Hot Springs, Ark — On Monday, we reported on the tragic case of 18-month-old Thomas Naramore, who died after being left in a hot vehicle for four hours. The father, Wade Naramore, is a Garland County circuit court judge and has not been arrested despite the fact that he admitted to leaving his son in the car.
The lack of an arrest, coupled with the fact that other people have been immediately arrested in similar situations, raises suspicions that Naramore is being treated favorably because of his status as a judge.
In another twist to this story, Naramore is the same judge who presided over a child endangerment case in January that gained widespread attention. Seven children were taken from Hal and Michelle Stanley because the parents possessed a legal, popular health supplement called Miracle Mineral Solution. Judge Naramore ruled that the Department of Human Services should keep the kids in custody, based on other allegations of abuse and neglect.
This is hard to believe after hearing the positive comments from neighbors. It could be that the Stanleys’ “off the grid” lifestyle and independence from government has something to do with their persecution.
Apparently the allegations have not stuck, as the Stanley family has regained custody of their youngest children in May, while the older three are allowed home on a part-time basis. It’s difficult to know exactly why the courts do what they do, since child welfare proceedings are surrounded by strict confidentiality laws.
It is sad irony that the judge ruling in a dubious case of child endangerment would put his own child in a far more severe state of endangerment, leading to the worst possible outcome.
Far too often, the state shatters lives by taking children away from their parents for no valid reason, putting them in the hands of state social services that can result in a far worse situation for the kids. There have been numerous instances of abuse while under the “care” of Child Protective Services.
While the State does not hesitate to interfere in the personal lives of so many citizens, it will take their time investigating Thomas Naramore’s death, assuring us that they “search for the truth with the ultimate goal of determining the facts, regardless of who might be a suspect in a given case.”
The Hot Springs Police Department will “continue withholding investigative material… at the specific direction of Mr. Scott Ellington, the special prosecutor recently assigned the case.”
The case could drag on for weeks before any charges are made, as investigators await the results of toxicology tests. The state’s Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission will also delay its probe until the criminal investigation is complete.
Three teens mistakenly walked up to the home of a New Jersey state trooper at 2 a.m. last Sunday and began knocking on the door, thinking it was their friend’s home, who lives on the same block.
But when a man on the other side of the door began yelling and cursing at them, they realized they had the wrong home and began walking back to their car.
When the angry man stepped out of the home, they began running and hopped in their car.
And when they saw him aiming a gun with a laser pointer towards them, they stepped on the accelerator to make their escape down the street in front of the home.
But the off-duty trooper, whose name is Kissinger Barreau, stepped into the street and fired three shots, including one that struck the tire.
“We realize it’s a gun and we panic. I’m like ‘dude, dude, dude, accelerate,’” Jesse Barkhorn told NJ.com.
What they didn’t realize was that the man who shot at them was a cop, which meant that his buddies were going to do everything they could to justify firing a gun at three teens who were not even on his property anymore.
About a mile-and-half away from the trooper’s home, once they believed they were safe from the crazy gunman, they stopped the car and one of the teens called his mom to tell her what had happened. He then called police to tell them what had happened.
Minutes later, when the teens noticed police helicopter and police dogs conducting a search in the area, they figured the cops were looking for the trigger-happy gunman.
But then they found themselves surrounded by cops, who searched and handcuffed them before leaving them in the back of a patrol car for hours on accusations that they had attempted to burglarize his home.
They were then driven down to Sparta police headquarters where they were photographed and placed in different cells.
Then they were transported to State Police Barracks where they were handcuffed to a steel bench for five hours before they were interrogated.
During that interrogation, police kept trying to get the teens to say they drove the car towards the cops, which, of course, would have made him fear for his life and justify the shooting.
But the teens just wouldn’t take the bait.
“That’s the exact opposite of what we were trying to do. We were just scared and trying to get out of there with our lives,” Barkhorn told the local news site.
The teens were eventually released when the cops confirmed that they did have a friend living on the same block and realized they were not going to admit to something they did not do.
And that was unfortunate for them because it meant they had to investigate their fellow trooper and we know they don’t like doing that. At least not very thoroughly.
The investigation is now being conducted by the state attorney general’s office, who are predictably taking a very pro-cop stance.
According to NJ.com:
The state attorney general’s office says its preliminary investigation has found an off-duty state trooper fired three shots from his personal gun as three teens fled his street in a car early Sunday morning — an account that’s largely consistent with what one of the teens has told NJ Advance Media.
But not entirely consistent.
Both say the teens knocked on the trooper’s Whispering Woods Lane door late at night after mistaking his home for a friend’s. Both say the trooper came downstairs with a gun — the AG’s office says it was his personal handgun. What the AG’s office describes as a “verbal exchange through the door,” teen Jesse Barkhorn, 18, describes as yelling and cursing by the trooper.
And both say that as the teens got in their car and fled, the trooper entered the street with the gun.
Where they notably differ: According to the AG’s office, the trooper says he identified himself as a trooper and pursued the teens on foot as they fled. Barkhorn says the trooper never identified himself.
It’s going to be interesting to see how this pans out because it appears that the only way to justify the shooting would be to criminalize the teens, either accusing them of trying to run the cop over or fleeing the scene even after they were told he was a cop, which should not make a difference considering anybody can claim they are a cop when they are out of uniform.
