Leave Fruit Aesthetics to the Consumer


Few Americans consider themselves at significant risk from ugly or misshapen tomatoes. But the Florida Tomato Commission (FTC) “protects” those of us outside the state against any of their winter tomato growers who want to put “product of Florida” on any fruit (yes, tomatoes are fruit) not up to standard in size, shape, skin quality or color. As a result, we won’t be seeing any Florida UglyRipe tomatoes this winter.

UglyRipe tomatoes are the result of a decade of experimentation with heirloom tomatoes by Joe Procacci, triggered by complaints that the tomatoes now on supermarket shelves are taste-impaired. Customers claim they bring back the luscious taste they remember from “the good old days.”

Unfortunately, very few of them meet the FTC’s standard of beauty for out-of-state export, because they fail the roundness standards. (The dispute’s divisiveness is illustrated by the FTC claim that almost three-fourths of the fruit passes the standards, but Procacci claims it is only one-eighth, with over three-fifths of the crop, clearly not up to those standards, not even submitted.)

Unfortunately, this issue is just the latest in a long line of disguised consumer rip-offs in the name of consumer protec tion, created by government enforced agricultural cartel marketing organizations. Those agricultural marketing orders trace to New Deal legislation to “save” agriculture by giving these organizations, dozens of which still survive, the power to coercively impose their standards on even unwilling members. (i.e., mandating what in other industries would trigger antitrust prosecution for being anti-consumer.)

In effect, the government has delegated them the power to criminalize selling fruit other growers deem unfit to sell or selling it in ways they don’t approve of, even when buyers, fully in formed about any shortcomings, would be eager customers. (Procacci had to turn away out-of-state buyers and take about $3 million in losses when denied an exemption from the roundness rules in January.)

The actual purpose of the restriction on selling these “lower quality” Florida tomatoes that consumers are begging to buy is to allow other tomato growers to restrict competition from versions customers might well prefer. By limiting the alter natives to their pretty tomatoes, other Florida tomato growers (who dominate America’s winter tomato market) raise their profits at consumer expense. That purpose of raising producer profits by harming consumers is what this restriction shares with often even more stringent ones (extending to outright bans on selling sub-standard fruit at any price) that have been imposed since the Depression on cantaloupe, peaches, pears, nectarines, strawberries, plums, and a host of other fruits.

Despite the obvious anti-consumer effect of imposing such restricted choices, the FTC echoes claims that other government-enforced agriculture marketing cartels have offered in defense. Unfortunately, those argu ments cannot stand scrutiny any more today than they did in the past.

Cartel defenders claim the appearance or quality of produce is the essential element that sells it, so it is necessary to restrict offerings to only the finest appearing fruit. As the FTC’s Reginald Brown put it, “The reality of the marketplace is that when you go into a supermarket, you look at ‘em, you don’t bite ‘em.”  But if that is so, appearance regulations are unnecessary. If only the prettiest fruit will sell, ugly fruit would not attract customers and therefore would pose no danger to the profits of other growers.

Restricted competition beneficiaries also claim that allowing ugly or lower quality fruit to be sold would ruin the market or cripple the in dustry. But if only fruit meeting official standards would be freely chosen by custom ers, the market cannot be crippled by allowing other fruit to be offered for sale; if the industry would be crippled as a result, then the argument that consumers would choose only fruit up to those standards is false.

Restriction supporters argue that government must enforce some sort of minimum stan dards to protect consumers. But consum er protection requires no such restraints (perhaps made most transparent by the fact that Florida consumers are free to buy UglyRipes without any such protections). At most, that is an argument for informing customers about important quality dimensions, but leaving them free to make their own choices.

To justify further restrictions would require that consumers are too ignorant, even when fruit is graded and available for inspection, to select what to buy. That, in turn, would require that consumers cannot either see or taste for themselves. Further, it would also require that supermarkets overlook their own self-interest in not tying up their shelves and hurting their reputations by carrying products their customers would reject.

Even if quality grading was considered necessary, there is no need for government involvement or enforcement. Because consumers are willing to pay more for what they consider higher quality fruit (including where they deem taste more important than looks), growers will find ways to verify the various important dimensions of quali ty. But this can be done through voluntary cooperative efforts or brand names as a guaran tee of quality (which is the purpose for the UglyRipe name, which would be the last name one would pick if trying to get people to confuse your fruit with pretty competitors).

