Archive for September 20, 2011
Rep. Ron Paul won a California straw poll by a sizable margin. Of the votes cast, he led the pack, prevailing over Mitt Romney and Rick Perry. And with a close showing in the Iowa straw poll, the Texas congressman is growing in popularity.
The applause was more akin to the noise one expects from fans at an NCAA game or MMA match featuring Anderson Silva or some other big name. However, the person behind all the thunder was Texas Congressman Ron Paul.
While the veteran lawmaker spoke about auditing the Federal Reserve system (recall his “End of Fed” speech in 2009?), and broken polices in Washington, it was these comments that sparked the most applause:
“You ought to have a right to work hard, and you ought to have a right to keep what you earn.”America’s role is to have a strong national defense, “not to be the policeman of the world,” he said, according to the LA Times.
Following his “Constitution Day” speech, it was clear Rep. Ron Paul would fare well among those on the California straw poll ballot.
Out of the 833 votes cast, he led with 44.9%. Not surprisingly, Texas Governor Rick Perry trailed with 29%, while Mitt Romney and Michele Bachmann captured 9% and 8%, respectively.
On the other hand, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann’s showing at the CA straw poll was surprising, considering her win over Republican rivals at the Iowa straw poll.
But it will take more than fancy talk, political rhetoric, and ear-piercing applause for Rep. Ron Paul to pull off a win against Republican front-runners Mitt Romney and Rick Perry.
Still, his campaign is not one to write off despite polls showing Governor’s Romney and Perry’s double digits to Paul’s single digits. In response to the media’s claim that the GOP contest is a two-man race, he said, “it’s Romney and me. … That’s OK.”
Does Texas Congressman Ron Paul’s California straw poll change the course of his candidacy for the GOP nod against Obama? Will Michele Bachmann or Herman Cain emerge as formidable contenders?
Peter Schiff On Obamanomics: “There Are Not Enough Open Minds In The Capitol To Keep This Ship From Sinking”0
Peter Schiff wraps his congressional testimony on the Obama jobs plan, which was one of the most memorable such Congressional hearings on the topic to date, with the following letter of caution to all Americans. To wit: “I don’t think those few open minds in the Capitol are going to be enough to keep this ship from sinking. There just isn’t enough time or a strong enough will for reform from the American people. That is why it is so important for you to act individually to protect yourself and your family from the new age of stagflation. Please take the time to view my testimony, understand the problems we face, and align your investments accordingly.” We urge anyone who has not watched Peter’s testimony yet to do so below.
From Peter Schiff:
Dear Friends and Supporters,
As many of you know, last week I was invited to Washington to testify in front of the House of Representatives Subcommittee on Government Reform and Stimulus Oversight. For that, we can thank Subcommittee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH).
The subject of the hearing was job creation in the United States – specifically, what the government can and can’t do to boost employment. While many people have asked me in the last few days why I even bothered to participate, I think it was a valuable experience. I don’t expect that anything I said will make an immediate impact on policy, but at least some of my opinions got a fair hearing in the halls of power.
After the testimony, I did have a few one-on-one meetings with open-minded Congressmen from both sides of the aisle. Maybe they were just being polite, but they had no obligation to talk to me, or even invite me, in the first place. So, I thank them for the opportunity.
Still, I don’t think those few open minds in the Capitol are going to be enough to keep this ship from sinking. There just isn’t enough time or a strong enough will for reform from the American people.
That is why it is so important for you to act individually to protect yourself and your family from the new age of stagflation. Please take the time to view my testimony, understand the problems we face, and align your investments accordingly.
For a 22-minute version with just the highlights of my remarks and exchanges with the Committee, see below.
For the entire Committee Meeting, which runs for 2 hours and 12 minutes, see below.
In a conference call this morning with Chairman of the House Oversight Committee Darrell Issa, reporters were told the Attorney General in Mexico has confirmed at least 200 murders south of the border happened as a result of Operation Fast and Furious.
“I would be remiss if I didn’t mention, as the Attorney General in Mexico is so concerned, she’s made the point that at least 200 Mexicans have been killed with these weapons and probably countless more,” Issa said.