Reprieve | July 28, 2015
The Home Office is refusing to reveal the true extent of secret funding to Pakistan which risks implicating the UK in a wave of executions currently underway.
Human rights organization Reprieve has brought proceedings before the Information Rights Tribunal (IRT) challenging ministers’ refusal to reveal whether Government guidelines were followed when funneling at least £12 million into anti-drugs efforts in Pakistan, largely carried out by the Pakistani Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF). The ANF is responsible for sending more than a hundred alleged drug mules to Pakistan’s 8,500-strong death row, and lists these numbers on its website as ‘Prosecution Achievements.’ Several British citizens are understood to be among those facing execution on drugs charges.
Pakistan has executed some 180 people since resuming executions in December 2014, having widened its hanging campaign in early 2015 to cover all prisoners on the country’s death row – including drug offenders, others convicted of non-violent offences, juveniles, and mentally ill prisoners.
The UK’s Overseas Security and Justice Assistance (OSJA) guidance requires ministers to consider the potential risk to human rights of government overseas assistance. However, the Government is refusing to reveal crucial details of its decision-making about the funding, despite the recent resumption of hangings. The Home Office is arguing that publishing the information would both damage its relations with Pakistan, and reveal information which could “relate to” the British security services.
At the Government’s request large portions of the hearings so far have been heard in secret, without the presence of Reprieve, its lawyers, or a Government-appointed security-cleared lawyer known as a ‘Special Advocate’. Reprieve is currently seeking permission to appeal the judge’s decision to refuse the presence of a special advocate.
Commenting, Maya Foa, director of the death penalty team at Reprieve, said:
“The British public deserves to know how much of its money is funding hangings in Pakistan, particularly as the country continues its aggressive execution spree. If the UK is contributing to putting vulnerable drug mules – including British nationals – on death row in countries like Pakistan, this is a matter of huge public interest. The Home Office should stop hiding behind spurious national security arguments in an effort to dodge taxpayer scrutiny, and instead come clean about the true extent of its aid for executions”.
Science by Barbara Loe Fisher | July 22, 2015
A 2015 Pharma-driven bill blessed by the FDA seriously compromises the integrity of the vaccine licensing process and is sailing through the U.S. Congress. Act to protect vaccine safety and join http://www.NVICadvocacy.org and learn more at http://www.NVIC.org.
See also :
The 21st Century Cures Act will see some revisions before the House votes on the bill later this week. On July 2, 2015, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce released a summary of major changes to the bill that reduce the funding to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Cures Innovation Fund to approximately $8.75 billion over the next five years instead of the $10 billion that was originally proposed. The funding amount was amended “to clarify the availability of a $9.3 billion advanced appropriation for FY2016–FY2020. $110 million is made available for FDA regulatory modernization activities annually from FY2016–FY2020.”
Other changes to the proposed bill include not requiring companies that receive NIH funding to report their data, and additional changes to how drugs are reimbursed, specifically, payment amounts for branded drugs and infused specialty drugs. … continue
See also :
… “An underlying premise of the bill is the need to accelerate approval for new products, but this process is already quite efficient. A third of new drugs are currently approved on the basis of a single pivotal trial; the median size for all pivotal trials is just 760 patients. More than two-thirds of new drugs are approved on the basis of studies lasting 6 months or less – a potential problem for medications designed to be for a lifetime. Once the FDA starts its review, it approves new medications about as quickly as any regulatory agency in the world, evaluating nearly all drug applications within 6 to 10 months, an impressive turnaround for such complex assessments.” … Full article
Be in the palm of some fool’s hand?
To see him obviously framed
Couldn’t help but make me feel ashamed to live in a land
Where justice is a game.
—Bob Dylan, “Hurricane”
Justice in America is not all it’s cracked up to be.
Just ask Jeffrey Deskovic, who spent 16 years in prison for a rape and murder he did not commit. Despite the fact that Deskovic’s DNA did not match what was found at the murder scene, he was singled out by police as a suspect because he wept at the victim’s funeral (he was 16 years old at the time), then badgered over the course of two months into confessing his guilt. He was eventually paid $6.5 million in reparation.
James Bain spent 35 years in prison for the kidnapping and rape of a 9-year-old boy, but he too was innocent of the crime. Despite the fact that the prosecutor’s case was flimsy—it hinged on the similarity of Bain’s first name to the rapist’s, Bain’s ownership of a red motorcycle, and a misidentification of Bain in a lineup by a hysterical 9-year-old boy—Bain was sentenced to life in prison. He was finally freed after DNA testing proved his innocence, and was paid $1.7 million.
Mark Weiner got off relatively easy when you compare his experience to the thousands of individuals who are spending lifetimes behind bars for crimes they did not commit. Weiner was wrongfully arrested, convicted, and jailed for more than two years for a crime he too did not commit. In his case, a young woman claimed Weiner had abducted her, knocked her out and then sent taunting text messages to her boyfriend about his plans to rape her. Despite the fact that cell phone signals, eyewitness accounts and expert testimony indicated the young woman had fabricated the entire incident, the prosecutor and judge repeatedly rejected any evidence contradicting the woman’s far-fetched account, sentencing Weiner to eight more years in jail. Weiner was only released after his accuser was caught selling cocaine to undercover cops.
In the meantime, Weiner lost his job, his home, and his savings, and time with his wife and young son. As Slate reporter journalist Dahlia Lithwick warned, “If anyone suggests that the fact that Mark Weiner was released this week means ‘the system works,’ I fear that I will have to punch him in the neck. Because at every single turn, the system that should have worked to consider proof of Weiner’s innocence failed him.”
