Sunday, September 27, 2015

A Cabbie Tells What’s Wrong with U.S.

Hazardous Antibacterial Agent Triclosan Works ‘No Better than Regular Soap’

Hazardous Antibacterial Agent Triclosan Works ‘No Better than Regular Soap’

No Brains In Washington

Washington’s failures are everywhere visible.
No Brains In Washington
Image Credits: Vinoth Chandar, Flickr.
by Paul Craig Roberts | | September 26, 2015

Washington’s IQ follows the Fed’s interest rate — it is negative. Washington is a black hole into which all sanity is sucked out of government deliberations.
Washington’s failures are everywhere visible. We can see the failures in Washington’s wars and in Washington’s approach to China and Russia.
The visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping, was scheduled for the week-end following the Pope’s visit to Washington. Was this Washington’s way of demoting China’s status by having its president play second fiddle to the Pope? The President of China is here for week-end news coverage? Why didn’t Obama just tell him to go to hell?
Washington’s cyber incompetence and inability to maintain cyber security is being blamed on China. The day before Xi Jinping’s arrival in Washington, the White House press secretary warmed up President Jinping’s visit by announcing that Obama might threaten China with financial sanctions. And not to miss an opportunity to threaten or insult the President of China, the US Secretary of Commerce fired off a warning that the Obama regime was too unhappy with China’s business practices for the Chinese president to expect a smooth meeting in Washington. In contrast, when Obama visited China, the Chinese government treated him with politeness and respect. China is America’s largest creditor after the Federal Reserve. If the Chinese government were so inclined, China could cause Washington many serious economic, financial, and military problems. Yet China pursues peace while Washington issues threats. Like China, Russia, too, has a foreign policy independent of Washington’s, and it is the independence of their foreign policies that puts China and Russia on the outs with Washington. Washington considers countries with independent foreign policies to be threats. Libya, Iraq, and Syria had independent foreign policies. Washington has destroyed two of the three and is working on the third. Iran, Russia, and China have independent foreign policies. Consequently, Washington sees these countries as threats and portrays them to the American people as such. Russia’s President Vladimir Putin will meet with Obama next week at the UN meeting in New York. It is a meeting that seems destined to go nowhere. Putin wants to offer Obama Russian help in defeating ISIS, but Obama wants to use ISIS to overthrow Syrian President Assad, install a puppet government, and throw Russia out of its only Mediterranean seaport at Tartus, Syria. Obama wants to press Putin to hand over Russian Crimea and the break-away republics that refuse to submit to the Russophobic government that Washington has installed in Kiev. Despite Washington’s hostility, Xi Jinping and Putin continue to try to work with Washington even at the risk of being humiliated in the eyes of their peoples. How many slights, accusations, and names (such as “the new Hitler”) can Putin and Xi Jinping accept before losing face at home? How can they lead if their peoples feel the shame inflicted on their leaders by Washington? Xi Jinping and Putin are clearly men of peace. Are they deluded or are they making every effort to save the world from the final war? One has to assume that Putin and Xi Jinping are aware of the Wolfowitz Doctrine, the basis of US foreign and military policies, but perhaps they cannot believe that anything so audaciously absurd can be real. In brief, the Wolfowitz Doctrine states that Washington’s principal objective is to prevent the rise of countries that could be sufficiently powerful to resist American hegemony. Thus, Washington’s attack on Russia via Ukraine and Washington’s re-militarization of Japan as an instrument against China, despite the strong opposition of 80 percent of the Japanese population. “Democracy?” “Washington’s hegemony don’t need no stinkin’ democracy,” declares Washington’s puppet ruler of Japan as he, as Washington’s faithful servant, over-rides the vast majority of the Japanese population. Meanwhile, the real basis of US power—its economy—continues to crumble. Middle class jobs have disappeared by the millions. US infrastructure is crumbling. Young American women, overwhelmed with student debts, rent, and transportation costs, and nothing but lowly-paid part-time jobs, post on Internet sites their pleas to be made mistresses of men with sufficient means to help them with their bills. This is the image of a Third World country. In 2004 I predicted in a nationally televised conference in Washington, DC, that the US would be a Third World country in 20 years. Noam Chomsky says we are already there now in 2015. Here is a recent quote from Chomsky: “Look around the country. This country is falling apart. Even when you come back from Argentina to the United States it looks like a third world country, and when you come back from Europe even more so. The infrastructure is collapsing. Nothing works. The transportation system doesn’t work. The health system is a total scandal–twice the per capita cost of other countries and not very good outcomes. Point by point. The schools are declining . . .” Another indication of a third world country is large inequality in the distribution of income and wealth. According to the CIA itself, the United States now has one of the worst distributions of income of all countries in the world. The distribution of income in the US is worse than in Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Benin, Bosnia/Herzegovina, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cote d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guinea, Guyana, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, South Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Latvia, Liberia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malawi, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Senegal, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Timor-Leste, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, UK, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Vietnam, and Yemen. and  The concentration of US income and wealth in the hands of the very rich is a new development in my lifetime. I ascribe it to two things. One is the offshoring of American jobs. Offshoring moved high productivity, high-value-added American jobs to countries where the excess supply of labor results in wages well below labor’s contribution to the value of output. The lower labor costs abroad transform what had been higher American wages and salaries and, thereby, US household incomes, into corporate profits, bonuses for corporate executives, and capital gains for shareholders, and in the dismantling of the ladders of upward mobility that had made the US an “opportunity society.” The other cause of the extreme inequality that now prevails in the US is what Michael Hudson calls the financialization of the economy that permits banks to redirect income away from driving the economy to the payment of interest in service of debt issued by the banks. Both of these developments maximize income and wealth for the One Percent at the expense of the population and economy. As Michael Hudson and I have discovered, neoliberal economics is blind to reality and serves to justify the destruction of the economic prospects of the Western World. It remains to be seen if Russia and China can develop a different economics or whether these rising superpowers will fall victim to the “junk economics” that has destroyed the West. With so many Chinese and Russian economists educated in the US tradition, the prospects of Russia and China might not be any better than ours. The entire world could go down the tubes together.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

