Monthly Archives: February 2013

Researchers help define what makes a political conservative

via http://www.berkeley.edu (Jost, Glaser, Kruglanski & Sulloway, “Political Conservatism as Motivated Social Cognition,” Psychological Bulletin)

Conservatism is a demanding mistress and is giving me a migraine.
—George F. Will

By Kathleen Maclay, Media Relations UC Berkeley

BERKELEY – Politically conservative agendas may range from supporting the Vietnam War to upholding traditional moral and religious values to opposing welfare. But are there consistent underlying motivations?

Four researchers who culled through 50 years of research literature about the psychology of conservatism report that at the core of political conservatism is the resistance to change and a tolerance for inequality, and that some of the common psychological factors linked to political conservatism include:

  • Fear and aggression
  • Dogmatism and intolerance of ambiguity
  • Uncertainty avoidance
  • Need for cognitive closure
  • Terror management

“From our perspective, these psychological factors are capable of contributing to the adoption of conservative ideological contents, either independently or in combination,” the researchers wrote in an article, “Political Conservatism as Motivated Social Cognition,” recently published in the American Psychological Association’s Psychological Bulletin.

Assistant Professor Jack Glaser of the University of California, Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy and Visiting Professor Frank Sulloway of UC Berkeley joined lead author, Associate Professor John Jost of Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, and Professor Arie Kruglanski of the University of Maryland at College Park, to analyze the literature on conservatism.

The psychologists sought patterns among 88 samples, involving 22,818 participants, taken from journal articles, books and conference papers. The material originating from 12 countries included speeches and interviews given by politicians, opinions and verdicts rendered by judges, as well as experimental, field and survey studies.

Ten meta-analytic calculations performed on the material – which included various types of literature and approaches from different countries and groups – yielded consistent, common threads, Glaser said.

The avoidance of uncertainty, for example, as well as the striving for certainty, are particularly tied to one key dimension of conservative thought – the resistance to change or hanging onto the status quo, they said.

The terror management feature of conservatism can be seen in post-Sept. 11 America, where many people appear to shun and even punish outsiders and those who threaten the status of cherished world views, they wrote.

Concerns with fear and threat, likewise, can be linked to a second key dimension of conservatism – an endorsement of inequality, a view reflected in the Indian caste system, South African apartheid and the conservative, segregationist politics of the late Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-South S.C.).

Disparate conservatives share a resistance to change and acceptance of inequality, the authors said. Hitler, Mussolini, and former President Ronald Reagan were individuals, but all were right-wing conservatives because they preached a return to an idealized past and condoned inequality in some form. Talk host Rush Limbaugh can be described the same way, the authors commented in a published reply to the article.

This research marks the first synthesis of a vast amount of information about conservatism, and the result is an “elegant and unifying explanation” for political conservatism under the rubric of motivated social cognition, said Sulloway. That entails the tendency of people’s attitudinal preferences on policy matters to be explained by individual needs based on personality, social interests or existential needs.

The researchers’ analytical methods allowed them to determine the effects for each class of factors and revealed “more pluralistic and nuanced understanding of the source of conservatism,” Sulloway said.

While most people resist change, Glaser said, liberals appear to have a higher tolerance for change than conservatives do.

As for conservatives’ penchant for accepting inequality, he said, one contemporary example is liberals’ general endorsement of extending rights and liberties to disadvantaged minorities such as gays and lesbians, compared to conservatives’ opposing position.

The researchers said that conservative ideologies, like virtually all belief systems, develop in part because they satisfy some psychological needs, but that “does not mean that conservatism is pathological or that conservative beliefs are necessarily false, irrational, or unprincipled.”

They also stressed that their findings are not judgmental.

“In many cases, including mass politics, ‘liberal’ traits may be liabilities, and being intolerant of ambiguity, high on the need for closure, or low in cognitive complexity might be associated with such generally valued characteristics as personal commitment and unwavering loyalty,” the researchers wrote.

This intolerance of ambiguity can lead people to cling to the familiar, to arrive at premature conclusions, and to impose simplistic cliches and stereotypes, the researchers advised.

The latest debate about the possibility that the Bush administration ignored intelligence information that discounted reports of Iraq buying nuclear material from Africa may be linked to the conservative intolerance for ambiguity and or need for closure, said Glaser.

“For a variety of psychological reasons, then, right-wing populism may have more consistent appeal than left-wing populism, especially in times of potential crisis and instability,” he said.

Glaser acknowledged that the team’s exclusive assessment of the psychological motivations of political conservatism might be viewed as a partisan exercise. However, he said, there is a host of information available about conservatism, but not about liberalism.

The researchers conceded cases of left-wing ideologues, such as Stalin, Khrushchev or Castro, who, once in power, steadfastly resisted change, allegedly in the name of egalitarianism.

Yet, they noted that some of these figures might be considered politically conservative in the context of the systems that they defended. The researchers noted that Stalin, for example, was concerned about defending and preserving the existing Soviet system.

Although they concluded that conservatives are less “integratively complex” than others are, Glaser said, “it doesn’t mean that they’re simple-minded.”

Conservatives don’t feel the need to jump through complex, intellectual hoops in order to understand or justify some of their positions, he said. “They are more comfortable seeing and stating things in black and white in ways that would make liberals squirm,” Glaser said.

He pointed as an example to a 2001 trip to Italy, where President George W. Bush was asked to explain himself. The Republican president told assembled world leaders, “I know what I believe and I believe what I believe is right.” And in 2002, Bush told a British reporter, “Look, my job isn’t to nuance.”

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Are People Being Thrown Into Psychiatric Wards For Their Political Views?

via WashingtonsBlog

Mental Health Diagnoses Are Sometimes Politically-Motivated

Many psychologists and psychiatrists are good people, who are only trying to help their patients.

But the Nazi government substantially supported psychologists … many of whom, in turn, espoused extermination of the people they considered to be “racially and cognitively compromised”.

