Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Friday, September 18, 2009
It was originally titled "Raving and Drooling".
Sheep in Animals are not so different from the ones in George Orwell's 1945 novel Animal Farm. The sheep represent the lowest class of the social system, the proletariat. They are oblivious and exploited, "only dimly aware of a certain unease in the air". In the first verse they are described to be peacefully grazing - unaware that they are soon to be brought to a slaughterhouse. They are warned of the presence of dogs, the iron-handed guardians of the system. It is also described in the first few lines that the artist had "looked over Jordan and I have seen / Things are not what they seem," which is a reference to Swing Low, Sweet Chariot, and has become an idiom for having an ecstatic vision, especially one involving death, particularly one's own. In the book of Exodus, the Israelites must cross the river Jordan to get to the "Promised Land" after their escape from Egyptian Slavery.
In the second verse the awful truth suddenly dawns on them and with "terminal shock in (their) eyes" they realize that they are being led into the "valley of steel", which is a metaphorical phrase, because it also represents the high-rise buildings (hence the steel framework), home of the corporate world as well as the slaughterhouse. The song continues into a mock biblical verse in which the sheep describe their dedicated belief in their master with "great power and great hunger." But in a humorous turnabout the sheep, "through quiet reflection and great dedication" master the art of karate and rebel against the dogs.
The third verse describes the sheep's revolt, as they fall "on his neck with a scream." They might have had enough but they are still undereducated and uncivilized as they are described as "demented avengers." The song is completed with a cheerful announcement: "Have you heard the news? / The dogs are dead!" The sheep, because of their strength in numbers, overpower and kill the dogs. Despite popular belief, this is not a possible reference to the Russian October Revolution as represented in Animal Farm because the album critiques western capitalism rather than communism.
Harmlessly passing your time in the grassland away;
Only dimly aware of a certain unease in the air.
You better watch out,
There may be dogs about
I've looked over Jordan, and I have seen
Things are not what they seem.
What do you get for pretending the danger's not real.
Meek and obedient you follow the leader
Down well trodden corridors into the valley of steel.
What a surprise!
A look of terminal shock in your eyes.
Now things are really what they seem.
No, this is no bad dream.
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want
He makes me down to lie
Through pastures green He leadeth me the silent waters by.
With bright knives He releaseth my soul.
He maketh me to hang on hooks in high places.
He converteth me to lamb cutlets,
For lo, He hath great power, and great hunger.
When cometh the day we lowly ones,
Through quiet reflection, and great dedication
Master the art of karate,
Lo, we shall rise up,
And then we'll make the bugger's eyes water.
Bleating and babbling I fell on his neck with a scream.
Wave upon wave of demented avengers
March cheerfully out of obscurity into the dream.
Have you heard the news?
The dogs are dead!
You better stay home
And do as you're told.
Get out of the road if you want to grow old.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Two links to two great sources of education concerning the myth of "Constitutionality."
First Is Our Government Legitimate? by Laurence M. Vance. Here is a teaser and I dare you to follow the link and read the rest of it.
Buried in section 111 of Title I, "Miscellaneous Provisions and Offsets," of Division J, "Other Matters," in H.R. 4818, "Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2005," which became Public Law 108-447 on December 8, 2004, is the congressional decree that redesignates September 17th as Constitution Day and Citizenship Day instead of what was just Citizenship Day.
This law requires the head of each federal agency or department to provide:
- each new employee of the agency or department with educational and training materials concerning the U.S. Constitution as part of the orientation materials provided the new employee; and
- educational and training materials concerning the U.S. Constitution to each of its employees on September 17 of each year.
It also stipulates that "each educational institution that receives Federal funds for a fiscal year to hold an educational program on the U.S. Constitution on September 17 of such year for its students."
September 17th was so designated because it is the anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution in 1787. In fact, this year is somewhat special because it is the 220th anniversary of that event. But what if, instead of being a cause for celebration, the adoption of the Constitution was "the most successful fraud in American history"?
The question, then, is a simple one: Is our government legitimate? I am not asking whether the U.S. government in its current state is legitimate based on its adherence to the Constitution. That it is not legitimate in that respect is obvious since the current government is about as far removed from the Constitution as it could ever be and still claim to be the government of a constitutional republic.
The Constitution was written by the delegates from twelve states to the Philadelphia Convention, which met from May 25 to September 17, 1787. It was debated and refined by some of the greatest political minds of the day. Some of the delegates had been members of Congress, some had written state constitutions, some had been state governors, and a few had even signed the Declaration of Independence or the Articles of Confederation. Three members of Convention were current members of Congress, including James Madison.
Correct, but is our government legitimate?
The Constitution was sent to the states for ratification on September 28, 1787. On December 7, 1787, Delaware became the first state to ratify the Constitution. The ninth state needed for ratification was obtained on June 21, 1788, when New Hampshire ratified.
Yes, but is our government legitimate?
