Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Rupert Murdoch May Be A Convenient Demon, But The Media Is A Junta

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Australia is the world's first murdochracy. US citizen Rupert Murdoch controls 70 percent of the metropolitan press. He has monopolies in state capitals and provincial centers. The only national newspaper is his. He is a dominant force online and in pay-TV and publishing. Known fearfully as "Rupert," he is the Chief Mate.

But Murdoch's dominance is not as it is often presented. Although he is now one of the West's accredited demons, thanks to his phone-hackers, he is but part of a media system that will not change when his empire is broken up. The political extremism that is the concentration of the world's wealth in few hands and the accelerating impoverishment of the majority will ensure this. A Melbourne journalist, Paul Chadwick, one of the few to rebel against Murdoch, described the media climate as "akin to a small group of generals who sit above the main institutions ... a junta in all but name."

Consider the junta's rise. In the United States, at the end of the Second World War, 80 percent of newspapers were independently owned. By 1987, most were controlled by 15 corporations, of which six dominate today. Their ideological message is a mantra. They promote global and domestic economic piracy and the cult of "perpetual war." This is currently served by a supposedly "liberal" US president who pursues whistleblowers, dispatches drones and selects targets from his personal "kill list" of alleged terrorists every Tuesday. In Britain, where the propaganda of big capital also dominates, the historic convergence of the two main political parties is rarely news. Tony Blair, a conspirator in the greatest crime of this century, is promoted as "a wasted talent." In all these agendas, notably the promotion of war, the Murdoch press often plays a supporting role to the reputable BBC. The Leveson Inquiry, a legal investigation into journalism ethics in the UK, has shown not the slightest interest in this.

In Australia, there is the Order of Mates. A struggle for the mantle of chief mate is currently under way. From out of a vast Aladdin's Cave of mineral wealth comes Gina Rinehart, said to be the richest woman in the world. The daughter of the late iron ore billionaire Lang Hancock, Rinehart and her fellow mining oligarchs all but got rid of Labor prime minister Kevin Rudd in 2010 when he proposed a modest tax on their huge profits. Rinehart believes Australia's media is basically communist, especially the Fairfax group of which she has now acquired almost a fifth of the stock.

Fairfax publishes The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, and this week announced the sacking of 1,900 employees, including senior editors. The papers are to be shrunk in size. Such a "bloodbath," it is said, will deny Australia the last of its supposedly "independent press." In fact, like the Murdoch press, both titles have long been the voice of deeply conservative colonial and bourgeois power in a country whose rapacious past, inequities and racism are routinely suppressed, along with any sustained critique of a glorified militarism that has made Australia, in effect, a US mercenary.

"Give me tits, tots and pistol shots," declared long-gone Sydney newspaper proprietor Ezra Norton. Although Norton's guidelines remain intact today, the "independent" press prefers a set menu of fre-market journalism: personality politics and its skulduggery; shopping; the joys of private education; the vagaries of real estate; and war patriotism. There are honorable exceptions, of course, but going against the media/political cronyism requires not only courage but a publisher.

As in Britain and the United States, the most insidious power is public relations. Leading Australian journalists travel to countries such as Israel on sponsored freebies. The day Fairfax announced it was sacking a fifth of its workforce, an executive of a PR firm whose accounts include McDonald's wrote, "I believe these evolutions will result in improved PR campaigns, with stories running across multiple platforms ... Great news for our clients." Described as "insensitive" and "harsh," her honesty had touched upon the transformation of Western societies by the "invisible" power of PR and lobbying. In 2003, Fairfax senior executive Mark Scott, said, "Smart clever people are not the answer. What you want are people who can execute your strategy and Fairfax's strategy to create editorial to support maximizing revenues from display advertising." Rupert or Gina could not have put it better.

The Paraguayan Coup

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The so-called constitutional coup that ousted Paraguay’s elected President Fernando Lugo on June 22 is another indication of the mounting class tensions that are gripping Latin America and the world as a whole, making democratic forms of rule under capitalism ever more unsustainable.

There is every reason to believe that the hurried impeachment of Lugo—forced through both houses of the Paraguayan parliament in barely 30 hours after he was charged by the two traditional parties of the country’s ruling oligarchy—was carried out with the indispensable complicity of US imperialism.

A former Catholic cleric and proponent of Liberation Theology, Lugo was elected in 2008, promising to combat corruption and promote “socially responsible capitalism.”

Without any party of his own, he came into office on the back of a coalition that joined a combination of left-nationalist groups, peasant and indigenous associations with the Liberal Party, a right-wing instrument of the Paraguayan oligarchy, which had been tolerated as a tame opposition under the 35-year dictatorship of Alfredo Stroessner. It was Lugo’s vice president, Liberal Party leader Fernando Franco, who donned the presidential sash after supporting the impeachment of his former running mate.

Committed to the defense of private property and with all the real levers of power remaining in the hands of the Liberals and Stroessner’s Colorados, who ruled the country for six decades before the 2008 election, Lugo was able to carry out little in the way of reforms, while he adapted himself continuously to Paraguayan reaction.

Nonetheless, the ruling oligarchy as well as the transnational agricultural interests found his presidency intolerable, fearing that it was generating false expectations among the masses of Paraguayan workers and oppressed. In particular there was concern that masses of landless peasants, receiving nothing in the way of genuine agrarian reform from the government, would take matters into their own hands. In a country where 2 percent of the population controls more than 75 percent of the land, and where much of this land was expropriated from its owners and handed out to favored Colorado politicians under the Stroessner dictatorship, there is ample reason for such fear.

The principal pretext for the impeachment was a massacre unleashed by Paraguayan security forces as they attempted to evict some 100 peasant farmers occupying the land of a wealthy former Stroessner-era Colorado politician. Eleven peasants and six policemen were killed, while scores more were wounded and arrested. The right-wing parties in the Paraguayan Congress blamed Lugo not for gunning down peasants, but for failing to carry out more thorough repression.

The parallels between the June 2012 coup in Paraguay and the June 2009 coup that toppled the elected president of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, are obvious. In both cases, the political representatives of oligarchical ruling classes threw out presidents who had postured as “lefts,” bitterly opposing even the paltriest reforms as intolerable infringements upon their wealth and power. And in both cases legal and constitutional statutes were twisted to serve wholly antidemocratic ends.

