Media And Your Worldview

There is one inherent truth about writing for a political news publication: You never truly leave your work when you leave your desk. It isn’t because you are some wide-eyed political news junkie who wants to inform every innocent soul with whom you come in contact of the day’s often ridiculous and mostly frightening events. Rather, it’s because most everyone else, knowing what you do for a living, wants to inform you of the latest news. Unfortunately, most people are terribly misinformed.

The job of scouring the vast field of news sites and blog entries on the Internet each day and of stripping them of the fluff and nonsense comes with the incredible burden of knowing that a visit to the local coffeehouse or watering hole at the end of the day might leave you frustrated. Someone will inevitably toss a “Hey, did you hear about…” and proceed to give you a slanted version of a news story. You can immediately tell which of the major news networks it came from. And you come to realize that many people allow their social and political worldview to be shaped almost entirely by the brand of news they consume.

Likely, no person consciously decides that he is willing to be entirely indoctrinated by his chosen form of news consumption in the beginning. It happens, it seems, as a matter of consequence. Perhaps a person chooses to watch news exclusively on Fox because the channel boasts conservative commentators like Bill O’ Reilly with whom he shares views, or MSNBC because of the quirky youthfulness of talking heads like Rachel Maddow. The average news consumer takes in the punditry and assumes that the “spin” stops just in time for the network to read through the latest top stories. But the spin doesn’t stop, and the networks have each poisoned the well from which they pull their “news” reports.

Politico’s Dylan Bryers nicely illustrated the polarization of news media late Tuesday night as he blogged about cable news coverage of the Wisconsin recall in his column “on Media.”

He writes:

MSNBC was blatantly rooting for Tom Barrett to defeat Gov. Scott Walker, even sending union champion Ed Schultz to cover an event with no apologies for the dog he has in the fight. (Earlier tonight, Chris Matthews even told Schultz that if he wasn’t an MSNBC host, he could be head of the AFL-CIO.) When it became clear that Barrett would lose, Schultz looked almost teary eyed. Not long after, the network’s contributors immediately began suggesting that this was, in fact, good news for Obama — who, after all, hadn’t even set foot in Wisconsin — and began attacking Mitt Romney.

Meanwhile, Fox News was blatantly rooting for Gov. Walker, and the moment it became clear that Walker might win, host Sean Hannity called it “a repudiation of big unions,” which did “everything they could do to demonize Scott Walker.” Guest Hugh Hewitt then predicted that, five months from now, Romney would follow Walker just “as Reagan followed Thatcher.” Fox’s Greta Van Susteren later hosted what amounted to a victory celebration for the Republicans.

Given this blatant partisan coverage, it was absolutely impossible to watch either network and weed out any clear understanding of the actual significance of the event, much less what effect it would actually have on the 2012 presidential election.

Bryers also pointed out that CNN’s crack political team, during all the excitement, was still showing footage of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

With that, self-proclaimed news junkies had three places to go for coverage, or lack thereof, of the Wisconsin recall: the Democratic channel, the Republican channel and the I-don’t-live-in-Wisconsin-so-who-gives-a-hoot channel.

This is not all the result of some great conspiracy. It is a simple business tactic that news outlets pushing the views of the left and those of the right have employed in order to secure a place in the information marketplace. Imagine a world in which news was reported without a slant. No longer would there be a need for several major news networks because the same story reported in the same way by several different outlets would leave the marketplace saturated and no place for advertisers to spend money.

The polarization of news media could actually be a good thing if the broader populace were more willing to accept that it exists, which shouldn’t be a hard thing to do. Fox is no longer hiding it, as illustrated by the decision of the producers of “Fox and Friends” to portray the news in a way that looked very much like an ad for the Mitt Romney campaign last week.

Here’s Romney’s ad:

 

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KOZJHUZgX1M&w=560&h=315]

 

Here’s Fox’s news report:

 

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5MoWJnvYFDg&w=560&h=315]

 

Point this out, however, and those who are fans of Fox become angry and ask why you don’t also point out the bias of liberal news outlets. But for whom must it be pointed out if we already know it exists?

Instead of liberals and conservatives continuing to deride whichever news channel offers a slant opposite theirs while happily lapping up the propaganda which suits their respective ideologies, perhaps news bias could be a good thing if everyone took notes from both sides. This, of course, would require liberals to abandon the notion that watching a few minutes of Fox instantly turns a person into misogynistic racist homophobe and conservatives to discontinue believing that even flipping past MSNBC could make one go blind.

After hearing multiple versions of the same story, anyone who wanted to discuss the news of the day would, in a perfect world, use the vast resources on the Internet to research and refine their own opinions by digging for facts themselves or reading political blogs for alternate spins. The result would surely be better than having a million carbon copies of O’Reilly arguing with a million carbon copies of Maddow in coffee shops throughout the Nation, and much better than knowing that many of them head off to the polls when elections roll around.

Will Anonymous ‘Leak It All’?

The global “hacktivist” syndicate Anonymous wants people all over the world to expose evidence of corruption and injustice by leaking documents to which they have access.

In a recently posted video, the group urges anyone who has access to evidence of corporate or government wrongdoing to purchase a USB drive and document the evidence for publication on the Internet.

“Imagine you purchase a USB drive. Imagine you take it to your work place. Imagine you collect evidence of illegality and corruption. Imagine together we expose all lies. Imagine we leak it all,” scrolls across the screen in a recent video posted by the group.

The initiative, dubbed Project Mayhem 2012, will take place over the 10-day period from Dec. 12 to Dec. 21, during which the video claims “the World will see an unprecedented amount of Corporate, Financial, Military and State leaks that will have been secretly gathered by millions of CONSCIENTIOUS citizens, vigilantes, whistle blowers and insiders worldwide.”

The group claims to be in the process of developing a Wikileaks-style platform called TYLER where the information can be anonymously posted.

Operation Mayhem and TYLER appear to be references to “Fight Club,” a 1999 film adaptation of the book of the same name in which disgruntled men engaged in bare-knuckle underground fights and anti-corporate sabotage to wage “spiritual war” against credit card companies and modern society in general.

 

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hB-KNRhNYuQ&w=560&h=315]

 

 

Romney, Obamacare Ties

Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, it turns out, defended the individual mandate requirement of his Massachusetts healthcare reform bill that would later become the model for Obamacare when he was Governor of that State.

The candidate continues to defend the State’s healthcare overhaul, saying that it was the right thing for Massachusetts. But, Romney has also been reassuring wary Republican voters that he is dedicated to doing away with Obamacare during his first days in office if he is elected President.

The Wall Street Journal dug up some emails this week from Romney’s tenure in the Governor’s office, and they really don’t do much to help him back up his claim. The emails detail discussions between Romney and his staff as they tried to figure out how to sell the people of Massachusetts on his healthcare overhaul.