After Virginia (on June 25, 1788) and New York (on July 26, 1788) ratified the Constitution, the Confederation Congress passed a resolution on September 13, 1788, to put the new Constitution into effect. The operation of the new government under the Constitution began on March 4, 1789.
All true, but is our government legitimate? MORE HERE
A TREATISE ON NATURAL LAW, NATURAL JUSTICE, NATURAL RIGHTS, NATURAL LIBERTY, AND NATURAL SOCIETY; SHOWING THAT ALL LEGISLATION WHATSOEVER IS AN ABSURDITY, A USURPATION, AND A CRIME.
Another teaser and link. If you are addled brained and squishy between the ears this may cause your indoctrinated and propagandized brain to hurt a little. Muddle on through it because it is the cure for what ails USAll.
THE SCIENCE OF JUSTICE.
The science of mine and thine --- the science of justice --- is the science of all human rights; of all a man's rights of person and property; of all his rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
It is the science which alone can tell any man what he can, and cannot, do; what he can, and cannot, have; what he can, and cannot, say, without infringing the rights of any other person.
It is the science of peace; and the only science of peace; since it is the science which alone can tell us on what conditions mankind can live in peace, or ought to live in peace, with each other.
These conditions are simply these: viz., first, that each man shall do, towards every other, all that justice requires him to do; as, for example, that he shall pay his debts, that he shall return borrowed or stolen property to its owner, and that he shall make reparation for any injury he may have done to the person or property of another.
The second condition is, that each man shall abstain from doing so another, anything which justice forbids him to do; as, [*6] for example, that he shall abstain from committing theft, robbery, arson, murder, or any other crime against the person or property of another.
So long as these conditions are fulfilled, men are at peace, and ought to remain at peace, with each other. But when either of these conditions is violated, men are at war. And they must necessarily remain at war until justice is re-established.
Through all time, so far as history informs us, wherever mankind have attempted to live in peace with each other, both the natural instincts, and the collective wisdom of the human race, have acknowledged and prescribed, as an indispensable condition, obedience to this one only universal obligation: viz., that each should live honestly towards every other.
The ancient maxim makes the sum of a man's legal duty to his fellow men to be simply this: "To live honestly, to hurt no one, to give to every one his due."
This entire maxim is really expressed in the single words, to live honestly; since to live honestly is to hurt no one, and give to every one his due. MORE HERE
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Monday, September 14, 2009
Electronic databases: What's new with privacy
Date: September 14th, 2009
Author: Michael Kassner
A University of Colorado professor suggests that privacy laws governing electronic databases are insufficient, creating conditions where sensitive information is discoverable.
There are thousands of databases floating around the Internet. Most contain Personally Identifiable Information (PII) about each of us. Driver’s license numbers, credit/debit card account numbers, and social security numbers to name a few. Everyone knows that. What may not be known is that our PII is not as private as we would like to think.
Databases are expensive to build and maintain, so managers try to discover different ways to monetize their holdings. Finding additional uses can be problematic, especially if the database contains PII, thus regulated by privacy laws. To address that, database administrators use a work-around called anonymization:
“The removal of person-related information that could be used for backtracking from, say, patient data to the actual patient.”
The trick is figuring out what to remove. There are regulatory guidelines, but no clear definition of what PII is. So, it’s left to the discretion of the database owner.
Professor Paul Ohm in his paper Broken Promises of Privacy: Responding to the Surprising Failure of Anonymization points out that anonymization is not working. He uses the following example to show why it’s not. Tables 5 and 6 (courtesy of Professor Ohm) are both anonymized databases. Separately, very little information can be gleaned.
All that changes when the two databases are joined in following table (courtesy of Professor Ohm). Potentially sensitive PII is now associated with individuals.
In Massachusetts, a state agency Group Insurance Commission (GIC) decided to release anonymized data about state employee hospital visits. The professor explains:
“By removing fields containing name, address, social security number, and other “explicit identifiers,” GIC assumed it protected patient privacy, despite the fact that “nearly one hundred attributes per” patient and hospital visit were still included, including the critical trio, ZIP code, birth date, and sex.
At the time GIC released the data, William Weld, then Governor of Massachusetts, assured the public that GIC had protected patient privacy by deleting identifiers.”
Professor Ohm further explains that Dr. Latanya Sweeney, well-known for her demographic studies based on ZIP code, date of birth, and gender, decided to use the GIC database to test her theories:
“She knew that Governor
Weld resided in Cambridge, Massachusetts, a city of 54,000 residents and seven ZIP codes. For twenty dollars, she purchased the complete voter rolls from the city of Cambridge, a database containing, among other things, the name, address, ZIP code, birth date, and sex of every voter. By combining this data with the GIC records, Sweeney found Governor Weld with ease.
Only six people in Cambridge shared his birth date, only three of them men, and of them, only he lived in his ZIP code. In a theatrical flourish, Dr. Sweeney sent the Governor’s health records (which included diagnoses and prescriptions) to his office.”
