Religion as a Tool of Repression

Freedom of speech and dissent are always curtailed in times of war. Whenever soldiers occupy foreign nations, rational thinking is proscribed in favor of nationalistic hubris. Minority opinions, although grounded in ethics and reason, are repressed, often brutally. The majority becomes intolerant of dissenting views. Thoughtful dialog is suspended and irrational ideology gains ascendancy. Civil discourse breaks down, and the social order disintegrates into anti-intellectual emotionalism and chaos.

During World War I and World War II, it was dangerous for anyone to oppose war or to speak truth to power. When Eugene Victor Debs delivered his Canton anti-war speech in 1918, he went to prison. In An Enemy of the People, Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen demonstrated that the majority of the people are easily deceived, their emotions manipulated by profiteers and special interests. It requires serious conviction to take a principled stand in the midst of nationalistic fervor in which men and women so easily turn upon one another. During war, nationalism and repression are conducted with the fervor of a religious crusade.

In this era of permanent war we see bumper stickers that attempt to meld religion with nationalism. They carry jingoistic slogans like “God bless America” or “God bless our troops.” Significantly, God even appears on our currency. But why would a just God, if God exists at all, bless a nation that kills with impunity? Why would God bless a nation with a history of repression and genocide?  Why would God bless a nation that institutionalized chattel slavery and the repression of its working class?

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Banned marijuana dispensary reopens in Wildomar

A medical marijuana collective engaged in a legal battle against Wildomar re-opened its storefront location Monday in defiance of a citywide ban on dispensaries.

The move by the Wildomar Patients Compassionate Group comes a week after the collective filed a legal petition seeking to block the city from enforcing its ban.

General Manager William Sump said the group believes Wildomar’s ban violates state law, which allows medical marijuana patients access to medication.

“I will only operate until a judge tells us not to,” Sump said.

Wildomar City Manager Frank Oviedo said the city would likely seek a court order forcing the dispensary to shut down.

“We’re going to enforce the city’s ordinance,” Oviedo said. “There is no other option. We can’t ignore our own laws.”

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Anti-US governor wins Okinawa poll

The Japanese on the southern Island of Okinawa have re-elected incumbent governor Hirokazu Nakaima, who wants an end to the American military presence.

Nakaima, who wants the US base off Okinawa altogether, beat his opponent who agreed to relocate the base to a less crowded area on the island.

In May, Tokyo and Washington agreed to implement a 2006 plan to relocate Marine Corps Air Station Futenma to a less crowded area in Okinawa.

The move infuriated local residents, who view the base as a source of noise, pollution and serious crime –including rape.
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Cuban Rum Steps Up in World Markets

Havana, Nov 26 (ACN-RHC) The worldwide prestige of Cuban rum is reaffirmed by the growing demand of Ron Legendario, whose sales show an annual 10 percent increase.

The trademark’s deputy director of marketing, Carlos Sanchez, stated that Ron Legendario is currently available in more than 15 European countries.

Ron Legendario is produced in six factories across the country, three of them located in Pinar del Rio, Matanzas and Villa Clara and one in Havana, Sanchez said. Legendario is distributed in Europe by the Valencian Legendario SL company, which is currently seeking entry into other markets.

The trademark’s leading product is the Legendario Elixir de Cuba 7-year-aged rum, which is the richest, smoothest, sweetest and most delicate rum produced in the island.

Other Legendario spirits commercialized by the Spanish company are
Dorado, Añejo, Añejo Blanco, Carta Blanca Superior and Gran Reserva 15 Years.

 

Protest at White House: No New Korean War!

Washington, November 27 (RHC)– Protesters gathered Saturday in front of the White House in Washington to call for an end to the provocations against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The emergency anti-war rally was called in response to the latest escalation of hostilities in the Korean Peninsula.

Organizers of the anti-war protest said the provocations could lead to a new Korean War — “one that could expand to wider regional, and potentially nuclear, conflict.”

In a statement released just before Saturday’s protest rally began, organizers said that the biggest provocation in the region is the massive presence of U.S. military bases, troop, nuclear and conventional weapons. “In 2010, 65 years after the end of World War II, there are scores of U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine bases in the Republic of Korea, Okinawa, and all across Japan. This vast deployment of military power halfway around the world far exceeds that of any other country.”

The anti-war protesters said that the real purpose of this military machine “is to secure and further the interests of the U.S. corporate power and strategic domination in Asia and around the world. It is the enemy of the people of Korea, China, Japan and the people of the United States.”

Ignoring You is Not a Cognitive Defect

So a bunch of high school teachers are upset that their students are bored with them. Well, that’s not how they say it. Instead, the New York Times has the backs of boring, stupid teachers everywhere: “Growing Up Digital, Wired for Distraction.” If kids didn’t have iPhones, they would pay attention in school.

Really?

What’s the last book you’ve read. How often do you – a big, bad, enlightened adult – sit down without the television or radio on? How often do you seek the lengthy solitude of reflection and reading? Can you even sit in silence for an hour?

Adults rarely read, and that’s fine. Adults spend most of our time in a distraction from our impending death. Or is there another justification for TV?

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Calilfornia marijuana Legalization debate gets interesting

Two Norfolk teachers put on leave over material about police

Two Norview High School teachers were placed on paid administrative leave this week after a parent complained that they distributed classroom materials that gave advice on how to deal with police if stopped.

The materials – a one-page handout and a video distributed and aired in a 12th-grade government class – are sponsored by two organizations, one a nonprofit that supports legalization of marijuana and one that calls itself a “decentralized anarchist collective.”