WSJ reports:

“We must have an individual mandate for any plan to work,” Tim Murphy, Mr. Romney’s health secretary, wrote the governor and several aides on Feb. 16, 2006, in an email analyzing the latest confidential Democratic proposal, which he wrote was “unclear” about that requirement.

That Democratic proposal, obtained by the Journal, didn’t include such a mandate, and instead focused on “individual responsibility,” aiming to “encourage individuals to buy health insurance, not go uninsured.”

According to the emails, Mr. Romney personally drafted an op-ed article published in The Wall Street Journal the day before he signed the legislation. The draft, written on a Saturday, also defended the individual mandate, in different language from the final version of the piece as published.

Using an argument deployed today by the Obama administration, Mr. Romney defended the mandate by noting that taxpayers generally foot the bill when the uninsured seek health care.

If reiteration that Romney provided the template for Obamacare while running the State of Massachusetts — even defending what would later become one of its most controversial provisions — isn’t enough to make conservative voters have to hold their noses to support the GOP pick, there’s the fact that one of his campaign advisers stands to profit from the healthcare overhaul.

Politico reports that former Utah Governor Michael Leavitt, who appointed Romney to run the 2002 Olympic games, has already started leading the would-be Romney Administration’s transition team and is in line for the important gig of White House chief of staff. Leavitt, who served as the Health and Human Services secretary under George W. Bush, has used his expertise to set up a consulting firm that stands to profit greatly from helping States implement insurance exchanges under Obamacare.

A Historic Day For America’s Economic Collapse

Today is one of great historical importance for anyone who is interested in the ongoing economic collapse of the United States.

On June 5, 1933, the United States Congress and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt unConstitutionally abrogated the use of gold for the payment of public and private debts while simultaneously bailing out the Federal Reserve and forever enslaving the American people to its inflationary economic policy.

The Federal Reserve Act of 1913 set up the Federal Reserve System to supervise the economy that had become highly elastic, and thereby easily manipulated, in the years following the United States’ industrial revolution. Next came “The Roaring 20s” a period marked by easy credit and economic expansion fueled by the Fed’s ability to print money at will. By 1933 the Keynesian-fueled boom had already caused the stock market crash of 1929 and Americans’ faith in their economy was lost.

Roosevelt’s answer to the economic problem brought on by the Keynesian carelessness of the era’s economic policymakers was to put ultimate control into the hands of those who had created the problem in the first place: The Federal Reserve. Fearing a gold-run and knowing that neither the U.S. Treasury nor the Federal Reserve had the gold to back the notes that had been issued, Roosevelt signed the Gold Standard Act on June 5, 1933. For the first time the Fed was in control of how much fiat money it was able to produce without short-term consequence. This also gave Roosevelt the ability to kick off his New Deal programs which would require billions in deficit spending by the Federal government.

Today, the implications of Roosevelt’s actions are clear. Last year an Audit of the Fed revealed that it secretly handed out more than $16 trillion to U.S. banks and corporations without the knowledge of the American people. And the Federal Government spends in ways that many people consider to be reckless on “stimulus” and green energy initiatives, continually weakening the dollar’s power.

But, economists such as The New York Times’ constant Keynesian Paul Krugman say it is no big deal. Defending government spending on the failed solar firm Solyndra, he said, “[W]e’re talking as if a billion dollars was a lot of money. In $15 trillion economy, it’s not. Solyndra was a mistake as part of a long program, which has been by and large, it had a good track record—of course you’re going to find a mistake.”

Obama Assaults Student Health Coverage

President Barack Obama spends a great deal of time and energy trying to convince college-aged Americans that he really cares about them and understands the challenges that they face.

It is no secret that the President played upon the idealism of American youths during his first campaign by way of celebrity endorsements and one-word slogans promising “hope” and “change.” But now, evidence of the President’s real contribution to young Americans is coming to light.

A recent Wall Street Journal report points out one thing Obama is doing for college-aged Americans with his healthcare initiative: making it harder for them to access affordable insurance while they are in school.  Many students remain on their parents’ health coverage plans while attending college and have traditionally been able to do so until reaching the age of 22. Obamacare extended that age to 26. But, the Journal reports some 600,000 college students whose parents do not carry health insurance opt instead to purchase low-cost, minimal coverage health insurance from their colleges.

In 2010 the American Council on Education warned the President that his healthcare overhaul was going to drive up the cost of the college-provided insurance options so much that many colleges would be forced to drop them or raise premiums to outstanding levels.

From the Journal:

Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kan., this past year offered a 12-month plan that cost students $445, while capping payouts at $10,000. For the 2012-2013 academic year, the Obama administration said the payout cap must be at least $100,000. Bethany said students would have had to pay more than $2,000 to get that new level of coverage.

The Obama Administration contends that the low payout cap, even for the relatively healthy 18-23 age group, is insufficient health coverage. Proponents of the discounted insurance plans say they are good for students who may need to see a doctor for a minor illness or get prescriptions filled throughout the school year without incurring serious out-of-pocket expenses.

The Administration has mandated that for the 2013-2014 school year, plans must cover at least $500,000 in medical expenses, and the year after that plans may not have a payout cap. As a result, many colleges are opting to do away with student health coverage altogether.

Obama To Revise UnConstitutional Health Law?

In the event that the Supreme Court strikes down his healthcare overhaul, President Barack Obama is preparing a revised version.

According to reports, Obama told high-paying donors at a private event that he has plans to revise the law if it is struck down by the Court, despite his public displays of confidence that it will be upheld.

Obama has allegedly made comments at several high-dollar fundraisers since March — when oral arguments before the court were perceived to go badly for the Administration — that healthcare could need new attention in a second term, according to The Hill.

Bloomberg reports that on May 14 Obama said he was planning to revise the overhaul during a $35,800-a-plate dinner at the Manhattan apartment of Tony James, president of private-equity firm the Blackstone Group.

The White House denied the reports with spokesman Jay Carney writing in an email: “While I won’t discuss in detail the president’s private conversations, I can say that your reporting, attributed to unnamed sources, inaccurately reflects the president’s views.”

Barack Obama And Mitt Romney: An Issues Overview

Now that Presidential candidate Mitt Romney has reached the Republican Party’s “magic number” of delegates needed to be named the GOP candidate, Americans will be subjected to five months of red herring mudslinging and distractions from both him and President Barack Obama. Here’s where they stand on some of the top issues about which Rasmussen says Americans care the most.

Economy/Debt

Obama: Believes that stimulus is the answer to creating more jobs to fix the economy. His first term was marked by a recession that began in the previous Administration and “officially” ended within six months, though Americans continue to feel economic pain. Implemented an $800 billion stimulus plan and provided bailouts for the automobile and financial industries.

