Archive for the ‘mis·cel·la·neous’ Category

Some Bizarre Shit Right Here…

September 9, 2009

Suppressed CBS News 60 Minutes on Landmark cult leader Werner Erhard, 3 Mar 1991

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The ZIP archive presents the video and transcript of an investigative report into “est” (Erhard Seminars Training) guru Werner Erhard by CBS News, originally broadcast on the program 60 Minutes on March 3, 1991.

Both, video and transcript, have been published at various points in time, but are not publically available anymore due to legal threats against publishers from Werner Erhard.

The material contains interviews with friends, business associates and family of Werner Erhard making serious claims against him. Erhard is accused by family members of beating his wife and children, and raping a daughter, while still giving seminars on how to have relationships that work. The story also includes interviews with two former staff members of Werner Erhard: Wendy Drucker (a senior manager) and Dr. Bob Larzelere (head of Erhard’s counseling staff).

The current incarnation of the est training is now known as Landmark Education, with its course the Landmark Forum. Landmark Education is run by CEO Harry Rosenberg, who is Werner Erhard’s brother, and General Counsel and Chairman of the Board of Directors Art Schreiber, who has acted as Werner Erhard’s lawyer. Werner Erhard’s sister Joan Rosenberg also sits on the Board of Directors of Landmark Education.

The likely audience for this material includes researchers of the “est” and Landmark Education / Landmark Forum movement – including psychotherapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists, as well as those researching the controversial life of Werner Erhard. The audience also includes potential clients/customers of the company Landmark Education – whose course the Landmark Forum was originally developed by Werner Erhard as the “est training”.

The material can be verified as the original CBS broadcast on 60 Minutes of March 3, 1991. The episode of 60 Minutes is Program # 2325.

Additionally, Cult expert Rick Ross of The Ross Institute Internet Archives for the Study of Destructive Cults, Controversial Groups and Movements maintains a large database on Landmark Education[1], est[2], and The Forum[3], and his attorneys are also quite educated as to the organization’s methods[4].

See also: US Department of Labor investigation into Landmark Education, 2006


We are Living in an Artificially Induced State of Consciousness

September 9, 2009


Nathan Janes
September 8, 2009

Since its inception in American homes in the late 1930’s, television has essentially given America it’s culture. Today, television watching is the most popular leisure activity as more and more people are choosing the fantasy world of TV over engaging with others in real communication and experiences. Where people once wanted to explore the wonders of the world and nature, now many explore the world outside their homes only through what they view on television. Once a vast majority is living the same reality through television, then they are more predictable and easily managed. The television does an excellent job placing everyone that watches it on the same page, all sharing the same views, worries, interests, and idols.

Through the television, we are trained from birth to death as to what to believe. Many studies have demonstrated that the young unquestioningly accept whatever reality is presented by television. Impressionable children will often spend hours in front of the television each day as it is used as a trust worthy babysitter. As they sit down for their daily intake of cartoons, children’s programming and commercials, many parents fail to realize what lessons the television is teaching their children. And so culture and norms of behavior are often more strongly influenced by what is on television rather than by what parents are teaching children. The parents of today grew up in front of the television as well and so the television is not often questioned and instead accepted as a part of the family’s daily life. Children who grow up in front of the TV learn to arrange their lives around TV programming and will likely grow up to be adults who get their entertainment, news, and information from it.

Heavy television watching is culturally accepted and expected in our society. In fact, the act of not watching TV can actually offend some people. With the average American adult watching more than 4 hours of television each day, the television plays a major role in continually creating the reality in which we live. Those who create the television programming- the 6 corporations and little over 100 board members who control all American mass media outlets shape this reality. The interests of these corporations and those who lead them are to make money for both the media corporations and those corporations that the board members have special ties to. Rather than creating television shows that engages critical thinking and keeps Americans well informed on topics that may affect their well being, the TV causes us to see ourselves as consumers who need to be entertained. Television is creating a culture of occupied minds- an apathetic and passive population only interested in being entertained by mindless trivia with no interest in analyzing information and instead relying on the TV for all answers.

TV has lead us into a world controlled by science and run by experts. In predicting a “Scientific Dictatorship,” Aldous Huxley, author of Brave New World and well known for his studies on the development of new techniques by which to control and direct human behavior, described a world run by experts, which isn’t hard to imagine when we’ve been trained through our television sets to always listen to experts. Major media promotes experts on just about every topic you can imagine while implying that the public is too dumb or uneducated to make their own decisions about such topics as vaccinations, financial management, and medical interventions. In this way, the television is creating in individuals a sense of learned helplessness, leaving us dependent on those given to us as experts to direct our decisions and actions.

The act of watching TV regularly is obedience to those in control. For total control in any system, everyone must be predictable. TV creates a collectivism society, where to be an individual is seen as an enemy to the peace within the collective society. Groupthink is essential in a society where everyone is to be controlled by those in power. Aldous Huxley once said, “It is possible to make people contented with their servitude. I think this can be done. I think it has been done in the past. I think it could be done even more effectively now because you can provide them with bread and circuses and you can provide them with endless amounts of distractions and propaganda.”


September 7, 2009

Got a new website in the oven. Pretty excited. The traffic on this blog has increased steadily in the last year or so, to where it’s getting anywhere from 700-1000 hits a day, (7000 busiest day). I know that’s small potato’s to a lot of other sites but I just started this site for my friends and family, (who think this is all crazy anyway), to hopefully open a few eyes at least. I’m currently working on transferring all the posts from my blog. I even got some cool (non-evil) sponsors involved so hopefully I make a little spare change. God knows I could use it. Anyway, should be up in a few days or so.

-Fred Face 9/6/09

This is just a little taste of the new site: ………………….(Har, Har)


Vladimir Putin’s Dark Rise to Power: GQ Censors Article About False Flag Bombings in Russia

September 7, 2009


by David Folkenflik

September 4, 2009

For war journalist Scott Anderson, the most confounding part of his recent assignment for GQ magazine to explore the root of terrorist acts in Russia a decade ago wasn’t the suggestion of treachery and subterfuge he found.

It was the reception his story ultimately received in the United States.

“It was quite mysterious to me,” Anderson says. “All of a sudden, it became clear that they were going to run the article but they were going to try to bury it under a rock as much as they possibly could.”

Anderson, 50, is an accomplished reporter and novelist who has written previously for Harper’s Magazine, The New York Times Magazine, and Vanity Fair.

His investigative piece, published in the September American edition of GQ, challenges the official line on a series of bombings that killed hundreds of people in 1999 in Russia. It profiles a former KGB agent who spoke in great detail and on the record, at no small risk to himself. But instead of trumpeting his reporting, GQ’s corporate owners went to extraordinary lengths to try to ensure no Russians will ever see it.

A Management Memo

Conde Nast owns Vanity Fair and GQ as well as other publications, including Russian versions of GQ, Glamour, Tatler and Vogue. On July 23, Jerry S. Birenz, one of the company’s top lawyers, sent an e-mail memo to more than a dozen corporate executives and GQ editors.

“Conde Nast management has decided that the September issue of U.S. GQ magazine containing Scott Anderson’s article ‘Vladimir Putin’s Dark Rise to Power’ should not be distributed in Russia,” Birenz wrote.

He ordered that the article could not be posted to the magazine’s Web site. No copies of the American edition of the magazine could be sent to Russia or shown in any country to Russian government officials, journalists or advertisers. Additionally, the piece could not be published in other Conde Nast magazines abroad, nor publicized in any way.

It wasn’t just that there was no reference to Anderson’s piece on the cover of this month’s GQ, which featured a picture of Michael Jackson, a reference to tennis star Andy Roddick’s wife and a ranking of obnoxious colleges and top drinking cities. At this writing, I cannot find any reference to Anderson’s piece on the Internet.

The idea that information can be sequestered at a time when people can communicate instantly across oceans and continents may seem quaint. But in this instance, Conde Nast sought, against technology, logic and the thrust of its own article, to show deference in the presence of power.

Lawyers, executives and editors at Conde Nast and GQ did not respond to repeated requests for comment this week, and a spokesman ultimately declined on their behalf. But NPR has spoken to several people knowledgeable about the handling of Anderson’s piece. No issues have been raised to date about the article’s accuracy.

A Taboo Topic

To understand why Conde Nast might have reacted the way it did, it’s worth remembering the subject of the report — and the context in which it is now being written. Back in September 1999, Chechen terrorists were blamed for the attacks. The new prime minister, Vladimir Putin, emerged from the shadows and consolidated power. A crackdown ensued and a second war was launched against Chechnya. Putin took over from President Boris Yeltsin soon after the new year.

Chechen separatists have been known to commit deadly terrorist acts. Hundreds of Russians were killed after the takeover of a school in Beslan, Russia, while more than 100 other people died at a Moscow theater after a siege by Russian forces seeking to liberate it from Chechen gunmen.

But in today’s Russia, says Nina Ognianova, the program director for Europe and Central Asia at the Committee to Protect Journalists, the origin of the 1999 bombings is a taboo topic. And she says Russian authorities often turn up the heat on reporters who stray into unwelcome terrain.

“You can be sued for defamation — but you don’t even have to be sued. You can be audited,” Ognianova says. “Politicized audits are a big hurdle for publications that dare to publish sensitive topics.”

Those audits can focus on just about anything — including fire codes — that could paralyze a publication for months and send advertisers fleeing. That’s a consequential result for media companies that see foreign publications as increasingly important sources of revenue.

Journalists in Russia do fear retribution. Ognianova will be in Moscow on Sept. 15 to release a CPJ report about 17 journalists who have been killed since 2000. There have been convictions in only one case. One of the most prominent killings involved an American citizen of Russian descent who was editor of Forbes‘ Russian-language magazine. And other critics have been silenced as well — most notably Alexander Litvinenko, another former KGB agent who claimed the Russian security services were tied to the terror attacks of 1999. Litvinenko died in England after being poisoned with radioactive polonium.

Professional Obligations

But Conde Nast’s Birenz did not raise security issues in his memo. And Anderson says he was not told of any safety matters by the company, just concerns of lawyers.

“If you’re worried about repercussions and you bow to them, you’re basically surrendering to the other side,” Anderson says.

Jane Kirtley, an attorney who is a professor of media ethics and law at the University of Minnesota’s journalism school, says Conde Nast’s position makes no sense as a matter of pragmatism or principle.

“On one level, the smart thing is to stay in business and to stay in Russia, of course,” Kirtley says. “But these stories will get out, they will get read in Russia. They’re being somewhat naive to believe that by limiting this to their American edition that somehow they’re preventing this from being read.”

More important, she argues, is Conde Nast’s failure to live up to its professional obligations. “It goes with the territory of a news organization to speak for those who can’t speak — and to bear the consequences,” she says.

‘It’s Really Kind Of Sad’

Anderson had never hidden his subject from editors at GQ when they approached him to write something about Russia. His ensuing six-page story centered on Mikhail Trepashkin — a former KGB agent who had investigated the bombings. Trepashkin spoke at length about the inconsistencies in the case — and about possible links between the bombings and to the security agency that Putin once headed. Trepashkin himself has ties to a controversial Russian billionaire and recently spent several years in jail before being released. But Amnesty International said he had been treated unjustly and said the charges against him appeared to be politically motivated.

“Here’s a guy who spent four years in prison on a trumped-up, really rather silly charge (that) was a direct result of the investigative effort he’s made on these bombings,” Anderson says. “Now he’s out — he’s certainly kind of walking around with a bullseye on his back — and yet is still willing to tell the story.”

“I think it’s really kind of sad,” Anderson says. “Here now is finally an outlet for this story to be told, and you do everything possible to throw a tarp over it.”

GQ editors were also told not to promote the story, but in an act of quiet defiance, the magazine sought publicity for Anderson’s article from a few news outlets, including NPR’s All Things Considered.

Anderson was also asked to refuse to syndicate the article to any publications that appear in Russia once the rights revert back to him. He says he acknowledged the request, but told GQ he would refuse to honor it.

Internet Anonymity: Why It Really Does Matter

September 5, 2009


Robert X. Cringely, InfoWorld

Over the last few weeks I’ve spent probably too much time thinking and writing about the Liskula Cohen libel case (“Skanks for nothing: Google must identify ‘anonymous’ blogger” and “A skank discussion: Privacy, anonymity, and misogyny.”)

Mostly because a) it’s a lot of fun, and b) it concerns one of my favorite topics, the always lively Internet Anonymity vs. Privacy vs. Personal Responsibility debate. Besides, how often does an IT blogger get to write about catty supermodels, skanky or otherwise?

[ Also on InfoWorld: “A skank discussion: Privacy, anonymity, and misogyny” | Stay up to date on Robert X. Cringely’s musings and observations with InfoWorld’sNotes from the Underground newsletter. ]

Today I’m hitting that topic again, but from the opposite direction.

Despite what some tenacious commenters may have thought, I was not defending the right of the now-not-so-anonymous blogger (better known as 29-year-oldRosemary Port) to anonymously defame. Otherwise, the Internet would be one big slanderfest (or, at least, more of a slanderfest than it already is). There needs to be some disincentive for completely juvenile behavior.

But today brings news of a case where anonymity on the Net absolutely needs to be protected. It too involves a court subpoena ordering Google to turn over private information; in this case, the names of the owners, the e-mail address for The TCI Journal, a muckracking news site based in the Turks & Caicos Islands.

Apparently, people in T&C don’t spend all their time listening to Jimmy Buffet, eating conch, and drinking mojitos out of hollowed-out pineapples with little umbrellas stuck in them. They also spend time exposing people who allegedly bribe government officials.

Attorneys for one of the alleged bribers, developer Dr. Cem Kinay, are now suing The TCI Journal in California in what some are calling a case of “libel tourism.” (Not to be confused with a defamation vacation.) In other words, the developer in T&C chose to sue in a California court because U.S. courts make it easier to demand a company’s records.

Here, nobody is calling anyone a skank. The TCI Journal mostly appears to have been reporting on an inquiry into government corruption and reprinting letters from readers about the topic. Lawyers for the developer wanted the site to redact any mentions of the developer in its reports, which to its credit The TCI Journal declined to do.

According to Wikileaks, which knows a thing or two aboutfloating money laundering operations and whistle-blower anonymity, TCI’s anonymous journalism…

… culminated in a dramatic UK governance takeover of the Islands on August 14. A trail of evidence dug up by the TCI Journal, a UK commission of inquiry, and others, showed that foreign property developers were giving millions in secret loans and payments to senior Islander politicians, including an alleged $500,000 cash payment to the Island’s now former Premier, Michael Misick.

A litigious bunch, these developers also sued the commission and the T&C government to force it to redact the final commission report, blacking out their names. Not to worry, though: Wikileaks got a copy of theunredacted 266-page document and posted it online. The official redacted report is published at (If you’ve got time, scroll through the unredacted one — it’s a juicy read.)

Attorneys for the big developer have gone after the site’s Web host and domain registrar, managing to take the site offline for a few days. Now they’re attempting to wrest the owner’s information from Google.

According to Marshall Kirkpatrick at Read Write Web, Google sent the Journal a letter warning that unless TCI sends Google a letter asking them to quash the subpoena, they have no choice but to roll over on TCI.

TCI is not the New York Times by any stretch. It’s a tiny volunteer-run organization with cojones the size of coconuts. So in addition to reporting on government corruption, it’s been publishing all the nastygrams it’s received from Kinay’s legal team — which, of course,they also want redacted from the site.

Wait, it gets better. Someone calling him or herself “TCI Controversies” started the TCI Citizen blog at shortly after the unredacted report appeared. The blog’s sole purpose seems to be trashing The TCI Journal. Of course, it’s anonymous.

Someone (probably the same person, judging by the writing style) has also been planting anti-TCI Journal stories on sites like AllVoices, which will publish contributed articles from anyone without any human intervention.

Now I wonder if TCI Journal will sue Google to get the names of the folks behind that defamatory blog. Bet you 20 coconuts the authors have a more-than-casual relationship with those developers.

Attempts at suppressing negative press are hardly unheard of in this country — corporations try to do it all the time (Steve Jobs, your iPhone is buzzing). Few of them pursue it so aggressively, though, or try to stomp out the sources of bad news. Whether The TCI Journal survives probably depends on whether they can afford to pay attorneys to protect them.

So this is why anonymity is important: Not so people can make nasty comments about anyone else just because they feel like it, but to help the little guys who are trying to serve the public and don’t have the resources to protect themselves against corporate or government attacks. If Google can’t or won’t do it, someone else needs to.

Should the right to anonymity be protected? If so, how? E-mail me: (Hopefully, will be working again soon.)

Gold nears $1,000 an ounce, ending at 6-month high

September 4, 2009


By Moming Zhou

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — Gold futures rose Thursday to six-month highs, with nearby contracts approaching $1,000 an ounce while contracts for next year’s delivery topping the psychologically important level, as a weakening dollar and continued fund buying pushed up prices. Gold for delivery, the most active contract, gained $19.20, or 2%, to $997.70 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, the highest settlement for the contract since Feb. 23. It rose as high as $999.50 earlier. The October contract rose to $996.30, while futures for April delivery ended at $1,000.20 an ounce. (Updates to correct the December contract closing price.)

Why Psychologists Are Infinitely More Dangerous Than Conspiracy Theorists

September 4, 2009


Paul Joseph Watson
Thursday, September 3, 2009

According to a Psychology Today hit piece written by psychologist John Gartner, people prone to thinking that powerful men might actually get together and plan to maintain and advance their power are borderline psychotics who are a danger to society. In reality, hundreds of years of history has taught us that psychologists routinely aid authoritarian regimes in enforcing tyrannical and inhumane policies while helping them crush political opposition by defining suspicion of authorities as a mental illness.

As we highlighted in our article yesterday, psychologists in the Soviet Union were used to stifle free speech by classifying skepticism and political opposition to the state as a mental illness, which is precisely the implication  littered throughout Gartner’s crass hit piece.

In the former Soviet Union, psikhushkas — mental hospitals — were used by the state as prisons in order to isolate political prisoners, discredit their ideas, and break them physically and mentally. The Soviet state began using mental hospitals to punish dissidents in 1939 under Stalin.

According to official Soviet psychiatry and the Moscow Serbsky Institute at the time, “ideas about a struggle for truth and justice are formed by personalities with a paranoid structure.” Treatment for this special political schizophrenia included various forms of restraint, electric shocks, electromagnetic torture, radiation torture, lumbar punctures, various drugs — such as narcotics, tranquilizers, and insulin — and beatings. Anne Applebaum, author of Gulag: A History, indicates that at least 365 sane people were treated for “politically defined madness,” although she surmises there were many more.

The profession of psychology blossoms under tyrannical regimes, as is explored in Ulfried Geuter’s The Professionalization of Psychology in Nazi Germany. Under Hitler’s Third Reich, the relationship between the ruling Nazi thugs and psychologists was close and mutually beneficial. People like Nazi psychologist Robert Ritter, Ph. D. (pictured top) were instrumental in persecuting minorities and enforcing eugenicist policies of genocide.

“From Nazi Germany, South Africa, Russia and the former Yugoslavia, to Iraq today, psychiatry has been and/or remains a key player. In fact, the marriage between authoritarian government and psychiatry is as old as psychiatry itself,” writes Jan Eastgate, International President, Citizens Commission on Human Rights, “In the 1800s, Germany’s militaristic “Iron Chancellor,” Otto von Bismarck, utilized psychiatry to influence and control whole populations in order to fulfill his dreams of conquest through war.”