German nurse shocked after being forced out of flat to make way for refugees

Governments toss own citizens under the bus
by RT | September 26, 2015

Having lived in the same flat for 16 years, a German woman is being forced to move out to make way for refugees, because building a new shelter is too expensive. The 51 year-old nurse, who has helped asylum seekers in the past, was shocked by the news.
Bettina Halbey, who lives alone in the small town of Nieheim, received a letter from her landlord and the local municipality at the start of September, Die Welt newspaper reported on Thursday.
“I was completely shocked and I can’t even begin to find the words to describe how the city has treated me,” Halbey told the German publication. “I have had to go through a lot of difficulties recently, and then I get this notice. It was like a kick in the teeth.”
Halbey will have until May 2016 to find a new place to live, along with her dog and her cat. The three-story building, where she rented a 90 sq/m flat will now be turned into accommodation for refugees, who are seeking to make Germany their new home.
The mayor of Nieheim, Rainer Vidal, which has a population of just over 6,000, defended the decision to send the nurse packing, saying converting the building would be “the cheapest option.” “A new residential unit for 30 refugees in Nieheim would cost €30,000 ($33,600). This solution will cost me nothing,” he told Die Welt. Over half the population of Germany lives in rented accommodation and the country has laws to defend the rights of tenants. “Normally, only a private individual can terminate the terms of a contract for personal use. A municipality cannot move into a flat as a legal entity, so the process is legally highly questionable,” Ulrich Ropertz, spokesman of the German Tenants’ Federation, told the Telegraph.
Halbey, who brought up two sons as a single parent, became so incensed by the decision that she wrote about her plight on Facebook. The social media reaction was instant. Over 200,000 people have shared her story, which was also picked up by the German media. The nurse says that she is not against Germany taking in refugees and she says she got on well with asylum seekers who had earlier become her neighbors. “We take care of each other. Helping people, this is of the utmost importance to me,” Halbey said. Mayor Vidal slammed Halbey for going public with her complaints and added that she had been given ample time to find new accommodation. “I find it very regrettable that the tenant has sought to go public with her issues. We have given her a generous period of notice, up until May of next year. We are also willing to help her find a new place to live. There have been several opportunities, but each one has failed because no one wants to offer her a flat because of her dog,” Vidal said. On Thursday, the German government agreed to allocate a further €2 billion ($2.24 billion) for refugee housing, with €500 million ($560 million) to be spent on the construction of new accommodation centers. Local authorities have also implemented their own strategies, such as Hamburg’s plans to turn empty commercial properties into shelters, while empty apartments could serve the same purpose in Berlin. Germany could receive between 800,000 and one million refugees this year, according to the UN, with an estimated 8,000 people arriving in Europe every day.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

