Most people, even smart people, know surprisingly little about the way money really works in Big Government. With the debt ceiling fiasco suddenly raising awareness of the possibility of a total global financial blowout, now seems like a good time to remind people of seven disturbing facts about money that are almost never acknowledge in the old media.
Fact #1 - There is no FDIC insurance fund.
The money at your bank is insured against loss by the FDIC's insurance fund, right? Nope. That's total fiction. There is no actual money in the fund. The FDIC insurance money has already been looted by the U.S. Treasury which has simply replaced the money with a bunch of IOUs.
Why does this matter? Because it means that if the U.S. government goes into default, so will the FDIC! And that means all your bank funds have zero insurance. That's gonna be a big shock for tens of millions of people when they finally figure this out one day...
Fact #2 - There are no social security funds, either.
When you pay social security taxes, all that money goes into a trust fund that's held for safekeeping until the day it pays you back, right?
Ha! That's the "sucker's view" of social security that only ignorant people believe. In reality, there is no money in the social security trust fund because it too has all been looted by the U.S. Treasury and spent. In truth, social security is already broke. Can't wait for people to wake up and figure this one out, either...
Fact #3 - The U.S. Treasury is stealing money from you every day, even if you pay no taxes!
Here's a mind-boggling truth that most people just can't seem to get their heads around: The U.S. Treasury is stealing money from you every single day by the simple fact that they keep creating new money and handing it out to wealthy banksters. Well, technically this is being done by the Federal Reserve, which isn't even part of the federal government. But it's all done in cahoots with the Treasury, which is eroding the value of your money through these money creation and distribution actions.
That's why prices keep going up all around you, folks: Food isn't suddenly worth more money; the truth is that your money is worth less! That's how the Treasury and the Federal Reserve steal from you without even breaking into your home.
Probably 99.9% of the population has no understanding of this phenomenon -- the erosion of currency valuation through the centralized government printing of more currency. And yet it is a government scam that has been carried out against citizens of the world time and time again, spanning millennia! As history has clearly shown, every nation that goes down the path of printing more currency to pay its bills eventually ends up in a runaway hyperinflation scenario followed by economic collapse. The USA will be no different.
Fact #4 - The "balanced solution" isn't balanced.
Don't you love the quirky White House Press Secretary who keeps spewing out the phrase "balanced solution" even while the debt deal leaves the U.S. budget entirely unbalanced?
When you're spending more money than you're earning, that's not financial balance. When the White House says "balanced" what it really means is "compromised" -- as in, half way between the Republican position (spend us into purgatory) and the Democratic position (spend us into oblivion). Neither party has any real solution to the cancerous growth of Big Government. That's because they are creatures of Big Government!
Politicians can no more solve the problems of Big Government than arsonists can solve the problem of office fires. Because they are, themselves, creatures of runaway debt spending (how else do you get elected these days?), they simply do not possess the cognitive framework from which real financial solutions must stem.
Fact #5 - The government is going to steal everything from you before it collapses
Oh my, this is a tough one for people to get their heads around... especially those who naively trust governments to act in the interests of the People. The simple truth of the matter -- and I've publicly made this prediction before -- is that the government is going to STEAL almost everything you own as it heads toward a total financial implosion. This will include:
:- The government theft of private retirement accounts. The feds will claim they're taking them over "for your protection." Yeah, right. And then one day they will simply all vanish. Kiss your IRA goodbye...
:- The government theft of precious metals. Within the next 3 years, watch for a national emergency to be declared, followed by government confiscation of gold and silver. The feds will take your gold and hand you paper money in exchange. The paper money, of course, will be all but worthless shortly thereafter. Only the suckers, of course, will actually turn in their metals...
:- Government takeover of your bank accounts. As banks begin to fail in the big collapse, the government will step in and take ownership of the failed institutions, just as it did with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (which used to be publicly-owned companies but are now largely just government finance operations). This will put your bank accounts under the direct control of the White House, which can use executive orders to do things like banning all wire transfers out of the country or limiting daily withdrawals and transfers. Sure, you'll still "own" your money in the bank, you just won't be able to freely access it!
Fact #6 - Most people have no idea about fractional reserve banking, derivatives, the money supply or the Federal Reserve
It's not just that most people don't understand banking and finance; it's that even members of Congress have no idea how all this works. With few exceptions (like Ron Paul), they're just clueless!
Get this: Even most bankers don't even know how fractional reserve banking really works. They don't understand derivatives, either, which is why they screwed them up so badly in the housing boom that crashed in 2007. And because bankers, investors and bureaucrats have no idea how it all works, they unwittingly turn it all into a runaway catastrophe.
Allowing ignorant adults to play with debt and derivatives is like letting infants play with nuclear weapons. It can only lead to something messy.
Fact #7 - Most people are betting their lives on the dollar
People buy insurance for their cars, their homes and even their health. But when it comes to money, 99 out of 100 people in America are betting their entire financial existence on the U.S. dollar! They get their paychecks in dollars, their savings accounts are in dollars, and all their assets are denominated in dollars. As a result, they have no diversity to protect them against dollar devaluation.
That's kinda crazy, considering just how quickly the dollar could collapse in the near future and become totally worthless. That's why smart people are diversifying their assets and converting dollars into land, gold, silver or even storable food. Here in central Texas, even ammunition has a long-term barter value that far exceeds dollars.
Looking around at the financial behaviors of others, I'm just stunned at how many people are betting everything on the dollar because they never realized they had any other option (that's the way the government likes to keep it, of course!).