Eleven crimes in the United States have been linked to Operation Fast and Furious up to this point. Issa said he expects as the investigation in the operation continues, more crimes connected to Fast and Furious will come to light and be exposed. This is not surprising, considering out of 2500 weapons the Obama Justice Department allowed to “walk,” and that only 600 have been recovered, the rest are lost until they show up at violent crime scenes. The damage from Operation Fast and Furious has only started to be seen. Remember, the Mexican Government and ATF agents working in Mexico were left completely in the dark about the operation.
July 26, 2011
A new report released by Issa’s office shows ATF agents working in Mexico were left in the dark about the details of Operation Fast and Furious. The report shows that in late 2009, ATF officials in Mexico began to see increasing amounts of guns traced to the Phoenix ATF Field Division office showing up at violent crime scenes. Former ATF Attaché to Mexico Darren Gil and ATF Acting Attaché to Mexico Carlos Canino expressed their concerns to officials in the Phoenix Field Office and in Washington D.C. but were ignored. The report shows ATF and DOJ “failed to share crucial details of the of Operation Fast and Furious with either their own employees stationed in Mexico or representatives of the Government of Mexico.” Specifically, personnel in Arizona denied ATF agents working in Mexico information directly related to their jobs and everyday operations.
Issa submitted a request to the White House for information surrounding the operation nearly two weeks ago and that request has not yet been filled. White House Officials have until the end of this week to submit documents requested before Issa takes the next step.
Documentation about what the White House knew about the operation was requested after Special ATF Agent in Charge William Newell admitted in Congressional testimony that he was in contact with White House national security advisers about the operation and after emails surfaced showing at least three White House officials were in contact with the Justice Department about the operation.
Since this scandal came to light in March 2011, the Obama Justice Department has continually stonewalled the investigation from the House Oversight Committee, and not much has changed. Issa said there is an ongoing cover-up of a pattern of ongoing mistakes and that the Justice Department continues to use petty prosecutions to limit information given to the Oversight Committee.
“People are picking their words very carefully,” Issa said.
When asked what the consequences would be for DOJ or ATF officials involved in the operation, Issa said prosecutions may come at the end of this scandal to those who knowingly trafficked weapons across the border and could be held accountable for the death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.
“This was dumb, it was useless and it was lethal,” Issa said.
At Political Theatre, Lew Rockwell mentions my comment to him about Tim Geithner’s father funding President Obama’s mother. The facts are there and it should be broadly understood, but what also should be understood is that it appears Obama had his political career cleared for him right from the start.
I happened to have somewhat of a front row seat when Obama first ran for Senate in Illinois. In the Democratic primary he ran against a very wealthy stock trader, Blair Hull. Hull was unskilled as a politician, but he had big money (his own) to compete against Obama. He had the support of Chicago’s Gold Coast behind him and I attended one event where Billie Jean King endorsed him.
He was well ahead in the polls, when his sealed divorce papers were leaked to the press. During the divorce, his then-wife accused him of hitting her. Now, the one thing you could say about Hull was that he was a meek guy. You never really know what goes on behind closed doors, but my bet would have been that his ex was the one doing the smacking around, rather than him. That said, as we all know, all kinds of accusations can fly in a divorce, especially when hundreds of millions of dollars are at stake.
But the press road this “beating” story, and the politically unskilled Hull plummeted in the polls and Obama won the Democratic primary by a huge margin.
In the general election, Obama faced the very popular Jack Ryan a one time Goldman Sachs partner. It appeared that Obama had no chance against Ryan. But then Ryan’s divorce records and child custody files were released. In the custody files, his then-wife, the actress Jeri Ryan (who had a role as Borg member “Seven of Nine” on Star Trek: Voyager), alleged that Jack Ryan had asked her to perform sexual acts with him in public in sex clubs in New York, New Orleans, and Paris. Jeri Ryan described one as “a bizarre club with cages, whips and other apparatus hanging from the ceiling.”
Days after the release, Ryan withdrew from the race. In his place, the Republican Party placed the ineffective Alan Keyes, and Obama coasted into the Senate seat, receiving 73% of the vote.