Florida’s existing tomato reputation (apparently for pretty but tasteless tomatoes) could easily be defended in less onerous ways, as well. For instance, they could allow labeling of Florida heirloom or Florida UglyRipe tomatoes with no risk of confusing customers about what they were getting. But refusing to pursue such an easy alternative solution to the alleged problem indicates that it is not the real reason for the restriction.

The claims by the FTC that their purpose is to help consumers rather than themselves at consumer expense is also made clear by their history of blatant attempts at protectionism against competing tomato producers in Mexico. They have brought multiple allegations of dumping, found groundless (a minor miracle, given how our dumping complaint rules are stacked on the side of American plaintiffs).

When NAFTA took away some of Florida’s protections, they attempted to impose new barriers that would fly under the public radar. In particular, they tried to impose FTC packing requirements on others (i.e., Mexico) selling winter tomatoes in the U.S. Given that U.S. tomatoes are picked green for ease of handling and then ripened with gas, while Mexican tomatoes are picked ripe (as are UglyRipes), those standards would have imposed substantial damage, and therefore a substantial barrier, on Mexican tomatoes.

The arguments for government enforced cartel restrictions on the sale of ugly fruit, wherever they fall on the gamut from outright sales bans to what can be correctly labeled as produced in Florida, are unbelievable, self-serving justifications for consumer rip-offs. They are as absurd as restricting sales of Fords for not providing Mercedes quality, hambur ger for falling short of top sirloin, or every education not up to Ivy League stan dards.

The arguments for restrictions on sales of ugly fruit are so “rotten” that they are logically insupportable. Our taste buds can adequately distinguish good tomatoes from bad for ourselves, allowing us to get beyond the surface. But unfortunately, that is not true about government “solutions.” There, people seldom look beyond surface arguments (particularly to see the unjustified uses of coercion entailed), and those using flimsy pretexts for self-aggrandizement can therefore effectively mislead those who don’t think very hard about them. Until we do think carefully about such assertions, such abuses will persist. And that is true in uncountable areas of government involvement, not just for a government-enforced rip-off of American tomato lovers.

______________________________

Gary M. Galles is a professor of economics at Pepperdine University. Send him MAIL, and see his Mises.org Daily Articles Archive. Discuss this article on the blog.

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AWESOME! Volunteer Reapers Destroy More of Monsanto’s GMO Crops in France


New action by the ‘volunteer reapers’ against GM crops in the Vienne, France

A hundred ‘volunteer reapers’, including José Bové, on Friday destroyed twofields of Monsanto Mon810 maize, a GM cereal crop which is currently forbidden from being grown in France.

“The ‘volunteer reapers’ identified four fields of Mon810 in Vienne. Two were destroyed last week without a public protest and then we decided to destroy the two others publicly”, José Bové informed Reuters.

A hundred activists came from many regions of France to attack a plot of 3000-4000 square metres close to the Civaux nuclear plant, South-East ofPoitiers. They then continued to the nearby area of Valdivienne, where they destroyed a field of 1500-2000 square metres, according to an activist.

“These were commercial trials by Monsanto based on Mon810 maize, with added herbicide [resistant] genes. Mon810 has been forbidden since February 2008 and Monsanto continues to want to force it through”, said José Bové.

According to the ‘volunteer reapers’ the local police, who carry out regular patrols past these plots, did not intervene, contenting themselves with recording registration numbers of cars and taking photos.”

via Volunteer Reapers Destroy More of Monsanto’s GMO Crops in France.

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Are You a Good Person?


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Doom of Freedom! “Those Voices Don’t Speak for the Rest of Us”


It is the apathy of the people, lack of interest and effort on the things that truly matter, that causes freedom to slip away!  So many lethargic, sluggish individuals, young and old, just fixed on superficial matters:  tv and radio’s lawless talk shows; competing trends of  jewelery, clothing, technology you name it, they are more attractive than the true matters of life!  AND THAT IS THE DOOM OF FREEDOM!

Who would want to keep check on the “influence” of big businesses and corporations on your city councils?  Mayors?   State and Federal Representatives?   State and Federal Senators?  Who would want to check on those that supposedly work for you? Those who spend your hard working money given to them under the numerous  (most of them unconstitutional) taxes forced on you?  Who?  Sure it won’t be those “taking pleasure” on the so called “good things in life”!  These are the same people that will be “suffering victims” of the next government created chaos!