Soviet psychiatrists famously aided Stalin in applying fake insanity diagnoses to political dissenters.  The official explanation was that no sane person would declaim the Soviet government and Communism.

American psychologists created the American program of torture which was specially-crafted to produce false confessions to justify U.S. military policy. And see this.

And authoritarian American psychologists are eager to label anyone “taking a cynical stance toward politics, mistrusting authority, endorsing democratic practices, … and displaying an inquisitive, imaginative outlook” as worthy of a trip to the insane asylum. (Those traits may also get one labeled as a potential terrorist.)

As prominent forensic psychiatrist James Knoll – psychiatry professor at SUNY-Syracuse and director of a forensic fellowship program – writes in the Psychiatric Times:

When psychiatric science becomes co-opted by a political agenda, an unhealthy alliance may be created. It is science that will always be the host organism, to be taken over by political viruses…. [P]sychiatry may come to resemble a new organism entirely — one that serves the ends of the criminal justice system.

Even psychologists with good intentions can erroneously label people delusional simply because they themselves make bad assumptions.

There is even a label for this – the “Martha Mitchell Effect” – defined as:

The process by which a psychiatrist, psychologist, or other mental health clinician mistakes the patient’s perception of real events as delusional and misdiagnoses accordingly.

The authors of a paper on this phenomenon (Bell, V., Halligan, P.W., Ellis, H.D. (2003) Beliefs About Delusions. The Psychologist, 6 (8), 418-422) conclude:

Sometimes, improbable reports are erroneously assumed to be symptoms of mental illness [due to a] failure or inability to verify whether the events have actually taken place, no matter how improbable intuitively they might appear to the busy clinician.

In other words, psychologists who haven’t taken the time to examine for themselves the claims of their patients will tend to label as delusional anything which they “intuitively” feel is improbable.  As such, psychologists and psychiatrists are just as prone to acting out their irrational prejudices as anyone else … unless they take the time to investigate and educate themselves.

Governments Indefinitely Detaining Citizens In Psychiatric Wards Without Due Process of Law

As such, detention in psych wards on mere “suspicion” of posing a danger – without due process of law – is troubling.

For example, former marine Brandon Raub was just carted off and locked in a psychiatric ward for his allegedly “anti-government” Facebook posts.

AP reports today:

Police – acting under a state law that allows emergency, temporary psychiatric commitments upon the recommendation of a mental health professional – took Raub to the John Randolph Medical Center in Hopewell. He was not charged with any crime.

***

Col. Thierry Dupuis, the county police chief, said Raub was taken into custody upon the recommendation of mental health crisis intervention workers. He said the action was taken under the state’s emergency custody statute, which allows a magistrate to order the civil detention and psychiatric evaluation of a person who is considered potentially dangerous.

New York Police officer Adrian Schoolcraft was  involuntarily hospitalizated in a psychiatric ward after he recorded videotapes of his fellow police officers engaging in corruption.

Claire Swinney of New Zealand was also held in a psychiatric ward and called “delusional” for criticizing the government.    Susan Lindauer was held under the Patriot Act for a year at Carswell Air Force Base – where psychiatric drugs were pushed on her – after she alleged government corruption.

The Daily Mail notes:

The [British] Government has established a shadowy new national anti-terrorist unit to protect VIPs, with the power to detain suspects indefinitely using mental health laws.

***

The team’s psychiatrists and psychologists then have the power to order treatment – including forcibly detaining suspects in secure psychiatric units.

Using these powers, the unit can legally detain people for an indefinite period without trial, criminal charges or even evidence of a crime being committed and with very limited rights of appeal.

Until now it has been the exclusive decision of doctors and mental health professionals to determine if someone should be forcibly detained.

But the new unit uses the police to identify suspects – increasing fears the line is being blurred between criminal investigation and doctors’ clinical decisions.

***

Scotland Yard, which runs the shadowy unit, refuses to discuss how many suspects have been forcibly hospitalised by the team because of “patient confidentiality”.

***

The purpose of the centre is “to evaluate and manage the risk posed to prominent people by…those who engage in inappropriate or threatening communications or behaviours in the context of abnormally intense preoccupations, many [Many? That means that some are not] of which arise from psychotic illness.”

Who gets to decide what “inappropriate” or “threatening” means?  What if a whistleblower has information that a member of parliament has engaged in bribes?  Would trying to reveal such information constitute “inappropriate or threatening communications or behaviours” in the context of “abnormally intense preoccupations” with that MP’s illegal actions?

Indeed, a study published in the International Journal of Law and Psychiatry found a high rate of false positives in the British identification of dangerous persons.

The Mail continues:

So-called ‘sectioning’ allows a patient to be held for up to six months before a further psychological assessment. Patients are then reviewed every year to determine if they can be released.

***

Human rights activists fear the team, whose existence has never been publicised, may be being used as a way to detain suspected terrorists without having to put evidence before the courts.

***

Last night human rights group Liberty said the secret unit represented a new threat to civil liberties.

Policy director Gareth Crossman said: “There is a grave danger of this being used to deal with people where there is insufficient evidence for a criminal prosecution.

“This blurs the line between medical decisions and police actions. If you are going to allow doctors to take people’s liberty away, they have to be independent. That credibility is undermined when the doctors are part of the same team as the police.

“This raises serious concerns. First that you have a unit that allows police investigation to lead directly to people being sectioned without any kind of criminal proceedings.

“Secondly, it is being done under the umbrella of anti-terrorism at a time when the Government is looking at ways to detain terrorists without putting them on trial.”

***

The team examined thousands of cases and liaised with the FBI, the US Secret Service, the Capitol Hill Police, which protects Congressmen and Senators, and the Swedish and Norwegian secret services.

***

Shadow Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said: “The Government is trying to bring in a wider definition of mental disorder and is resisting exclusions which ensure that people cannot be treated as mentally disordered on the grounds of their cultural, political or religious beliefs.

“When you hear they are also setting up something like this police unit, it raises questions about quite what their intentions are.

