In March of 1836, a young man of twenty-three years of age took his sword out of its scabbard and drew a line in the sand in front of an old mission outside of San Antonio, Texas, and called on the men defending that mission who were willing to stay on the ramparts and face an opposing army more than ten times their number to signify their commitment by stepping across the line. Of course, the young man was William Barrett Travis and the old mission was the Alamo. He could not have known it then, but Travis’ line in the sand would forever become the benchmark by which all future acts of commitment would be measured. In a mystical way, but, then again, in very real way, Travis’ line in the sand is being drawn again. Oh, it may not be a line in dirt drawn by the point of a sword; it is a line in the hearts of men being drawn by the Spirit of God.
My last three columns (not including the column promoting THE FREEDOM DOCUMENTS) generated more responses than any three columns I have ever written, and I have been writing this column for some fifteen years. At first, the responses were mostly negative and often vitriolic. But this past week, responses have been over 90% positive and very enthusiastic. I am confident that the manner in which these columns have brought out intense emotion and determination on both sides is a microcosm of what is happening nationally. A line in the sand for freedom is being drawn once again.
This line in the sand for freedom is separating people in a major way. And this is not necessarily a bad thing. In the same way that God commanded Abram to separate from his home and kin, so, too, the Spirit of God is separating people many times from their friends, their neighbors, their kinfolk, and, yes, their church families. I seem to recall that during the period of the early church, the conflict of principle forever separated the apostles Paul and Silas. And during America’s War for Independence, the conflict of principle separated Benjamin Franklin and his son William–as it did tens of thousands of others.
Perhaps not since the days of Patrick Henry, Sam Adams, et al., have Americans been forced to deal–intellectually, reasonably, emotionally, volitionally, and spiritually–with the fundamental issues of liberty as we are being forced to do today. For way too long, Americans have taken freedom for granted. For way too long, our educational and religious institutions (not to mention our homes) have not taught the fundamental principles of liberty. This negligence has brought our country to the brink of oppression and despotism. And, just as was the case in Colonial America, a line in the sand for freedom is being drawn in the hearts of men.
This internal line in the sand is being drawn irrespective of a person’s education, temperament, upbringing, intelligence, or faith. While some men seem to be content to live under the heel of governmental oppression, many others have an innate thirst for freedom that all of the armies in the world cannot quench.
In truth, the thirst for freedom is part of Natural Law. A horse is not broken without a fight; a tiger or lion will pace its cage as long as it can walk looking for an avenue of escape; a bird will fly around its cage ten thousand times looking for an opening to return to the sky. Yes, animals can be broken–and so can be some men, unfortunately. But the innate desire for freedom is born in the soul of every man.
However, the desire for comfort, ease, and material pleasure is a handsome tempter that many people find more attractive than the harsh and weather-torn face of liberty. Plus, the further liberty slips out of view, the more vague the memory of it becomes. And before we realize it, the face of liberty is only seen in the irrelevant relics of the songs and statues of history. But it is exactly at this point that the Spirit of God begins to renew in the hearts of men the Natural thirst for liberty. And that is precisely what is happening now.
All over America, and, yes, all over the world, people’s hearts are beating fast for freedom. I am receiving thousands of letters and emails from people all over the globe. Unfortunately for many of these people, they do not live in a country in which the governmental and political foundation and structure is conducive to the reclamation of liberty. But in the United States, it is not a matter of government; it is a matter of will. Do the American people yet have the will to reclaim liberty?
While it would appear that the majority of today’s Americans have allowed ignorance, materialism, and false Bible teaching regarding the principles of liberty to suppress their love of liberty, I am absolutely convinced that the spirit of liberty is swelling in the hearts of teeming millions of people. Highly educated and high school dropouts, affluent and average, Christians and unchurched, men and women, young and old: their hearts are ablaze with the love of liberty. And they are no longer content to surround themselves with those who would allow the chains of servitude to be clamped around their necks.
Are we patriots or loyalists? That question had to be answered by every man and woman in Colonial America. The same question must be answered by every American today. Are we going to bravely fight for the principles of liberty as did our patriot forebears, or are we going to be loyal to a corrupt and tyrannical system that is literally choking the life out of our freedoms? And how each of us answers that question will determine the direction and destination of our lives and futures.
The freedom to separate is a Natural right. Forced union is not a union at all; it is enslavement. The current world and U.S. maps are testimonies to the right of Natural separation. Pat Buchanan recently wrote:
“In the last decade of the 20th century, as the Soviet Empire disintegrated, so, too, did that prison house of nations, the USSR.
“Out of the decomposing carcass came Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Moldova, all in Europe; Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan in the Caucasus; and Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan in Central Asia.
“Transnistria then broke free of Moldova, and Abkhazia and South Ossetia fought free of Georgia.
“Yugoslavia dissolved far more violently into the nations of Serbia, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Macedonia and Kosovo.
“The Slovaks seceded from Czechoslovakia.”
Buchanan also notes that in the U.S., “Four of our 50 states–Maine, Vermont, Kentucky, West Virginia–were born out of other states.”
See Pat’s column at:
Think of this, too: the most fundamental and sacred union of all is the union of a man and woman in marriage. Had Adam and Eve not fallen into sin, there would, no doubt, be no right or reason for separation. (Matthew 19:8) But with the fall of man into sin came all kinds of abuse. As a result, the Scriptures grant divorce (separation) on the grounds of both adultery (Matthew 19) and abandonment (I Corinthians 7). While never preferred, few among us would deny the right of a husband or wife to separate under certain circumstances. Because not every man is willing to be governed by the Natural and revealed laws of God, men are granted the right to separate themselves from those who would violate the fundamental principles upon which the union is based. This is true maritally, ecclesiastically, spiritually, socially, and politically.
In 1836, Will Travis drew a line in the sand to separate those who were willing to defend the liberty of Texas on the ramparts of the Alamo from those who were not. And I am convinced that God is drawing a line in the hearts of men today for the same reason: to separate those who are willing to give their lives in the defense of liberty from those who are not. And, ironically, the freedom of everyone–including the ones who are not willing to defend it–depends on the willingness of the ones who are. I guess it’s always been that way.
I know which side of the line I am on; and after the deluge of correspondence I have received over the past couple of weeks, I know I am not alone.
Are Americans ready to accept a police state? Are pastors and Christians ready to accept a police state? Are Republicans and conservatives ready to accept a police state? Are Democrats and liberals ready to accept a police state? Are there truly enough people left in this country who even understand what a police state is, and if they do, would they really support it?
I can hear many readers shouting, “No!” But I truly wonder just how many Americans have already accepted the police state in their hearts and minds. It is absolutely true that before despots and tyrants can put shackles around men’s necks, they must first put them around men’s hearts. So, just how many of the American people are walking around every day with shackles already around their hearts? How many pastors mount the pulpits with shackles around their hearts? How many teachers enter the classroom with shackles around their hearts? How many State lawmakers walk into their various capitols with shackles around their hearts? How many police officers get into their squad cars with shackles around their hearts? How many military personnel put on their uniforms with shackles around their hearts?
Those of us who are passionate about the freedom fight spend a lot of time discussing and debating the nuances of how best to protect liberty. Except for a precious few, our State governors, attorney generals, legislators, senators, mayors, county commissioners, city councilmen, etc., are doing a fantastically lousy job of honoring their oaths to the Constitution and to the principles contained in our Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights. Except for a precious few, our pastors, deacons, elders, and church leaders are doing a fantastically lousy job of defending freedom principles. Except for a precious few, our civic and business leaders are doing a fantastically lousy job of defending liberty. And needless to say, you could put the people on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., who are even doing diddly-squat about preserving liberty into an old-fashioned phone booth.
Republicans? Most of them have never seen a bill that expands the police state at home and foreign wars abroad that they did not absolutely love. Democrats? Most of them have never seen a bill that expanded government (any government) that they did not absolutely love. Yes, yes, I know that there are a few–a precious few–exceptions to the above, but not many.
But are the American people truly ready to accept a police state? A recent report at InfoWars.com is quite shocking to those of us who tend to believe that most of our fellow Americans would recoil at the thought of an open police state.
Reporting for InfoWars.com, Paul Joseph Watson writes, “After illustrating their enthusiasm for repealing the Bill of Rights, a video shows Americans happily signing a petition to support a ‘Nazi-style Orwellian police state,’ in what easily represents the most shocking footage of its kind to date.
“Citing issues with how the government shutdown has impacted the ability of the police to ‘keep the community safe,’ [Mark] Dice tells San Diegans that there is a need to ‘increase the Orwellian system.’
“‘Not a problem,’ responds one man as he signs the petition.
“‘We just want to model it after the Nazi Germany system to keep people safe and secure,’ Dice tells another individual.
“After signing the petition to ‘implement the Orwellian police state,’ another man responds, ‘You find the pot of money though,’ apparently more concerned about how much a Nazi-style police state would cost than its actual consequences.
“‘They’re trying to cut the budget by 20 per cent so we just want to make sure that we can model the police state after the Nazi Germany system,’ Dice tells another couple who sign the petition, before adding, ‘Thanks for supporting the police state.’
“‘We’re going to model it after the Nazi Germany-style police state,’ Dice clearly tells another man who signs the petition.
“‘We need this Orwellian-style system to keep everybody safe,’ Dice tells a woman as she is signing the petition, to which she responds, ‘Yeah.’”
See Watson’s report at:
So, how many of your friends, relatives, co-workers, neighbors, fellow club members, fellow pastors, and fellow church members would be willing to sign such a petition as mentioned above? Probably more than you would think. Why don’t you use Mark Dice’s technique and go stand with a petition on a street corner in your town or on a sidewalk outside the entrance of your church and find out? But be prepared for a shock. It is not just San Diegans that are already wearing the shackles around their hearts.
Those of us in the liberty movement are knocking our brains out trying to devise the best strategy to preserve the vestiges of freedom that are left in this country. The assaults against our liberties are ubiquitous–and so are the battlefronts upon which our fellow freedom-fighters are tirelessly and relentlessly defending the hill. Thank God for every one of them! I may or may not agree with each strategy or the people who come up with them, but if they are in the liberty fight, they are my brothers and compatriots.
But it is time for us to ask ourselves, are we living in a country in which a sizeable percentage of people do not care about, and may actually not WANT, liberty? Are we living in a country in which a sizeable percentage of people have already accepted the shackles of tyranny around their hearts?
I’m talking about Democrats and Republicans; Christians and unbelievers; pastors and pagans; liberals and conservatives; whites and blacks; educated and illiterate; rich and poor; men and women; northerners and southerners; easterners and westerners; military and civilians. How many are already wearing the shackles of tyranny around their hearts? I’m afraid far more than most of us want to admit.
At this point, I must make the following observation: if you are living in a State that does not recognize your right to keep and BEAR arms, if you live in a State that significantly impedes your right to possess and CARRY arms, if you live in a State that is unfriendly to the Second Amendment, you are living in a State in which a majority of lawmakers and citizens are already wearing the tyrant’s yoke around their hearts–and they want you to wear it, too. And if you live in a large metropolitan city anywhere, you are living in one of liberty’s most inhospitable and hostile places. In all candor, one of the chief reasons why my family and I moved to a small town in a rural State (the Flathead Valley of Montana) is because of what I’m talking about right now.
For more information on our move to Montana, please go to this web page:
I realize that we have our share of big-government weenies here in Montana, too. I know we have a bunch of politicians and people who carry the shackles of tyranny around their hearts. I won’t argue that. But I also know that if police agencies in this area attempted a military lockdown such as took place in Boston after the marathon bombings, they would start a modern-day revolution. I KNOW that the majority of people in the Flathead Valley would never submit to such a police state. I also believe that the vast majority of law enforcement officers in this area would never attempt to enact such a police state.
As an example, according to published reports, the average home in the State of Montana has 27 firearms in it. Yes, you read it right: 27. I dare say that the average pickup truck in Montana has more guns in it than the average house in just about any other State.
