support this theory, there is also no evidence to support the official Army version of events. Suicides among military personnel and veterans are at alarming levels, yet the Department of Defense does more to hide these facts than it does to deal with them.

The last thing the state can let happen is an awakening by its enforcement arm (military and LE) that they are nothing but tools of oppression and in fact, slaves to the monster they serve. While the military is trained and encouraged to kill and bomb in the name of the state, they are forbidden the means of protection for themselves and their loved ones once they are outside the killing zones designated by the state.

All is not normal inside the military community. This is not just seen in our military, instruments of oppression in other countries are revolting as well.

While it is doubtful we will ever learn the truth of exactly what happened at Fort Hood, we know with a degree of certainty the truth will never be revealed by the Army or the media. Could this have been a false flag event to divert the attention of the American public from the debates and planned demonstrations against the health care fiasco? Could it have simply been another MK Ultra event to further demonize the anti-war element in this country and to lay another crime at the feet of the current villain du jour: Muslims? Could there be a connection between this alleged shooter and his fellow Virginia Tech shooter Seung Hui Cho, other than an oblique reference to Cho having a Muslim influence?

One must always ask this question when faced with a story that is issued and controlled by the State: Cui Bono? Wonderful, is it not, the state is empowered with the unique ability to investigate its own lies and the power of the media and academia to demonize any who would question its veracity, and the support of Boobus, whose livelihood depends on the state’s power to redistribute the wealth of the nation from producers to parasites.

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Monday, November 09, 2009

Orlando shooter, US army Fort Hood shooter both linked to psychiatric drugs

by Mike Adams

(NaturalNews) US Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan shot and killed 13 people and wounded 30 others in a violent attack at a Texas Army base this past week. He reportedly opened fire at the Fort Hood army base without any particular reason or motivation. In fact, as a psychiatrist, he had counseled many other soldiers on how to cope with the consequences of extreme violence (losing limbs, mental anguish, etc.).

As an army psychiatrist, he was also allowed to prescribe powerful psychiatric drugs to both his patients and himself. Many psychiatrists self-medicate, and Hasan was extremely anxious about the possibility of being sent overseas by the army, according to statements from family members (Reuters, below). Although official confirmation will probably never be made, it seems altogether likely that Hasan was treating himself with powerful psychotropic medications.

The mainstream media, not surprisingly, has utterly failed to raise this question. But it's being raised by independent media like Prison Planet (, where writer Paul Joseph Watson says, "Psychiatrists have a history of 'self-medication' because of the easy access they have to psychotropic drugs. In almost every major mass shooting over the past two decades, since anti-depressant drugs became popular, the killer has been on SSRI's – serotonin reuptake inhibitors."

An informative article in The Examiner also asks the same question: Was Major Hasan on mind-altering prescription medications when he opened fire?

Meanwhile, a study in the journal Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics reveals that 16% of psychiatrists self-medicate.

Given all the psych drugs linked to such acts in previous shootings, such a link seems not only probably, but likely.

Orlando shooter confirmed on psych drugs

It's been a busy week for violent, drug-induced outbursts in the USA. Orlando shooter Jason Rodriguez is now confirmed to have been on psychiatric medications when he went on a shooting spree in an Orlando office building last week, killing one person and wounding five others.

In a televised interview with Fox News, the former mother-in-law of Rodriguez goes on the record saying, "He was under medication ...for control of the brain." That video segment is available here:

Mind-altering medications made Rodriquez "paranoid," she explains.

This paranoia and acting out of violence against others is a classic side effect of SSRI drugs typically used to "treat" depression. These powerful, mind-altering medications have been linked to nearly every major shooting that has taken place in the United States over the last twenty years, including the Columbine, Colorado school shootings.

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Why The Innocent Flee From The Police

by William N. Grigg

"Why did he run?" This question thrusts itself upon us every time an unarmed or otherwise harmless person is gunned down while fleeing from police.

Often that inquiry takes the form that assumes the guilt of the victim: "If he did nothing wrong, why did he run?" It's also common for that second version to contort itself into a nicely circular argument: "Well, he ran, and resisting arrest is a crime, so obviously he got what was coming to him."

