Ron Paul – “There is one group of Americans I do believe should be disarmed: federal agents”


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(Ron Paul) -While I oppose most gun control proposals, there is one group of Americans I do believe should be disarmed: federal agents. The use of force by federal agents to enforce unjust and unconstitutional laws is one of the major, albeit overlooked, threats to liberty. Too often Americans are victimized by government force simply for engaging in commercial transactions disproved of by Congress and the federal bureaucracy.

For example, the offices of Rawesome Foods in Venice, California, have been repeatedly raided by armed federal and state agents, and Rawesome’s founder, 65-year old James Stewart, has been imprisoned. What heinous crime justified this action? Rawesome sold unpasteurized (raw) milk and cheese to willing customers – in a state where raw milk is legal! You cannot even drink milk from a cow without a federal permit!

This is hardly the only case of federal agents using force against those who would dare meet consumer demand for raw milk. In 2011 armed agents of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) raided the business of Pennsylvanian Amish farmer Dan Allgyer. Federal agents wasted a whole year and who knows how many millions of our tax dollars posing as customers in order to stop Allgyer from selling his raw milk to willing customers.

The use of force against individuals making choices not approved of by the political elite does not just stop with raw milk. The Natural News website has documented numerous accounts of federal persecution, including armed raids, of health food stores and alternative medical practitioners.

Watch Out for Google Glasses


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NEW YORK (TheStreet) — By the end of this year, our society will undergo a most peculiar form of societal change — and it will involve a lot of strife and conflict. The cause? Google(GOOG_) Glasses.

Google Glasses will impact societal behavior from the moment they arrive. As soon as you see them, you’re aware that you might be filmed. People don’t like being filmed.

Yes, every smartphone can record you and take pictures. But you know when this is happening. It isn’t a constant feeling that everyone around you is filming you from every angle. You see them when they do it.

Google Glasses are different. More than just photos and filming, what happens to this data?

Let’s say that I’m standing behind the counter at a businessestablishment — bank, fast-food restaurant, airline check-in counter, whatever. My Google Glasses might display the social security number, the general rap sheet, social media appearances, and so on, of the person in front of me.

Perhaps that’s a good thing. Some people will think it’s creepy, though. Can you imagine the bar scene when people start wearing Google Glasses? Within a second or two, you will have all available information about the person in front of you. Some of that information may not be so flattering.

Public places will have to come up with new policies. Hotels, airports, restaurants, gyms and schools will want some say in whether you are allowed to wear these Google Glasses on their premises. You can just hear the panic buttons after the first pictures from people cheating in school or filming in the locker room are released on YouTube. Conflicts about are certain to get very ugly.

Other dimensions immediately appear. What if future versions of Google Glasses are very difficult to detect in terms of looking different from regular glasses?

What happens when you walk into an establishment today wielding a video camera in the faces of the staff? In a restaurant, a bank lobby, or a gym? You will be asked to turn that thing off, and if you don’t obey quickly, you will be escorted from the premises.

Google Glasses will make all social/public interaction highly awkward. You’re on YouTube everywhere you go. A few short months after their introduction, Google Glasses could already be so widespread that you will be on camera once you stick your nose out your front door.

Privacy lawyers, saddle up!

The Google Glasses data captured in the form of pictures and videos will not only be used by the person wearing the glasses. The person capturing the images may want to “auto-tag” these media with the identities of the people in the picture/video.

Some people prefer to stay off the grid. They pay cash, they drive a car without GPS, they don’t have a cell phone, and they’re not members of online social networks. They have been able to stay out of most publicly available databases.

Once a meaningful percentage of people start walking down the street wearing Google Glasses, not so much. There will be no place to hide — unless the government legislates Google Glasses, or private establishments decide to ban them.

What about Google itself?

Google Glasses will be the critical ingredient in the personal information arms race of the (soon to arrive) future. If other people wear them, why shouldn’t I? I predict that everyone with means will rush to obtain them, especially as the price falls from $1,500 to $1,000 to $500 and eventually below, over the first two years.

If Google succeeds in bringing these kinds of glasses to market before key competitors, most notably Apple(AAPL_), but also Microsoft(MSFT_), the advantage could prove to be decisive. Google already has a 70% smartphone market share with Android, so it’s pretty much already there, but don’t forget the Microsoft’s market share in the PC business was close to 95% until only a few short years ago.

Seeing as Google is likely to engineer some sort of tie-in between the Glasses and Android smartphones, the Glasses should be a tremendous boon for Android. Anyone looking at their iPhone would have to seriously consider switching.

Google Glasses may cause societal chaos, but they will be great for Google’s finances.

50 Signs That The U.S. Health Care System Is A Gigantic Money Making Scam


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(Economic Collapse) -The U.S. health care system is a giant money making scam that is designed to drain as much money as possible out of all of us before we die.

In the United States today, the health care industry is completely dominated by government bureaucrats, health insurance companies and pharmaceutical corporations.

The pharmaceutical corporations spend billions of dollars to convince all of us to become dependent on their legal drugs, the health insurance companies make billions of dollars by providing as little health care as possible, and they both spend millions of dollars to make sure that our politicians in Washington D.C. keep the gravy train rolling. Meanwhile, large numbers of doctors are going broke and patients are not getting the care that they need. At this point, our health care system is a complete and total disaster.

Health care costs continue to go up rapidly, the level of care that we are receiving continues to go down, and every move that our politicians make just seems to make all of our health care problems even worse. In America today, a single trip to the emergency room can easily cost you $100,000, and if you happen to get cancer you could end up with medical bills in excess of a million dollars.

Even if you do have health insurance, there are usually limits on your coverage, and the truth is that just a single major illness is often enough to push most American families into bankruptcy. At the same time, hospital administrators, pharmaceutical corporations and health insurance company executives are absolutely swimming in huge mountains of cash. Unfortunately, this gigantic money making scam has become so large that it threatens to collapse both the U.S. health care system and the entire U.S. economy.

The following are 50 signs that the U.S. health care system is a massive money making scam that is about to collapse…

#1 Medical bills have become so ridiculously large that virtually nobody can afford them. Just check out the following short excerpt from a recent Time Magazine article. One man in California that had been diagnosed with cancer ran up nearly a million dollars in hospital bills before he died…

By the time Steven D. died at his home in Northern California the following November, he had lived for an additional 11 months. And Alice had collected bills totaling $902,452. The family’s first bill — for $348,000 — which arrived when Steven got home from the Seton Medical Center in Daly City, Calif., was full of all the usual chargemaster profit grabs: $18 each for 88 diabetes-test strips that Amazon sells in boxes of 50 for $27.85; $24 each for 19 niacin pills that are sold in drugstores for about a nickel apiece. There were also four boxes of sterile gauze pads for $77 each. None of that was considered part of what was provided in return for Seton’s facility charge for the intensive-care unit for two days at $13,225 a day, 12 days in the critical unit at $7,315 a day and one day in a standard room (all of which totaled $120,116 over 15 days). There was also $20,886 for CT scans and $24,251 for lab work.

#2 This year the American people will spend approximately 2.8 trillion dollars on health care, and it is being projected that Americans will spend 4.5 trillion dollars on health care in 2019.

#3 The United States spends more on health care than Japan, Germany, France, China, the U.K., Italy, Canada, Brazil, Spain and Australia combined.

#4 If the U.S. health care system was a country, it would be the 6th largest economy on the entire planet.

#5 Back in 1960, an average of $147 was spent per person on health care in the United States. By 2009, that number had skyrocketed to$8,086.

#6 Why does it cost so much to stay in a hospital today? It just does not make sense. Just check out these numbers

In 1942, Christ Hospital, NJ charged $7 per day for a maternity room. Today it’s $1,360.

#7 Approximately 60 percent of all personal bankruptcies in the United States are related to medical bills.

#8 One study discovered that approximately 41 percent of all working age Americans either have medical bill problems or are currently paying off medical debt.

#9 The U.S. health care industry has spent more than 5 billion dollarson lobbying our politicians in Washington D.C. since 1998.

#10 According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, the U.S. is currently experiencing a shortage of at least 13,000 doctors. Unfortunately, that shortage is expected to grow to 130,000 doctorsover the next 10 years.

#11 The state of Florida is already dealing with a very serious shortage of doctors

Brace yourself for longer lines at the doctor’s office.

Whether you’re employed and insured, elderly and on Medicare, or poor and covered by Medicaid, the Florida Medical Association says there’s a growing shortage of doctors — especially specialists — available to provide you with medical care.

And if the Florida Legislature goes along with Gov. Rick Scott’s recommendation to offer Medicaid coverage to an additional 1 million Floridians — part of the Affordable Care Act that takes effect next January — the FMA says that shortage will only get worse.

#12 At this point, approximately 40 percent of all doctors in the United States are 55 years of age or older.

#13 In America today, many hospital executives make absolutely ridiculous amounts of money

In December, when the New York Times ran a story about how a deficit deal might threaten hospital payments, Steven Safyer, chief executive of Montefiore Medical Center, a large nonprofit hospital system in the Bronx, complained, “There is no such thing as a cut to a provider that isn’t a cut to a beneficiary … This is not crying wolf.”

Actually, Safyer seems to be crying wolf to the tune of about $196.8 million, according to the hospital’s latest publicly available tax return. That was his hospital’s operating profit, according to its 2010 return. With $2.586 billion in revenue — of which 99.4% came from patient bills and 0.6% from fundraising events and other charitable contributions — Safyer’s business is more than six times as large as that of the Bronx’s most famous enterprise, the New York Yankees. Surely, without cutting services to beneficiaries, Safyer could cut what have to be some of the Bronx’s better non-Yankee salaries: his own, which was $4,065,000, or those of his chief financial officer ($3,243,000), his executive vice president ($2,220,000) or the head of his dental department ($1,798,000).

#14 Health insurance administration expenses account for 8 percent of all health care costs in the United States each year. In Finland, health insurance administration expenses account for just 2 percent of all health care costs each year.

#15 If you can believe it, the U.S. ambulance industry makes more money each year than the movie industry does.

#16 All over America, people are reporting huge health insurance premium increases thanks to Obamacare. The following example is from a recent article by Robert Wenzel

A California small businessman tells me that he switched healthcare insurance carriers in 2012. The monthly premium for him and his wife was about $400, but when he received his first bill in January of this year it was for $1,200. He hasn’t been to a doctor in years, his wife has only gone for minor care.

Apparently there is some clause in the Affordable Healthcare Act that results in health insurance firms using a new method to calculate premiums. Those who have health insurance plans that have been in effect since at least 2010 are grandfathered under the old calculation method, but insurance carriers are using a new formula for new plans.

#17 Blue Shield of California has announced that it wants to raise health insurance premiums by up to 20 percent this year in an effort to keep up with rising health costs.

#18 Aetna’s CEO says that health insurance premiums for many Americans will double when the major provisions of Obamacare go into effect in 2014.

#19 Close to 10 percent of all U.S. employers plan to drop health coverage completely when the major provisions of Obamacare go into effect in 2014.

#20 According to a survey conducted by the Doctor Patient Medical Association, 83 percent of all doctors in the United States have considered leaving the profession because of Obamacare.

#21 Approximately 16,000 new IRS agents will be hired to help oversee the implementation of Obamacare, and the Obama administration has given the IRS 500 million extra dollars ”outside the normal appropriations process” to help the IRS with their new duties.

#22 During 2013, Americans will spend more than 280 billion dollarson prescription drugs.

#23 Prescription drugs cost about 50% more in the United States than they do in other countries.

#24 In the United States today, prescription painkillers kill more Americans than heroin and cocaine combined.

#25 Nearly half of all Americans now use prescription drugs on a regular basis according to the CDC. Not only that, the CDC also says that approximately one-third of all Americans use two or more pharmaceutical drugs on a regular basis, and more than ten percent of all Americans use five or more pharmaceutical drugs on a regular basis.

#26 The percentage of women taking antidepressants in America is higher than in any other country in the world.

#27 In 2010, the average teen in the U.S. was taking 1.2 central nervous system drugs. Those are the kinds of drugs which treat conditions such as ADHD and depression.

#28 Children in the United States are three times more likely to be prescribed antidepressants as children in Europe are.

#29 There were more than two dozen pharmaceutical companiesthat made over a billion dollars in profits during 2008.

#30 According to the CDC, approximately three quarters of a million people a year are rushed to emergency rooms in the United States because of adverse reactions to pharmaceutical drugs.

#31 According to a report by Health Care for America Now, America’s five biggest for-profit health insurance companies ended 2009 with a combined profit of $12.2 billion.

#32 The top executives at the five largest for-profit health insurance companies in the United States combined to bring in nearly $200 million in total compensation for 2009.

#33 The chairman of Aetna, the third largest health insurance company in the United States, brought in a staggering $68.7 million during 2010. Ron Williams exercised stock options that were worth approximately $50.3 million and he raked in an additional $18.4 million in wages and other forms of compensation. The funny thing is that he left the company and didn’t even work the entire year.

#34 It turns out that the financial assistance that Barack Obama promised would be provided for those with “pre-existing conditions” under Obamacare is already being shut down because of a lack of funding…

Tens of thousands of Americans who cannot get health insurance because of preexisting medical problems will be blocked from a program designed to help them because funding is running low.

Obama administration officials said Friday that the state-based “high-risk pools” set up under the 2010 health-care law will be closed to new applicants as soon as Saturday and no later than March 2, depending on the state.

#35 In America today, you are 64 times more likely to be killed by a doctor than you are by a gun.

#36 People living in the United States are three times more likely to have diabetes than people living in the United Kingdom.

#37 Today, people living in Puerto Rico have a greater life expectancy than people living in the United States do.

#38 According to OECD statistics, Americans are twice as obese as Canadians are.

#39 Greece has twice as many hospital beds per person as the United States does.

#40 The state of California now ranks dead last out of all 50 states in the number of emergency rooms per million people.

#41 According to a doctor interviewed by Fox News, “a gunshot wound to the head, chest or abdomen” will cost $13,000 at his hospital the moment the victim comes in the door, and then there will be significant additional charges depending on how bad the wound is.

#42 It has been estimated that hospitals overcharge Americans by about 10 billion dollars every single year.

#43 One trained medical billing advocate says that over 90 percent of the medical bills that she has audited contain “gross overcharges“.

#44 It is not uncommon for insurance companies to get hospitals to knock their bills down by up to 95 percent, but if you are uninsured or you don’t know how the system works then you are out of luck.

#45 According to a study conducted by Deloitte Consulting, a whopping875,000 Americans were “medical tourists” in 2010.

#46 Today, there are more than 56 million Americans on Medicaid, and it is being projected that Obamacare will add 16 million more Americans to the Medicaid rolls.

#47 Back in 1965, only one out of every 50 Americans was on Medicaid. Today, one out of every 6 Americans is on Medicaid.

#48 Today, there are more than 50 million Americans on Medicare, and that number is projected to grow to 73.2 million in 2025.

#49 When Medicare was first established by Congress, it was estimated that it would cost the federal government $12 billion a year by the time 1990 rolled around. Instead, it cost the federal government $110 billionin 1990, and it will cost the federal government close to $600 billion this year.

#50 Even if you do have health insurance, that is no guarantee that medical bills will not bankrupt you. Just check out what a recent Time Magazine article says happened to one unfortunate couple from Ohio that actually did have health insurance…

When Sean Recchi, a 42-year-old from Lancaster, Ohio, was told last March that he had non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, his wife Stephanie knew she had to get him to MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Stephanie’s father had been treated there 10 years earlier, and she and her family credited the doctors and nurses at MD Anderson with extending his life by at least eight years.

Because Stephanie and her husband had recently started their own small technology business, they were unable to buy comprehensive health insurance. For $469 a month, or about 20% of their income, they had been able to get only a policy that covered just $2,000 per day of any hospital costs. “We don’t take that kind of discount insurance,” said the woman at MD Anderson when Stephanie called to make an appointment for Sean.

