Uncovered, the ‘toxic’ gene hiding in GM crops: Revelation throws new doubt over safety of foods


(dailymail.co.uk) A virus gene that could be poisonous to humans has been missed when GM food crops have been assessed for safety.

GM crops such as corn and soya, which are being grown around the world for both human and farm animal consumption, include the gene.

A new study by the EU’s official food watchdog, the European Food Safety Authority(EFSA), has revealed that the international approval process for GM crops failed to identify the gene.

A new study conducted by the EU has shown that standard test for GM foods may be missing a potentially poisonous gene for humans A new study conducted by the EU has shown that standard tests for GM foods may be missing a potentially poisonous gene for humans

As a result, watchdogs have not investigated its impact on human health and the plants themselves when assessing whether they were safe.

The findings are particularly powerful because the work was carried out by independent experts, rather than GM critics.

It was led by Nancy Podevin, who was employed by EFSA, and Patrick du Jardin, of the Plant Biology Unit at the University of Liege in Belgium.

They discovered that 54 of the 86 GM plants approved for commercial growing and food in the US, including corn and soya, contain the viral gene, which is known as ‘Gene VI’.

In this country, these crops are typically fed to farm animals producing meat, milk and eggs.

Significantly, the EFSA researchers concluded that the presence of segments of Gene VI ‘might result in unintended phenotypic changes’.

Such changes include the creation of proteins that are toxic to humans. They could also trigger changes in the plants themselves, making them more vulnerable to pests.

Critics say the revelations make clear that the GM approvals process, which has been in place for 20 years, is fatally flawed.

They argue the only correct response is to recall all of the crops and food products involved. Director of the campaigning group, GM Freeze, Pete Riley, said the discovery of the gene, ‘totally undermines claims that GM technology is safe, precise and predictable’.

He said: ‘This is a clear warning the GM is not sufficiently understood to be considered safe.’Authorisation for these crops must be suspended immediately, and they should be withdrawn from sale, until a full and extended review of their safety has been carried out.’

Typically, GM crops are modified in the laboratory to give them resistance to being sprayed with powerful weed killers such as Monsanto’s Round-up.

This means that, in theory, fields can be doused with the chemical, so wiping out the weeds and allowing the food plants to thrive.

It was previously assumed that virus genes are not present in plants once they are grown in the field and reach consumers, however it is now clear that this is not the caseIt was previously assumed that virus genes are not present in plants once they are grown in the field and reach consumers, however it is now clear that this is not the case

The modification process involves inserting genes into the plants using a technique that allows them to piggyback on viruses that are commonly found in the soil and plants.

It has been assumed that virus genes are not present in the plant once it is grown in the field and reaches consumers, however it is now clear that this is not the case.

A review of the EFSA research in Independent Science News said the presence of the viral gene appears to have been missed by biotech companies, universities and government regulators.

‘This situation represents a complete and catastrophic system failure,’ it said. ‘There are clear indications that this viral gene might not be safe for human consumption. It also may disturb the normal functioning of crops, including their natural pest resistance.

‘A reasonable concern is that the protein produced by Gene VI might be a human toxin. This is a question that can only be answered by future experiments.’

Biotech supporters argue that there is no evidence from countries such as the USA that eating GM food causes any harm.

However, the reality is that no health monitoring has taken place to establish this. The findings will embarrass the government and the food and farming Secretary, Owen Patterson, who has embarked on a pro-GM propaganda exercise designed to win over sceptical consumers.

Mr Patterson recently rejected public concerns as ‘humbug’ and ‘complete nonsense’. Policy director at the Soil Association, Peter Melchett said: ‘For years, GM companies have made a deliberate and chilling effort to stop independent scientists from looking at their products.

‘This is what happens when there is a complete absence of independent scrutiny of their GM crops.’Biotech firms are represented by the Agricultural Biotechnology Council(ABC).

Its chairman, Dr Julian Little, said the EFSA study was one small part of a strict and complex scrutiny process.

He said: ‘Over the past 25 years, the European Commission has funded more than 130 research projects involving 500 independent research groups which have found no higher risks to the environment or food chain from GM crops than from conventional plants and organisms.

‘Furthermore, nearly three trillion meals containing GM ingredients have been eaten without a single substantiated case of ill-health. The combination of these two facts can give consumers a huge amount of confidence in the safety of GM crops.’

GM critics and EFSA are at odds over the implications of the research paper, which was written by the deputy chairman of the organisation’s advisory panel on the issue and a former senior member of staff.

EFSA insists that the research highlighting the presence of Gene VI does not represent a new discovery of a viral gene and does not indicate a safety concern about GM crops already approved.

It said the viral gene ‘cannot infect animals or humans and therefore presents no threat to human or animal health’. This is challenged by GM critics who say there is no research evidence to justify this statement.

Russia’s Forces Are Ready for War – Army Chief


(RIA Novosti) – Russia’s armed forces are ready for a major war, Chief of the military’s General Staff Col. Gen. Valery Gerasimov said on Saturday.

“No one rules out the possibility of a major war, and it cannot be said that we are unprepared,” Gerasimov said, speaking at an Academy of Military Sciences meeting.

Russia’s Forces Are Ready for War - Army ChiefHis address covered key issues the armed forces face today – including outsourcing. Col.Gen Gerasimov conceded that outsourcing was necessary, in order to relieve soldiers of certain functions, but added that “outsourcing is only needed in peacetime and only at permanent bases.” He also stressed that these activities would be carried out by troops during combat or training.

President of the Academy of Military Sciences, Army General Makhmut Gareev said that the Russian Army’s approach to outsourcing needed to be completely reviewed.

“We think that the outsourcing system needs to be given a root-and-branch review: laws should be passed covering combat scenarios, their transfer to a war footing, and their full subordination to unit commanders,” Gareev explained. He also warned that unless this was done, then logistics and technical support systems would collapse.

Turning his attention to the issue of military education, Gareev slammed the current baccalaureate system involving a basic training component delivered in colleges which is supplemented by additional training in the armed forces’ academies, as entirely unsuited to military service.

He said that officers’ training is the most important challenge the high command currently faces. “Only the high command, with its highly qualified specialists, is in a position to ensure that higher educational institutions have the most sophisticated teaching and material resources, curricula and academic literature,” Gareev said.

North Korean cannibalism: claims starving people are eating children


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(Independent) -Reports from inside the secretive famine-hit pariah state, North Korea, claim a man has been executed after murdering his two children for food.

Shocking reports claim North Koreans are turning to cannibalism including details of one man who dug up his grandchild’s corpse to eat and another who boiled his child and ate the flesh.

Details of the incidents were reported by the Asia Press, and published in the Sunday Times.

They claim a ‘hidden famine’ in the farming provinces of North and South Hwanghae has killed 10,000 people, and there are fears that cannibalism is spreading throughout the country.

The reports come as sanctions against the country are tightened against the backdrop of angry rhetoric over missile testing.

The litany of horrors were documented by Asia Press, a specialist news agency based in Osaka, Japan, which claims to have recruited a network of “citizen journalists” inside North Korea.

The reports are considered credible.

Interviews have led Asia Press to conclude that probably more than 10,000 people have died in North and South Hwanghae provinces, south of Pyongyang, the capital.

North Korea has not confirmed or denied any reports of the deaths.

One informant, based in South Hwanghae, said: “In my village in May, a man who killed his own two children and tried to eat them was executed by a firing squad.

“While his wife was away on business he killed his eldest daughter and, because his son saw what he had done, he killed his son as well. When the wife came home, he offered her food, saying: ‘We have meat.’

“But his wife, suspicious, notified the Ministry of Public Security, which led to the discovery of part of their children’s bodies under the eaves.”

Jiro Ishimaru, from Asia Press said: ‘Particularly shocking were the numerous testimonies that hit us about cannibalism.’

Another of the citizen journalists, Gu Gwang-ho, said: “There was an incident when a man was arrested for digging up the grave of his grandchild and eating the remains.”

A middle ranking official of the ruling Korean Workers Party said: “In a village in Chongdan county, a man who went mad with hunger boiled his own child, ate his flesh and was arrested”

A new UN agreement, passed on Tuesday, extended sanctions already imposed on North Korea after it held nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009.

The current rise in tensions and extension of sanctions follows Pyonyang’s defiant decision to push ahead with a long-range rocket launch on December 12 – insisting it was a peaceful mission to place a satellite in orbit.

Despite the insistence of the regime that the test was peaceful the rest of the world saw it as a banned ballistic missile test.

The United States, supported by Japan and South Korea, spearheaded the new UN resolution.

This week North Korea once again raised the level of rhetoric over sanctions, threatening war with its neighbours in the south saying: “If the South Korean puppet regime of traitors directly participates in the so-called UN ‘sanctions’, strong physical countermeasures would be taken,” the North’s Committee for Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland said.

Milk police in Louisiana stop sale of cheaper milk


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(Advocate) -For Lafayette stockbroker Kenneth Daigle, buying a gallon of milk is no longer the bargain it used to be on Tuesdays at Fresh Market.

The upscale supermarket chain yanked milk from its $2.99 once-a-week promotion after a state auditor objected to the low price. A gallon of whole milk was priced at $5.69 Thursday at the Fresh Market in Perkins Rowe.

State Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain said Fresh Market violated state regulations by selling milk below cost as part of a promotion.

The supermarket routinely sells a gallon of skim, 1 percent, 2 percent or whole milk for $2.99 on Tuesdays, limiting the quantity to four per customer.

State law requires retailers’ markups to be no less than 6 percent of the invoice cost after adding freight charges.

The Dairy Stabilization Board oversees milk prices in Louisiana. The board was established after Schwegmann, a New Orleans-area grocery chain, launched a legal battle in the 1970s with the Louisiana Milk Commission to buy milk from out-of-state suppliers because it was cheaper.

The issue over Fresh Market’s milk involves the cost of milk to consumers rather than the price paid to farmers.

“They can sell it 6 percent over cost all day long. It’s when they sell it below cost that it becomes a problem,” Strain said.

During the second week of January, the price for a gallon of whole milk in Baton Rouge ranged from $4 to $6.89.

Strain said his office dispatched an auditor to the Fresh Market in Mandeville after receiving a complaint about the Tuesday promotion. His press office declined to identify the complainant.

During the visit, the auditor explained the regulations to store officials, Strain said.

Daigle learned about the change in price when he plunked down a gallon of milk at the cash register Tuesday at the Fresh Market two blocks from his office.

He routinely buys two gallons of milk at the sale price. He puts one gallon in the refrigerator and freezes the other.

This time, the milk rang up at the nonsale price. When Daigle questioned the price tag, the cashier told him the state had come down on the store.

Fresh Market’s corporate headquarters referred media questions to the Atlanta-based BRAVE Public Relations.

BRAVE released a prepared statement from Drewry Sackett, Fresh Market’s marketing, public relations and community relations manager.

Sackett said the promotion applied to the store’s private label, rBST-free milk.

“Because milk is a commodity product with regulated costs that are subject to change, at the current cost, due to Louisiana state law, we are unable to honor the $2.99 Tuesday deal for (Fresh Market) milk … Because the cost of milk fluctuates, it is possible that we will be able to offer the $2.99 deal on milk again in the future,” Sackett said.

Daigle said he is outraged that the state would intervene in order to control a retail store’s prices.

“Should we do the same thing with bread? Should we do the same thing with soft drinks?” he asked.

Strain said the regulations exist to keep the price of milk as low as possible.

Allowing a supermarket to sell milk below cost could drive competitors out of business, allowing the store to then increase the price of milk, he said.

Daigle disagrees with Strain’s approach.

He said it is understandable for states to regulate the wholesale price, ensuring that farmers receive fair compensation for their labor.

Controlling the price on the grocery store shelf is heavy-handed, Daigle said.

“If retailers want to take a loss, so be it,” he said.

Three Connecticut police officers caught on camera ‘kicking and stomping on man they’d subdued with a stun gun’


(DailyMail) -Three Connecticut police officers have been put on administrative leave after they were caught on video brutally beating a suspect in a local park.

Elson Morales, Joseph Lawlor and Clive Higgins, all 10-year veterans of the Bridgeport Police Department, are shown on the tape kicking and stomping on a man they had already subdued with a stun gun.