Romney: Favored 2008 financial bailouts but opposed automobile industry bailouts. Promises to cap Federal spending at 20 percent of gross domestic product by the end of his first term. Says he will cut Federal workforce by 10 percent, end subsidies to Amtrak to the tune of $1.6 billion and cut $600 million from government spending on arts and broadcasting. His plan would allow the military to spend $4 for every $100 the economy produces, amounting to about $2.1 trillion over 10 years.

Healthcare

Obama: Implemented Obamacare, the individual mandate portion of which — requiring almost everyone to obtain health coverage — is currently being considered by the Supreme Court. The biggest changes under the plan are set to take effect in 2014, among them: banning insurers from denying coverage to people with pre-existing illnesses, providing tax credits for middle-income and low-income people to subsidize premiums, giving people without work-based insurance access to government options, and expanding Medicaid and small business insurance options.

Romney: Wants to repeal Obamacare, even though it was based largely on a plan he implemented as Governor of Massachusetts. Instead of subsidizing insurance premiums, proposes expanding the role of tax advantaged savings accounts in helping low- and middle-income families pay healthcare costs. Does favor subsidies to help retirees buy health insurance, along with still allowing the option for Medicare, with an increased age for benefits. Would allow for insurance to be sold across State lines to increase competitiveness.

Government Ethics And Corruption

Obama: During the campaign for his first term, promised to revolutionize government transparency.  On his first full day in office, declared that “government should be transparent” and said that his Administration “is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in government.” Issued Open Government Directive in 2009. Despite rhetoric, uses many of the same tactics of wartime secrecy in government as George W. Bush. Has failed to provide protection to whistle-blowers who expose government corruption and waste.

Romney: Supports a “tough on terror” stance similar to that of both Bush and Obama, making it likely that he will continue wartime secrecy policies. Has said that he is not interested in auditing the Federal Reserve.

Taxes

Obama: Central to his plan is to let tax cuts expire for couples making more than $250,000. He claims this will generate more than $700 billion over 10 years. Favors a 30 percent tax rate on taxpayers making more than $1 million, which he says will generate about $47 billion over 10 years.

Romney: Wants to lower all taxes by 20 percent while curtailing deductions, credits and exemptions for the wealthiest people. For families making less than $200,000, he wants to end capital gains taxes. Would cut the corporate tax from the current 35 percent to 25 percent.

Energy Policy

Obama: Has continued to push green energy agenda. Subsidized failed solar energy firm Solyndra and has continued to push for automakers to make more “green” vehicles despite lack of success selling them. Rejected Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada to Texas.

Romney: Would cut back the push for green energy and proposes to remove carbon dioxide from the list of pollutants on the Clean Air Act to lower cost of compliance with environmental regulation for industry. Promises to reduce obstacles to coal, natural gas and nuclear energy development, and accelerate drilling permits.

Education

Obama: Has given States the ability to opt out of some of the Bush-era No Child Left Behind requirements if they improve student evaluation procedures. Got approval for a college tax credit of up to $10,000 and increased funding for Pell grants for low-income college students. Has asked Congress to put in place reforms that would deduct Federal aid to colleges that raise tuition too high.  Has been complimented by many Republicans for his efforts to rein in teachers’ unions.

Romney: Supports many of the policies set forth in No Child Left Behind. Once said the U.S. should do away with the Education Department, but in 2007 reversed his view because he believes it is a valuable tool in keeping teachers’ unions from becoming too powerful. Agrees with student testing, charter-school incentives and teacher evaluation standards of Obama’s “Race to the Top” competition among the States.

Social Security

Obama: Has yet to propose a comprehensive plan to address Social Security’s long-term financial problems. In 2011, proposed adopting a new measurement of inflation that would reduce annual increases in Social Security benefits.

Romney: Wants reform, but no changes for people who are already retired or 55 years of age and older. For others would lower the rate of inflation growth in the benefits received by higher-income recipients and keep the rate as it is now for lower income recipients. Plans to “add a year or two” to the retirement age under Social Security.

Immigration

Obama: Attacked States like Arizona for controversial, tough-on-immigration legislation, claiming passage would create a “patchwork system” and undercut overarching Federal immigration regulations. Sent unmanned drones to patrol the border and ramped up deportations in an effort to appease States considering immigration legislation. Criticized for pushing for more visas for educated and highly skilled math, science and engineering workers to come to the United States.

Romney: Wants to builds a U.S./ Mexico border fence. Would not offer legal status to illegal immigrants who attend college, but would do so for those who serve in the armed forces. Wants more visas for holders of advanced degrees in math, science and engineering who have U.S. job offers. Would award permanent residency to foreign students who graduate from U.S. schools with a degree in those fields.

National Security/War on Terror

Obama: Promised to close the military detention camp at Guantanamo Bay, yet failed to do so.  Reauthorized Bush-era Patriot Act that allows for spying on U.S. citizens and immensely grows the Nation’s defense apparatus. Signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act, which allows for the indefinite detention or assassination of American citizens deemed terrorists by the government. Continues to use drones to kill suspected terrorists in countries with which the United States is not currently at war. Ended war in Iraq, but has not been able to do so in Afghanistan. Reached agreement with Congressional Republicans to cut $487 billion in military spending over a decade. Never served in military.

Romney: Supports Patriot Act. Supports NDAA. Believes Obama was wrong to begin reducing troop levels in Iraq and Afghanistan as soon as he did. Wants to increase the size of armed forces, including the number of troops and warships, and would add almost $100 billion to the Pentagon budget by 2016. Says Obama has been too lenient on Iran and agrees with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that a strike on Iran will likely prove necessary. Was eligible for draft in Vietnam, but received a deferment for missionary work in France.

Donations

Following is a list of the organizations whose individual members, employees, owners or PACS donated the most to the candidates, according to opensecrets.org:

Obama Top Contributors

Microsoft Corp.$347,916
DLA Piper$297,027
University of California$261,846
Sidley Austin LLP$240,846
Google Inc.$212,719
Harvard University$194,458
Comcast Corp.$184,706
Skadden, Arps, et al.$153,059
Morgan & Morgan$135,145
U.S. Department of State$131,032
Time Warner$129,314
U.S. Government$126,164
Stanford University$124,115
Kaiser Permanente$111,781
National Amusements Inc.$109,389
Columbia University$108,247
Mayer Brown LLP$108,032
Wilmerhale LLP$106,061
University of Chicago$104,617
Jones Day$100,100

 
Romney Top Contributers

Goldman Sachs$573,080
JPMorgan Chase & Co$415,075
Bank of America$398,850
Morgan Stanley$373,850
Credit Suisse Group$317,410
Citigroup Inc.$301,550
Kirkland & Ellis$248,052
Barclays$228,400
PricewaterhouseCoopers$214,250
Wells Fargo$204,300
HIG Capital$191,000
UBS AG$190,500
Blackstone Group$182,550
Bain Capital$149,000
Marriott International$132,827
EMC Corp$129,200
Citadel Investment Group$127,125
Elliott Management$125,975
Deloitte LLP$124,250
Bain & Co.$123,050

 
Sources:

http://www.opensecrets.org/elections/index.php

http://www.ontheissues.org/Mitt_Romney.htm

http://www.ontheissues.org/Barack_Obama.htm

http://www.mittromney.com/forms/welcome-layout

http://www.barackobama.com/?source=action-bar

The Nobel Peace Prize Winner's Kill List

Nobel Peace Prize-winning President Barack Obama has used drones as his personal angels of death (more than 281 times in Pakistan alone) to kill hundreds of people whom the Administration defines as “militants.”

