U.S. News: Immune system of children not developed as in Adults
By Chris Ma
It’s well known that the immune systems of young children aren’t as well developed as those of adults. Additionally, children haven’t had time to build up immunity to many of the viruses that cycle through the school systems, especially during the winter months when people are more likely to be in confined spaces.
Unfortunately, way too many parents take the wrong approach to protecting their children. Their first line of defense is unnecessary immunization shots and forcing their children to persistently wash their hands with toxic antibacterial soaps.
The really effective strategy to protecting young children is to simply focus on strengthening their internal immune systems. The human immune system is simply incredible – the first and best line of defense against getting sick. And, perhaps more so than any other bodily function, we have a lot of control over how effective it is.
One of the biggest obstacles to health children face these days is their lack of sun exposure. Sun exposure is critical for vitamin D production, and in turn, vitamin D is a critical component to immune system strength. Too many children spend too much time indoors, and when they do go outside, they are slathered in toxic sunscreens, which actually block vitamin D production. The result is that the majority of children are vitamin D deficient, which means the majority of children have compromised immune systems. Simply put, they’re getting sick unnecessarily.
I have two young children who go to crowded public schools, and we’ve been tremendously successful at keeping them healthy all year long — and they have never received a flu vaccine. All of our friends are envious of how infrequently our kids get sick.
What’s our big secret? Since they’ve been infants, we’ve been diligent about supplementing their diets vitamin D. How do you get small children to take vitamin D you ask? It’s easy. We use liquid vitamin D, which is odorless and tasteless, so it’s easy to add to their food or beverages. They don’t even know about it, so they can’t put up a fight!
We use Stop Aging Now’s Liquid Vitamin D, but feel free to shop around. There are several good options out there. Just make sure it’s vitamin D3, and make sure there aren’t any unnecessary additives, sweeteners or other junk that kids just don’t need. We give our children 1,500 IU daily (15 drops), but it’s up to each parent to gauge what’s best for their children. I can tell you that the current US RDA of 600 IU is pathetically low. I’d recommend 1,000 IU to 2,000 IU daily, and keep in mind, they may be getting some vitamin D from fortified foods, and of course, from sun exposure.
In addition to supplementing our children’s diets with vitamin D, we also make sure they spend plenty of time outside, and we make sure not to apply sunscreen for about the first 30 minutes they are outside. This gives them time for their body’s to produce vitamin D. When we do apply sun screen, we use an all natural product that is free of toxins. Our favorite brand is TruKid.
If you’re wondering if vitamin D is really a panacea to protecting children from getting sick, consider this amazing new study that was just published by the Journal of Pediatrics. The research, conducted by Harvard Medical School professor of Medicine Carlos Camargo, MD, concluded that vitamin D supplementation cuts childhood colds and flu in half!
Here are a two other strategies we employ that help keep our kids healthy all year-round:
1. Well-rounded nutrition
Again, the best strategy is keeping your kid’s immune system strong, and good nutrition plays a key role in this. Sadly, too many kids eat a steady diet of processed junk food, which severely compromises their immune system.
Make sure your children are eating as much fresh food as possible, and as little packaged food as possible. One great tip is to always have a bowl on a table, within their reach, filled with a good variety of fruit. We used to keep the fruit in the fridge. However the expression “out of sight, out of mind” rang true and our kids weren’t eating enough. When we moved the fruit to a bowl on the kitchen table, they were always reaching for it when they got hungry.
When it comes to vegetables, it’s no secret that kids don’t love them. But don’t be afraid to bribe your kids and be strict about making them eat vegetables. We have a strict rule in our house: no vegetables, no desert.
Lastly, a good multivitamin makes a lot of sense. Gummies are the easiest way to get them to take multivitamins, but be careful – there are way too many gummy multivitamin brands that are basically glorified candy. Our favorite brand is MegaFoods Kid’s One Daily.
The vast majority of the human immune system lives in the intestines, and the friendly bacteria that live there play a huge role in keeping the immune system strong. But once again processed food takes it’s toll and can kill of friendly bacteria. Also, kids are more prone to taking antibiotics (which are way too overly prescribed by doctors), which kills of the friendly bacteria in mass. Having your kids take probiotics each morning will make sure they have the friendly bacteria they need to have strong, healthy immune systems
Posted by Informant_News on Thursday, September 20, 2012 @ 20:34:12 MDT (1198 reads) (Score: 5)
U.S. News: Universities Infected by Foreign Spies Detected by FBI
Michigan State University President Lou Anna K. Simon contacted the Central Intelligence Agency in late 2009 with an urgent question.
The school’s campus in Dubai needed a bailout and an unlikely savior had stepped forward: a Dubai-based company that offered to provide money and students.
Frank Figliuzzi, assistant director for counterintelligence with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), sits for a photograph in front of a wall of convicted spy profiles at the FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C., on March 29, 2012. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg
Lou Anna K. Simon, president of Michigan State University speaks during a video taping in her office in East Lansig, Michigan on Dec. 17, 2010. Photographer: Kurt Stepnitz/Michigan State University via Bloomberg
Then Penn State University President Graham Spanier. Photographer: Hunter Martin/Getty Images
Sergei Tretyakov, a former Russian intelligence agent. Source: Pete Earley via Bloomberg
Russian spy Lidiya Guryeva was pursuing a master's degree in business at Columbia under the name of Cynthia Murphy. Guryeva was arrested for acting as an agent of a foreign power and deported to Russia. Source: U.S. Department of Justice via Bloomberg
Simon was tempted. She also worried that the company, which had investors from Iran and wanted to recruit students from there, might be a front for the Iranian government, she said. If so, an agreement could violate federal trade sanctions and invite enemy spies.
The CIA couldn’t confirm that the company wasn’t an arm of Iran’s government. Simon rejected the offer and shut down undergraduate programs in Dubai, at a loss of $3.7 million.
Hearkening back to Cold War anxieties, growing signs ofspying on U.S. universities are alarming national security officials. As schools become more global in their locations and student populations, their culture of openness and international collaboration makes them increasingly vulnerable to theft of research conducted for the government and industry.
“We have intelligence and cases indicating that U.S. universities are indeed a target of foreign intelligence services,” Frank Figliuzzi, Federal Bureau of Investigation assistant director for counterintelligence, said in a February interview in the bureau’s Washington headquarters.
While overshadowed by espionage against corporations, efforts by foreign countries to penetrate universities have increased in the past five years, Figliuzzi said. The FBI and academia, which have often been at loggerheads, are working together to combat the threat, he said.
Attempts by countries in East Asia, including China, to obtain classified or proprietary information by “academic solicitation,” such as requests to review academic papers or study with professors, jumped eightfold in 2010 from a year earlier, according to a 2011 U.S. Defense Department report. Such approaches from the Middle East doubled, it said.
“Placing academics at U.S. research institutions under the guise of legitimate research offers access to developing U.S. technologies and cutting-edge research” in such areas as information systems, lasers, aeronautics and underwater robots, the report said.
Welcoming world-class talent to American universities helps the U.S. sustain global supremacy in science and technology, said University of Maryland President Wallace Loh. He chairs the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s academic advisory council, which held its first meeting March 20 and is expected to address such topics as federal tracking of international students.
Foreign countries “can never become competitive by stealing,” he said. “Once you exhaust that technology, you have to start developing the next generation.”
Foreigners on temporary visas made up 46 percent of science and engineering graduate students at Georgia Institute of Technology and Michigan State and 41 percent at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2009, according to a federal survey. China sent 76,830 graduate students to U.S. universities in 2010-2011, more than any other country and up almost 16 percent from the prior year, according to the Institute of International Education in New York.
While most international students, researchers and professors come to the U.S. for legitimate reasons, universities are an “ideal place” for foreign intelligence services “to find recruits, propose and nurture ideas, learn and even steal research data, or place trainees,” according to a 2011 FBI report.
In one instance described in the report, the hosts of an international conference invited a U.S. researcher to submit a paper. When she gave her talk at the conference, they requested a copy, hooked a thumb drive to her laptop and downloaded every file. In another, an Asian graduate student arranged for researchers back home to visit an American university lab and take unauthorized photos of equipment so they could reconstruct it, the report said.
A foreign scientist’s military background or purpose isn’t always apparent. Accustomed to hosting visiting scholars, Professor Daniel J. Scheeres didn’t hesitate to grant a request several years ago by Yu Xiaohong to study with him at the University of Michigan. She expressed a “pretty general interest” in Scheeres’s work on topics such as movement of celestial bodies in space, he said in a telephone interview.
Unaware of Credentials
She cited an affiliation with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, a civilian organization, Scheeres said. The Beijing address Yu listed in the Michigan online directory is the same as the Academy of Equipment Command & Technology, where instructors train Chinese military cadets and officers. Scheeres said he wasn’t aware of that military connection, nor that Yu co-wrote a 2004 article on improving the precision of anti- satellite weapons.
