Month: June 2009

Slight of Hand

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$80,000 for a 100 day gig in Afghanistan?

That’s what we heard today from an ex-military/private contractor lady who says she was offered a job to transition the contracts of KBR employees to what she said was DynCorp. 5,000 KBR contractors have to sign a new one. She would get to travel all over Afghanistan.

This story is unconfirmed and details seem to be hidden fairly well if you search the internet but it falls in line with recent investigations of KBR.

Switch the ownership of the contracts to a new company, basically the same as the old company, under the guise of competitive bidding and so it can be seen as ‘change.’ The money just moves around a little between the criminal war profiteers.

DynCorp has long sordid history so there’s not much hope for improvement.

There are always at least two winners in ‘war.’ Bankers and corporate contractors.

The lady who told us her tale has been to Afghanistan before and said that one of the most beautiful sights she has ever seen was the massive opium poppy fields in full bloom.

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1,2,3…..What are we fighting for

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Don’t ask me I don’t give a damn
Next stop is Tajikistan

paraphrased from Country Joe McDonald

Drug flow means big bucks for the big banks and for the CIA.

U.S. – built bridge is windfall – for illegal Afghan drug trade

Gateway for Afghan opium

By Tom Lasseter | McClatchy Newspapers

NIZHNY PANJ, Tajikistan — In August 2007, the presidents of Afghanistan and Tajikistan walked side by side with the U.S. commerce secretary across a new $37 million concrete bridge that the Army Corps of Engineers designed to link two of Central Asia’s poorest countries.

Dressed in a gray suit with an American flag pin in his lapel, then-Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez said the modest two-lane span that U.S. taxpayers paid for would be “a critical transit route for trade and commerce” between Afghanistan and Tajikistan.

Today, the bridge across the muddy waters of the Panj River is carrying much more than vegetables and timber: It’s paved the way for drug traffickers to transport larger loads of Afghan heroin and opium to Central Asia and beyond to Russia and Western Europe.

Standing near his truck in a dusty patch on the Afghan side of the river, Yar Mohammed said it was easy to drive drugs past the Afghan and Tajik border guards.

“It’s an issue of money,” Mohammed said, to the nods and grins of the small group of truckers gathered around him near the bridge at Nizhny Panj. “If you give them money, you can do whatever you want.”

The roots of the global drug trade are often a murky tangle of poverty, addiction, violence and corruption. However, it’s clear why the dirt-poor former Soviet Central Asian republic of Tajikistan is on the verge of becoming a narco-state.

After the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, the United States and other Western powers looked the other way as opium and heroin production surged to record levels, making Afghanistan by far the world’s biggest producer.

Much of the ballooning supply of drugs shipped across Afghanistan’s northern border, up to one-fifth of the country’s output, has traveled to and through Tajikistan. The opium and heroin funded rampant corruption in Tajikistan and turned the country, still hobbled by five years of civil war in the 1990s, into what at times seems like one big drug-trafficking organization.

Every day last year — extrapolating from United Nations estimates — an average of more than 4 metric tons of opium, which can be made into some 1,320 pounds of heroin, moved on the northern route. Put another way, the equivalent of nearly 6 million doses of pure heroin — at 100 milligrams each — is carried across the northern Afghan border each day.

After it’s cut with other substances and sold on the street corners and in the apartment stairwells of Russia and Western Europe, the main retail markets for Central Asian heroin, that could produce at least 12 million doses.

Nevertheless, it’s clear even to a casual visitor at the bridge that neither the Afghan or the Tajik border guards have much interest in curbing, or even inspecting, the exports that pass in front of them.

In fact, as the Afghan drug supply has grown, Tajik seizures have fallen. In 2004, Afghanistan produced 4,200 metric tons of opium, and some 5 metric tons of heroin or its equivalent in opium were seized in Tajikistan, according to U.N. figures. Last year, with Afghan cultivation rising to 7,700 metric tons of opium, Tajik authorities seized less than 2 metric tons of heroin.

Although the United States wields enormous influence in both countries, their drug problems have taken a back seat to the war against the Taliban. Until the past year, Afghanistan’s growing drug production was at best a midlevel priority for Washington, and the U.S. hasn’t pressed Tajik President Emomali Rahmon to rein in his country’s drug trafficking, Western officials said. Nor, they said, has any other Western government with troops in Afghanistan.

All along the Afghan-Tajik border, smugglers for years have thrown sacks of heroin over the Panj River, waded across when the water is low, set up flotillas of car tires and used small ferries or footbridges.

The U.S.-financed bridge has made drug trafficking even easier, truck driver Mohammed said with a toothy smile: “You load the truck with drugs.”

The ferry that used to operate at Nizhny Panj carried about 40 trucks a day. The bridge can carry 1,000 vehicles daily.

