U.S. Soldier To Plead Guilty In Afghan Massacre

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash., (UPI) —  The U.S. Army soldier charged with killing 16 Afghan villagers in a grisly predawn attack plans to plead guilty to avoid the death penalty, his lawyer said.

Staff Sgt. Robert Bales plans to enter guilty pleas before a military judge next week, criminal defense attorney John Henry Browne told The New York Times.

Military prosecutors at Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma, Wash., have agreed to accept the plea agreement, Browne said.

Base spokesman Lt. Col. Gary Dangerfield said he could not confirm a deal had been reached or even if the two sides were negotiating a plea bargain.

“John Henry Browne is probably not saying it just to be saying it,” Dangerfield told the Times. “But I can’t confirm whether they are in talks.”

A plea hearing is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, he said.

Bales, 39, held at the base’s Northwest Joint Regional Correctional Facility, is charged with 16 counts of premeditated murder and six counts of assault and attempted murder in the March 11, 2012, killings.

He is charged with walking off a small outpost in Kandahar province’s Panjwai district before dawn that day and shooting or stabbing to death 16 people — including nine children, four men and three women — in two villages. Six other people were wounded.

Eleven of the dead were from the same family. Witnesses said the family members were shot in the head, stabbed and then gathered into a room and set on fire. Burning the bodies is considered desecration under Islamic law.

Bales was apprehended as he returned to base.

U.S. and allied forces apologized for the massacre — widely considered one of the most gruesome U.S. soldier atrocities in the Afghanistan war — and promised a thorough and quick investigation.

U.S. President Barack Obama called the incident “absolutely tragic and heartbreaking.”

At Bales’ November Article 32 hearing, similar to a preliminary hearing in civilian law, a fellow soldier testified Bales told him he had “shot up some people.”

A lab examiner testified Bales had blood from at least four people on his clothes when taken into custody.

U.S. Army prosecutors said in December they would seek the death penalty for Bales.

Six U.S. military members are on death row, but none has been executed since Pfc. John A. Bennett was hanged in 1961 after being convicted for the rape and attempted murder of an 11-year-old Austrian girl.

People Can Be Trained To Be More Compassionate

MADISON, Wis. (UPI) — Adults can be trained to be more compassionate, or be more caring for people who are suffering even those they have conflict with, U.S. researchers say.

Lead author Helen Weng, a graduate student in clinical psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and researchers at the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds at the Waisman Center of the University of Wisconsin–Madison, said the investigators trained young adults to engage in compassion meditation, an ancient Buddhist technique to increase caring feelings for people who are suffering.

In the meditation, participants asked to envision a time when someone suffered and then practiced wishing that his or her suffering was relieved. They repeated phrases to help them focus on compassion such as, “May you be free from suffering. May you have joy and ease.”

Participants practiced with different categories of people, first starting with a loved one, someone whom they easily felt compassion for such as a friend or family member. Then, they practiced compassion for themselves and, then, a stranger. Finally, they practiced compassion for someone they actively had conflict with called the “difficult person,” such as a troublesome co-worker or roommate.

“It’s kind of like weight training,” Weng said in a statement. “Using this systematic approach, we found that people can actually build up their compassion ‘muscle’ and respond to others’ suffering with care and a desire to help.”

Compassion training was compared to a control group that learned cognitive reappraisal, a technique where people learn to reframe their thoughts to feel less negative.

“We found that people trained in compassion were more likely to spend their own money altruistically to help someone who was treated unfairly than those who were trained in cognitive reappraisal,” Weng said in a statement.

The findings were published in the journal Psychological Science.

Minneapolis-St. Paul Ranks On Top As Fittest U.S. Metro Area

INDIANAPOLIS (UPI) — The American College of Sports Medicine has ranked Minneapolis-St. Paul the healthiest, fittest U.S. metropolitan area for the third year in a row.

The American Fitness Index — established six years ago with support from the WellPoint Foundation — evaluates the infrastructure, community assets and policies that encourage healthy and fit lifestyles in the 50 most populous U.S. metro areas. Also included in the analysis are preventive health behaviors, levels of chronic disease conditions, healthcare access and physical activity resources.

Washington was second, followed by Portland, Ore.; San Francisco; Denver; Boston; Sacramento; Seattle; Hartford, Conn.; and San Jose, Calif.

“We have issued the American Fitness Index each year since 2008 to help health advocates and community leader advocates improve the quality of life in their hometowns,” Walter Thompson, chairman of the AFI Advisory Board, said in a statement.

To assist with measurement and to provide a baseline measure of health and fitness status, the ACSM worked with the Indiana University School of Family Medicine and a panel of 26 health and physical activity experts on the methodology of the annual report.

Researchers used data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, The Trust for the Public Land City Park Facts and other research.

Summer Heat Bakes Pollution, Raises Respiratory Health Risk

DALLAS (UPI) — High levels of air pollution can increase asthma, respiratory infections, lung cancer and even death, and heat makes it worse, a U.S. researcher says.

Dr. Jonathan Weissler, director of the James M. Collins Center for Biomedical Research at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, said the combination of sunlight and heat essentially bakes the atmosphere and the various airborne chemical compounds.

This chemical concoction mixes with naturally occurring nitrogen oxides in the air to create smog, or ground-level ozone, Weissler said.

“Oxides of nitrogen and sulfur, smoke and ozone are irritants of the airways and can worsen any pre-existing lung condition,” Weissler said in a statement. “People with chronic lung disease should try to minimize their time outdoors when air quality becomes extremely poor.”

Dallas/Fort Worth has consistently ranked among the nation’s list of cities with poor air quality, Weissler said. The 2012 State of the Air Report, released in late April by the American Lung Association, ranked the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex 12th worst among 232 U.S. cities for ozone-related air pollution — the most hazardous type of pollution to health.

