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Progressive Activists To Deliver Letter Of Resistance At White House

Given that it’s a congressional election year, most journalists are sticking to the old political formula of Democrats versus Republicans. In three weeks, however, a message from another political direction will be delivered to the White House.

On September 23, activists from the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance will deliver a letter to the White House with the following core demands:

“1. End all drone warfare. It is illegal and immoral.
2. Establish a living wage for all workers.
3. Initiate and work for an international treaty for swift verifiable action to reverse climate change. Listen to the scientific community and not the fossil fuel industry.”

The letter also states, “When you were elected president, people had such hope for a change. Yet what we got was a government that continued the policies of the Bush administration. You are NOT the people’s president, and the voices of the people are not being heard. We demand that you change course…”

That’s not a message that you’ll hear from congressional candidates of either the Democratic Party or the Republican Party this year.

More American Soldiers Go To Iraq

The re-escalation of American military involvement continues, as Barack Obama has announced that 350 more American soldiers will be sent to Iraq. Their mission is to protect Americans already in Iraq. Of course, these soldiers provide Iraqis angry about the long American military occupation of their country with 350 more targets to aim for. Any violence against an American soldier can then be used as a pretext to send yet more soldiers back to Iraq.

In reaction to the growing violence in Iraq, David Swanson, Secretary of Peace in the Green Shadow Cabinet, urges, “start by recognizing where ISIS came from. The U.S. and its junior partners destroyed Iraq, left a sectarian division, poverty, desperation, and an illegitimate government in Baghdad that did not represent Sunnis or other groups. Then the U.S. armed and trained ISIS and allied groups in Syria, while continuing to prop up the Baghdad government, providing Hellfire missiles with which to attack Iraqis in Fallujah and elsewhere. ISIS has religious adherents but also opportunistic supporters who see it as the force resisting an unwanted rule from Baghdad and who increasingly see it as resisting the United States. It is in possession of U.S. weaponry provided directly to it in Syria and siezed from the Iraqi government. At last count by the U.S. government, 79% of weapons transfered to Middle Eastern governments come from the United States, not counting transfers to groups like ISIS, and not counting weapons in the possession of the United States. So, the first thing to do differently going forward: stop bombing nations into ruins, and stop shipping weapons into the area you’ve left in chaos.”

On the other hand, Swanson also urges sending more journalists into crisis areas in Iraq. Two journalists who had been working in the area have been prominently beheaded by ISIS fighters in the last month.

Butter Terror

If peanut butter is made from peanuts, and almond butter is made from almonds, and apple butter is made from apples, then body butter is made from…
0903140331-1

I found this in my hotel room this morning. Somebody call the police.

TeaParty.org: Congress Helps [cash] Obama declare [money] Martial Law [gimme money]!!!

An outfit calling itself TeaParty.org sent us the following hilarious e-mail message yesterday. I’ve replaced all actual links with the text “[LINK],” because I don’t want to reward TeaParty.org with SEO link juice. All I want to do is mock the ludicrous message:

 

BREAKING NEWS! Corsi Predicts Obama to be Impeached if GOP Takes Senate…[LINK]Read the latest now on TeaParty.org Irregular Times comment: that link takes visitors to a page asking people to pay TeaParty.org $70.12 per month in order for the website to send spam messages to all members of Congress twice a month. No members of Congress will actually read any of the spam messages, and TeaParty.org pockets the cash for itself.
Congress Grants Obama “Free Rein for Martial Law”: Think about what America will become if Obama’s radical second-term plan is fully implemented. We cannot allow that to happen. We must impeach Obama now. He’s fired an astounding number of high-ranking military officials and is replacing them with those loyal to him—creating a military run by Obama supporters who will not defy him. Do not forget that Attorney General of the U.S. said that Obama has the power to kill Americans. All of the pieces are falling together. He’s already quietly created a police state and soon will be coming to confiscate your guns. This is all part of his plan to implement Martial Law so as to fully oppress the citizens of the United States.[LINK] Irregular Times comment: Fib alert! The only legislation even considered by Congress in the past two years featuring the phrase “Martial Law” are H.Res. 597 and H.Res. 599, which castigate China for declaring martial law.

It’s true that Barack Obama has asserted the power to kill Americans without so much as a trial, though. He’s done it, too.

In the meantime, on the other hand, the right wing has been claiming that Barack Obama is about to take your guns away… since 2009. Hasn’t happened yet, has it?

P.S. Guess where that link takes you? That’s right, another web page trying to dupe you into paying $70.12 a month to have someone else send Congress spam.

