Libya’s interim leader outlined more radical plans to introduce Islamic law than expected as he declared the official liberation of the country.
By Richard Spencer
Mustafa Abdul-Jalil, the chairman of the National Transitional Council and de fact president, had already declared that Libyan laws in future would have Sharia, the Islamic code, as its “basic source”.
But that formulation can be interpreted in many ways – it was also the basis of Egypt’s largely secular constitution under President Hosni Mubarak, and remains so after his fall.
Mr Abdul-Jalil went further, specifically lifting immediately, by decree, one law from Col. Gaddafi’s era that he said was in conflict with Sharia – that banning polygamy.
In a blow to those who hoped to see Libya’s economy integrate further into the western world, he announced that in future bank regulations would ban the charging of interest, in line with Sharia. “Interest creates disease and hatred among people,” he said.
Gulf states like the United Arab Emirates, and other Muslim countries, have pioneered the development of Sharia-compliant banks which charge fees rather than interest for loans but they normally run alongside western-style banks.
In the first instance, interest on low-value loans would be waived altogether, he said.
Libya is already the most conservative state in north Africa, banning the sale of alcohol. Mr Abdul-Jalil’s decision – made in advance of the introduction of any democratic process – will please the Islamists who have played a strong role in opposition to Col Gaddafi’s rule and in the uprising but worry the many young liberal Libyans who, while usually observant Muslims, take their political cues from the West.
100,000 Veterans Declared ‘Mentally Defective,” Denied Second Amendment Rights
They go off to war, fight for our country, for each other, and for the lives of foreigners they do not know. They kill the tyrants and despots who promote and sponsor terrorism. Our veterans are selfless, brave and they represent the best of a generation. So, why does the U.S. government arbitrarily strip many of them of their Second Amendment rights?
Well, one could argue that it stems from the way in which Washington views our veterans.
In 2009, U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano released a memo that said, “The return of military veterans facing significant challenges reintegrating into their communities could lead to the potential emergence of terrorist groups or lone wolf extremists capable of carrying out violent attacks.”
Napolitano later apologized for the memo, but actions speak louder than words. And in reviewing the policy the government takes toward those veterans who have been assigned a fiduciary trustee, it becomes evident that there exists, at the very least, a tinge of discriminatory behavior on behalf of Washington.
Currently any U.S. military veteran assigned a fiduciary trustee to act on his/her behalf is automatically declared “mentally defective” and is reported to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), the database Federal Firearms Licensees use to determine whether a prospective buyer is eligible to buy firearms and/or explosives. Anyone deemed “mentally defective” in the system will be ineligible to make a purchase.
Where the confusion lies with respect to this particular policy is that the VA review process for determining whether or not a veteran requires a fiduciary trustee is based upon an evaluation of a veteran’s ability to manage his/her personal finances, veteran’s benefits, disability compensation, pensions, etc. At no point during the fiduciary review process does the VA examiner make a judgment on whether the veteran is a danger to himself/herself and/or others.
So, in short, the policy says: if a veteran needs assistance managing his/her finances, he/she cannot own a gun. Is it fair to make this assumption?
Sen. Burr (R-NC) and Sen. Webb (D-VA) don’t think so. Together they have introduced the Veterans Second Amendment Protection Act, which would “clarify the conditions under which certain persons may be treated as adjudicated mentally incompetent for certain purposes.” In other words, it would require a judicial authority to determine whether veterans pose a threat to themselves or others before they can be added to the NCIS database.
“As a matter of fairness, a veteran should be permitted to purchase a firearm under the same conditions as every other American,” said Sen. Webb. “This bipartisan bill ensures consistent guidelines are used for reporting citizens to the FBI, and that no veteran is needlessly stripped of their Second Amendment rights.”
Sen. Burr added, “Taking away a Constitutional right is a serious action, and veterans should be afforded the same due process under the law as all other American citizens. This legislation would protect the rights of veterans and their families by ensuring that only a proper judicial authority is able to determine who is referred to NICS. Our veterans took an oath to uphold the Constitution and they deserve to enjoy the rights they fought so hard to protect.”
According to Sen. Burr, more than 100,000 veterans have been referred to the NICS as a result of the VA’s fiduciary trustee evaluation process. As a result, they’ve all been stripped of the right to keep and bear arms.
Again, is this fair? Or is it discriminatory/prejudicial?
Well, as it turns out, there are approximately 7.6 million Social Security beneficiaries who have been assigned fiduciary trustees. However, the Social Security Administration has not turned one name over to the NICS.
It would appear that not everyone the government assigns a fiduciary trustee is subsequently denied the right to keep and bear arms.
Hopefully, Congress recognizes this double standard and gives serious consideration to the Veterans Second Amendment Protection Act
The Suicide Of America – Diversity Versus Freedom
By Frosty Wooldridge
Suicide of a Superpower
By Pat Buchanan
By watching the “Occupy Wall Street” or any other city in America in the past week, you’re watching the beginning mobs that roam around America’s urban areas attempting to jolt the system that created 15 million unemployed and another 7 million underemployed.
While rich CEOs enjoy $5 million bonuses, countless millions of Americans stand in food stamp lines-as of October 2011-45.2 million of us subsist on food stamps.
Who created this mess?
Thomas Jefferson said in 1802, “I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around the banks will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.”
In 1913, a few wealthy bankers pushed through the Federal Reserve System currently run by the banker elite Ben Bernanke. They commandeered America’s money and fulfilled Jefferson’s prediction. Today, the moneyed elite control Congress. Thus, they control our jobs and lives.
In his new book, Suicide of a Superpower, Patrick Buchanan predicts the loss of our nation via mass immigration and population overload. He clearly points to the markers taking down America.
Chapter 3. The Crisis of Catholicism. Buchanan said, “Half a century on, the disaster is manifest. The robust and confident Church of 1958 no longer exists. Catholic colleges and universities remain Catholic in name only. Parochial schools and high schools are closing as rapidly as they opened in the 1950s. The numbers of nuns, priests and seminarians have fallen dramatically. Mass attendance is a third of what it was. From the former Speaker of the House to the Vice President, Catholic politicians openly support abortion on demand. How can Notre Dame credibly teach that all innocent life is sacred, and then honor a president committed to ensuring that a woman’s right to end the life of her innocent child remains sacrosanct?”
Chapter 4. The End of White America. Buchanan said, “White America is an endangered species. By 2020, whites over 65 will out-number those 17 and under. Deaths will exceed births. The white population will begin to shrink and, should present birth rates persist, slowly disappear.”
The European tribe continues its inexorable decline in Europe, Canada, Australia the United States. While European’s see their societies decline, others cheer such as Mexico.
“Mexico is moving north,” said Buchanan. “Ethnically, linguistically and culturally, the verdict of 1848 is being over-turned. Will this Mexican nation within a nation advance the goals of the Constitution — to “insure domestic tranquility” and “make us a more perfect union”? Or have we imperiled our union?”
As Mexico expects to add another 35 to 40 million by mid century, it will continue to unload its excess, poverty stricken and unsustainable population load onto U.S. soil. At the current rate of mass immigration into the United States from the third world, white America will become a minority within 30 years. Mexicans will take over the Southwest by sheer birthrates. We may expect massively entrenched poverty.
In a recent meeting in Conifer, Colorado, former U.S. Congressman Tom Tancredo said, “We are importing mass poverty into America. We will not be able to solve it.”
Chapter 6. Equality Vs. Freedom. Buchanan said, “Those who would change society begin by changing the meaning of words. At Howard University, LBJ changed the meaning of equality from the attainable — an end to segregation and a legislated equality of rights for African-Americans — to the impossible: a socialist utopia. Where equality is enthroned, freedom is extinguished. The rise of the egalitarian society means the death of the free society.”
“A time for truth. As most kids do not have the athletic ability to play high school sports, or the musical ability to play in the band, or the verbal ability to excel in debate, not every child has the academic ability to do high school work. No two children are created equal, not even identical twins. The family is the incubator of inequality and God its author.”
Buchanan hits on America’s most pressing problem: illiteracy. That single word defines the dilemma of the third world. The more the illiteracy, the more poverty, the more poverty, the more babies-80 million added annually, net gain. The more babies, the more hopeless every country’s exceeding its carrying capacity. Somalia grows as a stark reminder that just feeding starving children only begets millions more starving and illiterate young adults-who reproduce more of themselves and their predicament.
A startling 76 percent flunkout/dropout rate in the overwhelmingly minority city of Detroit, Michigan bears out the reality of illiteracy. A mind numbing 68 percent of African-American children are born to single mothers in the United States. Most of those mothers subsist on welfare.