The last paragraph of the flier, titled “When Dealing with Police” states, “Remember You have legal rights, but many police will not respect your rights. Be careful – Be Street Smart.”

Schools spokeswoman Elizabeth Thiel Mather said division leaders are investigating the incident over concerns that the materials were unauthorized.

The parent, who asked not to be named out of fear that her daughter could be ostracized or get a lower class grade, told The Pilot that she contacted the division and police after her daughter described the leaflet and video.

“She came home recently and said, ‘You won’t believe what we are learning in Government. They are teaching us how to hide our drugs,’ ” the parent recounted.

Last week, an Oakwood Elementary School employee was placed on leave with pay in connection with the distribution of plastic fetus models to children, which division leaders also considered unauthorized material. Oakwood’s principal was also put on leave in connection with the incident, and an investigation is continuing.

Mather said it is uncommon to have to put staff on leave for using inappropriate materials. The division typically gets no more than two parent complaints a year about the suitability of textbooks or library materials, she said.

The leaflet handed out at Norview describes the rights citizens have if they are stopped or arrested by police or witness police activity. It is posted on the Web here.

A credit on the leaflet reads, “Assembled by the Crimethinc Police Unwelcoming Committee.” On its website, Crimethinc.com calls itself a “decentralized anarchist collective.”

The video, “Busted: Citizen’s Guide to Surviving Police Encounters,” is posted online here.  It opens with a portrayal of young adults stopped by a traffic officer who searches their car and arrests them for marijuana possession. Other scenes depict police questioning a young man at a bus stop and patrol officers who visit a home where loud partiers are smoking marijuana.

A commentator on the video states, “Whether or not you break the law, this video is designed to explain what the law is and how you can legally and properly assert your constitutional rights through even the most stressful police encounters.”

For each scene, the commentator explains how legal rights apply to police searches of vehicles, homes or individuals and how people can cite those rights during encounters with police.

The video was created by Flex Your Rights, a nonprofit that advocates educating the public about how constitutional protections apply during encounters with law enforcement. The production has gotten 2.3 million viewings on YouTube since November 2006.

The video’s end credits cite funding from the MPP Foundation, which is part of the Marijuana Policy Project. On the Web, the group advocates legal regulation for marijuana and noncoercive treatment for problem marijuana users.

Pilot writers Hattie Brown Garrow, Lauren Roth and Alicia P.Q. Wittmeyer contributed to this report.

Steven G. Vegh, (757) 446-2417, steven.vegh@pilotonline.com

California passes bill to counteract ‘disturbing’ Texas curriculum

Measure ensures Texas standards don’t ‘creep into our textbooks,’ senator tells Raw Story

The California Senate on Friday approved legislation that sends a clear message to Texas and textbook publishers: don’t mess with our kids’ minds.

“My bill begins the process of ensuring that California students will not end up being taught with Texas standards,” State Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco), who authored and sponsored the legislation, said in an interview. Texas standards had better not “creep into our textbooks,” he said.

The S.B. 1451 measure – approved on a bipartisan vote of 25-5 – requires the California State Board of Education to examine and report any discrepancies between the new Texas standards and California’s standards. “At that point,” Yee told Raw Story, “we will make it very, very clear that we won’t accept textbooks that minimize the contributions of minorities and propagate the close connection between church and state.”

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Study: Occupied Baghdad is least livable city on planet

The Iraq war is still being touted by Washington and the Pentagon as a war for progress and stability in the region. A study released May 26, however, reveals a radically different reality.

The Mercer Quality of Living Survey ranked Baghdad last in a list of “most livable cities.” The study took into account political, economic, ecological, social and cultural factors.

The result is not surprising considering the devastation brought on by the U.S.-led invasion. Sewage treatment plants, factories, schools, hospitals, and museums have been destroyed. As a result, Iraqi citizens now have scarce access to water and electricity.

The demolition of infrastructure is an important tactic in imperialist war and helps explain why the study found that, “A lack of security and stability continue to have a negative impact on Baghdad’s quality of living.”

The only benefactors from the occupation have been big corporations like BP, who got access to the giant Rumaila oil field. The citizens of Iraq continue to pay with their lives.

Gun Running, Drugs and Flamenco: US Army Human Terrain System Has It All

See also:  Nature: Shut Down Army’s Human Terrain Program

A member of the United States Army Training and Doctrine Command management team in Afghanistan, according to sources, is a “gun runner.” That individual is allegedly listed in an “Federal Bureau of Investigation database” and has “ties to Ahmad Wali Khan Karzai and the drug business.”

Another Human Terrain System leader has apparently been accused by “local nationals…of being a pedophile—touching young Afghan children while out in the field and making disturbing comments about them.” Members of a US Army Stryker group in Afghanistan have made the same comments.

These comments appear outrageous but, then again, this is the US Army Human Terrain System. It’s a head-shaker that the US Army (TRADOC) and Lieutenant General William James Lennox Jr. heap praise upon it even as the US Congress, House Armed Services Committee, has said the program needs a good scrub, as reported by the authorities on HTS at Wired the Washington Independent.

HASC is to be applauded for this action. And it could not come at a better time.

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Snails on speed

Biologists turned snails into tweakers to learn more about how crystal meth seems to improve memory in humans. According to the Washington State University and University of Calgary researchers, memories formed while on methamphetamine may be more durable. (They ran another snail study in 2006 using cocaine instead of meth.) Their work could someday provide a deeper understanding of addiction.