Ladies and gentlemen, Thomas Jefferson was right: big cities are the “bane” of freedom. And those states that are controlled by big cities are also a major culprit in the demise of liberty.
Several years ago, Boston’s Gun Bible (BGB) ranked the states in order of their recognition of the right to keep and bear arms. According to BGB, the freest states are:
2. Idaho and Kentucky (tie)
3. Louisiana and Alaska (tie)
And, again, according to BGB, the least free states are:
1. New Jersey
5. New York
Now, I would personally argue BGB’s ranking of Montana as number 5 in the list of freest states–especially when it comes to the Second Amendment. Regardless, notice the absence of the dominance of big-cities within the list of freest states, contrasted with the obvious dominance of big-cities within the list of least free states. In the list of freest states, only Kentucky and Louisiana have a metro area with over one million population. And in the case of Vermont, Idaho, Alaska, Wyoming, and Montana, the State with the largest population is Idaho with just over 1.5 million–in the ENTIRE STATE. The conclusion should be obvious: big cities equal less freedom; rural states equal more freedom.
Ladies and gentlemen, this divergence of philosophy and the willingness or unwillingness of people in big city states and rural states to either accept or reject tyranny is a boiling pot that at some point is going to spill over onto the eye of the stove. Notice that Mr. Dice’s petition was asked of people in one of America’s largest population centers: San Diego, California. Take that same petition to the streets of Kalispell, Montana; Coeur d’Alene, Idaho; Cheyenne, Wyoming; or Wasilla, Alaska; and the response would be MUCH different.
I don’t believe tyranny will come to America all at once; it will come piecemeal, city by city, State by State, and region by region. And liberty will be preserved the same way.
So, are Americans ready to accept a police state? It all depends on where you live.
P.S. This weekend, selected cities across the country will be privileged to see the premiere screening of James Jaeger’s fantastic new movie, “MOLON LABE: How The Second Amendment Guarantees America’s Freedom.” The film features such notable freedomists as Pat Buchanan, Ron Paul, Larry Pratt, G. Edward Griffin, Alex Jones, and, yes, yours truly–along with several others. It is terrific film. The people of the Flathead Valley in Montana are fortunate to be able to attend this premiere showing at the Mountain Cinema 4 theaters in Whitefish, Montana, at 11am Mountain Time, this Saturday, October 26. If you live within driving distance, you are invited to attend this premiere screening. DVDs of the film will be available at the showing.
If you are not able to go see MOLON LABE this weekend and would like to order the DVD of this new film, you may do so NOW. Order the MOLON LABE DVD here:
Pat Buchanan recently wrote an intriguing column titled, “Is Red State America Seceding?” His column clearly reveals that an independence/secession movement is spreading globally. Pat rightly observes that in just the last few years some 25 nations have broken free of mother countries and formed their own independent states. And, no, most of these separations did NOT require violent revolution. In addition, talk of secession is currently going on in at least six other regions of the world. And, as Buchanan correctly observes, the spirit of secession is very much alive and well in the United States.
Buchanan writes, “The five counties of western Maryland–Garrett, Allegany, Washington, Frederick and Carroll, which have more in common with West Virginia and wish to be rid of Baltimore and free of Annapolis, are talking secession.”
But people in Maryland are not the only ones talking secession. Buchanan continues to write, “Ten northern counties of Colorado are this November holding non-binding referenda to prepare a future secession from Denver and the creation of America’s 51st state.”
Furthermore, people in northern California are also talking secession. Again, to quote Pat Buchanan: “In California, which many have long believed should be split in two, the northern counties of Modoc and Siskiyou on the Oregon border are talking secession–and then union in a new state called Jefferson.”
Buchanan goes on to say, “Folks on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, bordered by Wisconsin and the Great Lakes, which is connected to lower Michigan by a bridge, have long dreamed of a separate state called Superior. The UP has little in common with Lansing and nothing with Detroit.
“While the folks in western Maryland, northern Colorado, northern California and on the Upper Peninsula might be described as red state secessionists, in Vermont the secessionists seem of the populist left. The Montpelier Manifesto of the Second Vermont Republic concludes:
“‘Citizens, lend your names to this manifesto and join in the honorable task of rejecting the immoral, corrupt, decaying, dying, failing American Empire and seeking its rapid and peaceful dissolution before it takes us all down with it.’”
Pat concludes his column saying, “This sort of intemperate language may be found in Thomas Jefferson’s indictment of George III. If America does not get its fiscal house in order, and another Great Recession hits or our elites dragoon us into another imperial war, we will likely hear more of such talk.”
See Pat Buchanan’s column here:
Buchanan’s analysis is right on the money. The spirit of independence is far from dead in the United States. In fact, the spirit of independence (otherwise known as the Spirit of ’76) has already begun driving people to separate from states and cities in which they have lived for most or all of their lives. The biggest recipient of these many thousands of freedom-minded people seems to be the Rocky Mountain States of America’s Northwest.
Faithful readers of this column know that my entire family, including five heads of households and some 18 family members, relocated to the Flathead Valley of Montana after having lived a lifetime–or the better part of a lifetime–in the southeastern United States. And during the last three years, I have witnessed scores of families also relocate to northwestern Montana from all over the country.
But it’s not just Chuck Baldwin’s move or the people from around the country who have decided to join us here in the Flathead Valley: thousands of people are relocating to what is now commonly referred to as “The American Redoubt.” This area includes Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, eastern Washington State, and eastern Oregon.
By the way, to read a compilation of articles as to why my family and I chose the Flathead Valley of Montana to which to relocate, peruse the material here:
Just recently, Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) did a television report on the growing numbers of people who are relocating to The American Redoubt. See the report here:
The mood all over America is one of intense uncertainty and uneasiness. More and more Americans are waking up to the reality that Washington, D.C., is hopelessly broken (financially and morally), and it’s only a matter of time before something catastrophic happens. They see the way America’s major cities are becoming more and more tyrannical and crime-infested.
In the major cities, public schools more and more resemble prisons; police departments more and more resemble the German Gestapo; local governments more and more try to make criminals out of honest gun owners and more and more attack the Christian values that were once revered in this country. Add any major disaster (natural or man-made) to these growing concerns and the prospect for a normal life in the big cities is practically zero. People are yearning to be more self-reliant, more independent, more secure, and, yes, more free. In fact, for a host of people today, the longing for liberty trumps the desire for wealth and pleasure. What used to attract people to big cities now repulses them. And they are more than willing to downscale their incomes and living standards in order to live simpler and breath freer.
In reality, secession is not a future event; it has already started. People all over America are separating from their homes and families, from their jobs and livelihoods, from their cities and states, and from their very way of life in order to find even a semblance of what America used to look like. This trend will not diminish anytime soon. In fact, I am convinced it has not yet begun to peak.
So, don’t despair my friends. The Spirit of ’76 is alive and well–and not just in America but in many regions around the world also. The smell of independence is in the air. It smells so sweet. Take a big whiff. Then prayerfully decide to what and to where that wind is leading you.
Pat Buchanan’s analysis of the modern independence movement just might be more of a prophecy than anything else.
I cannot help but think of the speech John Adams gave to the Continental Congress as it contemplated the Declaration of Independence. When one thinks of fiery speeches for independence, one normally thinks of Patrick Henry, Sam Adams, or James Otis. But John Adams’ speech to the Continental Congress ranks up there with the greatest of them. So, for all of my freedom-loving brothers and sisters in America and around the world who are already, in their own way, engaged in the independence movement, I conclude this column with the concluding words from that immortal speech:
“Sir, I know the uncertainty of human affairs, but I see, I see clearly, through this day’s business. You and I, indeed, may rue it. We may not live to the time when this Declaration shall be made good. We may die; die, colonists; die, slaves; die, it may be, ignominiously and on the scaffold. Be it so; be it so! If it be the pleasure of heaven that my country shall require the poor offering of my life, the victim shall be ready at the appointed hour of sacrifice, come when that hour may. But, while I do live, let me have a country, or at least, the hope of a country, and that a free country.
“But whatever may be our fate, be assured, be assured that this Declaration will stand. It may cost treasure, and it may cost blood, but it will stand, and it will richly compensate for both. Through the thick gloom of the present, I see the brightness of the future, as the sun in heaven. We shall make this a glorious, an immortal day. When we are in our graves, our children will honor it. They will celebrate it with thanksgiving, with festivity, with bonfires and illuminations. On its annual return, they will shed tears, copious, gushing tears, not of subjection and slavery, not of agony and distress, but of exultation, of gratitude and of joy.
“Sir, before God, I believe the hour is come. My judgment approves this measure, and my whole heart is in it. All that I have, and all that I am, and all that I hope, in this life, I am now ready here to stake upon it. And I leave off as I began, that, live or die, survive or perish, I am for the Declaration. It is my living sentiment, and by the blessing of God it shall be my dying sentiment, Independence now, and INDEPENDENCE FOREVER!”
Amen and Amen!
The Government Doesn’t Think So…
For the USDA and its sister food regulator, the FDA, there’s a problem: many of the farmers are distributing the food via private contracts like herd shares and leasing arrangements, which fall outside the regulatory system of state and local retail licenses and inspections that govern public food sales.
In response, federal and state regulators are seeking legal sanctions against farmers in Maine, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and California, among others. These sanctions include injunctions, fines, and even prison sentences. Food sold by unlicensed and uninspected farmers is potentially dangerous say the regulators, since it can carry pathogens like salmonella, campylobacter, and E.coli O157:H7, leading to mild or even serious illness.
Most recently, Wisconsin’s attorney general appointed a special prosecutor to file criminal misdemeanor charges against an Amish farmer for alleged failure to have retail and dairy licenses, and the proceedings turned into a high-profile jury trial in late May that highlighted the depth of conflict: following five days of intense proceedings, the 12-person jury acquitted the farmer, Vernon Hershberger, on all the licensing charges, while convicting him of violating a 2010 holding order on his food, which he had publicly admitted.
Why are hard-working normally law-abiding farmers aligning with urban and suburban consumers to flaunt well-established food safety regulations and statutes? Why are parents, who want only the best for their children, seeking out food that regulators say could be dangerous? And, why are regulators and prosecutors feeling so threatened by this trend?
Members of these private food groups often buy from local farmers because they want food from animals that are treated humanely, allowed to roam on pasture, and not treated with antibiotics. “I really want food that is full of nutrients and the animals to be happy and content,” says Jenny DeLoney, a Madison, WI, mother of three young children who buys from Hershberger.
To these individuals, many of whom are parents, safety means not only food free of pathogens, but food free of pesticides, antibiotic residues, and excessive processing. It means food created the old-fashioned way—from animals allowed to eat grass instead of feed made from genetically modified (GMO) grains—and sold the old-fashioned way, privately by the farmer to the consumer, who is free to visit the farm and see the animals. Many of these consumers have viewed the secretly-made videos of downer cows being prodded into slaughterhouses and chickens so crammed into coops they can barely breathe.
These consumers are clearly interpreting “safety” differently than the regulators. Some of these consumers are going further than claiming contract rights—they are pushing their towns and cities to legitimize private farmer-consumer arrangements. In Maine, residents of ten coastal towns have approved so-called “food sovereignty” ordinances that legalize unregulated food sales; towns in other states, including Massachusetts and Vermont, and as far away as Santa Cruz, CA, have passed similar ordinances.
The new legal offensive isn’t going over well with regulators anywhere. Aside from the Hershberger action in Wisconsin, and a similar one in Minnesota, Maine’s Department of Agriculture filed suit against a two-cow farmer, Dan Brown, in one of the food-sovereignty towns, Blue Hill, seeking fines and, in effect, to invalidate all the Maine ordinances. In April, a state court ruled against the farmer, and in effect against the towns; sentencing is due within several weeks, and the case could well be appealed.