Another example involves Dr. Arvind Narayanan and advisor Dr. Vitaly Shmatikov. They determined one-third of Twitter users also have a Flickr account. That was all they needed. Cross-referencing anonymized Twitter social graphs with Flickr connection information allowed the researchers to identify Twitter accounts.
Professor Ohm’s claim
The point, Professor Ohm wants to make is all information should be considered PII. No one knows for sure what other database could be used for re-identification:
“Data can either be useful or perfectly anonymous but never both.”
In the report, Professor Ohm writes about what he calls the “Database of Ruin”. He mentions that everyone has at least one fact about them stored on a database that is potentially injurious. For now, those tidbits remain hidden because a majority of databases are not sharing information. As databases interact, both re-identification and misuse of PII are more likely to occur.
Currently, the U.S. government is spending billions of dollars trying to get electronic health records melded into a national database. After my phone conversation with Professor Ohm, I’m wondering if that could be his “Database of Ruin”.
Michael Kassner has been involved with with IT for over 30 years. Currently a systems administrator for an international corporation and security consultant with MKassner Net. Read his profile or Twitter at MKassnerNet.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Peltier, along with Robert Robideau and Darelle “Dino” Butler, was charged with the murders of FBI Special Agents Jack Coler and Ronald Williams after a shootout during unrest on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Robideau and Butler were acquitted, the jury finding the shootings of Robideau and Butler having been in self defense, but Peltier had fled the country and was tried separately on his return and found guilty.
Peltier’s attorney, Eric Seitz, stated that the announcement of Peltier’s being denied parole was made without the courtesy of informing the defense, and noted that Peltier, currently 64 years of age, is in poor health with numerous complaints.
Peltier has consistently denied that he murdered Coler and Williams and maintains that the FBI framed him. Supporters of his release include a wide range of world figures, including Nelson Mandela and the Dalai Lama and Amnesty International.
The Denial of My Parole
I Am Barack Obama's Political Prisoner Now
By LEONARD PELTIER
The United States Department of Justice has once again made a mockery of its lofty and pretentious title.
After releasing an original and continuing disciple of death cult leader Charles Manson who attempted to shoot President Gerald Ford, an admitted Croatian terrorist, and another attempted assassin of President Ford under the mandatory 30-year parole law, the U.S. Parole Commission deemed that my release would “promote disrespect for the law.”
If only the federal government would have respected its own laws, not to mention the treaties that are, under the U.S. Constitution, the supreme law of the land, I would never have been convicted nor forced to spend more than half my life in captivity. Not to mention the fact that every law in this country was created without the consent of Native peoples and is applied unequally at our expense. If nothing else, my experience should raise serious questions about the FBI's supposed jurisdiction in Indian Country.
The parole commission's phrase was lifted from soon-to-be former U.S. Attorney Drew Wrigley, who apparently hopes to ride with the FBI cavalry into the office of North Dakota governor. In this Wrigley is following in the footsteps of William Janklow, who built his political career on his reputation as an Indian fighter, moving on up from tribal attorney (and alleged rapist of a Native minor) to state attorney general, South Dakota governor, and U.S. Congressman. Some might recall that Janklow claimed responsibility for dissuading President Clinton from pardoning me before he was convicted of manslaughter. Janklow's historical predecessor, George Armstrong Custer, similarly hoped that a glorious massacre of the Sioux would propel him to the White House, and we all know what happened to him.
Unlike the barbarians that bay for my blood in the corridors of power, however, Native people are true humanitarians who pray for our enemies. Yet we must be realistic enough to organize for our own freedom and equality as nations. We constitute 5% of the population of North Dakota and 10% of South Dakota and we could utilize that influence to promote our own power on the reservations, where our focus should be. If we organized as a voting bloc, we could defeat the entire premise of the competition between the Dakotas as to which is the most racist. In the 1970s we were forced to take up arms to affirm our right to survival and self-defense, but today the war is one of ideas. We must now stand up to armed oppression and colonization with our bodies and our minds. International law is on our side.
Given the complexion of the three recent federal parolees, it might seem that my greatest crime was being Indian. But the truth is that my gravest offense is my innocence. In Iran, political prisoners are occasionally released if they confess to the ridiculous charges on which they are dragged into court, in order to discredit and intimidate them and other like-minded citizens. The FBI and its mouthpieces have suggested the same, as did the parole commission in 1993, when it ruled that my refusal to confess was grounds for denial of parole.
To claim innocence is to suggest that the government is wrong, if not guilty itself. The American judicial system is set up so that the defendant is not punished for the crime itself, but for refusing to accept whatever plea arrangement is offered and for daring to compel the judicial system to grant the accused the right to right to rebut the charges leveled by the state in an actual trial. Such insolence is punished invariably with prosecution requests for the steepest possible sentence, if not an upward departure from sentencing guidelines that are being gradually discarded, along with the possibility of parole.