…The team wondered whether meth could improve the snails’ memories. First they immersed the snails in meth-laced pond water, then they moved them into regular de-oxygented pond water and gave them a training session that the snails should only recall for a few hours. In theory the snails should have forgotten their training 24 hours later, but would the meth improve the snails’ memories so they remembered to keep their pneomostomes closed a day later? It did. A dose of meth prior to training had improved the snails’ memories, allowing them to recall a lesson that they should have already forgotten. And when the team tested whether they could mask the meth memory with another memory, they found that the meth memory was much stronger and harder to mask.

“Snails on methamphetamine”

San Jose union begins organizing pot workers

A major California labor union is organizing medical cannabis workers in Oakland, a move that analysts say will help efforts to legalize marijuana and open the door for the union to organize thousands more workers if state voters pass a measure in November to allow recreational marijuana use by adults.

The 26,000-member United Food and Commercial Workers Local 5 in San Jose is believed to be the first union in the country to organize workers in a marijuana-related business. It is considering new job classifications including “bud tender” – a sommelier of sorts who helps medical marijuana users choose the right strain for their ailment.

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Stupid Drug Story of the Week: The Associated Press on the arrival of “deadly, ultra-pure heroin.”

Yesterday, the Associated Press moved a story completely devoid of historical context. The piece, titled “Deadly, Ultra-Pure Heroin Arrives in U.S.,” claims that in “recent years”—a time frame that goes undefined—Mexican dealers have started peddling “ultra-potent” black tar heroin and are selling it for as little as $10 a bag.

In alarmist prose, the article asserts that the ultra-smack’s purity ranges from 50 percent to 80 percent heroin, up from the 5 percent purity of the 1970s, and this potency is “contributing to a spike in overdose deaths across the nation.” But reports of high-potency heroin being sold in the United States are anything but “recent.” My source? The AP itself. Over the decades, the wire service has repeatedly reported on the sale of high-potency heroin on the streets. Here are a few examples of AP coverage culled from Nexis.

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Red Cross confirms ‘secret jail’ in Bagram, Afghanistan

The US airbase at Bagram in Afghanistan contains a facility for detainees that is distinct from its main prison, the Red Cross has confirmed to the BBC.

Nine former prisoners have told the BBC that they were held in a separate building, and subjected to abuse.

The US military says the main prison, now called the Detention Facility in Parwan, is the only detention facility on the base.

However it has said it will look into the abuse allegations made to the BBC.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said that since August 2009 US authorities have been notifying it of names of detained people in a separate facility at Bagram.

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Los Angeles teacher call for Mexican revolution in the US

A Tutorial on the Classified Information Procedures Act

Last week, prosecutors in the case of Thomas A. Drake, the former National Security Agency official who is charged with unlawfully retaining classified information that he allegedly disclosed to a reporter, asked the court to hold a pre-trial conference on the use of the Classified Information Procedures Act (CIPA) in that case.

CIPA was passed by Congress in 1980 to regulate the disclosure of classified information in criminal prosecutions, such as espionage cases, and to prevent so-called “graymail,” in which a defendant threatens to release classified information in the hope of forcing the government to abandon the case.

In a nutshell, CIPA requires the defense to notify prosecutors and the court of any classified evidence it intends to introduce.  Courts must then determine if the classified evidence is admissible. If so, the government may propose an unclassified substitution that does not involve classified information.  But if the court finds that the unclassified substitution is inadequate to preserve the defendant’s right to a fair trial, and if the Attorney General objects to disclosure of the classified version, then the indictment may be dismissed.

Perhaps assuming that the judge (or the defense) was unfamiliar with the law, prosecutors in the Thomas Drake case filed a motion (pdf) explaining the meaning of each section of CIPA.

The purpose of their CIPA tutorial was “to inform the Court of the applicability of CIPA and its procedures to issues involving classified information that will arise before and during the trial of this case,” they wrote. See “Government’s Motion for Pretrial Conference Under Section 2 of the Classified Information Procedures Act,” May 5, 2010.

The development and early history of CIPA were reviewed by the Congressional Research Service in a March 2, 1989 report entitled “Classified Information Procedures Act (CIPA): An Overview.”

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U.S. Forest Service Employees on “Stand-Down” from Talking to the Media

The Rural Blog brings us this post about the U.S. Forest Service prohibiting its law enforcement and investigations (LEI) employees from speaking to local media without approval from Washington. The Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility obtained a memo outlining the policy, which critics say stifles access to government records.

“Until further notice all LEI employees are on stand-down from communicating with local and/or national media contacts without clearance from the Director, LEI and Press Office, Media desk in the Washington Office,” wrote David Ferrell, the agency’s LEI director in the Sept. 1, 2009 memo.

Senator Kerry recognizes resounding failure of Radio and TV Marti

Washington, May 4 (Cubadebate-RHC) Radio and TV Martí, financed media by the U.S. government for subversion in Cuba, “must undergo a huge reform to ensure its survival”, estimated a U.S. congressional report released Monday.

The report of the Senate’s US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations identified numerous flaws on the “materials”, they’ve been broadcasting to Cuba for decades, “as low journalistic standards, very small audience and lack of support from Congress.”

“It is disappointing that after 18 years Radio and TV Marti have been unable to penetrate the Cuban society or influence the Cuban government,” said Sen. John Forbes Kerry, chairman of the Committee, while presenting the report entitled “Immediate action needed to ensure Radio and TV Marti’s survival. “

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Evolution’s New Foe: Timid School Administrators

Evolution education is under attack in Weston, Connecticut, but not from the usual direction.