While in Zelaya’s case, troops stormed the presidential palace and hustled the pajama-clad president onto an aircraft that flew him into exile, such methods proved unnecessary in the case of Lugo, who meekly and publicly accepted his impeachment, only joining protests after the fact. In Paraguay as in Honduras, however, the real violence will undoubtedly unfold in the aftermath of the coup, directed against the country’s workers, peasants and students.

The social structures of the two countries also share much in common, with Paraguay the second poorest country in South America and Honduras the second poorest country in Central America and with social inequality driven to unprecedented levels, in large measure due to the penetration of transnational capital.

And both countries have been the focus of attention of the US military and intelligence apparatus, which shares intimate connections with its local counterparts. Security forces in both countries have been trained and advised by the Pentagon and would not support the overthrow of an existing government without its approval.

In Honduras, Washington has installed its largest military base in Latin America. And, in the period leading up to Lugo’s removal from office, US generals were reportedly involved in negotiations for securing a strategic base with the same right-wing politicians who organized Lugo’s impeachment.

In August of last year, ABC Color, Paraguay’s main right-wing daily, reported that Deputy Jose Lopez Chavez, the head of the Commission on Defense of the lower house of the Paraguayan Congress, reported meeting with a group of US generals visiting the country to discuss the installation of an American base in Paraguay’s thinly populated Chaco region. Lopez Chavez is a leader of a dissident faction of the Colorado Party headed by former coup leader and retired general Lino Oviedo and one of the organizers of the parliamentary coup.

While Lugo had sought to placate Washington and allowed US special forces troops into the country to train Paraguayan troops in “counter-terrorism” tactics and “advanced military operations in urban terrain,” he balked at a large-scale exercise proposed by the Pentagon for 2010. A secret US embassy cable released by WikiLeaks reports that embassy officials had sought to “vigorously engage” government ministers and Paraguayan military commanders to force acceptance of the operation, known as “New Horizon.” The cable accused Lugo of getting “cold feet” and of seeking to curry favor with Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez in order to get a better deal on oil imports.

Other secret cables dating back to 2009 released by WikiLeaks carry titles such as “Paraguayan pols plot parliamentary putsch” and “Lugo impeachment rumors are back.” They indicate that the US embassy was intimately familiar with—and undoubtedly secretly involved in—the conspiracies being hatched by the Paraguayan right.

The Paraguayan coup, following the coup in Honduras and the expanding US involvement in the “drug war” in Mexico and Central America, is another indication that with American capitalism confronting powerful economic rivals in China and Europe, the Obama administration is turning ever more openly to counterrevolutionary conspiracies and military force in the drive to reassert US hegemony in Latin America.

The events in both Paraguay and Honduras have proven once again that working people in Latin America cannot defeat imperialist intervention and the oppression by native ruling classes outside of the independent political mobilization of the working class. In both countries, counterrevolutionary operations were facilitated by the political subordination of the workers, peasants and oppressed to capitalist politicians—Lugo and Zelaya—who were in turn under the thumb of right-wing bourgeois parties.

The most decisive lesson of the so-called parliamentary coups in these two countries is the necessity of constructing new revolutionary parties of the working class, independent of all sections of the bourgeoisie.

Death Of The Birds And The Bees Across America

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Birds and bees are something most of us take for granted as part of nature. The expression “teaching about the birds and the bees” to explain the process of human reproduction to young people is not an accidental expression. Bees and birds contribute to the essence of life on our planet. A study by the US Department of Agriculture estimated that “…perhaps one-third of our total diet is dependent, directly or indirectly, upon insect-pollinated plants.”1

The honey bee, Apis mellifera, is the most important pollinator of agricultural crops. Honey bees pollinate over 70 out of 100 crops that in turn provide 90% of the world's food. They pollinate most fruits and vegetables--including apples, oranges, strawberries, onions and carrots.2 But while managed honey bee populations have increased over the last 50 years, bee colony populations have decreased significantly in many European and North American nations. Simultaneously, crops that are dependent on insects for pollination have increased. The phenomenon has received the curious designation of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), implying it could be caused by any number of factors. Serious recent scientific studies however point to a major cause: use of new highly toxic systemic pesticides in agriculture since about 2004.

If governments in the EU, USA and other countries fail to impose a total ban on certain chemical insecticides, not only could bees become a thing of the past. The human species could face staggering new challenges merely to survive. The immediate threat comes from the widespread proliferation of commercial insecticides containing the highly-toxic chemical with the improbable name, neonicotinoids. Neonicotinoids are a group of insecticides chemically similar to nicotine. They act on the central nervous system of insects. But also on bees and small song birds. Recent evidence suggests they could also affect human brain development in newborn.

Some five to six years back, reports began to circulate from around the world, especially out of the United States, and then increasingly from around the EU, especially in the UK, that entire bee colonies were disappearing. Since 2004 over a million beehives have died across the United States and beekeepers in 25 states report what is called Colony Collapse Disorder. In winter of 2009 an estimated one fifth of bee hives in the UK were lost, double the natural rate.3 Government authorities claimed it was a mystery.

And in the USA a fact sheet from the Environmenrtal Protection Agency (EPA) on Bayer AG’s Clothianidin, a widely used neonicotinoid, warned:

“Available data indicate that clothianidin on corn and canola should result in minimal acute toxic risk to birds. However, assessments show that exposure to treated seeds through ingestion may result in chronic toxic risk to non-endangered and endangered small birds (e.g., songbirds) and acute/chronic toxicity risk to non-endangered and endangered mammals.”4

Alarming UK results

A private UK research organization, Buglife and the Soil Association, undertook tests to try to determine cause of the bee death. They found that the decline was caused in part by a group of pesticides called neonicotinoids.5 Neonicotinoids are “systemic” chemicals that kill insects by getting into the cell of the plant. In Britain it’s widely used for crops like oilseed rape and for production of potted plants.

The neonicotinoids are found in the UK in products including Chinook, used on oilseed rape and Bayer UK 720, used in the production of potted plants which then ends up in gardens and homes around the country. The new study examined in detail the most comprehensive array of peer-reviewed research into possible long-term effects of neonicotinoid use. Their conclusion was that neonicotinoid pesticides damage the health and life cycle of bees over the long term by affecting the nervous system. The report noted, “Neonicotinoids may be a significant factor contributing to current bee declines and could also contribute to declines in other non-target invertebrate species."6 The organization called for a total ban on pesticides containing any neonicotinoids.