“The use of mental health powers of detention should be confined to the purposes of treatment. But the Government wants to be able to detain someone who is mentally disordered even when the treatment would have no benefit.

“Combined with the idea that someone could be classed as mentally ill on the grounds of their religious beliefs, it is a very worrying scenario.”

Indeed, the whole “indefinite detention” process (which Americans living on American soil are subject to) can be based on circular reasoning:

The government’s indefinite detention policy – stripped of it’s spin – is literally insane, and based on circular reasoning. Stripped of p.r., this is the actual policy:

  • If you are an enemy combatant or a threat to national security, we will detain you indefinitely until the war is over
  • But trust us, we know you are an enemy combatant and a threat to national security

See how that works?

This is an analogy.  We are not accusing psych wards of using torture.  However, they do often use powerful psychiatric drugs on patients … which can elicit false confessions.

Are we going to slide into Soviet levels of psychiatric detention of political dissidents?   Unless the spread of psychiatric detention without due process of law is checked, the mere belief that the government is interfering with your liberty may become grounds for locking you away.

Update: The stories of psychiatric commitment of political activists in China are horrendous .

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Media Code Words

via http://personalliberty.com by Bob Livingston

More Code Words

Just some of the code words that are devised in the back rooms and inner sanctums of power. These words are repeated over and over in order to dumb us down and create conditioned responses.

While we know in our subconscious the true meaning of most of these words, repetition ad nauseam of their changed definition causes the new definition to be adopted by the masses and then accepted as conventional wisdom. The words and phrases are then used to drive the debate and create ready acceptance of laws and policies that reduce liberty. Once they are adopted, challenges to these newly accepted definitions are ridiculed and dismissed.

Democracy: This is the most used and overused word in the world. It was born in America, and every politician and bureaucrat uses the word democracy. This word implies human liberty in the public mind. The truth is the word “democracy” is used as a cover or disguise for all manner of chicanery of governments and politicians. Some of the most brilliant people use the word “democracy” over and over. Little do they realize how this control word misleads. People who use the word “democracy” in its various perverted forms are closet socialists. Some politicians are aware of the deceptive use of the word “democracy,” but not all. Most people just mimic the word because they hear it so much.

Terrorist: This word was mostly hatched by President George W. Bush. It is/was a code word to begin the final demolition of the rule of law in the United States. This code word has come to identify any and all who disagree with the systemic destruction of law and order. They are dubbed dissidents and are subject to arrest and prosecution on frivolous charges or no charges. Bush never knew what he was saying when he spouted the word “terrorist” (which he couldn’t pronounce). He never knew that the word “terrorist” was a control word created to start a final war on the Americans and personal liberty.

“See your doctor” or “tell your doctor”: These are control phrases originating in the secret towers of the pharmaceuticals. They are dependency phrases repeated millions of times a day. They are designed to keep the public from even questioning doctors who are brainwashed in medical schools controlled by the pharmaceuticals. The control phrases were created to build a prescription drug culture in America. Has the plan succeeded? Yes, to the tune of trillions of dollars of profits upon a hapless drug-dependent society. Doctors are unwittingly pharmaceutical’s lackeys, pushing drugs on an ignorant people. The drug culture has actually caused the public to believe that drugs heal in the place of whole food and nutrition. In time, the medical establishment will bankrupt and destroy the United States. Dr. Benjamin Rush, in the time of the writing of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, warned of this very day of medical mafia.

Pay Your Fair Share: This is a control phrase created to condition the public mind to a perverted “fairness” that uses an altruistic public to feel obligated morally to pay taxes. It tells the conscious mind to “do the right thing.” This phrase helps extract tax money without allowance for logic or legality.

Taxpayer: The elite created the term “taxpayer” to force us all to think of ourselves as “taxpayers.” If we think of ourselves as taxpayers, we become willing taxpayers or income-tax payers. Most Americans believe that the U.S. government is financed by income taxes.

Income taxes have absolutely nothing to do with sending money to Washington as taxes. In fact, income taxes began only as recently as World War II for most Americans.

The Federal Income Tax has a dual purpose; neither is for income to run the government. The first purpose is to control consumption and redistribute welfare to the masses of low-income or no-income Americans. The second reason is the creation of a system of dossiers on every citizen: a spy system, no less.

I will quote from a speech by Beardsley Ruml, chairman of the New York Federal Reserve from 1941 to 1946, to dispel the widely believed myth that your income taxes are needed for government income. I repeat that your income taxes have nothing to do with providing income to the Federal government.

In a famous paper titled “Taxes for Revenue Obsolete,” which was read before the American Bar Association during the last year of World War II, Ruml said, “The necessity for a government to tax in order to maintain both its independence and its solvency is true for the states and local governments, but it is not true for a national government.” [Emphasis mine]

The speech was originally printed in American Affairs in the January 1946 issue. The editor of American Affairs wrote: “His (Ruml’s) thesis is that given (1) control of a central banking system and (2) an inconvertible currency, a sovereign national government is finally free of money worries and need no longer levy taxes for the purpose of providing itself with revenue. All taxation, therefore, should be regarded from the point of view of social and economic consequences.”

The entire speech can be read here. It is very valuable information to reveal the fraud of income taxes as Americans understand it.

Well, what about money to run the government? Ruml was referring to the fiat monetary system with which the Federal government could print its money with no need for income taxes.

Can we imagine the economic prosperity in America if the fraudulent income tax system were done away with? But I don’t think that it will happen because hundreds of thousands of lawyers and accountants would have to find productive work. They love the income tax system! It will have to collapse! Then the Internal Revenue Service would be destroyed with its army of highly paid parasites.

Collecting income taxes, like the medical system, is a fraud on the backs of Americans.

The second plank of the Communist Manifesto calls for a “heavy progressive or graduated income tax.”

Conspiracy theory: Any challenge to conventional wisdom. The elites prefer that their messages, as broadcast by their mainstream media mouthpieces, be blindly accepted without question. Asking questions — even those pointing out the obvious fallacies in the message — is labeled “conspiracy.” In fact, the conspiracy lies in those in the MSM who parrot the message without thought and investigation.