MOVE NOW TO IMPEACH OBAMA: THINGS ARE HOT! Demand our lawmakers start working for the American people—demand that they IMPEACH OBAMA NOW! The louder our voices, the better we’ll be heard. Obama is a traitor to America who has committed treasonous and heinous acts for which he should be tried, convicted and tossed out of office. How much more can America take before we collapse under the weight of his oppression? Send a PINK SLIP to Congress today. [LINK]Step up and join the movement to impeach! Don’t let America down.

Steve Eichler
CEO
Tea Party

P.S. – If it were not for the Tea Party who would be fighting for you? We cannot give up—that’s what Obama and his henchmen want. It’s all part of the psychological warfare they’re committing. If we’re going to succeed in getting him out of office before he changes the election laws and takes a third term then we have to supercharge our efforts. We have work to do and we need you. [LINK]

P.S.S. – Scandals, corruption, lies, lawlessness—if you are sick and tired of President Barack Hussein Obama’s criminal ways then sign the PETITION TO IMPEACH OBAMA! Do it now. [LINK]

Irregular Times comment: Steve Eichler talks action, but his “action links” go again, yes, to more $70.12/month spam for sale.

 

Under a layer mostly composed of baloney and bluff, the real goal of TeaParty.org is to sell you nothing, accomplishing nothing, ignored by spam filters, for $70.12 a month. Eicher and his business partner Jack Robbins run many other websites hawking the same spam subscriptions: teapartyinfo.org, teapartyjusticefoundation.org, teapartyguard.org and teapartymoneybomb.org are just a few of these. What does this get the spidery “tea party” group? A lot of cash, apparently. The 2012 IRS Form 990 of Tea Party, Inc., obtained by Citizen Audit, reveals that in 2012 the outfit received $569,299 in grants and contributions. Of this amount, Tea Party Inc. reported that $49,573 went to other unnamed individuals. The remainder was taken up in operating expenses: $17K for lawyers, $12.5K for an office, $13K for travel, $25K for conferences and other meeting expenses, $125K for “media consulting,” and so on. All this money keeps “Tea Party, Inc.” going… so it can ask for more money, money, money.

That’s not a movement. It’s a giant sucking sound.

Challenge: Prove The Ice Bucket Challenge Is A Satanic Ritual

Unless you live at a remote camp up in the mountains, or sequestered away in a monastery, you have heard of the Ice Bucket Challenge, in which people are challenged to shoot videos of themselves having buckets of icy water poured over their heads, and to donate to support research for treatments for ALS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

In recent days, you may have also heard rumors that the Ice Bucket Challenge is a satanic ritual, a baptism in evil.

A writer at the World Truth TV web site claims, “a good friend mentioned that an ex-satanist friend said that this is the very same ritual he did when he was a satanist and was like a covenant contract with the devil.”

This is the classic form of fake evidence for urban legends: Un-named person A told me that un-named person B said…

In none of the materials I have ever read about the practice of Satanism have I ever come across any mention of buckets of icy water being dumped over anyone’s head. The cultural origin of this practice seems to actually come from the National Football League, which televised a series of incidents in which football players dumped huge buckets of icy water over the heads of their coaches, as they stood watching the game from the sidelines.

However, if there really is a Satanic practice of baptism people into worship of demons by dumping ice water over their heads, it shouldn’t take too much effort to find out.

Here’s OUR challenge: If you are a Satanist who has personally participated in any Satanic ritual involving icy water, get in contact and give us concrete evidence that this ritual took place. If you KNOW a Satanist who has participated in such a ritual, give us a name and an email or telephone number, so that we can get in touch with your Satanist friend and check the story.

Essiac Tea: Miracle Cure or Just Another Shameless Cancer Hoax?

Here at Irregular Times we’ve been writing about hoaxes in general, and cancer hoaxes in particular, for some time now. This month, the relevance of the hoaxsters hit home. My wife was diagnosed just a few weeks ago with an apparently incurable and deadly cancer. Since I’ve found out, I have myself felt the desperation for a secret, hidden, or just-developed miracle cure. It’s like a heavy pit in my stomach.

Now that cancer is in my family, I am more angry than ever at the inexcusable yet shameless behavior of snake oil salesmen (and women) who are willing to exploit desperation for a buck, selling “miracle” products that just don’t work. The lies of the snake oil salesmen are magnified by well-meaning people who out of their trusting, faithful and unquestioning natures take the hucksters at their word and spread that word far and wide.

Since my wife’s cancer diagnosis many well-informed friends and acquaintances have helped me find medical centers of excellence whose survival rates are available through analysis of freely available datasets containing outcomes for millions of people. I can check up on the expertise of the doctors we consult by reviewing their history of published research. I’m grateful for the help of these friends and acquaintances who have helped point me in the right direction and provided me with verifiable information.

