Archive | May 4, 2017

Trump is About to Release His ‘Religious Freedom’ Order, and It’s Looking Awful*

Trump is About to Release His ‘Religious Freedom’ Order, and It’s Looking Awful*

By Elura Nanos

Well, tomorrow is the National Day of Prayer, and since America is now ostensibly “Great Again,” we can expect a Trumpian bastardization of the concept of religion. Word on the street is that the administration is planning to work its usual magic as it gears up to release a new executive order on religious liberty.  Before we dive into the world of administration 45, let’s recap the tangled web of “religious liberty” laws.

The First Amendment guarantees religious freedom as a core American value:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

For a good long time, those words were interpreted to mean that the government can’t regulate what people are allowed to believe. Of course, the government can regulate how people behave, as long as it’s even-handed in that regulation. So, for example, bigamy can be prohibited, as long as the law applies to everybody and isn’t specifically targeted at Mormons with sister wives. This system makes good sense, because otherwise, any criminal could defend his or her behaviour by simply saying the commission of the crime was essential to some religious practice.

Fast-forward to the 1960s. Post-Civil Rights Movement, the legal interpretation of “religious freedom” widened. SCOTUS issued some rulings that permitted people to break laws when those laws directly interfered with religious practices. Seventh-Day Adventists, for example, were exempted from working on their Sabbath, and Amish families didn’t have to send their kids to high school. Of course, anyone familiar with slippery slopes was concerned that this whole “let’s be sure to respect people’s religious practices” thing might get out of hand (spoiler alert, we’ve now gotten totally out of hand).

By 1990, though, courts had tightened up considerably on the meaning of “religious freedom.” Justice Scalia, for example (who, by the way, was a devoutly religious man) sided with a ruling that Native Americans had to follow the same laws the rest of us do, even when that meant they couldn’t use peyote during their religious ceremonies. The fear that other religious practices would be similarly at risk instigated both federal and state religious freedom laws, known as “RFRA” laws.

Federal RFRA has had complex legal challenges, most of which involve the central question, “is this an actual religious practice that the government should be respecting, or is this some sort of nonsense argument to help someone break the law?” The results have been mixed. The Tax Court called bullshit on the Quaker lady claiming that paying federal income taxes violated her religion. But SCOTUS said that Florida is going to have to allow people to practice Santeria, animal sacrifices and all.

Somehow, though, the entire idea of “religious freedom” has been turned inside-out during the last decade. Now, the phrase “free exercise of religion” isn’t about Native Americans in ancient ceremonies, but about faux-Christian bigots prying into people’s bedrooms in the name of Jesus. By the summer of 2014, we hit an all-time low with the Hobby Lobby case, the logic of which made the Quaker tax-evader look totally reasonable. The winners in Hobby Lobby prevailed in their quest to allow a private business to exempt itself from the Affordable Care Act’s mandate that businesses provide contraception to their employees. Apparently, allowing other people to exercise their freedoms was enough to interfere with the “religious freedom” of Hobby Lobby — which, by the way, is a business, and not a person. Don’t even ask how a business could have religious beliefs.

The Hobby Lobby case rolled out the red carpet for those looking to discriminate and call it “religion.” Indiana, North Carolina, Mississippi and others have passed their own state RFRA laws, many of which specifically allowed (read, “encouraged”) discrimination against LGBT people. Our lovely Vice President lead the charge over in Indiana, a move which pleased some conservatives, but caused serious damage by way of boycotts for the state as a whole.

It is against this landscape that Donald Trump took office, building a presidency on the backs of the social conservatives who seemed not to notice Trump’s relatively recent enlisting into their ranks. Back in February of this year, a leaked copy of a draft executive order titled “Establishing a Government-Wide Initiative to Respect Religious Freedom,” was published by The Nation. And it was bad. Really bad.  The draft order defined “religious organizations” so broadly that it covered literally “any organization, including closely held for-profit corporations.” And it protected “religious freedom” for everything from providing social services, education, or healthcare, to employment to receiving government grants, and even the amorphous “otherwise participating in the marketplace, the public square, or interfacing with Federal, State or local governments.”

The draft order fully allowed people and organizations to exempt themselves from anti-discrimination laws if they claimed religious or moral objections to same-sex marriage, premarital sex, abortion, and trans identity. Oh, and of course, it interfered with women’s access to contraception and abortion.

Then (and here are words I never thought I’d write), thank God for Ivanka. Rumour has it that she and Jared Kushner breezed into the Oval Office and suggested it might be a better idea for President Trump to lay off the whole legalize-homophobia thing. And as it turned out, Trump seems to have listened. But our reprieve from institutionalized bigotry and misogyny is likely to be short-lived. Any day now, 45 is expected to hand down a new version of the executive order on religious freedom. Vice President Mike Pence and his team have been hard at work drafting an order that will please both Ivanka and social conservatives. In other words, one that’ll tell the world that it’s open season on LGBT and women’s rights while sounding as innocuous as a recipe for peach cobbler. Bless their hearts.