As much as non-Natives might hate Indians, we are all in the same boat. To attempt to emulate this system in tribal government is pitiful, to say the least.
It was only this year, in the Troy Davis, case, that the U.S. Supreme Court recognized innocence as a legitimate legal defense. Like the witnesses that were coerced into testifying against me, those that testified against Davis renounced their statements, yet Davis was very nearly put to death. I might have been executed myself by now, had not the government of Canada required a waiver of the death penalty as a condition of extradition.
The old order is aptly represented by Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who stated in his dissenting opinion in the Davis case, “This Court has never held that the Constitution forbids the execution of a convicted defendant who has had a full and fair trial but is later able to convince a habeas court that he is 'actually' innocent. Quite to the contrary, we have repeatedly left that question unresolved, while expressing considerable doubt that any claim based on alleged 'actual innocence' is constitutionally cognizable.”
The esteemed Senator from North Dakota, Byron Dorgan, who is now the chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, used much the same reasoning in writing that “our legal system has found Leonard Peltier guilty of the crime for which he was charged. I have reviewed the material from the trial, and I believe the verdict was fair and just.”
It is a bizarre and incomprehensible statement to Natives, as well it should be, that innocence and guilt is a mere legal status, not necessarily rooted in material fact. It is a truism that all political prisoners were convicted of the crimes for which they were charged.
The truth is the government wants me to falsely confess in order to validate a rather sloppy frame-up operation, one whose exposure would open the door to an investigation of the United States' role in training and equipping goon squads to suppress a grassroots movement on Pine Ridge against a puppet dictatorship.
In America, there can by definition be no political prisoners, only those duly judged guilty in a court of law. It is deemed too controversial to even publicly contemplate that the federal government might fabricate and suppress evidence to defeat those deemed political enemies. But it is a demonstrable fact at every stage of my case.
I am Barack Obama's political prisoner now, and I hope and pray that he will adhere to the ideals that impelled him to run for president. But as Obama himself would acknowledge, if we are expecting him to solve our problems, we missed the point of his campaign. Only by organizing in our own communities and pressuring our supposed leaders can we bring about the changes that we all so desperately need. Please support the Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee in our effort to hold the United States government to its own words.
I thank you all who have stood by me all these years, but to name anyone would be to exclude many more. We must never lose hope in our struggle for freedom.
In the Spirit of Crazy Horse,
Leonard Peltier #89637-132
PO Box 1000
Lewisburg, PA 17837
Friday, September 11, 2009
CLICK FACT CHECK: Health coverage for illegal immigrants
This is how Obama does EVERYTHING. He doesn't "lie," but HE LIES..... How else would a NOVICE politician with no record and no experience, who announced his candidacy with only 143 days in as a U.S. Senator become PRESIDENT of the United States? Run as a moderate. Conceal who you truly are and then unleash a radically left agenda once you gain power. This is precisely what he taught as a radical-reformer community activist. It is well-documented fact and can be confirmed and corroborated by ethical scholar Stanley Kurtz who wrote an article about Obama entitled "Senator Stealth: How To Put Forth A Radical Agenda Without Anyone Knowing." It is about ten pages but its well worth the read. Then you'll see just how in-the-tank the media was and still is for him, and how complicit the media was and still is in HIDING from the American public just exactly WHO this guy is.......When you voted for him, did you know who he REALLY was? Did you ask questions? Did you read up?
Senator Stealth has become "president stealth." This is because of all his "Czars...." These are the people with whom he does the real business of governing the country.But he doesn't want you to KNOW that. In the time he has been "president," he has had very FEW formal meetings with Cabinet members (Secretaries of the various departments of government). These are people who are VETTED and properly approved by the House and Senate...But these "Czars" have NO vetting process and escape the scrutiny of our legislature. He just picks who he wants and they go to work for him... And these people are the ones who truly, REALLY pull the strings of government. People like radical racist Van Jones. People like his health "Czar," who believes in human sterilization and government imposed abortions.........The Secretaries are the ones on the front lines and are more or less centrist or moderate. But the real weirdo , way-out lefties who he really wants to run things are HIDDEN as these non-vetted, non-congressionally approved "Czars..." Has anyone heard of the guy he appointed who says that animals should have the right to sue human beings in their own status as an animal? These people are WACK JOBS ....
The Fathers of this country are spinning like the wheels of an Indy race car in their graves. And these are the people this guy picks to run the country on a day-to-day basis......
And keep this in mind.... This FRAUD of a "president" wanted to pass YOUR health care legislation in less time than it took him to pick out his friggin' DOG.....
Wednesday, September 09, 2009
I am a heretic to this belief system because it is a false god. It exists upon the false premises of sovereign immunity, fiduciary responsibility, (also known as "of, for and by the people"), and a monopoly of the use of "legitimate" coercive force. How any one person or group of people can claim such powers is only by the consistent use of propagandic marketing and public relations techniques to adjust the perceptions and dogmatic belief of the people who are thus willingly controlled. I believe in Liberty and Freedom! What do you believe in?