In his book Dangerous Minds: Political Psychiatry in China Today and Its Origins in the Mao Era, praised as “eloquent and convincing” in a New York Times Review of Books piece, author Robert Munro exposes how psychiatrists and psychologists continue to be at the forefront of the brutal Communist Chinese system of ascribing mental illnesses to those who express even mildly negative political opinions towards the ruling Party.

The book reveals how, “From the 1950s onward not only Chinese dissidents but people who submitted petitions to the authorities have been detained by the police, examined by psychiatrists, and found to be criminally insane—or, if found mentally “normal,” designated as criminals to be cast into the prison system.”

An official Chinese police designation for those worthy of “psychiatric custody” cited by Munro lists people who write anti-government letters, make anti-government speeches or those who merely express opinions on important domestic and international affairs that could be considered anti-government.

But the use of psychologists in the pursuit of inhumane policies is not just resigned to tyrannical regimes of the first half of the 20th century.

Recent revelations surrounding the torture scandal highlight the role of psychologists in what the Physicians for Human Rights organization alleges amounted to “unlawful human experimentation” and torture on inmates at Guantánamo, Abu Ghraib, Bagram and other U.S. detention sites.

“PHR says health professionals participated at every stage in the development, implementation and legal justification of what it calls the CIA’s secret “torture programme,” reports the London Guardian.

Doctors and psychologists actively monitored CIA torture techniques and helped evaluate their effectiveness, a “violation of core ethical values” according to the American Medical Association and a flagrant abuse of the 1947 Nuremberg Code, which forbids experimentation on humans without their consent.

The CIA’s close relationship with psychologists and psychiatrists in conducting illegal torture programs stretches back decades.

“Historian Alfred W. McCoy has shed light in this area in his recent book A Question of Torture and in numerous articles and interviews,” writes Stephen Soldz. “He documents the decades-long CIA effort to utilized psychological expertise to develop forms of torture that could break down the personality of detainees, rendering them, it was hoped, incapable of withholding desired information. Many of these technique were utilized during the Vietnam conflict and in the various brutal U.S.-supported counterinsurgency campaigns in Latin American in the 1970s and 1980s.”

While Psychology Today’s John Gartner cites a single example of a “conspiracy theorist” who voiced support for Alex Jones entering Bohemian Grove armed with guns, and uses it to make the implication that “conspiracy thinking” is a major threat to society, documented history stretching back hundreds of years shows that psychologists, and particularly their tactic of classifying suspicion of authorities and “conspiracy thinking” as a mental illness, have played a key role in preserving the power of dictatorial elites and helping them to carry out inhumane practices while crushing free speech and legitimate political opposition.

RELATED: Psychology Today Hit Piece Labels Conspiracy Thinking A Psychotic Illness

Elderly Couple Forced into State Custody

September 1, 2009

They’re not criminals. They’ve broken no laws. But an elderly Richardson couple claims the state is holding them against their will. Investigative reporter Becky Oliver explains.

Waz Up Greeze Monkey

September 1, 2009


NM Rothschild Pitches UK Infrastructure Grab

August 31, 2009


Robert Watts and Dominic O’Connell

A radical plan to raise £100 billion by privatising the motorway network has been presented to the three main political parties by NM Rothschild, the influential investment bank.

Rothschild, an architect of several privatisations, made its pitch in the weeks running up to the summer recess on July 21, Whitehall sources said. Bankers told leading politicians that the sale of the roads overseen by the Highways Agency — all motorways and most big trunk roads — could help revive battered public finances.

Toll-road companies and infrastructure funds would compete to operate and maintain stretches of the network.

In one version of the scheme, the government would pay for upkeep through a system of “shadow” tolls. A more radical, and less politically palatable, option would be for companies to charge motorists directly through toll booths or electronic card readers. The RAC Foundation, a motorists’ group, advocated privatisation in a report last week.

The Rothschild plan has already won the support of Vince Cable, the Liberal Democrats’ deputy leader and Treasury spokesman.

“This is an attractive, positive idea which could release considerable resources to the public finances and may have real environmental merits,” Cable said. “The scale of it is vast — it makes rail privatisation look like small beer.”

Theresa Villiers, the shadow transport secretary, said the Conservatives had “no plans” to back Rothschild’s proposals: “Rothschilds, like many other banks and consultancies, have approached me and my team on a range of ideas for our transport network, including their ideas for our road infrastructure, but we are not working on any proposals for privatisation of the strategic road network and have no plans to do so.”

Motorway privatisation was considered by John Major’s Conservative administration, which sold British Rail, but was rejected.

A spokesman at the Department for Transport said: “It is not unusual for organisations to suggest ideas to government departments but ultimately all policy is decided by ministers and there are no plans to sell off a stake in the Highways Agency.” Rothschild declined to comment.

The bank was behind many of the key privatisations of the 1980s and 1990s, including British Steel, British Gas and British Coal. It has close links to the Conservatives, having employed several senior Party figures including Lord Lamont, John Redwood and Lord Wakeham. Oliver Letwin, the former shadow chancellor, works there part-time.

Politicians of all Parties are seeking ways to decrease the need for large tax rises or heavy cuts in public services. The bank bailouts and a recent collapse in tax revenues has seen public sector debt rise to more than £800 billion, 56.8% of GDP — up from 35.5% just two years ago.

Road tolls are unpopular, however. When Labour mooted road pricing two years ago, more than 230,000 signed a petition on the Downing Street decrying the plan.


Media Matters Hit Piece Attempts to Link Alex Jones and Glenn Beck

August 30, 2009

On August 28, Media Matters posted a hit piece on Glenn Beck. In the article, Oliver Willis attempts to link the Fox News disinformation operative Beck to Alex Jones. “We’re used to Glenn Beck being ‘out there’, but today’s show was special,” writes Willis. “Beck’s hour (the second day in a row in which he didn’t say a thing about the passing of Sen. Kennedy) was all about the supposed secret army being built by President Obama. This secret army idea, not supported by any facts, though possibly written in invisible ink that Beck can interpret, is a pet cause of fringe radio host Alex Jones.”

In fact, during the election last year, Obama admitted his desire to create a national security force, what Mr. Willis calls a “secret army.” The U.S. “cannot continue to rely only on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives we’ve set” and needs a “civilian national security force,” he said. Obama said his national security force needs to be as well funded — to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars — as the U.S. military. See the video clip below.

Continue Article

New battery could change world, one house at a time

August 28, 2009


Randy Wright – Daily Herald

In a modest building on the west side of Salt Lake City, a team of specialists in advanced materials and electrochemistry has produced what could be the single most important breakthrough for clean, alternative energy since Socrates first noted solar heating 2,400 years ago.

The prize is the culmination of 10 years of research and testing — a new generation of deep-storage battery that’s small enough, and safe enough, to sit in your basement and power your home.

It promises to nudge the world to a paradigm shift as big as the switch from centralized mainframe computers in the 1980s to personal laptops. But this time the mainframe is America’s antiquated electrical grid; and the switch is to personal power stations in millions of individual homes.

Former energy secretary Bill Richardson once disparaged the U.S. electrical grid as “third world,” and he was painfully close to the mark. It’s an inefficient, aging relic of a century-old approach to energy and a weak link in national security in an age of terrorism.

Taking a load off the grid through electricity production and storage at home would extend the life of the system and avoid the expenditure of tens, or even hundreds, of billions to make it “smart.”

The battery breakthrough comes from a Salt Lake company called Ceramatec, the R&D arm of CoorsTek, a world leader in advanced materials and electrochemical devices. It promises to reduce dependence on the dinosaur by hooking up with the latest generation of personalized power plants that draw from the sun.

Solar energy has been around, of course, but it’s been prohibitively expensive. Now the cost is tumbling, driven by new thin-film chemistry and manufacturing techniques. Leaders in the field include companies like Arizona-based First Solar, which can paint solar cells onto glass; and Konarka, an upstart that purchased a defunct Polaroid film factory in New Bedford, Mass., and now plans to print cells onto rolls of flexible plastic.

The convergence of these two key technologies — solar power and deep-storage batteries — has profound implications for oil-strapped America.

“These batteries switch the whole dialogue to renewables,” said Daniel Nocera, a noted chemist and professor of energy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who sits on Ceramatec’s science advisory board. “They will turn us away from dumb technology, circa 1900 — a 110-year-old approach — and turn us forward.”

Why not just upgrade to a so-called “smart grid” as President Obama has proposed in his economic stimulus package? There are complications, Nocera said.

“First you have to rebuild the grid because the one we have now is a creaky machine from the 1920s, and we keep trying to retrofit it,” he said. “Then you’re going to have computers trying to manage the energy, which brings up issues like security. You have to make it really secure so you don’t have people hacking into things. And then politics. Just wait until you try to run power lines through someone’s backyard.

“I can’t imagine anything more secure than generating my own energy with the sun at my house, and now I’ll have a way to store it. It’s the ultimate in security, and the ultimate in control.”

With small-scale electrical generation taking place at millions of individual homes — as opposed to today’s large-scale power generation from a handful of giant power plants — there would be less worry about what’s called “point failure” on the grid. That’s when a single component gets knocked out and shuts off power to a whole region. California-style rolling blackouts would be history.

The threat of terrorism has heightened the worry. But wide distribution of batteries in homes would virtually eliminate it.

Continue Article

U.S. Chamber of Commerce seeks trial on global warming

August 26, 2009



The business lobby, hoping to fend off potentially sweeping emission limits, wants the EPA to hold a ‘Scopes’-like hearing on the evidence that climate change is man-made.

By Jim Tankersley


Reporting from Washington – The nation’s largest business lobby wants to put the science of global warming on trial.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, trying to ward off potentially sweeping federal emissions regulations, is pushing the Environmental Protection Agency to hold a rare public hearing on the scientific evidence for man-made climate change.

Chamber officials say it would be “the Scopes monkey trial of the 21st century” — complete with witnesses, cross-examinations and a judge who would rule, essentially, on whether humans are warming the planet to dangerous effect.

“It would be evolution versus creationism,” said William Kovacs, the chamber’s senior vice president for environment, technology and regulatory affairs. “It would be the science of climate change on trial.”

The goal of the chamber, which represents 3 million large and small businesses, is to fend off potential emissions regulations by undercutting the scientific consensus over climate change. If the EPA denies the request, as expected, the chamber plans to take the fight to federal court.

The EPA is having none of it, calling a hearing a “waste of time” and saying that a threatened lawsuit by the chamber would be “frivolous.”

EPA spokesman Brendan Gilfillan said the agency based its proposed finding that global warming is a danger to public health “on the soundest peer-reviewed science available, which overwhelmingly indicates that climate change presents a threat to human health and welfare.”

Environmentalists say the chamber’s strategy is an attempt to sow political discord by challenging settled science — and note that in the famed 1925 Scopes trial, which pitted lawyers Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan in a courtroom battle over a Tennessee science teacher accused of teaching evolution illegally, the scientists won in the end.

The chamber proposal “brings to mind for me the Salem witch trials, based on myth,” said Brenda Ekwurzel, a climate scientist for the environmental group Union of Concerned Scientists. “In this case, it would be ignoring decades of publicly accessible evidence.”

In the coming weeks, the EPA is set to formally declare that the heat-trapping gases scientists blame for climate change endanger human health, and are thus subject to regulation under the Clean Air Act. The so-called endangerment finding will be a cornerstone of the Obama administration’s plan to set strict new emissions standards on cars and trucks.

The proposed finding has drawn more than 300,000 public comments. Many of them question scientists’ projections that rising temperatures will lead to increased mortality rates, harmful pollution and extreme weather events such as hurricanes.

In light of those comments, the chamber will tell the EPA in a filing today that a trial-style public hearing, which is allowed under the law but nearly unprecedented on this scale, is the only way to “make a fully informed, transparent decision with scientific integrity based on the actual record of the science.”

Most climate scientists agree that greenhouse gas emissions, caused by the burning of fossil fuels and other human activities, are warming the planet. Using computer models and historical temperature data, those scientists predict the warming will accelerate unless greenhouse gas emissions are dramatically reduced.

“The need for urgent action to address climate change is now indisputable,” said a recent letter to world leaders by the heads of the top science agencies in 13 of the world’s largest countries, including the head of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.

The EPA’s endangerment finding for greenhouse gases, as proposed in April, warned that warmer temperatures would lead to “the increased likelihood of more frequent and intense heat waves, more wildfires, degraded air quality, more heavy downpours and flooding, increased drought, greater sea level rise, more intense storms, harm to water resources, harm to agriculture, and harm to wildlife and ecosystems.”

Critics of the finding say it’s far from certain that warming will cause any harm at all. The Chamber of Commerce cites studies that predict higher temperatures will reduce mortality rates in the United States.,0,901567.story

New Clues in the Mass Death of Bees

August 26, 2009

Look how hard they work to avoid the suggestion that genetically modified crops may be the root cause of the deaths of the honeybees, yet it is already documented that pollen from genetically modified plants is harmful to benign insect species! See Transgenic pollen harms monarch larvae (Nature, Vol 399, No 6733, p 214, May 1999)



In late 2006, something strange began to happen to America’s honeybees. Colonies that were once thriving suddenly went still, almost overnight. The worker bees that make hives run simply disappeared, their bodies never to be found. Over the past couple of years, nearly one-third of all honeybee colonies have collapsed this way, which led to a straightforward name for the phenomenon: colony collapse disorder (CCD).

This might seem like little more than a tantalizing mystery for entomologists, except for one fact: honeybees provide $15 billion worth of value to U.S. farmers, pollinating crops that range from apples to avocados to almonds. Any number of possible causes for CCD have been put forward, from bee viruses to parasites to environmental triggers like pesticides or even cell-phone transmissions. Despite the Department of Agriculture’s allotment of $20 million a year for the next five years to study CCD, it’s still a mystery — and the bees keep dying.(Read “Why We Should Care About Dying Bees.”)

A new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) shows that the causes of CCD may be more varied than scientists expect. The bees may be dying not from a single toxin or disease but rather from an assault directed by a collection of pathogens. A research team led by entomologist May Berenbaum at the University of Illinois compared the whole genome of honeybees that came from hives that had suffered from CCD with hives that were healthy. The sick bees exhibited genetic damage that could account for the die-off, and that damage indicated that they might be afflicted with multiple viruses simultaneously. This could weaken them enough to trigger CCD. “It’s like a perfect storm,” says Berenbaum.

The PNAS team’s work was possible only because the honeybee’s genome is one of the few animal genomes that scientists have decoded in full. The researchers looked at the genes that were switched on in the guts of sick and healthy bees — the gut being both the place pesticides are detoxified and the main region for immune defense. The technique they used is what’s known as a whole-genome microarray, and it’s ideal for this kind of sweeping analysis. “It’s a really powerful tool that lets us look at all 10,000 honeybee genes at the same time,” says Berenbaum. “The causative agents [for CCD] might just leap out.”

In the guts of CCD-afflicted bees, the microarray analysis showed unusual fragments of ribosomal RNA. Ribosomes are essentially the protein factories inside cells — they’re vital to the health of the cell itself and the larger organism. Berenbaum believes that the presence of those genetic fragments inside the CCD-afflicted bees indicates that they may be under attack by a number of insect viruses — including deformed wing virus and Israeli acute paralysis virus — that damage the ribosomes. “It was the one factor that remained consistently associated with the CCD bees we tested, no matter where they came from or how severe the disorder was,” says Berenbaum. “It doesn’t have to be a specific virus, just an overload.” Once the bees’ systems get burdened this way, they are less capable of fighting off any other threat, from pesticides to other environmental causes.(See TIME’s video “Bees Without Borders.”)

Berenbaum is quick to point out that the microarray analysis is only correlative, meaning that while it can show evidence that certain viruses are present in CCD-afflicted bees, it doesn’t reveal exactly what role the viruses play, nor how best to battle them. One approach might be to control infestations by varroa mites, which carry multiple viruses into the hives they attack. The good news is that the disorder may be on the wane, with the Apiary Inspectors of America reporting that deaths from CCD are below 30% for the first time since the crisis began. “The phenomenon seems to be in decline,” says Berenbaum. “The most vulnerable populations might have already crashed.” American farmers should be thankful; just think of trying to pollinate all those crops by hand.,8599,1918282,00.html

‘Skanks’ Blogger Unmasked by Google Vows to Sue Company

August 25, 2009


By Kim Zetter

An anonymous blogger unmasked by Google last week following a court order has vowed to sue the internet giant for violating her privacy.

Rosemary Port, who operated a blog called “Skanks in NYC,” was outed last week after failing in her efforts to quash a subpoena served on Google, whose Blogger service hosted Skanks.

Port’s lawyer, Salvatore Strazzullo, now plans to sue Google for $15 million for breaching its “fiduciary duty to protect her expectation of anonymity.” He told the New York Daily News that he’s prepared to take the case all the way to the Supreme Court.

“Our Founding Fathers wrote ‘The Federalist Papers’ under pseudonyms,” Strazzullo told the Daily News. “Inherent in the First Amendment is the right to speak anonymously. Shouldn’t that right extend to the new public square of the Internet?”

Port, a 29-year-old student at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology, launched Skanks last year. It published only five posts, all devoted to attacking model Liskula Cohen, a 37-year-old who has reportedly modeled for Australian Vogue, Georgio Armani and Versace. In the posts, Cohen was called a “psychotic, lying, whoring . . . skank” and an “old hag,” and was depicted as a desperate “fortysomething” who was past her prime.

Cohen then subpoenaed Google in an effort to unmask her critic’s identity with the aim of filing a defamation suit against the blog author once the identity was known. Google provided Port with notice of the subpoena, giving the blogger an opportunity to anonymously challenge the subpoena in court.

Cohen charged that the blog comments harmed her career and caused potential clients to question her suitability to represent their products. Port’s lawyer argued that the posts in question amounted to nothing more than vague insults on par with calling someone a “jerk.”

Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Joan Madden ruled that Cohen demonstrated sufficient claims for the defamation lawsuit, and ordered Google to comply with the subpoena. Madden said that the words, posted in conjunction with provocative photos of Cohen, implied that the model was “a sexually promiscuous woman,” belying that the comments were merely opinion or hyperbole.

Google complied with the order, but Port essentially asserts that Google should have defied the court to protect her First Amendment right to call Cohen a skank anonymously.

Port has blamed Cohen for any negative attention the blog might have brought her, telling the Daily News that until Cohen sued Google no one had seen the blog, and that by filing a public suit that brought attention to the matter, Cohen had “defamed herself.”

“Before her suit, there were probably two hits on my website: One from me looking at it, and one from her looking at it,” Port told the paper. “That was before it became a spectacle. I feel my right to privacy has been violated.”

The Daily News reports that the two women were acquainted through Manhattan’s fashion scene and had quarreled after Cohen badmouthed Port to her ex-boyfriend. Cohen told the paper that she has decided not to proceed with filing a $3 million defamation suit against Port and is satisfied that the blogger was identified.

Update: This post has been corrected to properly reflect the legislative history of the case and note that the discovery subpoena against Google was filed prior to a defamation suit being filed.

Mysterious Tubular Clouds Defy Explanation

August 25, 2009

“Pretty cool. Hopefully it’s only natures work here.”



By Betsy Mason

These long, crazy-looking clouds can grow to be 600 miles long and can move at up to 35 miles per hour, causing problems for aircraft even on windless days.