Legitimate news source: A control phrase used to bolster the concept that the only “real” news comes from the mainstream media, the propaganda mouthpiece of the 1 percent. Six megacorporations now control 90 percent of what we see and hear on a daily basis. The only true and legitimate news sources are now found on the Internet.

For the children: Used as a substitute for what it really means; bad policy or really bad policy. Tyrants and dictators have long cloaked themselves with the faces of children. Higher-form creatures take every effort to protect their young, and humans are no exception. So any policy, no matter how feckless, is accepted if it can be sold as a protector of the children. “For the children” rivals “to keep us safe” as the most dangerous of phrases that result in loss of freedom.

Sequestration: President Barack Obama’s plan to avoid responsibility for proposed insignificant cuts to the growth of leviathan government and create another wedge issue in his ongoing class warfare battle. The elected class will do nothing to cut government. Doing so reduces their power and gives them less “playing room” when it comes time to “spread the wealth around” to their cronies and corporate masters. The proposed $1.2 trillion in cuts over 10 years are not cuts as real people understand them, but a reduction in the baseline increases that occur automatically in government. They are completely insignificant, though the 1 percent will use them to create fear of impending doom and gloom.

Revenues: A replacement word for taxes that still means confiscation of wealth from producers to the 1 percent for redistribution to the dependent class and corporatist interests.

Investments: A control word now used in place of “spending.” It is money transferred to favored pass-through industries that get special incentives and funnel the money back to the war chests of politicians.

Quantitative easing: The world’s greatest check kiting scheme, which dwarfs anything Charles Ponzi or Bernie Madoff could have imagined. It is simply currency debasement and destruction and an involuntary transfer of wealth from you, the taxpayers, to a narrow financial elite. It is by far the largest looting in the history of the world.

Stimulus: Abstractions and illusions designed to make people think that wealth can be created by printing money and transferring it to the corrupt banking system and other industries and labor unions favored by the 1 percent. It has resulted in an unsustainable stock market bubble that is giving a false sense of recovery when, in fact, the U.S. economy is in dire shape. Freight shipments are at their lowest levels in two years, gasoline prices have risen every day for more than a month and are up more than 50 cents in two months, retailers are projecting the closure of hundreds of stores this year, Wal-Mart sales for the year are a “total disaster,” gross domestic product contracted at an annual rate of .1 percent during the fourth quarter of 2012, the economies of the richest countries contracted in the last quarter and corporate insiders are dumping stocks.

Extremist: Anyone who advocates for a smaller, less intrusive government, opposes all policies that are unConstitutional and rejects compromise on Constitutional principles.

Minimum wage: Another wedge issue designed to incite the dependent class against the producers. In his State of the Union address, Obama proposed raising the minimum wage from $7.25 to $9, a 24 percent increase. He did so with the implication that it was not a “living wage” and that there are people trying to raise a family on minimum wage. This is a false notion. Minimum-wage jobs are held by young people (mostly), some seniors (who work to stay busy and/or overcome the effects of inflation and artificially low interest rates on their pensions and savings) and people working a second job. In fact, raising the minimum wage would harm each of those segments, as the businesses would eliminate many of those jobs rather than absorb or pass along the wage increases. Increasing the minimum wage would also lead to higher prices on goods and services, thereby eliminating any benefits that might accrue from the additional wages paid to a smaller number of employees. A higher minimum wage coupled with Obamacare mandates in a sagging economy with no jobs for young workers — who currently have an unemployment rate of 23.4 percent (according to phony government data) — is a job killer that will drive even more people to government dependency.

Inflation: Inflation is not rising prices. It is an increase in the money supply that devalues the dollars in circulation. As Alan Greenspan said in 1966 (before he sold his soul to the banksters), inflation is a “scheme for the hidden confiscation of wealth.” This is something that probably not one in a million people understands, yet it is an issue that is of utmost importance. Henry Hazlitt wrote in What You Should Know About Inflation: “As the money supply is increased, people have more money to offer for goods. But if the supply of goods doesn’t increase — or increases at a slower pace than the money supply — the prices of goods goes up. Each individual dollar becomes less valuable because there are more dollars available. This leads to more of them being offered for a commodity. A ‘price’ is an exchange ratio between a dollar and a unit of goods. When people have more dollars, they value them less. Goods then rise in price, not because there are fewer goods than before, but rather because there are more dollars available.”

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Top U.S. Terrorist Group: the FBI.!?!! filed under WTF?

via http://www.alternet.org/world/top-us-terrorist-group-fbi

A look inside Trevor Aaronson’s book “The Terror Factory” about the FBI’s terrorist plots.

A careful study of the FBI’s own data on terrorism in the United States, reported in Trevor Aaronson’s book The Terror Factory, finds one organization leading all others in creating terrorist plots in the United States: the FBI.

Imagine an incompetent bureaucrat.  Now imagine a corrupt one.  Now imagine both combined.  You’re starting to get at the image I take away of some of the FBI agents’ actions recounted in this book.

Now imagine someone both dumb enough to be manipulated by one of those bureaucrats and hopelessly criminal, often sociopathic, and generally at the mercy of the criminal or immigration courts.  Now you’re down to the level of the FBI informant, of which we the Sacred-Taxpayers-Who-Shall-Defund-Our-Own-Retirement employ some 15,000 now, dramatically more than ever before. And we pay them very well.

Then try to picture someone so naive, incompetent, desperate, out-of-place, or deranged as to be manipulable by an FBI informant.  Now you’re at the level of the evil terrorist masterminds out to blow up our skyscrapers.

Well, not really.  They’re actually almost entirely bumbling morons who couldn’t tie their own shoes or buy the laces without FBI instigation and support.  The FBI plants the ideas, makes the plans, provides the fake weapons and money, creates the attempted act of terrorism, makes an arrest, and announces the salvation of the nation.