Stephanie was then told by a billing clerk that the estimated cost of Sean’s visit — just to be examined for six days so a treatment plan could be devised — would be $48,900, due in advance.

By the way, that hospital down in Houston made a profit of 531 million dollars in one recent year.

So what can be done about all of this?

Well, the truth is that the status quo is a complete and total disaster, and every “solution” being promoted by politicians from both major political parties would only make things worse.

In the end, the U.S. health care system needs to be rebuilt from the ground up, but we all know that is not going to happen.

Instead, our politicians and the health care industry will just find additional ways to extract money from all of us, and the level of care that we all get will continue to decline.

If you don’t believe this, just check out what Paul Krugman of the New York Times had to say recently

We’re going to need more revenue…Surely it will require some sort of middle class taxes as well.. We won’t be able to pay for the kind of government the society will want without some increase in taxes… on the middle class, maybe a value added tax…And we’re also going to have to make decisions about health care, doc pay for health care that has no demonstrated medical benefits . So the snarky version…which I shouldn’t even say because it will get me in trouble is death panels and sales taxes is how we do this.

Others are urging us to become more like Europe.

But do we really want what they have in the UK?…

Sick children are being discharged from NHS hospitals to die at home or in hospices on controversial ‘death pathways’.

Until now, end of life regime the Liverpool Care Pathway was thought to have involved only elderly and terminally-ill adults.

But the Mail can reveal the practice of withdrawing food and fluid by tube is being used on young patients as well as severely disabled newborn babies.

One doctor has admitted starving and dehydrating ten babies to death in the neonatal unit of one hospital alone.

Writing in a leading medical journal, the physician revealed the process can take an average of ten days during which a baby becomes ‘smaller and shrunken’.

In the end, my philosophy is just to avoid the U.S. health care system as much as possible. Most doctors are just trained to do two things – prescribe drugs and cut you open. In an emergency situation where you are about to die, those may be your best options, but otherwise I would just as soon avoid the gigantic money making scam that the U.S. health care industry has become.

But just don’t take my word for it. The following is some very sound advice from Dr. Robert S. Dotson

Avoid contact with the existing health care system as far as possible. Yes, emergencies arise that require the help of physicians, but by and large one can learn to care for one’s own minor issues. Though it is flawed, the internet has been an information leveler for the masses and permits each person to be his or her own physician to a large degree. Take advantage of it! Educate yourself about your own body and learn to fuel and maintain it as you would an expensive auto or a pet poodle. One does not need a medical degree to:

1. avoid excessive use of tobacco or alcohol or, for that matter, caffeine;
2. avoid poisons like fluoride, aspartame, high fructose corn syrup, and addictive drugs (legal or illicit);
3. avoid unnecessary and potentially lethal imaging studies (TSA’s radiation pornbooths, excessive mammography, repetitive CT scans – exposure to all significantly increases cancer risk);
4. avoid excessive cell phone use and exposure to other forms of EMR pollution where possible (the NSA is recording everything you say and text anyway);
5. avoid daily fast food use and abuse (remember: pink slime and silicone) ;
6. avoid untested GM foods (do you really want to become “Roundup Ready?”):
7. avoid most vaccinations and pharmaceutical agents promoted by the establishment;
8. avoid risky behaviors (and, we do not need a bunch of Nanny State bureaucrats to define and police these);
9. exercise moderately;
10. get plenty of sleep;
11. drink plenty of good quality water (buy a decent water filter to remove fluoride, chloride, and heavy metals);
12. wear protective gear at work and play where appropriate (helmets, eye-shields, knee and elbow pads, etc.):
13. seek out locally-grown, whole, organic foods and support your local food producers;
14. take appropriate nutritional supplements (multi-vitamins, Vitamin C, Vitamin D3);
15. switch off the TV and the mainstream media it represents;
16. educate yourself while you can;

And, lastly…

17. QUESTION AUTHORITY!

Doing these simple, common-sense things will add healthy years to a person’s life and help one avoid most medical encounters during his or her allotted time on earth.

So what do you think?

Do you believe that the U.S. health care system is a gigantic money making scam that is about to collapse?

Editorial: Does Maine need to water down alcohol sales time limits?


 

State law now allows licensees in Maine to sell liquor “from 6 a.m. on any day until 1 a.m. the following day.” Liquor sales also are prohibited until 9 a.m. Sunday. Two proposals before the Legislature would alter the time limits for alcohol sales.

(Bangor Daily News) -A century ago, liquor — not geography or the economy — split the state into “two Maines.”

Temperance advocates like Stroudwater resident Lillian Stevens, who in 1913 decried the “home-destroying, heart-breaking curse of liquor traffic,” fought to maintain the “dry Maine” first established in 1851.

“Wet Maine” proponents at the time urged repeal of a state constitutional amendment that prohibited the sale of alcoholic beverages in Maine, in part because the ban was ineffective and impossible to enforce.

“Dry Maine” prevailed until 1934, when the United States repealed the national prohibition on liquor sales. Since then, liquor sales have become an important revenue source for state government, and Maine lawmakers have shaken and stirred the state’s liquor laws, incrementally expanding the time frames in which merlot and Millers can be sold.

State law now allows licensees in Maine to sell liquor “from 6 a.m. on any day until 1 a.m. the following day.” Liquor sales also are prohibited until 9 a.m. Sunday. The law allows certain exceptions related to New Year’s Eve revelry; there are slightly different rules for the times alcohol can be consumed on premises.

Two proposals before the Legislature would alter the time limits for alcohol sales again. LD 15, sponsored by Rep. Paul Gilbert, D-Jay, would allow sales to start at 5 a.m. seven days a week. LD 216, sponsored by Rep. Barry Hobbins, D-Saco, would simply allow earlier liquor sales on a Sunday if St. Patrick’s Day falls on Sunday, as is the case this year.

It’s ironic that the Legislature would pass LD 216 on an emergency basis “for the preservation of the public peace, health and safety,” so the bill could take effect immediately and allow Mainers to honor a saint on a Sunday by imbibing stout, whiskey or other libation before 9 a.m. But that irony shouldn’t stop Hobbins’ bill, and LD 15, from passing.

Both measures came in response to constituents’ requests, drew scant opposition and would help support businesses, albeit in a small way. But the proposals also call into question the drip-drip-drip approach to amending Maine’s liquor laws. What is the reasoning behind forbidding convenience stores and liquor stores from selling alcohol in the early morning hours?

The Community Preventive Services Task Force — an independent body of public health and prevention experts whose members are appointed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — reviewed existing research in 2009 and found some evidence that limiting the days or times alcohol can be sold prevents excessive alcohol consumption and related harms. But none of the studies were completed in the U.S.; there was considerable variation across different sites; and they all focused on businesses that sold alcohol to be consumed on-site — bars, not convenience stores.

There doesn’t appear to be any convincing reason why people should be prohibited from purchasing alcohol from their convenience store at 3 a.m., for example, but not 6 a.m. Instead of Maine banning the sale of alcoholic beverages for a few hours in the middle of each night, then revising state law to reflect changing work patterns — or in response to “emergencies” such as when St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Sunday — why not remove all state restrictions on the times when alcohol can be sold at a store?

Gilbert said he introduced the bill at the request of a constituent who owns a convenience store whose customers include mill workers with shifts that end at 5 a.m. The same arguments in support of Gilbert’s bill would apply if shifts ended two hours earlier, and Gilbert said he would not object to an amendment allowing liquor sales any time.

Unless someone in Maine can demonstrate that the state’s residents are safer because they can’t buy alcoholic beverages between 1 a.m. and 6 a.m. — or 5 a.m., if LD 15 passes — it’s time to toss away the last vestiges of Prohibition.

Oregon Drafts Invasive Gun Control Law


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(Breitbart) -Oregon is the latest state to draft legislation that puts major restrictions on the 2nd Amendment. House Bill 3200’s summary states the “crime of unlawful possession or transfer of assault weapon or large capacity magazine” is punishable “by maximum penalty of 10 years’ imprisonment, $250,000 fine, or both.”

 

 

The entire first part of the bill tries to define an assault weapon. The definition will hinge upon one or more of the items in a list of cosmetic additions. Some examples include, “a shroud attached to the barrel, or that partially or completely encircles the barrel, allowing the bearer to hold the firearm with the non trigger hand without being burned, but excluding a slide that encloses the barrel.” Somehow that cosmetic addition makes a gun an assault weapon.

 

 

There has been much chatter about governments confiscating guns, and this law would give the Oregon government that power. Typically, such a law is not retroactive, but this one is applicable to those legally in possession of such “assault” weapons.

 

 

Any person who, prior to the effective date of this law, was legally in possession of an assault weapon or large capacity magazine shall, within 120 days after the effective date of this 2013 Act, without being subject to prosecution:

(a) Remove the assault weapon or large capacity magazine from the state;

(b) Sell the assault weapon or large capacity magazine to a firearms dealer licensed under 18 U.S.C. 923 for lawful sale or transfer under subsection (2) of this section;

(c) Surrender the assault weapon or large capacity magazine to a law enforcement agency for destruction;

(d) Render the assault weapon permanently inoperable; or

(e) If eligible, register the assault weapon or large capacity magazine as provided in section (4) of this 2013 Act.

 

That section four (4) is scarier than the previous section. If a citizen wants to register the gun, they need to agree to some eyebrow-raising conditions. These include the following:

(4) A person may not register more than one assault weapon and three large capacity magazines under this section. Additional assault weapons and large capacity magazines must be disposed of in the manner specified in section (3) of this 2013 Act.

(b) Submit to a criminal background check conducted by the department to confirm that the person is not a prohibited possessor under ORS 166.250.

(5) A registered owner of an assault weapon or large capacity magazine is required to:

 

(a) Securely store the assault weapon or large capacity magazine pursuant to rules and regulations adopted by the department;

(b) Allow an inspector from the department to inspect the storage of assault weapons and large capacity magazines to ensure compliance with this subsection;

But the law violates another amendment. By Oregon’s logic, in order to keep your 2nd Amendment rights, you must give up your 4th Amendment rights. If a citizen wants to have guns in his house, he has to agree to forfeit his right to privacy and allow an “inspector” into his house.

It appears Oregon is giving reason for citizens to cling to their guns and their right to privacy. The question is which state is next?

FBI employees, entrusted with stopping computer crimes, commit them too



(ArsTechnica) -Though FBI agents are held to a high standard of conduct, some fall short—far short. Take, for instance, an incident in 2007 when an FBI employee “drove past a felony traffic stop, yelled ‘Rodney King’ out his car window and momentarily lost control of his vehicle, swerving into the oncoming lane and almost striking a police officer,” according an account of an internal FBI investigation. (When cops pulled him over, the employee claimed he had yelled, “Geeze Louise.”)

Thanks to the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR), which rounds up accounts of these infractions and distributes the cautionary tales to employees each quarter, we get glimpses of the seedier side of life inside the agency. CNN has obtained a recent set of these memos (after obtaining earlier ones last year) that show employees sexting, breaking e-readers, viewing pornography in the office, improperly accessing databases, and even shoplifting “two ties from a local retailer.”

Given the FBI’s size, the number of such infractions is quite low, and the OPR investigations are encouraging. Still, they serve as a reminder of the need to watch the watchers. Here are some of the most intriguing technology-related offenses from FBI personnel over the last five years.

  • “During argument with spouse, Employee broke spouse’s e-reader in half and pointed unloaded gun at dog’s head while dog was sitting in spouse’s lap.” The OPR report notes that the use of a handgun was “an extraordinarily serious escalation” of the situation.
  • “Employee had a recording device in supervisor’s office. In addition, without authorization, Employee made copies of supervisor’s negative comments about Employee that Employee located by conducting an unauthorized search of the supervisor’s office and briefcase.” The employee in question then turned this information over to a lawyer and lied about the whole thing during an internal investigation. The employee was subsequently dismissed.
  • “Employee destroyed or hid electronic surveillance (ELSUR) evidence instead of properly processing it. An enormous backlog of unprocessed evidentiary material accumulated over several years. When questioned about it, Employee repeatedly lied to supervisors and hid/destroyed the unprocessed tapes.” The mishandling “negatively impacted investigations” and led to the employee’s dismissal.
  • “An employee failed to properly identify and secure materials on a thumb drive related to a child pornography investigation. As a result, the material was inadvertently viewed by other FBI employees.”
  • “An employee used FBI equipment to view pornographic movies in the office while sexually satisfying himself. In aggravation, the employee was a supervisor.”

Database dives

An entire class of bad behavior concerns unauthorized usage of the FBI’s vast databases. In a January 2013 internal e-mail, OPR said it had found only one recent case where an employee “made unauthorized use of FBI database to search for information about friends and coworkers”; that person was suspended for five days.

This is pretty tame stuff compared to past infractions. In late 2007, for instance, an employee was found to have “conducted more than 1,500 unauthorized FBI database searches” and to have shared some of that material with people outside the agency.

In early 2008, an FBI employee “searched FBI databases for information on public celebrities the employee thought were ‘hot.’ The employee also conducted NCIC searches on two employees’ boyfriends and shared the results with those employees.”

In late 2010, an employee was found to have “misused government database [sic] to conduct name checks on to friends who were foreign nationals employed as exotic dancers. Employee also failed to report his contact with foreign nationals and brought the two friends into FBI space after hours without proper authorization.” And lest you think the employee was some intern who may not have known the rules, the report notes that the employee had already served a suspension for misusing a government database and was currently “in a leadership position at the time of this offense.”

Smart phones, dumb people

Smartphones have created a new series of opportunities for humans to do stupid things involving naked bodies and cameras, and FBI employees are not immune to the siren song of sexting.

“Employee e-mailed nude photograph of herself to ex-boyfriend’s wife,” says the report on one of the oddest incidents. “Ex-boyfriend and wife reported the incident to the local police. Employee failed to cease contact with ex-boyfriend and wife after twice being ordered to do so by supervisor and Chief Security Officer.” The sexting employee was “suffering from depression related to break-up” and was suspended for 10 days.

Another employee used a personal cell phone “to send nude photographs of self to several other employees. In aggravation, Employee’s conduct created office gossip and negatively impacted office operations.” Indeed, the pictures were enough to affect “the daily activities of several squads.”

Finally, one employee used a government BlackBerry to send sexually explicit messages to another employee and did so repeatedly, intentionally, and “during work hours.”

Montana bill would give corporations the right to vote


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(Digital Journal) -A Republican state lawmaker in Montana has introduced a bill that would give corporations the right to vote in local elections.
 
Rep. Steve Lavin (R-Kalispell) has introduced House Bill No. 486, which would “allow a qualified nonresident property owner or designee of an entity to vote in municipal elections and to file for candidacy for municipal elected office.” The bill contains a “provision for vote by corporate property owner” stating that “if a firm, partnership, company or corporation owns real property within the municipality, the president, vice president, secretary, or other designee of the entity is eligible to vote in a municipal election.”

 

ThinkProgress reports that HB 486 was tabled when it was brought before a legislative committee, meaning it is unlikely to advance and become law. But campaign finance reform advocates say the measure is still an alarming development in the post-Citizens United era.

 

In 2010, the US Supreme Court voted 5-4 in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission that corporations are people, money is free speech and therefore corporations are constitutionally entitled to spend as much money as they please influencing the outcome of American elections via “electioneering communications.” The ruling, which has been widely decried as one of the most disastrous in US history, gave rise to the era of super PACs, “dark money,” and accelerated what critics call the corporate takeover of the US political process.

 

The impact of Citizens United was felt in Montana last June when the US Supreme Court ruled in American Tradition Partnership v. Bullock (another 5-4 vote) that the state’s century-old law limiting corporate spending on political campaigns was unconstitutional.

 

Rep. Lavin has a strong history of corporate advocacy. According to the Center for Media and Democracy, he was a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC) Public Safety and Elections Task Force, a defunct group that pursued the interests of corporations, including voter suppression.