The president of the UK Soil Association, Peter Melchett, told the press that pesticides were causing a continued decline in pollinating insects, risking a multimillion pound farming industry. “The UK is notorious for taking the most relaxed approach to pesticide safety in the EU; Buglife’s report shows that this puts at risk pollination services vital for UK agriculture,” he said. 7

Indeed in March 2012 Sir Robert Watson, Chief Scientist at the British Government’s Department of Environment announced that his government was reconsidering its allowance of neonicotinoid use in the UK. Watson told a British newspaper, “We will absolutely look at the University of Stirling work, the French work, and the American work that came out a couple of months ago. We must look at this in real detail to see whether or not the current British position is correct or is incorrect. I want this all reassessed, very, very carefully."8 To date no policy change has ensued however. Given the seriousness of the scientific studies and of the claims of danger, a prudent policy would have been to provisionally suspend further uise of neonicotinoids pending further research. No such luck.

EPA Corruption

In the United States the government agency responsible for approving or banning chemicals deemed dangerous to the environment is the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In 2003, over the clear warnings of its own scientists, the EPA licensed a neonicotinoid called Clothianidin, patented by the German Bayer AG together with a Japanese company, Takeda. It is sold under the brand name Poncho. It was immediately used on over 88 million acres of US corn in the 2004 crop and since that time, the shocking death of more than one million beehives across the corn prairies of the Midwest has been reported. 9

The political appointees at EPA at the time allowed Bayer to receive a license for Poncho despite the official judgment of EPA scientists that Clothianidin was “highly toxic to bees by contact and oral exposure” and that is was “highly mobile in soil and groundwater - very likely to migrate into streams, ponds and other fields, where it would be absorbed by wildflowers” - and go on to kill more bees and non-target insects like butterflies and bumblebees. The warning, from a leaked EPA memo dated September 28, 2005 summarizes the Environmental Fate and Effects Division’s Environmental Risk Assessment for Clothianidin, which it said “will remain toxic to bees for days after a spray application. In honey bees, the effects of this toxic exposure may include lethal and/or sub-lethal effects in the larvae and reproductive effects to the queen.”10

The EPA scientists judged it to be many times more toxic than Bayer’s other nicotinoid, Imidacloprid, sold under the brand name Gaucho, which itself is "7,000 times more toxic to bees than DDT.”11 DDT was banned in the USA in 1972 after numerous studies proved its toxic effects on both animals and humans.

Then in January of this year another US Government agency, the US Department of Agriculture, published a significant new report from scientists under the direction of Jeffrey Pettis of the USDA Bee Research Laboratory. The study, published in the German scientific journal, Naturwissenschaften, was explosive.

The Pettis study concluded after careful control experiments with bees exposed and not exposed to neonicotinoids clearly demonstrated that there was “an interaction between sub-lethal exposure to imidacloprid (Bayer’s Gaucho—w.e.) at the colony level and the spore production in individual bees of honey bee gut parasite Nosema.” Moreover, the study went on, “Our results suggest that the current methods used to evaluate the potential negative effect of pesticides are inadequate. This is not the first study to note a complex and unexpected interaction between low pesticide exposure and pathogen loads…We suggest new pesticide testing standards be devised that incorporate increased pathogen susceptibility into the test protocols. Lastly, we believe that subtle interactions between pesticides and pathogens, such as demonstrated here, could be a major contributor to increased mortality of honey bee colonies worldwide.”12

Renowned Dutch toxicologist, Dr. Henk Tennekes reported that, unlike claims from Bayer and other neonicotinoid manufacturers, bees living near maize fields sprayed with the toxic pesticides are exposed to the neonicotinoids throughout the entire growing season, and the toxin is cumulative. Tennekes noted, “Bees are exposed to these compounds and several other agricultural pesticides in several ways throughout the foraging period. During spring, extremely high levels of clothianidin and thiamethoxam were found in planter exhaust material produced during the planting of treated maize seed. We also found neonicotinoids in the soil of each field we sampled, including unplanted fields.” 13

Effect on Human Brain?

But most alarming of all is the evidence that exposure to neonicotinides hahs horrific possible effects on humans as well as on birds and bees.

Professor Henk Tennekes describes the effects:

"Today the major illnesses confronting children in the United States include a number of psychosocial and behavioral conditions. Neurodevelopmental disorders, including learning disabilities, dyslexia, mental retardation, attention deficit disorder, and autism – occurrence is more prevalent than previously thought, affecting 5 percent to 10 percent of the 4 million children born in the United States annually. Beyond childhood, incidence rates of chronic neurodegenerative diseases of adult life such as Parkinson’s disease and dementia have increased markedly. These trends raise the possibility that exposures in early life act as triggers of later illness, perhaps by reducing the numbers of cells in essential regions of the brain to below the level needed to maintain function in the face of advancing age. Prenatal and childhood exposures to pesticides have emerged as a significant risk factor explaining impacts on brain structure and health that can increase the risk of neurological disease later in life."14

There is also growing evidence suggesting persistent exposure to plants sprayed with neonicotinoids could be responsible for damage to the human brain, including the recent sharp rise in incidents of autism in children.

Tennekes, referring to recent studies of the effects of various exposures of neonicotinoids to rats, noted,

Accumulating evidence suggests that chronic exposure to nicotine causes many adverse effects on the normal development of a child. Perinatal exposure to nicotine is a known risk factor for sudden infant death syndrome, low-birth-weight infants, and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Therefore, the neonicotinoids may adversely affect human health, especially the developing brain.”15

Referring to studies recently published in the magazine, Science, Brian Moench noted:

The brain of insects is the intended target of these insecticides. They disrupt the bees homing behavior and their ability to return to the hive, kind of like “bee autism.” But insects are different than humans, right? Human and insect nerve cells share the same basic biologic infrastructure. Chemicals that interrupt electrical impulses in insect nerves will do the same to humans. But humans are much bigger than insects and the doses to humans are miniscule, right?

During critical first trimester development a human is no bigger than an insect so there is every reason to believe that pesticides could wreak havoc with the developing brain of a human embryo. But human embryos aren’t out in corn fields being sprayed with insecticides, are they? A recent study showed that every human tested had the world’s best-selling pesticide, Roundup, detectable in their urine at concentrations between five and twenty times the level considered safe for drinking water.16

The most alarming part of the neonicotinoid story is that governments and the EU to date are content to take little or no precautionary steps to stop even suspected contamination from neonicotinoids pending through long-term tests that would determine finally if they are as dangerous as considerable and growing scientific evidence says.

Bayer AG and neonicotinoids

In early 2011 the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) published a report on bee mortalities around the world. Bayer neonicotinoids, Poncho and Gaucho, are listed there as a threat to numerous animals.