Known as Morning Glory clouds, they appear every fall over Burketown, Queensland, Australia, a remote town with fewer than 200 residents. A small number of pilots and tourists travel there each year in hopes of “cloud surfing” with the mysterious phenomenon.

Similar tubular shaped clouds called roll clouds appear in various places around the globe. But nobody has yet figured out what causes the Morning Glory clouds.

This shot was captured by photographer Mick Petroff from his plane near Australia’s Gulf of Carpenteria.

Image: Mick Petroff

Anti Gun N. C. State State Senator Shoots A Home Invader

August 25, 2009


North Carolina State Senator R.C. Soles, 74, the longest-serving lawmaker in the General Assembly, shot an intruder as he tried to break into his home Sunday. He shot 22-year-old Thomas Kyle Blackburn in the leg as Blackburn and another man allegedly tried to break down his door. They apparently were both legal clients of the senator.
The Senator, who has made a career of being against guns for you and me, didn’t hesitate to defend himself with his own gun when he believed he was in immediate danger, and was the victim of a crime against himself.

In typical hypocritical liberal fashion, the “Do as I say and not as I do” anti gun Democrat picked up his gun and took action in what apparently was self defense ahooting, something he doesn’t want you be able to do.

His life must and personal safety must be be far more valuable than yours or mine.
But, this is to be expected from those who believe they can run our lives, raise our kids, and protect our families better than we can.

FBI Operative Turner Said Cynthia McKinney Should be Lynched

August 25, 2009

“Then maybe this guy needs a “shot” in the mouth, then one in the head, the chest, the back, etc, etc.”

-F.F. 8/24/09


Cynthia McKinney

August 24, 2009

I am in the Bay Area and rocking with the San Francisco Bay View newspaper. But something quite insidious is happening and I think you should know immediately how it involves my friends and me.

Hot on the heels of my learning that the Georgia Green Party might have been described by the U.S. Government as a “terrorist organiztion,” it has just now come to my attention that a “journalist” who suggested that I be lynched was actually being paid by our own government to say that. Now, when I reported it to the FBI, how in the world was I to know that he was at that time on the FBI’s payroll? Interesting that charges stem from his comments against Connecticut lawmakers and Illinois judges, but not from the threat made against me, a sitting Member of Congress at the time! I wonder why. To whom can I or any other innocent citizen turn when the government, itself, is the instigator?

John Judge, my Congressional staffer, is the one who reported the threat. Here is what John just wrote, along with the article that reports that Turner was on the FBI payroll at the time the threat was made against me, according to Turner’s attorney. See the green highlights below:

John Judge wrote:

This is the guy who announced a program topic suggesting that Cynthia McKinney be lynched on her way to the polls to vote in 2006 and published her campaign office address on the website. He asked how she would look swinging at the end of a rope and what message it would send to other “uppity” Blacks. I called NJ Homeland Security and FBI at the time sincee related to it as a death threat. The FBI agent I spoke to said “We know all about Mr. Turner”. Looks like they did. Now they say he was trained as an agent provocateur by the FBI to get others to participate in illegal acts. As Jim Garrison says in the movie JFK after interviewing Clay Shaw, “I think we got one”.

Here is an excerpt _ JJ

“Prosecutors have acknowledged that Turner was an informant who spied on radical right-wing organizations, but the defense has said Turner was not working for the FBI when he allegedly made threats against Connecticut legislators and wrote that three federal judges in Illinois deserved to die.

“*But if you compare anything that he did say when he was operating, there was no difference. No difference whatsoever,*” Orozco said.”

Harold Charles “Hal” Turner is an American white nationalist and white supremacist from North Bergen, New Jersey. He was arrested in June 2009 over alleged threats to politicians, and is currently jailed without bail. Prior to Turner’s arrest his program, The Hal Turner Show, was a webcast from his home once a week, and it depended on listener donations.

Turner promotes antisemitism (including the rounding up and killing of Jews, he opposes the existence of the state of Israel and he denies the Holocaust.

According to the AP Hal Turner has exposed through his attorney that he worked for the FBI from 2002 to 2007 as an “agent provocateur” and “his job was basically to publish information which would cause other parties to act in a manner which would lead to their arrest”

Incident at Oglala – The Leonard Peltier Story

August 22, 2009

The FBI is covering its own ass, as always.

* FBI radio intercepts indicated that the two FBI agents were chasing a red pickup truck. The day after the shootout, the FBI director stated the FBI’s intent to find a red pickup truck. Red pickup trucks near the reservation were stopped for weeks in the attempt to locate it. However, Leonard did not drive a red pickup truck. At his trial, the FBI instead claimed they had been searching for the red and white van that Leonard was sometimes seen driving[6].

* Testimony from three witnesses placed Peltier, Robideau and Butler near the crime scene. Those three witnesses later recanted, alleging that the FBI, while extracting their testimony, had tied them to chairs, denied them their right to talk to their attorney, and otherwise coerced and threatened them [7][8].

* The jury, unlike the juries in similar prosecutions against AIM leaders at the time, were not allowed to hear about the other cases, where the FBI had been rebuked for tampering with both the evidence and witnesses[9].

* An FBI ballistics expert testimony during the trial asserted that a shell casing found near the dead agents’ bodies matched the gun tied to Peltier. However it was specified that an forensics test of the firing pin, which would have more definitively matched the gun to the casing, was not performed because the gun was damaged in a fire. Rather, a less definitive test was done which indicated that the extractor marks on the casing and gun match.

Years later, after an FOIA request, the FBI ballistics expert’s records were examined. His report stated that he had performed a ballistics test of the firing pin and concluded that this bullet casing from the scene of the crime did not come from the gun tied to Peltier. That evidence was withheld from the jury during the trial[10].

* Though the FBI’s investigation indicated that an AR-15 was used to kill the agents, several different AR-15s were in the area at the time of the shootout which could have caused the fatal injuries. Also, no other casings or evidence about them were offered by the prosecutor’s office, even though other bullets were fired at the crime scene[11][12].

* At the conclusion of Peltier’s trial, the prosecutor closed his argument saying, “We proved that he went down to the bodies and executed those two young men at point blank range.” However, at the appellate hearing, the government attorney conceded, “We had a murder. We had numerous shooters. We do not know who specifically fired what killing shots…We do not know who shot the agents[13].”

* The Pennsylvania Parole Commission, which presides over the prison Peltier was held at in Lewisburg, denied Peltier parole in 1993 based on their finding that he, “participated in the premeditated and cold blooded execution of those two officers.” However, the Parole Commission has since stated that it, “recognizes that the prosecution has conceded the lack of any direct evidence that [Peltier] personally participated in the executions of the two FBI agents.[14]”


Greenpeace Leader Admits Organization Put Out Fake Global Warming Data

August 21, 2009


Paul Joseph Watson
Thursday, August 20, 2009

Greenpeace leader Gerd Leipold has been forced to admit that his organization issued misleading and exaggerated information when it claimed that Arctic ice would disappear completely by 2030, in a crushing blow for the man-made global warming movement.

In an interview with the BBC’s Stephen Sackur on the “Hardtalk” program, Leipold initially attempted to evade the question but was ultimately forced to admit that Greenpeace had made a “mistake” when it said Arctic ice would disappear completely in 20 years.

The claim stems from a July 15 Greenpeace press release entitled “Urgent Action Needed As Arctic Ice Melts,” in which it is stated that global warming will lead to an ice-free Arctic by 2030.

Sackur accused Leipold and Greenpeace of releasing “misleading information” based on “exaggeration and alarmism,” pointing out that it was “preposterous” to claim that the Greenland ice sheet, a mass of 1.6 million square kilometers with a thickness of 3 km in the middle that has survived much warmer periods in history, would completely melt when it had stood firm for hundreds of thousands of years.

“There is no way that ice sheet is going to disappear,” said Sackur.

“I don’t think it will be melting by 2030. … That may have been a mistake,” Leipold was eventually forced to admit.

However, Leipold made no apologies for Greenpeace’s tactic of “emotionalizing issues” as a means of trying to get the public to accept its stance on global warming.

He also argued that economic growth in the United States and around the world should be suppressed and that overpopulation and high standards of living should be combated because of the perceived damage they were doing to the environment, eugenicist rhetoric which will be familiar to our readers and anyone who has watched Alex Jones’ Endgame documentary.

As the Watts Up With That blog highlights, “Leipold’s admission that Greenpeace issued misleading information is a major embarrassment to the organization, which often has been accused of alarmism but has always insisted that it applies full scientific rigor in its global-warming pronouncements.”

Similar claims that the north pole will be “ice free” crop up almost every summer yet are routinely disproved.

Indeed, it was discovered that during August 2007 to August 2008, Arctic ice had in fact grown by around 30 per cent, an area equivalent to the size of Germany.

A new peer reviewed study has also discovered, “Total annual precipitation in Greenland ice sheet for 1958-2007 to be up to 24% and surface mass balance up to 63% higher than previously thought.”

As we reported last year, climate scientists allied with the UN IPCC were also caught citing fake data to make the case that global warming is accelerating, in another shocking example of mass public deception.

In November 2008, NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), run by Al Gore’s chief scientific ally, Dr James Hansen, announced that the previous month had been the hottest October on record. It later emerged that the data produced by NASA to make the claim, and in particular temperature records covering large areas of Russia, was merely carried over from the previous month. NASA had used temperature records from the naturally hotter month of September and claimed they represented temperature figures in October.

Watch a clip from the Sackur- Leipold interview below.

Corporate Media Demonizes Defenders of the Constitution

August 19, 2009

Kurt Nimmo
August 18, 2009

The corporate media is freaking out over Americans exercising their right under the Second Amendment and open carry laws in Arizona and New Hampshire. It just drives them nuts citizens would show up at Obama events with legal weapons.

As Chris Matthews insinuated in his confrontational interview with William Kostric after the New Hampshire patriot showed up with a sidearm at an Obama event, these people want to assassinate the president. “Why did you bring a god damn gun at a Presidential event. I think those things make people wonder what you’re about,” asked an irate Matthews.

The corporate media went into overdrive in an attempt to portray Kostric as a right-wing extremist and a potential threat to the president. Joan Walsh, writing for Salon, attempted to connect Kostric to the birther movement and noted his connection to the “far-right group” We the People, while The New Yorktimes portrayed Kostric as “your average hard-core Ron Paul voter — male, smug and obsessed with the money supply.”

It drives the corporate media limo libs crazy when they see rustics with guns. Five alarm fire bells go off when they see the words of Thomas Jefferson on placards held by armed citizens.

Last night MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow had a former Secret Service agent on her show. People exercising their rights under the Constitution and state laws are “creating an atmosphere that could be dangerous to the president,” said Joseph Petro. “I would argue that the vitriolic political rhetoric we’re hearing from seemingly responsible people is stimulating a lot of these foolish stunts,” he said.

On August 17, the Associated Press added to the supposed outrage. “About a dozen people carrying guns, including one with a military-style rifle, milled among protesters outside the convention center where President Barack Obama was giving a speech Monday.”

Fred Solop, a Northern Arizona University political scientist, told the AP the incidents in New Hampshire and Arizona could signal the beginning of a disturbing trend. “When you start to bring guns to political rallies, it does layer on another level of concern and significance,” Solop said. “It actually becomes quite scary for many people. It creates a chilling effect in the ability of our society to carry on honest communication.”

It becomes “quite scary for many people” because a majority of Americans no longer understand the Constitution or its core principles. The Second Amendment was not designed to create “a chilling effect in the ability of our society to carry on honest communication,” but rather ensure it from a tyrannical government.

Paul Helmke, president of the Washington, D.C.-based Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, said Obama’s propaganda events should be Constitution free zones. “To me, this is craziness,” he declared. “When you bring a loaded gun, particularly a loaded assault rifle, to any political event, but particularly to one where the president is appearing, you’re just making the situation dangerous for everyone.”

In other words, Americans exercising their constitutional rights are a danger to the president and society as a whole.

The corporate media, at the behest of our rulers, is desperate to characterize law-abiding Americans — Arizona, after all, has an open carry law allowing citizens to legally carry their weapons in public — as rightwing extremist lunatics who are a threat to the New World Order’s latest front man.

“Welcome to the disturbing new face of the radical right in America,” Paul Harris wrote for the Guardian last week. “Across the country, extremism is surging, inflamed by conservative talkshow hosts, encouraged by Republican leaders and propagating a series of wild conspiracy theories. Many fear it might end in tragedy…. Many experts believe that spark is no longer missing. Critics say that Republican politicians have let loose a wave of anger tied to the healthcare debate.”

The “experts” are from the Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization that is “now become a threat to the freedoms and security of American citizens due to their repeated attacks on all First Amendment rights and their utter debasement of the political process,” writes William Gheen, president of Americans for Legal Immigration. “While in the past the SPLC has targeted “hate groups” or groups deemed racist and potentially violent, such as the KKK and Neo Nazi groups, the SPLC has recently used their reputation for righting these groups to go after moderate and mainstream Americans, journalists, and show hosts and anchors in an attempt to suppress free speech.”

The American people are waking up to the coercive and tyrannical power of government, Republican politicians notwithstanding. In order to portray millions of Americans as rightwing nut cases, the corporate media — taking its cues from the Department of Homeland Security and the SPLC — has kicked into overdrive to demonize patriotic Americans.

In the days ahead, we can expect more of this anti-Constitution extremist rhetoric from the lapdog corporate media.

A video with some sensationalized images but the text is pointing to the truth

August 15, 2009

White House Move to Collect ‘Fishy’ Info May Be Illegal, Critics Say

August 10, 2009

“Bunch of little bitches with no spines we got slithering around this country.  On the left and on the right. Stop being led around by a government who doesn’t give a shit about either of you. And get some back bones. God….dam.”

-Fred Face 8/9/09


The White House strategy of turning supporters into snitches when they see “fishy” information about the health care debate may run afoul of the law, legal experts say.

“The White House is in bit of a conundrum because of this privacy statute that prohibits the White House from collecting data and storing it on people who disagree with it,” Judge Andrew Napolitano, a FOX News analyst, said Friday.

“There’s also a statute that requires the White House to retain all communications that it receives. It can’t try to rewrite history by pretending it didn’t receive anything,” he said.

“If the White House deletes anything, it violates one statute. If the White House collects data on the free speech, it violates another statute.”

Napolitano was referring to the Privacy Act of 1974, which was passed after the Nixon administration used federal agencies to illegally investigate individuals for political purposes. Enacted after Richard Nixon’s resignation in the Watergate scandal, the statute generally prohibits any federal agency from maintaining records on individuals exercising their right to free speech.

The White House has been under fire since it posted a blog on Tuesday that asked supporters to e-mail any “fishy” information seen on the Web or received electronically to

“There is a lot of disinformation about health insurance reform out there,” the blog said, adding that “since we can’t keep track of all of them here at the White House, we’re asking for your help.”

The blog was posted partly in response to a video posted on the Web that claimed to show Obama explaining how his health care reform plans eventually will eliminate private insurance.

The video, featured on the Drudge Report, strung together selected Obama statements that the White House said were taken out of context.

The White House said it wanted to be made aware of “fishy” comments about its health care plan because it wants to set the record straight. But critics called White House move an Orwellian tactic designed to control the health care debate.

“This is a very troubling attempt to stifle the free speech of Americans who have the constitutional right to express their opinion and concerns about health care,” said Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice. He called on Obama to repudiate his blog.

“This move is an attempt to intimidate those who have legitimate concerns about the health care plan,” Sekulow said. “And, worse, it turns the White House into some sort of self-appointed ‘speech police.’ This new White House reporting program strikes at the heart of the First Amendment and has no place in this important debate about health care.”

Sekulow said he imagines that opponents of mandatory abortion coverage are engaging in what the White House considers “fishy” speech and should be reported.

“What the White House is touting is absurd,” he said.

But Napolitano said  the White House probably cannot be sued because of sovereign immunity, unless someone was harmed by what the government did with the records. But that’s unlikely, he said, because the person would probably be unaware of the harm.

“That’s a silent violation of your right to privacy,” he said.

The ACLU said in a statement to that the White House blog is a “bad idea that could send a troublesome message.”

But the organization added, “While it is unclear at this point what the government is doing with the information it is collecting, critics of the administration’s health care proposal should not fear that their names will end up in some government database that could be used to chill their right to free speech.”

The White House Thursday denied that it was playing “Big Brother.”

“Nobody is collecting names,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said. “We have seen, and as I’ve discussed from this podium, a lot of misinformation around health care reform, a lot of it spread, I think, purposefully.”

Texas Sen. John Cornyn, who has called on Obama to end the program, rejected the White House explanation.

“Of course the White House is collecting names,” he said, arguing that anyone with access to the e-mail account has access to private information.

“The question is not what the White House is doing, but how and why,” he said. “How are they purging names and e-mail addresses from this account to protect privacy? Why do they need the forwarded e-mails, names, and ‘casual conversations’ sent to them instead of just the arguments that they want to rebut?

Asked by FOX News whether the White House was using the blog post as a way to expand the e-mail list for the administration and Obama’s political arm, Organizing for America, Gibbs said the two are “not in any way connected” and repeated that the White House is not collecting names.

Pressed about the program’s goal, Gibbs said it was to clarify for everybody what the misinformation is, adding that’s not a new tactic.

“When you make a mistake in your report, sometimes I e-mail you,” Gibbs said to FOX News’ Major Garrett. “Occasionally, I call. Sometimes I just throw something against the wall. Occasionally, it’s all three.”

Garrett asked why it’s necessary to ask so many people to e-mail the White House.

“All we’re asking people to do is, if they’re confused about what health care reform is going to mean to them, we’re happy to help clear that up for them. Nobody’s keeping anybody’s names. I do have your e-mail. …Maybe that’s because I assume future mistakes. But I’m not going to say that,” Gibbs said, drawing laughter.

“But nobody’s collecting information,” he added. “Everybody is trying to give people only the facts around what we all understand is a very complicated issue.”

Scahill: Blackwater still getting millions in federal contracts

August 10, 2009

“Scum Inc.”



By Muriel Kane

Journalist Jeremy Scahill, who earlier this week revealed charges by two former employees of security contractor Blackwater (now Xe) that range from murder to providing child prostitutes for its employees in Iraq, is now taking aim at the US government’s continued use of Blackwater’s services.

The State Department announced last January that it would not be renewing Blackwater’s contract for security services in Iraq when it expired in May. According to Scahill’s latest article in The Nation, however, the Obama administration has just extended the contract through September 3. A State Department official explained, “They are still there, but we are transitioning them out.”

Although it does not include the most recent figures, provides information on Blackwater contracts through the first few months of 2008. It shows the firm receiving an astonishing total of $1.2 billion for fiscal years 2005, 2006, and 2007 alone.

The Washington Post suggested in January, “Some critics attribute Blackwater’s success to the political connections of owner Erik Prince, a big contributor to conservative and Christian causes. As the Post reported, in 2007, Prince ‘was a White House intern under President George H.W. Bush. His political donations over the past two decades total almost $263,000 to Pat Buchanan, Oliver North, Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.) and former senator Rick Santorum, a Pennsylvania Republican, among others. His sister, Betsy DeVos, is former chairwoman of the Republican party in Michigan.’”

Records reviewed by The Nation show that the State Department has contracted with Blackwater for some $200 million since January, much of it representing a continuation of Bush-era contracts. Other Bush-era contracts have been extended by the Army, despite the growing number of serious allegations and lawsuits against the firm.

