Zebra 3 Report by Joe Anybody
Thursday, 19 August 2010
Conspiracy 10 Theories
Now Playing: 'Patriot' Paranoia: A Look at the Top Ten Conspiracy Theories
'Patriot' Paranoia: A Look at the Top Ten Conspiracy Theories
Illustration by Paul Rogers
Conspiracy theorizing has flourished as a virtual art form in all nations and across all political persuasions. But the American radical right has to be considered a strong contender for the title of modern conspiracy champion. A vast body of academic literature exists exploring this history, of which Richard Hofstadter's 1964 essay, "The Paranoid Style in American Politics" is the most famous. Hundreds of books and articles have chronicled the rise (and fall) of an unceasing march of disparate conspiracy-based movements that, at different points in American history, have trembled before and warned against imaginary threats posed by Catholics, Mormons, Jews, American Communists, Freemasons, bankers, and U.S. government officials and agencies.
Scholars continue to debate the psychological and sociological origins of conspiracy theories, but there is no arguing that these theories have seen a revival on the extreme right in recent years. Over the last two decades, a far-right conspiracy culture of self-proclaimed "Patriots" has emerged in which the United States government itself is viewed as a mortal threat to everything from constitutional democracy to the survival of the human race. This conspiracy revival — which has been accompanied by the explosive growth of Patriot groups over the last year and a half — kicked into overdrive with the 2008 election of President Barack Obama, who is seen by Patriots as a foreign-born Manchurian candidate sent by forces of the so-called "New World Order" to destroy American sovereignty and institute one-world socialist government.
Since Obama's election, the constituent theories within the overarching narrative of the New World Order have increasingly made inroads into the mainstream national discourse. Thanks to conservative cable news hosts like Glenn Beck (of Fox News) and Lou Dobbs (formerly of CNN), conspiratorial rants about FEMA concentration camps and the "North American Union" have been beamed directly into the living rooms of millions of Americans. Websites popular with Tea Party conservatives, meanwhile, have further stoked fears of a socialistic one-world government takeover by "un-American" forces. Joseph Farah's WorldNetDaily.com, for example, has grown its influence by peddling paranoia about the president's birth certificate and AmeriCorps' "domestic armies." Earlier this year, the John Birch Society, a group with a long history of hatching and promoting wild conspiracy theories (including the idea that President Eisenhower was a communist agent), co-sponsored the Conservative Political Action Conference, an annual powwow of leading conservatives and Republican Party figures. Speakers at this year's conference included such mainstream names as Washington Post columnist George Will, former GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee and Republican House Minority Leader John Boehner.
Here is a compilation of 10 of the most popular conspiracy theories currently circulating on the radical right and, increasingly, on points of the political spectrum much too close to the center for comfort.
In the world of Patriot antigovernment paranoia, New World Order forces attempt to manipulate and control the unwitting population from every conceivable source and direction — from the images on your television screen to the very water that comes out of your kitchen tap. In recent years, the New World Order has been meddling most nefariously from above, high among the clouds.
Few Internet-age antigovernment conspiracies have spread as quickly or as widely as the idea of "chemtrails": the belief that air and water vapor contrails that form in the wake of high-altitude aircraft are really clouds of toxic soup being deliberately sprayed by hundreds, if not thousands, of secret government planes executing the designs of the New World Order. What is the insidious purpose of the chemtrails program? It depends which paranoid Patriot you ask. The most popular theories include population control, weather manipulation, and outright human extermination. If, as some cultural historians suggest, the UFO sightings of the 1940s and 50s were the skyward projection of early atomic-age fears, chemtrails are the climate-change-age corollary, with cultural panic over pollution and strange weather mixing with deeper traditions of Patriot antigovernment animus.
Hundreds of websites currently peddle chemtrails theories, along with books, DVDs and all manner of survivalist gear. They maintain that toxic clouds in the sky are easily distinguished from normal contrails by their longer duration and expansive dissipation patterns. Most of the spraying is believed to take place at night over the population centers of the NATO countries, especially the United States.
Who, exactly, is responsible for the program? There are conflicting schools of thought here as well. But among Patriot groups it is generally agreed that some alignment of New World Order lords — sometimes referred to as the Illuminati — is busy spraying cities and towns with pathogens. In the grimmest of the scenarios, the spraying represents the first of a two-stage depopulation program. Stage one involves spreading pathogens to weaken humanity's collective immune system; once general T-cell weakness is attained, goes the theory, we can expect aerial dispersal of smallpox or anthrax to finish us off.
Fear over chemtrails long ago spread beyond the Patriot fringe. Twenty years ago, the buzz surrounding chemtrails had grown to the extent that the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration felt compelled to issue a joint "Aircraft Contrails Factsheet." The six-page illustrated report patiently explained the science of contrails, such as the role humidity plays in the variance between how long contrails linger and spread, sometimes forming cirrus cloud cover, and pointed out that they have zero impact on human health.
But as these things go, official efforts to confront the conspiracy only fueled its growth. It is today bigger than ever, commanding adherents across the globe.
02 Martial Law
If Patriot groups fear anything more than the water vapor in the sky, it is the imminent imposition of martial law. A longstanding and central plank of the Patriot catechism is the belief that one day — very soon! — federal forces, in league with the states, will suspend constitutional government and institute a police state.
During the first few years after the 9/11 attacks, this fear was also discussed on the left. But what was a temporary concern there has long been an absolute certainty on the far right. Today, hundreds of Patriot groups around the country are actively preparing for the declaration of martial law, some of them by mapping wilderness areas, learning how to set booby traps, studying and practicing guerrilla warfare tactics, and setting up short-wave radio communications systems. The question is not if, but when, the New World Order will come crashing down.
Patriot groups believe the legal groundwork for the inevitable imposition of martial law is being laid in Washington, within the pages of a steady stream of classified National Security documents and directives. At the local level, meanwhile, they suspect town and city governments are also in on the plan, as evidenced by their passing of emergency powers ordinances.
Once the legal mechanisms are in place, all that's needed is a "crisis trigger," for which Patriots are constantly on the lookout. Whether this trigger is real or manufactured matters less than the fact that it will succeed in frightening the population into submission and be used to justify suspension of the Constitution. This crisis trigger could take any form. Common scenarios suggested on Patriot discussion boards include economic collapse, followed by massive social unrest; a global (and likely government-created) pandemic; multiple acts of mega-terrorism (again, featuring government collusion); or possibly a fraudulent presidential election, resulting in rioting in major cities around the country.
Patriot groups often refer to the unelected junta that will rule the coming police state as a "metropolitan government." This language, like the martial law scenario, has a long pedigree. As Patriot/survivalist Don Harkin explains in the Idaho Observer, a conspiracy rag popular among militia groups: "Metropolitan government was exposed in the late 1950s by Jo Hindman. … [Today] this unconstitutional form of government is being implemented all over the country — particularly in the nation's more densely populated areas such as Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Portland and Seattle."
Once the "metropolitan government" is instituted, most Patriots are certain they will immediately be rounded up and sent to internment camps — which takes us to our next conspiracy.
03 FEMA Concentration Camps
Following the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City by Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Domestic Terrorism held hearings on the Patriot/militia subculture that bred and nurtured the bombers. Throughout the hearings, a running theme expressed by Patriots was a fear that "urban gangs," directed by Washington and possibly acting in concert with U.N. and foreign troops, would sweep in from the coasts, confiscate their guns, and round them up. This home-invasion force would hold down the streets during the imposition of martial law, then send the members of Patriot militias to internment camps run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which most Patriot groups consider to be "the executive arm of the coming police state."
This conspiracy has recently surged in popularity, especially after the Senate in March 2009 passed the Serve America Act, the meat of which was a multi-billion-dollar expansion of AmeriCorps, a federal program that employs many inner-city youths in community service jobs. For the Patriot fringe (and media enablers like Glenn Beck), the thought of billions of dollars going to employ inner-city youth evoked images of "domestic armies." Soon, the far-right media was full of warnings about "Obama's brown shirts" and "slavery."
The renewed chatter about "FEMA concentration camps" took many forms. Glenn Beck promised to "look into it." Films such as "Camp FEMA: American Lockdown," featuring conspiracy-monger Alex Jones, have been wildly popular on conspiracy-driven websites like martiallawsurvival.com, outselling all previous conspiracy-driven pseudo-documentaries. Aerial photographs, each supposedly showing secret government holding facilities, went viral on the Web.
