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Are You Ready For Change

April 5, 2014 by · 2 Comments 

It Must Start With You…

Wisconsin Representative Jim Sensenbrenner is chairman of a committee that is attempting to reform our federal legal codes.  They state the problem this way:  “The United States Code currently contains some 4,500 federal crimes.  Recent studies estimate that approximately 60 new federal crimes are enacted each year, and over the past three decades, Congress has averaged 500 new crimes per decade.  In addition to the statutory criminal offenses, there are thousands of federal regulations that, if violated, can also result in criminal liability.  Some of these new statutes have been accompanied by hundreds of thousands of implementing regulations – studies put the number at more than 300,000 – many of which, if violated, can also result in criminal liability.”

A Florida court just sentenced a man to life in prison for a second offense of molesting a teen age girl.  Mandatory sentencing puts people in jail for twenty-five years for selling a marijuana cigarette to a friend.  Older teen agers who engage in sex play with teens under 16 are put on the Sex Offenders list and treated the way Lepers were during Biblical times.  Murderers often plea bargain for sentences less than those of sex offenders.   Our laws and our courts are in serious disarray.

A sixteen year old male who touches a fourteen year old female in the wrong place can be sentenced to a long prison term and placed on the dreaded sex offenders list for life. But two same sex homosexual seventeen year olds can engage in sodomy and more with impunity.  Human law quickly deteriorates into the unjust, anarchic, and often opposed opinions of those who code it.

We have allowed pornographers free reign while pushing mothers from the home and into the workplace leaving children at the mercy of lust filled citizens.  This has happened while our pulpits have provided us with expository preaching, music and praise. Though there is nothing wrong with expository preaching, music, and praise, but when the church is burning down sanity would attempt to put out the fine.

Our government through assassinations, destabilizations, and invasions has achieved hegemony over most of the nations of the world and has now successfully propagandized the them into believing the Russians have unilaterally invaded the Ukraine when the truth is that U. S. meddling created the situation.

We have allowed the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus, The Christ, to be eradicated from the public square because it is offensive to a small but powerful part of our population.  We have even gone so far as to claim we have a Judeo-Christian heritable when Judaism is the antithesis of Christianity; Islamic theology and Sharia law is actually closer to true Biblical doctrine than Judaism.

It is astounding that we still think we live in a free nation when obscure Federal legal standards are accompanied by state and local mandates that are not only despotic but far too numerous to be known and obeyed.

We have three different policing organizations in our state: local police, sheriff’s deputies, and state police.  When any law enforcement officer becomes involved with citizens some law is always violated and someone is sent to jail.  United States has a larger percentage of its citizens incarcerated than any other nation in the world.  Policemen use no discernment in the execution of their duties; instead they seek violations and then use their superior knowledge of the law to make arrests.

Justice is not an objective at either the arrest level or in the courts.

Though the death of policeman during performance of his duty receives a thousand times more attention than the death of a citizen who pays his salary; law enforcers are still losing respect.  This week in our town an 18 year old who violated probation and was living with his girl-friend in a mobile home was arrested by a swat team of 20 or more heavily armed officers accompanied by a bullet proof armored vehicle.  The excessive use of force is meant to scare the public into submission. In Virginia a young woman is suing the State for $40 million for a needless, vindictive arrest.

In a nearby town, a young policeman was shot by a teen age couple who following the incident both committed suicide. Suicide is becoming more and more common as law enforcers lose respect by flaunting power, making needless arrests and brutally treating citizens.

Were you aware, gentle reader, that it is legal for law enforcement officers to lie to you but it is illegal for you to lie to the police or to federal agents? Law enforcement may provide a measure of safety but it is too often a danger.   The deck is stacked and we are the mark!

Whenever a policeman is killed in the line of duty a massive propaganda campaign surrounds his funeral.  In spite of this effort the public is becoming wary.

Much of the disrespect for authority is a result of the state’s lack of moral standards.

We often think and write as if it is the responsibility of citizens to thwart the progress of the police state. Our thoughts center on the culpability of the pharisaical elite with little regard for our own responsibility.  We worship a sovereign God who created us and the universe in which we live; He is in control of what happens in His creation.  Our efforts to stem the tide of tyranny have been useless.

Confusion is a result of disobedience and the United States of America is overflowing with confusion.  Human reason buttressed with the cancer of diverse opinion has brought us to a place where cognitive dissonance is more common than logical order.  We live in a sea of lies, in a time when reality is obscure and fantasy prominent.

Libertarianism is popular with many who love liberty.  It is also popular with the one world order crowd.  Both deride national borders and are willing to see our land polluted by abominable behavior.

For decades Christians have been seeking remedial action through a debauched, imperialistic, fascist state.  The state will not reform until we reform!  If you, gentle reader, think that stoning a woman for adultery is worse than killed a hundred thousand with bombs, missiles, and contrived revolutions you are part of the problem.  We are created beings, our opinions must derive from the mandates of the One True Sovereign God; when they don’t we sin and suffer the confusion and tyranny that results.

When we ignore God and His Law we put ourselves in a position we were not created to fulfil.  We cannot play God.  We are unable to create a righteous legal system.  When a society allows its legal system to deteriorate to the condition the Sensenbrenner Committee is addressing that society is in serious trouble.  The Committee may remove some archaic laws from the code but result will be ineffective.  Man was created to live under God’s legal system and his efforts to construct his own system will come to naught.

Chris Hedges is at best a heretical Christian.  His father was a Reformed Pastor who apparently allowed his strong intellect to overcome the Truth.  Nevertheless, Hedges is confronting our mendacious era with the truth that every Christian pastor is sinfully omitting.  Take time to listen here.


Al Cronkrite is a writer living in Florida, reach him at: trueword13@yahoo.com

Visit his website at:http://www.verigospel.com/

Al Cronkrite is a regular columnist for Veracity Voice

Medicare Madness – How Americans Can Lose Benefits In A Hospital

March 14, 2014 by · 1 Comment 

Tuck away the many horror stories of the wrong limbs being amputated, things being left in surgery patients, terrible infections picked up in hospitals and totally wrong diagnoses. More relevant is a bureaucratic hospitalization horror that far too few Americans covered by Medicare are aware of.

Odds are that you do not know a key question to ask if you ever find yourself in a hospital for an overnight stay that could last from one or two days, or perhaps much more.  What you and anyone accompanying you want to know is whether you are being classified as “under observation.”   This means that legally you are not an inpatient.  If the former, then you are likely to find yourself owing the hospital a large amount of money, because your Medicare or other health insurance will not provide the benefits associated with inpatient status.  Many, many Americans nationwide that were classified as under observation have faced unexpected bills of many tens of thousands of dollars.

So pay very close attention to what you are about to read.

If you in a hospital, possibly in an emergency room, then you or family or friends should ask some tough questions of hospital staff if you are kept in the hospital after being handled in the emergency room.  Ask if you will be kept in as an inpatient.  If told that you will be in the observation category, then you might seriously consider whether you should stay in that hospital, or perhaps seek another one if you are not in immediate need of medical attention beyond what was received in the emergency department.

Indeed, ordinary Americans should recognize what Medicare does, namely that the decision made by the hospital to classify a patient as under observation for billing purposes is a “complex medical judgment.”  What that means is that different interpretations and decisions can be made, either by someone else in the hospital or professionals in a different hospital.  The critical decision to use the observation classification, with so much potential negative impact for patients, is “open to widely variable interpretation” as physician Steven J. Myerson has noted.

Because you may be in a very stressful state resulting from facing some medical condition, it is imperative that family and friends also need to become educated.  Realistically, you may not be in a clear enough mental state when you enter a hospital to ask questions and demand good answers about how the hospital is classifying your stay.

Understand this: Nothing is crazier than entering a hospital for one or more nights and being designated as under observation, which amounts to being an outpatient, rather than an inpatient.  Despite coverage by Medicare you will not have expected benefits.

Beyond hours in the emergency department, you can spend days in a hospital bed, receive regular nursing care, be given drugs and all kinds of tests.  You might even spend time in a critical care or intensive care unit.  But you can still be officially designated an outpatient in observation status.  Even though you might stay in the hospital for more than just one or two nights, unless officially designated an inpatient you face major financial liability.

Under Medicare this means you are not covered by Part A which provides the best hospital coverage, but rather covered under Part B with far inferior coverage.  This practice is as bad as anything you have ever heard about awful health insurance coverage.  Furthermore, Medicare does not cover post-discharge care for Part B observation stays. For example, a patient in observation status for a broken bone will have to pay the full cost of rehabilitation or a nursing home.  But for an inpatient Medicare pays for skilled nursing care following at least three consecutive inpatient days.  Also, observation patients pay out-of-pocket for the medication they receive in the hospital and Subtitle D drug coverage may not cover these costs.

Hard to believe but your personal physician may not know that their patient has been classified by the hospital as outpatient or under observation.  Though it would be very smart for you to raise this issue and make it clear that you do not want to stay in a hospital unless you are being admitted as an inpatient.  But starting in an emergency room makes it difficult to push this issue, but not impossible.

Even the key public document from Medicare makes clear that “You’re an outpatient if you’re getting emergency department services, observation services, outpatient surgery, lab tests, or X-rays, and the doctor hasn’t written an order to admit you to the hospital as an inpatient.”  Regardless of what a doctor has said, however, hospitals have the power to classify you as under observation.  The government advises “If you’re in the hospital more than a few hours, always ask your doctor or the hospital staff if you’re an inpatient or an outpatient.”  Note the word “always.”  That is terrific, critically important advice.

You or your accompanying relative or friend must be prepared to challenge a decision of observation status and even raise the possibility of immediately leaving the hospital. Remember, this is after any actions given in an emergency department.  Being prepared to challenge an observation status decision requires that you fully understand the considerable downside of this hospital classification.

Actually, Medicare maintains a one way communication street.  Medicare doesn’t require hospitals to tell patients they are “under observation,” though many will do so.  It only requires hospitals to tell patients they have been downgraded from inpatient to observation.

To be clear, if you are not classified as an inpatient, then you officially have not been admitted to the hospital though you have entered it.  Toby Edelman of the Center for Medicare Advocacy has noted that “People have no way of knowing they have not been admitted to the hospital.  They go upstairs to a bed, they get a band on their wrist, nurses and doctors come to see them, they get treatment and tests, they fill out a meal chart – and they assume that they have been admitted to the hospital.”

How much of a problem is observation status?  In recent years, hospitals have increasingly classified Medicare beneficiaries as observation patients instead of admitting them, according to a Brown University nationwide analysis of Medicare claims.  From 2007 through 2009, the ratio of Medicare observation patients to those admitted as inpatients rose by 34 percent.  Worse, more than 10 percent of patients in observation were kept there for more than 48 hours, and more than 44,800 were kept in observation for 72 hours or longer in 2009 — an increase of 88 percent since 2007.

A recent New York Times article noted that under Medicare: “the number of seniors entering the hospital for observation increased 69 percent over five years, to 1.6 million in 2011.”  And from 2004 to 2011, the number of observation services administered per Medicare beneficiary rose by almost 34 percent, according to the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, while admissions per beneficiary declined 7.8 percent.  In other words, this observation issue is not a trivial or minor issue affecting just a few people.

Data showing far greater use of the observation status option than widely reported were in a 2013 report to Medicare by the Health and Human Services Inspector General for 2012 hospitalizations.  Some 2.1 million hospitalizations were designated observation status with 11 percent three nights or more and 80 percent originating in emergency departments, but another 1.4 million were long term outpatient stays that could and perhaps should have been coded as observation status.  There were also 1.1 million short term inpatient stays (less than two nights) that also could have been coded as observation status.  With increased enforcement by Medicare and penalties for hospitals, therefore, there is the possibility of 4.6 million or more annual observation status stays.  Medicare patients should be aware of large differences among hospitals.

AARP did its own study and found that from 2001 to 2009 both the frequency and duration of observation status increased.  Although only about 3.5 percent of Medicare beneficiaries were in this class in 2009, Medicare claims for observation patients grew by more than 100 percent, with the greatest increase occurring in cases not leading to an inpatient admission.  The duration of observation visits also increased dramatically.  Observation service visits lasting 48 hours or longer were the least common, but had the greatest increase, almost 250 percent for observation only and more than 100 percent for observation with inpatient admission.

According to a survey by the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers (NAPGCM) in 2013 more than 80 percent of US geriatric care managers reported that “inappropriate hospital Observation Status determinations were a significant problem in their communities and 75 percent noted that the problem was growing worse.

A University of Wisconsin study found that 10.4 percent of hospitalizations in 2010 and 2011 were in the observation status category and 16.5 percent of them exceeded 48 hours and concluded “observation care in clinical practice is very different than what CMS [the Medicare agency] initially envisioned and creates insurance loopholes that adversely affect patients, health care providers, and hospitals.”  In an Invited Commentary on the Wisconsin study, physician Robert M. Wachter of the Department of Medicine at the University ofCalifornia, San Francisco, summed up the observation issue as having “morphed into madness.”

Note that Medicare guidelines recommend that observation stays be no longer than 24 hours and only “in rare and exceptional cases” extend past 48 hours.   Obviously, this is nearly meaningless in the real world.

Why are hospitals placing more patients in observation status?

Like so much in American society, the answer is money.

Hospitals are at risk from Medicare audits that declare patients wrongly defined as inpatients.  Payment is then rejected, potentially large amounts of money.  The government has increased audits to such a degree that since 2009 four recovery firms have reviewed bills from hospitals and physicians nationwide and recuperated $1.9 billion in overpayments. Billion!

Two physicians writing in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine said: “When observation is used as a billing status in inpatient areas without changes in care delivery, it’s largely a cost-shifting exercise – relieving the hospital of the risk of adverse action by the RAC [Recovery Audit Contractor] but increasing the patient’s financial burden.”

To cut its spending, Medicare has accused hospitals of over-charging by “admitting” patients instead of putting them on “observation” status.   For example, in July 2013, BethIsrael New England Deaconess Hospital in Boston paid Medicare $5.3 million to settle claims over this issue.

A new wrinkle under Obamacare is that hospitals can be penalized for readmitting patients in less than 30 days.  But observation patients cannot be counted as readmissions if they happen to return because they were not officially admitted in the first place.  To avoid this risk of financial loss, more patients can be classified as under observation.