Oppression by Perception
By Larken Rose
These days I get more and more messages from people expressing one sentiment: "Okay, so government sucks, but without it, how would we protect ourselves from crooks, thieves, gangs and invading armies?" In fact, it seems that the worse "government" gets, the more some people scream that NOT having one at all would make things even worse. And some insist that even if we did away with the "government" we have now, another one--probably even worse--would just grow in its place. Scary gangs would take over, and grow into new tyrannies.
What all such predictions and concerns fail to take into account is that today, oppression is about 5% the result of the thugs who claim to act on behalf of "government," and 95% the result of what is in the minds of the oppressed.
Don't believe me? Imagine you were a nasty guy, and were given the following challenge: You would get 100,000 thugs to do your bidding, and a bunch of money, and you had to rob 100,000,000 people of half of what they earned, over and over again, year after year.
Already the odds are hugely against you: your intended victims outnumber your thugs a THOUSAND to one. This won't be easy. (Even Navy Seals wouldn't like those odds.) But wait, it gets worse. Only 10,000 of your thugs have any weapons. And the other 90,000 are not only unarmed, but most of them are overweight middle-aged women, or 90-pound office nerds, who aren't really excited about the job to begin with. Now what are your chances? Oh, and by the way, about HALF of your intended victims are armed.
So, think you could do it?
Not a chance. UNLESS...
If you can somehow dupe your victims into feeling a moral OBLIGATION to hand over their money--if you can make them perceive your demands as somehow legitimate, and make them view disobedience to you as a sin--then you might be able to pull it off.
And then you'd be called the "Internal Revenue Service."
The power of "government" to oppress does NOT come from brute force alone; it comes from the indoctrination of the masses into believing that the tyrants are "authority"--that they have the RIGHT to rob ("tax") people, the RIGHT to boss people around ("regulate" them), the RIGHT to kidnap ("imprison") people who disobey, and so on. Without the VICTIMS of oppression imagining their own oppression to be "legal," and therefore justified, it would take a LOT more brute force to keep them in line--far more brute force, in fact, than could be funded by what was stolen from them.
The notion of "government" is the belief that certain people have the RIGHT to steal, assault, harass, control and murder. As long as that belief exists in the minds of the public, then yes, removing any particular gang calling itself "government" would accomplish nothing. A new group of thugs would take its place, and become the new "authority." But if you remove the BELIEF--which is what I and others are trying so hard to do--tyranny is FINISHED.
There are somewhere around 90,000,000 gun owners in this country. That number is 30 times bigger than the entire Chinese army. Armed civilians here outnumber all "law enforcement" and military personnel by a huge margin. The American people CANNOT be ruled by brute force alone, not by any foreign power, not by any local gang, not by anyone on this planet. The ONLY way to oppress them is by doing what the American tyrants do today: convince the people that the oppression is legitimate, by calling it "law" and "authority." And if you can make your victims think that you have the RIGHT to rob and control them, it doesn't matter at all how strong they are, what weapons they have, or how many of them there are.
Without the myths of "legality" and "authority" legitimizing their actions, the current tyrants here could never in a million years force compliance. If the people as a whole didn't believe in the notion of "taxes"--legitimate theft which is immoral to resist--the IRS would be gone tomorrow. A few might get beaten up or killed, and the rest would immediately resign.
Likewise, if the people as a whole didn't imagine that "law" legitimizes what the DEA and ATF do, those agencies would also be gone tomorrow. (If you doubt it, imagine a non-"government" gang of a few thousand thugs going around doing armed invasions of houses to take away all alcohol. How long do you suppose that would last? Try to get between Americans and their beer, and things will get ugly.)
Ever since the advent of firearms, the thing that most determines whether tyranny will occur is how the tyrants' victims PERCEIVE the situation. If the victims perceive their attackers to be "government" and "authority," and perceive their demands to be legitimate "laws," the victims will feel a moral OBLIGATION to be victimized. Then they will talk about how PROUD they are to have been victimized! (That's exactly what Americans do when they brag about being "law-abiding taxpayers.")
But if the intended victims do NOT view the attacks as legitimate, the tyrants are finished. In a land where that many people have guns, even though isolated incidents of robbery and assault are still possible, brute force alone could NEVER be used to oppressive the people on any large scale, or for any significant amount of time.
The American people already have the MEANS to resist, but as long as they believe in "government," they will not have the WILL to resist the biggest thugs around. As long as the belief in "authority" survives, there will be a never-ending supply of evil bastards ready to fill the void. But once the "government" myth falls--once the people no longer hallucinate some robbery and assault to be LEGITIMATE (because it's "legal" and done by "government")--then tyranny is dead, and no amount of brute force could ever rebuild it.