Nobody is promoting intelligent design in the curriculum, or asking schools to teach evolution’s “strengths and weaknesses.” There’s just an administration afraid that teaching third graders too much about Charles Darwin will cause trouble.

“They might have just been looking to avoid controversy, but that has the same effect,” said Steve Newton, programs and policy director at the National Center for Science Education. ” If you’re not looking to teach children the best science, that harms their education.”

At issue is a class section proposed in 2008 by Mark Tangarone, teacher of the third, fourth and fifth grade Talented and Gifted program at the Weston Intermediate School. Tangarone wanted his third graders to study and compare the accomplishments of Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin.

To learn about Darwin, students would have retraced the path of the HMS Beagle, the expedition that inspired a young Darwin’s theory of evolution. Each student would study a stop in the voyage, reporting on the animals and adaptations that Darwin observed.

When Tangarone ran his class plan by then-principal Mark Ribbens, he was denied.

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Widely publicized 4/20 poll actually shows majority support for drug reforms

As most media parroted claim that 55 percent oppose marijuana legalization, contradictory polling figures buried, ignored

As with many instances in politics, actuality can often be obscured behind the wrong frame: ask a question just the right way and results can be wildly tilted, one way or another.

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Pentagon investigating alleged spy operation

WASHINGTON — A Department of Defense official is under investigation for allegedly hiring private contractors to gather intelligence on suspected insurgents in Afghanistan and Pakistan, a U.S. official said Monday.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the case, told The Associated Press that Michael D. Furlong directed a defense contract to gather information about the region that could be shared with military units. After military officials suspected that he was using Defense Department money for an off-the-books spy operation, defense officials shut down that part of the contract, the official said.

The story was first reported by The New York Times in Monday’s editions, quoting unidentified military and business sources as saying that Furlong, now a senior civilian employee at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, hired subcontractors who had former U.S. intelligence and special forces operatives on their payrolls. The newspaper said some of the information collected by the contractors was used to track down and attack militants.

“The story makes some serious allegations and raises numerous unanswered questions that warrant further review by the department,” Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said Monday.

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CNN poll confirms: Most Americans believe their government is a threat to their welfare

A majority of Americans think the federal government poses a threat to rights of Americans, according to a new national poll.

Fifty-six percent of people questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Friday say they think the federal government’s become so large and powerful that it poses an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens. Forty-four percent of those polled disagree.

The survey indicates a partisan divide on the question: only 37 percent of Democrats, 63 percent of Independents and nearly 7 in 10 Republicans say the federal government poses a threat to the rights of Americans.

According to CNN poll numbers released Sunday, Americans overwhelmingly think that the U.S. government is broken – though the public overwhelmingly holds out hope that what’s broken can be fixed.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted February 12-15, with 1,023 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey’s sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points for the overall survey.

Hamas Leader Was ‘Drugged And Suffocated’

[  Succinylcholine is NOT a sedative.  It is a muscle relaxer used to induce paralysis, so the victim can die awake, while his lungs refuse to work.  Mossad also knew it would be detected. ]

The Hamas commander who was killed in his Dubai hotel room was drugged and then suffocated, police have said.

It is believe a sedative was used to relax the victim’s muscles to make his death look more natural.

Major General Khamis Mattar al-Mazeina, deputy commander of Dubai police said in a statement: “The killers used the drug succinylcholine (suxamethonium chloride)* to sedate Mahmoud al Mabhouh before they suffocated him.”

He added: “There were no signs of resistance shown by the victim.”

Mabhouh was found dead in his hotel room on January 20.

The Israeli intelligence agency Mossad has been widely accused of carrying out the assassination. Israel has neither confirmed nor denied this.

See also: Interpol adds suspected Dubai assassins to most wanted list

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Cubans Nominate their Candidates

Havana, February 26 (RHC) –Thousands of Cubans began attending community meetings countrywide to nominate candidates suitable for the post of delegates to be elected by direct, secret voting in the upcoming polls, scheduled for April 25.

As part of the Cuban electoral system, based on mass participation of the population, nearly 51,000 such meetings have been held so far.

To be elected as delegate of his/her electoral district, the candidate has to win over 50 percent of the votes, with a second round supposed to be held seven days later if needed.

The post of delegate is exercised without remuneration. Those elected have the responsibility to be in constant touch with their electors in order to solve problems existing in their territories, and can be removed by the voters if their performance is poor.

The second step in the electoral process is the formation of municipal and provincial assemblies of the National Assembly of People’s Power of Cuba with the participation of the delegates elected by the people.

Google, NSA alliance posing security threats to users

A deal between internet giant Google and the US National Security Agency on cyber-attacks may pose serious threats to other countries’ national security and internet users.

Analysts worry the collaboration would allow Google’s data to flow to the spy agency. Journalists and experts have announced their concern over the deal as the National Security Agency (NSA) is known for intercepting private data.

During the Cold War, NSA worked with companies like Western Union to intercept and read millions of telegrams.

During the so-called US war on terror, the NSA has teamed up with telecommunications companies to eavesdrop on phone calls and internet traffic.

Google, founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin in 1998, has become the world’s largest internet search engine.

It runs more than 1 million servers in data centers around the world, processes more than 1 billion search requests and 20 petabytes of user-generated data every day.

Let Dr. Aafia go home, Mr. President

Reading all those legal thrillers by John Grisham and watching Hollywood blockbusters that portray innocent individuals framed and ensnared by a powerful system, one always thought: Of course, these things do not happen in real life.