Montana votes 20-0 in favor of anti-NDAA bill


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(Activist Post) -The anti-NDAA movement continues to gain traction. There is still much more work to be done as part of Operation Homeland Liberty, but People’s Blog for The Constitution highlights the latest development we can add to the victory column in Montana’s step toward resisting federal intrusion.

By a vote of 20-0, a bill that bans cooperation with federal agents over the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) has just passed the Montana House Judiciary Committee. Known as HB 522, the bill would also require the state’s attorney general to report any attempts by federal officials who try to enforce the NDAA. HB 522 is now one step closer to becoming law.

Additional details below with contact information for Montana legislators..

Introduced by freshman Republican state Rep. Nicholas Schwaderer, the bill has gathered over 20 Democratic and Republican cosponsors in the House, including the Speaker Pro Tempore Austin Knudsen and the chair of the Judiciary committee, Krayton Kerns.

Speaking at a committee hearing on Wednesday, Schwaderer articulated why he opposes the NDAA and indefinite detention: “There’s a lot of us on both sides of the aisle that feels that this flies in the face of habeas corpus and a free society and the better part of a millennium of human progress.”

View previous reports on how Montana and communities all across the nation are working to stop the NDAA and restore due process. You can find contact information for Montana legislators online.

Address letters to:
Senator XXXX
Montana Senate
PO Box 200500
Helena, MT 59620-0500

or

Rep. XXXX
Montana House of Representatives
PO Box 200400
Helena, MT 59620-0400

By Fax

During sessions:
House 406-444-4825
Senate 406-444-4875

Please visit constitutioncampaign.org and lend your support for this and other NDAA activist initiatives.

Aspartame in Milk Without a Label? Big Dairy Petitions FDA For Approval


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(Activist Post) -Two powerful dairy organizations, The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) and the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), are petitioning the Food and Drug Administration to allow aspartame and other artificial sweeteners to be added milk and other dairy products without a label.

The FDA currently allows the dairy industry to use “nutritive sweeteners” including sugar and high fructose corn syrup in many of their products. Nutritive sweeteners are defined as sweeteners with calories.

This petition officially seeks to amend the standard of identification for milk, cream, and 17 other dairy products like yogurt, sweetened condensed milk, sour cream, and others to provide for the use of any “safe and suitable sweetener” on the market

They claim that aspartame and other artificial sweeteners would promote healthy eating and is good for school children.

According to the FDA notice issued this week:

IDFA and NMPF state that the proposed amendments would promote more healthful eating practices and reduce childhood obesity by providing for lower-calorie flavored milk products. They state that lower-calorie flavored milk would particularly benefit school children who, according to IDFA and NMPF, are more inclined to drink flavored milk than unflavored milk at school.

Although the FDA considers aspartame to be a “safe and suitable” sweetener, a recent Yale University study appears to directly challenge the claim that aspartame would reduce obesity. In fact, the study concluded just the opposite, that artificial sweeteners actually contributed to obesity and Type 2 diabetes.

The IDFA and NMPF argue “that the proposed amendments to the milk standard of identity would promote honesty and fair dealing in the marketplace” yet they don’t want changes to the labels on dairy products.

Accordingly, the petitioners state that milk flavored with non-nutritive sweeteners should be labeled as milk without further claims so that consumers can “more easily identify its overall nutritional value.”

It’s unclear how consumers can more easily identify the overall nutritional value of milk products that are flavored with non-nutritive sweeteners without labels.

Quoting Section 130.10 of the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act of 1990, the dairy giants claim a new label is not required because sugar is added to milk without labeling it, and “the modified food is not inferior in performance” and “‘reduced calorie’ (labels) are not attractive to children” so marketing as such is of no benefit or detriment.

The FDA has opened public comments until May 21 for anyone interested to “submit comments, data, and information concerning the need for, and the appropriateness of, amending the standard of identity for milk and the additional dairy standards.”

To submit a formal comment or send data to the FDA concerning adding aspartame and other artificial sweeteners to milk products CLICK HERE.

Texas DMV Sells Personal Information To Hundreds Of Companies; Drivers Not Allowed To Opt-Out


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(TechDirt) -Fun, dubious, privacy-violating stuff happening out in Texas where the Dept. of Motor Vehicles has made a tidy sum selling the information it collects (including names, addresses and makes/models owned) to a variety of private companies.

The Texas DMV claims its “top priority” is protecting drivers’ information, but that hardly seems to be the case when it’s pulling in $2.1 million a year selling it off. There are protections in place, but they are flimsy at best.

“The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles is the custodian of over 22 million currently registered vehicles in the state of Texas,” Randy Elliston, Director of the Texas DMV, explained. “All of those records that are in our database, however, are protected under the Driver Privacy Protection Act.”

Randy Elliston says the Driver Privacy Protection Act (DPPA) limits who can buy your information and what they can do with it.

It would be interesting to see what these “limits” are. The spreadsheet obtained by CBS 11 of Dallas, TX shows that 2,448 different entities purchased this information from the DMV last year. The purchasers listed range from towing companies to debt collectors to university parking lot patrols. Elliston states that the purchasing companies are not allowed to use the information for direct contact or advertising purposes.

A brief look at the spreadsheet seems to indicate the opposite: auto dealers make up the largest percentage of purchasers. Moreover, Elliston seems to have his facts wrong on the Driver Privacy Protection Act, at least as it pertains to Texas drivers.

The Driver Privacy Protection Act is a federal law. And the fine print actually says businesses can use your information for marketing or solicitations if the state has obtained your consent. That means, some drivers can opt in or out of these databases.

Problem is – Texas didn’t adopt that portion of the law. So, drivers in the Lone Star State are stuck.

This has opened up driver data to nearly anyone who wants it. The spreadsheet shows insurance companies, debt collection agencies, title loan specialists, towing services and auctioneers all have access to these records. The response from Elliston? If you don’t like it, complain about it.

Elliston says if you feel like your information is being abused you can report the company. “It has occurred in the past and when it has we’ve pulled the company’s ability to use that data,” Elliston noted.

Well, that is one way to deal with an influx of unsolicited mail after registering your vehicle to comply with state law. Another, better, way to deal with it would be to adopt the opt-in/out language that’s currently missing. Registering a vehicle isn’t optional, but having your name, address and vehicle info turned over to whoever requests it certainly should be.

Oklahoma City business offering ‘Cash for Bullets’ amid gun craze


(NewsOK) -In a backroom of a coin and gold shop in Oklahoma City, thousands of bullets, in various sizes, containers and boxes, cover a table.

Chelsey Davis said he’s buying most kinds of ammunition, so long as it’s been stored properly and is still usable. He’s been doing it for about a week.

 

photo - Ammunition is pictured Tuesday at Oklahoma Coin & Gold, 4001 N Pennsylvania Ave. in Oklahoma City. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman

Ammunition is pictured Tuesday at Oklahoma Coin & Gold, 4001 N Pennsylvania Ave. in Oklahoma City. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman

“The first three days we purchased 10,000 rounds, which was a couple thousand dollars spent,” Davis said. “These are people that had them in the garage, in the closet … they either no longer had the guns or no longer had use for them.”

Ammunition is becoming so hard to get in the Oklahoma City area — and elsewhere across the nation — that Davis’ coin and gold shop is now in the “Cash for Bullets” business.

It’s the latest twist on a nationwide gun craze, fueled by a presidential election, a mass shooting on the East Coast and — depending on who’s asked — a variety of other factors.

Tactical weapons, guns like the AR-15 rifle, are nearly impossible to buy from a retail store. Accessories, such as high-capacity magazines, can be difficult to find, too.

Now the very bullets needed to load and fire all these guns are becoming scarce.

At Oklahoma Coin & Gold, 4001 N Pennsylvania Ave., the bullet shortage means opportunity. At least that’s the hope.

Davis, 39, said he is planning to stockpile the ammunition — for the moment — but said he may sell it in the future. He said it’s no different from buying gold, silver or other precious metals.

“People are having trouble trying to purchase them, stores are running out everywhere,” Davis said. “Even the distributors and the manufacturers … there’s shortages all the way up the chain.”

On the other hand, there are people with ammunition they don’t need.

Davis said he’s “creating a marketplace” where the two groups can do business.

“In the U.S., in the Old West, it was used to barter with,” he said. “I don’t believe we’re headed in that direction anytime soon, but there still are people that keep and store it.

20 Signs That The U.S. Economy Is Heading For Big Trouble In The Months Ahead


 

20 Signs That The U.S. Economy Is Heading For Big Trouble In The Months Ahead - Photo by Frank Kovalchek

(Economic Collapse Blog) – Is the U.S. economy about to experience a major downturn?  Unfortunately, there are a whole bunch of signs that economic activity in the United States is really slowing down right now.  Freight volumes and freight expenditures are way down, consumer confidence has declined sharply, major retail chains all over America are closing hundreds of stores, and the “sequester” threatens to give the American people their first significant opportunity to experience what “austerity” tastes like.  Gas prices are going up rapidly, corporate insiders are dumping massive amounts of stock and there are high profile corporate bankruptcies in the news almost every single day now.  In many ways, what we are going through right now feels very similar to 2008 before the crash happened.  Back then the warning signs of economic trouble were very obvious, but our politicians and the mainstream media insisted that everything was just fine, and the stock market was very much detached from reality.  When the stock market did finally catch up with reality, it happened very, very rapidly.  Sadly, most people do not appear to have learned any lessons from the crisis of 2008.  Americans continue to rack up staggering amounts of debt, and Wall Street is more reckless than ever.  As a society, we seem to have concluded that 2008 was just a temporary malfunction rather than an indication that our entire system was fundamentally flawed.  In the end, we will pay a great price for our overconfidence and our recklessness.

So what will the rest of 2013 bring?

Hopefully the economy will remain stable for as long as possible, but right now things do not look particularly promising.

The following are 20 signs that the U.S. economy is heading for big trouble in the months ahead…

#1 Freight shipment volumes have hit their lowest level in two years, and freight expenditures have gone negative for the first time since the last recession.

#2 The average price of a gallon of gasoline has risen by more than 50 cents over the past two months.  This is making things tougher on our economy, because nearly every form of economic activity involves moving people or goods around.

#3 Reader’s Digest, once one of the most popular magazines in the world, has filed for bankruptcy.

#4 Atlantic City’s newest casino, Revel, has just filed for bankruptcy.  It had been hoped that Revel would help lead a turnaround for Atlantic City.

#5 A state-appointed review board has determined that there is “no satisfactory plan” to solve Detroit’s financial emergency, and many believe that bankruptcy is imminent.  If Detroit does declare bankruptcy, it will be the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history.

#6 David Gallagher, the CEO of Town Sports International, recently said that his company is struggling right now because consumers simply do not have as much disposable income anymore…

“As we moved into January membership trends were tracking to expectations in the first half of the month, but fell off track and did not meet our expectations in the second half of the month. We believe the driver of this was the rapid decline in consumer sentiment that has been reported and is connected to the reduction in net pay consumers earn given the changes in tax rates that went into effect in January.

#7 According to the Conference Board, consumer confidence in the U.S. has hit its lowest level in more than a year.

#8 Sales of the Apple iPhone have been slower than projected, and as a result Chinese manufacturing giant FoxConn has instituted a hiring freeze.  The following is from a CNET report that was posted on Wednesday…

The Financial Times noted that it was the first time since a 2009 downturn that the company opted to halt hiring in all of its facilities across the country. The publication talked to multiple recruiters.

The actions taken by Foxconn fuel the concern over the perceived weakened demand for the iPhone 5 and slumping sentiment around Apple in general, with production activity a leading indicator of interest in the product.

#9 In 2012, global cell phone sales posted their first decline since the end of the last recession.

#10 We appear to be in the midst of a “retail apocalypse“.  It is being projected that Sears, J.C. Penney, Best Buy and RadioShack will also close hundreds of stores by the end of 2013.

#11 An internal memo authored by a Wal-Mart executive that was recently leaked to the press said that February sales were a “total disaster” and that the beginning of February was the “worst start to a month I have seen in my ~7 years with the company.”

#12 If Congress does not do anything and “sequestration” goes into effect on March 1st, the Pentagon says that approximately 800,000 civilian employees will be facing mandatory furloughs.

#13 Barack Obama is admitting that the “sequester” could have a crippling impact on the U.S. economy.  The following is from a recent CNBC article

Obama cautioned that if the $85 billion in immediate cuts — known as the sequester — occur, the full range of government would feel the effects. Among those he listed: furloughed FBI agents, reductions in spending for communities to pay police and fire personnel and teachers, and decreased ability to respond to threats around the world.

He said the consequences would be felt across the economy.

“People will lose their jobs,” he said. “The unemployment rate might tick up again.”

#14 If the “sequester” is allowed to go into effect, the CBO is projecting that it will cause U.S. GDP growth to go down by at least 0.6 percent and that it will “reduce job growth by 750,000 jobs“.

#15 According to a recent Gallup survey, 65 percent of all Americans believe that 2013 will be a year of “economic difficulty“, and 50 percent of all Americans believe that the “best days” of America are now in the past.

#16 U.S. GDP actually contracted at an annual rate of 0.1 percent during the fourth quarter of 2012.  This was the first GDP contraction that the official numbers have shown in more than three years.

#17 For the entire year of 2012, U.S. GDP growth was only about 1.5 percent.  According to Art Cashin, every time GDP growth has fallen this low for an entire year, the U.S. economy has always ended up going into a recession.

#18 The global economy overall is really starting to slow down

The world’s richest countries saw their economies contract for the first time in almost four years during the final three months of 2012, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development said.

The Paris-based thinktank said gross domestic product across its 34 member states fell by 0.2% – breaking a period of rising activity stretching back to a 2.3% slump in output in the first quarter of 2009.

All the major economies of the OECD – the US, Japan, Germany, France, Italy and the UK – have already reported falls in output at the end of 2012, with the thinktank noting that the steepest declines had been seen in the European Union, where GDP fell by 0.5%. Canada is the only member of the G7 currently on course to register an increase in national output.

#19 Corporate insiders are dumping enormous amounts of stock right now.  Do they know something that we don’t?

#20 Even some of the biggest names on Wall Street are warning that we are heading for an economic collapse.  For example, Seth Klarman, one of the most respected investors on Wall Street, said in his year-end letter that the collapse of the U.S. financial system could happen at any time

“Investing today may well be harder than it has been at any time in our three decades of existence,” writes Seth Klarman in his year-end letter. The Fed’s “relentless interventions and manipulations” have left few purchase targets for Baupost, he laments. “(The) underpinnings of our economy and financial system are so precarious that the un-abating risks of collapse dwarf all other factors.”

So what do you think is going to happen to the U.S. economy in the months ahead?

Top Liberal Constitutional Law Expert: Gun Ownership Is An Individual Constitutional Right As Important As Freedom of Speech Or Religion


Cuomo: Gun Control Would Have Never Happened If Public Was Allowed To Review It

(Washington’s Blog) -To Protect Against Abuse By An Oppressive Government

Professor Jonathan Turley is one of the nation’s top constitutional law experts.   Turley:

  • Is the second most cited law professor in the country
  • Has worked as both the CBS and NBC legal analyst during national controversies
  • Ranks 38th in the top 100 most cited ‘public intellectuals’ in a recent study by a well-known judge
  • Is one of the top 10 lawyers handling military cases
  • Has served as a consultant on homeland security and constitutional issues
  • Is a frequent witness before the House and Senate on constitutional and statutory issues

As Wikipedia notes, he’s also a “card-carrying liberal”:

Professor Turley is widely regarded as a champion of the Rule of law; his stated positions in many cases and his self-proclaimed “…socially liberal agenda…” have led liberal and progressive thinkers to also consider him a champion for their causes, especially on issues such as separation of church and state, environmental law, civil rights, and the illegality of torture. Politico has referred to Turley as a “liberal law professor and longtime civil libertarian.”