It was the largest percentage ever achieved in the state history of U.S. Senate elections. When Lew writes that Obama:
was wafted upwards by the establishment, through the most expensive schools, to a sure-win US senate race, to the presidency, the fact that he was to the Langley manor born might explain it.
He isn’t kidding. Without the extremely weak charges against Hull, that the media mysteriously harped on, Obama would have never made it out of the primaries. Then he comes up against Ryan, who to an outsider would have looked like a formidable opponent, but in retrospect was put in to be taken out Hull-style via divorce related revelations, only to have Obama face the very weak opponent Keyes.
Wafted upwards is exactly what comes to mind.
19 September, 2011
A proposed cross-border deal between Canada and the US is expected to be unveiled in the coming weeks. The Canadian government admits that the agreement includes plans to share security-related information, but says it is consulting with the privacy commissioner to ensure that Canadian interests are “protected and promoted.”
The government’s assurances come on the heels of weeks of reports that Canadian sovereignty is being increasingly eroded at the US border.
Earlier this month it was revealed that Canadians were being denied entry into the US based on their mental health histories.
Just last week it was announced that the US and Canada were set to launch a pilot project cross-designating Canadian and American law enforcement officials called “NextGen” teams to pursue suspected criminals and terrorists on either side of the border.
Also last week, the Rideau Institute released a report criticizing the security plan, warning that “Canadian privacy laws will need to be ignored, violated or weakened” in order for the plan to proceed.
The current plan follows a joint declaration signed by Prime Minister Harper and President Obama in February which committed the two countries to an integration of perimeter security.
Although this is being touted as a new agreement, it is in fact the latest step in a process that has been taking shape for years.
In the wake of 9/11, where the US responded by merging dozens of government agencies under a single cabinet department, the Department of Homeland Security, Canada followed suit with the creation of the Canada Border Services Agency in what many saw as the first step toward the creation of a continental security perimeter.
In 2005, the American and Mexican Council on Foreign Relations and the Canadian Council of Chief Executives issued a proposal for the creation of a common economic and security community in North America by 2010. It recommended unifying visa and refugee regulations, the creation of an integrated terror watch list, the use of biometric border passes and joint inspections of container traffic.
Later that year, the report was taken up and adopted as part of the so-called Security and Prosperity Partnership, a trilateral agreement between the three North American countries that was implemented bureaucratically and bypassed the legislature of each country entirely.
The SPP called for, amongst other things, the creation of a Canadian no-fly list by June of 2007. In June of 2007, Canada implemented the “Passenger Protect Program,” a no-fly list that mirrors the American program, which so far has over one million names of potential terrorist suspects.
In 2008, Canada and America signed a Civil Assistance Plan which allows the armed of forces of either nation to cross the border in the event of a government-designated emergency.
In 2009, the two countries started a Shiprider program whereby American and Canadian law enforcement work together to police shared waterways.
Earlier this year, the Canadian Parliament passed bill C-42, legislation that requires airlines to pass information on all passengers of flights flying over US airspace with the Department of Homeland Security.
Now, Canadians and Americans alike are bracing for a further violation of their sovereignty with the announcement of the latest border agreement. Devoid of the larger historical context in a media that has largely refused to report on the issues involved and deprived of a chance to vote on the issue through a process that is implemented bureaucratically, look for the new agreement, when it is finally unveiled, to be reported on quickly and then forgotten by the public of both countries.
The Missouri state school board voted unanimously this afternoon to strip the Kansas City School District of its accreditation.
The change will not take effect until Jan. 1, giving the community, courts and state policy makers some time to sort through the potential impact.
In the schools, classes will carry on as before. History shows high school graduates’ diplomas will keep their value. But the decision to downgrade the district starts the clock that gives it two full school years — or until June 2014 — to regain accreditation.
If the district fails to rebound in time, the state must intervene. It could take over the district or dissolve it.
Missouri Education Commissioner Chris Nicastro said the state would take a sharper look at the collaborative turnaround effort with the district that is now more than two years running.
“What we had hoped for two years ago did not happen,” Nicastro said. “This is the only recourse we have.