The system that should have worked didn’t, because the system is broken, almost beyond repair.
In courtroom thrillers like 12 Angry Men and To Kill a Mockingbird, justice is served in the end because someone—whether it’s Juror #8 or Atticus Finch—chooses to stand on principle and challenge wrongdoing, and truth wins.
Unfortunately, in the real world, justice is harder to come by, fairness is almost unheard of, and truth rarely wins.
On paper, you may be innocent until proven guilty, but in actuality, you’ve already been tried, found guilty and convicted by police officers, prosecutors and judges long before you ever appear in a courtroom. Chronic injustice has turned the American dream into a nightmare. At every step along the way, whether it’s encounters with the police, dealings with prosecutors, hearings in court before judges and juries, or jail terms in one of the nation’s many prisons, the system is riddled with corruption, abuse and an appalling disregard for the rights of the citizenry.
Due process rights afforded to a person accused of a crime—the right to remain silent, the right to be informed of the charges against you, the right to representation by counsel, the right to a fair trial, the right to a speedy trial, the right to prove your innocence with witnesses and evidence, the right to a reasonable bail, the right to not languish in jail before being tried, the right to confront your accusers, etc.—mean nothing when the government is allowed to sidestep those safeguards against abuse whenever convenient.
It’s telling that while President Obama said all the right things about the broken state of our criminal justice system—that we jail too many Americans for nonviolent crimes (we make up 5 percent of the world’s population, but our prison population constitutes nearly 25% of the world’s prisoners), that we spend more money on incarceration than any other nation ($80 billion a year), that we sentence people for longer jail terms than their crimes merit, that our criminal justice system is far from color-blind, that the nation’s school-to-prison pipeline is contributing to overcrowded jails, and that we need to focus on rehabilitation of criminals rather than retribution—he failed to own up to the government’s major role in contributing to this injustice in America.
Indeed, while Obama placed the responsibility for reform squarely in the hands of prosecutors, judges and police, he failed to acknowledge that they bear the burden of our failed justice system, along with the legislatures and corporations who have worked with them to create an environment that is hostile to the rights of the accused.
In such a climate, we are all the accused, the guilty and the suspect. As I document in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, we’re operating in a new paradigm where the citizenry are presumed guilty and treated as suspects, our movements tracked, our communications monitored, our property seized and searched, our bodily integrity disregarded, and our inalienable rights to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” rendered insignificant when measured against the government’s priorities.
Every American is now in jeopardy of being targeted and punished for a crime he did not commit thanks to an overabundance of arcane laws. Making matters worse, by allowing government agents to operate above the law, immune from wrongdoing, we have created a situation in which the law is one-sided and top-down, used as a hammer to oppress the populace, while useless in protecting us against government abuse.
Add to the mix a profit-driven system of incarceration in which state and federal governments agree to keep the jails full in exchange for having private corporations run the prisons, and you will find the only word to describe such a state of abject corruption is “evil.”
How else do you explain a system that allows police officers to shoot first and ask questions later, without any real consequences for their misdeeds? Despite the initial outcry over the shootings of unarmed individuals in Ferguson and Baltimore, the pace of police shootings has yet to slow.
For those who survive an encounter with the police only to end up on the inside of a jail cell, waiting for a “fair and speedy trial,” it’s often a long wait. Consider that 60 percent of the people in the nation’s jails have yet to be convicted of a crime. There are 2.3 million people in jails or prisons in America. Those who can’t afford bail, “some of them innocent, most of them nonviolent and a vast majority of them impoverished,” will spend about four months in jail before they even get a trial.
Not even that promised “day in court” is a guarantee that justice will be served.
As Judge Alex Kozinski of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals points out, there are an endless number of factors that can render an innocent man or woman a criminal and caged for life: unreliable eyewitnesses, fallible forensic evidence, flawed memories, coerced confessions, harsh interrogation tactics, uninformed jurors, prosecutorial misconduct, falsified evidence, and overly harsh sentences, to name just a few.
In early 2015, the Justice Department and FBI “formally acknowledged that nearly every examiner in an elite FBI forensic unit gave flawed testimony in almost all trials in which they offered evidence against criminal defendants over more than a two-decade period…. The admissions mark a watershed in one of the country’s largest forensic scandals, highlighting the failure of the nation’s courts for decades to keep bogus scientific information from juries, legal analysts said.”
“How do rogue forensic scientists and other bad cops thrive in our criminal justice system?” asks Judge Kozinski. “The simple answer is that some prosecutors turn a blind eye to such misconduct because they’re more interested in gaining a conviction than achieving a just result.”
The power of prosecutors is not to be underestimated. Increasingly, when we talk about innocent people being jailed for crimes they did not commit, the prosecutor plays a critical role in bringing about that injustice. As The Washington Post reports, “Prosecutors win 95 percent of their cases, 90 percent of them without ever having to go to trial…. Are American prosecutors that much better? No… it is because of the plea bargain, a system of bullying and intimidation by government lawyers for which they ‘would be disbarred in most other serious countries….’”
This phenomenon of innocent people pleading guilty makes a mockery of everything the criminal justice system is supposed to stand for: fairness, equality and justice. As Judge Jed S. Rakoff concludes, “our criminal justice system is almost exclusively a system of plea bargaining, negotiated behind closed doors and with no judicial oversight. The outcome is very largely determined by the prosecutor alone.”