Some members of Congress have called for all such contracts to be cancelled. On Thursday, Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) wrote to both Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates asking for a review of the Blackwater contracts. The letter to Clinton reads in part, “I believe that the behavior of Xe, its leadership, and many of its employees, puts our government and military personnel, as well as our military and diplomatic objectives, at serious risk.”

Legal threat to WikiLeaks from investment bank Millennium Finance Corporation, 6 Aug 2009

August 7, 2009


PDF: Here

Yet another investment bank has sent legal threats to WikiLeaks. This time Washington DC lawyers were briefed by the Dubai registered Millennium Finance Corporation, who have the jitters over “Dubai based Millennium Finance Corporation investment bank unethical and out of cash, 4 Aug 2009“.

The latest threat comes six days after that from failed Icelandic bank Kaupthing. Related attacks against WikiLeaks include those of Swiss bank Julius Baer, which subsequently cancelled its US IPO, Northern Rock, which was taken over by the UK government, and those of the billionaire financier Nadhmi Auchi. The attacks were unsuccessful.

The documents will not be removed.

See also


Marines Ban Twitter, MySpace, Facebook

August 5, 2009


  • By Noah Shachtman Email Author
  • August 3, 2009

The U.S. Marine Corps has banned Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and other social media sites from its networks, effective immediately.

“These internet sites in general are a proven haven for malicious actors and content and are particularly high risk due to information exposure, user generated content and targeting by adversaries,” reads aMarine Corps order, issued Monday. “The very nature of SNS [social network sites] creates a larger attack and exploitation window, exposes unnecessary information to adversaries and provides an easy conduit for information leakage that puts OPSEC [operational security], COMSEC [communications security], [and] personnel… at an elevated risk of compromise.”

The Marines’ ban will last a year. It was drawn up in response to a late July warning from U.S. Strategic Command, which told the rest of the military it was considering a Defense Department-wide ban on the Web 2.0 sites, due to network security concerns. Scams, worms, and Trojans often spread unchecked throughout social media sites, passed along from one online friend to the next. “The mechanisms for social networking were never designed for security and filtering. They make it way too easy for people with bad intentions to push malicious code to unsuspecting users,” a Stratcom source told Danger Room.

Yet many within the Pentagon’s highest ranks find value in the Web 2.0 tools. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has 4,000 followers on Twitter. The Department of Defense is getting ready to unveil a new home page, packed with social media tools. The Army recently ordered all U.S. bases to provide access to Facebook. Top generals now blog from the battlefield.

“OPSEC is paramount. We will have procedures in place to deal with that,” Price Floyd, the Pentagon’s newly-appointed social media czar, told Danger Room. “What we can’t do is let security concerns trump doing business. We have to do business… We need to be everywhere men and women in uniform are and the public is. If that’s MySpace and YouTube, that’s where we need to be, too.”

The Marines say they will issue waivers to the Web 2.0 blockade, if a “mission critical need” can be proven.  And they will continue to allow access to the military’s internal “SNS-like services.” But for most members of the Corps, access to the real, public social networks is now shut off for the next year.

Blackwater Founder Implicated in Murder

August 5, 2009

“Bout time. This is a fucked up company. If you don’t think so or you don’t know what the fuck I’m talking about… do a little digging. It don’t take much.”


Inside Alaska’s Answer to Area 51

August 4, 2009


  • By Noah Shachtman Email Author
  • August 3, 2009

200 miles northeast of Anchorage, there’s a massive military facility tucked deep in the black pine. What goes on at the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (Haarp) depends on who you ask. Self-directed “researchers” like Nick Begich say the collection of transmitters and receivers is conducting secret tests of monstrous weapons for the Defense Department: mind control, weather manipulation, long-distance spying. The military scientists in charge of this military installation insist that Haarp has absolutely no direct military applications whatsoever. It “is and always was and was planned to be a research facility,” says Dr. Paul Kossey, the Air Force’s program manager. Haarp’s antennas are being used to study the ionosphere, the electrically charged layer of Earth’s atmosphere, by pumping it full of energy. That’s why Haarp’s scientists are creating artificial Northern Lights, beaming radio waves into the crevasses of nearby Mt. Wrangell, and bouncing signals off of the Moon. Naturally.

Last year, I got a rare chance to see Haarp for myself. Here’s what I saw.

Above: To get to Haarp, drive 200 miles northeast of Anchorage. Then take the Tok Cutoff for 11.3 miles, and turn onto an unmarked road. You’ll be met by this sign, at the facility’s front gates.

Photo: Noah Shachtman


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Pregnant mother tasered at baptism party

August 4, 2009

Video Here


A child’s Virginia baptism ended up being a real shocker.

Responding to a noise complaint in Prince William County, police sought to quell the assembled crowd — who they said were making too much of a racket — by firing a Taser at the child’s grandfather and at the pregnant mother of the baptized child.

The officers said they placed a call to the homeowner, who they said was intoxicated and refused to reduce the volume.

The homeowner, 55, is a church family counselor and bible study teacher. His son, Edgar Rodriguez, claims he was Tasered three times after producing his ID for police. The elder Rodriguez was arrested for public intoxication in his own backyard.

The two say police used excessive force to quiet down “a backyard party.” A home video of the scene shows a relatively tame event.

The pregnant mother of the baptized child was also Tasered in the back after officers averred she was assaulting a police officer, and is now being held separate from her family by Customs and Immigration Enforcement.

This video is from Fox 55, broadcast August 1, 2009.

Left-Wing Website With Direct Ties To White House Smears Alex Jones

July 30, 2009

AP Obama Think Tank


Paul Joseph Watson
Wednesday, July 29, 2009


As the establishment intensifies its efforts to demonize its political adversaries as extremists and terrorists, an George Soros-funded left-wing website with direct ties to the Obama White House has parroted the months-old debunked smear that Pittsburgh cop killer Richard Poplawski was an Alex Jones fan.

Think Progress claims that it is a “nonpartisan organization,” and yet it’s bankrolled by the Center for American Progress Action Fund, a think tank headed by Bill Clinton’s former chief of staff John D. Podesta (pictured top), who was also head of Barack Obama’s presidential transition team after the 2008 election.

According to SourceWatch, “CAP’s Progressive Media project emerged as a major communications war room on behalf of Obama’s domestic and foreign policy agenda and CAP became a strong advocate for escalation in Afghanistan. Progressive Media is run through the Center for American Project Action Fund, the more political 501(c)4 arm of CAP. It coordindates closely with the Common Purpose Project, an effort to create message discipline among the pro-Obama organizations, with a direct tie to the White House.”

Think Progress was vehemently anti-war during the Bush administration, but since Obama took power, bombing brown people in broken-backed third world countries has apparently become a “progressive” and “liberal” virtue.

According to Center for American Progress director Jennifer Palmieri, the organization is focused around “driving the White House’s message and agenda.”

How on earth can “driving the White House’s message and agenda” be deemed “non-partisan”?

Think Progress is nothing more than an echo chamber for Obama administration propaganda – it’s the Free Republic of the left-wing. It’s about as “non-partisan” as the Communist Party propaganda organPravda was during the Cold War.

Though the Center for American Progress is shy about revealing its funders, according to SourceWatch, no less than 58 foundations have donated over $15 million dollars since 2003, as well as corporations and elitist philanthropists such as George Soros, who donated $3 million for “general support” in 2006.

In an article about Rep. Louie Gohmert’s appearance on the Alex Jones Show last week to warn about the health care bill, Think Progress attempts to discredit the subject by referring to host Jones as a “radical conspiracy theorist,” because of his views on the Oklahoma City bombing and 9/11.

The editors of Think Progress are apparently lagging far behind in their understanding of public opinion, seemingly unaware of that fact that polls taken over 3 years ago show that an overwhelmingmajority of Americans have doubts about the official story behind 9/11.

The article also calls Jones’ claim that White House science czar John P. Holdren advocated putting sterilants in the water supply a “conspiracy theory,” despite the fact that it is clearly documented in his own 1977 book Ecoscience, excerpts of which have been posted on the Internet.

However, Think Progress’ most egregious smear appears in the last paragraph of the article.

“Despite his outlandish views, Jones’ influence can not be underestimated. Richard Poplawski, the young man who gunned down three Pittsburgh police officers earlier this year after professing a fear that the government would confiscate his guns, was a die-hard fan of Jones. Jones, who rants daily about Obama’s intentions to revoke the 2nd amendment, is also one of the loudest voices for the “birther movement.”

As we repeatedly documented over the course of several weeks, the claim that Poplawski was a Jones fan is completely at odds with the fact that he left comments on the Infowars and Prison Planet website vehemently chastising Jones for not sharing his anti-semitic beliefs.

Indeed, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, which Think Progress links to in the article, reported that Poplawski appeared “to agree with another poster who criticized Alex Jones.”

Websites that originally picked up the hoax that Poplawski was a Jones fan, when in fact he was attacking Jones through his comments on the websites, were later forced to issue retractions. Raw Story issued a retraction and removed Jones from their original article and Daily Kos later did the same. Despite this, the New York Times still ran with the debunked smear a day later.

“Based on a correction/retraction on RawStory, I have reason to doubt the information reported by the ADL with respect to Alex Jones and Infowars or PrisonPlanet. In fact, evidence points to the contrary; that Alex Jones has spoken strongly against hate speech similar to that spoken by Richard Poplawski. Therefore, in fairness, I’ve removed any references in this diary with respect to Alex Jones and the websites Infowars or PrisonPlanet,” wrote Daily Kos diarist ‘fcvaguy’.

Why is Think Progress repeating a hoax smear that was debunked and retracted by other websites over four months ago? How could Poplawski have been a “die-hard fan” of Jones when he publicly chastised him?

In addition, the claim that Jones is “one of the loudest voices for the birther movement,” is also a complete fallacy as any regular listener will be able to attest to. Though Jones has recently stated there may be some merit to claims that Obama was not born in the U.S., to translate this into him being “one of the loudest voices” advocating this position is clearly disingenuous. Indeed, when questions about Obama’s birthright first began to surface before the election last year, Jones publicly stated that he thought the subject was at best a distraction and probably erroneous.

Think Progress’ attempts at character assassination and guilt by association are clearly part of an agenda to demonize both Jones and Gohmert because they disagree with their political viewpoints on the health care bill. However, by using fallacious smear attacks and erroneous claims as the foundation of their rebuttal, Think Progress only shoots itself in the foot, exposing this Soros-funded organization for what it is – a partisan, bias agenda-driven propaganda front for the White House.


The 545 People Responsible For All Of U.S. Woes

July 28, 2009

BY Charley Reese

(Date of publication unknown)– — –  Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them.

Have you ever wondered why, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are against deficits, we have deficits? Have you ever wondered why, if all the politicians are against inflation and high taxes, we have inflation and high taxes?

You and I don’t propose a federal budget. The president does. You and I don’t have the Constitutional authority to vote on appropriations. The House of Representatives does. You and I don’t write the tax code. Congress does. You and I don’t set fiscal policy. Congress does. You and I don’t control monetary policy. The Federal Reserve Bank does.

One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one president and nine Supreme Court justices – 545 human beings out of the 235 million – are directly, legally, morally and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country.

I excluded the members of the Federal Reserve Board because that problem was created by the Congress. In 1913, Congress delegated its Constitutional duty to provide a sound currency to a federally chartered but private central bank.

I excluded all but the special interests and lobbyists for a sound reason. They have no legal authority. They have no ability to coerce a senator, a congressman or a president to do one cotton-picking thing. I don’t care if they offer a politician $1 million dollars in cash. The politician has the power to accept or reject it.

No matter what the lobbyist promises, it is the legislation’s responsibility to determine how he votes.


Don’t you see how the con game that is played on the people by the politicians? Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that what they did is not their fault. They cooperate in this common con regardless of party.

What separates a politician from a normal human being is an excessive amount of gall. No normal human being would have the gall of Tip O’Neill, who stood up and criticized Ronald Reagan for creating deficits.

The president can only propose a budget. He cannot force the Congress to accept it. The Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, gives sole responsibility to the House of Representatives for originating appropriations and taxes.

O’neill is the speaker of the House. He is the leader of the majority party. He and his fellow Democrats, not the president, can approve any budget they want. If the president vetos it, they can pass it over his veto.


It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 235 million cannot replace 545 people who stand convicted — by present facts – of incompetence and irresponsibility.

I can’t think of a single domestic problem, from an unfair tax code to defense overruns, that is not traceable directly to those 545 people.

When you fully grasp the plain truth that 545 people exercise power of the federal government, then it must follow that what exists is what they want to exist.

If the tax code is unfair, it’s because they want it unfair. If the budget is in the red, it’s because they want it in the red. If the Marines are in Lebanon, it’s because they want them in Lebanon.

There are no insoluble government problems. Do not let these 545 people shift the blame to bureaucrats, whom they hire and whose jobs they can abolish; to lobbyists, whose gifts and advice they can reject; to regulators, to whom they give the power to regulate and from whom they can take it.

Above all, do not let them con you into the belief that there exist disembodied mystical forces like “the economy,” “inflation” or “politics” that prevent them from doing what they take an oath to do.

Those 545 people and they alone are responsible. They and they alone have the power. They and they alone should be held accountable by the people who are their bosses – provided they have the gumption to manage their own employees.

This article was first published by the Orlando Sentinel Star newspaper

Cop Who Choked EMT On Way To Hospital Suspended For Just Five Days

July 26, 2009

“Good cops you’d better start making your voices heard, (we know your out there), because THE PEOPLE are loosing faith in you in droves. And it’s not just the brutality issue… warrantless searches, racial/political profiling, federalizing of the forces, etc, etc, etc. You might want to think about percentages… citizens to police… huh?”



Steve Watson
Friday, July 24, 2009


An Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper who pulled over and choked a paramedic on his way to delivering a patient to hospital has suspended for just five days and ordered to attend an “anger assessment.”

The incident occurred in late May on Highway 62 near Boley in Okfuskee County, Oklahoma.

As we detailed in our report at the time, trooper Daniel Martin and his colleague were responding to a call of their own and were evidently annoyed that Maurice White Jr’s ambulance did not yield and give way to them on the road.

Video shot by the patient’s son on a cell phone showed Martin grab Mr White in an attempt to put him in an arm lock and cuff him. Mr White resisted, a scuffle ensued and Martin grabbed the EMT by the throat.

After pleading that he was a doctor, with a patient, on the way to the hospital, the troopers finally relented and left the scene.

The incident made headlines after the video went viral on Youtube.

Watch the video:


It later emerged that trooper Martin had ahistory of misusing authority and was fired in 2000 as Chief of Police in Fairfax, Oklahoma, for violent and bullying behavior.


Now, as J.D. Tuccille of the Civil Liberties Examiner reports, Martin has gotten away with a proverbial slap on the wrist, being suspended for just five days for “conduct unbecoming an officer” and ordered to undergo an anger assessment.

What’s more, Martin’s officialsuspension letter even justifies the stopping of the ambulance and condemns EMT Maurice White’s actions in attempting to return to his vehicle and take his patient to hospital.

“Daniel Martin was out of line, acting like a cartoon cop outraged that somebody didn’t ‘respect mah authoritah.’” Tuccille writes. “While letting his bruised ego run wild, he behaved unprofessionally and, potentially, put a life at risk.”


John Yoo, Author of Torture Memos Pranked in Classroom

July 24, 2009

“This is pretty good.”




  • By Kim Zetter Email Author 
  • July 22, 2009

A former Justice Department official who wrote controversial memos authorizing the Bush administration to conduct torture was the object of a prank by an Australian comedian during one of his recent law class lectures.

John Yoo, a former deputy assistant attorney general who has faced intense criticism for authoring constitutionally-questionable memos justifying torture and the government’s warrantless wiretapping program, was confronted last week during a lecture he was giving on international law at Chapman University School of Law, a private school in Southern California.

After Yoo mentions the Constitution during his lecture, and asks the students if they have any questions, an Australian comedian from the show Chaser’s War on Everything is seen wearing a black-hooded robe and standing on top of his desk with his arms outstretched, recalling one of the most iconic images of U.S. torture captured in the now-infamous Abu Ghraib photos.

The comedian says, “Actually, professor, I’ve got one question. Uhm, how long can I be required to stand here ’til it counts as torture?”

Yoo cuts his lecture short and replies, “Unfortunately, I’m going to have to end class,” as he packs up his lecture notes.

As Yoo apologizes to the class for the interruption, the comedian replies, “If this is awkward for you, it’s very uncomfortable for me, I can tell you…. I’d love to move but every time I do my balls get buzzed.”

The students are heard complaining angrily to the interloper, and applauding their professor.

Yoo tells the comedian that he’ll give him “a certain amount of time” before he reports him to security, after which a stern woman is shown entering the class and ordering any non-students to leave, saying, “This is a private classroom.”

The comedian, still wearing the black hood, says, “OK. I’ll just go to the human rights class down the road, professor. I think you probably won’t be teaching there.”

The Chaser’s War on Everything is an ABC Australia show starring Chris Taylor, Julian Morrow, Craig Reucassel, Andrew Hansen, and Chas Licciardello.

In 2006, the team pulled a prank on Virgin Blue airlines staff at the Sydney Airport when they purchased online tickets for a flight from Sydney to Melbourne under the names Al Kyder and Terry Wrist. When the passengers failed to show up for the flight, Virgin Blue staff made a final boarding call over the airport PA system calling for the missing passengers, whose names sounded like Mr. Al Qaeda and Mr. Terrorist.

An airline spokeswoman said about the comedians and their stunt, “They obviously have Bart Simpson as a consultant and while we are happy to take the $282 taxpayer dollars they spent on the bookings, we don’t think in the current climate, their childish humor is appreciated by anyone.”

In 2007 in Sydney, they breached security during the Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit by driving a fake motorcade up to the restricted zone where nearly two dozen world leaders were meeting. The convoy, consisting of three black cars, was waved through two security check points and drove within yards of former President Bush’s hotel before being stopped, at which point Licciardello, dressed as Osama bin Laden, stepped out of one of the cars and asked why he’d not been invited to take a seat at the APEC table. Authorities arrested 11 people from the team, who were wearing “insecurity” passes. The prank exposed vulnerabilities in the summit’s $250 million security operation.

Shield Law Overturns Warrant for Student Photographer

July 24, 2009


  • By Brendan Seibel Email Author 
  • July 22, 2009

SAN FRANCISCO – Legal protections for journalists were upheld last week in a San Francisco Superior Court decision. Counsel for a San Francisco State University photojournalism student successfully won a motion to quash a search warrant executed by police earlier this year.

In recognizing the journalistic entitlements of the student, whose name has been sealed by request of his lawyers, Judge Tomar Mason has strengthened precedent supporting the rights of freelance photographers and journalists.

Legal wrangling erupted following the April 17th homicide of the student’s primary subject, Norris Bennett, a resident of San Francisco’s Bayview/Hunter’s Point neighborhood. The student had met with Bennett earlier in the day and admits to being in the neighborhood at the time of the shooting. When police responded to the scene, the student was found photographing paramedics tending to Bennett but he refused to submit to an interview, citing protection under California’s shield law.

Police were issued a search warrant by Judge Mason, which they executed on April 27, seizing photographs, files, cameras and DNA evidence from the student’s home. While the student was not at home during the search, his lawyer spoke on the phone with detectives as it was conducted, arguing their client was protected from search and seizure by California law.

In overturning the original warrant, Judge Mason recognized the validity of the student’s published freelance work, as well as the project underway when the student’s subject Bennett was murdered. Police will have to return all items seized during the execution of the warrant. It is unclear whether the District Attorney’s office will attempt to appeal the decision.