If Trump’s new executive order is actually as bad as it is in my imagination, it’s going to be far more detrimental than any order he’s signed so far. Unlike the immigration orders, which directed federal agencies to discriminate, a religious freedom order could allow everyone to do so. By creating blanket protection for such discrimination, the order could set back the clock on LGBT progress by decades. Legalizing discrimination in this nature not only hurts women, LGBT people, and those who love them—but also hurts religion itself. When the idea of religious freedom is conflated with discrimination and bigotry, true believers are harmed almost as badly as the subjects of the discrimination themselves. Doing business with, providing healthcare for, and generally coexisting with women and LGBT people is not part of practicing any legitimate religion. Mike Pence may worship at the altar of intolerance, but the rest of us should really know better. Let’s hope Ivanka drops by her dad’s desk before this one gets released.

Source*

Related Topics:

U.S. Opposed to Sovereignty of Muslim Nations*

U.S. Students form Protective Wall around Praying Muslim Classmates*

U.S. Methodist Church Divests from Israeli Banks*

U.S. Sued over $280bn Tax-deductible Aid Sent to Israel*

Christians Are Going To Be Banned From Holding Many Jobs in America*

Judge Orders Christian Clerk Freed from Jail*

How Many Muslim Countries Has the U.S. Bombed Or Occupied Since 1980?*

U.S. Bishops Find Iran has No Nuclear Proliferation*

Jury Convicts Former Congressional Candidate Robert Doggart for Plot to Attack Muslim Community*

Spirituality in the New World Order is a One World Religious Authority*

Church in California Bans HP Products*

School Forced to Allow ‘After-School Satan’ Club or Face Costly Lawsuits*

First U.S. Female Muslim Judge Found Dead in Hudson River*

Homeless Eat Free at Muslim-Owned Restaurant In Washington, D.C.

Standing Rock Sioux and Yakama Nation Sign Proclamation Calling upon the United States to revoke the “Doctrine of Christian Discovery”*

Our Founding Fathers included Islam*

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Russia, Iran, Turkey Reach Consensus on De-escalation Zones in Syria*

Russia, Iran, Turkey Reach Consensus on De-escalation Zones in Syria*

Russian media reported that Moscow, Tehran and Ankara have reached an agreement on setting up de-escalation zones in Syria.

“The countries acting as guarantors of the Syrian ceasefire have reached a consensus on some memorandum provisions,” a source was quoted as saying by TASS news agency on Thursday.
“The work on the document is nearing completion.”

According to the report, the document will be signed by the plenary meeting later in the day.
The Syrian government supported the decision to set up zones to ease tensions and reiterated its commitment to the ceasefire.
According to the source, the next meeting on Syria in the Astana format can be held in a month’s time, in early June.
At the new round of Syria peace talks in Astana, Russia has proposed the establishment of four de-escalation zones in the war-ravaged country. The plan aims to break the years-long deadlock over separating extremist groups from the moderate opposition.

“As you know, the Russian Federation is making intensive efforts to promote the Syrian peace settlement and is developing various schemes to strengthen the ceasefire agreement and make this agreement more effective,” Russia’s special presidential envoy for Syria, Aleksandr Lavrentiev, said at a press briefing summarizing the first day of the peace talks in Astana.
“We believe that [the creation of de-escalation zones in Syria] can really help to move along the long-standing problem of separating the moderate Syrian opposition from terrorist organizations, primarily the Islamic State [IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL] and Jabhat al-Nusra [the al-Nusra Front], and will help significantly reduce the level of armed confrontation between the Syrian armed opposition and government forces,” Lavrentiev said.

He lamented that the efforts undertaken by the former U.S. administration for the last one and a half years to separate the so-called moderate opposition from the ISIL and al-Nusra terrorists have brought no fruit.

Source*

Related Topics:

Syria, and Why Your Patriotism is Misguided*

German Soldier ‘posed as Syrian Asylum-seeker to Carry out Terror Attack and Blame it on Refugees’*

Trump Authorizes the Pentagon to Manage Troops on the Ground in Iraq and Syria*

Israeli Warplanes Missile Attack on Syrian Army in Quneitra*

Eyewitnesses on Recent Massacre in Rashidin, Syria*

Goldman Sachs Financial Tricks to Prop Up “The Economy is Great!” Claim, Fund Syrian War*

Desperate Cabal Use UFO to Attack Caught Over Syria, Countless Structures Destroyed*

New Studies Confirm Syrian Building Struck by U.S. Drones was a Mosque*

Libellous Attack by Mainstream Journalists Angered by SWEDHR Denounce of Unethical anti-Syria Propaganda*

Trump Wastes over $94mn in Taxpayer’s Money on Ineffective Syrian Airstrikes*

Israeli Submarine Set-up for Syrian Gas Attacks*

Chicago Protest: #HandsOffSyria!