It’s estimated that between 2 and 8 percent of convicted felons who have agreed to a prosecutor’s plea bargain (remember, there are 2.3 million prisoners in America) are in prison for crimes they did not commit.
Clearly, the Coalition for Public Safety was right when it concluded, “You don’t need to be a criminal to have your life destroyed by the U.S. criminal justice system.”
It wasn’t always this way. As Judge Rakoff recounts, the Founding Fathers envisioned a criminal justice system in which the critical element “was the jury trial, which served not only as a truth-seeking mechanism and a means of achieving fairness, but also as a shield against tyranny.”
That shield against tyranny has long since been shattered, leaving Americans vulnerable to the cruelties, vanities, errors, ambitions and greed of the government and its partners in crime.
There is not enough money in the world to make reparation to those whose lives have been disrupted by wrongful convictions.
Over the past quarter century, more than 1500 Americans have been released from prison after being cleared of crimes they did not commit. These are the fortunate ones. For every exonerated convict who is able to prove his innocence after 10, 20 or 30 years behind bars, Judge Kozinski estimates there may be dozens who are innocent but cannot prove it, lacking access to lawyers, evidence, money and avenues of appeal.
For those who have yet to fully experience the injustice of the American system of justice, it’s only a matter of time. America no longer operates under a system of justice characterized by due process, an assumption of innocence, probable cause, and clear prohibitions on government overreach and police abuse. Instead, our courts of justice have been transformed into courts of order, advocating for the government’s interests, rather than championing the rights of the citizenry, as enshrined in the Constitution.
Without courts willing to uphold the Constitution’s provisions when government officials disregard them, and a citizenry knowledgeable enough to be outraged when those provisions are undermined, the Constitution provides little protection against the police state.
These are the U.S. Representatives who voted to ban GMO labeling and deny your right to know what you’re eating
“We should not raise prices on consumers based on the wishes of a handful of activists,” said Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.), who just became consumer enemy number one after he decided to author a bill that destroys any chance Americans have of knowing what’s in their food, specifically whether or not they contain genetically modified ingredients, or GMOs.
What Pompeo isn’t telling you, and in fact is deliberately covering up, is that Americans overwhelmingly support GMO labeling (we’re talking in the 90th percentile); you can view proof of that support here, here and here.
Pompeo, who has likely been paid VERY well by Big Food lobbyists to spearhead this initiative, has made it his mission to make sure that you and your family continue eating foods made from crops that are genetically engineered to withstand high doses of Monsanto’s Roundup, which by the way, its primary ingredient, glyphosate, was labeled as being “probably” carcinogenic to humans by the World Health Organization last spring.
Scientists also concluded that glyphosate is “genotoxic,” meaning that it damages DNA and there’s actually no safe level of exposure.
But Pompeo doesn’t want you to know any of that. In fact, he’s worried that GMO labeling will only confuse you. Are you insulted? Well, you should be.
Named the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015 by a bunch of politicians who know next to nothing about GMOs, and the DARK Act (Denying Americans the Right to Know) by passionate food activists and consumer groups who have practically dedicated their lives to bringing awareness about the dangers of GMOs, the legislation that was recently passed in the House Committee prevents all states from enacting their own GMO labeling laws, ever.
It also strips states like Vermont, which already passed GMO labeling, their right from doing so.
Below is a list of politicians actively working to keep you and your family in the dark regarding the dangers of GMOs. Click here for their contact information.