I am not so sure anymore though. The abduction, persecution and now conviction of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology-educated neuroscientist, by the U.S. authorities reads like a regulation Grisham thriller written for Hollywood.

Aafia disappeared with her three children on her way to Jinnah International Airport airport for Islamabad way back in 2003. Five years later, she was presented in a New York court in March 2008 as “a top al-Qaeda terrorist” and the “most dangerous woman on earth,” as United States Attorney General John Ashcroft put it.

The U.S. authorities claimed then that Aafia was captured near Ghazni governor’s office in Afghanistan with a bag that carried instructions on making explosives and a list of U.S. landmarks.

But more damningly, the U.S. authorities claimed that the frail mother of three attacked a team of eight U.S. soldiers, Federal Bureau of Investigation and Afghan officials in Ghazni with a highly sophisticated, heavy M-4 gun in Ghazni when they went to question her. Surprisingly though, it’s Aafia who ended up with two gunshot wounds, inflicted point blank. None of the officials she allegedly attacked sustained any injuries or wounds.

Last week, after months of courtroom drama and charade of a trial, Aafia was convicted of attempted murder and attacking U.S. soldiers and FBI officials with a deadly weapon.

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Happy birthday, Comrade Kim

PYONGYANG – It’s a cold, crisp, sunny morning in the capital of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), and there could not be a more important game in town. Billboards bearing the numbers “2.16 [February 16]” – usually decorated with huge red flowers – are all over the place. The flowers are the only splashes of full color against drab grays and browns. They are of course kimjongilia, a modified begonia programmed to bloom exactly on – when else – 2.16.

For Pyongyang‘s 2 million or so residents, it’s time to party. Today is the 68th birthday of the General Secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea, Chairman of the National Defense Commission and Supreme Commander of the Korean People’s Army – comrade Kim Jong-il.

Kim Jong-il, aka the Dear Leader, has been the maximum leader of North Korea for almost 12 years now. But he’s not the president (the titular head of state is the chairman of the presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly, Kim Yong-nam.) A key reason is that he’s not very fond of the endless, obligatory diplomatic round of meeting foreign heads of state.

The relentlessly apocalyptic Western media narrative would lead one to believe that on this eventful day the citizens of what is routinely depicted as a “Stalinist/communist/terrorist/totalitarian/insane/rogue/axis of evil gulag” would be one step short of showering a battery of commemorative missiles over South Korea, Japan or the west coast of the US for that matter, not to mention conduct another nuclear test. Reality though bears no “axis of evil” overtones.

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Manifesto of Joe Stack

If you’re reading this, you’re no doubt asking yourself, “Why did this have to happen?”  The simple truth is that it is complicated and has been coming for a long time.  The writing process, started many months ago, was intended to be therapy in the face of the looming realization that there isn’t enough therapy in the world that can fix what is really broken.  Needless to say, this rant could fill volumes with example after example if I would let it.  I find the process of writing it frustrating, tedious, and probably pointless… especially given my gross inability to gracefully articulate my thoughts in light of the storm raging in my head.  Exactly what is therapeutic about that I’m not sure, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

We are all taught as children that without laws there would be no society, only anarchy.  Sadly, starting at early ages we in this country have been brainwashed to believe that, in return for our dedication and service, our government stands for justice for all.  We are further brainwashed to believe that there is freedom in this place, and that we should be ready to lay our lives down for the noble principals represented by its founding fathers.  Remember? One of these was “no taxation without representation”.  I have spent the total years of my adulthood unlearning that crap from only a few years of my childhood.  These days anyone who really stands up for that principal is promptly labeled a “crackpot”, traitor and worse.

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Report to Congress about the USA PATRIOT Act

The U.S. Department of Justice, Office of the Inspector General, released a new report Report to Congress on Implementation of Section 1001 of the USA PATRIOT Act.

This report details “Section 1001 of the USA PATRIOT Act (Patriot Act), Public Law 107-56, directs the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ or Department) to undertake a series of actions related to claims of civil rights or civil liberties violations allegedly committed by DOJ employees. It also requires the OIG to provide semiannual reports to Congress on the implementation of the OIG’s responsibilities under Section 1001.”

New name for Iraq war: Operation New Dawn

Effective Sept. 1, the War on Iraq will acquire a new official moniker: “Operation New Dawn.”

Defense Secretary Robert Michael Gates announced the move Wednesday in a memo to Gen. David Howell Petraeus, chief of United States Central Command, that was first reported by ABC News.

In the brief, one-paragraph memo, a copy of which also went to Adm. Michael Glenn “Mike” Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gates said the name change is designed to coincide with “the change of mission for U.S. forces in Iraq.”

“Aligning the name change with the change of mission sends a strong signal that Operation Iraqi Freedom has ended and our forces are operating under a new mission,” Gates wrote. “It also presents opportunities to synchronize strategic communication initiatives, reinforce our commitment to honor the Security Agreement, and recognize our evolving relationship with the Government of Iraq.”

US lifts travel warning for Syria

The US Department of State has lifted its advisories warning American travelers of security concerns in Syria.

“After carefully assessing the current situation in Syria, we determined that circumstances didn’t merit extending the travel warning,” said Tracy Roberts Pounds, a spokeswoman at the US Embassy in Damascus.

Though Washington tries to boost ties with a country viewed as a key to peace in the region, Syria remains on the US-made list of the “countries sponsoring terrorism,” a designation made in 1979.

