A non-profit news blog, focused on providing independent journalism.

Saturday, 14 February 2015

The Minsk talks and the familiar scent of betrayal


The familiar scent of betrayal clouds just concluded Minsk ceasefire talks. Like previous times when hope exceeded reality.

Donbass is Obama's war. Washington controls what's ongoing. It arms, funds, trains and directs Kiev's military.

Neocons making policy want war, not peace. Chances for ending conflict are virtually nil. Obama didn't wage war to quit.

Kiev violated last April's four-party agreement before the ink was dry. Hoped for peace was fantasy. A joint April 17 US/EU/Russia/Ukraine statement proved meaningless.

Saying "(t)he Geneva meeting on the situation in Ukraine agreed on initial concrete steps to de-escalate tensions and restore security for all citizens."

"All sides must refrain from any violence, intimidation or provocative actions. The participants strongly condemned and rejected all expressions of extremism, racism and religious intolerance, including anti-semitism."

"All illegal armed groups must be disarmed; all illegally seized buildings must be returned to legitimate owners; all illegally occupied streets, squares and other public places in Ukrainian cities and towns must be vacated."

"Amnesty will be granted to protestors and to those who have left buildings and other public places and surrendered weapons, with the exception of those found guilty of capital crimes."

It was agreed that the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission should play a leading role in assisting Ukrainian authorities and local communities in the immediate implementation of these de-escalation measures wherever they are needed most, beginning in the coming days."

"The US, EU and Russia commit to support this mission, including by providing monitors. The announced constitutional process will be inclusive, transparent and accountable."

"It will include the immediate establishment of a broad national dialogue, with outreach to all of Ukraine's regions and political constituencies, and allow for the consideration of public comments and proposed amendments."

"The participants underlined the importance of economic and financial stability in Ukraine and would be ready to discuss additional support as the above steps are implemented."

A White House statement said Obama "commended the government of Ukraine's approach to today's discussions in Geneva, where it put forward constructive proposals to expand local governance and ensure the rights of all Ukrainians are protected."

"...Russia needs to take immediate, concrete actions to de-escalate the situation in eastern Ukraine, including by using its influence over the irregular forces in eastern Ukraine to get them to lay down their arms and leave the buildings they have seized."

"(T)he United States and Europe are prepared to take further measures if this de-escalation does not occur in short order."

Donbas self-defense forces honored agreed on terms. Fighting never stopped. Kiev forces bore full responsibility.

Washington colluded with Kiev to continue conflict. Donbass freedom fighters and Russia were irresponsibly blamed for their crimes.

On September 5, both sides again agreed on ceasefire terms. At the time, illegitimate oligarch president Poroshenko said:

"I give the order to the chief of the General staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces to cease fire, starting from 18.00 (local time) on September 5.

A statement on his web site said:

"We must do everything possible and impossible to stop bloodshed and put an end to people's suffering."

Donbass forces ceased fire. Kiev continued conflict. Violated agreed on terms straightaway. Including after accepting September 19 follow-up memorandum provisions.

Imposed economic blockade conditions on Donbas. Rescinded its special status after granting it.

Expect nothing different this time. Washington won't tolerate part of Ukraine run democratically - free from Kiev fascist rule.

Following agreement in Minsk, Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) Prime Minster Alexander Zakharchenko said:

"According to the memorandum points, all responsibility for any violation of non-implementation of some agreements lies on Poroshenko."

If Kiev violates terms, no new memorandum will follow, he added. He hopes for peace. Based on past betrayals, he's justifiably leery for good reason.

Some things remain unresolved, he explained. The devil is in all the details.

Mostly what Washington plans behind the scenes. Unipolar pax Americana remains official US policy.

It bears repeating. Obama wants war, not peace. It's not hard imagining what's coming.

Arming, training, funding and directing Ukraine's military will continue more intensively than ever. Supplying more heavy weapons assures escalated conflict.

Especially with hundreds of US combat forces training Kiev's military. For war, not self-defense. Ukraine's only enemies are ones it invents.

Donbas residents want peace. They want democratic rights everyone deserves. They want regional autonomy assuring them. They reject fascist rule.

In September, Kiev agreed to end fighting, withdraw its forces, continue national dialogue, improve Donbas humanitarian conditions, allow autonomous local elections, and pursue economic recovery and reconstruction, among other promises made.

It systematically breached them all. What's known about Thursday's agreement leaves wiggle room enough to drive Kiev armored columns through.

Autonomy is ill-defined. So is the autonomous area covered by ceasefire provisions. Self-rule to be granted looks more fantasy-like than real.

Nothing is agreed without Washington's OK. Nothing less than total US control over Ukraine nationwide is acceptable.

No Independent governance in Donbas will be tolerated. Washington either wants Ukraine in one piece under Kiev rule or balkanized like Yugoslavia for easier control.

Either way, autonomous regions won't be tolerated. For sure, not independent democratic ones.

Expect more US/Kiev instigated false flags ahead. Like downing MH17, Volnovakha and Donetsk bus attacks, as well as late January Mariupol shelling and others targeting hospitals, schools, residential neighborhoods and city streets.

Maybe something more major is planned. Perhaps a Ukraine 9/11. Blaming Donbas freedom fighters and Russia like before. Expect similar future attacks to be used as pretexts to reignite conflict.

Year ago Maidan sniper killings were false flags blamed on former President Yanukovych's government.

Former Ukrainian Security Service chief Aleksander Yakimenko later admitted it. Saying shots killing police and civilians were fired from Kiev's Philharmonic Hall controlled by opposition forces at the time.

So-called Maidan self-defense commandant Andrey Parubiy ordered the killings. Controlled events. Later was appointed national security and defense council head.

According to Yakimenko, he worked with US special forces at the time. On Russian television Yakimenko said:

"Shots came from the Philharmonic Hall. Maidan commandant Parubiy was responsible for this building."

"Snipers and people with automatic weapons were 'working' from this building on February 20."

"They supported the assault on the Interior Ministry forces on the ground who were already demoralized and...fled."

"When the first wave of shootings ended, many witnessed 20 people leaving the building." They were seen carrying military-style bags used for assault weapons and optical sights.

Parubiy and others worked with US special forces. The same ones "carry(ing) out everything they were told by their leadership - the United States."

Expect new US-instigated false flags ahead. Expect renewed fighting. Perhaps heavier than before. Peace going forward is pure fantasy.

German media said Obama threatened Putin ahead of Minsk talks with serious consequences unless he yielded to US demands on Ukraine.

It's unknown how Putin responded. Likely more diplomatically than Obama but firm.

It's clear how rotten the Minsk agreement is by a White House statement endorsing it.

Ludicrously saying it "represents a potentially significant step toward a peaceful resolution of the conflict and the restoration of Ukraine's sovereignty consistent with the Minsk agreements from last September."

Impossible when Obama wants war. Instigated conflict in the first place. Intends escalating it ahead. May be foolish enough to confront Russia belligerently.

Will surely be remembered as America's worst ever president unless or until a successor exceeds his ruthlessness at home and abroad.

In the meantime, conflict in Donbas rages. More civilian deaths and injuries were reported.

What's ahead shorter term remains to be seen. Longer term things look bleak.

February 12, 2015 may be remembered as a new millennium Munich agreement.

Eleven months after British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain proclaimed "peace in our time," Hitler invaded Poland. WW II began.

Will Putin, Merkel and Hollande be responsible for the unthinkable ahead? Potentially cataclysmic East/West nuclear confrontation? The fullness of time will tell.

Chomsky: We Are All – Fill in the Blank.

This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service - if this is your content and you're reading it on someone else's site, please read the FAQ at http://bit.ly/1xcsdoI.

Dr. Suzanne Humphries, M.D. - Vaccine strain of measles virus found in measles outbreaks

 Dr. Suzanne Humphries, M.D.