Less than 50 percent of Blacks and Hispanics graduate from high school. About 30 percent of Whites fail to graduate. Thus, today in America, 42 million Americans cannot read, write or perform simple math. Another 50 million cannot read past the 4th grade level.
· 42 million American adults can’t read at all; 50 million are unable to read at a higher level that is expected of a fourth or fifth grader.
· The number of adults that are classified as functionally illiterate increases by about 2.25 million each year.
· 20 percent of high school seniors can be classified as being functionally illiterate at the time they graduate.
Source: National Right to Read Foundation
Where Illiteracy Leads
· 70 percent of prisoners in state and federal systems can be classified as illiterate. [2.3 million Americans languish in jails]
85 percent of all juvenile offenders rate as functionally or marginally illiterate.
· 43 percent of those whose literacy skills are lowest live in poverty.
NBC anchor Brian Williams reported that 1.2 million teens hit America’s streets every June unable to read or write. Detroit, Michigan epitomizes this country’s educational dilemma.
CNN reported on August 30, 2010, “7,000 American high school students drop out every day; one every 26 seconds.”
Our civilization, as Buchanan so amply states, cannot survive the massive immigration numbers currently entering annually at 3.1 million. This includes legal, illegal and their children. (www.cis.org, Dr. Steven Camarata)
As Buchanan said, “We are trying to create a nation that has never before existed, of all the races, tribes, cultures and creeds of Earth, where all are equal. In this utopian drive for the perfect society of our dreams we are killing the real country we inherited — the best and greatest country on earth.”
1. Immediate moratorium of all immigration into America to save what’s left of our culture, language and success.
2. Immediate mandate of English as the primary language in all media in America.
3. Immediate stopping of all birth right citizenship.
4. Immediate passing and enforcement of E-Verify to guarantee 8 to 10 million new jobs for American citizens.
5. Immediate welfare to workfare programs.
6. Immediate teaching of personal accountability and responsibility in our school systems.
7. Immediate end to our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The following videos show where we’re headed if we fail to stop mass immigration: “Immigration, Poverty, and Gum Balls”, Roy Beck, director of www.numbersusa.ORG, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LPjzfGChGlE&feature=player_embedded
“Immigration by the numbers-off the chart” by Roy Beck
This 10 minute demonstration shows Americans the results of unending mass immigration on the quality of life and sustainability for future generations: www.NumbersUSA.org
Fisker Karma Electric Car Gets Worse Mileage Than an SUV
Electric Car for the 1%.
The Fisker Karma electric car, developed mainly with your tax money so that a bunch of rich VC’s wouldn’t have to risk any real money, has rolled out with an nominal EPA MPGe of 52.
Not bad? Unfortunately, it’s a sham. This figure is calculated using the grossly flawed EPA process that substantially underestimates the amount of fossil fuels required to power the electric car, as I showed in great depth in an earlier Forbes.com article. In short, the EPA methodology leaves out, among other things, the conversion efficiency in generating the electricity from fossil fuels in the first place.
In the Clinton administration, the Department of Energy (DOE) created a far superior well to wheels MPGe metric the honestly compares the typical fossil fuel use of an electric vs. gasoline car.
As I calculated in my earlier Forbes article, one needs to multiply the EPA MPGe by .365 to get a number that truly compares fossil fuel use of an electric car with a traditional gasoline engine car on an apples to apples basis. In the case of the Fisker Karma, we get a true MPGe of 19. This makes it worse than even the city rating of a Ford Explorer SUV.
Congrats to the Fisker Karma, which now joins corn ethanol in the ranks of heavily subsidized supposedly green technologies that are actually worse for the environment than current solutions.
Postscript: I will say, though, that the Fisker Karma does serve a social purpose — Hollywood celebrities and the ultra rich, who want to display their green credentials, no longer have to be stuck with a little econobox. They can now enjoy a little leg room and luxury.
Wrong Door Raid and Flash-Bang Grenade Heart Attack Provoke Lawsuits
Lucy Steigerwald |
A few victims of the drug war\'“standard procedure” are fighting back in court. First, a Colorado Springs woman who suffered a heart attack during a raid has brought a lawsuit:
Rose Ann Santistevan, 71, is suing for medical expenses and noneconomic losses such as pain and suffering.
An emphysema sufferer, Santistevan was alone in bed receiving oxygen on Oct. 6, 2009, when a multijurisdictional SWAT task force with a search warrant surrounded her home in the 200 block of South Prospect Street. They threw in a flash-bang grenade before rushing in with guns drawn, authorities have confirmed.
Stricken by a heart attack, Santistevan was admitted in critical condition at Memorial Hospital Central, where she remained for several days. A search of her home yielded no arrests and turned up no drugs, the family said.
And a New Jersey family who received the nightmarish black-clad gunmen treatment from SWAT is suing the police department for unlawful entry and false arrest. They specifically target one Police Detective William Palomino in the civil suit:
About 40 narcotics and emergency response team officers executed search warrants at numerous locations during a major drug raid following four months of undercover surveillance. The Colons’ apartment was not among the approved targets in the “no-knock” search warrants obtained by authorities, who mistook a door leading to the family’s apartment for what they thought was a door to the building’s basement.
Palomino admits what happened to the Colons was a mistake, but his attorney says he wasn’t there after he pointed out the door to the rest of the team. So it was his kind of his fault, but it wasn’t. After all, he did not personally do the following:
[Now 18-year-old] Miguel Colon testified that he, his little brother and a friend were in one room of the apartment, and that his mother was in the kitchen, talking on the phone, when “more than five” men dressed all in black and not bearing any police identification burst in.
“I asked: “Who are you?’ The response I got was: ‘Shut up and get on the floor,” Colon testified.
They then ordered everyone to the floor at gunpoint and ransacked the apartment, overturning beds and going through the laundry as his brother cried and his mother started having a “panic attack,” Colon said.
“She couldn’t breathe,” he testified. “I told them, ‘My mom needs to breathe. She needs medication.’ They told me to shut up.”
When she started choking, he said, he defied them and got up to get the medicine anyway, but they pushed him back down. Eventually, they went with his mother to get the medicine but had their guns drawn the whole time, he said. The family was held for about two hours before being freed.
Months of surveillance, and they can’t tell which door is which. Warrant or no, they couldn’t bother to check whether a disabled grandmother was lying in bed before they tossed a potentially lethal device in her general direction. But don’t worry, we’re gonna win this drug warsoon.
TX High School Students Made to Recite Mexican National Anthem, Pledge of Allegiance
by Madeleine Morgenstern
Students in a Texas public high school were made to stand up and recite the Mexican national anthem and Mexican pledge of allegiance as part of a Spanish class assignment, but the school district maintains there was nothing wrong with the lesson.
It happened last month in an intermediate Spanish class at Achieve Early College High School in McAllen, Texas — a city located about 10 miles from the U.S.-Mexico border.
Wearing red, white and green, students had to memorize the Mexican anthem and pledge and stand up and recite them in individually in front of the class.
That didn’t go over well with sophomore Brenda Brinsdon. The 15-year-old sat down and refused to participate. She also caught it all on video:
“I just thought it was out of hand, I didn’t think it was right,” she told The Blaze. “Reciting pledges to Mexico and being loyal to it has nothing to do with learning Spanish.”
She said she was particularly offended because the presentations in teacher Reyna Santos’s class took place during “Freedom Week,” the week after the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks, and on U.S. Constitution Day — the same day as Mexico’s Independence Day.
“Why are we doing their independence when it‘s Freedom Week and it’s also Constitution Day?” Brinsdon said.
Brinsdon said she complained to the school principal, Yvette Cavazo, who told her it was part of the curriculum and that she should participate. Her father, William, also got involved, calling the school district superintendent to complain.
California Gov. Jerry Brown is vetoing legislation requiring police to obtain a court warrant to search the mobile phones of suspects at the time of any arrest.
The Sunday veto means that when police arrest anybody in the Golden State, they may search that person’s mobile phone — which in the digital age likely means the contents of persons’ e-mail, call records, text messages, photos, banking activity, cloud-storage services, and even where the phone has traveled.
Police across the country are given wide latitude to search persons incident to an arrest based on the premise of officer safety. Now the nation’s states are beginning to grapple with the warrantless searches of mobile phones done at the time of an arrest.
Brown’s veto message abdicated responsibility for protecting the rights of Californians and ignored calls from civil liberties groups and this publication to sign the bill — saying only that the issue is too complicated for him to make a decision about. He cites a recent California Supreme Court decision upholding the warrantless searches of people incident to an arrest. In his brief message, he also doesn’t say whether it’s a good idea or not.
