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Saturday, 10 January 2015

Bully Alan Dershowitz protected serial child molester Jeffery Epstein from his under-age accusers

Dershowitz Epstein sex scandal

© Robin Platzer / Twin Images/LFI/Photoshot/Newscom

Alan Dershowitz and Israeli ambassador Ron Prosor at the Inaugural Champion of Jewish Values International Awards, honoring Sheldon and Miriam Adelson, 4 June 2013 in New York City.

Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz always felt children were fair game for Israeli missiles. Now the question is whether he thinks they are fair game for the sexual exploits of his powerful associates and himself.

Dershowitz and the UK's Prince Andrew were accused in a recent court filing of raping a teenage girl who was forced into sexual slavery by Dershowitz's close friend and client, billionaire hedge fund financier and convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein. The court filing is part of an ongoing civil lawsuit by four of Epstein's victims accusing the federal government of violating the Crime Victims' Rights Act (CVRA) when it made a secret 2008 plea deal with Epstein without informing them.

Dershowitz played a key role in negotiating a secret provision in Epstein's plea deal that immunized "any potential co-conspirators" from federal prosecution. In other words, Dershowitz negotiated an agreement that (if the allegations against him are true) shields him from prosecution for participating in a child sex-trafficking ring.

Since there has been no trial to determine whether Dershowitz and Prince Andrew are liable for the allegations against them, which they categorically deny, they should be presumed innocent until proven otherwise.

That said, while the mainstream press revives its interest in Epstein and reproduces strongly worded denials from Dershowitz and representatives of Prince Andrew, it has overlooked the role of Epstein's social network in building up his influence and shielding him from accountability. Media coverage of Epstein has been particularly derelict in failing to note the pivotal role of Alan Dershowitz, Israel's most aggressive defender, in securing near impunity for a sexual predator and his accomplices by bullying, harassing, intimidating and smearing child victims of rape.

Unprecedented Impunity

At first glance, Epstein's story reads like a typical case of two-tiered justice in America, where the wealthy and powerful are rarely held accountable for their crimes. In many ways it was.

A deeper examination of the case suggests a cadre of sleazy operatives led by Alan Dershowitz deployed gangster-style intimidation tactics that averted a deeper probe that might have implicated enormously powerful individuals, including Dershowitz.

The federal government had mountains of evidence to put Epstein behind bars for decades for child sex-trafficking and serial molestation.

Epstein procured and molested no fewer than forty underage girls, some from other continents and as young as twelve, in a trafficking ring that involved some of the most powerful people in America and around the world, including "numerous prominent American politicians, powerful business executives, foreign presidents, a well-known Prime Minister, and other world leaders," according to the court filing.

While none of the power players are named, Epstein's private plane pilot, Larry Visoski, identified former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, former Colombian President Andrés Pastrana Arango and former US President Bill Clinton as regular passengers who likely witnessed Epstein with underage girls on his private planes.

In the end Epstein landed an unprecedented sweetheart deal that saw him plead guilty to solicitation of prostitution from minors while receiving blanket immunity for him and his co-conspirators from other federal charges. When all was said and done, Epstein served just thirteen of his eighteen-month prison sentence in the private wing of a Palm Beach Jail, where he was given a pass that allowed him to leave the prison grounds for up to sixteen hours per day for work.

Bullying rape victims

With the police investigation heating up in 2006, Epstein's team went on the offensive, bullying and harassing witnesses, victims and their families into silence.

Going far beyond the typical role of a lawyer, Dershowitz mobilized a pre-emptive smear campaign against the victims, mining their pages on the social network MySpace for comments relating to marijuana and alcohol use, which he printed out and compiled into dossiers for the police and state attorney's office in a salacious attempt to tarnish the credibility of Epstein's accusers.

Dershowitz hired private investigators to track and dig up dirt on at least one of the underage girls who accused Epstein of raping her. The girl, a high school student, reported that one of the private investigators had impersonated a police officer while asking her questions. In a letter from Dershowitz to the Palm Beach police chief, obtained by The Guardian , Dershowitz attached a copy of the girl's MySpace page, noting "her apparent fascination with marijuana," and expressed fears "that she, an accomplished drama student, might try to mislead [the private investigators] as successfully as she had misled others."

While Dershowitz schemed against Epstein's victims, witnesses and the victims' families complained of being followed, photographed, harassed, threatened and offered money in exchange for their refusal to cooperate with the police investigation.

Former Palm Beach police chief Michael Reiter, who grew increasingly frustrated with the escalating campaign of intimidation by Epstein's lawyers, went on to testify that he was told by private investigators that Dershowitz ordered background checks on him and Detective Joe Recarey. Reiter added that he later discovered he and Recarey had been placed under surveillance but he was unable to determine who was behind it.

Dershowitz and Epstein censor an Israel critic

For those familiar with Dershowitz, his bullying tactics are not new. Indeed they bear a striking resemblance to the tactics he typically deploys against Palestinians and their supporters when defending Israeli criminality, most notably blaming and smearing the victim.

As a Harvard University emeritus professor of law and celebrity defense attorney, Dershowitz wields enormous power, which he frequently deploys against opponents of Israel's occupation. On at least one notable occasion, Dershowitz called on his friend, Epstein, to muzzle a prominent Israel critic.

In 2007, Martin Nowak, a mathematics and biology professor and director of Harvard's Program for Evolutionary Dynamics, rescinded a speaking invitation to award-winning evolutionary biologist Robert Trivers just hours before his event. Nowak said he was instructed to cancel the speech but would not say by whom - only that he had no choice but to comply. Trivers later learned that the order to cancel was delivered by Jeffrey Epstein, on whose donations the program relied for its continued existence. (Nowak had also relied on Epstein to secure his position at Harvard).

Epstein, it turned out, was acting on the request of his attorney Dershowitz.

Dershowitz was still furious at Trivers for writing a letter in which he condemned Israel's 2006 "butchery" of Lebanese civilians and called Dershowitz a "Nazi-like apologist" and "rancid defender of Israeli fascism" for rationalizing the killing. In the end, Dershowitz leveraged Epstein's financial influence to mete out revenge on Trivers.

Dershowitz knew about the girls

Long before the rape allegation against Dershowitz surfaced, there was overwhelming evidence to suggest he at least knew what Epstein was up to.

The two were very close friends. Speaking to Vanity Fair in 2003 (before the sex ring was exposed) Dershowitz boasted, "I'm on my 20th book.... The only person outside of my immediate family that I send drafts to is Jeffrey."

According to an Undisputed Statement of Fact filed by the victims' lawyers in April of 2011, "Epstein's housekeeper Alfredo Rodriguez testified that Dershowitz stayed at Epstein's house during the years when Epstein was assaulting minor females on a daily basis" and "Dershowitz was at Epstein's house at times when underage females where there being molested by Epstein."

(Rodriguez, who died recently from cancer, received a harsher punishment for trying to sell his former boss's journal than Epstein did for molesting children.)

When Epstein was asked during his deposition, "'Have you ever socialized with Alan Dershowitz in the presence of females under the age of 18?" he invoked his Fifth Amendment right not to answer in order to avoid self-incrimination.

Epstein also pled the Fifth when asked the same question regarding celebrity property developer Donald Trump, illusionist David Copperfield, former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson and music industry magnate Tommy Mottola.

The pro-Israel billionaire that made Jeffrey Epstein

Although it remains a mystery just how Epstein acquired his wealth, his special relationship with billionaire Leslie "Les" Wexner, CEO and founder of the women's clothing chain Limited Brands Inc., played a pivotal role.

Epstein bragged about having several unnamed billionaire clients at the height of his success, however, Wexner was his only publicly known patron, leading to speculation that Wexner, who bought Epstein a lavish eight-story Manhattan mansion for $13 million, was bankrolling him.

