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He’s heard it before

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Opinion

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Having grown up in Soviet-controlled Poland, I remember the Communist Party bosses branding the Solidarity-led protests in the 1980s as “unpatriotic.”

Over the years, I have heard similar statements from regimes in other Communist-ruled countries in Europe (as well as from China, North Korea and Myanmar, the former Burma) that used such statements to disparage anyone who dared to disobey the party’s rule.

Hearing the same ploy used by the speaker of the U.S. House comes as some surprise.

 Pawel Kalinski

Pine

Milwaukee mayor wounded after being hit with pipe

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From The Associated Press

MILWAUKEE, Wis. – Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett was in the hospital on Sunday after he was attacked by a person using a metal pipe as the mayor and his family left the Wisconsin State Fair.

Barrett was in stable condition Sunday at a local hospital and was alert and talking when he arrived there on Saturday night, the Milwaukee Police Department said in a statement. It did not provide more details, and a spokeswoman for the police department did not have any further information.

Police said Barrett was leaving the state fair on Saturday night when he heard a woman crying out for help in the city of West Allis, about six miles west of Milwaukee.

Police said Barrett began calling 911 when the suspect who was attacking the woman charged at the mayor and began hitting him with a metal pipe. The suspect then fled the scene, authorities said.

The woman was not injured, and police were still searching for the suspect, who has a criminal arrest record, authorities said.

No other details were immediately available Sunday

Hostile bloggers facing fines, jail?

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Posted: May 06, 2009
10:39 pm Eastern

By Bob Unruh
© 2009 WorldNetDaily

1ST AMENDMENT ON TRIAL

Proposal ‘comes close to making it federal offense to log onto Internet’



Jail cell

A new proposal in Congress is threatening fines and jail time for what it calls “cyberbullying” – communications that include e-mails and text messages that “cause substantial emotional distress.”

The vague generalities are included in H.R. 1966 by California Democrat Linda Sanchez and about a dozen co-sponsors.

But it already is being condemned as unconstitutional, unrealistic and probably ineffectual.

At Wired.com, in a report labeled “Threat Level,” writer David Kravets criticized the plan to demand “up to two years in prison for those whose electronic speech is meant to ‘coerce, intimidate, harass, or cause substantial emotional distress.'”

“Instead of prison, perhaps we should say gulag,” he wrote.

(Story continues below)

Such limits never would pass First Amendment muster, “unless the U.S. Constitution was altered without us knowing,” he wrote. “So Sanchez, and the 14 other lawmakers who signed on to the proposal are grandstanding to show the public they care about children and are opposed to cyberbullying.”

The plan is labeled the Megan Meier Cyberbullying Prevention Act, after the 13-year-old Meier, whose suicide last year reportedly was prompted by a woman who utilized the MySpace social networking site to send the teen critical messages.

Speak out now against limits on your speech!

The defendant in the case, Lori Drew, was accused under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

“Sanchez’s bill goes way beyond cyberbullying and comes close to making it a federal offense to log onto the Internet or use the telephone,” Kravets wrote. “The methods of communication where hostile speech is banned include e-mail, instant messaging, blogs, websites, telephones and text messages.”

“We can’t say what we think of Sanchez’s proposal,” he said. “Doing so would clearly get us two years in solitary confinement.”

Wrote a contributor to the Wired forum page, “If passed, this legislation could be easily abused with the effect of criminalizing all criticism. You probably [couldn’t] even criticize the legislation itself because it would cause Sen. Sanchez emotional distress or possibly be considered a form of intimidation.”

The bill, which has been referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary, states, “Whoever transmits in interstate or foreign commerce any communication, with the intent to coerce, intimidate, harass, or cause substantial emotional distress to a person, using electronic means to support severe, repeated, and hostile behavior, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.”

It states: “Cyberbullying can cause psychological harm, including depression; negatively impact academic performance, safety, and the well-being of children in school; force children to change schools; and in some cases lead to extreme violent behavior, including murder and suicide.”