They will remain on paid administrative leave while the May 2011 encounter is investigated.

SCROLL DOWN FOR VIDEO

 
On leave: Three Connecticut police officers have been suspended after they were caught on video brutally beating a suspect in a local parkOn leave: Three Connecticut police officers have been suspended after they were caught on video brutally beating a suspect in a local park

The sobering footage was uploaded on YouTube on January 18 by an anonymous user. It is unclear who filmed it.

In the video, which goes in and out of focus, the pop and sizzle of the electric stun gun can be heard before a man shouts ‘nice shot’ from off camera as the suspect falls to the ground.

 

 

Within seconds, two officers stand over the motionless man and begin kicking and stomping on him as he writhes around on the grass. A third officer drives up in a police cruiser with the sirens blaring and attacks him.

 
Down: The suspect, pictured, falls to the ground after being stunned with the stun gunDown: The suspect, pictured, falls to the ground after being stunned with the stun gun

 

 
Pop: The pop and sizzle of the electric stun gun can be heard before a man shouts 'nice shot' from off cameraPop: The pop and sizzle of the electric stun gun can be heard before a man shouts ‘nice shot’ from off camera

Attack: Two of the officers kick and stomp on the manAttack: Two of the officers kick and stomp on the man

At one point a witness yells at the officers, ‘You got him, cut the (expletive).’

Carolyn Vermont, president of the Greater Bridgeport branch of the NAACP, slammed the police response, describing it to the Connecticut Post as ‘horrible, totally unacceptable.’

‘No person should be treated as an animal, no matter what they are charged with,’ she said.

Police Chief Joseph Gaudett Jr. said he learned about the video last week and promptly ordered the city’s Office of Internal Affairs to investigate the beating. He also notified the Bridgeport State’s Attorney.

Motionless: The suspect lies motionless on the grass throughout the attackMotionless: The suspect lies motionless on the grass throughout the attack

Investigation: The city's Office of Internal Affairs to investigate the beating, picturedInvestigation: The city’s Office of Internal Affairs to investigate the beating, pictured

 

 

 

‘I’m concerned by what I saw and ordered the Office of Internal Affairs to conduct an immediate, thorough and timely investigation,’ Gaudett told The Post.

‘If violations are found, we will take action. Our officers are held to high standards and rightfully so, and we intend to maintain these standards.’

Gaudett refused to release the name of the man being kicked and stomped by the officers in the video and what charges were lodged against him.

Attack: A third officer drives up in a police cruiser with the sirens blaring and joins in with the beatingAttack: A third officer drives up in a police cruiser with the sirens blaring and joins in with the beating

Video: The video of the beating was uploaded on YouTube on January 18Video: The video of the beating was uploaded on YouTube on January 18

 

 
Investigation: The officers have all been in the force 10 yearsInvestigation: The officers have all been in the force 10 years

According to The Post, police sources said the man was being pursued by officers following reports that he had a gun.

When the officers finally subdued him, no gun was found, but the man was wearing a holster, the source said.

The man was charged in the incident and did not file a complaint against the police officers.

The sources told The Post that the man, who wasn’t seriously injured in the beating, is now serving prison time on unrelated charges.

 

 

DHS To Purchase 7,000 Assault Weapons


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(Jason Howerton) The Department of Homeland Security is seeking to acquire 7,000 5.56x45mm NATO “personal defense weapons” (PDW) — also known as “assault weapons” when owned by civilians.

The solicitation, originally posted on June 7, 2012, comes to light as the Obama administration is calling for a ban on semi-automatic rifles and high capacity magazines.

Citing a General Service Administration (GSA) request for proposal (RFP), Steve McGough of RadioViceOnline.com reports that DHS is asking for the 7,000 “select-fire” firearms because they are “suitable for personal defense use in close quarters.” The term select-fire means the weapon can be both semi-automatic and automatic. Civilians are prohibited from obtaining these kinds of weapons.

The RFP describes the firearm as “Personal Defense Weapon (PDW) – 5.56x45mm NATO, select-fire firearm suitable for personal defense use in close quarters and/or when maximum concealment is required.” Additionally, DHS is asking for 30 round magazines that “have a capacity to hold thirty (30) 5.56x45mm NATO rounds.”

Republican New York state Sen. Greg Ball also issued a press release this week bringing attention to the weapons purchase request.

Calls made to DHS seeking information regarding whether or not the RFP was accepted and fulfilled were not immediately returned on Saturday.

Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) on Thursday introduced legislation that would enact a so-called “assault weapons” ban. The bill would ban more than 150 firearms and limit magazines to 10 rounds. There is no expiration date on Feinstein’s bill.

Get all the details on the bill, including a list of firearms that would be banned, here.

Critics of such a ban on semi-automatic rifles are already arguing that the government is showing its hypocrisy by essentially saying they are good “personal defense” for them, but not for American citizens. When civilians own semi-automatic rifles, they somehow become “assault weapons.”

That being said, it is reasonable for the Department of Homeland Security to request these rifles as they are indeed effective personal defense weapons. The agency is tasked with keeping Americans safe from those who wish to do the country harm, and its officials should be equipped with all the tools they need to do so effectively.

But what about Americans who want to keep themselves and their families safe from threats? Is a semi-automatic rifle unacceptable for a civilian’s “personal defense” in his or her home? According to some Democratic lawmakers, like Sen. Feinstein, it appears the answer is yes.

Just last week two students in Rochester, N.Y. scared off a pair of home intruders by simply brandishing an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle. One of the students said he believes the weapon saved their lives.

Maine Lawmakers And ACLU take on police state and surveilance


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(CAV News) – The ACLU and lawmakers in Maine are proposing privacy protection measures as a priority this week.

State Senator John Patrick (D)  is proposing a bill that would require the police to obtain a warrant before using domestic UAV’s or drones to spy on people.

Assistant Senate Republican Leader, Roger Katz, is proposing two bills. 1: Police will have to get probable cause warrants before accessing text messaging content 2. A warrant would be required before police can use geo-tracking to find people through their cellphones.

A more detailed proposal and drafts will be presented this Thursday at a news conference.

                        From the Kennebec Journal:

“The people of Maine care deeply about their privacy, but outdated laws and a lack of protections make us all vulnerable to intrusion into our most sensitive information,” said Shenna Bellows, the Maine group’s executive director. “Maine needs stronger privacy laws that shield us from overreaching surveillance by the government and corporations, and ensure that the most personal details of our private lives stay private.” The ACLU stated.

As the federal government pushes more programs infringing on individual privacy rights and grants to local police departments to try out domestic drones, these measures should be welcomed by civil libertarians.

                        More from Kennebec Journal:

“I wanted to get ahead of the curve as far as the use of drones,” said Patrick. “Realistically, I think drones should be prohibited from indiscriminate mass surveillance. I don’t think drones should replace police officers on the ground.”

By: Derek Wood

Source: Kennebec Journal

Massachusetts to propose wiretapping bill to “reduce gun violence.”


 

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(CAV News) – According to NECN, Massachusetts attorney general, Martha Coakley, and several other lawmakers will propose a bill tomorrow to combat gun violence with a wiretapping bill.

The details will be laid out tomorrow according to NECN, in which lawmakers hope to curb gun violence.

What they are hoping for is to modernize and update the current laws on the book to target street, gun, and gang violence.

Here’s the official story from NECN: http://www.necn.com/01/27/13/Mass-lawmakers-to-propose-wiretapping-bi/landing.html?blockID=827329&feedID=11106

Of course anybody who doubts what government has been doing with their expansion in surveillance can only see, that this as a way to spy on citizens, infringe on rights, generate more power, exploit and waste taxpayer dollars, and help friends in certain industries. This will do nothing but make more law-abiding citizens “perceived criminals.”

 

More women in New Hampshire taking up firearms


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(CAV News) – An article just released this weekend from a New Hampshire newspaper, released a report finding that more women are taking up safety classes and firearm courses, as gun control talk spreads throughout the country.

Last week, several hundred New Hampshire citizens marched and protested HB135, which would repeal the current stand your ground law in New Hampshire, and many women were part of that movement.

From The Union Leader

“Telling a woman she should try to turn her back on an assailant is the Legislature telling a woman to take a chance to become a victim or, worse yet, die at the hands of a criminal,” said Jenn Coffey, an Andover resident and the national legislative affairs director for the Second Amendment Sisters. “We value our right to choose what happens to our bodies. This legislation is nothing more than a knee-jerk reaction to mass media reports.”

“By repealing this law, the Legislature is encouraging criminals to sue the very victims of their crimes if they become injured,” said Coffey.

One thing is for sure, as we read more and more mainstream outlets asking for the end of the 2nd amendment or doing away of the constitution, it won’t be easy. As our page has reported and shared for the past month; more and more states, sheriffs, coalitions, groups are speaking out against gun control and rightfully so!

For the full article read: http://www.unionleader.com/article/20130127/NEWS07/130129238

By: Derek Wood

Source: Union Leader

CBS Runs Segment Called ‘Let’s Give Up On The Constitution’


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(Breitbart) -From Georgetown law professor Louis Michael Seidman:

I’ve got a simple idea: Let’s give up on the Constitution. I know, it sounds radical, but it’s really not. Constitutional disobedience is as American as apple pie. For example, most of our greatest Presidents — Jefferson, Lincoln, Wilson, and both Roosevelts — had doubts about the Constitution, and many of them disobeyed it when it got in their way.

To be clear, I don’t think we should give up on everything in the Constitution. The Constitution has many important and inspiring provisions, but we should obey these because they are important and inspiring, not because a bunch of people who are now long-dead favored them two centuries ago. Unfortunately, the Constitution also contains some provisions that are not so inspiring. For example, one allows a presidential candidate who is rejected by a majority of the American people to assume office. Suppose that Barack Obama really wasn’t a natural-born citizen. So what? Constitutional obedience has a pernicious impact on our political culture. Take the recent debate about gun control. None of my friends can believe it, but I happen to be skeptical of most forms of gun control. I understand, though, that’s not everyone’s view, and I’m eager to talk with people who disagree.

But what happens when the issue gets Constitutional-ized? Then we turn the question over to lawyers, and lawyers do with it what lawyers do. So instead of talking about whether gun control makes sense in our country, we talk about what people thought of it two centuries ago. Worse yet, talking about gun control in terms of constitutional obligation needlessly raises the temperature of political discussion. Instead of a question on policy, about which reasonable people can disagree, it becomes a test of one’s commitment to our foundational document and, so, to America itself.

This is our country. We live in it, and we have a right to the kind of country we want. We would not allow the French or the United Nations to rule us, and neither should we allow people who died over two centuries ago and knew nothing of our country as it exists today. If we are to take back our own country, we have to start making decisions for ourselves, and stop deferring to an ancient and outdated document.

FBI investigating Sen. Menendez for underage sex with prostitutes


(Digital Journal) -Sex, lies, videotape, and the U.S. Senate. Two women claim Bob Menendez paid them for sex, even though one of them was then just 16 years old.

 
Documents have come to light that reveal that Senator Bob Menendez, the 59-year-old junior Senator from New Jersey, is being looked at by the FBI for possibly having underage sex with a prostitute, during an undisclosed trip to the Dominican Republic. A trip that he is alleged to have taken with long time campaign donor, Dr. Salomon Melgen, according to the Daily Caller.

 

Menendez was appointed to serve as New Jersey’s Senator upon the election of Jon Corzine as Governor in 2006. Senator Bob Menendez who is about to gain more power in Washington D.C., serves alongside of Frank Lautenberg. Menendez is only the sixth Latino to serve in the U.S. Senate, he is also a former Mayor of Union City, member of the New Jersey General Assembly and Senate, as well as a former Congressman.

 

Menendez is expected to serve as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations committee, replacing Senator John Kerry, who has been named Secretary of State by President Obama.

 

Carrie Levine, a research director at CREW (Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington) was first alerted of Menendez’s alleged indiscretions abroad last year in April.

 

Under Senate ethic rules Menendez is to report any travel paid for by a third-party that exceeds $335. His financial disclosures since the 1990’s as well as his most recent one from 2011, make no mention of any trip paid for by ophthalmologist Salomon Melgen.