According to the UN report, "Systemic insecticides such as those used as seed coatings, which migrate from the roots through the entire plant, all the way to the flowers, can potentially cause toxic chronic exposure to non-target pollinators. Various studies revealed the high toxicity of chemicals such as Imidacloprid, Clothianidin, Thiamethoxam and associated ingredients for animals such as cats, fish, rats, rabbits, birds and earthworms. Laboratory studies have shown that such chemicals can cause losses of sense of direction, impair memory and brain metabolism, and cause mortality." 17

Yet Bayer AG shows no signs of voluntarily stopping production and distribution of its toxic neonicotinoids.

The German pharmaceutical giant counts among its historic achievements one it prefers today to forget-- the first synthesis of something it marketed as cough medicine in 1898 under the trade name, Heroin, taken from the “heroic” feeling it gave to Bayer workers on whom it was tested. 18 According to the German citizen watchdog group, Coalition against BAYER Dangers, Gaucho and Poncho have been among BAYER's top-selling pesticides: “In 2010, Gaucho sales were valued at US$ 820 million while Poncho sales were valued at US$ 260 million. Gaucho ranked first among BAYER's best-selling pesticide, while Poncho ranked seventh. It is striking that in the 2011 Annual Report no sales figures for Gaucho and Poncho are shown.”19

Ban in many EU Countries

Unlike the United States, several EU countries have banned use of neonicotinoids, refusing to accept test and safety reports from the chemical manufacturers as adequate. One case in point was in Germany where the Julius Kühn-Institut - Bundesforschungsinstitut für Kulturpflanzen (JKI) in Quedlinburg a state-run crop research institute, collected samples of dead honeybees and determined that clothianidin caused the deaths.

Bayer CropScience blamed defective seed corn batches. The company gave an unconvincing counter claim that the coating came off as the seeds were sown, which allowed unusually high amounts of toxic dust to spread to adjacent areas where bees collected pollen and nectar. The attorney for a coalition of groups filing the suit, Harro Schultze stated, "We're suspecting that Bayer submitted flawed studies to play down the risks of pesticide residues in treated plants. Bayer's ... management has to be called to account, since the risks ... have now been known for more than 10 years."20

Significantly, in Bayer’s home country, Germany, the German government has banned Bayer’s neonicotinoids since 2009. France and Italy have imposed similar bans. In Italy, the government found that with the ban, bee populations returned in number, leading to an upholding of the ban despite strong chemical industry pressure.21

Despite the alarming evidence of links between neonicotinoids and bee colony collapse disorder, as well as possible impacts on human foetal cells and brains, the reaction so far in the European Union Commission has been scandalously slow. Brussels has been so weak in responding that the Office of EU Ombudsman has initiated an investigation into why. European Union Ombudsman Nikiforos Diamandou said he had opened an investigation after a complaint from the Austrian Ombudsman Board, who said the European Commission had failed to take account of the new evidence on the role of neonicotinoids in bee mortality. "In its view, the Commission should take new scientific evidence into account and take appropriate measures, such as reviewing the authorisation of relevant substances," said a statement from the EU Ombudsman's office.

The ombudsman has asked the Commission to submit an opinion in the investigation by June 30, after which it will issue a report. Recommendations by the ombudsman are non-binding. The Commission in response has said it has asked the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) to carry out a full review of all neonicotinoid insecticides by April 30 and that it would take appropriate measures based on the findings.22

Giving EFSA final say on food safety for Europe’s consumers and insects is tantamount to asking the foxes to guard the hen house today. EFSA is heavily influenced by members with conflicts of interest and dubious ties to the same agribusiness interests represented by Bayer AG and other agriculture chemical multinationals.23

Bayer is one of six global companies tied to development of patented GMO seeds and related chemicals, controlling inputs into the entire food chain. As a tightly inter-linked group, Monsanto, Dow, BASF, Bayer, Syngenta and DuPont control the global seed, pesticide and agricultural biotechnology markets. This concentration of power over world agriculture is unprecedented. As one observer noted, it enables them to “control the agricultural research agenda; dictate trade agreements and agricultural policies; position their technologies as the ‘science-based’ solution to increase crop yields, feed the hungry and save the planet; escape democratic and regulatory controls; subvert competitive markets.” 24

Dutch toxicologist Tennekes and Alex Lu, associate professor of environmental exposure biology at Harvard’s Department of Environmental Health are among a growing number of scientists around the world calling for an immediate and global ban on the use of the new neonicotinoid pesticides.25 Professor Lu calls for a very simple test: "I would suggest removing all neonicotinoids from use globally for a period of five to six years. If the bee population is going back up during the after the ban, I think we will have the answer." That should be more than food for thought in Washington, Brussels and elsewhere.

Notes:

1 S.E. McGregor, Insect pollination of cultivated crop plants, 1976, USDA Agriculture. Handbook 496, p. 1

2 Coalition against BAYER Dangers (Germany), Countermotion to shareholder meeting: BAYER Pesticides causing bee decline, Press Release, April 11, 2012.

3Louise Gray, Beekeepers lose one fifth of hives, 24 August, 2009, The Telegraph, accessed in http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthnews/6069218/Beekeepers-lose-one-fifth-of-hives.html

4 Anon., Clothianidin a Neonicotinoid Pesticide Highly Toxic to Honeybees and other pollinators, March 20, 2007, accessed in http://www.theenvironmentalblog.org/2007/03/clothianidin-a-neonicotinoid-pesticide-highly-toxic-to-honeybees-and-other-pollinators/.

5 Ibid.

6 Ibid.

7 Ibid.

8 Michael McCarthy, Government to reconsider nerve agent pesticides, The Independent, 31 March 2012, accessed in http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/nature/government-to-reconsider-nerve-agent-pesticides-7604121.html

9 Henk Tennekes, They’ve turned the Environment into the Experiment and WE are all the experimental Subjects, January 19, 2011, accessed in http://www.boerenlandvogels.nl/en/content/they%E2%80%99ve-turned-environment-experiment-%E2%80%93-and-we-are-all-experimental-subjects.

10 Ibid.

11 Ibid.

12 Jeffrey S. Pettis, et al, Pesticide exposure in honey bees results in increased levels of the gut pathogen Nosema, Naturwissenschaften-The Science of Nature, 13 January, 2012, accessed in http://www.springerlink.com/content/p1027164r403288u/fulltext.html

13 Henk Tennekes, Honey Bees Living Near Maize Fields Are Exposed To Neonicotinoids Throughout The Growing Season, January 5, 2012, accessed in http://www.farmlandbirds.net/en/taxonomy/term/3.