Coming soon: A huge national finance education of the masses
Mark my words, folks: The great financial collapse of America is now closer than ever. While I can't put an exact prediction date on it, there's absolutely no doubt that it's coming. The morons in Washington aren't doing anything to avoid it, either -- they're all just cashing in as much as they can before the big collapse rolls in.
Bunch of cowards and crooks running this country. They don't understanding banking and finance, and they're determined to make sure you don't either. Because the less you know about what's really going on, the longer they can continue to loot the U.S. economy while people stand around and do nothing.
How bad is the situation, really? Just yesterday, Vice President Joe Biden called Congressional Tea Party members "terrorists" for their insistence that the U.S. budget be balanced. So now, the mere idea of calling for a balanced budget turns you into a "terrorist" to be prosecuted under the Patriot Act.
And why not? Demanding financial sanity MUST be labeled an act of terrorism for our criminal government to continue its own criminal looting operation. Next we'll probably see the President ordering the arrest and prosecution of any members of Congress -- i.e. "terrorists" -- who do not go along with unlimited increased in the debt ceiling.
Now you see what the terrorism laws are really all about: They are legislative weapons to be used against political enemies, not actual terrorists. Meanwhile, Big Government is technically engaged in the use of financial weapons of mass destruction against the People, yet no one notices.
A bizarre world we live in, folks. It is dominated by the mindless masses and run by criminal sociopaths. Those who demand real solutions are labeled terrorists, and those who try to explain all this to everybody else are labeled "alarmists."
Just wait until this house of cards collapses, though. There will be a day of reckoning in which a whole bunch of apologies will be owed to all those people who tried to warn the nation what was really happening (and where it would lead us).
The militarization of American police – no doubt a blowback effect of the military empire – has become an unfortunate part of American life. In fact, it says something about our reliance on the military that federal agencies having nothing whatsoever to do with national defense now see the need for their own paramilitary units. Among those federal agencies laying claim to their own law enforcement divisions are the State Department, Department of Education, Department of Energy, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Park Service, to name just a few. These agencies have secured the services of fully armed agents – often in SWAT team attire – through a typical bureaucratic sleight-of-hand provision allowing for the creation of Offices of Inspectors General (OIG). Each OIG office is supposedly charged with not only auditing their particular agency’s actions but also uncovering possible misconduct, waste, fraud, theft, or certain types of criminal activity by individuals or groups related to the agency’s operation. At present, there are 73 such OIG offices in the federal government that, at times, perpetuate a police state aura about them.
For example, it was heavily armed agents from one such OIG office, working under the auspices of the Department of Education, who forced their way into the home of a California man, handcuffed him, and placed his three children (ages 3, 7, and 11) in a squad car while they conducted a search of his home. This federal SWAT team raid, which is essentially what it was, on the home of Anthony Wright on Tuesday, June 7, 2011, was allegedly intended to ferret out information on Wright’s estranged wife, Michelle, who no longer lives with him and who was suspected of financial aid fraud (early news reports characterized the purpose of the raid as being over Michelle’s delinquent student loans). According to Wright, he was awakened at 6 am by the sound of agents battering down his door and, upon descending the stairs, was immediately subdued by police. One neighbor actually witnessed the team of armed agents surround the house and, after forcing entry, they "dragged [Wright] out in his boxer shorts, threw him to the ground and handcuffed him."
This is not the first time a SWAT team has been employed in non-violent scenarios. Nationwide, SWAT teams have been employed to address an astonishingly trivial array of criminal activity or mere community nuisances: angry dogs, domestic disputes, improper paperwork filed by an orchid farmer, and misdemeanor marijuana possession, to give a brief sampling. In some instances, SWAT teams are even employed, in full armament, to perform routine patrols.
How did we allow ourselves to travel so far down the road to a police state? While we are now grappling with a power-hungry police state at the federal level, the militarization of domestic American law enforcement is largely the result of the militarization of local police forces, which are increasingly militaristic in their uniforms, weaponry, language, training, and tactics and have come to rely on SWAT teams in matters that once could have been satisfactorily performed by traditional civilian officers. Even so, this transformation of law enforcement at the local level could not have been possible without substantial assistance from on high.
Frequently justified as vital tools necessary to combat terrorism and deal with rare but extremely dangerous criminal situations, such as those involving hostages, SWAT teams – which first appeared on the scene in California in the 1960s – have now become intrinsic parts of local law enforcement operations, thanks in large part to substantial federal assistance. For example, in 1994, the U.S. Department of Justice and the Department of Defense agreed to a memorandum of understanding that enabled the transfer of federal military technology to local police forces. Following the passage of the Defense Authorization Security Act of 1997, which was intended to accelerate the transfer of military equipment to domestic law enforcement departments, local police acquired military weaponry – gratuitously or at sharp discounts – at astonishing rates. Between 1997 and 1999, the agency created by the Defense Authorization Security Act conveyed 3.4 million orders of military equipment to over 11,000 local police agencies in all 50 states. Not only did this vast abundance of military weaponry contribute to a more militarized police force, but it also helped spur the creation of SWAT teams in jurisdictions across the country.
In one of the few quantitative studies on the subject, criminologist Peter Kraska found in 1997 that close to 90 percent of cities with populations exceeding 50,000 and at least 100 sworn officers had at least one paramilitary unit. In a separate study, Kraska determined that, as of 1996, 65 percent of towns with populations between 25,000 and 50,000 had a paramilitary unit, with an additional 8 percent intending to establish one.