Dr. Salomon Melgen

Voxxi
Dr. Salomon Melgen
 

Records show Melgen, has given over $30,000 to various politicians and the DNC this past year alone. Including $5,000 to Senate candidate, and former Iraq War General Ricardo Sanchez, as well as $4,000 to Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar. Salomon Melgen also donated $2,400 to Florida Republican Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.

 

One of the women alleged to have slept with Bob Menendez has given hand written testimony of her encounters with the Democratic Senator from New Jersey. The source who spoke to CREW as well as ABC producer, Rhonda Schwartz stated:

“I have in my possession the original (testimony) written in her own hand. She is 19 now, but took part in private parties with Senator Menendez being only 16.”

 

The prostitute in her hand written testimony stated that she was sure that it was Senator Bob Menendez whom she had engaged in sexual relations with, recalling specifically one visit he made to her since it was the month of her 17th birthday. The self described escort is also said to have given an exact description of Salomon Melgen’s home in Caso de Campo, a Ponderosa-style seaside resort in the Dominican Republic.

 

CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan has stated that her organization passed on their findings to law enforcement.

“On July 17, 2012, CREW sent letters to the Department of Justice and the FBI requesting an investigation into this matter,” Sloan states in an email to the Daily Caller. Sloan went on to say one letter was addressed to “the Director of the Washington Field Office.”

 

If the allegations are true, Bob Menendez still owes the women in the Dominican Republic $800. Both women interviewed stated they agreed to sleep with Senator Menendez for $500 each, however the Senator only paid them $200 altogether.

 

The women claim to have had sex with the divorced Senator around Easter of 2012. The Daily Caller looked into Menendez’s schedule for that time period and found that he had no public events scheduled. However airport records do show that Salomon Melgen’s private plane, did in fact leave Florida where he is an eye doctor. It landed at Teterboro Airport, near Union City where Menendez maintains a home according to government financial records, the plane later landed in the Dominican Republic. Two days later the same plane returned from an airport in Caso de Campo.

 

Emails which have only now come to the surface show that in the final months of 2012 an FBI Special Agent, with the Miami field office had been assigned to the case.

“As far as the information that you have provided, we have been able to confirm most of it.” FBI Agent Chavez emailed the source of the information.

 

It is important to note that prostitution is legal in the Dominican Republic, however the PROTECT Act has made it illegal to engage in sexual activity overseas, that is illegal in the United States. Then Congressman Menendez voted for the legislation in 2003, when it had made its way out of conference committee.

At Least 245 Dead In Horrible Nightclub Fire In Brazil — President Rousseff Races Back Home


 

brazil nightclub fire

(Business Insider) -At least 245 people died on Sunday when a fire tore through a nightclub packed with university students in the southern Brazilian city of Santa Maria, police said.

The death toll from the inferno stood initially at 70 but rapidly increased as firefighters searched the charred remains of the “Kiss” club, believed to have been packed with 300-400 revelers at the time of the blaze.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff cut short a visit to Chile, where she was attending a European and Latin American summit, to head to Santa Maria and oversee the response to the tragedy, a Brazilian official said.

It was not immediately clear what caused the blaze, but media reports said the fire broke out after 2:00 am (0400 GMT) when the nightclub was hosting a university party featuring a rock band using pyrotechnics.

Santa Maria fire chief Guido de Melo said the fire caused widespread panic, and that many revelers were trampled or died from smoke inhalation.

“The main cause of death was asphyxiation,” de Melo was quoted as saying by Estadao newspaper.

Major Cleberson Bastianello, a military police commander in Santa Maria, confirmed that 245 people had been killed and told AFP another 48 had been taken to the hospital, an indication that the toll could climb further.

Pictures published by local media showed firefighters dousing the blackened shell of a red brick building with water to put out the flames.

“We have just gotten the fire under control,” Colonel Silvia Fuchs of the local fire department was quoted by the G1 website as saying. “Now we are removing the bodies.”

The bodies were taken to a sports stadium that was blocked off by police to keep grieving family members from streaming in. O Globo said a first truck carried 67 corpses followed by another with around 70.

Family members were gathering outside in the hope of getting news of their loved ones. The town is home to the Federal University of Santa Maria.

Do Not Fly: the Feds May Be Planning a Massacre at Checkpoint Lines


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(Lew Rockwell Blog) -I’m not certain whether The Washington Times considers itself mainstream media, and, if it does, whether anyone else agrees. But it contains a lengthy warning that the Fedcoats may be plotting a “mass shooting” at one of the TSA’s checkpoints, a la Newtown or the movie-theater in Colorado. Why would Our Rulers murder more of us? Because another massacre “would likely lead to even more calls for gun control measures, as well as discussions of arming TSA workers…”

The writer bases his story on a report from a “TSA source” who says he and his fellow gropers “are being instructed to ‘save themselves’ instead of attempting to protect passengers.” Good: those inept bozos scrambling to escape rather than pestering passengers gives the latter the best chance of surviving. “It is unclear whether the TSA is conducting this training at airports around the nation or only at the airport where the source, a veteran of the agency, is assigned. Expressing fear bordering on extreme distress, the TSA source claims that his life, along with the lives of other unarmed TSA personnel, would be in grave danger were an airport checkpoint shooting to unfold.” Yeah, what a pity to take out Thieves and Sexual Assailants when perfectly good passengers are milling about.

Of course, this is the scenario that many genuine experts in security — as opposed to the charlatans at the TSA — have predicted for years: that bad guys will attack the hundreds of people whom the TSA delays in long, vulnerable lines. And it is yet another proof that the agency actually endangers, rather than protects, passengers; politician of even minimal decency and concern for their constituents would abolish the TSA rather than annually stealing our money to finance its depredations on us.

At any rate, if gate-rape and games of sexual humiliation and dominance at the government’s checkpoints are not enough to keep you from flying, perhaps the suspicion that the serial killers in office hope to slaughter yet more innocents will.

Tool’s Maynard James Keenan On The Music Industry: “The Illusion Is Gone. There’s No Longer Blank Checkbooks”


(theprp.com) Maynard James Keenan (Tool/A Perfect Circle/Puscifer) recently opened up to Phoenixnewtimes.com regarding his various projects (he had no comment on Tool); his thoughts on the music industry and his upcoming autobiography.

Some excerpts from the lengthy feature can be found below:

On his autobiography:

“I think there are a lot of misconceptions with some people that, all of a sudden, I was born when my first band came out. I actually had a life before that, and there were a lot of accomplishments. [The book] will kind of chronicle why it is I got to where I am, and why I got to where you knew about me.”

On the illegal downloading of music:

“There’s a disconnect between people not buying music and not understanding why [bands] go away. There are people who are like monkeys in a cage just hitting the coke button. They don’t really get that for [musicians and artists] to do these things, they have to fund them. They have to have something to pay the rent.”

On the future of the music industry:

“It’s going to have to default back to people who are willing to do more work for less money, basically. You have to kind of do it out of love, and doing it by living within your means and getting to an end of what you want to do, other than worrying about 401(k)s and insurance and all that crap that comes with being paid by someone else [so] you [can] coast.”

“The illusion is gone. There’s no longer blank checkbooks. I remember playing a show ages ago, where Helmet got offered a [record deal worth a] million dollars. Oh, my God! A million dollars.

Of course, all that did was make every other band with ego throw its dicks on the table and say, ‘Well, I want a million five.’ ‘Well, I want two million; I’m more popular.’ There was never any rhyme or reason to what those numbers ended up translating to at the end of the day.

If you go back and track what somebody actually paid for something, it’s not nearly as dialed-in as, say, a video-game corporation saying, ‘No, we’re going to sell exactly this many units of this game.’ It was never that calculated. The people running [the business] weren’t qualified to run it.”

On embracing digital distribution:

“I don’t know, I feel like I’m kind of torn. There’s two sides of my brain fighting with each other. There’s something about connecting with that physical piece of property, and also things you don’t know about.

When you download the song, there’s nothing. Sometimes it comes with a booklet, sometimes it comes with an image, but usually it doesn’t. It’s just this disconnected thing that you can’t touch and feel and experience. [There are] other nuances to the songs.

Some images and artwork that are totally connected and related to the song you’re hearing, and you make the connection by seeing that image, and it completes the joke or completes the thought; that’s a little disconnected.

However, as an independent project — no funding, no record label, no underwriters, nothing — the whole digital route is a lot more sustainable. You’re not wasting a lot of paper or plastic products, except for the manufacturing of computers, which apparently go out of date every week. Thank you very much, Apple.

But you’re able to get that music out there and have a direct connection to who you’re selling it to — and actually fund your project.

We have our own thing figured out. I think that’s how the pieces are going to settle into place. It’s going to default back to people who want to do this and are willing to do this. Once people find their own way and find their own audience, they might kind of peek their head up over the crowd long enough to see that there’s an entire movement happening, and we did it individually.

It’s critical mass; it all disseminates in a way that you go, ‘Oh, this is the new thing now.’ People just did it naturally, and people just did it in their own ways, in their lines and their mediums and surroundings. They’ll all step back and realize they’ve all come to the same place.”

Up next for Keenan is the February 19th release of Puscifer‘s new EP “Donkey Punch The Night“.

Miami Martial Law Drill: Machine Gun Fire & Black Hawk Helicopters Invade Miami Skyline


(Before it’s News) Has America been invaded by hostile forces? If not, then what are ‘they’ preparing for? The streets and skies of Miami turned into what sounded like an Iraqi war zone or the streets of Chicago as the eternal, global war on terror gave Miami residents a sense of what it might sound like to live in Afghanistan as machine gun fire (blanks) filled the air and black hawk helicopters filled the midnight skies.

Are there THAT MANY terrorists now in America that they’re preparing for? A recent police, emergency management and National Guard drill in Ohio targeted ‘disgruntled 2nd Amendment advocates’ upset about the governments ‘new interpretation’ of the 2nd Amendment as ‘terrorists’. Does this Miami ‘martial law’ drill have the same targets in mind or are they ‘just’ preparing for economic collapse?

From Cybertribe News Network:

This is only a drill.

Black Hawk choppers soared into the skies in downtown Miami, Wednesday night. The joint military training exercise also involved local police.

In the shadow of the Adrienne Arsht Center, several police cruisers crossed Biscayne Boulevard, presumably as part of the drill. Police have blocked off traffic on Biscayne Boulevard, although this measure might be related to the Miami Heat game about to finish at the American Airlines Arena.

The exercises, which began Tuesday night, are being executed to meet requirements, which include upcoming overseas missions and ensuring their equipment is in good working order.

Miami residents up on the balconies overlooking downtown Miami have been making amateur videos and posting them on YouTube. Tuesday night one of these videos showed the military helicopters flying over 395, right by the Miami Herald Building.

 

US Sentencing Commission site down, Anonymous claims responsibility (Updated)


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(ArsTechnica) -Early Saturday morning, members of Anonymous claimed to have brought down ussc.gov, the website for the United Stated Sentencing Commission, an independent arm of the federal judicial branch responsible for setting sentencing guidelines. ZDNet reports that the site was replaced with a message from Anonymous citing the death of Aaron Swartz as the motivation for the attack. The website has since been taken offline. Anonymous also claimed to have pilfered information about the Supreme Court Justices, although the nature of that information—and the accuracy of that claim—remains unknown.

According to Bloomberg, Richard McFeely, executive assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal, Cyber, Response, and Services Branch, responded with a statement Saturday morning: “We were aware as soon as it happened and are handling it as a criminal investigation. We are always concerned when someone illegally accesses another person’s or government agency’s network.”

While the Commission’s site is offline, the message that Anonymous posted has been reproduced elsewhere. The message claims that the site was a target because of its symbolic meaning as well as the kinds of people that visit the site. “This website was also chosen due to the nature of its visitors. It is far from the only government asset we control, and we have exercised such control for quite some time,” the note said. It went on:

There has been a lot of fuss recently in the technological media regarding such operations as Red October, the widespread use of vulnerable browsers and the availability of zero-day exploits for these browsers and their plugins. None of this comes of course as any surprise to us, but it is perhaps good that those within the information security industry are making the extent of these threats more widely understood.