Los Angeles tops the list, followed by six other California areas: Visalia, Bakersfield, Fresno, Hanford, Sacramento and San Diego.

Doctors And Patients Sharing Decision-Making May Raise Costs

CHICAGO (UPI) — Healthcare policies that increase patient engagement in medical decisions may increase the length of hospital stays and costs, U.S. researchers say.

Dr. David Meltzer, an associate professor at the University of Chicago who was the study author, said since the 1980s, doctors and patients have been encouraged to share decision-making to enhance patient satisfaction, improve health outcomes and even lower costs.

However, the study, published in Internal Medicine, found patients who wanted to participate in their medical decisions ended up spending more time in the hospital and the cost of their hospital admission increased by an average of $865.

“The result that everyone would have liked, that patients who are more engaged in their care do better and cost less, is not what we found in this setting,” Meltzer said in a statement. “Patients who want to be more involved do not lower costs. Patients, as consumers, may value elements of care that the healthcare system might not.”

Meltzer and researchers approached all patients admitted to the University of Chicago’s general internal medicine service from July 2003 to August 2011. Almost 22,000 people, about 70 percent of those asked, completed a wide-ranging 44-question survey.

The key multiple-choice item for this study was: “I prefer to leave decisions about my medical care up to my doctor.” More than 37 percent of patients definitely agreed, one-third somewhat agreed, and a little less than one-third somewhat or definitely disagreed.

“Was I surprised?” asked Meltzer. “I wasn’t shocked. It could have gone either way. Our results suggest that encouraging patients to be more involved will not, alone, reduce costs.”

Although this was a large study, it might not apply in every setting, the authors cautioned.

Three-quarters of the patients in the study were black, more than half had a high school education or less and nearly 80 percent were insured by Medicare or Medicaid or had no insurance.

Men Lie They Had More Partners, Women Lied About Fewer

MANSFIELD, Ohio (UPI) — People will lie about their sexual behavior to match perceived cultural expectations about how men or women should act, U.S. researchers say.

Study author Terri Fisher, a professor of psychology at The Ohio State University’s Mansfield campus, and colleagues said while people would lie about sex, they wouldn’t distort other gender-related behaviors.

“There is something unique about sexuality that led people to care more about matching the stereotypes for their gender,” Fisher said in a statement. “Sexuality seemed to be the one area where people felt some concern if they didn’t meet the stereotypes of a typical man or a typical woman.”

The study involved 293 college students ages 18-25. The students completed a questionnaire that asked how often they engaged in 124 different behaviors typical of either males — such as wearing dirty clothes — or females lying about their weight. Some filled out the questionnaire while they were attached to what they were told was a working polygraph machine or lie detector, which in reality was not working.

Men reported more typical-male behaviors and women reported more typical-female behaviors, regardless of whether they were attached to the lie detector or not. The one exception was sexual behavior, Fisher said.

The study, published in the journal Sex Roles, found when it came to sex, men wanted to be seen as “real men.”

They reported more sexual partners when they weren’t hooked up to the lie detector than when they were, while women reported fewer partners when they were not hooked up to the lie detector than when they were.

“Men and women had different answers about their sexual behavior when they thought they had to be truthful,” Fisher said.

Torah Scroll In Italy May Be World’s Oldest Yet Discovered

BOLOGNA, Italy (UPI) — The University of Bologna in Italy says it has found what may be the oldest complete scroll of Judaism’s most important text, the Torah.

The scroll, previously thought to be just a few hundred years old, was in the university’s library but had been mislabeled, university officials said.

Carbon dating tests suggests the text may have been written more than 850 years ago, which would make it the oldest complete Torah known, Hebrew Professor Mauro Perani said.

In 1889 a university librarian had examined the scroll and dated it to the 17th century, but Perani said a re-examination showed the script used in the Torah was that of the oriental Babylonian tradition, suggesting the scroll must be much older, the BBC reported Wednesday.

An older date is also indicated by the fact the text contains many features not found in later copies because they had been forbidden under rules laid down by the rabbi and Torah scholar Maimonides in the 12th century, the university said.

Modern Street Lighting May Be Behind Decline In Moth Numbers

EXETER, England (UPI) — A new kind of street lighting being installed on British roads could be causing widespread declines in moths, scientists warn.

Brighter white lighting replacing the older traditional orange street lights is proving irresistible to moths, they said.

“If you use white light or lamps with a broad spectrum of wavelengths, then it will attract more moths and that completely disrupts their natural behavior,” University of Exeter scientist Richard Ffrench-Constant told The Daily Telegraph.

“They are not mating or feeding on flowers,” he said. “They tend to circle around the light until they get exhausted and fall to the ground.

“Habitat loss has certainly played a role in the declines of moths, but we have found that different types of moths are attracted to different wavelengths of light,” he said.

There are around 2,000 species of moths in Britain compared to 52 species of butterfly.

“Just like with butterflies, we have seen moth numbers declining dramatically, but because they are active at night, we are less aware of them,” Ffrench-Constant said.

Moths are also more vulnerable to predators, who find easy picking among the large congregations of moths that cluster around the modern street lamps, he said.

Experiments With Panicky Ants Could Help In Emergency Evacuations

MELBOURNE (UPI) — An experiment with ants could help architects design buildings that can be evacuated quickly in emergencies, Australian researchers say.

Escape times from office buildings, railway or bus stations and sports arenas can be affected by the position of exits and obstructions such as support columns, but there is little data on the best layouts because it would be unethical to fake an emergency to panic people for tests, scientists at Monash University in Melbourne said.

Monash researcher Majid Sarvi has gotten around the problem by using ants to provide data on the behavior of panicking crowds “at low cost and with no need for ethical approval,” NewScientist.com reported Wednesday.

Sarvi and his colleagues used a citronella insect repellent to make Argentine ants flee from structures with varied exits and obstruction positions, discovering the ants exited most swiftly from layouts with exits in corners rather than in the middle of hallways.