The jury in the criminal misdemeanor case of Minnesota farmer Alvin Schlangen last September acquitted him of all charges after several hours of deliberation. But the regulators’ push against privately-distributed food continues unabated. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture has moved forward with a local prosecutor in Schlangen’s rural county, pressing similar criminal charges as the ones he was acquitted of in Minneapolis. He is scheduled to go on trial again in August. And in Wisconsin, prosecutors sought, unsuccessfully, to have Vernon Hershberger jailed for allegedly violating his jail terms since charges were filed in late 2011.
At its heart, this is a struggle over a steady erosion of confidence in the integrity of our industrial food system, which has been hit by disturbing disclosures seemingly on a weekly basis. In just the last few weeks, for example, we have seen shrimp, cookies, and veggie burgers recalled by the FDA for being sold with undeclared ingredients.
Also in recent weeks, members of Congress and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control have escalated warnings about the growing danger of antibiotic resistant pathogens emerging from farm animals, which consume about 80 percent of all antibiotics in the U.S. The Atlantic reported last summer that medical specialists are seeing a spike in women with urinary tract infections caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria, likely transmitted by chicken meat.
This erosion in the confidence of the food system carries serious implications. It financially threatens large corporations if long-established food brands come under prolonged and severe public questioning. It threatens economic performance if foods deemed “safe” become scarcer, and thus more expensive. And it is potentially explosive politically if too many people lose confidence in the professionalism of the food regulators who are supposed to be protecting us from tainted food, and encourages folks to exit the public food system for private solutions like the consumers in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Maine, and elsewhere. Just look at the vituperative corporate response to recent consumer-led campaigns to label foods with genetically-modified ingredients.
As more consumers become intent on making the final decisions on what foods they are going to feed themselves and their families, and regulators become just as intent on asserting what they see as their authority over inspecting and licensing all food, ugly scenarios of agitated citizens battling government authorities over access to food staples seem likely to proliferate. It’s an unfortunate recipe for a new kind of rights movement centered on the most basic acts—what we choose to eat.
About the Author
David Gumpert is a writer who covers the conflict between food rights and food safety. His latest book is “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Food Rights: The Escalating Battle Over Who Decides What We Eat”. His previous book was “The Raw Milk Revolution: Behind America’s Emerging Battle Over Food Rights”. He has written for Modern Farmer, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Huffington Post, Grist, and Food Safety News. He is a former reporter with The Wall Street Journal and a former editor with The Harvard Business Review.
Source: David E. Gumpert | Waking Times
What would it have taken for the jury that acquitted George Zimmerman to find him guilty? Well, try this on for size: imagine that instead of emerging from his encounter with Trayvon Martin bloodied with a broken nose, he didn’t have a scratch on him. Imagine he had also admitted he confronted Martin with gun drawn and hadn’t actually been attacked — but had shot Martin simply because the teen was running at him. Lastly, imagine Zimmerman was built like a brick outhouse, had trained in a few martial arts and even competed in martial-arts tournaments. Is it conceivable there could have been an acquittal?
Luckily for Zimmerman, the above was not his scenario. But those were the facts in the case of another man who shot and killed an unarmed 17-year-old.
And there was an acquittal.
The case was however, different in two apparently significant ways: the teenager was white and the shooter was black.
The man’s name is Roderick Scott, and he shot teen Christopher Cervini in 2009 in Greece, New York. As with Zimmerman, Scott was aware there had been crimes in his neighborhood; unlike Zimmerman, Scott wasn’t a neighborhood-watch volunteer. But after observing some individuals preparing to break in to a neighbor’s vehicle on an April 4 night, Scott grabbed his handgun and walked outside “to stop or detain the criminals,” as he put it. He then saw someone rummaging around inside the vehicle and saw two suspects altogether, at which point he drew his weapon, chambered a round, took a shooting stance and ordered the teens to freeze, prompting one them to run off. But the other, Chris Cervini, charged toward him yelling that he was going to get him, claims Scott. Having already warned the criminals he was armed, Scott testified that he then shot the teen so he would not “kill me or hurt me.”
Other similarities between the two cases are that Scott was also faced with a manslaughter charged and was judged by a mostly white jury. But then there are some more differences. The national media didn’t pick up his story and make it a cause célèbre. We didn’t see news outlets plaster articles with a picture of a smiling, cherubic, pubescent Chris Cervini or NBC doctor a tape to provoke racial unrest and make Scott appear a bigot. We didn’t see the DOJ send operatives to NY to foment demonstrations, and Eric Holder never contemplated civil-rights charges against Scott. And no one said “It’s now legal to shoot white kids in America.”
Oh, yeah, and the best information has it that Cervini was not armed with a bag of Skittles.
It is also inconceivable that muscular martial-arts competitor Scott couldn’t have taken the teen down in mere seconds with his bare hands. But I suspect he was a no-nonsense type, that his attitude was, “If those punks make one wrong move, I’m gonna’ smoke ‘em.” But this is conjecture. Scott is a human being, deserves fair treatment, and I accept that reasonable doubt existed in his case. From a practical standpoint, however, that wasn’t the main reason why — unlike Zimmerman — his case proceeded without fanfare. It’s not the main reason he is not now a marked man.
It is that he wasn’t guilty of DWW.
At least since the first high-profile Defending While White case — Bernhard Goetz’s in 1984 — it has been clear that liberals have it exactly backwards (as usual). They feel that whites get favored treatment after inter-racial confrontations, but the reality is that if there’s any gray at all when it’s black vs. white, the journalism runs yellow. The media can have that story they love: privileged white oppressor guns down helpless black babe-in-the-woods victim. And then it’s sort of how your sex can be whatever you want today. Hispanics become white, a teen thug becomes a child, a defender becomes an attacker and lies become truth.
One thing Martin’s defenders are right about, however, is that black kids just aren’t safe on the streets of America. After all, homicide is the leading cause of death among black teens. In fact, as liberal Juan Williams wrote last year citing DOJ statistics based on a 2005 analysis, “Almost one half of the nation’s murder victims that year were black and a majority of them were between the ages of 17 and 29. Black people accounted for 13% of the total U.S. population in 2005. Yet they were the victims of 49% of all the nation’s murders.” But then there’s something else the DOJ tells us.
Ninety-three percent of these black victims were killed by other blacks.
That doesn’t leave much left over for other races, so what percentage of black and white homicides involves whites killing blacks?
Moreover, this includes justifiable homicides (defensive situations), and only a minority would be incidents in which an older white man kills a black teen. And very, very few of those would be considered murders. Yet Eric Holder’s DOJ now behaves as if this phenomenon is such an epidemic that federal power must be used to stamp it out.
Of course, if Holder truly cared about blacks and not just agendas, his focus would be on the true epidemic of blacks killing other blacks. And if he cared about truth, he would actually publicize the findings of a study conducted by his own DOJ in 2011. And here is a sampling of them from Investor’s Business Daily:
[E]ven though black men between the ages of 14 and 24 make up only 1% of the U.S. population, they represent 27% of all the nation’s murderers.
…While blacks make up just 13% of the population, they’re responsible for more than half — 53% — of the country’s murders.
The 36-page study, which analyzed race-based crime data spanning three decades, found that whites were twice as likely to be murdered by blacks than the other way around….
Note that the DOJ included Hispanics in its “white” category. If only non-Hispanic whites are considered, however, the US murder rate is comparable to that of Western Europe (because of this demographic reality, the murder rates in New Hampshire, Vermont and Iowa are lower than Britain’s).
Conclusion? If you’re a prospective murder victim in America, the probability is good that your victimizer will be a black youth. This is why the DOJ study also tells us, “[N]early 40% of all justifiable homicides were blacks defending themselves against violent blacks (and that doesn’t include all the black cops killing black thugs),” writes IBD. And we don’t hear much about this. But what if you’re a white person who must defend himself against a violent black youth?
You may be charged with DWW.
Then the media can publish its baby pictures. It can talk about how you murdered a “child” as it murders your reputation and perhaps your chances for a fair trial. It can twist the truth. And it can state idiotic things, such as that your “injuries weren’t life-threatening,” as some said about Zimmerman (wait until you have life-threatening injuries before defending yourself and you may not be able to defend yourself).
And if you think DWW is problematic here, just look overseas to South Africa, where whites are sometimes imprisoned on trumped-up charges after defending themselves. Moreover, the nation’s ANC-led government started disarming the white population in 2010 and, wrote Frontpage Mag in March:
Thus, white farm families were forced to relinquish their last line of defense against the tens of thousands of criminal gangs roaming the countryside–armed with AK47s. [sic] and as Genocide Watch noted on its website last July one more step was taken as well. “The government has disbanded the commando units of white farmers that once protected their farms, and has passed laws to confiscate the farmers’ weapons,” it reported. “Disarmament of a targeted group is one of the surest early warning signs of future genocidal killings.”
Speaking of which, Genocide Watch places the imperiled South African whites at stage six in the genocidal process.
Stage seven is extermination.
Much like what some plan for George Zimmerman, the DWW transgressor with a $10,000 New Black Panther bounty on his head.
“The 20th century (was) characterized by three developments of great political importance: the growth of democracy, the growth of corporate power, and the growth of corporate propaganda as a means of protecting corporate power against democracy.”- Alex Carey
Recently, while at an event marking the 1,000th day of imprisonment for Bradley Manning, I began to ponder the long and storied role of propaganda that led up to his demonization and incarceration.
“A scientific method of managing behavior”
Given the unspeakable lessons learned from Joseph Goebbels and Nazi Germany, propaganda has long been a dirty word. But when public relations pioneer Edward Bernays got his start in the early 20th century, it was a word less charged but equally as potent. In fact, Bernays unabashedly named one of his books Propaganda.
“Edward Bernays was surely one of the most amazing and influential characters of the twentieth century,” explains PR watchdog, John Stauber. “He was a nephew of Sigmund Freud and helped to popularize Freudianism in the United States. Later, he used his relation to Freud to promote himself. And from his uncle’s psychoanalysis techniques, Bernays developed a scientific method of managing behavior, to which he gave the name ‘public relations.’”
The Vienna-born Bernays was heavily influenced, of course, by his uncle’s work, but it was in the service of war that he helped shape what we call “PR” today.
In what Stauber calls “perhaps the most effective job of large-scale war propaganda which the world has ever witnessed,” the Committee on Public Information, run by veteran newspaperman George Creel with the help of others like Bernays, used all available forms of media to promote the noble purpose behind World War I: To keep the world safe for democracy.
The average American was notoriously wary of any hint of their country entering the bloody conflict. As a result, men like Creel and Bernays were called upon to change some minds with some good old-fashioned propaganda and persuasion.
The Creel Committee (as it came to be known) was the first government agency for outright propaganda in U.S. history; it published 75 million books and pamphlets, had 250 paid employees, and mobilized 75,000 volunteer speakers known as “four minute men,” who delivered their pro-war messages in churches, theaters, and other places of civic gatherings.
The idea, of course, was to give the war effort a positive spin. To do so, the nation had to be convinced that doing their part to support global military conflict on a scale never before seen was indeed a good idea.
“It is not merely an army that we must train and shape for war,” President Woodrow Wilson declared at the time, “it is an entire nation.” The age of manipulated public opinion had begun in earnest.
Although Wilson won reelection in 1916 on a promise of peace, it wasn’t long before he severed diplomatic relations with Germany and proposed arming U.S. merchant ships — even without congressional authority. Upon declaring war on Germany in December 1917, the president proclaimed, “conformity will be the only virtue and any man who refuses to conform will have to pay the penalty.”
In time, the masses got the message as demonstrated by these (and other) results:
Fourteen states passed laws forbidding the teaching of the German language.
Iowa and South Dakota outlawed the use of German in public or on the telephone.
From coast to coast, German-language books were ceremonially burned.
The Philadelphia Symphony and the New York Metropolitan Opera Company excluded Beethoven, Wagner, and other German composers from their programs.
Irish-American newspapers were banned from the mails because Ireland opposed England — one of America’s allies — as a matter of principle.