Inside Syria Life Goes on*

Rothschild Demands Western Nations Invade Syria*

Vaccine Producer Merck’s President Led Secret Biowarfare Program, Influencing Experiments on Americans*

Vaccine Producer Merck’s President Led Secret Biowarfare Program, Influencing Experiments on Americans*

By Cassius Methyl

Merck & Co. is the world’s largest vaccine manufacturing corporation, and is one of the largest pharma companies in the world. They created such things as the MMR vaccine, and the HPV vaccine Gardasil.

As a corporation that has affected the lives of almost everyone around us in the Western world, with most people receiving their vaccinations that are known to do damage, we should know their history.

In this article, we will examine Merck’s connection to biological warfare, and the implications of that connection.

Merck & Co. is not to be confused with the German “Merck KGaA,” but they both originate from the original German Merck.

Merck was founded in 1668, in Germany.

By 1887, a U.S. division of Merck called Merck & Co. was set up in New York by George Merck. George Merck moved to NY in 1891.

In April 1917, as the U.S. entered the Great War (WWI), the government announced the seizure of corporations affiliated with Germany.

Merck & Co. was seized, but George Merck and partners founded a “McKenna Corporation” to bid on Merck as it was put up for auction, and they managed to buy Merck back in 1919, fully separating from the other Merck in Germany (as far as we know).

From that point, Merck made efforts to stay boldly on the side of the American war effort, and perhaps that influenced their involvement with the US’ biological warfare program during the peak of World War II.

In 1925, the same year Nazi chemical monopoly IG Farben was created, George Merck passed his company onto his son, George W. Merck.

George W. Merck grew up in a privileged position, using the workshop of Thomas Edison as a child and inheriting his position as the president of the company.

He would become Merck’s president for 25 years, all throughout World War II: and he was given a central leadership position in the U.S.’ biological warfare program during the same years he led Merck, retiring from the company years after his alleged retirement from biowarfare.

It was George W. Merck who led biological warfare work as the head of the War Research Service, the department in charge of Ft. Detrick, while still being president of Merck. According to Wikipedia:

“During World War II, he led the War Research Service, which initiated the U.S. biological weapons program with Frank Olson.”

According to MIT Press:

“By midsummer, three candidates had rejected an offer to head the new group: economist Walter W. Stewart, who chaired the Rockefeller Foundation, geographer Isaiah Bowman, president of Johns Hopkins University, and economist Edmund Ezra Day, president of Cornell University. Finally, in August, chemist George W. Merck, president of the pharmaceutical firm Merck & Co., accepted the position.

The innocuously named War Research Service (WRS) started out in mid-1942 with an initial allocation of $200,000. Wide contacts with major biologists and physicians enabled the eight member directorate to initiate secret work in about 28 American universities, including Harvard University, Columbia University, the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, Ohio State University, the University of Notre Dame, the University of Wisconsin, Stanford University, and the University of California. “

To read George W. Merck’s report to the Secretary of War in 1945, click here.

This history perfectly illustrates what “the system” is, and how it extends into all the major universities.

He was later given several awards, and was put on the cover of the August 18, 1952 edition of Time Magazine, while the public was unaware he was ever involved with biological warfare, let alone his setting the foundation for experiments on Americans.

Ft. Detrick is one of the most well known biological warfare centers in US history: it’s the place where the plan to spray bacteria over San Francisco in the 1950’s and 60’s under Operation Sea Spray was conceived, shortly after Merck left. After Merck’s departure from the War Research Service, Ft. Detrick became a central factor in experiments on US citizens.

It was the place where paperclipped Nazi scientist Kurt Blome advised biological warfare experts on how to experiment on US citizens. Blome had previously experimented on his victims with Bubonic Plague.

It was where Frank Olson worked, the man who was almost certainly assassinated for starting to question the morality of his work with biowarfare, and with MK Ultra. According to Center for Research on Globalization:

“On 28 November 1953, at 2 am, a man crashed through a closed window and fell to his death from the 10th floor of the Statler Hotel in New York City. He was identified as Frank Olson, a bacteriologist with the US Army Research Center at Fort Detrick, Maryland. He had fallen from a room he shared with another scientist, Robert Lashbrook. It was ruled a suicide.

Twenty-two years later, in 1975, William Colby, then CIA director, declassified documents that changed the complexion of the case. It was revealed that Olson had actually been an undercover CIA operative at Fort Detrick, and that one week prior to his death, he had been drinking Cointreau at a high-level meeting with scientists at Deep Creek Lodge in rural Maryland. The Cointreau was laced with a large dose of LSD administered by his CIA boss, Sidney Gottlieb. He was then sent to New York with Lashbrook, also with the CIA, to see a psychiatrist because the LSD had induced a psychosis.