“This is the best decision for the children of Kansas City because it will galvanize definitive action on the part of the community, the district and this department.”
The Kansas City district’s interim superintendent, Steve Green, said the district was disappointed with the decision, but “we understand the basis upon which it was made.”
“We expect our students to be resilient and bounce back from setbacks or from unfavorable situations, and as a district we must do the same,” Green said in a statement released by the district. “Our district now faces a critical test of one of the most important lessons in life — a test of our resilience and persistence. We can, and we will, bounce back from this setback.”
In the meantime, starting Jan. 1, state law enables families in an unaccredited school district to seek enrollment in other districts, with the unaccredited district bearing the cost. That law currently is tied up in a court case out of the St. Louis area and could have a significant impact on Kansas City and its neighboring districts.
“Until and unless all districts and all citizens of the state take responsibility for the success of all of its children, we will not meet our goals,” Nicastro said.
If your child hasn’t received the whooping cough vaccine, he or she is now banned from attending class at many California schools. Despite legitimate religious or personal health reasons for rejecting the whooping cough vaccine, your child simply cannot attend class. Due to a law that requires all students entering grades seven through 12 be vaccinated, the San Francisco school district has begun sending home children who do not have proof of receiving the whooping cough vaccination.
Proof of vaccine ineffectiveness
Why are schools afraid of unvaccinated children spreading the disease to vaccinated children if the whooping cough vaccine is truly effective? How could an unvaccinated child spread the disease to someone who has already received the whooping cough vaccine?
Interestingly enough, scientists have found that vaccinating against the whooping cough is actually an ineffective waste of money. In fact, widespread vaccination of adults against whooping cough (pertussis) would do almost nothing to reduce infection rates among unvaccinated children according to a study conducted by researchers from the University of Michigan and published in the journal Science.
The IB Times reports:
The law, which requires that all students entering grades seven through 12 be vaccinated, took effect for the 2011-2012 school year. The state legislature passed a 30-day extension over the summer to give students more time to comply, but thousands of students still have not gotten the vaccine — and, depending on the school district they’re in, some of them can’t attend class until they do.
Starting on Thursday, the San Francisco school district sent home students who came to school without proof of vaccination or a signed “parental personal belief exemption,” in which parents can certify that they have chosen not to vaccinate their child because of personal opposition to vaccinations.
Please begin your research into the dangers of vaccines with 100 Compiled Studies on Vaccine Dangers showing them to be ineffective, or outright dangerous, and use this to educate those around you. Please also visit Natural Society for additional info. about vaccine dangers, alternative medicine, and natural health.
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said Tuesday that his committee plans to investigate government loan programs to private corporations in light of allegations of improper dealings between the White House and failed energy company Solyndra and wireless start-up LightSquared.
“I want to see when the president and his cronies are picking winners and losers… it wasn’t because there were large contributions given to them,” the chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee said Tuesday morning on C-SPAN.
Issa said the committee was looking at whether it was improper for members of Congress or White House staff to select companies eligible for subsidized government loans when those companies could give campaign donations. Loan programs have been a popular tool to provide funding for popular industries — like tech, green energy, and American auto companies — at more favorable terms than could be secured privately.
The Obama administration has been defending itself against criticism by Republicans that it exerted improper influence to the aid of both companies.
Solyndra abruptly filed for bankruptcy earlier this month, surprising both employees and the administration, which had secured $535 million in low-interest loans for the company.
Drug deaths now outnumber traffic fatalities in U.S., data show
Fueling the surge are prescription pain and anxiety drugs that are potent, highly addictive and especially dangerous when combined with one another or with other drugs or alcohol.
Lori Smith of Aliso Viejo with photographs of her son Nolan, who died of a drug overdose in January 2009, six months shy of his 16th birthday. A toxicology test turned up Zoloft, which had been prescribed for anxiety, and a host of other drugs that had not been prescribed, including two additional anti-anxiety drugs, as well as morphine and marijuana. (Liz O. Baylen / Los Angeles Times / September 18, 2011)
Propelled by an increase in prescription narcotic overdoses, drug deaths now outnumber traffic fatalities in the United States, a Times analysis of government data has found.