© YouTube

Health Impact News Editor Comments

Dr. Suzanne Humphries is a practicing nephrologist (kidney physician). In this lecture (video below), she addresses a study done in Croatia [1] where a child who was vaccinated with the MMR vaccine was tested positive for the measles vaccine strain Schwarz eight days after vaccination.

This was a significant finding, because the child's symptoms were thought to be similar to rubella, and without testing, the sickness would have been possibly mis-diagnosed as rubella, or the wild-type strain of measles the vaccine is designed to protect against.

This concept of "shedding," where the child comes down with the disease from the virus in the vaccine itself, surprised the researchers:

Virus excretion in vaccinees has been reported before, but to our knowledge, this is documented for the first time for the Schwarz vaccine strain. [1]

Since 2010, this phenomena of vaccine shedding with measles in the MMR vaccine has been observed in at least two other studies:

. Paediatrcis and Child Health, 2012:

In the midst of a local measles outbreak, a recently immunized child was investigated for a new-onset measles-type rash. Nucleic acid testing identified that a vaccine-type measles virus was being shed in the urine. Clinically differentiating measles from a nonmeasles rash is challenging, but can be supported by a thorough medical history evaluation. Rashes are expected to occur after immunization; nucleic acid testing can be used when it is difficult to differentiate between wild and attenuated strains. [2]

, British Columbia, Canada, Eurosurveillance, 2013:

We describe a case of vaccine-associated measles in a two-year-old patient from British Columbia, Canada, in October 2013, who received her first dose of measles-containing vaccine 37 days prior to onset of prodromal symptoms. Identification of this delayed vaccine-associated case occurred in the context of an outbreak investigation of a measles cluster. [3]

Are health officials testing cases of measles in the current outbreak in the United States, to determine if the measles strain is the wild strain of the vaccine strain?

Not likely, and it is not likely that the mainstream media "TV doctors" will even discuss this as they falsely vilify parents who choose not to administer the MMR vaccine to their children as the cause of these outbreaks. Some of these cases are confirmed to be among those who have received the MMR vaccine, and for those who have not been vaccinated, is it possible they were infected from those recently vaccinated when the vaccine was still "shedding," and that the vaccine-strain of measles was passed on from the vaccinated child to the unvaccinated child?

[embedded content]


1. s, Croatia, March 2010. Croatian Institute of Public Health, Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Zagreb, Croatia. Eurosurveillance, Volume 15, Issue 35, 02 September 2010 (Full Text)

2. . Communicable Disease Control, Alberta Health Services. Pediatricians and Child Health, Apr. 2012; 17(4) (Abstract)

3. , Eurosurveillance, Volume 18, Issue 49, 05 December 2013 (Full Text)

Chomsky: We Are All – Fill in the Blank.

This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service - if this is your content and you're reading it on someone else's site, please read the FAQ at http://bit.ly/1xcsdoI.

How stupid do they think we are? Continued U.S. media lies about Russia

The cover of Newsweek, June 20, 2014: Another stark raving mad example of how black is white, up is down, and lies are truth in the world of major U.S. media news publications.

Newsweek magazine headlined on February 5th, "'Biggest NATO Reinforcement Since Cold War' Sets Frontlines Against Russia," and reported that, "According to general Charles Wald, former-deputy commander of U.S. European Command, ... 'The question for Europe is: is Putin creeping further and further west?'" Wald is quoted as saying that the case of Ukraine especially worries him. This article continues: "'Is this a precursor to Russia moving into Moldova? Nagorno Karabakh has been bubbling up, and the Georgia issue is still unresolved. NATO has essentially set these [new military] bases in its frontline states,' Wald says, referring to the countries' proximity to Russian territory." So: Russia is moving too close to NATO countries, according to the U.S. 'Defense' Department.

But it's a blatant lie. Actually, since 1999, 11 former members of the Warsaw Pact, countries, which had been allied with Russia during the communist Soviet Union throughout the Cold War, have switched to the U.S. military alliance against their former ally Russia, NATO: Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Albania.

So: Russia hasn't been moving at all, not an inch; but the U.S. certainly has — by surrounding Russia with its NATO missiles.

This Newsweek story is 'news' that's published in a mainstream U.S. 'news' source, which people pay bad money for — it's worse than a waste, it's their being charged for U.S.-Government propaganda.

Here is authentic news, from an authentic news source — news which had been posted just four days earlier than that Newsweek lie, on February 1st — news that was posted at the Fort Russ blog, which not only is free, but it's the most thorough and reliably truthful news site of all on the Ukrainian conflict:

"NATO is moving closer to Russia and blaming Russia for being close to NATO." A video is shown there.

[embedded content]

This video, which was posted to youtube on 17 October 2014, shows a Pentagon spokesperson being asked at a press conference about 'Defense' Secretary Chuck Hagel's accusation, that Russia's army is "on NATO's doorstep"; and the (extremely unusual, skeptical American journalist) questioner then asks "Why is that?"

Hagel's press spokesperson insists there that it happens because Russia has been seizing nations and thus moving closer to NATO; he refuses to acknowledge that NATO has instead been expanding up to Russia's very border, bringing U.S. weapons surrounding Russia's periphery. How would the U.S. react if, say, Russia had tried to install nuclear missiles in, say, Cuba — like the Soviet Union tried in 1962?

Here's that video: http://bit.ly/1ACQ8jp.

There are lots of reader-comments to that video, many of which are from fools who are treating Russia as being evil and dangerous, and ignoring the insult to their own intelligence that came forth from Chuck Hagel's spokesperson in this video, which they had just watched.

However, Fort Russ reports this videoed statement without comment, as being instead a self-evident lie from the U.S. Government, and it is that; not as being (like Newsweek does) a supposed truth from the U.S. Government, a supposed truth that's being unchallenged by Newsweek's 'journalist,' though if Newsweek had been an authentic news-source it would have reported that the U.S. Government was simply lying there — since that's the actual fact, and it's blatantly true.

As regards the reader-comments to this Newsweek article, here's a typical sequence of these reader-comments, so that you can see how American readers responded to this piece of sheer American propaganda:


—-Bong Valencia · Don bosco academy pampanga

Everybody needs to stop calling Ukraine's enemies as Russian[backed rebels. Let's call a spade a spade. Let's call them Russians! They came from and were sent by Russia.

· 24 · February 5 at 7:57pm

—-Kevin Quinn · Top Commenter

But they LIVE in what's called 'eastern Ukraine' and have been there in some cases for centuries. That is Kyiv"s main point. And theirs. Some have received military training in the Soviet forces, as well as the UA. Some of the younger have been trained in 'militia camps' - safe in Russia.

- · 3 · February 6 at 10:57am

—-Sergy K · Top Commenter · Harvard Kennedy School

Kevin Quinn there are at most 15% of locals, 85 % came from Russia, and the military organizers came from Moscow

- · 1 · February 6 at 12:54pm

—-Михаил Бочаров · Top Commenter · МОПИ им. Н.К. Крупской

Sergy K, Where did you take those percentage from? Maybe from The History Of Russian State by N.M.Karamzin or Primary Chronicle Where Did Russian Land Come From or The History Of Kiev Rus? Look these books through in the Harvard Kennedy School Library or at least use Google "Russian-speaking population in Ukraine".

- · February 10 at 5:06am

—-El D Den · Top Commenter

My hope is NATO destroys Russia once and for all.

· 9 · February 5 at 10:36pm

Noting the claim of one reader there ("Sergy K") to be from Harvard's Kennedy School, the present reporter looked to see whether there is, actually, any "Sergy K" who has been associated with that supposedly august and supposedly authoritative School. This is what I came up with:



So: apparently, an 'expert' at Harvard's Kennedy School, and even one whose sole published work deals with Ukraine, does, indeed, actually think that 85% of the fighters against the Kiev-based Ukrainian Government's invasion of Ukraine's Donbass region are Russian soldiers, not residents.