Over and over again.  The procedure has become so regular that intended marks have spotted the sting being worked on them simply by googling the name or phone number of the bozo pretending to recruit them into the terrorist brotherhood, and discovering that he’s a serial informant.

Between 911 and August, 2011, the U.S. government prosecuted 508 people for terrorism in the United States.  243 had been targeted using an FBI informant.  158 had been caught in an FBI terrorism sting.  49 (that we know of, FBI recording devices have completely unbelievable patterns of “malfunctioning”) had encountered an agent provocateur.  Most of the rest charged with “terrorism” had little or nothing to do with terrorism at all, most of them charged with more minor offenses like immigration offenses or making false statements.  Three or four people out of the whole list appear to be men whom one would reasonably call terrorists in the commonly accepted sense of the word.  They intended to and had something at least approaching the capacity to engage in acts of terrorism.

These figures are not far off the percentages of Guantanamo prisoners or drone strike victims believed to be guilty of anything resembling what they’ve been accused of.  So, we shouldn’t single out the FBI for criticism.  But it should receive its share.

Here’s how U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon understood a case that seems all too typical:

“The essence of what occurred here is that a government, understandably zealous to protect its citizens from terrorism, came upon a man both bigoted and suggestible, one who was incapable of committing an act of terrorism on his own.  It created acts of terrorism out of his fantasies of bravado and bigotry, and then made those fantasies come true. . . . I suspect that real terrorists would not have bothered themselves with a person who was so utterly inept.”

When we hear on television that the FBI has prevented a plot to blow up a crowded area of a big U.S. city, we either grow terrified and grateful, or we wait for the inevitable revelation that the FBI created the plot from start to finish, manipulating some poor fool who had zero contact with foreign terrorists and more often than not participated unwittingly or for the money offered him.  But even those of us who do the latter might find Aaronson’s survey of this phenomenon stunning.

During some of its heretofore darkest days the FBI didn’t use informants like it does now.  J. Edgar Hoover’s informants just observed and reported.  They didn’t instigate.  That practice took off during the war on drugs in the 1980s.  But the assumption that a drug dealer might have done the same thing without the FBI’s sting operation is backed up by some statistics.  There is no evidence to back up the idea that the unemployed grocery bagger and video game player who sees visions, has never heard of major Islamic terrorist groups, can’t purchase a gun with thousands of dollars in cash and instructions on how to purchase a gun, understands terrorism entirely from the insights of Hollywood movies, and who has no relevant skills or resources, is going to blow up a building without help from the FBI.

(Which came first, the FBI’s terror factory or Hollywood’s is a moot question now that they feed off each other so well.)

Read this book, I’m telling you, we’re looking at people who’ve been locked away for decades who couldn’t have found their ass with two hands and a map.  These cases more than anything else resemble those of mentally challenged innocent men sitting on death rows because they tried to please the police officer asking them to confess to a crime they clearly knew nothing about.

Of course the press conferences announcing the convictions of drug dealers and “terrorists” are equally successful.  They also equally announce an ongoing campaign doomed to failure.  The campaign for “terrorists” developed under President George W. Bush and expanded, like so much else, under President Barack Obama.

Aaronson spoke with J. Stephen Tidwell, former executive assistant director at the FBI.  Tidwell argued that someone thinking about the general idea of committing crimes should be set up and then prosecuted, because as long as they’re not in prison the possibility exists that someone other than the FBI could encourage them to, and assist them in, actually committing a crime.  “You and I could sit here, go online, and by tonight have a decent bomb built.  What do you do?  Wait for him to figure it out himself?”

The answer, based on extensive data, is quite clearly that he will not figure it out himself and act on it.  That the FBI has stopped 3 acts of terrorism is believable.  But that the FBI has stopped 508 and there wasn’t a 509th is just not possible.  The explanation is that there haven’t been 509 or even 243.  The FBI has manufactured terrorist plots by the dozens, including most of the best known ones.  (And if you watched John Brennan’s confirmation hearing, you know that the underwear bomber and other “attacks” not under the FBI’s jurisdiction have been no more real.)

Arthur Cummings, former executive assistant director of the FBI’s National Security Branch, told Aaronson that the enemy was not Al Qaeda or Islamic Terrorism, but the idea of it.  “We’re at war with an idea,” he said.  But his strategy seems to be one of consciously attempting to lose hearts and minds.  For the money spent on infiltrations and stings, the U.S. government could have given every targeted community free education from preschool to college, just as it could do for every community at home and many abroad by redirecting war spending.  When you’re making enemies of people rather than friends, to say that you’re working against an idea is simply to admit that you’re not targeting people based on a judicial review finding any probable cause to legally do so.

The drug war’s failure can be calculated in the presence of drugs, although the profits for prisons and other profiteers aren’t universally seen as failures.  The FBI’s counterterrorism can be calculated as a failure largely because of the waste of billions of dollars on nonexistent terrorism.  But there’s also the fact that the FBI’s widespread use of informants, very disproportionately in Muslim communities, has made ordinary people who might provide tips hesitant to do so for fear of being recruited as informants.  Thus “counter terrorism” may make it harder to counter terrorism.  It may also feed into real terrorism by further enraging people already outraged by U.S. foreign policy.  But it’s no failure at all if measured by the dollars flowing into the FBI, or the dollars flowing into the pockets of informants who get paid by commission (that is, based on convictions in court of their marks).  Nor do weapons makers, other war profiteers, or other backers of right wing politics in general seem to be objecting in any way to the production of widespread fear and bigotry.

Congressman Stephen Lynch has introduced a bill that would require federal law enforcement agencies to report to Congress twice a year on all serious crimes, authorized or unauthorized, committed by informants (who are often much more dangerous criminals than are those they’re informing on). The bill picked up a grand total of zero cosponsors last Congress and has reached the same mark thus far in the current one.

The corporate media cartel has seen its ratings soar with each new phony incident.  Opposition to current practice does not seem to be coming from that quarter.

