Monday, February 1, 2016

Police use Black Citizens for Target Practice

August 9, 2014—Ferguson, Missouri—Michael Brown—Eleven Bullets

After the Michael Brown shooting and subsequent protests F.B.I. Director James Comey asked his staff to tell him how many black people are shot and killed by the police every year:
I wanted to see trends. I wanted to see information. They couldn’t give it to me, and it wasn’t their fault. Demographic data regarding officer-involved shootings is not consistently reported to us through our Uniform Crime Reporting Program. Because reporting is voluntary, our data is incomplete and therefore, in the aggregate, unreliable.
The FBI may not have exact figures but the deaths that are known are horrifying. If black lives matter the number of shooting deaths would be recorded.

Since Mr. Brown's death Americans have became aware that police officers in varying scenarios are indiscriminately killing black citizens. They know this because of dash-cam videos, citizens' camera phones and media reporting. Regrettably even when videos show "no cause" shootings, grand juries are reluctant to charge law enforcement when officers testify that they believed their lives were in danger.

For instance Officer Darren Wilson, who shot and killed Michael Brown (no video tape) persuaded the Justice Department and the Ferguson Grand Jury that he killed Mr. Brown because he was afraid that Mr. Brown was going to kill him. If Officer Wilson's testimony is truthful then why did Mr. Brown fight with the officer through the patrol car window without use of a weapon? This question coupled with Mr. Brown's death belies Officer Wilson's telling.

While pursuing Mr. Brown on foot Officer Wilson fired his weapon repeatedly, emptying the chamber of eleven bullets. Most of the shots entered the upper torso, the fatal shot Mr. Brown's brain. It is obvious from the bullet strikes that Officer Wilson intended to kill Mr. Brown for there were no shots fired to wound the suspect. A leg shot would have brought the suspect to the ground. For a review of the grand jury proceedings please read The Thirteenth Juror by Nelda Holder.

Michael Brown isn't the only case of black target practice across the country. Policemen in many cities have killed black residents under gruesome circumstances. Here are some examples:

November 29, 2012—Cleveland, Ohio—Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams—140 Bullets

Police shoot and kill Timothy Russell and his car passenger Malissa Williams. The reason given for stopping Mr. Russell: The failure of the driver to use a turn signal. Because a nearby patrolman thought he heard a gunshot [it was the Russell car backfiring], 62 patrol cars went in hot pursuit. When the Russell car was stopped, 13 policemen fired almost 140 rounds at the car. Certainly after their barrage Mr. Russell and Ms. Williams were dead but in a fit of passion or prejudice, police officer Michael Brelo threw himself on the hood of the car and covered the windshield with a spray of bullets from his Glock 17. Mr. Russell and Ms Williams were unarmed; each were shot more than twenty times. Some of the officers involved in the killing were fired but most not were punished for their behavior.

October 20, 2014—Chicago, Illinois—Laquan McDonald—16 Bullets

Police Officer Jason Van Dyke shot and killed Laquan McDonald. The police became interested in Mr. McDonald because of reports saying that he was carrying a knife and had been breaking into vehicles. At least eight police cars were on the scene when McDonald was confronted. Officer Van Dyke fired sixteen bullets into Mr. McDonald's body fifteen of then while he was lying on the pavement. None of the other officers on the scene fired their weapons but did corroborate Van Dyke's statement that McDonald had threatened him. The dash-cam video released months after the shooting because of court order showed that Van Dyke and the other officers lied about the events. At no time did McDonald pose a threat to anyone. Immediately after the video release Officer Van Dyke was charged with first degree murder.

April 4, 2015—North Charleston, South Carolina—Walter Scott—8 bullets

Police Officer Michael Slager was charged with murder after shooting Walter Scott in the back. A passerby used his cell phone to film the altercation and shooting. The video showed that Mr. Scott posed no danger to Police Officer Slager wheras the police said that Mr. Scott had grabbed the officer's stun gun and had attempted to harm to him.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

National Lottery needed for Clinical Trial Participants

Without public discourse or media involvement foster children were placed in experimental research studies twenty six years ago. The practice began at the urging of HHS Secretary Bowen who told state and local welfare agencies in 1989 that they should:
create systems to manage the participation of children in foster care in special medical treatment and experimental trials.
(HHS/ASPE, 1989, p. 60).