Teen homeschooler jailed under Patriot Act

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Posted: May 04, 2009
8:31 pm Eastern

© 2009 WorldNetDaily

HOMELAND INSECURITY

FBI holds 10th-grader for months with little contact from family


Ashton Lundeby

A 16-year-old homeschooled boy from North Carolina was taken away from his home in handcuffs two months ago and has been held by the FBI in Indiana ever since, a victim, his mother claims, of the Patriot Act spun out of control.

According to Annette Lundeby of Oxford, N.C., armed FBI agents and local police stormed her home around 10 p.m. on March 5, looking for her son, Ashton. The officers presented a federal search warrant and seized the tenth-grader’s computer, cell phone and bank statements.

Ashton was then taken to a juvenile facility in South Bend, Ind., charged with making a bomb threat in Indiana from his home computer.

His mother, however, told Raleigh’s WRAL-TV that she argued with the authorities, claiming someone must have hacked into her son’s IP address and used it to make crank calls. The agents’ search, she claims, also failed to uncover any trace of bomb-making materials.

“Undoubtedly, they were given false information,” Lundeby told the station, “or they would not have had 12 agents in my house with a widow and two children and three cats.”

Allowed little access to see her son over the last two months, facing a court date that keeps being pushed back and given no information by FBI agents sitting behind a gag order on the case, Lundeby now says the USA Patriot Act has unjustly imprisoned an innocent boy and stripped her son of due process.

“We have no rights under the Patriot Act to even defend them, because the Patriot Act basically supersedes the Constitution,” she told WRAL-TV. “It wasn’t intended to drag your barely 16-year-old, 120-pound son out in the middle of the night on a charge that we can’t even defend.”

Passed after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, the USA Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism – or P.A.T.R.I.O.T. – Act armed law enforcement with new tools to detect and prevent terrorism. Among other measures, it better enables interagency cooperation and allows law enforcement a wider array of technological and surveillance tools to more quickly and stealthily investigate terrorist threats.

Dan Boyse, a former U.S attorney not connected to the case, explained to WRAL-TV how Ashton Lundeby could have been swept up by the Patriot Act.

“They’re saying that ‘we feel this individual is a terrorist or an enemy combatant against the United States, and we’re going to suspend all of those due process rights because this person is an enemy of the United States,'” Boyce told the station.

Boyce theorized that if an FBI agent came to the conclusion that Lundeby was a serious terrorist threat, the usual rules of law enforcement don’t apply.

“There’s nothing a matter of public record,” Boyce said. “All those normal rights are just suspended in the air.”

Ashton’s mother told the television station, “Never in my worst nightmare did I ever think that it would be my own government that I would have to protect my children from. This is the United States, and I feel like I live in a third world country now.”

The WRAL-TV news report, including Annette Lundeby’s comments, can be seen below:

According to the WRAL-TV report, because a federal judge has issued a gag order in the case, the U.S. attorney in Indiana cannot comment on Lundeby, nor can the FBI.

Military Police at the Kentucky Derby

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Infowars
May 3, 2009

A Google News search does not produce a story or even a brief mention of the fact military police were on hand at the Kentucky Derby to keep restless plebs in line. However, an Associated Press photograph, posted on the Yahoo! News website, shows two MPs in combat fatigues with side arms restraining a man at the derby.

police state   Military Police at the Kentucky Derby
MPs
Military police detain a fan who ran onto the track following the running of the 135th Kentucky Derby horse race at Churchill Downs Saturday, May 2, 2009, in Louisville, Ky.

“Military police detain a fan who ran onto the track following the running of the 135th Kentucky Derby horse race at Churchill Downs Saturday, May 2, 2009, in Louisville, Ky.,” the photo caption reads.

The photo was also included in a slideshow on the Yahoo! Sports website, although the text of the article does not contain a mention of military police at the event.

“The military has NO BUSINESS policing the citizens except during extraordinarily exceptional times of national emergency by an executive order. This is very disturbing and completely un-American. Maybe even more disturbing is that no one seems to care how quietly and easily we have accepted the burgeoning police state,” an article comment states.