Once Yu arrived, her questions made him uncomfortable, said Scheeres, who now teaches at the University of Colorado. As a result, he stopped accepting visiting scholars from China.
“It was pretty clear to me that the stuff she was interested in probably had some military satellite-orbit applications,” he said. “Once I saw that, I didn’t really tell her anything new, or anything that couldn’t be published. I didn’t engage that deeply with her.”
Wrote About NASA
Yu later wrote a paper on the implications for space warfare of the NASA Deep Impact mission, which sent a spacecraft to collide with a comet. She couldn’t be reached for comment.
American universities have also trained Chinese researchers who later committed corporate espionage. Hanjuan Jin, a former software engineer at Motorola Inc., was found guilty in February in federal court of stealing the Schaumburg, Illinois-based company’s trade secrets and acquitted of charges she did so to benefit China’s military. She is scheduled for sentencing in May and has also filed a motion for a new trial.
Jin joined the company, now known as Motorola Solutions Inc. (MOT), after earning a master’s degree from the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. While at Motorola, she received a second master’s, this time in computer science, from the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. IIT’s own research wasn’t compromised, institute spokesman Evan Venie said in an e-mail. A Notre Dame spokesman declined to comment.
Posted by Informant_News on Thursday, April 12, 2012 @ 14:59:22 MDT (1789 reads) (Read More... | 59277 bytes more | Score: 5)
U.S. News: Zimmerman makes court appearance in Fla. shooting
George Zimmerman, center, is directed by a Seminole County Deputy and his attorney Mark O'Mara during a court hearing Thursday April 12, 2012, in Sanford, Fla. Zimmerman has been charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of the 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. (AP Photo/Gary W. Green, Orlando Sentinel, Pool)
By GREG BLUESTEIN, Associated Press
SANFORD, Fla. (AP) — Neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman made his first court appearance Thursday on a second-degree murder charge in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, as a court document provided new details on the prosecution's case.
During the brief appearance, Zimmerman stood up straight, looked straight ahead and wore a gray prison jumpsuit. He spoke only to answer "Yes, sir," twice after he was asked basic questions about the charge against him and his attorney.
His hair was shaved down to stubble and he had a thin goatee, which appeared consistent with his booking photo from the day before. He had resurfaced Wednesday to turn himself in after weeks in hiding.
Judge Mark E. Herr said he found probable cause to move ahead with the case and that an arraignment would be held on May 29 before another judge.
A document prepared by prosecutors shed some light on why they chose to charge Zimmerman. The affidavit says Martin's mother identified screams heard in the background of a 911 call as her son's. There had been some question as to whether Martin or Zimmerman was the one calling for help.
Prosecutors also interviewed a friend of Martin's who was talking to him just before the shooting. The affidavit says Martin told the witness he was being followed and was scared.
Martin tried to run home, the affidavit says, but was followed by Zimmerman: "Zimmerman got out of his vehicle and followed Martin."
The affidavit says that "Zimmerman disregarded the police dispatcher" who told him to stop, and "continued to follow Martin who was trying to return to his home."
The Orlando Sentinel obtained the affidavit of probable cause before it was filed with the courthouse.
Speaking to reporters after the hearing, attorney Mark O'Mara said he was concerned that the case up to now has been handled in the public eye, with details coming out in piecemeal fashion.
"It's really supposed to happen in the courtroom," O'Mara said, deflecting questions about evidence in the case and his client's mental state.
Earlier Thursday on NBC's "Today" show, O'Mara said Zimmerman is stressed and very tired and hoping to get bail.
Meanwhile, Martin's mother raised eyebrows with her own comments on "Today" about the accidental nature of the case, but she clarified what she meant in another interview later in the day. Sybrina Fulton told The Associated Press that she was referring to the chance encounter between Zimmerman and her son.
"Their meeting was the accident," Fulton said. "That was the accident. Not the actual act of him shooting him. That was murder ... They were never supposed to meet."
Zimmerman was charged after a public campaign to make an arrest in the Feb. 26 shooting, which has galvanized the nation for weeks. Some legal experts had expected Zimmerman to face a lesser count of manslaughter and say a prosecutor will face steep hurdles to win a murder conviction.
The prosecutor and her team will have to prove that the 28-year-old Zimmerman intentionally went after Martin instead of shooting him in self-defense, to refute arguments that a Florida law empowered him to use deadly force.
Legal experts said Corey chose a tough route with the murder charge, which could send Zimmerman to prison for life if he's convicted, over manslaughter, which usually carries 15-year prison terms and covers reckless or negligent killings.
The prosecutors must prove Zimmerman's shooting of Martin was rooted in hatred or ill will and counter his claims that he shot Martin to protect himself while patrolling his gated community in the Orlando suburb of Sanford. Zimmerman's lawyers would only have to prove by a preponderance of evidence — a relatively low legal standard — that he acted in self-defense at a pretrial hearing to prevent the case from going to trial.
There's a "high likelihood it could be dismissed by the judge even before the jury gets to hear the case," Florida defense attorney Richard Hornsby said.
Corey announced the charges Wednesday after an extraordinary 45-day campaign for Zimmerman's arrest, led by Martin's parents and civil rights activists, including the Rev. Al Sharpton and the Rev. Jesse Jackson. Protesters wore hooded sweatshirts like the one Martin had on the night of the shooting. The debate reached all the way to the White House, where President Barack Obama observed last month: "If I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon."
Corey would not discuss how she reconciled conflicting accounts of the shooting by Zimmerman, witnesses and phone recordings that indicated Martin thought Zimmerman was following him.
"We do not prosecute by public pressure or by petition. We prosecute based on the facts on any given case as well as the laws of the state of Florida," Corey said Wednesday. She was also present at Thursday's hearing.
Martin's parents expressed relief over the decision to prosecute the person who shot their son.
"The question I would really like to ask him is, if he could look into Trayvon's eyes and see how innocent he was, would he have then pulled the trigger? Or would he have just let him go on home?" said his father, Tracy Martin.
Many attorneys said they had expected the prosecutor to opt for the lesser charge of manslaughter. The most severe homicide charge, first-degree murder, is subject to the death penalty in Florida and requires premeditation — something all sides agreed was not present in this case.
"I predicted manslaughter, so I'm a little surprised," said Michael Seigel, a former federal prosecutor who now teaches law at the University of Florida. "But she has more facts than I do."
O'Mara, Zimmerman's attorney, said his client would plead not guilty and invoke Florida's so-called "stand your ground" law, which gives people wide latitude to use deadly force rather than retreat during a fight.
The confrontation took place in a gated community where Martin was staying with his father and his father's fiancée. Martin was walking back in the rain from a convenience store when Zimmerman spotted him and called 911. He followed the teenager despite being told not to by a police dispatcher and the two got into a struggle.
Zimmerman told police Martin punched him in the nose, knocking him down, and then began banging the volunteer's head on the sidewalk. Zimmerman said he shot Martin in fear for his life. Sanford police took Zimmerman, whose father is white and whose mother is Hispanic, into custody the night of the shooting but released him without charging him.
Bluestein reported from Atlanta. Associated Press writers Suzanne Gamboa in Washington, Gary Fineout in Jacksonville, Fla.; Mike Schneider in Orlando, Fla.; Curt Anderson in Miami, Kyle Hightower in Sanford, Fla.; and Brendan Farrington in Tallahassee, Fla.; also contributed to this article.
Posted by Informant_News on Thursday, April 12, 2012 @ 14:42:15 MDT (1839 reads) (Read More... | 7992 bytes more | Score: 4.5)
U.S. News: Charles Manson: "I am a very dangerous man."
In rejecting freedom for Charles Manson, a California parole board Wednesday said they were swayed in part by comments he made to prison psychologists.
John Peck, a member of the parole panel, quoted from the statements.
"'I'm special. I'm not like the average inmate,'" Peck said, according to the Associated Press. "'I have spent my life in prison. I have put five people in the grave. I am a very dangerous man.'"
Before the hearing, his attorney, DeJon R. Lewis, said he would like to see Manson transferred to Atascadero State Hospital from the state prison near Corcoran. "Charles Manson does not need incarceration at this point in his life," Lewis told CNN. "He needs hospitalization."
But the board decided he should stay in prison, saying Manson showed no signs of rehabilitation.
Manson did not attend the hearing, which was the 12th in which state officials concluded Manson was too great a danger to be released. The 77-year-old will be eligible for another hearing in 15 years.
Manson and other members of his so-called family were convicted of killing actress Sharon Tate and six other people during a bloody rampage in the Los Angeles area during two August nights in 1969. He is housed at Corcoran State Prison in a special unit for inmates felt to be endangered by other inmates, separate from the general prison population.