Exits in the middle of a hallway tended to jam up, creating confusing flows of ants, they said.

Layouts were then tested in computer models of human behavior, indicating evacuation times were greatly reduced when people in the model left by a corner exit, even if it had a large structural column in front of it, compared to a lone exit in the middle of a hallway.

Suddenly Slowing Spin Of Distant Neutron Star Puzzles Astronomers

GREENBELT, Md. (UPI) — Astronomers say a NASA space telescope has observed a spinning neutron star suddenly slowing down, offering clues to understanding such extremely dense objects.

A neutron star is what is left after a massive star runs out of fuel, collapses under its own weight and explodes as a supernova.

Neutron star 1E 2259+586 is located about 10,000 light-years from Earth and is one of about two dozen neutron stars called magnetars, possessing very powerful magnetic fields and occasionally producing high-energy explosions or pulses.

Observations by NASA’s Swift X-ray telescope of pulses from July 2011 through mid-April 2012 indicated the magnetar’s rotation was gradually slowing from once every 7 seconds, or about eight revolutions per minute.

On April 28, 2012, data showed the spin rate had decreased abruptly and the magnetar was slowing down at a faster rate, the space agency reported Wednesday.

“Astronomers have witnessed hundreds of events, called glitches, associated with sudden increases in the spin of neutron stars, but this sudden spin-down caught us off guard,” Victoria Kaspi, a professor of physics at McGill University in Montreal, said.

Kaspi heads a team that uses Swift to routinely monitor magnetars.

Astronomers have dubbed the unexpected event an “anti-glitch.”

“It affected the magnetar in exactly the opposite manner of every other clearly identified glitch seen in neutron stars,” Neil Gehrels, principal investigator of the Swift mission at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., said.

Just a week before Swift observed the anti-glitch, 1E 2259+586 produced a brief but intense X-ray burst, an eruption of high-energy light scientists say they believe possibly was a symptom of the changes that drove the magnetar’s slowdown.

Processes that lead to a sudden rotational slowdown constitute a new theoretical challenge, the researchers said.

“What is really remarkable about this event is the combination of the magnetar’s abrupt slowdown, the X-ray outburst, and the fact we now observe the star spinning down at a faster rate than before,” lead author Robert Archibald, a graduate student at McGill, said.

NASA Instrument Creates ‘Family Tree’ Of Orbiting Asteroids

PASADENA, Calif. (UPI) — NASA says data from its Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer has yielded a new, improved family tree for asteroids in the main belt between Mars and Jupiter.

Millions of infrared snapshots from the asteroid-hunting portion of the WISE all-sky survey, called NEOWISE, have helped identify 28 new asteroid “families,” NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., reported Wednesday.

An asteroid family is formed when a collision breaks a large parent body into fragments of various sizes.

The snapshots helped place thousands of previously hidden and uncategorized asteroids into families for the first time, a critical step in understanding the origins of asteroid families and the collisions thought to have created these rocky clans, researchers said.

“NEOWISE has given us the data for a much more detailed look at the evolution of asteroids throughout the solar system,” Lindley Johnson of the Near-Earth Object Observation Program at NASA Headquarters in Washington said. “This will help us trace the NEOs back to their sources and understand how some of them have migrated to orbits hazardous to Earth.”

The main asteroid belt is a major source of near-Earth objects, those asteroids and comets that come within 28 million miles of Earth’s orbit around the sun.

Empire State Building To Have New Owners: The Public

NEW YORK (UPI) — The owners of New York’s iconic Empire State Building say they have agreed to combine it with 18 other properties and take the company public.

Dealogic, a firm that keeps track of Wall Street deals, said the initial public offering for the Empire State Realty Trust, which includes the famous skyscraper built in 1931, is on track to become the second-largest IPO ever for a U.S. real estate company.

The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that 80 percent of the stakeholders in the company that owns the building voted to take the company public. However, it was a contentious campaign waged by the Malkins, the family that now controls the company, to convince other shareholders to go along with the proposal.

Some stakeholders believed the Malkins would do well with the IPO, expecting they could come away with $714 million, some of that at the expense of other shareholders.

“We are pleased to deliver to our investors a proposal which has received such support. We look forward to delivering to our investors what we believe to be the many benefits of this transaction, a spokeswoman for the family said in a statement.

First Quarter U.S. GDP Growth Pegged At 2.4 Percent

WASHINGTON (UPI) — The U.S. Department of Commerce revised its estimate of the first quarter’s economic growth down to 2.4 percent Thursday.

In the first of three estimates, the department pegged the gross domestic product January through March as up 2.5 percent over the previous three months.

On Thursday, the department, using more complete data, revised growth to 2.4 percent, citing growth in private inventory investment, exports and imports as less than previously indicated.

Imports works against the GDP as they are considered a drain on the U.S. economy.

The department’s second GDP report said, “The general picture of the overall economic activity is not greatly changed” from the advanced estimate released a month ago.

The department also released its first estimate of first quarter corporate reports, which fell $43.8 billion in the first three months of the year after climbing $45.4 billion in the fourth quarter.

Taxes on corporate income also fell, dropping $13.6 billion in the first quarter after falling $4.4 billion in the fourth quarter of 2012.First time jobless claims rise by 10,000Thursday, May 30, 2013 7:50 AMWASHINGTON, May 30 (UPI) —  The U.S. Labor Department said first-time jobless benefits claims rose by 10,000 to 344,000 in the week that ended Saturday.

The department revised last week’s estimate from 340,000 to 344,000, meaning the prior week’s decline was not 23,000, but 19,000.

The four-week rolling average for the week rose by 6,750 to 347,250.

The largest increases in initial benefits claims for the week ending May 18 were in South Carolina (up by 1,263), Tennessee (up by 1,191) and Missouri (up by 785).