Infowars has reported on numerous instances of military involvement with local law enforcement in violation of Posse Comitatus. In March, we reported on U.S. Army troops dispatched to patrol the streets of Samson, Alabama, after a murder spree.

  • A d v e r t i s e m e n t
  • efoods

On April 6, we reported on a DHS, federal, state, Air Force, and local law enforcement checkpoint in Tennessee. On April 3, Infowars was instrumental in the cancellation of a seatbelt checkpoint that was to be conducted in conjunction with the Department of Homeland Security and the 251st Military Police in Bolivar, Tennessee.

Last December, we reported on the Marine Corps Air and Ground Combat Center dispatching troops to work with police on checkpoints in in San Bernardino County, California.

On Aprill 22, we reported the deployment of 400 National Guard Combat Support Battalion troops to “maintain public order” at the Boston Marathon.

Last June, Infowars posted an article by D. H. Williams of the Daily Newscaster reporting the deployment of 2,300 Marines in the city of Indianapolis under the direction of FBI and the Department of Homeland Security.

Prison Planet’s Paul Joseph Watson reported a story on April 22 covering the assault of a local television news team by an irate police officer in El Paso, Texas. A video taken by the news videographer shows uniformed soldiers working with police officers at the scene of a car accident.

The presence of uniformed and armed military police at the Kentucky Derby is part of an ongoing campaign to acclimate the populace to the presence of soldiers at public events.

Guess how DHS defines who is a terrorist now

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Posted: May 02, 2009
8:35 pm Eastern

HOMELAND INSECURITY

2nd ‘domestic extremism’ report includes ‘alternative media,’ ‘tax resisters’ in lexicon

By Drew Zahn
© 2009 WorldNetDaily

Two weeks before the U.S. Department of Homeland Security penned its controversial report warning against “right-wing extremists” in the United States, it generated a memo defining dozens of additional groups – animal rights activists, black separatists, tax protesters, even worshippers of the Norse god Odin – as potential “threats.”

Though the “Domestic Extremism Lexicon” was reportedly rescinded almost immediately, Benjamin Sarlin of The Daily Beast recently obtained and published online a copy of the unclassified memo, dated March 26, 2009.

While many of the groups listed in the lexicon – such as Aryan prison gangs and neo-Nazis – may indeed be widely considered extremists, others will likely take offense at being described as a potential “threat.”

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For example, the memo defines the “tax resistance movement” – also referred to in the report as the tax protest movement or the tax freedom movement – as “groups or individuals who vehemently believe taxes violate their constitutional rights. Among their beliefs are that wages are not income, that paying income taxes is voluntary, and that the 16th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which allowed Congress to levy taxes on income, was not properly ratified.”

The report, however, continues in its assessment of tax protesters, asserting that members “have been known to advocate or engage in criminal activity and plot acts of violence and terrorism in an attempt to advance their extremist goals.”

Similarly, the lexicon concludes its definition of “black separatists” by asserting, “Such groups or individuals also may embrace radical religious beliefs. Members have been known to advocate or engage in criminal activity and plot acts of violence directed toward local law enforcement in an attempt to advance their extremist goals.”

In his blog piece titled “Who You Calling an Extremist?” Sarlin writes, “Partisans leapt to decry the first DHS memo as part of a Democratic conspiracy to marginalize right wingers. But it became clear that DHS’s broad descriptions of extremists were symptomatic of an ongoing agency problem that crossed ideological lines.”

The lexicon states its purpose is to provide “definitions for key terms and phrases that often appear in DHS analysis that addresses the nature and scope of the threat that domestic, non-Islamic extremism poses to the United States.”

Apparently, the DHS analyzes the “threat” level of Internet news websites like WorldNetDaily, for the lexicon defines “alternative media” as “a term used to describe various information sources that provide a forum for interpretations of events and issues that differ radically from those presented in mass media products and outlets.”