There are also many friends and acquaintances who have pointed me in the wrong direction. I’m not angry at these friends because I know they’re trying to help. I’m angry at the people who have duped them by taking advantage of their belief in the honesty of human beings who look honest and sound honest. Friends have suggested my wife go on the “Gerson therapy” of juicing and coffee enemas (which not only doesn’t work but can actually harm some people). People tell me all the time that they’ll be praying for my wife’s return to health (although the effect of distant prayer appears in research to be nil). I expected these declarations and was prepared for them with a polite smile, a thank you and a quick segue into another subject.

I wasn’t prepared for the friendly visitor who with heartfelt concern insisted that my wife begin treatments of “Essiac tea.” “This tea was developed by a Canadian nurse after she learned the secret from an Ojibwe medicine man. I learned about it on the internet,” our visitor told me. “She didn’t make a penny on it, and this tea fights all cancers. There have been many cases where doctors can’t find any more cancer and they can’t explain it. There is a recovery rate of 80%. 80%! Your wife needs to start on this right away.” And with that, she put a package of Essiac tea in my hand. You can find versions of my visitor’s story all over the internet, containing various mixes of the above elements, including the claim about an “80% recovery rate” (without documentation).

What is Essiac tea? Well, the preparation I received, sold by the Good Tern Natural Foods Co-Op in Rockland, contained four herbal ingredients: sheep sorrel, burdock root, elm bark and turkey rhubarb. These ingredients are apparently typical, according to the boosterish naturopathic website essiactreatment.com. “Essiac” sounds like an adjective, but it is really just the last name of its developer, Rene Caisse, spelled backwards.

Does Essiac tea really fight all cancers, end cancer, stop cancer? It’d be great if it did. But there’s no evidence from systematic clinical trials indicating that it does. I have not been able to find a single clinical trial in a published, peer-reviewed scientific journal indicating that Essiac tea has any positive effect on cancer — and the National Cancer Institute also asserts that there have not been any published clinical trial results. I have not been able to find any proof of an “80% recovery rate” for people using Essiac tea — not anywhere. A rare publication in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, a sympathetic outlet, describes a retrospective non-experimental study of breast cancer patients that finds no difference between Essiac tea users and non-users in health-related quality of life or mood. That paper references a 1977 Phase II clinical trial that found no effect of Essiac tea on cancer survival; results from the trial were never published. However, a Canadian government review of unpublished trial data determined that Essiac tea had no effect on survival or tumor growth. Researchers at the Lawrence Livermore Libraries have shown that in vitro (outside the body), Essiac tea actually promotes breast cancer tumor growth.

Research summaries by the American Cancer Society, the National Cancer Institute, and Cancer Research UK corroborate these determination that Essiac tea does nothing for cancer. Even naturopathic “guru” Andrew Weill recommends that cancer patients avoid Essiac tea, because while doing nothing for cancer it can disrupt patients’ fluid balance and damage the liver and kidneys.

Those who sell Essiac tea today know full well that there is no demonstrated effect of the tea on cancer — but they continue to peddle and spread the stories and manipulate trusting, good-hearted people like my visitor into spreading the stories. There’s good money to be made peddling this nonsense tea. If you’re curious https://www.essiacproducts.com/secureorder/unitedstates (no hyperlink — I don’t want to reward the company with an actual working link) and review the price of Essiac tea sold by the holder of Rene Caisse’s proprietary license. As of today, a 10.5 fluid-ounce bottle of the stuff costs $38.00, plus shipping and handling fees. That’s a hefty profit, and according to the seller a bottle will only provide enough doses for 7 1/2 days.

People who make money peddling fake cures to desperate people used to merely offend me morally. Now they make me very, very angry. Let’s call these people what they are. Fraudsters. Let’s call Essiac tea what it is. A hoax. The only way to stop this is spread the truth in voices louder than the voices of the fraudsters and the well-meaning people they dupe. Will you do your bit? Will you share the truth?

Does Barack Obama Really Have Only One Month Left?

On a variety of right wing web sites, you’ll see an advertisement featuring a graphic that appears to show President Barack Obama, being picked up by three men, apparently after falling down.

obama falls only 1 month left

Could it be true? Does Barack Obama really have only one month left? Does he have a deadly disease that is causing him to fall down?

I can’t absolutely prove that Barack Obama won’t be dead within a month, or that he won’t be kicked out of the White House within a month. These things are always possible, for any President. No one can look into the future and say what’s going to happen with absolute certainty. I can’t even say for sure that the sun will rise tomorrow. It’s remotely possible that some cosmic disaster will remove the sun from the sky.