Instead, he says the state Supreme Court’s decision is good enough, a decision the U.S. Supreme Court let stand last week.
“The courts are better suited to resolve the complex and case-specific issues relating to constitutional search-and-seizure protections,” the governor wrote.
Because of that January ruling from the state’s high court, the California Legislature passed legislation to undo it — meaning Brown is taking the side of the Supreme Court’s seven justices instead of the state Legislature. The Assembly approved the bill 70-0 and the state Senate, 32-4.
The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), was flummoxed by Brown’s action. “It was a curious veto message suggesting that the courts could resolve this more effectively than the state Legislature,” he said in a telephone interview.
Under California statehouse rules, neither Leno nor any other lawmaker may introduce the legislation for at least a year.
Orin Kerr, one of the nation’s leading Fourth Amendment experts, said Brown should have backed the state’s Legislature. “I think Governor Brown has it exactly backwards. It is very difficult for courts to decide Fourth Amendment cases involving developing technologies like cellphones,” he said.
In 2007, there were 332,000 felony arrests in California alone — a third of which did not result in conviction.
Brown’s veto also shores up support with police unions and the Peace Officers Research Association of California, a police union that opposed the legislation and recently donated $38,900 to Brown’s campaign coffers. “Restricting the authority of a peace officer to search an arrestee unduly restricts their ability to apply the law, fight crime, discover evidence valuable to an investigation and protect the citizens of California,” the association said in a message.
That support would be key if Brown decides to seek a second term.
In the last year alone, at least seven police unions donated more than $12,900 each to Brown. Those unions, including the California Association of Highway Patrolmen and the Sacramento County Deputy Sheriff’s Association, had given Brown more than $160,000 in combined contributions.
Parents of cage-fighting boys aged 8 and 9 could be jailed for child cruelty (source: www.fightpractice.com)
Brutal: The boys are not wearing padding or head gear as they grapple and slam each other into the canvas
By Jaya Narain
Parents who encourage their young children to take part in cage fighting contests could be jailed for child cruelty, legal experts warn.
They face sentences of up to six months for allowing a boy or girl of primary school age to take part in the sport – described as ‘barbaric’ by the Culture Secretary.
And a Preston social club which hosted the boys’ fight reported in the Mail yesterday is to be investigated over whether it broke its licence conditions.
The revelations come after a video emerged showing Kian MacKinson, nine, and a boy of eight, whose father has requested he remain anonymous, kicking, shoving and grappling in front of baying adults.
The footage caused outrage among child and medical experts, who called for a police and social services investigation.
Upsetting: The young boy is seen here crying in the middle of a fight, and is then attended by medical experts who check if he can carry on with the bout Battle: Kian MacKinson, nine, with an eight-year-old whose father has asked for his face to be obscured
A source at the Crown Prosecution Service said: ‘A young child being forced to take part in any violent sport could constitute child cruelty.
As such, a failure to protect that child from harm could lead to a minimum 12-week sentence or a maximum 26-week sentence.’ Social services bosses in Lancashire confirmed they had launched an inquiry into the cage fighting, which is also known as mixed martial arts, to ‘consider any child safety concerns’.
Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt yesterday condemned the fighting among children as young as eight as ‘barbaric’.
‘Getting more young people doing sport is great but I do ask myself whether it really does have to be in a cage,’ he said.
‘It feels very barbaric and I know there are concerns about children that young doing a sport like that.’
He added he was ‘shocked and surprised’ by claims there were no restrictions on children appearing in such adult environments.
His comments came after the British Medical Association, the NSPCC and Safechild branded child cage fighting ‘disturbing and sick’. A British Association of Martial Arts spokesman insisted: ‘Children this young shouldn’t be involved in cage fighting.’
Lancashire Police officers have decided to take no further action either on a child safety level or licensing of the premises.
It emerged last night, however, that council chiefs have ordered a licence review for the Greenlands Labour Club and will ask the venue not to put on any similar events involving juveniles.
The deputy leader of Preston City Council, John Swindells, said: ‘I am appalled by the incident of cage fighting involving children taking place in Preston.
‘Having checked the club’s licence there is a condition that children should not be on the premises at public events after 6pm and I think it needs to be looked into whether this condition has been breached.
Parental support: Kian with his father Nick Hartley, the youngster features in the shocking video which shows hundreds of baying adults goading the primary-age boys to fight each other
Professional appearance: Just like in an adult event, the tiny fighters have an entourage.
Seconds out: The boys are brought together in the middle of the cage fighting ring, prepared to do battle
Grappling: The pair begin their fight slowly, testing out the space between them as they start their bout
‘As such, I have now made a request for the licence at Greenlands Labour Club to be reviewed. A formal licensing review process will now follow.’
That could take up to three months as the club is allowed 28 days to make representations on the matter.
A similar period is then opened up for members of the public to have their say.
Even some mma gear reviews have mention the shocking video that emerged on Wednesday shows Kian and the unnamed boy fighting without protective padding or head gear.
One of them is shown apparently receiving medical attention for a leg injury and bursting into tears.
Fight: Before long, they have hit the canvas and take turns in pinning each other down
Young fighters: The children wear no padding or headguards for the ten minute bout in Preston
The event was held almost a fortnight ago with about 250 adults paying £25 a ticket to watch 14 fights. The other clashes involved semi-professional adults.
Sources said the night was a boisterous alcohol-fuelled affair.
Sharefight, the company commissioned to film the event, said the video had been removed from the internet ‘out of respect’ for parents and others who had shown concern.
The event took place in a ‘safe environment’, a spokesman added.
Greenlands Labour Club has also defended its decision to hold the event.
Victory: The fight ends to cheers from the adoring crowd
HALIFAX — A Dalhousie University medical school study indicates that cancer cells are much more susceptible to the measles virus than healthy cells.
Researchers found that the cells of many types of cancer, including breast, lung, colon and bladder, are lined with protein receptors that the measles virus can attach to.
Chris Richardson, who conducted the six-year research project with Ryan Noyce, said in an interview this week that the virus targets the cancer cells and grows inside them.
The results of their study were published recently in the online medical journal PLoS Pathogens.
The researchers plan to test the process on laboratory mice with the hope that clinical trials could begin on human patients in about 10 years.
The two researchers made the discovery last November after successfully infecting a cell with an engineered form of the virus in the laboratory.
“It was on a Sunday afternoon and through the microscope it was so blatant, it was very easy to see,” Richardson said. “The viruses lit up because we have a fluorescent virus.
“It glows in the dark … and the cells were all fluorescent. It was a beautiful picture.”
The long-term goal would be to derive a vaccine from the virus. This vaccine wouldn’t be preventative but could be used to treat cancer patients.
“It would attack the tumour. Preferentially, it would start growing in the tumour,” Richardson said. “It would produce viral antigens in the tumour so that the immune system would recognize it as foreign and wipe the tumour out.”
Richardson and Noyce presented their results at the Mayo Clinic in the United States in July.
“There was a lot of interest there and (Mayo) researchers seem to be going in the same direction,” Richardson said.
The use of viruses as anti-cancer agents isn’t new in this type of research. Another Dalhousie researcher, Patrick Lee, has used reoviruses, which are linked to respiratory diseases, to target cancer cells.
Ottawa researchers have been able to use a virus intravenously on cancer patients in that city.
This virus, a distant relative of smallpox, seemed to be particularly effective at searching for cancerous tumours, according to the study at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute.
Internet of things: Should you worry if your jeans go smart?
Katia Moskvitch By Katia Moskvitch
Science and technology
What if those new jeans you’ve just bought start tweeting about your location as you cross London Bridge?
It sounds far-fetched, but it’s possible – if one of your garments is equipped with a tiny radio-frequency identification device (RFID), your location could be revealed without you knowing about it.
RFIDs are chips that use radio waves to send data to a reader – which in turn can be connected to the web.
This technology is just one of the current ways of allowing physical objects to go online – a concept dubbed the “internet of things”, which industry insiders have shortened to IoT.
This is when not only your PC, tablet and smartphone can connect to the web, but also your car, your home, your baseball cap and even the sheep and cows on a farm.
And as we switch from IPv4 towards IPv6, which will support some 340 trillion trillion trillion addresses, more and more objects will jump into the web.
Smart buildings and intelligent cars with assigned IP addresses are already making cities smarter – and soon enough, the entire planet may follow.
“A typical city of the future in a full IoT situation could be a matrix-like place with smart cameras everywhere, detectors and non-invasive neurosensors scanning your brain for over-activity in every street,” says Rob van Kranenburg, a member of the European Commission’s IoT expert group.