It was also revealed that Olson had been part of the top secret CIA program that was known as Project MK-ULTRA, exploring the use of chemicals and drugs for purposes of mind control, and bacteriological agents for covert assassination. Olson had been working on ways to deliver anthrax in aerosol form, for use as a weapon. New evidence that came to light, through the persistent efforts of Olson’s son Eric, made the suicide ruling highly suspect.”

Fort Detrick was a secret centre of plans to poison and destroy what this compartmentalized power structure said was “the enemy.” To understand what other enemy they may have had in mind, we need to understand the academic culture of that era.

With the persistent obsession with eugenics that thrived so much among the wealthy classes in that day, what if “the enemy” was the common people of a nation? What if the enemy were the poor whites, African Americans, alleged “criminals” and dissidents who the prominent academics of early 20th Century America plotted to wage war against through coercive sterilization?

The academic institutions that aided the biowarfare effort, such as Harvard and Stanford, were involved with eugenics and coercive sterilization for decades precisely leading up to the moment biowarfare work begun. They only stopped advocating for eugenics openly when they got a bad rap from the Nazis.

To further illustrate this academic class, a man involved with the creation of “chemotherapy” out of mustard gas was a racist who could be found alongside eugenicists, receiving Rockefeller funding: Dr. Cornelius Rhoads. He was also involved in biowarfare. According to What Really Happened:

“1931: The Puerto Rican Cancer Experiment was undertaken by Dr. Cornelius Rhoads. Under the auspices of the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Investigations, Rhoads purposely infected his subjects with cancer cells. Thirteen of the subjects died. When the experiment was uncovered, and in spite of Rhoads’ written opinions that the Puerto Rican population should be completely eradicated, Rhoads went on to establish the U.S. Army Biological Warfare facilities in Maryland, Utah, and Panama. He later was named to the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission and was at the heart of the recently revealed radiation experiments on prisoners, hospital patients, and soldiers (these are covered in the ACHE report. http://www.seas.gwu.edu/nsarchive/radiation/)”

And for more perspective about the 1940’s culture of academia, also from What Really Happened:

“1940’s: In a crash program to develop new drugs to fight Malaria during World War II, doctors in the Chicago area infected nearly 400 prisoners with the disease. Although the Chicago inmates were given general information that they were helping with the war effort, they were not provided adequate information in accordance with the later standards set by the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal. Nazi doctors on trial at Nuremberg cited the Chicago studies as precedents to defend their own behaviour in aiding the German war effort.”

That’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the history of biological warfare: is it really implausible to suggest these people were trying to wage war on the people they didn’t like at home?

Through solid anecdotal evidence we can follow the trail and see that these experiments may have been toward an agenda of eugenics, sterilization, population control justified under the guise of some Nazi or Russian threat.

Another anecdotal observation to go along with this theory is that the bacteria sprayed on San Francisco, Serratia Marcescens, is actually thought to cause infertility, as suggested in papers as late as 2017.

Could it be that they sprayed San Francisco to master the use of bacteria that causes infertility?

In conclusion:

This is just the entrance to an entire field of research with so much pertinent info to where we are at today.

With more research, this could lead to strong anecdotal evidence that Merck & Co. used pharmaceutical treatments developed shortly after WWII such as the Polio vaccine against Americans, as bioweapons.

After all, Eli Lilly/Merck’s Polio vaccine (that came a few years after the biowarfare activity) was mysteriously contaminated with the cancer causing virus SV40, which they claimed had accidentally been derived from the Rhesus monkey kidney cells used to prepare the vaccine. We know associated academics had purposefully given people cancer multiple times in the past.

Many people who understand Merck’s Gardasil vaccine for HPV is utterly destroying the lives of thousands of paralyzed, injured, and killed young girls and boys suspect one thing: they suspect Merck is part of an agenda to damage people on purpose, in this same vein of population control we saw in the old age of Merck.

So a question to ask is: could Merck today be complicit with an agenda to poison people? Either deliberate or not, they are undeniably injuring and killing thousands of people, as you can find in VAERS vaccine injury reports or anywhere else you search.

Source*

Related Topics:

Hitler Never Gassed His Own People; but the U.S. Did*

CIA Mind Control: The Philadelphia Experiment on Americans

Former Merck Rep Says Mandatory Vaccination Is For Profit and Not Public Health*

Teenager Dies Five Days after HPV Vaccination*

Pentagon Admits 60,000 Black Soldiers Used in Human Experiment*

Bayer and U.S. Govt. Knowingly Gave HIV to Thousands of Children*

U.K. Cops Can Now Remotely Disable Phones Even If No Crime Has Been Committed*

U.K. Cops Can Now Remotely Disable Phones Even If No Crime Has Been Committed*

By Joseph Cox

The power relates to phones suspected of being used for drug dealing, but in some cases, a phone can be disabled even if no offense has taken place.