German shepherds were renamed Alsatians.
Sauerkraut became known as “liberty cabbage.”
Buoyed by the indisputable success of the Creel Committee and armed with the powerful psychoanalytical techniques of his Uncle Sigmund, Bernays set about shaping American consciousness in a major way.
“Torches of Freedom”
“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society,” Bernays wrote in Propaganda. “Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of.”
Bernays’ vision had a dominant economic component. As described by Tim Adams of the London Observer, Bernays “thought that the safest way of maintaining democracy was to distract people from dangerous political thought by letting them think that their real choices were as consumers.”
A fine illustration of Bernays’ approach involves his efforts — for the American Tobacco Company — to persuade woman to take up cigarette smoking. His slogan, “Reach for a Lucky Instead of a Sweet,” exploited women’s fear about gaining weight (arguably a fear manufactured through previous advertising and/or public relations work).
While Lucky Strike sales increased by 300 percent in the first year of Bernays’ campaign, there was still one more barrier he needed to break down: smoking remained mostly taboo for “respectable” women.
This is where some watered-down Freud came in handy. As Bernays biographer Larry Tye said, he basically wanted to take his uncle’s works and “popularize them into little ditties that housewives and others could relate to.” With input from psychoanalyst A.A. Brill, Bernays conjured up the now legendary scheme to re-frame cigarettes as a symbol of freedom.
“During the 1929 Easter Parade,” explains New York Times reporter Ron Chernow, “he had a troupe of fashionable ladies flounce down Fifth Avenue, conspicuously puffing their ‘Torches of Freedom,’ as he had called cigarettes.”
As Chernow reports, Bernays augmented this successful stunt by lining up “neutral experts” to “applaud the benefits of smoking, all the while concealing the tobacco company’s sponsorship of his activity.”
Bernays was also concealing his knowledge of tobacco’s deleterious effects. “As he hypocritically seduced American women into smoking, he was trying to wean his own wife from the nasty habit,” Chernow continues.
His daughter Anne Bernays, the novelist, recalls that whenever he discovered a pack of his wife’s Parliaments, ‘he’d pull them all out and just snap them like bones, just snap them in half and throw them in the toilet. He hated her smoking.’”
“Insubordination, disloyalty, mutiny”
With the legislative ground made fertile by men like Bernays and Creel, the Espionage Act was passed in June 1917. It read in part:
“Whoever, when the United States is at war, shall willfully cause or attempt to cause insubordination, disloyalty, mutiny, or refusal of duty in the military or naval forces of the United States, shall be punished by a fine of not more than $10,000 or imprisonment of not more than 20 years, or both.”
This act cast a wide net and, predictably, civil liberties were trampled. In Vermont, for example, a minister was sentenced to 15 years in prison for writing a pamphlet, distributed to five persons, in which he claimed that supporting the war was wrong for a Christian.
Perhaps the best-known target of the act was noted socialist Eugene V. Debs who, after visiting three fellow socialists in a prison in June 1918, spoke out across the street from the jail for two hours. He was arrested and found guilty, but, before sentencing, Debs famously told the judge:
“Your honor, years ago, I recognized my kinship with all living beings, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on earth. I said then, and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it; while there is a criminal element, I am of it; while there is a soul in prison, I am not free.”
Eugene Debs remained in prison until 1921 and roughly 900 others also did time thanks to the Espionage Act.
While some of more controversial sections were repealed in 1921, the Espionage Act remains on the books today and has been used against, for example, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, Daniel Ellsberg, and yes, Bradley Manning.
Never forget, comrades: This is what we’re up against.
NYC Event Note: To continue conversations like this, come see Mickey Z. in person on Mar. 19 in NYC for Occupy for All Species: Social Justice in the Age of Climate Change.
The mainstream media covered the inauguration of Barack Obama with breathless anticipation on Monday, but should we really be celebrating another four years of Obama? The truth is that the first four years of Obama were an absolute train wreck for the U.S. economy. Over the past four years, the percentage of working age Americans with a job has fallen, median household income has declined by more than $4000, poverty in the U.S. has absolutely exploded and our national debt has ballooned to ridiculous proportions. Of course all of the blame for the nightmarish performance of the economy should not go to Obama alone. Certainly much of what we are experiencing today is the direct result of decades of very foolish decisions by Congress and previous presidential administrations. And of course the Federal Reserve has more influence over the economy than anyone else does. But Barack Obama steadfastly refuses to criticize anything that the Federal Reserve has done and he even nominated Ben Bernanke for another term as Fed Chairman despite his horrific track record of failure, so at a minimum Barack Obama must be considered to be complicit in the Fed’s very foolish policies. Despite what the Obama administration tells us, the U.S. economy has been in decline for a very long time, and that decline has accelerated in many ways over the past four years. Just consider the statistics that I have compiled below. The following are 37 statistics which show how four years of Obama have wrecked the U.S. economy…
1. During Obama’s first term, the number of Americans on food stamps increased by an average of about 11,000 per day.
3. According to one calculation, the number of Americans on food stamps now exceeds the combined populations of “Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.”
4. The number of Americans receiving money directly from the federal government each month has grown from 94 million in the year 2000 tomore than 128 million today.
5. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 146 million Americans are either “poor” or “low income” at this point.
6. The unemployment rate in the United States is exactly where it was (7.8 percent) when Barack Obama first entered the White House in January 2009.
8. During the first four years of Obama, the number of Americans “not in the labor force” soared by an astounding 8,332,000. That far exceeds any previous four year total.
9. During Obama’s first term, the number of Americans collecting federal disability insurance rose by more than 18 percent.
10. The Obama years have been absolutely devastating for small businesses in America. According to economist Tim Kane, the following is how the number of startup jobs per 1000 Americans breaks down by presidential administration…
Bush Sr.: 11.3
Bush Jr.: 10.8
11. Median household income in America has fallen for four consecutive years. Overall, it has declined by over $4000 during that time span.
12. The economy is not producing nearly enough jobs for the hordes of young people now entering the workforce. Approximately 53 percentof all U.S. college graduates under the age of 25 were either unemployed or underemployed in 2011.
13. According to a report from the National Employment Law Project, 58 percent of the jobs that have been created since the end of the recession have been low paying jobs.
14. Back in 2007, about 28 percent of all working families were considered to be among “the working poor”. Today, that number is up to 32 percent even though our politicians tell us that the economy is supposedly recovering.
15. According to the Center for Economic and Policy Research, only 24.6 percent of all of the jobs in the United States are “good jobs” at this point.
16. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the middle class is taking home a smaller share of the overall income pie than has ever been recorded before.
17. According to the Economic Policy Institute, the United States is losinghalf a million jobs to China every single year.
18. The United States has fallen in the global economic competitiveness rankings compiled by the World Economic Forum for four years in a row.
19. According to the World Bank, U.S. GDP accounted for 31.8 percentof all global economic activity in 2001. That number declined steadily over the course of the next decade and was only at 21.6 percent in 2011.
20. The United States actually has plenty of oil and we should not have to import oil from the Middle East. We need to drill for more oil, but Obama has been very hesitant to do that. Under Bill Clinton, the number of drilling permits approved rose by 58 percent. Under George W. Bush, the number of drilling permits approved rose by 116 percent. Under Barack Obama, the number of drilling permits approved actuallydecreased by 36 percent.
21. When Barack Obama took office, the average price of a gallon of gasoline was $1.84. Today, the average price of a gallon of gasoline is$3.26.
22. Under Barack Obama, the United States has lost more than 300,000 education jobs.
24. Families that have a head of household under the age of 30 now have a poverty rate of 37 percent.
25. More than three times as many new homes were sold in the United States in 2005 as were sold in 2012.
26. Electricity bills in the United States have risen faster than the overall rate of inflation for five years in a row.
27. Health insurance costs have risen by 29 percent since Barack Obama became president.
28. Today, 77 percent of all Americans live paycheck to paycheck at least part of the time.
29. It is being projected that Obamacare will add 16 million more Americans to the Medicaid rolls.
30. The total amount of money that the federal government gives directly to the American people has grown by 32 percent since Barack Obama became president.
31. The Obama administration has been spending money on some of the most insane things imaginable. For example, in 2011 the Obama administration spent $592,527 on a study that sought to figure out once and for all why chimpanzees throw poop.
32. U.S. taxpayers spend more than 20 times as much on the Obamas as British taxpayers spend on the royal family.
33. The U.S. government has run a budget deficit of well over a trillion dollars every single year under Barack Obama.
35. During Obama’s first term, the federal government accumulated more debt than it did under the first 42 U.S presidents combined.
36. As I wrote about yesterday, when you break it down the amount of new debt accumulated by the U.S. government during Obama’s first term comes to approximately $50,521 for every single household in the United States. Are you ready to contribute your share?
37. If you started paying off just the new debt that the U.S. has accumulated during the Obama administration at the rate of one dollar per second, it would take more than 184,000 years to pay it off.
But despite all of these numbers, the mainstream media and the left just continue to shower Barack Obama with worship and praise. Newsweek recently heralded Obama’s second term as “The Second Coming“, and at Obama’s pre-inauguration church service Reverand Ronald Braxton openly compared Obama to Moses…
At Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church, Braxton reportedly crafted his speech around Obama’s personal political slogan: “Forward!”
Obama, said Braxton, was just like Moses facing the Red Sea: “forward is the only option … The people couldn’t turn around. The only thing that they could do was to go forward.” Obama, said Braxton, would have to overcome all obstacles – like opposition from Republicans, presumably, or the bounds of the Constitution. Braxton continued, “Mr. President, stand on the rock,” citing to Moses standing on Mount Horeb as his people camped outside the land of Israel.
But it wasn’t enough to compare Obama with the founder of Judaism and the prophet of the Bible. Braxton added that Obama’s opponents were like the Biblical enemies of Moses, and that Obama would have to enter the battle because “sometimes enemies insist on doing it the hard way.”
So what do you think the next four years of Obama will bring?
Source: The Economic Collapse
As of November of 2012, a mind-numbing 47.7 million Americans subsist on taxpayer-funded food stamps. One in seven Americans cannot feed himself or herself with a job or work of any kind. What constitutes the irony to this national tragedy? Answer: our U.S. Congress imports 100,000 legal immigrants into the USA with green cards every 30 days.
No matter how much poverty and unemployment blacks, whites and Hispanic Americans suffer– the leaders of this country continually pound more humans into the mix without pause. At the same time, food banks go belly up with bare shelves. Over 13 million American children live in destitute poverty and cannot secure three square meals per day.
While Congress supports our enormous military spending into the trillions of dollars and two 10 year long wars that devour (ed) money—it fails to create jobs and feed our poorest. It fails the fundamental rights of our own citizens to work and eat.
The gross statistics created by our U.S. Congress: (Source:hubpages.com)
#1 According to one calculation, the number of Americans on food stamps now exceeds the combined populations of “Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.”
#3 Right now, one out of every seven Americans is on food stamps and one out of every four American children is on food stamps.
#4 It is projected that half of all American children will be on food stamps at least once before they turn 18 years of age.
#5 According to new numbers that were just released by the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of Americans living in poverty increased to a new all-time record high of 49.7 million last year.
#6 The number of Americans living in poverty has increased by about 6 million over the past four years.
#7Today, about one out of every four workers in the United States brings home wages that are at or below the federal poverty level.
#8According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the poverty rate for children living in the United States is about 22 percent.
#9 Overall, approximately 57 percent of all children in the United States are living in homes that are either considered to be either “low income” or impoverished.
#10 In the United States today, close to 100 million Americans are considered to be either “poor” or “near poor”.
#11 One university study estimates that child poverty costs the U.S. economy 500 billion dollars each year.
#12 Households that are led by a single mother have a 31.6 percent poverty rate.
#13 In 2010, 42 percent of all single mothers in the United States were on food stamps.
Once you research the numbers, you cannot help but look to your own U.S. Senators and House reps and see failure, duplicity and corruption. No excuses! How could men and women who are supposed to represent American citizens continually leave American citizens in the grips of poverty, joblessness and homelessness?