“Does it “feel” better to be ready for a “happy hour” while your reps, senators, governors are stabbing you in the back?

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Donora Death Fog (Government and Big Business Cover-Up)


Death in Donora

I have felt the fog in my throat —
The misty hand of Death caress my face;
I have wrestled with a frightful foe
Who strangled me with wisps of gray fog-lace.
Now in my eyes since I have died.
The bleak, bare hills rise in stupid might
With scars of its slavery imbedded deep;

And the people still live — still live — in the poisonous night.

Folklorist Dan G. Hoffman reported collecting the ballad “Death in Donora” from area resident John P. Clark


Fluoride and the Mohawks

Cows crawled around the pasture on their bellies, inching along like giant snails. So crippled by bone disease they could not stand up, this was the only way they could graze. Some died kneeling, after giving birth to stunted calves. Others kept on crawling until, no longer able to chew because their teeth had crumbled down to the nerves, they began to starve.

These were the cattle of the Mohawk Indians on the New York-Canadian St. Regis Reservation during the period 1960-75, when fluoride pollution from neighboring aluminum plants devastated the herd and the Mohawks’ way of life.

Crops and trees withered, birds and bees fled from this remnant of land the Mohawk still call Akwesasne, “the land where the partridge drums.”

Today, nets cast into the St. Lawrence River by Mohawk fishers bring up ulcerated fish with spinal deformities. Mohawk children, too, have shown signs of damage to bones and teeth.

In 1980, the Mohawks filed a $150 million lawsuit for damage to themselves and their property against the companies responsible for the pollution: the Reynolds Metals Co. and the Aluminum Co. of America. But five years of legal costs bankrupted the tribe and they settled for $650,000 in damages to their cows.

The court left the door open for a future Mohawk suit for damage to their own health. After all, commented human rights lawyer Robert Pritchard, “What judge wants to go down in history as being the judge who approved the annihilation of the Indians by fluoride emissions?”

– Joel Griffiths

The lessons learned at Donora resulted in the passage of the 1955 Clean Air Act

America’s worst air pollution disaster may have been caused by fluoride emissions:

50 years later, vital records are still missing.

– It shows how government and big business can team to cover up even the worst disaster’s. At first I thought Donora Death Fog was the name of a heavy metal band….

The Donora Fluoride Fog:
A Secret History of America’s Worst Air Pollution Disaster

by Chris Bryson

The anniversary of the worst recorded industrial air pollution accident in US history – which occurred 50 years ago this October in Donora, Pennsylvania – will go virtually unmarked. The Donora incident, which killed 20 and left hundreds seriously injured and dying, was caused by fluoride emissions from the Donora Zinc Works and steel plants owned by the US Steel Corporation.

In the aftermath of the accident, US Steel conspired with US Public Health Service (PHS) officials to cover up the role fluoride played in the tragedy. This charge comes from Philip Sadtler, a top industrial chemical consultant who conducted his own research at the scene of the disaster.

Fifty years later, Earth Island Journal has learned, vital records of the Donora investigation are missing from PHS archives. Fifty years later, US Steel continues to block access to their records of the Donora disaster, including a crucial air chemical analysis taken on the final night of the tragedy.

The “Donora Death Fog”

Horror visited the US Steel company-town of Donora on Halloween night, 1948, when a temperature inversion descended on the town. Fumes from US Steel’s smelting plants blanketed the town for four days, and crept murderously into the citizens’ homes.

If the smog had lasted another evening “the casualty list would have been 1,000 instead of 20,” said local doctor William Rongaus at the time. Later investigations by Rongaus and others indicated that one-third of the town’s 14,000 residents were affected by the smog. Hundreds of residents were evacuated or hospitalized. A decade later, Donora’s mortality rate remained significantly higher than neighboring areas.

The “Donora Death Fog,” as it became known, spawned numerous angry lawsuits and the first calls for national legislation to protect the public from industrial air pollution.

A PHS report released in 1949 reported that “no single substance” was responsible for the Donora deaths and laid major blame for the tragedy on the temperature inversion. But according to industry consultant Philip Sadtler, in an interview taped shortly before his 1996 death, that report was a whitewash.

“It was murder,” said Sadtler about Donora. “The directors of US Steel should have gone to jail for killing people.” Sadtler charged that the PHS report helped US Steel escape liability for the deaths and spared a host of fluoride- emitting industries the expense of having to control their toxic emissions. (A class-action lawsuit by Donora victims families was later settled out of court.)