What exactly is a militant? Allow The New York Times to explain:

Mr. Obama embraced a disputed method for counting civilian casualties that did little to box him in. It in effect counts all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants, according to several administration officials, unless there is explicit intelligence posthumously proving them innocent.

Counterterrorism officials insist this approach is one of simple logic: people in an area of known terrorist activity, or found with a top Qaeda operative, are probably up to no good.

Remember, these drone attacks occur frequently in countries where the United States is not at war. If police departments followed the Obama Administration’s logic about suspects, then they would shoot every innocent person in the immediate vicinity of a dangerously armed criminal or perhaps anyone who resides in a bad neighborhood.

The fact that a President who has been awarded a Nobel Peace Prize would kill all of the military-aged men in a given area only because it is one where terrorist activity is expected to have occurred is also largely ignored by Obama’s puppet media. Imagine the consternation that would occur within Obama’s base if it were reported that “all of the males old enough to hold a rifle have been killed in a recent drone strike” in each news piece about the latest place the President has taken upon himself to wage illegal, unConstitutional and unjust war. This state propaganda failing to report that an American President is ordering the deaths of innocent civilians falsely lowers the number of collateral damage deaths the public hears about.

But the people of Pakistan are well aware of the innocent death toll; for every “militant” Obama kills in their country, the number of Pakistanis willing to take up arms against the United States grows.

It has been reported that the President decides who lives and who dies with a set of baseball card-like terrorist profiles. Each gives names, ages, brief biographies and suspected activities, according to The New York Times. Some people have pondered the possibility that Obama is so fond of picking off suspected terrorists with drones because it eliminates the complications of detention, thereby taking focus away from the President’s failed promise to close Guantanamo Bay.

As revealed by the killings of Anwar al-Awlaki and his teenage son in Yemen, American citizens are also subject to assassination by the government when they appear on Obama’s “militant” cards.

While all of these occurrences have taken place in far-off lands where the average American does not witness the atrocities of Obama’s drone “war” firsthand, it is becoming increasingly evident that the U.S. government is doing what it can to bring drone strikes and “militant” killings to the homeland.

The National Defense Authorization Act that Obama signed into law earlier this year effectively removes Americans’ expectation to fair trial and provides the Federal government the right to detain U.S. citizens on U.S. soil if they are expected of being, or working with, terrorists. Meanwhile, the Department of Homeland Security has spent the past several years making it possible to label almost any activity as suspect terrorism, and the FBI has spent its time creating domestic terrorists out of thin air.

Using the fear that it has been able to put into the hearts of the American populace with manufactured domestic terror, the Federal government has convinced the Nation to accept drones over domestic skies. They are already being used for law enforcement and border patrol, and some people believe they will likely become more and more heavily armed in the next few years. Is it only a matter of time before Americans hear about drone strikes killing groups of “militants” in remote parts of the United States?

Denver-based author and radio host David Sirota seems to think that it may happen sooner than later. He used the White House’s “We the People” online petition application to create a petition for the government to create a “Do Not Kill List” in response to Obama’s lengthy kill list.

The petition reads:

The New York Times reports that President Obama has created an official “kill list” that he uses to personally order the assassination of American citizens. Considering that the government already has a “Do Not Call” list and a “No Fly” list, we hereby request that the White House create a “Do Not Kill” list in which American citizens can sign up to avoid being put on the president’s “kill list” and therefore avoid being executed without indictment, judge, jury, trial or due process of law.

At the time of this report, the petition had 2,065 of the 22,935 required signatures to be reviewed by the Administration. You can view or sign it here.

Fox News’ Romney Campaign Ad

The most “fair and balanced” arm of the Mitt Romney campaign took fire for a video it produced on Thursday.

More accurately, “Fox and Friends,” a show airing on the “fair and balanced” Fox News channel, aired an exceptionally partisan four-minute video about President Barack Obama that could have doubled as a campaign advertisement for Romney.

The hosts of the show described the video as a “look back” at Obama’s four years in office. It was aired multiple times throughout the show.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5MoWJnvYFDg&w=560&h=315]
Bill Shine, the executive vice president for programming at Fox News, said in a statement: “The package that aired on ‘Fox & Friends’ was created by an associate producer and was not authorized at the senior executive level of the network. This has been addressed with the show’s producers.”

Fox News later removed the video from both its main website and from Fox Nation.

There is no evidence of what Fox’s motivation was in creating the video, but it has been noted that Romney’s former employer Bain Capital is one of the primary owners of Clear Channel Communications Inc., a broadcasting company that owns conservative talk radio shows throughout the country. In 2005, Clear Channel picked Fox News Radio, a division of Fox News, to be the primary source of national news for most of its news and talk stations.

Patriots Fighting ‘The Ballot Box Establishment’

AN ANALYSIS

Throughout the country, liberty-loving Americans are fighting uphill battles in an effort to save the Nation from what has become collectively known as a political “establishment” that is destroying the rights of the citizenry and distorting the visions of the Founders through a culture of corruption.

Some patriots are holding rallies so that their elected representatives and neighbors can see that the number of Americans angered by government ineptitude is growing. Some patriots are circulating petitions to fight against Federal abuses of the Constitution such as the National Defense Authorization Act or the ongoing push by the government to censor the Internet. Even government’s penchant for spending money to line the pockets of special interests — while America is going bankrupt — is under attack.

The patriot movement, as illustrated by the spirited Presidential campaign of Ron Paul, is alive, well and growing. With this growth comes the opportunity to change from within those things that the government does so poorly, a process that begins with American patriots — not party-line robots — seeking office and winning elections.

Unfortunately, outsiders are rarely welcomed by the corrupt “establishment” that now realizes its stranglehold on American policy from town halls to the halls of Congress is under great threat from masses armed with Constitutional knowledge and a loving respect for the founding principles of the Nation.

This is where American patriots like Floridians Charles Klein and Sally Baptiste enter the unfolding story of a new kind of conservative political activism in the United States. Klein and Baptiste, who describes herself as being a Tea Partier before Tea Parties were cool, have been working together as activist patriots in their locale of Orange County for more than eight years. They both joined their local Republican Executive Committee with the idea that they would have an opportunity to clean the party from within. That is when the frustrations began.