For reasons unclear to a mind not enthralled by statist assumptions, most people simply assume that both reason and morality dictate an unqualified duty to surrender without cavil or complaint whenever armed, violence-prone strangers in peculiar government-issued garb seek to restrain one of us.

This is why police are trained to interpret any hesitation, reluctance to cooperate, inhospitable body language, or verbal expression of resentment as "resisting arrest" and thus a justification for the use of "pain compliance" -- or even lethal force. Police and their apologists likewise insist -- contrary to both law and judicial precedent -- that there is no right to resist even a clearly unwarranted or abusive arrest, or even for a citizen to take steps to protect himself when he's on the receiving end of unjustified physical violence from police.

Police are constantly catechized about the dangers they encounter when they conduct traffic stops or detain people on the street. Why, the random "civilian" they encounter might be armed, trained in the use of weapons, and prepared to use violence without warning! This is to say that this hypothetical "civilian" would be .... just like the typical police officer.

"Officer safety" must be paramount in such encounters, we are told. If a policeman is just a bit too quick to fire up the Taser or pull the trigger, it's because he has a dangerous and stressful job.

Are we therefore to assume that encounters between police and mere "mundanes" aren't particularly dangerous and stressful to the latter?

Given that police claim the supposed authority to pre-empt potential violence in the name of "officer safety," we're entitled to ask: Why isn't "citizen safety" a legally effective defense for preemptive violence by law-abiding people to protect themselves against unjustified violence by police?

At present, the only form of "preemption" considered legally and morally acceptable is unqualified submission. People wrongfully on the receiving end of police violence are given the same advice that used to be given to potential rape victims: Don't resist, don't fight back -- it will only turn out much worse, and you may be killed.

Anyone who doesn't immediately submit to arrest, irrespective of the circumstances, is "going to lose and possibly hurt yourself and others in the process," insists retired Milwaukee Police Officer Mark Zupnik. "You do not have the right to resist."

"There are several more beneficial ways of pleading your case and challenging your arrest," Zupnik continues. "Get a lawyer, file a motion in court, go to pre-trial and plead your case. Make a formal complaint challenging your arrest to the proper authority, but don't resist or fight! It will add to your problems even if the arrest was a mistake. You don't have the right to resist a legal arrest and it's that simple. In most states, resisting arrest is an additional charge up to a felony, even for minor physical resistance."

No recourse: San Jose resident Scott Wright was beaten and Tased by police, suffering a broken arm. He was then charged with "resisting arrest." His "offense" was to reach into his vehicle to wash his dirty hands. (San Jose Mercury News photo.)

Zupnik, like others of an authoritarian cast of mind, embrace a tautological view of what constitutes a "legal" arrest: It's any arrest carried out by a police officer, who supposedly embodies the law. This is why he warns that resistance in any situation will result in a criminal charge which will be filed before "a usually unsympathetic judge" who will perceive you as someone who "fought the law" -- which is always on the side of the state's armed enforcers, from this perspective.

Except the rarest of cases, seeking redress for an unlawful arrest from the "proper authority" is a singularly useless exercise. In some jurisdictions -- such as San Jose, California, a city in which, on average, three people are arrested for "resisting arrest" every single day -- it is entirely pointless to file a complaint over unwarranted arrests, since they are never upheld.

An investigation by the San Jose Mercury News found that in of the 117 cases in which a complaint was filed with the police department's internal review board, not a single one was "sustained." That includes incidents such as the arrest of Scott Wright, who was beaten, tased, and had his arm broken by police before being charged with resisting arrest.

At the time his valiant protectors arrived at his home, Wright was working on an old Cadillac; he provoked the gang assault by reaching into his van to wash off his greasy hands, a gesture that caused the Heroes in Blue (tm) -- a timid, skittish lot, as easily frightened as a young doe -- to think that he was reaching for a weapon.

As is almost always the case in such episodes, Wright was charged with resisting arrest even though no weapon was found, and no other criminal act was alleged.