US observers have long insisted that the so-called US list of the states sponsoring terrorism, which included Iran, Syria, Cuba, and North Korea, is a political tool to punish states that do not submit to US regional interests.

The country also remains under US sanctions, first imposed by former US President George W. Bush and renewed by President Barack Obama in May.

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ACLU sues USAID for FOIA violations over abstinence-only programs

The American Civil Liberties Union has sued the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) for failing to provide documents regarding its overseas religiously-influenced abstinence-only-until-marriage programs. In July and September 2009, the ACLU sent USAID requests for the programs funded through HIV/AIDs grants, including requests for proposals, contracts with USAID, curricula used by grantees, communications between USAID and the White House, and communications between USAID and its grantees about religious instruction in the abstinence-only-until-marriage programs.

A recent Inspector General’s report says the programs unconstitutionally promote religiously infused materials and messages.

For more information, click here.

A little brain food for the perpetually Recovering City of Big Bear Lake Council and other prostitutes of the Prison-Industrial Complex

Censorship of Arab News Media

The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a bill to censor some of the Arab news media, particularly satellite channels if Washington deemed, with Israeli backing, that these satellite channels are broadcasting content that is in conflict with American and Israeli interests in the region.

It is strange that this U.S. legislative step, which was opposed by only three members of the House of Representatives, came on the heels of the president’s success in turning a new page in the Islamic and Arab world by drawing a new framework for their relationship, based on mutual respect and common interests rather than opportunities, particularly as stated in his speech at Cairo University.

Note that the United States claims to defend human rights and freedom of the press but accuses the “terrorists,” wherever they are, of lacking respect for democracy and human rights. At the same time, the U.S. is behaving contrary to what it preaches because it considers the basic measure for freedom of the press to be something that does not harm American or Israeli interests.

Full text of H.R. 2278 can be found at THOMAS.

For more information on H.R. 2278, see Gov Trak.

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Announcing Venezuela’s first and only English Language Newspaper, THE CORREO DEL ORINOCO INTERNATIONAL

Caracas, 22 January 2010 – This Friday, Venezuela celebrates the launching of its first and only English language newspaper, the

Correo del Orinoco International.

While in the past other English-language publications have existed, none remain in circulation today, and no others have been created during the Bolivarian Revolution.

Editor-in-Chief Eva Golinger explained,

“This will be the first newspaper of its kind in Venezuela. We will produce news and information for an international audience, but from the Venezuelan perspective. Most of the news that’s out there in English comes from international news agencies that report with a biased perspective and tend to ignore important human interest stories that paint a positive picture of the Hugo Chávez government.”

“Our most important mission is to combat the massive media manipulation and information blockade against Venezuela and to inform the international community about many incredible events taking place daily inside Venezuela that rarely receive attention from the corporate media”.

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War Criminals: Arrest Warrants Requested

International arrest warrants have been requested for George W. Bush, Richard B. Cheney, Donald H. Rumsfeld, George J. Tenet, Condoleeza Rice and Alberto R. Gonzales at the International Criminal Court, The Hague, Netherlands.

Professor of Law Francis Anthony Boyle of the University of Illinois College of Law in Champain, United States of America, has issued a Complaint with the Prosecutor for the International Criminal Court against the above-mentioned for their practice of “extraordinary rendition” (forced disappearance of persons and subsequent torture) in Iraq and for criminal policy which constitutes Crimes against Humanity in violation of the Rome Statute which set up the ICC.

As such, the Accused (mentioned above) are deemed responsible for the commission of crimes within the territories of many States signatories of the Rome Statute, in violation of Rome Stature Articles 5 (1)(b), 7 (1)(a), 7 (1)(e), 7 (1)(g), 7(1)(h), 7(1)8i) and 7(1)(k). Despite the fact that the USA is not a signatory State, the ICC has the jurisdiction to prosecute under Article 12 (2)(a) of the Rome Statute.

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Pentagon Report Calls for Office of “Strategic Deception”

The Department of Defense needs to get better at lying and fooling people about its intentions. That’s the conclusion from an influential Pentagon panel, the Defense Science Board (DSB), which recommends that the military and intelligence communities join in a new agency devoted to “strategic surprise/deception.”

Tricking battlefield opponents has been a part of war since guys started beating each other with bones and sticks. But these days, such moves are harder to pull off, the DSB notes in a January report (.pdf) first unearthed by InsideDefense.com. “In an era of ubiquitous information access, anonymous leaks and public demands for transparency, deception operations are extraordinarily difficult. Nevertheless, successful strategic deception has in the past provided the United States with significant advantages that translated into operational and tactical success. Successful deception also minimizes U.S. vulnerabilities, while simultaneously setting conditions to surprise adversaries.”

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Noriega Will Be Extradited to France, His Lawyer Says

Former Panamanian strongman Manuel Antonio Noriega Moreno will extradited to France after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal against the extradition, his lawyer said, though the final say on the matter belongs to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Noriega “has exhausted all his legal options. He has to go to France,” defense attorney Frank A. Rubino told Efe. “It could be in a week or a month. I don’t know.”

The general, who remains inside a federal prison in Miami, had asked the high court to find that as a prisoner of war, he was entitled to return to the República de Panamá after serving a reduced 17-year sentence in the United States for drug trafficking and money laundering.

A U.S. federal judge found in 1992 that Noriega had POW status by virtue of his having been captured during the December 1989 U.S. invasion of Panama.

Noriega, who ruled Panama from 1983-1989, was due to be released from prison in September 2007, but has remained in custody pending the outcome of France’s request for his extradition.