Attorneys for the student claimed that the search warrant was issued in violation of state law. “My client asserted his rights under the shield law, but the police circumvented that by raiding his apartment and seizing his photographs,” said Michael Ng, one lawyer for the student.

“Even if they disagree with his entitlement to protection under the shield law, they can’t simply ignore it and circumvent the process by seizing his work product,” said Ng. “That sidestepping of the constitutional protections of the shield law is flatly forbidden by California statute.” The issuance of a search warrant has no process for legal arguments whereas a subpoena could be argued against in court.

The city’s position in defending the warrant has been to attack the professional credentials of the student. During initial arguments heard on June 12, Laura Zunino of the District Attorney’s office dismissed any entitlement to journalistic protections, stating that the student was working on a school project. She objected further, citing a lack of established ties to a news agency.

Repeated calls to Zunino and to the District Attorney’s press office were unanswered as of press time.

The student’s attorneys argued that in the evolving media climate, freelance journalists are becoming commonplace. As news agencies scale back operations, reporters are submitting enterprise stories more frequently than agencies are assigning stories.

Supporters of the student, including professors and professional journalists, highlighted several instances of publication in sworn statements. According to testimony filed in the motion to quash, photographs taken by the student have appeared, both in print and online, in San Francisco State University’s magazine, theWall Street Journal and the Oakland Tribune. These articles have not been publicly connected to the photographer to protect his identity. The student had also approached the Wall Street Journal about publishing his current project, although the paper had not committed to purchasing the series.

Journalistic protections have been the subject of much legal wrangling. In a famous 2006 California case, video blogger Josh Wolf was held in contempt for a record-setting 226 days. Wolf contended that the state’s shield law was intentionally circumvented by a Federal grand jury, which is not beholden to state laws. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, in its final opinion, dismissed Wolf’s claims of being a journalist because he was not affiliated with a news agency at the time he filmed a protest in which a San Francisco police officer was wounded and a patrol car set on fire. Wolf’s imprisonment ended when he and the prosecution agreed through judicial arbitration to simultaneously surrender and publish the contentious footage.

In a case cited in the motion to quash, People v. Von Villas (1992), the unpublished notes of freelance photographer Jan Golab were requested by Von Villas’ representation in order to cross-examine a witness during trial. Again Golab’s status as a journalist was called into question, because he was not under contract during his investigation. The court decided after reviewing materials in chambers that they bore no relevance to the defense and would not be disclosed. The opinion of the judge validated Golab’s status as a journalist, noting that freelance reporters required the freedom and time to establish relationships indistinguishable from that enjoyed by reporters on payroll.

Protections for journalists are also contentious overseas. On June 18th of this year Belfast editor of theSunday Tribune, Suzanne Breen, was exonerated from being compelled to hand over her notes regarding the group, The Real IRA. Police, citing anti-terror legislation, subpoenaed Breen in connection with the killing of two British soldiers. Although Breen’s counsel argued that journalistic confidence was an issue, the judge based his ruling on the probability that The Real IRA would retaliate against Breen were she to turn over any evidence.

America’s ‘disappeared’: The homeless of the big cities

July 24, 2009

By Wayne Madsen
Online Journal Contributing Writer


(WMR) — They were always seen by all who passed by, broke and idle in a number of Washington, DC, parks and grassy nooks. After 9/11, however, they began to disappear and in large numbers. “They” were the familiar faces of Washington’s homeless.

From Lafayette Park, across Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House, to Virginia Avenue across from the State Department, and Franklin Square, amid the city’s glass and steel towers housing DC’s power elite to tony Georgetown, many homeless people, both those truly down on their luck and those who were mentally ill, began to disappear.

As one Washington homeless advocate told this editor, “These people simply vanished.”

The disappearance of homeless people from the streets of Washington began under the administration of Mayor Anthony Williams and continues in force under that of Adrian Fenty. Both African-American mayors, Democrats but beholden to deep-pocketed land developers in a city that rarely elects Republicans to office, began to quietly make it tougher for the homeless to survive in the nation’s capital. Last year, Fenty announced that the Franklin School Shelter at 13th an K Streets would be phased out, leaving the homeless residents of that shelter little choice but to move to the streets.

Last August, a number of homeless activists picketed Fenty’s home over the plans to close the Franklin shelter. WMR was told by one spokesperson for the homeless that one of the protesters, John McDermott, has also now “vanished.” The spokesperson added that there are many cases of people known to live on the streets of Washington simply “disappearing” without a trace.

Some major cities, including New York and Atlanta, have been discovered to be “dumping” their homeless residents on other smaller towns and cities. Others threaten their homeless with prison unless they leave town with usually a one-way bus ticket provided.

However, there is no evidence that Washington, DC, has been dumping homeless on other cities or paying their transportation out of town. The homeless spokesperson interviewed by WMR said that DC’s homeless are simply “vanishing” without a trace. DC officials in charge of the homeless are very tight-lipped when asked about the fate of unaccounted for homeless in the city.

Although the best-case scenario is that these unfortunate people have, in fact, been relocated to other areas, the spokesman ended the interview on a chilling note. He said with federal camps and a high demand for any usable body parts by the lucrative transplant industry, he feared the worst may have befallen some of DC’s “invisible residents.”

ISRAEL: Still a destination for human trafficking

July 24, 2009

TEL AVIV, 18 June 2009 (IRIN) – The latest US State Department report on trafficked persons, released on 16 June, says Israel is still a destination for men and women trafficked for forced labour and sexual exploitation.

 Women from the former Soviet Union and China are still being trafficked across the border with Egypt into Israel for forced prostitution by organized criminal groups.

 According to local NGOs, such as Isha L’iash and Moked, each year several hundred women in Israel – many of them foreigners – are trafficked within the country for commercial sexual exploitation, according to the report.

 In 2006 Israel was put on the US State Department’s Tier 2 watch list and has been described as a “prime destination for trafficking” by both the State Department and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

 However, the State Department report recognized Israeli efforts in the past three years: Although the government did not fully comply with minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, it had made significant efforts to do so, with law enforcement, police activity against traffickers, and the provision of assistance and shelter to victims of sex trafficking.

 In 2008, the Israeli government gave US$1.25 million to a local NGO, Ma’agan, which provides shelter to foreign victims of sex trafficking. The funds were used for rent, utility bills, security and medical care. During the year, the shelter assisted 44 women.


Forced labour victims

 The report said the Israeli government did not provide most of the forced labour victims with protection services (safe shelter or medical and psychological aid) and recommended that it begin to do so.

 Israel lacks a shelter for victims of labour trafficking, including migrant workers who come to the country voluntarily. However, the authorities referred six female victims of forced labour to the Ma’agan shelter during the reporting period.

 Workers from China, Romania, Turkey, Thailand, the Philippines, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and India migrate voluntarily and legally to Israel for contract labour in the construction, agriculture, and health care industries. Some subsequently face conditions of forced labour, including the unlawful withholding of passports, restrictions on movement, non-payment of wages, threats, and physical intimidation.

 Many recruitment agencies in the workers’ countries of origin and in Israel require workers to pay recruitment fees ranging between US$1,000 and US$10,000. This makes the workers highly vulnerable to trafficking or to becoming victims of debt bondage once they arrive in Israel.

 The director-general of the Ministry of Justice, Moshe Shilo, told reporters on 16 June he was satisfied that the report had noted the efforts made by the government and the Justice Ministry.

 Attorney Adi Vilinger, human trafficking force coordinator at the Hotline for Migrant workers, a local NGO working for the rights of migrant workers, refugees and trafficked persons, told IRIN: “We recognize the great progress the government has made in the past three years on the issue of trafficked women from outside Israel, but regret to see that the government has yet to make sufficient progress on the issue of trafficked foreign workers and local Israeli women trafficked inside Israel for sexual exploitation. We still have a long road ahead of us.”

 In March 2009, Israeli police uncovered the largest human trafficking gang to have ever operated in Israel.

 The suspected traffickers are accused of smuggling hundreds of women from the former Soviet Union into Israel to work in the sex industry. According to the police, they trafficked over 2,000 women into Israel and Cyprus over a six-year period. They are now on trial.

Barack Obama ratings fall as polls show honeymoon may be over

July 24, 2009

“No less douche -ier than Bush was. Together they make a full well-rounded, healthy, douche bag. If you support douche bags than I don’t know what that makes you?”

-Fred Face 7/23/09


By Alex Spillius in Washington 


USA Today/Gallup survey suggested that six months into his presidency, his popularity was lower than George W Bush’s at the same stage of his tenure.

Amid rising unemployment and falling confidence in his economic plans, Mr Obama’s job approval rating has dropped by nine points since January to 55 per cent, a point below his predecessor in mid-2001.

Other polls by ABC News and the Washington Postalso showed Mr Obama’s job approval falling below 60 per cent for the first time since he was sworn in as the nation’s first black president, with a marked drop in the last month.

The president is facing criticism about how he is going to pay for $1 trillion plans to reform the US health care system. Half of respondents in one poll disapproved of his health care policy compared with just 44 per cent who approved.

Mr Obama admitted there was work to do and said he would not sign any of the bills currently being considered in Congress.

“Right now, they’re not where they need to be,” he told NBC. He has already admitted that his August deadline for draft legislation could “spill over” into the autumn.

Mr Obama is due to hold a prime time televised press conference on Wednsday designed to restate his case to an increasingly sceptical nation.

Whit Ayres, a pollster, said: “His ratings have certainly come back down to Earth in a very short time period.”

Mr Obama is said to be losing the most support among independent voters and moderate Democrats, whose votes were crucial in winning him swing states in November’s election. In those states, where congressmen face re-election next year, Democrats are already concerned.

Steve Glorioso, a Democratic strategist in Missouri, said devout Democrats were as enthusiastic as ever for Mr Obama but that the less committed were feeling disappointed.

“People are scared,” he said. “This is the worst economic time anyone under the age of 80 has ever experienced, and you can’t discount people being afraid.

“Now that we are in July, the fear is turning to disappointment that the president hasn’t fixed everything yet. I don’t know why they thought he could change everything by now, but some did.”

Although Mr Obama inherited immense economic troubles from Mr Bush, the economy is now seen as almost solely his responsibility.

Experts say that White House reassurances about “the green shoots” of economic recovery are sounding hollow as unemployment has now risen to more than ten per cent in 15 states,

Chris Redfern, the Ohio Democratic Party chairman, said: “When it’s the president’s economy, it’s the president’s trouble. Americans are eager for the change that they voted into office. They support him, they just want to see results sooner rather than later.”

Even Democrats have privately criticised the president for not taking firm control of health care reform. Congress is now working on three different bills but has been stuck on who to tax to pay for expanded coverage.

Eager to avoid the mistake made by the Clintons in 1993, who handed a vast health care bill to congress with little consultation, Mr Obama has been accused of straying too far in the other direction.

This week he has delivered a tough message on health care on a daily basis, reminding Congress that 47 million uninsured Americans cannot wait for reform.

John McHenry, a Republican strategist, said: “At some point he needs to decide if he is taking ownership of this or contracting it all to the Democratic congress.

“This autumn will tell if his honeymoon is well and truly over. He has been more popular personally than many of his proposals were, but there is only so long you can continue that.”



21st century traitors

July 24, 2009

Cable TV Workers Trained To Spy On Citizens

July 24, 2009



Paul Joseph Watson
Thursday, July 23, 2009


One of the largest cable TV companies in the United States is training its employees to look for suspicious behavior and report it to police under the guise of a neighborhood watch initiative. Since according to law enforcement and Homeland Security guidelines, suspicious behavior includes owning guns, being politically active, and having bumper stickers on your car, the cable guy’s next visit to your house may turn out to have more interesting consequences than you originally anticipated.

“Operation Bright Eyes is designed to maximize the eyes and ears of Bright House Networks field service representatives and other employees to easily identify suspicious behavior and to quickly report criminal activities to police,” according to a Fox 35 report.

All current and new Bright House employees will receive training to help them use the ‘resources at their disposal’ to “become familiar with residents and activities in neighborhoods” and report anything they deem unusual to the authorities in order to “keep our neighborhoods safe”.

Since when was it the job of the cable guy to run around pretending to be an undercover cop? This program is ripe for abuse and another advancement in the tattle-tale stasi society being created in order to make the sheeple self-police their behavior, constantly aware that they are being watched by secret police and living in fear that big brother will catch any minor indiscretion.

The legacy of training Americans to spy on each other in the name of “safety” has its origins in Operation TIPS, which was supposedly nixed by Congress, a DOJ, FBI, DHS and FEMA coordinated program that would have recruited one in twenty-four Americans as domestic informants, a higher percentage than was used by the Stasi in Communist East Germany.

Government funding was cut after an outcry but private funding continues and the same program was introduced under a number of sub-divisions including AmeriCorps, SecureCorps and theHighway Watch program.

More recently, ABC News reported that “The FBI is taking cues from the CIA to recruit thousands of covert informants in the United States as part of a sprawling effort… aid with criminal investigations.”

In July last year we reported on how hundreds of police, firefighters, paramedics and utility workers have been trained and recently dispatched as “Terrorism Liaison Officers” in Colorado, Arizona and California to watch for “suspicious activity” which is later fed into a secret government database.

Also last year, a New York Times feature article heartily celebrated the fact that an increasing number of Americans are becoming informants and turning in their neighbors and family members to the authorities in return for cash rewards. In a piece about a new program run by Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers, citing gas prices, foreclosure rates and runaway food price inflation, The Times lauds the fact that citizens are reporting on each other, ensuring “a substantial increase in Crime Stopper-related arrests and recovered property, as callers turn in neighbors, grandchildren or former boyfriends in exchange for a little cash.”

Forget Orwell’s 1984, this purebred tyranny is about as sophisticated as the wacky dictatorship portrayed in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 1987 movie The Running Man, where citizens are reminded by huge TV screens placed on street corners that they can “earn a double bonus for reporting on a family member!”

Bright House Networks has 2.4 million customers and covers “several large cities including Tampa Bay and Orlando, Florida; Bakersfield, California; Indianapolis, Indiana; Detroit, Michigan; and Birmingham, Alabama; along with several other smaller regions in Alabama and the Florida Panhandle.”

Perhaps that 2.4 million figure will begin to dwindle once customers find out that the cable guy is eyeing them up for suspicious activity.

What constitutes suspicious activity isn’t listed, but if it’s in line with law enforcement and Homeland Security guidelines – watch out.

As we have previously documented, people displaying suspicious behavior as defined by law enforcement authorities in documents such as the MAIC report, along with Homeland Security lexicon files, include Ron Paul supporters, libertarians, people who display bumper stickers, people who own gold, or even people who fly a U.S. flag.

Homeland Security even equates people who express disagreement with the government with domestic extremists and terrorists. So if the cable guy sees an Alex Jones DVD in your TV cabinet, will that mandate a call to the cops?

There seems little need for President Obama to even create his promised “domestic security force,” and such a move would merely represent a centralization of what is already underway, since a plethora od programs that train Americans to report on each other are already firmly in place across the country.


Debt consolidator makes hay from financial crisis by preying on the poor: US Federal Trade Commission complaints on Morgan Drexen

July 18, 2009


July 16, 2009

The 2008 financial crisis left many in the United States with substantial debts and dwindling incomes. Into this void stepped “debt consolidators” such as Morgan Drexen, who promise to negotiate lower repayments with creditors; “give us your money and we’ll deal with the banks”, they say. But what happens when people do?

They conviced [my mother] that she’d be relieved of some of the debt on her credit card. By paying them a monthly payment that was even lower than the card was billing her, they would start a trust account and make an offer to Chase at some time in the future but set her up on a 48 month plan to pay 166.88 with 45 each month being their fee. After she had paid 810 the trust would start to build. The attorney representing her sent a “cease an desist” order to Chase. She was not even deliquent on the card until Morgan Drexen got involved. Within 3 months Chase had increased the interest rate from 3.99 to 29%. This started 01/08….they scammed her. She was 78.

This company was to negotiate my credit card debts with 4 credit card companies. They were also to set up a payment plan so that over a 3 year period, my debt would be paid to those companies. I was told to inform those companies I hired Morgan Drexen to negotiate the debt… Those credit card companies harrassed me at work and in essence informed me that they do no business with Morgen Drexen because they’re frauds. I was then introduced to the Federal Trade Commission website, which directed me to the Attorney General which supported the claim of fraud.

The attached file contains hundreds of similar complaints about Morgan Drexen submitted by consumers to the United States Federal Trade Commission. Consumers who are approached by Morgan Drexen should carefully consider the contents of these complaints.

The file was obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. Consumers could gain access to the information in this file if they submitted a Freedom of Information Act request themselves. The problem is that the people who need this information the most are not likely to take such a step. Even if they were to do so, the information would come too late to be helpful to them.

The FTC will not comment about Morgan Drexen on the phone because of an “ongoing investigation”.

July 13, 2009

Pretty Cool Stuff Here

July 13, 2009

Bizzare Shit

July 12, 2009

Obama For Dummies

July 12, 2009

Justice Ginsburg Says She Originally Thought Roe v. Wade Was Designed to Limit ‘Populations That We Don’t Want to Have Too Many Of’

July 12, 2009

“I’m for abortion but I think more people should realize the “real” agenda behind groups like Planned Parenthood, etc.”





By Christopher Neefus


( – In an interview to be published in Sunday’s New YorkTimes Magazine, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said she thought the landmark Roe v. Wadedecision on abortion was predicated on the Supreme Court majority’s desire to diminish “populations that we don’t want to have too many of.” 

In the 90-minute interview in Ginsburg’s temporary chambers, Ginsburg gave the Times her perspective on Judge Sonia Sotomayor, President Obama’s first high court nomination. She also discussed her views on abortion.

Her comment about her belief that the court had wanted to limit certain populations through abortion came after the interviewer asked Ginsburg: “If you were a lawyer again, what would you want to accomplish as a future feminist agenda?” 
“Reproductive choice has to be straightened out,” Ginsburg said. “There will never be a woman of means without choice anymore. That just seems to me so obvious. The states that changed their abortion laws before Roe(to make abortion legal) are not going to change back. So we have a policy that only affects poor women, and it can never be otherwise, and I don’t know why this hasn’t been said more often.” 
Ginsburg discussed her surprise at the outcome of Harris v. McRae, a 1980 decision that upheld the Hyde Amendment, which prohibited the use of Medicaid and other federal funds for abortions.
Here’s a transcript of that portion of the Times’ interview:
Q. Are you talking about the distances women have to travel because in parts of the country, abortion is essentially unavailable, because there are so few doctors and clinics that do the procedure? And also, the lack of Medicaid for abortions for poor women?
Justice Ginsburg: Yes, the ruling about that surprised me. Frankly, I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of. So that Roe was going to be then set up for Medicaid funding for abortion. Which some people felt would risk coercing women into abortions when they didn’t really want them. But when the Court decided McRae, the case came out the other way. And then I realized that my perception of it had been altogether wrong.”
The comment suggested Ginsburg eventually changed her mind and concluded that Roe was not decided with the idea that abortion could be used to limit “growth in populations we don’t want to have too many of.”  But she did not qualify her position that the policy enacted under the case put an unacceptable burden on poor women.
During the interview, the justice also affirmed a position she took on abortion during her Clinton-era confirmation hearing, suggesting the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution was a better grounds for justifying abortion on demand than the “right to privacy.”
“The basic thing is that the government has no business making that choice for a woman,” Ginsburg told the Times. 
In 1993, she told the Senate Judiciary Committee during her confirmation hearing: 
“(Y)ou asked me about my thinking on equal protection versus individual autonomy. My answer is that both are implicated. The decision whether or not to bear a child is central to a woman’s life, to her well-being and dignity. It is a decision she must make for herself. When the government controls that decision for her, she is being treated as less than a full adult human responsible for her own choices.” 
The Court legalized abortion under Roe v. Wade based on a “right to privacy” that it found in the 14th Amendment—and not the Equal Protection Clause.  In doing so, it said the state had an interest in protecting the unborn child that increased as pregnancy progresses. Ginsburg’s position that women have an equal right to abortion as a result of their gender would appear to allow for no state restrictions on abortion.

