July 29, 2008

U.S. Government: We Know Parenting Better Than You

Proposals would give Washington unprecedented control over kids
By Chelsea Schilling
© 2008 WorldNetDaily

The U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to debate two bills that could give the federal government unprecedented control over the way parents raise their children – even providing funds for state workers to come into homes and screen babies for emotional and developmental problems. The Pre-K Act (HR 3289) and the Education Begins at Home Act (HR 2343) are two bills geared toward military and families who fall below state poverty lines. The measures are said to be a way to prevent child abuse, close the achievement gap in education between poor and minority infants versus middle-class children and evaluate babies younger than 5 for medical conditions. 'Education Begins at Home Act' – HR 2343 HR 2343 is sponsored by Rep. Danny Davis, D-Ill., and cosponsored by 55 Democrats and 11 Republicans. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that implementing the Education Begins at Home Act would cost taxpayers $190 million for state home visiting plus "such sums as may be necessary" for in-hospital parent education. While the bill may appear to be well-intentioned, Pediatrician Karen Effrem told WND government provisions in HR 2343 to evaluate children for developmental problems go too far. "The federal definition of developmental screening for special education also includes what they call socioemotional screening, which is mental health screening," Effrem said. "Mental health screening is very subjective no matter what age you do it. Obviously it is incredibly subjective when we are talking about very young children." While the program may not be mandatory for low-income and military families, there is no wording in the Education Begins at Home Act requiring parental permission for treatment or ongoing care once the family is enrolled – a point that leads some to ask where parental rights end and the government takes over. Also, critics ask how agents of the government plan to acquire private medical and financial records to offer the home visiting program.

"There's no consent mentioned in the bill for any kind of screening – medical, health or developmental," Effrem said. "There are privacy concerns because when home visitors come into the home they assess everything about the family: Their financial situation, social situation, parenting practices, everything. All of that is put into a database." Effrem said it does not specify whether parents are allowed to decline evaluations, drugs or treatment for their children once they are diagnosed with developmental or medical conditions. "How free is someone who has been tagged as needing this program in the case of home visiting – like a military family or a poor family?" she asked. "How free are they to refuse? Even their refusal will be documented somewhere. There are plenty of instances where families have felt they can't refuse because they would lose benefits, be accused of not being good parents or potentially have their children taken away." When WND asked Effrem how long state-diagnosed conditions would remain in a child's permanent medical history, she responded: "Forever. As far as I know, there isn't any statute of limitations. The child's record follows them through school and potentially college, employment and military service." Effrem said conflicts could also arise when parents do not agree with parenting standards of government home visitors. "Who decides how cultural tolerance is going to be manifested?" she asked. "There's some blather in the language of the bill about having cultural awareness of the differences in parenting practices, but it seems like that never applies to Christian parents."









'Providing Resources Early for Kids'

The Pre-K Act, or HR 3289, is sponsored by Rep. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, and cosponsored by 116 Democrats and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla. Estimated to cost $500 million for each of fiscal years 2008 through 2013, the bill provides funds for state-approved education. Government workers would reach mothers and fathers in the hospital after a baby has been delivered to promote Pre-K programs. "They give them information about Child Care Resource and Referral Network so they can get the child into a preschool or daycare that follows the state standards and get the mom working as quickly as possible," she said. "It's always that sort of thing: It's a list of resources, it's intruding on parental autonomy and authority and it's not necessarily accurate or welcome information." While parents may choose to be involved in preschool programs, Effrem said the Pre-K Act poses similar concerns about government trumping parents' rights. "Once they are involved, they don't have any say over curriculum," she said. "There's plenty of evidence of preschool curriculum that deals with issues that have nothing to do with a child's academic development – like gender, gender identity, careers, environmentalism, multiculturalism, feminism and all of that – things that don't amount to a hill of beans as far as a child learning how to read." Effrem said the Pre-K Act extends a "really messed-up K-12 system" to include even younger, more vulnerable children. "This is an expansion of the federal government into education when there really is no constitutional provision for it to do so." Note: Concerned individuals may contact their representatives and senators.





Obama’s “Change” Promises A Continued Path Towards World Government


Candidates from both parties will bring globalist programs

Daniel Taylor
Old-Thinker News
July 25, 2008

Barack Obama’s July 24th speech in Berlin brought to light the Democratic Presidential candidates’ globalist views, mirroring those of the Council on Foreign Relations and other globalist think tanks. Obama’s praise of the European Union, calls for the “tearing down” of walls between nations and religions, and finally for world unity against climate change and terrorism reveal that an Obama Presidency will not bring change, but rather a continued erosion of national sovereignty and steps closer to world government.

Obama’s speech stated in part:

“That is why the greatest danger of all is to allow new walls to divide us from one another. The walls between old allies on either side of the Atlantic cannot stand. The walls between the countries with the most and those with the least cannot stand. The walls between races and tribes; natives and immigrants; Christian and Muslim and Jew cannot stand. These now are the walls we must tear down.”

“Yes, there have been differences between America and Europe. No doubt, there will be differences in the future. But the burdens of global citizenship continue to bind us together. A change of leadership in Washington will not lift this burden. In this new century, Americans and Europeans alike will be required to do more — not less. Partnership and cooperation among nations is not a choice; it is the one way, the only way, to protect our common security and advance our common humanity.”

“The terrorists of September 11th plotted in Hamburg and trained in Kandahar and Karachi before killing thousands from all over the globe on American soil.

As we speak, cars in Boston and factories in Beijing are melting the ice caps in the Arctic, shrinking coastlines in the Atlantic, and bringing drought to farms from Kansas to Kenya.

In this new world, such dangerous currents have swept along faster than our efforts to contain them. That is why we cannot afford to be divided. No one nation, no matter how large or powerful, can defeat such challenges alone. None of us can deny these threats, or escape responsibility in meeting them. Yet, in the absence of Soviet tanks and a terrible wall, it has become easy to forget this truth. And if we’re honest with each other, we know that sometimes, on both sides of the Atlantic, we have drifted apart, and forgotten our shared destiny.”

Barack Obama’s remarks mirror those of Richard Haass, the president of the Council on Foreign Relations, who stated that the problems of climate change and terrorism would require a surrender of national sovereignty and ultimately the formation of a world government. “Some governments are prepared to give up elements of sovereignty to address the threat of global climate change,” stated Haass. “The goal should be to redefine sovereignty for the era of globalization, to find a balance between a world of fully sovereign states and an international system of either world government or anarchy.”

Obama is not the only presidential candidate with globalist ideals. John McCain’s proposed League of Democracies and support of North American integration is one example. Hillary Clinton’s open support for world government is another.

Obama’s promise of “change” will bring no such thing. A continuation of globalist policy towards world government and weakened national sovereignty will undoubtedly be pursued.

Judicial Watch Sues US Gov’t. On Behalf Of Imprisoned Border Agents


Jim Kouri
MichNews.com
July 28, 2008

Ignacio “Nacho” Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean, the two Border Patrol agents shamelessly prosecuted by the U.S. government for shooting and wounding a Mexican drug smuggler, Oswald Aldrete-Davila, on February 17, 2005, have not been forgotten by many Americans — such as attorney’s from Judicial Watch — who are actively pursuing their release from captivity.

The two Border Patrol agents were sentenced to 11 and 12 years respectively. Meanwhile, Aldrete-Davila, who attempted to smuggle 750 pounds of marijuana into the U.S., was given medical treatment and immunity for his testimony against the railroaded border agents.

“Instead of giving these two dedicated law enforcement officers the ‘heroes treatment,” they were arrested, tried and imprisoned. Americans who bothered to follow the news coverage of the case were, for the most part, shocked at the disgraceful treatment of Agents Compean and Ramos,” said political strategist Mike Baker.

“You may disagree with me, but I believe the legal action taken against these Border Patrol veterans was the Bush Administration’s way of sending a message to all US Border Patrol agents: Don’t do your jobs. If you do, you’ll be punished,” Baker suspects.