Twice in the last few years, Corcoran guards said they found the notorious killer in possession of a cellphone. Manson called people in California, New Jersey and Florida with an LG flip phone discovered under his prison bunk in March 2009, The Times reported in 2011. A second phone was found a year later. Thirty days were added to his sentence for the first offense, officials said.
Earlier, a homemade weapon was found in his possession.
The Los Angeles County district attorney's office had said it would vigorously oppose Manson's release. "We consistently [opposed parole] and will continue to do so," spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons said.
A new photo released by the California prison system shows Manson with long, gray hair and a beard.
In 2007 at Manson's last parole hearing, the board concluded he "continues to pose an unreasonable danger to others and may still bring harm to anyone he would come in contact with."
Prosecutors said Manson and his followers were trying to incite a race war that he believed was prophesied in the Beatles song "Helter Skelter."
Tate, the wife of director Roman Polanski, was 8½ months pregnant when she was killed at the couple's hilltop home in Benedict Canyon on Aug. 9, 1969. Polanski was out of the country working on a film. Besides Tate, four others were stabbed and shot to death: Jay Sebring, 35; Voytek Frykowski, 32; Abigail Folger, 25, a coffee heiress; and Steven Parent, 18, a friend of Tate's caretaker. The word "Pig" was written on the front door in blood.
The next night, Manson rode along with his cohorts to the Los Feliz home of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca, then left three of them to commit the murders. "Death to pigs" was written on a wall, and "Healter Skelter," which was misspelled, was written on the refrigerator door.
Manson was also convicted of the earlier murder of musician Gary Hinman in his Topanga Canyon home, and the slaying of former stuntman Donald "Shorty" Shea at the Spahn movie ranch in Chatsworth, where Manson had his commune.
Manson initially was sentenced to death. A 1972 ruling by the California Supreme Court found the state's death penalty law at the time unconstitutional and his death sentence was changed in 1977 to life in prison with the possibility of parole
Posted by Informant_News on Wednesday, April 11, 2012 @ 15:48:40 MDT (1375 reads) (Read More... | 4692 bytes more | Score: 4.5)
U.S. News: Cancer Cure Banned by Government to Enrich Drug Companies - video
CANCER CURE BANNED by Government to enrich drug companies!
Text from the Youtube video page:
PLEASE RATE, COMMENT, AND SUBSCRIBE! Download this and any other youtube or google video quickly and easily using the FREE player from http://www.realplayer.com/ DON'T JUST WATCH THIS, DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT! Show all your friends and family and ESPECIALLY PEOPLE IN POSITIONS OF POWER! TAKE ACTION. Most Americans HAVE NO CLUE that the Federal Reserve is a PRIVATE, FOR PROFIT CORPORATION! DON'T BELIEVE ME, LOOK IT UP FOR YOURSELF AND DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT! JFK, Ron Paul, Woodrow Wilson, Milton Friedman, Ronald Reagan, and many others have spoken against the horrible Federal Reserve system we now have which is unnecessary because our government can print the money without paying interest to the private for profit Federal Reserve. While our government can print money for free, the people who own the private Federal Reserve have made trillions off of creating the US money. They loan money to the US government at interest, when our government could print it without them for free. JFK tried to get rid of the Federal Reserve by printing United States Notes because he realized that if private super rich bankers own the Federal Reserve and they loan money to the government, they essentially own the government. The Federal Reserve is the MAJOR reason why this country has declined financially! The Federal Reserve can be abolished and the government can do the same thing by printing money with United States Notes instead of the Federal Reserve Notes. This will save the country trillions! Watch documentaries like "Money Masters" or "Freedom to Fascism" for more detailed info on the BIGGEST FINANCIAL SCAM ON THE AMERICAN PEOPLE in History! The Federal Reserve is THE MAJOR REASON why the poor is increasing in numbers and the rich continue to get richer! Stop wasting time with things that don't matter like sports or tv. Expose the truth of the corruption going on, and do something about it!
Posted by Informant_News on Tuesday, April 03, 2012 @ 17:48:06 MDT (2968 reads) (Read More... | 2699 bytes more | Score: 4.8)
U.S. News: NSA vs USA: Total surveillance zooms-in on Americans
Ever evolving high-tech gadgets and the Internet have given Big Brother a peep hole into the lives of everyday Americans. Now, without the hassle of planting bugs or breaking and entering, the government can monitor virtually anything it wants.
An eye in the sky is as easy as installing cameras on utility poles which can be found on almost every street and corner.
Combined with facial recognition and big brother can keep tabs on everyone as easily as taking a simple electronic snap of the camera.
Total surveillance ‘Big Brother’ society fast becoming reality in America
Posted on April 2, 2012
UTAH - New pioneers have quietly begun moving into the area, secretive outsiders who keep to themselves. They too are focused on deciphering cryptic messages that only they have the power to understand. Just off Beef Hollow Road, less than 2km from brethren headquarters, thousands of hard-hatted builders are laying the groundwork for the newcomers’ own temple and archive, a complex so large that it necessitated expanding the town’s boundaries. Once built, it will be more than five times the size of the U.S. Capitol building. Rather than Bibles and worshippers, this temple will be filled with servers, computer intelligence experts and armed guards. These newcomers will be capturing, storing and analyzing vast quantities of words and images hurtling through the world’s telecommunications networks. In the town of Bluffdale, Big Love and Big Brother have become uneasy neighbors. The blandly named Utah Data Center is being built for the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA). A project of immense secrecy, it is the final piece in a complex puzzle assembled over the past decade. Its purpose: to intercept, decipher, analyze and store vast amounts of the world’s communications from satellites and underground and undersea cables of international, foreign and domestic networks. The heavily fortified $2 billion (£1.25 billion) centre should be operational in September 2013. Stored in near-bottomless databases will be all forms of communication, including private emails, mobile phone calls and Google searches, as well as personal data trails — travel itineraries, purchases and other digital “pocket litter.” It is the realization of the “total information awareness’ program created by the Bush administration — which was killed by Congress in 2003 after an outcry over its potential for invading privacy. But “this is more than just a data centre,” says one senior intelligence official who until recently was involved with the program. The mammoth Bluffdale centre will have another important and far more secret role. It is also critical, he says, for breaking codes, which is crucial because much of the data that the centre will handle — financial information, business deals, foreign military and diplomatic secrets, legal documents, confidential personal communications — will be heavily encrypted. According to another top official also involved, the NSA made a breakthrough several years ago in cryptanalysis, or breaking complex encryption systems used not only by governments around the world but also average computer users. The upshot, says this official, is that “everybody’s a target; everybody with communication is a target.” –Wired
Posted by Informant_News on Monday, April 02, 2012 @ 11:20:14 MDT (2175 reads) (Read More... | 4525 bytes more | Score: 4.5)
U.S. News: Does Earth Hour Do More Harm Than Good?
By Maggie Koerth-Baker
This Saturday, thousands of people will voluntarily spend an evening without electrictricity. No lights. No television. No computers. They'll eat dinner by candlelight, maybe light up a bonfire in the backyard and roast some marshmallows. They'll think they're saving energy and doing something good for the planet.
But I'm not so sure about that.
Earth Hour is an annual event that tries to raise awareness of energy issues by convincing people to shut off the lights in their houses, businesses, and public buildings for one hour on one specific night. This year, it's March 31. It's a public and popular way to express support for changing the way the world uses energy -- more than a hundred countries participate every year, and thousands of famous landmarks, from Vegas to Giza, go dark for the occasion.
I'm a science journalist who has a book about the future of energy coming out in April. My husband is an energy efficiency consultant whose entire job is based around finding ways to make buildings use less energy. Earth Hour seems tailor-made for people like us. But we don't participate. In fact, I think Earth Hour is exactly the wrong way to go about educating the public on energy issues. When I look at how people respond to Earth Hour, I see as much confusion being spread as awareness. This event perpetuates myths about environmentalism and gives people the wrong idea about what it will actually take to solve our energy problems.
The official goals of Earth Hour aren't bad. The World Wildlife Fund, which organizes the event, explains what Earth Hour is and isn't right on the main website. Earth Hour isn't specifically about saving energy. It's only one hour, one day a year. Whatever energy is saved by the event would be so small as not to matter at all. In fact, because of that, the World Wildlife Fund doesn't even keep track of the impact Earth Hour has on energy consumption and emissions.
Nor is Earth Hour supposed to be about rejecting modern technology. The World Wildlife Fund specifically tells participants that they're asked to shut off only nonessential lighting. That makes sense.
As someone who understands the importance of energy efficiency, I think it's valuable to remind people that we all use a lot more energy than we'd really have to use to get the services we want from it. After all, physicist David MacKay estimates that the average American uses twice as much energy as the average European, to get basically the same quality of life. There's room for change.