(If there are some people you know who need to be persuaded to stop condoning their own enslavement--and YOUR enslavement--try getting them a copy of "The Iron Web" at the above link)
Tuesday, September 08, 2009
By Dianna Cotter
In a study sure to ruffle the feathers of the Global Warming cabal, Professor Richard Lindzen of MIT has published a paper which proves that IPCC models are overstating by 6 times, the relevance of CO2 in Earth’s Atmosphere. Dr. Lindzen has found that heat is radiated out in to space at a far higher rate than any modeling system to date can account for.
The pdf file located at the link above from the Science and Public Policy Institute has absolutely, convincingly, and irrefutably proved the theory of Anthropogenic Global Warming to be completely false.
Professor Richard Lindzen of MIT’s peer reviewed work states “we now know that the effect of CO2 on temperature is small, we know why it is small, and we know that it is having very little effect on the climate.”
The global surface temperature record, which we update and publish
every month, has shown no statistically-significant “global warming”
for almost 15 years. Statistically-significant global cooling has now
persisted for very nearly eight years. Even a strong el Nino – expected
in the coming months – will be unlikely to reverse the cooling trend.
More significantly, the ARGO bathythermographs deployed
throughout the world’s oceans since 2003 show that the top 400
fathoms of the oceans, where it is agreed between all parties that at
least 80% of all heat caused by manmade “global warming” must
accumulate, have been cooling over the past six years. That now prolonged
ocean cooling is fatal to the “official” theory that “global
warming” will happen on anything other than a minute scale.
Monday, September 07, 2009
Appeals court rules against Ashcroft in detention case
Saturday, 5 September 2009
A federal appeals court has delivered a stinging rebuke to the Bush administration's detention policies after the September 11 terror attacks, ruling that former Attorney General John Ashcroft can be held liable for people who were wrongfully detained as material witnesses.
A three-judge panel of the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals said yesterday that the government's improper use of material witnesses was "repugnant to the Constitution and a painful reminder of some of the most ignominious chapters of our national history."
The court found that a man who was detained as a witness in a federal terrorism case can sue Ashcroft for allegedly violating his constitutional rights. Abdullah al-Kidd, a US citizen and former University of Idaho student, filed the lawsuit against Ashcroft and other officials in 2005, claiming his civil rights were violated when he was detained as a material witness for two weeks in 2003.
He said the investigation and detention not only caused him to lose a scholarship to study in Saudi Arabia, but cost him employment opportunities and caused his marriage to fall apart.
He argued that his detention exemplified an illegal government policy created by Ashcroft to arrest and detain people — particularly Muslim men and those of Arab descent — as material witnesses if the government suspected them of a crime but had no evidence to charge them.
Ashcroft had asked the judge to dismiss the matter, saying that because his position at the Department of Justice was prosecutorial he was entitled to absolute immunity from the lawsuit. Justice Department spokesman Charles Miller would only say Friday that the agency is reviewing the opinion.
Phone messages left at Ashcroft's Washington DC lobbying and law firms were not immediately returned yesterday afternoon.
The exact ramifications of the ruling were not immediately clear, but at a minimum it casts a negative spotlight on the Bush administration's practice of detaining Muslim men earlier this decade at a time when the nation was still on edge after September 11, 2001.
The judges said they also didn't intend to dampen the ardor of prosecutors as they carried out their duties, and said they were mindful of the pressures face by the attorney general. But, they said, even qualified immunity doesn't allow the attorney general to carry out national security functions completely free from any personal liability concerns.
All three judges on the panel have reputations as politically conservative jurists, with two appointed by former President George W. Bush and the third a Reagan appointee.
Al-Kidd's attorney, Lee Gelernt of the American Civil Liberties Union, said the ruling panel had implications reaching far beyond the government's actions in detaining material witnesses post-September 11.
"Our hope is that we can now begin the process of uncovering the full contours of this illegal national policy," he said.
The 9th Circuit judges said al-Kidd's claims plausibly suggest that Ashcroft purposely used the material witness statute to detain suspects whom he wished to investigate and detain preventively.
The Department of Justice may now ask the full 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider the ruling by the panel, may appeal to the US Supreme Court, or it could allow the lawsuit to revert back to Boise's US District Court.
If the case goes back to the lower court, the government will likely have to comply with al-Kidd's discovery requests — releasing documents and files that it has previously maintained were highly confidential and that could pose a threat to national security.
The ruling was the latest development in a saga dating back to 2003, when al-Kidd was standing in Dulles International Airport in Washington and surrounded by federal agents.
The Kansas-born husband and father of two was held for two weeks before being extradited to Idaho and released to the custody of his wife by a federal judge. The government thought al-Kidd had crucial testimony in a computer terrorism case against fellow Idaho student Sami Omar Al-Hussayen.
Al-Kidd and Al-Hussayen both worked on behalf of the Islamic Assembly of North America, a Michigan-based charitable organization that federal investigators alleged funneled money to activities supporting terrorism and published material advocating suicide attacks on the United States.
A jury eventually acquitted Al-Hussayen of using his computer skills to foster terrorism and of three immigration violations after an eight-week trial.