Sure, that spurious charge was dismissed -- after the victim had spent a great deal of money seeking treatment for the injuries inflicted on him, and another sum to pay the legal expenses incurred because the cops, in an effort to cover their tax-fattened asses, filed a "cover charge" against the innocent man. And of course, the police department cleared the assailants of any wrongdoing, because their criminal assault on Wright was in harmony with "department policy."

He was "protected and served": San Jose resident Joseph Ballard bleeds into the sidewalk outside a nightclub after being tased by the police, who say that his injury was the result of a "fall." (San Jose Mercury News photo)

"What happened to Wright is no isolated event," the Mercury News relates. "Hundreds of times a year interactions between San Jose police and residents where no serious crime has occurred escalate into violence."

"Many times the reason for the encounter is as innocuous as jaywalking, missing bike headlamps, or failing to signal a turn," continues the report. "But often, as incidents develop, police determine the suspect is uncooperative and potentially violent and strike the first blow."

Joseph Ballard was a victim of preemptive violence: Officer Justin Holliday shot him with a Taser outside a nightclub while Ballard was running to catch a ride home. As he bled into the sidewalk, Holliday confected a story about Ballard threatening to shoot a bouncer and running to the parking lot to get his gun.

As it happens, the victim had neither a gun nor a car, and the bouncer said that Ballard had done nothing wrong -- yet he was still charged with interfering with police and thrown in jail after he was released from the hospital.

After two police arrived at her home in August 2008, San Jose resident Ruth Mendiola earned an assault and a charge of "resisting arrest" when she asked to see a warrant the cops were supposedly there to deliver. She was on the phone with the police department trying to verify the identity of the officers when she was seized by one of them, who kneed her in the ribs and then threw her on a bed to handcuff her.

David Haflich -- a Caucasian with light brown hair -- was severely beaten by San Jose police when he was mistaken for a suspect in a child abduction -- a Latino with black hair. Ordered to hit the ground, Haflich froze in his tracks, an act of insubordination serious enough, supposedly, to justify a gang-tackle and beating by police, who charged him with "resisting arrest" even though he wasn't a criminal suspect.

In 206 court cases in which the most serious charge against the defendant was "resisting arrest," the paper documented that "145 -- 70 percent of the cases -- involved the use of force by officers," observes the Mercury News. It's as if a street gang were routinely committing acts of criminal violence against inoffensive pedestrians, motorists, and bicyclists ... which, come to think of it, is exactly what is going on.

This kind of officially sanctioned lawlessness is a general affliction.

In Ohio, police who showed up at a house fire to gawk and collect overtime tased and arrested a 19-year-old who had been helping friends and family escape the blaze. This happened after one of the torpid donut-devourers hurled profane invective at one of the residents of the burning house, a young woman, who had asked them why they were standing around in subsidized stupefaction while people were in danger.

Last May, Minneapolis resident Rolando Ruiz was stopped by a police officer, who instructed Ruiz to place his hands on the hood of the officer's car. Ruiz cooperated -- and was shot in the neck with a Taser anyway.

The Minneapolis PD's "use of force" policy permits such gratuitous use of potentially lethal violence, and neither the policy nor any particular case is subject to civilian review or oversight.

Last June, in Everett, Washington, a 51-year-old man was gunned down in his Corvette by a police officer who had grown weary of trying to talk the intoxicated driver out of his car. At the time, the drunken driver was boxed in -- parked cars on either side, a police cruiser blocking him from behind, a chain link fence in front.

The officer spent perhaps five minutes trying to reason with the driver before pulling out his Taser; the drunk reacted -- understandably, if tragically -- by trying, unsuccessfully, to pull out of the parking space. That provoked the officer to pull his firearm and murder the driver, firing eight shots into the car while exclaiming "Enough is enough -- time to end this!"

Every death of a police officer "in the line of duty" is solemnly memorialized and carefully tabulated. However, there is no official record kept of civilians who are unjustly killed or otherwise brutalized by police.

Each encounter between the police and innocent civilians is a potentially deadly experience for the latter. Thus the real question is not "Why do innocent people flee from the police?" but rather, "What rational person would submit to the police if he had any reasonable hope of eluding or resisting them?"