Yet I don't think that's the message people get from Earth Hour. When I hear people talk about it, when I see the media cover it, I don't see a discussion about energy efficiency. Instead, the people participating in Earth Hour, the people observing it, and the people critiquing it seem to think that Earth Hour is the opposite of what the World Wildlife Fund says it is.
I have three big problems with Earth Hour and the message it sends. First, some people are going to be very easily disillusioned when they find out that Earth Hour doesn't actually do anything -- on its own -- to combat climate change. In fact, in places where lots of people participate, there might even be a small, temporary uptick in emissions. When fossil fuel power plants are forced to rapidly increase or decrease the amount of electricity they produce, they also produce more emissions, just as your car burns more gasoline if you're rapidly accelerating and decelerating than if you maintain a constant speed.
So, when everybody turns the lights back on at the end of Earth Hour, it means that some coal and natural gas power plants will have to quickly work extra hard to meet that sudden increase in demand. In order to do that, they produce more emissions than they otherwise would have. Now, just as turning your lights off for an hour won't save the planet, this short-term increase in the emissions output of a few power plants won't seal our fate, either. Yet there is a real risk that discovering this fact will convince some people to mistrust any effort to get them to change their energy-use behavior.
My second problem with Earth Hour: it inspires a reactionary push-back from people who think the event is a rejection of modern life, an attempt to show people how much better they had it in
the 19th century before that first power plant. It sets up a straw-man target that is easily attacked. Instead of discussing actual energy issues, groups such as the Ayn Rand Institute can point to Earth Hour and say, "See, environmentalists just want to reject comfort, convenience, and safety and force you to live in the nineteenth century."
We don't have to go back in time to counteract climate change and prepare for peak oil, but an energy event that encourages people to spend an hour in the dark certainly gives that impression.
Finally, although Earth Hour can make energy change seem too hard, it can simultaneously also make it seem too easy. Some people see Earth Hour and think that they're being asked to abandon everything that makes their lives nice. Other people see it and come away thinking that all they have to do is shut off some lights sometimes, and everything will be fixed. It's easy to throw a party once a year and hang out with your friends in the dark, but real change is difficult, and it doesn't really happen at home.
Like a lot of feel-good environmental awareness campaigns, Earth Hour makes it seem like personal, individual lifestyle choices are the best way to deal with our energy crisis. They aren't. One of the best illustrations of why this is comes from a 2008 MIT paper (PDF) that looks at the energy consumption associated with several different American lifestyles. Researchers compared the energy impact of eighteen different types, ranging from a homeless person and a Buddhist monk to a U.S. senator and a multimillionaire. The homeless person and the monk used a lot less energy than the senator and the multimillionaire did, to be sure. Yet when you take the energy they did use and add to it the energy embodied in our shared systems -- roads, schools, the military, and so on -- even the Americans with the most Spartan lifestyles still consumed more than double the average global energy use.
The problem isn't individual choices. The problem is the infrastructures that we share, infrastructures that often limit our energy choices and incentivize wasting energy rather than conserving it. Europeans don't use less energy than us because they're better people, who are more willing to make sacrifices and sit in the dark. They use less energy because their shared systems allow them to use less energy without having to think about it, and without it being a hardship.
The solutions to our energy problems don't start with individuals shutting the lights off at home. They start with public policy -- the only force that can actually change how the infrastructure and shared systems work. Whether the promoters of events such as Earth Hour intend to or not, they send the message that energy change is about voluntary individual choices and choosing not to use the infrastructure and shared systems. Yet if you look at what the experts say -- in the plans where scientists and analysts map out how we can actually make the biggest energy changes in the least amount of time -- you'll find that their message is exactly the opposite. The more we encourage people to think that change is about individual choices, the harder it is to get the real change accomplished.
Posted by Informant_News on Saturday, March 31, 2012 @ 19:32:56 MDT (2055 reads) (Read More... | 8313 bytes more | Score: 4)
U.S. News: The Sergeant and the TSA
By: Sergeant Mad Dog Tracy
As the Chalk Leader for my flight home from Afghanistan, I witnessed the following:
When we were on our way back from Afghanistan, we flew out of Baghram Air Field. We went through customs at BAF, full body scanners (no groping), had all of our bags searched, the whole nine yards. Our first stop was Shannon, Ireland to refuel. After that, we had to stop at Indianapolis, Indiana to drop off about 100 folks from the Indiana National Guard. That's where the stupid started.
First, everyone was forced to get off the plane-even though the plane wasn't refueling again. All 330 people got off that plane, rather than let the 100 people from the ING get off. We were filed from the plane to a holding area. No vending machines, no means of escape. Only a male/female latrine.
It's probably important to mention that we were ALL carrying weapons. Everyone was carrying an M4 Carbine (rifle) and some, like me, were also carrying an M9 pistol. Oh, and our gunners had M-240B machine guns. Of course, the weapons weren't loaded. And we had been cleared of all ammo well before we even got to customs at Baghram, then AGAIN at customs.
The TSA personnel at the airport seriously considered making us unload all of the baggage from the SECURE cargo hold to have it re-inspected. Keep in mind, this cargo had been unpacked, inspected piece by piece by U.S. Customs officials, resealed and had bomb-sniffing dogs give it a one-hour run through. After two hours of sitting in this holding area, the TSA decided not to re-inspect our Cargo-just to inspect us again: Soldiers on the way home from war, who had already been inspected, re-inspected and kept in a SECURE holding area for 2 hours. Ok, whatever. So we lined up to go through security AGAIN.
This is probably another good time to remind you all that all of us were carrying actual assault rifles, and some of us were also carrying pistols.
So we're in line, going through one at a time. One of our Soldiers had his Gerber multi-tool. TSA confiscated it. Kind of ridiculous, but it gets better. A few minutes later, a guy empties his pockets and has a pair of nail clippers. Nail clippers. TSA informs the Soldier that they're going to confiscate his nail clippers.
The conversation went something like this:
TSA Guy: You can't take those on the plane.
Soldier: What? I've had them since we left country.
TSA Guy: You're not suppose to have them.
TSA Guy: They can be used as a weapon.
Soldier: [touches butt stock of the rifle] But this actually is a weapon. And I'm allowed to take it on.
TSA Guy: Yeah but you can't use it to take over the plane. You don't have bullets.
Soldier: And I can take over the plane with nail clippers?
TSA Guy: [awkward silence]
Me: Dude, just give him your F**K**G nail clippers so we can get the F**K out of here. I'll buy you a new set.
Soldier: [hands nail clippers to TSA guy, makes it through security]
To top it off, the TSA demanded we all be swabbed for "explosive residue" detection. Everyone failed, [go figure, we just came home from a war zone], because we tested positive for "Gun Powder Residue". Who the Hell is hiring these people?
This might be a good time to remind everyone that approximately 233 people re-boarded that plane with assault rifles, pistols, and machine guns-but nothing that could have been used as a weapon.
Can someone please tell me What the hell happened to OUR country while we were gone?
Sgt. Mad Dog Tracy
Posted by Informant_News on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 @ 15:44:25 MDT (2019 reads) (Read More... | 4093 bytes more | Score: 5)
U.S. News: Pa. student charged after taking traffic stop pictures
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Philadelphia police violated a college student's First Amendment rights by arresting him as he took photos of a traffic stop outside his house, a journalism advocacy group said Monday.
Temple University photojournalism student Ian Van Kuyk has been charged with obstruction, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct in a case described as "a miscarriage of justice" by a lawyer for the National Press Photographers Association.
"He was just taking pictures, as is his right, (as is) every citizen's right," attorney Mickey Osterreicher said Monday.
Police Lt. Raymond Evers said Van Kuyk and his girlfriend were arrested for other offenses, not for taking pictures.
"It's very clear the officers were aware of their First Amendment rights to take photos," Evers said, citing a police report. He later added, "Other things happened that caused them to be arrested."
Evers said that the department is investigating internally and that he could not release further details about the case, nor the police report on the March 14 arrest.
Osterreicher laid out the student's version of events in a written complaint to police Commissioner Charles Ramsey.
Van Kuyk was sitting on his front steps in the city's Point Breeze section when police pulled over a vehicle. The student began taking pictures to fulfill a course assignment for shooting at night. He was not using a flash and obeyed one police command to move back, Osterreicher said.
But officers then asked Van Kuyk to stop taking photos. When the student asserted his right to use the camera on public street, one officer reportedly said: "Public domain, yeah we've heard that before!" Police allegedly pushed, shoved and threw Van Kuyk to the ground before handcuffing him.
His girlfriend also was caught up in the scuffle as she tried to rescue Van Kuyk's camera, which belongs to Temple University. She was charged with obstruction and disorderly conduct; court records indicate she entered a community service program that could eventually allow her record to be expunged.