Byrne, Bradley (R-AL)
Roby, Martha (R-AL)
Rogers, Mike (R-AL)
Aderholt, Robert (R-AL)
Brooks, Mo (R-AL)
Palmer, Gary (R-AL)
Young, Don (R-AK)
Kirkpatrick, Ann (D-AZ)
McSally, Martha (R-AZ)
Gosar, Paul (R-AZ)
Salmon, Matt (R-AZ)
Schweikert, David (R-AZ)
Sinema, Kyrsten (D-AZ)
Crawford, Eric (R-AR)
Hill, French (R-AR)
Womack, Steve (R-AR)
Westerman, Bruce (R-AR)
LaMalfa, Doug (R-CA)
Garamendi, John (D-CA)
McClintock, Tom (R-CA)
Bera, Ami (D-CA)
Cook, Paul (R-CA)
Denham, Jeff (R-CA
Costa, Jim (D-CA)
Valadao, David (R-CA)
Nunes, Devin (R-CA)
McCarthy, Kevin (R-CA)
Knight, Steve (R-CA)
Royce, Ed (R-CA)
Calvert, Ken (R-CA)
Walters, Mimi (R-CA)
Rohrabacher, Dana (R-CA)
Issa, Darrell (R-CA)
Hunter, Duncan (R-CA)
Buck, Ken (R-CO)
Tipton, Scott (R-CO)
Lamborn, Doug (R-CO)
Coffman, Mike (R-CO)
Carney, John (R-DE)
Miller, Jeff (R-FL)
Graham, Gwen (D-FL)
Yoho, Ted (R-FL)
Crenshaw, Ander (R-FL)
Brown, Corrine (D-FL)
DeSantis, Ron (R-FL)
Mica, John (R-FL)
Webster, Daniel (R-FL)
Nugent, Richard (R-FL)
Bilirakis, Gus (R-FL)
Jolly, David (R-FL)
Castor, Kathy (D-FL)
Ross, Dennis (R-FL)
Rooney, Thomas (R-FL)
Hastings, Alcee (D-FL)
Diaz-Balart, Mario (R-FL)
Curbelo, Carlos (R-FL)
Ros-Lehtinen, Ileana (R-FL)
Carter, Buddy (R-GA)
Bishop, Sanford (D-GA)
Westmoreland, Lynn (R-GA)
Price, Tom (R-GA)
Woodall, Rob (R-GA)
Scott, Austin (R-GA)
Collins, Doug (R-GA)
Hice, Jody (R-GA)
Loudermilk, Barry (R-GA)
Allen, Rick (R-GA)
Scott, David (D-GA)
Graves, Tom (R-GA)
Labrador, Raul (R-ID)
Simpson, Mike (R-ID)
Kelly, Robin (D-IL)
Lipinski, Daniel (D-IL)
Roskam, Peter (R-IL)
Davis, Danny (D-IL)
Duckworth, Tammy (D-IL)
Dold, Bob (R-IL)
Foster, Bill (D-IL)
Bost, Mike (R-IL)
Davis, Rodney (R-IL)
Hultgren, Randy (R-IL)
Shimkus, John (R-IL)
Kinzinger, Adam (R-IL)
Bustos, Cheri (D-IL)
Walorski, Jackie (R-IN)
Stutzman, Marlin (R-IN)
Rokita, Todd (R-IN)
Brooks, Susan (R-IN)
Messer, Luke (R-IN)
Bucshon, Larry (R-IN)
Young, Todd (R-IN)
Blum, Rod (R-IA)
Loebsack, David (D-IA)
Young, David (R-IA)
King, Steve (R-IA)
Huelskamp, Tim (R-KS)
Jenkins, Lynn (R-KS)
Yoder, Kevin (R-KS)
Pompeo, Mike (R-KS)
Whitfield, Ed (R-KY)
Guthrie, Brett (R-KY)
Rogers, Hal (R-KY)
Barr, Andy (R-KY)
Scalise, Steve (R-LA)
Richmond, Cedric (D-LA)
Boustany, Charles (R-LA)
Fleming, John (R-LA)
Abraham, Ralph (R-LA)
Graves, Garret (R-LA)
Harris, Andy (R-MD)
Ruppersberger, A. Dutch (D-MD)
Benishek, Dan (R-MI)
Huizenga, Bill (R-MI)
Moolenaar, John (R-MI)
Upton, Fred (R-MI)
Walberg, Tim (R-MI)
Bishop, Mike (R-MI)
Miller, Candice (R-MI)
Trott, Dave (R-MI)
Lawrence, Brenda (D-MI)
Walz, Timothy (D-MN)
Kline, John (R-MN)
Paulsen, Erik (R-MN)
McCollum, Betty (D-MN)
Emmer, Tom (R-MN)
Peterson, Collin (D-MN)
Kelly, Trent (R-MS)
Thompson, Bennie (D-MS)
Harper, Gregg (R-MS)
Palazzo, Steven (R- MS)
Clay, Lacy (D-MO)
Wagner, Ann (R-MO)
Luetkemeyer, Blaine (R-MO)
Hartzler, Vicky (R-MO)
Cleaver, Emanuel (D-MO)
Graves, Sam (R-MO)
Long, Billy (R-MO)
Smith, Jason (R-MO)
Zinke, Ryan (R-MT)
Fortenberry, Jeff (R-NE)
Ashford, Brad (D-NE)
Smith, Adrian (R-NE)
Amodei, Mark (R-NV)
Heck, Joseph (R-NV)
Hardy, Cresent (R-NV)
Guinta, Frank (R-NH)
Norcross, Donald (D-NJ)
LoBiondo, Frank (R-NJ)
MacArthur, Tom (R-NJ)
Garrett, Scott (R-NJ)
Pascrell, Bill (D-NJ)
Frelinghuysen, Rodney (R-NJ)
Pearce, Steve (R-NM)
King, Pete (R-NY)
Donovan, Daniel (R-NY)
Stefanik, Elise (R-NY)
Hanna, Richard (R-NY)
Reed, Tom (R-NY)
Katko, John (R-NY)
Collins, Chris (R-NY)
Butterfield, G.K. (D-NC)
Ellmers, Renee (R-NC)
Jones, Walter (R-NC)
Foxx, Virginia (R-NC)
Walker, Mark (R-NC)
Rouzer, David (R-NC)
Hudson, Richard (R-NC)
Pittenger, Robert (R-NC)
McHenry, Patrick (R-NC)
Meadows, Mark (R-NC)
Adams, Alma (D-NC)
Holding, George (R-NC)
Cramer, Kevin (R-ND)
Chabot, Steve (R-OH)
Wenstrup, Brad (R-OH)
Jordan, Jim (R-OH)
Latta, Robert (R-OH)
Johnson, Bill (R-OH)
Gibbs, Bob (R-OH)
Turner, Michael (R-OH)
Fudge, Marcia (D-OH)
Tiberi, Pat (R-OH)
Joyce, David (R-OH)
Stivers, Steve (R-OH)
Renacci, James (R-OH)
Bridenstine, Jim (R-OK)
Mullin, Markwayne (R-OK)
Lucas, Frank (R-OK)
Cole, Tom (R-OK)
Russell, Steve (R-OK)
Walden, Greg (R-OR)
Schrader, Kurt (D-OR)
Kelly, Mike (R-PA)
Perry, Scott (R-PA)
Thompson, Glenn (R-PA)
Costello, Ryan (R-PA)