A new Medicare rule taking effect April 1, 2014 requires doctors to admit people they anticipate staying for longer than two midnights, but to list those expected to stay for less time as observation patients.  Many medical professionals doubt that this will improve things.  Physician Ann Sheehy of the University of Wisconsin closely examined how this rule will work and concluded: “We found that four of five diagnosis codes were the same across length of stay, indicating that the cut point is arbitrary and really does not distinguish different patient groups, even though insurance benefits will be different based on length of stay.”  Time, not medical condition or hospital actions, is being used.  She also noted that the government will not count nights spent at different hospitals, and that 9 percent of their observation were transfers.

Dr. Sheehy made this great point: “Observation is an outpatient designation, which implies all services delivered could be done in an outpatient setting. This is totally not the case, which is why observation status is so frustrating.”

Because there is essentially no upside to being put into observation status, it is critically important for you or your advocate to be very assertive when entering the hospital.  What actions can you take after you are in the hospital and you are likely in a better mental state to address this problem?  Nothing that is likely to work for you.

The imperative is to check your status each day you are in the hospital and remember that it can be changed (from inpatient to observation, or vice versa) at any time by various hospital doctors or officials.  Sadly, in many cases a patient may not be informed that they have been in observation status until the discharge process.  That is why it is very important to ask the hospital, either through a doctor or nursing staff, what your status is and, if observation, to formally reconsider your case.  Ask if there is a hospital committee that could review your status.  Definitely ask your own doctor whether they are willing to press your case for inpatient status based on medical factors.  In theory, you could appeal observation status with Medicare after you leave the hospital, but that is difficult and few have succeeded.

The Center for Medicare Advocacy makes available a Self Help Packet for Medicare “Observation Status.”  This is definitely worth keeping handy and it would be great if hospitals distributed it.  This group has an active legal case challenging the government’s policy of allowing hospitalized Medicare beneficiaries to be placed in “observation status,” rather than formally admitting them, and depriving them of their Part A coverage in violation of the Medicare statute and other laws.  This group makes this important observation: “Neither the Medicare statute nor the Medicare regulations define observation services.  The only definition appears in various CMS manuals.”

What is really needed is action by Congress to eliminate observation status for any overnight stay, but this is unlikely unless many millions of Medicare beneficiaries demand it.  The ugly truth is that this observation status was a bureaucratic tactic to reduce Medicare spending.  It puts hospitals in the difficult position of putting their patients in a very bad financial situation.  In a real sense hospitals are being blackmailed into serving as agents to implement this awful observation policy.  A vigorous national campaign by AARP demanding congressional action is needed.


Joel S. Hirschhorn is a regular columnist for Veracity Voice

He can be reached through www.delusionaldemocracy.com

US Government Lobotomized 2,000 WW II Veterans As ‘Treatment’

December 14, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

The U.S. government lobotomized roughly 2,000 mentally ill veterans — and likely hundreds more — during and after World War II, according to a cache of forgotten memos, letters and government reports unearthed by The Wall Street Journal.

“They got the notion they were going to come to give me a lobotomy,” Roman Tritz, a World War II bomber pilot, told the newspaper in a report published Wednesday. “To hell with them.”

Tritz said the orderlies at the veterans hospital pinned him to the floor, and he initially fought them off. A few weeks later, just before his 30th birthday, he was lobotomized.

Besieged by psychologically damaged troops returning from the battlefields of North Africa, Europe and the Pacific, the Veterans Administration performed the brain-altering operation on former servicemen it diagnosed as depressives, psychotics and schizophrenics, and occasionally on people identified as homosexuals, according to the report.

The VA’s use of lobotomy, in which doctors severed connections between parts of the brain then thought to control emotions, was known in medical circles in the late 1940s and early 1950s, and is occasionally cited in medical texts. But the VA’s practice, never widely publicized, long ago slipped from public view. Even the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs says it possesses no records detailing the creation and breadth of its lobotomy program.

The Wall Street Journal’s reporting series began with Wednesday’sForgotten Soldiers and included a documentary, archived photos, maps and medical records.

The Journal quoted the VA’s response to its inquiry: “In the late 1940s and into the 1950s, VA and other physicians throughout the United States and the world debated the utility of lobotomies. The procedure became available to severely ill patients who had not improved with other treatments. Within a few years, the procedure disappeared within VA, and across the United States, as safer and more effective treatments were developed.”

The newspaper reported that musty files warehoused in the National Archives show VA doctors resorting to brain surgery as they struggled with a vexing question that absorbs America to this day: How best to treat the psychological crises that afflict soldiers returning from combat.

Between April 1, 1947, and Sept. 30, 1950, VA doctors lobotomized 1,464 veterans at 50 hospitals authorized to perform the surgery, according to agency documents rediscovered by the Journal. Scores of records from 22 of those hospitals list another 466 lobotomies performed outside that time period, bringing the total documented operations to 1,930.

Gaps in the records suggest that hundreds of additional operations likely took place at other VA facilities. The vast majority of the patients were men, although some female veterans underwent VA lobotomies as well.

Lobotomies faded from use after the first major antipsychotic drug, Thorazine, hit the market in the mid-1950s, revolutionizing mental health care.

The forgotten lobotomy files, military records and interviews with veterans’ relatives reveal the details of lives gone terribly wrong, according to the Journal.

The veterans included:

  • Joe Brzoza, who was lobotomized four years after surviving artillery barrages on the beaches at Anzio, Italy, and spent his remaining days chain-smoking in VA psychiatric wards.
  • Eugene Kainulainen, whose breakdown during the North African campaign the military attributed partly to a childhood tendency toward “temper tantrums and [being] fussy about food.”
  • Melbert Peters, a bomber crewman given two lobotomies — one most likely performed with a pick-like instrument inserted through his eye sockets.
  • And Tritz, the son of a Wisconsin dairy farmer who flew a B-17 Flying Fortress on 34 combat missions over Germany and Nazi-occupied Europe.

“They just wanted to ruin my head, it seemed to me,” Tritz said. “Somebody wanted to.”

To stimulate patients’ nerves, hospital staff also commonly sprayed veterans with powerful jets of alternating hot and cold water, the archives show. Tritz received 66 treatments of high-pressure water sprays called the Scotch Douche and Needle Shower, his medical records say.

“You couldn’t help but have the feeling that the medical community was impotent at that point,” Elliot Valenstein, 89, a World War II veteran and psychiatrist who worked at the Topeka, Kan., VA hospital in the early 1950s, told the Journal. He recalled wards full of soldiers haunted by nightmares and flashbacks. The doctors, he says, “were prone to try anything.”

Source: Army Times

Watch Out Alternative Media: LAX Shooter Paul Ciancia Branded A Conspiracy Theorist

November 4, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

The demonization of free thinking individuals is about to begin. By branding Paul Ciancia a conspiracy theorist, all of us will come under scrutiny.

Anyone who does not believe wholeheartedly in the crap the government tries to feed them on a daily basis will become a danger to society.

It stands to reason that after a major public incidence of violence such as mass shootings or bombings, people want answers. It’s right and proper that these cases are investigated and as many answers as possible are provided to the citizens of this country.

Having said that, an alarming pattern is emerging.

Some events are highlighted and get massive coverage on television, on the Internet and in the newspapers, but most incidents do not.

Those that can’t be ‘spun’ by the government are given a couple of lines in the papers or a minute of airtime, and that’s it. Done. Gone. Forgotten.

The events that can be used by the government, get acres of print space and constant news coverage. In addition they always have a reason behind them that benefits the government in some way.

Let me show you what I mean. In 2012 88 people were killed in mass shootings in the United States. Sixteen mass shootings with 88 deaths.(source) Here’s the list:

February 22, 2012Five people were killed in at a Korean health spa in Norcross, Georgia, when a man opened fire inside the facility in an act suspected to be related to domestic violence.

February 26, 2012: Multiple gunmen began firing into a nightclub in Jackson, Tennessee, killing one person and injuring 20 others.

February 27, 2012Three students at Chardon High School in rural Ohio were killed when a classmate opened fire.

March 8, 2012: Two people were killed and seven wounded at a psychiatric hospital in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania when a gunman entered the hospital with two semiautomatic handguns and began firing.

March 31, 2012: A gunman opened fire on a crowd of mourners at a North Miami, Florida funeral home, killing two people and injuring 12 others.

April 2, 2012: A 43-year-old former student at Oikos University in Oakland, California walked into his former school and killed seven people, “execution-style.” Three people were wounded.

April 6, 2012: Two men went on a deadly shooting spree in Tulsa, Oklahoma shooting black men at random in an apparently racially motivated attack. Three men died, and two were wounded.

May 29, 2012: A man in Seattle, Washington opened fire in a coffee shop killing five people and then himself.

July 9, 2012: At a soccer tournament in Wilmington, Delaware, three people were killed, including a 16-year-old player and the event organizer when multiple gunmen began firing shots, apparently targeting the organizer.

July 20, 2012: James Holmes enters a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises and opens fire with a semi-automatic weapon; twelve people are killed, and fifty-eight are wounded.

August 5, 2012: A white supremacist and Army veteran shot six people to death inside a Sikh temple in suburban Milwaukee, Wisconsin before killing himself.

August 14, 2012: Three people were killed at Texas A&M University when a 35-year-old man went on a shooting rampage; one of the dead was a police officer.

September 27, 2012: A 36-year-old man who had just been laid off from Accent Signage Systems in Minneapolis, Minnesota entered his former workplace and shot five people to deathand wounded three others before killing himself.

October 21, 2012: 45-year-old Radcliffe Frankin Haughton shot three women to death, including his wife, Zina Haughton, and injured four others at a spa in Brookfield, Wisconsin before killing himself.

December 11, 2012: A 22-year-old began shooting at random at a mall near Portland, Oregonkilling two people and then himself.

December 14, 2012: One man, and possibly more, murders a reported twenty-six people at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, including twenty children, before killing himself.

2013 is looking very similar, those cases that got/get airtime are the Christopher Dorner case back in February, the Boston Bombings in April, the Navy Yard shooting in September, and of course the incident at LAX. There are other cases that in total killed over 30 people (source) but they didn’t have the required ‘spin’ factor so they have not stayed in the news.

All the cases that have made it big, news wise, have had a message from the government to us. These cases were chosen by the government to highlight the need for more gun control, more surveillance and tighter security. I believe that the ‘evidence’ for these events was tailored. Tailored to suit the government’s needs at the time. To give the public a reason for the measures that will be imposed to ‘solve’ the problem. It was spun and nipped and tucked and most likely bears no resemblance to the original reasons behind the act.

With the LAX shooting they have gone a step further. In addition to once again raising the issue of privately owned assault rifles, they have put terms like ‘New World Order’ and ‘fiat currency’ into the wider public domain.

They are pre-conditioning the wider public in subjects usually confined to alternative media.The average Joe on the street is not familiar with these terms. But now the government itself has introduced them. They have publicly acknowledged them and linked them to the term ‘conspiracy theorist’.

From Sky News US:

A note allegedly found in the suspect’s bag said that he wanted to kill at least one transport officer with his AR-15 semi-automatic rifle and didn’t care which one.

“Black, white, yellow, brown, I don’t discriminate,” the note read, according to a paraphrase by a law enforcement official briefed on the investigation.

The suspect’s screed also mentioned “fiat currency” and “NWO,” possible references to the New World Order, a conspiracy theory that foresees a one-world government. (emphasis added)

I will bet my last dollar that in the very near future alternative media will be mentioned. Alternative media sites will be accused of spreading these messages.

We, the alternative media, both writers and readers are next on the list to be demonized. We are the next ‘issue’ that the government needs to find a solution to. Like gun control et al, we have become a target.

The government knows that the alternative media is growing. That more and more people are looking for answers that the mainstream does not provide. This cannot be allowed. It is dangerous to a government that sees itself as omnipotent.

The ‘revelations’ that will come out over the next few days will most likely say that Paul Ciancia frequented alternative media websites and that these sites had a bearing on his actions.

Gone are the days when a man with a gun is just insane, vindictive or just plain bad and decides to shoot people. Now there always has to be a reason, and that reason always has to be one that will allow the government to ride in and rescue us.

It will always be a reason that gives them justification for exercising more control over our lives and this time the reason could well be us, the alternative media.

Source: The Daily Sheeple

Is Secession’s Time Coming Again?

October 18, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

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:

Is Red State America Seceding?

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:

Baldwins’ Move To Montana

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:

Redoubt: Northwest a Haven For Dismayed Americans

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!


Chuck Baldwin is a regular columnist for Veracity Voice

You can reach him at: chuck@chuckbaldwinlive.com
Please visit Chuck’s web site at: http://www.chuckbaldwinlive.com

American Workers: Hanging On By The Skin of Their Teeth

September 29, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

After five years of Obama’s economic recovery, the American people are as gloomy as ever.  According to a Bloomberg National Poll that was released this week, fewer people “are optimistic about the job market” or “the housing market” or “anticipate improvement in the economy’s strength over the next year.” Also, only 38 percent think that President Obama is doing enough “to make people feel more economically secure.”  Worst of all,  Bloomberg pollsters found that 68 percent of interviewees thought the country was  “headed in the wrong direction”.

So why is everyone so miserable?  Are things really that bad or have we turned into a nation of crybabies?

The reason people are so pessimistic is because the economy is still in the doldrums and no one’s doing anything about it. That’s it in a nutshell. Survey after survey have shown that what people really care about is jobs, but no one in Washington is listening. In fact, jobs aren’t even on Obama’s radar.  Just look at his record. He’s worse than any president in modern times. Take a look at this graph.

More than 600,000 good-paying public sector jobs have been slashed during Obama’s tenure as president. That’s worse than Bush, worse than Clinton, worse than Reagan, worse than anyone, except maybe Hoover. Is that Obama’s goal, to one-up Herbert Hoover?

Obama has done everything he could to make the lives of working people as wretched as possible.  Do you remember the Card Check sellout or the Wisconsin “flyover” when Governor Scott Walker was eviscerating collective bargaining rights for public sector unions and Obama blew kisses from Airforce One on his way to a campaign speech in Minnesota?  Nice touch, Barry. Or what about the “Job’s Czar” fiasco, when Obama appointed GE’s outsourcing mandarin Jeffrey Immelt to the new position just in time for GE to lay off another 950 workers at their locomotive plant in Pennsylvania.  That’s tells you what Obama really thinks about labor.

What Obama cares about is trimming the deficits and keeping Wall Street happy. That’s it.  But the people who elected him don’t want him to cut the deficits, because cutting the deficits prolongs the slump and costs jobs. What they want is more stimulus, so people can find work, feed their families, and have some basic security. That’s what they want, but they’re not going to get it from Obama because he doesn’t work for them. He works for the stuffed shirts who flank him on the golf course at Martha’s Vineyard or the big shots who chow down with him at  his $100,000-per-plate campaign jamborees. That’s his real constituency.  Everyone else can take a flying fu** for all he cares.