U.K. police have quietly acquired a new power. Last Friday, the Digital Economy Act became law, much of which focuses around restricting access to online pornography, and what sort of sexual acts can legally be included in porn.

But with the legislation’s passing, law enforcement agencies can remotely disable or restrict a mobile phone if it is suspected of being used for drug dealing or related to it, and in some cases regardless of whether a crime has actually been committed, according to legal commentators.

“The ‘drug dealing telecoms restriction order’ contained within Section 80 of the Digital Economy Act 2017 is an entirely unprecedented and potentially draconian power allowing police to prevent the use of phones or other communications devices,” Myles Jackman, legal director for activist organisation Open Rights Group, told Motherboard in an email.

As for how this would likely work in practice, a police officer ranked superintendent or higher, or the Director General or Deputy Director General at the National Crime Agency, would apply for a court order that would then be presented to a communications provider—a telco company—ordering it to restrict the specified device or phone number.

Judging by recently published amendments, some of these orders could last indefinitely, and they seemingly could also be used against people who have not committed a crime, or who are not drug dealers themselves. Orders can apply if the user is “facilitating the commission by the user or another person of a drug dealing offense,” or “conduct of the user that is likely to facilitate the commission by the user or another person of a drug dealing offence (whether or not an offence is committed).”

A section of the legislation dealing with restricting drug dealers’ phones.

 

Jackman added, “It is hard to argue that this pre-crime intrusion into individual liberty is necessary and proportionate when it can be authorised ‘whether or not an offence is committed’.”

A spokesperson for the National Crime Agency confirmed the agency could use this new power. The Metropolitan Police directed requests for comment to the Home Office, which only provided background information not directly related to the power.

Source*

Related Topics:

U.K. Police Begin 24-Hour Drone Surveillance of Population*

U.K. Police Given the Go-ahead to Fire at Will*

U.K. Police Will be able to View Your Entire Internet History’*

U.K. Police Target Schoolchildren as Young as 4 with Tax Payer Funded, Transgender Propaganda*

Police Chief Confirms Fmr U.K. Prime Minister Raped Dozens of Children and Govt ‘Covered it Up’*

Mobile Phone and Computer Searches by Police Becoming Normal in U.K.*

U.K. Tory Election Fraud Inquiry Extended as 19 Police Forces Probe 28 MPs*

U.K. Bill Hands vast Surveillance Powers to Police and Intelligence Agencies*

Outrage as U.K.School Calls Police after Pupil Looks at Ukip Website in Class*

Police Accountability App Launches in U.K.*

Police Hold Children at Gunpoint in Muslim House Raid*

Supreme Court Rules States Cannot Steal Money from the Innocent*

Supreme Court Rules States Cannot Steal Money from the Innocent*

 

By Jack Burns

Colorado, like most states, forces convicted criminals to pay court costs, fees, and restitution after they’ve been found guilty. But the question arises,

“What happens when someone who’s been found guilty, has paid their dues, and then has their convictions overturned on appeal?

Do they get their money back?”

Not in many states, like Colorado. But all of that has changed after a landmark ruling from the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS).

The state not stealing money from innocent people sounds like common sense, right? Well, unfortunately, in the land of the free, it was necessary for SCOTUS to step in and tell the greedy state that they do not have a right to steal people’s money.

According to Forbes, “defendants, Shannon Nelson and Louis Madden, were convicted for sexual offenses and ordered to pay thousands of dollars in court costs, fees and restitution. Between her conviction and later acquittal, the state withheld $702 from Nelson’s inmate account, while Madden paid Colorado $1,977 after his conviction. When their convictions were overturned, Nelson and Madden demanded their money back.”

Colorado refused, even after the plaintiffs won in a state-level appellate court. The state, instead, insisted that if they wanted their money back, they’d have to file a claim under the Exoneration Act, forcing the defendants to once again prove their innocence to retrieve their funds. The plaintiffs appealed all the way to the Supreme Court, who sided with the citizens in a 7-1 ruling, declaring Colorado’s law unconstitutional.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote the majority opinion for the court declaring

“the Exoneration Act’s scheme does not comport with the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of due process.”

Ginsburg wrote that Nelson and Madden are “entitled to be presumed innocent” and “should not be saddled with any proof burden” to reclaim what is already theirs. In other words, they shouldn’t have to demonstrate they’re not criminals after the court has already made such a determination. According to Forbes:

Ginsburg forcefully rejected Colorado’s argument that “[t]he presumption of innocence applies only at criminal trials,” and not to civil claims, as under the Exoneration Act:  “Colorado may not presume a person, adjudged guilty of no crime, nonetheless guilty enough for monetary exactions.”

The decision, on its surface, may not seem like much but holds promise for putting an end to the much criticized practice of local law enforcement agencies around the country who engage in civil asset forfeiture.