Al Gore Sued by Over 30,000 Scientists For Fraud

July 10, 2009

AK-47: An Assault Rifle for Everyman

July 7, 2009



  • By Tony Long Email Author
  • July 6, 2009
It’s probably not a stretch to describe Mikhail Kalashnikov’s AK-47 assault rifle as the most important small-arms weapon of the 20th century.

Born out of Kalashnikov’s obsession to create a weapon capable of driving the invading Germans from his motherland, the Soviet weapons designer produced an assault rifle renowned as much for its simplicity as for its effectiveness.

Although it never saw service during World War II, the AK-47 became the standard infantry weapon for the Red Army, as well as most of the other Warsaw Pact armies. National liberation movements supported by the Soviet Union also found themselves generously equipped. More famously, it continues finding its way into the arsenals of rebels, drug traffickers, street gangs and terrorists the world over.

Now approaching 90, Kalashnikov remains bullish on his greatest creation. Despite the ever-mounting death toll caused by the AK-47, Kalashnikov has no trouble sleeping. “I was doing it for my country,” he says.

The AK-47 has evolved over the years, which keeps it relevant to this day. This gallery charts the history of this terrible, remarkable weapon.

Above: Early in the Iran-Iraq War, an AK-47-toting Iranian soldier watches smoke rising from burning oil refineries near the Iranian city of Abadan. The Iraqis under Saddam Hussein, armed and supported by the United States, used mostly M16s.


In this 1979 photo, a young Khmer Rouge soldier holds a North Korean-made AK-47 rifle after fleeing to Thailand ahead of advancing Vietnamese troops. The Soviet Union licensed manufacturers in a number of countries to produce versions of the AK-47.


Mikhail Kalashnikov, the AK-47’s inventor, shows off his handiwork in 1997 ahead of festivities to mark the weapon’s 50th anniversary.


A Taliban militiaman checks his AK-47 while cleaning it between skirmishes in the mountains of Afghanistan. The ammunition clip has been removed, which, considering the way he’s holding it, shows good sense.


Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California) holds an AK-47 with a modified shoulder stock and ammunition drum during a 1999 news conference in Washington D.C. Feinstein was seeking a federal ban on high-capacity ammunition clips. She didn’t get it.


Esmad Ullah, a teenage soldier in Afghanistan’s national army, could be the poster child for the ubiquity of the AK-47 assault rifle. The picture was taken in 2003, near Ullah’s observation post outside of Kabul.


Squeeze, don’t pull. A Palestinian girl receives a lesson in the art of firing an AK-47 from a police officer. She was among some 30,000 Palestinian youngsters who attended special summer camps across Gaza in 2000, where they were taught to handle weapons and schooled in guerrilla warfare tactics.


Gore Vidal on the future (Video)

July 6, 2009

“We’ve got to get back the pillars of the Constitution”

Sen John Cornyn at Austin Tea Party Booed Off the Stage

July 5, 2009

8 Reasons Cornyn Was Booed Off the Stage @ Austin Teaparty

1) In July 2006 Cornyn opposed a bill by Sen. Arlen Specter, that would 
allow Congress to file a lawsuit to get presidential signing statements 
declared unconstitutional, saying “I don’t see what the problem is. 2) 
John Cornyn has voted in favor of big oil companies on 100% of 
important oil related bills from 2005-2008, according to Oil Change 
International. These bills include Iraq war funding. 3) He is 100% 
anti- environmentalist. 4) He is a close friend to AIPAC and a 
Christian Zionist who supports war in the middle east to support Israel 
even to the detriment of the US. 5) He does not support a 
reinvestigation of 911, and gladly accepts the official story. 6) He is 
on the powerful Committee of Armed Forces and given billions of tax 
dollars to fund the fraudulent “War on Terror.” He is a Defense 
Contractors Wet Dream. 7) HE VOTED FOR TARP! 8) He is a typical NEOCON!

Happy Independence Day from Ron Paul and C4L!

July 5, 2009

July 4, 2009 

Dear Friend of Liberty, 

On this day 233 years ago, our Founding Fathers stood up to the most powerful nation on earth and declared to the world that all men are created with rights that cannot justifiably be taken away by any government. 

Putting their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor on the line, they persevered in a hard-fought Revolution to create an experiment in liberty unlike any other in history. 

Though they would be outraged by how far the federal government has drifted from their vision, I am confident they would be proud of our growing movement to reclaim the Republic they sacrificed so much to leave us. 

Today, we can commemorate their courage, celebrate their achievements, and rededicate ourselves to ensuring the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity. 

With our own Revolution headed by the “Champion of the Constitution,” we are re-declaring to the world our commitment to the ideas that made this nation great.  In his latest C4L video, Congressman Ron Paul passes along his best wishes for a happy Fourth of July.



In just a little over a year since our founding, over 200,000 people from all manner of countries, backgrounds, and political beliefs have joined Campaign for Liberty in saying “enough” to government intrusion and overreach.  The political establishment which had written us off for so long is unable to do so any longer.  Our successful efforts so far to Audit the Fedare just the beginning. 

Together, we are leading the charge to restore respect for the principles enshrined in the Declaration of Independence.  And like our Founders, we will finish the fight. 

If you’re able to do so, please consider making a contributionto C4L to help us spread the liberty message and bring true, lasting change to every level of government across the country. 

Thank you for all you do in defense of freedom.  Happy Fourth of July from all of us at Campaign for Liberty! 

In Liberty,

John Tate 


P.S.  If you’re planning to attend a Fourth of July event today, take along a C4L flier to spread the word about our efforts!  Click herefor our recent blog post highlighting some terrific handouts for today’s festivities.


Cynthia McKinney: I’m in jail in Israel

July 4, 2009



By Kent A. Miles

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution



Ex-Ga. congresswoman detained after boat with Gaza supplies held


Former Georgia congresswoman Cynthia McKinney revealed in a phone call posted online that she is in an Israeli prison with others who attempted to run a blockade to deliver supplies to Gaza.

McKinney and about 18 other activists in Israeli custody for the past three days will likely be released by Sunday, according to the Israeli embassy in Washington, D.C.

Spokesman Jonathan Peled said preparations are being made to deport the activists. “It is taking slightly longer. Former congresswoman McKinney is not cooperating with the authorities” and refusing to sign a document acknowledging deportation, he said.

“It’ll take a couple more days before she is put on a plane and flown out of Israel,” Peled said.

A blog entry Thursday on a MySpace page for McKinney said the passengers refused to admit in writing to violating the blockade and trespassing Israeli territorial waters.

The Greek-registered Arion with 21 passengers aboard was in the Mediterranean Sea about 23 miles off the Gaza coast when it was intercepted Tuesday. Israel has blockaded entry to Gaza, which is governed by the organization Hamas, for two years.

The Free Gaza Movement, which organized the voyage, contends the ship was carrying humanitarian aid.

The organization, which has made more than a half dozen sailings to deliver aid to Gaza since August 2008, had renamed the ship Spirit of Humanity and refers to it by that name.

The Israelis rerouted the ship to the port of Ashdod after the seizure. Two of the passengers who signed the waivers have been released from custody and deported, Peled said.

New York journalist Don DeBar said McKinney called him early Thursday. DeBar covered McKinney’s campaign last year as the Green Party presidential candidate and they stayed in touch.

“She sounded okay,” DeBar said.

McKinney said in the online interview (listen to the interview here here ) that she was in a prison cell block with women from different countries detained for arriving in Gaza.

“We have not committed any crime, we have been detained,” McKinney said. We want the people of the world to see how we have been treated just because we wanted to deliver humanitarian assistance to the people of Gaza.”

McKinney called on President Barack Obama to press Israel to assist the Palestinian people.

Among the activists on the ship were McKinney, who twice represented Georgia in the U.S. House of Representatives; and Mairead Maguire, the 1977 recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for co-founding a group that worked for peace in Northern Ireland.

In a statement, Irish Foreign Minister Micheál Martin called for the immediate release of Maguire and another Irish citizen also being detained.

McKinney’s father said he spoke briefly with her on Thursday and that she told him she was all right.

“We didn’t have a conversation. She just said she was all right, and that was about it,” Billy McKinney of Atlanta said.

The former Georgia legislator and political figure admitted he was worried despite his daughter’s assurances.

“I’m always worried about her,” he said. “I’m a father. I’m a parent. I’m always worried.”



Related Story:

‘The Israelis hijacked us,’ McKinney says in call from prison



Washington Post cancels lobbyist event amid uproar

July 4, 2009


Washington Postpublisher Katharine Weymouth said today she was canceling plans for an exclusive “salon” at her home where for as much as $250,000, the Post offered lobbyists and association executives off-the-record access to “those powerful few” —Obamaadministration officials, members of Congress, and even thepaper’s own reporters and editors.

 The astonishing offer was detailed in a flier circulated Wednesday to ahealth carelobbyist, who provided it to a reporter because the lobbyist said he felt it was a conflict for the paper to charge for access to, as the flier says, its “health care reporting and editorial staff.”

 With the Post newsroom in an uproar after POLITICO reported the solicitation, Weymouth said in an email to the staff that “a flier went out that was prepared by theMarketingdepartmentand was never vetted by me or by the newsroom. Had it been, the flier would have been immediately killed, because it completely misrepresented what we were trying to do.” 

 Weymouthsaid the paper had planned a series of dinners with participation from the newsroom “but with parameters such that we did not in any way compromise our integrity. Sponsorship of events, like advertising in the newspaper, must be at arm’s length and cannot imply control over the content or access to our journalists. At this juncture, we will not be holding the planned July dinner and we will not hold salon dinners involving the newsroom. “

 She made it clear however, that The Post, which lost $19.5 million in the first quarter, sees bringing together Washington figures as a future revenue source. “We do believe that there is a viable way to expand our expertise into live conferences and events that simply enhances what we do – cover Washington for Washingtonians and those interested in Washington,” she said. “ And we will begin to do live events in ways that enhance our reputation and in no way call into question our integrity.” 

 Executive editor Marcus Brauchli was as adamant as Weymouth in denouncing the plan promoted in the flier. “You cannot buy access to a Washington Post journalist,” Brauchli told POLITICO. Brauchli was named on the flier as one of the salon’s “Hosts and Discussion Leaders.”

 Brauchli said in an interview that he understood the business side of the Post planned on holding dinners on policy and was scheduled to attend the July 21 dinner at Weymouth’s Washington home, but he said he had not seen the material promoting it until today. “The flier, and the description of these things, was not at all consistent with the preliminary conversations the newsroom had,” Brauchli said, adding that it was “absolutely impossible” the newsroom would participate in the kind of event described in the solicitation for the event.

 “Underwriting Opportunity: An evening with the right people can alter the debate,” says the one-page flier. “Underwrite and participate in this intimate and exclusive Washington Post Salon, an off-the-record dinner and discussion at the home of CEO and Publisher Katharine Weymouth. … Bring your organization’s CEO or executive director literally to the table. Interact with key Obama administration and congressional leaders.”

Continue Article

Ban Blogs From Linking To Newspapers, Says Judge

July 3, 2009



Nicholas Carlson|Jul. 2, 2009, 8:30 AM


Famous and respected New York Judge Richard Posner says maybe we should ban links to save newspapers.

From his blog: Imagine if the New York Times migrated entirely to the World Wide Web. Could it support, out of advertising and subscriber revenues, as large a news-gathering apparatus as it does today? This seems unlikely, because it is much easier to create a web site and free ride on other sites than to create a print newspaper and free ride on other print newspapers, in part because of the lag in print publication; what is staler than last week’s news.

Expanding copyright law to bar online access to copyrighted materials without the copyright holder’s consent, or to bar linking to or paraphrasing copyrighted materials without the copyright holder’s consent, might be necessary to keep free riding on content financed by online newspapers from so impairing the incentive to create costly news-gathering operations that news services like Reuters and the Associated Press would become the only professional, nongovernmental sources of news and opinion.

Gawker’s Hamilton Nolan, who brought the Judge’s argument to our attention, had this to say about it:

The problem: this is America dude, we say what we fucking want, amirite?

You can copyright a news story, but you can’t copyright the news. “The news” just means “things that happen in the world.” What would it mean, in practice, to make it illegal to paraphrase a copyrighted news story? Summing up, for example, political events, or a sports controversy, or even a fashion trend, could be interpreted as paraphrasing copyrighted material. So let’s ban talking about anything. And banning links will help us make our references even more obscure, by making it impossible for anyone to refer to source materials! Good idea, Posner. This gross oversimplification makes you look none too freedom-loving!

What we want to know is what would the Judge do with TV news, which gets all its reporting, facts and story ideas from newspapers? According to Pew, 60% of Americans get their news from TV. By the Judge’s logic, shouldn’t they be forced to read a newspaper to get their news instead?

Douglas A. Gentile, Ph.D.

June 30, 2009



The media are far more powerful than we want to admit,

but we are far from powerless to control the effects.





Douglas A. Gentile, Ph.D.


Developmental psychologist Douglas Gentile is a research scientist, author, educator, and one of the world’s leading experts on the effects of mass media on children, adolescents, and adults. 

Dr. Gentile conducts scientific research on the positive and negative effects of media on children and adults, including such topics as media violence, video games, advertising, media ratings, and video game “addiction.”

By studying the effects of media scientifically, he helps to provide parents, educators, and policy makers with data that can help improve children’s outcomes.

“Wired for War,” by P.W. Singer

June 30, 2009



The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century 

What happens when science fiction becomes battlefield reality?
An amazing revolution is taking place on the battlefield, starting to change not just how wars are fought, but also the politics, economics, laws, and ethics that surround war itself. This upheaval is already afoot — remote-controlled drones take out terrorists in Afghanistan, while the number of unmanned systems on the ground in Iraq has gone from zero to 12,000 over the last five years.  But it is only the start. Military officers quietly acknowledge that new prototypes will soon make human fighter pilots obsolete, while the Pentagon researches tiny robots the size of flies to carry out reconnaissance work now handled by elite Special Forces troops.

Wired for War takes the reader on a journey to meet all the various players in this strange new world of war: odd-ball roboticists working in latter-day “skunk works” in the midst of suburbia; military pilots flying combat mission from their office cubicles outside Las Vegas; the Iraqi insurgents who are their targets; journalists trying to figure out just how to cover robots at war; and human rights activists wrestling with what is right and wrong in a world where our wars are increasingly being handed over to machines. 

If issues like these sound like science fiction, that’s because many of the new technologies were actually inspired by some of the great sci-fi of our time ­ from Terminator and Star Trek to the works of Asimov and Heinlein.  In fact, Singer reveals how the people who develop new technologies consciously draw on such sci-fiction when pitching them to the Pentagon, and he even introduces the sci-fi authors who quietly consult for the military.   

But, whatever its origins, our new machines will profoundly alter warfare, from the frontlines to the home front. When planes can be flown into battle from an office 10,000 miles away (or even fly themselves, like the newest models), the experiences of war and the very profile of a warrior change dramatically. Singer draws from historical precedent and the latest Pentagon research to argue that wars will become easier to start, that the traditional moral and psychological barriers to killing will fall, and that the “warrior ethos”  the code of honor and loyalty which unites soldiers  will erode. 

Paradoxically, these new unmanned technologies will also seemingly bring war closer to our doorsteps, including even with videos of battles downloaded for entertainment. But Singer also proves that our enemies will not settle for fighting our high-tech proxies on their own turf.  He documents, for instance, how Hezbollah deployed unmanned aircraft in the Lebanese war of 2006, and how America may even fall behind in this revolution, as its adversaries gain knockoffs of our own technology, or even develop better tech of their own invention.  

While his predictions are unnerving, there’s an irresistible gee-whiz quality to what Singer uncovers and the people he meets along the way. It is packed with cutting edge research and hard to get interviews of everyone from four star Army generals and Middle East leaders to reclusive science fiction authors. Yet it also seamlessly weaves in pop culture and illuminating anecdotes to create a book that is both highly readable and accessible. In laying out where our technologies are taking us to next, WIRED FOR WAR is as fascinating as it is frightening.

Campaign for Liberty Stands up for His Rights, Sues TSA

June 30, 2009

June 29, 2009

Dear Friend of Liberty,

Every day, Campaign for Liberty fights government tyranny in defense of freedom. 

But right now one C4L staffer is taking his own brave stand for his liberties

You may remember Steve Bierfeldt’s story.  A few months ago he went through a harrowing ordeal at the St. Louis Airport. 

He was unconstitutionally searched, held against his rights, verbally harassed — and he recorded the whole thing on his cellular phone. 

Steve’s bravery in defense of his rights made him a cult celebrity in liberty circles.

And now his heroism is going mainstream

You see, Steve has filed a lawsuit against the TSA, and CNN recently picked up the story. 

Click here to watch the segment on The Situation Room

Steve is an inspiration to every freedom-loving patriot, and a reminder that there are victories to be won every day in the fight for liberty.

And don’t forget, Steve is not just doing this for himself; his brave stand protects the rights of each and every one of us

Here is a link to Steve’s C4L blog post where he posted the video.  Please take a moment to leave a comment or word of encouragement. 

Let him know that in his fight for freedom, he doesn’t stand alone. 

In Liberty, 

John Tate

An Interview with Stanley Kubrick by Terry Southern

June 28, 2009



“Two of my heros.”


July, 1962; NYC

Probably the most talented, surely the most ambitious, and absolutely the youngest full-fledged film-maker on the American scene today, is Stanley Kubrick — who, at only 33, has created a body of work (six features and two documentaries) as richly diverse as it is substantial.

Paths Of Glory, acclaimed by critics throughout the world as one of the best war pictures ever filmed was made when he was 28 years old — certainly as remarkable a cinematic achievement as that of any contemporary American.

At 30, he was given the singular distinction (if not exactly honor) of directing the super production, Spartacus, with a budget of ten million dollars. Aware, intuitive, and deeply attuned to his times, Kubrick is a chess-playing poet and extremely articulate, speaking in visual metaphor, with the kind of relentless honesty of principle and direction that is a rare felicity indeed.

The following interview took place in the New York office of Harris-Kubrick Productions, and is a transcript of the taped recording.

Southern: What was it mainly that appealed to you in the novel, Lolita?

Kubrick: Well it’s certainly one of the great love stories, isn’t it? I think Lionel Trilling’s piece in Encounter is very much to the point when he speaks of it as “the first great love story of the 20t century.” And he uses as his criteria the total shock and estrangement which the lovers, in all the great love stories of the past have produced on the people around them. If you consider Romeo and Juliet, Anna Karenina, Madame Bovary, The Red and the Black, they all had this one thing in common, this element of the illicit, or at least what was considered illicit at the time, and in each case it caused their complete alienation from society.