Then there’s the Fed. Most people don’t think the Fed’s goofy programs work at all. They think it’s all a big ruse. They think Bernanke is just printing money and giving it to his criminal friends on Wall Street (which he is, of course.) Have you seen this in theNew York Times:

“Only one in three Americans has confidence in the Federal Reserve’s ability to promote economic growth, while little more than a third think the Fed is spinning its wheels, according to a New York Times/CBS News poll….
The Fed has been trying for five years to speed the nation’s recovery from the Great Recession by reducing borrowing costs to the lowest levels on record….
Most Americans, it would appear, remain either unaware or unpersuaded.” (“Majority of Americans Doubt Benefits of Fed Stimulus“, New York Times)

“Unpersuaded”? Are you kidding me? Most Americans think they’re getting fleeced; unpersuaded has nothing to do with it.  They’re not taken in by the QE-mumbo jumbo. They may not grasp the finer-points, but they get the gist of it, which is that the Fed has run up a big $3 trillion bill every penny of which has gone to chiseling shysters on Wall Street. They get that! Everyone gets that! Sure, if you want to get into the weeds about POMO or the byzantine aspects of the asset-purchase program, you might detect a bit of confusion, but –I assure you–the average Joe knows what’s going on. He knows all this quantitative jabberwocky is pure bunkum and that he’s getting schtooped bigtime. You don’t need a sheepskin from Princeton to know when you’ve been had.

And that’s why everyone is so pessimistic, because they know that the Fed, the administration and the media are all lying to them 24-7. That’s why–as Bloomberg discovered–”Americans are losing faith in the nation’s economic recovery.” Because they don’t see any recovery. As far as they’re concerned, the economy is still in recession. After all, they’re still underwater on their mortgages, Grandpa Jack just took a job at a fast-food joint to pay for his wife’s heart medication, and junior is camped out in the basement until he can get a handle on his $45,000 heap of college loans. So where’s the recovery?

Nobody needs Bloomberg to point out how grim things are for the ordinary people. They see it firsthand every damn day.

Did you catch the news on Wal-Mart this week? It’s another story that helps explain why everyone’s so down-in-the-mouth. Here’s what happened:  Wal-Mart’s stock tanked shortly after they announced that their “inventory growth …had outstripped sales gains in the second quarter…. Merchandise has been piling up because consumers have been spending less freely than Wal-Mart projected….” (Bloomberg)

Okay, so the video games and Barbie dolls are piling up to the rafters because part-time wage slaves who typically shop at Wal-Mart  are too broke to buy anything but the basic necessities. Is that what we’re hearing?
Indeed. “We are managing our inventory appropriately,” David Tovar, a Wal-Mart spokesman, said today in a telephone interview. “We feel good about our inventory position.”

Sure, you do, Dave. Here’s more from Bloomberg:

“US. chains are already bracing for a tough holiday season, when sales are projected to rise 2.4 percent, the smallest gain since 2009, according to ShopperTrak, a Chicago-based firm. Wal-Mart cut its annual profit forecast after same-store sales fell 0.3 percent in the second quarter. …
Wal-Mart’s order pullback is affecting suppliers in various categories, including general merchandise and apparel, said the supplier, who has worked with Wal-Mart for almost two decades and asked not to be named to protect his relationship with the company. He said he couldn’t recall the retailer ever planning ordering reductions two quarters in advance.” (“Wal-Mart Cutting Orders as Unsold Merchandise Piles Up”, Bloomberg

So we’re back to 2009?

Looks like it. When the nation’s biggest retailer starts trimming its sails, it ripples through the whole industry. It means softer demand, shorter hours, and more layoffs. Get ready for a lean Christmas.

The Walmart story just shows that people are at the end of their rope. For the most part, these are the working poor, the people the Democratic Party threw overboard a couple decades ago when they decided to hop in bed with Wall Street. Now their hardscrabble existence is becoming unbearable; they can’t even scrape together enough cash to shop the discount stores. That means we’re about one step from becoming a nation of dumpster divers.   Don’t believe it? Then check out this clip from CNN Money:

“Roughly three-quarters of Americans are living paycheck-to-paycheck, with little to no emergency savings, according to a survey released by Bankrate.com Monday.  Fewer than one in four Americans have enough money in their savings account to cover at least six months of expenses, enough to help cushion the blow of a job loss, medical emergency or some other unexpected event, according to the survey of 1,000 adults. Meanwhile, 50% of those surveyed have less than a three-month cushion and 27% had no savings at all..

Last week, online lender CashNetUSA said 22% of the 1,000 people it recently surveyed had less than $100 in savings to cover an emergency, while 46% had less than $800. After paying debts and taking care of housing, car and child care-related expenses, the respondents said there just isn’t enough money left over for saving more.” (“76% of Americans are living paycheck-to-paycheck“, CNN Money)

Savings? What’s that? Do you really think people can save money on $30,000 or $40,000 a year feeding a family of four?

Dream on. Even an unexpected trip to the vet with pet Fido is enough to push the family budget into the red for months to come. Savings? Don’t make me laugh.

The truth is, most people are hanging on by the skin of their teeth.  They can’t make ends meet on their crappy wages and they’re too broke to quit. There’s no way out. It’s obvious in all the data. And it’s hurting the economy, too, because spending drives growth, but  you can’t spend when you’re busted. Economist Stephen Roach made a good point in a recent article at Project Syndicate. He said, “In the 22 quarters since early 2008, real personal-consumption expenditure, which accounts for about 70% of US GDP, has grown at an average annual rate of just 1.1%, easily the weakest period of consumer demand in the post-World War II era.” (It’s also a) “massive slowdown from the pre-crisis pace of 3.6% annual real consumption growth from 1996 to 2007.” (“Occupy QE“, Stephen S. Roach, Project Syndicate)

So the economy is getting hammered because consumption is down. And working people are getting hammered because jobs are scarce and wages are flat. But we live in the richest country in the world, right?

Right. So what’s wrong with this picture?


Mike Whitney is a regular columnist for Veracity Voice

Mike Whitney lives in Washington state. He can be reached at: fergiewhitney@msn.com

Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction Have Finally Been Found – In Syria!

September 4, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Secretary of  State John Kerry: “There is no doubt that Saddam al-Assad has crossed the red line. … Sorry, did I just say ‘Saddam’?”

A US drone has just taken a photo of Mullah Omar riding on a motorcycle through the streets of Damascus. 1

So what do we have as the United States refuses to rule out an attack on Syria and keeps five warships loaded with missiles in the eastern Mediterranean?

  • Only 9 percent of Americans support a US military intervention in Syria. 2
  • Only 11% of the British supported a UK military intervention; this increased to 25% after the announcement of the alleged chemical attack. 3
  • British Prime Minister David Cameron lost a parliamentary vote August 29 endorsing military action against Syria 285-272
  • 64% of the French people oppose an intervention by the French Army. 4 “Before acting we need proof,” said a French government spokesperson. 5
  • Former and current high-ranking US military officers question the use of military force as a punitive measure and suggest that the White House lacks a coherent strategy. “If the administration is ambivalent about the wisdom of defeating or crippling the Syrian leader, possibly setting the stage for Damascus to fall to Islamic fundamentalist rebels, they say, the military objective of strikes on Assad’s military targets is at best ambiguous.” 6
  • President Obama has no United Nations approval for intervention. (In February a massive bombing attack in Damascus left 100 dead and 250 wounded; in all likelihood the work of Islamic terrorists. The United States blocked a Russian resolution condemning the attack from moving through the UN Security Council)
  • None of NATO’s 28 members has proposed an alliance with the United States in an attack against Syria. NATO’s Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said that he saw “no NATO role in an international reaction to the [Syrian] regime.” 7
  • The Arab League has not publicly endorsed support of US military action in Syria; nor have key regional players Saudi Arabia and Qatar, concerned about a possible public backlash from open support for US intervention. 8
  • We don’t even know for sure that there was a real chemical attack. Where does that accusation come from? The United States? The al-Qaeda rebels? Or if there was such an attack, where is the evidence that the Syrian government was the perpetrator? The Assad regime has accused the rebels of the act, releasing a video showing a cave with alleged chemical-weapon equipment as well as claiming to have captured rebels possessing sarin gas. Whoever dispensed the poison gas – why, in this age of ubiquitous cameras, are there no photos of anyone wearing a gas mask? The UN inspection team was originally dispatched to Syria to investigate allegations of earlier chemical weapons use: two allegations made by the rebels and one by the government.
  • The United States insists that Syria refused to allow the UN investigators access to the site of the attack. However, the UN request was made Saturday, August 24; the Syrian government agreed the next day. 9
  • In rejecting allegations that Syria deployed poison gas, Russian officials have argued that the rebels had a clear motivation: to spur a Western-led attack on Syrian forces; while Assad had every reason to avoid any action that could spur international intervention at a time when his forces were winning the war and the rebels are increasingly losing world support because of their uncivilized and ultra-cruel behavior.
  • President George W. Bush misled the world on Iraq’s WMD, but Bush’s bogus case for war at least had details that could be checked, unlike what the Obama administration released August 29 on Syria’s alleged chemical attacks – no direct quotes, no photographic evidence, no named sources, nothing but “trust us,” points out Robert Parry, intrepid Washington journalist.

So, in light of all of the above, the path for Mr. Obama to take – as a rational, humane being – is of course clear. Is it not? N’est-ce pas? Nicht wahr? – Bombs Away!

Pretty discouraging it is. No, I actually find much to be rather encouraging. So many people seem to have really learned something from the Iraqi pile of lies and horror and from decades of other American interventions. Skepticism – good ol’ healthy skepticism – amongst the American, British and French people. It was stirring to watch the British Parliament in a debate of the kind rarely, if ever, seen in the 21st-century US Congress. And American military officers asking some of the right questions. The Arab League not supporting a US attack, surprising for an organization not enamored of the secular Syrian government. And NATO – even NATO! – refusing so far to blindly fall in line with the White House. When did that last happen? I thought it was against international law.

Secretary of State John Kerry said that if the United States did not respond to the use of chemical weapons the country would become an international “laughingstock”. Yes, that’s really what America and its people have to worry about – not that their country is viewed as a lawless, mass-murdering repeat offender. Other American officials have expressed concern that a lack of a US response might incite threats from Iran and North Korea. 10

Now that is indeed something to laugh at. It’s comforting to think that the world might be finally losing the stars in their eyes about US foreign policy partly because of countless ridiculous remarks such as these.

United States bombings, which can be just as indiscriminate and cruel as poison gas. (A terrorist is someone who has a bomb but doesn’t have an air force.)

The glorious bombing list of our glorious country, which our glorious schools don’t teach, our glorious media don’t remember, and our glorious leaders glorify.

  • Korea and China 1950-53 (Korean War)
  • Guatemala 1954
  • Indonesia 1958
  • Cuba 1959-1961
  • Guatemala 1960
  • Congo 1964
  • Laos 1964-73
  • Vietnam 1961-73
  • Cambodia 1969-70
  • Guatemala 1967-69
  • Grenada 1983
  • Lebanon 1983, 1984 (both Lebanese and Syrian targets)
  • Libya 1986
  • El Salvador 1980s
  • Nicaragua 1980s
  • Iran 1987
  • Panama 1989
  • Iraq 1991 (Persian Gulf War)
  • Kuwait 1991
  • Somalia 1993
  • Bosnia 1994, 1995
  • Sudan 1998
  • Afghanistan 1998
  • Yugoslavia 1999
  • Yemen 2002
  • Iraq 1991-2003 (US/UK on regular no-fly-zone basis)
  • Iraq 2003-2011 (Second Gulf War)
  • Afghanistan 2001 to present
  • Pakistan 2007 to present
  • Somalia 2007-8, 2011 to present
  • Yemen 2009, 2011 to present
  • Libya 2011
  • Syria 2013?

The above list doesn’t include the repeated use by the United States of depleted uranium, cluster bombs, white phosphorous, and other charming inventions of the Pentagon mad scientists; also not included: chemical and biological weapons abroad, chemical and biological weapons in the United States (sic), and encouraging the use of chemical and biological weapons by other nations; all these lists can be found in William Blum’s book “Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower”.

A story just released by Foreign Policy magazine, based on newly-discovered classified documents, reports how, in 1988, the last year of the 8-year Iraq-Iran War, America’s military and intelligence communities knew about and did nothing to stop a series of nerve gas attacks by Iraq far more devastating than anything Syria has seen. 11 Indeed, during that war the United States was the primary supplier to Iraq of the chemicals and hardware necessary to provide the Saddam Hussein regime with a chemical-warfare capability. 12

Now, apparently, the United States has discovered how horrible chemical warfare is, even if only of the “alleged” variety.

Humanitarian intervention

Some of those currently advocating bombing Syria turn for justification to their old faithful friend “humanitarian intervention”, one of the earliest examples of which was the 1999 US and NATO bombing campaign to stop ethnic cleansing and drive Serbian forces from Kosovo. However, a collective amnesia appears to have afflicted countless intelligent, well-meaning people, who are convinced that the US/NATO bombing took place after the mass forced deportation of ethnic Albanians from Kosovo was well underway; which is to say that the bombing was launched to stopthis “ethnic cleansing”. In actuality, the systematic forced deportations of large numbers of people from Kosovo did not begin until a few days after the bombing began, and was clearly a Serbian reaction to it, born of extreme anger and powerlessness. This is easily verified by looking at a daily newspaper for the few days before the bombing began the night of March 23/24, and the few days after. Or simply look at the New York Times of March 26, page 1, which reads:

… with the NATO bombing already begun, a deepening sense of fear took hold in Pristina [the main city of Kosovo] that the Serbs would NOW vent their rage against ethnic Albanian civilians in retaliation.

On March 27, we find the first reference to a “forced march” or anything of that sort.

But the propaganda version is already set in marble.

If you see something, say something. Unless it’s US war crimes.

“When you sign a security clearance and swear oaths, you actually have to abide by that. It is not optional.” – Steven Bucci, of the neo-conservative Heritage Foundation, speaking of Chelsea Manning (formerly known as Bradley) 13

Really? No matter what an individual with security clearance is asked to do? No matter what he sees and knows of, he still has to ignore his conscience and follow orders? But Steven, my lad, you must know that following World War II many Germans of course used “following orders” as an excuse. The victorious Allies of course executed many of them.