Given that, I can show that the right wing conspiracy theory that claims to have secret information proving that Barack Obama has only 1 month left is itself a load of hooey. All that’s needed to debunk the conspiracy theory is contained within the image itself.

barack obama falls fake photographFirst of all, we see that the image is a fake. Take a look at the picture shown here. On the right hand side, we see a photograph of Barack Obama from the WhiteHouse.gov web site, taken five days ago. It shows Barack Obama with a great deal of grey hair. On the left hand side, we see the image of Barack Obama used by the conspiracy theory advertisement. It shows Barack Obama with no grey hair at all. If it is a genuine photograph of Obama at all, it was taken a long time ago, and therefore cannot be evidence of a deadly disease that Barack Obama has contracted recently.

obama fake photograph skin color comparisonNow, let’s consider skin color. In the advertisement’s photograph, we see Barack Obama’s face, but what about his hands? As this image shows, putting one of the hands in the image right next to Obama’s face as shown in the same image, the skin color isn’t at all alike.

obama hand and face skin colorAs this next image, taken from a White House photograph, shows, the skin on the back of Barack Obama’s hand may be slightly lighter than the skin on his face, but only slightly – nothing like the stark difference shown in the “Only 1 Month Left” image. If you don’t believe this image, go to the WhiteHouse.gov web site, and search through the photos yourself. You’ll see that Barack Obama does not have pale hands.

patriot net daily obama 1 month left hoaxThe “Only 1 Month Left” image is clearly doctored, and a bad fake at that. Of course, it’s possible that this fake photograph has been used to refer to an actual conspiracy. Maybe Barack Obama does have just one month left, and right wingers who are writing about it are merely stupid enough to create a bad fake photograph to illustrate a valid story.

This last possibility is extinguished by a quick search using Tin Eye, a image search engine that automatically compares versions of similar images, to help people discover where images originally came from. A Tin Eye search this morning, September 1, 2014, shows that a web site called Patriot Net Daily posted this same image, asserting that Barack Obama has “only 1 month left”, back in November of 2013, almost ten months ago. The claim that Barack Obama has only 1 month left has thus been disproven 9 times already.

Despite this obvious problem, the right wing conspiracy theory sites keep on making this “only 1 month left” claim. Why? They obviously think that their right wing readership is too stupid to notice the problem. That much they may have gotten correct.

Put all this evidence of fraud aside, and there’s yet another simple test to verify the accuracy of this conspiracy theory: The test of time. Let’s wait a month, and see if Barack Obama is still around. If he is, then we will know for certain that Patriot Net Daily, and all the other right wing sites that carry the “only 1 month left” message, are unreliable sources of information about secrets and scandals in the Obama Administration.

Honeybee Class Warfare

It’s Labor Day, but I just can’t bear to reiterate the awful facts about economic inequality in the United States. I could tell you about the insights from the latest article from the Journal of Economic Inequality, but I would have to pay $44.95 for access to that article, and I just don’t have that kind of extra money.

Rather than talking about people who work in inhumane conditions, it will be far easier for me to talk about workers who are literally non-human. Let’s talk about worker bees.

worker beeIt’s commonly said that in a hive of honeybees, the queen lays all the eggs. I found out, while reading a recent article from The American Naturalist, that worker honeybees actually do lay eggs.

What happens to the eggs of worker bees and queen bees is what makes honeybee hive society structured in the way that it is. Worker bees kill each others’ eggs 98 percent of the time. This egg-killing is called “policing” by entomologists. Only between 4 and 10 percent of eggs laid by the queen are killed by workers in the colony.

The article that provides these statistics, Killing and Replacing Queen-Laid Eggs: Low Cost of Worker Policing in the Honeybee by
Martin H. Kärcher and Francis L. W. Ratnieks, is available at Jstor, where, if you sign up for a free account, you can read three academic articles at any given time, at no cost.

Telling Your Kids The Truth About Being Safe On The Internet

OnGuard Online is the federal government’s web site “to help you be safe, secure and responsible online.” It’s managed by the Federal Trade Commission, “in partnership with the federal agencies listed below. OnGuardOnline.gov is a partner in the Stop Think Connect campaign, led by the Department of Homeland Security, and part of the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education, led by the National Institute of Standards and Technology.”