Drugs exceeded motor vehicle accidents as a cause of death in 2009, killing at least 37,485 people nationwide, according to preliminary data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
While most major causes of preventable death are declining, drugs are an exception. The death toll has doubled in the last decade, now claiming a life every 14 minutes. By contrast, traffic accidents have been dropping for decades because of huge investments in auto safety.
Public health experts have used the comparison to draw attention to the nation’s growing prescription drug problem, which they characterize as an epidemic. This is the first time that drugs have accounted for more fatalities than traffic accidents since the government started tracking drug-induced deaths in 1979.
Fueling the surge in deaths are prescription pain and anxiety drugs that are potent, highly addictive and especially dangerous when combined with one another or with other drugs or alcohol. Among the most commonly abused are OxyContin, Vicodin, Xanax and Soma. One relative newcomer to the scene is Fentanyl, a painkiller that comes in the form of patches and lollipops and is 100 times more powerful than morphine.
Such drugs now cause more deaths than heroin and cocaine combined.
“The problem is right here under our noses in our medicine cabinets,” said Laz Salinas, a sheriff’s commander in Santa Barbara, which has seen a dramatic rise in prescription drug deaths in recent years.
Overdose victims range in age and circumstance from teenagers who pop pills to get a heroin-like high to middle-aged working men and women who take medications prescribed for strained backs and bum knees and become addicted.
A review of hundreds of autopsy reports in Southern California reveals one tragic demise after another: A 19-year-old Army recruit, who had just passed his military physical, took a handful of Xanax and painkillers while partying with friends. A groom, anxious over his upcoming wedding, overdosed on a cocktail of prescription drugs. A teenage honors student overdosed on painkillers her father left in his medicine cabinet from a surgery years earlier. A toddler was orphaned after both parents overdosed on prescription drugs months apart. A grandmother suffering from chronic back pain apparently forgot she’d already taken her daily regimen of pills and ended up double dosing.
Many died after failed attempts at rehab — or after using one too many times while contemplating quitting. That’s apparently what happened to a San Diego woman found dead with a Fentanyl patch on her body, one of five she’d applied in the 24 hours before her death. Next to her on the couch was a notebook with information about rehab.
The seeds of the problem were planted more than a decade ago by well-meaning efforts by doctors to mitigate suffering, as well as aggressive sales campaigns by pharmaceutical manufacturers. In hindsight, the liberalized prescription of pain drugs “may in fact be the cause of the epidemic we’re now facing,” said Linda Rosenstock, dean of the UCLA School of Public Health.
In some ways, prescription drugs are more dangerous than illicit ones because users don’t have their guard up, said Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Sgt. Steve Opferman, head of a county task force on prescription drug-related crimes. “People feel they are safer with prescription drugs because you get them from a pharmacy and they are prescribed by a doctor,” Opferman said. “Younger people believe they are safer because they see their parents taking them. It doesn’t have the same stigma as using street narcotics.”
Lori Smith said she believes that’s what her son might have been thinking the night he died six months shy of his 16th birthday. Nolan Smith, of Aliso Viejo, loved to surf, sail and fish with his brother and father. He suffered from migraines and anxiety but showed no signs of drug abuse, his mother said.
The night before he died in January 2009, Nolan called his mother at work, asking for a ride to the girls basketball game at Aliso Niguel High School. Lori told him she couldn’t get away.
When Nolan didn’t come home that evening, his parents called police and his friends. His body was found the next morning on a stranger’s front porch.
A toxicology test turned up Zoloft, which had been prescribed for anxiety, and a host of other drugs that had not been prescribed, including two additional anti-anxiety drugs, as well as morphine and marijuana.
All investigators could give the family were theories.
“They said they will have parties where the kids will throw a bunch of pills in a bowl and the kids take them without knowing what they are,” Lori said. “We called all of his friends, but no one would say they were with him. But he must have been with someone. You just don’t do that by yourself.”