The Department of HHS provides limited data on foster children and no information on how many of these state-protected individuals have participated in clinical trials. Across the country, HHS has had access to approximately 400,000 foster children annually.

When asked how many state wards were engaged in federally sponsored research Dr. Young, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, told the subcommittee that:
We know that across the National Institutes of Health (NIH) there are a number of clinical trials ongoing and children participating, but I do not have numbers of children in foster care that might be in that group.
It is unlikely that Dr. Young did not have that information he was reporting on the appropriateness of foster children in clinical trials.

To avoid scrutiny the government is mute on the question of how many foster children enter research studies but much can be learned from the government's clinical trial website. It is a certainty that parents will not place their healthy children in experimental studies so where is the government getting its test subjects? The answer: from state welfare rolls.

The following are examples of children in vaccine and infant formula research that provide no favorable outcome to the participants. These children were assuredly selected from state agencies.

  • Clinical trial to assess the safety, tolerance and immunogenic response to Gardasil (human papilloma virus (HPV)) and rLP2086 vaccine in male and female test subjects, ages 11-17. There were 2,499 participants.

  • Evaluation of the safety of FluMist in children and adults. There were 63,061 enrollees.

  • The standard care for children with UTIs is a ten day regime of antibiotics. This study shortened the treatment period to five days.

  • Study to determine the efficacy and safety of CAIV-T compared to TIV. This exercise utilized 8,500 children.

  • The Swine flu vaccine safety test involved 1,357 children.

  • Investigational study to determine the safety of MenACWY Conjugate Vaccine when given to healthy children; 2,907 children participated in the study.

  • GlaxoSmithKline study of two doses of live attenuated HRV vaccines in 529 healthy infants.

  • A study to determine the safety of a new measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine. The product was tested on 1,100, twelve to eighteen month old, children.

  • A trial to gauge the safety, tolerability and immunogenicity of MCV4, Tdap vaccine and Bivalent rLP2086 vaccine when administered concomitantly to children ages 10-13. There were 2,677 children in the study.

  • An evaluation of the safety and immunogenicity of different combinations of A/H1N1 S-OIV (swine flu) vaccine in 784 healthy children.

  • A trial to determine if an experimental infant formula provides normal growth. Mead Johnson Nutrition expects to enroll 315 infants.

  • A study to evaluate the gastrointestinal tolerance of six experimental milk protein-based powered infant formulas in 270 newborns.

  • New Starter Formulas and controls were  tested on 297 infants.

  • Hydrolysate Formulas and control products were  fed to 195 infants.

  • Amino Acid Infant Formulas and control products were fed to 225 infants

  • Control and experimental formulas were fed to 424 newborns.

  • Investigational formulas given to 168 infants.

There is no need for government subterfuge. It is agreed that there is insufficient parent participation in clinical trials so foster children have been used to make up the shortfall. It is not fair that foster children like prisoners of the past bear the burden and risks of experimental studies. All Americans and their children should have to accept the promise and dangers of research by registering to be test subjects. Once on the registry, names would be drawn and those chosen would be placed in appropriate clinical trials.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The European Union Resolves that Edward Snowden is not a Traitor

Many if not most Americans now consider Edward Snowden a patriot deserving gratitude not punishment for his truth telling. Since June 2013 the U.S. government has condemned Snowden as a traitor, has issued international warrants for his arrest and made it impossible for him to find a safe haven outside Russia.

Because the European Union has determined that Edward Snowden is a whistleblower and defender of international human rights, member states should ignore U.S. warrants and protect Snowden from extradition and rendition. This important decision is making it more difficult for the Justice Department to gain custody of Mr. Snowden.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Bureau of Land Management's Performance Rating: Abysmal

The horse and burro herds living on public land in western states double their population every four years—the Bureau of Land Management who has been responsible for their care since 1971 has done little or nothing to curb the birth rate. The Bureau's performance rating: Abysmal.