Organized crime groups now are focusing on using official checkpoints to move their drugs, a senior official at the Tajik State Committee for National Security said, speaking to a recent meeting of Central Asian counter-narcotics officers.

“Especially through the Tajik-Afghan bridge on the Panj River,” Davlat Zarifov said.

Zarifov apparently didn’t know that a reporter was present, and he declined further comment and quickly walked away.

To try to get the Tajik government’s side of the story, a McClatchy reporter approached Sherali Mirzo, the official in charge of the country’s border guards, a man with a full mustache and medals across his uniformed chest. Mirzo said he didn’t talk to the media.

Rustam Nazarov, the director of the country’s drug control agency, said in a brief interview that the declining heroin and opium seizures suggested that there was less trafficking of those drugs through Tajikistan, an analysis that the facts on the ground would seem to contradict.

Nazarov, however, did allow that, “There is corruption in Tajikistan; no one denies that. Unfortunately, we have some civil servants who are corrupt.”

A few days later at the Afghan-Tajik border, as the sun began to dip below a horizon framed by jagged mountains, Mohammed Zahir, an Afghan truck driver, gave a simple explanation for how drugs get across the bridge.

“People involved with the drug business know the guards,” Zahir said. “Before sending their drugs across, they pay them money.”

A second driver, Qand Agha, chimed in: “If high officials on the border weren’t involved, then people like me couldn’t take drugs into their country.”

Down the road, a line of trucks was crossing the bridge.

‘DENGI, DENGI’

Sitting in a $40,000 SUV with soft leather seats and a dark orange paint job, a man named Negmatullo hitched up his shirtsleeve to show the sore on his arm from the heroin he’d been shooting up. He fiddled with his designer sunglasses, absentmindedly brushed his hair and said in a junkie’s mumble that, “If you pay someone at the border, you can bring drugs up.”

Negmatullo, a thin man with dirty blond hair, had just come out of a drug treatment clinic in the town of Kurgan-Tyube, a halfway point between the border and the Tajik capital of Dushanbe. He asked that his last name not be used for his own security.

When Negmatullo was asked why guards and other Tajik law-enforcement officials would be susceptible to corruption, he rubbed his fingers together and muttered “dengi, dengi,” Russian for “money, money.”

The car’s license plate flashed by as Negmatullo pulled away; it was number 7777, a calling card of those connected to the president’s inner circle.

The spoils of the drug trade are as obvious as the shiny new BMWs speeding down the dusty roads that cut from south to north across the steppes of Tajikistan, passing hunched old men who tend the cotton fields with hoes. It’s an ancient setting: Alexander the Great and his men conquered parts of the territory in the fourth century B.C, and they’re said to have crossed the Panj River by floating on leather hides.

These days, in a nation where some 50 percent of the population makes less than $41 a month, there’s a steady stream of new Mercedes and Lexus sedans, not only in Dushanbe, but also in the hamlets that dot the way to the Afghan border.

Locals say the cars often are given in trade for loads of heroin shipped north to the Russian border. The stuff is easy to get.

“You can just take two bags over your back, walk across the Panj and bring them back filled with heroin. It’s no problem,” said Vazir, a Tajik who was released from a Russian prison last February after he was caught trying to take 600 grams of heroin through a Moscow airport. During an interview in Dushanbe, he asked that his last name not be used because he feared retribution.

Vazir continued: “You can give your bag of heroin to one of the guards, and he will carry it across for you.”

‘A CULTURE OF IMPUNITY’

The supply chain appears to reach far beyond hustlers such as Vazir. Many Western officials and Tajik observers suspect that the Rahmon government controls the drug trade.

“I don’t know if the president is involved personally, but he gives the percentages to different groups for what they can do,” said one Western diplomat in Dushanbe, who like others spoke only on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of criticizing the regime. “Just go to the airport. There are bags of heroin going through unchecked. . . . People are pretty open about it. There’s more and more a culture of impunity.”

After the Soviet Union fell in 1991, Russian troops continued to patrol the Tajik border. They withdrew from the area in 2005 after the Tajik government demanded that they leave — though it allowed them to stay in other parts of the country — asserting that as a sovereign nation Tajikistan was capable of securing its own frontiers.

An assortment of local conscripts replaced the relatively professional Russian contingent, which trained and financed the Tajik officer corps.

“You have conscripts earning maybe $3 a month stretched out over 1,344 kilometers of border” — 835 miles — said another Western diplomat in Dushanbe, discussing the problem of drug dealers paying border guards to look the other way. “It’s obvious that if you need to eat, corruption is an option.”

Some Russian and Western officials said privately that the Tajik government wanted the Russians out of the way to ensure a larger supply of opium and heroin.

It was a move designed to gain “hold of a bigger part of the drug trade,” one Western diplomat in Dushanbe said.