On that matter, here is the actual evidence (there's lots of it, but these are perhaps the most striking):




Furthermore, to the exact contrary of all the similar allegations by the U.S. Government (which say that Russia wants to add to Russian territory the land where Ukraine's pro-Russia rebels live), the present reporter had headlined on 19 September 2014, "Russia's Leader Putin Rejects Ukrainian Separatists' Aim to Become Part of Russia," and reported that not only did Putin reject it verbally, but that the Ukrainian separatist leaders took his statement as being his final word on the subject, and so decided "We will build our own country."

In other words: the only reason why the Obama Administration is pushing the fraudulent line that Putin is trying to seize the Donbass region of Ukraine away from Ukraine, is because Barack Obama needs to portray his own sponsorship of an ethnic-cleansing operation to get rid of the residents in Donbass (the rebellious region of Ukraine) as being instead an "Anti Terrorist Operation" by the Government against rebel fighters who (as the Harvard Kennedy School 'Expert' said) "85 % came from Russia."

We're supposed to be this stupid, and this misinformed, by a propaganda-line that doesn't even make sense — the line that says the people who are bombing the residents in Donbass and destroying the region, are the invading Russian army, and/or the residents who live there (the "Terrorists," as the Ukrainian Government calls them), instead of being the Government forces that are trying toexterminate the residents there, and who are actually terrorizing those residents in order to get them to die or else to leave Ukraine.

As to the reason why Obama wants to get rid of those residents, look at this map. It shows the results in the final nationwide Ukrainian Presidential election, the one that was held in 2010 and which pitted the pro-Washington Yulia Tymoshenko against the pro-neutral-Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych. As you can see, the dark purple area is the region that voted 90% for Yanukovych. That's also the area which the Ukrainian Government has been bombing. If the voters who live there, ever again vote for a President of Ukraine, then Obama's February 2014 coup which overthrew Yanukovych will be elected out of office: the Obama coup-regime will end. That's why Obama wants those voters to either die or else leave Ukraine. He needs them gone. (And official Washington wants this mass-murder of them to increase; and this genocidal push is bipartisan, both Republicans and Democrats.)

No wonder why the U.S. Government keeps lying, and its propaganda-organs (virtually the entire U.S. press) are lying. The press are controlled by the same aristocracy that control the Government. But, in order to do this, they are playing the American people for suckers. Maybe enough of the American public are, but that's no justification for what America's aristocracy are doing. The people who are being slaughtered aren't Americans at all, but are instead the entirely innocent residents in the Donbass region of the former Ukraine.

Prior to Obama's February 2014 Ukrainian coup , that entire country was a democracy, and there was no ethnic cleansing there. But Obama has the nerve now to accuse Russia of "aggression," when in fact it is he that is the aggressor . And that's the sole basis for the economic sanctions that Russians now suffer.

What a massive crime: a war-crime that would be worthy of being tried as such at Nuremberg — but, this time, not by Americans. Obama is instead the anti-FDR President. An American President like this would make Franklin Delano Roosevelt turn over in his grave.


Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They're Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST'S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

Chomsky: We Are All – Fill in the Blank.

This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service - if this is your content and you're reading it on someone else's site, please read the FAQ at http://bit.ly/1xcsdoI.

Big Pharma wants you! Psychotropic and other drug problems

Are you or your children on psychotropic drugs?

If so, you may be interested in knowing what independent researchers are finding regarding ADHD drugs, Antidepressant drugs, Antipsychotic drugs, and Anti-Anxiety drugs. CCHR International—The Mental Health Watchdog online, publishes an extensive listing of those drugs risks and/or possible side effects here.

ADHD drugs:

Ritalin, Concerta, Adderall, Metadate, Vyvanse, Provigil. [1]

Antidepressant drugs:

Paxil, Prozac, Zoloft, Celexa, Luvox, Wellbutrin, Cymbalta, Effexor, Lexapro, Elavil, Remeron,Strattera and Sarafem. [1]

Antipsychotic drugs:

Abilify, Clozaril, Geodon, Invega, Risperdal, Seroquel, Zyprexa, Fanapt. [1]

Anti-Anxiety drugs:

Xanax, Valium, Halcion, Klonopin, Ambien, Ativan. [1]

Blogger Raven Clabough has written an excellent article titled, Research: Antipsychotic Meds Cause Hopelessness, Zombie-Like State that I think my readers ought to study, as Raven has done her "homework" very well, so I defer to her article.

One of the issues Raven points out is:

According to the American Psychiatric Association, five percent of American children have ADHD, but studies reveal more than 11 percent of American children are diagnosed with the condition. [CJF emphasis added]

Pharmaceutical drugs/business/markets have become behemoth institutions promoting money-making industries that, apparently, are too big to tackle or handle by medical boards, state licensing boards, and the medical professions, e.g., the American Medical Association.

Bluntly, we could very well do without all of them. Why? Well, if "too big" means no transparency and improper oversight, with self-regulation especially in research science, then Americans and global healthcare consumers need to re-think the propaganda they are exposed to by the media and all health agencies. Pharmaceutical ads, like tobacco ads, should be banned.

Frankly—and in my opinion, we definitely have a legal drug culture in the USA, legally sanctioned by the CDC/FDA and state health agencies. Most children are on one or two medications and dozens of vaccines; while all senior citizens can be counted on to take at least between 2 and 5 prescription drugs, plus vaccines. For just one disease—cancer—there are 771 new medicines and vaccines in development. [2] How many diseases are there? Here's a listing of Potential New Vaccines, which I won't even try to count, as I don't have the time to scroll through all the information.

So, how many new Rx and vaccine drugs do you think are in developmental pipelines? Pretty soon everyone will be required to get a vaccine a day, at the rate they are going. Fast-tracking to get drugs into markets is something the FDA now is trying to streamline. It would seem that the FDA responds to Big Pharma in this manner: Pharma says "Jump!" and FDA asks, "How high?"

Granted that legitimate medications are necessary—even life-saving at times, but what's going on now is nothing more than a money-making medical racket that, apparently, is positioned to do more harm than good. One hundred thousand Americans die a year from prescription drugs. [3] Moreover, many Rx drugs can become habit-forming and/or addictive. One prime 'boutique' drug, for example, is OxyContin®. Furthermore, how many MDs have been busted for selling scripts for prescribing the illegal use of that drug?

During the Renaissance - the 14th to 17th centuries A.D. - art was the 'fashionable' trend and prevailing industry or business. Then, there was the Industrial Age that started in the later part of the 1700s introducing all types of machinery. Currently, even though you may think we are living in the technology age, we actually are living in the pharmaceutical age!

The proof for that statement is in realizing that one cannot read a magazine, newspaper, or other advertisement without some reference to a pharmaceutical drug or advertisement for a health issue to bring to your doctor's attention to prescribe a certain proprietary pharmaceutical. TV ads bombard viewers with multiple drug ads per advertising minute, similar to what the tobacco industry did in advertising their 'cancer sticks'.

By 1969, the stage had been set for a showdown over cigarette advertising and promotion" (Wagner, 1971: 190). The U.S. Government was increasing its efforts to discourage the sale of cigarettes. Post office trucks carried posters: "100,000 Doctors Have Quit Smoking. [8]

Do you think we will ever see a "showdown" about all the pharmaceutical drug advertisements?

Supposedly, close to 80 percent of Big Pharma's expenses are for marketing their controlled chemical substances. This article explains some of how Big Pharma spends its money to make money.

To add to that, pharmaceutical drug reps prowl physicians' offices like bees returning to the hive—in swarms.