The largest decreases were in California (down by 16,334), Georgia (down by 1,802) and Illinois down by 1,198.

Non-Employer Businesses On The Rise

WASHINGTON (UPI) — The number of businesses with no paid employees rose 1.7 percent in 2011, gaining in all states except two, the U.S. Census Bureau said Thursday.

The number of one-person businesses rose to 22.5 million in the year, the Census Bureau said.

The bureau counts businesses with no paid employees that have annual receipts of at least $1,000, although it counts construction businesses if they made at least $1.

“Approximately 75 percent of all U.S. business locations are non-employee businesses,” said William Bostic Jr., associate director for economic programs at the U.S. Census Bureau in a statement.

That means, the businesses may be small but they add up. About 19.4 million of these businesses are listed as sole proprietorship. Another 1.6 million are listed as partnerships and 1.4 million are corporations, the bureau said.

In 2011, California had the largest increase in “non-employer businesses,” gaining 72,605 in the year. Texas was next with 41,148 and Florida was third with 31,485.

The largest gains were in “other services,” which includes beauty salons, barber shops, automotive repair shops, and maintenance workers, the bureau said.

Only Louisiana and New Hampshire posted declines non-employer businesses in the year, the bureau said.

The statistics can be found in an annual report with the latest edition titled “Nonemployer Statistics: 2011.”

Losing Our Religion, RNC Files F.O.I. for B.O.’s Benghazi Email, IRS Weeding Out Legal Marijuana, Driver’s Licenses For Illegals In Connecticut, You Can’t Escape Detroit: Thursday Morning News Roundup 5-30-2013

Here is a collection of some of the stories that Personal Liberty staffers will be keeping an eye on throughout the day. Click the links for the full stories.

 

  • The number of Americans who think religion’s influence is at a low ebb is the highest it’s ever been, according to a new Gallup survey. While 77 percent said the prestige of religion is low, 75 percent also lamented that same perception, saying the country would be stronger if religion played a more prominent role in people’s lives.

 

  • The Republican National Committee (RNC) is filing a Freedom of Information Act request to get at all the Benghazi-related email communication that passed between President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign and the U.S. State Department. If it contains the words “Libya” or “Benghazi” and it was sent between Sept. 11, 2012, and Nov. 7, 2012, the RNC wants to read it.

 

  • The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) hasn’t targeted just the Tea Party to wield the Obama Administration’s agenda. A report Wednesday reveals the IRS has also been targeting businesses that sell medical marijuana in the 18 States where it’s been made legal, evidently in an effort to demonstrate the power of the Feds against the (lesser) powers of the States.

 

  • The Connecticut State Senate passed a bill today that would allow illegal aliens to get driver’s licenses, vehicle insurance and registration. Governor Dannel Malloy, fresh off his triumphant signing of an aggressive gun-grab bill, is expected to sign off on the drivers’ license legislation as well.

 

  • Detroit Mayor Dave Bing is suggesting more laws to help the shrinking, financially crippled city retain its population. He endorses a proposal that would force new city employees to commit to seven years’ of residence in the Motor City. Detroit had nearly 2 million residents at the height of the 1950s automotive boom; today there are only 700,000.

 

Check back for updates, news and analysis throughout the day. Like us on Facebook. And follow our improved Twitter feed.

Fort Worth Police Shoot And Kill 72-Year-Old Who Checked On His Neighbor

Jerry Wayne Waller, a 72-year-old who lived in east Fort Worth, Texas, heard his neighbor’s security alarm going off early Tuesday morning. He lived in an area where most people knew their neighbors, as well as others who lived down the street. So he went outside his house to see what was going on.

But the Dallas-Fort Worth police had already arrived to take care of things. They didn’t let Waller leave his own property alive.

From yesterday’s CBS-DFW television report:

The 72-year-old man didn’t even make it to the house across the street before he was shot. He died on his own property.

Waller reportedly was armed at the time — presumably a precaution before venturing into a potentially dangerous situation, however unlikely it might have seemed. But the police presence raised the potential for danger considerably.

“We heard five shots,” said Becky Haskin, a former Fort Worth city council member who lives in the area. “They were just rapid-fire; one after the other.”

A spokesman for the police department said the officers “felt threatened by the man with the handgun and he was shot.”

At the scene after the killing, Haskin said the badged offenders were “sobbing uncontrollably and very distraught.”

Viewed from a distance, those among the Dallas-Fort Worth police who’ve perpetrated this and similar crimes must be among the most trigger-happy and skittish cops the whole of America’s municipal police population has to offer.

On Wednesday — i.e., only one day ago — we shared the story of the latest civilian death at the department’s hands, that of 350-pound asthmatic Jarmaine Darden, whom DFW cops shot with a Taser, from couch to floor, three times before he stopped breathing and died. That killing marked the fifth documented time DFW police have killed someone with a Taser since 2001.

Haskin said Waller and his wife were good neighbors who always took pride in their community.

“They are just a nice retired couple that loved working in their yard, having family over, and grandkids.”

No police were hurt in Waller’s killing.

Doctors In Revolt Over Obamacare Want To Be Paid Like Mechanics, Plumbers, Hairdressers

Citing insurance regulations and Medicare changes that make it impossible for doctors to give patients the best individual care possible, Michael Ciampi, M.D., of South Portland, Maine, decided to turn to the free market and get back to a patient-first method of medical care.

As of this spring, the Ciampi Family Practice announced that it would no longer accept private insurance or government Medicare for its services. Instead, the healthcare provider would operate as a cash-only clinic.

“I went into medicine, particularly family practice to take care of people. Insurance regulations and ever changing Medicare laws are interfering with my ability to do this,” Ciampi explains on his website. “Also, the amount of paperwork I need to complete and new rules and regulations I need to learn and follow are now dominating the time and energy which I would prefer to spend with patients. The consequences for not obeying these rules and laws is substantial and could involve enormous fines, or time served in a prison.”