Of course, the photos showed nothing of the sort. A careful review of some of the photographs carried out by Popular Mechanics editor James Meigs made clear that the visual "evidence" was bogus in every instance. For example, a photograph of an alleged secret prison was actually a North Korean work camp. Other photographs showed nothing more sinister than well-known National Guard training centers and Amtrak rail yards.
Just as the agencies responsible for air travel and air quality have tried to respond to the chemtrails conspiracy allegations, so, too, has FEMA gone on record reassuring Americans that it has no intention of abrogating the Constitution or rounding up citizens. An internal FEMA memo, however, made clear that agency brass understands the losing-battle nature of trying to quell the conspiracies. "Most people know us as the agency that responds to natural disasters," the memo read. "Others believe we have a somewhat sinister role. For the latter, it is not realistic to think that we can convince them otherwise and it is advisable not to enter into debate on the subject."
04 Foreign Troops on U.S. Soil
While "urban gangs" are considered a leading candidate to enforce a New World Order (NWO) lockdown, they are not the only threatening force clouding the Patriot mind. There is also a belief on the radical right that treasonous government officials are colluding with other governments to suppress Americans with the use of foreign troops. Patriots believe this foreign assistance will be necessary due to the patriotism of America's own troops. As explained on the Patriot website libertyforlife.com, many U.S. active military personnel and veterans would likely refuse orders to suppress the rights of their fellow citizens, and so "the US/NWO/UN government is importing foreign troops into the USA to do what US soldiers did to Iraq." Among the many Patriot groups dedicated to resisting this is the Oath Keepers, made up of veteran and active-duty U.S. military personnel.
Whose troops, exactly, would be deployed here? Those of whichever allies the U.S. is partnering with at any given moment. For example, Patriot sites were atwitter with news that, in July 2009, FEMA organized a terrorist-response exercise in conjunction with troops from 14 allied countries, including Australia, Canada, Mexico and the United Kingdom.
After the 2009 exercise, the Web burst with YouTube clips attempting to alert people to the sinister presence of foreign troops. Like other popular conspiracies to see a revival in recent years, this one is hardly new. In 1997, one Patriot blogger warned that Red Chinese troops would be allowed to take over America. The fevered language of this Clinton-era theorist nicely captures the frantic energy that has always defined Patriot conspiracy culture, as well as the racial dimension never far from the surface of so many conspiracies:
"During the 1950's, the elitists planning for world government made plans to use occupation forces in every country that did not submit to their greedy, arrogant ambitions. Their plan called for using Chinese troops in America… . Now that American soldiers have been used in Kuwait, Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, and Kosovo, a precedent has been set to bring the red Chinese troops here. The UN could justify such an action if the Black Muslims instigate a race war. I expect this scenario if the Democrats loose [sic] the White House and Congress in the 2000 elections. Comrade Clinton could not be slicker in making himself Commandant of Gulag America."
05 'Door-to-Door' Gun Confiscations
One of the defining features of Patriot/militia subculture is an obsession with firearms. Patriot groups stockpile them, train using them, and, perhaps most of all, worry about losing them. Any attempt to restrain their gun rights is viewed as the thin-edge-wedge of a New World Order crackdown. Patriots believe it inevitable that NWO forces in black masks and jackboots — and possibly UN blue helmets — will one day be sent door to door to take away their weapons by force. This fear is also stoked by mainstream figures within the conservative movement. Wayne LaPierre, the president of the National Rifle Association, a major player in the Republican Party coalition, is the author of a book entitled, The Global War on Your Guns: Inside the UN Plan To Destroy the Bill of Rights. In 2006, Louisiana Republican Sen. David Vitter attached an amendment to a domestic-security spending bill that prohibited the confiscation of legally owned guns during an emergency. The measure passed by a vote of 84-16.
Within Patriot subculture, the gun-confiscation fear sometimes dovetails with other conspiracies of an anti-Semitic flavor. Proponents of gun control in these instances are seen as representing a New World Order cabal run by Jews. At the website Real Zionist News, for example, a New York State gun control law aimed at protecting police officers was described as "the first step toward confiscation." According to the site, "The real agenda is to disarm law-abiding GENTILES, whom Zionist Jews fear will soon discover Jewry's anti-American, freedom-hating mission."
06 9/11 as Government Plot
The Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C., were seen by both the far left and far right as fitting the bill for an intentional "crisis trigger." In the weeks and months after the attacks, a subculture of "9/11 Truthism" emerged in which the attacks were seen as anything but a simple case of well-trained Al Qaeda operatives flying planes into landmark buildings. Instead, "truthers" argued that the World Trade Center buildings were destroyed by controlled demolitions, that a missile brought down United Airlines 93, and that a missile — and not an airliner at all — struck the Pentagon. Who was responsible? The U.S. government, of course. On the far left, the reason seen for attacking the American people was to justify a perpetual state of war; on the far right, it provided an excuse for the government to, at long last, institute a police state.
On both extremes, a distinct current of anti-Semitism runs through 9/11 conspiracies. Especially in the right-wing variants associated with Patriot groups — and in a number of radical-right black separatist group as well — the central agents are often very pointedly described as either high officials of Jewish descent or outright Israeli agents. Another feature of anti-Semitic 9/11 conspiracies is the popular claim that 4,000 Israelis and Jews did not show up for work at the World Trade Center on the morning of the attacks. The origins of that conspiracy theory appear to have come from a statement by the Israeli Foreign Ministry that some "4,000 Israelis" were in the New York and Washington areas the day of the attacks. Here again, we see how a misread or misconstrued fact can be distorted through paranoia and multiplied by the power of the Internet, allowing totally unfounded rumors to travel the globe at warp speed.
For many Patriot groups dedicated to the fight against the New World Order — often referred to as "American Revolution II" — the American people have been denied the truth about the 2001 attacks by "the New World Order-controlled corporatist-Jewish media."
Of course, when this media does mention 9/11 truther claims, this, too, is seen as evidence of a conspiracy within a conspiracy. For example, when former White House official Van Jones was found to have signed a petition calling for an investigation into truther-related allegations, Patriots saw the subsequent media attention as a ruse. "Our patriot movements are totally being hijacked," said Jeffrey Grupp of the popular conspiracy website AntiMatterRadio.com, "not by infiltrators, but by a takeover of our patriot discussions."
That's typical of most conspiracies in the Patriot pantheon: When the mainstream media does not address the conspiracists' allegations, it is proof of their propaganda role. And when they do, it is a sign of an even more sophisticated and perfidious manipulation.
07 Population Control
For the conspiracy-minded, there is no such thing as an accidental tragedy or historical caprice. Each epidemic, mass industrial poisoning and medical advance (vaccinations, in particular) is just another highly suspicious example of the latest technologies being employed to further the agenda of hidden New World Order forces.
When the fluoridation of the U.S. water supply began in the middle of the last century, proto-Patriot groups screamed of a poisonous plot by communists in high places. A half century later, when the Food and Drug Administration approved aspartame as an ingredient in numerous food items, the descendents of the anti-fluoride conspiracists sounded yet another poison-ingredient alarm. But even aspartame paled in comparison to the threat supposedly posed by the avian flu virus, which many Patriots, from the late 1990s to the present, believe to be the result of research conducted at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Maryland's Fort Detrick.
In the Patriot mind, population control is often intimately linked to gun rights. After all, they say, it was gun control that led to large-scale slaughters in nations as diverse at Idi Amin's Uganda, Josef Stalin's Russia, Adolf Hitler's Germany and Mustafa Kemal Ataturk's Turkey. American citizens, they believe, once deprived of their guns, will be next in line for a slaughter worthy of the history books.
What is the point of limiting — or even intentionally decimating — the U.S. population? One Patriot theory says the United Nations wants to create a "biosphere" out of most of the United States, and that eliminating the humans who put pressure on the environment will be a necessary first step.
Increasingly, devastating weather events are considered the result of government-engineered efforts to depopulate the country. In Patriot circles, Hurricane Katrina was not only seen as a pretext to begin confiscating guns, but is sometimes viewed as a man-made disaster orchestrated in secret government command centers where sophisticated high-altitude weapons control both the weather and the minds of men.
Chief among these weapons is one allegedly operating high above the earth, appropriately enough named after the instrument traditionally favored by mythological angels.
This is the "Death Star" of the Patriot conspiracy galaxy, around which so many other conspiracies orbit and often intersect.
According to the U.S. government, the High-frequency Active Auroral Research Program is a joint scientific research project of the Air Force and Navy, based in Gakona, Ala., whose stated purpose is "studying the properties and behavior of the ionosphere, with particular emphasis on being able to understand and use it to enhance communications and surveillance systems for both civilian and defense purposes."