Still there is nothing quite as educational as a well-conducted demonstration…

Through this websites and various others that will remain unnamed, we have been conducting our own infiltration. We did not restrict ourselves like the FBI to one high-profile compromise. We are far more ambitious, and far more capable. Over the last two weeks we have wound down this operation, removed all traces of leakware from the compromised systems, and taken down the injection apparatus used to detect and exploit vulnerable machines.

The group also is reportedly distributing encrypted files named after SCOTUS Justices, but it has not yet released a key or given a hint as to what might be contained in the files. “At a regular interval commencing today, we will choose one media outlet and supply them with heavily redacted partial contents of the file,” the note on the downed USSC site read. Still, Anonymous said, “It is our hope that this warhead need never be detonated,” referring to the encrypted information in nuclear metaphor, before asking for reform of the Justice system.

Ex-CIA officer John Kiriakou sentenced for leaking name on agency’s use of torture


ALEXANDRIA, Va. A former CIA officer was sentenced Friday to more than two years in prison by a federal judge who rejected arguments that he was acting as a whistleblower on the agency’s use of torture when he leaked a covert officer’s name to a reporter.

A plea deal required the judge to impose a sentence of 2 1/2 years. U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema said she would have given John Kiriakou much more time if she could.

 

Kiriakou’s supporters describe him as a whistleblower who exposed aspects of the CIA’s use of torture against detained terrorists. Prosecutors said he was merely seeking to increase his fame by trading on his insider knowledge.

Kiriakou’s 2007 interviews about the interrogations of al-Qaida terrorist Abu Zubaydah were among the first by a CIA insider confirming reports that several detainees had been waterboarded.

The 48-year-old pleaded guilty last year to violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act. No one had been convicted under the law in 27 years.

 

 

In 2002, he played a key role in the agency’s capture of Abu Zubaydah in Pakistan. Abu Zubaydah, who was waterboarded by government interrogators, revealed information that exposed Khalid Sheikh Mohamed as the mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

Accounts conflict, though, over whether the waterboarding was helpful in gleaning intelligence from Abu Zubaydah, who was also interrogated conventionally.

 

 

 

Kiriakou, who did not participate in the waterboarding, expressed ambivalence in interviews about waterboarding, but he ultimately declared it was torture.

In court papers, prosecutors said the investigation of Kiriakou began in 2009 when authorities became alarmed after discovering that detainees at Guantanamo Bay possessed photographs of CIA and FBI personnel who had interrogated them. The investigation eventually led back to Kiriakou, according to a government affidavit.

Prosecutors said Kiriakou leaked the name of a covert operative to a journalist, who disclosed it to an investigator working for the lawyer of a Guantanamo detainee.

Kiriakou was initially charged under the World War I-era Espionage Act, but those charges were dropped as part of a plea bargain.

Gun Dealers Have Problems With Credit Card Processors


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LEIPER’S FORK, Tenn. – A Williamson County gun dealer recently learned a credit card processing company no longer wants to do business with him.

“We go through all the hoops and all the steps and at the end of the day it’s still a struggle to get the same services anybody else would,” said Nick McMillan.

He owns Leiper’s Fork Firearms. It is a small gun dealership McMillan runs out of his home.

“We’re set up like a business, just like every other small business out there,” he said.

McMillan is a has a federal firearms license and is heavily regulated by both the state and federal governments.

But McMillan received an email from Intuit Payment solutions informing him the company was no longer interested in processing his credit card sales.

“They either reviewed several accounts, or it was a company wide policy, because I wasn’t the only federal firearms license dealer that got pushed out the other day,” McMillan said.

In the email the company wrote “Intuit does not support the services you are providing” and then the reason stated was firearms, ammunition, gun parts and accessories sales not sold in a face-to-face environment with the credit card being swiped.

McMillan does not know the exact reason behind the policy change, but speculated the nationwide gun debate may be behind the move.

“I think companies like this are so afraid of any negative publicity they’d rather not participate,” McMillan said.

The small business owner said the move by Intuit will not stop him from selling guns.

“Intuit Processing isn’t my only option, I am set up with another company that’s a lot more friendly to the industry,” said McMillan.

He does feel as if the company is discriminating against federally licensed gun dealers.

“It’s up to them who they provide the service to, at the end of the day, which is fine. But, it does seem like we get discriminated against a little bit,” McMillan said.

NewsChannel 5 tried contacted Intuit to get a comment about the company’s email to McMillan. No one from Intuit returned messages.

State courts to send mental illness cases to FBI background checks office


(OnlineSentinel) Mentally ill people who pose a risk to society or themselves are legally prohibited from owning guns under federal law, but Maine for years has been unable to add the names of such people to the national background database.

 

Maine Chief Justice Leigh Ingalls Saufley

 

The problem is that case records in Maine’s court system exist only on paper, and gathering those records is a time-consuming process.

The Maine Legislature six years ago passed a law to address the problem, but nothing has been done because neither the state nor the federal government has provided the court system with any additional money.

Chief Justice Leigh Saufley plans to fix the problem, despite the lack of funding.

Starting this spring, the staff at Maine’s 38 courts will begin collecting those names and passing them on to the Maine Department of Public Safety, which will then hand them over to the FBI, which manages the national database.

While there is not enough staff to tackle the backlog of names, court staff will file the paperwork from all new cases to the database as the cases proceed through the court system, Saufley said in an interview Friday.

The court system will be able to reduce the backlog when its records are eventually digitized, according to Saufley.

She decided to move forward on the issue last spring, hiring Anne Jordan, former commissioner of the Maine Department of Public Safety, to work on number of procedural issues facing the court system, including this one.

Saufley made this decision long before the shooting last month at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., where a mentally disturbed 20-year-old man killed his mother at home, and then 20 children and six educators at the school, before taking his own life. The “horrible” incident affirmed the importance of taking steps to protect the public, Saufley said.

“I don’t think the tragedy there has changed our focus, but it does have us talking with various stakeholders who are also interested in improving safety,” she said.

Rep. Mark Dion, D-Portland, who co-chairs the Legislature’s Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee, said he expects there will strong, bipartisan support for Saufley’s decision.

“I applaud what the chief justice is doing,” he said, adding that it’s another example of the Legislature asking the judiciary to take on a task without providing additional money.

People on both sides of the gun control debate agree that the current law needs to be enforced, and this is a welcome step forward, said Leslie Manning, president of the board of the Maine Council of Churches and former regional coordinator for Mayors Against Illegal Guns.

“It’s common ground we can build on,” she said.

Nobody knows how many backlogged cases there are in Maine, although the number of cases in which people are committed to mental institutions on an emergency basis prior to a court hearing is less than 1,000 a year, Jordan said. Committing somone to a mental institution, except for short-term emergencies, requires a court hearing in which the person has the right to a court-appointed attorney.

To address the backlog, and also to improve efficiency and better serve the public, Saufley said, the court system needs to digitize its records. Currently, all criminal and civil case records are on paper only. Maine lags behind all New England states in moving to a digital record-keeping system for its courts.

Digitizing records would cost $10 million to $15 million, Saufley said. She is asking Gov. Paul LePage and the Legislature this session to allocate $350,000 to help the court system create a plan for digitizing its records.

Federal law prohibits possession of a firearm or ammunition by any person who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or involuntarily “committed to any mental institution.”

No federal law, however, requires states to report the identities of these individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System database, which the FBI uses to perform background checks prior to firearm sales.

In 2007, Congress passed a law that allocated more than $1 billion to help states transmit mental health date to the FBI, but because of lobbying by the National Rifle Association, the law was written in such a way that only 18 states qualified for funding, said Owen Greenspan, director of law and policy at the National Consortium for Justice Information and Statistics. Congress over the years has drastically cut back on funding for the program, he said.

Many states other than Maine have also struggled with this issue. From 2004 to 2011, nearly half the states have made little or no progress sending mental-health records to the FBI, according to a federal Government Accountability Office report. Maine was among the states identified as making no progress.

Because the Maine law passed in 2007 differs somewhat from the federal law, Maine, like most states, did not qualify for federal funds, Jordan said.

Under Maine law, for example, only people who are committed to a mental institution through a judicial process can lose the right to own a gun. The federal law does not require a judicial ruling.

To date, Maine has not provided the FBI with any names of people who have been involuntarily committed.

It has provided the names of people in two related categories: those found not criminally responsible for a crime by reason of insanity, and those found not mentally competent to stand trial. The two groups represent a relatively small number of individuals.

Maine law prohibits the state from passing on personal information, such as a mental illness or other diagnosis. It also provides an appeal process for those who lose their right to own a gun and who subsequently regain their mental health.

Pentagon “Cyber-Warriors” Planting “False Information on Facebook”


Who’s Faking It? Pentagon

 

On November 22, 2012, the Los Angeles Times published an alarming piece of news entitled “Cyber Corps program trains spies for the digital age”. The “cyber-warriors” who are headed for organizations such as the CIA, NSC, FBI, the Pentagon and so on, are trained to stalk, “rifle through trash, sneak a tracking device on cars and plant false information on Facebook [emphasis added]. They also are taught to write computer viruses, hack digital networks, crack passwords, plant listening devices and mine data from broken cellphones and flash drives.”

Not surprisingly, less than a month later, it was rumored that Iran ’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei had started a Facebook page. The style and content of the site ruled out its authenticity, but the State Department was amused. In spite of the potential for alarm, State Department Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland jokingly expressed Washington ’s curiosity to see how many “likes’ Khamenei would receive. This is no joking matter. Any message on this page would be attributed to Khamenei with a potential for dangerous ramifications.

Barely a month later, on January 24, 2013, Guardian’s blaring headlines exposed fake blogs and Facebook pages made for BBC Persian’s Iranian journalists with claims that these were made in order to harass, intimidate, and discredit the journalists. These fake blogs, according to The Guardian charges, are not by the American Cyber Corps warriors, but are alleged to be the creation of the Iranian ‘Islamic cyber-activists’ in “what appears [emphasis added] to be an operation sponsored by the authorities”.

While truth is the fist casualty of war, journalists are also fair game thanks — in large part owing to the provisions of the Information Operations Road Map of 2003 (signed by the then Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and pursued by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta). As part of the plan, “public affairs officers brief journalists”. In 2005 it came to light that the Pentagon paid the Lincoln Group (a private company) to plant ‘hundreds of stories’ in Iraqi papers in support of U.S. Policies. The plan also called for “a range of technologies to disseminate propaganda in enemy territory: unmanned aerial vehicles, “miniaturized, scatterable public address systems”, wireless devices, cellular phones and the internet. “

In light of such wide spread propaganda, deception and digital warfare by the Pentagon, and with the recent Los Angeles Times revelations of the Cyber Corps training, truth become indistinguishable from falsehood and thus accepting or rejecting the authenticity of allegations by the Guardian becomes subjective, in spite of the reality of the victimhood of BBC journalists (ditto Radio Farda, VOA) whose reporting is not welcomed in Iran.

The broadcast of BBC Persian into Iran is problematic. Leaving aside the illegality of it (see article), BBC Persian which was launched in early 2009, receives significant funding from the United States . To many Iranians, no doubt including the Iranian government, BBC’s role was (and continues to be) a dark reminder of its past role in destroying Iran’s democracy in 1953 when, by its own admission, the BBC spearheaded Britain’s propaganda and broadcast the code which sparked the coup and the overthrow of Prime Minister Mossadegh.

As if in a reenactment, the role of BBC Persian in the 2009 post-election unrest was significant. Claiming that BBC Persian Services was basing its reporting on “citizen journalists” and on the receiving end of “eight user generated communications per minute”, their own report indicates that some of the reporting was impossible to verify. Unlike BBC Persian (and VOA, Radio Farda, etc.), Wired Magazine did its homework fully. In its report aptly titled “Iran: Before You Have That Twitter-Gasm…” , it revealed that the “ U.S. media is projecting its own image of Iran into what is going here on the ground.” BBC Persian, true to its track record, and thanks to State Department funding, had a desire to trumpet in a new era in Iran ’s history – A historical change planned from without, with help from within. Unlike 1953, it failed.