14 Henk Tennekes, Prenatal exposures to pesticides may increase the risk of neurological disease later in life, March 20, 2012, accessed in http://www.farmlandbirds.net/en/content/prenatal-exposures-pesticides-may-increase-risk-neurological-disease-later-life

15 Henk Tennekes, The neonicotinoids may adversely affect human health, especially the developing brain, March 20, 2012, accessed in http://www.farmlandbirds.net/en/taxonomy/term/3.

16 Brian Moench, Autism and Disappearing Bees A Common Denominator?, April 2, 2012, Common Dreams, accessed in http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/04/02.

17 Coalition against BAYER Dangers (Germany), op cit.

18 Richard Askwith, How aspirin turned hero: A hundred years ago Heinrich Dreser made a fortune from the discovery of heroin and aspirin, Sunday Times, 13 September 1998, accessed in http://opioids.com/heroin/heroinhistory.html.

19 Coalition against BAYER Dangers (Germany), op cit.

20 ENS, German Coalition Sues Bayer Over Pesticide Honey Bee Deaths, August 25, 2008, accessed in http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/aug2008/2008-08-25-01.asp

21 Roberta Cruger, Nicotine Bees Population Restored With Neonicotinoids Ban, May 15, 2010, accessed in

http://www.treehugger.com/clean-technology/nicotine-bees-population-restored-with-neonicotinoids-ban.html.

22 Henk Tennekes, EU response to bee death pesticide link questioned, April 24, 2012, accessed in http://www.farmlandbirds.net/en/taxonomy/term/3.

23 Olivier Hoedeman, Corporate Europe Observatory, Open letter regarding conflicts of interest EFSA’s

Management board , Brussels, March 4, 2011, accessed in http://www.corporateeurope.org/sites/default/files/sites/default/files/files/openletter/EFSA%20management%20board%20conflicts%20of%20interest.pdf

24 Andrew Olsen, Chemical Cartel, Chemical Cartel, June 28, 2010; see also, F. William Engdahl, Saat der Zerstörung: Der Dunkele Seite von Genmanipulation.

25 Henk Tennekes, Imidacloprid and Colony Collapse Disorder - Scientists Call for Global Ban on Bee-Killing Pesticides, April 5, 2012, accessed in http://www.farmlandbirds.net/en/taxonomy/term/3.

Court Orders Twitter To Hand Over Occupy Wall Street Protester's Messages

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A New York court is ordering Twitter to hand over a host of user Tweets as they wage into uncharted legal waters while dealing with the arrest of an Occupy Wall Street protester.

Malcolm Harris was one of the 700 protestors arrested in October after taking over much of the Brooklyn Bridge during the high point in the financial inequality protests.

District attorneys petitioned the judge of the case to order the social media company to hand over Mr Harris' tweets for the days surrounding the arrest because they argue that the messages will show whether or not Mr Harris was willfully disregarding police orders at the time of his arrest.

Challenging the law: Malcolm Harris is charged with disorderly conduct as he was one of 700 people who reportedly stormed the Brooklyn Bridge in October

Challenging the law: Malcolm Harris is charged with disorderly conduct as he was one of 700 people who reportedly stormed the Brooklyn Bridge in October

He has been charged with disorderly conduct, and although that is merely a violation and not a criminal act, the case is breaking new ground when it comes to individual's privacy rights on Twitter.

The San Francisco-based tech company has fought consistently against the court's wishes in an effort to protect its users' content- a missive that is at the heart of the company's user policy agreement.

From the beginning, Twitter has argued that- as stated in their Terms of Service- the users themselves are the owners of their content and they retain the right to said content both once it is posted to the site and if it is ever deleted.

In Mr Harris' case, the district attorneys appear to believe that some of his Tweets were deleted and are no longer publicly displayed on his Twitter account, @BigMeanInternet.

Adding up: Over the course of this fall's Occupy Wall Street protests (pictured), more than a thousand people were arrested in New York City

Adding up: Over the course of this fall's Occupy Wall Street protests (pictured), more than a thousand people were arrested in New York City

The city's attorneys think that the deleted Tweets will show that he knew that the police ordered protestors onto the sidewalk yet he decided to ignore their plea.

'The Constitution gives you the right to post, but as numerous people have learned, there are still consequences for your public posts,' judge Matthew A. Sciarrino said in his written decision on Monday, echoing the argument made by the district attorney.

'What you give to the public belongs to the public. What you keep to yourself belongs only to you.'

The case has been going back-and-forth for many months, as Mr Harris tried to fight the subpoena himself in January, but was denied.

Then Twitter's corporate lawyers followed his lead in May and filed a motion that the court needed a search warrant to make any request for a user's contact information and Tweets.

The judge finally decided that Twitter has to legally turn over the selected Tweets in his decision today, leaving civil liberty experts concerned, Mr Harris' case on the docket, and Twitter 'disappointed'.

'Twitter’s terms of service have long made it absolutely clear that its users own their content,' a company spokesman said in a statement.

'We continue to have a steadfast commitment to our users and their rights.'

US Ramps Up Covert Operations Overseas: Report

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Data released by the British not-for-profit news organization, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, shows that the United States has ramped up its covert operations in Yemen, Pakistan, and Somalia, killing scores of civilians.


According to a recent analysis, published by the London-based organization on Monday, the CIA assassination drone attacks continue to claim the lives of Muslims in Pakistan, despite Islamabad’s repeated condemnation of such strikes against the Pakistani tribal areas.

Washington claims that its airstrikes target militants crossing the border with Afghanistan, but local sources say civilians have been the main victims of the attacks.

The UN has called the attacks against Pakistan “targeted killings that flout international law.”

Data also revealed that, from January to June 2012, between 140 and 176 people lost their lives in 18 confirmed US operations in Yemen.

The group’s findings indicated that US attacks in Yemen were the bloodiest in June - with strike rates and casualties at the highest ever recorded.

The bureau noted that the true extent of the US drone strikes in Somalia, where US covert operations have a much lower profile in comparison with the ones carried out in Yemen and Pakistan, remains unclear.

The US military also uses assassination drones in Afghanistan, Libya, and Iraq.

8 Ways America's Headed Back to the Robber Baron Era

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Over the past 40 years, corporations and politicians have rolled back many of the gains made by working and middle-class people over the previous century. We have the highest level of income inequality in 90 years, both private and public sector unions are under a concerted attack, and federal and state governments intend to cut deficits by slashing services to the poor.