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The Health Dangers of Carrageenan

Medical papers suggest carrageenan consumption may increase the risk for certain cancers
The Health Dangers of Carrageenan
Image Credits: amagill, Flickr.
by Dr. Edward Group | | September 21, 2015

Carrageenan is a food additive commonly seen in commercial yogurts, dairy-free milk, and other processed foods. It is a terrific emulsifier and thickening agent, and it does have natural origins.
Nonetheless, carrageenan isn’t free from health concerns, with most of its issues relating to effects on the gastrointestinal system. Isolated from seaweed, carrageenan is a polysaccharide compound that may also trigger an immune response in some people, but this is highly debated. Because it comes from a natural source, it is typically added to natural food products. This food additive is just one of the many additives you may wish to be aware of the next time you go on your weekly shopping trip.
The Dangers of Carrageenan
The most recent medical paper we have on carrageenan’s carcinogenicity suggests that carrageenan consumption increases the risk for certain cancers. [1] It is also suggested that carrageenan has negative effects on the gastrointestinal tract, potentially contributing to issues such as irritable bowel disease (IBD) and colitis. The research in this is minimal, however, and not many recent studies have been performed on this ingredient in relation to its gastrointestinal effects to establish these claims. The fact that they are proposed should make many weary of consuming it on a daily basis.
Past research has shown that carrageenan may impact macrophage activity; however, this research has not been replicated in recent research. [2] Another study has shown carrageenan may induce insulin resistance, a symptom characteristic of type 2 diabetes. [3] Colon cancer is also of some concern when it comes to the prolonged ingestion of carrageenan. [4] Many people who consume carrageen seem to report gut irritation, which could be a sign of sensitivity to the food additive. How to Avoid Carrageenan One of the best ways you can avoid carrageenan is to avoid most dairy-free milk products, like almond milk. While you can definitely make your own using fresh almonds and water, try to avoid purchasing store bought because these typically contain some type of thickening agent, like carrageenan. Simply look at the ingredients labels of your foods to make sure they’re free from the additive. Also, if you purchase gluten-free goods, make sure it doesn’t contain the ingredient, either. Many gluten-free baked goods will contain carrageenan as a binding agent to replace the gluten, and these products may also contain xanthan gum and guar gum. This article originally appeared at Global Healing Center.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

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Christians: Most Persecuted Faith!

Report: Christianity Most Persecuted Faith Worldwide

Report: Christianity Most Persecuted Faith Worldwide

Creepy Art Installations Highlight Constant Surveillance

surveillance1By Amanda Froelich
It’s nearly impossible nowadays to live in society without handing over your identity and having your whereabouts recorded 24/7. Truly. One cannot walk through a mall and not have their face caught on camera, and it’s very difficult to maintain a sense of privacy when one swipe of a credit card or a phone call documents your location on a global database.
While this is anything but inconspicuous to some, it’s unnerving for many others – for many reasons which are likely covered in Edward Snowden’s 2013 global surveillance disclosure. 
If you’re one of the individuals put off by the constant surveillance, you’ll love what artist Jakub Geltner has been up to.