Some kind of moral, ethical and spiritual wrong grows in the nation’s capitol all the way up to the president. American citizens become its victims.
Do you think there is any chance of it changing and becoming better as that same U.S. Congress adds over 3.1 million immigrants every year on our way to adding 100 million immigrants within the next 38 years?
In this column last week, I took sportscaster Bob Costas to task for his inane comments regarding the murder-suicide deaths committed by Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher. Costas ignorantly and irrationally blamed the deaths of Jovan and his girlfriend, Kasandra Perkins, on “our current gun culture.” Costas naively said, “If Jovan Belcher didn’t possess a gun, he and Kasandra Perkins would both be alive today.”
See my column on Bob Costas at:
Well, here is another tragic story of an NFL player’s untimely death. This time the team is the Dallas Cowboys. USA Today covers the story:
“For the second time in a week, from one Saturday to the next, another young professional football player is dead at the age of 25 and another NFL team is grieving after allegations of a terrible and tragic crime.
“Last weekend, it was Kansas City. This weekend, it’s Dallas. The circumstances are different, but the results are eerily similar. Two players are gone: One by his own hand in front of his coach and general manager in the parking lot of the team’s practice facility; the second in the morgue after a night out with a teammate, who is now sitting in an Irving, Tex., jail cell while his teammates fly to Cincinnati for Sunday’s game.
“One week after Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher killed the mother of his nearly 3-month-old daughter and then killed himself, the Cowboys are mourning the loss of a teammate while another has been arrested for intoxication manslaughter.
“Nose tackle Josh Brent, who was to have started this Sunday against the Bengals, was arrested early Saturday morning after the car he was driving flipped over, killing his lone passenger, Cowboys practice-squad player Jerry Brown, who was Brent’s teammate not only in Dallas but also at the University of Illinois from 2007-09.”
See the report at:
So, why didn’t Bob Costas get on national television and say, “If Josh Brent didn’t possess a car, Jerry Brown would be alive today”? Why? Because Bob Costas doesn’t think critically, that’s why! He simply regurgitates the same antiquated anti-gun rhetoric he hears from his pro-gun-control buddies.
But it’s true: if the gun is to blame for Belcher and Perkins’ deaths, the car is to blame for Brown’s death.
And speaking of cars and guns, the total number of deaths nationwide from the misuse of firearms pales in comparison to the total number of deaths from the misuse of automobiles. Yet, I don’t hear the Bob Costases of the world screaming for “automobile-control.” Come on, folks, get real! Plus, as Larry Pratt and others have already noted, firearms in the possession of American citizens are actually used to protect the lives of people some 4,000 to 6,000 times A DAY. When Costas said, “Handguns do not enhance our safety,” not only was he wrong, he was miserably wrong! Handguns DO enhance our safety–not to mention our liberty!
Look at the city of Chicago. More people have been murdered in the city of Chicago this year than soldiers killed in Afghanistan. One hundred and forty-four US troops have been killed in Afghanistan so far in 2012, while 228 people have been murdered so far in 2012 in The Windy City.
According to The Huffington Post, “The war zone-like statistics are not new. As WBEZ reports, while some 2,000 U.S. troops have been killed in Afghanistan since 2001, more than 5,000 people have been killed by gun fire in Chicago during that time, based on Department of Defense and FBI data.”
See the report at:
Yet, Chicago, Illinois, has some of the strictest gun-control laws in America. Then again, maybe that’s one of the reasons why so many people are killed in Chicago. The laws of this city forbid honest citizens from being armed and, thus, they are unable to defend themselves. Let the good guys start shooting back and one will see a dramatic lapse of courage among miscreants. Don’t believe that? Check out the violent crime rates in Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, or Vermont.
This modern infatuation with blaming inanimate objects for acts of immorality and impropriety is nothing short of epidemic! Of course, the reason for this madness is it facilitates the expansion of government into the minutest details of our lives. Big-Government zealots have an innate fear of power and responsibility resting in individuals. They see government as the only suitable source of power. To big-government toadies, individuals are merely the property of government. To them, government bureaucrats can do nothing wrong, while individual citizens can do nothing right. Hence, to big-government hacks, only government officials have the right to keep and bear arms.
The same reasoning applies to America’s so-called “War on Drugs.” Marijuana, especially, is blamed for all kinds of immoral and unsavory conduct, even though the overwhelming evidence simply does not support the accusation.
My youngest son, Timothy, is a former Florida Assistant State Attorney who is now in private practice. Regarding marijuana as being a source of criminal conduct, he wrote, “Drawing from my own personal experience, I see the absurdity of the ‘war on marijuana.’ During my time as a prosecutor at the Florida State Attorney’s Office from 2004 to 2006 where I handled literally thousands of criminal cases and tried nearly 60 jury trials, I was never impressed that marijuana was the cause of any criminal activity. Oh sure, possession of marijuana charges comprised a large number of my criminal cases; but the criminal act was merely the man-made law of possession of marijuana. In fact, most criminal activities were in large part caused by alcohol, where one who consumed too much alcohol became violent; beat his wife; neglected his children; drove drunk and hurt someone; caused a disturbance of the peace; or other similar evils.
“I saw those alcohol-related cases every day. Yet, I cannot say the same regarding marijuana. I would estimate that of the thousands of cases I handled, at least half (if not more) were a direct cause of alcohol consumption or addiction. Yet, alcohol is legal and marijuana is illegal.”
See Tim’s column at:
In fact, marijuana was not even considered harmful or illegal in the United States until 1937, as Tim pointed out in his column. Most people would probably be surprised to learn that four out of our first five presidents not only promoted the use of the hemp plant, but also grew it. Can one imagine putting George Washington or Thomas Jefferson in jail for growing what we now call marijuana? Egad!
The idea that the use of marijuana is harmful because “it leads to hard drugs” is tantamount to saying that beer is harmful because “it leads to hard liquor.” But it’s just not true! There are tens of millions of people who drink responsibly, or who use alcohol medicinally (as prescribed even by Holy Scripture), who never become alcoholics. Likewise, there are tens of millions of marijuana users who use it responsibly or medicinally, who never go on to use hard drugs or become drug addicts. And when it comes to addictions, Americans’ addiction to sugar and laziness kills far more people than those addicted to alcohol–or even tobacco for that matter.
But by making marijuana responsible for all kinds of untoward behavior, and by ignoring the personal accountability of people to behave responsibly, it has helped provide the justification for government to trample the Bill of Rights and create huge bureaucracies, which swell the size and scope of government–especially the federal government.
The same is true for firearms. By making guns responsible for all kinds of untoward behavior, and by ignoring the personal accountability of people to behave responsibly, it helps provide the justification for government to trample the Bill of Rights (in this case the Second Amendment) and create huge bureaucracies (the ATF among others), which swell the size and scope of government–especially the federal government.
Marijuana is a convenient scapegoat. Firearms are a convenient scapegoat. Automobiles, on the other hand, are not so convenient! Hence, we hear nothing from Bob Costas about the need for more “automobile-control.” Plus, amazingly enough, neither did Costas say a word about bringing back Prohibition! In Costas’ world, only guns are sufficiently evil enough to warrant his righteous indignation.
The tragedies in Kansas City and Dallas cause all people of good will to grieve. We grieve for the people involved; we grieve for the families of the victims; and we grieve for the NFL players, coaches, and management. But what we must not do is use these tragedies as an excuse to justify and condone the suppression of our God-given liberties! In addition, it’s past time for America, at every level, to start re-emphasizing the primacy of personal responsibility. That’s something that isn’t being taught much in our nation’s schools, churches, or even families.
But the promotion and expectation of personal responsibility is what made America great; and it’s also what provides our nation with its liberties. If men cannot be expected to be accountable for their conduct, they can hardly be expected to be accountable for their freedom. This is why inanimate objects are used as scapegoats by big-government toadies: it diminishes the virtue of individualism and extols the necessity of governmentism.
In Kansas City, the problem was not the gun; the problem was Belcher. And in Dallas, the problem was not the car–or even the booze–the problem was Brent. Straighten out the man and one will have no need to worry about the objects that are at his disposal.
Secession Movement Explodes: WhiteHouse ’Secede’ Petitions Reach 675,000 Signatures, 50-State Participation
Less than a week after a New Orleans suburbanite petitioned the White House to allow Louisiana to secede from the United States, petitions from seven states have collected enough signatures to trigger a promised review from the Obama administration.
By 6:00 a.m. EST Wednesday, more than 675,000 digital signatures appeared on 69 separate secession petitions covering all 50 states, according to a Daily Caller analysis of requests lodged with the White House’s “We the People” online petition system.
A petition from Vermont, where talk of secession is a regular feature of political life, was the final entry.
Petitions from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas residents have accrued at least 25,000 signatures, the number the Obama administration says it will reward with a staff review of online proposals. (RELATED: Will Texas secede? Petition triggers White House review)
The Texas petition leads all others by a wide margin. Shortly before 9:00 a.m. EST Wednesday, it had attracted 94,700 signatures. But a spokesperson for Gov. Rick Perry said Tuesday afternoon that he does not support the idea of his state striking out on its own.
MAP of U.S.States petitioning for secession:
The supreme illicit fraud of central banking embodied in the Federal Reserve, acts as a private piggybank for favored cartel thieves. The liquidity of unlimited credit transfers to banksters, especially at zero interest, financed by unimaginable new Treasury Bonds, indebting the American public; is a crime committed by outlaws. The significance of the evidence for the extent of the crony financial manipulations, that the controllers of international capital use to maintain their power strangle hold on humanity, needs to be fully exposed. Only when the beleaguered and downtrodden become sufficiently indignant to usury incarceration, will heads start to roll.
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders announces on his web site page, The Fed Audit.
“The first top-to-bottom audit of the Federal Reserve uncovered eye-popping new details about how the U.S. provided a whopping $16 trillion in secret loans to bail out American and foreign banks and businesses during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. An amendment by Sen. Bernie Sanders to the Wall Street reform law passed one year ago this week directed the Government Accountability Office to conduct the study. “As a result of this audit, we now know that the Federal Reserve provided more than $16 trillion in total financial assistance to some of the largest financial institutions and corporations in the United States and throughout the world,” said Sanders. “This is a clear case of socialism for the rich and rugged, you’re-on-your-own individualism for everyone else.”
Yes, you read that correct, 16 TRILLION DOLLARS. When originally disclosed, there was minimal outrage.
The United States Government Accountability Office report on the Federal Reserve Audit on page 203-204 reveals proof positive of the magnitude of the transfer of trillions in bailout credit to the money center international banks.
“The FOMC approved these swap line arrangements to help address challenges in the global market for interbank lending in U.S. dollars. Many foreign banks held U.S. dollar-denominated assets and faced challenges borrowing in dollars to fund these assets. In contrast to U.S. commercial banks, foreign banks did not hold significant U.S. dollar deposits, and as a result, dollar funding strains were particularly acute for many foreign banks. The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (Federal Reserve Board) staff memos recommending that the FOMC approve swap lines noted that continuing strains in dollar funding markets abroad could further exacerbate strains in U.S. funding markets. For example, foreign banks facing difficulties borrowing against U.S. dollar assets may have faced increased pressure to sell these assets at a time of stress, potentially putting downward pressure on prices for these assets. The dollar swap lines allowed foreign central banks to make dollar loans to banks in their jurisdictions without being forced to draw down dollar holdings of foreign exchange reserves or to acquire dollars directly in the foreign exchange market. An FRBNY staff paper noted that the dollar reserves of many foreign central banks at the start of the crisis were smaller than the amounts they borrowed under the swap lines and that efforts by foreign central banks to buy dollars in the market could have crowded out private transactions, making it more difficult for foreign banks to obtain dollars. This paper further noted that the Federal Reserve System (the Federal Reserve Board and Reserve Banks collectively) was in a unique position to provide dollars needed by foreign central banks to provide lender-of-last-resort liquidity to banks in their jurisdictions. The increase in reserves was offset through sales of Treasury securities and increasing incentives for depository institutions to hold excess reserves at FRBNY.”