The doctor contends that government meddling has driven up healthcare costs, having an inflationary effect that is threatening patient health and doctors’ ability to keep clinic doors open in the United States.

“Because of the way the insurance companies and the government have interfered with the pricing of medical services, the prices have become overly inflated. It created a system where doctors were forced to charge far more than they ever expected to receive. Part of the bill goes to offset the administrative costs of cooperating with insurance companies, and allow for mandatory write off amounts,” Ciampi says. “By cutting out the middlemen, we cut out a lot of confusion, time, and overhead. If we know that we will actually be paid what we charge (like a plumber, bricklayer, or hairdresser), we can cut our rates dramatically.”

And judging by the price list for services on the practices’ website, the doctor is offering patients a value for his services, ranging from a $50 bill for a simple office visit for a cold or sinus infection to $250 for minor surgeries that may require stitches.

Ciampi says his colleagues in the healthcare business are handling what is observed as a nearly universal uncertainty about the future of American medicine in different ways. Some owners of smaller practices are selling out to larger healthcare providers, and some have opted to wait out the coming changes before making any drastic changes to the way they do business. But he believes other small practices will be looking to doctors attempting direct pay operations.

“Charging people what we feel are reasonable rates and working for them directly fits best with our values. We do not expect to get rich. We would like to survive and thrive. The direct pay model has been working well in other parts of the country,” he says on his website. “It should work well in Maine also. Many of the other solo physicians in our area will be watching us. They may make the same change that we are now if we are successful. “

And Ciampi is right. The impending Obamacare changes seem to have sparked a sort of revolt with healthcare practices similar to his all over the United States.

Ryan Neuhofel, D.O., based in the college town of Lawrence, Kansas, also runs a direct pay clinic and similarly offers a straightforward menu of services and prices online. His patients sign up for a membership with the clinic — which costs $10 a month for people under 29, $20 for over 30, and $50 for families of up to six people — and are then able to receive a handful of free health services and a gamut of for-payment treatments.

And last month, Reason reported that similar healthcare providers are getting started throughout the Nation:

This model is growing in popularity. Leading practitioners of direct primary care include Seattle, Washington-based Qliance, which has raised venture capital funding from Jeff Bezos, Michael Dell, and comedian (and Reason Foundation Trustee) Drew Carey; MedLion, which is about to expand its business to five states; and AMG Medical Group, which operates several offices in New York City. Popular health care blogger Dr. Rob Lamberts has written at length about his decision to dump his traditional practice in favor of this model.

The growing number of healthcare providers shunning traditional insurance coincides directly with government’s increasing hand in medicine, and for good reason. As Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who has his own roots in medicine, pointed out earlier this month to the Iowa Republican Party: 122,000 new medical diagnostic codes doctors will have to use in order to inform the government about injuries are being perfected. The codes include line-items for “injuries sustained from a turtle,” “walking into a lamppost” and “injuries sustained from burning water skis.”

“Included among these codes will be 312 new codes for injuries from animals; 72 new codes for injuries just from birds; 9 new codes for ‘injuries from the macaw.’” Paul said on May 10.

“The macaw?” he went on. “I’ve asked physicians all over the country, ‘Have you ever seen an injury from a macaw?”‘

It is certainly safe to say that none of the direct pay clinics researched in the writing of this article offered a price for treatment of flaming ski injuries or parrot attacks.

HT: The Bangor Daily News 

Social Studies Teacher Teaches Constitution, Gets In Trouble For Thwarting Busybodies

A high school social studies teacher in Illinois got in hot water with his local school board for… teaching students that they have Constitutional rights.

John Dryden, a 20-year veteran teacher at Batavia High School, not far from Chicago, told his class that they could not be forced to answer questions on an in-class survey about emotional and at-risk behavior. The surveys, which reportedly had students’ names printed on the documents to be filled out, included a series of queries on personal topics and about whether they engaged in drug and alcohol use.

Here’s how the school describes the survey:

Batavia High School will use the BIMAS to monitor students’ progress in the areas of social and emotional development. Results of the BIMAS will be analyzed at a building level to assist staff in planning and implementation of social emotional supports to help all students grow to their fullest potential. It is a systematic process of detecting students who are struggling behaviorally and are at-risk for experiencing a range of negative short- and long-term outcomes. If your child is found to be at risk and is not currently receiving social-emotional supports within the school, a member of the building’s Student Services Team will notify a parent to discuss options for support.

Dryden, who has garnered substantial support from students, parents and some Batavia officials, told his students they had a Constitutional right, per the 5th Amendment, not incriminate themselves with answers to the April 18 school survey. For his efforts to teach his students about their rights, Dryden told the Kane County Chronicle that school officials docked him a day’s pay.

A petition to the school’s administrators expressing disdain over the disciplinary actions had garnered more than 8,000 signatures by the writing of this article.

The petition describes Dryden as follows:

John Dryden is a uncharacteristically engaging educator who sees it his duty to make his students aware of their rights as citizens. He encourages critical thinking, problem solving strategies, and educational stewardship from all of his students.  His learning objectives go beyond mandated standards and bring student awareness to real-world concerns.

The school had not previously informed students whether participation was mandatory or optional but an email to parents said their children could choose not to take the survey if they notified the district by April 17.

Per Chicago’s Daily Herald:

“Oh. Well. Ummm, somebody needs to remind them they have the ability not to incriminate themselves,” he recalled thinking. It was particularly on his mind because his classes had recently finished reviewing the Bill of Rights. And the school has a police officer stationed there as a liaison, he pointed out. [A school official] said the results weren’t shared with police.

“I made a judgment call. There was no time to ask anyone,” Dryden said. If the survey had been handed out a day or two before, he said, he would have talked to an administrator about his concern.