Former New York City police detective now owner of a Manhattan security firm, Sidney Francis is quite disturbed over the Ramos/Compean case, as well.

“This reminds me of the incidents when cops, who did their jobs protecting and serving the people of New York, would be singled out for punishment, harassment and loss of their jobs. Meanwhile, crooked, abusive cops would always find protection behind the so-called “Blue Wall,” and never suffered for their transgressions,” said Det. Francis.

“The message in the Compean/Ramos case seems to be: do your jobs and you’ll be punished. Ignore illegal aliens violating US laws and you’ll be rewarded with pay increases, promotions and other ‘goodies’ by cynical political leaders who favor an unbridled invasion of the US by millions of illegal aliens,” he added.

Three weeks ago, Judicial Watch, a non-partisan, public interest law firm, filed a lawsuit against the Department of State to obtain documents related to the government’s decision to prosecute Ramos and Compean and to strike a deal with the criminal and drug trafficker Aldrete-Davila for his testimony against the two agents who intercepted him at the US-Mexican border.

According to officials at Judicial Watch, JD attorneys filed their original FOIA request on April 17, 2008. However, the US government failed to respond within the statutory 20-day period, forcing Judicial Watch attorneys to file their lawsuit.

This is the second FOIA lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch related to the jailed Border Patrol agents, according to the organization’s officials.

JD officials said they are essentially after:

Information pertaining to government deals that were made with the government of Mexico to bring Aldrete-Davila to the U.S. to testify.

Any internal communications between the State Department, the Department of Homeland Security and the Justice Department related to the decision to permit the lawful entry of Aldrete-Davila into the U.S. for medical treatment and for meetings with government prosecutors.

Any and all records of the Diplomatic Security Services, a branch of the State Department, related to the shooting incident.

There is enormous public interest in this incident. Many people, especially conservative activists, suspect these Border Patrol Agents were railroaded by some within the federal government for simply doing their jobs. Given the controversy surrounding the case, Judicial Watch officials believe the more the American people know about what they view as a gross miscarriage of justice, the better.

Their lawsuit on behalf of the two jailed Border Patrol agents is only part of Judicial Watch’s legal battle with the US government with regard to border security and illegal aliens. For example, in the past, it obtained records from the Department of Homeland Security through the Freedom of Information Act that document 226 incursions by Mexican government personnel into the United States between 1996 and 2005.

Released to Judicial Watch, the records consist of annual intelligence summaries of “Mexican Government Incidents,” compiled over a nine-year period. They were designated as “limited official use” by the DHS, requiring “special protection against unauthorized or inadvertent disclosure.”

“How is it that our political leaders tell Americans they are do everything possible to secure our borders and protect our sovereignty, yet they hide and disregard reports of incursions by Mexican military and police personnel suspected of providing protection for drug and human traffickers?” asks Lieutenant Stephan Rodgers, a New Jersey detective bureau commander.

“In the Compean/Ramos case, the federal government actually punished law enforcement officers for attempting to stop an incursion by a drug trafficker. The American people are being lied to by government officials while at the same time being placed in harm’s way since many of these incursions are perpetrated by armed Mexicans,” added the decorated police commander.

The public interest law firm Judicial Watch achieved national recognition during its legal battle with President Bill Clinton’s administration in the 1990s, especially with regard to allegations of political corruption.

JD continues such legal actions against suspected political corruption. For example, Judicial Watch filed separate complaints with the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) and the Ethics Committee in the US Senate against Senator Barack Obama for allegedly accepting a ’sweetheart’ mortgage deal in 2005 that would not be available to the general consumer.

JD attorneys are also investigating Congressman Charlie Rangel’s involvement in a case regarding four rent-controlled apartments in New York City, and a decision by the Los Angeles County Superior Court in a taxpayer lawsuit to end Special Order 40, a Los Angeles Police Department illegal alien sanctuary policy (Judicial Watch, Inc. v The Los Angeles Police Department et. al, Case No. BC349040).

Missouri Police Taser Injured Boy 19 Times

David Edwards and Diane Sweet
Raw Story
July 27, 2008

KY 3 News’ Sara Sheffield reports on an injured teen from Ozark, Missouri who was tasered up to 19 times by police.

Passing motorists called Ozark police out of concern for the teen as he walked along the busy overpass. When the police arrived, the young man was lying on the shoulder of the highway directly underneath the 30 foot high overpass with a broken back and foot.

Doctors believe 16-year-old Mace Hutchinson broke his back and heel after falling, as his injuries are consistent with such a fall. The boy’s family does not understand why police would have tasered the the teen 19 times after he was so seriously injured.

The teen’s father said that the use of the taser caused Mace to develop an elevated white blood cell count, leading to a fever that delayed the young man’s otherwise immediate surgery by two days.

Ozark Police Capt. Thomas Rousset attempted to explain why the taser was used:

"He refused to comply with the officers and so the officers had to deploy their Tasers in order to subdue him. He is making incoherent statements; he’s also making statements such as, ‘Shoot cops, kill cops,’ things like that. So there was cause for concern to the officers."

Ozark police say that while there remains unanswered questions in the case, the reason for the use of the Taser is not one of them.

This video is from KY3 News, broadcast July 24, 2008.

Romans 13: Does It Mean What The Government Would Have Us Believe?


B. L. Beard / Infowars | July 25, 2008
Reader Submission

The common reference to Romans 13 requiring us all to obey the government without question should be examined within the context of what Romans 13 says and means with regard to obedience to the conventions of man.

The 1599 Geneva Study Bible Romans 13 (Bible verses quoted here are identical to King James Bible, Canton Truths Preferred Version)
http://www.searchgodsword.org/com/gsb/view.cgi?book=ro&chapter=013

13:1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.
(1) Now he distinctly shows what subjects owe to their magistrates, that is obedience: from which he shows that no man is free: and the obedience we owe is such that it is not only due to the highest magistrate himself, but also even to the lowest, who has any office under him.
(3) Another argument of great force: because God is author of this order: so that those who are rebels ought to know that they make war with God himself: and because of this they purchase for themselves great misery and calamity.

This first passage of Romans, taken alone, appears to give absolute authority to the government. When examined along with the following passages it becomes clear that an un-Godly, unjust, oppressive government cannot exercise God’s authority over man, because it does not merit that authority.

13:3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:
(4) The third argument, taken from the reason for which they were made, which is that they are to be most profitable: because God by this means preserves the good and bridles the wicked: by which words the magistrates themselves are put in mind of that duty which they owe to their subjects.

The government is thereby put on notice by God that they must serve the best interests of those in their charge.

13:4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is minister of God, a revenger to [execute] wrath upon him that doeth evil.
(6) God has armed the magistrate even with an avenging sword.
(c) By whom God avenges the wicked.

John S. C. Abbott and Jacob Abbott Illustrated New Testament – 19th Century

http://www.searchgodsword.org/com/ain/view.cgi?book=ro&chapter=013

13:4 The minister of God; the servant, or instrument, employed by God. The duty of submission to the civil government, here urged in an absolute manner, is, of course, like all the other precepts of a similar character contained in the New Testament, to be understood with certain limitations and restrictions. The principal exceptions commonly made to the rule here laid down in general terms, are two: –first, that the civil authorities may be resisted when they require of the subject what is morally wrong; and, secondly, that, when their misgovernment and oppression become extreme and hopeless of reform, the community may depose them from their power.

Obviously, a government which perpetrates acts of evil upon those in their charge cannot be a minister of God, therefore agents of government who are perceived to commit acts of evil against the people should not be obeyed.

GSB 13:5 Wherefore [ye] must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.
(7) The conclusion: we must obey the magistrate, not only for fear of punishment, but much more because (although the magistrate has no power over the conscience of man, yet seeing he is God’s minister) he cannot be resisted by any good conscience.
(d) So far as we lawfully may: for if unlawful things are commanded to us, we must answer as Peter teaches us, “It is better to obey God than men.”