So one might assume that Professor Turley believes that the Second Amendment is to protect hunting or militias … and not the right of people to protect ourselves from government abuse.

In fact, Turley wrote in 2007 … in a post entitled “A Liberal’s Lament: The NRA Might Be Right After All“:

For more than 200 years, progressives and polite people have avoided acknowledging that following the rights of free speech, free exercise of religion and free assembly, there is “the right of the people to keep and bear arms.” Of course, the very idea of finding a new individual right after more than two centuries is like discovering an eighth continent in constitutional law, but it is hardly the cause of celebration among civil liberties groups.

Like many academics, I was happy to blissfully ignore the Second Amendment. It did not fit neatly into my socially liberal agenda.

***

It is hard to read the Second Amendment and not honestly conclude that the Framers intended gun ownership to be an individual right. It is true that the amendment begins with a reference to militias: “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” Accordingly, it is argued, this amendment protects the right of the militia to bear arms, not the individual.

Yet, if true, the Second Amendment would be effectively declared a defunct provision. The National Guard is not a true militia in the sense of the Second Amendment and, since the District and others believe governments can ban guns entirely, the Second Amendment would be read out of existence.

***

More important, the mere reference to a purpose of the Second Amendment does not alter the fact that an individual right is created. The right of the people to keep and bear arms is stated in the same way as the right to free speech or free press. The statement of a purpose was intended to reaffirm the power of the states and the people against the central government. At the time, many feared the federal government and its national army. Gun ownership was viewed as a deterrent against abuse by the government, which would be less likely to mess with a well-armed populace.

Considering the Framers and their own traditions of hunting and self-defense, it is clear that they would have viewed such ownership as an individual right — consistent with the plain meaning of the amendment.

None of this is easy for someone raised to believe that the Second Amendment was the dividing line between the enlightenment and the dark ages of American culture. Yet, it is time to honestly reconsider this amendment and admit that … here’s the really hard part … the NRA may have been right. This does not mean that Charlton Heston is the new Rosa Parks or that no restrictions can be placed on gun ownership. But it does appear that gun ownership was made a protected right by the Framers and, while we might not celebrate it, it is time that we recognize it.

Indeed, the Founding Fathers’ own words prove Professor Turley right:

What country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance. Let them take arms. – Thomas Jefferson

A free people ought not only to be armed and disciplined, but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government. – George Washington

(The Constitution preserves) the advantage of being armed which Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation…(where) the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms. –James Madison.

If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then no recourse left but in the exertion of that original right of self defense which is paramount to all positive forms of government… – Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist (#28) .

To disarm the people is the best and most effective way to enslave them. – George Mason

The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any bands of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States. –Noah Webster, “An Examination into the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution (1787) in Pamplets on the Constitution of the United States (P.Ford, 1888)

The Constitution shall never be construed to authorize Congress to prevent the people of the United States, who are peaceable citizens, from keeping their own arms. –Samuel Adams, debates & Proceedings in the Convention of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 86-87.

Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are ruined…The great object is that every man be armed. Everyone who is able might have a gun. –Patrick Henry.

Those who beat their swords into plowshares usually end up plowing for those who didn’t. – Ben Franklin

Arms discourage and keep the invader and plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property… Horrid mischief would ensue were the law-abiding deprived of the use of them. –Thomas Paine

Are we at last brought to such an humiliating and debasing degradation that we cannot be trusted with arms for our own defense? Where is the difference between having our arms under our own possession and under our own direction, and having them under the management of Congress? If our defense be the real object of having those arms, in whose hands can they be trusted with more propriety, or equal safety to us, as in our own hands? – Patrick Henry, 3 Elliot, Debates at 386.

The right of the people to keep and bear…arms shall not be infringed. A well regulated militia, composed of the people, trained to arms, is the best and most natural defense of a free country… –James Madison, I Annals of Congress 434 (June 8, 1789).

The best we can hope for concerning the people at large is that they be properly armed. –Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist Papers at 184-B.

[T]he unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or the state governments, but where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the People. – Tench Coxe, Pennsylvania Gazette, Feb. 20, 1788.

And – as hard as it might be to believe – Gandhi also railed against gun control by the British in India as taking away the right of the Indian people to defend themselves from abuse by the government.

Feds Buy Two Billion Rounds of Ammunition


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(Breitbart) -Something strange is going on. Federal non-military agencies have bought two billion rounds of ammunition in the last 10 months. The Obama Administration says that federal law enforcement agents need the ammunition for “mandatory quarterly firearms qualifications and other training sessions.”

Radio show host Mark Levin is suspicious. He commented:

To provide some perspective, experts estimate that at the peak of the Iraq war American troops were firing around 5.5 million rounds per month. At that rate, the [Department of Homeland Security] is armed now for a 24-year Iraq war. A 24-year Iraq war! I’m going to tell you what I think is going on. I don’t think domestic insurrection. Law enforcement and national security agencies, they play out multiple scenarios. … I’ll tell you what I think they’re simulating: the collapse of our financial system, the collapse of our society and the potential for widespread violence, looting, killing in the streets, because that’s what happens when an economy collapses. I suspect that just in case our fiscal situation, our monetary situation, collapses, and following it the civil society collapses, that is the rule of law, they want to be prepared. I know why the government’s arming up: It’s not because there’s going to be an insurrection; it’s because our society is unraveling.

Even though the National Rifle Association says that the amount of ammunition bought isn’t excessive, considering the number of federal agents and the fact that the ammunition is used over a five-year period, there are others who question why the need for so many federal agents. Among them is Jeff Knox, director of The Firearms Coalition, who said:

It’s not the number of bullets we need to worry about but the number of feds with guns it takes to use those bullets. There are currently more than 70 different federal law enforcement agencies employing over 120,000 officers with arrest and firearms authority . . . That’s an increase of nearly 30 percent between 2004 and 2008. If the trends have continued upward at a relatively steady rate, that would put the total number of federal law enforcement officers at somewhere between 135,000 and 145,000. That’s a pretty staggering number, especially when you consider that there are only an estimated 765,000 state and local law enforcement officers. That means that about one in seven law enforcement officers in the country works directly for the federal government, not a local jurisdiction.

Democratic lawmaker suggest that rape victim women should all be disarmed and carry a whistle instead


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(Natural News) – It’s one thing for Americans who don’t believe in the Second Amendment to  refrain from carrying or owning a firearm for self-defense if they choose to do  so, but it’s a completely different thing for an anti-gun politician to push for  laws that disarm Americans and put them at risk of harm from  criminals.

That is especially true for women, who are often victimized by  much stronger, much larger men.

But that doesn’t matter to Colorado state  Rep. Joe Salazar. As far as he’s concerned, even women at risk of being raped  should not be allowed to carry a gun.

Get a whistle, not a  gun

While arguing for the disarmament of college students recently on  the floor of the state Legislature, Salazar said guns weren’t the answer for  women at risk – “call boxes” and “whistles” were better protective  choices.

“It’s why we have call boxes, it’s why we have safe zones, it’s  why we have the whistles. Because you just don’t know who you’re gonna be  shooting at. And you don’t know if you feel like you’re gonna be raped, or if  you feel like someone’s been following you around or if you feel like you’re in  trouble when you may actually not be, that you pop out that gun and you pop …  pop around at somebody.”

In Salazar’s world, absurdity obviously knows no  bounds.

To his way of thinking, potential rapists would back off if they  encountered a woman in a “safe zone.” If she were near a “call box” or had a  “whistle,” her protection would be exponentially stronger because, you know,  rapists pay attention to such things when planning their criminal  acts.

Well, I can’t rape her. She’s got a whistle.  She’s in a ‘safe zone.’ And look – she’s carrying a  whistle.

“Representative Joe Salazar (D-Colo.) isn’t a ‘boorish,  macho Latino’ as some have stated. In his zeal to ban guns, he’s shown himself  to be a Todd Akin-level fool,” writes Amy Sterling Casil at PolicyMic.com. “Akin’s 2012 comments to the effect that women  could ‘prevent pregnancy’ in the case of ‘legitimate rape’ arose from his desire  to ban abortion, no matter what the circumstance of pregnancy. The statements of  both men arose from political zeal which led them to voice opinions at odds with  common sense and human decency.”

Adds St. Louis-area talk radio host Dana  Loesch, “This is the real ‘war on women’ I’ve talked about: the progressive  insistence that women disarm. Women, according to Rep. Salazar, are hysterical  things which shoot indiscriminately at any and everything.”

Loesch goes  onto back up her assertions with hard stats:

— In the vast majority of  self-defense cases involving a firearm, the potential victim will only brandish  a weapon or fire a shot in warning;

— In less than 8 percent of such  incidents, the person bearing the firearm will even wound the  attacker;

— Over 1.9 million self-defense instances annually involve  defending oneself with a gun;

— Nearly a half-million self-defense  incidents take place away from the home;

And the one statistic that  is most pertinent to the issue of self-defense involving women, almost 10  percent of self-defense instances are women defending themselves against sexual  assault or abuse.

For real and future female victims of sexual  assault, apology should not be accepted

So, not only do one in  10 cases of self-defense each year involve women defending themselves against  sexual predators, these women do so a) without wounding or maiming innocent  people; and b) without using a “call box” and “whistle.”

Salazar has  since apologized – sort of – for his idiocy.

“I’m sorry if I offended  anyone,” he said in a statement. “That was absolutely not my intention. We were  having a public policy debate on whether or not guns makes people safer on  campus. I don’t believe they do. That was the point I was trying to  make.”

He’s wrong, of course, but when you’re an anti-gun hack apparently  any form of logic is applicable.

TSA traumatizes three-year-old girl in wheelchair


tsaagent(TSA News) -I wish I could say that this is a new low for the contemptible thugs in blue for whose equipment and “services” taxpayers pay billions of dollars every year.

Sadly, it isn’t. It’s just par for the course; another Day in Despotism here in the Land of the Meek, Home of the Afraid.

In case you couldn’t bring yourself to watch this indisputable display of abuse — this disgusting mistreatment of a little girl and her family about which her mother (Annie Schulte) and father comment “look at her all dressing like a potential terrorist/drug trafficker; people who roll in on hot pink wheelchairs, wearing a gingerbread coat and clutching a stuffed baby lamb, are just begging to be harassed” — let me itemize the violations and absurdities at hand (perhaps you can identify more; as a mother myself, I’m too upset by what I just watched to further research the laws, statutory and logical):

First, there is the obvious Fourth Amendment violation against unwarranted search and seizure. I don’t care what kind of pretzel logic the TSA twists itself into parroting in order to justify groping a three-year-old in a wheelchair who’s on her way to Disney World: it’s a violation of her Constitutional rights. Period. Full stop.

And this should not stand. Not in the country that calls itself the United States of America. Citizens and residents who accept otherwise should not only be ashamed of themselves, but should, in my opinion, be constantly, and in strenuous terms, be made aware that they’re engaging in a kind of treason against the very freedoms the nation’s founders established (and countless fought for and died to protect), and thus, by extension, debasing the idea of America itself.


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Second, travelers are indeed permitted to photograph and/or videotape the so-called “screening procedure” (more accurately, security theatre), including aggressive pat-downs that would be defined as sexual assault in any other context and nude photography of their bodies. The only subject matter exempt from passengers’ freedom-to-document are the screening machines themselves. As shown in the above video, these TSA screeners try to claim otherwise and keep harping on their imagined rule that the passengers can’t record the incident, even as the parents ask them to cite the actual law pertaining thereto.

Third, the tactics here are insensitive and unkind on their face, as well as pointless. Not only is this little girl so obviously terrified to the point of crying out loud, and desperately upset that her comfort toy — her stuffed animal — is being taken away, she is distraught that her parents’ attempts to protect her are being summarily ignored. Imagine how frightening that must be. If indeed the child “alarmed,” the screeners could have resolved the matter by allowing one of the cleared parents to carry her through the metal detector in their arms while they checked her wheelchair for hidden bombs, machetes, or fusilage-piercing grenade launchers.

What will it take for the American public to recognize how wrong this is, all of it, and demand that our so-called leaders put an end to it? Why are citizens not carrying out a full-on economic boycott of the airlines for all non-essential travel? What will it take, if not the unconstitutional persecution of a little child in a wheelchair?

“Police raided me” says leaker who tried selling next-gen Xbox dev kit


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(ArsTechnica) -Leaking information and materials regarding upcoming consoles is serious business. Just ask SuperDaE, the anonymous source whose parceling of information and attempted sale of his supposed Microsoft “Durango” development kit has purportedly earned him a visit from police and an FBI agent.

The mysteriously well-informed source posted on Twitter this morning that “police raided me,” apparently based on a warrant that cited Microsoft, eBay, and Paypal. He later followed up to say that an FBI agent and seven to eight police were involved in the raid.

We’ve been unable to independently confirm SuperDaE’s claims. The clandestine source says he was tweeting from an Apple Store and was therefore unable to post proof of the warrants that were sitting at home. While his location on Twitter is listed as North Carolina, the second attempted eBay sale of the Durango kit (Which went for over AUD$50,000) lists the location as Perth, Australia. That would raise questions about the involvement of the US FBI, but it would help explain how he was supposedly posting from an Apple Store during what was the middle of the night for the United States.

Console makers routinely place strict controls on the distribution of development kits, especially before a system’s formal announcement and release. Developers are required to sign strict nondisclosure and no-resale agreements before receiving hardware, so the thought that Microsoft would get law enforcement involved isn’t outside the realm of possibility. When Curt Schilling’s 38 Studios was liquidated recently, Microsoft publicly intervened to try to prevent the resale of its Xbox 360 development kits. Then again, SuperDaE has said that his first attempt to sell the kit on eBay was blocked by Microsoft—without the need for a police raid.

Last June, supposed documents describing the next Xbox’s features and hardware specs were taken down from the Web at the request of an IP law firm that frequently represents Microsoft.

One Pizza Place Is Giving Discounts To Customers Who Bring In Their Guns


 

pizza gun discount

 

(Biz Insider) -When Virginia Beach pizza owner Jay  Laze heard about a Utah frozen yogurt shop that gave discounts to gun carrying  customers in celebration of the Second Amendment, he didn’t think that it  seemed unsafe.

 

Rather, Laze  told local station WTKR, “I thought it was a great idea, and I was wondering  why nobody here was doing it. It should be happening all around the  country.”

And that’s how All Around Pizzas and Deli, which  boasts delivery guys who carry guns, started giving 15 percent off to people  who were carrying or flashed their permit.

Apparently, it has been effective. Laze told the AP that 80  percent of customers have brought in a gun thus far, and one went so far as  to bring in an AK-47.

 

Churning Mystery: ‘Horsemeat’ in Burger King Burgers May Actually Be Donkey Meat


 donkeymeatburgerking 265x165 Churning Mystery: Horsemeat in Burger King Burgers May Actually Be Donkey Meat
(Natural Society) -Would you rather unknowingly eat a horse or a donkey? In a truly bizarre mix-up, it turns out that the mystery meat in UK Burger King burgers, which I have pointed out is actually not the worst thing you need to worry about in their burgers, may actually be sourced from donkeys.

In case you are not up to date on this scenario, it was originally admitted by Burger King that its burgers did contain mystery meat (that at the time was identified as horsemeat) just hours after claiming that their UK burgers were pure. The exact statement confirming the horsemeat in the burgers from the Burger King rep, or what was thought to be horsemeat at this point, was:

“Four samples recently taken from the Silvercrest plant have shown the presence of very small trace levels of equine DNA… we have established that Silvercrest used a small percentage of beef imported from a non-approved supplier in Poland. This is a clear violation of our specifications, and we have terminated our relationship with them.”

As it turns out, the admission means that either Burger King has no idea what’s in it’s own food, or in a more sinister scenario does not care about what consumers think and instead is interested in securing profits without causing a stir (or lawsuits). The report originally appeared in The Guardian, which developed as the night went on.