The term “black power,” widely used in a variety of contexts, also merits a definition in the lexicon: “A term used by black separatists to describe their pride in and the perceived superiority of the black race.”

The DHS memo also includes precursors to the ill-fated “Right-wing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment” report, which prompted outrage from legislators and a campaign calling for the resignation of DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano.

For example, the lexicon contains virtually the same broad-stroke language the right-wing extremism report used.

“Rightwing extremism,” the lexicon defines as those “who can be broadly divided into those who are primarily hate-oriented, and those who are mainly antigovernment and reject federal authority in favor of state or local authority. This term also may refer to rightwing extremist movements that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.”

The lexicon further points to those who oppose driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants.

“Anti-immigration extremism,” the lexicon defines as “a movement of groups or individuals who are vehemently opposed to illegal immigration, particularly along the U.S. southwest border with Mexico, and who have been known to advocate or engage in criminal activity and plot acts of violence and terrorism to advance their extremist goals. They are highly critical of the U.S. Government’s response to illegal immigration and oppose government programs that are designed to extend ‘rights’ to illegal aliens, such as issuing driver’s licenses or national identification cards and providing in-state tuition, medical benefits, or public education.”

Unlike the right-wing extremism report, however, the lexicon includes definitions of extremism across a broad spectrum of issues: anarchy, animal rights extremism, black nationalism, Cuban independence, environmentalism, Jewish extremism, Mexican separatism, right-wing militias, white supremacists, the anti-war movement and more.

Among the more curious groups the DHS appears to be monitoring is the “racial Nordic mysticism” group, defined as “an ideology adopted by many white supremacist prison gangs who embrace a Norse mythological religion, such as Odinism or Asatru.”

Among the more comical definitions is the description given of what “racist skinheads” wear, enabling law officers, it appears, to identify skinheads by their preferred brand of footwear:

“Dress may include a shaved head or very short hair,” the report states, “jeans, thin suspenders, combat boots or Doc Martens, a bomber jacket, and tattoos of Nazi-like emblems.”

Sarlin, who first publicized the memo, reports that a spokesperson for DHS told him the memo was recalled “within minutes” of being issued but declined to offer any details on the reasons for its withdrawal.

Lose your property for growing food?

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By Chelsea Schilling
© 2009 WorldNetDaily

GROUND CONTROL
Big Brother legislation could mean prosecution, fines up to $1 million

Some small farms and organic food growers could be placed under direct supervision of the federal government under new legislation making its way through Congress.

Food Safety Modernization Act

House Resolution 875, or the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009, was introduced by Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., in February. DeLauro’s husband, Stanley Greenburg, works for Monsanto – the world’s leading producer of herbicides and genetically engineered seed.

DeLauro’s act has 39 co-sponsors and was referred to the House Agriculture Committee on Feb. 4. It calls for the creation of a Food Safety Administration to allow the government to regulate food production at all levels – and even mandates property seizure, fines of up to $1 million per offense and criminal prosecution for producers, manufacturers and distributors who fail to comply with regulations.

Michael Olson, host of the Food Chain radio show and author of “Metro Farm,” told WND the government should focus on regulating food production in countries such as China and Mexico rather than burdening small and organic farmers in the U.S. with overreaching regulations.

“We need somebody to watch over us when we’re eating food that comes from thousands and thousands of miles away. We need some help there,” he said. “But when food comes from our neighbors or from farmers who we know, we don’t need all of those rules. If your neighbor sells you something that is bad and you get sick, you are going to get your hands on that farmer, and that will be the end of it. It regulates itself.”

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The legislation would establish the Food Safety Administration within the Department of Health and Human Services “to protect the public health by preventing food-borne illness, ensuring the safety of food, improving research on contaminants leading to food-borne illness, and improving security of food from intentional contamination, and for other purposes.”

Federal regulators will be tasked with ensuring that food producers, processors and distributors – both large and small – prevent and minimize food safety hazards such as food-borne illnesses and contaminants such as bacteria, chemicals, natural toxins or manufactured toxicants, viruses, parasites, prions, physical hazards or other human pathogens.