And let’s all be clear with each other: our society is tolerating this because the victims are Muslims.  With many other minority groups we would all be leaping to their defense.

It may be time to try thinking of Muslims as Samaritans, as of course some of them are.

 

Sat, 02/23/2013 – 13:25

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Temporary Tattoos Could Make Electronic Telepathy, Telekinesis Possible

via http://txchnologist.com by Charles Q. Choi

Temporary electronic tattoos could soon help people fly drones with only thought and talk seemingly telepathically without speech over smartphones, researchers say.

Commanding machines using the brain is no longer the stuff of science fiction. In recent years, brain implants have enabled people to control robotics using only their minds, raising the prospect that one day patients could overcome disabilities using bionic limbs or mechanical exoskeletons.

But brain implants are invasive technologies, probably of use only to people in medical need of them. Instead, electrical engineer Todd Coleman at the University of California at San Diego is devising noninvasive means of controlling machines via the mind, techniques virtually everyone might be able to use.

His team is developing wireless flexible electronics one can apply on the forehead just like temporary tattoos to read brain activity.

“We want something we can use in the coffee shop to have fun,” Coleman says.

The devices are less than 100 microns thick, the average diameter of a human hair. They consist of circuitry embedded in a layer or rubbery polyester that allow them to stretch, bend and wrinkle. They are barely visible when placed on skin, making them easy to conceal from others.

The devices can detect electrical signals linked with brain waves, and incorporate solar cells for power and antennas that allow them to communicate wirelessly or receive energy. Other elements can be added as well, like thermal sensors to monitor skin temperature and light detectors to analyze blood oxygen levels.

Using the electronic tattoos, Coleman and his colleagues have found they can detect brain signals reflective of mental states, such as recognition of familiar images. One application they are now pursuing is monitoring premature babies to detect the onset of seizures that can lead to epilepsy or brain development problems. The devices are now being commercialized for use as consumer, digital health, medical device, and industrial and defense products by startup MC10 in Cambridge, Mass.

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Electronic telekinesis? Digital telepathy?

In past studies, Coleman’s team found that volunteers could use caps studded with electrodes to remotely control airplanes and flew an unmanned aerial vehicle over cornfields in Illinois. Although the electronic tattoos currently cannot be used to pilot planes, “we’re actively working on that,” Coleman says.

These devices can also be put on other parts of the body, such as the throat. When people think about talking, their throat muscles move even if they do not speak, a phenomenon known as subvocalization. Electronic tattoos placed on the throat could therefore behave as subvocal microphones through which people could communicate silently and wirelessly.

“We’ve demonstrated our sensors can pick up the electrical signals of muscle movements in the throat so that people can communicate just with thought,” Coleman says. Electronic tattoos placed over the throat could also pick up signals that would help smartphones with speech recognition, he added.

Invasive brain implants remain better at reading brain activity, Coleman notes.

But neuroscientist Miguel Nicolelis at Duke University Medical Center says there is a need for noninvasive technologies such as these for the brain. “People will want to navigate environments just by thinking, or play games just by thinking,” says Nicolelis, who did not take part in this research.

Coleman detailed his group’s most recent findings in Boston on Feb. 17 at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Top Image: Image of a piece of electronics with physical properties, i.e. stiffness, bending rigidity, thickness and mass density, matched to the epidermis. Such ‘epidermal’ electronic systems seamlessly integrate and conform to the surface of the skin in a way that is mechanically invisible to the user. The devices have the potential to provide a range of healthcare and non-healthcare related functions. Image courtesy John A. Rogers.

Middle Image: The Neural Interaction Lab led by UC San Diego bioengineering professor Todd Coleman is working with Mary J. Harbert, MD, director of neonatal neurology UCSD and Rady Children’s Hospital, to study the use of stamp-sized wearable patches of tiny circuits, sensors, and wireless transmitters to replace bulky wires currently used to monitor newborns in the neonatal ICU. The greatest advance in the neonatal ICU for premature babies has been stabilizing the heart and lung. But nowadays, experts are increasingly focusing on brain injury: under-development of the cerebral vasculature, hemorrhage, and seizures commonly occur in premies. If left unchecked, they can lead to epilepsy or cognitive development problems. Image courtesy Todd Coleman/UCSD.

Bottom Image: The Neural Interaction Lab led by UC San Diego bioengineering professor Todd Coleman is working with Ricardo Gil da Costa, PhD, at the Salk Institute to examine the use of wearable flexible electronics on the forehead to monitor congnitive impairment with systems that are minimally obtrusive. These patches of sensors monitor electrical rhythms of the brain and can wirelessly transmit information optically (via LEDs) or electromagnetically (via flexible antennas) to provide quantitative measures of attentional modulation that co-vary with the progression of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, and schizophrenia. These minimally obtrusive wearable electronics provide promise for future clinical brain monitoring applications for hospitals and laboratories, outpatient clinics or even at home. Image courtesy Todd Coleman/UCSD.


Charles Q. Choi
 has written for Scientific American, The New York Times, Wired, Science and Nature, among others. In his spare time, he has traveled to all seven continents, including scaling the side of an iceberg in Antarctica, investigating mummies from Siberia, snorkeling in the Galapagos, climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, camping in the Outback, avoiding thieves near Shaolin Temple and hunting for mammoth DNA in Yukon.

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Anti Depressent Drugs and “should have, could have”

think before taking drugs from your doctor.. anti depressants are a national security issue unrecognized,   especially when In Hospital Deaths from Medical Errors at 195,000 per Year  in the USA (where homicide by gun is at 16,259, by CDC stats) and terror killed 15 on US soil

via http://houston.legalexaminer.com . GSK’s year-old summary of 2011 briefed investors and others on what had been going on in selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor lawsuits (Zoloft, Celexa, Lexapro, Prozac, Luvox and Viibryd) , explaining, “Most of these lawsuits in recent years have alleged that …patients who took selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors committed or attempted to commit suicide or acts of violence…” and “Neonatal persistent pulmonary hypertension (PPHN), aka lung and heart disease, is associated with significant morbidity and mortality. The FDA is updating the prescribing information for all SSRIs with this new information”…

Although the outcome of Paxil lawsuits is, using GSK’s own words, “inherently unpredictable,” the increased risk of PPHN in infants whose mothers took Paxil apparently has been as predictable as the sunrise. If the manufacturer had known the latter, it could have precluded the specter of the former. And harm to newborns and to families perhaps could have been averted.