The triumph of public health policies that have improved traffic safety over the years through the use of seat belts, air bags and other measures stands in stark contrast to the nation’s record on prescription drugs. Even though more people are driving more miles, traffic fatalities have dropped by more than a third since the early 1970s to 36,284 in 2009. Drug-induced deaths had equaled or surpassed traffic fatalities in California, 22 other states and the District of Columbia even before the 2009 figures revealed the shift at the national level, according to the Times analysis.
The Centers for Disease Control collects data on all causes of death each year and analyzes them to identify health problems. Drug-induced deaths are mostly accidental overdoses but also include suicides and fatal diseases caused by drugs.
The CDC’s 2009 statistics are the agency’s most current. They are considered preliminary because they reflect 96% of death certificates filed. The remaining are deaths for which the causes were not immediately clear.
Drug fatalities more than doubled among teens and young adults between 2000 and 2008, years for which more detailed data are available. Deaths more than tripled among people aged 50 to 69, the Times analysis found. In terms of sheer numbers, the death toll is highest among people in their 40s.
Overdose deaths involving prescription painkillers, including OxyContin and Vicodin, and anti-anxiety drugs such as Valium and Xanax more than tripled between 2000 and 2008.
The rise in deaths corresponds with doctors prescribing more painkillers and anti-anxiety medications. The number of prescriptions for the strongest pain pills filled at California pharmacies, for instance, increased more than 43% since 2007 — and the doses grew by even more, nearly 50%, according to a review of prescribing data collected by the state.
Those prescriptions provide relief to pain sufferers but also fuel a thriving black market. Prescription drugs are traded on Internet chat rooms that buzz with offers of “vikes,” “percs” and “oxys” for $10 to $80 a pill. They are sold on street corners along with heroin, marijuana and crack. An addiction to prescription drugs can be costly; a heavy OxyContin habit can run twice as much as a heroin addiction, authorities say.
On a recent weekday morning, Los Angeles County undercover sheriff’s deputies posing as drug buyers easily purchased enough pills to fill a medicine cabinet on a sidewalk a few blocks south of Los Angeles City Hall.
The most commonly abused prescription drug, hydrocodone, also is the most widely prescribed drug in America, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency. Better known as Vicodin, the pain reliever is prescribed more often than the top cholesterol drug and the top antibiotic.
“We have an insatiable appetite for this drug — insatiable,” Joseph T. Rannazzisi, a top DEA administrator, told a group of pharmacists at a regulatory meeting in Sacramento.
In April, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy announced initiatives aimed at stanching prescription drug abuse. The plans include a series of drug take-back days, modeled after similar programs involving weapons, in which consumers are encouraged to turn leftover prescription drugs in to authorities. Another initiative would develop voluntary courses to train physicians on how to safely prescribe pain drugs, a curriculum that is not widely taught in medical schools.
Initial attempts to reverse the trend in drug deaths — such as state-run prescription drug-monitoring programs aimed at thwarting “doctor-shopping” addicts — don’t appear to be having much effect, experts say.
“What’s really scary is we don’t know a lot about how to reduce prescription deaths,” said Amy S.B. Bohnert, a researcher at the University of Michigan Medical School who is studying ways to lower the risk of prescription drugs.
“It’s a wonderful medical advancement that we can treat pain,” Bohnert said. “But we haven’t figured out the safety belt yet.”
State Sen. Michael Doherty will endorse
U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) for president
on Monday, Paul’s campaign announced today.
“Now more than ever, the United States needs a leader who respects the Constitution and who will return liberty and prosperity to the American people,” said Doherty (R-Warren) in a press release posted on Paul’s campaign website.
Paul will be in Trenton on Monday, where Doherty will endorse him on the Statehouse steps.
Doherty, who also endorsed Paul in his unsuccessful 2008 bid for president, is the first Republican lawmaker from New Jersey to endorse a presidential candidate this year.
“I think everything Ron Paul was talking about in 2007 and 2008 has come true ,” said Doherty. “For example, he’s talked about some of the bubbles that have been created by the things the federal reserve has been doing. He’s talked about the dollar being devalued. He opposed the bailouts ,” said Doherty.”I think he’s also been a leader about using our military in a constitutional manner. He wants to bring our troops home.”