Baptiste launched a failed bid for Mayor of Orange County in 2006, a race that one University of Central Florida political science professor described to the Orlando Sentinel as “…a classic battle between the political insider and the political outsider.” The incumbent, Republican Rich Crotty, the newspaper says, “waged a machine-style campaign that scared off big-name challengers and he blazes the political trail with slick TV commercials and mailers paid for by a vast list of business backers.”

Conversely, Baptiste raised and spent about $24,000 during the campaign, most of it her own, according to reports. On the issues, the candidates also failed to see eye to eye on public spending. While Crotty pushed for the use of tax money on large-scale transport and public-growth initiatives, Baptiste wanted to take a closer look at responsible finances and how residents’ tax dollars were already being spent.

With a campaign war chest of nearly $1 million — much of which Baptiste said likely came from development interests – the Republican Committee-favored Crotty defeated his self-funded challenger.

This is when Baptiste says that she and Klein realized there was a common root to the problem of political corruption at the local, State and Federal level: “The Ballot Box Establishment.”

It is through “The Ballot Box Establishment,” Baptiste contends, that political insiders and special interests are able to control all levels of government because the Republican and Democratic Parties along with various governmental offices and agencies are working in collusion to control the results of elections at every level.

“The Ballot box is a joke, a fraud,” Baptiste said in an interview with Personal Liberty Digest™.

Focusing on how both the Republican and Democratic Parties have taken over the election system in their home State, Klein and Baptiste were able to put together a complaint on behalf of “We the People” and filed it with the FBI.

We the People v. The Ballot Box Establishment is how Baptiste and Klein hope to expose what they consider the monopolization of the electoral process in Florida by “The Ballot Box Establishment.” For example, one portion of the complaint evokes the Sherman Anti-Trust Act in questioning whether the RNC and DNC “conspire with State Legislators to control the outcome of elections.”

From the complaint:

Legislative actions which includes the new Florida law that prohibits changing of political parties prior to the election, the establishment of unreasonable filing fees for candidates in an attempt to keep the average citizen from actively seeking public office and manipulating the primary dates to affect the outcome. The Republican Party of Florida has directly conspired with the Florida Legislature to change the date of the Presidential primary election.

This constitutes collusion between the Republican Party of Florida and the State of Florida, violating the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. Thus, violating and denying the average American Citizens the right to be an active participant in their government as afforded to them by the Founding Documents of the United States of America.

Baptiste believes that the “collusion” between the two major parties and elected officials in enacting laws and regulations that manipulate elections is happening in every locale, State and undoubtedly in Washington, D.C. Unless that changes, Baptiste believes Americans have forever lost their vote.

“Why would some of these policies be put in place by the RNC and DNC except to protect the political status quo?” Baptiste asked. “In Florida, the fee to be eligible to run as a partisan candidate in a U.S. House or U.S. Senate race is $10,440. Why? Unless they are trying to exclude new candidates who are not party establishment favorites?”

Though the complaint filed with the FBI is specific to her State, Baptiste said she would encourage anyone who feels disenfranchised by the two-party system to follow her and Klein’s lead. The complaint they filed could be tailored to suit other locales.

The bottom line, according to Baptiste, is that Americans need to clean up the election system so that they will be able to vote for candidates they like rather than those that have been pushed upon them by ranking members of the establishment parties.

Baptiste said she hopes that the FBI will investigate the complaint and has heard encouraging comments from legal professionals who believe it is worth investigation. If she had millions of dollars to spend, she said she would file a suit based on the complaint.

“I think we have a lot there that got the agent’s attention,” she said. “We knew they weren’t going to jump right on it. But, whether we want to admit it or not, they are part of the establishment. So we’ll see what happens.”

When called for comment about the status of the complaint that was filed on May 4, an agent who previously interviewed Baptiste and Klein told Personal Liberty he “did not have time to discuss that” and promptly hung up the phone.

Regardless of what comes of We the People v. The Ballot Box Establishment, Baptiste says she is going to continue to add to her list of examples of election corruption. She encourages anyone (including any Ron Paul supporters who had trouble with the GOP establishment) who has witnessed election corruption to go to americanstatesman.org to sign on with “We the People” and share information.

Federalized Local Police: More Armor, Deadlier Force, Less Honor

There are many good law enforcement officers in the United States who take seriously their duty to serve and protect the citizenry; but, as referenced all too often in media reports, there are many police officers who are themselves criminals.

Recent headlines in the case of Florida shooting victim Trayvon Martin blared, with a sense of misplaced shock, the fact that Martin’s killer George Zimmerman had been critical of his local police department in Sanford, Fla., in years past. Zimmerman reportedly even went as far as going on a ride-along with an officer and reporting back to the City Council the “disgusting” lack of motivation to combat crime in the area.

What many people who are concerned about the growing number of stories about police misconduct and abuse find shocking, however, is why it seems out of the ordinary for citizens to demand that their local police departments operate in a manner that cuts crime without eviscerating the Constitutional rights of innocent citizens.

Last week, the Cato Institute reopened a blog that focuses solely on documenting examples of police misconduct throughout the Nation. Here is a sampling of some of the events the blog reported last Friday:

  • A Denver, Colorado police officer allegedly sexually assaulted a woman during a traffic stop. The officer was charged with rape and kidnapping charges
  • A lieutenant with the Schenectady County Sheriff’s Office has been demoted and suspended for striking a correction officer
  • Dallas City Council approves $500,000 settlement for motorcyclist, Andrew Collins, whose beating was caught on a police dash-cam. “It was a good resolution to a bad situation,” said Mr. Collins’ attorney. “It was an acknowledgment from the city that Mr. Collins’ civil rights had been seriously violated.” Criminal charges are pending against the three former officers
  • A New Jersey officer tried to set up a sexual encounter with a 12-year-old girl. The officer sent explicit photos of himself in uniform. The accused Woodland Park officer pleaded not guilty to charges ranging from attempted aggravated assault to luring and enticing a child
  • In Barre, Vermont, prosecutors alleged an off-duty cop left a bar Jan. 3, 2011, entered his neighbor’s apartment and stole a flat-screen TV from under her Christmas tree. When confronted at his home by two officers, the cop, Zak Winston, tossed the TV into the river behind his apartment. Winston was found guilty of felony unlawful trespass, misdemeanor unlawful mischief and misdemeanor resisting arrest
  • Lanagan, Missouri police chief and officer have been indicted and suspended for forgery pertaining to racial profiling reports and citations

In light of some of the disturbing trends being discovered regarding many police officers’ lack of restraint and disdain for the rule of law on and off duty, the increasingly militaristic nature of domestic law enforcement has also come under scrutiny.

Reports like this one from KRDO in Colorado are becoming commonplace throughout the country:

Police are using some new tactics and equipment to protect themselves in dangerous situations.

In the past, you wouldn’t see a Colorado Springs police officer with a ballistic shield, helmet and rifle on your average police call, but that’s changed.