Few true-blue Patriots believe that — and they aren't alone in their skepticism. Earlier this year, former Minnesota governor and tele-conspiracist Jesse Ventura visited the HAARP site for his TV show in an attempt to probe the official claims and find out "what's really going on." For those enthralled to a Patriot view of the world, the government's description of HAARP only scratches the surface. To the conspiracy-minded, HAARP is a government program tasked with creating secret directed-energy weapons, instruments for weather and mind control, and even potent new methods to cause earthquakes. Predictably, after January's devastating earthquake in Haiti, some Patriot sites noted that the neighboring Dominican Republic was undamaged, leading them to speculate that the U.S. government was responsible and had targeted Haiti alone — ignoring the more relevant explanation that the Republic's capital and major population center, Santo Domingo, was 160 miles from the quake's epicenter.
Discussions of HAARP often overlap with the chemtrails conspiracy. Many Patriot sites argue that NATO aircraft are spraying the toxic soup as part of a top-secret HAARP-related weather-modification program, or are refining a new-generation of high-frequency atmospheric weapons developed at the HAARP research center. Any number of wild-eyed (and self-published) introductions to the subject of HAARP are circulating on the web; one example is HAARP: The Ultimate Weapon of the Conspiracy, by Jerry E. Smith.
09 The Federal Reserve Conspiracy
It wasn't long after its creation under Woodrow Wilson that the Federal Reserve System became a central fixture in the world of right-wing conspiracy. It was seen, rightly, as introducing European-style central banking into the United States. It was also seen, this time wrongly, as the latest form of spreading Jewish and banker control over every aspect of American life. No one did more to promote anti-Fed hysteria in the early years than automobile magnate Henry Ford, who in the 1920s penned a multi-volume, anti-Semitic conspiracy opus called The International Jew, in which the Fed plays a starring role.
Ford's modern-day ideological descendants in the Patriot movement continue to view the Fed — without question, an opaque institution to most — through a lens colored by deep suspicion, paranoia, and hatred. For many, it remains the ultimate symbol of New Word Order power, in both Jewish and non-Jewish variants. Nor is anti-Fed paranoia limited to the Patriot fringe. Both the Idaho-based neo-Nazi group Aryan Nations and the black separatist Nation of Islam have claimed significance for the fact that the Federal Reserve System and the Anti-Defamation League both were founded in 1913.
In May 2009, a group of leading radical rightists convened on the South Georgia key known as Jekyll Island, where 100 years earlier bankers and government officials first hashed out plans for what became the Federal Reserve System. This meeting played a key role in launching the current resurgence of militias. Less than five months into the Obama Administration, the Jekyll Island conclave warned of "increasing national instability," worried about the coming New World Order, denounced secret schemes to merge Canada, Mexico and the United States, and furiously attacked the President Barack Obama's "socialized" policies.
Which leads, appropriately, to our final top conspiracy.
10 The North American Union
Since the passage of NAFTA in 1993, fears of economic dislocation and loss of sovereignty have animated both sides of the political spectrum. On the left, these fears are centered on the growth of transnational corporate power at the expense of U.S. labor and national policy. In some circles on the right, the trade bill is seen as the beginning of the so-called "North American Union" (NAU), the goal of a secret plan to merge the United States with Mexico and Canada and, in the process, eliminate sovereign government for each country. It is also a dominant conspiracy theory animating the hard-line anti-immigration movement, which overlaps heavily with Patriot territory.
As proof of the NAU plot, left- and right-wing conspiracy theorists typically point to the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP), a series of working groups between the countries of North America to study regulatory cooperation in transportation, energy, aviation, the environment and more. To many adherents, participants at these meetings plot how best to send millions of Mexico's citizens to the United States, erect international courts designed to overrule and undermine American law, and pass continental hate crime laws that will send anti-gay Christian preachers to prison, and more.
In recent years, the paranoia about the SPP process has become so intense that a proposed highway project linking Canada, Mexico and the United States — the NAFTA-inspired Canamex Corridor concept which has managed only 85% completion after 15 years of planning — is seen as part of an evil design that will end with the Mexican government seizing control of Kansas City's Missouri River port. Other conspiracy theorists fear that a new currency, the "Amero," will displace American dollars — though no U.S. official of even marginal influence has ever proposed such a thing. (This last fear is odd coming from Patriot circles that otherwise have no love for Federal Reserve-issued greenbacks.)
As with so many conspiracies, the NAU plot is often inflamed by real news items that are seen as vastly more significant than they really are. This is especially true when the news items involve traditional New World Order bogeymen. In 2005, for example, when the Council on Foreign Relations released a document entitled "Building a North American Community" — calling for exploring the idea of further integration of Canada, the United States and Mexico — Patriot sites responded as if the report were a New World Order directive, spelling the imminent end of national sovereignty.
Alexander Zaitchik is a former Intelligence Report staff writer and free-lance journalist based in New York. His first book, Common Nonsense: Glenn Beck and the Triumph of Ignorance, has just been published by John Wiley & Sons Inc.
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 11:29 PM PDT
Monday, 16 August 2010
USA (America) is rotting (right now)
Now Playing: 18 Signs That America Is Rotting Right In Front Of Our Eyes
Topic: FAILURE by the GOVERNMENT
|18 Signs That America Is Rotting Right In Front Of Our Eyes |
|Published on 08-17-2010|
By Michael Snyder - BLN Contributing Writer
Sometimes it isn’t necessary to quote facts and figures about government debt, unemployment and the trade deficit in order to convey how badly America is decaying. The truth is that millions of Americans can watch America rotting right in front of their eyes by stepping out on their front porches. Record numbers of homes have been foreclosed on and in some of the most run down cities as many as a third of all houses have been abandoned. Unemployment remains at depressingly high levels and the number of Americans on food stamps continues to set new records month after month. Due to severe budget cuts, class sizes are exploding and school programs are being eliminated. In some areas of the U.S. schools are even going to four day weeks. With little to no funding available, bridges are crumbling and street lights are being turned off in many communities. In some areas, asphalt roads are actually being ground up and turned back into gravel roads because they are less expensive to maintain. There aren’t even as many police available to patrol America’s decaying cities because budget problems have forced local communities across the U.S. to lay off tens of thousands of officers.
Once upon a time, the American people worked feverishly to construct beautiful, shining communities from coast to coast. But now we get to watch those communities literally crumble and decay in slow motion. Nothing lasts forever, but for those of us who truly love America it is an incredibly sad thing to witness what is now happening to the great nation that our forefathers built.
The following are 18 signs that America is rotting right in front of our eyes….
1 – Due to extreme budget cuts, school systems across the United States are requiring their students to bring more supplies with them than ever this year. In Moody, Alabama elementary school students are being told to bring paper towels, garbage bags and liquid soap with them to school. At Pauoa Elementary School in Honolulu, Hawaii all students are being required to show up with a four-pack of toilet paper.
2 – According to the American Association of School Administrators, 48 percent of all U.S. school districts are reporting budget cuts of 10 percent or less for the upcoming school year, and 30 percent of all U.S. school districts are reporting cuts of 11 to 25 percent.
3 – In Chicago, drastic budget cuts could result in an average class size of 37 students.
4 – The governor of Hawaii has completely shut down that state’s schools on Fridays - moving teachers and students to a four day week.
5 – According to the Federal Highway Administration, approximately a third of America’s major roadways are already in substandard condition.
6 – All over the United States, asphalt roads are being ground up and are being replaced with gravel because it is cheaper to maintain. The state of South Dakota has transformed over 100 miles of asphalt road into gravel over the past year, and 38 out of the 83 counties in the state of Michigan have now turned some of their asphalt roads into gravel roads.
7 – According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, more than 25 percent of America’s nearly 600,000 bridges need significant repairs or are burdened with more traffic than they were designed to carry.
8 – In a desperate attempt to save money, the city of Colorado Springs turned off a third of its streetlights and put its police helicopters up for auction.
9 – The state of Arizona has eliminated funding for full-day kindergarten and has shut down a number of state parks.
10 – Over the past year, approximately 100 of New York’s state parks and historic sites have had to cut services and reduce hours.
11 - In Georgia, the county of Clayton recently eliminated its entire public bus system in order to save 8 million dollars.
12 – Elsewhere in Georgia, 30,000 people recently turned out to pick up only 13,000 applications for government-subsidized housing. A near-riot ensued and 62 people were left injured. The amazing thing is that all of this commotion was just to get on a waiting list. There are no aid vouchers even available at this time.