Similar to the activism carried out by artists in the Netherlands for George Orwell’s 110th birthday, Geltner’s project, called Nests, emphasizes the infection of surveillance in everyday life.
surveillance2The Prague-based artist devoted four long years to the project, in which he mounted satellites and cameras liberally to areas that don’t require constant surveillance.
surveillance3Surveillance4Dozens of cameras and satellites are mounted on oceanside rocks, by a riverside walkway, and on the side of a school and church.
Surveillance5Surveillance8The swarms of cameras in unexpected locations raise questions about the necessity of surveillance equipment in our society.
Surveillance9“Is the infestation of surveillance here to serve or spy?”
Surveillance10Surveillance11Every individual needs to ask themselves and their government this question, because before too long, it will be more difficult than it already is to escape the constant invasion of privacy.
Comment your thoughts on this artwork below and share this article!
All Image Credits: Jakub Geltner
This article (Creepy Art Installations Reveal How You’re Always Under Surveillance…) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author and

Monday, September 14, 2015

Bank Caught Using Fake Gold As Reserve Capital In Russia

Citing a source, notes that as part of its probe, instead of gold, the “regulator found gold-plated metal”
Bank Caught Using Fake Gold As Reserve Capital In Russia
Image Credits: pixabay.
by Zero Hedge | September 13, 2015

Over the past several years, incidents involving fake gold (usually in the form of gold-plated tungsten) have emerged every so often, usually involving Manhattan’s jewelry district, some of Europe’s bigger gold foundries, or the occasional billion dealer. But never was fake gold actually discovered in the form monetary gold, held by a bank as reserve capital and designed to fool bank regulators of a bank’s true financial state. This changed on Friday when Russia’s “Admiralty” Bank, which had its banking license revoked last week by Russia’s central bank, was reportedly using gold-plated metal as part of its “gold reserves.
According to Russia’s, as part of a probe in the Admiralty bank, the central bank regulator questioned the existence of the bank’s reported quantity of precious metals held in reserve. Citing a source, notes that as part of its probe, instead of gold, the “regulator found gold-plated metal.”
The Russian website further adds that according to “Admiralty” bank’s financial statements, as of August 1 the bank had declared as part of its highly liquid assets precious metals amounting to 400 million roubles. The last regulatory probe of the bank was concluded in the second half of August, said one of the sources. Another source claims that as part of the probe, the auditor questioned the actual availability of the bank’s precious metals and found gold-painted metal.
The website notes that shortly before the bank’s license was revoked, the bank had offered its corporate clients to withdraw funds after paying a commission of 30%. This is shortly before Russia’s central bank disabled Admiralty’s electronic payment systems on September 7.
Admiralty Bank was a relatively small, ranked in 289th place among Russian banks in terms of assets. On August 1 the bank’s total assets were just above 8 billion roubles, while the monthly turnover was in the order of 40-55 billion rubles. The balance of the bank’s assets was poorly diversified: two-thirds of the bank’s assets (4.9 billion rubles) were invested in loans. The rest of the assets, about 30%, were invested in highly liquid assets. Or at least highly liquid on paper: according to the key reason for the bank’s license revocation was the central bank’s insistence that the bank had insufficient reserves against possible loan losses. The Russian central bank has not yet made an official statement. The first question, obviously, is if a small-to-mid level Russian bank was using gold-plated metal to fool the central bank about the quality of its “gold-backed” reserves, how many other Russian banks are engaged in comparable fraud. The second question, and perhaps more relevant, is how many global banks – especially among emerging markets, where gold reserves remain a prevalent form of physical reserve accumulation – are engaging in comparable fraud. Finally, what does this mean for gold itself, whose price on one hand is sliding with every passing day (thanks in part to what is now a record 228 ounces of paper claims on every ounce of physical gold as reported before), even as it increasingly appears there is a major global physical shortage. If the Admiralty bank’s fraud is found to be pervasive, what will happen to physical gold demand as more banks are forced to buy the yellow metal in the open market to avoid being shuttered and/or prison time for the executives?