Elderly people and carer in Bolzano, Italy In Italy, a group of elderly people have had sensors placed at their homes for remote monitoring
This vision might still be years off, but one by one, “smarter” cities are beginning to crop up around our landscape.
IoT advocates claim that overall interconnectivity would allow us to locate and monitor everything, everywhere and at any time.
“Imagine a smart building where a manager can know how many people are inside just by which rooms are reflecting motion – for instance, via motion-sensitive lights,” says Constantine Valhouli from the Hammersmith Group, a strategy consulting firm.
“The ethical worries are manifold… which principles should govern the deployment of the IoT?”
Gerald Santucci European Commission
But as more objects leak into the digital world, the fine line that separates the benefits of increasingly smart technology and possible privacy concerns becomes really blurred.
“The IoT challenge is likely to grow both in scale and complexity as seven billion humans are expected to coexist with 70 billion machines and perhaps 70,000 billion ‘smart things’, with numbers infiltrating the last redoubts of personal life,” says Gerald Santucci, head of the networked enterprise and RFID unit at the European Commission.
“In such a new context, the ethical worries are manifold: to what extent can surveillance of people be accepted? Which principles should govern the deployment of the IoT?”
Peter Hustinx, European data protection supervisor, says that sometimes firms tend to overlook the importance of personal data.
“In much of the monitoring, tracking and tracing [devices] which are embedded in these facilities, there’s privacy relevance, and it will have to be compliant with the new European Commission Framework,” he says.
Toyota stand Toyota Friend lets cars communicate with the drivers on a private social network
The Framework was signed by the European Commission in April 2011, and its main purpose is to safeguard consumer privacy and assure the public that web-connected objects are safe for the industry to develop – and for people to consume.
Take clothing, for instance.
A number of stores, among them major retail chain Wal-Mart, have started using RFID tags to enable employees to quickly check the stock by scanning items on shelves, and to track products more easily from manufacturing to the final delivery.
But privacy advocates are concerned that the same RFID reader could also read the data on, say, a consumer’s passport or driving licence equipped with the same kind of chip – and it could lead to identity theft.
And although the tag is supposed to be removed at the checkout, if a consumer leaves the shop with the chip still attached, the item could be tracked on the street.
Once the tag is thrown away, it can still be scanned, enabling someone to get an idea of your shopping habits.
Hackers also know how to decode RFID tags.
And because the information is transmitted via radio waves, one can simply listen in.
That’s exactly what happened when the Soviets presented a US ambassador during the Cold War with a wooden carving of the Great Seal, bugged with an RFID predecessor – a device called The Thing.
The Americans failed to find it – just like modern RFID tags, it only worked when enabled by a radio wave – which led to the Soviets eavesdropping on the conversations at the ambassador’s office by beaming radio signals to it.
Another way to make things smarter is by embedding sensors in them and sending data online via a wireless low-power technology called Zigbee.
Smart parking graphic Sensors “tell” the driver where free parking spaces are
IBM is doing just that – its project that remotely monitors the environment that could affect the health of elderly people in Bolzano, Italy, extended caretaker supervision with sensors embedded all over the patients’ homes, providing round-the-clock peace of mind not only for the patients but for their families too.
The sensors read the levels of carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, methane, temperature and smoke, and send the information to the caretakers’ PCs and mobile devices.
To protect the patients’ personal data, IBM uses encryption, says Bharat Bedi from the firm’s lab in Hursley, UK.
“And we’ve also added some anonymous features to the system – when you log on to the dashboard, you don’t see the person’s name or their exact address, they’ve been given almost like code names which only mean something to the council workers and the relatives,” he says.
A Spanish company Worldsensing has come up with a similar sensor-based technology.
With help of a special app on your smartphone, drivers can receive data from sensors installed in parking spaces, telling them where the closest free spot is.
“Your mobile phone operator and your bank know much more about your life than your wife or husband does”
“So that no one tries to sneak into your system and steal personal data – such as where you parked and how long you stayed – we use encryption, and also apply a decoupling technique that separates personal information from purely technical data,” says the firm’s chief technical officer, Mischa Dohler.
Cars are rapidly becoming smart, too.
Toyota, for instance, has always been one of the frontrunners in telematics – and now it has decided to team up with Salesforce.com to allow cars to chat to their drivers on a private social network.
The venture, called Toyota Friend, will first work only for hybrid and electric cars. So if the battery is almost flat, for instance, the driver would receive a short message via Bluetooth on his or her smartphone.
In a demonstration at a Tokyo showroom, one of the Toyota owners showed such a message: “The charge will be completed by 2:15 am. Is that OK? See you tomorrow.”
RFID, supermarket Stores all over the globe are tagging their items with RFID chips
The car will also be able to update its – and hence the driver’s – location.
And it is here that privacy issues may come into play. What if the location is revealed automatically, for instance if the owner forgets to modify the privacy settings, just like on Facebook?
But Salesforce.com’s Tim Barker says that privacy should not be a concern.
“Social Enterprise applications provide customers an opt-in to allow them to share information such as their location and ‘likes’, to enhance their experience as a customer and the information that they receive,” he says.
It is hard to predict how well all these issues will be addressed once the entire planet gets on the web.
But as Mischa Dohler from Worldsensing puts it, in our already digital and high-tech society, the IoT privacy issues have to be taken with a little pinch of salt.
“It’s just like with your phone and a credit card – your mobile phone operator and your bank know much more about your life than your wife or husband does,” he says.
“And this data is likely to be more critical than the type of jeans you wear or for how long you’ve been parked.”
By choosing Joe Biden as their vice president, the Democrats have selected a politician with a mixed record on technology who has spent most of his Senate career allied with the FBI and copyright holders, who ranks toward the bottom of CNET’s Technology Voters’ Guide, and whose anti-privacy legislation was actually responsible for the creation of PGP.
That’s probably okay with Barack Obama: Biden likely got the nod because of his foreign policy knowledge. The Delaware politician is the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations committee who voted for the war in Iraq, and is reasonably well-known nationally after his presidential campaigns in 1988 and 2008.
But back to the Delaware senator’s tech record. After taking over the Foreign Relations committee, Biden became a staunch ally of Hollywood and the recording industry in their efforts to expand copyright law. He sponsored a bill in 2002 that would have make it a federal felony to trick certain types of devices into playing unauthorized music or executing unapproved computer programs. Biden’s bill was backed by content companies including News Corp. but eventually died after Verizon, Microsoft, Apple, eBay, and Yahoo lobbied against it.
Sen. Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic vice presidential nominee, whose anti-encryption legislation was responsible for the creation of PGP.
A few months later, Biden signed a letter that urged the Justice Department “to prosecute individuals who intentionally allow mass copying from their computer over peer-to-peer networks.” Critics of this approach said that the Motion Picture Association of America and the Recording Industry Association of America, and not taxpayers, should pay for their own lawsuits.
Last year, Biden sponsored an RIAA-backed bill called the Perform Act aimed at restricting Americans’ ability to record and play back individual songs from satellite and Internet radio services. (The RIAA sued XM Satellite Radio over precisely this point.)
All of which meant that nobody in Washington was surprised when Biden was one of only four U.S. senators invited to a champagne reception in celebration of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act hosted by the MPAA’s Jack Valenti, the RIAA, and the Business Software Alliance. (Photos are here.)
Now, it’s true that few Americans will cast their votes in November based on what the vice presidential candidate thinks of copyright law. But these pro-copyright views don’t exactly jibe with what Obama has promised; he’s pledged to “update and reform our copyright and patent systems to promote civic discourse, innovation and investment while ensuring that intellectual property owners are fairly treated.” These are code words for taking a more pro-EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) than pro-MPAA approach.
Unfortunately, Biden has steadfastly refused to answer questions on the topic. We asked him 10 tech-related questions, including whether he’d support rewriting the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, as part of our 2008 Technology Voters’ guide. Biden would not answer (we did hear back from Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John McCain, and Ron Paul).
In our 2006 Technology Voters’ Guide, which ranked Senate votes from July 1998 through May 2005, Biden received a mere 37.5 percent score because of his support for Internet filters in schools and libraries and occasional support for Internet taxes.
Privacy, the FBI, and PGP
On privacy, Biden’s record is hardly stellar. In the 1990s, Biden was chairman of the Judiciary Committee and introduced a bill called the Comprehensive Counter-Terrorism Act, which the EFF says he was “persuaded” to do by the FBI. A second Biden bill was called the Violent Crime Control Act. Both were staunchly anti-encryption, with this identical language:
It is the sense of Congress that providers of electronic communications services and manufacturers of electronic communications service equipment shall ensure that communications systems permit the government to obtain the plain text contents of voice, data, and other communications when appropriately authorized by law.