Police eventually returned the camera with the traffic stop images still on the memory card, according to Temple professor Edward Trayes, who teaches the course for which Van Kuyk was shooting.
Andrew Mendelson, chairman of the university's journalism department, said he asked Osterreicher to get involved because the student's arrest could have a chilling effect on free speech.
"This is not just about journalists," Mendelson said. "This is about all citizens."
Van Kuyk did not immediately return a request for comment. His next court date is April 16.
Posted by Informant_News on Monday, March 26, 2012 @ 18:31:12 MDT (1885 reads) (Read More... | 3362 bytes more | Score: 4)
U.S. News: Uprising 2012 Video
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Undated file photo released by Defense Department in 2004 of the flag-draped coffins of U.S. war casualties aboard …
The remains of some of the victims of the 9/11 hijacking of flight No. 93 that went down over Shanksville, Pennsylvania, were incinerated, mixed with medical waste, and placed in a landfill, according to a gruesome new Pentagon report.
Issued by an independent commission chaired by retired Gen. John Abizaid, the report looks into allegations of improper handling at the Dover Air Force base's mortuary of the remains of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
On Tuesday, the Pentagon released the 9-member panel's findings in an 86-page report (.pdf). On page 11, the panel notes that it was only after the committee's work began that it was alerted to allegations that some 9/11 victims' remains were handled improperly at the facility:
Prior to 2008, portions of remains that could neither be tested nor identified ...were cremated under contract at a civilian crematory and returned to DPM [Dover Port Mortuary]. This policy began shortly after September 11, 2001, when several portions of remains from the Pentagon attack and the Shanksville, Pennsylvania, crash site could not be tested or identified.
These cremated portions were then placed in sealed containers that were provided to a biomedical waste disposal contractor. Per the biomedical waste contract at that time, the contractor then transported these containers and incinerated them. The assumption on the part of DPM was that after final incineration nothing remained. A DPM management query found that there was some residual material following incineration and that the contractor was disposing of it in a landfill. The landfill disposition was not disclosed in the contractual disposal agreement.
The practice ceased in 2008. "Remains are now cremated and retired at sea," the report said, referring to the new policy put in place.
Rep. Rush Holt (D-New Jersey) first brought the distressing allegations to the Pentagon chiefs' attention.
A spokesman for Holt told Yahoo News Tuesday that the congressman had originally learned of the issue last summer from a constituent whose husband had been killed in action in Iraq years before.
"She was getting evasive answers from the Pentagon about what happened to his remains," Holt's spokesman told Yahoo News in a phone interview Tuesday. "After digging into it, she was told his remains had been incinerated, mixed with medical waste, and put in a landfill. She was quite distressed and asked the congressman to dig in further."
Holt originally wrote Defense Secretary Leon Panetta about the concern in a letter last September. He sent a second letter on February 6th: "Can the Air Force confirm that no 9/11 victim's remains were ... sent to a landfill?" he wrote.
Holt pieced together a possible scenario. "Given this had been the Dover policy, and given that various 9/11 remains had been handled at Dover, he was concerned this might have happened," his spokesman said.
Posted by Informant_News on Tuesday, February 28, 2012 @ 17:17:34 MST (2321 reads) (Read More... | 4959 bytes more | Score: 4)
U.S. News: Ron Paul And The Gold Standard...Another Psy-op?
By Justin Cooke
I have written before about Dr. Ron Paul, and why he is no different than the average politician. However the difference between Ron, and the other remaining GOP candidates and current Puppet in Chief Barack Obama is that Dr. Paul has millions of fans and followers in the "Truth" and "Liberty" Movements. While I agree with most of his stances towards personal liberties, and his "non interventionist" policies, there is one glaring hole in his economic beliefs. He has made it well known that he's all for an economy based on gold and other commodities. In my research I have found this to be severely flawed, and in actuality believe that he needs to be called out on this, as very few people in the alternative media will touch on the dangers of a gold standard. The only "big names" that I have come across who have even mentioned any criticism of Paul and Austrian Economics are Webster Tarpley, Bill Still, and Henry Makow. I'm sure most of the people reading this have watched "The Money Masters" and "The Secret of Oz" by Bill Still. However most do not remember what was stated by Mr. Still., and wrongly believe that the only way to fix the economic situation we are in is to go to a gold standard, as they believe that gold and silver are equivalent to Rothschild/Jesuit kryptonite. This is far from the case.
"Beware of calls to return to a gold standard. Why? Simple. Because never before has so much gold been so concentrated outside of American hands. And never before has so much gold been in the hands of international governmental bodies such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. In fact, the IMF now holds more gold then any central bank.
The Swiss are under intense pressure from the Money Changers to dispose of their gold. This is most likely either a prelude to the complete demonetization of gold (like silver before it), or to its monopolization and re-monetization by the Money Changers. Therefore, to return to a gold standard would almost certainly be a false solution in our case. As was repeated in the Great Depression: "In gold we trusted; by gold we're busted."
Likewise, beware of any plans advanced for a regional or world currency - this is another international banker's Trojan Horse - a deception to open the national gates to more international control."
Money Masters video transcript; Bill Still
I believe the reasoning for the pro gold beliefs has something to do with a plan that has been in the works for at least 20 years. Many of us have read "The Secret of Jekyll Island" by G. Edward Griffin. Most people don't understand that it's a ripoff of Eustace Mullins' book "The Secrets of the Federal Reserve". The only major difference is that Mullins' solution was not gold, but is actually a system based on "social credit", whereas Griffin claims that gold is the answer. I believe the reason for Griffin to write that book was so that many people would read it as they are being introduced into "Libertarian" ideals, and would falsely believe that gold/silver is the only way to stop the oligarchs.
The beliefs in all of this goes back to Ludwig Von Mises and the Austrian School of Economics. However most people are not even aware of how Austrian Economics started and don't know that Mises was actually supported by the Rockefeller Foundation for a while when he came to the US. To me this is a huge red flag, and makes me wonder if the whole thing is not an inside job. There are many other ties to famous Austrian Economics believers like Mises, Griffin, Paul, and Murray Rothbard to the Koch funded John Birch Society, the Volker Fund and the Rockefeller Foundation. Check out this quote from Mises' biographer Richard M. Ebeling, and check out the links below it from writer Anthony Migchels.
“Many readers may be surprised to learn the extent to which the Graduate Institute and then Mises himself in the years immediately after he came to United States were kept afloat financially through generous grants from the Rockefeller Foundation. In fact, for the first years of Mises’s life in the United States, before his appointment as a visiting professor in the Graduate School of Business Administration at New York University (NYU) in 1945, he was almost totally dependent on annual research grants from the Rockefeller Foundation.” – Richard M. Ebeling, The Life and Works of Ludwig von Mises
I think the writer does well in identifying who is ok or not in the alternative media, but as always use your own discernment, I agree with him on David Icke, but I don't believe in any of Icke's reptilian theories:
Now, another point that I wanted to get to is Ron Paul's ties to PNAC member Louis Lehrman. Most of you know about PNAC, but have no idea about "the other" document by PNAC about the gold standard. Dr. Paul co-authored a book with Lehrman called "A Case For Gold". It makes you wonder why we haven't heard Alex Jones mention the other PNAC document. I believe the reasoning for that is Jones is completely controlled opposition. You can read of Jones' exploits on this site, but I'm not going to go too far in this blog, because we've already exposed AJ's cointelpro activities. The truth is that he is not the Patriotic American that many have been led to believe, but he's a snake oil salesman, and has a huge interest in gold as his assets are tied up in it heavily as are Dr. Paul's. Writer Keith Gardner does a great job of exposing this in the next link.
By now you are probably thinking that I'm a believer in Keynesian Economics or Marxism, but nothing can be further from the truth. I just see this coming, and see very few people exposing it in the alternative media. I was deeply bothered when I came across Dr. Paul's statement made on Congressional Record that proves that he has no problem with a single World currency: ie "A New World Order". Only the most dedicated Paulbot can make this next statement to be positive.
"There's nothing to fear from globalism, free trade and a single worldwide currency.... The effort in recent decades to unify government surveillance over all world trade and international financial transactions through the UN, IMF, World Bank, WTO, ICC, the OECD, and the Bank of International Settlements can never substitute for a peaceful world based on true free trade, freedom of movement, a single but sound market currency, and voluntary contracts with private property rights.... The ultimate solution will only come with the rejection of fiat money worldwide, and a restoration of commodity money. Commodity money if voluntarily and universally accepted could give us a single world currency requiring no money managers, no manipulators orchestrating a man-made business cycle with rampant price inflation."