Wexner, who became a client and mentor of Epstein's in the late 1980s, facilitated Epstein's entrance into elite American circles, as a 2003 Vanity Fair profile of Epstein reveals:

Since Leslie Wexner appeared in his life - Epstein has said this was in 1986; others say it was in 1989, at the earliest - he has gradually, in a way that has not generally made headlines, come to be accepted by the Establishment. He's a member of various commissions and councils: he is on the Trilateral Commission, the Council on Foreign Relations, the New York Academy of Sciences and the Institute of International Education.

His current fan club extends to [Bear Stearns CEO James] Cayne, Henry Rosovsky, the former dean of Harvard's Faculty of Arts and Sciences and Larry Summers, Harvard's current president.

Wexner and Epstein were so close that Epstein told Vanity Fair "it's like we have one brain between two of us: each has a side."

Wexner also shares Epstein's love for Israel with generous financial support through his philanthropic arm, The Wexner Foundation, which Epstein once managed.

According to Vanity Fair:

Wexner trusts Epstein so completely that he has assigned him the power of fiduciary over all of his private trusts and foundations, says a source close to Wexner. In 1992, Epstein even persuaded Wexner to put him on the board of the Wexner Foundation in place of Wexner's ailing mother. Bella Wexner recovered and demanded to be reinstated. Epstein has said they settled by splitting the foundation in two.

The Wexner Foundation is deeply involved in Israel advocacy mostly through its Israel Fellowship Program, which brings ten Israeli public officials to Harvard for a fully funded Master's degree program in public administration at the Kennedy School of Government.

With the participation of The Wexner Foundation, Republican pollster and rightwing propaganda consultant Frank Luntz produced the "Wexner Analysis: Israeli Communications Priorities 2003," a "road map" for linking the US' so-called war on terror in Iraq to Israel's war on Palestinians.

The foundation also funds a number of pro-Israel organizations, including Birthright Israel , a sectarian indoctrination program that sends young American Jews on a free ten-day trip to Israel to lure them into immigrating to bolster a Jewish majority and participate in the dispossession and ethnic cleansing of indigenous Palestinians.

Wexner himself is a key supporter and sits on the board of governors of Hillel International, the national network of campus organizations devoted to policing criticism of Israel and attacking the increasingly popular boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement under the guise of "enriching the lives of Jewish students." In 2008, Hillel awarded its annual Renaissance Award to Wexner for giving "critical support and counsel to Hillel."

Though Wexner has reportedly replaced Epstein with a new money manager, he will always be the mentor who made Epstein the man he is today.

Fleeing to Israel

As the police investigation into Epstein's underage sex trafficking ring intensified in 2006, Epstein reportedly told friends that the child molestation allegations were an anti-Semitic conspiracy, echoing a tactic commonly deployed by people like Dershowitz against critics of Israel.

It was no surprise, then, when celebrity publicist and Epstein confidante Peggy Siegal told Philip Weiss that Epstein's two largest philanthropic causes were science and Israel.

Prior to taking a plea deal in 2008, it was rumored that Epstein was considering emigrating to Israel to avoid facing trial in Florida.

Israel's openly discriminatory Law of Return - which affords citizenship rights to those Israel defines as Jews from anywhere in the world, while actively blocking indigenous Palestinians from returning to the lands from which they were expelled - has long served as an asset for criminals who qualify.

After the 1985 assassination of Palestinian American civil rights leader Alex Odeh allegedly by members of the Jewish Defense League (JDL), a group the FBI has defined as "terrorist," the suspects fled to the Israeli settlement of Kiryat Arba in the occupied West Bank, where they have remained in hiding.

Days after murdering, burning and dismembering a classmate in Maryland in 1997, Samuel Sheinbein, with help from his parents, emigrated to Israel to evade prosecution.

But in a supremely ironic twist, Epstein, the mega rich pro-Israel patron, decided he would rather face prosecution and possible jail time than live in a fortified Sparta-like state. In the end, it was a good bet: Epstein got off lightly.

Dershowitz himself has tried to rally support by claiming that he's been targeted by his accusers because he's Jewish and an advocate for Israel, a tactic that has generated strong pushback from at least one ardent supporter of Israel.

The Times of Israel plans to honor Dershowitz with its "Advocate for Israel Award" at a ritzy gala next month. Dershowitz will be recognized alongside Shimon Peres, professional American basketball player Omri Casspi, supermodel Bar Refaeli and billionaire owner of the New England Patriots Robert Kraft, to name just a few.

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Frame-up 101: Planted ID card exposes Paris false flag

charlie hebdo shootings

© AFP Photo / Martin Bureau

A general view shows firefighters, police officers and forensics gathered in front of the offices of the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris on January 7, 2015

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve says the terrorists who attacked Charlie Hebdo would never have been caught had they not made one fatal mistake: They conveniently left an ID card in their abandoned getaway car.

Since when did criminals leave their identification cards in abandoned getaway cars?

An ordinary citizen, taking no precautions, might accidentally leave a wallet or purse in their parked car. I have driven automobiles approximately 50,000 times in my life, and I think my wallet might have slipped out of my pocket and fallen into the crack between the driver's seat and the door...once.

What are the odds that skilled terrorists who have just carried out an ultra-professional special-forces style attack will accidentally leave their ID card in the abandoned getaway car? Answer: Effectively zero.

So why are police reporting an event that cannot have happened?

Assuming that French police really did find "terror suspect" Said Kouachi's ID card in an abandoned getaway car, that ID card must have been planted by someone wishing to incriminate Kouachi. Even the legendary French idiot detective, Inspector Clouseau, could not fail to make this thunderingly obvious inference.

The discovery of Kouachi's ID does not implicate him; it exonerates him. It shows that he is an innocent patsy who is being framed by the real perpetrators of the attack.

Police and intelligence agencies routinely plant evidence to support false narratives, convict innocent people, and exonerate themselves. American police who kill unarmed citizens often plant a gun on the corpses to support their claims of having killed in self-defense. Such throw-down guns, which the police call "ham sandwiches," are kept in police locker rooms and carried in police cars in case they are needed.

Likewise, throw-down ID cards and other "incriminating" documents are routinely used by the military, intelligence, and special forces professionals who orchestrate false flag operations. Consider the ludicrously-obvious planted evidence used in the mother of all false-flag operations: the September 11th, 2001 inside job.

Intelligence agents planted not just one, but two "magic suitcases" designed to incriminate Mohamed Atta, the innocent patsy framed for the crimes of September 11th. According to Der Spiegel's book Inside 9/11: What Really Happened, the first Atta suitcase was handed to German police by a self-described "good Samaritan burglar." The so-called burglar claimed to have stolen Atta's suitcase during the course of a burglary and discovered terrorism-related information in it. As an honorable citizen, this kind-hearted burglar felt compelled by his conscience to deliver the suitcase to the authorities.

According to , the German police, not being fools, knew that the self-styled burglar was not really a burglar at all, but an intelligence agent planting fake evidence against Atta. quotes German police as saying: "The only question is, which intelligence agency was he working for?" ("CIA and Mossad," answered former German Intelligence Minister Andreas Von Bülow in his book The CIA and September 11th.)

Despite its absurd origins, this suitcase full of fabricated documents provides virtually the only purported evidence supporting the official story of Atta's supposed terrorism-related activities in Germany. Aside from the good Samaritan burglar's suitcase, it seems that the original Egyptian Atta - the one in Germany - was a gentle, shy, sensitive, soft-spoken architecture student with no connections to terrorism of any kind. Yet the "Atta" who made a spectacle of himself in Florida before 9/11, staging memorable public scenes while all but wearing an "I am an al-Qaeda terrorist" sign around his neck, was a coarse, obscene, violent loudmouthed braggart who dated strippers, disemboweled kittens, and spoke fluent Hebrew.