Translated, that means turn over your encryption keys. The book Electronic Privacy Papers describes Biden’s bill as representing the FBI’s visible effort to restrict encryption technology, which was taking place in concert with the National Security Agency’s parallel, but less visible efforts. (Biden was no foe of the NSA. He once described now-retired NSA director Bobby Ray Inman as the “single most competent man in the government.”)
Biden’s bill — and the threat of encryption being outlawed — is what spurred Phil Zimmermann to write PGP, thereby kicking off a historic debate about export controls, national security, and privacy. Zimmermann, who’s now busy developing Zfone, says it was Biden’s legislation “that led me to publish PGP electronically for free that year, shortly before the measure was defeated after vigorous protest by civil libertarians and industry groups.”
While neither of Biden’s pair of bills became law, they did foreshadow the FBI’s pro-wiretapping, anti-encryption legislative strategy that followed — and demonstrated that the Delaware senator was willing to be a reliable ally of law enforcement on the topic. (They also previewed the FBI’s legislative proposal later that decade for banning encryption products such as SSH or PGP without government backdoors, which was approved by one House of Representatives committee but never came to a vote in the Senate.)
“Joe Biden made his second attempt to introduce such legislation” in the form of the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA), which was also known as the Digital Telephony law, according to an account in Wired magazine. Biden at the time was chairman of the relevant committee; he co-sponsored the Senate version and dutifully secured a successful floor vote on it less than two months after it was introduced. CALEA became law in October 1994, and is still bedeviling privacy advocates: the FBI recently managed to extend its requirements to Internet service providers.
CALEA represented one step in the FBI and NSA’s attempts to restrict encryption without backdoors. In a top-secret memo to members of President George H.W. Bush’s administration including Defense Secretary Dick Cheney and CIA director Robert Gates, one White House official wrote: “Justice should go ahead now to seek a legislative fix to the digital telephony problem, and all parties should prepare to follow through on the encryption problem in about a year. Success with digital telephony will lock in one major objective; we will have a beachhead we can exploit for the encryption fix; and the encryption access options can be developed more thoroughly in the meantime.”
There’s another reason why Biden’s legislative tactics in the CALEA scrum amount to more than a mere a footnote in Internet history. They’re what led to the creation of the Center for Democracy and Technology — and the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s simultaneous implosion and soul-searching.
EFF staffers Jerry Berman and Danny Weitzner chose to work with Biden on cutting a deal and altering the bill in hopes of obtaining privacy concessions. It may have helped, but it also left the EFF in the uncomfortable position of leaving its imprimatur on Biden’s FBI-backed wiretapping law universally loathed by privacy advocates. The debacle ended with internal turmoil, Berman and Weitzner leaving the group and taking their corporate backers to form CDT, and a chastened EFF that quietly packed its bags and moved to its current home in San Francisco. (Weitzner, who was responsible for a censorship controversy last year, became a formal Obama campaign surrogate.)
The next year, months before the Oklahoma City bombing took place, Biden introduced another bill called the Omnibus Counterterrorism Act of 1995. It previewed the 2001 Patriot Act by allowing secret evidence to be used in prosecutions, expanding the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and wiretap laws, creating a new federal crime of “terrorism” that could be invoked based on political beliefs, permitting the U.S. military to be used in civilian law enforcement, and allowing permanent detection of non-U.S. citizens without judicial review. The Center for National Security Studies said the bill would erode “constitutional and statutory due process protections” and would “authorize the Justice Department to pick and choose crimes to investigate and prosecute based on political beliefs and associations.”
Biden himself draws parallels between his 1995 bill and its 2001 cousin. “I drafted a terrorism bill after the Oklahoma City bombing. And the bill John Ashcroft sent up was my bill,” he said when the Patriot Act was being debated, according to the New Republic, which described him as “the Democratic Party’s de facto spokesman on the war against terrorism.”
Biden’s chronology is not accurate: the bombing took place in April 1995 and his bill had been introduced in February 1995. But it’s true that Biden’s proposal probably helped to lay the groundwork for the Bush administration’s Patriot Act.
In 1996, Biden voted to keep intact an ostensibly anti-illegal immigration bill that outlined what the Real ID Act would become almost a decade later. The bill would create a national worker identification registry; Biden voted to kill an Abraham-Feingold amendment that would have replaced the registry with stronger enforcement. According to an analysis by the Electronic Privacy Information Center, the underlying bill would have required “states to place Social Security numbers on drivers licenses and to obtain fingerprints or some other form of biometric identification for licenses.”
Along with most of his colleagues in the Congress — including Sen. John McCain but not Rep. Ron Paul — Biden voted for the Patriot Act and the Real ID Act (which was part of a larger spending bill). Obama voted for the bill containing the Real ID Act, but wasn’t in the U.S. Senate in 2001 when the original Patriot Act vote took place.
In the Senate debate over the Patriot Act in October 2001, Biden once again allied himself closely with the FBI. The Justice Department favorably quotes Biden on its Web site as saying: “The FBI could get a wiretap to investigate the mafia, but they could not get one to investigate terrorists. To put it bluntly, that was crazy! What’s good for the mob should be good for terrorists.”
The problem is that Biden’s claim was simply false — which he should have known after a decade of experience lending his name to wiretapping bills on behalf of the FBI. As CDT explains in a rebuttal to Biden: “The Justice Department had the ability to use wiretaps, including roving taps, in criminal investigations of terrorism, just as in other criminal investigations, long before the Patriot Act.”
But Biden’s views had become markedly less FBI-friendly by April 2007, six years later. By then, the debate over wiretapping had become sharply partisan, pitting Democrats seeking to embarrass President Bush against Republicans aiming to defend the administration at nearly any cost. In addition, Biden had announced his presidential candidacy three months earlier and was courting liberal activists dismayed by the Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping.
That month, Biden slammed the “president’s illegal wiretapping program that allows intelligence agencies to eavesdrop on the conversations of Americans without a judge’s approval or congressional authorization or oversight.” He took aim at Attorney General Alberto Gonzales for allowing the FBI to “flagrantly misuse National Security Letters” — even though it was the Patriot Act that greatly expanded their use without also expanding internal safeguards and oversight as well.
Biden did vote against a FISA bill with retroactive immunity for any telecommunications provider that illegally opened its network to the National Security Agency; Obama didn’t. Both agreed to renew the Patriot Act in March 2006, a move that pro-privacy Democrats including Ron Wyden and Russ Feingold opposed. The ACLU said the renewal “fails to correct the most flawed provisions” of the original Patriot Act. (Biden does do well on the ACLU’s congressional scorecard.)
The ACLU also had been at odds with Biden over his efforts to censor bomb-making information on the Internet. One day after a bomb in Saudi Arabia killed several U.S. servicemen and virtually flattened a military base, Biden pushed to make posting bomb-making information on the Internet a felony, punishable by up to 20 years in jail, the Wall Street Journal reported at the time.
“I think most Americans would be absolutely shocked if they knew what kind of bone-chilling information is making its way over the Internet,” he told the Senate. “You can access detailed, explicit instructions on how to make and detonate pipe bombs, light-bulb bombs, and even — if you can believe it — baby-food bombs.”
Biden didn’t get exactly what he wanted — at least not right away. His proposal was swapped in the final law for one requiring the attorney general to investigate “the extent to which the First Amendment protects such material and its private and commercial distribution.” The report was duly produced, concluding that the proposal “can withstand constitutional muster in most, if not all, of its possible applications, if such legislation is slightly modified.”
It was. Biden and co-sponsor Dianne Feinstein introduced their bill again the following year. Biden pitched it as an anti-terror measure, saying in a floor debate that numerous terrorists “have been found in possession of bomb-making manuals and Internet bomb-making information.” He added: “What is even worse is that some of these instructions are geared toward kids. They tell kids that all the ingredients they need are right in their parents’ kitchen or laundry cabinets.”
Biden’s proposal became law in 1997. It didn’t amount to much: four years after its enactment, there had been only one conviction. And instead of being used to snare a dangerous member of Al Qaeda, the law was used to lock up a 20-year old anarchist Webmaster who was sentenced to one year in prison for posting information about Molotov cocktails and “Drano bombs” on his Web site, Raisethefist.com.
Today there are over 10,000 hits on Google for the phrase, in quotes, “Drano bomb.” One is a video that lists the necessary ingredients and shows some self-described rednecks blowing up small plastic bottles in their yard. Then there’s the U.S. Army’s Improvised Munitions Handbook with instructions on making far more deadly compounds, including methyl nitrate dynamite, mortars, grenades, and C-4 plastic explosive — which free speech activists placed online as an in-your-face response to the Biden-Feinstein bill.