“Frankly speaking, there were forces in the government of Tajikistan who wanted to replace the Russian troops with Tajik troops to allow more holes in the border,” said a Russian official in Moscow who travels regularly to Tajikistan and has high-level contact with the Tajik government. “It was to make the penetration of drugs easier.”

The State Committee for National Security, Tajikistan’s version of the KGB, took control of border enforcement in 2007 and almost immediately barred the country’s Interior Ministry and drug control agency from access to the border region.

‘THERE IS ALWAYS GOING TO BE A TRADEOFF’

When a McClatchy reporter drove to the border at Nizhny Panj to do interviews, troops turned him back because he didn’t have official permission. A border guard supervisor in plainclothes pulled the reporter’s driver aside and suggested in a menacing tone that the driver was a spy. The Tajik government later denied McClatchy permission to visit the southern border.

The reporter resorted to crossing the bridge into Afghanistan with a routine visa, and he saw no evidence that Afghan or Tajik officials were inspecting trucks for contraband.

Despite the public nature of the drug trade and related corruption in Tajikistan, however, the West has done relatively little to pressure President Rahmon.

Some Western officials acknowledge that it’s the result of a political tradeoff: No one wants to risk alienating Rahmon on the issue of drug corruption because his authoritarian regime’s cooperation is important for preventing Islamic militants from using the Tajik-Afghan border as a sanctuary.

“The Americans want to have a logistics base here, so do you think they’re going to pressure the government about corruption?” said William Lawrence, a chief adviser for a U.N. Afghan border-management program based in Dushanbe. “The answer is no.”

The U.S. Embassy in Dushanbe declined to comment, but a State Department official said that such balancing acts were common.

“There is always going to be a tradeoff based on different foreign-policy objectives, different security objectives, the tolerance for different types of corruption, different levels of corruption,” said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of diplomatic protocol. “I don’t think the situation in Tajikistan, frankly, is that much different than the rest of Central Asia in terms of these types of tradeoffs.”

A second Western diplomat in Dushanbe was more blunt about Western governments ignoring reports on Tajikistan’s official complicity in drug corruption.

“We send reports every month to our capitals, very negative, but they don’t (care),” said the diplomat, whose country has troops in Afghanistan. “Because it’s a so-called stable country leading to Afghanistan, we accept it.”

The diplomat said that his country had funded projects to help train and equip the Tajiks to deal with the drug problem. The United States and other Western nations have done the same.

This month, for example, the U.S. ambassador to Tajikistan broke ground on a $2.5 million project to overhaul the border guard training academy in Dushanbe. The American Embassy said in a recent news release that it had implemented more than $37.5 million of initiatives to help Tajik law enforcement since 1992.

However, the second Western diplomat said, there isn’t much arm-twisting to make sure the Tajik government cracks down.

“We don’t dare to say to the president, ‘We give you money for anti-corruption but the first thing you see on the streets is these police taking bribes,’ ” the diplomat said. “Nobody says, ‘We’ll give you money for border security, but in three years we want to see a reduction in drugs.’ “ {source}

Post by way of There are no sunglasses

Related:

Flood of Afghan heroin fuels drug plague in Russia

Afghanistan: Drug Addiction Lucrative for Neolib Banksters, CIA

CIA, Drugs and the US Economy – video

CIA Drug Trafficking and remembering Gary Webb

Afghanistan, American Drug Colony

CIA: Secret Operations, Drug Money

The CIA and Drugs

Cheesy ‘Protest’ in Nashville Promoted by the Controlled Opposition

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https://i1.wp.com/blogs.tennessean.com/politics/files/2009/06/juneteaparty4-300x225.jpg Hosea the flag vendor is spending the summer selling Don’t Tread on Me flags at tea parties.

Today’s anti-Obama ‘tea party’ protest in Nashville was a dud. But what do you expect? Local talk radio stations put together, promoted and supplied the speakers. They want to be seen as patriotic voices for the people and gain some listeners and ad revenue.

Controlled Opposition……

Where were these shills over the last eight years when voices of sanity were needed on the airwaves? Oh yeah, following the neocon playbook; promoting wars and propaganda. Killing has always been a top priority. Some are christian?/zionists for whom Israel can do no wrong and no debate is allowed without calling names and yelling over callers who have legitimate concerns. One says he is paid $140,000 a year and you know at that price he will not go against his handlers… there’s too much competition for jobs as useful idiots.

Ass clowns who never saw a war for profit they didn’t like and they are the organizers??

Pathetic excuse for a protest and that may be plan all along. Marginalize dissenters through the controlled media.

Protest is the American way for expressing grievances. We need to be in the streets and in numbers that will count. The criminals are winning and we don’t seem to have a lot of time left.

We just can’t let the liars and warmongers ‘lead’ us.