The Free Thought Project has worked diligently to highlight such fiscally abusive practices taking place all around the country. Take for instance rapper Blac Youngsta’s recent run-in with the law back in January.

He was detained by Atlanta police withdrawing $200,000 cash from his bank account. He’d planned to take the money and buy his favorite sports car but police were notified and Youngsta was detained as being a possible bank robbery suspect.

Youngsta and his entourage were apprehended while police pointed their weapons at them. The so-called authorities then put everyone in handcuffs, confiscated their personal weapons, and took half of the rapper’s $200,000 withdrawal saying he could get it back after it was processed as evidence at police headquarters.

In essence, the police seized his money and forced the rapper to reclaim his own funds after proving he was entitled to it. They robbed him. The police shakedown made international news and smacked in the face of common sense, as many were left scratching their heads and asking how police could get away with doing what common street thugs often do, take other people’s money.

Matt Agorist with TFTP reported, from 1998 to 2010, more than 12 billion dollars was raked in from law enforcement at all levels of government. This translated into the government taking away 600 million more dollars than all the robberies and thefts during that same period, making authorities seem more crooked than the individuals they’re trying to arrest.

And the practice isn’t limited to local law enforcement either. As we previously reported, the “DEA seized more than $4 billion in cash from people since 2007, but $3.2 billion of the seizures were never connected to any criminal charges. That figure does not even include the seizure of cars and electronics.”

The Inspector General of the Justice Department concluded their practices constituted a threat to everyone’s civil liberties, and now, apparently, the SCOTUS agrees. Everyone is entitled to due process under the law and are likewise entitled to keeping their assets once they’re found not guilty in criminal court. It’s a good day to be an American. Maybe now law enforcement at all levels will stop such controversial practices.

Source*

Related Topics:

Tens of Thousands March Across U.S. Demanding Donald Trump Release His Tax Returns*

U.S. Keeps Stealing Iraq’s Oil*

Chinese Billionaire Says U.S. Wasted Trillions on Wars and Wall Street and Forgot about their Citizens*

U.S. Feds Takes Over Puerto Rico’s Finances*

Iran Files Complaint against Bankrupt U.S. Theft of Funds*

Strike Debt Victory for Corinthian Students*

U.S. Government Admits Social Security Going Bankrupt*

Americans Have $11.85 Trillion in Household Debt*

Federal Reserve Owes More Than $2 Trillion in US Debt*

Police Now Illegally Seize More Money than the Criminals*

Dear America: Better Read the Fine Print on Your Credit Card Statement*

Being Profiled for Economic Slavery*

Banksters are Buying Baltimore’s Debt, Hiking Interest then Taking Families’ Homes*

Debt-ocracy: Enslaving Entire Nations and Peoples*

 

Practical Steps to Empowering Ourselves against Moral Fatigue*

Practical Steps to Empowering Ourselves against Moral Fatigue*

By Fatima Muhammad

When the Panama papers broke, social justice activists rejoiced. They thought there would be a huge, sustained reaction, a real movement. Surely, people would be so outraged, that they would stand up for their rights! But they were wrong. There was little outcry. Instead, there was sarcasm, resignation, weariness, and cynicism. “Corrupt leaders are corrupt. So what?”, sums up the reaction.

Global violence and bloodshed triggers similar exercises in shoulder shrugging, and the reason is the same – we’ve given up. People feel they can’t make a real difference because they can’t physically stop the violence, or because, other than the occasional donation, they can’t stem the flow of misery coming out through the wounds on humanity. We feel powerless. We’ve accepted the script, and we’re fatigued. Clickbait that makes us chuckle is easier on our minds than being obliged to think about how we’re slowly losing our freedom, our rights to privacy, our natural resources, and our expectations of safety for people in other parts of the world.

This fatigue has more malignant an impact on our morality than the sum total of all the evils being brought to bear on us. It’s a kind of moral obesity – it makes you want to sit on the sofa and stuff your brain with junk food rather than roll your sleeves up and take the world on. Even worse – it makes you exhausted to the point that it becomes difficult to fight temptation. Here are some ways to tackle that fatigue, and keep our sense of outrage alive and pure…

  1. Don’t give up on people – give up on corrupt social structures

“People are corrupt.” “Don’t trust anyone.” “People from that background are always like that.” These are loser concepts.

Sure, always operate with caution, but know where the blame lies – at the doorstep of unusual circumstances. In extreme situations, ordinary people wind up dehumanising both themselves and others. To combat this, we should celebrate humanity on every level. It has become so easy to objectify and strip agency from real human beings.

Labels do no favours, instead they distract from the real issues. This is what people in power have always done: they demonise immigrants; people of other faiths; people of different skin colours, they know better than we do this kind of thinking is critical to keeping the power imbalance alive and well.

Rather than resigning ourselves to that way of thinking, we should be true revolutionaries and embrace everyone’s potential for goodness – and be properly outraged at injustice… not accept it as inevitable.