This is a clear example of choosing right over wrong and the commandments of God over any unlawful, unconscionable decrees of the conventions of man. Obey the lawful orders of your government, and disobey the unlawful or immoral orders of that same government. Do the right thing, whether it is adhering to the good order presented by the rules of a lawful, just society, or refusing to obey lawless authorities who tyrannize and oppress a society.

Don’t allow an unjust, unconstitutional, lawless government to order you around in the name of God, for they are not entitled to that authority! And don’t allow such false assertions to go unchallenged when your(?) government invokes Romans 13 to compel your submission to their decrees. Speak up when you hear such false assertions, while you still may do so without threat of imminent death or injury as a result!

The 1599 Geneva Study Bible Ephesians 6
http://www.searchgodsword.org/com/gsb/view.cgi?book=eph&chapter=006&phrase=#phrase

6:13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
(14) He shows that these enemies are put to flight only with the armour of God, that is, with the uprightness of conscience, a godly and holy life, knowledge of the Gospel, faith, and to be short, with the word of God. And that daily earnest prayer must be made for the health of the Church, and especially for the steadfast faithfulness of the true, godly, and valiant ministers of the word.

A righteous man wears the Armour of God and can never be defeated in spirit. Wear the armour of God in order to vanquish His enemies and those of all mankind.

George Orwell's 1984 V.S. 2008


newspeakdictionary.com

George Orwell - The Prophet?
Was Orwell a prophet?.... hopefully not. But, here are a few items from 1984 which now exist in modern life.

1984 : Newspeak
Now : Politically Correct speech



1984 : The red sash of the Junior Anti-Sex League
Now : The red ribbon of the Anti-Aids celibacy league



1984 : Telescreens in every room. The programming runs 24 hours a day, and the proles have no way of turning their screens off.
Now : Televisions in every room. The programming runs 24 hours a day, and the proles rarely turn their screens off.



1984 : Telescreens in all public and private places, so the populace could be watched to prevent thoughtcrime.
Now : Surveillance cameras in most buildings (operated by businesses), and in some public streets (operated by police) to prevent crime. Although most of these cameras are operated by private businesses instead of our intrusive government, the end result is the same.



1984 : Helicopters silently watch over the masses to keep people from committing thoughtcrime, by planting the fear of "always being watched"
Now : Helicopters silently watch over our highways to keep people from breaking traffic laws, by planting the fear of "always being watched"



1984 : Lotteries with very few (if any) winners. Held just to collect income for state, and to give hope to the masses
Now : Lotteries with very few (if any) winners. Held just to collect income for state, and to give hope to the masses.
Lotteries are basically a tax on stupidity. Anybody with any understanding of math at all knows that it is a complete waste of money. Since only 45% of the money collected from sales is sent back out as prizes, odds are that you are going to loose more than half of the money the put into it - and most people will not see any return on their investment what-so-ever.
Every time I see some minimum-wage-earning mother-of-four throwing her her hard earned five dollar bill down on the counter for a pack of cigarettes and a "chance to win millions", my cold heart melts. Lotteries and cigarette taxes are nothing more than a way to squeeze every last cent possible out of the lower and middle class, and the politicians that are responsible for these "poverty taxes" should be drug out into the street and shot.
When the state sold the idea to state run gambling to the public, they told us that the money would go to education. ("How can you be against the kids!") But, they failed to tell us that the existing funding would be pulled away to fund other projects, resulting in little if any gain for education.
And as I mentioned earlier, only 45% of lottery revenues are returned directly to the people in the form of prizes. And, if you happen to be the person that defies the odds and somehow manages to win that 45%, the federal and state taxes are going to reclaim 30%-50% of your winnings, which only leaves about 25%-30% of the original take for the the winners - the other 70%-75% being taken by the state.
And, as if that wasn't enough money to make the state happy, the "big money" prizes are usually paid off over a 20 year period. So, the prize winner's earning are diminished even further by inflation. But really, when you look at it, the government is actually keeping ALL of the money...

If a person wins $1,000,000, their yearly payments would be $50,000 a year. However, the interest on $1,000,000 at the prime rate (approx 8%) is is about $80,000 a year!... $30,000 more than is being paid off to the winner! Of course, the winner may elect to take half now ... which means state and federal governments will end up retaining 85%-90% of the original receipts!

And of course, any purchases made with your winnings will be subject to local sales tax...

No matter how you look at it, the only real winner is the state.



1984 : Ministry of Peace
Now : Department of Defense

1984 : Useless statistics, incorrect economic predictions, and slanted opinions polls are presented on the telescreen as "legitimate news", to give people the impression that "things are getting better", and that all people agree with the popular way of thinking.
Now : Useless statistics, incorrect economic predictions, and slanted opinions polls are presented on the Evening news as "legitimate news", to give people the impression that "things are getting better", and that all people agree with the popular way of thinking.



1984 : History is being rewritten, to conform with modern beliefs. All references to oldthink were being removed or rewritten.
Now : History is being rewritten, to conform with modern beliefs. The most obvious example of this - The removal of "racist", Violent, or Sexist material from popular cartoons. "Heckle & Jeckle" cartoons have been permanently shelved, since they are said to portray "negros". "Tom & Jerry" cartoons that contained the "mamma" character have also disappeared. You no longer see Daffy's head actually being blown off by Elmer. I recently saw an old superman cartoon in which the sexist line, "Isn't that too dangerous for a woman" (referring to Lois) was removed.



1984 : People are steered away from consuming rare goods such as Chocolate, Steak, Sugar, Coffee, Cigarettes, and alcohol by rationing.
Now : People are steered away from consuming rare goods such as Chocolate, Steak, Sugar, Coffee, Cigarettes, and alcohol by warnings that declare that these items are bad for your health.



1984 : There is always war. If peace is made with one country, war is claimed on another nation to keep the military machine rolling.
Now : There is always war. If peace is made with one country, war is claimed (or threatened) on another nation to keep the military machine rolling.



1984 : Songs are created by machines. This is done to make sure nobody can take credit for songs, or write songs not in line with Ingsoc.
Now : Songs are created by synthesizers. Nobody can realistically take credit for their own songs because most songs are re-mixes or a collage of dubs from other people's music.



1984 : Telescreen is full of confessions from "Thought criminals". They confessed to hatred of the government, crimes of all kinds, perversions of all kinds.
Now : Daytime talk shows are full of white trash who enjoy sharing tales of their pathetic existence with the whole world.



1984 : From Goldstein's book - "The effect (of the atomic wars) was to convince the ruling groups of all countries that a few more atomic bombs would mean the end of organized society, and hence of their own power. Thereafter, although no formal agreement was ever made or hinted at, no more bombs were dropped. All three powers merely continue to produce atomic bombs and store them up against the decisive opportunity which they all believe will come sooner or later. And meanwhile the art of war has remained almost stationary for thirty or forty years. Helicopters are more used than they were formerly, bombing planes have been largely superseded by self-propelled projectiles, and the fragile movable battleship has given way to the almost unsinkable Floating Fortress; but otherwise there has been little development. The tank, the submarine, the torpedo, the machine gun, even the rifle and the hand grenade are still in use. And in spite of the endless slaughters reported in the Press and on the telescreens, the desperate battles of earlier wars, in which hundreds of thousands or even millions of men were often killed in a few weeks, have never been repeated."
Now : The effect (of the only nuclear war in history, WWII) was to convince the ruling groups of all countries that a few more atomic bombs would mean the end of organized society, and hence of their own power. Thereafter, although the threat of atomic war remained, no more bombs were dropped. All atomic powers merely continued to produce atomic bombs and store them up against the decisive opportunity which they all believed will come sooner or later. And meanwhile the art of war has remained almost stationary for fifty or sixty years. Helicopters are more used than they were formerly, bombing planes have been largely superseded by self-propelled projectiles, and the fragile movable battleship has given way to the aircraft carrier, (which generally stays far away from any actual combat); but otherwise there has been little development. The tank, the submarine, the torpedo, the machine gun, even the rifle and the hand grenade are still in use. And in spite of the endless slaughters reported in the Press and on the television, the desperate battles of earlier wars, in which hundreds of thousands or even millions of men were often killed in a few weeks, have never been repeated.