The Hebrew-speaking Atta's second and better-known "magic suitcase" was the one he allegedly checked in on his early morning flight from Portland, Maine to Boston on September 11th, 2001. According to the 9/11 Commission Report, the suitcase was miraculously preserved and delivered to the authorities when it somehow failed to make the transfer from Atta's Portland-to-Boston commuter flight onto Flight 11, which Atta supposedly piloted into the North Tower of the World Trade Center. Had the suitcase been transferred as it should have been, we are told, it would have been destroyed in a fireball at the World Trade Center.

This magic suitcase provided the only evidence allowing authorities to identify the alleged 19 hijackers within 24 hours of the event. (None of the 9/11 passenger lists contained any Arab names; no airline employees remember having ticketed or boarded any of the alleged hijackers; and none of the hundreds of security cameras at Boston's Logan Airport, Washington D.C.'s Dulles Airport, or Newark Airport took a single authenticated frame of any of the 19 Arabs blamed for 9/11.)

This suitcase not only contained a list of the 19 patsies, but also Atta's supposed last will and testament. (Why would a suicide hijacker check his will onto a doomed plane?) Britain's dean of Middle East journalism Robert Fisk has ridiculed Atta's alleged will, pointing out that it begins with a botched bismillah: "In the name of God, myself, and my family..." No Muslim would ever write such a thing. As Fisk suggests, the document purporting to be Atta's will must have been forged by an incompetent intelligence agent. The suitcase was obviously planted.

And that is not just Robert Fisk's opinion. Seymour Hersh, the dean of American investigative journalism, quotes a senior US intelligence source as saying, with regard to Atta's magic suitcase: "Whatever trail was left was left deliberately - for the FBI to chase."

Atta's two magic suitcases are not the only examples of clumsily-planted 9/11 evidence. Another is the "magic passport" of alleged 9/11 hijacker Satam al-Suqami. That passport, looking as pristine as the "magic bullet" of the JFK assassination, was allegedly discovered by an anonymous individual, with no chain of custody, near the two flat spots of smoking ground where two 110-story towers somehow exploded into very fine dust.

But Atta's magic suitcases, the magic passport, beside the most pathetically-planted 9/11 item of them all: The "Fatty Bin Laden confession video" supposedly discovered in December 2001 by an anonymous US soldier in Jalalabad, and delivered with no chain of possession to be brandished by the Bush Administration as supposed proof of Bin Laden's guilt.

Professor Bruce Lawrence, a respected expert on Bin Laden, has categorically stated of this video: "It's bogus!" Lawrence adds that his many acquaintances in the US intelligence community's Bin Laden units know that the video is bogus - but are afraid to say so in public, because they are afraid of the implications of Bin Laden's innocence.

These and other examples show that the intelligence agents who orchestrate false-flag terror spectacles often do not even bother to disguise the blatantly-fabricated nature of the planted evidence used to implicate patsies.

So we should not be terribly surprised when the French police tell us - with a straight face - that a highly professional fleeing terrorist would leave his ID card in an abandoned getaway car.

New York Times, Christian Science Monitor, Chicago Tribune

Je suis Charlie: Or, "I'm a racist pervert too!"

charlie hebdo

© Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Defending free speech and free press rights, which typically means defending the right to disseminate the very ideas society finds most repellent, has been one of my principal passions for the last 20 years: previously as a lawyer and now as a journalist. So I consider it positive when large numbers of people loudly invoke this principle, as has been happening over the last 48 hours in response to the horrific attack on Charlie Hebdo in Paris.

Usually, defending free speech rights is much more of a lonely task. For instance, the day before the Paris murders, I wrote an article about multiple cases where Muslims are being prosecuted and even imprisoned by western governments for their online political speech - assaults that have provoked relatively little protest, including from those free speech champions who have been so vocal this week.

I've previously covered cases where Muslims were imprisoned for many years in the U.S. for things like translating and posting "extremist" videos to the internet, writing scholarly articles in defense of Palestinian groups and expressing harsh criticism of Israel, and even including a Hezbollah channel in a cable package. That's all well beyond the numerous cases of jobs being lost or careers destroyed for expressing criticism of Israel or (much more dangerously and rarely) Judaism. I'm hoping this week's celebration of free speech values will generate widespread opposition to all of these long-standing and growing infringements of core political rights in the west, not just some.

Central to free speech activism has always been the distinction between defending the right to disseminate Idea X and agreeing with Idea X, one which only the most simple-minded among us are incapable of comprehending. One defends the right to express repellent ideas while being able to condemn the idea itself. There is no remote contradiction in that: the ACLU vigorously defends the right of neo-Nazis to march through a community filled with Holocaust survivors in Skokie, Illinois, but does not join the march; they instead vocally condemn the targeted ideas as grotesque while defending the right to express them.

But this week's defense of free speech rights was so spirited that it gave rise to a brand new principle: to defend free speech, one not only defends the right to disseminate the speech, but embraces the content of the speech itself. Numerous writers thus demanded: to show "solidarity" with the murdered cartoonists, one should not merely condemn the attacks and defend the right of the cartoonists to publish, but should publish and even celebrate those cartoons. "The best response to Charlie Hebdo attack," announced Slate's editor Jacob Weisberg, "is to escalate blasphemous satire."

Some of the cartoons published by Charlie Hebdo were not just offensive but bigoted, such as the one mocking the African sex slaves of Boko Haram as welfare queens (left). Others went far beyond maligning violence by extremists acting in the name of Islam, or even merely depicting Mohammed with degrading imagery (above, right), and instead contained a stream of mockery toward Muslims generally, who in France are not remotely powerful but are largely a marginalized and targeted immigrant population .

But no matter. Their cartoons were noble and should be celebrated - not just on free speech grounds but for their content. In a column entitled "The Blasphemy We Need," The New York Times' Ross Douthat argued that "the right to blaspheme (and otherwise give offense) is essential to the liberal order" and "that kind of blasphemy [that provokes violence] is precisely the kind that needs to be defended, because it's the kind that clearly serves a free society's greater good." New York Magazine's Jonathan Chait actually proclaimed that "one cannot defend the right [to blaspheme] without defending the practice." Vox's Matt Yglesias had a much more nuanced view but nonetheless concluded that "to blaspheme the Prophet transforms the publication of these cartoons from a pointless act to a courageous and even necessary one, while the observation that the world would do well without such provocations becomes a form of appeasement."

To comport with this new principle for how one shows solidarity with free speech rights and a vibrant free press, we're publishing some blasphemous and otherwise offensive cartoons about religion and their adherents:

And here are some not-remotely-blasphemous-or-bigoted yet very pointed and relevant cartoons by the brilliantly provocative Brazilian cartoonist Carlos Latuff (reprinted with permission):

Is it time for me to be celebrated for my brave and noble defense of free speech rights? Have I struck a potent blow for political liberty and demonstrated solidarity with free journalism by publishing blasphemous cartoons? If, as Salman Rushdie said, it's vital that all religions be subjected to "fearless disrespect," have I done my part to uphold western values?

When I first began to see these demands to publish these anti-Muslim cartoons, the cynic in me thought perhaps this was really just about sanctioning some types of offensive speech against some religions and their adherents, while shielding more favored groups. In particular, the west has spent years bombing, invading and occupying Muslim countries and killing, torturing and lawlessly imprisoning innocent Muslims, and anti-Muslim speech has been a vital driver in sustaining support for those policies.