It is troubling that the federal agency has never created a viable program to stem the birth rate of these animals. Allowing the horses and burros to breed indiscriminately has caused a nightmarish problem for the excess animals and an increasing financial burden for taxpayers. Presently the Bureau has about 50,000 horses and 10,000 burros living in captivity . The Bureau is seriously considering a massive roundup of the horses living in Wyoming which will strain holding facilities. Each horse kept in captivity costs taxpayers $46,000. The annual budget to feed and shelter the animals is $43 million.

Every year BLM officials determine the number of animals that need to be removed or destroyed to maintain the ecological status quo. Getting the animals off the range and into holding facilities is a costly operation and one that injures or kills scores of animals in the process. The government hires contactors to chase the animals via helicopter from their home turf into holding pens from where they then are crowded into trucks for their final destination. Many young and old animals do not survive the marathon stampede and punishing transport.

Some argue that aircraft herding is necessary but that opinion is faulty because there are numerous examples of animals being moved without mechanical intervention. Take for instance the herds of bison living in Utah on Antelope Island, they are rounded up every year by horseback riders. These animals, who can run at 40 mph, are driven for miles into short term enclosures, vaccinated and then released. Some of the herd is auctioned.

Even though the Bureau has been criticized by the news media, specifically NBC , the National Academy of Sciences , the ASPCA and other groups for their lackadaisical birth control policies the government animals continue to breed putting the horses and burros at risk of mistreatment and unnatural death. Case in point, the 1,700 horses adopted by Tom Davis that were slaughtered .

Those interested in recent BLM history should read the Interior Department Attorney General's report on Tom Davis, a Bureau of Land Management horse buyer. Bureau work is overseen by the Interior Department.

Over a four year period '08-'12, Mr. Davis purchased approximately 1,700 horses at a cost of $17,940. During the investigation Mr. Davis admitted that most of BLM horses were shipped to Mexican kill sites and that he made several thousand dollars off each truckload. Until 2012, the Bureau was paying to have horses shipped to buyers. The Bureau for instance paid $140,000 to ship the horses to Mr. Davis. Remarkably, Mr. Davis was not prosecuted, nor were any involved BLM employees fired.

There was a financial relationship between Tom Davis and former Labor Secretary Ken Salazar. It is unknown whether Mr. Davis received preferential treatment in his dealings with the Bureau but circumstantial evidence suggests that he was a favored buyer of horses. It should be noted that no other buyer came close to Mr. Davis's 1,700 horse purchase order.

There is no facet of the BLM program that is satisfactory for the animals or for the taxpayers. Birth control is not routinely administered to the gathered meres according to BLM reports. The holding facilities where the horses and burros live bear no resemblance to the animals' natural environment. Those adopting BLM horses and burros must provide a three-sided shelter for the animals whereas those confined in government-built temporary or long term holding sites are not afforded such protections.

It is obvious from all accounts that the Bureau of Land Management is a federal agency in desperate need of new management. The current Director, Neil Kornze appointed in 2014, has done nothing to improve the way business is conducted— the population of horses and burros continues to expand as does the BLM budget.

Friday, October 23, 2015

The Bureau of Land Management's Cruelty to Animals

The numbers of horses and burros living on public land doubles every four years. These herds have been under the Bureau of Land Management supervision and protection since 1971. Because the Bureau has failed to control the number of horses and burros being born thousands of animals have and are receiving cruel treatment when they are moved to holding pens.

In 2013 NBC News filmed the Bureau of Land Management contractors causing wild horses and burros pain and extreme distress during roundups (gatherings). Anyone looking at the film footage would question why the Bureau of Land Management and its contractors were not charged with cruelty to animals. At the time of the filming the Bureau was spending 1.5% of its budget on birth control which is why there is no room for the thousands of equids who are removed from public lands every year. Forty six million dollars is expended annually to care for the 50,000 horses in BLM captivity.