_______

Tongue in cheek and satire is the order of the day for the left wing press ‘covering’ the Nashville protest.

Teabaggers Unite to Help Promote Talk Radio

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Nashville’s talk radio stations managed to wheedle maybe a thousand cranks to stand in the broiling heat for another one of their promotional events today. Well, actually they’re calling it a Tea Party rally to take back our country from Barack Obama and the socialist Democrats. But the star attractions are the city’s right-wing radio hucksters and, while the protesters may think they’re making a bold patriotic statement, Pith suspects the radio stations are mainly interested in driving up ratings.

The glassy eyed Bobbie Patray of Tennessee Eagle Forum opened the rally with this prayer asking God to kick the liberal SOBs out of power:

“Father, we ask your blessing today on this land. We are in such trouble. You have commanded us to pray for our leaders, and lord we want to be faithful in doing that. Regardless of who they are, they are in there because they were elected. And we pray that you’ll be faithful in the next election to make some changes.”

Then the rally’s emcee, tax nut Ben Cunningham, got down to business: “Talk radio has been our Paul Revere. If it weren’t for talk radio, we simply wouldn’t have a consistent single source of news. And we’ve got the best talk radio folks here in Nashville!” Cunningham proclaimed as he began introducing the radio loudmouths Steve Gill, Ralph Bristol and finally Phil Valentine, who asked the teabaggers to send golf balls to Congress for some reason.

They even found a black woman military veteran–a threefer!–to speak to the throng of white faces and prove to the media that teabaggers love all God’s children. Pith didn’t catch her name. “I was offended by being called a racist redneck teabagger,” she yells.

The teabaggers are so zany that only four elected officials were willing to be seen with them at today’s rally: state Reps. Glen Casada, Terri Lynn Weaver and Josh Evans and Sen. Jack Johnson. No sign of any of the GOP candidates for governor. {source}

Tea Party Take 3

11:55 a.m. — Now we’re cooking with gas. Several hundred people have descended on Legislative Plaza, waiting for the rally to begin. Every time a passing motorist honks, the crowd cheers.

A dump truck keeps circling the block and honking, to wild applause.

Tea Party Three kicks off with a big ol’ freedom yell. “Woo-hoo!” says the crowd.

12:02 p.m. — You know who’s having a long day? Jim Cooper’s staff. His office’s convenient downtown location makes it easy for unhappy constituents to poke their heads in and share some thoughts about his vote on cap and trade.

https://i1.wp.com/blogs.tennessean.com/politics/files/2009/06/juneteaparty2-300x225.jpg“You should have seen the looks on their faces,” said Denver Woders of Ashland City, who stopped by Cooper’s office with a sign that declared Cooper “Nancy Pelosi’s Boy.”

12:17 — Talk radio steps up to the mic. Hi, Steve Gill! Legislative Plaza is pretty crowded.

Steve Gill warns crowd that gas prices and home heating prices “are gonna double. And Congress didn’t even read the bill.”

“Boo!” says the crowd.

12:30 — Favorite sign so far? “My other sign is a pitchfork.”xxxx

12:45 — Fair Tax advocates putting in a plug for replacing the income tax with a flat sales tax. Crowd applauds idea of repealing the 16th Amendment.

12:46: You know who’s having a good day? Hosea the flag vendor. Suddenly those little yellow Don’t Tread on Me flags are everywhere. {more}

{video report – WKRN}

A sad day in the history of protest.

The left and the right are playing into the hands of the elite.

Some for profit and some because of just downright ignorance.

Terrorists…High and Low

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Low level terrorist

The US front man for the high level terrorists has a short but ever ongoing history that should be of concern to all Americans.

A few Obama war crime and unconstitutional actions have been:

Escalated the war against Afghanistan by ordering an additional 21,000 troops deployed there;

Announced that the withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Iraq would be delayed until the end of 2011 (with plenty of loopholes available to extend the occupation indefinitely);

Requested that Congress authorize a new supplemental expenditure of $83 billion to finance the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, after having repeatedly promised not to ask for such supplemental spending;

Intensified the drone bombings of Pakistan resulting in many more civilian deaths;

Publicized plans to enlarge U.S. armed forces by 100,000;

Proposed a budget for the Pentagon that exceeds what Bush was proposing by $23 billion;

Engineered a plan to bail out Wall Street and the banks to the tune of over a trillion dollars while refusing to take decisive measures to bail out workers and low income people, such as a moratorium on all foreclosures;

Endorsed the “race to the bottom” by pressuring UAW autoworkers employed by General Motors and Chrysler to agree to even greater concessions so that their income matches the lower wages and benefits paid by auto company competitors;

Directed government attorneys to oppose habeas corpus rights for detainees, the same as Bush did;

Directed government attorneys to oppose prosecutions and civil suits against those companies and individuals who violated wire tapping laws, the same as Bush did;

Promised not to hold criminally responsible those guilty of committing barbaric acts of torture against detainees, in effect invoking the discredited and rejected
Nuremberg defense, “We were only following orders;” {more}

The catalyst for the high level terrorists was 9/11.