While the frequency of SWAT operations has increased dramatically in recent years, jumping from 1,000 to 40,000 raids per year by 2001, it appears to have less to do with increases in violent crime and more to do with law enforcement bureaucracy and a police state mentality. Indeed, according to Kraska’s estimates, 75-80 percent of SWAT callouts are now for mere warrant service. In some jurisdictions, SWAT teams are responsible for servicing 100 percent of all drug warrants issued. A Maryland study, conducted in the wake of a botched raid in 2008 that resulted in the mistaken detainment of Berwyn Heights mayor Cheye Calvo and the shooting deaths of his two dogs, corroborates Kraska’s findings. According to the study, SWAT teams are deployed 4.5 times per day in Maryland with 94 percent of those deployments being for something as minor as serving search or arrest warrants. In the county in which the Calvo raid occurred, more than 50 percent of SWAT operations carried out were for misdemeanors or non-serious felonies.
This overuse of paramilitary forces and increased reliance on military weaponry has inevitably resulted in a pervasive culture of militarism in domestic law enforcement. Police mimicry of the military is enhanced by the war-heavy imagery and metaphors associated with law enforcement activity: the war on drugs, the war on crime, etc. Moreover, it is estimated that 46 percent of paramilitary units were trained by "active-duty military experts in special operations." In turn, the military mindset adopted by many SWAT members encourages a tendency to employ lethal force. After all, soldiers are authorized to terminate enemy combatants. As Lawrence Korb, a former official in the Reagan Administration, put it, soldiers are "trained to vaporize, not Mirandize."
The Transportation Security Administration is re-analyzing the radiation levels of X-ray body scanners installed in airports nationwide, after testing produced dramatically higher-than-expected results.
The TSA, which has deployed at least 500 body scanners to at least 78 airports, said Tuesday the machines meet all safety standards and would remain in operation despite a “calculation error” in safety studies. The flawed results showed radiation levels 10 times higher than expected.
At least one flier group, the Association for Airline Passenger Rights, is urging the government to stop using the $180,000 machines that produce a virtual-nude image of the body until new tests are concluded in May.
“Airline passengers have enough concerns about flying — including numerous ones about how TSA conducts its haphazard security screenings — so it is TSA’s responsibility to ensure passengers are not being exposed to unhealthy amounts of radiation,” Brandon Macsata, executive director of the group, said in a statement.
The Electronic Privacy Information Center has been a loud voice opposing the machines. Last week, it urged a federal appeals court to stop using them until further health studies were conducted. Marc Rotenberg, EPIC’s executive director, is expected to tell the same thing to a congressional panel Wednesday.
“The agency should have conducted a public rule-making so that these risks could have been more carefully assessed,” according to a transcript of his expected testimony before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
Still, the government said the results proved the safety of the devices.
“It would appear that the emissions are 10 times higher. We understand it as a calculation error,” TSA spokesman Sarah Horowitz said in a telephone interview.
The snafu involves tests conducted on the roughly 250 backscatter X-ray machines produced by Rapiscan of Los Angeles, which has a contract to deliver another 250 machines at a cost of about $180,000 each. About 250 millimeter-wave technology machines produced by L-3 Communications of New York were not part of the bungled results.
Rapiscan technicians in the field are required to test radiation levels 10 times in a row, and divide by 10 to produce an average radiation measurement. Often, the testers failed to divide results by 10, Horowitz said.
“Certainly, the errors are not acceptable. It’s not every report. We believe the technology is safe,” she said. ”We’ve done extensive, independent testing. It doesn’t raise alarms in terms of safety.”
Rapiscan, in a letter to the TSA, admitted the mistake and is “redesigning the form” used by its “field service engineers” when surveying the Rapiscan Secure 1000 that is deployed to 38 airports.
As she waited for her flight from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to Medford, Ore., last month, Linda Morrison noticed something unusual in the waiting area.
"A lady in a TSA uniform came over, put on her rubber gloves and went up and down the rows of seats, choosing bags to go through," said Morrison, a retired corporate recruiter who lives in Seattle. "She didn't identify herself, didn't give a reason for the search. She seemed to be targeting larger carry-on bags."
Morrison was stunned. She expected to be screened at the designated checkpoint area, or maybe at the gate, where the Transportation Security Administration sometimes randomly checks passengers as they board. This was different. "To me, it just felt like an illegal search performed by a police state," she said.
There's that phrase again: police state. It's being thrown about a lot more since November's pat-down/opt-out fiasco, as public anger over the TSA's new security measures remains high. Which makes the question of whether we're traveling in a police state, or something like it, worth taking seriously.
At least one other reader also reported the roaming searches described by Morrison, also in Seattle. Christine Porter says she witnessed an identical procedure on two separate occasions. "TSA now randomly appears at boarding gates to check boarding passes and IDs as well as potentially hand-search carry-on luggage," she said. "It's irritating."
Is the TSA testing a more aggressive screening procedure in Seattle? I asked the agency.
"TSA officers at airports nationwide routinely screen passengers at the gate area using a variety of methods, including physically searching bags and using explosives detection technology," said agency spokesman Greg Soule. "This additional layer of security is part of our unpredictable approach to keep passengers safe and reduce the risk of dangerous items being carried on planes."
As is often the case with TSA's answers, I can't tell whether that's a yes or a no.