Ron Paul, Congressional Record, 13 March 2001
The facts are that Dr. Paul will be the next President or VP, and most of you realize by now that the President is no more than a puppet. I have seen the mainstream media "warm up" to Paul, and I truly believe this is the next psycological operation, and the fact that so many "awake" people are falling for it drives me insane. I'm sure you realize that Presidents are selected and not elected, and yet choose to give so much of their time to a REPUBLICAN running for President amazes me. It seems that so many have traded their shepards from the MSM to the talking heads in the alternative media, and are not able to critically think, but just shout regurgitated statements like "End the FED", and talk about "fiat" money and "sound" money as if the only way to accomplish it is with Ron Paul and the gold standard. The truth is that we do need to rehaul our economy, but not the way so many people believe.
In fact Dennis Kucinich's Need Act of 2011 (Zarlenga Plan) is a better way to fix the economy. Keith Gardner of "Libert Revival" states that with that plan and a few suggestions, "The only thing I would suggest for the bill is to also eliminate taxation of wages in the income tax code and promote the land value tax and citizen dividend since that is equally important. Unfortunately, for the U.S., reforming the tax code will be difficult because taxes are on the federal, national, and state level, however The Zarlenga Plan does suggest a citizen dividend, paying off national debt, funding landed infrastructure, and public option health insurance, which i agree would all be good things to do while fractional reserve banking is ending. The great part of the Zarlenga Bill is that finance of deficit spending is done with printing rather than borrowing as a default course of action. Wealthy interests would limit spending if it devalues their wealth rather than allows them to collect interest."
Now I am not touting Kucininch as any type of hero either as believe that we have NOBODY left who is 100% legit in the Government as we observed him cave into Obama over the health plan, but I think this plan with Keith's suggestions would be a great start. Now there are a few things to consider before so many jump on the "gold" ship. Do you really think that the head of the World Bank, Alan Greenspan, and Louis Lehrman are thinking about us or the Country? They have all come out in support of the gold standard, and I believe that's a testament to how dangerous it really is.
So, there you have it, my opinion is that Ron Paul is out for a free lunch, and is complete controlled opposition, and it's very easy to see that he has all of his assets tied up in gold as well. What about the rest of us? I think this has a lot to do with the Ayn Rand philosophy that the Corporation owners and elite don't need a responsibility to the rest of society.
Also, I should note that Ron Paul doesn't care about American workers as he is not for tariffs, he just wants "free trade" which is basically an illusion. He also voted to repeal the "Glass Steagall Act" which helps protect us from the oligarchies. To date I've never heard him mention anything about Tesla's free energy or anything else that will truly benefit us. He is for the same old coal, oil, and nuclear energies, and also balks at putting any regulations on them.
I think a big misconception is that we need to get rid of all of the alphabet agencies. That is a fallacy as the big corporations would have free reign to pollute or do what they want to do. I'm in favor of getting rid of the CIA, DHS, TSA, and a few others, but the FDA, the EPA, and the SEC need to be totally revamped with the FDA getting rid of all Monsanto, Big Pharma, and other ties that bind, the EPA needs rehauling as well, and the SEC needs to be purged of Goldman Sachs and other banking insiders who look out for there buddies every step of the way.
He also claims to be anti-war, but has never called out the false flag of 9/11, and I'm sure that he would take us to war if the Israelis happened to pull off another false flag attack and blame it on Iran or Syria, as he did vote for the Afghanistan invasion after 9/11, and also was one of the few who voted against condemming Israel for an attack on Iran's nuclear reactor in 1981 Either way, the President is virtually powerless, and I believe Obama ran on an anti-war campaign as well. Maybe the days of war are over (I doubt it), and the New World Order is ready for the next chapter.
Never the less, his financial policies are far from sound, and have people like Henry George, Eustace Mullins and Ezra Pound spinning in their graves. For more information check out Keith Gardner's "Liberty Revival" blog, and Anthony Migchels' "Realcurrencies" blog for more detailed information, and also check out Bill Still's blog, and his movies again, as well as reading Eustace Mullins' book about the Federal Reserve (Secrets of the Federal Reserve).
Posted by Informant_News on Tuesday, February 28, 2012 @ 16:31:33 MST (2076 reads) (Read More... | 28474 bytes more | Score: 5)
U.S. News: Federal warning ends county truce with pot-growers in California
In this file photo taken Wednesday, May 28, 2008, George Hanamoto inspects marijuana plants he is growing as his wife, Jean looks on at their home in the Mendocino County community of Willits, Calif. Residents and local officials in Mendocino County, the redwood and weed-rich territory that occupies one leg of California's fabled Emerald Triangle, thought they had reached detente in the ongoing clash between pot growers and law enforcement when the sheriff agreed to stop raiding medical marijuana producers who paid to have their crops inspected and tagged. But under threat of legal action by federal officials, Mendocino lawmakers have abandoned the novel permitting program. The action has refocused attention on the far-reaching consequences of the coordinated crackdown on California's medical marijuana industry launched four months ago. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Residents of Mendocino County, the redwood and marijuana-rich territory in California's fabled Emerald Triangle, thought they had reached détente in the decades-old clash between pot growers and local law enforcement two years ago when the sheriff agreed to stop raiding medical cannabis producers who paid to have their crops inspected.
For a $1,500 fee and adherence to rules over water usage, odor control and distance from neighbors, marijuana farmers working for groups of patients could grow up to 99 plants on five acres of land. Numbered red zip ties had be affixed to each plant, confirming the county's seal of approval and giving a visiting deputy proof the pot was legally grown.
The one-of-a-kind program generated $663,230 for the sheriff's department — and prompted inquiries from other jurisdictions interested in creating their own.
But this month, the permitting system became the most striking casualty of the crackdown on medical marijuana cultivation and distribution by California's federal prosecutors. The board of supervisors ended the experiment after the U.S. attorney for Northern California threatened take the county to court for helping produce an illegal drug.
"We thought we had something that was working and was making our life easier so we could turn our attention to other pressing matters," Supervisor John McCowen said. "We were creating an above-ground regulatory framework that protected public safety and protected the environment. It was truly a landmark program."
After four-and-a-half months, the federal government's highly publicized offensive has reverberated unevenly throughout California. It has resulted in a near-total shutdown of storefront pot dispensaries in some cities that welcomed federal intervention. It has upset officials in pot-friendly places, who thought they had found the right formula for facilitating legal use. And it has created uncertainty in localities still struggling to curtail their pot outlets.
Medical pot is legal to varying degrees in 16 states and the District of Columbia. And officials in more than half of them have been told government workers implementing medical marijuana laws could face criminal charges.
But California, which in 1996 became the first state to legalize marijuana for medical use, has come under special scrutiny. Its laws remain the nation's most liberal, allowing doctors to issue pot recommendations for almost any ailment and giving local authorities broad discretion, but little guidance, in how to implement them.
The state's laws stand in conflict with federal law, which holds marijuana is illegal substance with no recognized health benefits. And the current offensive is designed to make dispensaries and local government officials comply with it.
The primary tool the U.S. attorneys have used is threatening to seize the properties of landlords who knowingly leased farms or retail spaces to the commercial medical marijuana trade. But they also have filed criminal and civil charges against owners of nonprofit dispensaries they say were pocketing tons of money and furnishing pot to people who had no medical need for it. And in some cases, such as Mendocino's, they have warned government officials.
"These licensing schemes are inconsistent with federal law," Melinda Haag, Northern California's U.S. attorney, said in October. "We are simply reminding local officials the ordinances are illegal."
As part of the statewide crackdown, about 90 dispensaries in 19 Southern California cities were sent letters telling them to close or face possible criminal charges and fines. More than a dozen building owners where marijuana clinics were once located have been subjected to federal forfeiture lawsuits.
In Orange County, the city of Lake Forest had a dozen dispensaries operating a year ago. After officials sought help from federal prosecutors, only one pot shop remains.
In San Diego, the vast majority of the 180 or so pot shops whose landlords were sent warning letters have closed. And in unincorporated parts of Sacramento County, where the Board of Supervisors cited the federal crackdown when outlawing dispensaries, all 97 pot shops are gone.
"What the feds bring to the party is they can do things under their federal law that cities and counties and even the state of California cannot do," said Jeffrey Dunn, an attorney who has helped Lake Forest and other Southern California cities shutter dispensaries. "There are no disputes about medicinal use because it doesn't matter. If you are distributing marijuana, end of discussion."
Federal authorities have not yet weighed into Los Angeles, where city officials tried to limit the number of pot shops two years ago and are now considering a total ban.
City officials believe there still may be hundreds of shops doing business right now. "As of today, we don't know how many exist," said special assistant city attorney Jane Usher. "The last thing they are inclined to do is to tell us they are open."
Until Mendocino County officials bowed to pressure, the federal offensive was not very visible in pot-tolerant places either. In San Francisco, only five of the city's 26 dispensaries have closed, with federal prosecutors saying they were targeted because of their proximity to places such as schools and playgrounds. Only one of neighboring Marin County's six clinics closed, and Fairfax town officials appealed to keep it and its tax revenue.