The last statement regarding using Treasury securities to increase banking reserves admits that monetizing the balance sheet of the FED, to unheard of levels, continues unabated. The absence of mainstream media reports on this historic, more than doubling, of the officially disclosed debt is beyond belief. Now that the Federal Reserve openly acknowledges that, the privately held banking cabal is buying up Treasury Notes, because the marketplace has refused to accept and buy the excessive float of new Treasury obligations, should be the most sobering consequence of the greatest bubble of all time.
This off the books concealment reporting by the FED illustrates the importance of the audit.
Watch the video, REAL DEBT that provides a short analysis of the Fed audit.
The Wall Street Journal, in The Federal Reserve’s cult of secrecy is unmasked, reveals a disgusting culture of self-aggrandizement.
“The recent audit of the Federal Reserve by the Government Accountability Office is particularly disturbing if read alongside the last report to Congress by the Fed’s Inspector General.
The GAO audit found a huge number of serious conflicts of interest at the Fed. Employees and contractors were allowed to own stock in the companies receiving financial assistance from the central bank.”
The fact that the FED and their enablers in Congress prevented a complete and comprehensive forensic audit of the books of the “Jackals of Jekyll Island” indicates just how much is at stake.
None other than the formidable blog, The Economic Collapse, expresses the sentiment that most of us should share.
“Another mystery that I would like to see addressed is the trillions of dollars of “off balance sheet transactions” that are unaccounted for at the Federal Reserve. This was brought up once during a Congressional hearing, but nobody seemed to have any answers.”
The $9,000,000,000,000 MISSING From The Federal Reserve YouTube captures the absurdity of Congressional oversight. The financial community that created fractional reserve banking is in total control of the political election process. As long as there is no accountability and consequences for outright theft, the money magicians continue to operate their fraudulent scheme of deception as the cornerstone of international economic transactions.
The FED’s grip on the global moneychangers’ racket is based upon maintaining the U.S. Federal Reserve funny money, as the reserve currency for the planet. The value and worth of Treasury Bills and Bonds are on the path to have the value of Reichsbank marks. Recognize the enemy that is destroying the country and world economy.
Last weekend, the Chicago Police Department collaborated with over 20 local churches in a giant effort to encourage Chicagoans “to get guns out of their homes.” WBBM News Radio has the story. “Using the lure of $100 gift cards, the Chicago Police Department is encouraging people to get guns out of their homes and turn them in this Saturday, during the annual gun turn-in program.”
The news report goes on to say, “[T]he Police Department is partnering with 20 churches.
First Deputy Supt. Alfonza Wysinger says anyone who turns in a real gun will get a $100 gift card. Replicas and BB guns are worth $10.
“‘No questions asked,’ Wysinger said. ‘Just show up at the church, and hand over the weapons to the CPD officer that will be there, and get your $100 gift card. So we strongly suggest that people come out that have weapons lying around the house, or weapons, maybe, that they don’t necessarily want in their house. This is a chance to get some money for their weapon, and get another dangerous weapon on [sic] the street.’”
The report then lists 23 churches that are identified as participating in the gun turn-in event.
See the report at:
But I particularly enjoyed a few of the comments that readers posted to the online report:
One guy wrote, “Gun thieves will be lined up for blocks.”
Another wrote, “They can arrest you for having a gun outside of your house.”
And another person wrote, “[Criminals] are turning in the guns they used in multiple crimes because the stupid politicians will destroy them thus getting rid of the evidence…”
And perhaps my favorite comment on the story was this one: “WOW. BOTH police and CHURCHES turning traitor against the Constitution.”
Truthfully, think about the absurdity of this gun turn-in program. As one reader noted, think of the money gun thieves will make on this program. As any tenured lawman knows, most guns are stolen to resell in order to get the money to purchase drugs, booze, sex, etc. Some are used in crimes, sure. But most are used for the purpose of making a buck. Imagine a gun thief who has perhaps 50 or 60 stolen guns in his possession: that guy has just made a small fortune OFF THE TAXPAYERS. Remember, there are “no questions asked.” And since the cops in Chicago seem to be doing this annually, how many gun thieves are stealing guns all year long and just saving up for the big payout, or how many start a gun-stealing frenzy just before the anticipated gun turn-in program? $100 for a stolen gun is often a higher bid than what the thief would get on the street. What a deal!
And think of this angle: what better way to get some quick dough by selling a gun or two that is totally inoperable, and then taking the money and buying a gun that actually works? Again, what a deal!
And another reader nailed it when he observed that taking a firearm outside your home is a CRIME in Chicago. In fact, I am surprised to learn that people in Chicago can even legally have a gun in their homes. You cannot legally carry a firearm in Chicago. So, the CPD is encouraging people to BREAK THE LAW. I can just imagine people all over Chicago caught carrying guns and telling the arresting officer, “I was going to take it to the gun turn-in program.” And you know what the cop would say, right? “Tell it to the judge.”
This brings up another point: why is there so much gun-related crime in Chicago, anyway? After all, Chicago has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the entire country. GUNS ARE ILLEGAL IN CHICAGO! So, pray tell, where is all of this gun-related crime coming from? I thought that passing laws restricting the ownership and possession of firearms was supposed to reduce crime? If that is truly the case, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and New York City, etc., should be the most peaceful places on earth! Of course, the truth is if you want to find peaceful communities, go to states such as Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, and Vermont where just about everybody is packin’ heat!
Plus, the point that another reader made about criminals turning in the guns with which they have committed crimes and thereby letting the authorities destroy those firearms–thus destroying the evidence–is a very astute observation. Way to go CPD!
But the icing on the cake for me is the point that one reader made when he said, “WOW. BOTH police and CHURCHES turning traitor against the Constitution.” Bingo!
Another reader was even more direct. He said, “The government and so called churches will be the downfall of this great country’s Constitution.” Amen!
It grieves me to say that a sizeable percentage (if not a majority) of today’s churches are as culpable in the dismantling of our Constitution and Bill of Rights as any entity one can think of. So many pastors and churches today are unwilling to take a stand against almost ANYTHING that might have political overtones. I doubt that most of them would say “Boo” to the devil himself–especially if he came dressed in a government uniform. They are all about making people feel good, entertaining people, and stroking people’s egos.
In fact, let me ask my church-going readers to try an experiment. The next time you go to church, ask your pastor where he or she stands on the Second Amendment. Ask them, “Would our church participate in a police-sponsored gun turn-in program?” Ask them, “If the President declared a ‘national emergency,’ and FEMA (or any federal or State agency) asks you to ask your congregation to turn in their firearms, would you agree to do so?” Go ahead: ask them! Then observe their reaction very carefully.
You can count on this: virtually no pastor whose church is receiving federal “faith based initiative” taxpayer monies would take a public stand for the Second Amendment under those conditions. Count on it. So maybe you should also ask your pastor if your church is receiving federal “faith based initiative” monies. All over America, literally thousands of churches are accepting federal tax dollars to help support their daycare centers, their after-school programs, their “Christian” schools, their food banks, etc.
Contrast today’s churches to those of Colonial America. In those days, gun racks for the rifles that had been brought to church were as common as coat racks. In fact, many times, the church basement or back room was used as a place in which caches of firearms were commonly stored.
I realize the times in which we live do not remotely resemble those of Colonial America, but the spirit and attitudes of the pastors and men of the church should still be the same: that freedom is fragile and that firearms are “the people’s liberty teeth” (George Washington), that, “An armed society is a polite society” (Robert Heinlein), and, “No freeman shall ever be debarred the use of arms” (Thomas Jefferson).
And while these milquetoast preachers are preparing their sermonettes, they should read what the Lord Jesus said: “He that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.” (Luke 22:36) Of course, the Roman sword was the First Century equivalent to a Twenty-First Century handgun: it was the weapon of choice for personal, close quarter combat. In today’s parlance, Jesus said if you don’t have the money, sell your clothes if you have to, and buy a GUN! That’s a far cry from churches in Chicago asking people to give up their guns, isn’t it?
I don’t know about anyone else, but I will take the word of Jesus over the word of Barack Obama and his Chicago Gestapo any day!
Stroller-pushing mothers delivered nearly a million signatures in Sacramento on Wednesday, for an initiative to put to populist vote The California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act.
The ten-week signature drive collected nearly double the amount needed to put the R2K Act on the November 6, 2012 ballot.
The state will take between five and seven weeks to validate the signatures, and then certify the results. Of the 555,236 needed, thousands of volunteers collected 971,126, just shy of the hoped-for million.
“In ten weeks, nearly a million registered voters signed the ballot initiative,” said Pamm Larry, who single-handedly started the drive on January 20, 2011. “Even biotech engineers gathered signatures for us.” Having founded LabelGMOs.org, Larry then coordinated with other pro-labeling civic groups across the state and nation.
Victory celebrations were held in Sacramento, San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego today, reported CA Right to Know in a press conference.
If voters approve the measure this fall, beginning July 1, 2014, food makers will be required to label those products that contain genetically modified ingredients.
Significantly, the “natural” term can no longer be used if the product contains GMOs.
There are several exemptions, including GMO-fed and GMO-drugged animals, as well as any raw ag product that was unintentionally contaminated with GMOs. Suppliers and producers may be asked to provide a sworn statement that as far as they know, the food is GE-free.
According to the Act, anyone relying on those sworn statements is off the hook legally if the product turns out to have GMOs.
There is a requirement in the Act that grocery store bins or shelves must also be GE-labeled if any unlabeled raw agricultural GE products (like GE corn) are sold. But there’s no liability to the store owner if the supplier provides a sworn statement that the food is GE-free when it’s not.
Given the biotech industry’s penchant for hyperbole (relating to yield, cost and pesticide use), it’s no surprise tohear them declare the Act will cause food prices to spike.
But, as one of the organizers says, “They have 18 months after the election to change their labels, something that is frequently done in the food industry.” Gary Hirshberg, chairman of Stonyfield which has been organic-certified for 20 years, added, “All they have to do is add some ink.”
Several large organizations opposing the measure have organized behind Stop Costly Food Labeling (SCFL), including the Grocery Manufacturers Assn., the Council for Biotechnology Information, the CA Farm Bureau Federation, and, you guessed it, the Chamber of Commerce.
Another lie right out of their lying mouths is that the R2K Act will require, “prohibiting processed foods from being labeled as natural, even if they contain no GE ingredients.”
No such language exists in the eight-page Act.
Not only that, but there’s still a whole lot of wiggle room for GE-contaminated foods. See pages 4-6 for the list of exemptions, like this one:
“Until July 1, 2019, any processed food that would be subject to section 110809 solely because it includes one or more genetically engineered ingredients, provided that: (i) no single such ingredient accounts for more than one-half of one percent of the total weight of such processed food; and (ii) the processed food does not contain more than ten such ingredients.” §110809.2(e)
This means that food can have up to 5% genetically modified organisms by weight (and up to ten of the little buggers) and remain free of the GE label. Looks like biotech scored big on that exemption. GE-free should be GE-free.
Fundraising to Counter Biotech Lies
Both sides will engage in a media spectacle aimed at swaying voters, using TV and print to promote their positions. If their April 26 press release is any indication, the biotech sector of Big Ag and its supply chain plans to drive a wedge between small operators and consumers who want to know what’s in their food. “It’ll put you out of business!” screams the upcoming headline.
Heaven forbid. Requiring food labels is akin to truth in advertising. Big Pharma certainly hasn’t disappeared because they can’t keep nasty side effects a secret.
Grocery stores have nothing to fear, despite the SCFL’s spin that “right to know” means “right to sue.” Whining they’ll have to follow what’s done in 40 other countries, adding a little ink to food labels in the biggest agriculture state in the US won’t put anyone out of business.