But then in the 20th century, with the disintegration of moral and spiritual values, it became increasingly difficult, and finally impossible, for an author to credibly create that kind of situation, to-to conceive of a relationship which would produce this shock and estrangement — so that what was resorted to achieve the shock value, was erotic description. Whereas Trilling felt that Lolita somehow did succeed, in the classic tradition, having all the stormy passion and tenderness of the great love story as well as this element of the lovers being estranged from everyone around them. And, of course, Nabokov was brilliant in withholding any indication of the author’s approval of the relationship. In fact, it isn’t until the very end, when Humbert sees her again four years later, and she’s no longer by any-stretch of the definition a nymphet, that the really genuine and selfless love he has for her is revealed. In other words, this element of their estrangement, even from the author — and certainly, from the reader–is accomplished, and sustained, almost through the very end.

Southern: I want to ask you some questions more about the actual filming of Lolita, but first I’d like to go back for a moment–to the time when you were 21, working as a Look photographer, and ask you how you got started as a filmmaker.

Kubrick: I just rented a camera and made a movie–a 28 minute documentary–Day of the Fight was the name of it, a day in the life of a boxer, from the time he wakes in the morning until he steps in the ring that night.

Southern: I understand you made the film entirely by yourself–did you also finance it?

Kubrick: Well, it didn’t cost much–I think the camera was ten bucks a day–and film, developed and printed, is ten cents a foot. The most expensive thing was the music…the whole film cost 3900 dollars, and I think about 2900 of it was for the music, having it sync’d in.

Southern: Your first feature was Fear and Desire?

Kubrick: Yes, a pretentious, inept and boring film–a youthful mistake costing about 50,000 dollars–but it was distributed by Joseph Burstyn, in the art houses and caused a little ripple of publicity and attention. ..I mean there were people around who found some good things in it, and on the strength of that I was able to raise private financing to make a second feature-length film, Killer’s Kiss. And that was a silly story too, but my concern was still in getting experience and simply functioning in the medium, so the content of a story seemed secondary to me. I just took the line of least resistance, whatever story came to hand. And for another thing I had no money to live on at the time, much less to buy good story material with–nor did I have the time to work it into shape–and I didn’t want to take a job, and get off the track, so I had to keep moving. Fortunately too, I wasn’t offered any jobs during this period–I mean perhaps if I had been offered some half-assed TV job of something I wouldn’t have had the sense to turn it down and would have been thrown off the track of what I really wanted to do, but it didn’t happen that way. In any case, I made that picture Killer’s Kiss, and United Artists saw it and bought it.

Southern: It was about that time, wasn’t it, that you met James Harris and formed your own company?

Kubrick: That’s right. He was running a television distribution company at the time…together we made The Killing. That’s the first film I made with decent actors, a professional crew, and under the proper circumstances. It was the first really good film I made, and it got a certain amount of attention…then we bought the rights to Paths of Glory. That was a book I had read when I was about fourteen, and one day I suddenly remembered it.

Southern: I understand there was some controversy over the ending of the film–where the French soldiers are executed for desertion–that you asked to change it so that the men would not be shot at the end of the film.

Kubrick: It wasn’t a controversy–I mean there were some people who said you’ve got to save the men, but, of course, it was out of the question. That would have been like making a film about capital punishment in which the executed man was innocent–it would just be pointless. And also, of course, it actually happened–the French Army mutinies of 1917 were fairly extensive, whole regiments marched out of the trenches, and men were executed, by lot.

Southern: Is Paths of Glory still banned in France?

Kubrick: Yes–it’s also banned in Switzerland, Spain, and Israel, because of reciprocal agreements these countries have with France.

Southern: Did the film in fact, make any money?

Kubrick: It’s probably made some money by now. But what you have to realize is that the period of movies, starting from about the middle fifties, began to decline in terms of box-office, right down to where it is now, which is about 40% of what it was before television. Television, you know, was a big threat in the beginning because it was free, but then they ran out of things to show and it started to get boring — and at that point the major studios, in order to show better balance sheet, very unwisely began unloading their pictures, selling them to TV, which then gave the networks something at least as good and sometimes better than what could be seen in the theatres. Now Paths of Glory was made about the middle of this period of decline in movie business, and by comparison to the average ‘A’ picture during that time it did average business. So it wasn’t exactly a smash success, and I suppose there are a lot of films which can’t be expected to be, but which are still worth making — if you feel like making them.

Southern: There are always a few films which, after their initial round of distribution, start being recalled — and this seems to be happening to Paths of Glory, as though it were becoming a sort of cinema-club classic.

Kubrick: Well, the owner of the New Yorker theatre called me the other day, for example, and said they didn’t want to give him a print of the film. You see, the distributor gets about fifty bucks for renting a print, and so he doesn’t even want to bother dragging it out of the vault. I mean they’ve got so many other things working for them they just don’t want to be bothered.

Continue Interview

Obama lawyers try to protect Cheney from Daily Show

June 20, 2009





Tired of waving the national security flag, Obama administration lawyers are apparently trying another tactic to get the courts to back Bush administration arguments which never worked to prevent the release of critical documents. Forget Qaeda or North Korea, late night hosts who tell jokes are why the government should retain its secrets.

“A federal judge yesterday sharply questioned an assertion by the Obama administration that former Vice President Richard B. Cheney’s statements to a special prosecutor about the Valerie Plame case must be kept secret, partly so they do not become fodder for Cheney’s political enemies or late-night commentary on The Daily Show,” R. Jeffrey Smith reports for The Washington Post.

The AP reports, “Justice Department lawyers told the judge that future presidents and vice presidents may not cooperate with criminal investigations if they know what they say could become available to their political opponents and late-night comics who would ridicule them.”

“If we become a fact-finder for political enemies, they aren’t going to cooperate,” Justice Department attorney Jeffrey Smith said. “I don’t want a future vice president to say, `I’m not going to cooperate with you because I don’t want to be fodder for ‘The Daily Show.’”

More from the Post:

U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan expressed surprise during a hearing here that the Justice Department, in asserting that Cheney’s voluntary statements to U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald were exempt from disclosure, relied on legal claims put forward last October by a Bush administration political appointee, Stephen Bradbury. The department asserted then that the disclosure would make presidents and vice presidents reluctant to cooperate voluntarily with future criminal investigations.

But career civil division lawyer Jeffrey M. Smith, responding to Sullivan’s questions, said Bradbury’s arguments against the disclosure were supported by the department’s current leadership. He told the judge that if Cheney’s remarks were published, then a future vice president asked to provide candid information during a criminal probe might refuse to do so out of concern “that it’s going to get on ‘The Daily Show’ ” or somehow be used as a political weapon.

Sullivan said Bradbury, who was the acting head of the Office of Legal Counsel, was not obviously qualified to make such claims and that they were in any event unsubstantiated. Sullivan said the department needed new evidence, if it hoped to prevail, and said the administration should supply him with a copy of Cheney’s statements so he could directly assess whether the claims are credible.

Politico’s Josh Gerstein adds, “Sullivan didn’t decide immediately whether the summary and notes of the Cheney interview should be made public, but the judge said Bradbury’s declaration was inadequate to justify withholding the records. He ordered the Justice Department to supplement its filings by July 1 and to produce the documents for him to examine in private.”

Jello Biafra Writes An Open Letter To Barack Obama

June 18, 2009



(Jello Biafra’s 1979 mayoral campaign against Diane Feinstein was the first I ever worked on, which probably says a lot. We’re proud to publish his open letter to Barack Obama — jh)

My Friends (couldn’t resist, I had to say it),

Here, by semi-popular demand, are the suggestions I sent to Obama’ site for citizen input. It veers from writing to Obama himself to writing for the people who may actually read this. A lot of these ideas may be familiar from my albums and spoken word shows. For the most part I stayed away from the big no-brainers covered by others, and from ideas he would never agree to in a million years.

I did not vote for him because of his record in Congress voting for thePATRIOT Act, the anti-immigrant wall, numerous corporate breaks and subsidies, the FISA bill legalizing all the NSA’s illegal wiretapping, etc. Nevertheless I, too, felt moved by his speech in the park that night in Chicago, seeing Jesse Jackson cry and wondering how Martin Luther King, Jr would have felt. I can only imagine how much this would have meant to Wesley Willis.

And, yes, I am glad that the adult version of the Eraserhead baby and his pitbull pal were not handed the keys to the White House.

I guess that’s why it hurts so much more when the guy we all wish we could hang out with when we see him on TV turns around and backs the wrong position on something important. We expect this from the Clintons and Bidens of the world, but it hurts more with Obama because he knows better. He even said so on the FISA/NSA spying bill that he so eloquently opposed before he changed his vote. His economic and national security teams so far lack anyone from the “change” side of the Democratic Party. Not a good sign.

If you have ideas or comments, don’t just send them to me, send them to! Even I have the audacity to hope that if one of these ideas penetrates up top, it is a chance worth taking. Tom Hayden is one of many who havepointed out that it is up to this movement to drive Obama, not the other way around.

Jello Biafra



Dear Mr. Obama,

Congratulations on your recent victory, and for helping build such a strong mandate for change. In that spirit, please do not forget the other aisle you need to reach across. All the relief and publicity for the middle class won’t do anything for the 40-100 million Americans who are starving, unemployed or just plain poor.

You have gone out of your way to build a bridge to those of us fed up with war, pollution, inequality, corporate lawlessness and business as usual. You have energized a whole new generation who is far ahead of their elders in knowing what urgently needs to be done. I have never seen such an outpouring of heartfelt emotion, hope and support for an American politician in my life, and I remember Kennedy well. You are the first president in my lifetime to have a bona fide grassroots movement behind you and ready to rock. I hope those crowds’ hope and urgency has penetrated deeply enough that you won’t let that bridge be washed away.

I remember another person who had the audacity to exploit and toss aside people’s hope, and his name is Bill Clinton. Democrats fail time and again when they shirk responsibility and settle for being dealmakers instead of leaders. As important as it is to find common ground and build consensus for change, our situation is so dire we cannot afford any more dealmakers. The people voted for a leader. Anything less risks breaking the hearts of an entire galvanized generation who may then decide it is not worth it to get involved and participate any more.

Strong medicine is needed. Here are some ideas:


The closest thing to a solution I have heard was offered clear back in April 2004 by the Organization of the Islamic Conference ( The OIC is comprised of 57 Islamic countries ranging from West Africa clear over to Southeast Asia. At their annual meeting they found six member nations (Indonesia, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Yemen and Morocco) willing to pony up enough of their own troops (approx. 150,000) that our troops could have gone home! Who slammed the door on that one? Colin Powell, on the grounds that having the Islamic soldiers under UN command instead of Americans was out of the question.

WHY??!? Wouldn’t a neutral force of Muslim peacekeepers make a lot more headway than the disaster we’ve made? Wouldn’t they at least command a lot more respect, resulting in a huge drop in violence? Surely the non-stop carnage and Iracketeering we have spawned is Exhibit A that we need to get over this colonialist illusion that other countries’ problems can only be solved by Americans. The OIC’s proposal for US withdrawal and peace in Iraq must be revisited immediately, and also considered for Afghanistan.

We must end not just our military occupation of Iraq, but our economic occupation NOW. Iraq is not ours to sell, and neither is its oil. Your promise not to leave any permanent US military bases in Iraq is a good start. But you have also backed leaving US troops in Iraq to “protect American assets like the Green Zone.” The Green Zone is not our “asset.” We stole it and we have to give it back. I hope you don’t seriously believe we can get away with that giant feudal fortress of an embassy we are building, ten times the size of any other in history. We cannot afford to waste any more money on this, or down the black hole of the Bush administration’s crony backroom deals with corrupt, incompetent private contractors like Blackwater, KBR and Halliburton. We need to fire them and they need to leave—NOW.

We do owe the Iraqi people help, and we have an obligation to clean up the mess we have made. That goes double for Afghanistan. But I can’t see this getting done unless someone other than the United States is in charge. Let us also not forget the 2 million-plus refugees stuck outside Iraq who are draining the economies of Iraq’s neighbors, especially Jordan and Syria.

NSA Secret Database Ensnared President Clinton’s Private E-mail

June 18, 2009



  • By Kim Zetter Email Author 
  • June 17, 2009

A secret NSA surveillance database containing millions of intercepted foreign and domestic e-mails includes the personal correspondence of former President Bill Clinton, according to theNew York Times.

An NSA intelligence analyst was apparently investigated after accessing Clinton’s personal correspondence in the database, the paper reports, though it didn’t say how many of Clinton’s e-mails were captured or when the interception occurred.

The database, codenamed Pinwale, allows NSA analysts to search through and read large volumes of e-mail messages, including correspondence to and from Americans.  Pinwale is likely the end point for data sucked from internet backbones into NSA-run surveillance rooms at AT&T facilities around the country.

Those rooms were set up by the Bush administration following 9/11, and were finally legalized last year when Congress passed the FISA Amendments Act. The law gives the telecoms immunity for cooperating with the administration; it also opens the way for the NSA to lawfully spy on large groups of phone numbers and e-mail addresses in bulk, instead of having to obtain a warrant for each target.

The NSA can collect the correspondence of Americans with a court order, or without one if the interception occurs incidentally while the agency is targeting people “reasonably believed” to be overseas. But in 2005, the agency “routinely examined large volumes of Americans’ e-mail messages without court warrants,” according to the Times, through this loophole. The paper reports today that the NSA is continuing to over-collect e-mail because of difficulties in filtering and distinguishing between foreign and domestic correspondence.

If an American’s correspondence pops up in search results when analysts sift through the database, the analyst is allowed to read it, provided such messages account for no more than 30 percent of a search result, the paper reported.

The NSA has claimed that the over-collection was inadvertent and corrected it each time the problem was discovered. But Rep. Rush Holt (D-New Jersey), chairman of the House Select Intelligence Oversight Panel, disputed this. “Some actions are so flagrant that they can’t be accidental,” he told the Times.

Holt and other congressional reps have been holding closed-door meetings on the issue. Holt’s office said there are no current plans to hold a hearing on the matter, but the investigation is on-going.

Dana Gould on Gun Control

June 16, 2009

The Stanger – Albert Camus

June 14, 2009





BY: S. J. Lea


In this essay it is assumed that the reader has not read Albert Camus’ The Stranger but is aware that the plot involves a character called Meursault, the shooting of an Arab and a subsequent trial. This essay is not a ‘The Stranger a study guide’ but a brief look at some of the themes of the book. The intention is to entice the reader into reading The Stranger for themselves. Accordingly all mention of specific characters or plot points have been avoided where possible.

For Camus, life has no rational meaning or order. We have trouble dealing with this notion and continually struggle to find rational structure and meaning in our lives. This struggle to find meaning where none exists is what Camus calls, the absurd. So strong is our desire for meaning that we dismiss out of hand the idea that there is none to be found. Camus wrote The Stranger as an enticement to his readers, to think about their own mortality and the meaning of their existence. The hero, or anti-hero, of The Stranger is Meursault. His life and attitudes possess no rational order. His actions are strange to us, there seems to be no reason behind them. We are given no reason why he chooses to marry Marie or gun down an Arab. For this, he is a stranger amongst us. And when confronted with the absurdity of the stranger’s life society reacts by imposing meaning on the stranger.

It’s worth noting here that L’Etranger is sometimes translated as The Outsider but this is inaccurate. Camus does not want us to think of Meursault as ‘the stranger who lives ‘outside’ of his society’ but of a man who is ‘the stranger within his society’. Had Meursault been some kind of outsider, a foreigner, then quite probably his acts would have been accepted as irrational evil. But Meursault was not an outsider; he was a member of his society – a society that wants meaning behind action.

In the second half of The Stranger, Camus depicts society’s attempt to manufacture meaning behind Meursault’s actions. The trial is absurd in that the judge, prosecutors, lawyers and jury try to find meaning where none is to be found. Everyone, except Meursault, has there own ‘reason’ why Meursault shot the Arab but none of them are, or can be, correct. In life there are never shortages of opinion as to why this or that thing occurred. How close to any of them get to the meaning behind action?

An interesting motif in The Stranger is that of watching or observation. Camus is writing a book about our endless search for meaning. We are all looking for a purpose in our lives. The characters of The Stranger all watch each other and the world around them. Meursault watches the world go by from his balcony. He later passively watches his own trial. The world around him is a fascination to Meursault. He keenly observes the sun, the heat, the physical geography of his surrounding. The eyes of the other are also depicted by Camus. Antagonism behind the eyes of the Arabs, as they watch Meursault and his friends. The eyes of the jury and witnesses at his trial. Finally the idea of the watching crowd, representing the eyes of society.


BY: S. J. Lea


Buy “The Stranger”



“Air Guitar” -Dave Hickey

June 13, 2009



“Jazz presumes that it would be nice if the four of us–simpatico dudes that we are–while playing this complicated song together, might somehow be free and autonomous as well. Tragically, this never quite works out. At best, we can only be free one or two at a time–while the other dudes hold onto the wire. Which is not to say that no one has tried to dispense with wires. Many have, and sometimes it works–but it doesn’t feel like jazz when it does. The music simply drifts away into the stratosphere of formal dialectic, beyond our social concerns. 

Rock-and-roll, on the other hand, presumes that the four of us–as damaged and anti-social as we are–might possibly get it to-fucking-gether, man, and play this simple song. And play it right, okay? Just this once, in tune and on the beat. But we can’t. The song’s too simple, and we’re too complicated and too excited. We try like hell, but the guitars distort, the intonation bends, and the beat just moves, imperceptibly, against our formal expectations, whetehr we want it to or not. Just because we’re breathing, man. Thus, in the process of trying to play this very simple song together, we create this hurricane of noise, this infinitely complicated, fractal filigree of delicate distinctions. 

And you can thank the wanking eighties, if you wish, and digital sequencers, too, for proving to everyone that technologically “perfect” rock–like “free” jazz–sucks rockets. Because order sucks. I mean, look at the Stones. Keith Richards is alwayson top of the beat, and Bill Wyman, until he quit, was always behind it, because Richards is leading the band and Charlie Watts is listening to him and Wyman is listening to Watts. So the beat is sliding on those tiny neural lapses, not so you can tell, of course, but so you can feel it in your stomach. And the intonation is wavering, too, with the pulse in the finger on the amplified string. This is the delicacy of rock-and-roll, the bodily rhetoric of tiny increments, necessary imperfections, and contingent community. And it has its virtues, because jazz only works if we’re trying to be free and are, in fact, together. Rock-and-roll works because we’re all a bunch of flakes. That’s something you can depend on, and a good thing too, because in the twentieth century, that’s all there is: jazz and rock-and-roll. The rest is term papers and advertising.” 
— Dave Hickey (Air Guitar: Essays on Art & Democracy)


Buy Air Guitar

Terry Southern on Larry Flynt

June 11, 2009

















“If elected, my primary goal will be to eliminate sexual ignorance and venereal disease. Every ounce of strength I can muster, both physically and psychologically, will be used courageously and endlessly to remove the massive repressive hand of government,, the ruling class, from the crotch of the American people.” 
–Larry Flynt, presidential candidacy announcement, Oct. 16, 1983


At Home with Larry Flynt (excerpted)
from Interviews by Jean Stein
Grand Street ; Issue # 36


Terry Southern: 
Den Hopper called me from Larry Flynt’s: “I’ve sent you a first-class round-trip ticket and I want you to come out. I have a proposition for you. Take my word, it’s a good thing. I’ll meet the plane.” And so I went out without knowing anything except that Den had recommended it.