13- In the city of Philadelphia, rolling fire station “brown outs” recently cost a 12 year old autistic boy named Frank Marasco his life.
14- Oakland, California Police Chief Anthony Batts says that due to severe budget cuts there are a number of crimes that his department will simply not be able to respond to any longer. The crimes that the Oakland police will no longer be responding to include grand theft, burglary, car wrecks, identity theft and vandalism.
15- The sheriff’s department in Ashtabula County, Ohio has been slashed from 112 to 49 deputies, and there is now just one vehicle remaining to patrol all 720 square miles of the county.
16 – Of 315 municipalities the New Jersey State Policemen’s union recently canvassed, more than half indicated that they were planning to lay off police officers.
17 – Not that the criminals are doing that much better. Things have gotten so bad in Camden, New Jersey that not even the drug dealers are spending their money anymore.
18 – Almost everyone knows someone who has been severely impacted by this economic downturn. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey has found that 81 percent of American adults know someone who is out of work and looking for a job.
So can’t the states just step up and start spending more money and fix these things?
Well, no. The truth is that the states are absolutely broke. Quite a few of the states are actually on the verge of default, and there is no getting around the fact that budget cuts that are much more severe are going to be required in the years ahead.
So can’t the U.S. government step in and bail out the states?
Well, yes, but as we have detailed previously, the U.S. government is literally drowning in a sea of red ink. The U.S. government is already spending an amount of money equivalent to approximately 25.4 percent of GDP this year.
How much more money can the U.S. government possibly spend?
To get an idea of just how bad things are already, the IMF says that in order to fix the U.S. government budget deficit, taxes need to be doubled on every single U.S. citizen.
Are you ready to pay double the taxes?
No matter how you slice it, the U.S. is in a massive amount of financial trouble and the American people are starting to realize this fact. In fact, one new poll found that nearly two-thirds of Americans believe that the U.S. economy will get worse before it gets better.
But unfortunately things are not going to get “better” – at least in the long-term. The decay and the rot that have already set in are only going to get worse.
These problems did not appear overnight and they are not going to be solved overnight. Our leaders have been making very bad decisions for decades, and all of those bad decisions are starting to catch up with us.
But perhaps you disagree. Feel free to tell us what you think in the comments section below….
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 12:01 AM PDT
This is backward thinking (Pro capitalist rip-off) disinformation / Spin / Bullshit and Deception
Now Playing: Screw this concept! To hell with oil! Tax em and then lets all stop using. More Media Lies & Spin!
|August 12, 2010||http://detnews.com/article/20100812/OPINION01/8120340|
Gary Wolfram: Oil tax will hurt national economy
There should be no doubt that our nation's flagging economic recovery has been disappointing.
Nationally, unemployment was supposed to be held to less than 8 percent by the stimulus bill, but a year and a half after the measure's passage, joblessness is above 9.5 percent. Michigan's unemployment rate is at 13.2 percent, with a loss of 400,000 jobs since the beginning of 2008.
So it would make little sense to address the unemployment problem by increasing the cost of producing many of our goods and services. Yet that would be the effect of the Obama administration's proposed $80 billion tax increase on the oil and natural gas industry over the next decade.
Elementary economics tells us that if the marginal cost of production is increased, supply is reduced, resulting in decreased output and higher prices. In this case, the tax increases will result in less oil production in the United States, and increased costs of shipping and transporting oil from other countries. An additional $80 billion in taxes on oil and gas must result in an increase in the price of oil and gas, along with reduced employment in the industry and also in ancillary industries.
Despite the very large incentives that taxpayers have given to renewable resources, the U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that four-fifths of our energy needs will come from fossil fuels in 2030. It clearly is not possible that the reduced employment in the oil and gas industry can even in small part be made up by increased employment in such areas as wind turbines and solar photovoltaics.
This, however, is but the tip of the iceberg. Since oil is an input into the production of such disparate industries as fertilizer, plastic syringes, synthetic fibers, and detergents, there will be an increased cost in the production of these goods, resulting in a reduction in employment in each of these industries. In addition, the cost of delivering the mail, flowers, packages, packaged goods -- everything that is shipped by road or by rail, will also increase, affecting employment.
The 19th-century political economist, Fredric Bastiat wrote that the difference between a good economist and a bad economist is that the bad economist sees the "seen," but the good economist sees the "unforeseen."
In other words, the good economist is aware of the unintended consequences of a policy action.
If we follow the unintended consequences of this tax further we notice that millions of Americans own stock in oil companies directly through 410(k)s, or because they are owners of mutual funds that own oil company stocks, or indirectly through the ownership of these stocks by their pension funds. These Americans will all see a decline in their wealth as the return to holding oil company stocks falls.
But the consequences do not stop there.
Suppose your pension fund holds stock in FedEx. The increase in the price of oil due to the tax will increase the price of gasoline and jet fuel, driving up costs of FedEx, reducing its earnings, lowering the value of the stock, and reducing the assets of your pension fund. It is important that Congress understands that voting for this tax is a vote for the unintended consequences of the tax as well.
We should also understand that companies in the oil and gas industry already pay about half of their earnings in taxes, nearly double the tax rate of the rest of the Standard and Poor's Industrials -- 48 percent to 28 percent.
So, rather than equalizing the tax burden across industries as some have claimed, the oil tax would further exacerbate the tax differential that already exists.
In the Sherlock Holmes story, "A Scandal in Bohemia," Sherlock admonishes Watson: "The problem with you Watson is you see but you do not observe."
Whether Congress enacts a tax on oil and gas production depends upon whether your congressmen and senators follow Holmes's advice or act like Watson. Those who think they are merely taxing oil companies are like Watson -- failing to observe that the jobs of many Michigan workers will be sacrificed though the unintended consequences of their actions.
Gary Wolfram is the William Simon Professor of Economics and Public Policy at Hillsdale College. E-mail comments to email@example.com">firstname.lastname@example.org.
© Copyright 2010 The Detroit News. All rights reserved.
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 12:01 AM PDT
Sunday, 15 August 2010
911 - The 9/11 Truth Movement Is Not Anti-Semitic And Neither is Ray McGovern
Now Playing: Good post by an aquaintance of mine Jon Gold
Topic: 911 TRUTH
Recently, there have been many accusations against me for being some kind of “Zionist Mole for Larry Silverstein.” or someone that prohibits others from looking at information regarding Israel and 9/11. That I like to promote Pakistan’s relationship to 9/11 more to take the focus off of Israel. Hopefully, this will put that to rest.
First of all, in case you hadn’t guessed, I am Jewish. I was born Jewish. I attended Hebrew School. I had a Bar Mitzvah. I attend Passover dinners every year, and occasionally, when I can afford it, I buy presents for family members on Hanukah.
I am not a religious person. Some of you know that I have a hard time believing in God. That being said, I respect the religion of my family. I don’t follow any of the “rules”, but I do respect it. Reason being, other than the fact that my father thinks it’s important, and relationships are about “give and take”, my Grandfather loved it. He loved sitting at the head of the table during Passover dinner, and being the one to direct the service. He loved being the one to hide the “Afikomen” for the kids to find. He just loved it. Therefore, if the man I respected most in life loved something that much, I think it’s important for me to respect that which he loved.
However, just because I am Jewish, does not mean I am automatically a “Zionist” or a “mole.” It’s amazing the narratives people can come up with just by using a person’s religion. “Jon is jewish, therefore, he is a zionist mole.” The same mentality that produced, “He is a Muslim, therefore, he is a terrorist.”
Now, do I prohibit others from looking at information regarding Israel and 9/11? If so, then why would I have posted these?
Israel: By Paul Thompson
Transcribed By Me
Posted: one, two, three, four, five, six times, and once in the article below.
Cheering Movers and Art Student Spies: Was Israel Tracking the Hijackers Before the 9/11 Attacks?
Atta’s Father Claims Recent Videos Fake, U.S. And Israel Orchestrated 9/11
Following Zakheim And Pentagon Trillions To Israel And 9/11
Israeli Links To 9/11?
Who Wants To Gag Sibel Edmonds, And Why? (With Answers) (I am one of the biggest Sibel supporters in the movement)
Pro-Israel Lobby In U.S. Under Attack
You get the idea. Also, if you have the chance, stop by my site, and do a search for the word, “Israel” in my “New News” section. You’re sure to find well over 1000 articles, and a lot of them NOT favorable of Israel.