We are recreating the Gilded Age, the period of the late 19th and early 20th centuries when corporations ruled this nation, buying politicians, using violence against unions, and engaging in open corruption. During the Gilded Age, many Americans lived in stark poverty, in crowded tenement housing, without safe workplaces, and lacked any safety net to help lift them out of hard times.

With Republicans more committed than ever to repealing every economic gain the working-class has achieved in the last century and the Democrats seemingly unable to resist, we need to understand the Gilded Age to see what conservatives are trying to do to this nation. Here are 8 ways our corporations, politicians and courts are trying to recreate the Gilded Age.

1. Unregulated Corporate Capitalism Creates Economic Collapse

In the late 19th century, corrupt railroad capitalists created the Panic of 1873 and Panic of 1893 through lying about their business activities, buying off politicians and siphoning off capital into their own pockets. Railroad corporations set up phony corporations that allowed them to embezzle money from the railroad into their bank accounts. When exposed, the entire economy collapsed as banks failed around the country. The Panic of 1893 lasted five years, created 25% unemployment, and was the worst economic crisis in American history before the Great Depression.

In the early 21st century, the poorly regulated financial industry plunged the nation into the longest economic downturn since the Depression. Like in the Gilded Age, none of the culprits have served a day in prison.

2. Union Busting

In the Gilded Age, business used the power of the state to crush labor unions. President Hayes called in the Army to break the Great Railroad Strike of 1877; President Cleveland did the same against the Pullman strikers in 1894.

Today’s corporations don’t have to use such blunt force to destroy unions, but like in the past, they convince the government to do their bidding. Whether it is holding up FAA renewal in order to make it harder for airline employees to unionize, Republican members of the National Labor Relations Board leaking material on cases to Republican insiders, or governors Scott Walker and John Kasich seeking to bust their states’ public sector unions, not since before the Great Depression has the government attacked unions with such force.

3. Income Inequality

Today, we have the highest levels of income inequality since the 1920s and the gap is widening to late 19th century levels with great speed. In those days, individuals like John D. Rockefeller had more money than the federal government, while the majority of Americans lived in squalor, poverty and disease.

In the Progressive Era, we started creating laws like the federal income tax, child labor laws and workers’ compensation to begin giving workers a fair share of the pie. For decades, labor fought to increase their share and by the 1970s, had turned much of the working class into the middle class. Today, that middle class is under attack by a new generation of plutocrats who wish to recreate the massive fortunes of the Gilded Age.

4. Open Purchase of Elections

In 1890, copper magnate William Clark paid Montana lawmakers $140,000 to elect him to the U.S. Senate. While most plutocrats did not share Clark’s interest in being politicians, they ensured their lackeys would serve in office, often by offering corporate stock to politicians. Disgusted by this corruption, America in the Progressive Era of the early 20th century created a number of reforms, including the 17th Amendment that created direct elections of senators, as well as a 1912 Montana state law limiting corporate expenditures in politics.

Beginning with the Citizens United decision and continuing with the recent overturning of that 1912 law, the Supreme Court has allowed corporations and wealthy plutocrats to buy elections openly once again.

5. Supreme Court Partisanship

In the Gilded Age, the Supreme Court interpreted laws not as to the intent of the lawmakers, but to promote business interests. It refused to enforce the 14th Amendment to stop segregation, but it did create the idea that a corporation was a person with rights. The Sherman Anti-Trust Act of 1890 was intended to moderate monopolies; the Supreme Court only enforced it against unions since organized labor “unfairly restrained trade.”

Today’s Supreme Court has resorted to this aggressively partisan stance. The Court is fine with the open flouting of the 4th Amendment, allowing strip searches of middle-school girls if they’re suspected to be carrying drugs, but creates a grotesque expansion of the 14th Amendment in the Citizens United decision. Meanwhile, Antonin Scalia just took the opportunity in a Supreme Court dissent to lambast his colleagues for striking down much of the Arizona anti-immigration law by approvingly citing 19th-century laws in the South that limited the movement of African Americans.

6. Violations of Civil Liberties

In the late 19th century, civil and military authorities looked down upon protesting citizens. Widespread violations of civil liberties took place when Americans protested for almost any reasons, whether it was labor unions, political gatherings in Washington, D.C., or African Americans organizing to protect themselves from white supremacists. Police shot strikers and thugs and mobs murdered organizers.

Today we are seeing a growing recreation of this society with no respect for civil liberties. The use of police violence against Occupy protesters, like the pepper-spraying of nonviolent activists at the University of California-Davis did spawn some outrage. But in the aftermath of the PATRIOT Act, the authorities have tremendous power to suppress protest and are not afraid to use it against peaceful citizens.

7. Voter Repression

The Gilded Age saw the rolling back of Reconstruction, with black people unable to vote in the South due to the grandfather clause, poll taxes, literacy tests, and threat of violence. Conservative extremists have chafed at black people voting ever since the civil rights movement ended segregation.

Today, voter ID laws and voter roll-purging seek to limit black voting again. Florida Governor Rick Scott hopes to purge enough black people from the voting rolls to swing the Sunshine State to Mitt Romney this fall, while a lawmaker in Pennsylvania openly said the Keystone State’s recently passed voter ID law would do the same. Even more shocking, the recently released Texas Republican Party platform has a plank calling for the repeal of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, passed in the wake of police beatings of civil rights protestors in Selma, Alabama.

8. Anti-Immigration Fervor

In the Gilded Age, Americans feared the millions of people coming from eastern and southern Europe, the Middle East and Asia to work in the nation’s growing economy. Fearing these immigrants would never assimilate, Americans looked to bar their entry. Beginning with the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882 and continuing through the Immigration Act of 1924, the country slowly closed its doors to the world’s tired and hungry.

Today’s immigrants face an increasingly militarized border, states like Arizona trying to usurp federal immigration policy, and increased numbers of deportations. Conservatives fear the changes Latinos could bring to the United States and talk about English-only laws and the evils of bilingual education. They also recognize the likelihood of Latinos voting for the Democratic Party in coming decades and thus use the same kind of voter repression strategies that target black voters.

The Gilded Age was a horrible time and I fear the nation slipping back into this hell of poverty, violence and hate. I believe that young people largely reject the extremist agenda that is hurtling us through a time machine to the bad old days of the 1890s, but they don’t have the power right now. Republicans know the demographics do not favor them and are trying to fix the game through voter suppression, packing the courts with extremists, and concentrating wealth and power so they can control politicians and the media.