If no officials have realized the seriousness of the problems with over-prescribing pharmaceuticals, that's because there is no real oversight, in my opinion. Congress constantly is lobbied by Big Pharma lobbyists who tell tales about how the latest drug is going to do this or that good, or new legislation to improve health services, all while much of the 'science' about drugs is not what everyone is told, including the U.S. FDA a lot of the time. Class action lawsuits by consumers being harmed by meds attest to bad pharmaceuticals.

In 2004, Marcia Angell, MD, a former editor for almost 20 years at the New England Journal of Medicine, wrote a scathing book about Big Pharma titled, The Truth About the Drug Companies,which The New York Times reviewed here. If anyone ought to know the pharmaceutical industry inside out, shouldn't it be Dr. Angell? And still, her book has had absolutely no impact on 'restraining collars' being placed upon the pharmaceutical industry, their researchers' fraudulent practices, and their apparent unethical business practices. How many of the Big Pharma 'brotherhood' have been fined by the USA government for fraud and other illegal practices? Are fines the only oversight? Or, do fines keep the merry-go-round going?

Here's a listing of just ten companies that I included in my Activist Post article, "Big Pharma's Corporate Crimes and Fines: How Can They Get Away With It?"

  1. Pfizer agreed to pay $2.3 billion in 2009

  2. Novartis agreed to pay $423 million in 2010

  3. Sanofi-Aventis to pay more than $95 million to settle fraud charge in 2009

  4. GlaxoSmithKline to pay $3 billion in 2011

  5. AstraZeneca to pay $520 million in 2010 to settle fraud case

  6. Roche convinces governments to stockpile Tamiflu

  7. Johnson & Johnson fined more than $1.1 billion in 2012

  8. Merck to pay $670 million over Medicaid fraud in 2007

  9. Eli Lilly to pay more than $1.4 billion for illegal marketing in 2009

  10. Abbott to pay $1.5 billion for Medicaid fraud in 2012

Now, let's talk about the real "meat and potatoes" issues regarding pharmaceuticals.

In The New York Times review of Dr. Angell's book mentioned above, we find this:

Over the past two decades the pharmaceutical industry has moved very far from its original high purpose of discovering and producing useful new drugs. Now primarily a marketing machine to sell drugs of dubious benefit, this industry uses its wealth and power to co-opt every institution that might stand in its way, including the US Congress, the FDA, academic medical centers, and the medical profession itself. (Most of its marketing efforts are focused on influencing doctors, since they must write the prescriptions.)

What I underscored above hits the nail on the head in more ways than one! Children's 'boutique' drugs are vaccines starting with day one of their just-born lives, the Hepatitis B vaccine for a sexually-transmitted disease. For senior citizens, there are quite a few 'performer' drugs, including annual flu and pneumococcal vaccines.

The bottom line about prescription drugs is that they are BIG—rather HUMONGOUS—business for all involved: Big Pharma, MDs who get kickbacks and commissions for prescribing drugs, and pharmacy chains like Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid, etc. Who's going to complain about drug abuse when they are making money hand-over-fist? Legally, too!

According to the Healthy Home Economist webpage, here are some kickback figures since 2009 for payments to Doctors: [4]

  • Eli Lily 144.1 Million $

  • GlaxoSmithKline 96.4 Million $

  • AstraZeneca 22.8 Million $

  • Pfizer 19.8 Million $

  • Johnson and Johnson 10.6 Million $

  • Merck & Co. 9.4 Million $

There really ought to be a law against doctors' kickbacks! In the insurance industry, kickback practices are called rebating [5], and are illegal. That should be made the same for the medical profession and pharmaceutical industry, in particular, which needs more cleaning up than an outdoor porta-potty, I think.

Are you ready for the hard facts about pharmaceutical drugs?

According to The Henry J Kaiser Family Foundation webpage Total Number of Retail Prescription Drugs Filled at Pharmacies in the timeframe 2013, the total Rx drugs in the USA was 3,899,799,770 - that's close to four (4) billion—with a "B". That, I assume, does not include pharmaceuticals dispensed in hospitals.

Currently, there were only 320,324,830 (that's million, not billion) people in the USA on the census clock that I accessed Feb. 11, 2015. Back in 2013, there were quite a few less souls in the USA. So, how many prescription drugs are being overprescribed? What's the average per person? Astounding? And, still, no one thinks that's abnormal! Can that be why we have so many sick people, and the cost of healthcare is over the moon?

Surely, Big Pharma has found its niche market, while healthcare consumers are paying the price in more ways than one! The most outrageous way is the cost of losing one's health due to fraud in pharmaceutical science, adverse reactions, iatrogenic diseases and, especially, with vaccines for children and adults due to neurotoxins and other toxic chemicals in them. Autism is now one in 50; whereas in the 1970s, it was one in 10,000!

Prescription Drugs: Retail prescription drug spending grew 2.5 percent to $271.1 billion, compared to 0.5 percent growth in 2012. Faster growth in 2013 resulted from price increases for brand-name and specialty drugs, increased spending on new medicines, and increased utilization. [9]

The world's 11 largest drug companies made a net profit of $711.4 billion from 2003 to 2012. Six of these companies are headquartered in the United Sates: Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, Abbot Laboratories, Merck, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Eli Lilly. In 2012 alone, the top 11 companies earned nearly $85 billion in net profits. According to IMS Health, a worldwide leader in health care research, the global market for pharmaceuticals is expected to top $1 trillion in sales by 2014. [10] [CJF emphasis added. This may be what it's all about—product sales, I offer.]

Isn't it long overdue that healthcare consumers demand better healthcare practices, and look for other modalities of healthcare that don't make them into legal drug addicts? Below, when you read the website about drugs pulled from the market after 'ages' being legally prescribed, you ought to stop and wonder, "What are they doing to us and how can they get away with it legally?" Who's covering their derrieres, and why?

ProCon.org on its "Prescription Drug Ads" webpage features this: 35 FDA-Approved Prescription Drugs Later Pulled from the Market. According to their information, the drugs Darvon and Darvocet were on the market for 55 years (1955 to Nov. 19, 2010) before being pulled because of causing serious toxicity to the heart with over 2,110 deaths reported! CDC/FDA, don't you know what you are doing? Congress, where's your oversight? State licensing boards, wake up!

DrugWatch publishes Dangerous Drugs here, which discusses diabetes drugs, hormone drugs, birth control pills, acne medication, cholesterol drugs, blood thinners, osteoporosis treatments, pain medication, gastrointestinal drugs, dialysis treatment, and a hair loss pill.

In essence, do you think that maybe MDs don't know what they are prescribing? If you are taking any of those pills, maybe you ought to see another MD for a second opinion about your condition and the Rx drugs you take.

No one can trust Big Pharma's fudged science reports to get Rx drugs through the FDA's approval process or licensing for vaccines. In 2013, Fortune published the article "Dirty medicine... The epic inside story of long-term criminal fraud at Ranbaxy, the Indian drug company that makes generic Lipitor for millions of Americans." [6] Statins and cholesterol-lowering drugs, including generics, are widely prescribed in the USA. However, the FDA expanded its advice on statin drugs, which consumers should know here.

However, after reviewing what's happened in the past, we can be certain that business as usual at CDC/FDA and professional associations probably will be the same. The only thing that may change in the future is larger fines with no real relief for healthcare consumers, since the U.S. FDA apparently is Big Pharma's lackeys.

For consumers, who are confused about their pills looking differently from previous pills taken, generic meds, or would like to identify pills found around the house that may have been brought into the house under dubious circumstances, there's the website Pill Identifier published by Drugs.com .

The Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) program is "an international substance abuse prevention education program that seeks to prevent use of controlled drugs, membership in gangs, and violent behavior." [7] That must include the medical profession—MDs in particular—and all others who push prescription drugs as a cultural and economic thing to do.