Les Visible continues his analysis of 9/11. It’s basic and still not wanted or understood by those who need it the most.

Hardly a day goes by when I don’t think about 9/11 and the mountain of hard, cold facts that prove beyond question that the official story is a lie. Lately we’ve been treated to a particular insidious morphing of perception. From demagogue Glenn Beck to any number of government and corporate shills we are now hearing that 9/11 truthers are “low level terrorists” and that they would be willing to work with Al Qaeda or any other terror organization that came along. We’ve even got Howdy Doody weighing in on the matter.

I’ve looked for reasons why the whole world isn’t convinced of what actually took place on that day. There are a number of possibilities and when they are combined it’s not hard to see how chicken salad can be turned into chicken shit and served as a global lunch. There is the progressive dumbing down of the population through a violated education system; there’s the junkie fixation on mass media reports, there’s the steroidal entertainment industry and strange compounds in the air, food and water. But,

…the evidence is so damning and comprehensive that even a borderline intellect should be able to see through a plot that is more gossamer than a reality starlets dress. The endless looping of three massive buildings coming down at freefall into their own footprint tells more than enough. It defies the laws of physics. It goes against irrevocable laws of nature and yet… and yet…… mystifying.

It’s not a question of whether there is a conspiracy about the matter. That is a given. It’s not a matter of who was involved. That is a given. All that we lack are the actual details of how and when.

Someone has been directing a heat source at Howdy Doody’s ass. It must be serious because he appears to have gotten a skin graft from Pinocchio. It’s all falling apart though. They are scrambling. When they have to rush through myriad hate legislations whose intent is to curb free speech and …when they have to describe people looking for the truth as terrorists then… there’s trouble behind closed doors.

The majority of truthers just want to focus on a basic conspiracy on the part of the Bush administration. The truth has limits even among truthers. The unfortunate reality though is that when you go looking for the truth you often discover things that carry a heavy price tag for their exposure. I’m in the minority crew who has made the connection to Israel and has no reservations about saying so. {Read the entire essay}

High level terrorism owes much to Israel. They pretty much wrote the book.

State Terrorism

High level economic terrorism finds the intelligence services and Israel intertwined.

Madoff tied to intelligence agencies

State and intelligence services are linked to the Honduran coup. A form of terrorism against a sovereign nation.

CIA Topples Honduran President to Protect Drugs Trade?

Pathetic Progressives Ignore Coup

Domestic ‘terrorist’ organizations are actually state run or sanctioned. Their goal…silence free speech and imprison those who won’t comply.

ADL, DHS & DOJ Form “Thought Criminal” Squad


Congress is a big part of the terrorism against the American people and still there are those who believe in the two party system and justify our ‘representatives’ traitorous actions. The corporate media, left and right, enables the terrorists within our midst.

How Can These Rat-Bastards Get Away With This?

The Mainstream Media is Worthless

So while the security apparatus looks for and tries to label Americans who still value free speech as ‘low level terrorists,’ the terrorists on high continue their rape and plunder.

11 Reasons You Should Fight Hate Laws

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From My Hate Speech…….

by Harmony Grant

Unless we resist now, a thought crimes bureaucracy like those regulating Australia, Canada and Europe will soon rule America. In these nations, federal hate laws have destroyed citizens’ rights to free speech. Punishment of politically incorrect bias is the ultimate goal of this legislation.

A national hate law would shatter Americans’ First Amendment rights, which are now sadly unique among Western democracies. We would lose our precious freedom to express politically incorrect ideas, moral judgments, or whatever personal convictions the reigning thought police deem “hateful.”

Think this can’t happen in America? Think again.

Hostile work environment law and campus speech bans already severely curtail free expression in American workplaces and universities. A US federal hate law would follow the examples of Europe, Canada, and Australia where Christian pastors have been indicted simply for quoting politically incorrect Scripture in their sermons. Iceland’s Orwellian hate law, for example, promises two years’ jail if you verbally “insult” a person on the basis of their nationality, skin color, race, religion, or sexual orientation.

If a federal hate law were passed, free expression across the political spectrum would be threatened. What would happen to blasphemous art like Piss Christ or South Park, to Ann Coulter or Al Franken, to Christians protesting sodomy or homosexuals attacking the Bible? Every American, from left-leaning feminists to red state Republicans, should protest “anti-hate” legislation. If Rosie O’Donnell were an Icelander, she could have been prosecuted for verbal “assault” for her recent statement that radical Christianity is as dangerous as radical Islam. Political activists in nations with hate laws have already been indicted for criticizing Islam, Zionism, and homosexuality. Hate laws threaten your freedom to speak your mind, no matter what’s on it.