During the Gilded Age, people throughout society began organizing for reform: labor unions, farmers, middle-class reformers. After 1900, this organizing paid off as government began passing reforms to alleviate the most extreme problems of the Gilded Age. Child labor laws, worker compensation for injuries at work, government regulation of the railroads, and the direct election of senators all took power away from corporations and put it back in the hands of the people. It wasn’t perfect, but it started the social reforms that created the American middle-class.

Like in the late 19th century, we need to take back our country from corporate control. We need to create well-paid jobs in the United States, revitalize the labor movement, and pass legislation to respect civil liberties, give undocumented immigrants legal status, and ensure that voting rights laws are enforced. Like our ancestors, we can fix these problems. First we need to recognize that the 1% has declared war upon the middle class and then we can start organizing to create the better tomorrow we crave.

It is difficult to believe the Texas Republican party platform was written in the 21st century.

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The Texas Republican party platform is a target rich environment for crazy. The word “repeal” is used thirty-one times … this document shows more of what they’re against than what they’re for frankly. To say their platform is “terrifying” is simply an accurate statement. Here’s just a taste:

Repeal the Voting Rights Act. Repeal the minimum wage. Repeal classes that focus on critical thinking skills (slightly walked back). Abstinence only education. Teaching based on God. Texas policy regarding Israel is “God’s biblical promise”. Pornography should be illegal. Go back to the gold standard. Eliminate Social Security. Doctors should be forced to inform women of how damaging abortion is to them (hint, hint). Welfare destroys families. Spend less on education.

I’m not making this up.

This is what John Harvey from Forbes has to say HERE:

While I am hardly in agreement with everything forwarded by the Democrats (and have taken aim at President Obama on a number of occasions, especially with respect to his desire to balance the federal budget), it is difficult to believe that what the Republicans put together during their convention in Fort Worth was even written in the 21st century. It is anything but pragmatic.

This is not to say that there are not portions of the Texas Republican Party Platform that are perfectly reasonable. There are. But, by and large, it reads as if it were written in another age and in ignorance of the social, economic, and scientific evidence of the past half century. Let there be no mistake about it: the Texas Republican Party Platform is terrifying. Were its recommendations implemented, the US would resemble a third-world country with a cheap, uneducated workforce and a massive gap between rich and poor. Unemployment would be rampant, growth stagnant, and answers few and far between thanks to the systematic repression of higher order and critical thinking. I don’t know what happened to the Republicans of fifty years ago, who were willing to discuss, reason, and compromise and who respected logic and reason, but they are sorely missed.

You can see the full Texas Republican Party Platform HERE; here are just some examples:

Remedies to Activist Judiciary – We call Congress and the President to use their constitutional powers to restrain activist judges. We urge Congress to adopt the Judicial Conduct Act of 2005 and remove judges who abuse their authority. Further, we urge Congress to withhold Supreme Court jurisdiction in cases involving abortion, religious freedom, and the Bill of Rights.

Unions – We support legislation requiring labor unions to obtain consent of the union member before that member’s dues can be used for political purposes. We strongly oppose card check.

Voter Registration – We support restoring integrity to the voter registration rolls and reducing voter fraud. We support repeal of all Motor Voter laws; re-registering voters every four years; requiring photo ID of all registrants; proof of residency and citizenship, along with voter registration application; retention of the 30-day registration deadline; and requiring that a list of certified deaths be provided to the election administrator in order that the names of deceased voters be removed from the list of registered voters.

Voter Rights Act – We urge that the Voter Rights Act of 1965 codified and updated in 1973 be repealed and not reauthorized.

Campaign Finance Reform – We urge immediate repeal of the McCain-Feingold Act.

Rights Versus Products — We oppose calling welfare and other income and product redistribution schemes “rights” or “entitlements”. We know that fundamental human rights are inherent to individuals and are granted by God and are protected by the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution. They are not products of others labor. Unalienable rights, such as life, liberty, pursuit of happiness, property rights, free speech, religious freedom, self-defense, etc. do not impose on others rights whereas income and product redistribution invariably do so.

Religious Symbols – We oppose any governmental action to restrict, prohibit, or remove public display of the Decalogue or other religious symbols.

Confederate Widows Plaque – We call for restoration of plaques honoring the Confederate Widow’s Pension Fund contribution that were illegally removed from the Texas Supreme Court building.

Family and Defense of Marriage ― We support the definition of marriage as a God-ordained, legal and moral commitment only between a natural man and a natural woman, which is the foundational unit of a healthy society, and we oppose the assault on marriage by judicial activists. We further call on Congress to pass and the state legislatures to ratify a marriage amendment declaring that marriage in the United States shall consist of and be recognized only as the union of a natural man and a natural woman. Neither the United States nor any state shall recognize or grant to any unmarried person the legal rights or status of a spouse. We oppose the recognition of and granting of benefits to people who represent themselves as domestic partners without being legally married.

Enforcement of the Defense of Marriage Act ― We support the enforcement of the State and Federal Defense of Marriage Act by state and federal officials respectively, and oppose creation, recognition and benefits for partnerships outside of marriage that are being provided by some political subdivisions.

Family Values ― We support the affirmation of traditional Judeo-Christian family values and oppose the continued assault on those values.

Homosexuality ― We affirm that the practice of homosexuality tears at the fabric of society and contributes to the breakdown of the family unit. Homosexual behavior is contrary to the fundamental, unchanging truths that have been ordained by God, recognized by our country’s founders, and shared by the majority of Texans. Homosexuality must not be presented as an acceptable “alternative” lifestyle, inpublic policy, nor should “family” be redefined to include homosexual “couples.” We believe there should be no granting of special legal entitlements or creation of special status for homosexual behavior, regardless of state of origin. Additionally, we oppose any criminal or civil penalties against those who oppose homosexuality out of faith, conviction or belief in traditional values.

Pornography ― We encourage the enforcement of laws regarding all forms of pornography, because pornography is detrimental to the fabric of society.

Right To Life – All innocent human life must be respected and safeguarded from fertilization to natural death; therefore, the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We affirm our support for a Human Life Amendment to the Constitution and to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protection applies to unborn children. We support the Life at Conception Act. hy is detrimental to the fabric of society.