As an afterthought to all the above information, the information does not include OTC—Over the Counter Drug—sales in the USA, which amount to another huge market. As you can see from this data site reporting OTC sales from 1964 to 2013, we truly have become 'legal drug addicts'.

The figures speak for themselves:

  • In 1964 OTC sales were $1.9 Billion

  • In 2013 OTC sales totaled $33.1 Billion, almost 17.5 times an increase in 48 to 49 years.

Even the above figures are not an accurate picture, since according to the annotations on asterisked chart figures for the years 2000 to 2008, Wal-Mart OTC sales were not included.

Lastly, I think I must report conflicts of interest, personal or professional, in the pharmaceutical industry and its products. I own no pharmaceutical company stocks, nor have I taken pharmaceutical drugs since about 1974, when prescription medications almost killed me. That was the best thing that ever happened to me. It made me find holistic health modalities, which gave me back my life. However, I must admit that when I was 7 years old, penicillin probably saved my life for which I am grateful, since I had lobar pneumonia.













Why Do Americans Take So Many Prescription Drugs?

Death from Prescription Drugs: The New Epidemic Sweeping Across America

About the author

Catherine retired from researching and writing, but felt compelled to write this article.

Catherine J Frompovich (website) is a retired natural nutritionist who earned advanced degrees in Nutrition and Holistic Health Sciences, Certification in Orthomolecular Theory and Practice plus Paralegal Studies. Her work has been published in national and airline magazines since the early 1980s. Catherine authored numerous books on health issues along with co-authoring papers and monographs with physicians, nurses, and holistic healthcare professionals. She has been a consumer healthcare researcher 35 years and counting.

Catherine's latest book, published October 4, 2013, is Vaccination Voodoo, What YOU Don't Know About Vaccines, available on Amazon.com.

Recommended article: Chomsky: We Are All – Fill in the Blank.

This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service - if this is your content and you're reading it on someone else's site, please read the FAQ at http://bit.ly/1xcsdoI.

Really? Media researchers find news outlets promote misinformation

rehana ISIS slayer

© AFP Photo /Mohammed Huwais

Reports about 'Rehana the ISIS slayer' seem 'entirely based on falsities', researchers say.

It's true. Don't believe everything you read on the Internet.

In fact, according to a study by media researchers, many news organizations fail to do enough to separate fact from fiction, and often help unverified rumors and reports to go viral online.

"Rather than acting as a source of accurate information, online media frequently promote misinformation in an attempt to drive traffic and social engagement," said the study led by Craig Silverman, a research fellow at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University.

While news organizations have always dealt with unverified information, practices at some websites may accelerate the dissemination of fake news, said the report, "Lies, Damn Lies and Viral Content."

"Many news sites apply little or no basic verification to the claims they pass on. Instead, they rely on linking-out to other media reports, which themselves often only cite other media reports as well," the study concluded.

Fake stories are often sexier or more interesting than the real ones, and as such get wider dissemination, Silverman said.

"The extent to which a fake news article can get traction was surprising to me," Silverman told AFP.

Examples cited in the study were rumors spread on Facebook and Twitter that an Ebola patient had been identified in Britain, and another that the disease had been found in Richmond, Virginia. Both reports were untrue.

© AFP / Francisco Leong

Rumors spread on Facebook and Twitter that an Ebola patient had been identified in Britain, and another that the disease had been found in Richmond, Virginia were untrue

In another case, a story about a Kurdish woman dubbed "Rehana the ISIS slayer," or the "Angel of Kohane" purported to have killed 100 Islamic fighters, turned out to have no basis in fact even though reports about her spread for weeks last October.

The researchers traced the story to a tweet from Indian journalist and activist Parwan Durani, who published the woman's picture on Twitter and asked people to retweet it.

Stories of her exploits -- and reports of her death -- were picked up widely by news outlets "but seemed entirely based on falsities," Silverman's report said.

"The simple story of the attractive Kurd who killed dozens of ISIS fighters is a powerful wish rumor. Add in a compelling image and it's perfect for propagation on social networks. The result is that most of us will never know the woman's true story -- and the press bears a level of responsibility for that."

Silverman said that even if much of the fake news is spread by "new media" or tabloid journals, the traditional or "quality" journalism outlets often sit by, allowing rumors to gain traction.

"When (fake) information is out there and websites are covering it, there is an imperative on the part of news organizations to look at it, flag it for readers and tell them what we know and what we don't know," Silverman said.

"If we remain silent, the ones who win are the mindless propagators."

And many news organizations fail to follow up when a false report is debunked, the report said: "The explosive claim that ISIS fighters had been apprehended at the US-Mexico border was refuted within 24 hours and yet only 20 percent of news organizations that wrote an initial story came back to it."

- A 'disturbing trend' -

The findings show "a very disturbing trend," said Bill Adair, a Duke University journalism professor who in 2007 founded the fact-checking website PolitiFact.

"It's particularly disturbing when journalists pass along things without knowing whether they are true or not."

Because of the fast-moving nature of Twitter an other social media, Adair said that "many people including journalists feel that if it's tweeted, it's out there and it's fair game. But news organizations have always had an obligation to check out what they pass on."

Sometimes the sheer number of repetitions of false information makes people believe something is true, the researchers said.

One example of this is the oft-repeated claim that the Obamacare health plan includes "death panels" which decide whether a person can receive treatment.

"Anyone who repeated it -- even when trying to debunk it -- further implanted it and its negative connotations in people's minds," the report said.

Nikki Usher, a George Washington University professor specializing in new media, said previous research has shown that repeating false information makes it more believable, "but what is different now is the speed with which rumors can unfold."

The Internet's "crowdsourcing" ability can often bring the truth out, but cannot entirely correct the problem, said Silverman, who also operates the @emergentdotinfo Twitter feed that tracks online rumors.

"Over time the truth emerges, but the corrections don't tend to be as viral or get as widely distributed. And they don't always reach the same people," he said.

"I am a believer in the value of the crowd, but the truth is often far less interesting and shareable than the lie."

Chomsky: We Are All – Fill in the Blank.

This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service - if this is your content and you're reading it on someone else's site, please read the FAQ at http://bit.ly/1xcsdoI.

Papers please! Airlines consider requiring proof of vaccination for domestic air travel


© AP Photo/Reed Saxon

Traveling by air may get even more complicated if a reported plan by major carrier airlines requiring passengers to be vaccinated comes to fruition. After the increasing problem of unvaccinated individuals contracting and spreading communicable diseases, airlines hope to be a stopgap solution to preventing larger outbreaks. An inside source with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) suggests that, "Multiple major carriers have begun discussing requiring vaccination records for all passengers before allowing them to board a flight."

The FAA source, speaking on condition of anonymity explains that many of the airlines have, "had it with the anti-vaccination arguments and don't want to be left with the guilt and partial responsibility when a preventable disease spreads by way of air travel." It is assumed that a valid vaccination record will be required upon check in before travelers embark on their journey. "It'll add another step to the flight process, but the airlines, so far, are willing to absorb any costs associated with it," said the FAA source. It is not expected to impact the already beleaguered Transportation Security Administration as this would be an elective requirement and not a federally mandated change.

The 2014 - 2015 U.S. measles outbreak spread to seven states and is widely believed to have been tied to vacationers at the Disneyland amusement park in Anaheim, California. Many speculate the spread of the disease outside of California was exacerbated due to vacationing families traveling by air. By requiring a valid vaccination record, the airlines would hope to minimize the wanton spread of infectious disease by keeping potential disease carrying individuals off all flights originating and terminating in the United States.