Meehan, Patrick (R-PA)
Fitzpatrick, Michael (R-PA)
Shuster, Bill (R-PA)
Marino, Tom (R-PA)
Barletta, Lou (R-PA)
Rothfus, Keith (R-PA)
Dent, Charles (R-PA)
Pitts, Joseph (R-PA)
Murphy, Tim (R-PA)
Wilson, Joe (R-SC)
Duncan, Jeff (R-SC)
Gowdy, Trey (R-SC)
Mulvaney, Mick (R-SC)
Clyburn, Jim (D-SC)
Rice, Tom (R-SC)
Noem, Kristi (R-SD)
Roe, Phil (R-TN)
Fleischmann, Chuck (R-TN)
DesJarlais, Scott (R-TN)
Cooper, Jim (D-TN)
Black, Diane (R-TN)
Blackburn, Marsha (R-TN)
Fincher, Stephen (R-TN)
Gohmert, Louie (R-TX)
Poe, Ted (R-TX)
Johnson, Sam (R-TX)
Ratcliffe, John (R-TX)
Hensarling, Jeb (R-TX)
Barton, Joe (R-TX)
Culberson, John (R-TX)
Brady, Kevin (R-TX)
Green, Al (D-TX)
McCaul, Michael (R-TX)
Conaway, Michael (R-TX)
Granger, Kay (R-TX)
Thornberry, Mac (R-TX)
Weber, Randy (R-TX)
Hinojosa, Ruben (D-TX)
Flores, Bill (R-TX)
Jackson Lee, Sheila (D-TX)
Neugebauer, Randy (R-TX)
Smith, Lamar (R-TX)
Olson, Pete (R-TX)
Hurd, Will (R-TX)
Marchant, Kenny (R-TX)
Williams, Roger (R-TX)
Burgess, Michael (R-TX)
Farenthold, Blake (R-TX)
Cuellar, Henry (D-TX)
Green, Gene (D-TX)
Johnson, Eddie (D-TX)
Sessions, Pete (R-TX)
Veasey, Marc (D-TX)
Babin, Brian (R-TX)
Stewart, Chris (R-UT)
Chaffetz, Jason (R-UT)
Love, Mia (R-UT)
Wittman, Robert (R-VA)
Rigell, Scott (R-VA)
Forbes, Randy (R-VA)
Hurt, Robert (R-VA)
Goodlatte, Bob (R-VA)
Brat, Dave (R-VA)
Griffith, Morgan (R-VA)
Comstock, Barbara (R-VA)
Herrera Beutler, Jaime (R-WA)
Newhouse, Dan (R-WA)
McMorris Rodgers, Cathy (R-WA)
Reichert, David (R-WA)
McKinley, David (R-WV)
Mooney, Alex (R-WV)
Jenkins, Evan (R-WV)
Ryan, Paul (R-WI)
Sensenbrenner, James (R-WI)
Grothman, Glenn (R-WI)
Duffy, Sean (R-WI)
Ribble, Reid (R-WI)
Lummis, Cynthia (R-WY)
The FBI will train a small police unit in Odessa, which is set to become a beacon of hope in a “swamp” of corruption, announced Mikhail Saakashvili, a fugitive former president of Georgia and recently appointed governor of the coastal Ukrainian region.
Saakashvili said on Thursday that the US Federal Bureau of Investigation will train policemen in Odessa, TASS news agency reported.
“Two days ago we arranged with the FBI that we will create a separate [police] unit which will be small – maybe 50 people – and the FBI will be training them,” he said during the session of the National Reform Council (NRC).
“They [the new unit] will be separated from the others, so that they will become a kind of dry patch in the midst of a swamp,” Saakashvili said, adding that they will “work for people, not organized crime.”
The new body would assemble every two to three days, or at least every week, to “solve the problems which remain unsolved for months,” he added.
Earlier this week, Mikhail Saakashvili and US Assistant Secretary of State William Brownfield signed a memorandum according to which the US would finance police reforms in Odessa as part of its broader law enforcement overhaul project in Ukraine.
At the ceremony, during which the new Odessa patrol police – trained by California Highway Patrol officers – was officially presented, Brownfield said that the US has already invested some $15 million in reforming the Ukrainian police force since the beginning of 2015, with reforms including new staff recruitment, training and equipment.
“A special anti-corruption group will be formed in the Odessa region, while the US State Department will render assistance to its work via one of its agencies,” said Saakashvili. The US embassy confirmed earlier in July that it would be launching a “new anti-corruption grants program” to support Saakashvili’s team of “Ukrainian and international” anti-corruption experts.
Mikhail Saakashvili was personally appointed as governor of Odessa by President Poroshenko on May, 2015, a day after he had gained Ukrainian citizenship. He is a former Georgian president notorious for initiating a war with South Ossetia in 2008, and attempting to present it as Russian aggression. He left Georgia in autumn 2013, days before his presidential term expired, and has been living abroad ever since.
In 2014 Saakashvili was charged with embezzlement and abuse of power by a Tbilisi court and put on the international wanted list. In February 2015, Tbilisi issued an extradition request for Saakashvili, but Kiev authorities rejected it.