“It might look like SWAT activity is going on when, really, it’s just patrol officers using some new equipment that’s been made available to us over the last couple years,” said Sgt. Darrin Abbink. “We’ve had quite a bit of training going on with our patrol officers to provide them with better officer safety tactics.”

And a set of recent studies shows that even when police use less-than-lethal tactics to subdue lawbreakers, the outcome has an increasingly negative effect on the life and limb of citizens. The two studies from the University of Central Florida and Michigan State University are published in the journals Justice Quarterly and Police Quarterly.

Researchers looked at injuries associated with stun guns. The devices produce an electrical charge up to 50,000 volts and can be deployed by pressing the stun gun against a person or by shooting two probed darts at a person from a distance. Their use has been controversial because of some reported deaths following the use of stun guns, as well as their use on vulnerable citizens such as pregnant women, the elderly and children.

In their studies the researchers analyzed nearly 14,000 incidents from seven agencies. Of those, stun guns were used in more than 2,600 cases. They report that citizens were injured 41 percent of the time when stun guns were used as the only type of force and 47 percent of the time when they were used in conjunction with another form of force. That compares to people being injured 29 percent of the time when no stun guns were used.

“The bottom line is there is an increased risk to citizens,” said Gene Paoline a UCF associate professor of criminal justice and one of the authors of the studies. “On the other hand, the devices increase the safety of officers when used as the sole method of restraint. In essence, we have to consider the costs of citizen harm versus benefits of officer safety. It is something for police agencies to weigh when setting up policies on their use, or whether or not to even use them at all.”

Unfortunately, as the police state burgeons (as do reports of misconduct and abuse), it looks as though citizens can expect little protection from the courts from overzealous police who find it necessary to use excessive force during even the mildest encounters “for their own safety.”

The Supreme Court decided on Tuesday that it will not review the appropriateness of stun guns used by police on suspects. The high court refused to hear appeals from police in Hawaii and Washington, or people who got stun-gunned by officers in a case that was handled by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The lower court ruled that officers could not be sued in Federal court. But judges also said officers used excessive force by using stun guns.

Perhaps the only way to keep local police forces from growing out of control and becoming rife with misconduct is to encourage transparency through citizen involvement, as organizations such as The John Birch Society suggest. Currently, by attending Redefining the Role of Local Police, a JBS speaking tour, citizens can learn to ensure accountability of local police. Former police officer and JBS National Director of Field Activities Jim Fitzgerald is currently headlining venues across the country, discussing ways to support local police while keeping them from becoming a national police force through protecting the interests of the community verses the interests of the Federal government.

DHS Is Watching

Thanks to a Freedom of Information Act request, bloggers and social media users now know the hundreds of words that they should avoid using online to keep from being scrutinized by the Department of Homeland Security.

The words are included in the DHS’s 2011 “Analyst’s Desktop Binder,” which is used by workers at the National Operations Center where agents learn to identify “media reports that reflect adversely on DHS and response activities.” The goal of the agency is to track any remarks that show signs of general dissent against the government or its agencies, though DHS officials insist that the data collection is only to assess threats.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center has criticized the list, calling it “broad, vague and ambiguous” and pointing out that it includes “vast amounts of First Amendment protected speech that is entirely unrelated to the Department of Homeland Security mission to protect the public against terrorism and disasters.”

So what might get you flagged?  Here’s the list:

TSA, The Pervert’s Paradise

What happens to Catholic priests who are kicked out of the church for allegations of sexual abuse? One in Philadelphia works for none other than the Transportation Security Administration.

According to CBS 3 in Philadelphia, Thomas Harkins, a former Catholic priest who was removed from the ministry over sex abuse allegations, now holds a TSA security post at Philadelphia International Airport.

In 2002, Harkins was removed from his position as a priest in the Diocese of Camden in southern New Jersey because the church believed he sexually abused two young girls. A third woman is now claiming she also is one of Harkins’ victims in a new lawsuit.

The suit filed in Federal court against the Camden Diocese accuses Harkins of sexually abusing an 11-year-old girl 10 to 15 times between  1980 and 1981. The lawsuit, filed on behalf of the alleged victim, claims the abuse occurred while Harkins was a priest at Saint Anthony of Padua parish in Hammonton, N.J.

TSA officials told the news station that Harkins’ title is “Transportation Security Manager, Baggage,” so he deals mostly with luggage, not passengers. The TSA also said that allegations of sexual misconduct in Harkins’ past did not show up on a background check because the Camden Diocese settled the first two lawsuits.

Obama 0, Private Equity Investments 1

The President, realizing that his opponent in the upcoming election became a very wealthy man because of private equity investments, is making claims that don’t add up.

“If your main argument for how to grow the economy is, ‘I knew how to make a lot of money for investors,’ then you’re missing what this job is about,” President Barack Obama said at a news conference last Monday. “This issue is not a distraction. This is what this campaign is going to be about.”

Though it is not surprising for Obama to use class warfare and make villains of wealthy Americans for political reasons, Mayor Corey Booker of Newark, N.J., recently pointed out the absurdity of a President running against a type of business.

But if Obama really wants Americans to believe that his attack on private equity is not a red herring, he is also asking them to believe that he is extremely misinformed. Private equity investments such as those that Mitt Romney was involved in during his tenure at Bain Capital are good for the economy on the whole.

Reason recently pointed to a 2010 National Bureau of Economic Research 2010 study, Private Equity and Economic Performance, by researchers from Columbia and Harvard Universities and the Swedish Institute for Financial Research. It says (the emphasis is the author’s own):

Industries where PE [private equity) funds have been active in the past five years grow more rapidly than other sectors, whether measured using total production, value added, or employment…

PE industries appear to grow significantly faster in terms of labor costs and the number of employees. The annual growth rate of total labor cost is 0.5 to 1.4 percentage points greater for PE industries, and the number of employees grows at an annual rate that is 0.4 to 1.0 percentage points greater. These findings are particularly surprising, since a common concern is that PE investors act aggressively to reduce costs with little concern for employees. This concern is not necessarily inconsistent with our results. Despite initial employment reductions at private equity-backed firms, the greater subsequent growth in total production … may lead to subsequent employment growth in the industry overall.

Considering the specifications with PE activity quartiles, industries with more PE activity appear to have more rapid growth of total labor costs, but the growth rate of the number of employees is fastest in industries with more moderate levels of PE activity. Regardless of the level of PE activity, however, the PE industries’ growth rates of labor costs and employment always exceed the rates for non-PE industries.

Perhaps someone should send the Obama Administration a memo stating that private equity works better than government bailouts.

Poll: Americans Are Economic Conservatives

Judging by the way the U.S. government spends money, it is hard to believe that American citizens are two times more likely to identify as economically conservative than liberal.