We’re gonna be inundated with a barrage of lies to the point we’ll stand in muted awe at the audacity. Kinda like the informed’s reaction when Condi Rice objected to her “integrity” being impugned after she promoted the wild WMDs lie.
But now is not the time for muted silence. And the media campaign to support California’s initiative must be funded, nationally, says Dr. Mercola, who runs the biggest natural, homeopathic website in the world.
He’s teamed up with several groups including Organic Consumers Assn. and Food Democracy Now! to launch a major fundraising campaign for the upcoming battle of words, explained OCA spokesperson, Katherine Paul, in an email to Food Freedom. “But all of the funds will be turned over to the CARighttoKnow campaign to use for media consultants, advertising, and legal help,” she advised.
“Between May 1 and May 26, a broad coalition of food, farming, health groups, and organic food manufacturers, will attempt to raise one million dollars to defeat Monsanto propaganda and get the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act on the ballot for November 6, and passed into law. Money raised in this Million Dollar Money Bomb on Monsanto campaign will support the California Ballot Initiative and other state GE-labeling campaigns. If donations totaling $1 million is reached by May 26, a coalition of benefactors will MATCH it, bringing the Money Bomb to $2 million!”
According to the opposition, Mercola has already put up $800,000 of his own money. The busy man didn’t get back to me as to whether this is actually true, but it smells right that he’d want to back his own horse.
“We can’t leave California to battle the biotech giants on their own,” he says. “They need your help! Donating funds to this campaign may be the best money you’ll spend all year to safeguard your health, and the health of your children.”
This is all great news… and no one doubts California’s R2K GE Food Act will be on the ballot on November 6, 2012.
Which brings us to the ballot… cast on electronic voting systems that studies funded by Secretary of State Debra Bowen proved are not secure from hack. (See, e.g., here and here.) Other studies by different states and universities and privately-hired tech firms agreed, but Bowen and her Sec-State peers across the nation all bought those expensive, hackable machines anyway.
Even so, since over 90% of US eaters want their food labeled, the vote result is a foregone conclusion. And, what’s done in the biggest Ag state in the union is sure to be followed in at least some of the 20-some states that allow an initiative process – a tool used by citizens to adopt laws and constitutional amendments without the support of the Governor or the Legislature.
Vermont, another state now undergoing an agricultural renaissance, does not have this freedom, so the GMO-food label bill passed by the legislature will not be enacted, as Governor Shumlin has advised he will veto it. We reported on this in the last half of this news video on Monday.
Robyn O’Brien of Allergy Kids Foundation says:
“My youngest daughter’s face began to swell shut at breakfast one day – and I had no idea why. We were only eating waffles, scrambled eggs, and tubes of blue yogurt…so what was happening to her? Before my daughter had a violent allergic reaction that morning, I honestly hadn’t given a lot of thought to what I fed my kids. I mean, if it was on grocery store shelves, it was all the same, right?But since then, like so many moms, I learned that there are all kinds of new ingredients in our foods that weren’t in what we ate as kids. That’s why we need labels.”
Just Label It is working on the FDA for a national directive requiring GMO-food labels, and sent their congrats to California. They’re still collecting petition signatures until May 13, and have produced this quick little video by Robert Kenner, director of Food, Inc.
But California may beat FDA to the punch, and its Right to Know Act will impact food labeling across the nation. This is the big one from which the biotech-feds’ House of Secrecy begins to crumble. All those who support GMO-food labeling are going to have to drop a bomb of money on them to counter the war chest of the biotech industry.
After failing to get COICA (Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act) passed in 2010, he is back again this year with PIPA. Do not forget PIPA is the son of COICA. Back then (2010) while the Vermont ACLU was nominating Senator Patrick Leahy as the Civil Libertarian of the Year, the national ACLU office was writing him a letter in opposition to COICA legislation. Senator Wyden from Oregon subsequently tabled it.
These guys really love their acronyms. This ridiculous name – PIPA – or PROTECT IP stands for Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and the Theft of Intellectual Property. This should have been our first clue that this is yet another attempt to disguise the truth and put more profits into the coffers of multibillion dollar conglomerates while eliminating infringing sites. As Homeland Security is enhancing the profits of the Military Industrial Complex under the guise of security, PIPA is enhancing the profits of multibillion dollar corporations in the music, film and pharmaceutical industries in the name of copyright infringement. Guess what industry benefits primary from this legislation and then guess which industry has been a principle contributor to Leahy election efforts. Surprise surprise…..
But the public has begun to catch on. OWS (Occupy Wall Street) efforts and the Internet are raising the consciousness of voters. The public is becoming painfully aware about how politics is run in Washington and PIPA is a perfect illustration of this process. It is entirely about the control of the politicians through legal bribery and the control of the public through a corporately owned and operated mainstream media. So what if PIPA supports no real due process?
So what if thousands of innocent and tiny websites get victimized and shut down without the opportunity to address their accuser before action is taken?
So what if all accusers are to be held harmless for any false accusations that they may make?
So what if legitimate copyright infringers are victimized by this legislation?
So what if the door is now opened to more aggressive censorship and the compromise of free speech?
It is the price we must pay to get billions more into the hands of these billion dollar industries and to silence sites attempting to inform the public through the works of others.
Does the Patriot Act ring a bell? Without a doubt, this bill represents the most fundamental attack on our constitution ever waged. It was first launched by a Republican and then reauthorized WITHOUT CHANGE by a Democrat. Money, greed and legal bribery control both sides of the isle and PIPA is just another manifestation of business as usual in Washington. Money pulls the strings and the political puppets then dance. Senator Leahy is no different than any other politician in Washington. Currently it is the only way to get reelected. Those in office (the incumbents) have all the money and if they play ball with their primary contributors they are allowed to stay in office and become very rich.
Maybe Leahy can pull off a Chris Dodd special. By anyone’s measure this former Senator was one of the most legally corrupt politicians in Washington and now he resides over the Motion Picture Association to the tune of over $1 million a year. Perhaps Senator Leahy can do several dances before he leaves office and secure a fat private sector job when he retires.
This is about big money going to big business – not to the people. The people are always second-class citizens to them, and rather than point this out to the public, mainstream media perpetuates it.
Part of copyright law and conspicuously absent from all copyright infringing legislation (PIPA, SOPA and now OPEN) and almost every news outlet is a thing called Fair Use. It is section 107 of title 17 of the copyright law. It generally says for the purpose of commentary, criticism, news reporting, research, teaching, library archival, scholarship and the manifestation of new information, it is perfectly legal to use the works of others (copyright infringement) without their permission.
Think about this for a moment. What invention was not created by standing on the shoulders of previous inventors? What documentarian can describe the past without using the past to illustrate his works? What political satirist can criticize the hypocrisy of Washington without exposing previous statements and previous actions in film as recorded by others?
Copyright law embraced a key concept when it was established and one that has been absent for quite some time. There is supposed to be a balance between the protection of intellectual property and the public’s right to know. It is called Fair Use and it is part of copyright law.
Further, new copyright infringement laws are not absolutely needed to prosecute these bad boys. Megaupload.com was recently shut down without using new copyright infringement laws to accomplish such. Do not be fooled, Fair Use is not mentioned in any of these pieces of legislation for a reason. Go after the bad guys yes. Prosecute the criminals who copy and sell unaltered and fully intact music, film and drugs, but do not trample the rights of legitimate infringers who want to do nothing more than inform an uninformed public.
Want to put this matter to bed? See how many senators will sponsor a facsimile of the words below into PIPA, SOPA and now OPEN.
“This legislation is directed at all websites engaged in the sale and distribution of unaltered music, movies and drugs and as protected by U.S. trademark and copyright law.
This legislation is not about copyright infringement as it applies to thousands of bloggers,documentarians, political satirists, re-mixers, librarians, scholars and teachers who in the course of their work often use segments from another for archival purposes, to illustrate a point, to initiate a discussion or a criticism or bring new issues to light. This constitutes a fair use of copyright law and is fundamental to free speech and the constitution and will be protected at all costs.”
Unfortunately these bills and these efforts are far from dead. A brief pause has been taken and now a new one OPEN (Online Protect and Enforcement of Digital Trade Act) has recently been introduced. Free speech on the Internet is just too significant a Congressional indictment to leave alone. The more we know the more obvious those responsible will become.
Fair Use allows little guys to attempt to do for almost nothing what a corporately owned and controlled Mainstream Media has failed to do with billions. My words, my film and my site are a mosaic of other peoples work. I qualify as an infringing site. Will my work someday be under attack? Will my little squeak be silenced?
I do not possess the resources to battle the DOJ and their corporate sponsors and there are thousands more much more qualified than I trying to point out the rampant injustices that are sweeping this country. Bloggers, writers and filmmakers often use the works of others to illustrate their points. Be extremely leery of any legislation that attempts to regulate the Internet. It is the last bastion of free speech on the planet and it is definitely under attack, especially by those very forces who proclaim their innocence the loudest.
Thyroid cancer cases have more than doubled since 1997 in the U.S., while deadly industrial practices that contaminate groundwater with radiation and other carcinogens are also rising.
New information released by the U.S. National Cancer Institute (NCI) estimates that 56,460 people will develop thyroid cancer in 2012 and 1,780 will die from it.
That’s up from 16,000 thyroid cancer cases in 1997 – a whopping 253% increase in fifteen years, while the US population went up only 18%.
From 1980 to 1996, thyroid cancer increased nearly 300%, while the population increased by (again) 18%.
Most thyroid cancers don’t develop for 10-30 years after radiation exposure, but the monstrous spike in thyroid cancer from 1980-2012 is only partly the result of Pennsylvania’s Three Mile Island nuclear accident in 1979 (TMI).
Pennsylvania, with its nine nuclear reactors, does have the highest incidence of thyroid cancer across nearly all demographics among 45* states, reports epidemiologist Joseph Mangano, MPH MBA, of the Radiation and Public Health Project. In 2009, he analyzed data from the Centers for Disease Control’s national survey of thyroid cancer incidence for the years 2001-2005 and compared it with proximity to nuclear power stations, finding:
“[M]ost U.S. counties with the highest thyroid cancer incidence are in a contiguous area of eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and southern New York. Exposure to radioactive iodine emissions from 16 nuclear power reactors within a 90 mile radius in this area … are likely a cause of rising incidence rates.”
TMI also can’t explain why the thyroid cancer rate for the four counties flanking Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant in New York was 66% above the national rate in 2001-2005.
Other, more subtle sources may also be contributing to hiked thyroid cancer rates, like leaking nuclear power plants and hydraulic fracturing, both of which contaminate air, soil and groundwater with radiation and other nasty chemicals.
Indeed, remarking on this, Mangano (who recently co-authored a controversial study with toxicologist Janette Sherman suggesting a link between Fukushima fallout and US cancer deaths numbering from 14,000 to 20,000) said:
“From 1970-1993, Indian Point released 17.50 curies of airborne I-131 and particulates…. [That] amount exceeded the official total of 14.20 curies released from the 1979 Three Mile Island accident. In 2007, officials that operate the Indian Point plant reported levels of I-131 in the local air, water, and milk, each of which is a potential vector for ingestion.”
Iodine-131, or I-131, is a radioactive isotope produced by nuclear fission.
Fracking a ‘Dirty Bomb’
Radiation isn’t released into the environment only via nuclear plants and bombs. Geologist Tracy Bank found that fracking mobilizes rock-bound uranium, posing a further radiation risk to our groundwater. She presented her findings at the American Geological Society meeting in Denver last November.
Because of some 65 hazardous chemicals used in fracking operations, former industry insider, James Northrup, calls it a “dirty bomb.” With 30 years of experience as an independent oil and gas producer, he explains:
“The volume of fluid in a hydrofrack can exceed three million gallons, or almost 24 million pounds of fluid, about the same weight as 7,500 automobiles. The fracking fluid contains chemicals that would be illegal to use in warfare under the rules of the Geneva Convention. This all adds up to a massive explosion of a ‘dirty bomb’ underground.”