Protest organiser Mustafa el-Naggar said he saw the bodies of three dead protesters being carried towards an ambulance.
More than 1,500 people were injured in the latest violence, which came before dawn, as protesters remained in the street through the night following a day of clashes between supporters of President Hosni Mubarak and dissidents.
Prime Minister David Cameron said yesterday: 'If it turns out that the regime in any way has been sponsoring or tolerating this violence, that would be completely and utterly unacceptable.'
Human Rights Watch emergency director Peter Bouckaert told The Washington Post that police identification cards were found on several wounded looters that broke in to Cairo's Egyptian Museum.
Soon after the Egyptian police forces withdrew from the streets Friday, "people began to enter the museum," Zahi Hawass, head of Egypt's antiquities department, told Time Magazine.
Police identification cards were also found on other looters around Cairo and Egypt. Bouckaert implied that police forces may have been responsible for the escape of thousands of prisoners, describing it as "unexplainable."
Over the past few days, Egyptians all around the country reported to Human Rights Watch that police were responsible for much the looting.
He told me, "I was very unhappy about yesterday. I do not want to see Egyptians fighting each other."
I asked how he felt after giving the speech Monday night, saying he would not run for president again, and he told me he felt relief.
When I asked him what he thought seeing the people shouting insults about him and wanting him gone, he said, "I don't care what people say about me. Right now I care about my country, I care about Egypt."
Western journalists beaten, arrested and threatened with beheading!
Foreign news reporters have increasingly become targets of the attacks in Cairo as the Mubarak government teeters and dozens of reporters including CNN's Anderson Cooper and CBS anchor Katie Couric have been menaced, forced off the road, shoved against fences, and physically assaulted. A Greek reporter was stabbed in the leg.
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs condemned the "systematic targeting" of journalists in Egypt, and the U.S. State Department described it as a "concerted campaign to intimidate."
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lectured the Egyptian government in a news conference today that it "must demonstrate its willingness to ensure journalists' ability to report on these events to the people of Egypt and to the world."
Egyptians spend over 40% of their household budgets on food!
Egyptians are particularly vulnerable to increases in food prices because they spend an unusually high proportion of their income on food, according to a recent Credit Suisse survey. "Food inflation is a specific issue" in the country, the report notes, "having reached over 20 percent—amongst the highest rates globally." Egyptians spent more on food than respondents in any other emerging economy surveyed in the report—about 40 percent of their monthly income, versus about 17 percent for Brazilians and about 20 percent for Chinese and Saudi Arabians, for instance.
The Egyptian government does subsidize bread and other staples for poorer Egyptians, ameliorating the price increase somewhat. But most Egyptians purchase bread beyond what the subsidy allows. And the threat of instability has already pushed food costs higher in the Egyptian capital and elsewhere. Plus, rising food prices have a long history of causing social unrest in the country. In 1977, the state cut subsidies of basic staples, leading to deadly riots. In 2008, when food prices hit their first peak, Egyptians again took to the streets.
Riots rage in Chile as gas price hike fuels flames of anger!
Riots are raging in southern Chile with two women killed and four others injured. Protesters are out in anger at gas price increases, which are reportedly due to troubles experienced by the state-owned petroleum company. 21 people have been arrested. With gas one of the country’s main imports, the price rise counters promises made by the country’s President Pinera.
Real Domestic Terror - Orchestrated Riots By Leftists, Socialists and Anarchists!
We are constantly bombarded with warnings from the media and the feds about domestic terror threats from right-wing militias and skinheads (e.g. OKC Bombing) and recently even the Tea Party. They try to show objectivity by including PETA and ELF in the watchlists, but really it is about demonizing the average citizen who is unhappy with how the government is "governing".
What is not covered at all, is the extent that most civil unrest and "grassroots" protests are actually planned and orchestrated by leftist political organizations. There are almost no spontaneous riots of outraged citizenry. Worse yet, most of these instigating entities are paid for by your taxes and even protected under hate crimes and free speech laws.
Fearing the inevitable riots that will erupt if ex-transit cop Johannes Mehserle isn’t found guilty of murder in the Oscar Grant case, business owners around Oakland’s downtown and other areas of the city have been busy nailing plywood boards over their shop windows to minimize damage and looting. This essay documents the pre-riot preparations, and also examines to what extent the expected riot is being fomented by left-wing radical groups.
Word has gone out on the street for everyone to gather at 14th and Broadway — the intersection at the center of Oakland’s downtown — when the verdict is announced. Although the gathering is supposed to be “a positive space for people to speak out and express their feelings and to continue working for justice,” everyone knows that rabble-rousers and organizers will be on hand inciting the crowd to run wild.
Do Riots Occur Spontaneously — or Are They Organized Ahead of Time?
For weeks a furious argument has raged through Oakland, with some civic leaders, pundits and businessmen accusing radical neighborhood activist groups of intentionally fomenting a riot on the day of the verdict. Furthermore, local African-American activists are in turn accusing outside mostly-white anarchist and communist groups of hijacking for their own agenda what is supposed to be a homegrown riot just for locals. Everybody’s pointing fingers — and everybody’s correct.
The reason law-abiding Oaklanders are so sure a riot will erupt is that there is a grand convergence of four different social forces all pushing in the same direction: chaos on verdict day:
1. There is likely to be an “organically” occurring unplanned outbreak of frustration on the part of African-Americans in Oakland who (justly or unjustly, depending on your viewpoint) feel distrustful of and victimized by police.