Instead, he gave the warning to his first-, second- and third-block classes. The test was given to all students during third block.

He suspects it was a teacher who told the administration about what Dryden had done, after the other teacher had trouble getting all the students to take the survey.

Just to be clear, the National Council for the Social Sciences social studies as “the integrated study of the social sciences and humanities to promote civic competence.” One would be forced to conclude that, by giving his students a real-world opportunity to realize the importance of their Constitutional rights, Dryden has proven himself an ideal social studies educator.

Of course, maybe the school’s administrators just wanted to know if they could frame any autistic students for peddling dope, like those fine educators over at Chaparral High School in Temecula, Calif.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio Appeals Court Ruling: If We’re Guilty Of Profiling, So Are The Feds

Last week, a Federal court found the Maricopa County, Ariz., Sheriff’s office guilty of racial profiling in the enforcement of immigration law for singling out Latinos under Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s program of immigration patrols.

Now, the hard-nosed, controversial sheriff with jurisdiction over the Nation’s fifth-largest city is appealing the ruling, saying that the training his deputies received came straight from the same playbook used by Federal immigration enforcement officers.

“One hundred of my deputies were authorized and trained by the Federal government, ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement), to enforce Federal immigration law,” Arpaio said in a video-recorded statement. “Now, a Federal Court has ruled that Federal training was unconstitutional, and it led to racial profiling. We will appeal this ruling.

“You know, as Sheriff I uphold the law. The Court’s order is clear. We will no longer detain persons believed to be in the country without authorization whom we cannot arrest on state charges. I have already instructed my deputies.”

The ruling came after a class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of Latino groups by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and other nonprofits.

Over a three-year period covered by the lawsuit, the Marciopa County Sheriff’s Office detained thousands of illegal immigrants in raids and police stops. U.S. District Judge Murray Snow ruled that Arpaio had guided deputies to violate the 4th and 14th Amendment rights of those imprisoned — even when the imprisoned were not, in fact, U.S. citizens — by initiating contact with suspects not only on the sole suspicion that they might be illegal immigrants, but also because of their appearance, their use of Spanish or their Latino accent.

Defense attorneys have already pledged to use the ruling to exonerate illegal immigrants who are still being detained on pending charges, although it’s not known how many such cases could be reversed.

The ruling also comes with a cease-and-desist order that effectively gets the Sheriff’s Office out of the immigration enforcement game. In testimony, Arpaio had defended his department’s encroachment on what the ruling claims is an enforcement endeavor subject only to Federal jurisdiction: “Ours is an operation, whether it’s the state law or the Federal, to go after illegals; not the crime first, that they happen to be illegals. My program, my philosophy is a pure program. You go after illegals. I’m not afraid to say that. And you go after them and you lock them up.”

Arpaio began enforcing immigration law at the county level in 2006.

There’s Only One ‘Fair’ Tax Plan

To hear the liberals tell it, government exists to make life fair. We need “fairness in broadcasting.” The “rich need to pay their fair share.” Under the “Our Party” tab on its website, the Democratic Party crows:

(W)e’re greater together than we are on our own–that this country succeeds when everyone gets a fair shot, when everyone does their fair share, when everyone plays by the same rules.

Granted, the Democrats’ idea of “fair” diverges from the definition suggested by Messrs. Merriam and Webster. After all, it isn’t fair that their support groups get all the really friendly Internal Revenue Service examiners. It isn’t fair that the corporate media lists so far to port that it’s in danger of capsizing. It isn’t “fair” that they’ve done to higher education what termites do to untreated lumber. And it isn’t “fair” that they get to hog all the best tee times at all the best golf courses.

Now, we may never devise a method to play through the Obama foursome on the back nine at Isleworth, but we can devise a method to assure that no American is ever again asked by some Federal goon about the content of his prayers. Fortunately for us, someone already has.

In the late 1990s, a group of green-eye-shade types put their heads together to come up with a way not only to protect their fellow citizens from Uncle Sam’s shock troops, but to render the shock troops themselves obsolete. The fruit of their considerable economic IQs is the FairTax.

The FairTax would end the punitive tax system the Democrats currently employ as a political weapon and bury the corruption engendered by allowing political hatchet men access to law-abiding citizens’ private lives. By replacing the graduated income tax programs currently in place with a one-time sales tax of 23 percent on new item purchases, it straightens out our byzantine system by walling it off. And with exemptions (in the form of “prebates” keyed to necessities and needs) built in, the FairTax even allows for those who have yet to achieve the American dream to keep more of the tools they need.

Picture it: a Nation flourishing under a 23 percent consumption tax. The American economic engine would be driven by the total participation of every single American. And the FairTax is the economic definition of egalitarianism. When some overpaid liberal Hollywood twerp buys a brand-new Range Rover in which his chauffeur will ferry him to Democratic fundraisers, he’ll pay a 23 percent tax on a really nice car. And when some overworked small-business owner buys a new minivan to ferry his kids to school, he’ll pay a 23 percent tax on a soccer-mommy mobile.

Of course, the FairTax “prebate” system does produce a sizable amount of data and/or paperwork related to Federal disbursements to families. But that volume is merely a babbling brook compared to the oceanic roar of the current system’s endless warren of bureaucracy. Besides, I’d rather the IRS be reduced to digitally rubber-stamping outgoing checks than hassling people about the content of their bedtime prayers.

And a system that provides entitlements based on the number of household dependents does open itself up to potential fraud. But such cases would be mitigated by the set limitations on entitlements, rendering abuses simple shoplifting compared to the grand larceny that goes on now.