Why the Pope Is Wrong on So Many Levels

Francis is a Marxist
by Eric Peters | | September 14, 2015

It’s hard to criticize the pope.
It’s like criticizing your mom: she means well, probably, but that doesn’t mean she’s not wrong sometimes.
This time, the pope is wrong – even if he means well.
He has been urging governments around the world to enact taxes and impose draconian new regulations on energy use (such as a pending law in CA that will require a 50 percent reduction in petroleum use by 2030, to be achieved penalizing motorists who “use too much” gas or “drive too often”) in order to address what he styles “the urgency of climate change” and the need for “sustainable” development.
The problem is that while “climate change” – the new catch-all euphemism for catastrophic alterations in the world’s weather patterns – is conjecture, the taxes and regulatory restrictions advocated by this clergyman are very real indeed. Specifically, the effect such will have on the world’s poor – for whom affordable electricity, warmth in winter and food are very real concerns. Perhaps Francis takes for granted the lights that come on at the flick of a switch in the Vatican; that there is always food on the table. Hot water coming out of the tap. Millions of people around the planet, many of them in the so-called “developing” world (Africa in particular) do not take such things for granted. The “sustainable” development urged by Pope Francis as he jets around the world means real sacrifices for real people – most of whom have never travelled by 747 or even Cessna. And don’t wear Prada, either. The pope is here in America now, to tout his political agenda. This is an odd thing, when you stop to think about it a little. Pope Francis is a spiritual leader, a man who has spent his life studying the Bible, not chemistry, or atmospheric science. For him to pontificate about “climate change” is as inappropriate – as silly – as a politician pontificating about eschatology. This is not just a “pope problem,” either. Many of the people urging radical steps to deal with purported “climate change” are, like the pope, not scientific experts in the relevant field. Many are layman. Often, laymen with political power – like President Obama. It is telling that the language had to be altered to suit the inconvenient truths. It was not all that long ago these “experts” were sounding the alarm bells about an impending ice age and “global cooling.” A planetary deep freeze. A heat wave during the ’90s made this idea seem preposterous. Enter “global warming.” But then the same problem arose – only in reverse. The weather began to moderate. Cold winters returned with a vengeance to much of North America, for instance. It became hard to sell global warming when much of the country was experiencing a deep freeze, as during the winters of 2013 and 2014. A new – more flexible – catchphrase was urgently needed. Enter “climate change.” Since the climate constantly changes, no more worries about explaining away hot summers – or cold winters. Anything could be attributed to “climate change.” This is telling. We are dealing with a political thing, not a scientific thing. As Orwell observed, “political language is designed to make lies sound truthful… and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.” Normal fluctuations of temperature, a heat wave, a tough winter – can now be characterized as ominously abnormal – something that requires a solution – on the foundation of the bizarre idea that the climate is not supposed to change. That a static, unchanging climate is – somehow – normal. This is as dangerous an idea as it is bizarre.chart image The climate is and always has been in flux. It will continue to change, regardless of the pope or the activity of the seven billion people on this earth. For instance: Atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide were much higher than they are today 250 million years ago – well before the age of industrial activity. How much higher? Five times higher than current levels, according to the National Academy of Sciences(not the Republican Party or the Koch brothers). This was the era of the dinosaurs. The Earth was much warmer and more humid than now and the high C02 levels spurred the growth of vegetation, which fed the great plant-eating dinosaurs such as Diplodocus – who in tun fed giant meat-eaters like Tyrannosaurus. Conversely, the era preceding the current warmer era was much cooler – the so-called LIttle Ice Age, which began in the mid 1300s and lasted until the mid-1800s. Winters grew longer and much harsher. The climate changed – but due to natural processes, not human activity. Recently, the weather has warmed again. Mostly, during the ’90s and early 2000s. But the data indicate it is cooling once more. “Climate change” theory evades and quibbles; it ignores facts that don’t match the narrative. For example, the much-touted shriveling of the polar ice caps. It’s true the Arctic (north pole) caps have retreated somewhat; but at the same time, the Antarctic ice (south pole) has increased. Cumulatively, polar ice has not declined at all, according to NASA. There is also the inconvenient truth that tornadoes and hurricanes have lessened in frequency and severity. It is only because of 24-7 global media media coverage that such natural phenomena seem to be more happening more frequently – and with greater severity. Another inconvenient truth: So-called “warming” data has been called into question by the discovery that many of the temperature readings used to back up the assertion of abnormally rapid, unnatural warming were taken in cherry-picked locations (such as concrete-paved cities) to goose the numbers in the desired direction. The deeper you dig, the more you find. Keep in mind the stakes, too. It’s easy enough for affluent Westerners – this includes the pope -to glibly talk about “sustainable” development, because they will not pay the price. Millions of lesser humans will – and they deserve more from the spiritual leader of the world’s largest Christian denomination. It is certainly possible that industrial activity plays some role in the weather. It is probably the case. But attributing all change – and imputing catastrophic and looming change that requires people stop driving cars and using electricity to light and heat their homes is political science – not science. Pope Francis may mean well – and probably does. But he is not a scientist. And should stop trying to be a politician.