2. Local black-oriented activist organizations are seeking to harness and magnify this anger to intentionally bring chaos to the streets as a way of pressuring the city to advance their radical agendas.
3. Outside far-left political groups are also seeking to piggyback on the riots and to make them so large and violent that they become a national story, and (hopefully) become the spark that ignites a revolution.
4. The criminal element in the Bay Area will almost certainly take advantage of the fact the the Oakland Police will be totally preoccupied with the riot on verdict day, leading many locals to fear an unchecked crime wave even in areas where there is no rioting.
Put all these four ingredients together and you have the recipe for one ugly scene.
It doesn’t take much effort to see the hidden hands behind the scenes trying to instigate or intensify the riot.
It was a bit like a scene from “Minority Report,” the 2002 Tom Cruise movie that featured genetically altered humans with special powers to predict crime.
In October, the Chicago Police Department’s new crime-forecasting unit was analyzing 911 calls for service and produced an intelligence report predicting a shooting would happen soon on a particular block on the South Side.
Three minutes later, it did, police officials say.
That got police Supt. Jody Weis thinking.
He wondered if the department could produce intelligence reports even quicker. Next time, officers might have an hour’s notice before a shooting — instead of just a few minutes.
The solution: Weis is now consolidating the department’s various intelligence-gathering units under his direct command to improve the flow of information.
The Deployment Operations Center, which gathers gang intelligence, will move into his office from the Bureau of Investigative Services.
The “DOC,” created in 2003, tracks human intelligence on gangs and holds a daily conference call with department leaders to decide where to deploy roving teams of officers.
The so-called 24-hour “fusion center,” which opened in 2007, also will move under the superintendent’s office.
The fusion center is one of dozens that opened across the country in response to a 911 report that called for better sharing of federal, state and local intelligence on terrorism.
The center is staffed with representatives of the Chicago Police Department and federal and state agencies. They have access to the city’s video surveillance system and various law enforcement databases.
The Predictive Analytics Group was already in the superintendent’s office.
Brett Goldstein, director of predictive analytics, said the change will allow his office to send out intelligence reports more quickly.
“We’re running against a clock,” he said.
The Predictive Analytics Group, which sorts through crime statistics and demographic data, was formed by Weis last spring.
At the time, the department was generating weekly citywide intelligence reports on violent crime and identifying “hot spots” of more than a square mile.
Weis said the goal of the Crime Analytics Group was to produce twice-a-day intelligence reports concentrating on smaller hot spots.
Nine months later, that’s been accomplished, said Goldstein, who said his unit also is working with detectives to identify robbery patterns.
Goldstein said he expects the intelligence reports will eventually go out more often than twice a day “as we move closer to real-time architecture.”
But the science behind the reports remains a mystery. Goldstein won’t give specifics on how his unit makes its predictions or identify the targeted areas, saying he does not want to tip off criminals.
Weis’ $310,000-a-year contract expires in March, but Mayor Daley has said he intends to keep him until the next mayor takes office in May. Weis is pushing ahead with the intelligence consolidation and other changes even though none of the mayoral candidates has indicated a desire to keep him as top cop.
Sheriffs in North Carolina want access to state computer records identifying anyone with prescriptions for powerful painkillers and other controlled substances.
The state sheriff's association pushed the idea Tuesday, saying the move would help them make drug arrests and curb a growing problem of prescription drug abuse. But patient advocates say opening up people's medicine cabinets to law enforcement would deal a devastating blow to privacy rights.
Allowing sheriffs' offices and other law enforcement officials to use the state's computerized list would vastly widen the circle of people with access to information on prescriptions written for millions of people. As it stands now, doctors and pharmacists are the main users.
Nearly 30 percent of state residents received at least one prescription for a controlled substance, anything from Ambien to OxyContin, in the first six months of this year, according to the state Department of Health and Human Services. Nearly 2.5 million people filled prescriptions in that time for more than 375 million doses. The database has about 53.5 million prescriptions in it.
Sheriffs made their pitch Tuesday to a legislative health care committee looking for ways to confront prescription drug abuse. Local sheriffs said that more people in their counties die of accidental overdoses than from homicides.
For years, sheriffs have been trying to convince legislators that the state's prescription records should be open to them.
"We can better go after those who are abusing the system," said Lee County Sheriff Tracy L. Carter.
Others say opening up patients' medicine cabinets to law enforcement is a terrible idea.
Janice Wells called the Richland Police Department when she feared a prowler was outside her clapboard house in the rural west Georgia town.
The third-grade teacher had phoned for help. But within minutes of an officer coming to her backdoor, she was screaming in pain and begging not to be shocked again with a Taser. With each scream and cry, the officer threatened her with more shocks.
"All of it's just unreal to me. I was scared to death," Wells said in an interview with the AJC. "He kept tasing me and tasing me. My fingernails are still burned. My leg, back and my butt had a long scar on it for days."
The officer in question is Ryan Smith of the Lumpkin Police Department. Smith was called to back up an officer from the Richland Police Department because the sheriff's office in the county, Stewart, had no deputies to send.
Smith resigned as a result of the incident. The other officer involved, Tim Murphy of Richland PD, was fired for using pepper spray while trying to arrest Wells.
Wells is considering filing a lawsuit, according to her attorney,.