As his scheduled release drew near, Paris asked the United States to extradite Noriega, who was sentenced in 1999 to 10 years in prison by a French court that convicted him in absentia on charges of laundering some $3.1 million in drug money through the purchase of an apartment.

“I have no idea how they can know where the money came from,” Rubino said Monday. “We’re extremely discouraged by the (Supreme Court) ruling.”

France has promised to give the Panamanian a new trial if he is extradited.

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Current TV Bashes “Anti-Drug” Propaganda Campaign

US lifts visa ban on Muslim scholar

The US Department of State said Wednesday it lifted a ban on Swiss Muslim scholar Tariq Ramadan entering the country, six years after using the Patriot Act to revoke his visa.

The decision was signed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

“I am very happy and hopeful that I will be able to visit the United States very soon and to once again engaged in an open, critical and constructive dialogue with American scholars and intellectuals,” Professor Ramadan said in a statement.

The travel ban on him was imposed in the wake of an accusation that he had contributed to the terrorism from 1998 to 2002 by donating about $1,300 to a Swiss-based charity that provided money to Hamas and other Palestinian groups.

The Bush administration in 2006, under the Patriot Act, revoked Ramadan’s visa, as he sought to travel to the US to take up a position as a tenured professor at the University of Notre Dame.

The Oxford University professor argued that he had believed the charity had no connections to terrorist activities and that he had always condemned terrorism.

In August 2009, Ramadan was dismissed from his positions at a university in the Netherlands for hosting a Press TV program, which the Dutch authorities said was “irreconcilable” with his position as a guest professor.

The Swiss-born scholar said his dismissal was the result of Western “hypocrisy.”

The Universal Soldier

He’s five foot-two, and he’s six feet-four,
He fights with missiles and with spears.
He’s all of thirty-one, and he’s only seventeen,
Been a soldier for a thousand years.

He’a a Catholic, a Hindu, an Atheist, a Jain,
A Buddhist and a Baptist and a Jew.
And he knows he shouldn’t kill,
And he knows he always will,
Kill you for me my friend and me for you.

And he’s fighting for Canada,
He’s fighting for France,
He’s fighting for the USA,
And he’s fighting for the Russians,
And he’s fighting for Japan,
And he thinks we’ll put an end to war this way.

And he’s fighting for Democracy,
He’s fighting for the Reds,
He says it’s for the peace of all.
He’s the one who must decide,
Who’s to live and who’s to die,
And he never sees the writing on the wall.

But without him,
How would Hitler have condemned him at Dachau?
Without him Caesar would have stood alone,
He’s the one who gives his body
As a weapon of the war,
And without him all this killing can’t go on.

He’s the Universal Soldier and he really is to blame,
His orders come from far away no more,
They come from here and there and you and me,
And brothers can’t you see,
This is not the way we put the end to war.

Chords:- F,G7,C,Am Dm,Em

Just a reminder to the pig-sucking, brain-dead, flacid, perpetually-Recovering City of Big Bear Lake Council

Paul Chabot would love this commercial:

Teens Too Smart To Buy Anti-Drug Ads

A kid of about 13 wanders through a house party.  He goes outside where there are a quartet of pot smokers who offer him a joint.

He thinks for a moment, then there are all these quick flashes of him with pills, hiding stuff under his bed, getting into fights with his family, falling asleep in class and getting busted at school.

The ad implies that trying pot once will turn you into a full-on drug fiend within days.  This flies in the face of all science on the subject, but since when were facts used in anti-drug ads?

So the kid just shrugs and goes back into the party — ostensibly to eat more junk food and, quaff ‘energy drinks’, and listen to L’il Wayne and Snoop Dogg.

Does anyone really think kids will believe this fear-mongering balderdash?

In the 1980s, when I was a teen, they tried to stuff all this ‘Just Say No’ stuff down our throats and all it did was make us think that adults were morons.  If this new ad campaign is anywhere near as effective as previous government-run, anti-marijuana messages, we should see the number of teen drug users increase 10% within the next few years.


Now, instead of representing their constituents, like the pretty girl above, our mayor and council work for these guys…

Top row:  Rodney (“Baby Rod”) Hoops and Floyd Tidwell.  Bottom row: Gary Penrod and Cindy Beavers

And these guys work by preying on you.

Bob (RIP) and Mayor Liz, by the way, used to run a little back-room operation from their tourist shop.  They would purchase and re-sell meals to the Sheriff’s Department for their inmates.  They could have bought them direct, but were feeding their sheep while primping for the Master’s Work.

Liz, you’re supposed to be a psychologist.  Do you remember that little thing that Erikson called “ego integrity?”  Where will you find yours?  Tell the truth, Doc.

Gerald Celente Interview – Words of wisdom

Gerald Celente in Wikipedia

Trends Research Institute

Trends Journal

Venezuelan President Chavez’s Popularity Steady at 60%

According to a study carried out by the Venezuelan Institute of Data Analysis (IVAD), Venezuelan president Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías‘s approval has dropped slightly, to 60.3%, from 62.4% last October.IVAD performed the study from 12 to 20 December, interviewing 1,200 people directly in their homes. IVAD selected the interviewees at random but also reflecting a range of regions and social groups in Venezuela.

To the question, “How do you rate Hugo Chavez’s management as president of Venezuela?,” 38.7% said “bad” and 60.5% said “good”. The poll also confirmed that Chavez’s party, the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV – Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela), continues to be the most popular party.

The poll comes as PSUV, opposition and other party leaders prepare for an election campaign year, where all positions in the National Assembly will be up for election in September.