Since then, Biden has switched from complaining about Internet baby-food bombs to taking aim at peer-to-peer networks. He held one Foreign Relations committee hearing in February 2002 titled “Theft of American Intellectual Property” and invited executives from the Justice Department, RIAA, MPAA, and Microsoft to speak. Not one Internet company, P2P network, or consumer group was invited to testify.
Afterwards, Sharman Networks (which distributes Kazaa) wrote a letter to Biden complaining about “one-sided and unsubstantiated attacks” on P2P networks. It said: “We are deeply offended by the gratuitous accusations made against Kazaa by witnesses before the committee, including ludicrous attempts to associate an extremely beneficial, next-generation software program with organized criminal gangs and even terrorist organizations.”
Biden returned to the business of targeting P2P networks this year. In April, he proposed spending $1 billion in U.S. tax dollars so police can monitor peer-to-peer networks for illegal activity. He made that suggestion after a Wyoming cop demonstrated a proof-of-concept program called “Operation Fairplay” at a hearing before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee.
A month later, the Senate Judiciary committee approved a Biden-sponsored bill that would spend over $1 billion on policing illegal Internet activity, mostly child pornography. It has the dubious virtue of being at least partially redundant: One section would “prohibit the broadcast of live images of child abuse,” even though the Justice Department has experienced no problems in securing guilty pleas for underage Webcamming. (The bill has not been voted on by the full Senate.)
Online sales of Robitussin
Around the same time, Biden introduced his self-described Biden Crime Bill of 2007. One section expands electronic surveillance law to permit police wiretaps in “crimes dangerous to the life, limb, and well-being of minor children.” Another takes aim at Internet-based telemedicine and online pharmacies, saying that physicians must have conducted “at least one in-person medical evaluation of the patient” to prescribe medicine.
Another prohibits selling a product containing dextromethorphan — including Robitussin, Sucrets, Dayquil, and Vicks — “to an individual under the age of 18 years, including any such sale using the Internet.” It gives the Justice Department six months to come up with regulations, which include when retailers should be fined for shipping cough suppressants to children. (Biden is a longtime drug warrior; he authored the Illicit Drug Anti-Proliferation Act that the Bush administration used to shut down benefit concerts.)
On Net neutrality, Biden has sounded skeptical. In 2006, he indicated that no preemptive laws were necessary because if violations do happen, such a public outcry will develop that “the chairman will be required to hold this meeting in this largest room in the Capitol, and there will be lines wandering all the way down to the White House.” Obama, on the other hand, has been a strong supporter of handing pre-emptive regulatory authority to the Federal Communications Commission.
Thinking of checking into a hospital? Think again. You may never see home again.
Ginger Franklin, Hendersonville, Tennessee, fell down the stairs in her condo and suffered a bump on her head. She was declared “temporarily mentally incapacitated” and a guardian was appointed through the courts. Within six weeks, the Guardian had sold Franklin’s home, car, furniture, and drained her bank account. Today,Franklin has her freedom back, but she is having to start all over.
Michael Kidd, 72, of Richardson, Texas, fell in his yard and broke a hip. Now, he is living in Countryside Nursing Home with his wife. Both were removed from their home when the state of Texas petitioned the courts claiming that the Kidds were mentally incompetent. Their house sits vacant and neglected, with rotting food still remaining in the refrigerator. The Kidds have been confined to a single room in the nursing home, while the state appointed guardian burns through their money an gives them a mere $60 a month spending allowance which they have been using to buy “real” food.
Robert Milton (not his real name) was taken to the hospital because he fell “one time too many” at his home, and although his stepson had been given power of attorney to make all of his health care decisions, a court-appointed corporate guardian placed Milton against his will in a nursing home where he is now isolated from his family and friends. Meanwhile, his money is being spent as quickly as possible by the Orlando-based guardian and her attorneys.
How It Commences
Joseph Niedesky (not his real name) was air lifted to a hospital in Orlando from Ocalaby helicopter after he was the victim of a motorcycle crash. But something went terribly wrong during Niedesky’s surgery and he aspirated on his own vomit, causing some brain injury. That’s when a corporate guardian was contacted by the hospital and appointed by the court as Niedesky’s full plenary, permanent guardian.
What Happens Next
The corporate guardian who petitioned the court stated in the court papers that Niedesky had no family. In reality, Niedesky had been married for more than 20 years and had four teenage children. It took more than two months for Niedesky’s wife to discover what had happened to her husband and where he was located.
The Family is Always Portrayed as the “Devil Incarnate”
What happened to Niedesky is becoming a commonplace occurrence in America. A family member is rushed to the hospital. Surgery occurs and something sometimes goes terribly wrong. However, by quickly petitioning the courts for guardianship, the hospital avoids any kind of lawsuit for negligence or wrongful death. Niedesky’s wife wanted to bring him home and get him out of the guardianship. The guardian, however, kept moving Niedesky from location to location, city to city, until the statute of limitations for suing the hospital had expired. Shortly after the statute of limitations ended, Niedsky just happened to die.
“The hospital saved itself millions in a lawsuit. It is typical that shortly after the statute of limitations runs out, the ward just happens to suddenly die,” stated David Newman, Gainesville, Florida, a civil rights guardianship reform advocate.
Niedesky’s wife was portrayed in the court record as uncaring, incompetent, over-meddling, and negligent, and although these descriptors seem to be a contraction of terms, you will typically find the most cynical descriptions of family members in most court files where an involuntary guardianship has been granted by the courts to a total stranger.
For example, in Milton’s case, Milton’s stepson had been named long ago as his power of attorney and health care surrogate. That designation, however, was destroyed by the court and the corporate guardian even accused the stepson of stealing several thousands over the years from his stepfather. Today, Milton’s stepson, a 65 year old retired veteran, finds himself in a legal nightmare gathering bank records and hiring attorneys and forensic accountants to prove his innocence. Meanwhile, the corporate guardian is spending Milton’s money like water.
The Other Scenario
Tom Griffith (not his real name) wonders why an Orlando-based corporate guardian would be interested in his father at all.
“He has no money. All he gets is a small monthly check from Social Security of about $800.00.”
I explained to Griffith that his father has been marked for destruction and will mostly likely not be among the living in a very short period of time. “We live in a country that is ruled by corporations, not the U.S. Constitution. If there is not enough money for the nursing home to cover its expenses, there is ‘no reason’ to keep your father alive.” I explained to Milton how Thomas Chada’s father was sent to him as a box of ashes and how other wards seem to always turn up “expired” shortly after a corporate guardian and her attorneys have burned through all of an elderly person’s money.
But in this case, Griffith said there was no reason to destroy his father. “There is no money to gain.”
“Yes, but that is the point. The corporate guardians have a symbiotic relationship with the nursing homes. Sometimes, the nursing home gives them a wealthy resident that they can bilk. At other times, the corporate guardian does them a favor by making premature end-of-life decisions when there is not enough finances to cover the elderly person’s day-to-day expenses.”
In the case of Griffith’s father, who just received quadruple open heart bypass surgery, it was determined that the ward, age 74, now needed dialysis, a very costly ongoing treatment.
“The doctors said my father does not want dialysis,”Milton stated. “But I know my father wishes to live; he is only 74.”
“They probably got your father to sign such a statement without him even knowing what he was signing,” I explained.
Milton wanted to know what he could do to rescue his father out of this dangerous and life-threatening situation.
“You can hire an attorney, but you might end up spending more than $500,000.00 of your own money to become your father’s guardian.”
“I don’t have that kind of money,”Griffithdeclared, shocked.
It was obvious that the scenario I was describing was greatly upsetting Griffith. Those of us who have already lived this scenario remember going through the predictable stage of “mental shock” followed by the overwhelming urge to seek justice—at any cost. I explained to Griffith that he may find himself bankrupt as a result of trying to help his father out of this doomed guardianship situation.
My phone continues to ring as victims, desperate to find a solution, want to know what they can do.
In a country that is ruled by corporations and corporate greed, there will be no solution to The Guardianship Nightmare until a public uprising is so severe that these kinds of abominable– yet commonplace situations– will no longer be able to occur.