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Gerald Celente: A New Third Party Coming

This is an extremely interesting interview with long-time Free West Radio guest Gerald Celente, analyst extraordinaire. He appeared on King World News with a startling new prediction: there will be a new third party in 2010. It will be founded by and have momentum from the Progressive/Libertarianmovement that's been taking hold since Ron Paul's 2008 campaign.

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Sunday, November 08, 2009

A court decision that reflects what type of country the U.S. is

by Glenn Greenwald
Even when government officials purposely subject an innocent person to brutal torture, they enjoy full immunity.

It's not often that an appellate court decision reflects so vividly what a country has become, but such is the case with yesterday's ruling by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in Arar v. Ashcroft (.pdf). Maher Arar is both a Canadian and Syrian citizen of Syrian descent. A telecommunications engineer and graduate of Montreal's McGill University, he has lived in Canada since he's 17 years old. In 2002, he was returning home to Canada from vacation when, on a stopover at JFK Airport, he was (a) detained by U.S. officials, (b) accused of being a Terrorist, (c) held for two weeks incommunicado and without access to counsel while he was abusively interrogated, and then (d) was "rendered" -- despite his pleas that he would be tortured -- to Syria, to be interrogated and tortured. He remained in Syria for the next 10 months under the most brutal and inhumane conditions imaginable, where he was repeatedly tortured. Everyone acknowledges that Arar was never involved with Terrorism and was guilty of nothing. I've appended to the end of this post the graphic description from a dissenting judge of what was done to Arar while in American custody and then in Syria.

In January, 2007, the Canadian Prime Minister publicly apologized to Arar for the role Canada played in these events, and the Canadian government paid him $9 million in compensation. That was preceded by a full investigation by Canadian authorities and the public disclosure of a detailed report which concluded "categorically that there is no evidence to indicate that Mr. Arar has committed any offense or that his activities constituted a threat to the security of Canada." By stark and very revealing contrast, the U.S. Government has never admitted any wrongdoing or even spoken publicly about what it did; to the contrary, it repeatedly insisted that courts were barred from examining the conduct of government officials because what we did to Arar involves "state secrets" and because courts should not interfere in the actions of the Executive where national security is involved. What does that behavioral disparity between the two nations say about how "democratic," "accountable," and "open" the United States is?

Yesterday, the Second Circuit -- by a vote of 7-4 -- agreed with the government and dismissed Arar's case in its entirety. It held that even if the government violated Arar's Constitutional rights as well as statutes banning participation in torture, he still has no right to sue for what was done to him. Why? Because "providing a damages remedy against senior officials who implement an extraordinary rendition policy would enmesh the courts ineluctably in an assessment of the validity of the rationale of that policy and its implementation in this particular case, matters that directly affect significant diplomatic and national security concerns" (p. 39). In other words, government officials are free to do anything they want in the national security context -- even violate the law and purposely cause someone to be tortured -- and courts should honor and defer to their actions by refusing to scrutinize them.

Reflecting the type of people who fill our judiciary, the judges in the majority also invented the most morally depraved bureaucratic requirements for Arar to proceed with his case and then claimed he had failed to meet them. Arar did not, for instance, have the names of the individuals who detained and abused him at JFK, which the majority said he must have. As Judge Sack in dissent said of that requirement: it "means government miscreants may avoid [] liability altogether through the simple expedient of wearing hoods while inflicting injury" (p. 27; emphasis added).

The commentary about this case from Harper's Scott Horton perfectly captures the depravity of what our Government has done -- and continues to do -- to Arar. His analysis should be read in its entirety, and he concludes with this:

When the history of the Second Circuit is written, the Arar decision will have a prominent place. It offers all the historical foresight of Dred Scott, in which the Court rallied to the cause of slavery, and all the commitment to constitutional principle of the Slaughter-House Cases, in which the Fourteenth Amendment was eviscerated. The Court that once affirmed that those who torture are the “enemies of all mankind” now tells us that U.S. government officials can torture without worry, because the security of our state might some day depend upon it.