What’s underground seeps into our groundwater.
Thomas House and his wife have become ill since New Dominion, LLC began drilling for oil and gas behind their home in Wellston, Oklahoma. He’s tested the water for barium and strontium, and indoor air quality for BTEX (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylenes and styrenes).
Though none of the levels exceed EPA standards, he insists the drilling operations are causing their illness.
“We have been getting sick from headaches, nose bleeds, rashes, vomiting, burning eyes, and breathing problems for the last year,” he told me.
House is reliant on the Veterans Administration for health care, but it refuses to test him for BTEX poisoning.
Radioactive Drinking Water
Though scientists have associated thyroid cancer with water supplies contaminated by nitrates (another knock against industrial agriculture), it is usually indicative of radiation poisoning, as the thyroid sucks up iodine – radioactive or not. Those with not enough iodine in their diets are more susceptible to absorbing I-131.
NCI says that the main sources of radiation exposure are X-rays, nuclear fallout and radiated food and drinking water. The Centers for Disease Control reports that women are three times more susceptible to thyroid cancer than men, with white women being most susceptible. Rather than noticing any symptoms, most often, they discover a lump on their neck.
The good news is that 95 percent of thyroid cancer is successfully treated.
The bad news is that radiation exposure is also coming from our food and water supply.
For over a year, a Houston news station has been reporting on a governmental cover-up of radiation in drinking water. KHOU says that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality under-reported radioactive contaminants in drinking water for over 20 years.
But not just Texas authorities, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has also low-balled radiation stats by simply not looking for specific radioactive elements, which can be more common and more dangerous than, say, Strontium-90.
Eventually, Texas shut-down two of Houston’s water wells shown to be radioactive.
From an investigative series by the Associated Press last year, we learned that 75 percent of US nuclear power plants leak radioactive materials. Documents from 48 of 65 commercial nuclear power sites showed that radioactive tritium leaked – often into groundwater – in concentrations exceeding the federal drinking water standard, and sometimes at hundreds of times the limit.
Nukes, Fracking and Earthquakes
The global fallout from Fukushima’s nuclear meltdown means our food and water absorbed radioactive fallout. But, we also see an increasing number of earthquakes from fracking operations that further threaten nuclear plants, which are old, leaking and “brittle” (AP’s word).
Information compiled by Treehugger last year showed that of the 104 commercial nuclear power plants and 34 nuclear research stations, many sit in seismically active locations.
Though earthquake risk in Texas is considered very low, last October, Atascosa County saw a rare 4.8 magnitude quake centered 130 miles from the South Texas Project nuclear power plant. The temblor originated in Fashing Field, a highly productive oil and gas field. One company, Momentum Oil and Gas, is producing 3.8 million cubic feet of gas per day from the field.
Many states that normally had very low seismicity have seen an incredible upswing in earthquake frequency with the advent of hydraulic fracturing, which the feds have long known about. As far back as 1966, federal authorities suspected the fracking-earthquake link so strongly that they shut down Rocky Mountain Arsenal’s 12,000-foot injection well after several quakes rattled Denver.
In 1981, researchers suggested that mobile pressure dynamics could explain epicenters some ways distant from such wells.
Ohio recently shut down two fracking waste injection wells after a New Year’s Eve earthquake, and in 2010 New York imposed a statewide moratorium. Ohio has two nuclear power plants (both on Lake Erie) and New York has five, operating six reactors.
Ohio’s 5.0 earthquake on January 31, 1986 that rocked eleven states and Ontario, Canada was centered 11 miles south of the Perry Nuclear Plant. Researchers suggested the quake was induced by fracking, writing in 1988:
“Three deep waste disposal wells are currently operating within 15 km of the epicentral region and have been responsible for the injection of nearly 1.2 billion liters of fluid at pressures reaching 112 bars above ambient at a nominal depth of 1.8 km. Estimates of stress inferred from commercial hydrofracturing measurements suggest that the state of stress in northeastern Ohio is close to the theoretical threshold for failure along favorably oriented, preexisting fractures.”
Not only preexisting fractures, but new ones created by the massive surge in earthquake swarms also present a risk. As modern horizontal fracturing techniques are employed, earthquake frequency goes up.
From 1900-1970, Arkansas experienced 60 earthquakes. After fracking operations picked up in the mid-1970s, that number jumped exponentially. Per the Advanced National Seismic System, in 2010 alone, Arkansas felt over 700 earthquakes; in 2011, it endured over 800.
The number of quakes in 2010 and ’11 represents a 2,400% increase over the number of quakes in the first 70 years of the 20th century, before horizontal fracking began. With that spike in frequency, is it any wonder that a new faulthas opened up in Arkansas? Geologists say the new fault shows a history of 7+ magnitude earthquakes.
Though the 2001-2005 thyroid incidence data reveals that Arkansas has the lowest incidence of thyroid cancer of all 45 states surveyed, that may change should the new fault become seismically active and damage the state’s two 40-year-old nuclear reactors.
Of note, Arkansas’ nuclear reactors are run by Entergy, which operates eleven others including 40-year-old Vermont Yankee (strontium-90 found in nearby fish last August) and New York’s nearly 40-year-old Indian Point (failed inspection and sought over 100 safety exemptions last year).
Pennsylvania is another strong fracking state, vulnerable to earthquakes originating within or outside its borders. It also houses nine nuclear reactors at five locations. A swarm of small earthquakes occurred near Dillsburg from 2008 until early 2011, reports the state’s Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources.
Dillsburg is 16 miles from Three Mile Island, which still operates one nuclear reactor.
Last August, most of the east coast felt a 5.8 magnitude quake whose epicenter is just 11 miles from two reactors at the North Anna nuclear power plant in Virginia. Both 30-year-old reactors had to be shut down. RT reports:
“The odds of a quake exceeding a magnitude of 5.5 occurring in central Virginia are so slim that Dominion Power determined only around six quakes of that size would occur in the area over the next 10,000 years.”
Protect Your Water Supply
Radioactive particles damage bones, DNA and tissue, including the thyroid. Water softeners, ion exchange, carbon filters or reverse osmosis water-treatment systems can be installed in the home to reduce concentration levels. The National Sanitation Foundation certifies various products for efficacy in reducing or eliminating particular contaminants.
To reduce or eliminate radiation from food and water, see this compilation of articles recommending various techniques, including washing your vegetables in bentonite clay.
A more proactive way to protect the water supply is to decommission nuclear power plants and ban hydraulic fracturing, lest your hometown ranks among the 10 Most Radioactive Places on Earth.
*When the CDC surveyed states for thyroid cancer in its landmark 2001-2005 study, it neglected to publish data for Maryland, Mississippi, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
Need a last minute gift for your beloved locavore? Several books would make excellent holiday gifts, so this review covers a few of them on the environment, as it relates to local food sovereignty, food security and palate delight. There’s even one for kids, which starts the set:
Avatars of Gaia: Escape from Hazard Hollow
Professor Heart (self-published: 2009, 210 pp.)
Charlotte Purin of Los Angeles decided one of the best ways to save Mother Earth is to get kids involved. So she wrote Avatars of Gaia: Escape from Hazard Hollow for preteens. The tale educates as it entertains, integrating the concepts of sustainability, healthy-eating, and environmental consciousness into a fantasy adventure story.
Because she also wants reach all kids, regardless of financial background, she’s made several youtube videos, (seed saving, read the label/obesity, how to recycle & compost, how to make a solar oven, and one about saving frogs). Colorful, full-page drawings accompany the text, and the book includes a special seed protection pledge, along with a glossary. She also has board games: the E.A.K. (environmentally aware kid) game, and ‘Gimme Green Grub’ game, about what’s healthy food.
Motivated by the privatization of water and seeds, an epidemic of childhood obesity, and rising bankruptcies among farmers, she plans several more books along the Gaia line, getting feedback as she tours schools, appearing as Professor Heart.
Life Rules: Why so much is going wrong everywhere at once and how Life teaches us to fix it
Ellen LaConte (self-published: 2010, 283 pp.)
LaConte provides a fresh take on ecosystem collapse, hierarchical culture, and the global capitalist industrial economy, analogizing them with AIDS. By following the evolution of life, LaConte shows how human “civilization” will always self-destruct, because it thrives on dominance and environmental exploitation. She provides a detailed comparison of nature to human societies, pointing out that in mature ecosystems there is no dominant species – everything is in balance.
She also contrasts her vision of a sustainable society with “civilization” that thrives on exploitation, domination and wealth concentration. Citing Derrick Jensen (Endgame) and Michael Ruppert (Confronting Collapse), she agrees that Power won’t voluntarily change, pointing out that the World Trade Organization has never once decided in favor of the environment. “The best we’ve done,” she writes, “is to flatten they pyramid” of power. Now is the time to challenge its existence, she says.
More than a third of the book lays out the plan for moving into sustainable human societies. All of the ideas are already being tried somewhere – like permaculture, slow money, slow food, and local organic democracy – going from competition and partisanship to participation and partnership. And this section is what makes the book ideal: all the best ideas are collected, and all of them are underscored by her theme of humanity living in accord with natural law, or Life Rules.
Here’s another delightful read in the eco-genre, although the serious business of climate change – wrought via whatever means – forms the basis for their culinary ecotours spanning the Western Hemisphere. A chef, a chili agroecologist and an ethnobotanist traveled to Mexico, Florida, Cajun Country, the Yucatan, New Mexico and even New England talking with chili pepper farmers about the history of their crops, the weather and the development of “rapid adaptation” farming.
The authors report that aberrant weather is only one problem threatening the diversity of peppers (and all foods): water disputes, agricultural industrialization, globalization, loss of farmland and of specialty markets, and genetic modification. “The Seed Savers Exchange has documented that more than 200 varieties of sweet and hot peppers have disappeared from the seed trade in North America since 1981.”
Interspersed throughout the story of how an unstable climate affects these crops – sometimes beneficially, sometimes disastrously – are recipes that include one variety or another, along with side boxes with detailed info. One helpful tip – to cool down your mouth if your pepper (or Tabasco sauce) is too hot, ingest something fatty instead of drinking water, since capsaicin – the heat molecule – is hydrophobic. A glass of milk will bind the hot stuff, taking away its burn. Many believe the chemical also provides arthritic pain relief.
The Superfood Gardener: A step-by-step guide to growing superfood vegetables in your garden
Sharon and Andrew Cooper
(Global Publishing Group, 2010, 161 pp.)
While not everyone can grow chili peppers,Superfood Gardener provides detailed instructions on growing local food. Replete with pictures, drawings and detailed descriptions of plants and their pests, the Coopers also explore soils and companion plants, along with twelve specific veggies in the superfood Hall of Fame.
This is a book you haul out to the garden, and it’s built for durability. Thank goodness – mine is well thumbed and smudged with South Florida soil. I highly recommend this colorful how-to manual. Not all those superfoods can be grown here, but I’m making my way with spinach, broccoli, corn, and several varieties of tomato.
(Not on the superfood list, I still can’t get the tobacco to grow, and the watermelons failed. But we’re not giving up.)
Now that you’ve raised your own veggies – be they superfoods or not – you’ll want to prepare them using recipes in Cooking Close to Home. This is a beautiful hardcover recipe book focused on the Northeast U.S., covering all the seasons for each of the major food groups, including pastries and other sweets. It’s even got a recipe for pickling jalapeno peppers, or you can use them in the rib-eye steak marinade.
I’ve tried the Kale and Mushroom Soup, and the Garlic-Roasted Cherry Tomatoes with Fresh Basil and Goat Cheese, over pasta. Delish. My next endeavor will be the Vermont Vegetable New Year Rolls which I’m serving at the the family gathering this Sunday.
Imrie and Jarmusz introduce the sections with political tidbits to encourage supporting local farms, slow food and eco-consciousness. This is an excellent addition to any locavore’s cookbook shelf.