Once again, with the Iranian elections on the horizon, indications are that the recent elections in the United States and Israel will not produce a break-through in the US-Iran relations, or the foreign policy agenda of the United States toward Iran — warfare by other means, including propaganda. Cognizant of this fact, either the Iranian government is bracing itself for a propaganda war by discrediting sites with a potential to propagate misinformation, which may explain duplicating the BBC (admittedly, a clever move), or, the American Cyber Corps has outdone itself with the ability to point the finger at Iran.

Either way, in launching its cyber warfare, the United States has crossed the Rubicon. Cyber warfare, much like germ warfare, is dangerous, relentless, and without boundaries. The casualties of such warfare will continue to rise – unstoppable.

Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich is a Public Diplomacy Scholar, independent researcher and writer with a focus on U.S. foreign policy and the role of lobby groups.

Milwaukee County Sheriff Tells People To Take Firearm Lessons And Says Calling 911 Is Not The Best Option


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(CAV News) – Looks like pro gun sites and groups have a new sheriff in town!  Milwaukee County Sheriff, David A. Clarke Jr, told listeners in a radio ad this week that personal safety is not a “spectator sport,” and that “waiting,” or “calling 911 is no longer the best option.”

Obviously! I’ve never understood people who think the best approach is to sit back and hide in a dark closet and let an armed criminal swing the door open to either injure you or harm your family and then take all of your belongings, while the cops hopefully get there in time to stop it.

Personal feelings aside, the laying off of officers and budget cuts is one of the influential factors.

The attack hounds are going for the throat of Clarke.

“Apparently, Sheriff David Clarke is auditioning for the next Dirty Harry movie.” said Mayor Tom Barrett’s spokeswoman, Jodie Tabak.

Okay Jodie, the fact that an armed and trained law official is giving reasonable advice to people, that should have been common sense before an exploited massacre, isn’t something to write off and make joke of.

Jeri Bonavia, an executive director of Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort, is another individual taking a stab at the comments made by Clarke and trying to spin something that is a natural right and common sense into something that it’s not.

“What (Clarke’s) talking about is this amped up version of vigilantism,” Bonavia said. “I don’t know what his motivations are for doing this. But I do know what he’s calling for is dangerous and irresponsible and he should be out there saying this is a mistake.”

Dangerous and irresponsible? To take safety classes? To arm yourself against intruders and criminals? To defend yourself? I’m sorry Jeri, perhaps the Wisconsin Anti Violence Effort can be there under my bed when I need them most against a home invasion. How absurd.

The idea that preventing or trying to prevent against someone violent isn’t endorsing violence. It’s called self-protection, a well-known natural right. It’s your duty.

“You have a duty to protect yourself and your family. We’re partners now. Can I count on you?” Clarke said in his radio ad. 

I thought one of the telling and best-selling points to this radio ad was something that most of these anti violent folks don’t seem to get.

“You could beg for mercy from a violent criminal, hide under the bed, or you can fight back.” Clarke urged his audience.

Clarke isn’t advocating violence here, something that liberals and pro gun control groups are trying to imply, he is simply cautioning those to take preventative action into their own hands, via gun safety classes.

Sources: Digital Journal and JSonline

 Written By: Derek Wood

House Gun Task Force Chair: ‘I’m Not Interested in Giving Up My Firearms’


House Gun Task Force Chair: ‘I’m Not Interested in Giving Up My Firearms and I’m Not Going to Ask Other Law-Abiding Americans to Give up Theirs’

(CNSNews.com) – The chairman of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force – a group of Democrats who support President Barak Obama’s sweeping gun control plan – began a meeting on Wednesday by saying he wants to keep his guns and wants other “law-abiding Americans’ to do the same.

“I just want to let everyone know from the beginning, I’m a hunter, I’m a gun owner and I believe that law-abiding citizens have a Second Amendment right to own firearms,” Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.) said in his opening remarks.

“I’m not interested in giving up my firearms, my guns, and I’m not going to ask other law abiding Americans to give up theirs,” Thompson said.

He went on cite the 2007 Supreme Court decision in District of Columbia v. Heller, which upheld the Second Amendment right of citizens to bear arms for self-defense.

“And not only is this something I believe in personally, after the Supreme Court ruled in the Heller decision, this is off the table,” Thompson said.

“The court ruled that law-abiding citizens have a right to own firearms, so I don’t want that discussion,” Thompson said. “Irrespective of what side you are on, (that issue) should not get in the way of the work that we’re doing.”

The Democratic task force hearing came about because gun-control advocates – including President Obama – have tried to advance the debate on restricting firearms since Dec. 14, when Adam Lanza shot and killed 26 people (20 of whom were children) at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

Last week, when Obama announced 23 executive orders to put in place gun-control policies that bypass Congress, Thompson issued a statement supporting the move.

“The president and our task force agree that we need a comprehensive approach to reduce and prevent gun violence,” Thompson said in the statement. “Executive action can and should be part of the process, and many of the executive actions announced today will have a positive influence on reducing gun violence.

“Now it’s time for Congress to step up and do what needs to be done to save lives,” Thompson said. “Many of the policies that will have the greatest impact on reducing gun violence will require congressional action.

Obama’s executive orders came after Vice President Joe Biden and a White House Task Force issued recommendations, which include universal background checks. Meanwhile, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) has introduced a bill to ban assault weapons and legislation sponsored by Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) would ban ammo clips holding more than 10 rounds.

The House Democratic panel convened Wednesday to hear from sportsmen, law enforcement and public health organizations, who are testifying on and limiting the number of bullets in gun magazines.

Other members of the House task force include Reps. Ron Barber (D-Ariz.), John D. Dingell (D-Mich.), Elizabeth Esty (D-Conn.), Chaka Fattah (D-Penn.), Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.), Grace Napolitano (D-Calif.), Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.), David Price (D-N.C.), Bobby Scott (D-Va.), Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) and Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.).

Toddler defies odds after having a pencil lodged in her head


 

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(CAV News) –  The parents of Olivia Smith are feeling lucky after their toddler, Olivia Smith, fell from a recliner, that resulted in a colored pencil she was using to be lodged into her head.

Doctors say that the pencil travelled into her eye cavity, and moved several inches into both hemispheres of her brain.

Dr. Darren Orbach, divisional chief of interventional radiology in Boston said this:

“If you can consider someone lucky who has a pencil go through her brain, you have to consider this girl remarkably lucky.”

He also plans to publish a report on what occurred that day.

“If you asked me to sit down with a patient’s scan and draw a line that would go from one end of the brain to the other, avoiding every major blood vessel and even avoiding critical areas of the brain. I would be hard-pressed to find a pathway that would cause so little injury.”

Doctors have confirmed that there were no brain blood vessel injuries.

Orbach called the confirmations remarkable

“because the pencil crossed from essentially the right eye through the entirety of both hemispheres of the brain, and ended up just in front of the left ear. So it literally crossed the whole head and missed just vessel after vessel.”

Source: Union Leader

Written By: Derek Wood

San Mateo County Officials: Cash for your guns.


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(CAV News) San Mateo County Officials were very excited to see long lines of residents handing over their guns. Offering up to $100 for each handgun, rifle, or shotgun. They are running a county special for those looking to load their pockets with taxpayer cash. $200 for an assault rifle!

The same county that can’t build a school because of their budget woes and overloading growth, seems to have enough money to hand out cash to those who brought in guns.

What isn’t clear in this article was how airtight this initiative was. Were the guns they are getting stolen? Were they registered? Did you need to bring proof of ownership?

Of course these cash for guns are basically welfare start-ups. Criminals in aisle 3 looking to cash in on items they didn’t buy isn’t unlikely, knowing that they can benefit from the exchange.

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 I’m not alone in my doubts on how effective these programs are: usnews.nbcnews.com-guns-flood-into-police-buyback-programs-though-critics-have-doubts-about-the-idea?lite

                      Here’s the article from the Sacramento Bee:

San Mateo County officials say so many cars were in line for a gun buyback program set for Saturday that they decided to get started a little early.

Authorities are offering up to $100 cash for a handgun, shotgun or rifle, or up to $200 for an assault rifle at the event at the San Mateo Event Center.

The buyback was scheduled to run between 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., but more than an hour before the event was scheduled to begin cars were already lined up down a street approaching the center.

Officials say by 11 a.m. they had already collected more than 200 firearms.

The San Mateo County buyback comes after hundreds of guns were turned over in exchange for cash in similar recent buyback programs in San Francisco, Oakland and Marin County.

 

Newtown Task Force Wants To Add More Mental Health Care Screenings And Services To Schools


(CAV News) – Looks like the first hearing for the Newtown task force brought in a few ideas for safety in schools. First: Ramp up security. Second: Arm police officers. Third: Which was the focus to this article, bring in mental health services and screenings.

As you will read below, a lot of the speakers at this meeting want to profile, however, they aren’t calling it that. It’s assessing behavior patterns.

So, if the these clowns get their wish, basically they’ll add more shrinks into schools, diagnose and misdiagnosed more youngsters, and probably ignore one of the most crucial problems of all, prescribe them what they don’t need, psychotropic drugs.

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If we want to get serious about the safety of our children, don’t you think a good start would be individually? Parents need to educate themselves better, without government and health industry interference, about the side effects of psychotropic drugs. Federal and state employees don’t want to deal with individuals, they don’t like hyper children, and certainly love funding. So why not hand out some drugs? Mold your children right to the floor at the wishes of a shrink and the pressure coming from state and federal government above.

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Meanwhile, little Tommy, and his little head, is about to explode. He sniffles, he winces, shakes out of control, and throws little withdrawal fits when red and blue pill isn’t in his system. Sounds perfect.

Just a thought: Ever notice what happens to mental health patients at wards when they are off their drugs? They go nuts.

                  Here’s the full story from Hartford Courant:

For weeks, talk about making schools safer has focused on panic buttons, door buzzer systems, bulletproof glass and armed police officers, but at the first legislative hearing on the subject Friday, the need for better mental health services for youngsters took center stage.

“I don’t want this subcommittee to come to the conclusion that the magic bullet is an armed police officer,” said Lara Herscovitch, deputy director of the Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance. “There are other professionals that can do this prevention work.”

Herscovitch said she thinks the “limited resources” would be better spent on increasing the numbers of school social workers and psychologists who can help “kids with the root cause” of troubling behaviors.

 

 Sandy Hook Foundation Will Distribute Donations 

A number of speakers did call for a greater police presence and other security improvements. But, like Herscovitch, many of those testifying — and legislators on the hearing panel — spoke of their concern for the school climate and the need to identify students who need help early on.



 

The hearing was held by the school security subcommittee of the legislature’s Bipartisan Task Force on Gun Violence Prevention and Children’s Safety and attracted a wide range of speakers, from educators to police officers, social workers, psychologists and others. The task force is charged with developing recommendations in response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, where a gunman, Adam Lanza, killed 20 first-graders and six educators before killing himself.

At one point in Friday’s hearing, Sen. Beth Bye, D-West Hartford, asked a panel of educators, if an emergency occurs, “Do we have a mental health professional at the ready?”

Joseph Cirasuolo, executive director of the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents, said that very few mental health professionals are available to respond to an emergency situation. “If they are in the building,” they might be able to help out “tangentially,” Cirasuolo said, but most are involved with special education. “Resources have not been there to do what you are talking about,” Cirasuolo told Bye.

Senate President Pro Tempore Donald Williams, D-Brooklyn, also expressed concern about behavioral and mental health issues.

“I’m very interested in what we can do to help the next generation of students identify problems early on,” he said. “I’m a big believer in early identification and prevention.”

Williams said he knows that school psychologists are “severely overburdened” and suggested that it might help if schools had a “dean of students” who would address disciplinary issues and children acting out and relieve administrators of some of that burden.

Rep. Mitch Bolinsky, a Republican from Newtown, echoed the importance of finding a way to get the proper help when a child or youth is having a problem.

“Profiling is obviously a terrible word, but 25 or 30 years ago, we walked away … from the business of mental health care and drove it into the community and did not fund initiatives,” Bolinsky said. He said this has led particularly to having “young men with violent tendencies that have manifested and are among us.”

Bolinsky said he has had high school students identify students who concern them, but he said: “We don’t have school counselors that focus directly on mental health. Instead we intervene by emergency only.”