Under the legislation’s broad wording, slaughterhouses, seafood processing plants, establishments that process, store, hold or transport all categories of food products prior to delivery for retail sale, farms, ranches, orchards, vineyards, aquaculture facilities and confined animal-feeding operations would be subject to strict government regulation.

Government inspectors would be required to visit and examine food production facilities, including small farms, to ensure compliance. They would review food safety records and conduct surveillance of animals, plants, products or the environment.

“What the government will do is bring in industry experts to tell them how to manage all this stuff,” Olson said. “It’s industry that’s telling government how to set these things up. What it always boils down to is who can afford to have the most influence over the government. It would be those companies that have sufficient economies of scale to be able to afford the influence – which is, of course, industrial agriculture.”

Farms and food producers would be forced to submit copies of all records to federal inspectors upon request to determine whether food is contaminated, to ensure they are in compliance with food safety laws and to maintain government tracking records. Refusal to register, permit inspector access or testing of food or equipment would be prohibited.

“What is going to happen is that local agriculture will end up suffering through some onerous protocols designed for international agriculture that they simply don’t need,” Olson said. “Thus, it will be a way for industrial agriculture to manage local agriculture.”

Under the act, every food producer must have a written food safety plan describing likely hazards and preventative controls they have implemented and must abide by “minimum standards related to fertilizer use, nutrients, hygiene, packaging, temperature controls, animal encroachment, and water.”

“That opens a whole can of worms,” Olson said. “I think that’s where people are starting to freak out about losing organic agriculture. Who is going to decide what the minimum standards are for fertilization or anything else? The government is going to bring in big industry and say we are setting up these protocols, so what do you think we should do? Who is it going to bring in to ask? The government will bring in people who have economies of scale who have that kind of influence.”

DeLauro’s act calls for the Food Safety Administration to create a “national traceability system” to retrieve history, use and location of each food product through all stages of production, processing and distribution.

Olson believes the regulations could create unjustifiable financial hardships for small farmers and run them out of business.

“That is often the purpose of rules and regulations: to get rid of your competition,” he said. “Only people who are very, very large can afford to comply. They can hire one person to do paperwork. There’s a specialization of labor there, and when you are very small, you can’t afford to do all of these things.”

Olson said despite good intentions behind the legislation, this act could devastate small U.S. farms.

“Every time we pass a rule or a law or a regulation to make the world a better place, it seems like what we do is subsidize production offshore,” he said. “We tell farmers they can no longer drive diesel tractors because they make bad smoke. Well, essentially what we’re doing is giving China a subsidy to grow our crops for us, or Mexico or anyone else.”

Section 304 of the Food Safety Modernization Act establishes a group of “experts and stakeholders from Federal, State, and local food safety and health agencies, the food industry, consumer organizations, and academia” to make recommendations for improving food-borne illness surveillance.

According to the act, “Any person that commits an act that violates the food safety law … may be assessed a civil penalty by the Administrator of not more than $1,000,000 for each such act.”

Each violation and each separate day the producer is in defiance of the law would be considered a separate offense and an additional penalty. The act suggests federal administrators consider the gravity of the violation, the degree of responsibility and the size and type of business when determining penalties.

Criminal sanctions may be imposed if contaminated food causes serious illness or death, and offenders may face fines and imprisonment of up to 10 years.

“It’s just frightening what can happen with good intentions,” Olson said. “It’s probably the most radical notions on the face of this Earth, but local agriculture doesn’t need government because it takes care of itself.”

Food Safety and Tracking Improvement Act

Another “food safety” bill that has organic and small farmers worried is Senate Bill 425, or the Food Safety and Tracking Improvement Act, sponsored by Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio.

Brown’s bill is backed by lobbyists for Monsanto, Archer Daniels Midland and Tyson. It was introduced in September and has been referred to the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee. Some say the legislation could also put small farmers out of business.