As a part of its mission to make sure that you are safe, secure and responsible while using electronic communications, OnGuard Online has published a manual called Net Cetera: Chatting With Kids About Being Online.

netcetera

The manual warns about malware, and cyberbullying, online scams, and the desirability of social media self-censorship, but there’s one gaping hole in the document’s coverage: How do we talk to our kids about the government’s use of the Internet and other forms of electronic communication to spy on them?

online cautionI’ve got kids, and this topic has come up a number of times. Every conversation we have about security on the Internet begins with the reality of the massive surveillance of practically everybody’s private electronic communications, by our own government.

I explain to them that the highest law in the land is the Constitution, and that part of the Constitution is the Fourth Amendment, which promises absolute protection from unreasonable search and seizure by requiring search warrants that identify specific people and specific places to be searched, for particular, legally justified suspicion that a crime has been committed or is being planned. I then explain to my children, that in violation of the Fourth Amendment, the federal government’s National Security Agency has been working with other spy agencies and law enforcement agencies to search the private communications of millions of Americans, without any warrant, and without any specific information of any particular crime or criminal conspiracy. I tell them that it’s safe for them to assume that anything they do on the Internet, any telephone call they make, any email they sent, any digital photograph they take, is being diverted into government databases, where it can be searched at will by a large number of government bureaucrats.

personal security genteMy children are confused at this point. They ask me to reconcile the promise of the Constitution with the actions of the federal government. I don’t provide that reconciliation. Instead, use my children’s confusion as an opportunity to point out that authority figures often cannot be trusted with power, and it’s important to be skeptical of them.

None of these points are addressed in Net Cetera: Chatting With Kids About Being Online. Neither the Net Cetera manual nor OnGuard Online ever acknowledge the threat to the privacy of American children posed by the electronic spying system created by the National Security Agency. They don’t even mention the existence of the NSA. When I search for “National Security Agency” on the OnGuard Online web site, the site’s search engine comes up zero findings, and asks if I might have meant to search for “personal security gente”.

This immense, politically-motivated omission makes OnGuard Online, with its Net Cetera manual for parents, yet another example of a voice of authority that cannot be trusted. Our children deserve the entire truth about the threats to privacy that exist online – not the lies and half-truths of the Homeland Security regime.

Postscript: The lack of information about NSA spying against Americans that I’ve noted in the Net Cetera report is also a problem with the other materials created by the Stop Think Connect campaign. The Stop Think Connect Guide, for example, is offered in different versions to students, teachers, corporate managers, and senior citizens. The guides go on at great length about “cybersecurity awareness”, yet are content to leave people completely in the dark when it comes to threats to cybersecurity that come from the NSA and other agencies engaged in widespread electronic espionage against American citizens and corporations.

The Stop Think Connect guide for “industry professionals” urges people to plan communications to “target employees”, an interesting choice of words, given that the NSA insists that it never targets Americans for spying, but just accidentally picks up billions of items of private communications from millions of Americans, day after day, after day, and then allows the Americans to be targeted through the ICReach surveillance search engine.

Talking points from Stop Think Connect urge professionals to tell their colleagues that “no country, industry, community or individual is immune to cyber risks, and no one government agency, company or individual can solve the riddle of cybersecurity,” and that “cybersecurity is a shared responsibility; we all have to work together to secure cyberspace.”

If we all have to work together to secure cyberspace, why doesn’t the NSA do its part, and stop using the Internet to spy on Americans?

It may be true that “no one government agency… can solve the riddle of cybersecurity,” but we sure as hell would be a lot closer to solving the riddle of cybersecurity if government agencies like the National Security Agency stopped purposefully developing security flaws in our software, just to enable its surveillance to gain a wider reach into our private lives.

Fashionable Boys

Why do three year-olds need to be fashionable?

fashionable toddler

Drunken Monkeys Rampage Around The World

drunk monkeyIn Kenya, drunken monkeys, given alcohol by people stopping by the side of the highway between two nature preserves, have become so aggressive that locals are afraid to venture outside their homes. “They eat our goats, and we have been unable to plant food for the last three years,” one explains.

The problem isn’t unique to Africa. In Dehli, India, monkeys who are revered by Hindus as representations of the god Hanuman have been given food, and sometimes alcohol, by city residents. As a result, the monkeys have become more assertive, and have begun to steal liquor and attack people.

In St. Kitts in the Caribbean, vervet monkeys commonly sneak away with the alcoholic cocktails abandoned by guests at beach resorts. Over on the other side of the world, primates are said to go one step further. Modern Drunkard claims that monkeys in Borneo actually make their own alcohol, by stuffing collections of wild plants into holes, and then letting the mix stew. Orangutans, it is said, will raid the monkeys’ stash to get their own buzz on. Independent sources are not available to verify this story.