Evolution of Police Brutality

UPDATE: Cop Killer Was a ‘Black Lives Matter’ Supporter

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CDC Alert: Military Misplaces Black Plague!

CDC Alert: Military Misplaces Black Plague!

Friday, September 11, 2015

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Saudi Arabia Has 100,000 Air Conditioned Tents That Can House 3 Million People Sitting Empty Yet Has Taken Zero Refugees

While Europe takes the burden of the migrant crisis
by Paul Joseph Watson | September 10, 2015

While European countries are being lectured about their failure to take in enough refugees, Saudi Arabia – which has taken in precisely zero migrants – has 100,000 air conditioned tents that can house over 3 million people sitting empty.
The sprawling network of high quality tents are located in the city of Mina, spreading across a 20 square km valley, and are only used for 5 days of the year by Hajj pilgrims. As the website Amusing Planet reports, “For the rest of the year, Mina remains pretty much deserted.”
The tents, which measure 8 meters by 8 meters, were permanently constructed by the Saudi government in the 1990’s and were upgraded in 1997 to be fire proof. They are divided into camps which include kitchen and bathroom facilities.
The tents could provide shelter for almost all of the 4 million Syrian refugees that have been displaced by the country’s civil war, which was partly exacerbated by Saudi Arabia’s role in funding and arming jihadist groups.
However, as the Washington Post reports, wealthy Gulf Arab nations like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and others have taken in precisely zero Syrian refugees. Although Saudi Arabia claims it has taken in 500,000 Syrians since 2011, rights groups point out that these people are not allowed to register as migrants. Many of them are also legal immigrants who moved there for work. In comparison, Lebanon has accepted 1.3 million refugees – more than a quarter of its population.
While it refuses to take in any more refugees, Saudi Arabia has offered to build 200 mosques for the 500,000 migrants a year expected to pour into Germany.
Saudis argue that the tents in Mina are needed to host the annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, but given that the Arabic concept of Ummah is supposed to offer protection to all Muslims under one brotherhood, surely an alternative location could be found so that Mina can be repurposed to house desperate families fleeing war and ISIS persecution?
While Europe is being burdened by potentially millions of people who don’t share the same culture or religion as the host population, Gulf Arab states refuse to pull their weight, resolving only to throw money at the problem.
The likelihood of the Saudis inviting Syrian refugees to stay in Mina is virtually zero, but the thousands of empty tents serve as a physical representation of the hypocrisy shared by wealthy Gulf Arab states when it comes to helping with the crisis.
Photos credit: Akram Abahre.

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Paul Joseph Watson is the editor at large of and Prison

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Neutron Bombs Used In Yemen?