A new report in The Independent, however, asserts that the meat may in fact be donkey meat — a prospect that I am not entirely sure is more concerning or equally as concerning. This is due to a recent law change in Romania that virtually no one would initially piece together as being responsible for mystery meat inside Burger King Whoppers. As it turns out, though, Romania recently banned a very common form of transportation which included horse-drawn carts. As a result of the ban, struggling citizens therefore sent their horses to be slaughtered for the fraudulent sale of horsemeat that has permeated the European beef market.

But what about the donkeys? Well, it turns out that they also used donkeys to pull their carts as well. According to the vice-president of the European Parliament agriculture committee Jose Bove, it has affected millions of animals — donkeys and horses alike:

“Horses have been banned from Romanian roads and millions of animals have been sent to the slaughterhouse…”

This is where it gets to be an entirely new story. Millions of animals were culled in order to produce meat, which then leaked into the beef supply, and now no one knows what some of the meats produced by some European facilities really are. French officials began to take the issue seriously as well after it started hitting the news, and French consumer minister Benoît Hamon is now going after European meat corporations. In fact, it may escalate to serious legal action if it turns out that these companies are fully aware of the horse and donkey meat that they may be selling off as beef.

Whether or not you find it disturbing that you may be eating horse or donkey in your burger, it also comes down to a matter of knowing what’s in your food. It comes as no surprise to many of us who are aware of just how mysterious fast food is as a whole, but the existence of horse or donkey meat inside Burger King burgers (and other burgers even available in supermarkets) means that consumers really don’t know what they’re putting into their mouths when they purchase these items. This, regardless of what you think about eating these animals, is of serious concern and risk.

 

FDA raid company in Florida for illegal dietary supplements


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(Digital Journal) -The FDA and U.S. marshals have raided a company in Flordia  called Globe All Wellness LLC and have seized supplies of the dietary supplement  Meridia, a weight loss drug that was withdrawn from the market in 2010.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has stated that the illegal dietary supplements from the  Florida based pharmacy were seized because some may contain a dangerous  pharmaceutical ingredient.

According to Consumer Lab, the drugs seized included SlimXtreme,  SlimXtreme Gold, SlimPlus, SlimLee, GelSlim, SlimDrops, and Colonew.

Speaking about the action, Howard  Sklamberg, director of the Office of Compliance in the FDA’s Center for Drug  Evaluation and Research, is quoted by UPI as saying: “Companies that distribute products  containing undisclosed drugs are not only breaking the law, they are putting  consumers at risk. With these kinds of hidden dangers, consumers cannot make  informed decisions about the products they are taking.”

The drug in question is Meridia, a weight loss dietary supplement. The drug is  usually in the form of the hydrochloride monohydrate salt compressed into a  tablet, and is taken as an oral anorexiant. The drug was withdrawn in 2010  because of concerns that  consumption of the pills could increase the risk of  heart attack and stroke. This was based on a study, reviewed by the FDA, which showed that the drug (under the  drug’s generic name Sibutramine) posed a significant risk of an adverse  cardiovascular event occurring in patients.

Although the FDA, along with the  European Union, banned the drug from sale, in October 2011, the FDA warned that 20 brands of dietary supplements were  tainted with sibutramine.

The news of the FDA raid follows other  concerns with dietary supplements, pills that are not subject to the same  regulations as prescription medicines. In 2012, the Digital Journal reported that a dietary supplement called  Reumofan Plus, manufactured in Mexico and sold in the USA, has been found to  contain ‘unlisted ingredients’ which are harmful to human health. Also during  2012, three different supplements manufactured in the U.S: Cataplex ACP,  Cataplex C, and Pancreatrophin PMG were withdrawn from the market due to suspected contamination  with Salmonella bacteria.

Read more:  http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/343841#ixzz2LNgyHdx7

You have been lied to by the Government, again – and here’s how you can know


You have been lied to by the Government

(Prepper Podcast Radio) -“People think that a liar gains a victory over his victim. What I’ve learned is that a lie is an act of self-abdication, because one surrenders one’s reality to the person to whom one lies, making that person one’s master, condemning oneself from then on to faking the sort of reality that person’s view requires to be faked…The man who lies to the world, is the world’s slave from then on…There are no white lies, there is only the blackest of destruction, and a white lie is the blackest of all.”

― Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

“When truth is replaced by silence,the silence is a lie.” Yevgeny Yevtushenko

As an investigator I learned early two things: How to lie well enough to get the information I wanted, and the other is never to believe what you’re told. As Ronaldus Magnus (Ronald Reagan) love to repeat, “Trust, but verify”. It is an old Russian proverb that I’m afraid many people have never learned.

Fox News recently ran a story by the Associate Press, presenting the Government’s case in the ammunition purchase. But it was poorly written and the reporter did not ask the right questions, nor did they do all their homework.

From the story:

ICE’s ammunition requests in the last year included:

  • 450 million rounds of .40-caliber duty ammunition
  • 40 million rounds of rifle ammunition a year for as many as five years, for a total bullet-buy of 200 million rounds
  • 176,000 rifle rounds on a separate contract
  • 25,000 blank rounds

This small segment highlights the poor research conducted by the AP reporter. Right off the top – The 176,000 rifle rounds were cancelled. As we reported 2 October 2012:

“Put this in the “I don’t believe it” file, but something unusual has happened. The Department of Homeland Security /Immigration Customs Enforcement (DHS/ICE) has CANCELLED their request to purchase 176,000 rounds of .308 hollow point boat tail ammunition. According to an email that was passed onto me, Harry at the Federal Service Desk stated that a notice could be cancelled for a variety of reason.”

Another glaring issue is the “450 million rounds purchased”. What are not considered are prior year purchases. The following chart provides the breakdown of three branches of DHS that purchases ammunition: Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Customs Border Protectorate (CBP), and the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) over the past four years.

2009

2010

2011

2012

ICE

575,759,800

487,200

350,004,000

165,012,000

CBP

1,000

77,400

88,000

250,000,000

FLETC

69,920

20,000

154,000

63,742,350

I could present a chart, but ICE’s purchases make the others seem insignificant.  The large numbers are taking the total number of contracted purchases to the date the contract was signed. Many contracts were for 4 or 5 years. Click HERE for the Excel file.

If Mr. Obama’s administration had no ammunition at the very beginning, they certainly develop a stockpile very quickly.

Had the Associated Press reporter had done their job; they would have asked the following questions:

  1. If FLETC requires 15 million rounds a year, how did they get their required ammunition in 2009, 2010, and 2011?
  2. If FLETC borrowed ammunition from ICE, is it not possible that ammunition could be allocated to Mr. Obama’s Civilian Army Corps without public notification?
  3. If FLETC has contracted out for 63,000,000 rounds of various ammunition in 2012, why then are they purchasing 200,000 rounds of .40 caliber JHP ammunition in December 2012 and 140,000 rounds of 9 mm and 100,000 rounds of .40 caliber February 2013?
  4. If over 15 million rounds of .40 caliber JHP ammunition is required per year, why did ICE order 38 years of ammunition in 2009, and another 23 years in 2011?
  5. If over 15 million rounds of .223 EP ammunition is required per year, why did ICE order 11 years of ammunition in 2012?
  6. If over 15 million rounds of .40 caliber JHP ammunition is required per year, why did CPB order 13 years of ammunition in 2012?
  7. Does the DHS Inspector General know that the December 2012 contract may have been fraudulently awarded?
  8. If the grand total that we’ve come up with is: 1,405,455,670. That roughly translates to 1,000 people firing 1 round a second for 16 days, at what point has too much ammunition has been purchased?

Transferring assets from one Department or Agency is as easy as filling out a sheet of paper listing the departments, assets, and quantities involved. Don’t be fooled. Bureaucracy has been around since Roman times. Bureaucrats know how to manipulate paper, and how to make it disappear.

And the silence becomes the lie.

Reinstate Military Draft Bill Introduced to Include All Women


 

military draft

(Activist Post) -Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) wants all Americans to serve their government, including women. On Friday he introduced one bill that would reinstate the draft and another that would require all women to register for Selective Service as well.

Rangel introduced  The National Universal Service Act(H.R. 747) for the sixth time since first being proposed in 2003 during the Iraq war.  H.R 747 “would require 30 million people in the United States between the ages of 18 and 25 to perform two years of national service in either the armed services or in civilian life.”

Rangel also introduced the All American Selective Service Act (H.R. 748) which requires all women to enroll in the Selective Service System.  This would essentially double the number of registrants. The current law requires only men ages 18 to 25 to register, leaving approximately only 13.5 million in the registry.

“Now that women can serve in combat they should register for the Selective Service alongside their male counterparts,” said Rangel in a statement. “Reinstating the draft and requiring women to register for the Selective Service would compel the American public to have a stake in the wars we fight as a nation. We must question why and how we go to war, and who decides to send our men and women into harm’s way.”

The last time Rangel introduced the “draft” bill was in 2011 on the very same day the Obama Administration launched a preemptive war in Libya on no-fly zone orders from the U.N., without Congressional approval, and despite never having been attacked or threatened by Libya.

He admitted at the time that the Iraq war was based on lies, “on false pretenses of weapons of mass destruction and involvement in the 9/11.” Yet he still insisted more Americans should be ”sharing in duty and service.”

In one sense Rangel truly believes all Americans should serve their country in some capacity, especially because the military is stretched so thin where multiple tours of duty are resulting in increased PTSD and record suicide rates.

On the other hand, he also believes a draft would force more young Americans to question the necessity of current wars.

“I served in Korea, and understand that sometimes war is inevitable,” Rangel continued. “However military engagement should be our last resort. If we must go to war, every American should be compelled to stop and think twice about whether it is worth sending our brothers and sisters, and sons and daughters to fight. Currently less than one percent of America’s population is unfairly shouldering the burden of war.”

CNN: For the average American, all this couldn’t be happening at a worse time: Large home heating bills, smaller paychecks, looming budget cuts and skyrocketing gas prices… Gas prices rise 32 days straight, Increase 51 cents in 2 months.


$5.00 a gallon gas hits California…32 days of higher gas prices comes at tough time…

(Investment Watch) For the average American, all this couldn’t be happening at a worse time.

Most of the country’s 160 million workers are taking home less pay each week since the payroll tax cuts expired last month.

The government in 2011 had temporarily lowered the payroll tax rate for the first $113,700 of annual earnings in an effort to keep more cash in the pockets of Americans and provide a boost to the economy.
Now, workers earning the national average salary of $41,000 are receiving about $60 less on every monthly paycheck.

Smaller Payday Trims Workers’ Splurges as U.S. Tax Breaks Expire

Phoenix high school teacher Kenny Williams said he’s cutting back on his “family splurge fund” for movie and sports outings after the reinstated U.S. payroll tax lowered his first paycheck of the year by $30.

The 46-year-old single dad of two was shopping at the 99 Cent Only store in Phoenix last week to save money on groceries and partly offset the $60-a-month cut he expects in his take- home pay. Dinners out also will go, he said.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-01-14/smaller-payday-trims-workers-splurges-as-u-s-tax-breaks-expire.html

 

Increase 51 cents in 2 months

Consumers are taking another huge hit in 2013. First, the two percent Social Security tax hike began the year. Now, gas prices are soaring ever closer to $4 a gallon and have jumped 51 cents a gallon since Dec. 20.

According to the Oil Price Information Service, the national average for a gallon of unleaded was $3.21.9 on Dec. 20, 2012. Today, that price is $3.73.0. While there has been a steady increase, prices shot almost 9 cents just over the weekend.

This President’s Day also marked a full month of rising gas prices every single business day, following a very small early year drop. Gas prices began rising Jan. 18, from $3.29.3-a-gallon, and have soared since. If this increase continues, gas prices could threaten or even top the all-time high price of $4.11, set in 2008.

http://cnsnews.com/blog/julia-seymour/gas-prices-soar-51-cents-just-two-months

Up 96% under Obama…

(CNSNews.com) – The average price of a gallon of gas has increased 96 percent since President Barack Obama first took office in 2009, according to figures from the Energy Information Agency (EIA).

http://cnsnews.com/news/article/price-gallon-gas-96-under-obama

 

$5 Gas Returns To Southland

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Gas prices in Southern California rose again on Monday, leaving some drivers paying over $5.00 per gallon.

CBS2?s Amber Lee reports the average price of a gallon of gas in the Los Angeles-Long Beach area climbed for the 25th consecutive day to $4.29 – over 50 cents higher than last month, according to the Automobile Club of Southern California.

One gas station in downtown Los Angeles was offering regular unleaded at $5.19 on Monday, prompting at least one potential customer to exit his vehicle, snap of a photo of the station’s prices – and then drive off in search of cheaper gas.

http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2013/02/18/5-gas-returns-to-southland/

 

Gas Prices Surge To Highest Ever On This Day At Fastest Pace In Four Years

Despite being weeks away from the start of the driving season proper, gas prices – at the pump – have been surging recently. With premium now over $4 nationwide (over $5 in SoCal – up 25 days in a row), this is the most expensive gas has ever been for the second week in February despite gasoline being relatively well supplied.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-02-18/gas-prices-surge-highest-ever-day-fastest-pace-four-years

 

Why 8% Unemployment, Or More, Could Lie Ahead

 

Severe fiscal tightening in the U.S. will lead to no growth or a contraction in the first two quarters of 2013 and will push unemployment over 8 percent, according to Lombard Street Research.

Israeli Sniper Posts Photo of Child in Crosshairs


ht israeli soldier instagram lpl 130218 wblog Israeli Sniper Posts Photo of Child in Crosshairs
An Instagram photograph of what appears to be a rifle sight targeted on a Palestinian boy by Israeli soldier, Mor Ostrovski, has prompted a military investigation.

(ABCNEWS) A photo posted online by an Israeli soldier showing a child in the crosshairs of a rifle scope has created a firestorm on the internet, drawing widespread criticism.

The photo was reportedly posted on Jan. 25 by Mor Ostrovski, 20, a member of an Israeli sniper unit. It shows crosshairs zeroed in on the back of the head of what appears to be a Palestinian boy in a village. The photo has since been taken down and Ostrovski’s account has been deactivated.

“There are no other images to suggest that the photographer actually fired at the person in the image in this case,” wrote Palestinian activist Ali Abuminah who runs the site Electronic Intifada and drew much of the attention to the photo. “The image is simply tasteless and dehumanizing. It embodies the idea that Palestinian children are targets.”

Before the account was taken down, Abuminah posted other photos from Ostrovski’s account that showed him in his olive green uniform holding a variety of weapons, including a sniper rifle.

Eytan Buchman, a  spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces, told ABC News that Ostrovski told his commander on Saturday that he had not taken the photo himself but that he’d taken it off the internet. No disciplinary action will be taken.

“The picture in question does not coincide with IDF’s values or code of ethics,” the spokesman added in an e-mailed statement.

The uproar over the photo follows another posted by an Israeli infantryman on Facebook around a week ago. In it, he mocked the four Palestinian prisoners he was guarding by posing bound and blindfolded next to them. He was sentenced to 14 days detention after the brigade’s commanders discovered the photo and ordered it taken down.

“Before the investigation began, it was discovered that the soldier was already judged by his commanders,”  Buchman said in a statement. “Since the documented offense isn’t criminal and since the legal procedure conducted by the soldier’s commanding officer was found appropriate, a disciplinary action was decided to be sufficient.”

The IDF is active on social networking, disseminating statements on Twitter and Facebook and photos on Flickr and Instagram. But individual soldiers using social media have a history of getting the Israeli military into trouble.

In November, the head of the IDF spokesperson’s social media unit landed in hot water after he posted a photo on Facebook with mud on his face, captioned “Obama style.” In 2010, a reservist named Eden Abergil sparked outrage after posting pictures with blindfolded Palestinian prisoners. She told Israeli Army radio she didn’t understood what she did wrong, but the IDF called the photos “shameful behavior.”