Police Tasered an 86-year-old disabled grandma in her bed and stepped on her oxygen hose until she couldn't breathe, after her grandson called 911 seeking medical assistance, the woman and her grandson claim in Oklahoma City Federal Court. Though the grandson said, "Don't Taze my granny!" an El Reno police officer told another cop to "Taser her!" and wrote in his police report that he did so because the old woman "took a more aggressive posture in her bed," according to the complaint.
Lonnie Tinsley claims that he called 911 after he went to check on his grandmother, whom he found in her bed, "connected to a portable oxygen concentrator with a long hose." She is "in marginal health, [and] takes several prescribed medications daily," and "was unable to tell him exactly when she had taken her meds," so, Tinsley says, he called 911 "to ask for an emergency medical technician to come to her apartment to evaluate her."
In response, "as many as ten El Reno police" officers "pushed their way through the door," according to the complaint. The grandma, Lona Varner, "told them to get out of her apartment."
The remarkable complaint continues: "Instead, the apparent leader of the police [defendant Thomas Duran] instructed another policeman to 'Taser her!' He stated in his report that the 86 year-old plaintiff 'took a more aggressive posture in her bed,' and that he was fearful for his safety and the safety of others.
"Lonnie Tinsley told them, 'Don't taze my Granny!' to which they responded that they would Taser him; instead, they pulled him out of her apartment, took him down to the floor, handcuffed him and placed him in the back of a police car.
"The police then proceeded to approach Ms. Varner in her bed and stepped on her oxygen hose until she began to suffer oxygen deprivation. "The police then fired a Taser at her and only one wire struck her, in the left arm; the police then fired a second Taser, striking her to the right and left of the midline of her upper chest and applied high voltage, causing burns to her chest, extreme pain and to pass out.
"The police then grabbed Ms. Varner by her forearms and jerked hands together, causing her soft flesh to tear and bleed on her bed; they then handcuffed her.
"The police freed Lonnie Tinsley from his incarceration in the back of the police car and permitted him to accompany the ambulance with his grandmother."
Tinsley says the cops capped it all off by having his grandmother "placed in the psychiatric ward at the direction of the El Reno police; she was held there for six days and released."
"As a result of the wrongful arrest and detention, the plaintiff Lona M. Varner suffered the unlawful restraint of her freedom, bodily injury, assault, battery, the trashing of her apartment, humiliation, loss of personal dignity, infliction of emotional distress and medical bills."
A 7-year-old girl was shot and killed when an officer's gun went off during a struggle with a woman in a house where Detroit police were searching for a suspect in the slaying of a teenager, MyFoxDetroit.com reported.
Assistant Chief Ralph Godbee said at a news conference Sunday that Aiyana Jones was hit in the neck by a single bullet and died at a hospital.
"This is any parent's worst nightmare. It also is any police officer's worst nightmare," Godbee said.
Sarah Harris goes through the motions of her day trying hard not to think about what life was like a year ago — or what it would be like now if not for "the incident."
She feels guilty leaving the house, even if only for a couple of hours to visit her mom or sister, to run errands, or go grocery shopping. She still cries every night.
Her husband, the first boy she kissed and the only man she's ever loved, suffered a catastrophic brain injury when his head slammed into a concrete wall after a brief footchase with two King County sheriff's deputies on Mother's Day 2009. He's now confined to bed, unable to talk, walk or do anything for himself.
Interim Seattle Police Chief John Diaz said Friday afternoon the internal investigation into the kicking and stomping of a prone Latino man by two officers is being broadened to include the other officers at the scene.
Speaking at a news conference, Diaz said the investigation will focus on the behavior of all of the officers who were on the scene April 17 when the incident took place, including a supervisor. The investigation will likely examine why other officers did not intervene when a gang detective kicked the man in the head and a second officer stomped on his leg.
The incident was captured on video. On it, gang detective Shandy Cobane can be heard telling the man lying on a concrete sidewalk, "I'm going to beat the [expletive] Mexican piss out of you, homey. You feel me?" Cobane, apologized for his language at a news conference a week ago.
The man was detained by police who were investigating an earlier robbery. He was later released when officers determine he was not involved.
A man arrested on suspicion of drug charges and child endangerment said he is concerned with the actions of police who shot two dogs they described as “aggressive” while serving a drug-related search warrant at his home earlier this month in southwest Columbia.
Police arrested Jonathan E. Whitworth, 25, of 1501 Kinloch Court on Feb. 11 on suspicion of possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of marijuana and second-degree child endangerment.
A police SWAT team entered Whitworth’s residence around 8:30 p.m. suspecting a large amount of marijuana at the location, police spokeswoman Officer Jessie Haden said. SWAT members encountered a pit bull upon entry, held back and then fatally shot the dog, which officers said was acting in an uncontrollably aggressive manner.
Whitworth was arrested, and his wife and 7-year-old son were present during the SWAT raid, Haden said. A second dog, which Whitworth’s attorney Jeff Hilbrenner described as a corgi, also was shot but was not killed.
“The family is concerned with what happened,” Hilbrenner said. “We don’t feel like what happened in the home was appropriate. The priority right now for us is the misdemeanor charges.”
The controversy surrounds a May 16 protest organized by liberal group National People’s Action a group that merits some investigating and the Service Employees International Union. Hundreds of protesters targeted two homes in Chevy Chase, Md. — one belonging to a Bank of America attorney, the other to a J.P. Morgan Chase lobbyist — for raucous rallies decrying Wall Street’s efforts to influence bank-reform legislation. That’s not what the video clips feature. They feature a wider, anti-capitalist agenda in play.