Al-Kidd, who had played football for the University of Idaho under the name Lavoni Kidd, was never charged with a crime.
Earlier this year, the US Supreme Court ruled that another former September 11 detainee, Javaid Iqbal, couldn't sue Ashcroft and FBI Director Robert Mueller for abuse he suffered while detained because Iqbal couldn't show there was anything linking the top government officials to the abuses.
The 9th US Circuit judges said al-Kidd's case was different, however, because he was able to offer as evidence specific statements that Ashcroft himself made regarding the post-September 11 use of the material witness statute.
Ashcroft said that the use of the material witness statute and other enhanced tactics "form one part of the department's concentrated strategy to prevent terrorist attacks by taking suspected terrorists off the street," the ruling said.
But the judges also noted that as the case moves forward, al-Kidd will have a significant burden to show that Ashcroft himself was personally involved in an illegal policy.
One Road to Freedom
By Larken Rose
The "Campaign for Liberty" is about to have a huge event in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, in just a couple of weeks. I'm not sure yet whether I'll be there (as a spectator), but I know I won't be speaking there.
Being faced with the tyrannical monstrosity that now resides in Washington, a lot of pro-freedom folks are talking about how everyone who loves liberty should do whatever it takes to "get along" and to "work together" toward our common goals. The question is, what ARE those supposed common goals?
Let me start by saying that I have a lot of respect for people like Ron Paul, Andrew Napolitano, Adam Kokesh, and many others, for their vocal opposition to tyranny. And it's great to see so many people, with the numbers growing every day, aware enough of what is going on that they want to do something about it. But what is it that "C4L" (Campaign for Liberty) is actually doing? I hate to be a stick in the mud, but can we pause the comradery and excitement long enough to ask what the game plan is? What is the end goal of all the time and effort being put into things such as C4L?
I know people will get mad at me for saying this, but most of the effort is, by its very nature, doomed to fail. The reason for this is quite simple: any effort to take over "the system," in order to make it be pro-freedom, is utterly pointless. Not only is it impossible for "government" to be used to support freedom, but playing the tyrants' games, by supporting this or that candidate, or pushing for this or that legislation, only LEGITIMIZES the notion that politicians have some divine right to rule.
In fact, it's one of the most brilliant tyrant tricks of all times, and I discuss it in my first book, "How To Be a Successful Tyrant." If the tyrant builds into his regime the ILLUSION that the peasants have some say in the matter, some recourse within the tyrant's own "system," by which they can beg for freedom and justice, they will rarely actually resist. They will instead waste all of their time and effort trying to influence a system of control that is made entirely of the tyrants, by the tyrants, and for the tyrants.
A lot of liberty-minded people "run for office" with the best of intentions, when what they should be doing is running FROM "office" as fast as they possibly can. What they fail to understand is that the problem is not the particular lying crook that happens to currently occupy that office; THE PROBLEM IS THE OFFICE ITSELF. Every "election" is nothing but a ritual designed to legitimize a ruling class, to make it look like the master somehow has the "consent" of his victims, or somehow "represents" them. It's nothing but a show, designed to redirect any discontent among the peasants into completely ineffectual and fruitless endeavors (voting and lobbying). In other words, it offers the slaves a means of "redress" that never accomplishes anything, but gives them an outlet for their displeasure with the masters, so they don't resort to actual resistance.
Even if it were possible to take over the system (and it isn't), you can't achieve freedom by BECOMING the ruler; you can only achieve freedom by tearing down the entire notion that the Divine Right of Politicians is valid to begin with. To put it another way, you can't show your support for the concept of unalienable rights by ASKING THE TYRANTS to let you do something. Playing that game implicitly acknowledges that you DO NOT HAVE any unalienable rights, because it implies that you need "legal" PERMISSION to do something. (My Fourth of July rant*, which has caused quite a stir, touched on that point.)
In short, the entire concept of a "Libertarian Party" is a contradiction. The principle of non-aggression is absolutely incompatible with any "government," no matter how small and "limited" you try to make it. The very premise that some group has the right to enact and enforce "laws" on the rest of us is logically incompatible with self-ownership and individual rights. And by running for office, or voting, or begging your congressman to vote for or against some piece of "legislation," you are CONDONING the notion of a ruling class, and REINFORCING the myth that such pseudo-religious political rituals are in any way legitimate, and that they can actually bestow upon anyone--even a good guy--the right to rule. In other words, instead of trying to tear down the authoritarian superstitions that allow for tyranny, most supposedly pro-freedom folk are trying to co-op it, in the hopes of somehow using the power cult as a tool for freedom.
Sorry, but it can't be done. We all know how hard it is for someone who likes freedom to compete with the collectivist liars. Ron Paul showed just how hard the establishment will work to protect its power from outsiders. But even when a miracle occurs, and "limited government" folk get into office, what good does it do? Do we all remember the 1994 "Republican Revolution," where a bunch of libertarian-leaning conservatives got into Congress? Remember all their promises to shut down a bunch of bureaucracies, slash taxes and dramatically reduce regulation and oppression? And what was the result? "Government" grew, freedom shrank.