Their death sentences were laid down by the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, Germany, which declared that “Individuals have international duties which transcend the national obligations of obedience. Therefore individual citizens have the duty to violate domestic laws to prevent crimes against peace and humanity from occurring.”

Nuremberg Principle IV moreover states: “The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him.”

Manning, and Edward Snowden as well, did have moral choices, and they chose them.

It should be noted that Barack Obama has refused to prosecute those under the Bush administration involved in torture specifically – he declares – because they were following orders. Has this “educated” man never heard of the Nuremberg Tribunal? Why isn’t he embarrassed to make this argument again and again?

I imagine that in the past three years that Manning has had to live with solitary confinement, torture and humiliation, adding mightily to her already existing personal difficulties, the thought of suicide has crossed her mind on a number of occasions. It certainly would have with me if I had been in her position. In the coming thousands and thousands of days and long nights of incarceration such thoughts may be Manning’s frequent companion. If the thoughts become desire, and the desire becomes unbearable, I hope the brave young woman can find a way to carry it out. Every person has that right, including heroes.

The United States and its European poodles may have gone too far for their own good in their attempts to control all dissenting communication – demanding total information from companies engaged in encrypted messaging, forcing the closure of several such firms, obliging the plane carrying the Bolivian president to land, smashing the computers at a leading newspaper, holding a whistle-blowing journalist’s partner in custody for nine hours at an airport, seizing the phone records of Associated Press journalists, threatening to send a New York Times reporter to jail if he doesn’t disclose the source of a leak, shameless lying at high levels, bugging the European Union and the United Nations, surveillance without known limits … Where will it end? Will it backfire at some point and allow America to return to its normal level of police state? On July 24, a bill that would have curtailed the power of the NSA was only narrowly defeated by 217 to 205 votes in the US House of Representatives.

And how long will Amnesty International continue to tarnish its image by refusing to state the obvious? That Cheleas Manning is a Prisoner of Conscience. If you go to Amnesty’s website and search “prisoner of conscience” you’ll find many names given, including several Cubans prominently featured. Can there be any connection to Manning’s omission with the fact that the executive director of Amnesty International USA, Suzanne Nossel, came to her position from the US Department of State, where she served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Organizations?

A phone call to Amnesty’s office in New York was unable to provide me with any explanation for Manning’s omission. I suggest that those of you living in the UK try the AI headquarters in London.

Meanwhile, at the other pre-eminent international human rights organization, Human Rights Watch, Tom Malinowski, the director of HRW’s Washington office, has been nominated by Obama to be Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. Is it really expecting too much that a high official of a human rights organization should not go to work for a government that has been the world’s leading violator of human rights for more than half a century? And if that designation is too much for you to swallow just consider torture, the worst example of mankind’s inhumanity to man. What government has been intimately involved with that horror more than the United States? Teaching it, supplying the manuals, supplying the equipment, creation of torture centers in much of the world, kidnaping people to these places (“rendition”), solitary confinement, forced feeding, Guantánamo, Abu Ghraib, Bagram, Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Chicago … Lord forgive us!

Surrounding Russia

One of the reactions of the United States to Russia granting asylum to Edward Snowden was reported thus: “There was a blistering response on Capitol Hill and calls for retaliatory measures certain to infuriate the Kremlin. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), long one of the Senate’s leading critics of Moscow, blasted the asylum decision as ‘a slap in the face of all Americans’ and called on the administration to turn up the pressure on Moscow on a variety of fronts, including a renewed push for NATO expansion and new missile-defense programs in Europe.” 14

But we’ve long been told that NATO expansion and its missiles in Europe have nothing to do with Russia. And Russia has been told the same, much to Moscow’s continuous skepticism. “Look,” said Russian president Vladimir Putin about NATO in 2001, “this is a military organization. It’s moving towards our border. Why?” 15 He subsequently described NATO as “the stinking corpse of the cold war.” 16

We’ve been told repeatedly by the US government that the missiles are for protection against an Iranian attack. Is it (choke) possible that the Bush and Obama administrations have been (gasp) lying to us?

America’s love affair with Guns

Adam Kokesh is a veteran of the war in Iraq who lives in the Washington, DC area. He’s one of the countless Americans who’s big on guns, guns that will be needed to protect Americans from their oppressive government, guns that will be needed for “the revolution”.

On July 4 the 31-year-old Kokesh had a video made of himself holding a shotgun and loading shells into it while speaking into the camera as he stood in Freedom Plaza, a federal plot of land in between the Washington Monument and the Capitol. This led to a police raid of his home and his being arrested on the 25th for carrying a firearm outside his home or office. The 23-second video can be seen on YouTube. 17

I sent Kokesh the following email:

“Adam: All your weapons apparently didn’t help you at all when the police raided your house. But supposedly, people like you advocate an armed populace to protect the public from an oppressive government. I’ve never thought that that made much sense because of the huge imbalance between the military power of the public vs. that of the government. And it seems that I was correct.”

I received no reply, although his still being in jail may explain that.

Kokesh, incidentally, had a program on RT (Russia Today) for a short while last year.

Notes

  1. The three preceding jokes are courtesy of my friend Viktor Dedaj of Paris ↩
  2. Reuters/Ipsos poll, August 26, 2013 ↩
  3. Sunday Times (UK), YouGov poll, August 25 ↩
  4. Le Parisien, August 30, 2012 ↩
  5. Christian Science Monitor, August 29, 2013 ↩
  6. Washington Post, August 29, 2013 ↩
  7. The Wall Street Journal, August 30, 2013 ↩
  8. Washington Post, August 31, 2013 ↩
  9. UN Web TV, August 27, 2013 (starting at minute 12:00) ↩
  10. The Washington Post, August 31, 2013 ↩
  11. Shane Harris and Matthew M. Aid, “CIA Files Prove America Helped Saddam as He Gassed Iran”, Foreign Policy, August 26, 2013 ↩
  12. William Blum, “Anthrax for Export”, The Progressive (Madison, Wisconsin), April 1998 ↩
  13. Washington Post, August 22, 2013 ↩
  14. Washington Post, July 31, 2013 ↩
  15. Associated Press, June 16, 2001 ↩
  16. Time magazine, December 2007 ↩
  17. Washington Post, August 13, 2013 ↩


William Blum is the author of:

  • Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War 2
  • Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower
  • West-Bloc Dissident: A Cold War Memoir
  • Freeing the World to Death: Essays on the American Empire


Portions of the books can be read, and signed copies purchased, at www.killinghope.org

Email to bblum6@aol.com

Website: WilliamBlum.org

William Blum is a regular columnist for Veracity Voice

Should You Be Able to Buy Food Directly From Farmers?

August 13, 2013 by · 1 Comment 

The Government Doesn’t Think So…

This would seem to embody the USDA’s advisory, “Know your farmer, know your food,” right? Not exactly.

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

Stay Cool And Healthy This Summer: Avoid Ice Creams With Toxic Ingredients

July 3, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Ice cream recipes have changed considerably since the days of old fashioned ice cream parlors. We’re now subjected to a slew of toxic ingredients in almost every type of ice cream found in parlors, restaurants and grocery stores. From economy to premium brands, there is often no escape from the chemical concoctions in our favorite frozen treats. So what ingredients should you avoid and why are they so deadly?

By weight, ice cream is primarily composed of water (from milk and cream). The lethality of current formulations don’t come from these basic constituents, but from the gamut of sweetners, flavorings, emulsifiers and stabilizers. After all, the industry relies on increasing shelf life and having the most smooth or creamy ice cream over time, so preserving these consistencies is the key to sales.

By volume, 30% to 50% of ice cream is air whipped into the mix during the early stages of the freezing process. “There are no real chemical reactions that take place when you make ice cream,” says H. Douglas Goff, an ice-cream expert and professor in the department of food science at the University of Guelph, in Ontario, “but that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty of chemistry.”

Richard W. Hartel, professor of food engineering at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, explains that “when you bite into ice cream, how the flavor is released into the mouth probably is a function of structure.” Initially, the milk fat exists as tiny globules in the milky starting mixture. Milk proteins on the globules’ surface work as an emulsifier to keep the fat in solution. To make the ice-cream structure, these fats need to be destabilized so that they coalesce into larger networks. “When two partially crystallized fat globules come together, like in ice cream, they form a partially coalesced structure,” Hartel explains. “We sort of envision them as grape clusters, with some connectivity, but the crystalline fat prevents complete coalescence.”

Ice-cream makers use an emulsifier that replaces the surface proteins and aids in forming the network. Egg yolks were originally used as this destabilizing emulsifier, but now, ice-cream manufacturers use toxic substances such as mono- and diglycerides as well as the sorbitan ester Polysorbate 80.

Polysorbate 80

Polysorbate 80 has been found to negatively affect the immune system and cause severe anaphylactic shock which can kill. According to Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, Volume 95, Number 6, December 2005 , pp. 593-599(7), “it is of current relevance as a ‘hidden’ inductor of anaphylactoid reactions”, and “Polysorbate 80 was identified as the causative agent for the anaphylactoid reaction of nonimmunologic origin in the patient. The study included a pregnant woman who suffered anaphylactic shock after being given a IV drip of multi-vitamins containing polysorbate 80.

In addition to this, there have been studies in Food and Chemical Toxicology which showed that Polysorbate 80 causes infertility. Baby female rats were injected with polysorbate 80 at days 4-7 after birth. It accelerated the maturing of the rats and caused changes to the vagina and womb lining, hormonal changes, ovary deformities and degenerative follicles.

According to the World Intellectual Property Organization, which is part of the United Nations, scientists from the organization are developing vaccines specifically to damage fertility as a method of contraception. A suggested ingredient for the vaccine is Polysorbate 80 (also known as tween 80). As it is a preferred ingredient, scientists are obviously aware of its ability to cause infertility.

Mono- and Diglycerides

We recently reported on the irresponsible actions of supplement companies who continue to use hydrogenated oils and magnesium stearate as flowing agents. It seems that ice cream manufacturers are just as careless in their use of hydrogenated oils.

Mono-diglycerides remain the most widely used emulsifiers in food production. They are called mono-digylcerides because they are made from oils that have a high mono saturated fat content, but they are still hydrogenated. They are hidden trans fats where an alcohol (in this case glycerol) has been combined to form an emulsifying agent.

One of the largest food oil producing companies worldwide is Gillco. With the exception of their distilled non-hydrogenated monoglycerides (not incorporated in ice cream applications), a large variety of their emulsifiers are hydrogenated and this is stipulated on the company’s fact sheet for each product.

Make no mistake, mono-diglycerides are not nutritious in anyway. Their only purpose is to improve volume, uniform structure and develop the right meltdown characteristics. Regardless of their quantity, the inclusion of hydrogenated oils in any food product is only detrimental to our health and their adverse effects are well documented. Avoid any ice creams (or any food products for that matter) with mono-diglycerides.

Potassium Sorbate

As one of the most prolific preservatives in the food industry, it is difficult to find an ice cream without potassium sorbate. However, it is not only recommended to avoid this chemical, it’s a necessity to eliminate it from our foods. The food industry and its scientists will parrot endless myths that potassium sorbate is not a health threat because of its safety record and non-toxic profile. This could not be further from the truth.

Food and chemical toxicology reports have labeled potassium sorbate as a carcinogen, showing postive mutation results in the cells of mammals. Other studies have shown broad systemic and toxic effects on non-reproductive organs in animals. No long term studies have ever been initiated on either animals or humans, so there is simply not enough evidence to theorize what could happen after years of ingesting this preservative. However, based on short-term carcinogenic and toxic effects, is it worth the risk to find out?

Sodium Benzoate

There are a plethora of serious concerns with sodium benzoate. It can convert into lethal carcinogenic poison when combined with absorbic acid. Professor Peter Piper, a professor of molecular biology and biotechnology, tested the impact of sodium benzoate on living yeast cells in his laboratory. What he found alarmed him: the benzoate was damaging an important area of DNA in the “power station” of cells known as the mitochondria. “These chemicals have the ability to cause severe damage to DNA in the mitochondria to the point that they totally inactivate it: they knock it out altogether.” he stated.

“The food industry will say these compounds have been tested and they are complete safe,” he said. “By the criteria of modern safety testing, the safety tests were inadequate. Like all things, safety testing moves forward and you can conduct a much more rigorous safety test than you could 50 years ago.”

Sodium Benzoate, as most other preservatives, should not be ingested in any quantity. This toxin is banned from all foods and drinks for children under three, and is currently being phased out of all Coca-Cola products.

Artificial Colors/Flavors

Artificial colors and flavors such and blue 1, blue 2, yellow 5, yellow 6, red 3, red 40, and others are found in many types of ice cream, especially commerical varities. Artificial flavor means it is derived from a chemical made in a laboratory and has no nutritional value. Researchers have determined that artificial colors (especially when paired with sodium benzoate) increase levels of hyperactivity in preschool and older children within the general population. They have also been found to provoke asthma attacks and have links to thyroid tumours. Coincidently, artificial colors are very prevalent in ice cream products which are directly marketed to children.

Every single artifical color in the food industry has some kind of detrimental health effect. These include neurotoxicity, organ, developmental, and reproductive toxicity and cancer.

Carrageenan

Carrageenan is another emulsifier and stabilizer. It comes from algae or seaweed extract common in the Atlantic Ocean. It is typically extracted from natural sources using powerful alkaline solvents. Carrageenan is often touted as 100% vegetarian and natural. So does that mean it’s safe? Just because something comes from a natural source does not mean that it is safe. There are also natural sources of MSG and Aspartame which are chemically identical to the artificial brands. These are equally poisonous to humans as those marketed in the food industry.

Several studies on humans have demonstrated that digestive enzymes and bacterial action convert high weight carrageenans to dangerous low molecular weight carrageenans and poligeenans in the human gut. These carrageenans, even at low doses, have been found to destroy human cells and are linked to various human cancers and digestive disorders.

Carrageenan has also been found to impair and depress cell-mediated immunity and cause the proliferation of tumour growth. The mechanism responsible for carrageenan-induced immune suppression is believed to be its selective degenerative effect on white blood cells.

Overrun

It is also important to understand how overrun calculations affect the concentration of ingredients in ice cream. This is never stated on the label of any brand. Overrun is the percentage increase in volume of ice cream greater than the amount of mix used to produce that ice cream. In other words, if you start off with 1 litre of mix and you make 1.5 litres of ice cream from that, you have increased the volume by 50%. Economy and standard brands of ice cream are the lowest quality and have the greatest percentage of overrun (greater than 100% and as high as 120%) meaning they will require an increased percentage of emulsifiers to increase their volume than higher quality brands. This keeps manufacturing costs low since there is a smaller quantity of medium to higher quality ingredients used for every litre of final product.