Here are some of the most powerful, bipartisan reasons to fight this legislation.

1. Speech bans are a political weapon used by those in power to silence their opponents and politically unpopular minorities.

Hate laws empower the government to enforce the orthodoxy of whoever happens to be in charge. The government can define which biases or “hatreds” are unacceptable and which are okay. For instance, hate laws in our PC age allow women to derogate men but would silence men from legitimate (though possibly hurtful) speech like a discussion of biological gender differences.

In 2004 Swedish feminist Joanna Rytel wrote a hate-filled screed published in a major daily. Her article describes white men as arrogant, sex-obsessed and exploitative, explaining that Rytel just wants to “puke” on them. Stockholm authorities refused to indict Rytel under their hate law, saying it was passed to protect ethnic minorities, not white Swedes. This is one example of speech bans’ uneven enforcement; they are used to punish certain kinds of hate and allow others.

Because almost every exercise of free speech offends someone, government officials would end up enforcing speech bans on the basis of their own bias. Speech bans simply can’t be evenhanded unless everyone is shut up altogether.

In the real world, speech can and does wound. That’s a cost of life. We naturally resent painful realities like economic competition, unfair comments, and hard work. But in each case, the cures we’ve tried were far worse than the sickness. Speech bans might censor some hurtful speech but would empower government to silence minorities and strip the intellectual marketplace of legitimate and needed expression-the kind that creates positive, social change precisely because it is minority and challenges the sins of the group.

2. Hate speech bans don’t work.

Genuine racism and false hatreds exist in this world. Bans on hate speech, however, won’t solve the problem. If you only break off a tick’s body, its head will burrow deep beneath the skin. The only effective response to bad ideas is the truth. We should combat falsehoods with more and freer discussion, not less.

3. Hate laws aren’t necessary.

ADL claims an epidemic of hate sweeps America that can only be fought with stiffened penalties for bias-driven crimes. Yet the FBI’s 2005 Uniform Crime Report shows alleged hate crimes form a tiny 1/15 of 1 percent of all crime in America. Law enforcers’ time would be far better spent fighting the 99.85 percent of crime that’s happening every minute across our nation rather than getting entangled in discerning and testifying against the perceived motivations of a tiny minority of criminals.

Hate laws would require vast government bureaucracies, complicate law enforcement, and distract police and prosecutors from dealing with actual physical crimes. Government and law enforcement should focus on criminal acts, not words or motivations, in a nation where someone is murdered every 22 minutes, raped every 5, robbed every 49 seconds and burgled every 10 seconds. Discerning and prosecuting criminal motivations would only be a good plan if law enforcers had God’s omniscience and time to waste. Ours have neither.

4. Hate speech bans are unconstitutional.

Because the First Amendment underwrites our most precious civil liberty, the US Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled against speech bans. In 1972 the Court declared, “[A]bove all else, the First Amendment means that government has no power to restrict expression because of its message, its ideas, its subject matter, or its contents.” (Police Department of Chicago v. Mosley, 408 U.S. 92)

Some forms of speech are restricted; these include threats and “fighting words” that incite “an immediate breach of peace.” But these restrictions are (and must remain) extremely narrow and content-neutral-the government is not allowed to censor speech based on the viewpoint it expresses but only on whether it constitutes an immediate threat. Hate laws, however, would punish the viewpoints expressed in speech, in violation of the Constitution.

International use of ADL-designed hate laws shows that the first kinds of speech to be sanctioned are extreme right, white nationalist speech and Holocaust reductionism. The average person is slow to defend such speech. But hate laws quickly broaden to punish forms of expression the average citizen would never dream of stifling. Sweden’s 2002 modified hate law, for example, explicitly exposes Christian sermons to prosecution!

All forms of controversial political and religious speech are potentially vulnerable to prosecution under hate laws. This contradicts Supreme Court Justice Holmes Jr. who said in 1929, “[I]f there is any principle of the Constitution that more imperatively calls for attachment [loyal defense] than any other, it is the principle of free thought-not free thought for those who agree with us but freedom for the thought we hate.”

5. Speech bans will be used against the very minorities they were meant to protect.

Speech bans silence some to protect the feelings of others. But when the government has power to silence expression that power can be wielded against the very people who once enjoyed its protection. Liberals, the champions of unrestrained speech in the 1960s, now vote as a bloc in Congress to support speech restrictions. Yet already in countries such as Canada, England and Australia, leftist critics of Islam have become the victims of hate laws, indicted for religious “hate speech.”