He asked how it is possible to identify students who may have problems, while protecting their privacy and avoiding “possible stigmatization.”

“I don’t think that Mr. Lanza was a secret,” Bolinsky said. “There were many people that knew of him as a threat, and yet he was in a position to do the unspeakable.”

University of Connecticut Police Chief Barbara O’Connor told Bolinsky that the universities have “struggled with that exact issue.” She said UConn has a “threat assessment team” that considers a student’s behaviors. “It’s not profiling,” she said, “What we need to do is focus on behaviors.”

She said the threat assessment team includes mental health professionals, administrators and law enforcement representatives and, without violating a students’ privacy, she said the team assesses how a student is doing, if he or she is getting mental health services.

O’Connor said she thinks an approach that involves a coordinated team is one that might work in the community. Often she said, people “have the information, they just don’t know where to go with it.”

The committee also heard from Thomas Kuroski, president of the Newtown Federation of Teachers, who said that with “the loss of the precious lives of the students, colleagues and friends who perished that day, we also lost our sense of security.”

Kuroski said it is important that decisions around school safety involve teachers, parents, school administrators, elected officials and students. “If educators have a voice, we feel safer and more confident in our ability to teach, nurture and protect out students,” he said.

Better Locks, Alarms

Others suggested installing betters locks, lighting, alarm systems and video surveillance cameras, and increasing the number of school resource officers.

Waterford Police Officer First Class Steven Whitehead, a school resource officer, stressed the importance of communication, particularly between school psychologists and social workers, and police officers and school staff.

A student’s privacy must be protected, “but when safety is an issue,” Whitehead said, such communication would help. He also said it would help to have police officers stationed not only in high schools — where most school resource officers are located — but in elementary schools so that children can learn to be comfortable with them.

“We work hand-in-hand with the schools to make sure the kids are safe and comfortable in their learning environment,” Whitehead said after testifying.

Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton said if he had to choose between sinking resources into beefing up mental health services at schools or adding armed guards, he would choose the former.

Boughton said behavioral health care for children is particularly helpful when it starts when they are young. However, he said, parents would most likely prefer to fund more police officers in schools if given the same choice, because they are more visible.

Attention shoppers: Another credit card fee is here


(NBC News) They agreed to change the rules and allow the surcharge as part of the settlement of an antitrust suit brought by retailers.

The surcharge is supposed to equal the actual cost of processing the credit card transaction, which is typically 1.5 to 3 percent. Under the agreement, the fee is capped at 4 percent. The surcharge can vary based on the type of card. For example, it could be higher for a rewards card or premier card.

Merchants still cannot add a surcharge to debit card transactions.

The big question is: Will any stores do this? Should you worry about paying a credit card surcharge?

“We have discussed the settlement with many, many merchants, and not a single merchant we have spoken to plans to surcharge,” Craig Sherman, spokesman for the National Retail Federation (NRF), said in a statement. The NRF was not involved in the class action lawsuit.

Image:NBC News contacted some of the country’s largest retailers. Wal-Mart, Target, Sears and Home Depot said they have no plans to add a credit card surcharge.

Credit card surcharges are banned by law in 10 states: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Oklahoma and Texas.

Visa and MasterCard have rules that require retailers to handle credit cards the same way in all of their stores across the country. That means a chain with stores in any of the 10 states where a surcharge is banned would not be able to have a surcharge at any of its stores.

The National Retail Federation points out that under terms of the settlement, a merchant who adds a surcharge to purchases on a Visa or MasterCard would have to do the same with American Express cards. But AMEX prohibits surcharge fees. So a merchant who accepts American Express as well as Visa/MasterCard would not be able to surcharge any of those cards.

“The bottom line is that very few retailers would be able to surcharge under the settlement, and that the vast majority don’t want to surcharge even if they could,” the NRF’s Sherman said.

Ed Mierzwinski, Director of Consumer Programs at U.S. PIRG agrees.

“In the brick-and-mortar world, no one who does any sort of volume business is going to want to surcharge because it will drive their customer crazy and slow down transactions,” Mierzwinski said.

In fact, most consumer advocates believe that except for some small retailers, a credit card surcharge is a non-issue in the short-term.

But Edgar Dworsky, founder of ConsumerWorld.org, worries that over time surcharges will gain traction.

”It’s predictable what’s going to happen,” he said. “We’re at the top of the hill and we’re going to start going down that slippery slope.”

Dworsky points out that stores factor in the cost of processing credit cards when they price their merchandise. Charging for that again, he said, would be double-dipping, unless stores rolled back their prices – which no one expects them to do.

Dworsky points to Australia, where surcharging credit card use began in 2003. At first, few merchants charged the fee.  His research shows that approximately one-third of the sellers there – including some hotels, supermarkets, department stores and utilities – now charge extra to use a credit card.

What about disclosures?
The advocacy group Consumer Action has published a booklet on credit card checkout fees. It warns shoppers to be on the lookout for these fees and advises them to express their dissatisfaction.“Customers shouldn’t stand for it,” said Ruth Susswein Consumer Action’s deputy director of national priorities. “Our advice is to tell them you don’t like the fee and this makes you want to take your business elsewhere.”

The new rules from Visa and MasterCard require retailers who apply a credit card surcharge to post a notice at the store’s entrance. The exact percentage of the surcharge does not need to be disclosed until the point of sale. The customer receipt must list the amount of the surcharge.

Online stores with a surcharge will not be required to have a notice on the home page. They only need to alert shoppers about this when they reach the page where credit cards are first mentioned. In most cases, that means the final step of checkout when the purchase is being completed.

Not the end of this story
The settlement that allows merchants to impose a surcharge is only preliminary. The court has yet to issue its final ruling in this case. That’s expected later this year.

Once that happens, various retailers and business groups plan to challenge the settlement. That could drag into late 2014.

For now, the possibility that the settlement could be modified will probably keep most businesses of any size from instituting credit card fees.

“We’re not convinced this is going to be an issue,” Consumer Action’s Susswein told me. “They may never do it, but as individual consumers we need to be aware.”

Kissinger: The Iran Nuclear Situation Will Come To A Head In The ‘Very Foreseeable Future’


(Business Insider) Henry Kissinger recently gave an ominous forecast on the future of Iran’s nuclear program: that it will be taken care of one way or another very soon.

attached imageSpeaking at the World Economic Forum at a Swiss ski resort in Davos, Kissinger said, “People who have advanced their view will have to come to a determination about how to react or about the consequences of non-reaction,” he said.

“I believe this point will be reached within a very foreseeable future.”

Also at Davos, Agence France Presse reports that President Shimon Peres said, “There will be more attempts to try and negotiate, but there will always be in the horizon a military option, because if the Iranians think it’s only economic and political, they won’t pay attention.”

Kissinger, Peres and Defense Minister Ehud Barak all seem to think that the Iran nuclear situation will come to close in some way in the next few months.

However, exactly how that will happen remains a subject of debate — where some see military threat and possible strikes as integral, , others report that sanctions have crippled the country, opening up critical lanes for upcoming nuclear talks with the U.N. Security Council.

One recent Haaratz report said that Iran’s income from oil had plummeted 50% in recent months, and the country has been unable to find the space to store its excess oil. Iran’s oil represents 80 percent of its income, and the U.S. has almost unilaterally banned the import of that oil. On the other side, Iran’s major importers are Asian countries (though China is exempt, it still represents an ally) — countries likely to, and more importantly, able to, put pressure on the U.S. to drop sanctions.

While Iran may try to delay and quibble over locations for the negotiation, it looks like economic sanctions may well cause their hand to fold, and soon.

Be a Proud Conspiracy Theorist, You’re in the Majority


(Activist Post) It seems that the establishment media has intensified their attack on “conspiracy theorists”.  It’s long been their feeble attempt to discredit anyone who dares question the “official” narrative of events.  But why the sudden deluge of attacks?

First, what does conspiracy theory even mean?

con·spir·a·cy – An agreement to perform together an illegal, wrongful, or subversive act.

the·o·ry – A set of statements or principles devised to explain a group of facts or phenomena.

con·spir·a·cy the·o·ry – The belief that the government or a covert organization is responsible for an event that is unusual or unexplained. In short, a conspiracy theorist seeks the full facts about covert subversive acts, and unusual or unexplained events. Put another way, when the story of an event doesn’t add up, theories arise to explain what really happened.

Given the abominable track record of the establishment media, it’s become more common to question everything we hear rather than blindly swallowing their script.

As the initial reporting of the Sandy Hook school massacre was so scattered, and policymakers immediately seized the crisis to promote a long desired agenda of strict gun control, it’s no wonder that some have questioned the authenticity of the “official” version of events.

What is the official version, anyway?  It’s changed a thousand times. They want us to believe a lone-wolf psycho used an assault rifle to kill 26 innocent children and teachers.

Never mind that it has come out that a “rifle” never entered the school and what they found in the trunk of Lanza’s car was actually a shotgun. Never mind how he got through the new $300,000 surveillance/security system while wearing a mask and armed to the teeth. Never mind the reports of multiple shooters and camouflage-clad strangers arrested in the woods. Don’t worry about the Emergency Response Team (ERT) that was simulating this exact same school shooter scenario on the same day in a nearby town. And, don’t ask why there’s a strange lack of injured survivors, credible witnesses, or anyone who even knew Adam Lanza. And, finally, how would gun control have prevented this event?

I must be an evil, heartless conspiracy theorist who pisses on the graves of those killed that day because I’d like answers to these questions. At least that’s what the establishment media wants you to believe about me and others who desire better explanations than what we’ve been given.

Media figures, particularly CIA intern Anderson Cooper of CNN, is using his bully pulpit to demonize anyone who questions the Sandy Hook event and lump them all into the most radical theory that says no one was murdered that day. The fact that he dedicated nearly an entire show to disputing a conspiracy theory, in and of itself is telling.

Meanwhile, AC was caught pulling a 360 on viewers by showing “active-shooter drill footage” from another school as if it was the breaking news feed of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

But,  as Cooper struggles to attract 200K viewers per night to his pulpit, an amateur video questioning the anomalies of Sandy Hook received an astonishing 10 million views in one week.

Therein lies the primary reason the establishment can no longer ignore conspiracy theorists, because they’re now the majority. According to a recent Fairleigh Dickinson University poll a majority of Americans (63%) believe at least one political conspiracy theory.

Dan Cassino, a professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University who helped conduct the poll said “People tend to believe that where there’s smoke, there’s fire – so the more smoke they see, the more likely they are to believe that something is going on.”

Regarding 9/11, Cassino says; “It’s easy to discount conspiracy theories about 9/11, but this isn’t some fringe belief. Trutherism is alive and well in America, and is only going to get stronger as memories of the actual event fade.”

Another likely motivation for the recent attacks on conspiracy theorists is because a staggering majority no longer trusts the corporate media or the government. Recent polling showed record level (60%) of distrust for the media, and Congress is less popular than cockroaches with a dismal 9% favorable rating.

It’s clear that the dying corporate media wants their viewers to despise anyone who questions the official narrative of any “event that is unusual or unexplained” in a desperate attempt to keep viewers locked to their “trusted” news channel.

I, for one, am proud to question everything I hear in the so-called news. And the bigger they hype a story, the more I question it. As professor Cassino said, “where there’s smoke, there’s fire.”

Usually someone, or a group of someones, clearly benefits from a certain subversive act. As such, they seem to have much more of a motivation than some lone wolf who kills himself after committing unexplainable atrocities or some cave dweller claiming to hate our freedom.

Is this always the case? Of course not. But the more hype the establishment puts behind a questionable event, the more reason there is to find out cui bono — who benefits?

Below is a great video dissertation by James Corbett about conspiracies and the media response to them:

The Truth About Red Tide’s Manmade Causes and Health Effects


The Truth About Red Tide's Manmade Causes and Health Effects

(greenmedinfo.com) If you consult the websites of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission or the Mote Marine Laboratory, both considered authorities on marine environmental issues in the state of Florida, red tide outbreaks associated with Karenia brevis are “natural phenomena,” ‘beyond our ability to control,’ and explicitly not fed by nutrient pollution or causally linked to land-based, human activities.  And yet, longtime residents of the Florida Gulf coast (the author included) can tell you from first-hand experience that the blooms have been getting progressively worse, closer to shore, and persisting for a greater length of time, indicating that if it is an entirely natural cycle, it has undergone concerning changes of late.