Hmmm... maybe Orwell really could predict the future!

Pat Robertson Advocates Israel Striking Iran Before The 2008 Election

Think Progress
Wednesday 23rd July, 2008

On yesterday’s edition of The 700 Club, Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson sharply criticized the “moderate tone” the Bush administration has allegedly taken toward Iran and its nuclear weapons program. Robertson advocated that Israel look out for the “survival of its nation” and “make some kind of a strike” against Iranian nuclear facilities. He also predicted that it will likely happen before the 2008 elections:

But nevertheless, I think we can look in the next few months for Israel to make a strike — possibly before the next election — because I think George Bush — to use the term an “amber light” — he’s given the amber, the yellow light, saying, “Caution, but go ahead.”

Watch it:


Robertson’s predictions often turn out to be wrong. In 2004, Robertson claimed that the Lord told him it would “be like a blowout” re-election for President Bush. (Bush ended up receiving just 51 percent of the vote.) In 2006, he incorrectly predicted that “the outcome of the war and the success of the economy will leave the Republicans in charge.”

He does, however, have an inside track into the Bush administration. Last year, Robertson’s Regent University estimated that one in six of its graduates were employed in government work. Approximately 150 served in the Bush administration.

Today, top McCain surrogate Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) is also talking to controversial Pastor John Hagee’s organization. In 2006, Hagee declared:

The United States must join Israel in a pre-emptive military strike against Iran to fulfill God’s plan for both Israel and the West… a biblically prophesied end-time confrontation with Iran, which will lead to the Rapture, Tribulation, and Second Coming of Christ.

Other members of the right wing have also been unifying around the idea of striking Iran before Bush leaves. Both John Bolton and Bill Kristol have made the same argument.

The 25 Most Vicious Iraq War Profiteers


businesspundit.com

The Iraq war is many things to different people. It is called a strategic blunder and a monstrous injustice and sometimes even a patriotic mission, much to the chagrin of rational human beings. For many big companies, however, the war is something far different: a lucrative cash-cow. The years-long, ongoing military effort has resurrected fears of the so-called “military-industrial complex.” Media pundits are outraged at private companies scooping up huge, no-questions-asked contracts to manufacture weapons, rebuild infrastructure, or anything else the government deems necessary to win (or plant its flag in Iraq). No matter what your stance on the war, it pays to know where your tax dollars are being spent.

Following is a detailed rundown of the 25 companies squeezing the most profit from this controversial conflict.

1. Halliburton

Iraq-Halliburton

The first name that comes to everyone’s mind here is Halliburton. According to MSN Money, Halliburton’s KBR, Inc. division bilked government agencies to the tune of $17.2 billion in Iraq war-related revenue from 2003-2006 alone. This is estimated to comprise a whopping one-fifth of KBR’s total revenue for the 2006 fiscal year. The massive payoff is said to have financed the construction and maintenance of military bases, oil field repairs, and various infrastructure rebuilding projects across the war-torn nation. This is just the latest in a long string of military/KBR wartime partnerships, thanks in no small part to Dick Cheney’s former role with the parent company.

2. Veritas Capital Fund/DynCorp

mainpic_01.jpg

At first blush, a private equity fund (and not, say, Exxon-Mobil) being the number 2 profiteer in the Iraq war might sound strange. However, the cleverly run fund has raked in $1.44 billion through its DynCorp subsidiary. The primary service DynCorp has provided to the war efforts is the training of new Iraqi police forces. Often described as a ‘state within a state‘, the sizable company is headed by Dwight M. Williams, former Chief Security Officer of the upstart U.S. Department of Homeland Security. With this and other close ties to defense agencies, Veritas Capital Fund and DynCorp are well-positioned to capitalize on Iraq even more.

3. Washington Group International

Iraq-WGI

The Washington Group International has parlayed its expertise the repair, restore, and maintenance of high-output oil fields into $931 million in Iraq-related revenue from 2003-2006. The publicly traded 25,000 employee company’s other specialties include the building and maintenance of schools, military bases, and municipal utilities, such as watering systems. Some have complained that Washington Group’s hefty government payoffs have served primarily to raise its trading price on the New York Stock Exchange. One thing is for sure - with oil prices continuing to rise, there will be no shortage of demand for the oil protection services Washington Group International brings to bear.

4. Environmental Chemical

Iraq-EC

All war zones eventually becomes cluttered with spent ammunition and broken/abandoned weapons, creating a lucrative niche for any company willing to clean it all up. In Iraq, this duty has fallen into the hands of Environmental Chemical. The privately held Burlingame, California company has stockpiled $878 million by the end of fiscal 2006 for munitions disposal, calling upon its “decade of experience planning and conducting UXO removal, investigation, and certification activities.” The company has close ties to several defense agencies and is staffed by graduates of the U.S. Navy’s Explosive Ordinance Schools, as well as the U.S. Army’s Chemical Schools at Anniston.

5. Aegis

Iraq-Aegis

Aegis has done the United Kingdom proud after reeling in a contract to coordinate all of Iraq’s private security operations. The Pentagon contract is good for $430 million (incredibly lucrative by any standard) but it has landed Aegis in some hot public relations water. The company’s decision to contribute to Iraq war efforts has lead to a rejected membership application from the International Peace Operations Association. According to The Independent, the influential trade organization does not consider Aegis worthy of inclusion in the “peace and stability industry.” It remains to be seen whether Aegis will continue to be ostracized for participating in the training of Iraqi security forces.

6. International American Products

Iraq-IAP

Even with all of the blinding innovation and trailblazing advances in military technology, none of it would be very useful without electricity. Running electrical wiring in hostile war zones is dicey business, but International American Products has stuck their neck out and collected a cool $759 million in just 3 years for its efforts. While avoiding enemy fire, their work has become increasingly dangerous - and yet, critically necessary - as Coalition forces struggle rebuild cities, put down warring forces, and stabilize the chaotic nation. Schools, oils wells, and other public infrastructure have relied on IAP for the electricity needed to operate. With Iraq slowly beginning to stabilize, International American Products is holding out hope that its job will eventually become less treacherous.

7. Erinys

Iraq-Erinys

London-based Erinys has so far scored $136 million for its effort in securing Iraq’s precious oil reserves. Riding the coattails of its considerable mining, petroleum, and construction expertise, the company has already made considerable headway toward this critically important goal. In the space of just 16 months, Erinys successfully trained, equipped, and mobilized an all-Iraqi guard force of nearly 20,000 to protect the nation’s oil pipeline from terrorist attack or sabotage. With crude oil prices skyrocketing and no end in sight, Erinys looks to have its hands full for years to come.

8. Fluor

Iraq-Fluor

Fluor scored a monster $1.1 billion contract in 2004 to build, service, and manage water/sewage systems in Iraq. The deal is actually a joint venture between Fluor (a 44,800 employee company based on Aliso Viejo) and London’s AMEC, PLC and actually encompasses two separate contracts. The first - worth $600 million - obligates Fluor to build a water distribution infrastructure and cleaning system for Iraq’s major cities. A second $500 million deal will have the lucrative joint venture performing similar tasks in other, less hostile regions of the country.

9. Perini

Iraq-Perini

Perini (controlled by financier Richard Blum) is one of the more controversial companies to have scored big-time Iraq war money. That’s because Blum’s wife, Senator Dianne Feinstein, appears to have used her seat on the Military Construction Appropriations subcomittee to steer the $650 million environmental cleanup deal in his favor. This has lead to outrage and cries for conflict of interest investigations among those in the media, as well as Feinstein’s peers in Congress. Feinstein has also neglected to comment on this potential conflict of interest. This has lead to what Metroactive.com calls an “omission [that] has called her ethical standards into question.”