"The airlines are using the term 'at risk individual' up to this point to describe who they are targeting," explains the FAA source. "I take that to mean individuals who are unvaccinated themselves or those who refuse to vaccinate their children. They (the airlines) realize this is a hot button issue at the moment, however, they allegedly feel this is the only way they can do their part to help keep their customers and employees safe and healthy. One 'higher up' with a major carrier said something to the effect of 'this is the responsible thing to do'."

Speculation is that the airlines would consider an option for frequent fliers to pre-register their vaccination status to avoid any further delays. The FAA source wants to make it clear that, "Again, this isn't a federal mandate so the FAA is just paying attention to the discussion and giving our views when asked."

The source at the FAA wouldn't commit to a statement on whether other mass transit carriers, such as railroads or bus lines, would follow suit if this new tactic is implemented by the airlines.

Chomsky: We Are All – Fill in the Blank.

This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service - if this is your content and you're reading it on someone else's site, please read the FAQ at http://bit.ly/1xcsdoI.

Individuals with neuro-developmental disorders compensate by using brain's declarative memory center

brain memory centers

Individuals with five neurodevelopmental disorders -- autism spectrum disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, Tourette syndrome, dyslexia, and Specific Language Impairment -- appear to compensate for dysfunction by relying on a single powerful and nimble system in the brain known as declarative memory.

This hypothesis being proposed by a Georgetown University Medical Center neuroscientist is based on decades of research. It is published online and will be in the April issue of .

The proposed compensation allows individuals with autism to learn scripts for navigating social situations; helps people with obsessive-compulsive disorder or Tourette syndrome to control tics and compulsions; and provides strategies to overcome reading and language difficulties in those diagnosed with dyslexia, autism, or Specific Language Impairment, a developmental disorder of language.

"There are multiple learning and memory systems in the brain, but declarative memory is the superstar," says Michael Ullman, PhD, professor of neuroscience at Georgetown and director of the Brain and Language Laboratory. He explains that declarative memory can learn explicitly (consciously) as well as implicitly (non-consciously).

"It is extremely flexible, in that it can learn just about anything. Therefore it can learn all kinds of compensatory strategies, and can even take over for impaired systems," says Ullman.

"Nevertheless, in most circumstances, declarative memory won't do as good a job as these systems normally do, which is an important reason why individuals with the disorders generally still have noticeable problems despite the compensation," he adds.

Knowing that individuals with these disorders can rely on declarative memory leads to insights on how to improve diagnosis and treatment of these conditions. It could improve treatment in two ways, Ullman says. First, designing treatments that rely on declarative memory, or that improve learning in this system, could enhance compensation. Conversely, treatments that are designed to avoid compensation by declarative memory may strengthen the dysfunctional systems.

Ullman says compensation by declarative memory may also help explain an observation that has long puzzled scientists -- the fact that boys are diagnosed with these disorders more frequently than girls. "Studies suggest that girls and women are better than boys and men, on average, in their use of declarative memory. Therefore females are likely to compensate more successfully than males, even to the point of compensating themselves out of diagnosis more often than males," Ullman says.

Declarative memory may also compensate for dysfunctions in other disorders, he adds, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and even adult-onset disorders such as aphasia or Parkinson's disease.

The hypothesis may thus have powerful clinical and other implications for a wide variety of disorders. Ullman says.

Chomsky: We Are All – Fill in the Blank.

This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service - if this is your content and you're reading it on someone else's site, please read the FAQ at http://bit.ly/1xcsdoI.

The cosmological limits of information storage

Information black hole

© unknown

An important part of long-term thinking is the never-ending search for very long-lived methods of information storage. A perfect, eternal storage medium still eludes us; most of the ones we've invented and used over the course of civilization have had their limitations - even stone, nickel, and sapphire have a shelf life.

But new research by a team of physicists now suggests that searching for a storage medium that lives forever may be a waste of energy, because the laws of physics themselves limit the amount of time that any information can be kept.

In a paper recently published by the New Journal of Physics, the researchers review how spacetime dynamics might influence the storage of information by asking how much data we can reliably hold on to from the beginning to the end of time.

In order to answer that question, the team combined Einsteinian cosmology with quantum theories about the nature of matter and reality. They worked with a standard model of the universe, called the Friedman-Lemaître-Robertson-Walker metric: based on Einstein'stheory of general relativity, it describes a universe that is homogeneous and isotropic, and therefore expands (or contracts) uniformly in all directions.

Working with this metric, the researchers modeled what would happen to stored data over the course of universe expansion. When you encode information into some kind of matter and then track what happens to your storage medium throughout the life course of the universe, you'll find that the quantum state of its matter (in other words, its properties: its position, momentum, and spin ) will eventually and inevitably change. The research team was able to prove that this change in state creates 'noise' that dampens the stored information. One of the research physicists explains the process in this video abstract of the paper:

[embedded content]

The faster the universe expands, the team argues, the more 'noise' interferes with stored data. Looking at the storage of both classical information (anything encoded in bits) and quantum information (anything encoded by the quantum state of a given particle), they conclude that not very much data will last from the beginning to the end of time.

In other words, it seems as though we may be doomed to an eventual quantum dark age. Unless, of course, we always take care to anticipate these state changes, and continuously forward migrate our data.

Chomsky: We Are All – Fill in the Blank.

This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service - if this is your content and you're reading it on someone else's site, please read the FAQ at http://bit.ly/1xcsdoI.

Police departments blaming social media for declining recruitment rates

help wanted

© unknown

Police departments around the country are beginning to complain that widespread criticism of the institution of law enforcement is making it harder for them to find people who want to work as police officers.

The recent events in Ferguson, they say, are partly to blame for the backlash against police.

But many of us know that Ferguson is only the tip of the iceberg - underneath the surface, there are thousands of other cases of beating, raping, and killing, all committed by an institution that is supposedly here to "protect" us.

The widespread exposure and criticism of this institution is becoming so popular that officers in the Seattle Metro area are complaining that it's hard for them to find new applicants.

And Cynthia Fajardo, the president of the Pierce County Deputy Sheriff's Guild, says that multiple police agencies are having the same problem.

Many departments report that this lack of applicants is due largely to the fact that growing numbers of Americans no longer respect the institution, and view it with deep distrust, due to stories of abuse being spread through social media.

"If you check with any of the agencies here in the Seattle metro area, every single agency is having a very difficult time getting people who want to be police officers anymore," said Fajardo, in an interview with local news affiliate K5.

Cops like Fajardo do understand that Americans have been skeptical of the institution of state policing for quite some time, that it didn't just start with Ferguson.

They believe that social media is what's causing the problem of skepticism toward police officers.

But they're wrong about that. Their own abusive actions are causing the problem.

This skepticism of police officers is a "problem" for the institution of law enforcement in the same sense that skepticism of, say, 19th century plantation overseers became a "problem" for the institution of slavery.

The reality is that police are individuals, and individuals are responsible for their actions.

Individuals who willingly agree to coerce, extort, and initiate violence upon peaceful people in order to maintain a monopolistic rule of corrupt politicians are naturally going to be distrusted.

They are responsible for what they do, not social media.

Social media is merely a new mechanism to display their actions in front of a larger audience.

As more Americans remove the scales from their eyes and see that the institution of law enforcement was created relatively recently (for most of human history we survived just fine without it) and only for the purpose of maintaining a corrupt political order, departments will have a harder time finding any applicants.

Few people want to be part of something like that.

Old institutions wither away as new generations create organic and more innovative alternatives.

The state-controlled monopolistic institution of policing is no exception.

Chomsky: We Are All – Fill in the Blank.

This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service - if this is your content and you're reading it on someone else's site, please read the FAQ at http://bit.ly/1xcsdoI.

Operation Chokepoint: Small business RIP

Last fall, I got a strange request from the bank I've been doing business with for more than 10 years. For the first time ever, this bank asked to see our books. When we asked why, they told us that they needed to review our risk profile.