Leftist artists Rowan Atkinson and Salman Rushdie realize hate laws don’t just threaten white nationalists like David Duke but liberals as well- they recently fought for revision of Britain’s hate law because it could be used to outlaw art that blasphemes or criticizes religion. Atkinson and Rushdie are just a few of hate laws’ leftist critics who know that persons of all political persuasions have a stake in defeating this legislation.

6. Speech bans chill legitimate and valuable speech.

Under the threat of possible indictment, many people will refrain from discussing controversial but important ideas. Speech bans are often broad and vague, leaving citizens unsure what might get them hauled into court.

This is what has happened in American workplaces, where hostile work environment law has left many employees unsure what they can say. Many Americans avoid all controversial speech and voluntarily refrain from exercising First Amendment rights at work. Hate laws would extend this dangerous minefield to the national political scene.

Legal philosopher Edmond Cahn points out that speech bans would leave our bookshelves empty. “[T]he officials could begin by prosecuting anyone who distributes the Christian gospels, because they contain many defamatory statements not only about Jews but also about ChristiansThen the officials could ban Greek literature for calling the rest of the world “barbarians.” Roman authors could be suppressed because when they were not defaming the Gallic and Teutonic tribes, they were disparaging the Italians. Then there is Shakespeare, who openly affronts the French, the Welsh, the Danes” (Beyond the Burning Cross, E. Cleary, Random House, 1994)

7. Speech bans greatly reduce the possibility of healthy, democratic change.

Criminalizing speech that expresses “hate” or “bias” would require us to outlaw history’s most valuable speech, especially the political and religious speech that threatens social stasis and ignites progress.

Aggressive speech is often the only tool available to political, social, or religious minorities whose access to government lobbying and mass media is limited. Those agitating for social change often need to use inflammatory and even “hateful” language to startle the public into hearing their message. Socrates compared himself to a horsefly biting the lazy flanks of his republic. We should certainly know enough by now to prefer the annoyance of stinging speech (even when we don’t see its value) to a tyrannical majority that plods, unchallenged, toward slavery.

Americans are so used to our mudslinging, no-holds-barred political discourse that we find it hard to envision the way freedom of speech could disappear. But the freedom we enjoy is extremely rare in history, and quickly lost. Free expression for intellectuals is the first thing to go when tyrants rise to power; the history of oppressive regimes makes it clear that freedom of political speech is a delicate exception and the overarching tendency is for majorities or elites to get power and silence all opposition.

8. The government’s interest in reducing violent crime does not outweigh our interest in preserving civil liberty.

Hate law advocates including the ADL argue that hateful speech incites violence, and appeal to the government’s interest in reducing violent crime. But it would be unfair to ban, for instance, white racist speech or Christian sermons against homosexuality without also banning the plethora of other speech that might incite crime. Gangsta rap and videogames would be open to censure; we would also have to ban pornography, especially sadomasochistic porn, which certainly inspires violence against women.

Yet bans against these kinds of speech have been repeatedly declared unconstitutional. The government has an interest in lowering violent crime of all stripes but has always found the value of the First Amendment to be greater. It’s unjust to argue that a few kinds of speech must be banned because they possibly incite violence (e.g., criticism of Jewish actions or homosexuality) yet permit huge categories of speech (violent sexual entertainment) that do the same. This would happen, however, under hate laws’ unequal and partial enforcement. The ADL is not truly driven by the desire to reduce violent crime but rather to enforce a social and political orthodoxy.

Instead of passing a hate law that would shatter the First Amendment and impossibly complicate law enforcement, people concerned with hate-driven crimes should focus on improving our existing justice system and making sure hard crimes don’t go unpunished.

9. Speech bans are offensively paternalistic.

They presume we can’t think for ourselves, reject racist or hateful ideas for ourselves, or deal with the hurt caused by others’ free expression. Are we such children that we need the government to cover our ears? Speech bans especially condescend toward the minorities they portray as helpless victims whose feelings must be sheltered from ideas they can’t combat in a free intellectual market.

10. Speech bans permit government to do something an individual could not morally do.

Frederic Bastiat’s classic treatise on The Law says government exists only to prevent injustice by defending our basic rights to person, liberty, and property. Government does not exist to guarantee our economic outcomes, redistribute our wealth, or protect our psyches. Speech bans would empower government to silence individuals by force. This is immoral whether it’s one person silencing another person or the government silencing a fringe group of dissenters. Human fallibility requires at least enough humility to allow others to question, challenge, and dissent from our ideas. John Stuart Mill explains, “If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind.”

11. Speech bans deny self-determination and individual freedom by criminalizing self-expression.

By censoring speech, hate laws censor thought and restrict our access to ideas. This is the essence of mind control. They deny the personal growth that comes from sharing ideas-including hateful, prejudiced, or false ideas-and having them challenged in a free intellectual marketplace.