Protection of Women’s Health – Because of the personal and social pain caused by abortions, we call for the protection of both women and their unborn children from pressure for unwanted abortions. We commend the Texas Legislature for the passage of the Woman’s Right to Know Act, a law requiring abortion providers, prior to an abortion, to provide women full knowledge of the physical and psychological risks of abortion, the characteristics of the unborn child, and abortion alternatives.

Morning After Pill – We oppose sale and use of the dangerous “Morning After Pill.”

UN Treaty on the Rights of the Child ― We unequivocally oppose the United States Senate’s ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Welfare Reform ― Welfare should offer a hand up to transition families and individuals through hard times and welfare reform should encourage partnerships with faith based institutions, community and business organizations to assist individuals in need. The current system encourages dependency on government and robs individuals and generations of healthy motivation and self-respect.

Social Security ― We support an immediate and orderly transition to a system of private pensions based on the concept of individual retirement accounts, and gradually phasing out the Social Security tax.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) ― We demand the immediate repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which we believe to be unconstitutional.

American Identity Patriotism and Loyalty – We believe the current teaching of a multicultural curriculum is divisive. We favor strengthening our common American identity and loyalty instead of political correctness that nurtures alienation among racial and ethnic groups. Students should pledge allegiance to the American and Texas flags daily to instill patriotism.

Controversial Theories – We support objective teaching and equal treatment of all sides of scientific theories. We believe theories such as life origins and environmental change should be taught as challengeable scientific theories subject to change as new data is produced. Teachers and students should be able to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of these theories openly and without fear of retribution or discrimination of any kind.

Early Childhood Development – We believe that parents are best suited to train their children in their early development and oppose mandatory pre-school and Kindergarten. We urge Congress to repeal government-sponsored programs that deal with early childhood development.

Knowledge-Based Education – We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.

Sex Education – We oppose any sex education other than abstinence until marriage.

U.S. Department of Education – Since education is not an enumerated power of the federal government, we believe the Department of Education (DOE) should be abolished.

State Militia – We support the establishment and maintenance of a volunteer Constitutional State Militia with assistance from County Sheriffs.

Safeguarding Our Religious Liberties – We affirm that the public acknowledgement of God is undeniable in our history and is vital to our freedom, prosperity and strength. We pledge our influence toward a return to the original intent of the First Amendment and toward dispelling the myth of separation of church and state. We urge the Legislature to increase the ability of faith-based institutions and other organizations to assist the needy and to reduce regulation of such organizations.

Equality of All Citizens – We deplore all discrimination. We also deplore forced sensitivity training and urge repeal of any mandate requiring it. We urge immediate repeal of the Hate Crimes Law.

Smart Meters – We oppose the mandated use of Smart Meters as well as the use of collected data to reduce freedoms of U.S. citizens.

Capital Punishment – Properly applied capital punishment is legitimate, is an effective deterrent, and should be swift and unencumbered.

Juvenile Justice – Juvenile justice reforms should continue, including private programs, “boot camps,” and trying juveniles as adults when appropriate.

Addictive Behaviors – We encourage state and federal governments to severely prosecute illegal dealers and manufacturers of addictive substances and pornography. We urge Congress to discourage import of such substances into our country. Faith based rehabilitation programs should be emphasized. We oppose legalization of illicit drugs. We support an effective abstinence-based educational program for children.

Then they actually wrote this … word for word:

We support the principles regarding the public economy as stated in the Republican Party Platform of 1932 to wit:

Resolution Regarding the Public Economy

Whereas, constructive plans for financial stabilization cannot be completely organized until our national, State and municipal governments not only balance their budgets but curtail their current expenses as well to a level which can be steadily and economically maintained for some years to come.

We urge prompt and drastic reduction of public expenditure and resistance to every appropriation not demonstrably necessary to the performance of government, national or local.

The Republican Party established and will continue to uphold the gold standard and will oppose any measure which will undermine the government’s credit or impair the integrity of our national currency. Relief by currency inflation is unsound in principle and dishonest in results. The dollar is impregnable in the marts of the world today and must remain so. An ailing body cannot be cured by quack remedies. This is no time to experiment upon the body politic or financial.

Then they continued:

Education Spending – Since data is clear that additional money does not translate into educational achievement, and higher education costs are out of control, we support reducing taxpayer funding to all levels of education institutions.

Federal Tax Reform – We recommend repeal of the Sixteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, with the goal of abolishing the I.R.S and replacing it with a national sales tax collected by the States.

Permanent Tax Cuts – We urge the income tax, capital gains tax, estate tax, and all other tax reductions be made permanent. The death tax is immoral and should be abolished forever.

Capital Gains Tax – We favor abolishing the capital gains tax.

Foreign Taxation – We strongly oppose the United Nations or any international group levying taxes on US citizens or governments.

Law of the Sea – Adopted by the UN in 1982, we still oppose the Law of the Sea Treaty.

Workers’ Compensation – We urge the Legislature to resist making Workers’ Compensation mandatory for all Texas employers.

Minimum Wage – We believe the Minimum Wage Law should be repealed.

Sound Money – Our founding fathers warned us of the dangers of allowing central bankers to control our currency because inflation equals taxation without representation. We support the return to the time tested precious metal standard for the U.S. dollar.

Sarbanes Oxley – We support the repeal of Sarbanes Oxley legislation.

Dodd Frank – We support the immediate repeal of Dodd Frank legislation.

United Nations – We support the withdrawal of the United States from the United Nations and the removal of U.N. headquarters from U.S. soil.

United Nations Agenda 21 -The Republican Party of Texas should expose all United Nations Agenda 21 treaty policies and its supporting organizations, agreements and contracts. We oppose implementation of the UN Agenda 21 Program which was adopted at the Earth Summit Conference in 1992 purporting to promote a comprehensive program of sustainable development projects, nationally, regionally and locally.

Birthright Citizenship – We call on the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial branches of the United States to clarify Section 1 of the 14th amendment to limit citizenship by birth to those born to a citizen of the United States with no exceptions.

Israel – In our diplomatic dealings with Israel, we encourage the continuation of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, but oppose pressuring Israel to make concessions it believes would jeopardize its security, including the trading of land for the recognition of its right to exist. We call on the U.S. to cease strong arming Israel through prior agreements with the understanding of delivering equipment to them to defend themselves in exchange for future diplomatic concessions, such as giving up land to the Palestinians on the West Bank. We support the continuation of non-recognition of terrorist nations and organizations. Our policy is based on God’s biblical promise to bless those who bless Israel and curse those who curse Israel and we further invite other nations and organizations to enjoy the benefits of that promise.