Premium and super-premium brands have a lower percentage of overrun (less than 90% and as low as 25%) and don’t use as many emulsifiers in their formulations. This results in the highest body and quality of ice cream. It also means that more nutritious ingredients typically make up for the volume. This increases manufacturing costs due to a greater quantity of high quality ingredients used for every litre of final product.

If your store brand or parlor ice cream melts rapidly, that’s a good sign as it likely has a low overrun and little fat destabilization, which means a lower percentage of toxic emulsifiers and stabilizers. When made with wholesome and natural ingredients, homemade ice cream will always melt quickly. There is simply no healthy way to keep the fat from destabilizing naturally.

Keep in mind that any frozen treats that are made with dairy products and engineered to be low fat (i.e. frozen yogurt, low-fat ice cream) will typically have the highest overrun and emulsifier/stabilizer percentages. Here’s a breakdown of brands, fat content, solids, overrun and cost:

Economy Brands 

* Fat content: usually legal minimum, e.g., 10%
* Total solids: usually legal minimum, e.g., 36%
* Overrun: usually legal maximum, ~120%
* Cost: low

Standard Brands 

* Fat content: 10-12%
* Total solids: 36-38%
* Overrun: 100-120%
* Cost: average

Premium Brands 

* Fat content: 12-15%
* Total solids: 38-40%
* Overrun: 60-90%
* Cost: higher than average

Super-Premium Brands 

* Fat content: 15-18%
* Total solids: >40%
* Overrun: 25-50%
* Cost: high

The highest overrun percentages are found in ice creams that use guar gum and xanthan gum, typically in a 3:1 ratio respectively.

Xanthan Gum

Xanthan gum is produced by fermentation of glucose or sucrose by the Xanthomonas campestris bacterium. One of its most remarkable properties of is its capability of producing a large increase in the viscosity of any liquid by adding a very small quantity of gum, usually less than one percent. For this reason, it is used as an emulsifier in a very large percentage of ice creams around the world.

As a polysaccharide, one of the problems with this food additive is that it is typically made from corn. People who have corn allergies may not be aware that these additives can cause diverse reactions when consumed. Moreover, a very large percentage of corn around the world is now genetically modified (GM) which is then reflected in the production of many types of xanthan gum. GM foods are a cause for great concern.

Some people develop an allergy to conventional xanthan gum, with various gastrointestinal symptoms such as bloating, gas, and diarrhea. Even consumption of a very minor amount can lead to days and days of recovery and many trips to the bathroom. For others a xanthan reaction can also precipitate migraine headaches and skin itchiness.

Plant sourced organic xanthan gum is non GM and non corn-derived without any chemical reproduction in a laboratory. Some people who develop reactions to synthetic xanthan sources and then consume organic sources experience no symptoms at all. If the xanthan gum is not labeled as organic, avoid the product.

Guar Gum

Guar gum is an emulsifier, a firming agent, a formulation aid, stabiliser, a thickener and even a plasticizer. It is a natural hydrocolloid that is obtained from the ground endosperm of the guar plant. When untreated ice cream melts and refreezes, grainy ice crystals often form. Guar gum has the natural ability to bind with water molecules, preventing them from forming the unwanted crystals. The gum functions dynamically and synergistically with xanthan gum by increasing the viscosity of ice cream.

The use of conventional guar gum as an ingredient in non-prescription diet aids was officially banned in the early 1990s in Canada and the U.S. The guar gum would bind with liquids in the stomach and swell, causing a feeling of satisfying fullness.

However, this mass of swollen guar gum would also cause dangerous intestinal and duodenal blockages, as well as abdominal cramps, nausea, flatulence and diarrhea. Guar gum was declared unsafe and ineffective for use as a non- prescription diet aid, but then allowed in small doses in the food supply.

Conventional and synthetic guar gum has been linked through studies to a high molecular weight agent that can cause occupational rhinitis and asthma. Its ingestion may also cause a significant reduction in the absorption and bioavailability of calcium, iron, and zinc.

Organic guar gum containing a high quantity of soluble fiber can be a very good aid to both irritable bowel syndrome and diarrhea. The soluble fiber present in organic guar gum dissolves in water though it is not digested. Moreover, when fully organic, this natural laxative contains no harmful chemicals as found in synthetic and conventional versions and thus has no side effects.

If the guar gum is not labeled as organic, avoid the product.

Soy Lecithin or Soya Lecithin

Healthy sources of soy lecithin have many benefits and are a source of choline. It helps dissolve fat and cholesterol and can help regulate your kidney, liver and gallbladder function.

The problem is, just as corn, a very large percentage of soy lecithin is produced from soy which is GM and unfermented. Fermented soy is the only soy fit for human consumption. Unfermented soy has been linked to digestive distress, immune system breakdown, PMS, endometriosis, reproductive problems for men and women, allergies, ADD and ADHD, higher risk of heart disease and cancer, malnutrition, and loss of libido.

If you can contact the food manufacturer and firmly source the soy lecithin and confirm it’s non GM and fermented …fantastic, otherwise stay away from any food product with this additive.

Commerical Varieties and Making Your Own

Some of the largest ice cream chains in the world such as Baskin-Robbins, Ben & Jerry’s, Dairy Queen and Häagen-Dazs all use the above toxic ingredients in their flavours. All local ice cream parlors also include them in their formulations. There are literally hundreds of other conventional ice cream manufacturers and brands around the world. With the exception of companies that emphasize organic all-natural products (i.e. Mapleton’s), we have yet to find one ice cream producer that does not use any of the above ingredients in their manufacturing process.

These days, there is only one way to eat healthy ice cream….make it yourself. Here’s how:

Borrowed from “Nourishing Traditions” by Sally Fallon:

* 3 egg yolks
* 1/2 cup maple syrup
* 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
* 1 tablespoon arrowroot
* 3 cups heavy cream, preferably raw, not ultrapasteurized

Beat egg yolks and blend in remaining ingredients. Pour into an ice cream maker and process according to instructions. (Remember to choose the highest quality ingredients you can find like raw cream, eggs from pastured chickens, or at least organic eggs, and organic (grade B, if you can find it) maple syrup. Pure vanilla extract and arrowroot powder or flour can be found in most health food stores.)

Source: preventdisease

The White House Has No Credibility

June 21, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Holy Cow, Martha! Will miracles never cease? Chuck Baldwin and the New York Times editorial board actually agree. Are we in the Twilight Zone? Is it Freaky Friday? Is the Times editorial board reading my columns and seeing the light or am I watching CNN and MSNBC too much? I know I don’t watch those two propaganda outlets too much, and I doubt the Times editorial board pays too much attention to what I write, so what is going on?

On June 6, the editorial board of the New York Times posted a column that yours truly could have written. The column was entitled “President Obama’s Dragnet.” The editorial begins:

“Within hours of the disclosure that federal authorities routinely collect data on phone calls Americans make, regardless of whether they have any bearing on a counterterrorism investigation, the Obama administration issued the same platitude it has offered every time President Obama has been caught overreaching in the use of his powers: terrorists are a real menace and you should just trust us to deal with them because we have internal mechanisms (that we are not going to tell you about) to make sure we do not violate your rights.

“Those reassurances have never been persuasive–whether on secret warrants to scoop up a news agency’s phone records or secret orders to kill an American suspected of terrorism–especially coming from a president who once promised transparency and accountability.

“The administration has now lost all credibility on this issue. Mr. Obama is proving the truism that the executive branch will use any power it is given and very likely abuse it. That is one reason we have long argued that the Patriot Act, enacted in the heat of fear after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks by members of Congress who mostly had not even read it, was reckless in its assignment of unnecessary and overbroad surveillance powers.”

The editorial goes on to say, “Essentially, the administration is saying that without any individual suspicion of wrongdoing, the government is allowed to know whom Americans are calling every time they make a phone call, for how long they talk and from where.

“This sort of tracking can reveal a lot of personal and intimate information about an individual. To causally permit this surveillance–with the American public having no idea that the executive branch is now exercising this power–fundamentally shifts power between the individual and the state, and it repudiates constitutional principles governing search, seizure and privacy.”

The Times editorial concludes by saying, “On Thursday, representative Jim Sensenbrenner, Republican of Wisconsin, who introduced the Patriot Act in 2001, said that the National Security Agency overstepped its bounds by obtaining a secret order to collect phone log records from millions of Americans.

“‘As the author of the Patriot Act, I am extremely troubled by the F.B.I.’s interpretation of this legislation,’ he said in a statement. ‘While I believe the Patriot Act appropriately balanced national security concerns and civil rights, I have always worried about potential abuses.’ He added: ‘Seizing phone records of millions of innocent people is excessive and un-American.’

“Stunning use of the act [Patriot Act] shows, once again, why it needs to be sharply curtailed if not repealed.”

See The New York Times editorial here:

President Obama’s Dragnet

First of all, the Patriot Act introduced by Sensenbrenner and passed into law in 2001 had been introduced before (almost word-for-word) during the Clinton administration. It was soundly defeated by Republican majorities in both the US House and Senate. Then after 9-11, these same Republicans passed the Patriot Act into law. And you read that the principal sponsor of the Act in the House, Jim Sensenbrenner, said he had “always worried about potential abuses.” Then why the heck did he and the rest of the Republicans in the House and Senate pass the darn thing? You know why. Back in 2001, a Republican was in the White House. As we have seen time and time again, party partisanship usually trumps loyalty to the Constitution on Capitol Hill.

Think about it: when Democrat Bill Clinton was President, Democrats on Capitol Hill strongly supported what became known as the Patriot Act; and Republicans opposed it. But when Republican G.W. Bush was President, Republicans supported (and passed) the Patriot Act; and Democrats opposed it. Remember: it was the same bill! What made the difference? The party occupying the White House. Yet, even the chief sponsor of the Patriot Act, Jim Sensenbrenner, said he “always worried about potential abuses.” Well, now we know his worries were justified.

Wouldn’t it be nice if just once members of Congress (from both parties) would choose to err on the side of liberty and constitutional government instead of tyranny and Big-Government?

Secondly, the abuses of power by the White House under the guise of the Patriot Act have been going on ever since the darn thing was passed. Barack Obama is no guiltier of trampling the Bill of Rights than G.W. Bush. It was Bush who pushed through, not only the Patriot Act, but the Military Commissions Act and the NDAA, all of which give the executive branch of the federal government unconstitutional authority to abuse the rights and liberties of the American people.

I even recall when G.W. Bush appeared before the United Nations shortly after ordering the invasion of Iraq and told that body the reason Iraq was invaded was for the “peace and credibility of the United Nations.”

See Bush’s speech to the UN here:

George W. Bush Addresses The UN

I didn’t know the United Nations had any credibility worth saving. Furthermore, I thought the US armed forces were supposed to fight to preserve the safety and liberty of the United States. You mean to tell me that American forces were sent into Iraq for the benefit of the “peace and credibility of the United Nations”? Egad. I wonder if Bush and Obama are using federal police powers against the American citizenry for the same reason that US troops were used against Iraq: for the “peace and credibility of the United Nations.” I think it is safe to say that anyone who would abuse US troops to fulfill the machinations of the United Nations would have no hesitation to abuse US citizens for the same reason. In other words, everything that G.W. Bush started, Barack Obama is continuing–both in regard to the wars waged in the Middle East and in the abuse of liberties in the United States.

The rubric for all of this abuse is the “War on Terror,” with the Patriot Act serving as the cornerstone piece of legislation authorizing it and the Department of Homeland Security serving as the cornerstone agency enforcing it. The net result is perpetual war abroad and a burgeoning police state at home.

The New York Times is right: the Obama White House has no credibility on this issue. Neither did the Bush White House. Then, again, it might not matter whether the White House has any credibility, as long as the United Nations has credibility. I jest, of course.

The Times is also right when it says the Patriot Act needs to be “sharply curtailed if not repealed.” I vote for the latter.

And why is it left to the New York Times to call for the repeal of the Patriot Act? Where are the so-called conservative Republicans? Where are the cable news networks? Where is the rest of the media? And where are America’s pastors and churches?

The New York Times and Chuck Baldwin preaching the same sermon: who would have ever believed it?


Chuck Baldwin is a regular columnist for Veracity Voice

You can reach him at: chuck@chuckbaldwinlive.com
Please visit Chuck’s web site at: http://www.chuckbaldwinlive.com

Boston Marathon, This Thing Called Terrorism, And The United States

May 4, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

What is it that makes young men, reasonably well educated, in good health and nice looking, with long lives ahead of them, use powerful explosives to murder complete strangers because of political beliefs?

I’m speaking about American military personnel of course, on the ground, in the air, or directing drones from an office in Nevada.

Do not the survivors of US attacks in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia, Libya and elsewhere, and their loved ones, ask such a question?

The survivors and loved ones in Boston have their answer – America’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

That’s what Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the surviving Boston bomber has said in custody, and there’s no reason to doubt that he means it, nor the dozens of others in the past two decades who have carried out terrorist attacks against American targets and expressed anger toward US foreign policy. 1 Both Tsarnaev brothers had expressed such opinions before the attack as well.  2 The Marathon bombing took place just days after a deadly US attack in Afghanistan killed 17 civilians, including 12 children, as but one example of countless similar horrors from recent years. “Oh”, an American says, “but those are accidents. What terrorists do is on purpose. It’s cold-blooded murder.”

But if the American military sends out a bombing mission on Monday which kills multiple innocent civilians, and then the military announces: “Sorry, that was an accident.” And then on Tuesday the American military sends out a bombing mission which kills multiple innocent civilians, and then the military announces: “Sorry, that was an accident.” And then on Wednesday the American military sends out a bombing mission which kills multiple innocent civilians, and the military then announces: “Sorry, that was an accident.” … Thursday … Friday … How long before the American military loses the right to say it was an accident?

Terrorism is essentially an act of propaganda, to draw attention to a cause. The 9-11 perpetrators attacked famous symbols of American military and economic power. Traditionally, perpetrators would phone in their message to a local media outlet beforehand, but today, in this highly-surveilled society, with cameras and electronic monitoring at a science-fiction level, that’s much more difficult to do without being detected; even finding a public payphone can be near impossible.

From what has been reported, the older brother, Tamerlan, regarded US foreign policy also as being anti-Islam, as do many other Muslims. I think this misreads Washington’s intentions. The American Empire is not anti-Islam. It’s anti-only those who present serious barriers to the Empire’s plan for world domination.

The United States has had close relations with Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Qatar, amongst other Islamic states. And in recent years the US has gone to great lengths to overthrow the leading secular states of the Mideast – Iraq, Libya and Syria.