In 1948, Sadtler was perhaps the nation’s leading expert on fluorine pollution. He had gathered evidence for plaintiffs across the country, including an investigation of the Manhattan Project and the DuPont company’s fluoride pollution of New Jersey farmland during World War II [see “Fluoride and the A-Bomb,” 1997-98 EIJ http://www.trufax.org/fluoride/bomb.html].

For giant fluoride emitters such as US Steel and the Aluminum Company of America (Alcoa), the cost of a national fluoride clean-up “would certainly have been in the billions,” said Sadtler. So concealing the true cause of the Donora accident was vital. “It would have complicated things enormously for them if the public had been alerted to [the dangers of] fluoride.”

A 50-Year Cover-up

US industry was well-placed to orchestrate a whitewash of the Donora investigation. The PHS was then a part of the Federal Security Agency. The FSA, in turn, was headed by Oscar R. Ewing, a former top lawyer for Alcoa. Neither his old industry connections, nor the fact that Alcoa had been facing lawsuits around the country for its wartime airborne fluoride pollution was mentioned in Ewing’s introduction to the official report on Donora.

Sadtler remembers seeing a PHS van in Donora conducting air testing after the disaster. “I looked in and the chemist said, ‘Phil, come on in.’ Very friendly. He says, ‘I know you are right, but I am not allowed to say so.’ He must have been influenced by US Steel.”

Sadtler blamed fluoride for the Donora disaster in an account published in the December 13, 1948 issue of Chemical and Engineering News. He reported fluorine blood levels of dead and hospitalized citizens to be 12 to 25 times above normal, with “primary symptoms of acute fluorine poisoning, dyspnea (distressed breathing similar to asthma) … found in hundreds of cases.” He recommended that, “Changes should be made in suspect processes to prevent emission of fluorine-containing fumes.”

Industry moved quickly to silence Sadtler, who had been a contributor to Chemical and Engineering News for many years. (C&EN is published by the American Chemical Society.)

“I had a call from the editor that I was not to send them any more [articles],” Sadtler said. The editor told Sadtler that the head of the Alcoa and the US Steel-funded Mellon Institute, Dr. [first name] Weidline (who also had served as a director of the American Chemical Society) “went to Washington and told [the magazine’s editors] that they were not to publish any more of what I wrote,” Sadtler said.

Looking Back on Donora

Today, 50 years later, researchers examining the Donora disaster face two troubling obstacle: (1) vital records are missing from the PHS archives and (2) US Steel’s records are closed to reporters, researchers and investigators.

In her 1994 doctoral dissertation (“The Death-Dealing Smog Over Donora, Pennsylvania: Industrial Air Pollution, Public Health Policy and the Politics of Expertise, 1948-1949”), Lynne Page Snyder of the University of Pennsylvania, described the response to the disaster.

The following excerpts were published in the Spring 1994 issue of the Environmental History Review.

“Pollution from the Donora Zinc Works smelting operation and other sources containing sulfur, carbon monoxide and heavy metal dusts, was trapped by weather conditions in the narrow river valley in and around Donora and neighboring Webster.

“Air pollution problems were recognized from the facility as early as 1918, when the plant owner paid off the legal claims for causing pollution that affected the health of nearby residents.

“In the 1920s, residents and farmers in Webster took legal action again against the company for loss of crops and livestock. Regular sampling of the air was begun in 1926 and stopped in 1935.”

From local accounts of the time, Snyder provided this description of the 1948 disaster. “By Friday evening (October 2), local residents were crowding into nearby hospitals and dozens of calls were made to the area’s eight physicians. While Fire Department volunteers administered oxygen to those unable to breathe, Board of Health member Dr. William Rongaus led an ambulance by foot through darkened streets to ferry the dead and dying to hospitals or on to a temporary morgue.

“On Rongaus’ advice, those with chronic heart or respiratory ailments began to leave town late Friday evening, but before noon on Saturday, 11 people died. “Conditions had not improved by Saturday night, and with roads congested by smog and traffic, evacuation became impossible. The company operating the Donora Zinc Works finally ordered the plant shut down at 6 a.m. Sunday morning. By mid-day Sunday, rain had dispersed the smog.

“Pittsburgh itself escaped the episode primarily because it had just begun to enforce a smoke control ordinance and was cutting back on the use of bituminous coal as a fuel source. The Donora Smog gained national attention when Walter Winchell broadcast news of the disaster on his national radio show.