Another benefit of a single payer national health insurance system is that it gets rid of the obscenity of the revolving door between the health insurance industry and the government payer.
There is no revolving door because there is no door.
There is no door because the health insurance companies are put out of their misery.
One public payer. Everybody in. Nobody out.
If we had single payer, we wouldn’t be witnessing the obscenity we witnessed this month.
Take the case of Marilyn Tavenner.
She’s the Obama official who was in charge of the rollout of Obamacare.
She stepped down from her job in February and will become president of America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) — the insurance industry lobbying group representing the likes of Aetna, Anthem, Humana, Kaiser Permanente and many Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies.
Taking her place at the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is former UnitedHealth executive Andy Slavitt.
Don McCanne of Physicians for a National Health Plan (PNHP) says that Karen Ignagni, AHIP’s previous president and CEO, essentially had carte blanche in the White House as Obamacare was being crafted.
“She also was very influential in obtaining the concessions that protected the excess payments to the Medicare Advantage plans, measures which greatly benefit UnitedHealth Group and others,” McCanne says. “It seems more than a coincidence that UnitedHealth Group dropped out of AHIP shortly after the resignation of Karen Ignagni.”
“Without insider information, it is very difficult to determine the degree of control held by each of the players, but there is no question that HHS/CMS, AHIP, and UnitedHealth and the other insurers are all participating in advancing the privatization of Medicare by enhancing the private Medicare Advantage plans with our taxpayer dollars,” McCanne says. “It is particularly disconcerting that this agenda is supported by Congress and the Obama administration.”
“Imagine what those excess funds could do for our traditional Medicare program, especially in reducing out-of-pocket expenses for premiums, deductibles, coinsurance and catastrophic losses,” McCanne says.
“That would be far better than wasting them on the administrative excesses of the private insurers and on the dishonest activities they engage in to increase their profits by measures such as upcoding or gaming risk adjustment.”
Why is there no public outcry?
“It is simply because the Medicare Advantage plans are able to use about one-third of the extra funds to reduce deductibles and coinsurance, making them appear to be superior products, plus there is no need to purchase supplemental Medigap plans,” McCanne says. “Most of the beneficiaries who are satisfied with their private plans would not be inclined to support increased taxpayer funding of the traditional Medicare program since it doesn’t concern them anymore. And efforts to reduce Medicare Advantage funding to the same levels as traditional Medicare are met with loud protests orchestrated by AHIP. Those in the traditional Medicare program usually have supplemental retiree or Medigap plans with which they are satisfied, and thus they are not advocates for change either.”
“It is really difficult to explain to people that what is a good deal for them is a bad deal for all of us together since it perpetuates high costs and extraordinary administrative waste,” McCanne says. “If their programs seem to be working for them, they don’t want change.”
McCanne says that we need to improve the traditional Medicare program so that it is more comprehensive and provides greater value, and then use it to cover everyone.
“Our task is made much more difficult by the powerful forces that support corporate control of our healthcare system,” he says. “After all, they are the ones with the money. And Tavenner and Slavitt will be there as their agents, working inside and outside of the government. And most people won’t care.”
July 18th 2015 was the first day of this year’s summer camp for the world’s business and political aristocracy and their invited guests. 2,000 to 3,000 men, mostly from the wealthiest global one percent, gather at Bohemian Grove, 70 miles north of San Francisco in California’s Sonoma County—to sit around the campfire and chew the fat—off-the-record—with ex-presidents, corporate leaders and global financiers.
Speakers this year giving “Lakeside Chats” include past Secretary of Defense and the CIA Leon Panetta, Paul Volcker Jr. former Federal Reserve Chairman, retired Admiral Mike Mullen former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, NYU Law Professor Bryan Stevenson, producer Norman Lear, the founder of AOL Steve Case, and Christopher Hill former US Ambassador to Iraq.
The Bohemian Grove summer encampments have become one of the most famous private men’s retreats in the world. Club members and several hundred world-class guests gather annually in the last weeks of July to recreate what has been called “the greatest men’s party on earth.” Spanning three weekends, the outdoors event includes lectures, rituals, theater, camp parties, golf, swimming, skeet shooting, politics, sideline business meetings and feasts of food and alcohol.
One might imagine modern-day aristocrats like Henry Kissinger, the Koch brothers, and Donald Rumsfeld amid a circle of friends sipping cognac and discussing how the “unqualified” masses cannot be trusted to carry out policy, and how elites must set values that can be translated into “standards of authority.”
Private men’s clubs, like the San Francisco Bohemian Club, have historically represented institutionalized race, gender and class inequality. English gentlemen’s clubs emerged during Great Britain’s empire building period as an exclusive place free of troublesome women, under-classes, and non-whites. Copied in the United States, elite private men’s clubs served the same self-celebration purposes as their English counterparts.
The San Francisco Bohemian Club was formed in 1872 as a gathering place for newspaper reporters and men of the arts and literature. By the 1880s local businessmen joined the Club in large numbers, quickly making business elites the dominant group. More than 2,500 men are members today. Most are from California, while several hundred originate from some 35 states and a dozen foreign countries. About one-fifth of the members are either directors of one or more of the Fortune 1000 companies, corporate CEOs, top governmental officials (current and former) and/or members of important policy councils or major foundations. The remaining members are mostly regional business/legal elites with a small mix of academics, military officers, artists, or medical doctors.