Assistant Chief Patrick Burke, who oversees homeland security and special operations for the city’s Metropolitan Police Department, denies that the protesters were ever “escorted.” Rather, he said, standard procedure is for police to monitor mass protests both to keep protesters safe and prevent any mischief. Monitor? Really? The word carries a judicatory nuance with the authority to take corrective action – like a hall monitor. What, exactly, were they monitoring?
“Essentially we’ll shadow a “shadow” is not a “monitor” you, make sure nobody’s being hit by cars, that you’re complying with traffic laws as much as possible,” Burke said Tuesday. “We did not have knowledge of what their addresses were going to be or even that they were going to leave Washington, D.C.”
Saturday, April 3, 2010
(Source: Associated Press)
WASHINGTON – The FBI is warning police across the country that an anti-government group's call to remove governors from office could provoke violence.
The group called the Guardians of the free Republics wants to "restore America" by peacefully dismantling parts of the government, according to its Web site. It sent letters to governors demanding they leave office or be removed.
Investigators do not see threats of violence in the group's message, but fear the broad call for removal of top state officials could lead others to act out violently. At least two states beefed up security in response.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty said he received one of the letters but wasn't overly alarmed.
"We get all kinds of, shall we say, 'interesting' mail, so it's not out of the norm," Pawlenty said Friday. "It got more attention because it went to so many governors."
As of Wednesday, more than 30 governors had received letters saying if they don't leave office within three days they will be removed, according to an internal intelligence note by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security. The note was obtained by The Associated Press.
The FBI expects all 50 governors will eventually receive such letters.
Governors whose offices reported getting the letters included Jennifer Granholm of Michigan, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Chet Culver of Iowa, Dave Heineman of Nebraska, Jim Gibbons of Nevada, Brad Henry of Oklahoma, Mike Rounds of South Dakota, Bob McDonnell of Virginia, and Gary Herbert of Utah, where officials stepped up security in response to the letter.
In Nevada, screening machines for visitors and packages were added to the main entrance to the state Capitol as a precaution.
"We're not really overly concerned, but at the same time we don't want to sit back and do nothing and regret it," Deputy Chief of Staff Lynn Hettrick said.
Granholm spokeswoman Liz Boyd said federal authorities had alerted the governor that such a letter might be coming, and it arrived Monday. Boyd, who described the letter as "non-threatening," said it was opened by a staffer and immediately turned over to the Michigan State Police.
Jindal's office confirmed that the governor had received one of the letters and directed questions to the Louisiana State Police.
"They called us as they do for any letter that's out of the norm," said Lt. Doug Cain, a state police spokesman. He declined to provide specifics about the letter, but said, "not knowing the group and the information contained in the letter warranted state police to review it."
An e-mail message seeking comment sent Friday night to an address on the Guardians of the free Republics' Web site got no response.
The FBI warning comes at a time of heightened attention to far-right extremist groups after the arrest of nine Christian militia members last weekend accused of plotting violence.
In explaining the letters sent to the governors, the intelligence note says officials have no specific knowledge of plans to use violence, but they caution police to be aware in case other individuals interpret the letters "as a justification for violence or other criminal actions."
The FBI associated the letter with "sovereign citizens," most of whom believe they are free from all duties of a U.S. citizen, like paying taxes or needing a government license to drive. A small number of these people are armed and resort to violence, according to the intelligence report.
Last weekend, the FBI conducted raids on suspected members of a Christian militia in the Midwest that was allegedly planning to kill police officers. In the past year, federal agents have seen an increase in "chatter" from an array of domestic extremist groups, which can include radical self-styled militias, white separatists or extreme civil libertarians and sovereign citizens.
A homeless man who was stabbed while saving a woman from a knife-wielding attacker lay dying in a pool of his own blood for more than an hour while several New Yorkers walked past without calling for help.
Surveillance video obtained by the New York Post shows that some passers-by paused to gawk at Hugo Alfredo Tale-Yax early Sunday morning and yet kept on walking.
One man came out of a nearby building and took a cellphone photo of the victim before leaving. Another leaned over and vigorously shook the dead man before walking away. But most people never stopped.
Firefighters arrived more than an hour and 20 minutes after Tale-Yax collapsed. By that time, the 31-year-old was dead.
"They needed to help and call the police. I don't get it," resident Ramon Bellasco, 46, told the Post.
The incident happened at 7:21 a.m. almost a week ago at 88 Road and 144th Street in the borough of Queens, but police didn't have a clear idea of what happened until recently.
Tale-Yax is seen on the grainy video approaching a man who was threatening a woman with a knife. The man turned and stabbed Tale-Yax but most of the action is out of the security camera's field of vision. Both the stabber and the woman then fled in different directions and Tale-Yax stumbled a few paces before collapsing face-down on the sidewalk.
Within a minute or so, the first of a long series of people begins walking by Tale-Yax without going to his aid.
Police told the Post they received four 911 calls at around the time of the attack reporting a woman screaming, but found nothing. They said they received no other 911 calls.
PHILADELPHIA – A suburban Philadelphia school district snapped secret webcam pictures of a high school student when he was partially undressed or sleeping in his bed, and captured instant messages he exchanged with friends, the student charged in court papers this week.
The Lower Merion School District concedes its efforts to find missing school-issued laptops was misguided, and officials vowed anew Friday to release the findings of their internal investigation, "good and bad."