I do not think it has been proven beyond the shadow of doubt that Israel was involved in the 9/11 attacks. Is there information that suggests they were? Yep. Is it proven? Nope. The same can be said about Pakistan. And the United States for that matter. Has it been proven that Larry Silverstein was involved? Nope. Is there information that suggests he was? Possibly. Is it proven? Nope. Therefore, I don’t think it’s wise to go around, and promote, as fact, that Larry Silverstein is a murderer.
Now, do I promote Pakistan more than Israel? I sure do. Reason being, when’s the last time any new information about Israel’s role in 9/11 came out? Counterpunch wrote an article recently about the “Cheering Movers”, but there wasn’t any new information in it. Just a rehash of already available info.
Has any new information about Pakistan’s alleged role come out?
On July 7th, 2006, 9/11 family member Bill Doyle, on the Alex Jones Show, said a source told him part of the redacted 28 pages of the Joint Congressional Inquiry talked about the U.S. funneling money into Pakistan.
On September 13th, 2006, President Pervez Musharraf said the West (us), was responsible for “breeding terrorism in his country.”
On September 27th, 2006, it was reported that President Pervez Musharraf wrote in a book that “It is believed in some quarters that while Omar Sheikh was at the LSE he was recruited by the British intelligence agency MI6. It is said that MI6 persuaded him to take an active part in demonstrations against Serbian aggression in Bosnia and even sent him to Kosovo to join the jihad. At some point he probably became a rogue or double agent.”
On September 28th, 2006, a leaked document accused “Pakistan’s intelligence agency (The Pakistani ISI) of indirectly supporting terrorist groups including al-Qaida.”
On October 10th, 2006, the “Jersey Girls” released a petition that called for the declassification of those 28 pages in the Joint Congressional Inquiry.
In Mariane Pearl’s book, “A Mighty Heart“, she writes that, “I read that the U.S. embassy in Islamabad asked the Pakistani government to hand over Omar on January 21–two days before Danny was kidnapped. The reason given for the U.S. request was that the 1994 kidnapping included an American citizen. But it seems clear to me that the U.S. authorities wanted to follow up on a much more disturbing trail. I read a news report from October that claimed the FBI had found “credible links” between Omar Saeed Sheikh and then director of the ISI Lieutenant General Mahmood Ahmed. It was alleged that it was Ahmed who instructed Omar to wire the $100,000 to Mohammad Atta.”
On March 9th, 2007, it was reported that Cheney went to Pakistan with deputy director of the CIA, Stephen Kappes. “Mr Kappes also met members of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) and operatives from the CIA’s Islamabad station to discuss co-ordinating efforts to track bin Laden.”
On April 3rd, 2007, it was reported that “A Pakistani tribal militant group responsible for a series of deadly guerrilla raids inside Iran has been secretly encouraged and advised by American officials since 2005.” [...] “Pakistani government sources say the secret campaign against Iran by Jundullah was on the agenda when Vice President Dick Cheney met with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf in February.”
On June 17th, 2007, it was reported that “Pakistan policy is essentially being run from Cheney’s office.”
On June 25th, 2007, it was reported “that one Umar Sheikh’s name has also figured in the interrogation of some key 9/11 accused arrested by American security agencies in the recent past. US agencies are learnt to have informed their Indian counterparts that Mohd Atta — who planned and the executed the 9/11 bombings — was funded by one Umar Sheikh who gave him $ 1 lakh sometime before the WTC attacks.”
Does this prove Pakistan’s involvement in 9/11? Nope. It sure is interesting though isn’t it?
If new information pertaining to Israel and 9/11 were to come out, you can BET YOUR ASS that I would post it. This isn’t a contest.
The following article was written in defense of Ray McGovern, a man I admire greatly. Enjoy. - Jon
By Jon Gold
What I call, “The PNAC Newspaper (The Weekly Standard)” has decided to publish a “hit piece” against Ray McGovern. They did so because Mr. McGovern, the brave man that he is, confronted Donald Rumsfeld on the lies leading up to the Iraq War.
You would think that the Weekly Standard would be compelled to rebut what Mr. McGovern had to say with information showing he was wrong. Because such information doesn’t exist, they instead decided to label him a “Conspiracy Theorist”, and tried to make him appear anti-semitic by incorrectly referencing his acronym for “O.I.L.”, and by referencing certain “Israel/9/11 pamphlets” handed outside of the famous “Downing Street Memo Hearings” led by Rep. John Conyers.
They claim that Ray’s acronym for “O.I.L.” is “O stands “for oil; I for Israel; and L for logistics, logistics being the permanent . . . military bases that the U.S. wants to keep in Iraq.”
On 9/11/2004, Mr. McGovern took part in what was called, the “9/11 People’s Commission” in Washington D.C.
At that Commission, he stated that the acronym for “O.I.L” was “O for oil, I for Israel, and L for the logistical bases necessary to exert (inaudible) military capability in that part of the world.”
However, BEFORE he said that, he spoke about the PNAC’s dream of invading Iraq. He spoke of eliminating any possible threat to the state of Israel. He spoke of the 14 permanent military bases in Iraq, and so on.
I know, because I was there, and he was answering my question when he said it.
As it turns out, Mr. McGovern was absolutely right.
In regards to oil, on March 28th, 2001, General Tommy Franks testified before the House Armed Services Committee. In that testimony he stated:
“The Central Region is of vital interest to the United States. Sixty-eight percent of the world’s proven oil reserves are found in the Gulf Region and 43 percent of the world’s petroleum exports pass through the Strait of Hormuz. The developing energy sector of the Central Asian States, with the potential for discovery of additional oil reserves, further emphasizes the importance of the Central Region to America and the world.”
If oil has nothing to do with the war in Iraq, then why can’t we have access to all of the documents pertaining to Dick Cheney’s “Energy Task Force“?
What we have been able to see states:
- “America in the year 2001 faces the most serious energy shortage since the oil embargoes of the 1970s.”
- “Estimates indicate that over the next 20 years, US oil consumption will increase by 33 percent, natural gas consumption by well over 50 percent, and demand for electricity will rise by 45 percent.”
- “US energy consumption is expected to increase by about 32 percent by 2020. Between 2000 and 2020, US natural gas demand is projected by the Energy Information Administration to increase by more than 50 percent. Yet we produce 39 percent less oil today than we did in 1970, leaving us ever more reliant on foreign suppliers. On our present course, America 20 years from now will import nearly two of every three barrels of oil & a condition of increased dependency on foreign powers that do not always have America’s interests at heart.”
Do you think it has anything to do with the fact that the Oil Executives lied when they said they didn’t meet with Cheney? Those same Oil Executives making a killing recently? Maybe.
In regards to Israel, the President has promised on multiple occassions to defend Israel against her enemies so that’s not a hard one to prove. However, since we’re also talking about 9/11, I think it’s important to point out that the Executive Director of the 9/11 Commission, Philip Zelikow said, “I’ll tell you what I think the real threat [is] and actually has been since 1990 - it’s the threat against Israel.”
On March 13th of this year John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt from Harvard released a study on the Israeli lobby’s influence over American policy decisions. In that study they stated:
“The situation is even more pronounced in the Bush Administration, whose ranks include fervently pro-Israel individuals like Elliot Abrams, John Bolton, Douglas Feith, I. Lewis (“Scooter”) Libby, Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, and David Wurmser. As we shall see, these officials consistently pushed for policies favored by Israel and backed by organizations in the Lobby.”
As to whether or not Israel had anything to do with 9/11, I don’t know. It hasn’t been proven. I know that Israel does not control the United States military. However, there is a lot of information available out there that would make someone think that maybe they did.
If they did help to make 9/11 happen, does that mean it’s ok to hate all Jews? Of course not. If our Government was responsible for 9/11, does that mean we should hate all Americans? Israel is a country, which has a Government, and Judaism is a religion. It is important to remember that the actions of Israel’s Government should not reflect on how people think of Jews.
One last thing. In regards to the logistical placement of bases, If we’re not staying in Iraq permanently, then why are we building a massive new embassy just east of al-Samoud, a former palace of Saddam Hussein’s?
I am Jewish. I see people who do try to push anti-semitic views onto the movement, but luckily, the majority of the movement is smarter than that. We are smarter than the Weekly Standard would lead you to believe. We want anyone and everyone who was involved to be held held accountable. Be it Christian, Jew, Neocon or Zionist, we want accountability. Period.
If the 9/11 Truth Movement is anti-semitic, than what am I doing here? Last time I checked, I respected the religion of my family.