10. URS Corporation

Iraq-URS

Another widely disparaged, Blum-controlled company that has profited from Iraq is URS Corporation. Long known as one of the nation’s major defense contractors, San Francisco-based URS has collected $792 million in environmental cleanup fees in Iraq war zones. As with Perini, both Blum and Feinstein have come under intense scrutiny to answer questions about the apparent conflict of interest inherent in Feinstein helping to secure such an exorbitant government contract for her investment banker husband. Both Blum and Feinstein have refused to produce copies of the ethics commitee’s rulings on Perini and URS, leading to considerable suspicion.

11. Parsons

Iraq-Parsons

Few Iraq contractors have come under fire as much as Parsons, who reportedly mismanaged the construction a police academy so poorly that human waste dripped from its ceilings. Far from being an isolated incident, reports from federal government auditors revealed lackluster work on 13 of the 14 Iraq projects entrusted to Parsons. Unfortunately, that hasn’t stopped the Pasedena-based firm from making off with $540 million in U.S. government funds for the poorly executed reconstruction projects at Iraq’s healthcare centers and fire stations. For obvious resaons, Parsons’ work in Iraq has generally been considered an embarassment.

“This is the lens through which Iraqis will now see America,” lamented Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) said. “Incompetence. Profiteering. Arrogance. And human waste oozing out of ceilings as a result.”

12. First Kuwaiti General Trading & Contracting

Iraq-FKGTC

First Kuwaiti General Trading & Contracting is another example of the apparent cronyism that has gone into the process of awarding Iraq war contracts. It now seems that the company has succeeded on the strength of its ties to Bush Administration officials than its business merits. Rival companies have been extremely vocal in their displeasure at First Kuwaiti being awarded $500 million to build a United States Embassy in Baghdad.

“First Kuwaiti was not the lowest bidder”, complained Framco senior vice-president Gilles Kacha.

13. Armor Holdings

Iraq-AH

Armor Holdings (now a subsidiary of publicly traded BAE Systems) is one company whose opinion of the Iraq war can’t be all that negative. Since combat commenced in 2001, the company’s revenue has skyrocketed by a mind-blowing 2,247%, up to $634 million. Armor Holdings’ specialty is providing state-of-the-art armor for military vehicles and important personell as they traverse dangerous Iraqi war zones. The civil war between opposing Sunni and Shia and general unrest throughout the country have greatly increased the demand for the company’s products.

14. L3 Communications

Iraq-L3

L3 Communications has carved out a neat $359 million slice of Iraq’s security screening needs as of fiscal 2006. The New York-based company has been charged with overseeing the screening and training of law enforcement personell for the growing all-Iraqi security force, as well as replacing equipment in the field. Linguistics is another one of L3’s specialties, one that is heavily relied upon to interface with native speaking Sunni and Shia forces.

L3 Communications has also purchased Titan, a corporate intelligence company with a $1 billion Iraq contract. Prior to being acquired by L3, Titan plead guilty to international bribery charges (a felony) and paid a record-breaking $28.5 million under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

15. AM General

Iraq-AMG

AM General (a subsidiary of Renco) is another company that has seen its revenue sail toward the heavens since the beginning of combat in Iraq. The renowned maker of extra-wide all terrain vehicles (shown below) has seen its Pentagon revenues soar by 92%, a phenomenal leap for any business. This placed Renco sixth in a 2005 analysis of the fastest growing contractors by dollar amount, and sixth in an analysis of fastest growing contractors by percentage. Growing hostilities prior to the Bush Administration’s “surge” strategy in 2007 helped fuel the sudden demand for AM’s heavy duty combat vehicles.


16. HSBC Bank

Iraq-HSBC

Already the third largest financial institution on the planet, HSBC has seen its fortunes brighten beyond its wildest dreams since the start of combat. It has purchased a controlling stake (70%) of the newly created Iraqi national bank, Dar es Salaam Investment Bank, which, though small, has already amassed assets of $91 million. HSBC’s chief executive of Middle East operations, David Hodgkinson, was quoted as saying HSBC intends to “develop the bank’s services by investing in computerised payment systems and cash machines.’

HSBC’s stake in the fledgling Iraqi bank could turn out to be a significant strategic foothold in the developing country. According to a BBC report, the bank already has 14 operating branches across Iraq and a modest but growing staff of 450. It is also the first private bank in Iraq since the toppling of Saddam Hussein, as the late dictator did not allow them during his rule.

17. Cummins

Iraq-Cummins

Cummins has staked its claim to $45 million in Iraq war-related revenue with its robust line of diesel engines and power stations. According to a press release, United Kingdom-based Cummins”signed a distribution agreement with HMBS in Iraq for all Cummins brand products and equipment.” Antonio Leitao, Cummins’ General Manager of the commercial power generation business in Europe, spoke approvingly of the deal.

“Cummins Power Generation is proud to be the first generator set manufacturer to establish a distributorship in Iraq that covers the whole country.”

Cummins and power-generating companies like them will be instrumental over the coming years, as the world learns whether Iraq truly has a future as a rebuilt, independent nation.

18. MerchantBridge

Merchant Bridge

MerchantBridge got its “in” to the growing money pot of Iraq’s fledgling financial sector by casting a wide net. The investment banking group has ambitiously targeted marketshare in Iraq’s developing construction, telecommunications, financial services, real estate, hotels, and information technology industries, all of which have been made easier by being the “lead advisor” to Iraq’s Ministry of Industry. The inside partnership has paved the way for MerchantBridge’s factory lease program, the opening of Mansour Bank, and an overall capitalization of $61 million.

Furthermore, 90% of MerchantBridge’s initial operating capital in Iraq has been supplied by Iraqi investors.

19. GlobalRisk Strategies

Iraq-GRS

Risk management is a lucrative business the world over, and the stakes are nowhere higher than the high-pressure war zones of a foreign nation. GlobalRisk Strategies has capitalized on the bewildering uncertainty to the tune of $24.5 million, which it has primarily earned by advising U.S. and Coalition forces on the risks of various counter-terrorism strategies. Some of the more noteable risks the company’s 2,000 employees have managed include distributing fresh currency to the locals and guarding the heavily fortified Baghdad airport during 2004.

Alternatively, GlobalRisk has also assisted with reconstruction and delivering humanitarian aid in the banking, aviation, oil and infrastructure sectors throughout Iraq.

20. ControlRisks

Iraq-CR

ControlRisks is another risk management company that has successfully hopped on the Iraq bandwagon. The UK-based firm has extracted roughly $37 million in war-related profits by providing discreet armed security and logistics support to troops on the ground and in the air. With a presence of 250 employees in Iraq, ControlRisks has provided security for the disastrous Parsons Usaid buildings (prior to the revelation of the embarassing shoddy work scandal) and has also been tasked with protecting Iraq’s active duty UK forces. While Iraq has recently begun to cool down in terms of insurgent violence and infighting, the region should provide opportunities for companies like ControlRisks to profit for years or even decades to come.


21. CACI

Iraq-CACI

CACI was called upon by the U.S. government to provide 36 interrogators to Iraq, 10 of which were assigned to Abu Grhraib. While all the details have not yet come to light, it looks like CACI profited from Iraq in the worst possible way. One website notes that a leaked Army investigation implicated CACI employee Stephen Stefanowicz in the abuse of prisoners.” Furthermore, the allegations have led the Center for Constitutional Rights to agitate for trying CACI and its affiliates in U.S. courts.

Susan Burke, an attorney working on the case on CCR’s behalf, was quoted as saying “We believe that CACI and Titan engaged in a conspiracy to torture and abuse detainees, and did so to make more money.”

22. Bechtel

Iraq-Bechtel

Bechtel is yet another Iraq contractor who seems to have benefited from close ties to the Bush Admistration. How else would a company recommended by the man who oversaw the Big Dig disaster possibly be awarded a $2.4 billion, no-bid reconstruction contract for Iraq’s infrastructure? Journalists and competitors are scratching their heads at why the Bush Administration trusted the choice of USAID chief Andrew Natsios after his woefully ineffective tenure at the head of the Massachussetts Turnpike Authority. While in that capacity, the Big Dig’s operating costs ballooned from an initial $2.6 billion to $14.6 billion, and the job still took years to complete!