In May 2008 an IVAD poll said Chavez had an approval rating of 68.8%, and in October last year, 62.4%. IVAD polls tend to reflect greater support for the president than polls by opposition polling agencies.

Venezuelan Analysis

Officials Hid Truth of Immigrant Deaths in Jail

Silence has long shrouded the men and women who die in the nation’s immigration jails. For years, they went uncounted and unnamed in the public record. Even in 2008, when The New York Times obtained and published a federal government list of such deaths, few facts were available about who these people were and how they died.

But behind the scenes, it is now clear, the deaths had already generated thousands of pages of government documents, including scathing investigative reports that were kept under wraps, and a trail of confidential memos and BlackBerry messages that show officials working to stymie outside inquiry.

The documents, obtained over recent months by The Times and the American Civil Liberties Union under the Freedom of Information Act, concern most of the 107 deaths in detention counted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement since October 2003, after the agency was created within the Department of Homeland Security.

The Obama administration has vowed to overhaul immigration detention, a haphazard network of privately run jails, federal centers and county cells where the government holds noncitizens while it tries to deport them.

But as the administration moves to increase oversight within the agency, the documents show how officials — some still in key positions — used their role as overseers to cover up evidence of mistreatment, deflect scrutiny by the news media or prepare exculpatory public statements after gathering facts that pointed to substandard care or abuse.

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Time for full disclosure of DNA databases

Editorial: Time for full and frank data disclosure

WHEN a defendant’s DNA appears to match DNA found at a crime scene, the probability that this is an unfortunate coincidence can be central to whether the suspect is found guilty. The assumptions used to calculate the likelihood of such a fluke – the “random match probability” – are now being questioned by a group of 41 scientists and lawyers based in the US and the UK.

These assumptions have never been independently verified on a large sample of DNA profiles, says the group. What’s more, whether some RMPs are truly as vanishingly small as assumed has been called into question by recent insights into DNA databases in the US and Australia.

The group, led by Dan Krane of Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, is demanding access to CODIS – the US national DNA database, which contains over 7 million profiles – so that they can test the assumptions behind RMPs. They have outlined their arguments in a letter, which was published in Science in December (vol 326, p 5960). “The national US database is a truly enormous source of data,” says signatory Larry Mueller of the University of California, Irvine (UCI).

Such research could reveal if incorrect RMPs are prompting jurors and judges to attach undue weight to DNA evidence, possibly leading to miscarriages of justice. Even if these fears are not borne out, independent checks on the DNA held in large databases like CODIS are vital to maintaining confidence in DNA evidence presented in courts all over the world, the group says. Access would also allow the number of errors in CODIS to be measured.

See also:  FBI resists scrutiny of “matches.”

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Here comes “Pinky” for his final disgrace

[ Before making a big mistake, insist that "Pinky" Stout debate Mike Ramos in public and make a recording available on the Internet.  This jerk can hardly tie his shoes.  He was put into office by the military/prison-industrial complex mafia bosses, in an era of secrecy and censorship.  He was chosen for his ignorant obedience.  Let's see how he looks when we can really see him. By the way, MID/PID scum:  You don't run this county any more. ]

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SAN BERNARDINO – Former district attorney Dennis Stout says he’s ‘committed’ to winning back his old job.

Stout is determined to root out government corruption…

“During eight years that I was district attorney, we prosecuted over fifty major corruption cases. By the time I completed my second term, corruption in San Bernardino County was pretty much under control. But, during the last seven years, it has reared its ugly head again.”

Stout did not seek re-election in 2002 and was replaced by Mike Ramos.

Stout expects to make a formal campaign announcement within two weeks. (INT)

Story Date: January 6, 2010

Ecuador launches state-run news agency

Ecuador has established its first state-run news agency amid efforts by the lawmakers in the Andean nation to create a government-controlled watchdog which regulates privately-owned news outlets.

Quito has launched the Ecuadorian and South American News Agency (ANDES) to “strengthen the image” of the country, the office of President Rafael Correa said on Tuesday, AFP reported.

The state-run news outlet will cooperate closely with other news agencies across the continent, including Venezuela‘s Agencia Bolivariana de Noticias, Télam from Argentina, Spain‘s EFE and Peru‘s Andina de Radiodifusión y Television, the presidential office said.

Ecuadoran president Rafael Vicente Correa Delgado‘s attempt to regulate the private news channels in the country has faced with political oppositions both from the local news outlets and opposition groups.

Critics of Correa maintain that his actions threaten the freedom of expression.
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Iran bans contact with groups involved in soft war

Iran has banned Iranian citizens from cooperating with 60 international institutions and a number of media outlets due to their involvement in the post-election unrest.

Iran’s deputy intelligence minister for foreign affairs announced on Monday that 60 European and US foundations and institutions played a role in inciting post-election violence in the Islamic Republic.

Cooperating and signing contracts with these foundations and institutions, which are conducting soft warfare against Iran, is illegal, and receiving facilities from them is also prohibited, he said.

He urged Iranian citizens to avoid any unusual relations with these organizations and with foreign embassies and nationals.

He also stated that political parties are prohibited from receiving financial assistance from foreign countries.

He went on to say that institutions and media outlets like BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) and VOA (Voice of America) are trying to help efforts to overthrow of the Islamic Republic.

The Soros Foundation, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI), the East European Democratic Centre (EEDC), Wilton Park, the Smith Richardson Foundation, and the United States National Defense University are some of the institutions and foundations on the Intelligence Ministry list of banned organizations.
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