With the FairTax, scandals like the one assaulting our senses in Washington right now will be just a sad memory. Democratic politicians bent on destroying the fabric of society by deploying IRS storm troopers to comb through the lives of their perceived enemies will be thwarted by the complete lack of IRS storm troopers. Never again will a brazenly corrupt President be able to deploy a tax tomahawk at a guitar manufacturer. Never again will a cruelly fascist political party be able to fire a fiscal cruise missile at a citizen’s group just because the group has the word “Constitution” in its name. No longer will we have to gaze collectively at the television screen while the people in charge of collecting our hard-earned pay treat the truth the way Roman Polanski treats underage starlets. We will be the ones in charge of disbursing our funds to the government, and each such disbursement will include a benefit to us in the form of whatever we just bought.

With the FairTax, we get rid of loopholes, offshore money-laundering and Constitutional abuses. Everyone pays his “fair share.”

–Ben Crystal

Former IRS Head Went To White House 118 Times During Scandal Years

Douglas Shulman, who served as Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) from 2008 until late 2012, was a tremendously frequent visitor to President Barack Obama’s White House during the time the agency was involved in actively discriminating against Tea Party conservatives.

According to the Washington Examiner, Shulman, a George W. Bush appointee who nonetheless made campaign donation to the Democratic National Committee, visited with the Presidential Administration an average of one time a week between 2010 and 2011. His five-year term expired in November.

By contrast, former IRS Commissioner Mark Everson, who served under George W. Bush from 2003-2007,told the Examiner he visited the White House only a single time during his entire tenure, saying that experience left him feeling like he’d “moved to Siberia” because of the aloofness of the Bush Administration from the agency’s operational activities.

IRS Acting Director Steven Miller, who succeeded Shulman in November, also made repeated visits to the White House.

Shulman said he couldn’t remember why he went to the White House so frequently, though some of the visits were probably about the IRS’ role in implementing Obama’s health care reforms, he told a congressional committee. Logs show Shulman met with two West Wing officials working on health care.

“The IRS has a major role in the money flow,” Shulman explained to Congress.

But while the health care-related visits were explained in the logs, many others included no explanation. Other sources said the IRS and White House were also talking at the time about an investigation into excessive IRS spending on employee conferences, travel and awards.

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said Shulman’s frequent visits make it hard to believe that the IRS and White House never talked about the investigation into the IRS targeting of conservative groups, which was going on at the time — something the White House vigorously denies.

Indeed, the extent of the ongoing interaction between the Obama Administration and the IRS casts doubt on the President’s already implausible claim that, under his leadership, the agency had operated independently of influence from the executive branch. And aside from its own sinister implications, the oft-repeated excuse that Obamacare would need the IRS as a deployment, data-gathering and enforcement arm doesn’t line up with the number or timing of the 118 visits — a fact not lost on Commentary magazine’s John Steele Gordon:

Obama’s sole interest in the tax code has been to raise rates on high earners. So what was the commissioner doing going to the White House more than once a week on average?

One explanation would be the statutory involvement of the IRS in implementing Obamacare. But that bill was signed into law in early 2010. White House logs show on several occasions that he [Shulman] talked with White House staff about health care, but many other times no reason is given for his visit or whom he saw, which in itself is odd.

By his own admission he knew by the spring of 2012 (he resigned in November, 2012) that organizations with the words “Tea Party” in their names were being targeted for extra scrutiny. Is it really believable that someone who had a Wall Street career before coming to Washington five years ago was so politically naïve that he didn’t see the potential for scandal in that information and give the White House a heads-up? And, assuming he did so, is it believable that none of those White House staffers–who can hardly claim political naiveté–did not pass the information along to the president, leaving him to learn of it in the papers?

If so, there are a lot of potential customers to snap up the Brooklyn Bridge at a bargain rate.

Shulman testified before the U.S. House Committee on Oversight last week that, of those 118 times, he met with the President on four occasions, the last of which he said took place on June 5, 2012. He also testified he’d not once discussed any Tea Party complaints with any Administration official during any of his visits.

During that same two-year period, Shulman received more than 130 separate complaints from conservative members of Congress requesting the IRS look into the targeting of conservative nonprofit groups.

Why Is The Leftist Media Going After The IRS Victims?


 

Hello, I’m Wayne Allyn Root for Personal Liberty. President Barack Obama is in deep trouble — impeachment trouble. This Internal Revenue Service scandal must go far deeper than anyone understands at the moment. It must lead directly to the highest echelons of the Obama White House.

How do I know? Because the media is no longer defending Obama. Instead, they’ve switched to smearing his victims.

Last week, Obama’s loyal defenders “The Daily Show” and Mother Jones magazine both put out hit pieces on one particular victim on the same day: me. I’m a Las Vegas small businessman who for four years has spoken out loudly about Obama’s destruction of capitalism, small business, economic freedom and the American dream.

I started writing about this IRS scandal publicly about a year ago, including here at Personal Liberty. I was the first critic in the country to warn taxpayers, business owners and conservatives that this was all part of a plan: a purposeful attack on capitalism. In my book The Ultimate Obama Survival Guide, which was written long before the IRS scandal went public, I warned that Obama was using the IRS to purposely target his political opposition — to silence his critics, cripple conservative fundraisers and bankrupt conservative donors.

Then, in the past three weeks, I’ve written about how deep this IRS scandal goes at Personal Liberty, FOX News, World Net Daily and TheBlaze. It is no coincidence that two powerful media outlets chose to attack me on the exact same day last week. Somebody in the Obama White House is getting very nervous.

This IRS scandal isn’t just about targeting faceless Tea Party groups. The IRS wishes that’s all you ever hear about this scandal. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg. As I’ve said all along, this is about targeting and trying to intimidate and silence individual Obama critics and GOP donors. That’s a scandal that brings down a Presidency.