Moreover, it’s questionable that Washington is even against terrorism per se, but rather only those terrorists who are not allies of the empire. There has been, for example, a lengthy and infamous history of tolerance, and often outright support, for numerous anti-Castro terrorists, even when their terrorist acts were committed in the United States. Hundreds of anti-Castro and other Latin American terrorists have been given haven in the US over the years. The United States has also provided support to terrorists in Afghanistan, Nicaragua, Kosovo, Bosnia, Iran, Libya, and Syria, including those with known connections to al Qaeda, to further foreign policy goals more important than fighting terrorism.

Under one or more of the harsh anti-terrorist laws enacted in the United States in recent years, President Obama could be charged with serious crimes for allowing the United States to fight on the same side as al Qaeda-linked terrorists in Libya and Syria and for funding and supplying these groups. Others in the United States have been imprisoned for a lot less.

As a striking example of how Washington has put its imperialist agenda before anything else, we can consider the case of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, an Afghan warlord whose followers first gained attention in the 1980s by throwing acid in the faces of women who refused to wear the veil. This is how these horrible men spent their time when they were not screaming “Death to America”. CIA and State Department officials called Hekmatyar “scary,” “vicious,” “a fascist,” “definite dictatorship material”. 3 This did not prevent the United States government from showering the man with large amounts of aid to fight against the Soviet-supported government of Afghanistan. 4 Hekmatyar is still a prominent warlord in Afghanistan.

A similar example is that of Luis Posada who masterminded the bombing of a Cuban airline in 1976, killing 73 civilians. He has lived a free man in Florida for many years.

USA Today reported a few months ago about a rebel fighter in Syria who told the newspaper in an interview: “The afterlife is the only thing that matters to me, and I can only reach it by waging jihad.” 5 Tamerlan Tsarnaev may have chosen to have a shootout with the Boston police as an act of suicide; to die waging jihad, although questions remain about exactly how he died. In any event, I think it’s safe to say that the authorities wanted to capture the brothers alive to be able to question them.

It would be most interesting to be present the moment after a jihadist dies and discovers, with great shock, that there’s no afterlife. Of course, by definition, there would have to be an afterlife for him to discover that there’s no afterlife. On the other hand, a non-believer would likely be thrilled to find out that he was wrong.

Let us hope that the distinguished statesmen, military officers, and corporate leaders who own and rule America find out in this life that to put an end to anti-American terrorism they’re going to have to learn to live without unending war against the world. There’s no other defense against a couple of fanatic young men with backpacks. Just calling them insane or evil doesn’t tell you enough; it may tell you nothing.

But this change in consciousness in the elite is going to be extremely difficult, as difficult as it appears to be for the parents of the two boys to accept their sons’ guilt. Richard Falk, UN special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, stated after the Boston attack: “The American global domination project is bound to generate all kinds of resistance in the post-colonial world. In some respects, the United States has been fortunate not to experience worse blowbacks … We should be asking ourselves at this moment, ‘How many canaries will have to die before we awaken from our geopolitical fantasy of global domination?’” 6

Officials in Canada and Britain as well as US Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice have called for Falk to be fired. 7

President Kennedy’s speech, half a century ago

I don’t know how many times in the 50 years since President John F. Kennedy made his much celebrated 1963 speech at American University in Washington, DC. 8  I’ve heard or read that if only he had lived he would have put a quick end to the war in Vietnam instead of it continuing for ten more terrible years, and that the Cold War might have ended 25 years sooner than it did. With the 50th anniversary coming up June 13 we can expect to hear a lot more of the same, so I’d like to jump the gun and offer a counter-view.

Kennedy declared:

Let us re-examine our attitude toward the Soviet Union. It is discouraging to think that their leaders may actually believe what their propagandists write. It is discouraging to read a recent authoritative Soviet text on Military Strategy and find, on page after page, wholly baseless and incredible claims such as the allegation that “American imperialist circles are preparing to unleash different types of war … that there is a very real threat of a preventative war being unleashed by American imperialists against the Soviet Union” … [and that] the political aims – and I quote – “of the American imperialists are to enslave economically and politically the European and other capitalist countries … [and] to achieve world domination … by means of aggressive war.”

It is indeed refreshing that an American president would utter a thought such as: “It is discouraging to think that their leaders may actually believe what their propagandists write.” This is what radicals in every country wonder about their leaders, not least in the United States. For example, “incredible claims such as the allegation that ‘American imperialist circles are preparing to unleash different types of war’.”

In Kennedy’s short time in office the United States had unleashed many different types of war, from attempts to overthrow governments and suppress political movements to assassination attempts against leaders and actual military combat – one or more of these in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, British Guiana, Iraq, Congo, Haiti, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Cuba and Brazil. This is all in addition to the normal and routine CIA subversion of countries all over the world map. Did Kennedy really believe that the Soviet claims were “incredible”?

And did he really doubt that that the driving force behind US foreign policy was “world domination”? How else did he explain all the above interventions (which have continued non-stop into the 21st century)? If the president thought that the Russians were talking nonsense when they accused the US of seeking world domination, why didn’t he then disavow the incessant US government and media warnings about the “International Communist Conspiracy”? Or at least provide a rigorous definition of the term and present good evidence of its veracity.

Quoting further: “Our military forces are committed to peace and disciplined in self-restraint.” No comment.

“We are unwilling to impose our system on any unwilling people.” Unless of course the people foolishly insist on some form of socialist alternative. Ask the people of Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, British Guiana and Cuba, just to name some of those in Kennedy’s time.

“At the same time we seek to keep peace inside the non-Communist world, where many nations, all of them our friends …” American presidents have been speaking of “our friends” for many years. What they all mean, but never say, is that “our friends” are government and corporate leaders whom we keep in power through any means necessary – the dictators, the kings, the oligarchs, the torturers – not the masses of the population, particularly those with a measure of education.

“Our efforts in West New Guinea, in the Congo, in the Middle East, and the Indian subcontinent, have been persistent and patient despite criticism from both sides.”

Persistent, yes. Patient, often. But moral, fostering human rights, democracy, civil liberties, self-determination, not fawning over Israel … ? As but one glaring example, the assassination of Patrice Lumumba of the Congo, perhaps the last chance for a decent life for the people of that painfully downtrodden land; planned by the CIA under Eisenhower, but executed under Kennedy.

“The Communist drive to impose their political and economic system on others is the primary cause of world tension today. For there can be no doubt that, if all nations could refrain from interfering in the self-determination of others, the peace would be much more assured.”

See all of the above for this piece of hypocrisy. And so, if no nation interfered in the affairs of any other nation, there would be no wars. Brilliant. If everybody became rich there would be no poverty. If everybody learned to read there would be no illiteracy.

“The United States, as the world knows, will never start a war.”

So … Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Cuba, and literally dozens of other countries then, later, and now, all the way up to Libya in 2012 … they all invaded the United States first? Remarkable.

And this was the man who was going to end the war in Vietnam very soon after being re-elected the following year? Lord help us.

Bush’s legacy

This is not to put George W. Bush down. That’s too easy, and I’ve done it many times. No, this is to counter the current trend to rehabilitate the man and his Iraqi horror show, which partly coincides with the opening of his presidential library in Texas. At the dedication ceremony, President Obama spoke of Bush’s “compassion and generosity” and declared that: “He is a good man.” The word “Iraq” did not pass his lips. The closest he came at all was saying “So even as we Americans may at times disagree on matters of foreign policy, we share a profound respect and reverence for the men and women of our military and their families.” 9 Should morality be that flexible? Even for a politician? Obama could have just called in sick.

At the January 31 congressional hearing on the nomination of Chuck Hagel to be Secretary of Defense, Senator John McCain ripped into him for his critique of the Iraq war:

“The question is, were you right or were you wrong?” McCain demanded, pressing Hagel on why he opposed Bush’s decision to send 20,000 additional troops to Iraq in the so-called ‘surge’.

“I’m not going to give you a yes-or-no answer. I think it’s far more complicated than that,” Hagel responded. He said he would await the “judgment of history.”

Glaring at Hagel, McCain ended the exchange with a bitter rejoinder: “I think history has already made a judgment about the surge, sir, and you are on the wrong side of it.” 10

Before the revisionist history of the surge gets chiseled into marble, let me repeat part of what I wrote in this report at the time, December 2007:

The American progress is measured by a decrease in violence, the White House has decided – a daily holocaust has been cut back to a daily multiple catastrophe. And who’s keeping the count? Why, the same good people who have been regularly feeding us a lie for the past five years about the number of Iraqi deaths, completely ignoring the epidemiological studies. A recent analysis by the Washington Post left the administration’s claim pretty much in tatters. The article opened with: “The U.S. military’s claim that violence has decreased sharply in Iraq in recent months has come under scrutiny from many experts within and outside the government, who contend that some of the underlying statistics are questionable and selectively ignore negative trends.”

To the extent that there may have been a reduction in violence, we must also keep in mind that, thanks to this lovely little war, there are several million Iraqis either dead, wounded, in exile abroad, or in bursting American and Iraqi prisons. So the number of potential victims and killers has been greatly reduced. Moreover, extensive ethnic cleansing has taken place in Iraq (another good indication of progress, n’est-ce pas? nicht wahr?) – Sunnis and Shiites are now living more in their own special enclaves than before, none of those stinking mixed communities with their unholy mixed marriages, so violence of the sectarian type has also gone down. On top of all this, US soldiers have been venturing out a lot less (for fear of things like … well, dying), so the violence against our noble lads is also down.

One of the signs of the reduction in violence in Iraq, the administration would like us to believe, is that many Iraqi families are returning from Syria, where they had fled because of the violence. The New York Times, however, reported that “Under intense pressure to show results after months of political stalemate, the [Iraqi] government has continued to publicize figures that exaggerate the movement back to Iraq”; as well as exaggerating “Iraqis’ confidence that the current lull in violence can be sustained.” The count, it turns out, included all Iraqis crossing the border, for whatever reason. A United Nations survey found that 46 percent were leaving Syria because they could not afford to stay; 25 percent said they fell victim to a stricter Syrian visa policy; and only 14 percent said they were returning because they had heard about improved security.

How long can it be before vacation trips to “Exotic Iraq” are flashed across our TVs? “Baghdad’s Beautiful Beaches Beckon”. Just step over the bodies. Indeed, the State Department has recently advertised for a “business development/tourism” expert to work in Baghdad, “with a particular focus on tourism and related services.” 11

Another argument raised again recently to preserve George W.’s legacy is that “He kept us safe”. Hmm … I could swear that he was in the White House around the time of September 11 … What his supporters mean is that Bush’s War on Terrorism was a success because there wasn’t another terrorist attack in the United States after September 11, 2001 while he was in office; as if terrorists killing Americans is acceptable if it’s done abroad. Following the American/Bush strike on Afghanistan in October 2001 there were literally scores of terrorist attacks – including some major ones – against American institutions in the Middle East, South Asia and the Pacific: military, civilian, Christian, and other targets associated with the United States.

Even the claim that the War on Terrorism kept Americans safe at home is questionable. There was no terrorist attack in the United States during the 6 1/2 years prior to the one in September 2001; not since the April 1995 bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City. It would thus appear that the absence of terrorist attacks in the United States is the norm.

William Blum speaking in Wisconsin, near Minnesota

Saturday, July 13th, the 11th Annual Peacestock: A Gathering for Peace will take place at Windbeam Farm in Hager City, WI. Peacestock is a mixture of music, speakers, and community for peace in an idyllic location near the Mississippi, just one hour’s drive from the Twin Cities of Minnesota. Peacestock is sponsored by Veterans for Peace, Chapter 115, and has a peace-themed agenda. Kathy Kelly, peace activist extraordinaire, will also speak.

You can camp there and be fed well, meat or vegetarian. Full information at:http://www.peacestockvfp.org 11

Notes

  1. William Blum, Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower, chapters 1 and 2, for cases up to about 2003; later similar cases are numerous; e.g., Glenn Greenwald, “They Hate US for our Occupations”, Salon, October 12, 2010 ↩
  2. Huffington Post, April 20, 2013; Washington Post, April 21 ↩
  3. Tim Weiner, Blank Check: The Pentagon’s Black Budget (1990), p.149-50. ↩
  4. William Blum, Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II ↩
  5. USA Today, December 3, 2012 ↩
  6. ForeignPolicyJournal.com, April 21, 2013 ↩
  7. The Telegraph (London), April 25, 2013; Politico.com, April 24 ↩
  8. Full text of speech ↩
  9. Remarks by President Obama at Dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Library ↩
  10. Los Angeles Times, February 1, 2013 ↩
  11. Anti-Empire Report, #52, December 11, 2007 ↩


William Blum is the author of:

  • Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War 2
  • Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower
  • West-Bloc Dissident: A Cold War Memoir
  • Freeing the World to Death: Essays on the American Empire


Portions of the books can be read, and signed copies purchased, at www.killinghope.org

Email to bblum6@aol.com

Website: WilliamBlum.org

William Blum is a regular columnist for Veracity Voice

UNPRECEDENTED Shortages Of Ammo, Physical Gold And Physical Silver

April 28, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Panic Button By John On FlickrAll over the United States we are witnessing unprecedented shortages of ammunition, physical gold and physical silver.  Recent events have helped fuel a “buying frenzy” that threatens to spiral out of control.  Gun shops all over the nation are reporting that they have never seen it this bad, and in many cases any ammo that they are able to get is being sold even before it hits the shelves.  The ammo shortage has already become so severe that police departments all over America are saying that they are being told that it is going to take six months to a year to get their orders.  In fact, many police departments have begun to trade and barter with one another to get the ammo that they need.  Meanwhile, the takedown of paper gold and paper silver has unleashed an avalanche of “panic buying” of physical gold and physical silver all over the planet.  In the United States, some dealers are charging premiums of more than 25 percent over the spot price for gold and silver and they are getting it.  People are paying these prices even though they are being told that delivery will not happen for a month or two in many cases.  Some dealers are feverishly taking as many orders as they can, and they are just hoping that they will be able to get the physical gold and silver to eventually fill those orders.  Personally, I have never seen anything like this.  If things are this tight now, what is going to happen when the next major financial crisis strikes and people really begin to panic?

The shortages and rationing of ammunition at gun shops all over America just seem to keep getting worse.  The following is from an article by a gun owner down in Texas named Brad Meyer

If you’d like to see a normally sullen sales clerk chortle with derisive pleasure, just walk into just about any gun range, sporting goods store or mass merchandiser and try and buy a couple boxes of .22 ammunition.