“The Pennsylvania Department of Health, United Steelworkers, Donora’s Borough Council and the US Public Health Service all participated in the investigation of the air pollution incident. The investigation was the first time there was an organized effort to document the health impacts of air pollution in the United States. Commenting on the studies of the incident, the Monessen Daily Independent wrote that damage from air pollution from the Zinc Works was ‘something no scientific investigation is necessary to prove. All you need is a pair of reasonably good eyes.’

“Before the Donora smog, neither manufacturers nor public health professionals considered air pollution an urgent issue. At the annual meeting of the Smoke Prevention Association in May 1949, a leading industrial physician and consultant to insurance companies dismissed air pollution as a threat, except ‘on rare occasions [when] Mother Nature has played us false.”

“The studies of the Donora Smog did not fix blame and could not document levels of pollution beyond workplace limits set at the time. The Public Health Service recommended a warning system tied to weather forecasts and an air sampling system be installed to avoid future incidents. The lessons learned at Donora resulted in the passage of the 1955 Clean Air Act and began modern air pollution control efforts in the Commonwealth.

Snyder learned that US Steel had conducted an air analysis on the final night of the smog. But despite her numerous requests for the Donora records, Snyder recalls, US Steel officials finally informed her that they didn’t “have anything for me.”

Equally frustrating to Snyder was the missing PHS records. At the time, Donora was the largest environmental investigation the government agency ever had mounted. “The kinds of papers I would expect to find are the correspondence files, the original and carbon copies of responses sent out, typed-up site visits, typed-up telephone conversations, maps, rough drafts of reports, photos,” Snyder explained. But all these records have vanished.

“You have to suspect the worst. Not only of US Steel, but of the Public Health Service,” Snyder says. Now herself a PHS historian, she concludes of the Donora records, “Someone may have decided they were too hot to handle and got rid of them. I’m open to that prospect.”

Transcripts of Philip Sadtler’s historic full interview are available from Earth Island Journal.


Chris Bryson is a New York-based investigative reporter and co-author with Joel Griffiths of Fluoride and the A-Bomb (Winter 97-98 EIJ) http://www.trufax.org/fluoride/bomb.html. This report was compiled with research assistance by Ellie Rudolph.


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Cyberactivists unblock Wikileaks for Thai Netizens!


Aug 20, 11:09 PM EDT

BANGKOK (AP) — A group of anonymous Internet activists has set up a website to display information about Thailand that comes from the whistle-blower site Wikileaks, which is blocked to some viewers in the Southeast Asian country.

The group calling itself “Wikicong” said Friday it set up the thaileaks.info site as “a tool to break the censorship” – an apparent reference to alleged efforts by the Thai government to block access to the material, which includes a private video of the country’s Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn.

Some access to the main Wikileaks site has been blocked in Thailand since at least late June. It has been accessible, however, using some variants of the domain name, and through some local Internet service providers.

Wikileaks drew worldwide publicity in late July when it posted a huge trove of secret U.S. military documents about the war in Afghanistan.

Aree Jiyorarak, director of the Computer Crime Office of Thailand’s Ministry of Information and Communication Technology, told The Associated Press that Wikileaks is not blocked by his office, but may not be accessible because of a technical glitch.

“I know some people said that the website is blocked, but it’s only a server problem,” he said. “I can access Wikileaks from my office. I can assure you that the website is not blocked.”

Aree said about 1,300 websites were now blocked, mostly because they stream or have links to videos of political gatherings in Thailand. Other estimates put the number of blocked sites in the tens of thousands.

Thousands of anti-government demonstrators besieged the Thai capital for two months before a military crackdown scattered them in May. The street clashes between so-called Red Shirt protesters and government forces killed 91 people and injured more than 1,400, and Thai authorities have been wary about further unrest.

The most sensitive material about Thailand on the Wikileaks site is the video of the crown prince, heir apparent to 82-year-old King Bhumibol Adulyadej, having dinner with the woman who later became his wife. The video had been widely circulated inside Thailand, which has a strict lese majeste law that mandates a jail term of up to 15 years for anyone who “defames, insults, or threatens” the royal family.

In a “Message to the Government of Thailand” posted on its website, Wikicong dared Thai authorities to block the Wikileaks data. “We don’t worry much because there are hundreds, maybe thousands, of internauts ready to make that information reach its true destination: the people of Thailand,” it said.