For the past three years, the IRS has targeted and tried to intimidate me. I believe it was on direct orders from the Obama White House. Obviously, as one of the country’s loudest critics and Obama’s Columbia college classmate, I got under his skin. I’m certain he whispered to Valerie Jarrett or Rahm Emanuel or David Axelrod, and a phone call was made to the IRS: “Make this guy’s life miserable.” Oh, and by the way, even if you agree with Obama and think I deserved to be punished, that act is criminal. Congress created laws after the Richard Nixon IRS scandal that made it clear that if someone is targeted for his political views, people in the White House are going to prison.

But I keep pointing out I’m only the tip of the iceberg. I guarantee there are thousands of victims like me across the United States: Obama critics and GOP donors. I must be hitting too close to home. Now, rather than defending the President, the media have obviously decided to attack, smear and libel the victim. Why? When the lawyer has no grounds to defend his client, out of desperation he smears the victim.

In the case of “The Daily Show,” I was invited to New York to do an interview. They said it would be “fun” (producer’s words) and friendly. They said Jon Stewart was on my side about the IRS scandal and wanted to hear from a victim like me.

First, they insisted on doing the interview directly after a five-hour cross-country flight. Then, they ambushed me. They interrogated me in a boiling hot room for two hours. Of course, they left the entire first friendly hour of the interview on the cutting room floor. They used only the part where they tried to blame the victim. “You had it coming.” They tried to make the case that IRS targeting is the same as asking someone a few extra questions at the airport (to try to save lives).

They even brought surprise “victims” on the set to claim they were victims of “racial profiling.” It was all designed to make a conservative (me) look like a racist and hypocrite, thereby allowing them to rationalize that criminal actions by the IRS were acceptable.

“The Daily Show” may have desperately tried to smear me and damage my credibility. But ironically, in doing so, it proved my case. This is exactly how Obama and his defenders think; they believe it’s perfectly fine to use the force of government (or the media) to destroy the lives of people because of their political beliefs. “The Daily Show” did the exact same thing to me as Obama and the IRS. It targeted me for destruction.

The real scandal is my answers didn’t fit the pre-written script. In my “Daily Show” interview, I repeatedly said I do not support profiling based on race, religion or gender. I repeatedly said I only support studying and adopting the Israeli method of airport security, which does not profile based on race or religion. It is proven the most effective form of airport security in the world. But I have never supported police race profiling. So they selectively cut and edited two hours of filming down to a few short out of context sound bites to make it appear that I did. Some might call that fraud. At best, it’s dishonest and purposely misleading.

On the same day, the leftist magazine Mother Jones, chose the same “attack the victim” approach. It used my tax court victory to claim that I deserved to be targeted by the IRS. That’s interesting logic. It condemned me for taking basic business deductions and the same mortgage deduction that millions of taxpayers have always taken.

Mother Jones is more interested in a small businessman taking his legal mortgage deduction, than it is in questioning why the new Obama Treasury Secretary Jack Lew keeps his money in the Cayman Islands. That about says it all.

But Mother Jones didn’t stop there. In hundreds of interviews I have never questioned Obama’s place of birth. Yet, in an attempt to destroy my credibility, it started the article about the IRS scandal by calling me a “birther.” It could have described me as a former CNBC anchorman or successful entrepreneur or bestselling author or TV producer. But it chose only “birther” — even though I’ve never in my life been a “birther.” Someone is getting very desperate.

Folks, this Obama IRS scandal is far worse than we currently understand. It reaches straight to the Obama White House. Why else would the left be trying to destroy the credibility and reputation of a victim of the IRS scandal? If there is no truth to my charges, why bother to respond? Why not just ignore me? Why conduct a major national TV interview under false pretenses, then take the interview out of context to smear me? Why make up names like “birther” to describe me, when I’m not a “birther?” Something smells rotten in Denmark, folks.

The answer is clear. Because the leftist media understands how bad this IRS scandal is and because they can’t defend the President’s actions, they’ve decided to conduct a “scorched earth” campaign and smear the victims.

Just like the IRS scandal itself, my story is just the tip of the iceberg. I guarantee you this smear campaign is happening to victims across the USA, and it will only get worse as the scandal deepens and Obama’s desperation to hold onto power gets more extreme.

I’m Wayne Allyn Root for Personal Liberty. See you next week. Same time, same place. May God bless America as we deal with this out-of-control gangster government assaulting its own citizens, taxpayers and patriots.

Carney Happy With IRS, Fed Eye On Bitcoin, Fake Honey, E-Privacy Good In Texas, No ‘Change’ For Drones Over Pakistan: Wednesday P.M. Edition Links 5-29-2013

Brush up on the day’s headlines with Personal Liberty’s P.M. Edition news links.

Jay Carney Joke Of The Day: IRS Testimony Was Satisfying

Though Democratic and Republican lawmakers alike have expressed disdain over Internal Revenue Service officials’ dodgy answers to Congressional questions about the agency’s undue targeting of conservative groups, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney is satisfied with the responsiveness of the IRS to the matters of Congressional interest. Watch…

Federal Scrutiny On Bitcoin Ramps Up

Directly on the heels of a Federal assault on the alternative currency Liberty Reserve, Federal regulators are discussing more oversight of Bitcoin and other virtual currencies. Read More…

Texas Set To Approve E-Privacy Protections Stronger Than Federal Law

A bill awaiting Texas Governor Rick Perry’s signature would put the Lone Star State ahead of Congress in protecting the privacy of citizens whose emails, thanks to an existing legal loophole, are currently subject to warrantless seizure. Read More…

On Heels Of Foreign Policy Change Speech, Obama Drone Strikes In Sovereign Nations Continue

Did you catch President Barack Obama’s first major speech on counterterrorism of his second term last Thursday? Well if you didn’t, all you need to know is that it only took the Administration six days to let Americans know—as if they didn’t already— that what the President says and what his Administration does are very, very, different. Read More…

Test: Most ‘Honey’ Isn’t Real

A recent test by Food Safety News reveals that three-fourths of the “honey” mass produced and sold in chain supermarkets isn’t, technically, real honey. Read More…