Foremost at the Bohemian Grove is an atmosphere of social interaction and networking. You can sit around a campfire with directors of PG&E, or Bank of America. You can shoot skeet with the former secretaries of state and defense, or you can enjoy a sing-along with a Council of Foreign Relations director or a Business Roundtable executive. All of this makes for ample time to develop personal long-lasting connections with powerful influential men.
On the surface, the Bohemian Grove is a private place where global and regional elites meet for fun and enjoyment. Behind the scene, however, the Bohemian Grove is an American version of building insider ties, consensual understandings, and lasting connections in the service of class solidarity. Ties reinforced at the Grove manifest themselves in global trade meetings, party politics, campaign financing, and top-down corporatism.
“I wasn’t a person… I was an object.”
Australian TV was thoughtful enough to ignore the embarrassing fact that at the time Lord Greville Jenner allegedly slept with young kids in his marital bed, he was also the Chairman of the BOD, a body that claims to represent British Jewry.
“We are under pressure from the Treasury to justify our budget, and commercial espionage is one way of making a direct contribution to the nation’s balance of payments” – Sir Colin McColl, former MI6 Chief
For years public figures have condemned cyber espionage committed against the United States by intruders launching their attacks out of China. These same officials then turn around and justify America’s far-reaching surveillance apparatus in terms of preventing terrorist attacks. Yet classified documents published by WikiLeaks reveal just how empty these talking points are. Specifically, top-secret intercepts prove that economic spying by the United States is pervasive, that not even allies are safe, and that it’s wielded to benefit powerful corporate interests.
At a recent campaign event in New Hampshire Hillary Clinton accused China of “trying to hack into everything that doesn’t move in America.” Clinton’s hyperbole is redolent of similar claims from the American Deep State. For example, who could forget the statement made by former NSA director Keith Alexander that Chinese cyber espionage represents the greatest transfer of wealth in history? Alexander has obviously never heard of quantitative easing (QE) or the self-perpetuating “global war on terror” which has likewise eaten through trillions of dollars. Losses due to cyber espionage are a rounding error compared to the tidal wave of money channeled through QE and the war on terror.
When discussing the NSA’s surveillance programs Keith Alexander boldly asserted that they played a vital role with regard to preventing dozens of terrorist attacks, an argument that fell apart rapidly under scrutiny. Likewise, in the days preceding the passage of the USA Freedom Act of 2015 President Obama advised that bulk phone metadata collection was essential “to keep the American people safe and secure.” Never mind that decision makers have failed to provide any evidence that bulk collection of telephone records has prevented terrorist attacks.
If American political leaders insist on naming and shaming other countries with regard to cyber espionage perhaps it would help if they didn’t sponsor so much of it themselves. And make no mistake, thanks to WikiLeaks the entire world knows that U.S. spies are up to their eyeballs in economic espionage. Against NATO partners like France and Germany, no less. And also against developing countries like Brazil and news outlets like Der Spiegel.
These disclosures confirm what Ed Snowden said in an open letter to Brazil: terrorism is primarily a mechanism to bolster public acquiescence for runaway data collection. The actual focus of intelligence programs center around “economic spying, social control, and diplomatic manipulation.” Who benefits from this sort of activity? The same large multinational corporate interests that have spent billions of dollars to achieve state capture.
Why is the threat posed by China inflated so heavily? The following excerpt from an intelligence briefing might offer some insight. In a conversation with a colleague during the summer of 2011 the EU’s chief negotiator for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Hiddo Houben, described the treaty as an attempt by the United State to antagonize China:
“Houben insisted that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which is a U.S. initiative, appears to be designed to force future negotiations with China. Washington, he pointed out, is negotiating with every nation that borders China, asking for commitments that exceed those countries’ administrative capacities, so as to ‘confront’ Beijing. If, however, the TPP agreement takes 10 years to negotiate, the world–and China–will have changed so much that that country likely will have become disinterested in the process, according to Houben. When that happens, the U.S. will have no alternative but to return to the WTO.”
American business interests are eager to “open markets in Asia” and “provide the United States with unprecedented opportunities for investment.” At least, that’s how Hillary Clinton phrased it back when she was the Secretary of State. China represents a potential competitor and so American political leaders need an enemy that they can demonize so that they can justify massive intelligence budgets and the myriad clandestine operations that they approve. The American Deep State wishes to maintain economic dominance and U.S. spies have been working diligently to this end.
As a result of my inquiry for the article “What you didn’t know about a doctor’s stance on the HPV vaccine,” the medical journal Lancet has now issued a correction to its publication.
The correction acknowledges formerly undisclosed financial conflicts of interest between the article’s lead author and makers of the controversial human papillomavirus (HPV) cervical cancer vaccine.
The article by Dr. Sharon J. B. Hanley defended the vaccine and criticized the Japanese government’s decision to stop promoting the vaccine amid concerns about injuries. It also implied patients are incorrectly blaming the HPV vaccine for unrelated ills.
Hanley did not disclose in the original version that she receives funding from entities supported by makers of both HPV vaccines: Gardasil and Cevarix. In addition, she has previously said the vaccine makers are among those who have paid her “lecture fees.” But Hanley implied the lecture fee disclosure was not required for the recent article because Lancet only asks publishers to account for monetary gain in the most recent three year period.
Critics said it’s an example of hidden cronyism among physicians and corporations who use medical journals to influence public policy.
Read Lancet’s correction in full.