In line with Natsios’ track record of recommendations, this one turned out to be a flop. Bechtel proceeded to lose its contract for the Basra Children’s Hospital Project after falling a year and a half behind schedule and $70-$90 million over budget.

23. Custer Battles

Iraq-CB

Custer Battles has the dubious distinction of being the first Iraq war contractor to be found guilty of fraud. In March 2006, a jury ordered Custer to pay damages in excess of $10 million for 37 counts of fraud, including what the judge called “false and fraudulently inflated invoices.” While Custer wriggled out of serious penalties on a technicality (the Coalition Provisional Authority is not part of the U.S. Government and therefore crimes against it cannot be tried under U.S. law), the whole ordeal has muddied the company’s reputation greatly, possibly beyond repair. It also seems to have opened the floodgates for similar cases of contractor fraud. As of fall 2006, a backlog of 70 fraud cases were pending against Iraq contractors doing all manner of work.

During the trial, a retired Army general testified that the inflated invoice scandal stood out to him as “probably the worst I’ve ever seen in my 30 years in the Army.”

24. Nour USA

Iraq-Noura

Of all the companies on this list, Nour USA might be the only one who actually did not exist until the Iraq war got underway. Since its opportunistic opening, the company has recieved $400 million in Iraq-related contracts, including a gigantic $80 million deal to secure the nation’s oil pipelines. Some critics allege the contract was pushed through by Ahmed Chalabi (whom one website calls “Iraq’s No. 1 Opportunist.”) While Chalabi has denied this allegation, several other bidders on the pipeline contract point out how awfully strange it is for a company with no prior experience to be awarded such a large contract.

Of course, it probably didn’t hurt Nour to have William Cohen (former Defense Secretary under Bill Clinton) on board as a company consultant, but that’s another story.

25. General Dynamics

Iraq-GD

According to a Washington Post report in July of 2006, General Dynamics is one of the big-name defense contractors that has gotten the biggest monetary boost from the Iraq war. The key to General’s war profiteering strategy has been a broad focus on virtually everything the government needs to wage war, including tank shells, bullets for small arms, and even Stryker vehicles, which were first put to use during the initial 2003 invasion to remove Saddam.

All of this has lifted the company to tripled profitability since 9/11, and critics are speculating that ties to top Defense Agencies helped grease the wheels. According to the Project on Government Oversight, Genearl Dynamics formally announced that it was hiring a former top aide to the Army Chief of Staff in November 1999 - conveniently, just a month after the aid announced a grand new vision to introduce wheeled, light armored vehicles like the Stryker into regular use.

July 24, 2008

Video: Cops Tell Citizen He Cannot Video Illegal Checkpoint

TSA Triples Airport Body Scanners


John Hughes
Bloomberg
July 18, 2008

The U.S. Transportation Security Administration will triple the number of devices at airports that can detect bombs under airline passengers’ clothing.

The purchase of 80 so-called Passenger Imager machines will bring the total in use next year to 120 at 21 airports, agency spokesman Christopher White said today.

The imagers are produced by L-3 Communications Holdings Inc., OSI Systems Inc.’s Rapiscan unit and American Science & Engineering Inc. The TSA hasn’t yet decided which vendors it will use or how much it will spend, White said in an interview.

Depending on the model, the devices rely on X-rays to show an outline of travelers’ bodies or electromagnetic waves to create an image that looks like a fuzzy photo negative. They are now used as a substitute for being scanned by TSA screeners with handheld detectors.

Read article

Take A Picture Of A Cop, Go To Jail

Darius Radzius
TriCities.com
July 15, 2008

Nearly everyone carries a cell phone and it’s hard to find one without that camera feature. It’s convenient when you want to take that impromptu photo, but a Tri-Cities area man ended up behind bars after snapping a shot of a Johnson County sheriff’s deputy during a traffic stop.

The cell phone photographer says the arrest was intimidation, but the deputy says he feared for his life.

“Here’s a guy who takes me out of the car and arrests me in front of my kids. For what? To take a picture of a police officer?” said Scott Conover.

A Johnson County sheriff’s deputy arrested Scott Conover for unlawful photography.

“He says you took a picture of me. It’s illegal to take a picture of a law enforcement officer,” said Conover.

Conover took a picture of a sheriff’s deputy on the side of the road on a traffic stop. Conover was stunned by the charge.

“This is a public highway,” said Conover.

And it was not a place where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy as Tennessee code states. The deputy also asked Conover to delete the picture three times.

“He said if you don’t give it to me, you’re going to jail,” said Conover.

Under the advice of the Johnson County attorney, the sheriff would not comment and the arresting deputy said he didn’t want to incriminate himself by talking to us.

In an affidavit, the deputy said he saw something black with a red light which he thought was a threat. Conover was also arrested for pointing a laser at a law enforcement officer.

“At no time did I have a laser. I had an iPhone,” said Conover.

When you take a picture in the dark with Conover’s Apple iPhone, there is no flash or any light that comes from the phone that could be mistaken for a laser.

In a witness statement by a Mountain City officer, is says the deputy asked about the picture rather than looking for a laser.

“If you arrested me, wouldn’t you take the laser? If you arrested me, wouldn’t you take the camera?” said Conover.

He expects these charges to be dismissed.

“This guy maliciously arrested me, charging me with phony charges that he don’t even understand himself,” Conover said.

The American Civil Liberties Union would not comment on Conover’s case without fully reviewing the allegations, but told us there is no law that prohibits anyone from taking photographs in public areas, even of police. Taking photos is protected by the First Amendment. Conover is ordered to appear in a Johnson County court on August 6th.

Spy Bill Creates ‘Infrastructure For A Police State’

Prism Webcast News
July 16, 2008

Mark Klein, the retired AT&T engineer who stepped forward with the technical documents at the heart of the anti-wiretapping case against AT&T, is furious at the Senate’s vote on Wednesday night to hold a vote on a bill intended to put an end to that lawsuit and more than 30 others.[Wednesday]’s vote by Congress effectively gives retroactive immunity to the telecom companies and endorses an all-powerful president. It’s a Congressional coup against the Constitution.

The Democratic leadership is touting the deal as a “compromise,” but in fact they have endorsed the infamous Nuremberg defense: “Just following orders.” The judge can only check their paperwork. This cynical deal is a Democratic exercise in deceit and cowardice.

Klein saw a network monitoring room being built in AT&T’s internet switching center that only NSA-approved techs had access to. He squirreled away documents and then presented them to the press and the Electronic Frontier Foundation after news of the government’s warrantless wiretapping program broke.

Wired.com independently acquired a copy of the documents (.pdf) — which were under court seal — and published the wiring documents in May 2006 so that they could be evaluated.

The lawsuit that resulted from his documents is now waiting on the 9th U.S. Appeals Court to rule on whether it can proceed despite the government saying the whole matter is a state secret. A lower court judge ruled that it could, because the government admitted the program existed and that the courts could handle evidence safely and in secret.

But the appeals court ruling will likely never see the light of day, since the Senate is set to vote on July 8 on the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, which also largely legalizes Bush’s warrantless wiretapping program by expanding how the government can wiretap from inside the United States without getting individualized court orders.

Klein continues:

Congress has made the FISA law a dead letter–such a law is useless if the president can break it with impunity. Thus the Democrats have surreptitiously repudiated the main reform of the post-Watergate era and adopted Nixon’s line: “When the president does it that means that it is not illegal.” This is the judicial logic of a dictatorship.

The surveillance system now approved by Congress provides the physical apparatus for the government to collect and store a huge database on virtually the entire population, available for data mining whenever the government wants to target its political opponents at any given moment-all in the hands of an unrestrained executive power. It is the infrastructure for a police state.

Neither the House nor the Senate has had Klein testify, nor have telecom executives testified in open session about their participation.