Advocates and experts say Justice Department directives have sent mixed signals since the election of President Barack Obama —first saying that prosecutors would no longer pursue dispensaries following state law, then stating that cultivating, selling and distributing marijuana was still against the law.
The pressure by California's federal prosecutors came in response to the second directive and the unsuccessful efforts by local governments to keep dispensaries in check, said McGregor Scott, a former U.S. attorney in Sacramento.
"The perception by proponents of medical marijuana was that, if they... were complying with state law, the feds were going to leave them alone," Scott said. "I think what happened is, the administration realized they had made a mistake by taking the lid off."
Supporters of medical marijuana have questioned why the federal government is derailing attempts to create legal frameworks for getting pot to people authorized to use it.
"They claim they don't have any problem with individual medical marijuana patients accessing their medicine, but then go out of their way to prevent the creation of any kind of responsible system from being developed," said Stephen Gutwillig, the Drug Policy Alliance's director in California. "It's basically a form of sabre rattling."
In this May 13, 2009 photo, Jim Hill looks over the marijuana he grows for medical purposes at his farm in Potter Valley, Calif. Residents and local officials in Mendocino County, the redwood and weed-rich territory that occupies one leg of California's fabled Emerald Triangle, thought they had reached detente in the ongoing clash between pot growers and law enforcement when the sheriff agreed to stop raiding medical marijuana producers who paid to have their crops inspected and tagged. But under threat of legal action by federal officials, Mendocino lawmakers have abandoned the novel permitting program. The action has refocused attention on the far-reaching consequences of the coordinated crackdown on California's medical marijuana industry launched four months ago. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
Posted by Informant_News on Monday, February 27, 2012 @ 16:52:39 MST (1388 reads) (Read More... | 9405 bytes more | Score: 4.5)
U.S. News: Congress Gives States the Right to Drug Test the Unemployed
While millions of Americans will continue to enjoy their modest payroll tax cut, many of them will now have to submit to drug testing as part of the deal struck between the two parties in Congress. As part of the compromise reached to extend the tax cut, Democrats agreed to a Republican provision giving states the right to require those seeking unemployment benefits who were fired for drug use to undergo testing administered by the state. What’s strange about this concession is that workers who are fired for drug use are not eligible for unemployment benefits anyway.
However, a second section of the bill is likely to impact hundreds of thousands of individuals. This section applies to workers applying for jobs in industries where drug testing is prevalent even if the workers have never been laid off because of drug use. Any state that chooses to apply this rule will shift the financial burden of drug testing from employers to state taxpayers. The Department of Labor has not yet announced which industries will qualify for the drug testing provision.
Some opponents of the bill have proposed that members of state legislatures who approve drug testing applicants for unemployment benefits should themselves be tested for drugs since they too receive government benefits.
From the streets of the Bronx to the suburbs of the Nation's Capital, you never have to look hard to find victims of the bias and corruption delivered by the drug war.
Do you know what your rights are when a police officer asks to search you? If you're like most people I've met in my eight years working to educate the public on this topic, then you probably don't.
It's a subject that a lot of people think they understand, but too often our perception of police power is distorted by fictional TV dramas, sensational media stories, silly urban myths, and the unfortunate fact that police themselves are legally allowed to lie to us.
It wouldn't even be such a big deal, I suppose, if our laws all made sense and our public servants always treated us as citizens first and suspects second. But thanks to the War on Drugs, nothing is ever that easy. When something as stupid as stopping people from possessing marijuana came to be considered a critical law enforcement function, innocence ceased to protect people against police harassment. From the streets of the Bronx to the suburbs of the Nation's Capital, you never have to look hard to find victims of the bias, incompetence, andcorruption that the drug war delivers on a daily basis.
Whether or not you ever break the law, you should be prepared to protect yourself and your property just in case police become suspicious of you. Let's take a look at one of the most commonly misunderstood legal situations a citizen can encounter: a police officer asking to search your belongings. Most people automatically give consent when police ask to perform a search. However, I recommend saying "no" to police searches, and here are some reasons why:
1. It's your constitutional right.
The 4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects us against unreasonable searches and seizures. Unless police have strong evidence (probable cause) to believe you're involved in criminal activity, they need your permission to perform a search of you or your property.
You have the right to refuse random police searches anywhere and anytime, so long as you aren't crossing a border checkpoint or entering a secure facility like an airport. Don't be shy about standing up for your own privacy rights, especially when police are looking for evidence that could put you behind bars.
2. Refusing a search protects you if you end up in court.
It's always possible that police might search you anyway when you refuse to give consent, but that's no reason to say "yes" to the search. Basically, if there's any chance of evidence being found, agreeing to a search is like committing legal suicide, because it kills your case before you even get to court.
If you refuse a search, however, the officer will have to prove in court that there was probable cause to do a warrantless search. This will give your lawyer a good chance to win your case, but this only works if you said "no" to the search.
3. Saying "no" can prevent a search altogether.
Data on police searches are interesting, but they don't show how many searches didn't happen becausea citizen said no. A non-search is a non-event that goes unrecorded, giving rise to a widespread misconception that police will always search with or without permission.
I know refusing searches works because I've been collecting stories from real police encounters. The reality is that police routinely ask for permission to search when they have absolutely no evidence of an actual crime. If you remain calm and say no, there's a good chance they'll back down, because it's a waste of time to do searches that won't hold up in court anyway.
4. Searches can waste your time and damage your property.
Do you have time to sit around while police rifle through your belongings? Police often spend 30 minutes or more on vehicle searches and even longer searching homes. You certainly can't count on officers to be careful with valuables or to put everything back where they found it. If you waive your 4th Amendment rights by agreeing to be searched, you will have few legal options if any property is damaged or missing after the search.
5. You never know what they'll find.
Are you 100 percent certain there's nothing illegal in your home or vehicle? You can never be too sure. A joint roach could stick to your shoe on the street and wind up on the floorboard. A careless acquaintance could have dropped a baggie behind the seat. Try telling a cop it isn't yours, and they'll just laugh and tell you to put your hands behind your back. If you agreed to the search, you can't challenge the evidence. But if you're innocent and you refused the search, your lawyer has a winnable case.
Remember that knowing your rights will help you protect yourself, but no amount of preparation can guarantee a good outcome in a bad situation. Your attitude and your choices before, during, and after the encounter will usually matter more than your knowledge of the law. Stay calm no matter what happens, and remember that you can always report misconduct after things settle down.
Finally, please don't be shy about sharing this information with your friends and family. Understanding and asserting your rights isn't about getting away with anything, and it isn't about disrespecting police either. These rights are the foundation of freedom in America, and they get weaker whenever we fail to exercise them.
Posted by Informant_News on Thursday, February 23, 2012 @ 16:12:16 MST (2424 reads) (Read More... | 6182 bytes more | Score: 4)
U.S. News: Homeland Security Tells Congress Why it Spies of Facebook, Twitter
Department Of Homeland Security Tells Congress Why It's Monitoring Facebook, Twitter, Blogs
The House of Representatives' Subcommittee on Counterintelligence and Intelligence was not pleased. (Insert "angry" emoticon here.)
At a Congressional hearing this morning that veered into contentious arguments and cringe-worthy moments, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) spilled the beans on their social media monitoring project.
DHS Chief Privacy Office Mary Ellen Callahan and Director of Operations Coordination and Planning Richard Chavez appeared to be deliberately stonewalling Congress on the depth, ubiquity, goals, and technical capabilities of the agency's social media surveillance. At other times, they appeared to be themselves unsure about their own project's ultimate goals and uses. But one thing is for sure: If you're the first person to tweet about a news story, or if you're a community activist who makes public Facebook posts--DHS will have your personal information.
The hearing, which was held by the Subcommittee on Counterintelligence and Intelligence headed by Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-PA), was highly unusual. Hacktivist collective Anonymous (or at least the @AnonyOps Twitter feed) sent a sympathizer to the visitor gallery to liveblog the proceedings under the #spyback hashtag.
Interactions between the DHS officials and representatives were often strained--both Chavez and Callahan were scolded and chastised by Representatives from both parties. Reps. Billy Long (R-MO), Meehan, Jackie Speier (D-CA), and Bennie Thompson (D-MS) all pointed out issues relating to what they variously saw as potential First Amendment violations, surveillance of citizens engaged in protected political speech, the fact that an outside contractor handles DHS' social media monitoring, DHS' seeming inability to separate news monitoring from disaster preparedness, and a massively unclear social media monitoring mandate on the DHS' part.
Video footage of the hearing has already been made available on YouTube, and the written testimony of both DHS experts has been made publicly available. Privacy watchdog group EPIC also filed a formal disclosure to Congress on the results of a FOIA lawsuit. DHS appears to have also stonewalled EPIC regarding their social media monitoring project. The results are staggering.