So it's the opposite of surprising to see large numbers of westerners celebrating anti-Muslim cartoons - not on free speech grounds but due to approval of the content. Defending free speech is always easy when you like the content of the ideas being targeted, or aren't part of (or actively dislike) the group being maligned.

Indeed, it is self-evident that if a writer who specialized in overtly anti-black or anti-Semitic screeds had been murdered for their ideas, there would be no widespread calls to republish their trash in "solidarity" with their free speech rights. In fact, Douthat, Chait and Yglesias all took pains to expressly note that they were only calling for publication of such offensive ideas in the limited case where violence is threatened or perpetrated in response (by which they meant in practice, so far as I can tell: anti-Islam speech). Douthat even used italics to emphasize how limited his defense of blasphemy was: "that kind of blasphemy is precisely the kind that needs to be defended."

One should acknowledge a valid point contained within the Douthat/Chait/Yglesias argument: when media outlets refrain from publishing material out of fear (rather than a desire to avoid publishing gratuitously offensive material), as several of the west's leading outlets admitted doing with these cartoons, that is genuinely troubling, an actual threat to a free press. But there are all kinds of pernicious taboos in the west that result in self-censorship or compelled suppression of political ideas, from prosecution and imprisonment to career destruction: why is violence by Muslims the most menacing one? (I'm not here talking about the question of whether media outlets should publish the cartoons because they're newsworthy; my focus is on the demand they be published positively, with approval, as "solidarity").

When we originally discussed publishing this article to make these points, our intention was to commission two or three cartoonists to create cartoons that mock Judaism and malign sacred figures to Jews the way Charlie Hebdo did to Muslims. But that idea was thwarted by the fact that no mainstream western cartoonist would dare put their name on an anti-Jewish cartoon, even if done for satire purposes, because doing so would instantly and permanently destroy their career, at least. Anti-Islam and anti-Muslim commentary (and cartoons) are a dime a dozen in western media outlets; the taboo that is at least as strong, if not more so, are anti-Jewish images and words. Why aren't Douthat, Chait, Yglesias and their like-minded free speech crusaders calling for publication of anti-Semitic material in solidarity, or as a means of standing up to this repression? Yes, it's true that outlets like The New York Times will in rare instances publish such depictions, but only to document hateful bigotry and condemn it - not to publish it in "solidarity" or because it deserves a serious and respectful airing.

With all due respect to the great cartoonist Ann Telnaes, it is simply not the case that Charlie Hebdo "were equal opportunity offenders." Like Bill Maher, Sam Harris and other anti-Islam obsessives, mocking Judaism, Jews and/or Israel is something they will rarely (if ever ) do. If forced, they can point to rare and isolated cases where they uttered some criticism of Judaism or Jews, but the vast bulk of their attacks are reserved for Islam and Muslims, not Judaism and Jews. Parody, free speech and secular atheism are the pretexts; anti-Muslim messaging is the primary goal and the outcome . And this messaging - this special affection for offensive anti-Islam speech - just so happens to coincide with, to feed, the militaristic foreign policy agenda of their governments and culture.

To see how true that is, consider the fact that Charlie Hebdo - the "equal opportunity" offenders and defenders of all types of offensive speech - fired one of their writers in 2009 for writing a sentence some said was anti-Semitic (the writer was then charged with a hate crime offense, and won a judgment against the magazine for unfair termination). Does that sound like "equal opportunity" offending?

Nor is it the case that threatening violence in response to offensive ideas is the exclusive province of extremists claiming to act in the name of Islam. Terrence McNally's 1998 play "Corpus Christi," depicting Jesus as gay, was repeatedly cancelled by theaters due to bomb threats. Larry Flynt was paralyzed by an evangelical white supremacist who objected to Hustler's pornographic depiction of inter-racial couples. The Dixie Chicks were deluged with death threats and needed massive security after they publicly criticized George Bush for the Iraq War, which finally forced them to apologize out of fear. Violence spurred by Jewish and Christian fanaticism is legion, from abortion doctors being murdered to gay bars being bombed to a 45-year-old brutal occupation of the West Bank and Gaza due in part to the religious belief (common in both the U.S. and Israel) that God decreed they shall own all the land. And that's all independent of the systematic state violence in the west sustained, at least in part, by religious sectarianism.

The New York Times' David Brooks today claims that anti-Christian bias is so widespread in America - which has never elected a non-Christian president - that "the University of Illinois fired a professor who taught the Roman Catholic view on homosexuality." He forgot to mention that the very same university just terminated its tenure contract with Professor Steven Salaita over tweets he posted during the Israeli attack on Gaza that the university judged to be excessively vituperative of Jewish leaders, and that the journalist Chris Hedges was just disinvited to speak at the University of Pennsylvania for the Thought Crime of drawing similarities between Israel and ISIS.

That is a real taboo - a repressed idea - as powerful and absolute as any in the United States, so much so that Brooks won't even acknowledge its existence. It's certainly more of a taboo in the U.S. than criticizing Muslims and Islam, criticism which is so frequently heard in mainstream circles - including the U.S. Congress - that one barely notices it any more.

This underscores the key point: there are all sorts of ways ideas and viewpoints are suppressed in the west. When those demanding publication of these anti-Islam cartoons start demanding the affirmative publication of those ideas as well, I'll believe the sincerity of their very selective application of free speech principles. One can defend free speech without having to publish, let alone embrace, the offensive ideas being targeted. But if that's not the case, let's have equal application of this new principle.

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New Claim: Dinosaur Farts May Have Caused Prehistoric Global Warming

Sauropods, Dinosaur, methane gas, emissions, greenhouse gases, global warming, climate change, Current Biology, green design, sustainable design, eco-design, industrial revolution, meat industry, dairy industry, Liverpool John Moores University

Sauropod dinosaurs that roamed the planet 150 million years ago may have released more methane gas into the atmosphere than all modern sources combined. Although methane does not stay in the atmosphere as long as carbon dioxide, it is 20 times more effective at trapping heat than CO2. “A simple mathematical model suggests that the microbes living in sauropod dinosaurs may have produced enough methane to have an important effect on the Mesozoic climate,” Dr. Wilkinson told The Telegraph.

The researchers compared sauropods to the modern dairy and beef industry. “Global methane emissions from medium-sized sauropods that weighed about 20 tonnes would have amounted to around 472 million tonnes per year,” the study concluded. That amount is roughly equivalent to the 500 million tonnes of methane released into the atmosphere today. Prior to the industrial revolution, before beef production exploded, natural methane emissions only added up to 181 million tonnes per year.

Government officials all over America are cracking down on preppers

Why would the government want to punish people that are just trying to work hard, become more self-sufficient and take care of their families?

There are approximately 3 million preppers in the United States today, and often they appear to be singled out for punishment by bureaucratic control freaks that are horrified at the thought that there are families out there that actually want to try to become less dependent on the system.

So if you use alternative methods to heat your home, or if you are not connected to the utility grid, or if you collect rainwater on your property, or if you believe that parents should have the ultimate say when it comes to health decisions for their children, you could become a target for overzealous government enforcers.

Once upon a time, America was the land of the free and the home of the brave, but now we are being transformed into a socialist police state where control freak bureaucrats use millions of laws, rules and regulations to crack down on anyone that dares to think for themselves.

For example, people have been burning wood to heat their homes since this country began. And this is still very common in rural areas. But the Obama administration does not like this at all. The Obama bureaucrats at the EPA fear that our little wood stoves may be contributing to "global warming", so they have outlawed the production and sale of 80 percent of the wood stoves that are currently in use. The following comes from a recent article...

It seems that even wood isn't green or renewable enough anymore. The EPA has recently banned the production and sale of 80 percent of America's current wood-burning stoves, the oldest heating method known to mankind and mainstay of rural homes and many of our nation's poorest residents. The agency's stringent one-size-fits-all rules apply equally to heavily air-polluted cities and far cleaner plus typically colder off-grid wilderness areas such as large regions of Alaska and the American West.