Roundups/gatherings are cruel occasions for it means that helicopter pilots are allowed to chase the animals sometimes for miles until they reach barbed wire enclosures. Once inside the animals respond with panic and try to escape by repeatedly hitting the fences with face and feet. Looking at the NBC film footage it is easy to see the gouge wounds. The barbed wire injuries are grievous and avoidable. Surely the Bureau of Land Management executives are aware that electric current fences are far more humane deterrents.

It isn't just roundups that stress the animals. When the horses and burros are moved they are crammed into trucks. To accomplish this task the men repeatedly strike the rump of the animals with electric prods. Sometimes the panic-stricken animals fall and when they do they are unable to regain their footing because of the number of animals being transported. Once down they are then trampled by hoofs of the other animals packed in the truck. Less crowded vehicles would stop these horrific deaths. The BLM has long been criticized for their holding pens because they confine the animals in small enclosures that provide no form of shelter from harsh weather conditions. Responding to public criticism the Bureau has begun adding shelter to their holding facilities. Samples of shelters may be found here. Most of the horses and burros removed from western states spend the rest of their lives in confinement.

Almost all aspects of the BLM program, the roundups, transportation and holding pens evidence an agency unconcerned with the animals' wellbeing.

Congress directed the Bureau of Land Management in 1971 to protect the wild horses and burros from capture, branding, harassment and death. Even though the wild animals are harassed and subjected to painful injuries, sometimes death, the Bureau says the gatherings are “necessary and justified.” It is not known how helicopters came to be used in roundups but this herding technique is in reality nothing more than a cruel sport. Young and old animals do not survive the torturous chase.

Those viewing the NBC documentary and other images on the internet would say that there is no justification for the mistreatment that the BLM horses and burros receive from their handlers.

Nor is there any reason that BLM officials did not commence birth control policies more than two decades ago. If they had adopted birth control practices, the agency would not have an excess animal problem and the horses and burros would not have suffered the cruel consequences of being gathered.

After reviewing the Bureau of Land Management practices the National Academy of Sciences in their 2013 report called the gatherings and long term storage facilities " expensive and unproductive ." The NAS report raised the question of why the Bureau had not initiated full scale population control measures long ago. PZP, a proven contraception vaccine, has controlled the horse population on Assateague Island and has and is being used to limit deer conception all over the U.S.

The person responsible for the animals' wellbeing is Neil Kornze and he was appointed Director in the spring of 2013. Mr. Kornze has served the bureau since 2011 and has been on the job long enough to know that his federal agency has failed its mission to properly care for the animals under its supervision.

It is obvious that a "good ole boy network" is making decisions for the bureau. This group of people, usually men, do not believe in birth control and they are oblivions to animal pain and suffering. These
individuals know that it is commonplace for animals to die or suffer serious injury during the gatherings. Aircraft roundups should be outlawed.

Judging from Mr. Kornze's indifference to the problems under discussion, he should step down. His departure would allow Congress to appoint a Director who would make birth control a priority. When the herd populations are stabilized and the 50,000 horses in captivity die of natural causes, the costs to taxpayers will be reduced significantly.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Tonto National Forest horses to be "condemned, destroyed or otherwise disposed of"

Federal officials announced recently that the Tonto National Forest horses that will be sold at auction are to be "condemned and destroyed, or otherwise disposed of .” Tonto National Forest horses are classified as strays so they are not covered by the protections of the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act.
To minimize growing criticism of the scheduled auction, national forest officials have delayed the sale for four months. Many of the expected purchasers are " kill buyers " who will immediately load their purchases onto long-haul trailers for shipment to Mexico or Canada to be processed into horse meat for foreign consumption. The cost of horse meat in Europe is about $20.00 per pound.

It has long been acknowledged that the businesses engaged in transport are not properly caring for the animals while in transit. Electric shocks are used to force the horses into trucks. Once confined, they forced to stand for long hours (sometimes twenty four) in claustrophobic quarters and are not fed or watered. It is no matter if horses die for they are a cheap commodity. Horses surviving the journey to the kill site suffer greatly. Approximately 150,000 horses are shipped out of the US annually. Long-haul trucks ferried 102,554 horses to slaughter houses in Mexico last year and 39,523 horses to Canadian facilities.