Gun enthusiasts are up in arms about a nationwide shortage of ammunition. Handgun ammo in general is particularly difficult to find – and when you do find it, there are restrictions on the amount you can buy and how much you’re going to be paying for it.

While the list of hard to find ammo is long, .22 long rifle and 9mm handgun ammunition are particularly difficult to find in quantity. And the few places that have it are charging a premium rate and usually limiting purchases to one box, per person, per day.

Many gun owners try to find ammunition by going on the Internet, but things have gotten so tight that now any ammo that becomes available online is often gone within seconds

There are websites where people across the country post links to where ammunition is available – and it sells out within seconds. Not minutes or hours – seconds.

Unfortunately, all of this demand is also driving up prices.  Just check out what Meyer says is happening to the price of standard .22 ammo…

The demand is driving up the cost of ammunition. Six months ago, standard .22 ammo – the most common type of bullet produced in the world – could be had in bulk for around five cents apiece. It is now going for 50 cents or more on some websites – and people are paying it.

But this shortage is not just affecting private citizens.  According toNewmax, police departments all over the nation are dealing with ammo shortages unlike anything that they have ever seen before…

Sheriff Anthony DeMeo of Nye County, Nev., was told his department’s regular order of 50,000 rounds could take up to a year to arrive.

“This is the first time ever I’ve heard that there’s a problem with a law-enforcement agency getting ammo for their agency,” DeMeo told The Las Vegas Sun.

These departments are not alone. Law enforcement agencies in Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Arizona, and Georgia are among many that are having to limit how much they give their officers due to the shortage.

Could you imagine waiting for “up to a year” to get more ammunition?

A recent article posted on CNSNews.com had some more examples of police departments that are reporting that there is a massive wait to get more ammo…

Chief Pryor of Rollingwood, Texas says of the shortage:

“We started making phone calls and realized there is a waiting list up to a year.  We have to limit the amount of times we go and train because we want to keep an adequate stock.”

“Nobody can get us ammunition at this point,” saysSgt. Jason LaCross of the Bozeman, Montana police department.

LaCross says that manufacturers are so far behind that they won’t even give him a quote for an order.

“We have no estimated time on when it will even be available,” LaCross says.

This is insane.

What in the world could be causing such an ammo crunch?

Well, certainly the demand for guns and ammo has been trending up in recent years – especially since Barack Obama was elected.

But that doesn’t fully account for the shortages that we are witnessing at the moment.

So what is going on?

Well, some people believe that the federal government is responsible.  It has been reported that they have signed contracts to purchase “up to” 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition.  According to Forbes, this amount of ammunition would be enough to fight a “hot war” in America for 20 years

The Denver Post, on February 15th, ran an Associated Press article entitled Homeland Security aims to buy 1.6b rounds of ammo, so far to little notice.  It confirmed that the Department of Homeland Security has issued an open purchase order for 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition.  As reported elsewhere, some of this purchase order is for hollow-point rounds, forbidden by international law for use in war, along with a frightening amount specialized for snipers. Also reported elsewhere, at the height of the Iraq War the Army was expending less than 6 million rounds a month.  Therefore 1.6 billion rounds would be enough to sustain a hot war for 20+ years.  In America.

Could this be a way that the Obama administration is trying to restrict the amount of ammo that gets into the hands of private citizens?

That is what some people are suggesting.

According to talk radio show host Michael Savage, the ammo contracts that the federal government has signed give them priority over all other purchasers…

What Homeland Security is doing here is they’re issuing a contract to buy up to that amount of ammo if they want it…

It’s a way to control the amount of market that’s available on the commercial market at any time.

If they go to the ammo manufacturers and say give me 50 million rounds, give me another 30 million rounds… if they periodically do this in increments, they’re going to control how much ammo is available on the commercial market.

As part of their contract it stipulates in there that when the government calls and says give us another quantity, that everything they make has to go to the government priority one before any of it goes to the commercial market.

So, if  they get nervous, all they have to do is use that contract that they have in place… and they just say ‘give us some more.’

So whenever the government wants to tighten the supply of ammunition, all they have to do is invoke their contracts and order more for themselves.

Meanwhile, Obama appears to be doing other things to restrict the amount of ammo that gets into the hands of private gun owners.

For example, there are reports that the Obama administration plans to use executive orders to greatly restrict the importation of ammo from overseas.

So if anything, the shortage of ammunition is only going to get worse, not better.

Meanwhile, the “panic buying” of physical gold and physical silver that we have seen lately has really run down inventories.

According to Reuters, demand has become so intense that the U.S. Mint has suspended sales of gold coins for the first time since 2009…

The U.S. Mint said it has suspended sales of its one-tenth ounce American Eagle gold bullion coins as surging demand after bullion’s plunge to two-year lows depleted the government’s inventory. This marks the first time it has stopped selling gold product since November 2009, dealers said.

At the same time, precious metals dealers all over the country are scrambling to meet the voracious demand that they have been seeing this month.  The following is an excerpt from a letter that the CEO of Texas Precious Metals recently sent out to his customers…

The physical silver market is, in a word, ugly. There is no telling at this point when mint inventories will return to normal, but you can be sure it will not happen within the next 8 weeks. Most dealers, at this point, are selling their current customer demand forward, meaning they are selling product they do not presently have, expecting to pull from future mint allocations. Consequently, future allocations will face pressure from today’s demand. It is not my intent here to comment on the business practices of other companies, but I will say that no one can possibly predict future allocations at the time. The US mint, for example, releases its allocations weekly, and until then, dealers have no insight into allocation levels. Last week, we turned away business in excess of 100,000 ozs of silver because of stock depletion. However, we stand by the notion that it is better to lose a sale than lose a customer by delaying delivery two months (or more).

A similar thing is happening over in Asia.  According to the Financial Times, soaring demand has caused a shortage of gold at the Hong Kong Gold & Silver Exchange Society…

Haywood Cheung, president of the Hong Kong Gold & Silver Exchange Society, said the exchange had effectively run out of most of its holdings as members looked to meet a shortfall in supply amid rampant retail demand for gold products.

“In terms of volume, I haven’t seen this gold rush for over 20 years,” he told the Financial Times on Monday, adding that the exchange only had around twenty 1kg bars, and 100 five-tael bars left in its inventory. “Older members who have been in the business for 50 years haven’t seen such a thing.”

But most disturbing of all is what Jim Sinclair told King World Newsrecently.  Apparently his friend went to get his gold out of a Swiss bank the other day and they refused to give it to him…

A person that I know with significant deposits in one of the primary Swiss banks, in allocated gold, wanted to take out his gold and was just refused on the basis of directives from the central bank….

They told him the amount was in excess of 200,000 Swiss francs and the central bank had instructed them not to do it because it has to do with anti-terrorism and anti-money laundering precautions.

I really wonder whether those are precautions or whether the gold simply isn’t there. Now you tell me that a London delivery has basically failed. It has to raise our suspicions that the lack of physical gold behind the paper gold is literally so severe that we are coming to understand that it is in fact not there.

The gold that people think is stored is not stored, and the inventory of the warehouses for exchanges may not be holding deliverable gold. There has always been speculation about whether or not the physical gold the US claims to store is in fact in those vaults.

The greatest train robbery in history might be all of the gold, and it would only be something like we have described above that would happen right before gold makes historic highs.

There simply is no gold behind the paper. One example is AMRO, a second is your example with Maguire, and a third is my dear friend who was refused his gold on the basis that its value was too high. Remember this friend of mine had his gold in an allocated account in storage at a major Swiss bank. I repeat, there is no gold.

So are we going to see more of this?

Will it soon become evident that there is simply not enough physical gold to cover all of the promises that the banks have made?

Jim Sinclair sure seems to think so.

In another interview, John Embry expressed similar sentiments to King World News…

This gets back to the tip of the iceberg when the Dutch Bank ABN AMRO came out and literally said that if you have allocated gold with us, you can’t have it.

That, to me, is a default, and it gets back to what Jim Sinclair related when one of his friends went to a Swiss bank and couldn’t get his allocated gold.  I mean that’s preposterous.  If it’s allocated it should be there, but it’s clearly not there.  I think this is the beginning of the end of the massive Ponzi scheme in paper gold.  I have been talking about this for some time, and it will have an enormous impact on future gold and silver prices.

When it becomes widely known that all of the people who think they own gold in fact don’t own gold, that it’s been hypothecated and re-hypothecated so many times that there are 100 claims for every single ounce of physical gold, that is when the prices of gold and silver will really go berserk to the upside, and at that point the shorts will have serious problems.”

If those that helped engineer the recent takedown of paper gold and silver were hoping to scare people away from physical gold and silver, then they failed miserably.  For even more on this, please see my recent article entitled “10 Signs The Takedown Of Paper Gold Has Unleashed An Unprecedented Global Run On Physical Gold And Silver“.

All of this is just another example why I encourage people to get prepared while times are still relatively good.

Once disaster strikes, it may be too late to get the things that you need.

Right now there are a whole lot of people out there wishing that they had stocked up on ammo when it was much cheaper and much more readily available.

We are moving into a time when everything that can be shaken will be shaken.  Use the stability provided by the false bubble of economic hope that we are experiencing right now as an opportunity to get prepared.  The next major wave of the economic collapse is rapidly approaching and time is running out.

Source: The Economic Collapse

If Gov’t Can Make Bullets Disappear From Stores, Why Can’t It Make Food And Medicine?

March 10, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

I know some of you folks don’t shoot, but to the many of you who do, I would like to pose a question.

Have you tried to purchase any ammunition lately?

All calibers are disappearing from store shelves, but .22 long rifles, in bulk, can’t be found at all anywhere, even the most dependable internet super dealers are out of stock and are making no promises about when they’ll be available again, and it’s my opinion that soon the same thing will be true about the other calibers.

I readily admit that one of the reasons is that Barack Obama’s outright war on guns, the “feel good” juvenile antics of Governor Cuomo of New York and the childish Democrats in the Missouri and Wisconsin state legislatures have scared legal gun owners into stockpiling ammunition, justly fearing that it will get hard, if not impossible to get.

But, can somebody please tell me why Homeland Security and many other, supposedly benign government agencies have bought over two billion rounds and are ordering millions more of all calibers, even the smaller ones?

Why does a shoot-to-kill outfit like Homeland Security need tiny caliber bullets like .22′s that are made for hunting small game? Is Homeland Security going to start exterminating squirrels or rabbits, and why does an agency like Social Security need any kind of ammunition?

Is this a back door attempt at gun control, a way around a Congress that is scared to death of gun legislation? Another presidential backstreet move to have his way by hook or crook and blame it on free market demand? Just dry up the ammo and the guns will be useless?

My information is that the manufacturers are straining every nerve trying to keep up with the demand, but with Homeland Security commandeering so much of their production, the task is impossible.

Is this the beginning of the weaning of America?

It’s a scary scenario, but let me relate an even scarier one.

If the government can make bullets disappear from store shelves, why couldn’t it make food disappear, or fuel or medicine, or anything else for that matter?

The point being that big government can do just about anything they want to and there’s little the minority of us who fear it can do about it as long as the majority who don’t fear it keeps tripping down the primrose path with their heads in the clouds and their hands out.

There is a little known piece of legislation that passed Congress a while back called The Food Safety Modernization Act and the provisions are shadowy at best, having to do with agriculture and the production of food in America.

I checked into it when I found out about it only to find the bill had just cleared the Senate and was on President Obama’s desk. What struck me as strange was the fact that our two Tennessee Senators were split on the vote; Bob Corker voted against it and Lamar Alexander voted for it.

I was assured by Senator Alexander’s office that “Senator Alexander would never do anything to hurt the farmers.” Well, does that mean that Senator Corker would do something to hurt the farmers by voting against it? Which means that one of the Senators voted against the farmers of Tennessee. Which one?

The provisions of the bill are said to protect the food supply, but what does that mean when it’s taken out of government speak and translated into plain English?

Personally, I believe the government has taken upon itself the power to interrupt agriculture at any time it chooses under the guise of keeping tainted or otherwise unsafe food out of the market – up to, and including, the planting and harvesting of private home gardens.

The flow of medicine could easily be interrupted by claiming it contained impurities and harmful substances.

We’ve already seen how fuel can be rationed – just slow down the availability and delivery.

Big government can bring this nation to its knees in a matter of days. And, with a passive Senate and an ever more acquiescent Supreme Court, the power to do so is falling into the hands of one man.

Shaky ground for a free nation.

What do you think?

Pray for our troops and the peace of Jerusalem.

God Bless America

Charlie Daniels

Source: cnsnews.com

NO Tidings of Comfort & Joy: It’s Still Hell Out In Rockaway

December 19, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

While our government still happily continues to peel big bucks off its wad and shower it down on Wall Street, big business and the “war” machine like it was Christmas for banksters and war-mongers all year long whether they need it or not, all too many hard-working tax-paying victims of Hurricane Sandy out in Staten Island and Rockaway are still getting no help at all.  Zero.  Ziltch.  Nada.

Nothing is currently being peeled off our government’s endless roll of big bucks for them.

Last week I was riding in a Muni bus over in San Francisco (on my way back from an audition to play a bored office worker in a student film) and on the bus was a very delightful older couple who seemed to have absolutely no cares.

“Where are you from?” I asked them.

“Rockaway,” they replied hesitantly.  Rockaway?  OMG!  Not THAT Rockaway?  “Yeah, that’s the one.  And, yes, we did live through Hurricane Sandy and, yes, our home was badly damaged and almost destroyed.”  http://www.phillipvan.com/filter/PHOTO/BREEZY-POINT

“So what the freak are you doing out here?”

“Having fun!  After having survived a personal visit from Sandy, we realized that life is just too short not to enjoy it.  So we came out here to have fun.”

“But did you at least get any help from FEMA?” I asked, figuring that after our government has spent trillions on bailing out Wall Street (where no one hardly ever pays taxes and pretty much lives on Welfare for the Wealthy), then the least that our government could do is send a measly few billion bucks off to bail out afflicted taxpayers in Rockaway. http://www.phillipvan.com/filter/PHOTO/ROCKAWAY-BEACH

“Have we received any help from FEMA?  In a word?  No.”

“Not even anything?”  No.

“It’s been a whole month after Sandy and parts of Rockaway still don’t even have electricity now.  Or places for people to go.”

“But did FEMA give you any money to help you out?”  No.

“We got nothing but an avalanche of paperwork.”  They didn’t even get bottled water.  “A relative in Wisconsin finally ended up bringing us some.”  And they can’t go back to their home because the wife has asthma and their house is a hell-hole of black mold right now.  Ah, black mold, the bane of asthma sufferers’ existence.