While EPA's most recent regulations aren't altogether new, their impacts will nonetheless be severe. Whereas restrictions had previously banned wood-burning stoves that didn't limit fine airborne particulate emissions to 15 micrograms per cubic meter of air, the change will impose a maximum 12 microgram limit. To put this amount in context, EPA estimates that secondhand tobacco smoke in a closed car can expose a person to 3,000-4,000 micrograms of particulates per cubic meter.

Most wood stoves that warm cabin and home residents from coast-to-coast can't meet that standard. Older stoves that don't cannot be traded in for updated types, but instead must be rendered inoperable, destroyed, or recycled as scrap metal.

Does that make you angry?

It should.

There are other preppers that try to use very "clean" methods to power their homes, but that is still not good enough for some government control freaks.

For example, one prepper down in south Florida that had gone "off the grid" was recently ordered by a court to connect back to the grid or face eviction from his home. The following is an excerpt from a recent article by Guiles Hendrik...

Think you are still free to make choices in your life? Do you think the government will allow you to live independent of their utility monopolies? If you think so, try opting for renewable non-grid tied power and utilize environmentally friendly composting toilets and your own self-sufficient water supply. Today, those life choices could land you in jail if you live in South Florida. Take the case of Robin Speronis.

Robin Speronis has lived off the grid, independent of the city's water and electric system. A Florida court ruled this off-the-grid living illegal last week and has given Robin until March to connect her home to a municipal water line or face possible eviction. Further, officials in the city of Cape Coral have justified this by deeming Robin's home "unsanitary," citing the International Property Maintenance Code. First of all, since when did we begin to locally recognize "international codes?" Where in the US Constitution does it provide for international jurisdiction over local codes? Ironically, this "international" code mandates that homes be connected to an electricity grid and a running water source, even though most of the world lives without reliable electricity and municipal water and sewer. Further, the code is outdated and obsolete because it was written without consideration to both old and new technologies that relegate the need for grid tied power and municipal water as unnecessary and expensive; especially, in locations where it simply isn't feasible to have grid tied utilities. Nonetheless, Speronis' home does in fact have power and water through far cheaper and more environmentally friendly means - solar panels and rainwater, but that reality is ignored by the local government.

Incredibly, most Americans still seem to believe that we live in a "free country". But we don't. Our lives are very tightly constrained by literally millions of laws, rules and regulations, and more are being added every single day.

Even some of our most basic fundamental rights have been seriously eroded. One of these is the right to make basic health decisions for our own children. In New York state, children that have not received all of the designated vaccines can now be banned from attending public school, and this requirement was recently upheld by a federal appeals court...

New York state's requirement that children be vaccinated before attending public school does not violate their constitutional rights, a federal appeals court in Manhattan said on Wednesday.

In affirming the requirement's constitutionality, a three-judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals also upheld a previous ruling by a federal judge that students exempted from the requirement for religious reasons can be barred from school when another child has a disease preventable by a vaccine.

The decision was the latest to go against three parents from New York City who say their religious rights were violated when their children were kept out of school as a result of the immunization policies. The parents' lawyer, Patricia Finn, said her clients planned to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

So what are we free to do without government interference these days?

Not much.

In fact, in some states we can't even sit on our own land and collect the rain as it falls from the sky for our own personal use.

If you do this in the state of Oregon, for example, you could go to prison...

Gary Harrington, the Oregon man convicted of collecting rainwater and snow runoff on his rural property surrendered Wednesday morning to begin serving his 30-day, jail sentence in Medford, Ore.

"I'm sacrificing my liberty so we can stand up as a country and stand for our liberty," Harrington told a small crowd of people gathered outside of the Jackson County (Ore.) Jail.

Several people held signs that showed support for Harrington as he was taken inside the jail.

And of course these are just a few examples. Almost every single day there are more stories in the news about government bureaucrats cracking down on preppers. They almost seem to relish the opportunity to go after the "non-conformists".

But the good news is that the number of Americans that are seeking to become less dependent on the system just continues to grow.

So what about you?

Are you a prepper?

My friend Daisy Luther recently wrote a piece entitled "45 MORE Signs That You Might Be One of Those Crazy Preppers." The following are some of the most interesting "signs" from her list...

  • You spend your days off digging an underground bunker in your backyard.

  • Your family doesn't dare take something from the food stockpile without marking it off the list.

  • Your kids know how to don a gas mask in 30 seconds.

  • Everyone in your survival group carries the same firearm so that ammo is standardized.

  • Your family is no longer surprised when you announce, "Hey, we're going to learn how to make (insert anything here)!"

  • You have long since accepted the idea that if you're not on someone's list, you're probably not doing it right.

  • You don't just rotate food, you rotate ammo.

  • Moving to a new house is no longer "moving", but "strategic relocation".

  • Your kids think it's a fun game to see who can find the most potential weapons in a room.

  • Your EDC includes a knife, firearm w/extra mag, flashlight, mylar blanket, Chapstick, and an ounce of silver - and that's just for when you're walking the dog.

  • One criterion for your new winter coat is that it fits over your body armor.

America was built by people that loved their families, worked hard and were self-sufficient.

Now our government is specifically targeting those kinds of people.

What in the world is happening to us?

The Paris shootings and the farce of Western free speech

Speaking outside Elysée Palace in the aftermath of this week's terror killings in France, former President Nicolas Sarkozy condemned the violence as "an attack on civilization." Coiffured, sun-tanned and nattily dressed, Sarkozy's solemn words made him appear like the embodiment of civility.

That's a quaint turn in etiquette by a politician who is mired in allegations of sleaze and corruption, as well as war crimes.

Sarkozy wasn't too concerned about "civilization" when he and his British allies launched the NATO bombing campaign of Libya in March 2011 in stark violation of a UN mandate. That seven-month onslaught led to the murder of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi - from whom Sarkozy had gladly received hush-hush political donations in the past, before stabbing him in the back.

The illegal French-led NATO blitzkrieg on Libya subverted a constitutional government and resulted in the ongoing destruction of one of Africa's most economically developed countries. Libya has been sacked to become a failed state, over-run by extremist Takfiri militia and tribal warlords, whose warped ideology is shared by the ISIS terror network destroying Syria and Iraq. The same ideology includes the armed adherents who struck this week in Paris, killing more than a dozen people.

© Unknown

NATO's free speech in Libya

So Sarkozy's concern for attacks on civilization is well qualified - although you won't hear it put quite that way in the thought-control Western media. The very extremist forces he helped to unleash from the illegal overthrow of the Libyan state have now killed his own people right in the capital of his republic.

One of the presumed touchstones of Western civilization that was allegedly defiled this week is "free speech" and "freedom of expression." Sarkozy was joined by other Western political figures, from US President Barack Obama, to British Premier David Cameron, in condemning the murderous assault on the Paris-based satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in terms of a war on "our values."

The magazine had previously incensed millions of Muslims worldwide by its publication of images profaning Prophet Mohammed (PBUH). That is believed to have provided the motive for the gunmen who, while fleeing the scene in Paris, shouted: "The prophet has been avenged."

French President Francois Hollande declared the slain journalists and cartoonists as "heroes" who died for the lofty principle of freedom of speech.

But like other presumed Western values, such as human rights, freedom of speech is a much over-rated principle - over-rated by the Western governments and institutions like the corporate-controlled media, who invoke it as a ideological badge of honor that distinguishes them and makes them superior to others.

In practice, however, such Western values are no more than chimera. They are empty slogans whose mere espousal and conceited, disingenuous profession is for propaganda purposes.