Stop trying to paint the 9/11 Truth Movement as anti-semitic because it isn’t, and neither is Ray McGovern.
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 4:01 PM PDT
US - NATO - And innocent Lives - 5 more innocents Afghan citizes die
Now Playing: If the NATO planes were not there in the first place this could not happen
NATO Strike Cited in Afghan Civilian Deaths
Published: August 14, 2010
KABUL, Afghanistan — There is a “fair chance” that a NATO
jet inadvertently killed five Afghan civilians during a shootout with Taliban
fighters in a village in southern Afghanistan
earlier this week, an American official said Saturday.
Notes from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and other areas of conflict in the post-9/11 era. Go to the Blog »
Some details were still unclear, but a local Afghan official and two witnesses said that the civilians were killed Thursday afternoon when a NATO aircraft fired on a house after a firefight with Taliban militants who had attacked a NATO convoy. The Taliban were operating in Luchak, a farming village in central Helmand Province, the epicenter of the insurgency. When the convoy arrived in Luchak, about a half-dozen Taliban fighters opened fire from behind a wall next to a house.
After a 10-minute exchange of fire, the insurgents ran away, the witnesses said. Then, about 10 minutes later, a pair of helicopters appeared in the sky, the villagers said.
Maj. Michael Johnson, a NATO spokesman, said the aircraft was a plane that had come in support of the troops on the ground.
The witnesses said the aircraft fired on the house, killing five men inside. Two Afghans were wounded.
“Afterwards some of the other villagers and I went to the house and we saw a man and woman crying and screaming for the dead,” said Khair Mohammed, who lives in Luchak. “It was a very bad scene.”
Another villager, Hajji Baz Muhammad, gave a similar account, adding that the Taliban dominated Luchak and often used it to ambush NATO troops. Mr. Muhammad said that the Taliban had decreed that everyone turn off their cellphones after 6 p.m.
“The Taliban have a lot influence here,” he said.
Major Johnson said a team had been sent to the area to figure out what happened, but its report was not yet complete. He said it was likely, though, that NATO had killed the civilians. “They feel there is a fair chance that those seven causalities were caused by us,” he said.
Most NATO troops in the area are American or British.
More civilians are being killed and wounded now than at any time since the American-led war here began in 2001. The overwhelming majority of civilians are killed by insurgents, according to the United Nations and other aid groups.
Still, the issue is an extremely delicate one between the Afghan and American governments. American and other NATO commanders have sharply restricted the use of airstrikes against insurgents. In most cases, soldiers caught in a firefight may not call in airstrikes to kill insurgents who are hiding in houses in populated areas, unless the NATO soldiers are in danger of being overrun.
On Saturday, President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan took up the matter with President Obama in an hourlong video teleconference. A statement released afterward by Mr. Karzai’s aides said he had given Mr. Obama a letter calling for a “strategic review” of NATO’s campaign, based on the “rightful demands of the people of Afghanistan that terrorism cannot be fought in Afghan villages.”
In its own statement, the American Embassy said that Mr. Obama and Mr. Karzai discussed a variety of subjects, including civilian casualties. It made no reference to Mr. Karzai’s request.
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 2:13 AM PDT
Friday, 13 August 2010
5 of the best practices on how to use "social media sites" to promote events
Now Playing: Using the social medai to promote your event - here is the first 5 tips out of 10
We often get asked “How can I leverage social media to promote my event?” So we started collecting best practices from event organizers who use Eventbrite. We pulled them all together in this post to help you get started down the path to social media glory. But it’s important to note that social media is a clunky gun, not a silver bullet—it’s a channel, not a strategy. The best way for each event to utilize this channel will vary depending on who the target audience is and how they engage online.
It’s no silver bullet. That said, social media can be an incredibly powerful promotional tool, allowing you to reach more of the people that care about and ultimately want to attend your event. When people share information about your event with their network, that message carries much more weight than a traditional ad. It’s a personal endorsement of your event. Social media is also the perfect tool to generate buzz, to get people talking about your event in a recorded fashion where others can stumble across it and get caught up in it too. It’s not a new phenomenon. That’s how people have promoted their events from the beginning: get people talking about it. What social media brings is the ability for anyone to discover the chatter, giving it far more reach and power.
But it can be a game-changer. We’ve built a lot of features into Eventbrite to support sharing of events through social media and we see the results every day. Facebook is the greatest driver of traffic to our site, which means people are sharing your events on Facebook, their friends are seeing the posts show up in their feed, and they are clicking on the links that bring them back to your Eventbrite event page. That’s really exciting, and I hope you can see the powerful implications that it has on the way events are promoted and discovered.
Some guiding principals
1. Choose the platforms that make sense for your event. There are a few options when it comes to promoting your event through social media, and each has unique advantages and disadvantages. For example, Facebook and LinkedIn show who’s attending and aggregate conversation about the event in one place, while Twitter provides the opportunity for anyone to discover the event. Building your own social network around your event may be the thing to do if you have an appetite for building a richly branded online experience, but it won’t give you the virality of established social networks. Look to strike a balance across several platforms—but most importantly, understand where your target audience is already engaging. Identify existing communities by searching on LinkedIn, Facebook, or other forums, monitor Twitter conversation, and locate the platforms that have the most activity. This is where you’ll want to place the majority of your efforts.
2. Define success metrics and don’t underestimate the effort required. To new users, online communities might look self-sustaining. They’re not. Facebook, Twitter and the rest all take work, ideally in the form of a dedicated individual who can keep dialogue flowing and seed productive conversations. Continuous new content and engagement tactics are required to grow the vibrant community necessary for achieving buzz around your event. Define success metrics so that you know how you’re tracking—number of fans or followers is a great place to start, but engagement metrics are most important. Facebook’s Fan Page dashboard gives good stats and there are some great free Twitter analytics tools (we use Twitalyzer) that can measure engagement levels of your tweets.
Use Facebook to create a destination for engagement
3. Publish your event to Facebook. From right within the Eventbrite management console you can publish your event to Facebook and it will automatically create a Facebook Event, pulling in all the event details from Eventbrite. You can publish the event as a stand-alone event created by your Facebook profile or as an event associated with a specific fan page. Facebook Events allow you to easily invite your friends and fans and it makes it easy for them to share with their friends. It creates a central location for attendees to begin to connect and share their excitement for the event.
4. Create a Facebook Page. For larger events a dedicated page may be appropriate as a central location to engage with attendees and people interested in learning more about your event. The best pages that we’ve seen post updates almost daily, giving fans a window into the planning process of the event. Have you just secured an amazing caterer? Has an exciting speaker agreed to attend? Has the event received coverage in the media? Multi-media is always compelling: if you can share photos of the space or get the main attractions (speakers, artists, etc.) to post quick videos on their thoughts for the event, it really helps to bring it to life. The Facebook fan page is not only a great way to get your attendees excited, but also to get them involved in the event itself by asking them questions that can influence the content or the agenda.
5. Invite friends and fans to attend and help spread the word. Search Facebook for other fan pages on topics related to your event and engage with the users there. Become a fan of that page, and you can then write things on their wall. I would carefully craft your message so that it doesn’t look like spam (people react very negatively to spam), letting people know about the event and why they should attend. Include a link to the Eventbrite page or the Facebook event when you post so users can click through for more content if they are interested. For example, a benefit concert featuring Slash went to the Slash Facebook page and told the fans that slash was going to be performing at their benefit concert rather than just saying “Support this great cause and attend this concert.”
You should also reach out to specific individuals who may be connected to your event topic or specific friends that you think would be interested. For example, say John is a big industry influencer. You can “Send John a Message” through the link that’s under his picture on Facebook. Again, be VERY careful to not sound spammy but instead let him know about an event that you think he would be interested in and why. Keep it short and include a link to your fan page encouraging him to be a fan and also a link to the Eventbrite page. You can cherry-pick these individuals to connect with, but the real value will come when he fans your page or posts that he is attending the event and his whole network sees it.
Stay tuned for Part II of this series covering Twitter, LinkedIn, and building your own community.
- Charlene Li: 5 ways to keep the social media buzz after an event On Tuesday, April 13th, social media guru Charlene Li—author of...
- Charlene Li on social media strategy: The pre-event gameplan Yesterday we were thrilled to host a webinar featuring Charlene...