According to a recent Gallup poll, 46 percent of Americans consider themselves “total conservatives” on matters concerning economics, compared to 20 percent claiming to be “total liberals.” People who describe themselves as “moderates” in terms of economic issues made up 32 percent of the total.

The results are based on Gallup’s annual Values and Beliefs poll, which asks Americans to say whether they are liberal, moderate or conservative on “economic” and, separately, “social” issues.

The poll found that people are less likely to say they are conservatives when talking about social issues, with 38 percent claiming the title “total conservative” and 28 percent “total liberal.” Moderates made up 31 percent of respondents in that category.

Gallup says the results suggest: “More Americans identify as economic conservatives than as social conservatives or conservatives in general. And that tendency has increased in the last four years, perhaps due to President Obama’s economic agenda. This suggests that a conservative economic message from Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney may resonate with voters this year.”

Another Reason To Support Ron Paul

He’s the only candidate for President who has supporters passionate enough about his message to set up a festival in his honor.

Like him or not, Presidential candidate Ron Paul is one of the most iconic political figures of modern times. So it is fitting that his supporters are planning an event called Paul Festival 2012 at the Florida Fairgrounds in Tampa, Fla., right before the Republican National Convention.

If everything goes as planned Paul Festival 2012 will run from Aug. 24-26, ending the day before the convention begins.

Details about the event were still sketchy at the time of this report, but organizers are working to put together a celebration of liberty in honor of Paul, complete with musical acts, speakers and celebrity guests.

From the event website:

With Dr. Paul’s growing support among celebrities and musicians, it is our hope to accommodate that change through a momentous 3-day Festival which will include many of Dr. Paul’s celebrity-supporters.

Our goal is to have musical acts (of different genres), comedy, speakers, celebrity appearances with pictures and autographs, book signings, big screens showing Dr. Paul’s famous speeches, vendors of all sorts, and really great food!  It will be all inclusive – family friendly during the day, and anything that is adult oriented will be held during the evening hours.

Our team is working on finalizing a venue and the dates for this festival – while concurrently contacting musicians, celebrities, speakers, and V.I.P. s who either support, or have officially endorsed Ron Paul for President 2012.

It is our belief that this will be the biggest celebration of Liberty the world has ever seen – a tribute to Ron Paul and the message of freedom.  Be a part of history!

The festival is expected to draw a crowd of more than 20,000 attendees. International Business Times speculated in a recent report that Paul’s supporters could upstage those of Republican establishment favorite Mitt Romney in Tampa.

Bug Out Boat?

Preppers who are serious about being prepared for anything when they grab their bug out bags may want to check out the Foldboat, a plastic rowboat that can be folded down small enough to be easily carried.

Using a sheet of high-density polyethylene plastic, the designers crafted a vessel that can be folded away and packed into the trunk of a car or slung over the shoulder. The durable plastic can be folded up to 6,000 times before wearing out. The boat when folded is a little longer than a yardstick and about 2 feet in diameter.

Another version of the boat does not fold quite as small, but can be folded into a flat sheet that would be easily transported in a car. The makers say that it can be put together in just about two minutes.

Design students Max Frommeld, 29, and Arno Mathies, 26, were both studying for their master’s degrees in production design at London’s Royal College of Art when they came up with the idea for the Foldboat, according to the Daily Mail. One of the uses the pair envisions for the boat is conducting rescues in areas where devastating floods have occurred.

The boats sell for about $1,200 each. Foldboat also sells compact oars and inflatable pillows to go with the boats.

Rand Paul Wants FDA Disarmed

When most Americans think of employees of the Food and Drug Administration, images of researchers, scientists and inspectors working to ensure that mass-produced food and medicines are fit for human consumption may come to mind. But for hundreds of American farmers who have been — often frighteningly literally — targeted by the FDA, the reality is very different: They see images of bureaucrats armed to the teeth violently invading their farms.

Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) says it is time for the Federal government to stop arming these bureaucrats and allowing them to torment small American farmers.

“We have nearly 40 federal agencies that are armed. I’m not against having police, I’m not against the army, the military, the FBI, but I think bureaucrats don’t need to be carrying weapons and I think what we ought to do, is if there is a need for an armed policeman to be there, the FBI who are trained to do this should do it. But I don’t think it’s a good idea to be arming bureaucrats to go on the farm to, with arms, to stop people from selling milk from a cow,” Paul said Wednesday calling for an end to the FDA’s police powers.

Paul offered an amendment to the Prescription Drug User Fee Act that would quell FDA abuses and disarm bureaucratic Health and Human Services Agencies.

Among the other things the Senator wished to accomplish with the amendment are no longer restricting people who sell natural health products from advertising their benefits and ending the criminalization of mistakes.

He said the amendment would have required the FDA to prove mens rea, or criminal intent, when charging people with a crime.

Paul said:

This amendment would fix this problem by strengthening the mens rea component of each of the prohibited acts and the FDA acts by including the words “knowing” and “willful” before we address and accuse someone of a crime.

This I think would give protection to folks who are guilty of inadvertently guilty of breaking a regulation and would keep from overflowing our jails. We’ve got plenty of violent criminals without putting people in for honest breaches of regulations. If Congress is going to criminalize conduct at the federal level as it does with the FDA act, the least it can do have is have an adequate mens rea requirement. My amendment will attempt to do this.

It’s not that we won’t have rules at the federal level, but the rules ought to be reasonable. We ought to allow people to market vitamins. There’s no earthly reason why somebody who markets prune juice can’t advertise it helps with constipation.

Unfortunately for people who have endured armed FDA raids and will in the future, Paul’s initiative was voted down on the Senate floor Thursday by 78 Senators. Only 15 Senators, all Republicans, supported Paul’s amendment.

Obama’s Lies To American Youths

In 2008, Barack Obama proved that he is really good at one thing in particular: preying on the Generation Y crowd.

With the promise of “Hope” and “Change,” celebrity friends, a good Internet campaign presence, an overall campaign presence that just felt so very underdog — so grassroots — and an aura of rolled-up-sleeve-sunglass-wearing-antithesis-of-politician coolness, Obama was able to gain favor with about 66 percent of the coveted 18-year-old to 29-year-old voter bloc.

Aside from the campaign image, Obama made some promises to America’s youths: more jobs for recent college graduates and young people, an end to perpetual war and a new look at the War on Drugs.

Unfortunately for the President, he has failed to deliver on any of these promises in his nearly four years in the White House.

For those concerned about getting a good job out of college, there are some telling statistics:

  • One in two college graduates under the age of 25 is unemployed or underemployed.
  • The unemployment rate for 20-year-olds to 24-year-olds has jumped to 13.2 percent from 12.4 percent since Obama took office.

Overall, only 54.3 percent of Americans aged 18-24 are employed; that is the lowest number since 1948 when employment numbers were first tallied.