What human rights or respect for rule of law did Sarkozy, Cameron and Obama adhere to when they oversaw the destruction of Libya? Or in the ongoing covert destruction of Syria and Iraq (despite belated Western claims of liquidating the terror network that they spawned in the first place for regime change in Syria.)

Insofar that Western governments support free speech, it is more often for expedient political advantage. It is not a universal ethic, as claimed. And, laughably, they are telling barefaced lies to claim otherwise, as they continually do.

A French satirical publication may have been allowed to denigrate Islam, but it would never be allowed to condemn Zionism and all its provable criminality. It is doubtful the magazine in question would print cartoons of Sarkozy, Obama or Cameron with explosives tied to their heads or dropping bombs on Libya. Even though the latter is not satire; it actually reflects the reality of criminal actions and events.

So, Western "free speech" is really just freedom for the powers-that-be to demean and demonize whomever the West requires for furthering its political interests. When free speech legitimately attacks Western interests, exposes hypocrisy and fraudulence, then it stops being a "universal principle." Censorship is then the ironclad order.

And this isn't free speech?

French comedian Dieudonné, for example, has been banned from public performances by the French government owing to his farcical arm gesture, known as the "Quenelle." The gesture can be interpreted in many ways, from a vulgar personal insult, to a derisory slur on the ruling class. The French authorities claim that the sign is "anti-Semitic" and a reverse Nazi salute. Dieudonné denies this and instead says the gesture is "anti-Zionist" and "anti-establishment."

The comedian has been banned from travelling to Britain by the London authorities, also as a result of his political parodies. His friend and professional footballer, Nicolas Anelka, was last year banned from playing soccer games in England and fined over $100,000 for signaling the Quenelle after scoring a goal.

Almost a year before the massacre at the Charlie Hebdo magazine this week in Paris, French President Francois Hollande gave notice that there would be zero-tolerance of Dieudonné or anyone else who practiced the Quenelle. "We will act... we will fight against the sarcasm of those who purport to be humorists but who are actually professional anti-Semites," said Hollande.

But hold on a moment. That's just what the French ruling class deems to be the meaning of Dieudonné's Quenelle. On the basis of their prejudice, the artist and anyone who displays the gesture in public is subject to prosecution. That's not just censorship; it is state persecution for having an opinion.

Evidently, it's acceptable to insult Islam, according to Western select use of free speech because it suits political agendas of demonizing Muslim countries so that they can be attacked with Western warplanes or covert terrorist proxies. But it is not acceptable to satirize Zionism or Western ruling classes.

And here is another revealing touchstone. Why is Press TV banned from British terrestrial and satellite television broadcasting? Why is the Iran-based channel banned across Europe and North America? Where is Western free speech in that case? What is the problem?

Press TV is not tolerated. It is banished. Because the truth of Western state terrorism, as practiced by the likes of Sarkozy, Hollande, Obama and Cameron is too much to bear for how it might enlighten and empower public opinion. The truth of Western-sponsored state terrorism as practiced by the genocidal Israeli regime is too much to bear for public discourse; any criticism is shoved down the memory hole under the spurious pretext of "anti-Semitism." The fact that Western leaders should be prosecuted for war crimes is too much to bear. All such views, no matter how intellectually rigorous, morally scrupulous and legally substantiated, must be censored, and those who articulate them must be hounded into isolation.

Western free speech is nothing but a cynical charade by those in power to maintain their unlawful positions of power.

A satirical magazine championed by Western war criminals for its "free speech" to dehumanize Muslims is hailed as "heroic?" While an informative, serious news channel like Press TV is banned. Now that is farcical cartoon.

News roundup: December in Russia


The Chinese foreign minister made it plain: "We believe that Russia has opportunities and knowledge to overcome the current problems in the economy. The Chinese-Russian relations of strategic partnership are at a high level, we are always supporting and helping our friend. If the Russian side needs it, we shall offer all possible support we may have". Why is China doing this? Self-interest: if Washington can bring Russia down, China knows it's next on the list. Meanwhile, China is moving into Latin America. Washington and Brussels have united two powers that can crash their economies at will (at, admittedly, large - - cost to themselves.)

Truth leaks out

Despite the best efforts of Western governments and their tame media, bits of truth are slowly - but not quickly enough - leaking out. The head of Stratfor described it as "the most blatant coup in history". As to neo-nazis (long pooh-poohed as a Putin fantasy - here, here and here for example), even the Washington Post admits "But now several of these units, especially those linked to oligarchs or the far right, are revealing a dark side." Smaller publications can report more reality ( or ) while the larger, like the , still adhere to the Party Line. Here is a careful piece about neo-nazis and here a compendium on the subject. Read these and decide for yourself if this is a trivial phenomenon. Ignore the election result argument, these people prefer to create fear and compulsion: here, here, here, here. (What would the or say if there were a campaign for "real" Russian names, torchlight parades shouting "Glory to Russia" or guards at Christmas crèches to protect them from Obama?) Even the tame Western "human rights" organisations are starting to notice who's shelling civilians. "Merkel should emphasize the need for Ukraine's Defense Ministry to issue clear and specific orders... not to use certain explosive weapons in areas populated by civilians." The notion that the defenders are destroying their own families' housing is a little preposterous, isn't it? Especially when Poroshenko thinks it desirable their children hide in basements. Everybody has a phone camera and a Web link now; hard to control the story.

Military etc.

An amendment to Russia's military doctrine states NATO expansion and its buildup on Russia's borders is a threat: not really new, just that Moscow has stopped hinting. Meanwhile, as if to remind Washington - again - that Russia is not Libya or Afghanistan, a third SLBN was handed over to the Navy: these three boats carry 16 Bulava missiles each, each with 6 independently targetable warheads. 288 warheads in new, modern, tested systems. Then a land-based ICBM was successfully tested. We are informed that there are now 295,000 professional soldiers in the Armed Forces with the plan to add another 55,000 in 2015. Meanwhile, the heavy Angara A-5 rocket successfully launched a dummy payload. Russia kept its world-wide lead in space launches with 38.

Day late and a dollar short

"Because we think it is important that Russia... and NATO are able to work together on important issues, like for instance, fighting terror." Brilliant idea 15 years ago, good idea 10 years ago, OK idea 5 years ago, today, too late: you can't call Russia an aggressor and ask for cooperation in one and the same statement.


Take ten minutes to watch this. A lot of things are happening you're not told about.

[embedded content]

Eurasian Economic Union

First suggested ten years ago by Nazarbayev, it took effect on 1 January. Comprising Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Armenia (joined the next day) it is a free trade zone. We will see how effective it proves to be, born as it is in difficult times. Russia cheekily suggest the EU join: "You really think it is wise to put so much political energy into a free trade agreement with the United States when one has a much more natural trade partner next door right in the neighborhood? At least we don't treat our chickens with chlorine".

Ukrainian nuclear power station

Something is happening at the Zaporizhia nuclear power station. There have been some shutdowns - more than one, it seems. Rebel sources say radiation levels have spiked. There may be a connection with nuclear fuel from Westinghouse; dangerous says Moscow. This could be quite serious and there is no reason to believe anything Kiev says about it.

When it comes to the economy which will you follow; your intuition or the lying government?

propaganda line

What will you accept as real - your intuition that something is deeply amiss in America, or the official propaganda that all is well?

In 1967, the rock group Buffalo Springfield recorded a song titled For What It's Worth which speaks not just to the late 1960s but to the present.

Consider the opening lines:

The ambiguity is not coincidental. When the song was recorded in December 1966, America was in the beginning throes of a full-blown national nervous breakdown that would endure for 15 years until 1981.