DHS Use Police Depts to Gather Intel on Citizens & Label Them Extremist Threats


(From the Trenches) According to the White House Blog website, the Obama administration is working to “counter online radicalization” by “violent extremist groups” such as “al-Qaeda and its affiliates and adherents, violent supremacist groups, and violent ‘sovereign citizens’.”

The White House claims that “these groups use the Internet to disseminate propaganda, identify and groom potential recruits, and supplement their real-world recruitment” with “resources to propagate messages of violence and division.” Through the exploitation of “popular media, music videos and online video games”, allegedly there are “countless opportunities “to draw targets into private exchanges” and provide “violent extremists with access to new audiences and instruments for radicalization.”

The US government stated they will combat these extremist groups by “raising awareness about the threat and providing communities with practical information and tools for staying safe online.” They are solidifying their relationships with private sector corporations involved in technology to implement “policies, technologies, and tools that can help counter violent extremism online.”

The 2011 document entitled “Empowering Local Partners to Prevent Violent Extremism in the United States” outlines how a “comprehensive strategy” to counter the influence of al-Qaeda is being championed by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) with digital information sharing and coordinating intelligence with local law enforcement to thwart terrorist plots and “save many American lives”.

Using propaganda, under the guise of “local partners in their grassroots efforts to prevent violent extremism” the federal government is building a network with local law enforcement against the threat of radicalization online and in the real-world.

The document names plots devised by neo-Nazis, anti-Semitic hate groups, racial supremacists, international and domestic terrorists inspired by al-Qaeda as a threat to the US. The federal government is utilizing local police departments to build a “local level . . . resilience against violent extremism.”

DHS trains local police officers at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides funding to local police departments to send their officers to FLETC to receive militarized education in tactical operations.

FLETC has locations in Georgia, New Mexico, South Carolina, andWashington DC. This federal militarization of local police extends tointernational policing agencies which “develops, coordinates, manages, and delivers international training and technical assistance that promotes the rule of law and supports U.S. foreign policy.”

Another report the White House is using to justify the demonization of US citizens as radical extremists is entitled “Strategic Implementation Plan for Empowering Local Partners to Prevent Violent Extremism in the United States”. This report, published in December of 2011, further reinforces the role of local police departments to ‘address community needs and concerns, including protecting rights and public safety.”

The federal government acquires platforms to infiltrate communities they have identified as potentially under threat of violent extremist groups. Across the nation, senior officials are deployed with the assistance of fake grassroots propaganda to partner with “Governor-appointed Homeland Security Advisors, Major Cities Chiefs, Mayors’ Offices, and local partners.”

Training of local police department officers to paramilitarize and integrate them into military tactical operations is the key to combating localized extremism.
Over the last few years the DHS have been indoctrinating local police departments into “non-Federal law enforcement agencies” as outlined in the DHS directive from the Office for State and Local Law Enforcement (SLLE).

DHS is successful in their relationship with local police departments all across the nation because they are contracted private security firms (or hired armed guards) that are placed in a city or town to secure the population and generate revenue for the local government.

In early 2012, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released a reportentitled “Homeland Security and Intelligence: Next Steps in Evolving the Mission” which outlined in part on how to redirect efforts of the federal government from international terrorism toward home-grown terrorists and build a DHS-controlled police force agency that would control all cities and towns through the use of local police departments.

DHS maintains that “the threat grows more localized” which necessitates the militarization of local police in major cities in the US and the training of staff from local agencies to make sure that oversight is restricted to the federal government.

Countering online extremism is a task allocated to the DHS who have identified “behaviors, tactics, and other indicators that could point to potential terrorist activity.” DHS will host conferences for local police departments and federal partners to attend that will provide education on countering extremism.

Other “training initiatives” include “hundreds of thousands of front line officers” who are the ground-force infantry needed by DHS to “prevent” extremist activities.

The “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign is specifically designed to target local communities to turn ordinary citizens into a Stasi for the federal government with the local police department allocated as their first line of intelligence gathering.

Intelligence on citizens who are supposed to be extremists is gathered from multiple avenues such as:

• Local government
• Local law enforcement
• Parent/Teacher Associations
• School district officials
• Influential members of local communities
• Religious leaders

These collaborations provide “critical information” and real-time “assessments of [any] threat” to local communities and incorporate this information into training programs and federal initiatives.

Heartless thieves steal $3,000 raised to pay for dying baby’s life-saving heart transplant on Valentine’s Day


Four months ago, 9-month-old Jaelyn Anderson was diagnosed with Myocarditis.
You would never know by looking at her that she has an infection in her heart. Her priceless smiles and grins are enough to steal yours away.
Now she’s waiting on a heart transplant in the Intensive Care Unit at All Children’s Hospital. Jaelyn’s parents tell  this journey hasn’t been easy, but when they see her big smile, their lives are a little easier.
“She makes you laugh. She’s my wild child to put it that way,” Jaeyln’s mother Brooke said. “She brings joy to everybody. She’s so sick and she acts like nothing is wrong with her. I am amazed.”
“The only thing that keeps you going is her smile,” Josh Anderson said.
Donations have been coming in from far and wide for Jaelyn’s medical care. But on Valentine’s Day, thieves stole part of that life-saving help.
Jaeyln’s grandfather works for JetBlue and the company helped raise $3,000, but according to investigators, crooks stole that money from his truck in Orlando.
“They stopped and ate at a restaurant and locked the truck up. And went back out and everything was stolen,” Josh Anderson said. “Their luggage and the money and everything in the truck. It was pretty devastating. We were in shock. Like are you serious? Who could do that.”
But the family isn’t letting this stop them because they have something more important to focus on right now. Its now a waiting game as to when Jaelyn will receive a heart.
“It could be tomorrow she gets the heart or a year from now,” Anderson said.
The family is now hoping the thieves get a heart and return the money. They say all the donations go a very long way.
To help Jaelyn, visit her donations Facebook page.

Study Shows Black Men Receive 20% Longer Prison Terms Than White Men For Committing The Same Crime


(Refreshing News) Prison sentences of black men were nearly 20% longer than those of white men for similar crimes in recent years, an analysis by the U.S. Sentencing Commission found.

That racial gap has widened since the Supreme Court restored judicial discretion in sentencing in 2005, according to the Sentencing Commission’s findings, which were submitted to Congress last month and released publicly this week.

In its report, the commission recommended that federal judges give sentencing guidelines more weight, and that appeals courts more closely scrutinize sentences that fall beyond them.

The commission, which is part of the judicial branch, was careful to avoid the implication of racism among federal judges, acknowledging that they “make sentencing decisions based on many legitimate considerations that are not or cannot be measured.”

Still, the findings drew criticism from advocacy groups and researchers, who said the commission’s focus on the very end of the criminal-justice process ignored possible bias at earlier stages, such as when a person is arrested and charged, or enters into a plea deal with prosecutors.

“They’ve only got data on this final slice of the process, but they are still missing crucial parts of the criminal-justice process,” said Sonja Starr, a law professor at the University of Michigan, who has analyzed sentencing and arrest data and found no marked increase in racial disparity since 2005.

Douglas A. Berman, a law professor at the Ohio State University who studies sentencing, said, “It’s not surprising that the commission that’s in charge of both monitoring and amending the guidelines has a general affinity for the guidelines.”

The Sentencing Commission didn’t return requests for comment.

The Supreme Court, in the 2005 case U.S. v. Booker, struck down a 1984 law that required federal district judges to impose a sentence within the range of the federal sentencing guidelines, which are set by the commission.

The law was meant to alleviate the disparity in federal sentences, but critics say placing restrictions on judges can exacerbate the problem by rendering them powerless to deviate from guidelines and laws that are inherently biased. An often-cited example is a federal law that created steeper penalties for crack-cocaine offenses, which are committed by blacks more frequently than whites, than for powder-cocaine offenses.

Congress reduced the disparity in 2010.

In the two years after the Booker ruling, sentences of blacks were on average 15.2% longer than the sentences of similarly situated whites, according to the Sentencing Commission report. Between December 2007 and September 2011, the most recent period covered in the report, sentences of black males were 19.5% longer than those for whites. The analysis also found that black males were 25% less likely than whites in the same period to receive a sentence below the guidelines’ range.

The Sentencing Commission released a similar report in 2010. Researchers criticized its analysis for including sentences of probation, which they argued amplified the demographic differences.

In the new study, the Sentencing Commission conducted a separate analysis that excluded sentences of probation. It yielded the same pattern, but the racial disparity was less pronounced. Sentences of black males were 14.5% longer than whites, rather than nearly 20%.

Jeff Ulmer, a sociology professor at Pennsylvania State University, described the commission’s latest report as an improvement but said it was “a long way from proving that [judicial discretion] has caused greater black-white federal sentencing disparity.”

Obama’s Guantanamo Is Never Going To Close, So Everyone Might As Well Get Comfortable


(Huffington Post) In late January, shortly after President Barack Obama began his second term, Navy Cmdr. Walter Ruiz stood inside an old airplane hangar on the southernmost tip of the island and reflected on a central but unfulfilled promise of Obama’s 2008 campaign.

“We’re still here,” Ruiz said, as reporters milled around the aging hangar, which has been repurposed as a work space for the journalists and human rights observers who have been flying in and out of Guantanamo since the first suspected terrorists were brought here 11 years ago. Instead of planes, the hangar is now home to several trailer-size sheds with slanted roofs. More offices line the hangar’s perimeter, and a giant map of the base is painted on the floor. Screeching bats fly in and out of the hangar at night.

“We’re still in military commissions. We’re still arguing about the basic protections the system affords us. We’re still talking about indefinite detention,” Ruiz continued. “We’re still talking about not closing the facility.”

After years of legal wrangling, the trials of Khalid Sheikh Muhammad and four other men allegedly responsible for the 9/11 attacks have barely gotten off the ground. Ruiz, an attorney for alleged 9/11 organizer and financier Mustafa Ahmed Hawsawi, estimates he has traveled to Guantanamo 50 to 100 times for client meetings and pre-trial hearings on legal minutiae since he joined the military’s defense counsel office in September 2008.

“I’m here trying this case, people were here trying this case in 2008, arguing many of the same motions we’re arguing now,” Ruiz said. “And I think folks that have been around here for a while would tell you not much has changed at all.”

During his first campaign for the White House, Obama pledged to end an ugly chapter in American history and prove to the world that the United States could safeguard the country from terrorism without sacrificing its commitment to freedom and liberty.

“In the dark halls of Abu Ghraib and the detention cells of Guantanamo, we have compromised our most precious values,” Obama declared in a speech on Aug. 1, 2007. In one of his first acts upon taking office in January 2009, the president, flanked by admirals and generals, directed the military to close the prison camp here within a year.

Today, however, the detention center at Guantanamo appears less likely than ever to close. There are 166 people currently imprisoned, down from a high of 684 in 2003. But those who remain are likely to do so indefinitely. Effectively banned from the continental U.S. by Congress, disowned by their home countries and unwelcome pretty much everywhere else, they have no place to go.

In addition to the seven Guantanamo detainees currently facing charges — including the five charged in relation to the 9/11 attacks — 24 may face charges in the future. Three current detainees have already been convicted in military tribunals: one was sentenced to life in prison, one is scheduled to be released pending testimony in another case and one has had his sentencing delayed for four years.

Of the rest, however, the U.S. has designated 86 detainees for release but can’t actually set them free. Thirty are from Yemen, and the U.S. won’t send them back there while it remains a hotbed of terrorism. No country is willing to accept the others. And it’s a political nonstarter to release them into the U.S.

In 2010, Obama’s Guantanamo Task Force determined that another 46 were “too dangerous to transfer but not feasible for prosecution.” And so they remain stuck here, in limbo.

Obama has periodically reiterated his intention to close the detention center, most recently during an appearance on “The Daily Show” with Jon Stewart in October. But the public pressure on him to do so has largely died down, as tales of detainee abuse at the hands of CIA interrogators fade into the past and the media turns its attention to new fronts in the war on terrorism, such as the administration’s drone program.

The truth is that nobody is really in a hurry to close Guantanamo. Defense attorneys, whose ultimate goal is to keep their clients alive, certainly aren’t in a rush, and have adopted a strategy of throwing up procedural objections that often slow the court’s already glacial pace. Prosecutors, anxious to avoid any possible legal challenges that could come up on appeal, are moving deliberately to make sure they’re dotting every “i” and crossing every “t.” Last month, the Obama administration shuttered the State Department office tasked with planning Guantanamo’s closure.

As a result, the vague idea of indefinite detention is looking more specifically like life in prison, at least for those detainees who are not sentenced to death by the military commissions. And with the youngest detainee still in his 20s, Guantanamo could conceivably remain open for decades to come.

‘HAVE A GOOD TIME’

It’s no surprise, then, that as Obama’s second term begins, Guantanamo seems to be putting down roots. Indeed, parts of the naval base have taken on the appearance of a new beachside housing development. Hundreds of homes are currently under construction in neighborhoods with names like Iguana Terrace and Marina Point, to house the growing population of military personnel, civilian contractors and their families, which currently stands at approximately 5,000.

The base features a Starbucks, a Subway, a McDonald’s, a KFC/Taco Bell, a supermarket, a golf course, a restaurant serving Jamaican jerk chicken and an Irish pub. A gift shop sells stuffed iguanas and T-shirts emblazoned with Guantanamo Bay slogans like “Close, But No Cigar.”

Fidel Castro bobbleheads are one of the most popular items for sale at the base’s radio station, Radio GTMO, which broadcasts popular tunes like PSY’s “Gangnam Style”. Cuban music bleeds over from stations on the other side of the island.

Improvements have also been made to the areas of the base that house the detainees. The Bush administration quickly replaced the temporary Camp X-Ray with more permanent facilities in 2002, after photos emerged of detainees in orange jumpsuits sitting in chain-link holding pens, causing an outcry from human rights groups and criticism from around the world. In 2011, the Obama administration added a new soccer field for some of the cooperative detainees, along with covered walkways that allow them to move between cellblocks unescorted.

The joke around Gitmo is that the detainees enjoy nicer facilities than the guards, who live in temporary metal trailers scattered all over the base. But the guards, too, may soon get an upgrade. The commander of the base, Capt. John Nettleton, recently told Reuters that he wants to build a new cafeteria for the camp’s personnel, along with a permanent barracks.

Some of the most significant changes have taken place at Camp Justice, the section of the base that houses the court facilities and the tent city for visiting lawyers, human rights observers, journalists and court officials. The Bush administration had proposed a major $125 million expansion, including a new courthouse and a hotel to replace the tent city. Congress balked at the project, however, and then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates quickly condemned it. The $12 million substitute, technically a temporary facility, was completed in 2008.

The windowless, barn-like structure looks like something that might hold a high-school basketball court, and is surrounded by layers of barbed-wire fences. Inside, however, it is state of the art, featuring a soundproof spectator gallery, digital document displays for lawyers and audio speakers under the table that broadcast Arabic translations of the proceedings for defendants who refuse to wear headphones. Whereas the old courthouse held a single, cramped courtroom, the new facility has space to try up to five defendants at once.

Visiting defense attorneys now stay in new townhouse condos, but journalists and observers remain relegated to Camp Justice’s tent city. In the airplane hangar, there is an “internet cafe” where human rights observers have set up an office. “We now have a printer this time, which we’ve been asking for for a while,” said Laura Pitter, a counterterrorism adviser with Human Rights Watch. “We have a working phone in there now. We didn’t have a working phone last time.”

In addition to his official portrait, visible in a few locations around the base, there are other subtle reminders that Obama is now in charge. The tents at Camp Justice are outfitted with energy-efficient light bulbs. The cover of “The Wire” — the newsletter of Joint Task Force Guantanamo, the entity which runs GTMO’s prisons — features a photo of Obama’s ceremonial swearing in at his second inauguration. A military spokesman who travels with reporters to Guantanamo is married to another man.