The LANrev software program took screen shots and webcam photos every 15 seconds when activated. The district thereby captured over 400 screen shots and webcam images of Harriton High School sophomore Blake Robbins, according to court filings this week in his lawsuit.
The suit, filed in February, exposed the tracking program and prompted an FBI investigation into possible wiretap violations, along with debate among parents about whether to support the potential class-action lawsuit.
"A substantial number of webcam photos have been recovered in the investigation," school board President David Ebby said in a statement Friday. "As we have made clear since day one, we are committed to providing all of the facts — good and bad — at the conclusion of the investigation."
Lawyers involved in the case met Friday afternoon to discuss pending issues in the case.
Mark Haltzman, who filed the lawsuit on behalf of Robbins and his family, said evidence now shows the district used the tracking software for non-authorized reasons — for instance, when students failed to pay the required insurance or return the laptops at year's end. At least once, a name mix-up led the district to activate the wrong student's laptop, he charged.
"Thousands of webcam pictures and screen shots have been taken of numerous other students in their homes, many of which never reported their laptops lost or missing," Haltzman wrote in a motion filed Thursday.
According to Haltzman, technology coordinator Carol Cafiero refused to answer his questions at a recent deposition, citing her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. She and technician Michael Perbix were the only employees authorized to activate the webcams. Perbix did not fight the deposition.
Haltzman called Cafiero a possible "voyeur" and wants access to her personal computer to see if she downloaded any student images. To support the charge, he cited her response to an e-mail from a colleague who said viewing the webcam pictures was like watching "a little LMSD soap opera."
The FBI Knows Where You Are, Thanks to Your Cell Phone
By Jeremy A. Kaplan - FOXNews.com
Friday, February 12, 2010
A federal appeals court will begin debating on Friday a privacy issue you probably hadn't considered: the government's ability to track your location at any time, if you carry a cell phone.
As cell phones have morphed from cordless communication devices into pocket-sized PCs, cellular providers have developed and honed the ability to pinpoint your location fairly accurately -- potentially to within 150 feet. This helps network operators connect your phone to the nearest cell tower and locate you in an emergency, a federally mandated feature called e911.
That feature could be a lifesaver if your car runs off a rural road on a dark night. But it also enables the authorities to know your location at all times when you're carrying your phone.
"Most people don't understand they are carrying a tracking device in their pockets," Kevin Bankston, a lawyer with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told Newsweek.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit in Philadelphia will hear arguments on Friday in a case that centers around Philadelphia FBI agent William Shute, who testified that he obtained records 150 times in recent years to track the location of federal fugitives.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation and the American Civil Liberties Union will argue in court Friday that the practice raises serious privacy issues.
Location information is generated when you place a call on your cellular phone; most carriers store that data for a period of time, which varies by carrier.
They don't store the information for long, and they also don't track your location when you're not making calls. But they easily could, says PCMag.com cell phone analyst Sascha Segan.
"At any moment, if your cell phone is on, your provider can tell where you are. Right now, they don't store that bit of information. But if the government makes that a legal requirement, they might have to."
It's technically feasible, Segan explains, and it's not discussed in your cell phone contract. Contracts detail certain privacy regulations, but all are subject to government laws and regulations. A change in the law would supersede your contract.
The Fourth Amendment guards against illegal search and seizure and will be cited frequently in Friday's case, but the "right to privacy," while implied in the Constitution, is not explicitly guaranteed, explains Dr. Abbe Forman, a professor and civil rights expert with the computer and information science department at Temple University's College of Science and Tech.
"Many Americans believe that the Constitution guarantees us the 'right to privacy,' but that's not the case," Forman warned.
She said tracking is a critical tool in emergencies, but she worries that the government may play upon our fears to enhance its snooping powers.
"If we tell people they will be safer because they can be found in case of emergency, most people will look no further for information, even though the great majority of them will never be lost to that extreme," she said.
Of course, you can always turn off the tracking by simply turning off your cell phone. And if a criminal picks up a new pay-as-you-go cell phone at the corner store rather than one with a contract -- and then throws it away a day later -- the government won't be able to keep up with the IDs on those phones.
"These cases therefore revolve around stupider criminals," jokes Segan, "the ones who keep a single cell phone and have a monthly relationship with a carrier."
The FBI used faked terrorism emergencies to illegally obtain Americans' phone records: Report
By Brian Kates
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Tuesday, January 19th 2010, 10:44 AM
The FBI illegally obtain more than 2,000 U.S. telephone records between 2002 and 2006 under false requests, the Washington Post reports.
The FBI faked terrorism emergencies to illegally obtain more than 2,000 U.S. telephone records between 2002
and 2006, the Washington Post reported Tuesday.
FBI general counsel Valerie Caproni told the Washington Post that the FBI technically violated the Electronic Communications Privacy Act when agents invoked nonexistent emergencies to collect records.
The maneuver was based on a system used in the FBI's New York office in the aftermath of Sept. 11 attacks, officials said. It involved use of an "exigent circumstances letter," a document that allowed a supervisor to declare an emergency and get the records and then - after the fact - issue a national security letter detailing the terrorism risk. The required national security letters were sometimes concocted and covered by broadbrush generic phrases like "threats against transportation facilities," "threats against individuals" and "threats against special events," internal e-mails show.
Later FBI officials shifted to crafting "blanket" national security letters to authorize all past searches that had not been covered by open cases, the Post reported.
FBI officials told The Post that they found that about half of the 4,400 records collected in emergency situations or with after-the-fact approvals were done in technical violation of the law.