It seemed odd to me, because we do everything by the book and are about as low-risk as a grocery store or a dry cleaning service. Not to mention the fact that, through all of the various fees we have to pay, our company generates tens of thousands of dollars in revenue for our bank each month.

With nothing to hide, we complied with the request. And naturally, we passed our unexpected risk assessment with flying colors. The bank thanked us for our cooperation, but never really explained the situation to my satisfaction.

A month later we were going through our semi-annual anti-money laundering (AML) training. This is another way we make sure our business is squeaky-clean at all times. Our employees are all trained to spot and report anything that has the appearance of illegality.

I casually mentioned to our AML trainer that our bank had put us through this bizarre risk assessment a couple of months earlier.

"Oh, that's because of Operation Choke Point" he said, as if it was common knowledge.

[embedded content]

"Operation What Point?!" I replied.

He went on to tell me the full story, and it was so frightening that it literally caused the hair on my neck to stand on end. Though he didn't use these exact words, the point of what he was telling me was that the US government is waging a new war. It's an undeclared war. It's an underground war. It's a covert war. But now, slowly but surely, more Americans are becoming aware of this war because they are finding out that they are the targets in this war. They have become the enemy of the state. That's because this war is a war on small business in America.

If this power grab by the executive branch of our government is allowed to continue, Americans soon won't be able to buy gold, guns, or a variety of other goods and services, because the businesses that sell them won't exist. Operation Choke Point is a war on liberty that's using ideological intimidation to put certain small businesses out of business.

In early 2013, unbeknownst to Congress and the American public, the Justice Department launched its first sneak attack of this war under a program called Operation Choke Point. It issued 50 subpoenas to banks asking for information on their relationships with Third Party Payment Processors (TPPPs). TPPPs process payments for a number of types of small businesses.

The purpose of the subpoenas was to notify the banks that they are now full-time regulators in the fight against money laundering and other types of financial fraud. Although banks have always had to report suspicious transactions to authorities they now have to "Know their Customers" like never before.

In much the same way that FATCA has turned every international financial institution into de facto IRS agents, Operation Choke Point is turning every domestic bank into the president's own secret morality police force. And just as international banks are now refusing to service American customers due to the high cost of compliance, many domestic banks are closing the accounts of companies, which have been with them for years, because of the new compliance costs. In other words, the cost of defying the president's whims and wishes is so high that the banks have to cave in and stop doing business with these customers.

Operation Choke Point is an unconstutional backdoor way of closing otherwise legal companies by cutting off their access to the banking system and capital. If they can't deposit their revenue in a bank account or accept credit card payments they are effectively shut down.

There are three problems with Operation Choke Point

The first is procedural. The President, through the DOJ, the FDIC, and the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, implemented new regulations without Congress passing any law or even being informed of what was going on. This executive action was an end run around the legislative process and it prevented any type of public discussion or input on it.

The second is market oriented. The new rules require the banks to collect so much information about their business customers, the cost of compliance not only makes it unprofitable for the banks to service the accounts, it also puts tremendous financial strain on the companies who are forced to spend time and money gathering the information and filling out forms. The end result is that the banks turn them away, thereby cutting off or choking their access to the banking system or they fail because their profit margin is eaten up by the regulations.

The third problem is that even if criminal activity, like money laundering or other fraudulent activity are being committed by some of the targeted businesses, there are many more innocent and legal firms that have become collateral damage. They are being unjustly and economically harmed by the government, even though they haven't broken any laws.

There is ample evidence that proves many of the types of companies being targeted are included on the list for ideological reasons. The administration doesn't like what they sell or the services they provide so they are nothing more than political targets of an ideological war. Not surprisingly, the list includes businesses that generally attract the small government, rugged individualist crowd, or in other words, the types of people who the administration sees as a threat to its power.

Furthermore, the fact that the operation was rolled out in secret and its very name Choke Point suggest that the executive branch and the Justice Department knew exactly what they were doing when they designed it. There is little doubt in many people's minds that the program is specifically intended to shut these companies down even though most of them are perfectly legal and operate within the law.

The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution protects citizens and private enterprises from unreasonable searches and seizures by requiring a search warrant that is approved by a judge, based on probable cause, and limited to very specific parameters. The Fifth Amendment is supposed to guarantee them due process if they are charged with a crime, but Operation Choke Point violates both of these protections. First, it requires banks to collect all kinds of information on their customers without any probable cause of a crime, and secondly it incentivizes banks to close their customers accounts based on spurious claims of "reputational risk" without any form of due process.

The design of Choke Point is as genius as it is sinister. It forces companies that the government dislikes to close without ever being accused of any crime, without a trial, and without even a direct link back to the government. In fact, most business owners who are victims didn't even know about it until their bank notified them their accounts were being closed because the bank didn't want their patronage anymore.

eric holder attorney general

Eric Holder was the Attorney General at the time Operation Choke Point was launched

When the companies asked why their accounts were being closed their banks told them they were all of a sudden "too high risk" even if they had been customers for decades. When 31 members of Congress learned of the operation and sent a request for information on what the DOJ and FDIC were doing the DOJ responded by telling Congress it was under no obligation to answer any questions. Members of the media had to file a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit to get more information, but the DOJ is fighting it in court. The FDIC has deferred to the DOJ since the DOJ is the lead on the operation.

Operation Choke Point was born out of a 2009 executive order that created the President's Financial Fraud Task Force that was supposed to determine the cause of the financial crisis so the government could exonerate itself and pin the blame on someone else. A year earlier, at the height of the financial crisis, Rahm Emanuel, then President elect, Barack Obama's chief of staff said in an interview, that government, "should never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it's an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before."

And it is clear that the administration took those words to heart. Under the guise of cracking down on financial fraud to prevent future crises the government launched the task force and a whole slew of new regulations that it never would have been able to before. Some of them went through Congress like Dodd-Frank and others completely bypassed it, like Operation Choke Point.

Operation Choke Point is a perfect example of an alarming trend that has been around for decades, but was really taken to another level by both the Bush and Obama administrations. It is the growing use of executive orders issued by the President in order to bypass Congress. This abuse of power is a gross violation of the Constitution. It has been called "executive overreach" in polite conversation, but in more blunt terms it is nothing less than the creation of an Imperial Presidency.

Rahm Emmanuel

Rahm Emmanuel "never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it's an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before."

The administration knows it could never have gotten Operation Choke Point passed in an open forum, such as Congress, which is why it circumvented the legislature. That's why executive orders have become such popular tools of Presidents. They neatly bypass the checks and balances that were put in the Constitution to prevent such abuses of power.

Operation Choke Point is just one example of the dangers of an out-of-control executive branch, but in a separate scandal, the Internal Revenue Service was also discovered to be illegally harassing and persecuting groups for their political beliefs. Nowhere in the Constitution does it say that the government can persecute political enemies for having opposing viewpoints. The US is supposed to be a country where the people can speak their minds without fear of government interference and petition their government for redress of grievances. But between Operation Choke Point and the IRS, it is becoming obvious that the politicians and bureaucrats who run the government today have absolutely no respect for the laws they have sworn to uphold.

But political considerations aside, Operation Choke Point has had a serious economic impact on the country as well. Small businesses employ thousands of Americans and are a huge engine of economic growth. By covertly squeezing thousands of small companies to the point where they have to close thousands more jobs are being lost.

One of the first banks to receive a subpoena from the DOJ was Four Oaks Bank in North Carolina. It was targeted because it serviced a lot of TPPPs. The bank was told that it should stop doing business with the TPPP's because they carried "reputational risk."

Reputational risk is the risk that your reputation will be impugned by your own actions, or by association with someone of questionable character. Reputational risk is something that all companies worry about and remain ever watchful for, because one mistake can lead to the loss of customers, bankruptcy, and disgrace.