There have been victories for members of the media. New divider walls give journalists a bit more privacy in their heavily air-conditioned six-person tents. Reporters are now allowed to roam around parts of the base without an escort and no longer have a curfew — privileges that journalists embedded with the military in Iraq and Afghanistan have enjoyed for years but were absent at Guantanamo until last month. In January, visiting journalists were given a tour of one of the holding cells located next to the courtroom facility for the first time in years.

“Have a good time,” a young guard told the reporters about to tour the cell, after scanning them for metal or electronic devices.

Unlike the Bush administration, the Obama administration has been relatively hands off when it comes to media restrictions at Guantanamo, letting officials on the ground set the rules.

Still, it was under Obama that four reporters, including Miami Herald reporter Carol Rosenberg, widely considered the dean of the Guantanamo press corps, were banned from Guantanamo for life in May 2010 for disclosing the name of a witness whose identity is under a protective order, despite the fact that his name was already public. The reporters fought the ban, and the Pentagon overturned it that July.

The new courthouse, in many ways, is the end result of a long debate about how to try the detainees. The Bush administration — which housed the suspected terrorists at Guantanamo in order to avoid the due process required under the U.S. criminal justice system, as well as the Geneva conventions’ prohibitions on torture — adamantly opposed the idea of trying them in U.S. courts. The Supreme Court has ruled, however, that foreign terrorism suspects do have the right to challenge their detention in U.S. courts.

Obama shut down the military tribunals as soon as he took office and began exploring ways to transfer the suspected terrorists to American soil — possibly to a prison in Illinois — and try them in federal courts. Throughout the long, hot summer of 2009, however, as the Tea Party movement blossomed, Republicans charged that closing Guantanamo would put Americans in danger, potentially even leading to terrorist prison breaks. Senate Democrats, lead by Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), also opposed transfering the detainees and cut off $80 million Obama had requested to do so, claiming the administration had done too little to outline its plans.

Andy Worthington, a journalist and activist who has been writing about the camp for seven years, said that Congress, which has repeatedly prevented Obama from using federal money to transfer any detainees out of Guantanamo, shares some of the blame for the camp’s continued existence. Reid, who recently claimed it was “nobody’s fault” that Guantanamo had not been closed, is “part of the absolute failure,” Worthington said.

Reid did not respond to a request for comment.

At Guantanamo, some members of the military are quick to point out that the Pentagon didn’t seek out the duty of trying terrorists in the tribunal system, but that it was rather a burden imposed on the military by Congress. “They should really call them congressional commissions instead of military commissions,” one officer joked.

But ultimately, Worthington said, Obama will have his name attached to the camp, just as Bush’s was.

“He will go down in history fairly clearly as the man who failed to close this abomination,” Worthington said. “They will judge that President Obama failed to close it pretty much because he ran up against political difficulties.”

“I think that Obama did not want to invest the political capital in it to take the steps necessary to make it happen,” Pitter said.

THE ‘RE-BRANDER’

Unable to close Guantanamo, Obama restarted the military commissions in March 2011. He did succeed, however, in reforming them to a certain extent, increasing transparency and bringing their policies and handling of evidence closer in line with U.S. courts. But the legality of the commissions is still being debated, and the detainees may appeal any verdicts in federal court, setting up a prolonged battle that will likely wind its way back to the Supreme Court.

For now, Brig. Gen. Mark S. Martins is the man with the difficult task of selling the world on the legitimacy of the proceedings. Martins took the job of chief prosecutor in October 2011, and he is a staunch defender of trying the detainees in military commissions as opposed to federal courts.

“There are narrow but important differences, and this often gets lost when I talk about federal courts, because someone will say, ‘Hey, he should try to just mimic federal courts, why do you need [military commissions]?'” Martins said, sitting in a bare-bones office in the old court building at the top of the hill overlooking the new courthouse. “This just fuels the argument about how, why are they necessary? The differences are important.”

Miranda rights don’t apply in military commissions — statements just need to be determined to be voluntary in order to be included as evidence. There are also looser rules on hearsay statements. Martins said the distinctions between U.S. courts and the military commissions could be “decisive in certain cases.”

The reformed military commissions are designed to address some of the concerns of both the U.S. government and human rights advocates. Any statements obtained as a result of torture or cruel or degrading treatment are prohibited. Detainees have greater access to classified information that might be relevant to building their defense cases. Journalists have increased standing before the court.

“Anyone who was familiar with the process before and looks at it now, I think, is looking fairly at it, would say there’s a significant proportion more of this proceeding that we can look at, understand, analyze,” Martins said.

Demonstrating that transparency has proven difficult at times, however. Last month, in the first day of hearings in the 9/11 case, an anonymous censor cut off the closed-circuit TV feed of the proceedings that members of the media were watching. Normally, the judge and the court security officer could censor information they feel should remain classified. But neither had moved to censor the information in this instance, leaving journalists and defense lawyers to infer that the CIA was secretly pulling the strings behind the scenes and undermining the commission’s established rules.

The judge ordered the outside censor button removed, but the controversy ate up most of the week’s proceedings, even bleeding into a separate hearing involving a defendant charged in connection with the attack on the USS Cole in October 2000, as defense attorneys questioned whether they could ethically continue if they believed their communications were being monitored. Two weeks later, when the hearings reconvened, lawyers were still debating issues involving the monitoring of communications that the incident raised.

Similarly, Martins has sought to dismiss charges against a number of detainees that he feels are not sustainable under international law, only to be overruled by the more senior Pentagon officials who oversee the military commissions.

Martins told HuffPost that, to him, the dispute over the charges is about “principled disagreements” between government officials carrying out their duties “honorably and faithfully under the law.” Critics, however, say it shows that the reforms to the commissions system are just cosmetic changes to a fundamentally flawed tribunal process.

“Some people call him the ‘re-brander.’ He was going to come in here, he was going to lend his name, his rank, his stature, and legitimize this process,” Ruiz said of Martins. “Now you have that person talking to another official and telling him, ‘I think this is a bad idea. I think we need to remove these charges because it will remove the legal uncertainty moving forward.’ And you have this non-entity — which is not a party, not a prosecutor, not a defense counsel, he’s not a judge — who says, ‘No, I’m not going to do it.'”

“That alone is remarkable,” said Ruiz.

“What happens when he’s not here?” asked Human Rights Watch’s Pitter, who similarly praised Martins for bringing the military commission procedures closer in line with those of federal courts. “What happens when there’s a prosecutor who is going to use all the rules at his disposal for a commission like this?”

Martins, who is 52 and has deferred promotion and retirement to continue in his role as chief prosecutor at Guantanamo, said he’s in it for the long haul. “We’re making progress,” he insisted.

“I’m here as long as it takes,” Martins said. “This is my last job in the military. I’ve gotten word that although my retirement date would have been November of 2014, it can actually be years, well after that. I’m committed to this.”

Obama reaches out to a repressive Putin


(Washington Post) PRESIDENT OBAMA is preparing to reach out once again to Russian ruler Vladi­mir Putinin the hope of striking a new agreement to reduce nuclear arms. The president mentioned the initiative in his State of the Union address; according to a senior Russian legislator, national security adviser Thomas Donilon will soon travel to Moscow with a letter outlining Mr. Obama’s ideas. The reduction of nuclear stockpiles is a top priority of this president and a worthy one. But what’s striking about Mr. Obama’s strategy is its seeming detachment from the reality of how Mr. Putin has governed Russia since his return to the presidency last year.

Mr. Obama’s first nuclear-arms agreement with Mr. Putin, in 2010, came about in the context of a warming of U.S.-Russian relations. The new proposal will hit Moscow in the middle of a Putin-directed campaign against both his domestic political opposition and the United States, which in his mind are linked. In recent months Mr. Putin has expelled the U.S. Agency for International Development, placed new restrictions on local nonprofit organizations receiving foreign funds, bumped U.S.-funded Radio Liberty from domestic airwaves and overseen a propaganda campaign that accuses the United States of orchestrating anti-government demonstrations.

Editorials represent the views of The Washington Post as an institution, as determined through debate among members of the editorial board. News reporters and editors never contribute to editorial board discussions, and editorial board members don’t have any role in news coverage.

The regime, meanwhile, has steadily escalated a campaign against the leaders of the peaceful, pro-democracy demonstrations that erupted in Russia in late 2011. For Russians, the cynical tactics are bone-wearyingly familiar: Transparently trumped-up criminal cases are being brought against the activists, with the promise of lengthy prison terms. Alexei Navalny, the founder of an anti-corruption organization, has himself been charged with corruption. Last week leftist firebrand Sergei Udaltsov was placed under house arrest ahead of his upcoming trial on charges of organizing an anti-Putin rally in May.
Some Russian analysts believe that the regime is well on its way to crushing the opposition movement, which attracted the support of much of the urban middle class. Others regard the repression as the death spasms of an exhausted autocracy. “There are classical criteria of a dying regime and its key signs are evident in Russia,” Lilia Shevtsova of the Carnegie Endowment’s Moscow office wrote recently, citing “the Kremlin’s inability either to preserve the status quo or begin changes.” Either side might be right, though our bet is with Ms. Shevtsova.

What’s strange is that the Obama administration would seek to undertake a major new piece of business with Mr. Putin without regard for this ugly climate. New U.S.-Russian nuclear warhead reductions, while welcome, are hardly urgent: The big challenges of nuclear weapons lie elsewhere in the world. At the same time, the survival of a pro-democracy movement in Russia is an important and pressing U.S. interest, just as Mr. Putin’s growing hostility to the United States threatens U.S. initiatives in the Middle East and elsewhere. Maybe offering Mr. Putin a new nuclear weapons deal is the best way to counter his noxious policies — but it is hard to see how.

You Think Jobs Are Scarce Now, Raise the Minimum Wage and Watch What Happens


dees economic collapse

 

(Activist Post) -President Obama proposed raising the national minimum wage to $9/hour during his State of the Union address drawing cheers from the left.

Unfortunately they have little understanding of economics. Forced minimum wages will destroy or offshore many more jobs in America.

The left doesn’t seem to understand that the state can’t raise the standard of living for a populace through wage legislation. Additionally, raising the minimum wage doesn’t address the root of the problem of why the standard of living is declining in the first place.

Those who genuinely care about social justice look for someone to blame for the declining standard of living; greedy business men, illegal immigrants for driving down wages, politicians who refuse oppose minimum wage laws and so on. None of these are the real enemy.

As G. Edward Griffin wrote in The Creature From Jekyll Island;

“The American people have no idea they are paying the bill. They know that someone is stealing their hubcaps, but they think it is the greedy businessman who raises prices or the selfish laborer who demands higher wages or the unworthy farmer who demands too much for his crop or the wealthy foreigner who bids up our prices. They do not realize that these groups also are victimized by a monetary system which is constantly being eroded in value by and through the Federal Reserve System.” (pg. 33).

Our fractional reserve fiat  monetary system has inflation built into it, causing higher prices for all goods and services. When wages aren’t increased to match the higher cost of living, workers feel the pinch and demand that lawmakers do something.

However, the answer to social justice isn’t raising wages through legislation, because that will in turn just raise the cost of living even more because businesses will have to pass those costs on to customers. Not because they’re greedy, but because they have to survive.

For those who really want social justice, the solution is addressing a blood-sucking monetary system and restore sound money. Until then, all actions will be counterproductive to their good intentions.

 

Report: FreedomWorks video featured a ‘panda’ performing oral sex on ‘Hillary Clinton’


 

Screen grab from "KINKY TEEN WANTS A PANDA FOR HER BIRTHDAY" video

(Raw Story) -The controversial conservative super PAC FreedomWorks created a promotional video that depicted former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton having oral sex with a woman in a giant panda suit, according to a report published on Thursday.

Former FreedomWorks officials told Mother Jones‘ David Corn that an internal investigation was focusing on the group’s president, Matt Kibbe, and a possible area of inquiry was the video in question.

“The video included a scene in which a female intern wearing a panda suit simulates performing oral sex on Hillary Clinton,” Corn reported, noting that the film had been created to play on large screens the FreePAC conference in July 2012.

Sources told Corn that the premise of the video was a dream sequence, where Executive Vice President Adam Brandon voyeuristically observes “a giant panda on its knees with its head in the lap of a seated Hillary Clinton and apparently fellating the then-secretary of state.”

FreedomWorks tasked two female interns with the roles of Hillary Clinton and the giant panda. The panda suit was an “inside joke” used at rallies to mock Democrats for pandering to special interests.

“Yes, this video was created,” a FreedomWorks staffer confirmed to Mother Jones.

Another group official recalled that his “mouth was wide open” when the film was first screened to staff: “What the hell is this?”

“How was that not some form of sexual harassment?” a FreedomWorks officials said of the two female interns who had been coerced into performing simulated sex acts. “And there were going to be thousands of Christian conservatives at this thing. This was a terrible lack of judgment.”

The group’s former chairman, Dick Armey, insisted that he only learned of the film months after the decision had been made not to show it at the group’s conference.

“There was a concern that this kind of behavior could land you in court,” Armey said. “I was shocked at the ugly and bad taste.”

 

Police Claim Dorner Cabin Fire Was Not Intentional


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(Infowars) -The San Bernardino Sheriff’s office is ludicrously claiming that the cabin fire which killed Christopher Dorner was not started intentionally, despite numerous references to a plan to “burn down” the building that were heard on police scanners during the standoff.

“It was not on purpose. We didn’t intentionally burn down that cabin to get Mr Dorner out,” San Bernardino sheriff’s department spokesman John McMahon told reporters last night.

The part of the press conference where police took questions lasted little longer than five minutes and officials seemed reluctant to give any details, with one question at the end about whether or not police offered Dorner a chance to surrender being ignored.

Police denied intentionally setting fire to the cabin despite an L.A. Times report yesterday which confirmed that after first having used “traditional” tear gas, law enforcement then lobbed CS gas canisters into the cabin, which are “incendiary” and “have significantly more chance of starting a fire.”

McMahon admitted that the second round of CS gas was “pyrotechnic” and that it “does generate a lot of heat,” but claimed that the police scanner audio simply made reference to “burners,” which was just another name for tear gas

In reality, audio recorded from online police scanners, before they were disabled, contains innumerable examples of police discussing a plan to intentionally “burn down” the cabin before the CS gas was thrown in.

Shortly after the first shootout with Dorner, local news channel KCAL broadcast audio during which police are heard saying, “Fucking burn this motherfucker,” and “burn that fucking house down.”

In another audio clip broadcast by CBS Los Angeles, police are heard saying, “get the gas, burn it down,” clearly indicating cops knew use of CS gas would set the cabin on fire.

Separate audio includes police discussing “the plan with the burners.” “The burners are deployed, and we have a fire,” says one officer, clearly indicating that the incendiary CS gas was thrown into the cabin in order to set it on fire deliberately.

Police also made no attempt to extinguish the fire once it started despite having fire trucks nearby, again indicating that they wanted to burn Dorner alive. Photos of the cabin taken after the incident show the building burned completely to the ground.

Christopher Dorner’s actions cannot be justified, but neither can those of the police involved in his death, who for days before the standoff were busy shooting at innocent people who looked nothing like Dorner.

If law enforcement officials thought that burning Dorner to death was a reasonable way of dealing with a dangerous murderer then they should hold their hands up and admit to it.

However, the fact that San Bernardino police are brazenly lying in claiming there was no plan to intentionally set fire to the cabin, when police scanner audio clearly suggests otherwise, overwhelmingly indicates that police know that their actions were illegal.

Watch the videos below and decide for yourself whether police intentionally planned to burn the cabin to the ground.



Government Tracks Your DNA Without Your Consent


 

Lock bursting through DNA helixes

Lock photo by Tequila Babs (with DNA helixes superimposed)

by Heidi Stevenson (Revamped article)

(GAIA Health) -Several states in the U.S. are storing your baby’s DNA sequence. It’s generally being done without your knowledge. All United States newborns’ DNA is now routinely screened for genetic disorders. Parental approval is not required—nor are parents informed. Our children are being born into a Brave New World.