  1. It wasn’t always this way. It can get better again, but only if we see the value in ourselves and stop dismissing the things we do as “small.”

No era in history has been perfect, but matters have never deteriorated on a global level to the extent it has today.

Most crucial to having a vibrant, energetic resistance is to realise evil is temporary. Allah (SWT) says in Surah Bani Isra’il, verse 81,

surely falsehood is a vanishing (thing).”

We usually attribute this to the advent of the Mahdi, or to the Day of Judgement, but what we fail to realise is that in this verse Allah has given us a clue to the nature of evil – its time runs out eventually. Prod it with the truth, and it’ll curl up and die.

We can never embody the full power of Haq that is present in the Mahdi, but even our attempts to live the Truth in our daily lives on “minor” levels, will obliterate injustice on all levels. When Haq or Truth is brought out into the battlefield, injustice cannot remain.

This can’t happen if we don’t value ourselves and our moral decisions. If we truly value ourselves as individuals, as humans, as people who trust in a higher power, we must be convinced that every good action we do, no matter how small, will have that ripple effect.

  1. Understand the value of dismantling systems

When we campaign for women’s rights or the rights of minorities, it’s usually with the focus to grant them the same rights as everyone else. This overlooks a glaring problem – becoming just as good a prop as everyone else in the real problem – an inherently broken system. A system that will always find someone or the other to oppress.

Instead of realising that giving vulnerable groups a place at the table is only the first step towards true equality, we think that it’s the entirety of the struggle. We don’t explain to ourselves and to others how that table is just a bad table to be at in the long run. A table that will invite you to sit at it if you make enough noise, but then expects you to engage in the same oppressions as were inflicted upon you.

Inevitably when let down even after being part of the same structures we aspired to, we are afflicted with disappointment and weariness. It makes it feel as though injustice is inevitable.

It isn’t. We just need to build a better table.

  1. Don’t contribute towards glamourising power

We all remember those halcyon days when our only exposure to Trump was via “The Apprentice.” The show had a lot of followers and fans, and was in a similar vein to “American Idol” and other shows that were enamoured of the Simon Cowell habit of degrading and bullying others.

Today wherever you see glamour, it’s most often built on the backs of someone, somewhere being oppressed. Keep empowering those people and that mindset, and watch how quickly orange faced angry toddlers fill up the White House.

Part of our complacency in being oppressed is because we know we will always be, in some way, complicit in aiding those systems. Why? Because we can’t see ourselves distancing our hearts from ostentatious power. It’s the physical worldly companion of what we often hear will happen on the Day of Judgement – everyone will be raised with the people they love. This isn’t just a metaphysical scare tactic by some invisible man in the sky, it’s a permanent reminder that we sink or swim with the people we invest in emotionally. The more we adore those who oppress on one level or another, the less we will be moved to call out their injustices. On the contrary, seeing through this facade will keep us alert and less liable to give up on resistance.

  1. Don’t encourage fear

Society will always reward people who bow to fear. They lead trouble-free lives. Even within our communities, when we see domestic problems, we sometimes see people giving advice to submit to the situation rather than rock the boat. This mentality tries to teach us that if you submit to oppression you will be rewarded in other ways. The irony is, having absorbed this belief, victims often find justifications to become oppressors themselves later in life.

To such minds primed to accept and glorify hurtful behaviour at a household level, it is only to be expected that the higher up the ladder you go, the greater the scale of oppression. Resisting tyranny not only seems laughable – but even wrong. This leads to more complacency.

  1. Keep educating and being educated

Fatigue is only inevitable when the knowledge of problems isn’t translated into actionable solutions. The Prophet has a brilliant saying extremely relevant to social justice:

Whoever of you sees an evil must then change it with his hand. If he is not able to do so, then [he must change it ] with his tongue. And if he is not able to do so, then [he must change it] with his heart. And that is the slightest [effect of] faith.”

We have so many platforms today where we can talk out about injustice. There are so many specialised areas with an assortment of related issues that impact all of us, yet unless those from our community who are knowledgeable in those areas create a platform, or write or speak about those issues, we won’t even know. People who are educated in areas like technology, medicine, education, journalism and meteorology are more aware of critical issues in that particular realm that will impact the rest of world. They should blog, write, bring those issues to us in terms we can understand.

When we see injustice, when the “truth becomes alone and sad,” we’re encouraged to remember Imam Hussain ibn Ali. This isn’t simply an act of reverence, it’s a refresher on how if, in the climate of our own time, we see social injustice, then no matter how bad things get we are expected to have a response – and that it will ultimately have an impact.

We must remember resignation to the sadder facts of life is antithetical to real change. When we give up on the idea of a better world, evil digs its roots in deeper.