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MagPul, Gun Magazines and Colorado House Bill 13-1224, TEOTWAWKI

m4carbinephaseII

via by David Reeder on February 19, 2013, @ http://kitup.military.com

As you may already be aware, the Colorado House of Representatives held the ‘third reading’ for HB 13-1224, a measure to limit magazine capacity. The vote passed 34:31 and will now be pushed on to the Colorado State Senate.

Other gun control issues aside (though by no means to marginalize them) this will be of significance to Kit Up! readers because it centers around MagPul Industries Corporation, manufacturer of the PMag. MagPul is based in Erie, Colorado, and will obviously be impacted severely if the 13-1224 becomes law (this despite transparently self-serving last minute attempts on the part of supporting legislators to provide an exemption for manufacture). The significance of this lies on several levels, from that of the national debate on gun control to the impact on an individual’s ability to purchase the kit he or she wants at a time when magazines are already in short supply (and potentially those already owned).

As you might expect, it is difficult for me to write in such a way as to distinguish reporting from advocacy. In the larger context of the debate and from the perspective of constructive support (on whichever side) I think it is vital for all involved to leave visceral reaction aside and attempt to address all aspects as respectfully as possible. Unfortunately there seems to be little willingness to do that. This is without a doubt an extremely polarizing issue that has been given very little opportunity for true discussion, which by no means eliminates the need for rational discourse.

This particular article is going to address HB 13-1224 specifically, though it must at least tangentially discuss the three other bills that were approved yesterday.There are a number of reasons the successful passage of 1224 and its fellows are significant, not least of which are concerns as to its Constitutionality and its importance to the national debate. The White House is keeping a close eye on the status of these bills; according to the Denver Post, VPOTUS Biden was in communication with several Democratic Representatives in Colorado on Friday.

RepFields_Colorado

MagPul is a ‘household name’ in our demographic and it is at the center of the 13-1224 furor and despite some odd, even silly allegations to the contrary they’ve made it very clear they will halt operations and move to a different state if the law passes.

MagPul was founded in 1999 by a Marine Corps veteran and has become virtually synonymous for polymer magazines, magazine accessories and what is called firearm ‘furniture’ in our tactical parlance. MagPul is a self-described “proud Colorado company” that has a significant economic impact in the state (though estimates vary, most agree that it would bring $80-$90 million dollars to the Colorado economy in 2013, not counting payroll).

13-1224 bears more than a passing similarity to the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act of 2013, Missouri’s recently introduced House Bill 545 and a package of 10 bills put forth by Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento in the state of California (and the one in Minnesota, and Washington, et al). As with other such discussions at both State and Federal level, HB-1224 and its fellows are either being both hailed as a common sense life saving measure or declaimed as an impractical, unenforceable intrusion on the Second Amendment with no impact on public safety. The progress of these bills, and 13-224 in particular, are being closely watched across the country by both pro-gun control and anti-gun control people alike as a key indicator in the national debate.

[Note: The New York Safe Act limited magazine capacity to 7 rounds, broadened the definition of the term ‘assault weapon’ and enacted other steps making it one of the most restrictive gun laws in the country. Missouri’s HB-1224 is similar in many ways and includes one phrase in particular that makes it appear providing justification and cause for firearm confiscation in any cases where the weapons in question are not removed from the state or rendered inoperable within 90 days.]

The four bills on their way to the Senate now are HB 13-1229, which would require a background check for all gun transactions; House Bill 13-1226, which would eliminate concealed carry on ‘higher education’ campuses and college premises; HB 13-1228, which would institute a fee on background checks to cover costs incurred by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) processing all firearm purchases (estimated to be approximately $1.6 million) and perhaps the most controversial and hotly debated one of the four, HB 13-1224, which now limits magazine capacity to 15 rounds. This number appears to be arbitrary, and wasn’t always certain. There was a period of time when they discussed an 11 round capacity.

PMAG_Gen3

HB 13-1224 was sponsored by Rep. Rhonda Fields (D House District 42, Aurora), who described it as an “incremental approach” to limiting gun violence, clearly referring in her closing remarks to more measures to come—something that will clearly worry opponents of gun control in Colorado and other states. Her overriding concern, as she explains it, was not to provide a ‘feel good measure’ but to legitimately reduce gun violence.

“Our schools are sacred places, our malls our sacred places, our churches are sacred places,” she said. “…no one should have these high capacity magazines to kill as many people as they can…”

State Rep. Edward Vigil (D-Fort Garland) disagreed, saying he believed ‘high capacity magazines’ were being “demonized” and that that CO should vote no on the measure. He spoke to the fact that criminals were unlikely to abide by a law and any case and suggested instead a law against criminal gangs and efforts to improve mental health efforts, urging a no vote and asking that no vote be made on emotion.

Other opponents of the bill articulated various studies, including those by the CDC and the NIJ, that show no correlation between gun control laws and the crime rate. They also pointed out flaws in the bill that would make it unenforceable and impractical and its disregard for the Second Amendment, and criticized the inconsistencies and hypocrisy of a last minute provision that would allow the manufacture of such magazines in the state despite their being illegal for Colorado citizens. This adjustment has been largely seen as an effort to retain the advantage of having Colorado based magazine manufacturers in the local while removing them from the hands of Colorado citizens.

“Apparently, they (high-capacity magazines) are not instruments of destruction when they’re purchased outside the borders of Colorado,” said Mark Waller, R-Colorado Springs.