“We just took out a 60-day insurance policy from Lloyd’s of London on our stuff and left.”

I tried to grill the happy couple for more information on what is happening in Rockaway right now — and right in the middle of the Christmas season too — but they weren’t interested in being reminded.  All they wanted to do was forget their worst nightmare and celebrate that they, unlike some of their neighbors, were still alive and had survived one of the fiercest mega-storms ever.

And as our bus drove on past Chinatown, the happy couple soon had all us passengers singing “Merry Christmas” — in Chinese.  Brave souls.  I almost cried.
http://vimeo.com/52711779


Jane Stillwater is a regular columnist for Veracity Voice
She can be reached at: jpstillwater@yahoo.com

Capitalism’s Two Step Survival Plan – Austerity And Structural Reform

October 9, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

The coast is clear, the media tells us; economic disaster has been averted. The Euro Zone is finally stable and the U.S. economy is recovering. Whew!

Why, then, are government policies internationally still pursuing extremist measures? In the U.S., a third round of excess money printing —called Quantitative Easing — began recently in which banks are directly profiting by unloading their toxic mortgages on the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet (another backdoor bailout paid by taxpayers).

After the U.S. presidential election, both Democrats and Republicans are committed to different versions of historic cuts to social services, education, Medicare, unemployment benefits, and very likely Social Security. This bi-partisan plan is often referred to as a “grand bargain,” the details of which both parties are still haggling over.

In Europe things are no better. After the Euro Zone central bank promised investors its full backing to bailout all Euro Zone members — by printing money — the world economy sighed a heavy relief. But still the Euro Zone — along with the U.S. — is pursuing a two-pronged solution for an extreme economic crisis: austerity measures and the less-discussed “structural reforms.”

What are these policies? Austerity is simple enough: government cuts to social spending, health care, education, pensions, etc. — to balance heavily indebted public budgets (at the expense of working people, rather than taxing the rich and corporations). Austerity can also be achieved through privatization, where once publicly run programs/facilities are sold cheaply to private firms to make a profit, thus taking the cost off the government’s budget.

Structural reforms on the other hand are meant to boost economic (corporate) growth, by government intervention in commodity markets — most commonly the labor market. It’s called structural reform because markets are usually relatively stable. For example, the labor market is deep-rooted in powerful social forces — wages, benefits, and working conditions are heavily influenced by unions, who use their organization and strike threat to pressure corporations and governments to pay living wages. Non-union workers benefit directly by the unions’ ability to alter the national labor market, since non-union companies have to compete with union companies for workers, who naturally go where wages are higher. Professional, higher-paid workers benefit too, since society expects them to get higher wages than, say a carpenter.

In Europe, structural reforms targeting the labor market — alongside austerity measures — are rousing the unions and broader community into the streets with massive demonstrations: Spain, Portugal, Greece, and other countries are fighting reforms that politicians are euphemistically calling “labor market flexibility.” This simply means that unions will be undermined by their inability to protect workers’ jobs, making firing easier (“flexibility”), which results in compelling workers into accepting lower wages and benefits.

The pro-corporate Economist magazine reports about Portugal:

“With his decision to finance a reduction in company [corporate] costs through a sharp cut in workers’ take-home pay, Pedro Passos Coelho, Portugal’s prime minister, appears to have taken reform past the limit of what is deemed acceptable by large sections of the electorate.”

And France:

“… [President] Hollande has given union leaders and bosses until December to negotiate [anti-union] labor-market changes. On the table are various options, including making it possible for firms [corporations] to reduce hours and salaries in a downturn against a guarantee of job security, along the lines introduced by [Germany's prime minister]… in 2003.”

And Spain:

“… the new [labor] law makes it easier and cheaper to lay off workers. For most firms, maximum lay-off payments [unemployment benefits] will be reduced from 42 months’ pay to 12 months… it will hugely boost business confidence.”

Reducing unemployment benefits is a very popular labor market structural reform for the 1%, since it makes workers more desperate for work, and thus more accepting of low-wage jobs — consequently lowering workers’ power in the labor market overall, as wages are lowered nationally.

And while Europe’s austerity and structural reforms are on the front page of international media — due to the giant protests and general strikes against them — the exact same policies have been pursued by the U.S. with barely a murmur. Were it not for the labor upsurges in Wisconsin and more recently Chicago, these policies would be completely off the public’s radar.

The Wisconsin uprising was in response to a labor-market structural reform pursued by Republicans, denying unions bargaining rights — effectively destroying the union. Democrats, however, are pursuing anti-labor structural reforms — weakening unions — as national policy also, though less directly, by demanding that unions across the country take massive concessions in wages and benefits — a slower, yet more effective form of labor market restructuring.

The teachers in Chicago went on strike against another form of anti-labor structural reform pursued by both Democrats and Republicans. The media-hype around “firing bad teachers” is really a labor-market reform in disguise; the real intention is to bust unions, who are only able to stay strong by their ability to protect the jobs of their members (of course there already exists ways to fire bad teachers).

Teacher merit pay is yet another labor reform measure aimed to weaken unions, since it effectively lowers wages by preventing raises (there is zero evidence that merit pay raises education standards, or that charter schools outperform public schools). It means that every teacher’s salary is negotiated individually, and it allows management to punish its critics by denying them merit pay raises.

The teachers are especially targeted in the U.S. because they are the strongest union in the country, due to their numbers, organization, and connections to the community. If they are forced to give “structural” concessions, other unions will be heavily pressured to do so, and thus the labor market will be altered to the benefit of the corporations.

The labor reform attacks — combined with austerity budget cuts — are happening in different forms on a city, state, and federal level with the full backing of the Democrats and Republicans (there is no “debate” in the presidential election about education policy). Thus, if not for the Wisconsin and Chicago struggles, there would be little social consciousness around these issues.

The reasons that austerity and structural adjustment have not produced a Europe-like movement yet is because most labor unions have increasingly accepted these concessions without putting up a real fight. Many labor leaders would simply rather accept these policies, since fighting them would put them in conflict with their “friends,” the Democratic politicians pursuing these anti-labor policies.

Hopefully, the post-Occupy movement can show the labor movement the way forward. On November 3rd there will be protest demonstrations against austerity in a number of cities across the country. These protests are targeting the ongoing state by state cuts — and federal post-election cuts — to education, transportation, health care, social programs, and public-sector workers. The protests are challenging the very concept of austerity, as working people refuse to pay for the crisis created by the rich and corporations. There is a potential for these protest demonstrations to teach the American public the word “austerity,” assuming they are large enough and connect with the broader community that directly experiences these policies.

Regardless of the results of November 3, demonstrations about the austerity issue in the U.S. will inevitably continue, since even mainstream economists mostly agree that there will be no return to the pre-recession economy. The policies of austerity and structural reform — along with war — are long-term survival strategies of capitalism, which is evolving to survive a global-wide crisis of corporate growth rates by creating a “new normal” of social expectations: lower wages and fewer social programs.

The first step in fighting these measures is mobilizing working people and the broader community in massive Europe-like demonstrations. This tactic educates the whole nation about the issues, which would otherwise remain in the dark. Once the 99% is in the streets together screaming collective demands with a united voice, the movement will decide how best to act, whether it be the general strikes or new political parties that have emerged in Europe.

The U.S. post-election austerity surprises will give new opportunities for millions of people to get into the streets. They will no longer be able or willing to remain ignorant about the nation’s new normal.

http://www.economist.com/node/21563352
http://www.economist.com/node/21563303
http://www.economist.com/node/21547831


Shamus Cooke is a regular columnist for Veracity Voice

He can be reached at shamuscook@yahoo.com

All Eyes On Chicago’s Teachers

September 4, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

It’s impossible to exaggerate the national importance of the teachers’ struggle in Chicago. If the Chicago teachers’ union — 26,000 members strong — goes on strike, many critical yet ignored political issues will go into the national spotlight, exposing nastiness that many politicians and labor leaders would like ignored until after the presidential elections.

Such a strike would also have the potential to rejuvenate U.S. labor unions by showing them a way out of the never ending wage and benefit concessions demanded by private and public employers. In fact, the Chicago teachers have the potential to become the most important labor struggle in decades, based on the timing, political context, and national relevance of their fight.

U.S. labor unions are in the fight of their lives, especially in the public sector, where their existence literally hangs in the balance. Constant city, state, and federal budget deficits — largely the result of multiple tax breaks for corporations and the rich — have been used as excuses to attack the wages and benefits of public employees, drastically weakening their unions to the point where “ending collective bargaining” is fast becoming a likely outcome.

Teachers are the strongest sector of public employees, based on their numbers, cohesiveness, and ties to the community.   Thus, teachers have been directly targeted via budget cuts and Obama’s “Race to the Top” Education policy, which blames “bad teachers” (and the unions that protect them) for poorly performing students, while conveniently ignoring the more obvious predictors of poverty and the constant defunding of public education.

The education policies of President Obama and the Democrats will be put on trial if a strike takes place, since the Chicago teachers are fighting against the Democratic Mayor — Obama’s former Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel — who is most urgently implementing the Democrat’s so-called “Race to the Top” education reforms — an education program that aims to privatize public education while decapitating teachers’ unions.

Race to the Top forces money-hungry states to compete for a measly $4 billion of federal money. The winners are those states that inflict the most self-harm by firing “bad” teachers and closing “failing” schools. Obama is accomplishing more in one campaign than the anti-public education right wing has accomplished in decades.

Race to the Top encourages the closing of neighborhood public schools and opening up across town private charter schools, where the rich will have access to all the amenities offered at public schools while the poor will be warehoused in a drab environment lacking resources — without sports and other extracurricular activities, no art or music, no counseling or psychological services, etc. Obama’s Race to the Top envisions education “reform” to mirror free market ideology, where services once deemed essential are now to be sold as commodities to those who can afford them.

The Chicago Teachers Union website discussed the possibility of a strike and explained its national implications. Aside from the many demands on their wages and benefits, “teachers are concerned about the Board’s plan to close over 100 neighborhood schools and create a half public-half charter school district.”

Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis explains:

“Whenever our students perform well on tests, [Chicago Public School] moves the bar higher, tells them they are failures and blames their teachers. Now they want to privatize public education and further disrupt our neighborhoods. We’ve seen public housing shut down, public health clinics, public libraries and now public schools. There is an attack on public institutions, many of which serve low-income and working-class families.”

Lewis has correctly made the link behind the attack on the teachers and the national attack on working people in general a key aspect of the Chicago teachers’ campaign.

Behind the Democrat and Republican war on “bad teachers” is a war on labor unions. It seems that the only solution being offered to the so-called “bad teacher” problem is the complete undermining of unions: the Democrats want to make firing teachers easier and make them work for “merit pay,” two poisons for working people.

Unions are strong because members are united. This is done, in part, by making pay raises equitable, to prevent both discrimination and the employer from dividing the union.  Unions believe that all members who are capable of doing the work should get pay raises based on their work experience.  Merit pay is a right-wing device aimed at this bedrock principle of unionism, to prevent most teachers from getting any pay raises while dividing the workplace against itself by giving wage hikes to those who are least active in the union and denying them to teachers who are strong union supporters and critical of management.

Behind the Democrat’s urge to “fire bad teachers” is a deeper assault on unions. Labor unions cannot exist as a fighting force to defend the membership without seniority rights, which protect older workers with higher salaries and minorities from being targeted and fired, and similarly protect union activists. If an employer can easily fire a worker, it will always be an older worker or “trouble making” union activist.

Teachers’ unions are aware of these union-specific threats; they’ve been fighting against Republicans for years who have been trying to implement them. But now the Democrats have adopted the Republicans’ anti-union policies, and many teachers’ unions have been paralyzed as a result.

Although the national teacher unions have voiced their support for the Chicago teachers, they are also actively campaigning for President Obama, the architect behind the anti-union crusade that aims to crush the Chicago teachers. This blatant hypocrisy is just one reason why the Chicago teachers will have to shake up the labor movement.

National union leaders have failed to put forth a vision to inspire the labor movement. The decades-long friendship with the Democrats has soured as the Democrats have adopted long-standing Republican attitudes to unions: Democratic governors across the country have attacked public employee unions in tandem with Obama’s anti-union Race to the Top education policy. Because unions are strongest in the public sector, these policies amount to a planned decapitation of the labor movement.

Instead of waging a relentless battle against these Democrat-inspired attacks, most unions have made giant concessions in the form of wages and benefits, thus undermining the confidence their members have in their union. Most union leaders have chosen not even to discuss this deadly assault on unions because it is coming from the Democrats. The Chicago teachers are saying “no more,” and exposing the Democrats in the process.

If the strike occurs and becomes a powerful, city-stopping movement like Wisconsin before it, the November presidential elections will have a new significance. Democrats and Republicans alike will be forced to pick sides: both will choose against the teachers.

It will be made clear to millions of people that the Democrats and Republicans share identical views on public education and labor unions — they both want them destroyed.

Most importantly, the very labor unions who are wasting their members’ dues money by giving it to the Obama campaign will have to choose sides too; hopefully many of them will take a break from phone banking and door knocking for Obama to hold Chicago solidarity rallies in their own cities to give extra energy to the struggle.

Ultimately, the Chicago teachers’ struggle will set a nationally powerful precedent. If the teachers win through militant struggle, unions everywhere will be inspired to copy their tactics and organize their communities and members alike towards common social goals, fighting hand in hand. However, if the union loses, the opposing side will be galvanized at labor’s expense, and the downhill slide for labor will continue, dragging down the wages and benefits of non-union members in the process.

One key lesson from this experience is that labor unions can be transformed relatively quickly. A small group of union activists within the Chicago teachers’ union — the Caucus of Rank and File Educators (CORE) — were organized in order to make their union stronger, and were elected by the membership to lead the union. In a few years time CORE has transformed the union into a strong, fighting organization, capable of defending its members’ wages and the community’s schools. The union has reached out to the community and explained the perils of charter schools in order to draw the community into the struggle. This has laid the foundation for encouraging the community to participate in the picket lines and large support rallies so that the teachers are not isolated but have the obvious support of the public. Many in organized labor have watched the transformation take place and are learning from it. The Chicago teachers are educating the whole labor movement on the real meaning of unionism.

We are only days away from the showdown.

http://www.ctunet.com/media/press-releases/breaking-news-ctu-files-notice-of-intent-to-strike


Shamus Cooke is a regular columnist for Veracity Voice

He can be reached at shamuscook@yahoo.com

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