Million Dead, $1.8 Trillion Spent On Decade-Long U.S. “War On Terror”
by Tom Clonan
US pays price in blood and treasure for war on terror
By Tom Clonan
-In January 2002, the US began the lesser publicised Operation Enduring Freedom – Philippines…In October 2002, the US military started African military operations from Djibouti, establishing Operation Enduring Freedom – Horn of Africa…within Ethiopia, Somalia, Chad and Niger….This operation was subsequently broadened to include Operation Enduring Freedom – Trans Sahara, widening the scope of its operations to Central Africa and sub-Saharan Africa. This little-known war on terror in Africa has been fought in the main by thousands of US special forces and has been overshadowed by US military operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan…[T]he US continues to wage its war on terror on several continents – from the Horn of Africa and Yemen to Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
In the decade since 9/11 about a million people worldwide have lost their lives in what is now known as the global war on terror.
The term “War on Terror”, was first used by President George Bush on September 16th, 2001, at Camp David as the US began to configure its military response to Osama bin Laden’s attacks on New York and the Pentagon.
In the weeks and months following 9/11, the Bush administration launched a series of robust military and intelligence interventions worldwide. The first phase started with the invasion of Afghanistan, or Operation Enduring Freedom, which began in October 2001.
The war aims were simple – to remove the Taliban leadership in Kabul and deny al-Qaeda physical sanctuary within the country. The US aimed to destroy al-Qaeda and disrupt its capacity to mount international operations from Afghan soil. It also sought to capture or kill bin Laden.
In January 2002, the US began the lesser publicised Operation Enduring Freedom – Philippines, to destroy the Islamist terror groups Jemaah Islamiyah and the Abu Sayaf group who had been co-ordinating terrorist operations throughout the Philippines and Indonesia from the island of Besilan…
In October 2002, the US military started African military operations from Djibouti, establishing Operation Enduring Freedom – Horn of Africa, designed to identify and destroy al-Qaeda affiliated Islamist terror cells within Ethiopia, Somalia, Chad and Niger.
This operation was subsequently broadened to include Operation Enduring Freedom – Trans Sahara, widening the scope of its operations to Central Africa and sub-Saharan Africa. This little-known war on terror in Africa has been fought in the main by thousands of US special forces and has been overshadowed by US military operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan.
In March 2003, the US invaded Iraq in Operation Iraqi Freedom. The war aims of the US in Iraq were less clear than in its other interventions. Faulty and false intelligence reports on so-called weapons of mass destruction were mobilised as a motivation to attack Iraq.
The initial invasion phase, involving approximately 200,000 coalition troops, managed to topple Saddam Hussein’s regime. Saddam was subsequently captured, tried and hanged in Iraq. But no weapons of mass destruction were discovered and the invasion had the unintended consequence of strengthening Iran’s influence in the region.
A decade after the Twin Towers attacks, the US continues to wage its war on terror on several continents – from the Horn of Africa and Yemen to Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The term “war on terror” has entered the language as a catch-all phrase for everything from the inconvenience of security checks at airports to drone attacks in Pakistan. Officially, however, the global war on terror is now over. The Obama administration has rebranded and renamed the Global War on Terror, the Overseas Contingency Operation.
Since March 2009, the Pentagon and US Department of Defense have been requested to refrain from using the term, Global War on Terror.
In terms of blood and treasure, the wars have been costly for the US and Nato. In Iraq, the US and its allies lost almost 5,000 troops. More than 32,000 were wounded. In Afghanistan, where casualty rates have increased five-fold in five years, the US and its allies have lost almost 3,000 killed in action with a further 13,000 wounded.
More than 10,000 US and foreign mercenaries – euphemistically termed security contractors – have also been killed and injured in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The strain of a decade of war on America’s volunteer army has been heavy. According to the US Army Surgeon General 66,935 US troops suffer from acute combat stress reaction. In addition, the US Congressional Research Service has reported that a staggering 178,876 US veterans have suffered traumatic brain injuries. Almost 2,000 of these veterans are amputees and hundreds have also died of self-inflicted wounds or suicide while on active service in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The rate of suicide among US troops has more than doubled since 9/11. For civilians, the cost of war has been especially high. While estimates vary, British medical journal The Lancet suggests that a minimum of 655,000 Iraqi civilians were killed during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Similar studies suggest that approximately 4,000 Afghan civilians have died during Operation Enduring Freedom. These figures represent those killed by both coalition troops and belligerent forces within Iraq and Afghanistan. The majority of civilian casualties, in both countries, were inflicted by insurgents.
The US Congressional Research Service, in its March 2011 report, states that the Overseas Contingency Operation has cost the US taxpayer $1.3 trillion – $130 billion per annum since 9/11. At present, US military operations worldwide cost $386 million per day, or $4,000 dollars per second. According to US Congressional estimates, the final bill will total $1.8 trillion.
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SIX ESCALATION SCENARIOS SPIRALING TO WORLD NUCLEAR WAR
A world nuclear war is one that involves most or all nuclear powers releasing a large proportion of their nuclear weapons at targets in nuclear, and perhaps non-nuclear, states. Such a war could be initiated accidentally, aggressively or pre-emptively and could continue and spread through these means or by retaliation by a party attacked by nuclear weapons. While some speak of “limited nuclear war,” it is likely that any nuclear war will quickly escalate and spiral out of control because of the “use them or loose them” strategy. If you don’t use all your nuclear weapons you are likely to have them destroyed by the enemy’s nuclear weapons.
Such a war could start through a reaction to terrorist attacks, or through the need to protect against overwhelming military opposition, or through the use of small battle field tactical nuclear weapons meant to destroy hardened targets. It might quickly move on to the use of strategic nuclear weapons delivered by short-range or inter-continental missile or long-range bomber. These could deliver high altitude bursts whose electromagnetic pulse knocks out electrical circuits for hundreds of square miles. Or they could deliver nuclear bombs to destroys nuclear and/or non-nuclear military facilities, nuclear power plants, important industrial sites and cities. Or it could skip all those steps and start through the accidental or reckless use of strategic weapons.
Below are seven scenarios by which world nuclear war could come about. While these are some of the major scenarios and combination of attacks and retaliations, they are hardly exhaustive. U.S., Russian and other nuclear nations’ weapons strategizers deal with these scenarios every day but rarely let mere citizens in on their grizzly thinking. Citizens must end their denial and become aware of such scenarios.
Accidental: Since the United States and Russia have “launch on warning” systems that send off rockets before it is confirmed a nuclear attack is underway, any tensions between them can lead to massive nuclear war within thirty minutes of a warning — no matter how false the warning may be.
Aggressive: One or more nations decides to use weapons against nuclear or non-nuclear nations in order to promote an economic, political or military goal, as part of an ongoing war or as a first strike nuclear attack. (The state , of course, may claim it is a pre-emptive, retaliatory or even accidental attack.)
Pre-emptive: One or more nations believes (correctly or incorrectly) or claims to believe that another nuclear nation is about to use nuclear weapons against its nuclear, military, industrial or civilian targets and pre-emptively attacks that nation. May result from political or military “brinkmanship.”
Retaliatory: Use of nuclear weapons in response to a nuclear attack — or even a conventional, chemical or biological attack by a non-nuclear nation.
ASSUMPTIONS OF THESE SCENARIOS
There is a whole body of knowledge and assumptions that is taken into account when putting together scenarios like the below. My bottom line assumption is that any nuclear exchange has an excellent chance of resulting in a series of escalations that will spiral out of control, setting off a round of exchanges among various enemies under a “use it or lose it” philosophy, as well as among the treaty allies of the relevant nuclear powers and their allies. This continues until most of the planets’ 20,000 odd nuclear weapons are exhausted. In making “limited nuclear war” calculations all nations should assume “whatever can go wrong, will go wrong.” Unfortunately, too many strategizers assume they can conduct limited strikes and keep them limited.
Related assumptions include:
** Any nuclear attack on a primary Russian target like Moscow, St. Petersburg, or nuclear command headquarters, by any nation or group, known or unknown, could lead to a commander turning on “The Dead Hand” strategy and/or prompt one or more of Russia’s semi-autonomous military field commanders to retaliate against U.S. and European nuclear targets. Attacks on secondary targets or nuclear detonations very close to Russian soil also might lead to some sort of nuclear escalation.
** Any nuclear attack on US and/or European sites by any nation or group, known or unknown, probably will result in massive US and/or European retaliation against the known or assumed perpetrators or their known or assumed allies.
** It is likely that the U.S., Russia, China, Israel, India and Pakistan will use some of their weapons to attack other nuclear and non-nuclear nations which might threaten them after they have been devastated by nuclear war.
** Any nuclear attack on Israel by terrorists, or Pakistan, Russia or China will result in Israel’s surviving land, air and submarine carried or based missiles being used against Arab and Muslim capitals. A particularly devastating attack (including with chemical or biological weapons) might result in possibly in a full scale “Samson Option” attack on European and Russian targets. The latter of course would result in Russian retaliation against the United States, perhaps its punishment for not having done enough to protect Israel.