The reality is that authorities who deny the involvement of land-based activities and algae blooms are conveniently ignoring the science, which is peer reviewed and published, that instructs us on what is feeding red tide near shore. Florida has only so many industries that sustain its fragile economy, many of which would have to enact substantial, and costly reforms in order to improve the environmental situation. The tourism and real estate industries also have a vested interest in minimizing and/or denying the extent of the problem, at least in the short term. The long term outlook, however, is dismal for these industries, who failing to act, would see the primary attractor for tourists or potential buyers of real estate — the Gulf of Mexico — transformed into a Petri dish. It is for this reason that the truth about red tide must gain a wider audience, and we hope, widespread acceptance.

How Red Tide Is Measured and Misleadingly Contextualized For the Public

Since late September last year, the Southwest Florida Gulf Coast has been under siege by laboratory-verified blooms [see Status Maps], growing to its present state of significant outbreaks of a million cells per liter or higher, and stretching all the way from Manatee County to the Florida Keys. This is one of the worst red tide outbreaks in recorded history.[i]

Karenia brevis levels are measured by state environmental authorities using the cells/liter scale as follows:

  • Not Present – Background (0-1000)
  • Very Low (>1,000 to 10,000)
  • Low (>10,000 to 100,000)
  • Medium (>100,000 – 1,000,000)
  • High (>1,000,000)

These figures, however, are quite misleading.  Using colloquial expressions such as “Very Low” to describe concentrations of Karenia brevis of 1,000 to 10,000 cells per liter does the public a disservice, as they are serious enough to lead to acute symptoms of respiratory irritation and shellfish harvesting closures.

So-called “Low” levels, or 10,000 to 100,000 cells per liter, can cause fish kills.  Once you get to “Medium” and “High” red tide represents a serious health threat to exposed populations, keeping in mind that one does not have to be “at the beach” to be affected, as red tide brevetoxins are aerosolized (made airborne) via wave action, and can be carried on the wind many miles inshore.  In fact, at so-called “Low” levels >50,000 cells/liter the saturation of Karenia brevis is already significant enough that it can be detected by satellite.

At present, levels along the affected Southwest Florida Gulf Coast have reached “High” in several areas, including off the coast of Lee County where I am presently reporting from. I can speak directly from experience that this is a particularly noxious outbreak. For instance, I had a bronchial asthma attack for the first time in 20 years and have found myself, my family, and the local community I serve to be at greatly increased susceptibility to prolonged cold and flu bouts, over the past five months.

Another important consideration is that red tide sampling occurs primarily in surface water (80% surface sampling; 20% bottom sampling). The problem is that Karenia brevis blooms have been found to penetrate coastal waters along the bottom without surface expression until nearshore. This means that “negative” surface findings do not necessarily indicate the absence of a problem.

So, What Is The Real Cause of Prolonged, Near-To-Shore Red Tide Outbreaks?

So, back to the question: are these outbreaks entirely natural phenomena, as many health authorities, and certainly folks within the mainstream media, tourist and real estate industry, often maintain?

The answer is a resolute and resounding NO.  In April, 2009, the journal Aquatic Microbial Ecology published a groundbreaking study titled, “Grazing by Karenia brevis on Synechococcus enhances its growth rate and may help to sustain blooms,” which provided the missing link in how red tide is directly fed by human, land-based activities.  Here is the study abstract:

ABSTRACT: Grazing rates of Karenia brevis Clones CCMP2228 and CCMP2229 were determined in laboratory experiments using Synechococcus sp. Clone CCMP1768 as food. Grazing by K. brevis thus enhances the range of nutritional substrates available to meet its growth requirements, and may play a substantial role in sustaining natural populations in inorganic N-poor waters. With evidence that blooms of Synechococcus can be enhanced due to anthropogenic nutrients, the poten­tial importance of this particulate nutrient source for sustaining red tide blooms in situ is large and may help to resolve the current uncertainty as to how K. brevis blooms are maintained. It can now be hypothesized that as cyanobacterial blooms increase, so too does the potential forKarenia brevis growth to be enhanced and for blooms to be sus­tained through grazing, especially under the low light conditions associated with bloom self-shading. Recog­nition of this pathway is at least one step toward recon­ciling the long-term reported increase in K. brevis blooms (e.g. Brand & Compton 2007) and the tendency for blooms of this species to develop offshore in seem­ingly oligotrophic waters (e.g. Vargo et al. 2004, 2008)

What this research essentially proves is that the runoff from land-based applications of urea nitrogen fertilizers such as commonly used in lawn care, as well as additional sources of nitrogen urea from septic tanks, sewage spills and close-to-water sewage treatment effluent, result in Synachoccus blooms, which is a harmless, green slime algae (have you noticed the green slime at your beach?). Karenia brevis (red tide) uses the green slime as an energy source. The more Synachoccus the more red tide; simple cause and effect.

At the root of the problem are nitrogen urea fertilizers, which are overused in Florida lawn care practices, as well as in Florida agriculture (more on this later). According to a Sierra Club report linking fertilizers to Red Tide blooms, residential fertilizer use in the state of Florida increased by 153,533.95 tons or 45% from 2003 to 2006 alone.[ii] One might ask the question to Floridians: is the “health” of your lawns (read: aesthetic appearance) more important than the health of the Gulf of Mexico (and by implication, your own health)?

Ironically, plants need primarily magnesium (for chlorophyll) and potassium, and not nearly as much nitrogen, which is presently being used at up to 5 times higher levels than required. In fact, excess nitrogen leads to plasmolysis in plants, causing excess water to leave the plant entering the soil, resulting in wilting. The excess nitrogen, of course, leaches into the soil and eventually a portion of its causes water pollution.

The obvious solution to the accelerating red tide problem is to reduce land-based applications of urea nitrogen, especially in the summer months. As the green slime is reduced, the red tide will have no additional energy source and will die out.

How Red Tide Adversely Affects Human Health

In order to understand how red tide affects human health, one must first understand brevetoxins, the primary “poisons” produced by this organism.

There are at least 9, and as many as 14, brevetoxins divided into two classes: Brevetoxin A and Brevetoxin B, with 3 subtypes characterized among Brevetoxin A and 4 subtypes among Brevetoxin B.

Brevetoxins are extremely toxic.  The brevetoxin B subtype, PB-TX2, for instance, has an oral LD50 (the acutely lethal dose that kills 50% of the test group) equivalent to cyanide (6 mg/kg) at 6.6 mg/kg in the 24 mouse model of acute exposure. No one truly knows the extent of the synergistic toxicity associated with exposure to all 9-14 brevetoxins simultaneously, which is what may occur in real-world exposure, because it has not (to my knowledge) been researched.

Brevetoxins are known primarily as a neurotoxic. They bind to voltage-gated sodium channels in nerve cells, leading to disruption of nerve transmission and in some cases nerve cell death.  Animal research indicates that as little as 2 days of subacute exposure to the Brevetoxin B, PbTx-3, is sufficient to induce neuronal degeneration in a discrete reason of the mouse cerebral cortex.[iii]

In humans, a condition known as Neurotoxic Shellfish Poisoning (NSP) caused by the consumption of shellfish contaminated by brevetoxins has been identified. Symptoms include vomiting and nausea and a variety of neurological symptoms such as slurred speech.[iv] Of course, lower concentrations, especially in more susceptible populations already suffering from neurological issues, likely contribute to these symptoms, as well as headache, myalgias (muscle soreness), and related aches and pains that would be hard to attribute to such an invisible toxin, whose health threat is generally downplayed by the media and medical establishment.

Neurotoxicity, however, is only the tip of the iceberg. A 2004 study, published in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, found that the immune system, and not the nervous system, is the primary target of brevetoxins.[v] Animals exposed to brevetoxin saw a more than 70% suppression of humoral immunity.  A 2005 study confirmed this finding.[vi]

Then, in 2011, it was found that brevetoxin A inhalation worsens the pulmonary response to influenza A in the male rat. [vii] The study authors concluded: “These results suggest that repeated inhalation exposure to brevetoxin may delay virus particle clearance and recovery from influenza A infection in the rat lung.”

This finding indicates that Red Tide blooms may therefore worsen the seasonal flu epidemics that commonly afflict the Southwest Florida, especially when the bloom persists into the fall and winter months, as is the present case.

It is already well known that hospital verified cases of respiratory issues can increase by over 50% during sustained Red Tide outbreaks.[viii]

Considering that much of the mortality associated with influenza infection is associated with pneumonia complications, reducing Red Tide outbreaks via fertilizer use reductions should be considered a top priority by health authorities.

But the adverse health effects do not end with neurotoxicity and immunotoxicity, as serious gastrointestinal complaints may also follow from Red Tide exposure.  A 2010 study examined whether the presence of a Florida red tide bloom affected the rates of admission for a gastrointestinal diagnosis to a hospital emergency room in Sarasota, FL.[ix]  According to the study:

The rates of gastrointestinal diagnoses admissions were compared for a 3-month time period in 2001 when Florida red tide bloom was present onshore to the same 3-month period in 2002 when no Florida red tide bloom occurred. A significant 40% increase in the total number of gastrointestinal emergency room admissions for the Florida red tide bloom period was found compared to the non red tide period.

We can therefore add gastrointestinal issues to the growing list of Red Tide associated health issues. Other potential health effects that have been noted in the biomedical literature include:

So What Can Be Done?

1) REDUCE EXPOSURE: First, if you live in South Florida, remember to monitor your area’s levels by visiting the Status Maps. Please keep in mind that proximity is not the only factor in exposure, due to the well known aerosolization of these toxins and the inability of surface water testing to fully reveal its presence.

Next, visit the site WindMaps.com, to see if the winds are moving inshore, or going offshore. This simple step may enable you to reduce exposure, by reducing time outside, and certainly keeping off the beach, on days that aerosolized Red Tide brevetoxins may be moving inshore. Also, consider that if you are driving, keep the air circulating within the cabin. Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do if your AC unit is continually pulling air from outside inside your home, but you could reduce your AC usage on these days. Eating cooling foods, and wear lighter clothing, for instance.

2) REDUCE TOXIC EFFECTS: The primary mechanism through which brevetoxins cause respiratory harm is through IgE-independent mast cell activation.[x] Mast cells are immune cells which if over-activated can produce a wide range of potentially harmful substances, such as:

  • Histamine (inflammatory)
  • Thromboxane (vasoconstrictive)
  • Prostaglandin D2 (brochoconstrive)
  • Leukotriene C4 (bronchoconstrictive)

Keeping this in mind, preventing mast-cell degranulation with safe, non-drug alternatives such as nettle’s extract may be an ideal approach to the problem. Several companies provide extracts which concentrate the compounds within nettle’s that inhibit mast cell degranulation, e.g. New Chapter’s Histamine Take Care, V!ah‘s “Allerblock.”  While we do not endorse any product, as this runs counter to our mission statement (you will see no ads on GreenMedInfo.com for any dietary supplement) we feel compelled to inform our readers that alternatives to antihistamine drugs like Benadryl do exist. Also, please remember to do your own research in tandem with consulting a licensed health care practitioner before embarking on a path of self-care. Other potential histamine-blocking compounds that have been researched can be found on our histamine antagonist page: Histamine Antagonist

3) CONTRIBUTE TO THE LONG TERM SOLUTION: The long-term solution is to reduce the use of nitrogen urea fertilizers in both lawn and agricultural applications. There is no question that nitrogen urea rich agricultural runoff, primarily from the sugarcane and citrus industries, are sizable contributors to the overall nitrogen burden in the Gulf of Mexico. Much of Big Sugar’s agricultural runoff ends up in Lake Okeechobee, which eventually empties into the Gulf of Mexico.