Den did meet me at the airport and he said, “Man, you’re going to dig this scene. This is fantastic!”

When we arrive, the iron gate swings open and they wave Den in. Here I am in this gigantic place, three blocks up from the Bel Air Hotel. I’m trying to think whose house it used to be–Janet Leigh and Tony Curtis, or Sonny and Cher, or somebody. Many generations of mismatched celebrities. There were tennis courts and pools on each side of the house with waterfalls and things like that. Well secured–it’s patrolled by guys carrying Uzi machine guns. Three uniformed guards outside the fence, and then on the inside three huge bodybuilder types, dressed in white short-sleeves to show off their gigantic biceps. The guards say, “Larry and Althea are resting,” which meant that they were just nodded out. So Den and I go up to these fantastic adjoining suites, like something out of the Bel Air Hotel.

Den had become friendly with Althea, who was Larry Flynt’s wife. A very curious girl from Georgia, extremely provincial, but with what you might call “keen native intelligence”–a sort of poor-white-trash Whoopi Goldberg. She was heavily into pleasure–obsessed with doing all kinds of things for pleasure, especially all kinds of dope. She had a voracious appetite, but she was an innocent–a babe in the woods without a conscience. In an effort to cool her out, Larry had asked her, “What would you like to do, baby? You name it. ” She said, “I want to make a movie about Jim Morrison.” “All right, you’ve got it.” She consults Den Hopper, and he says: “Well, the person you want to get to write the script is my friend Terry Southern.” She said, “Oh, right, good idea.” So Den tells me, “We’ll write the script together. I already asked them for twenty-five thousand dollars apiece up front.” And he hands me this envelope of hundred dollar bills that thick: “Here, here’s yours. I’ll show you mine, see, they’re the same.” “Where should we keep it?” I asked. “I don’t know, I’m keeping mine behind this book. The other day I got so stoned I couldn’t remember which book it was. I tore the place apart.”

Then we met this one particular guard who, it turns out, is also the chief drug procurer. He says, “Larry’s trying to get Althea to clean up, so it’s very important not to give her any dope.” Then he tells Dennis, “Larry wants to see you in his study.” And Den says to me, “I’ll see you later. Why don’t you just wander around?”

So I’m wandering around the halls and I turn the corner and there’s this waif-like girl with wild eyes. She said, “Are you Terry?” I said yes. “Hi baby, I’m Althea,” and while we were still having a hug she said, “Are you holding any dope?” When I said no, she said, “I’m surprised there’s any friend of Dennis Hopper who isn’t holding dope.” I said, “Well, I’m not. I just got here and I haven’t had a chance. Besides, a guy with a gun has already told me you’re not to have any. ” She said, “Yes, they may tell you that, but they don’t know what they’re talking about. My doctor said I should have dope or I’m going to stress out.”

She said, “I’m so glad that you’re going to do the Jim Morrison thing. I’m in love with him. I think he’s still alive, don’t you?” “I don’t know about that,” I said, “but his spirit certainly lives on.” “Nah,” she said, “I mean, he’s been seen by a lot of people. He was seen in Venice not long ago”Venice, California, which is where he used to hang out. “Come downstairs, I want you to meet a friend of mine who’s just got here.” It was Tim Leary. He very surreptitiously passed her some dope. “Sunshine from the East,” he said. “A CARE package from the East.” I said, “What are you doing here?” He said, “I’m meeting Liddy. Liddy and I have been rehearsing here.” G. Gordon Liddy and Leary were doing this “debating tour,” and they rehearsed their debate at Flynt’s. “I don’t want to meet him,” I said, “he represents everything bad. ” And Leary just beamed. “Oh, you’ll like him,” he said.

The next guy to arrive was Marjoe–you know, that guy who used to be a child evangelist. And the other person who was a permanent guest for the moment was Madalyn Murray. Madalyn Murray has devoted her entire life to trying to get the Bible outlawed in school. She’s a professional atheist, very courageous. For some reason Larry Flynt was interested in her cause. I think he wanted to fuck her … mind-fuck her I mean.

About 4:00 P.M. Larry Flynt comes in and he says, “Sundowner time. Time for a sundowner.” He’s in a wheelchair. His wheelchair is motorized and gold-plated, and it has little American flags like on an ambassador’s car. He’s wearing this big diaper he had made up from an American flag. “They treat me like a baby,” he said, “so I’m going to behave like one. And if I poo-poo in my diaper, I’ll be poo-pooing on the American flag.” He’s trying to explain this to this huge Indian–what the hell is his name? He’s a great Indian guy who’s about seven feet tall … Means, Russell Means. He’s there, and meanwhile I hear this shouting, and it sounds like a big argument, but it’s just Liddy and Tim Leary rehearsing their act, I mean their “debate. ” About time for dinner, Frank Zappa arrives, you know him. Quite a grand zany. So there’s this very long table of odd people.

After dinner Larry said, “Come into my study, Terry, you’re going to need some money for the weekend.” We went into his office and he said, “There I s a briefcase right by the couch where you’re sitting. Put it in your lap and open it.” So I did. It was full of packs of hundred-dollar bills. Larry said, “It’s a million dollars. I have to have this on hand to give validity to the offer.” And he showed me this circular: A standing offer from Larry Flynt to the following women who are prepared to show gyno-pink. One million cash to: Barbara Bach, Cathy Bach, Barbi Benton, Cheryl Tiegs…. They were mostly kind of obscure, but there were one or two that were totally out of place, like Gloria Steinem and Jane Fonda. He was offering a million dollars if they’d pose and do a gyno spread, what he called 4 ‘flashing pink.” And so he said, “Take whatever you think you’ll need for the weekend,” and he made a point of turning around to use the phone so I could take what I wanted. When he finished his call, he asked, “How much did you take?” 
“Two hundred dollars.” 
“You must be a fool–you could have taken more.” 
I said, “I don’t think I need any more than that.” 
“Well, I like an honest man,” he said. “Do you think Dennis Hopper’s honest?” 
“I know him well,” I said. “He’s very honest.” 
“Well, he claimed he lost the twenty-five thousand dollars,” Larry said. “Do you believe that?” 
“I think he found it again,” I said. “Didn’t he tell you?” 
“Oh, that’s right,” he said, “he told me.” 

It must have been that night, I got a call about 3:00 A.M. “Terry? Althea. What are you holding?” 
“I’m not holding anything.” 
“Dennis told me you were holding. I’ve got to have something, baby, I’m stressing out.” 
I said, “Well, let me speak with Dennis.” 
“I just spoke to him and he claims he doesn’t have anything, but I don’t believe him.” 
So I went to Dennis and I said, “Why did you pass her on to me?” 
“Well, I don’t know what to do about this,” he said. “Here, 
I’ve got one joint, give her this.” 
“Why don’t you give it to her?” I said. 
“I’m not dressed.” 
So I went out in the hall, and sure enough, there she was, in a weird white lady-of-the-lake nightgown, and she rushes up, and I’m just about to give her the joint when I see this huge security guard, Hans is his name. Monstro-Kraut. She said, “Drop it down the front of my gown and he won’t see it.” I did, but it fell right through. She was a bit on the frail-knocker side. “It fell on the floor,” I said. So she put her foot on it, she’s standing on it.

Meanwhile Hans says, “Is there any trouble?”

“Oh no, just having a little stroll here, and bumped into Althea here.” Meanwhile she’s trying to pick up the joint with her toes, you know. I mean absurd. He looks down and says, “Wait a minute, I’ll help you.”

“No, no,” Althea said, “I don’t need your help. When I need your help, I’ll ask for it.” 
“All right, all right. Have it your way. But I know, I know.” And so he turned and left.

The next day Larry Flynt sent for me. “Althea is in no condition to talk about her projects because somebody’s been giving her drugs. Do you know anything about it?” “No,” I said, “I don’t know anything about it.” “Hans said that he saw you passing her dope in the hall, passing it from your foot to her foot. He says that you keep your dope in your shoe. He says your shoe is your stash.” I said, “Well, Dennis Hopper’s going to have to explain all of this.” Meanwhile, as a joke, I had written on a piece of paper right above Dennis’s bed: “Rise and shine, Hopper, we’ve got some tooting to do!”

Larry Flynt couldn’t function from the waist down. As long as he kept certain nerves alive, he had a theoretical chance of regaining the use of his limbs. Finally the pain got so bad that he was advised to have this operation whereby they severed these nerves. But during this period the pain was terrific, so he actually had a prescription for morphine and had developed quite a little oil-burner of a habit. Althea was constantly plotting to steal it from him. So Flynt decided to put a permanent guard on his stash of M. He had tried to hide it every night, like Dennis hid his twenty-five thou, but he would forget where he’d hid it. He had periods of great lucidity and then periods where he wouldn’t know what was going on.

Meanwhile, the Jim Morrison project was in a shambles. Nobody had bothered to look into anything like the rights. I told Althea, “Well, we’re having a little problem with the rights. You have a few lawyers, I understand. Could we put one of them on trying to sort out the rights to this story? We’re going to have to get an agreement from each of the Doors, or else we can’t use the name ‘Jim Morrison,’ we can’t use the music.” She looked so despondent that I felt obliged to come up with something. “Maybe we could do it in such a way that everyone would know it’s really about Morrison,” and she said, “Oh yeah, I can dig it, I can dig it. It might be interesting to do it that way.”

Althea was the producer and she wanted to meet some movie stars. She said, “Let’s have a party and get some PR going for the Jim Morrison project. Now I want you and Dennis to make up a list of all the movie stars you can think of and invite them to the party.” And Larry wanted to publicize his million-dollar offer for celeb-pink, so he wanted the attaché case full of cash there for the photographers and journalists to feel and photograph. At first Althea said, “I think that’s going to cheapen the Jim Morrison Story aspect of it,” but Larry said, “No, it won’t. A million dollars cash don’t cheapen nothin’, baby.”

“If elected, my primary goal will be to eliminate sexual ignorance and venereal disease. Every ounce of strength I can muster, both physically and psychologically, will be used courageously and endlessly to remove the massive repressive hand of government,, the ruling class, from the crotch of the American people.” 
–Larry Flynt, presidential candidacy announcement, Oct. 16, 1983

And Read Take Drugs

June 10, 2009

T A k  e   d  r   U Gs & R e a  d

Hunter Thompson

June 10, 2009

“Just Replace Obama’s name with Ronald Reagan in Thompson’s bit here. Nothing has changed. There is no change. You’ve contributed to no change by investing your energy in Obama. You bought into another actor doing his bit for the bankers. Stop being part of a revolving door of silly Americans. Smarten up and google Ron Paul and get on with it. You know… you can always take back what was always yours.”

-Fred Face  6/10/09

Obama Revises Campaign Promise Of ‘Change’ To ‘Relatively Minor Readjustments In Certain Favorable Policy Areas’

June 3, 2009



MAY 29, 2009 | ISSUE 45•22


WASHINGTON—In a slight shift from his campaign trail promise, President Obama announced Monday that his administration’s message of “Change” has been modified to the somewhat more restrained slogan “Relatively Minor Readjustments in Certain Favorable Policy Areas.” “Today, Americans face a great many challenges, and I hear your desperate calls for barely measurable and largely symbolic improvements in the status quo,” said Obama, who vowed never to waver in his fight for every last infinitesimal nudge forward on the controversial issues of torture and the military ban on homosexuals. “Remember: Yes we can, if by that you mean tiptoeing around potentially unpopular decisions that could alienate a large segment of the populace.” Washington insiders said that, while the new mottos are certainly in keeping with Obama’s pledge of government transparency, they are significantly less catchy.

Ted Rall: It’s increasingly evident that Obama should resign

June 3, 2009



MIAMI — We expected broken promises. But the gap between the soaring expectations that accompanied Barack Obama’s inauguration and his wretched performance is the broadest such chasm in recent historical memory. This guy makes Bill Clinton look like a paragon of integrity and follow-through.

From health care to torture to the economy to war, Obama has reneged on pledges real and implied. So timid and so owned is he that he trembles in fear of offending, of all things, the government of Turkey. Obama has officially reneged on his campaign promise to acknowledge the Armenian genocide. When a president doesn’t have the nerve to annoy the Turks, why does he bother to show up for work in the morning?

Obama is useless. Worse than that, he’s dangerous. Which is why, if he has any patriotism left after the thousands of meetings he has sat through with corporate contributors, blood-sucking lobbyists and corrupt politicians, he ought to step down now — before he drags us further into the abyss.

I refer here to Obama’s plan for “preventive detentions.” If a cop or other government official thinks you might want to commit a crime someday, you could be held in “prolonged detention.” Reports in U.S. state-controlled media imply that Obama’s shocking new policy would only apply to Islamic terrorists (or, in this case, wannabe Islamic terrorists, and also kinda-sorta-maybe-thinking-about-terrorism dudes). As if that made it OK.

In practice, Obama wants to let government goons snatch you, me and anyone else they deem annoying off the street.

Preventive detention is the classic defining characteristic of a military dictatorship. Because dictatorial regimes rely on fear rather than consensus, their priority is self-preservation rather than improving their people’s lives. They worry obsessively over the one thing they can’t control, what George Orwell called “thoughtcrime” — contempt for rulers that might someday translate to direct action.

Locking up people who haven’t done anything wrong is worse than un-American and a violent attack on the most basic principles of Western jurisprudence. It is contrary to the most essential notion of human decency. That anyone has ever been subjected to “preventive detention” is an outrage. That the president of the United States, a man who won an election because he promised to elevate our moral and political discourse, would even entertain such a revolting idea offends the idea of civilization itself.

Obama is cute. He is charming. But there is something rotten inside him. Unlike the Republicans who backed George W. Bush, I won’t follow a terrible leader just because I voted for him. Obama has revealed himself. He is a monster, and he should remove himself from power.

“Prolonged detention,” reported The New York Times, would be inflicted upon “terrorism suspects who cannot be tried.”

“Cannot be tried.” Interesting choice of words.

Any “terrorism suspect” (can you be a suspect if you haven’t been charged with a crime?) can be tried. Anyone can be tried for anything. At this writing, a Somali child is sitting in a prison in New York, charged with piracy in the Indian Ocean, where the U.S. has no jurisdiction. Anyone can be tried.

What they mean, of course, is that the hundreds of men and boys languishing at Guantánamo and the thousands of “detainees” the Obama administration anticipates kidnapping in the future cannot be convicted. As in the old Soviet Union, putting enemies of the state on trial isn’t enough. The game has to be fixed. Conviction has to be a foregone conclusion.

Why is it, exactly, that some prisoners “cannot be tried”?

The Old Grey Lady explains why Obama wants this “entirely new chapter in American law” in a boring little sentence buried a couple of paragraphs past the jump and a couple of hundred words down page A16: “Yet another question is what to do with the most problematic group of Guantánamo detainees: those who pose a national security threat but cannot be prosecuted, either for lack of evidence or because evidence is tainted.”

In democracies with functioning legal systems, it is assumed that people against whom there is a “lack of evidence” are innocent. They walk free. In countries where the rule of law prevails, in places blessedly free of fearful leaders whose only concern is staying in power, “tainted evidence” is no evidence at all. If you can’t prove that a defendant committed a crime — an actual crime, not a thoughtcrime — in a fair trial, you release him and apologize to the judge and jury for wasting their time.

It is amazing and incredible, after eight years of Bush’s lawless behavior, to have to still have to explain these things. For that reason alone, Obama should resign.

Ted Rall is a columnist for Universal Press Syndicate.

A Message from John Tate

June 2, 2009

June 1, 2009

Dear Friend of Liberty,

With all of the great success you and I have had recently, our movement faces increasing dangers from organizations and individuals who wish to trade on Ron Paul’s good name without actually having any connection to or endorsement from him.

To help guard against this problem, Dr. Paul has specifically asked me to bring one such situation to your attention. Many of you may have received letters from David James and The Liberty Committee asking for your support by generously using Ron Paul’s name.

Dr. Paul wanted me to let you know neither David James nor The Liberty Committee have any affiliation or association with Ron Paul, Campaign for Liberty, Liberty PAC, or The Foundation for Rational Economics and Education (FREE). 

In less than a year since our founding, it has been incredible to watch Campaign for Liberty grow to include over 150,000 members who are taking action all across the country to reclaim our Republic.

On behalf of Dr. Paul, I want to thank you for your devotion to freedom and your support for Campaign for Liberty.

Together, we will Restore our Liberties.

In Liberty,

John Tate


US Homeland Security National Interoperability Field Operations Guide, May 2009

May 26, 2009

US Department of Homeland Security National Interoperability Field Operations Guide, May 2009. Notable for its extensive list of radio frequences and call procedures.

You Can Rent This Guy Out For Entertainment For Your Feal Good Parties

May 24, 2009

Howard Zinn’s “Three Holy Wars”

May 17, 2009

Howard Zinn is an American historian, political scientist, social critic, activist and playwright. He is best known as author of the best-seller ‘A People’s History of the United States’. Zinn has been active in the Civil Rights and the anti-war movements in the United States. Zinn was raised in a working-class family in Brooklyn, and flew bombing missions for the United States in World War II, an experience he now points to in shaping his opposition to war. In 1956, he became a professor at Spelman College in Atlanta, a school for black women, where he soon became involved in the Civil rights movement, which he participated in as an adviser to the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee SNCC and chronicled, in his book SNCC The New Abolitionists. Zinn collaborated with historian Staughton Lynd and mentored a young student named Alice Walker. When he was fired in 1963 for insubordination related to his protest work, he moved to Boston University, where he became a leading critic of the Vietnam War.

Archie Bunker on Gun Control

May 17, 2009

May 12, 2009

Obama administration Aide who approved Air Force One flyover in New York resign

May 11, 2009

“How stupid… really. How stupid can you be.  Pretty fuckin’ stupid I guess.”



Ed Pilkington in New, Friday 8 May 2009 22.45 BST

Barack Obama bowed to the loss of one of his senior aides today when he accepted the resignation of the official who had approved the publicity shoot of Air Force One over lower Manhattan that turned into a publicity disaster.

Louis Caldera, who headed the White House Military Office, handed in his resignation to coincide with the completion of an internal inquiry into the flight fiasco. Caldera, a former secretary of the US army under Bill Clinton, featured prominently in the seven-page inquiry report produced by Jim Messina, the White House deputy chief of staff.

The flyover on 27 April had been designed as a routine publicity shoot in a series of images involving Air Force One, the presidential 747 jet, in the air above symbolic locations across America. This one captured the plane flying over the Statue of Liberty, and replaces an earlier picture of the jet traversing Mount Rushmore in South Dakota.

The problem was that pedestrians and workers in downtown Manhattan had not been given any inkling as to the project. So when a large jet, flanked by two fighter aircraft, was seen coming in low over the high-rise buildings in the vicinity of Ground Zero, the first thought upon many people’s minds was a repeat of 9/11.

Emergency phone lines were jammed, and there were scenes of pandemonium as people tried to flee the area. To compound matters, Caldera’s office ordered that no information about the flyover should be given out to the public ahead of the shoot, on the grounds that this was a “classified” mission. New York police and the mayor’s office were told in advance, but expressly told to keep it secret.

As the final straw, it was revealed that the shoot had cost taxpayers $328,835. When Obama learned of what had happened, he is said to have been furious and ordered the review to ensure such an incident never happened again.

In his resignation letter to Obama, Caldera said that the controversy around the aerial photo shoot had made it impossible for him to lead the military office. “It has become a distraction to the important work you are doing as president.”