** Any nation’s use of nuclear weapons against a non-nuclear nation will be only somewhat less inflammatory than using them against a nuclear nation, especially if that nation has many treaty allies. It will ratchet all nuclear nations alert systems and lead to unforeseeable consequences that could easily spiral to world nuclear war.
Aggressive Pre-Emptive Retaliatory Accidental
SCENARIO 1. RUSSIA OR U.S. MISTAKENLY INTERPRETS GLITCH DURING TIME OF TENSION AS NUCLEAR ATTACK, LEADING TO WORLD NUCLEAR WAR
During time of minor or major political tension, especially active U.S. bombings of other nations or any use of nuclear weapons, Russian commanders’ faulty early warning system detects false evidence of a nuclear attack from the U.S. Russia launches a large proportion of its weapons at the U.S. and pre-emptively at U.S. European and Israeli allies, as well as China, India and Pakistan to cripple their nuclear capability. The U.S. and Europe retaliate at Russia and U.S. attacks China to destroy its nuclear stocks. Israel retaliates against Russia and initiates aggressive attacks against Arab and Muslim capitols. India and China may strike each other to destroy any remaining nuclear or other military capability. (While less likely the United States would experience such a glitch, if so, the U.S. would strike Russia and China, they would retaliate against the U.S. and Europe and probably attack other potentially hostile nuclear powers to knock out their capability.)
U.S. OR RUSSIA THREATEN OR ENGAGE IN MILITARY AGGRESSION AGAINST SMALLER NATION, STARTING ESCALATION TO WORLD NUCLEAR WAR
Russia and US engage in threats over further US aggression in the Middle East or Russia’s refusal to withdraw troops from former Soviet Republic Georgia. Russia and/or the U.S. pre-emptively strike the others’ nuclear targets, leading to further rounds of retaliatory exchanges. Russia strikes pre-emptively at U.S. European and Israeli allies, as well as China, India and Pakistan to cripple their nuclear capability. Europe retaliates at Russia and U.S. attacks China to destroy any remaining nuclear stocks. Israel retaliates against Russia and initiates revenge attacks against Arab and Muslim capitols. India and China may strike each other to destroy any remaining nuclear or other military capability.
ISRAEL ATTACKS IRAN’S NUCLEAR FACILITIES AND/OR SYRIA AND LEBANON WHICH RETALIATE WITH MASSIVE CONVENTIONAL OR WMD ROCKET ATTACKS, ISRAEL RETALIATES WITH NUCLEAR WEAPONS, ESCALATING TO WORLD NUCLEAR WAR
Israel attacks Iran’s nuclear facilities and/or Syria and Lebanon. These countries respond with massive rocket attacks using conventional bombs and even some chemical, biological or radiological weapons. Israel responds with nuclear strikes against these nations and Pakistan. Outraged Pakistan retaliates against Israel and pre-emptively attacks Israel’s ally/Pakistan’s enemy India, which retaliates. Israel initiates “Samson option” and attacks Arab and Muslim capitols, as well as “antisemitic” Europe and Russia. Russian regional commanders retaliate against Israel, its ally the U.S., and U.S. European allies and China, to destroy its nuclear capability. The U.S. retaliates against Russia and hits China’s nuclear capability. China uses any remaining nuclear weapons against Russia, the U.S. and India. India retaliates against China.
SCENARIO 4. INDIA-PAKISTAN NUCLEAR EXCHANGE ESCALATES TO WORLD NUCLEAR WAR
Hindu and Muslim rioting or conflicts in Kashmir escalate into preemptive nuclear exchanges between India and Pakistan. A rogue Indian general strikes China which massively retaliates. Russian communications knocked out by electromagnetic pulses hit Europe and China with limited number of missiles. U.S. retaliates against Russia and attacks China to destroy its nuclear stocks. Russia retaliates against the U.S. and hits U.S. ally Israel. Israel initiates revenge attacks against Arab and Muslim capitols.
SCENARIO 5. CHINA INVADES TAIWAN, STARTING ESCALATION TO WORLD NUCLEAR WAR
Taiwan declares independence. China begins Taiwan invasion, threatening to use nuclear weapons against U.S. cities. U.S. gives China an ultimatum to pull out which it ignores and U.S. uses nuclear weapons to destroy China’s weapons. China retaliates against U.S. and nukes Taiwan. A few nervous or chauvinistic Russian regional missile commanders make a first strike against U.S., European and Israeli nuclear weapons sites. The U.S., Israel and Europe retaliate. Israel initiates revenge attacks against Arab and Muslim capitols. Pakistan, India and China exchange pre-emptive nuclear strikes.
UNKNOWN PARTIES USE NUCLEAR WEAPONS ON ISRAEL, RUSSIA OR THE
U.S. STARTING ESCALATION TO WORLD NUCLEAR WAR
Terrorists or some unknown nation explodes one or two nuclear weapons in Russia, Israel, or U.S., possibly delivered via surreptitious means. Russia and the U.S. blame each other escalating to mutual “retaliatory” attacks, including on Europe. If Russia attacks Israel, Israel immediately initiates revenge attacks against Arab and Muslim capitols, and possibly “anti-semitic” Europe and Russia. Russia and U.S. preemptively attack China, and India and Pakistan pre-emptively attack each other, to destroy nuclear and military capabilities.
The Top 10 Reasons Why Dr. Ron Paul Is the Only Rational Choice
The top 10 reasons why Dr. Ron Paul is the only rational presidential choice for Americans, Democratic, Republican and Independent:
10. Dr. Paul works a real job, has run a small a business and served in the military. He has been a physician for 40 years, co-owned a coin store for 12 years and was a flight surgeon in the U.S. Air Force and U.S. National Guard for five years. That was how our country was set up — for public servants to work a real job that they returned to after their public service was done. He has real skills and is not a professional politician.
9. Dr. Paul has decades of experience running a business and in depth knowlegde of health care.
8. Dr. Paul understands money and is chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Domestic Monetary Policy and Technology.
7. Dr. Paul does the right thing referencing the U.S. Constitution and works for the country versus campaigning for his ego. He has been serving the public in politics for over 40 years.
6. Dr. Paul refuses to accept a federal pension for his public service, something other members get after a short period because they do not have real jobs. According to Dr. Paul, to receive a pension for public service would be “hypocritical and immoral.”
5. Unlike most other candidates out there, Dr. Paul is not a good-looking, smooth-talking, snake charmer or charismatic zealot. He is a regular, plain-spoken person who says it the way it is.
4. Dr. Paul doesn’t care if big groups like him (like unions and businesses). His donations come primarily from individuals, not from groups. He is willing to serve his country honorably without personal gain. Dr. Paul will do what is right for the U.S. based on the Constitution whether or not big money or big government likes it.
3. Dr. Paul has written a bill, called the Sun Light Rule that requires our politicians have at least 10 days to read bills before signing them.
2. Dr. Paul will bring practical wisdom, cut spending, balance the budget, stabilize the economy and probably be able to do away with the IRS and income tax, a tax that is not constitutional and was started to fund the civil war and supposed to stop after the civil war. He wants to abolish the U.S. Department of Education, giving the states and parents back control. He wants to do away with other large government agencies, restoring the rightful power to the states.
1. Dr. Paul’s old-fashioned decency, integrity, honor and real-life experience are exactly what our country needs after hiring actors, puppets, oil and other group-connected slick sales men and marketers. He’s been married to the same woman, Carol, for 54 years (married 1957).
Electing dishonorable, irresponsible, good-looking, smooth-talkers over the past several decades has eroded our country’s stability.
Are Americans finally ready to elect an honest, decent man who will not listen to non-sense from regular Americans, politicians or corporations? A president who will be accountable and hold us all accountable? I hope so.
“Special interests have replaced the concern that the Founders had for general welfare. Vote trading is seen as good politics. The errand-boy mentality is ordinary, the defender of liberty is seen as bizarre. It’s difficult for one who loves true liberty and utterly detests the power of the state to come to Washington for a period of time and not leave a true cynic.” — Dr. Paul
“He does not take money from corporate PACs. Lobbyists cannot sway him; to try is a waste of time. He never bargains with his own deeply held beliefs, nor does he cut backroom deals. Because his political views and his personal convictions are in complete harmony, he seldom faces a “tough” vote. And when the politicking for the week is over, he returns to his district to take up his lifelong occupation, which has nothing to do with politics.” — S. C. Gwynne