Perhaps when Obama promised that his Administration would expand employment opportunities for youths, he wasn’t talking about American youths. A recent report by The Washington Post illustrates that the Obama Administration is going to great lengths to make sure fun, safe and paying summer jobs are available — to about 100,000 foreign student workers who will visit this summer on visas.

The article explains that on May 11 the State Department “issued rules that ban foreign students from jobs that could be harmful, limited them to light, seasonal occupations that are not likely to displace U.S. workers and required closer scrutiny of their conditions.” Certainly, by Obama’s logic, none of those18-year-old to 24-year-old Americans who are unemployed would like to work as a pool cleaner or a lifeguard this summer. Besides, they should be taking summer classes in an attempt to see how close they can get their student loan debt to six figures.

The President has not done so well with regard to helping American youths find gainful employment, but surely he has gained some favor among the bunch with his foreign policy prowess. Though the warmongering, profiteering, neocon antics of the George W. Bush Administration should have been an easy act for a peace-promising President to follow, Obama simply doubled down on war.

The President promised to end the war in Iraq within 16 months. He didn’t. Obama did, however,  manage to authorize a surge in Afghanistan, lob thousands of missiles at Libya in a “humanitarian” action in coordination with NATO, and announce that he is sending 100 special operation personnel to Uganda as “advisers.” His Administration covertly involved the United States in supporting the “Arab Spring” in Egypt, Libya and Syria. The President also learned that targeting enemies with secret drone strikes was met with less chagrin from the general public. So the drone has become his “big stick” — which, by the way, is also a weapon that he doesn’t mind using to assassinate American citizens. And thanks to his partnership with neocons in passing the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, he can now even target citizens on U.S. soil or detain them indefinitely.

Lies from the President of the United States are not funny; but if one had to be, it would be Obama’s drug policy hypocrisy. It holds as a pretty fundamental truth that members of the 18-29 demographic largely adhere to a libertarian view with regard to the War on Drugs: End it. That’s why when a Presidential candidate writes in his memoir Dreams From My Father that he once experimented with various illegal substances, they appreciate his honesty.

Obama writes, “I blew a few smoke rings, remembering those years. Pot had helped, and booze; maybe a little blow when you could afford it… Junkie. Pothead. That’s where I’d been headed; the final fatal role of the would-be black man. Except the highs hadn’t been about that, me trying to prove what a down brother I was. Not by then, anyway. I got high for just the opposite effect, something that could push questions of who I was out of my mind. Something that could flatten out the landscape of my heart, blur the edges of my memory.”

Obama promised to allow the legality of medical marijuana to be an issue decided by the States; but once he was elected, his Administration began a brutal crackdown on medical marijuana. Maybe his memory just got a little blurred around the edges and he forgot what he said he would do.

Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, explains the President’s drug policy as follows: “The Obama administration’s latest moves strongly suggest that their medical marijuana policies are now being driven by overzealous prosecutors and the anti-marijuana ideologues who dominated policymaking in past administrations. Barack Obama is betraying promises made when he ran for president and turning his back on the sensible policies announced during his first year in office. Instead of encouraging state and local authorities to regulate medical marijuana distribution in the interests of public safety and health, his administration seems determined to recriminalize as much as possible. It all adds up to bad policy, bad politics and bad faith.”

If you can stand the profanity, comedian Penn Jillette summed up nicely earlier this week how Obama’s hypocrisy with regard to medical marijuana is ridiculous:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wWWOJGYZYpk&w=420&h=315]
The President told young voters many more lies when he was trying to get their vote in the last Presidential election, there are surely many more to come. Obama’s most recent fairy tale to his young constituents involves promising them a lower interest rate on Federal student loans. Of course, he could be lying.

Breitbart reports, “College students are being played for suckers by the Democratic Party again. Barack Obama’s 2013 budget indicates that the interest rate on federally backed student loans student loan will jump from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent in the summer of 2013. This comes as Obama is preaching his love for college students on campuses by virtue of his agreeing with the Republicans to limit the rate to 3.4 percent. The doubling of the rate will only occur eight months after Obama’s reelection can be attained.”

All of this makes one wonder if the Obama Administration can sell “Hope” and “Change” now that young Americans know what the terms look like in practice. If not, Obama has a new one liner: “Forward.” Hopefully, this time American youths will look for meaning in the word before the election.

Cato To Track Bad Cops

The Cato Institute has launched an initiative focused on keeping an eye on incidents of misconduct by police throughout the United States.

Cato’s National Police Misconduct Reporting Project grew out of the police abuse news feed, Injustice Everywhere, which founder and researcher David Packman shut down in April because he could no longer devote time to the project.

The project is now being headed up by Cato Director of the Project on Criminal Justice Tim Lynch, a leading voice in support of the Bill of Rights and civil liberties. His research interests include the war on terrorism, over-criminalization, the drug war, the militarization of police tactics and gun control. He has also served on the National Committee to Prevent Wrongful Executions.

Lynch writes: “The purpose of the project is to gather news reports about police misconduct in America in a fair and unbiased way. Our objective is to study the scope of the problem and to identify policies that can minimize misconduct.”

According to the site, police misconduct is not regularly examined in the United States and — in light of recent highly publicized examples — it is time to take a closer look at the problem.

The site also gives visitors the ability to report police misconduct if their stories are “supported by third-party witnesses or other compelling evidence.”

Federal Corruption Ruins Organic Food

If you are one of the growing number of Americans concerned about the safety of genetically modified food or what types of chemicals and pesticides are used in the production of the food you consume, you might opt for organic options. But the Federal government is letting insiders linked to the same big agribusiness companies that produce chemical-laden and genetically modified products be the judges of what is organic.

Research conducted by the Cornucopia Institute in Wisconsin exposes how the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) governmental panel that determines what is and isn’t considered “organic” is stacked with Federal insiders with an alternative agenda.

According to the findings in The Organic Watergate paper released by the Institute, the USDA’s National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) has taken a turn for the worse in recent years. It also illustrates how currently almost 300 non-organic and synthetic compounds are approved for use in organic farming or food production.

Mark Kastel, the co-director and Senior Farm Policy Analyst at the Cornucopia Institute explained: “An incident last fall caused Cornucopia staff to do a cursory review of many non-organic and synthetic ingredients that have been approved for use in organics since the USDA took over regulation in 2002. And what do we find? A corporate and governmental conspiracy to allow almost any chemical petitioned by agribusinesses in organic food, regardless of the fact that Congress mandated review of all such substitutes to make sure that they will not damage the environment or human health.”

Evidence of the corruption is illustrated in how a corporate employee of General Mills was nominated as the “consumer representative” of the National Organic Standards Board. There was such a strong backlash that her name was withdrawn. Later, she was nominated and served in a slot reserved for a scientist.
 
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNfU9M9PmZU&w=560&h=315]
You can sign a petition to reduce big agribusiness influence over organic food production here.