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 1:46 PM PDT
Thursday, 12 August 2010
government power to protect themselves from competition
Now Playing: Monks want to make caskets - but - State Law forbids them
Topic: FAILURE by the GOVERNMENT
“The monks’ story is just one example of a national problem in which industry cartels use government power to protect themselves from competition”
State Goes After Monks for the
"Sin" of Selling Caskets
Federal Lawsuit Launched
by Tim Drake Thursday, August 12, 2010
Can the government restrict the monks of St. Joseph’s Abbey in Saint Benedict, La., from building boxes?
Yes, says the state, if those boxes are for the deceased.
In 2007, the monks at St. Joseph’s Abbey started St. Joseph Woodworks for the purpose of building simple wooden caskets as a means of supporting themselves. Monks in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, and Minnesota have been in the casket-making business for years.
Before they were able to sell even a single casket, the Louisiana State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors told them that their sale of caskets violated state law, which says that you cannot sell “funeral merchandise” unless you’re a licensed funeral director. Were the monks to sell their caskets, they would risk both fines and imprisonment.
In order to sell caskets legally, the monks would have to apprentice at a licensed funeral home for a year, take a funeral industry test, and convert their monastery into a “funeral establishment,” installing equipment for embalming.
“We are not a wealthy monastery, and we want to sell our plain wooden caskets to pay for food, health care, and the education of our monks, said Abbot Justin Brown.
This morning, the Arlington, Va.-based Institute for Justice is holding a press conference on the front steps of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana on behalf of the monks. They are announcing a federal lawsuit to fight against the state funeral board’s attempt to shut down their casket-making business.
“A casket is just a box and you do not even need one for burial,” said Institute for Justice senior attorney Scott Bullock. “There is no legitimate health or safety reason to license casket sellers.”
The Institute for Justice says that the only reason the state of Louisiana is preventing the Abbey from selling its caskets is to protect the profits of the state’s funeral directors.
“Economic liberty is a constitutional right that matters to everyone, even monks,” said Jeff Rowes, senior attorney with the Institute for Justice.
“The monks’ story is just one example of a national problem in which industry cartels use government power to protect themselves from competition,” said Chip Mellor, president and general counsel of the Institute for Justice. “Protecting economic liberty and ending government-enforced cartels requires judicial engagement – a willingness by the courts to confront what is often really going on when the government enacts licensing laws supposedly to protect the public.”
There’s a great video overview of the case go here. To learn more, visit the Institute for Justice’s website.
This article was copied from here: http://ping.fm/3IxWx
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 12:01 AM PDT
Wednesday, 11 August 2010
WikiLeak and the important information the leak reveals
Now Playing: WikiLeak exposes US-NATO atrocities - and now its just starting to unravel
WikiLeak exposes US-NATO atrocities
NY Times identified brother of Karzai as a CIA operative and a major opium dealer and having close ties with Taliban
By Asif Haroon Raja
While US private Bradley Manning under interrogation may be made into an scapegoat, the question is whether it was he who transferred over 92000 documents on to his computer and then passed it on to WikiLeak or was it Julian Assange who with the help of insiders in Pentagon managed to gain access to classified archives stored in a safe house? Julian rather than feeling scary on being pointed out is in upbeat mood and is tantalizingly giving interviews to the media justifying his act and asserting that ‘bastards must be sorted out’. He has interacted with media in London knowing that majority of British are against war on terror and US policies.
Now, Bradley Manning, a 22-year-old intelligence analyst deployed to eastern Baghdad, who reportedly leaked the video of the event to Wikileaks and may have been involved in leaking those 92,000 documents as well, is preparing to face a court-martial and on a suicide watch, branded a "traitor" by a US senator, his future execution endorsed by the ranking minority member of the House of Representatives' subcommittee on terrorism, and almost certain to find himself behind bars for years or decades to come.
Logically, WikiLeak after delivering a severe blow to US military by exposing demonic behavior of US soldiers operating in Iraq should have either been blacked out or kept under strict watch. No such thing was done as a result of which it has repeated its act at a much bigger scale and created a worldwide stir second time. If WikiLeak was not in Washington ’s control, New York Times, a mouthpiece of CIA, should not have been among the drumbeaters. Guardian also tows official policy and is a not a rebel newspaper; and so is Der Spiegel. So why this highly damaging report has been allowed to go public; it is simply bewildering? It indicates another failure of US, which will further aggravate the jumble in which the US is intertwined.
If we go by the so-called veracity of documents accusing Pakistan of its linkage with Taliban since 2004 and presence of Haqqani network and Al-Qaeda leaders in Pakistan, one fails to comprehend as to why the US military failed to take physical action against known targets particularly when it has been making extensive use of drones against suspected targets in FATA? Why did they keep sleeping over it for over five years and why the sudden hullabaloo now? Why have the top guns of USA led by Hillary started to hound Pakistan so viciously? There is something cooking.
I reckon many more suchlike revelations exposing Indo-US-Israeli grimy designs and dirty games would take place in coming months when US military would get stranded and helpless in Afghanistan . In Iraq deep hostility between British senior military commanders towards their American allies revealed in classified government documents was leaked to Daily Telegraph. The US military was described as ‘a group of Martians’. Anatol Lieven in his article titled ‘The National Interest: All Kayani’s Men’, confirmed that Tehrik-e-Taliban-Pakistan was created to pitch it against Pak Army and enmesh it in fighting on home ground irreversibly. NY Times identified brother of Karzai as a CIA operative and a major opium dealer and having close ties with Taliban. David Obeg, Chairman House of Appropriations Committee vehemently maintained that Afghanistan is a similar quagmire like Vietnam that could bankrupt Obama’s domestic agenda. He said US had unreliable partners in Vietnam and now in Afghanistan . It had been predicted by economic wizards that American economy would be spiraling out of control sooner than later and would reach critical point by end 2010 and implode by mid 2011. USA has become a bankrupt country. Americans being largest consumers in the world are unable to borrow further monies to buy cheap goods from China , Japan and other Asian countries. Demand for dollar has evaporated; dollar status as a reserve currency and its usefulness is being questioned more vocally. Dollar value is fast deprecating and its banks are closing.
Whereas it is a reality that no US think tank, newspaper or official has ever written a single sentence on Indo-US-Israeli-Afghanistan nexus and their designs against Pakistan , WikiLeak has lifted the curtain. Although under US pressure head of this website has attempted to minimize the damage by telling an Indian news reporter that all reports less the ones pertaining to Pakistan were unreliable, it cannot be denied that US military has suffered the most from this disclosure. What is most worrisome for US military operating in Afghanistan is the exposure of names of their Afghan informers and some within Taliban ranks working as double agents? Their fate is sealed since the Taliban would never spare them. This factor will further shrink US battle intelligence capability, thereby compounding their problems during ongoing testing times.
Thanks to few upright people in USA and western countries as well as whistle blowing independent websites, the world is now getting more educated about deepening mess in Afghanistan . Sooner than later, pieces would start falling in right places and real picture would emerge, which had been kept hidden all these years. There have been occasional reporting of use of excessive force by ISAF in Afghanistan, about torture tales in Gitmo, Bagram Base and Abu Gharib jails, but none could imagine the scale and gruesome nature of atrocities against Afghans as disclosed by WikiLeak. 150 bombing incidents on civilians killing mostly women and children had never been reported. Wedding ceremonies, funerals, children school buses and passenger buses have not been spared by trigger happy Yankees. Jets, gunship helicopters and drones have caused maximum casualties. Logs have also indicated use of Blackwater to capture or kill marked Taliban. WikiLeak has provided incriminating material for their trials for committing war crimes.
There were strong reasons for sacked Gen McChrystal to restrain his swashbuckling cowboys from firing indiscriminately and causing large scale civilian fatalities. Hawks in Obama Administration had constantly pushed him for quicker results without caring for human destruction. Irked by their haughty behavior, he decided to call it a day. Is there some connection between WikiLeak-Rolling Stone-McChrystal? Moreover, is there a connection between Times Square incident, visit of three rasping top US leaders to Islamabad in July, WikiLeak revelations, Cameron’s derogatory remarks and Karzai’s diatribe?
WikiLeak has inadvertently provided a golden opportunity to Pakistan to expose hidden designs, subversive activities and black deeds of occupation forces in Afghanistan and to blunt their smear campaign. The world is now eagerly looking towards whistle blowing websites like WikiLeak to throw light on following ambiguities: 1. Other than the declared objectives of USA, what was the hidden motivation to occupy Afghanistan? 2. What was the purpose behind setting up a huge intelligence centre at Jabal-al Siraj near Kabul comprising six intelligence agencies? 3. How did Osama bin Laden and whole lot of Al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders’ laird in Tora Bora slip out in December 2001, which subsequently became the key cause of US intractable troubles in Afghanistan? 4. Is Osama dead or alive and if alive where is he located? 5. How did defeated, ousted fugitive Taliban managed to regroup so speedily and started hitting back at occupation forces from 2003 onwards? 6. Details of harrowing atrocities committed by Northern Alliance warlords against captured Taliban and Pakistani prisoners after the fall of Taliban regime in December 2001. 7.