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FBI agents admit to spying on the Burning Man festival

FBI agents admit to spying on the Burning Man festival

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Breaking: Massachusetts Police Cruiser Bursts Into Flames After Coming Under Gunfire

Sheep Led to the Slaughter: The Muzzling of Free Speech in America

As Orwell warned, you cannot become conscious until you rebel
by John W. Whitehead | Rutherfoed Institute | September 2, 2015

“If the freedom of speech be taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.”—George Washington
The architects of the American police state must think we’re idiots.
With every passing day, we’re being moved further down the road towards a totalitarian society characterized by government censorship, violence, corruption, hypocrisy and intolerance, all packaged for our supposed benefit in the Orwellian doublespeak of national security, tolerance and so-called “government speech.”
Long gone are the days when advocates of free speech could prevail in a case such as Tinker v. Des Moines. Indeed, it’s been 50 years since 13-year-old Mary Beth Tinker was suspended for wearing a black armband to school in protest of the Vietnam War. In taking up her case, the U.S. Supreme Court declared that students do not “shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.”
Were Tinker to make its way through the courts today, it would have to overcome the many hurdles being placed in the path of those attempting to voice sentiments that may be construed as unpopular, offensive, conspiratorial, violent, threatening or anti-government. Consider, if you will, that the U.S. Supreme Court, historically a champion of the First Amendment, has declared that citizens can exercise their right to free speech everywhere it’s lawful—online, in social media, on a public sidewalk, etc.—as long as they don’t do so in front of the Court itself. What is the rationale for upholding this ban on expressive activity on the Supreme Court plaza? “Allowing demonstrations directed at the Court, on the Court’s own front terrace, would tend to yield the…impression…of a Court engaged with — and potentially vulnerable to — outside entreaties by the public.” Translation: The appellate court that issued that particular ruling in Hodge v. Talkin actually wants us to believe that the Court is so impressionable that the justices could be swayed by the sight of a single man, civil rights activist Harold Hodge, standing alone and silent in the snow in a 20,000 square-foot space in front of the Supreme Court building wearing a small sign protesting the toll the police state is taking on the lives of black and Hispanic Americans. My friends, we’re being played for fools. The Supreme Court is not going to be swayed by you or me or Harold Hodge. For that matter, the justices—all of whom hale from one of two Ivy League schools (Harvard or Yale) and most of whom are now millionaires and enjoy such rarefied privileges as lifetime employment, security details, ample vacations and travel perks—are anything but impartial. If they are partial, it is to those with whom they are on intimate terms: with Corporate America and the governmental elite who answer to them, and they show their favor by investing in their businesses, socializing at their events, and generally marching in lockstep with their values and desires in and out of the courtroom. To suggest that Harold Hodge, standing in front of the Supreme Court building on a day when the Court was not in session hearing arguments or issuing rulings, is a threat to the Court’s neutrality, while their dalliances with Corporate America is not, is utter hypocrisy. Making matters worse, the Supreme Court has the effrontery to suggest that the government can discriminate freely against First Amendment activity that takes place within a government forum. Justifying such discrimination as “government speech,” the Court ruled that the Texas Dept. of Motor Vehicles could refuse to issue specialty license plate designs featuring a Confederate battle flag because it was offensive. If it were just the courts suppressing free speech, that would be one thing to worry about, but First Amendment activities are being pummeled, punched, kicked, choked, chained and generally gagged all across the country. The reasons for such censorship vary widely from political correctness, safety concerns and bullying to national security and hate crimes but the end result remains the same: the complete eradication of what Benjamin Franklin referred to as the “principal pillar of a free government.” Officials at the University of Tennessee, for instance, recently introduced an Orwellian policy that would prohibit students from using gender specific pronouns and be more inclusive by using gender “neutral” pronouns such as ze, hir, zir, xe, xem and xyr, rather than he, she, him or her. On many college campuses, declaring that “America is the land of opportunity” or asking someone “Where were you born?” are now considered microaggressions, “small actions or word choices that seem on their face to have no malicious intent but that are thought of as a kind of violence nonetheless.”  