A 2006 study published in the journal Biogeochemistry titled, “Escalating worldwide use of urea – a global change contributing to coastal eutrophication,” indicates worldwide use of urea as a nitrogen fertilizer and feed additive has increased more than 100-fold in the past 4 decades. The study pointed out:

Long thought to be retained in soils, new data are suggestive of significant overland transport of urea to sensitive coastal waters. Urea concentrations in coastal and estuarine waters can be substantially elevated and can represent a large fraction of the total dissolved organic nitrogen pool. Urea is used as a nitrogen substrate by many coastal phytoplankton and is increasingly found to be important in the nitrogenous nutrition of some harmful algal bloom (HAB) species.

They also noted that “the global increase from 1970 to 2000 in documented incidences of paralytic shellfish poisoning, caused by several HAB species, is similar to the global increase in urea use over the same 3 decades.”

The reality is that these agricultural practices have been a long time in the making, and will take considerable time, energy and political clout to change. The good news is that you can make changes at the local level, from the bottom up, as it were, by starting with your own lawn. You can also organize at a county level to enact ordinances that restrict fertilizer use, as Ed Rosenthal, founder of the non-profit organization Advocate the Precautionary Principle, has done with great success in Sarasota county. These results are encouraging, and indicate that we can build a grassroots movement with an end goal to enact stricter regulations at the state level.


Resources

 

Extremists Attack Arab Children In Jerusalem For Boarding Israeli Bus


(imemc.org) Last Sunday, and following the end of a normal school day in Jerusalem, a number of Arab Palestinian schoolchildren from Jerusalem (around age 12) boarded an Israeli bus while heading home; a number of adult Israeli extremists started insulting the children, and one of them spit a gum he was chewing on a child’s face.

Israeli Bus, file - reprinted from Arabs48

Israeli paper, Haaretz, reported that after the Palestinian children boarded the bus, two settlers “noticed” that the children were speaking in Arabic, and started cursing at them, insulting them and one of the settlers even spit a gum, he was chewing, in the face of one of the children.

The Arab children study at a Jerusalem school attended by both Arab and Jewish students.

After the two settlers left the bus, a settler woman started harassing the children, cursing at them and uttered a number of racist statements against the Arabs and Palestinians.

The settler woman did not only use words to show her racist nature against the Palestinians, but even physically attacked one of the children by grabbing her hair and pulling it.

The bus driver then stopped his bus, and demanded the settler woman to leave, and when she refused he called the police who detained her.

Haaretz said that “Ayyoub”, the father of the child, said that his daughter goes to school through Jewish neighborhoods every single school day, and that she is repeatedly subject to verbal insults, but this time extremists decided to move to physical assault.

US banks shaken by biggest deposit withdrawals since 9/11


(RT) US Federal Reserve is reporting a major deposit withdrawal from the nation’s bank accounts. The financial system hasn’t seen such a massive fund outflow since 9/11 attacks.

Joe Raedle / Getty Images / AFP The first week of January 2013 has seen $114 billion withdrawn from 25 of the US’ biggest banks, pushing deposits down to $5.37 trillion, according to the US Fed. Financial analysts suggest it could be down to the Transaction Account Guarantee insurance program coming to an end on December 31 last year and clients moving their money that is no longer insured by the government.

The program was introduced in the wake of the 2008 crisis in order to support the banking system. It provided insurance for around $1.5 trillion in non-interest-bearing accounts with a limit of $250,000. It was aimed at medium and small banks as the creators of the program believed bigger banks would cope with the crisis themselves.

So the current “fast pace” of withdrawal comes as a surprise to financial analysts because the deposits are slipping away from those banks which supposedly were safe. Experts expected savers in small and medium banks would turn to bigger players come December 31.

There are a number of reasons behind this unpredicted fund outflow. Some experts believe it has to do with the beginning of the year when the money is randomly needed here and there. Others have concluded the funds are getting down to business and being invested.

Another set of data from the US Federal Reserve shows some deposits may have moved within the banking system from one type of account to another.

It Is Only The Flu


(Ammoland.com)-  It is only the Flu. These are the famous words of the political leaders of the day, in 1917-1918 while large populations of the world were dying.

They called it the Spanish Flu pandemic. Pandemic means an epidemic, which spreads over a wide area. It was incorrectly named because World War I was going on and the governments on both side had censorship of the news. Spain was not at war and their newspapers reported the latest information on the pandemic as it was occurring.

Because most of the timely and accurate information was coming from that country people wrongfully thought Spain started the whole thing. It is most likely that the 1917 Great Influenza epidemic started in Kansas and was taken to an army camp by some young men who were joining up to fight, now that the US had entered the war.

Military bases and college campuses are some of the worst places to be if there is an easily spread disease around, especially if it is passed on by coughing and sneezing. People go from living in lots of open space of the family home, to the very confined space of a crowded dormitory room or a military barracks.

The practice of medicine in 1917 was not what it is today. Many doctors of the time attended medical schools that did not require the student to have an undergraduate degree. Some doctors graduated from medical school without ever seeing a live patient. Also because the US had entered the First World War, the military had already done a very good job of screening for the better trained medical personnel and then drafting the most competent physicians in the country.

This unfortunately left the older, less modern trained doctors, and the ones who attended questionable medical schools, to treat the sickening public. A public that was about to start dying by the tens of thousands in this county and by the millions world wide. The death rate had been reported has high as 40 million back during the epidemic and has been revised within the last couple of years to approximately 100 million.

According to John M. Barry who wrote the book The Great Influenza, it killed more people in twenty four weeks than AIDS has killed in the past twenty four years. Most people in the US at the time were directly affected by the Flu. If not as a patient themselves, than by a family member, close friend or neighbor who suffered and died.

My great-grandparents and all but, their oldest daughter (to include my grandfather) contracted the Flu. My great aunt nursed the entire family back to good health then contracted the flu herself and died. I first heard that story in the 1950s when we would go to Missouri and visit my great-grandmother. Thirty plus years after the pandemic the family was still talking about it as if it had just happened.

It is different when you actually lose a family member in an epidemic vs. reading about it in the paper. It would appear the US gave this lethal crisis to the world and as it developed the politicians and the military leaders not only turned a blinded eye, but withheld important information that would have allowed the public to prepare and react more efficiently.

After all it was only the flu.

President Wilson never publicly acknowledged that there ever was a flu. At the end of war he traveled to Europe and promptly contracted the influenza himself. One of the effects of the flu in some patients is swelling in the brain. Even if you survive it can be a precursor to strokes later in life. President Wilson had a major debilitating stroke shortly after he returned to the US. But it was only the influenza.

A 2005 cover story for National Geographic was “The Next Killer Flu-Can we stop it?” Have you seen the movie Contagion? The TV and print news are continually running stories about current flu issues in the US. In some areas there has been a flu vaccine shortages and that was for the regular normal (what ever that means) yearly flu.

People, who wait until the media creates a panic about shortages before they try to get their flu shoot, are their own worst enemy. Between thirty, and fifty thousand Americans, die each year from flu (again normal flu). If you think the response to the hurricane disaster this year was slow to meet the public’s needs that will pale in comparison if there is a pandemic flu outbreak. Remember people did not fly back in 1917. This time it will spread faster and more deadly. Go see Contagion it is the best two hour explanation of how it will happen and how devastating it will be. It is not if – it is when.

Then get your Flu Shot.

ROBBING MALI TO PAY GERMANY


(WRH) That all wars are ultimately bankers’ wars doesn’t get more obvious than this.

Our story starts with the fact that many nations have deposited gold bullion at the New York Federal Reserve. That gold vault was a centerpiece for the Bruce Willis film, “Die Hard With a Vengeance.”

 

The idea is that while you and I are required to transact business with piece of paper and ink, large banks and nations still settle their accounts with gold, which is simply wheeled from one nation’s vault to another to settle a debt, all of it under the roof of the Federal Reserve Gold Depository in New York City, or the similar institutions at the Bank of England and Band of France.

Then, in 2009, a worker at a German gold bullion trader grew suspicious of a gold bar that had come in, and decided to assay the gold content. But the drill bit broke, revealing that the core of the gold car was filled with tungsten, a metal almost the exact same density as gold. The bar was cut open, and the scandal reported on German TV.

Alerted, other gold centers began to scrutinize their gold bars and more fakes quickly surfaced, including China, and the Manhattan jewelry district.

 

 

It quickly became apparent that the problem of tungsten filled bullion bars was widespread. Because many of the fake gold bars had the marking of US sources, nations began to ask for audits and tests of the gold bullion held in their name by the New York Federal Reserve. To the surprise of many, the New York Federal Reserve refused! Indeed the New York Federal Reserve refused the German government permission to simply look at their bullion! Germany’s private central bank then went public assuring the Germans that they trusted America’s private central bank and did not need to see the gold. That was followed by a bizarre editorial from CNBC’s Senior Editor Jim Carney that it didn’t really matter if the bullion was really there at the New York federal Reserve, as long as the bookkeeping said it was!

That set off everyone’s alarm bells!

The German government started demanding their physical gold to be repatriated back to Germany from both the Bank of France and the New York Federal Reserve. Germany demanded all of the 374 tons of gold held by the Bank of France, but only 300 tons of the 1500 tons of bullion held by the New York Federal Reserve. Both the Bank of France and the New York Federal Reserve have stated that the process of returning the gold will take years, five years for the French gold, and seven for the gold coming from the New York Federal Reserve. The delay makes the situation clear. Neither the Bank of France nor the New York Federal Reserve actually have the gold Germany deposited, sending tungsten fakes back to the very nation that first spotted the fraud is risky, the France and the United States are scrambling to find replacement gold.

So where did the gold go? Certainly some of it was dumped onto the market to keep gold prices low, to discourage investors from pulling their money out of the banks and equities markets and switching to gold. But most of it was likely leased out to settle over-sold gold futures contracts to keep the US commodites market from imploding, and now they cannot get it back.

Which brings us to Mali.

Mali is one of the world’s largest gold producers. Together with neighboring Ghana they account for 7-8% of world gold output. That makes them a rich prize for nations desperate for real physical gold. So, even as Germany started demanding their gold back from the Bank of France and the New York Federal Reserve, France (aided by the US) decided to invade Mali to fight “Islamists” working for “Al Qaeda.” Of course, “Islamists” has become the catch-all label for people that need to ne killed to get them out of the way of the path to riches, and the people being bombed by France (aided by the US) are not “Al Qaeda” but Tawariqs, who have been fighting for their independence for 150 years, long before the CIA created “Al Qaeda”. Left to themselves, the Tawariqs could sell gold to whoever they want for whatever they want, and right now China can outbid the US and France.

So off to war your children must go, to spill their blood for the money-junkies’ gold.

UPDATE: Switzerland has announced their intention to repatriate all of their gold held by the New York Federal Reserve and other central banks. That means the gold mines of Mali may not be enough to cover the shortfall. Nearby Ghana is also a major gold producer. Together with Mali, they account for 7% of world gold production. But even that may not be enough, and I am concerned that the US Government may order US citizens to turn in their gold to save the banking system, as Roosevelt did back in 1933.

Gatorade pulls ingredient linked to flame retardant


Gatorade will remove a controversial chemical from its ingredients. Brominated vegetable oil, a synthetic chemical that has been patented in Europe as a flame retardant, will no longer double as an ingredient in Gatorade sports drinks.

(LA Times) Molly Carter, a spokeswoman for Gatorade owner PepsiCo Inc., said the company has been considering the move for more than a year, working on a way to take out the ingredient without affecting the flavor of the drink.

A recent petition on Change.org to drop the chemical – which has more than 200,000 supporters – did not inspire the decision, Carter said, though she acknowledged that consumer feedback was the main impetus.

In the petition, posted by Sarah Kavanagh of Hattiesburg, Miss., “BVO” is described as banned in Japan and theEuropean Union.

The effort quotes a Scientific American article suggesting that “BVO could be building up in human tissues” and that studies on mice have shown “reproductive and behavioral problems” linked to large doses of the chemical.

The reformulated Gatorade flavors “will start rolling out in the next few months,” Carter said.

There’s no hard date for the launch because “we’re not recalling Gatorade,” she said. “We don’t think our products are unsafe. We don’t think there are health or safety risks.”

The BVO ingredient was used as a flavor emulsifier, helping to distribute Gatorade’s coloring throughout the bottle, Carter said. Now, the company is swapping in another emulsifier with an intimidating name: sucrose acetate isobutyrate.