Details of $3 billion spent by CIA to win loyalties of corrupt Afghan warlords to help form a government in Kabul under puppet Hamid Karzai. 8. Details of profits earned from illegal drug trade in Afghanistan and who all shared the profit to run covert operations against Pakistan and Iran. 9. Particulars of tens of Pakistan specific training camps and intelligence setups of RAW-Mossad in Afghanistan and their methods of indoctrination of suicide bombers. 10. Idea behind Af-Pak policy and why did it fail to kick off. 11. How come 16000 foreign troops coupled with 9000 Afghan troops backed by massive aerial and ground firepower failed to overpower few hundred ill-equipped Taliban in Marjah which has jeopardised US offensive drive in southern and eastern Afghanistan?
—The writer is freelance analyst.
Category: US-NATO, HR Violations, Corruption - Views: 155
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 4:32 PM PDT
Tuesday, 10 August 2010
technique that exploits the cell phone infrastructure to compromise cell user's privacy
Now Playing: Hack pinpoints cell user (and more)
New Hack Pinpoints Cell Phone User's Location, Personal And Business Relationships Researchers demonstrate a technique that exploits the cell phone infrastructure to compromise cell user's privacy
Apr 21, 2010 | 12:27 PM
ORIGINAL ARTICLE FOUND HERE:
By Kelly Jackson HigginsDarkReading
Turns out you don't even need a GPS to track a mobile phone user's whereabouts and glean her movements and interactions: Researchers have discovered a way to use information from the GSM mobile infrastructure to track down someone and even listen in on her voicemail messages and calls.
Don Bailey, security consultant with iSec Partners, and independent researcher Nick DePetrillo today at the SOURCE Boston conference demonstrated how they were able to use a combination of available GSM data plus their own handmade tools to glean someone's cell phone number, pinpoint where she was located physically, and determine what she was doing, as well as gather intelligence about her relationships -- business or otherwise.
"We create a dossier about someone's life over a period of time," Bailey says. "We're able to infer things about an individual's behavior and interactions with the company they work for [as well]," he says.
The researchers gathered information from the GSM network infrastructure itself: "We're using information we can gather from the GSM network to infer your location. And we've taken GSM geolocation a few steps forward, combined with some tools we developed," DePetrillo says. "This is new and novel and really, really scary."
The research has chilling implications for businesses, as well as the individuals themselves. Bailey and DePetrillo say they were able to glean the identity of a government contractor by sifting through caller IDs and phone numbers they traced to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, for example.
Bottom line is it demonstrates inherent weaknesses in the way mobile providers interoperate over the GSM infrastructure. "There is a soft underbelly in the cell phone network...it's an interoperability thing," Bailey says. "We are taking advantage of the way these companies are exposing interfaces to each other. That's where it becomes a serious problem."
Tyler Shields -- a senior researcher for Veracode who recently released proof-of-concept code for a spyware app for the BlackBerry that can track the victim's physical location via GPS and grab sensitive information -- says Bailey and DePetrillo's research is novel in that it attacks the GSM infrastructure itself.
"That's akin to attacking the Internet at the router level," Shields says. "This attacks at the infrastructure level versus the application level. If you can compromise the infrastructure's underlying building blocks, the rest of it will tumble. That's what makes their [research] so interesting."
The researchers used the GSM provider caller ID database, the Home Location Registry (HLR), and some voicemail-hacking techniques, along with their own tools. They reverse-engineered the mobile phone caller ID database by scanning blocks of cell phone numbers, creating a white pages of sorts of these numbers. "It comes back with the name of the organization that owns it," DePetrillo says. They also were able to determine the cell number's cell provider, even if that number had been ported to a new provider, he says.
They then leveraged the HLR, a central repository of information mobile phone subscribers, to locate cell phone towers and regional locations, among other information. "We [used] the mobile switching center number, which corresponds with all cell phone towers in a region and calls back to the switching center where data is routed," Bailey says.
The researchers were able to combine this data, as well as from social networks, to glean a victim's comings and goings. "We can make connections between the movements and 50 or so candidates and whittle it down to one or two," for example, he says.
They then sifted through voicemail or grabbed phone records of who the victim had been speaking with. "We can take those numbers and get you and the other phone to call each other" and conference in to listen in on the conversation to grab more intelligence, he says.
With a little caller ID spoofing, they can extract other information about the victim by hacking into voicemail, for instance. "We can call someone's phone with a spoofed caller ID. Then we can enter the voicemail box without a PIN," DePetrillo says. "That's not new, but combined with other techniques, it lets us get directly into their voicemail without ringing the phone."
The researchers -- who did not release the tools they created -- have alerted major GSM carriers in the U.S. about their findings. "They are very concerned," Bailey says. Some are looking at how to better mitigate these types of attacks, but it won't be easy.
How can a mobile phone user protect herself from this in the meantime? Short of shutting off her phone, not much, according to the researchers.
There are a few possible red flags that could indicate an attack, but it's mainly a silent one. "If you have a particular missed call, or something strange happens, like you got a phone call from yourself, or your [phone] is suddenly calling someone [itself], those could be telltale signs of an attack."
But most of these attacks would be transparent to the victim. There's only about a 10 to 15 percent chance he would see something awry, Bailey says, because the phone won't ring, for instance.
The researchers say some of their work actually scared them. "The Washington, D.C., area is pretty insecure," DePetrillo says. "I came up with a scenario where you can track very important individuals wherever they are...you don't have to track a government official under high security, just the people who travel with him [via their phones], a lot of whom are not under high security, such as congressional aides."
"So if want to find out where Steve Jobs, Brad Pitt, or Tiger Woods is hiding out, you could [potentially] do that with our techniques," he says.
Have a comment on this story? Please click "Discuss" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly,
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 11:53 PM PDT
Digital Activism - Something To Consider
Now Playing: Information - or - Inspiration
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At the recent e-STAS Symposium on Technologies for Social Action, it became evident to me that there are two dramatically different paradigms of digital activism: empowering with information and engaging with inspiration.
In the first paradigm of digital activism, you work with a disadvantaged group that suffers from limited access to even the most basic information and tools for self-expression. So, you use simple-to-use digital devices like Nokia mobile phones and Flip video cameras and simple-to-use digital technologies like text messages and online video to enable them to access basic information and share their own stories. Frontline SMS, Ushahidi, Freedom Fone and Video Volunteers are good examples of the ‘empowering with information’ paradigm of digital activism.
In the second paradigm of digital activism, you work with a group that is anything but disadvantaged. This group is at ease with using always on internet and mobile devices, both for instantaneous access to information and for self-expression and social interaction. Here, the digital activist isn’t trying to solve a crisis of capability, but a crisis of caring. Here, the aim is not to empower with information, but to engage with inspiration. Move On and iJanaagraha are examples of the ‘engaging with inspiration’ paradigm of digital activism.
Usually people associate the ‘empowering with information’ paradigm of digital activism with emerging Asia and Africa and the ‘engaging with inspiration’ paradigm of digital activism with affluent North America and Europe.
At e-STAS, it became evident to me that these two worlds coexist in India. First, Osama Manzar talked about empowering 1.2 billion Indians by giving them access to information and a voice to tell their own stories firsthand. In the next session, I talked about inspiring 50 million young, urban, educated, connected Indians to use their already influential voices as engaged citizens, not only as consumers.
At e-STAS, it also became evident to me that activists who look at the world through the ‘empowering with information’ lens often limit themselves to using digital technologies to create and share content, while activists who look at the world through the ‘engaging with inspiration’ lens use content as the starting point to leverage the conversation, collaboration, community and collective intelligence layers of digital (social) technologies. So, the video of the 21 year old widow in rural Africa becomes the starting point of a campaign to end war, or a community that helps her collect enough money to buy a cow.
The point here is not that one paradigm is more important than the other; the point is that both paradigms co-exist, in more contexts than we think they do.
So, if you are an activist, think about whether you operate from the ‘empowering with information’ or ‘engaging with inspiration’ paradigm and ask yourself how your cause can benefit from both.
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 11:22 PM PDT
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