Like HR 875, the measure establishes a nationwide “traceability system” monitored by the Food and Drug Administration for all stages of manufacturing, processing, packaging and distribution of food. It would cost $40 million over three years.

“We must ensure that the federal government has the ability and authority to protect the public, given the global nature of the food supply,” Brown said when he introduced the bill. He suggested the FDA and USDA have power to declare mandatory recalls.

The government would track food shipped in interstate commerce through a recordkeeping and audit system, a secure, online database or registered identification. Each farmer or producer would be required to maintain records regarding the purchase, sale and identification of their products.

A 13-member advisory committee of food safety and tracking technology experts, representatives of the food industry, consumer advocates and government officials would assist in implementing the traceability system.

The bill calls for the committee to establish a national database or registry operated by the Food and Drug Administration. It also proposes a electronic records database to identify sales of food and its ingredients “establishing that the food and its ingredients were grown, prepared, handled, manufactured, processed, distributed, shipped, warehoused, imported, and conveyed under conditions that ensure the safety of the food.”

It states, “The records should include an electronic statement with the date of, and the names and addresses of all parties to, each prior sale, purchase, or trade, and any other information as appropriate.”

If government inspectors find that a food item is not in compliance, they may force producers to cease distribution, recall the item or confiscate it.

“If the postal service can track a package from my office in Washington to my office in Cincinnati, we should be able to do the same for food products,” Sen. Brown said in a Sept. 4, 2008, statement. “Families that are struggling with the high cost of groceries should not also have to worry about the safety of their food. This legislation gives the government the resources it needs to protect the public.”

Recalls of contaminated food are usually voluntary; however, in his weekly radio address on March 15, President Obama announced he’s forming a Food Safety Working Group to propose new laws and stop corruption of the nation’s food.

The group will review, update and enforce food safety laws, which Obama said “have not been updated since they were written in the time of Teddy Roosevelt.”

The president said outbreaks from contaminated foods, such as a recent salmonella outbreak among consumers of peanut products, have occurred more frequently in recent years due to outdated regulations, fewer inspectors, scaled back inspections and a lack of information sharing between government agencies.

“In the end, food safety is something I take seriously, not just as your president but as a parent,” Obama said. “No parent should have to worry that their child is going to get sick from their lunch just as no family should have to worry that the medicines they buy will cause them harm.”

The blogosphere is buzzing with comments on the legislation, including the following:

  • Obama and his cronies or his puppetmasters are trying to take total control – nationalize everything, disarm the populace, control food, etc. We are seeing the formation of a total police state.
  • Well … that’s not very ” green ” of Obama. What’s his real agenda?
  • This is getting way out of hand! Isn’t it enough the FDA already allows poisons in our foods?
  • If you’re starving, no number of guns will enable you to stay free. That’s the whole idea behind this legislation. He who controls the food really makes the rules.
  • The government is terrified of the tax loss. Imagine all the tax dollars lost if people actually grew their own vegetables! Imagine if people actually coordinated their efforts with family, friends and neighbors. People could be in no time eating for the price of their own effort. … Oh the horror of it all! The last thing the government wants is for us to be self-sufficient.
  • They want to make you dependent upon government. I say no way! already the government is giving away taxes from my great great grandchildren and now they want to take away my food, my semi-auto rifles, my right to alternative holistic medicine? We need a revolution, sheeple! Wake up! They want fascism … can you not see that?
  •  The screening processes will make it very expensive for smaller farmers, where bigger agriculture corporations can foot the bill.
  • If anything it just increases accountability, which is arguably a good thing. It pretty much says they’ll only confiscate your property if there are questions of contamination and you don’t comply with their inspections. I think the severity of this has been blown out of proportion by a lot of conjecture.
  • Don’t waste your time calling the criminals in D.C. and begging them to act like humans. This will end with a bloody revolt.
  • The more I examine this (on the surface) seemingly innocuous bill the more I hate it. It is a coward’s ploy to push out of business small farms and farmers markets without actually making them illegal because many will choose not to operate due to the compliance issue.