I even believe that some of the people who ran in 1994 meant what they said (while others were just exploiting the anti-socialist fervor of the day). But they quickly learned that the show put on for the cameras is NOT how things actually work in Washington, and that reducing government power is something the system CANNOT be used for.
I hope that no one is still so silly to believe that the United States government is even trying to "represent" us. Like every other "government," it is nothing more than a control machine, that cares about its subjects as much as a butcher cares about cows. It's not that there is some miscommunication, or that a good idea was spoiled with some "corruption"; it's that the entire system exists for one purpose: the subjugation of mankind. As such, the only people it will ever serve are those who love to dominate their fellow man. (This reminds me a lot of the "One Ring" in The Lord of the Rings. Any attempt to use it for good is doomed to backfire.)
How much of history consists of the downtrodden masses desperately trying to get THEIR guy onto the throne? And how often does it work? Hardly ever. And even when it DOES work--when the people DO manage to replace the current tyrant with their own guy--then what happens? He becomes the NEW tyrant, even if he's not trying to. (As an example, I believe that Ronald Reagan actually believed in limited government, and yet the system STILL found a way to turn his presidency into an expanding "government," by way of the military and the immoral "war on drugs.")
Government is not your friend. It never will be. It cannot be. You can't co-op a system of extortion and oppression and use it as a tool for freedom. There can't be such thing as a good slave-master. As long as the slaves invest their time and effort begging the slave-master to be nice, or trying to appoint a new slave-master, they will STILL BE SLAVES. Only when the slaves stop THINKING like slaves, and realize they don't NEED the master's permission to be free, can they be free in mind. And if their minds are never free, their bodies will never be, either.
I will keep saying that, and conservatives and Libertarians will keep criticizing me for it. And they will keep demonstrating, with all their well-intentioned, Herculean efforts, that "authority" cannot be used as a tool for freedom.
Instead of continually trying to get freedom "legalized," those who value individual liberty should be working to come up with ways to outwit, escape, resist or defeat the tentacles of "government." Yes, I mean they should be figuring out ways to be free, despite the fact that freedom is, and always has been, "illegal."
Thursday, September 03, 2009
Health Care for Members of Congress?
Q: What type of health insurance do members of Congress receive? Is it a single-payer, government-run system?
A: Members of Congress are covered by private insurance under the same system that covers all federal workers.
Members of Congress have good health insurance by any standard, but it’s not free and not reserved only for them – and it’s not government insurance. House and Senate members are allowed to purchase private health insurance offered through the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, which covers more than 8 million other federal employees, retirees and their families.
It’s not a "single-payer" system where the government acts as the one and only health insurance company. As President Bush’s chief of personnel Kay Coles James said in 2003, while lecturing at the conservative Heritage Foundation, "the FEHB program is not centralized, government-run health care." It has drawn praise both from conservatives and liberals, including President Obama, who held it up as a model for his own health care proposals.
According to the Congressional Research Service, the FEHBP offers about 300 different private health care plans, including five government-wide, fee-for-service plans and many regional health maintenance organization (HMO) plans, plus high-deductible, tax-advantaged plans. All plans cover hospital, surgical and physician services, and mental health services, prescription drugs and "catastrophic" coverage against very large medical expenses. There are no waiting periods for coverage when new employees are hired, and there are no exclusions for preexisting conditions. The FEHBP negotiates contracts annually with all insurance companies who wish to participate. There is plenty of competition for the business; FEHBP is the largest employer-sponsored health plan in the U.S.
Those who don’t like their coverage may switch to another plan during a yearly "open season" period. To help with the choices, FEHBP conducts an annual "satisfaction survey" of each plan with more than 500 members and publishes the results.
Like other large employers, the government pays a large share of the cost of coverage. On average, the government pays 72 percent of the premiums for its workers, up to a maximum of 75 percent depending on the policy chosen. For example, the popular Blue Cross and Blue Shield standard fee-for-service family plan carries a total premium of $1,120.47 per month, of which the beneficiary pays $356.59. Washington, D.C.-based employees who prefer an HMO option might choose the Kaiser standard family plan. It carries a total premium of $629.46 per month, of which the employee pays only $157.36.
In addition, members of Congress also qualify for some medical benefits that ordinary federal workers do not. They (but not their families) are eligible to receive limited medical services from the Office of the Attending Physician of the U.S. Capitol, after payment of an annual fee ($491in 2007). But services don’t include surgery, dental care or eyeglasses, and any prescriptions must be filled at the member’s expense.
House and Senate members (but not their families) also are eligible to receive care at military hospitals. For outpatient care, there is no charge at the Washington, D.C., area hospitals (Walter Reed Army Medical Center and National Naval Medical Center). Inpatient care is billed at rates set by the Department of Defense.