The bill forces the district court judge handling the consolidated cases against telecoms to dismiss the suits if the Attorney General certifies that a government official sent a written request to a phone or internet provider, saying that the President approved the program and his lawyers deemed it legal. Judge Vaughn Walker of the California Northern District can ask to see the paperwork, but would not be given leeway to decide if the program was legal.

REAL ID – A Very Real Threat To Gun Rights


Mark Rauterkus
Mark Rauterkus & Running Mates ponder current events
July 21, 2008

Homeland Security claims far reaching power over your guns

Harrisburg, PA - Pennsylvania gun owners breathed a sigh of relief at the Heller vs. DC Supreme Court ruling, but the Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania (LPPa) warns that major threats to gun rights still exist. One such threat is REAL ID, the federal mandate turning driver’s licenses into national ID cards.

The long-term plan for REAL ID is to force its biometric ID functions on federal, state, local and private entities for all transactions. Thus, ID confirmation by a distant bureaucracy becomes permission for essential daily activities including banking, doctor visits, transit, school attendance and purchases — including guns.

According to the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) final rule handed down in January, DHS “will continue to consider additional ways in which a Real ID license can or should be used and will implement any changes to the definition of ‘official purpose’ or determinations regarding additional uses for Real ID consistent with applicable laws and regulatory requirements. DHS does not agree that it must seek the approval of Congress as a prerequisite to changing the definition in the future.”

Do you want to risk your gun rights on the appointment of someone opposed to our second amendment rights as Secretary of Homeland Security?

“The very thought that the sale of firearms and ammunition could be stopped based on some political agenda in Washington is frightening,” remarked LP Activist Mark Crowley. “We saw the disastrous consequences of such an agenda in New Orleans during Katrina when some police abandoned their posts leaving citizens defenseless and criminals armed. We must never put Pennsylvanians into a position where they can only hope that distant Washington bureaucrats will do the right thing.”

“The implementation of REAL ID presents a significant threat to gun ownership in the United States of America.” added Michael Robertson, LPPa Chair.

By participating in REAL ID, Pennsylvanians will be subjected to scrutiny by a host of federal agencies with every swipe of a REAL ID card. This is de facto gun registration, only worse. Once a gun buyer is identified, other information such as military service, purchases, rentals, travel, and medical history will be easily cross-referenced and subjected to interpretation. It’s inevitable that politicized standards will emerge that can be used to deny Pennsylvanians the right to keep and bear arms — everyone except violent criminals and politicians’ bodyguards.

LPPa Media Relations Chair, Doug Leard, added, “A few years ago when the NICS [National InstaCheck System] computer system crashed, no one could be validated for a gun purchase. A political agenda is one thing and bureaucratic incompetence is another. When a state submits to REAL ID, it submits its citizens to the possibility of being denied not just gun purchases, but ATM cash, credit card purchases and even a critical prescription pickup. Pennsylvania must emphatically reject REAL ID.”

The LPPa urges Pennsylvanians to contact their state legislators and instruct them to support state House Bill 1351 and state Senate Bill 1220. Be wary of other recently introduced legislation such as H.B. 2537 that claims to oppose REAL ID, but ignores the central issue of biometric data collection of Pennsylvanians.

Despite the Heller case, the anti-gun movement will continue to seek alternatives to eliminate our gun rights. REAL ID provides them an unguarded backdoor. Let’s nail it shut in Pennsylvania.

Pittsburgh Cancer Center Warns Of Cell Phone Risks


yahoo.com

By JENNIFER C. YATES and SETH BORENSTEIN, Associated Press Writers

PITTSBURGH - The head of a prominent cancer research institute issued an unprecedented warning to his faculty and staff Wednesday: Limit cell phone use because of the possible risk of cancer.

The warning from Dr. Ronald B. Herberman, director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, is contrary to numerous studies that don't find a link between cancer and cell phone use, and a public lack of worry by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Herberman is basing his alarm on early unpublished data. He says it takes too long to get answers from science and he believes people should take action now — especially when it comes to children.

"Really at the heart of my concern is that we shouldn't wait for a definitive study to come out, but err on the side of being safe rather than sorry later," Herberman said.

No other major academic cancer research institutions have sounded such an alarm about cell phone use. But Herberman's advice is sure to raise concern among many cell phone users and especially parents.

In the memo he sent to about 3,000 faculty and staff Wednesday, he says children should use cell phones only for emergencies because their brains are still developing.

Adults should keep the phone away from the head and use the speakerphone or a wireless headset, he says. He even warns against using cell phones in public places like a bus because it exposes others to the phone's electromagnetic fields.

The issue that concerns some scientists — though nowhere near a consensus — is electromagnetic radiation, especially its possible effects on children. It is not a major topic in conferences of brain specialists.

A 2008 University of Utah analysis looked at nine studies — including some Herberman cites — with thousands of brain tumor patients and concludes "we found no overall increased risk of brain tumors among cellular phone users. The potential elevated risk of brain tumors after long-term cellular phone use awaits confirmation by future studies."

Studies last year in France and Norway concluded the same thing.

"If there is a risk from these products — and at this point we do not know that there is — it is probably very small," the Food and Drug Administration says on an agency Web site.

Still, Herberman cites a "growing body of literature linking long-term cell phone use to possible adverse health effects including cancer."

"Although the evidence is still controversial, I am convinced that there are sufficient data to warrant issuing an advisory to share some precautionary advice on cell phone use," he wrote in his memo.

A driving force behind the memo was Devra Lee Davis, the director of the university's center for environmental oncology.

"The question is do you want to play Russian roulette with your brain," she said in an interview from her cell phone while using the hands-free speaker phone as recommended. "I don't know that cell phones are dangerous. But I don't know that they are safe."

Of concern are the still unknown effects of more than a decade of cell phone use, with some studies raising alarms, said Davis, a former health adviser in the Clinton Administration.

She said 20 different groups have endorsed the advice the Pittsburgh cancer institute gave, and authorities in England, France and India have cautioned children's use of cell phones.

Herberman and Davis point to a massive ongoing research project known as Interphone, involving scientists in 13 nations, mostly in Europe. Results already published in peer-reviewed journals from this project aren't so alarming, but Herberman is citing work not yet published.

The published research focuses on more than 5,000 cases of brain tumors. The National Research Council in the U.S., which isn't participating in the Interphone project, reported in January that the brain tumor research had "selection bias." That means it relied on people with cancer to remember how often they used cell phones. It is not considered the most accurate research approach.

The largest published study, which appeared in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute in 2006, tracked 420,000 Danish cell phone users, including thousands that had used the phones for more than 10 years. It found no increased risk of cancer among those using cell phones.

A French study based on Interphone research and published in 2007 concluded that regular cell phone users had "no significant increased risk" for three major types of nervous system tumors. It did note, however, that there was "the possibility of an increased risk among the heaviest users" for one type of brain tumor, but that needs to be verified in future research.

Earlier research also has found no connection.

Joshua E. Muscat of Penn State University, who has studied cancer and cell phones in other research projects partly funded by the cell phone industry, said there are at least a dozen studies that have found no cancer-cell phone link. He said a Swedish study cited by Herberman as support for his warning was biased and flawed.

"We certainly don't know of any mechanism by which radiofrequency exposure would cause a cancerous effect in cells. We just don't know this might possibly occur," Muscat said.

Cell phones emit radiofrequency energy, a type of radiation that is a form of electromagnetic radiation, according to the National Cancer Institute. Though studies are being done to see if there is a link between it and tumors of the brain and central nervous system, there is no definitive link between the two, the institute says on its Web site.

"By all means, if a person feels compelled that they should take precautions in reducing the amount of electromagnetic radio waves through their bodies, by all means they should do so," said Dan Catena, a spokesman for the American Cancer Society. "But at the same time, we have to remember there's no conclusive evidence that links cell phones to cancer, whether it's brain tumors or other forms of cancer."

Joe Farren, a spokesman for the CTIA-The Wireless Association, a trade group for the wireless industry, said the group believes there is a risk of misinforming the public if science isn't used as the ultimate guide on the issue.