Rep_Stephens_Colorado

“[This law]…will not limit our Second Amendment Rights, it will infringe them,” said State Rep. Jared Wright (R-Fruita). Wright is a former law enforcement officer who spoke at length to the fallacy of believing magazine limitations would increase public safety.

Passage of the third reading in the House today was preceded by ‘second reading’ on Friday, where over six hours were spent debating 13-1224 on the floor. Opponents of the bill fear it is likely to be approved by the Senate and become law. Kit Up readers who follow social media sites and ‘tactical news’ sources know opposition to the measure has largely been led by MagPul.

MagPul disagrees with any assertions that so-called “high capacity magazines” (which might more properly be called standard capacity magazines) contribute to gun violence and that any measures to restrict them would be not only improper Constitutionally but dramatically significant economically—not just to their company, which they readily acknowledge, but to the greater community of with they are a part.

“We have a pretty uphill battle in the Senate,” says MagPul’s Duane Liptak, Director of Product Management and Marketing. “We’re making our arguments, explaining that this bill doesn’t improve public safety in any way shape or form, that it isn’t practical or enforceable and…that it doesn’t hurt anyone except those who are law abiding, but…”

MagPulRep. Jared Wright (R) addressed this same concern.

“What is the functionality of this?” Rep. Wright asked the assembled Colorado House. “How does this improve public safety in the State of Colorado?” In his and others’ opinion, magazine restrictions would do nothing to actually improve the safety of Coloradans, and that there was no way to determine the legality of a magazine in question anyway—no way to identify whether a magazine had been manufactured prior to the proposed law, or if it had been purchased in Utah (for instance) and brought back into the state. He went on to chastise both sides of the debate, expressing his distaste for the “…the invocation of the images of dead children on both sides…” when arguing their case.

Rep. Claire Levy (D-Boulder) acknowledged she had no study showing definitively that magazines would “stop the killing”, but “[she believes it to be]…a constructive and necessary first step.” She addressed what she described as “straw man arguments” like vehicle deaths and tractor rollovers by articulating methods developed to counter them, such as airbags and seatbelts.

“High capacity magazine are commonly used in gun crimes and police murders [and are involved in] at least14-26% of gun crimes,” said Beth McCann (D – House District 8, Denver). She went on to describe the use of “high capacity magazines” in the Aurora theater shooting, citing the use of a 100 round drum in that event, and then listed a series of homicides she advised involved such magazines. Rep. McCann describes the reduction of magazine capacity to a maximum of 15 rounds as a common sense limitation.

MagPul has made it clear they will leave Colorado if the law passes, in their social media and a press release. They are receiving widespread support across the firearm and tactical industry for their stand and are being lauded for their leadership. In addition to empirical arguments about possible practical results on public safety and violence MagPul has addressed the financial repercussions with the voice of a proud Colorado company.

“We’ve tried to make this argument from an economic standpoint,” Liptak explains, “and it [the decision to move manufacturing out of Colorado] was not an easy decision to make. This will be an incredible disruption for our employees if we have to displace…it wasn’t made lightly, but we have a moral obligation to do it.

Rep. Lori Saine (R-House District 63), in whose district MagPul is located, spoke succinctly after a short break. “This bill is a jobs killer,” she said, “I urge a no vote.”

MagPul employs 200 people directly, and counting sub-contractors and service providers in the Denver area provides employment to at least another 400 jobs. Not counting payroll, they put $46 million into the Colorado economy in 2012 and is projected to increase that to an estimated $85 million in 2013.

I spoke with Rep. Saine after Friday’s debate and she clarified that number. “It would actually take a projected $98 million out of the state over the next year,” she said. When I asked if the bill’s proponents had ever addressed the economic implications she and other legislators had brought up, she replied “Of course not, there’s nothing to say.”

Though I watched several hours of the debate on Friday and more yesterday, I never heard proponents of the bill address the economic ramifications. To be fair, they may be taking the stance that a reduction in violence is more important than monetary considerations, but if so it would have been nice for them to articulate that. Sadly, given the hyperbolae and some factual inconsistencies I observed, it seems more likely they just didn’t want to be on record making such statements in a time when the entire economy is lagging and unemployment is so high.

“They did put an exemption in for manufacturers,” Liptak says, “but that’s not something MagPul can do, not from an ethical standpoint or a business standpoint. Citizens can’t own our products but we’ll continue to make them and just ship them out of state? We can’t do that, it’s not right, and besides people would boycott us out of principal and…we don’t blame them. We aren’t bluffing, though apparently some legislators believe we are; we’ll have production up and running before the enactment of the bill if that is what it comes to.”

“This bill does not require or force any company to leave Colorado,” Rep. McCann noted. “The bill explicitly now indicates the companies can continue to manufacture these and deliver them outside the state…”

To that statement Mr. Liptak responded, “If this passes, remaining in Colorado is just not an option for us.”

MagPul2

Asked where they might go, he would not say for sure, explaining, “We’ve been courted by several states with amenable gun laws and the sort of culture we want to be a part of with our tax dollars and jobs. We love Colorado, the culture personal responsibility and personal freedom here…it’s now just…certainly not in keeping with the values of the great American west.”

Pro gun control social media sites have widely referred to the successful passage of these four bills, in particular the magazine restrictions, to the next step towards law as a hopeful precursor to similar efforts in other states or at the Federal level.

The Denver Post has reported that Vice President Joe Biden contacted several Colorado Democratic lawmakers on Friday after 13-1224 passed second reading. Tony Exum (D-Colorado Springs), described their conversation. “He said it would send a strong message to the rest of the country that a Western state had passed gun-control bills,” Exum said.

As of this writing my e-mails to Representative Fields, private messages left on her Facebook page and phone calls have all gone unanswered.

MagPul has not decided where they will be moving if 13-1224 becomes law, but no matter what happens, even if the measure fails to pass the Colorado Senate, but whatever happens things are going to become even more controversial—and PMags and MagPul furniture even harder to get.

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