Source*

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World Bank Funds some of Africa’s most Notorious Land Grabs*

World Bank Funds some of Africa’s most Notorious Land Grabs*

The World Bank Group has indirectly financed some of Africa’s most notorious land grabs, according to a report by a group of international development watchdogs. The World Bank’s private-sector arm, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), is enabling and profiting from these projects by outsourcing its development funds to the financial sector.

The report, Unjust Enrichment: How the IFC Profits from Land Grabbing in Africa, was released today by Inclusive Development International, Bank Information Center, Accountability Counsel, Urgewald and the Oakland Institute.

“Pouring money into commercial banks that are driven only by profit motivations is not the way to foster sustainable development,” said Marc Ona Essangui, Executive Director of Brainforest and winner of the Goldman environmental prize in 2009.

“In Gabon, this development model has instead enabled a massive expansion of industrial palm oil, which threatens our food security and the ecological balance of Congo Basin’s ancient rainforests.”

“Tens of millions of hectares of land on the African continent have been grabbed by foreign investors in recent years. This has led to loss of life, land, and livelihoods for millions, and threatened the very survival of entire communities and indigenous groups,” commented Anuradha Mittal, Executive Director of the Oakland Institute.

“The World Bank must acknowledge that this is not development. It is not poverty reduction. These are investments for corporate profits that exploit and displace people.”

The report is based on a yearlong investigation conducted by Inclusive Development International, which found that IFC-supported commercial banks and private equity funds have financed projects across the world that have forcibly displaced hundreds of thousands of people and caused widespread deforestation and environmental damage.  In Africa, the investigation uncovered 11 projects backed by IFC clients that have transferred approximately 700,000 hectares of land to foreign investors.

The projects include agribusiness concessions in the Gambela region of Ethiopia that were cleared of their indigenous inhabitants during a massive forcible population transfer campaign in the area; oil palm plantations in Gabon that have destroyed 19,000 hectares of rainforest and infringed on the customary land rights of local communities; and a gold mine in Guinea that led to the violent forced eviction of 380 families.

“These projects are antithetical to the World Bank’s mission of fighting poverty through sustainable development,” said David Pred, Managing Director of Inclusive Development International.

“They also make a mockery of the IFC’s social and environmental Performance Standards, which are supposed to be the rules of the road for the private sector activities that the IFC’s intermediaries support.”

The report is the fourth of the investigative series Outsourcing Development: Lifting the Veil on the World Bank’s Lending Through Financial Intermediaries, which follows the trail of IFC money and examines at how it impacts communities around the world.

The Congo Basin is home to the second largest rain forest on earth

Inclusive Development International’s yearlong investigation uncovered 134 harmful or risky projects financed by 29 IFC financial-sector clients. These projects are found in 28 countries and on every continent except Antarctica. A database of the findings can be found here.

In response to the concerns raised in the Outsourcing Development investigation and by the IFC’s Compliance Advisor Ombudsman, IFC Executive Vice President Philippe Le Houérou recently acknowledged the need for the World Bank Group member to re-examine its work with financial institutions.  In a blog post from April 10, Le Houérou wrote that the IFC would make “some important additional improvements to the way we work,” by scaling back the IFC’s high-risk investments in financial institutions, increasing its oversight of financial intermediary clients and bringing more transparency to these investments, among other commitments.

The IFC has also exited investments in banks highlighted by the Outsourcing Development investigation, including ICICI and Kotak Mahindra in India and BDO Unibank in the Philippines.

“We welcome the IFC’s new commitments to encourage a more responsible banking system by increasing its oversight and capacity building of financial sector-clients moving forward,” said Pred. “However, rather than simply divest, we want to see the IFC work with its clients to redress the serious harms that communities have suffered as a result of the irresponsible investments that we have brought to light.”

“IFC’s collusion in land-grabbing in Africa is deeply shocking, so its pledge to reduce high risk lending to banks is welcome, said Kate Geary, Forest Campaign Manager for Bank Information Centre Europe.

“But how can we be sure when there is no disclosure of where over 90% of IFC’s money invested through third parties ends up? The IFC’s financial sector clients must come clean about projects they are financing so they can be held accountable to their commitments to invest responsibly.”

Financial-sector lending represents a dramatic shift in how the IFC does business. After decades of lending directly to companies and projects, the World Bank Group member now provides the bulk of its funds to for-profit financial institutions, which invest the money as they see fit, with little apparent oversight. Between 2011 and 2015, the IFC provided $40 billion to financial intermediaries such as commercial banks and private equity funds. Other development finance institutions have followed suit.

Unjust Enrichment:  How the IFC Profits from Land Grabbing in Africa is available at:

https://www.oaklandinstitute.org/unjust-enrichment-ifc-profits-land-grab…

The Outsourcing Development series is available at: http://www.inclusivedevelopment.net/outsourcing-development

A database of IFC Financial Intermediary sub-Investments with serious social, environmental and human rights risks and impacts is available at:

https://goo.gl/UZ90PI

Source*

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