According to testimony, the Homeland Security Department has outsourced their own social media monitoring program to an outside contractor, defense giant General Dynamics. General Dynamics was the sole party to the original DHS contract, which was not offered to any outside parties--and Chavez was caught misleading the Committee about General Dyamics' sole status.
General Dynamics employees responsible for the DHS social media monitoring contract are required to attend a training course in DHS privacy practices several times a year. If General Dynamics employees misuse the personal information of journalists, public figures or the general public (to include Twitter or Facebook users) in any way, their punishment is restricted to additional training classes or dismissal from the project.
General Dynamics and the Department of Homeland Security are primarily engaging in keyword monitoring of social media. Callahan admitted in sworn testimony that the bulk of the keywords used by DHS were chosen as the result of being included in commercially available, off-the-shelf bulk packages. These bulk keyword packages were later customized according to DHS specifications.
The DHS, meanwhile, is truly interested in breaking news tweets. The Twitter handles, Facebook names and blog urls of first witnesses to news events (the attempted assassination of Gabrielle Giffords and a January 2012 bomb threat at an Austin, Texas, school were specifically cited) are being recorded. Homeland Security claims this information is only used to verify reports, and that dossiers are not being assembled on private citizens and that personally identifying information is regularly scrubbed from their servers.
Another worrying tendency is the fact that DHS appears to be keeping tabs on individual American citizens engaged in community activism and hot-button political issues. EPIC's evidence package to congress included FOIA-obtained data on community reaction to the housing of Guantanamo detainees in a Standish, MI prison. Against the DHS' own guidelines, the agency compiled a report titled Residents Voice Opposition Over Possible Plan to Bring Guantanamo Detainees to Local Prison-Standish MI. This report contained sentiment gathered from newspaper comment talkbacks, local blogs, Twitter posts, and publicly available Facebook posts--something expressly forbidden by the DHS' own policies. Chavez and Callahan claimed that the report was not disseminated and that privacy policies forbid similar things from occuring; nonetheless the report was made and not obtained by EPIC until they sued the DHS.
In testimony, the DHS representatives appeared unclear on what the collected data would actually be used for and which agencies would be using it. Hurricane Katrina was constantly bought up as a talking point, but Committee members were constantly blocked when they asked how Homeland Security would be using their social media findings. In addition, barriers preventing other government agencies from obtaining sentiment information from DHS on individual journalists or private citizens is extremely flimsy; when Rep. Chip Cravvack (R-MN) asked Chavez what he would do if, say, the Attorney General was asking for information, Chavez simply answered that his agency's mandate forbid him from doing that. While that answer is fine and good, it also infers that the DHS has not put proper inter-agency data security safeguards in place.
The hearing was less Big Brother then sloppy-kid-down-the-block... only with a big fat government contract. When numerous Committee members, including Long, questioned Chavez about the existence of similar social media monitoring projects at other government agencies, Chavez said he didn't know of any. Meanwhile, the Associated Press--in a major story--reported on Monday about the FBI putting out a contract for an almost identical project. As a mid-ranking official responsible for analysis operations, it is assumed that Chavez would have a vested interest in knowing what other government agencies were up to in the same field.
At other times, neither Chavez nor Callahan could answer to the Committee's satisfaction why a contractor was hired for the job nor why the federal government was misled on the duration of General Dynamics' social media monitoring contract.
According to testimony, a second, classified, Committee meeting on the subject of DHS social media monitoring was held on February 15 as well.
Posted by Informant_News on Saturday, February 18, 2012 @ 09:00:00 MST (578 reads) (Read More... | 8587 bytes more | Score: 4.5)
U.S. News: Democratic Women Boycott House Contraception Hearing
Democratic Women Boycott House Contraception Hearing After Republicans Prevent Women from Testifying
by: Igor Volsky
This morning, Democrats tore into House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) for preventing women from testifying before a hearing examining the Obama administration’s new regulation requiring employers and insurers to provide contraception coverage to their employees. Republicans oppose the administration’s rule and have sponsored legislation that would allow employers to limit the availability of birth control to women.
Ranking committee member Elijah Cummings (D-MD) had asked Issa to include a female witness at the hearing, but the Chairman refused, arguing that “As the hearing is not about reproductive rights and contraception but instead about the Administration’s actions as they relate to freedom of religion and conscience, he believes that Ms. Fluke is not an appropriate witness.”
And so Cummings, along with the Democratic women on the panel, took their request to the hearing room, demanding that Issa consider the testimony of a female college student. But the California congressman insisted that the hearing should focus on the rules’ alleged infringement on “religious liberty,” not contraception coverage, and denied the request. Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) walked out of the hearing in protest of his decision, citing frustration over the fact that the first panel of witnesses consisted only of male religious leaders against the rule. Holmes Norton said she will not return, calling Issa’s chairmanship an “autocratic regime.”
Watch a compilation of the heated exchange:
A picture of the witness table:
Issa also dismissed the Democrats’ woman witness as a “college student’ who does not “have the appropriate credentials” to testify before his committee.
Originally published on ThinkProgress
Posted by Informant_News on Thursday, February 16, 2012 @ 10:12:35 MST (1905 reads) (Read More... | 3216 bytes more | Score: 5)
U.S. News: Arsenal found in home of "Facebook Friending"murder suspect
By Tim Ghianni
NASHVILLE, Tennessee | Tue Feb 14, 2012 3:40pm EST
(Reuters) - Authorities investigating a double murder in Tennessee believed to have been sparked by a Facebook "defriending" have discovered an arsenal of handguns in the home of one of the two suspects.
Investigators had recovered "like 80-some handguns" from the home of Marvin Enoch Potter Jr., who is scheduled to be arraigned on Wednesday on suspicion of playing a role in the killings, Johnson County Sheriff Mike Reece said on Tuesday.
"It looks like we've not found the actual murder weapon yet," Reece said.
Authorities in the rural community in northeast Tennessee say Billy Clay Payne Jr. and Billie Jean Hayworth were killed last month after they deleted Jenelle Potter, Potter's daughter, from their "friends" list on the popular social network site.
Both victims were shot in the head and Payne had his throat cut. The couple's 8-month-old baby was in found in Hayworth's arms, unharmed.
Potter, 60, Jamie Lynn Curd, 38, appeared last Wednesday in court, charged with two counts of first-degree murder in connection with the killings.
Potter's arraignment was postponed until this Wednesday because he wanted to hire his own attorney, said Assistant District Attorney Matthew Roark.
Attorney H. Randolph Fallin said on Tuesday he had been retained to represent Potter and that he planned to enter a not guilty plea at Wednesday's arraignment before General Sessions Judge William Bliss Hawkins.
No charges have been filed against Jenelle Potter, the sheriff said. She could not be reached for comment.
County Mayor Larry Potter - no relation to the suspect - said people were "just devastated" by the case.
"It makes you plum sick that things like this can happen," said Potter, who has spent all 56 of his years in Mountain City and Johnson County, with combined population of around 18,000.
R.O. Smith, of the public defender's office, was appointed to defend Curd, who is being held on $1.5 million bond, awaiting the March 21 preliminary hearing set for both men.
The sheriff said Jenelle Potter was constantly on Facebook and had in the past feuded with other friends on the site.
"Once you've crossed her, you've crossed her father too," Reece said.
Last year in Iowa, a woman was arrested on accusations of setting fire to a friend's garage after she was defriended on Facebook, local media reported.
In Texas, a man was accused of hitting his wife after she failed to "like" a Facebook post he wrote about the anniversary of his mother's death, according to media reports.
Posted by Informant_News on Tuesday, February 14, 2012 @ 12:58:01 MST (427 reads) (Read More... | 3243 bytes more | Score: 4.66)
U.S. News: How the CIA Kills Countries - Video
How the CIA Kills Countries - Video
John Perkins, author of "Confessions of an Economic Hitman," describes how the United States of America, through corporations and the CIA, wages economic wars against Third World countries in order to control their resources. Where economics fail, the CIA will come in creating dissent to overthrow a non-compliant government. Where that fails, assassination is employed. Only after all these options have failed will the U.S. military become involved.
Posted by Informant_News on Tuesday, February 14, 2012 @ 12:23:53 MST (1858 reads) (Read More... | 1093 bytes more | Score: 3.5)
U.S. News: 9/11 Cognitive Dissonance: Why People are Afraid to Confront the Truth
9/11 Cognitive Dissonance: Why People are Afraid to Confront the Truth
Leading Psychologists explain why so many Americans refuse to listen or believe in the overwhelming evidence that the official story of 911 cannot be true. Excerpt from A&E for 911 Truth DVD "Experts Speak Out"
Posted by Informant_News on Monday, February 13, 2012 @ 12:48:40 MST (2211 reads) (Read More... | 948 bytes more | Score: 4.33)
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