I want to add one principal point to all of this. This is precisely how the character of a country becomes fundamentally degraded when it becomes a state in permanent war. So continuous are the inhumane and brutal acts of government leaders that the citizens completely lose the capacity for moral outrage and horror. The permanent claims of existential threats from an endless array of enemies means that secrecy is paramount, accountability is deemed a luxury, and National Security trumps every other consideration -- even including basic liberties and the rule of law. Worst of all, the President takes on the attributes of a protector-deity who can and must never be questioned lest we prevent him from keeping us safe.

This is exactly why I find so objectionable and dangerous the ongoing embrace by the Obama administration of these same secrecy and immunity weapons. Obama had nothing to do with the Arar case -- all the conduct, and even the legal briefing, occurred before he was President -- but he has taken numerous steps to further institutionalize the core injustice here, including in cases that are quite similar to Arar: namely, that the Executive can use secrecy and national security claims to shield himself from the rule of law, even when he's accused of torture and war crimes. That's exactly what happened here, yet again.

Read the rest at this link.

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Dumbest Generation Getting Dumber

by Walter Williams, GMU

The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) is an international comparison of 15-year-olds conducted by The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) that measures applied learning and problem-solving ability. In 2006, U.S. students ranked 25th of 30 advanced nations in math and 24th in science. McKinsey & Company, in releasing its report "The Economic Impact of the Achievement Gap in America's Schools" (April 2009) said, "Several other facts paint a worrisome picture. First, the longer American children are in school, the worse they perform compared to their international peers. In recent cross-country comparisons of fourth grade reading, math, and science, US students scored in the top quarter or top half of advanced nations. By age 15 these rankings drop to the bottom half. In other words, American students are farthest behind just as they are about to enter higher education or the workforce." That's a sobering thought. The longer kids are in school and the more money we spend on them, the further behind they get.

While the academic performance of white students is grossly inferior, that of black and Latino students is a national disgrace. The McKinsey report says, "On average, black and Latino students are roughly two to three years of learning behind white students of the same age. This racial gap exists regardless of how it is measured, including both achievement (e.g., test score) and attainment (e.g., graduation rate) measures. Taking the average National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) scores for math and reading across the fourth and eighth grades, for example, 48 percent of blacks and 43 percent of Latinos are 'below basic,' while only 17 percent of whites are, and this gap exists in every state. A more pronounced racial achievement gap exists in most large urban school districts." Below basic is the category the NAEP uses for students unable to display even partial mastery of knowledge and skills fundamental for proficient work at their grade level.

The teaching establishment and politicians have hoodwinked taxpayers into believing that more money is needed to improve education. The Washington, D.C., school budget is about the nation's costliest, spending about $15,000 per pupil. Its student/teacher ratio, at 15.2 to 1, is lower than the nation's average. Yet student achievement is just about the lowest in the nation. What's so callous about the Washington situation is about 1,700 children in kindergarten through 12th grade receive the $7,500 annual scholarships in order to escape rotten D.C. public schools, and four times as many apply for the scholarships, yet Congress, beholden to the education establishment, will end funding the school voucher program.

Any long-term solution to our education problems requires the decentralization that can come from competition. Centralization has been massive. In 1930, there were 119,000 school districts across the U.S; today, there are less than 15,000. Control has moved from local communities to the school district, to the state, and to the federal government. Public education has become a highly centralized government-backed monopoly and we shouldn't be surprised by the results. It's a no-brainer that the areas of our lives with the greatest innovation, tailoring of services to individual wants and falling prices are the areas where there is ruthless competition such as computers, food, telephone and clothing industries, and delivery companies such as UPS, Federal Express and electronic bill payments that have begun to undermine the postal monopoly in first-class mail.

At a Washington press conference launching the McKinsey report, Al Sharpton called school reform the civil rights challenge of our time. He said that the enemy of opportunity for blacks in the U.S. was once Jim Crow; today, in a slap at the educational establishment, he said it was "Professor James Crow." Sharpton is only partly correct. School reform is not solely a racial issue; it's a vital issue for the entire nation.

Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University. To find out more about Walter E. Williams and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at

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