Congress knew that horse slaughter was a contentious issue so in 2007 they effectively shut down US horse processing sites by refusing to pay for inspections. Legislators could have permanently settled the issue by outlawing US slaughter facilities and forbidding horse transport to foreign countries but instead chose a defunding tactic. For a timeline of US Horse Slaughter Legislation please visit here .

It makes no difference whether horses are protected or strays, getting the animals to designated sites is a punishing affair. Imagine the fear that the horses experience as they are harassed by helicopter pilots or motorcycle drivers whose only job is to get them into enclosures. These mechanized roundups cause numerous injuries and death to foals and elderly horses. These casualties are of no concern to the government contractors. There are no penalties for inflicting pain.

Many of the Bureau of Land Management holding pens have no shelter for the animals. The horses are subjected to punishing weather conditions be it blistering heat, frigid cold or high winds. Looking at images of these federally-financed facilities makes one wonder if the agency is committed to the horses' wellbeing. There are approximately 50,000 horses in BLM captivity. The cost of care is 46 million dollars a year.

In spite of the fact that birth control measures have long been available, the BLM has chosen not to institute anti-fertility measures and consequently the wild horse population has grown to unmanageable numbers.

For example, the PZP vaccine available for more than twenty years has been successfully used to control horse populations on Assateague Island, a federal wildlife refuge off the coast of Maryland.
PZP is cost effective, has no side effects and has also been employed to control the US deer population.

Thousands of western horses have been subjected to horrifying conditions and painful deaths because BLM officials have failed to intervene. Only incompetent individuals would allow animals to breed till they put themselves and others in harm's way. Park service personnel say the Tonto National Forest herd of 100 horses has to go because they threaten public safety. The government says that the horses have wrecked camp sites and have been hit and killed by cars.

It is past time for Congress to tell the Bureau of Land Management and its director, Neil Kornze to stop the needless breeding. Prior to his BLM appointment, Mr. Kornze served as the agency's Principal Deputy Director. Mr. Kornze has been on the job long enough to know that the US has a critical horse population problem. For 2015 the BLM plans to gather 4,067 horses, remove 3,322 and provide dart gun fertility control measures for 470.

For a graphic presentation of the injuries sustained by the horses and burros during the gathers please see this video recorded by NBC News. A Bureau of Land Management spokesman told NBC that 1.5% of its budget is devoted to population suppression. Currently 26,715 horses and burros exceed the Appropriate Management Level and will be removed from public lands. Removed generally means death.

The NBC film is so disturbing that it raises the question of whether Neil Kornze and his subordinates are qualified to oversee the Bureau of Land Management. The NBC report is not suitable for grammar school children but it should be required viewing for high school and college students who are studying government.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Bush Iraqi War Lies, an Act of Treason

Treason is the act of betraying one's country. When President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, Secretary of State Colin Powell and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld lied to Congress, the UN, and the public about their reasons for invading Iraq they committed treason . The lie is not treasonous but the consequences of the lie are if they give aid and comfort to America's enemies.

Intelligence officers certainly warned the president and his advisors that the U.S. occupation of an Arab country would ignite a firestorm throughout the Arab world. Those who hated the U.S., for example bin Laden, now had the perfect terrorist recruitment tool.

The Bush administration's basis for seizing Iraq was Hussein's weapons of mass destruction but investigators found no WMD in the country.

The contrived reasons for taking Iraq destabilized the Middle East, spawned Isis and strengthened Al-Qaeda.

Recently the Obama administration said no to a petition to pardon Edward Snowden. Officials said that Mr. Snowden's decision, to “steal and disclose classified information had severe consequences for the security of our country and the people who work day in and day out to protect it.” Whether these allegations or true or not, Mr. Snowden's actions are minor offences compared to those of Bush, Cheney, Rice, Powell and Rumsfeld.