Trigger warnings are also being used to alert students to any material or ideas they might read, see or hear that might upset them. More than 50 percent of the nation’s colleges, including Boston University, Harvard University, Columbia University and Georgetown University, subscribe to “red light” speech policies that restrict or ban so-called offensive speech, or limit speakers to designated areas on campus. The campus climate has become so hypersensitive that comedians such as Chris Rock and Jerry Seinfeld refuse to perform stand-up routines to college crowds anymore. What we are witnessing is an environment in which political correctness has given rise to “vindictive protectiveness,” a term coined by social psychologist Jonathan Haidt and educational First Amendment activist Greg Lukianoff. It refers to a society in which “everyone must think twice before speaking up, lest they face charges of insensitivity, aggression or worse.” This is particularly evident in the public schools where students are insulated from anything—words, ideas and images—that might create unease or offense. For instance, the thought police at schools in Charleston, South Carolina, have instituted a ban on displaying the Confederate flag on clothing, jewelry and even cars on campus. Added to this is a growing list of programs, policies, laws and cultural taboos that defy the First Amendment’s safeguards for expressive speech and activity. Yet as First Amendment scholar Robert Richards points out, “The categories of speech that fall outside of [the First Amendment’s] protection are obscenity, child pornography, defamation, incitement to violence and true threats of violence. Even in those categories, there are tests that have to be met in order for the speech to be illegal. Beyond that, we are free to speak.” Technically, Richards is correct. On paper, we are free to speak. In reality, however, we are only as free to speak as a government official may allow. Free speech zones, bubble zones, trespass zones, anti-bullying legislation, zero tolerance policies, hate crime laws and a host of other legalistic maladies dreamed up by politicians and prosecutors have conspired to corrode our core freedoms. As a result, we are no longer a nation of constitutional purists for whom the Bill of Rights serves as the ultimate authority. As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, we have litigated and legislated our way into a new governmental framework where the dictates of petty bureaucrats carry greater weight than the inalienable rights of the citizenry. It may seem trivial to be debating the merits of free speech at a time when unarmed citizens are being shot, stripped, searched, choked, beaten and tasered by police for little more than daring to frown, smile, question, challenge an order, or just breathe. However, while the First Amendment provides no tangible protection against a gun wielded by a government agent, nor will it save you from being wrongly arrested or illegally searched, or having your property seized in order to fatten the wallets of government agencies, without the First Amendment, we are utterly helpless. It’s not just about the right to speak freely, or pray freely, or assemble freely, or petition the government for a redress of grievances, or have a free press. The unspoken freedom enshrined in the First Amendment is the right to think freely and openly debate issues without being muzzled or treated like a criminal. Just as surveillance has been shown to “stifle and smother dissent, keeping a populace cowed by fear,” government censorship gives rise to self-censorship, breeds compliance and makes independent thought all but impossible. In the end, censorship and political correctness not only produce people that cannot speak for themselves but also people who cannot think for themselves. And a citizenry that can’t think for itself is a citizenry that will neither rebel against the government’s dictates nor revolt against the government’s tyranny. The end result: a nation of sheep who willingly line up for the slaughterhouse. The cluttered cultural American landscape today is one in which people are so distracted by the military-surveillance-entertainment complex that critical thinkers are in the minority and frank, unfiltered, uncensored speech is considered uncivil, uncouth and unacceptable. That’s the point, of course. The architects, engineers and lever-pullers who run the American police state want us to remain deaf, dumb and silent. They want our children raised on a vapid diet of utter nonsense, where common sense is in short supply and the only viewpoint that matters is the government’s. We are becoming a nation of idiots, encouraged to spout political drivel and little else. In so doing, we have adopted the lexicon of Newspeak, the official language of George Orwell’s fictional Oceania, which was “designed not to extend but to diminish the range of thought.” As Orwell explained in1984, “The purpose of Newspeak was not only to provide a medium of expression for the world-view and mental habits proper to the devotees of IngSoc [the state ideology of Oceania], but to make all other modes of thought impossible.” If Orwell envisioned the future as a boot stamping on a human face, a fair representation of our present day might well be a muzzle on that same human face. If we’re to have any hope for the future, it will rest with those ill-mannered, bad-tempered, uncivil, discourteous few who are disenchanted enough with the status quo to tell the government to go to hell using every nonviolent means available. However, as Orwell warned, you cannot become conscious until you rebel.