Contacted by e-mail, Wikicong said it began setting up the alternate site Wednesday, shortly after a widely circulated news report said Wikileaks had been shut down in Thailand. It said it has “no official ties” to Wikileaks.

“Wikicong is defending freedom of information everywhere, and right now we experience that Wikileaks is the target of several states and organizations who wish to stop them. We have stepped up in defense of their work,” the group said.

Web censorship has occurred for years in Thailand. Reporters Without Borders says more than 50,000 websites or individual pages have been blocked. The pace of censorship picked up after a 2006 coup deposed then-Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, setting off the sharp political battle between his Red Shirt supporters and government backers.

A Computer Crime Act enacted in 2007 by an interim military-installed regime bars the circulation of material deemed detrimental to national security, or that causes public panic.

A state of emergency was declared after the recent protests, allowing the military to apply censorship without normal legal restraints. Satellite TV broadcasts and print publications were targeted, in addition to websites viewed as supporting the Red Shirts.

“In this instability, censorship might make sense to some people, but there’s the risk of increasing opposition and dissent,” said media activist Supinya Klangnarong. “If Wikileaks is blocked, then next could be YouTube and Facebook. Then Thailand would be known for being the enemy of the Internet.”

Online:

http://thaileaks.info/

Wikicong message to the Thai government:

http://interfax.werebuild.eu/2010/08/19/a-message-to-the-government-of-thailand/

via KFAQ 1170 – Tulsa’s Conservative Talk Radio Station!.

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They won’t build it! Hardhats vow not to work on controversial mosque near Ground Zero


A growing number of New York construction workers are vowing not to work on the mosque planned near Ground Zero.

“It’s a very touchy thing because they want to do this on sacred ground,” said Dave Kaiser, 38, a blaster who is working to rebuild the World Trade Center site.

“I wouldn’t work there, especially after I found out about what the imam said about U.S. policy being responsible for 9/11,” Kaiser said.

The grass-roots movement is gaining momentum on the Internet. One construction worker created the “Hard Hat Pledge” on his blog and asked others to vow not to work on the project if it stays on Park Place.

“Thousands of people are signing up from all over the country,” said creator Andy Sullivan, a construction worker from Brooklyn. “People who sell glass, steel, lumber, insurance. They are all refusing to do work if they build there.”

“Hopefully, this will be a tool to get them to move it,” he said. “I got a problem with this ostentatious building looming over Ground Zero.”

A planned 13-story community center and mosque two blocks from Ground Zero, Park51 has exploded into a national debate.

Louis Coletti, president of the Building Trades Employers’ Association, said unions have not yet taken a “formal position” on Park51, but he understands why members would be hesitant to work there.

“It’s a very difficult dilemma for the contractors and the organized labor force because we are experiencing such high levels of unemployment,” he said. “Yet at the same time, this is a very sacred sight to the union guys.”

“There were construction workers killed on 9/11 and many more who got horribly sick cleaning up Ground Zero,” Coletti said. “It’s very emotional.”

L.V. Spina, a Manhattan construction worker who created anti-mosque stickers that some workers are slapping on their hardhats, said he would “rather pick cans and bottles out of trash cans” than build the Islamic center near Ground Zero.

“But if they moved it somewhere else, we would put up a prime building for these people,” he said. “Hell, you could do it next to my house in Rockaway Beach, I would be fine with it. But I’m not fine with it where blood has been spilled.”

Spina, who sells 9/11 apparel on his website, said he’s printed thousands of stickers and plans to produce thousands more.

“They’re going all over the country,” he said. “They got pretty popular fast.”

Popularity aside, there are some construction workers choosing not to set themselves against the project.

“Hundreds of guys here are wearing stickers as a sign of protest, but I’m on the fence about it,” said Frank Langan, 50, a site superintendent from Queens working at Ground Zero.

“It’s a tough debate,” he said. “I sympathize with workers’ position, but at the same time, you can’t single out all Muslims because of a small number of terrorists.”

continue reading

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The End of Privacy: Entire City to Track People With Public Eye Scanners


Imagine a public eye scanner that can identify 50 people per minute, in motion. Now imagine that the government install these scanner systems all across an entire city. Or don’t imagine it, because it’s already happening, right now.
We are being watched!