"When you look at the overwhelming majority of studies that have been peer reviewed and published in scientific journals around the world, you'll find no relationship between wireless usage and adverse health affects," Farren said.

Frank Barnes, who chaired the January report from the National Research Council, said Wednesday that "the jury is out" on how hazardous long-term cell phone use might be.

Speaking from his cell phone, the professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Colorado at Boulder said he takes no special precautions in his own phone use. And he offered no specific advice to people worried about the matter.

It's up to each individual to decide what if anything to do. If people use a cell phone instead of having a land line, "that may very well be reasonable for them," he said.

Susan Juffe, a 58-year-old Pittsburgh special education teacher, heard about Herberman's cell phone advice on the radio earlier in the day.

"Now, I'm worried. It's scary," she said.

She says she'll think twice about allowing her 10-year-old daughter Jayne to use the cell phone.

"I don't want to get it (brain cancer) and I certainly don't want you to get it," she explained to her daughter.

Sara Loughran, a 24-year-old doctoral student at the University of Pittsburgh, sat in a bus stop Wednesday chatting on her cell phone with her mother. She also had heard the news earlier in the day, but was not as concerned.

"I think if they gave me specific numbers and specific information and it was scary enough, I would be concerned," Loughran said, planning to call her mother again in a matter of minutes. "Without specific numbers, it's too vague to get me worked up."

___

Jennifer Yates reported from Pittsburgh. Science Writer Seth Borenstein reported from Washington. Reporter Ramit Plushnick-Masti contributed from Pittsburgh and Science Writer Malcolm Ritter contributed from New York.

Memphis Police To Use ‘Amnesia-like’ Injection In Lieu Of Taser


WSMV-TV | July 14, 2008

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - While the Metro police had banned the use of Tasers for a time, they still used a controversial method to subdue unruly people, according to an I-Team report.
Related Links: Contact the I-Team | Watch Story | Scroll Below To Comment

The city’s policy to use the method, which calls for the injection of a drug into a person, came as a “total surprise” to people most would expect to know all about it.

For almost two years, Metro police have had the option of calling for a needle loaded with a strong sedative to control the most unruly people they encounter on the street.

One of the doctors who came up with the protocol said it’s the safest option out there and that it is used all over the country.

But many people said that the injection was news to them, and a top medical ethicist said it’s a troubling precedent.

The drug is called Midazolam, which is better known as Versed. People who have had a colonoscopy have probably had a shot of the drug for the procedure.

“The drug has an amnesia effect, and we use that therapeutically because one of the nice ways to take care of the discomfort is to make people forget that they’ve had it,” said biomedical ethics and law enforcement expert Dr. Steven Miles.

But the shots have also been used on the streets on people police said were out of control.

One of the first to get the shot administered to them was Dameon Beasley.

“Well, that night, I hadn’t been properly taking my meds, you know, like I’m supposed to. I got so depressed that when I was up on the bridge running into traffic back and forth, cars dodging me, swerving, I ended up with two sharp objects in my hands. By that time, the police had arrived. I was charging them with these sharp objects trying to make them shoot me, actually yelling at them to shoot me,” he said.

When a Taser didn’t work on Beasley, police turned to a brand new protocol — an injection of Versed. Officers called emergency medical personnel for the injection.

“I remember they were holding me down. There was maybe four or five on each side, and I remember they were calling for something, you know. Some guy came up on the left side and hit me with it,” he said.

“I do know that whatever it was works immediately. I mean, you ain’t got a chance if you are 300 pounds. It’s like a horse tranquilizer. I don’t care. You’re gone. It’s a wrap,” he said.

Beasley said he had no idea what happened after he was injected.

“I woke up — I don’t know how much time had passed — with a sergeant standing over me telling me to sign here. I didn’t know what I was signing Ms. (Channel 4 I-Team reporter Demetria) Kalodimos. I just signed a piece of paper and was immediately right back out,” he said.

Kalodimos reported that Beasley ended up at Metro General Hospital and was then put in psychiatric care. He was not charged in the incident on the bridge.

But Beasley’s lawyer, a public defender, had no idea that Versed had been used to subdue him until Kalodimos told him about it.

Very few people seem to know about the almost 2-year-old policy, Kalodimos said.

The state’s largest mental health advocacy group, Nashville’s mental health judge, the Nashville Rescue Mission, the American Civil Liberties Union all said they had no knowledge of the use of the drug by police.

“I’ve talked to my colleagues around the country, and none of the people from the south to the north to the east to the west have ever heard about this kind of program, this kind of use where they basically force an injection upon an individual knowing nothing about his or her medical condition,” said ACLU Director Hedy Weinberg.

“I can’t tell you why those individuals don’t know about it,” said Dr. Corey Slovis, Nashville?s emergency medical director.

Along with medical examiner Dr. Bruce Levy, Slovis customized a Versed policy for Nashville that is endorsed by a group of emergency medical experts called the Eagles.

“It’s something that in the medical community and in the EMS medical community is very common. It’s a given. When I surveyed the major metropolitan areas around the country, I think only two cities were not actively using it,” Slovis said.

Some have asked the question about potential problems.

Miles said he also had never heard of Versed being used in this way.

“There is no research guideline. There is no validated protocol for this. There’s not even a clear set of indications for when this is to be used except when people are agitated. By saying that it’s done by the emergency medical personnel, they basically are trying to have it both ways. That is, they?re trying to use a medical protocol that is not validated, not for a police function, arrest and detention,” Miles said.

“The decision to administer Versed is based purely on a paramedic decision, not a police decision,” Slovis said.

It’s up to the officer to call an ambulance and determine if a person is in a condition called excited delirium.

“I don’t know if I would use the word diagnosing, but they are assessing the situation and saying, ‘This person is not acting rationally. This is something I’ve been trained to recognize, this seems like excited delirium.’ I don’t view delirium in the field as a police function. It is a medical emergency. We’re giving the drug Versed that’s routinely used in thousands of health care settings across the country in the field by trained paramedics. I view what we’re doing as the best possible medical practice to a medical emergency,” Slovis said.

Metro Government would not release the names of the eight other people who got Versed injections after police calls. A representative from Metro said that the information was protected in the way a medical record would be.

The representative said that only one person out of the nine had shown no improvement after the injection.

Versed was most recently used on a female in early June.

Three women of child bearing age have apparently gotten shots without consent, even though the package insert for Versed suggests that, “the patient should be apprised of the potential hazard to the fetus.”

“A single administration to calm a wildly delirious patient down even if she’s pregnant is much safer to the woman and her unborn child than being allowed to be delirious, hypothermic, hyperventilating and perhaps hypoxic,” Slovis said.

“I would think that with enough people being able to tackle the person to inject them, there should be another way to try to subdue someone without putting an injection in their vein,” Weinberg said.

The biggest side effect that is seen in more than 80 percent of those who are injected with Versed is amnesia.

The side effect raises the question of a person being able to defend themselves in court if they can’t remember what happened.

“If they would’ve said I’d done anything after that shot, hey, I couldn’t have argued that fact. I don’t remember,” Beasley said.

Kalodimos reported that while doing research for this report, she found a post on a paramedics Internet chat site that said, “One good thing about Versed is that the patient won’t remember how he got that footprint on his chest.”

“We’re very careful in Nashville,” Slovis said. “Every instance of Versed use is reviewed by the both medical director, myself, our head of EMS quality assurance. We make sure that our paramedics treat patients right.”

Miles said it would have been appropriate to put the idea of using Versed before what’s called an Institutional Review Board for study to anticipate problems before they pop up.

“It may well be that a protocol could be designed to test the use of Versed in handling agitated persons at the time of detention. I’m not going to say that’s not possible, but at any rate, you do it under a condition where you collect data rather than simply just going ahead and doing the drug and waiting to see if problems to develop,” he said.

Miles added that, “Doing medicine by the seat of your pants is not the way to develop new therapies.”

Slovis said the shots are given as a medical treatment, not a police function, even though ultimately they aid in an arrest.