But now companies have something new to worry about. If the government doesn't think you're worrying enough about your image and reputation, then they'll fine you or drag you into court. And if the government fines you or drags you into court it will damage your reputation. So you're dammed if you do and dammed if you don't.

four banks logo

One of the first casualties of Operation Choke Point. The bank paid a $1.2 million fine without admitting any wrongdoing.

In the end, Four Oaks Bank agreed to pay a $1.2 million fine for not doing enough due diligence on their TPPP customers. The bank did not admit to any wrongdoing, so it obviously calculated that paying the fine was less expensive and faster than enduring a potentially long drawn out and expensive legal battle. Which is exactly what the government was hoping for. Its main weapons in this fight are intimidation and its ability to outspend and outlast small business owners in court.

Luckily, as more and more people and members of Congress find out about it, a resistance is being mounted. Bank of America customer, Kelly McMillan, a gun manufacturer in Phoenix, Arizona, had his account closed after 12 years of patronage. He posted his story on Facebook and found out that he wasn't alone. So he took matters into his own hands. He started his own credit card payment processing company for other firms affected by OCP. Other affected companies have banded together to form citizen action groups like the Online Lenders Alliance to fight back against this abusive policy.

Last May, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform issued a scathing report on OCP in which it concluded:

"Forceful prosecution of those who defraud American consumers is both responsible and admirable. However, Department of Justice initiatives to combat mass-market consumer fraud must be legitimate exercises of the Department's legal authorities, and must be executed in a manner that does not unfairly harm legitimate merchants and individuals."

"Operation Choke Point fails both these requirements. The Department's radical reinterpretation of what constitutes an actionable violation under § 951 of FIRREA fundamentally distorts Congress' intent in enacting the law, and inappropriately demands that bankers act as the moral arbiters and policemen of the commercial world. In light of the Department's obligation to act within the bounds of the law, and its avowed commitment not to "discourage or inhibit" the lawful conduct of honest merchants, it is necessary to disavow and dismantle Operation Choke Point."

In November, Representative Luetkemeyer, a member of the House Financial Services Committee introduced the Financial Institution Customer Protection Act that will, if passed, prohibit any Federal agency from ordering a bank to close a customer's account unless it has material evidence that the customer is breaking the law. In other words, we now have to pass special laws with specific language, just to point out to the president and the rest of the government that there is a Constitution and Bill of Rights that they have sworn to uphold, and that they may not violate.

But because there has been such strong opposition to Operation Choke Point, in an effort to keep it as low profile as possible, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is telling banks that they cannot inform their customers about it even if the customers are being investigated or scrutinized under the regulation. If this is allowed to continue a business could have its bank account closed without any explanation or recourse against the bank or the government. If this is allowed to continue it should be obvious to everyone that America is now controlled by a secretive and unaccountable government. If this is allowed to continue there will be no better proof that America is no longer governed by the rule of law where citizens have a right to face their accuser and defend themselves in court.

As a bullion coin dealer that has been targeted by Operation Choke Point, we feel it is our duty to not only stand up and resist this government abuse, but also warn others about what is going on. The more people who are aware of how the government is waging war on the Constitution the more people who can write to their elected representatives and let them know that OCP is illegal and it is their job to reign in the out of control executive branch.

Here is a list of businesses targeted by Operation Choke Point:

  • Ammunition Sales

  • Cable Box De-scramblers

  • Coin Dealers

  • Credit Card Schemes

  • Credit Repair Services

  • Dating Services

  • Debt Consolidation Scams

  • Drug Paraphernalia

  • Escort Services

  • Firearms Sales

  • Fireworks Sales

  • Get Rich Products

  • Government Grants

  • Home-Based Charities

  • Life-Time Guarantees

  • Life-Time Memberships

  • Lottery Sales

  • Mailing Lists/Personal Info

  • Money Transfer Networks

  • On-line Gambling

  • Payday Loans

  • Pharmaceutical Sales

  • Ponzi Schemes

  • Pornography

  • Pyramid-Type Sales

  • Racist Materials

  • Surveillance Equipment

  • Telemarketing

  • Tobacco Sales

  • Travel Clubs

As you can see from the list a couple of the industries are legitimate concerns for the government because they are inherently rife with fraud, such as Ponzi-schemes and racist materials, but most of this list is made up of legitimate and legal businesses that provide valuable products or services to their customers. It is not the government's job to pick winners and losers or take away people's private choices about how they spend their currency.

It's clear that Operation Choke Point is meant to intimidate and economically destroy the administration's political enemies, and create fear among those who oppose the President's agenda. Because the targets of Operation Choke Point are generally small firms, the government knows that they don't have the resources to mount any kind of meaningful defense against it. The Federal government on the other hand, despite being $18 trillion dollars in debt, has limitless resources to conduct its assault.

Operation Choke Point is seen by many as an underhanded way of closing legitimate, legal industries by cutting off their access to the banking system and capital. In my opinion this unconstitutional and illegal act by the executive branch, which bypassed Congress and the Supreme Court, is flat out evil. By implementing Operation Choke Point, the president and the justice department are actively committing crimes against the Constitution they swore to uphold and against the American people. We can't let our government get away with it.

It's entirely possible that this is the method the government will use in the future to prevent you from legally buying what you need, when you need it most. If there's civil unrest, you won't be able to buy firearms or ammunition. If there's a dollar crisis, you won't be able to buy gold or silver. Whatever the administration decides it doesn't want you to have, it will now prevent you from getting it by choking off the financial "air" to the providers of those goods and services so those companies die. Without due process, this is tantamount to the executive branch committing the financial murder of law-abiding businesses.

If there's anything you think you may want from a company that falls into Operation Choke Point's targeted list, even if you don't think you'll need the item for many years, I suggest you get it now ... while you still can.

Yes, America is choking

It's choking on tens of thousands of laws, codes, orders, regulations, and restrictions. It's choking on overspending, and with it, over-taxation. It's choking on lobbyists and cronyism, through which legislators create laws to benefit their friends and contributors, enriching the few at the expense of the many. It's choking on bureaucrats who spy on all of us. It's choking on civil forfeiture laws where police can take anything they want of yours without even accusing or charging you of a crime. Instead they charge your property with a crime and confiscate it. And, believe it or not, your house, your car, or your cash is guilty until proven innocent.

America is choking on a corrupt monetary system designed to transfer wealth from the population to the banks and financial sector. It's choking on central planning that stifles the free market. It's choking on politicians who punish success and reward failure by playing Robin Hood with your income. It's choking on a central bank with Keynesian economists who destroy the free market by manipulating the quantity of currency and interest rates, causing massive speculative bubbles that eventually burst, resulting in economic devastation. Then these clueless clowns rush in with more Keynesian stimulus and, while in the midst of the next bubble of their own creation that's about to burst, they declare "You see! We saved you from the free market!"

America is choking, and if we don't do something about it soon I fear that it will soon be dead.

We must perform a societal Heimlich maneuver to expel these cancerous ideas from our economic airway. We do this by speaking out and educating others about where prosperity comes from and what extinguishes it. We do this by promoting freedom.

Thomas Jefferson once said,

"When the people fear the government there is tyranny; when the government fears the people there is liberty."

Our government is out of control and tyranny is slowly taking root.

I choose to speak up.

I choose liberty.

I choose freedom.

How about you?

Mike Maloney is the author of Guide to Investing in Gold and Silver, part of Robert Kiyosaki's "Rich Dad's Advisors" series of books, and is the producer and host of Hidden Secrets of Money.

Recommended article: Chomsky: We Are All – Fill in the Blank.

This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service - if this is your content and you're reading it on someone else's site, please read the FAQ at http://bit.ly/1xcsdoI.