The City of Leon, Mexico, is doing exactly that, installing real time iris scanners from biometrics R&D firm Global Rainmakers Inc. These scanners don’t require people to stop and put their eyes in front of a camera. They work in real time, as people walk, like this:  continue here

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– Obama’s Fundraising Spree Costs Taxpayers $2M, Analyst Estimates


By the fruit, the tree is known!
Obama is the most “irresponsible” and “hypocrite” POTUS ever!  Somebody, please crown him!
Dishonoring The People of The United States is his preferred modus operandi!
Double crossing The People of The United States is his mastery!
Those responsible for acting on behalf of The Constitution and “We The People” are not doing their job, that includes Congress and the Supreme Court  members!  Who will hold them responsible?

President Obama’sfundraising spree across the country to help his party retain power isn’t just reaping millions of dollars for Democratic candidates — it’s also said to be costing taxpayers millions of dollars.

And it’s leaving a massive carbon footprint, too.

One analyst estimated Obama’s five-state, three-day tour cost taxpayers about $2 million.

On top of that, the carbon footprint, or pollution generated by the travel, probably matched “something of a size-32 shoe,” said Pete Sepp of the National Taxpayers Union, a group that promotes smaller government and fewer taxes.

Obama began his cross-country dash on Monday, taking his GOP-bashing message to Wisconsin and Los Angeles. On Tuesday he went to Seattle, and on Wednesday to Miami for a total of nine fundraising events.

Taken together, it’s an 8,000-mile, fossil fuel-burning odyssey that, by pairing official events each day with political ones, allows him to bill taxpayers for most of the cost of the trip — a tradition that long predates the current president.

“Whenever a president travels, the tab can run up for taxpayers,” Sepp told FoxNews.com.

The White House did not respond to an e-mail seeking information

Travel rules developed under the Reagan administration state that the Air Force pays all costs for the use of the aircraft on such trips, but that the government must be reimbursed for airfare, food, lodging and other expenses incurred during whatever portion of the trip is political.

Reimbursement for political activities involves a tricky formula, however, and actual reimbursements typically come nowhere close to compensating the government for the cost of such trips.

Secret Service costs, for one, are always footed by the government.

Based on the president’s haul along the campaign trail, the investment paid off. An estimate for fundraising at Monday’s event for Wisconsin gubernatorial candidate Tom Barrett and the state Democratic Party was $500,000. Lunch tickets cost $250 and getting a photo with the president could be had for a $10,000 donation.

“This is the largest event of its kind in Wisconsin campaign history,” said Phil Walzak,communications director for Barrett for Wisconsin.

In Los Angeles, Obama spoke at two glitzy fundraisers, including one that had been expected to raise $1 million for Democratic congressional candidates. In Seattle, an estimated $1.3 million was raised for Democrats, including Sen. Patty Murray, during two events.

Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland wouldn’t indicate how much was made during the president’s visit there, though tickets ranged from $100 to $2,000 for 580 people.

In Miami, Obama headlined a $700,000 fundraiser for Florida Democrats, where he repeated his attacks on Republicans.

As for the travel costs, Sepp offered what he said was a conservative estimate of $75,000 an hour to fly the president around in Air Force One. On top of that is likely another $25,000 for a back-up 757 airplane to serve as an alternate Air Force One and $8,000 for a cargo plane that carries the presidential limousine and other vehicles.

Sepp, who said the costs are only educated guesses based on information culled from newspaper, Congressional Research Service and Government Accountability Office reports,  calculated a cost of $1.45 million for the president being airborne for 14.5 hours — the combined time to cover each leg of the trip. He figured another half million dollars for Secret Service, another number he called a conservative estimate.

“I wish this stuff could be more precise, but, boy, none of this has been transparent,” Sepp said.

Leslie Paige, a spokeswoman at Citizens Against Government Waste, said she wouldn’t venture to guess the costs because none of the budget is on the record.

“We don’t have a sight line onto the way this is done,” she said. “That’s all we’re reduced to — some educated guess work.”

Paige noted that part of the reason the information is not made public relates to national security.

“We don’t want to compromise anyone’s safety, but I don’t know why there can’t be more transparency,” Paige said, adding that it’s not her decision to decide what’s an appropriate amount of travel for the president, but taxpayers can determine for themselves whether it is worth it.

As for the carbon footprint, Sepp said, “It has to figure in the minus column for any elected official who believes in carbon reduction.”

via FOXNews.com

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YouTube – Our Judeo-Christian Nation


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