The fundamental narratives that had sustained the previous 20 years of apparently limitless prosperity and moral certitude were breaking down. The primary narrative of American foreign policy - that the U.S. defended liberty and always won its foreign wars over evil totalitarianism/ fascism/ colonialism was being destroyed on a daily basis in Vietnam, an intrinsically political (and thus unwinnable by military means) war defending a hopelessly corrupt state created by quasi-colonial Great Powers fiat.

The primary political narrative - that democracy and the rule of law were sacrosanct - were undermined by the Watergate affair a few years later.

Millions of solid citizens with crewcuts and permed hairdo's looked at long-haired musicians and hippies, student protests and the emergence of ethnic and women's rights movements with dismayed disorientation - something's happening here, but why it's happening ain't exactly clear.

Meanwhile, those being held in contempt by the status quo were wondering why the shackles of the supposed golden era were so invisible to everyone who was wondering why the 1960s had exploded out of the idyllically secure and prosperous 1950s.

Those doing well reckoned everything is great because I'm doing great.

This is the source of national nervous breakdowns: those benefiting from the current arrangement - the privileged few and the vested interests skimming personal wealth from the political machinery and the economy - see only rosy statistics that verify their own privileged perspective that everything's going great.

Those whose experience is decidedly un-great see the problem differently: the problem is the political machinery and the corporate media are trying to manage perceptions rather than tackle the dysfunctional reality.

In effect, the Status Quo of happily vested interests is waging war on our intuition that there is something fundamentally amiss in America - something on the scale of the period 1966-1981 that saw the complete destruction of the official narratives.

Those outside the privileged few and the protected fiefdoms of vested interests - public unions, cartels, Wall Street, K Street, bankers, etc. - are constantly told their perception is the problem: the statistics and Wall Street prove everything's going great, so get with the program and stop being negative.

This of course goes hand in hand with blaming the less privileged: if only you worked as hard as we do, you wouldn't be experiencing anything but blue-sky prosperity.

This is of course the default perspective of privilege: overlook the unspoken advantages of privilege and lecture the less privileged on how they would be doing just fine if they were inside the gated fiefdoms instead of toiling in the wastelands beyond the walls of wealth and political power.

Here is A Simple but Powerful Lesson About Privilege.

That something's happening here, but what it is ain't exactly clear is not coincidence - the ambiguity is the direct result of the war on our intuition, which is signaling us that the propaganda-driven narratives are false, despite being backed by (heavily gamed) statistics and the ceaseless reassurances of officials and "trusted" media sources.

Subtextually, we are constantly told that not only is the current arrangement that rewards vested interests not only the best possible world - it is the only possible world: America cannot possibly operate in any other way than the current dysfunctional, predatory, parasitic, corrupt and venal arrangement that protects and enriches the few at the expense of the many.

Here is a chart of wealth inequality:

wealth gap graph

Those of us who have benefited from the vast expansion of asset bubbles (anyone who owns real estate, stocks or bonds that have appreciated greatly in the past six years - and I raise my hand to real estate) are supposed to remain silent, since we shared in the largesse. But complicity has a price, and I for one would be happy to see real estate fall in half (yes, half) so housing would again be affordable to the younger generations.

It's said that everyone has a price (usually by those doing the buying), but this is not true. Being bought off is a transaction of two parties.

It boils down to this: are America's problems real, or are they the result of perception? The Status Quo is expending staggering sums of time, money and energy to convince you that it's perception: if only you believe the statistics and assurances, all the problems your intuition has red-flagged will vanish.

So what will you accept as real - your intuition that something is deeply amiss in America, or the official propaganda that all is well? The goal of this war is to persuade you to surrender your independence and intuition in favor of passive acceptance of the cleverly cloaked tyranny of the current arrangement.

If they cannot persuade you, then disorienting you will do. Misdirecting your intuition is victory enough.

NYPD 'Slowdown' Saves Taxpayers $10M A Week In Parking Ticket Fines

The New York Post is reporting the NYPD's slowdown in issuing parking tickets is "costing the city $10m a week in revenue."

From the perspective of the state's tax-victims, that means taxpayers are saving $10m a week.

The New York Post reports:

The city is losing about $10 million per week on parking ticket revenue because of the NYPD work slowdown, according to budget watchdog estimates.

There were just 1,191 parking summonses handed out between Dec. 29 and Jan. 4 — down nearly 93 percent from the same period last year, when 16,008 of the dreaded orange envelopes were slapped on windshields.

Based on the weekly average ticket take of $10.5 million in fiscal 2014, the Citizens Budget Commission estimated the reduction could have bled about $10 million from city coffers.

And that doesn’t include other revenue losses from similar reductions in moving violations and court summonses during the slowdown, which is now in its third week.

“While losing $10-$11 million in a week is real money, in the context of the city’s $77 billion annual budget it’s a very small amount,” said Doug Turetsky, of the Independent Budget Office. “But if the losses continue over weeks and months, the effect on the budget becomes more substantial.”

If you do the math, the state is looting people for $546m a year from parking tickets alone. The fact this is meager considering the city's budget is just further evidence how insanely large their budget is.

I covered the other day how New York police working for the port authority are

making over $300,000 a year

, that money doesn't materialize out of thin air, it has to be stolen from the general public before they can gorge on it.

This police "slowdown" is the best thing that has happened to New York taxpayers in ages, may it continue in perpetuity until all the cops and the bureaucrats they serve are out of work.

Beached pygmy sperm whale dies at Point Reyes, California

© Ramin Rahimian / The Chronicle

Cara Field, a staff vet, with The Marine Mammal Center takes a blood sample from a dead male pygmy sperm whale

When Emily Klion and her three friends came upon the large, dying animal tossing in the surf at Point Reyes, they weren't sure what it was.

"People we saw said it was a dolphin. I thought it was a shark, though, because of the teeth," said Klion of Berkeley, who visited the isolated beach near Abbots Lagoon on Thursday while hiking at Point Reyes National Seashore.

"When we looked at it closer, it had a blowhole, so then we figured out it was a whale."

Scientists at the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito confirmed Friday, after waiting for daybreak to hike to the beach, that the ailing critter was indeed a young, rarely sighted pygmy sperm whale.

It's a species of toothed whale that doesn't often show itself to humans, preferring to hunt octopus, shrimp and small fish in the very deep sea.

Its most unusual feature, perhaps, is its ability to eject a reddish-brown fluid, often called ink, to hide from predators.

Once ashore at Point Reyes, the whale may have been beyond saving. While Klion and her friends tried to push the roughly 6-foot, 300-pound male back to sea, it kept floating back to shore, she said. Marine Mammal Center officials who arrived at the site with specialists from the park and California Academy of Sciences on Friday morning said the animal was dead.

"It had been making sounds. Its eyes were open. It looked at us," Klion said. "It was really sad to see it struggle."

The team of marine mammal experts transported the whale to facilities in the Bay Area, where it was scheduled to be examined - and a cause of death determined.

A preliminary review Friday suggested the whale was sick and too weak to swim, said Cara Field, a veterinarian for the Marine Mammal Center.

"There are no signs of obvious trauma," Field said, which probably rules out other common causes of death like shark attack or collision with a boat.

The whale, based principally on its size, is believed to be young, but not a dependent calf. The whales typically grow to 1,000 pounds and up to 13 feet.

Its squid-like ink was oozing from its body Friday. Lots of scratches were on its surface from scavenger birds. The animal was also badly bruised. Exactly when the whale beached itself is not clear, but reports of the stranded animal came in Thursday afternoon.

Before this week, the Marine Mammal Center had responded to six stranded pygmy sperm whales since 1987, none of which survived, said Shelbi Stoudt, a stranding and data manager at the center. Only one of the whales was well enough to transport to a rehabilitation unit for medical care, but it ultimately died.