Although the baby’s name is not supposed to be kept with the DNA samples, that begs the question of how parents are informed when their children are found to have genetic diseases. And who really believes that such information is kept private?

Supposed Benefits of Profiling Babies’ DNA

The claimed purpose of such testing is to detect genetic disorders for the babies’ benefit. That benefit, though, is questionable.

Screening for several genetic disorders, without taking DNA profiles, has been routine for several years. Conditions like Tay-Sachs disease, sickle cell anemia, and phenylketonuria (PKU) are discovered through blood tests, urine samples, and swabs. Thus far, there are no treatable conditions found in newborns that can’t be found through less intrusive means.

Annie Brown of Minnesota learned of the DNA testing done on her baby when she was informed that her daughter carried the cystic fibrosis gene. Later testing showed that the DNA test didn’t document that her daughter actually had the condition, and it must have put Annie and her husband through a lot of unnecessary stress.

The results of DNA testing may also be used against a person later in life. CNN reported  Annie Brown saying:

It’s really a black mark against her, and there’s nothing we can do to get it off there. And let’s say in the future they can test for a gene for schizophrenia or manic-depression and your baby tests positive—that would be on there, too.”

The usual excuse for taking DNA samples of babies is to diagnose genetic disorders, but that doesn’t make sense, as treatable genetic disorders are already discovered without DNA screening. As Annie Brown’s story clarifies, it can also cause undue stress and unneeded extra testing.

Muddled excuses are used to take this most intimate of identifiers, but they don’t make sense. It’s an inefficient and inaccurate means of determining the existence of diseases that can already be identified through other, inexpensive means. So, the suggestion that the purpose is to screen for genetic diseases is absurd.

Likewise, the idea that it’s for crime prevention is absurd. Your fingerprints aren’t taken at birth and kept on a massive database. It would be considered far too intrusive. Yet, most states are now taking even more intimate DNA samples and placing them on a database without parental approval or knowledge.

Other methods are in use to expand DNA databases, most commonly taking DNA samples from anyone convicted of a crime, and often even those who merely come into contact with the law. The intent is to solve crimes, convict criminals, and free those who’ve been wrongfully convicted. However, the fact is that this most personal, private, and intimate physical part of each baby is now being harvested at birth and stored in databases without any assurances that private information will be kept private. In fact, as history has shown with social security numbers, which aren’t supposed to be used for identification, once such a system is implemented, privacy is ephemeral, at best.

Concerns about genetic diseases are often conflated with DNA research. If the purpose is for research, don’t the subjects have the right to be informed and agree to it? It certainly isn’t for the babies’ benefit, since DNA testing is inaccurate at determining the existence of disease, as shown in Annie Brown’s daugher, and there are accurate, inexpensive methods of diagnosis.

Europe

Europeans, in particular citizens of the United Kingdom, should also be concerned. Although the recent government attempts to expand the DNA database—already the world’s largest—have recently been stopped, don’t forget that backdoor methods, as is happening to newborns in the US, can be implemented at any time. The genetic profiles of innocent people are being kept on file now, not only those of people convicted of crimes.

According to the Independent, Sir Alec Jeffreys, who developed DNA fingerprinting, is dismayed at the government’s DNA database. He says:

DNA is intimately different to fingerprinting, it carries incredibly intimate information about who you are, where you’re from and your family.

The United Arab Emirates, certainly not a paragon of freedom, is planning to introduce a mandatory DNA database of every citizen. Is that a road we want to go down? If not, then perhaps it’s time to question this process that seems to be using the medical system to remove every aspect of privacy we have, and to track every detail of our lives.

Will people be shunted into particular careers based on their genetic data? For their own good, of course. Will you have to prick your finger and give a blood sample before you enter your site of employment each day? Deliver up a saliva sample? Will you be forced to undergo medical treatment for a genetic disease you may or may not develop? Where will it end?

Is It Fair For People On Food Stamps To Buy Prime Rib And Lobster While Working Families Barely Survive?


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(Michael Snyder) -Should we all quit working and jump on board the Obama gravy train?

Of course I am being facetious, but when you are barely surviving does there come a point when it just becomes easier to give up and totally rely on the government?

Today, the federal government runs nearly 80 different means-tested welfare programs, and many state and local governments have their own welfare programs on top of that.  If you become an expert on those programs and you learn how to game the system, can you live more comfortably than someone that lives honestly and works as hard as they can and yet still makes less than 10 dollars an hour?

Now, right from the outset of this article, let me make it abundantly clear that I do not believe that most people are abusing the system.  As I have written about over and over, the number of Americans living in poverty is rapidly increasing because there are not enough jobs.  There are not enough jobs because we are shipping millions of them out of the country to the other side of the globe, and we are also losing millions of jobs to technology.  There have always been those that need our help, and because of the foolish decisions that we have made as a nation, the ranks of the poor will continue to expand.  But it is also true that there are some people out there that are very brazenly abusing the system.  For example, is it really fair for people on food stamps to buy prime rib and lobster while many working families barely survive?  People like that are taking advantage of their fellow Americans, and they are making it harder for the people that really need the help to be able to get it.

Unfortunately, we are rapidly becoming an “entitlement society”.  Close to half the country lives in a home that receives some sort of monetary benefits from the federal government each month at this point.

In particular, the food stamp program has experienced explosive growth in recent years.  Since Obama has been president, the number of Americans on food stamps has grown by more than 49 percent, and more than 11,000 people a day have enrolled in the food stamp program since Obama entered the White House.

And if you can believe it, the number of Americans on food stamps now exceeds the entire population of Spain.

Will we all eventually be on food stamps?

Actually, the truth is that there are millions upon millions of hard working American families that are desperately trying to make it on their own and that don’t want to become financial dependents of the federal government.  Unfortunately, it can be a little disheartening when you are barely making it from month to month and yet you see others using government benefit cards to buy luxury items.

The other day my wife came across a discussion on Facebook that really caught her attention.  I thought that I would share with you all the post that got that discussion going.  As far as I can determine, this woman shared what she believed she actually saw at her local grocery store, but I have no way of determining if this story is true or not.  But I have seen quite a few similar stories of food stamp abuse in the past.  Either way, I think the following story will be good to help spark a conversation about whether our current system is broken or not.  All of the names have been removed so as to protect the identity of the woman that originally posted this on Facebook…

Okay…so, I’m going to go on a rant for a minute…just to get it off my chest…

**** & I went to the grocery store to pick up a few things because we were getting low…sooo, we pick up our 40% off chicken and buy one get two free items and proceed to checkout.

There is a woman ahead of us with a child about 4 years old. The woman, I couldn’t help but notice….had beautiful fingernails, clearly professionally done…and I also noticed her brand new IPHONE…which she was talking on, and I think that is rude while you are being checked out. Her little girl was commenting on the TWO live lobsters in a bag on the checkout, asked if it was going to hurt when they get cooked, her mom brushed her off…at that time I took a look at what else she had on the counter…A HUGE roast, sirloin tips, shrimp, beef ribs and pork ribs…only the prime cuts… I thought to myself….mmmmmm someone is having a yummy dinner and must have a great job as I could not afford these things (not that I’d get my nails done anyway)….

So…the cashier gives her a total and what does she pull out of her wallet but a BENEFIT card!!!!!!! I had all I could do to contain myself…

Sometimes people need help, and I’m okay with that, and those who need it should get it….BUT…if you can afford the latest IPHONE and fancy nails then why in the world are the taxpayers paying for your LOBSTER?!!!! If she really needed help and food, she should have been buying the “sale” items…40% off chicken, buy one get one free cheese ravioli…you know, like the rest of us working class have to buy!

It especially makes me mad because there ARE PEOPLE WHO NEED HELP and can’t get it…My son and his girlfriend and brand new baby aren’t eligible for an ounce of help…they tried, she works days and he works nights so that they don’t have to pay for day-care, they use inexpensive diapers and try to save money anyway they can, they struggle to make ends meet and to pay for their straight talk phones and to boot are paying off college loans…but they supposedly make too much…c’mon, really, he works at McDonalds and she works in a nursing home…lets be real here…those are the type that SHOULD get help…UGHHHH Our system is broken and something needs to be done about it!!!

There, that’s my rant…kudo’s to you if you managed to read the whole thing as I know it was an awful long rant….Gotta go work now, ;)Thanks for listening.

In response to her story, dozens of people posted comments.  Quite a few people said that they had seen similar things where they lived.

And the truth is that food stamps are accepted just about wherever you look these days.  Just check out this shocking article: “Obama’s food-stamp nation: ‘We accept EBT’ signs are everywhere“.

So is this kind of thing fair?

If not, what can be done about it?

What everybody can agree upon is that the number of food stamp recipients is absolutely exploding.  The following is from a recent CNS news article

When Obama entered office in January 2009 there were 31,939,110 Americans receiving food stamps.  As of November 2012—the most recent data available—there were 47,692,896 Americans enrolled, an increase of 49.3 percent.

But this didn’t just start under Obama.  Back in the year 2000, there were just 17 million Americans on food stamps.

30 million more have been added to the program since then.

And of course food stamps is not the only federal welfare program that is being abused.

According to the Wall Street Journal, there has been a tremendous amount of abuse in the free cell phone program as well.

The U.S. government spent about $2.2 billion last year to provide phones to low-income Americans, but a Wall Street Journal review of the program shows that a large number of those who received the phones haven’t proved they are eligible to receive them.

The Lifeline program—begun in 1984 to ensure that poor people aren’t cut off from jobs, families and emergency services—is funded by charges that appear on the monthly bills of every landline and wireless-phone customer. Payouts under the program have shot up from $819 million in 2008, as more wireless carriers have persuaded regulators to let them offer the service.

A lot of people refer to those free cell phones as “Obamaphones”, but the truth is that the program has been going on for a long time.  It just has accelerated greatly under Obama.

So what is the solution to all of this?

Well, what we really need are a lot more jobs, but in the State of the Union address last night Obama simply rehashed a lot of the same tired proposals that he and our former presidents have been promoting for years.

If we continue to do the same things that we have been doing, we are going to continue to get the same results.

There is a reason why the percentage of the civilian labor force in the United States that is employed has been steadily declining every single year since 2006.  We keep pursuing foolish policies, and those policies are steadily destroying our economy.

Sadly, many of our politicians appear to be engaged in some form of “doublethink”.  The things that they tell us will solve our problems are actually the things that are making our problems even worse.

For example, Barack Obama says that we need even more “free trade agreements” and that we need to integrate our economy into the emerging one world economic system even more deeply.

But as I have shown in article after article, the “free trade” agenda of the global elite has resulted in the loss of tens of thousands of U.S. businesses and millions of good paying U.S. jobs.

For much more on this, please see the following article: “55 Reasons Why You Should Buy Products That Are Made In America“.

And of course Obama once promised that he would never “rest” until he had fixed our employment problems, but that hasn’t exactly been the truth either.  The following is from a recent article by Dan Gainor

Back in 2009, the president promised never to “rest” until the job situation was fixed. Nearly four years later, he’s done a lot of resting.

According to The Weekly Standard, Pres. Obama has had 83 vacation days overall and Factcheck.org says he took 26 of those in 2009. That means the president has taken at least 57 vacation days since his vow not to “rest.”

But hey, he needs his rest.  Life is rough.  U.S. taxpayers only spendabout a billion dollars a year on the Obamas.  How is he supposed to scrape by on such limited resources?

Meanwhile, Americans are still incredibly pessimistic about the economy.  The following is what one recent survey found…

  • Eight in 10 Americans are skeptical that career and employment opportunities will be better for the next generation.
  • More than half of Americans say the economy will not fully recover from the 2007-2009 recession for another six years; 29% believe the economy will never fully recover.
  • 73% of Americans were directly impacted by the recession: individuals surveyed had either lost a job themselves or a family member/close relative had been out work because of the economic downturn.
  • The majority of survey participants said college would become unaffordable for most young Americans.
  • 56% reported having fewer savings than before the recession.
  • More than half of those who were laid off or lost a job said they cut back on medical treatment or doctor visits.
  • 40% of Americans have borrowed money from family or friends.
  • Nearly 25% of participants said they have sought professional help for stress or depression.

And as you can see from the charts in this article, U.S. businesses remain very pessimistic about the future of the economy as well.

Unfortunately, those that are pessimistic about the economy have very good reasons to be so.

And as bad as things are right now, they are going to be getting much, much worse.

That means that millions more Americans are going to be wanting to sign up for food stamps and other welfare programs.

But what will happen someday when the safety net breaks and all of those welfare programs start getting cut back dramatically?

What kind of riots will we see in major U.S. cities when the international community insists that the U.S. implement its own version of “austerity” in response to a massive debt crisis?

Will we eventually end up just like Greece and Spain or even worse?

Please share this article with as many people as you can, and please feel free to leave your thoughts on this article above by posting a comment below…

US-led airstrike kills 10 Afghan civilians


an civiliansThis file photo shows Afghan villagers standing at a house that was hit by a US-led NATO airstrike in Sajawand village in Logar Province, south of Kabul.

(PressTV) -At least 10 Afghan civilians, including women and children, have been killed in an airstrike carried out by US-led forces in eastern Afghanistan.

Local officials said on Wednesday that the attack in eastern Kunar Province claimed the lives of “five children, four women and a man.”
A spokesman for the US-led NATO forces said they have launched an investigation into the report.

Afghans have become increasingly outraged at the seemingly endless number of deadly assaults by US-led forces in the country over the past months. The killings have been the main source of friction between Kabul and Washington.

In another similar attack on January 23, three Afghans were killed and two others wounded in the eastern province of Nangarhar when a US-led warplane targeted a residential building.
The US claims that its operations target militants, but local officials and witnesses maintain that civilians have been the main victims of the attacks.
The United States and its allies invaded Afghanistan in 2001 as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror. The offensive removed the Taliban from power, but after 11 years, insecurity remains in the country despite the presence of many US-led forces.

65.4 Million Gun Purchases Since Obama Took Office, 91% More Than Bush’s First-Term Total


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Cuomo: Gun Control Would Have Never Happened If Public Was Allowed To Review It

(CNSNEWS) -There have been 65,376,373 background checks completed for Americans purchasing firearms since February of 2009, the first full month of Barack Obama’s presidency.

According to data compiled by the FBI, the number of Americans purchasing guns has skyrocketed since Obama was elected.

In 2009, there were 13,984,953 background checks for Americans buying firearms.  If we subtract the 1,212,860 checks completed in the month of January, the total checks for the year under Obama were 12,772,090.

For 2010, background checks totaled 14,320,489.  In 2011, checks were 16,336,732, and in 2012, 19,463,832.  Background checks for the month of January 2013 were 2,483,230.

This totals 65,376,373 background checks completed since President Obama’s first full month in office, or 44,748 background checks per day!

By comparison, the number of background checks in Obama’s first term is 91.1% higher than President George W. Bush’s first-term total of 34,214,066.

Food Stamp Rolls in America Now Surpass the Population of Spain


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(CNSNews.com) – Since taking office in 2009, food stamp rolls under President Barack Obama have risen to more than 47 million people in America, exceeding the population of Spain.

“Now is the time to act boldly and wisely – to not only revive this economy, but to build a new foundation for lasting prosperity,” said Obama during his first joint session address to Congress on Feb. 24, 2009.

Since then, the number of participants enrolled in food stamps, known as the Supplemental Assistance Nutrition Program (SNAP), has risen substantially.

When Obama entered office in January 2009 there were 31,939,110 Americans receiving food stamps.  As of November 2012—the most recent data available—there were 47,692,896Americans enrolled, an increase of 49.3 percent.

According to the 2011 census, Spain had a population of 46,815,916.

Furthermore, between January 2009 and November 2012 the food stamp program added approximately an average 11,269 recipients per day.

President Obama will deliver his fourth State of the Union address Tuesday evening.  Obama is expected to focus on jobs and the economy.