Hate law speech bans have been repeatedly declared unconstitutional and would rend the very foundation of our freedom and democracy. Far from combating hate, The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act is actually the most hateful and enslaving legislation to ever reach Congress; it would invade states’ rights in law enforcement, enabling a hate crimes bureaucracy to police our thoughts and expression. Government could censor by force all speech that dissents from the reigning orthodoxy. Every American must speak up now in defense of the freedom for which our forefathers gave their very lives.

Freedom of expression is one of the most fundamental rights that individuals enjoy. It is fundamental to the existence of democracy and the respect of human dignity. It is also one of the most dangerous rights, because freedom of expression means the freedom to express one’s discontent with the status quo and the desire to change it. As such, it is one of the most threatened rights, with governments – and even human rights groups – all over the world constantly trying to curtail it.

Make your voice heard today or it will be silenced tomorrow. {Source}

This post was originally from Harmony Grant.

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George Orwell
George Orwell, the author of several books including ‘1984’ originated the term ‘thoughtcrime.’ Orwell, also accurately commented, “anyone who challenges the prevailing orthodoxy finds himself silenced with surprising effectiveness. A genuinely unfashionable opinion is almost never given a fair hearing.” Few realize that this great English author continually questioned all “official” or “accepted” versions of history. At the conclusion of the war in Europe, Orwell even expressed doubt about the Allied account of events and posed the following question in his lesser known book Notes on Nationalism, “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear… Is it true about the gas ovens in Poland?” Ironically, those words from Orwell’s pen could have resulted in a prison term for him in many European countries today — for ‘thoughtcrimes.’

Worry Too Much

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Buddy Miller

it’s the demolition derby
it’s the sport of the hunt
proud tribe in full war-dance
it’s the slow smile that the bully gives the runt
it’s the force of inertia
it’s the lack of constraint
it’s the children out playing in the rock garden
all dolled-up in black hats and war paint

sometimes it feels like bars of steel
i cannot bend with my hands
oh – i worry too much
somebody told me that i worry too much

it’s these sandpaper eyes
it’s the way they rub the luster from what is seen
it’s the way we tell ourselves that all these things are normal
till we can’t remember what we mean
it’s the flicker of our flames
it’s the friction born of living
it’s the way we beat a hot retreat
and heave our smoking guns into the river

sometimes it feels like bars of steel
i cannot bend with my hands
oh – i worry too much
somebody told me that i worry too much

it’s the quick-step march of history
the vanity of nations
it’s the way there’ll be no muffled drums
to mark the passage of my generation
it’s the children of my children
it’s the lambs born in innocence
it’s wondering if the good i know
will last to be seen by the eyes of the little ones

Buddy & Julie Miller website

Buddy Miller – myspace

Buddy & Julie – Gasoline and Matches


All My Tears – It don’t matter where you bury me

A Showman’s Life

A tip for the roll-your-own cigarette folks

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https://i1.wp.com/i676.photobucket.com/albums/vv126/kennyrk2/pipetobacco.jpg

The poor get hit hardest with taxes. Cigarettes are always a target and with the new federal excise taxes, the roll-your-own crowd has gotten the shaft. And these people are generally the ones with the least money.

I’m not an advocate of smoking. Don’t ever start and quit if you can and want to.

But if you still want to smoke, let’s play beat the taxes.

The federal tax on loose cigarette tobacco is $24.78 per pound but for pipe tobacco it is only $2.83 per pound.

So buy ‘pipe’ tobacco. I’m not promoting one company over another but the Southern Steel brand has come out with a pound for $19.95 retail. It’s OK and there may be others that have something similar. A local tobacco shop said that it is the only kind selling right now. A pound makes 4 cartons or more the way I roll them and even with buying papers and filters that comes to about $8.50 a carton. Marlboro’s are about $45.oo a carton here in Tennessee.

People who smoke and still have the money to buy the factory made product are still in for another surprise soon if they haven’t been already. The ‘fire safety cigarette.’ Reports are that many people are being affected by them negatively and that the taste is ‘different.’ The adhesive ethylene vinyl acetate added to the papers may be the main factor.

Smoke ’em if ya got ’em. Roll your own and give the government the least amount of tax money you can.

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And what about reports that have been around since the early 70’s that marijuana may help tobacco smokers?

Marijuana has been shown to be an expectorant and actually dilates the air channels it comes in contact with. This is why many asthma sufferers look to marijuana to provide relief. Doctors have postulated that marijuana may, in this respect, be more effective than all of the prescription drugs on the market.

Studies even show that due to marijuana’s ability to clear the lungs of smog, pollutants, and cigarette smoke, it may actually reduce your risk of emphysema, bronchitis, and lung cancer. Smokers of cannabis have been shown to outlive non- smokers in some areas by up to two years. Medium to heavy tobacco smokers will live seven to ten years longer if they also smoke marijuana.{more}