Whales often run aground when they're too sick or injured to float. Efforts to push them back in the water, as Klion learned, are largely futile.

Despite the sad ending to the whale tale, Klion described her experience this week as magical.

"People go whale watching for hours and just scan the horizon looking for whales," she said, "but we got to be with one."

Suffering from False Flag Fatigue Syndrome?

false flag

© unknown

Gone are the days when we accept everything we are told. Years ago faith in 'The System' meant we soaked up the latest news, believing what we were told and unquestionably believed, that our governments, whichever party they represented, would do the best for the country.

Not anymore.

We for a fact that our own government, and many others around the world have staged events in order to garner public support for unpopular decisions they intended to make. We this practice still continues. The question how do we know what's for real, and what isn't? In short, we don't. Only the perpetrator of a scam knows it's a scam unless he is caught and exposed during the scam. The same can be said of governments, unless they are exposed during the act we can never be sure what the reality of the situation is. We can suspect, but that's as far as it goes.

While newspaper headlines around the world focus on France mourning those who died in the shootouts across Paris there are a number of people who believe this was another example of a false flag attack. I have no idea if they are right, and my opinions are not what this article is about.

Those who have yet to wake up, increasingly live their lives in fear. They take in everything they are told and see the boogeyman around every corner, lurking in every shadow. They meekly accept more and more regulation of their lives in return for what they perceive as safety from the bogeyman, and this, I believe is the ultimate goal of false flag events.

To be able to get the bulk of the population to willingly accept more and more centralized control is the ultimate wet dream of governments around the world.

To engineer things so well that your citizens shuffle through their daily lives, heads down hoping that the threat to their very existence passes them by, is the ultimate in grand-scale subjugation.

The price we will pay for this as a nation is huge, it comes at a far higher cost that the bogeyman could ever exact on us. This is subliminal messaging on a national scale, manipulation of the masses in order to make them malleable to ever increasing restrictions imposed by the government.

When the shit finally does hit the fan these sheeple will be so entrenched in the government lie that they will do anything asked of them to maintain their illusion of freedom. Those reliant on government handouts, and those that believe the government will look after them will 'out' those who are prepared and those they think are not towing the company line.

The FEMA camps are not there for the masses they are there for the likes of you and me, those who have woken up to what is going on and to the decline of the United States of America.

The time has passed for friendly advice on the benefits of prepping. If people don't get it by now, there is little hope that they ever will. Keep your mouth shut, your ammo dry and prepare like your life depends on it, because at this point, it more than likely does.

The Prepper's Blueprint: The Step-By-Step Guide To Help You Through Any Disaster

The Prepper's Cookbook: 300 Recipes to Turn Your Emergency Food into Nutritious, Delicious, Life-Saving Meals

Elite Large Fully Stocked GI Issue Medic First Aid Kit Bag

Wise Company Emergency Food Supply 1 Month

How to Create a Safe Room in Your House or Apartment

Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces

The Pantry Primer: How to Build a One-Year Food Supply in Three Months

Moderate rebels? 3,000 FSA fighters defect to ISIS

© Reuters / Khalil Ashawi

Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters

Up to 3,000 Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters have defected from the organization and given ba'yah (religious payment; servitude) to the self-proclaimed Caliph of the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS), Sheikh Ibrahim Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, in the Qalamoun Mountains of the Rif Dimashq Governorate - these fighters belonged to multiple brigades that formed the conglomeration of the FSA.

As ISIS continues to spread their presence on the border of Lebanon and Syria, many rebel groups have found this organization more appealing than their predecessors due to their success in eastern and northern Syria. The Al-Qaeda linked Al-Nusra Front (Jabhat Al-Nusra) - who fought ISIS in Deir Ezzor - has seemingly repaired relations in eastern Lebanon and western Syria. The 2 militant groups have been spotted working together during armed engagements with loyalist forces in 'Assal Al-Ward and Rankous.

The FSA groups who pledged allegiance to ISIS are the following:

1. Liwaa Al-Farouq - Approximately 300 fighters

2. Liwaa Al-Qusayr - Approximately 600 fighters

3. Liwaa Al-Turkomen - Approximately 400 fighters

4. Liwaa Al-Haqq - Approximately 400 fighters

5. Kataeb Al-Mouqna - Approximately 200 fighters

6. Liwaa Matfareeq - Approximately 500 fighters

7. Suqour Al-Fatih - Approximately 200 fighters

8. Liwaa 77 - Approximately 400 fighters

Psychopath shows his stripes: George Zimmerman arrested again for assault and domestic violence

George Zimmerman

© The Associated Press

George Zimmerman

George Zimmerman -- the man acquitted by a Florida jury over the death of Trayvon Martin -- was arrested Friday in Florida on suspicion of aggravated assault and domestic violence with a weapon, local authorities said.

The 31-year-old Florida man was arrested by police in Lake Mary around 10 p.m. and booked into the John E. Polk Correctional Facility, according to that facility's website. That facility, like its website, is run by the Seminole County Sheriff's Office.

It all came about after Zimmerman allegedly threw a wine bottle at a girlfriend, his lawyer Don West told reporters.

"Whatever happened took place several days ago," said West. "And, as far as I know, they have not been together for some time, certainly not since then."

Police first learned about it after coming "in contact with the (alleged) victim at a traffic stop," Lake Mary police spokeswoman Bianca Gillett said.

The incident is the latest legal run-in for Zimmerman since his acquittal in July 2012 on a murder charge in the death of Martin, a 17-year-old African-American. In fact, it's his second arrest for alleged domestic violence against a girlfriend -- though Lake Mary police spokeswoman Bianca Gillett said this alleged "victim is not the same (woman) as in 2013."

"It's clear he hasn't been very lucky with the ladies the last few months," West said of his client.

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Judge bars contact, orders weapons surrendered

Zimmerman appeared Saturday morning before Judge John Galluzo, who decided to bar him from contacting the alleged victim or going into Volusia County. He was also told to surrender any weapons -- with West saying he could turn them over to relatives, not necessarily police. He was not ordered to refrain from drinking, since the judge said "there wasn't any allegation of abuse of alcohol in the arrest affidavit."

Appearing in court is not new for Zimmerman, who became a national figure in 2012 after spotting Martin in his Sanford, Florida, neighborhood. The two ended up having a confrontation that climaxed with Zimmerman fatally shooting the teenager, who was unarmed.

That incident, and authorities' decision not to immediately charge Zimmerman, spurred large-scale protests. In April of that year, Zimmerman was charged with second-degree murder, with an affidavit accusing him of profiling Martin and ignoring a police dispatcher's request that he wait for police.

After a high-profile trial, a jury found Zimmerman not guilty.

That made him a free man -- but did not end his issues with the law.

Arrest, but no charge after other domestic violence claim

About two weeks after the verdict, he was pulled over for speeding in northern Texas . Much bigger troubles came in November 2013, when Zimmerman was taken into custody at his then-girlfriend's Apoka, Florida, home after the two allegedly had a heated fight.

He was arrested then on aggravated assault and misdemeanor counts of domestic violence battery and criminal mischief, accusations that he denied. He posted $9,000 bail days later.

But after the girlfriend asked that the issue be dropped, State Attorney Phil Archer announced that prosecutors would not press charges.

More recently, in September 2014, Lake Mary police said that a man claimed that Zimmerman threatened him during a road rage incident. "I will ... kill you," Zimmerman allegedly said, according to police. "Do you know who I am?" He was not arrested and has not been charged.

West said Saturday that his client doesn't have a full-time job, implying he's had his struggles since the Martin acquittal.

"It's been a devastating experience that he's had that he's working through," the lawyer said. "... I'm concerned, obviously, as we are here again this morning."