New World Order
The New American
by Joe Wolverton, II, J.D.
In an effort to bring the United Nations’ “transformative values” into American classrooms, the would-be world government is trying to “mobilize political commitment” from the United States and others to fund the UN’s education agenda.
At the Oslo Summit on Education for Development held on July 7, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon “reaffirm[ed] the human right to education.”
“We are here to secure commitments to deliver on the promises of the sustainable development agenda. Education is essential to its vision of a life of dignity for all,” the secretary-general said.
This push to transform education from a privilege to a “human right” is almost identical to the remark made by Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) in reference to the recently passed $23 billion federal education bill. “Education ought to be the civil right of the 21st century,” he declared.
A UN news release crowed about the plans to push the globalist agenda in schools:
Thanking Norway for its support to his Global Education First Initiative, Mr. Ban particularly welcomed the announcement made today of the establishment of a commission on financing of global education whose five convenors are Norway, Chile, Indonesia, Malawi, as well as the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
While the United States is not directly named in the new commission rounding up funds for the secretary-general’s global education initiative and we have not made any “extrabudgetary contributions to UNESCO” since October 2011, the United States pays 22 percent of the UN’s budget, part of which goes to fund UNESCO operations worldwide.
The money — from the United States and other UN member nations — set aside for this Global Education First Initiative will go to implementing “recommendations on how we can achieve our goals.”
What are those goals? The program’s website lists three priorities. While they are a bit lengthy, they will be quoted here completely because the devil is in the details — really.
Priority 1: Put Every Child in School
Education is the great driver of social, economic and political progress. As people learn to read, count and reason critically, their prospects for health and prosperity expand exponentially. But our advances in education have not benefited everyone equally — and primary school enrollment rates tell only part of the regrettable story. Millions of children who start primary school are unable to finish, and still more miss out on high school. Today, some 71 million young people — including half of all adolescents in low-income countries — are receiving no post-primary education. We can no longer afford the cost of excluding them.
Priority 2: Improve the Quality of Learning
School attendance should open pathways of learning and discovery, but too often it doesn’t. Millions of children go through school and come out without basic literacy and numeracy. Education is ultimately judged by what people learn. Many students around the world are banking their futures on poorly trained, weakly motivated teachers without enough books and other basics to facilitate their learning. This is grave disservice not only to the students themselves but to the parents who sacrifice to support them and the countries whose futures depend on them. While we strive to boost school attendance, we must ensure that our schools are engines of opportunity and not just idle warehouses.
Priority 3: Foster Global Citizenship
The world faces global challenges, which require global solutions. These interconnected global challenges call for far-reaching changes in how we think and act for the dignity of fellow human beings. It is not enough for education to produce individuals who can read, write and count. Education must be transformative and bring shared values to life. It must cultivate an active care for the world and for those with whom we share it. Education must also be relevant in answering the big questions of the day. Technological solutions, political regulation or financial instruments alone cannot achieve sustainable development. It requires transforming the way people think and act. Education must fully assume its central role in helping people to forge more just, peaceful, tolerant and inclusive societies. It must give people the understanding, skills and values they need to cooperate in resolving the interconnected challenges of the 21st Century.
Constitutionalists and concerned parents should shudder at the words “sustainable development” featured prominently in these priorities. As readers likely recognize, those two words are just a code term for the larger UN global planning program known as Agenda 21.
The New American’s Alex Newman is an expert on the UN’s goal of indoctrinating our schoolchildren using progressive propaganda. He recently coauthored a book called Crimes of the Educators: How Utopians Are Using Government Schools to Destroy America’s Children. In this powerful exposé, Newman gives an overview of how the UN is trying to influence and create standards for education, science, and culture on a global scale.
As he commented on a recent radio interview promoting the book, the UN “seeks to make mandatory changes in the values and beliefs of all of humanity under the guise of educating.” The interviewer added that “Alex reveals some of the very startling ideas that hatched this international scheme, along with the big money that has funded its methodology.”
Making very clear the UN’s two-pronged attack on American education, the secretary-general told attendees at the Oslo Summit that they should “push for a ‘bold set’ of sustainable development goals to be adopted in New York this September.”
Then, where the rubber hits the road, Ban Ki-moon flogged the financing. “But to turn promises into action, we have to mobilize resources. And we need to increase funding to achieve universal education. And at the same time, we need to improve the coordination of financing,” he asserted.
Again, for those of you who don’t speak “globalese,” “mobilize resources” means, “We need to squeeze some more money out of the American middle class so we can turn their children against the values their ancestors cherished.”
Finally, lest there be any mistake as to the UN’s ultimate goal of creating and enforcing a worldwide curriculum consistent with its core socialist principles, the secretary-general ended the conference reminding the crowd of the “critical need for consistent and streamlined resources for education.”
The United Nations will not be deterred in its quest to convince our children of their responsibility to protect their “Mother Earth” from the evils of humanity. The priority now is to sound this anti-American screed in the ears of every American child while they sit captive in our country’s classrooms.
The United Nations’ drive to train our children to be better “global citizens” and bring its “transformative and shared values” to American classrooms is accelerating and may soon come to a school district near you.
The New American
by Alex Newman
As globalist forces and the international institutions they control openly prepare to plunder humanity’s wealth, Third World dictators and tax-funded “civil society” groups have stepped up their demands for a United Nations tax authority — supposedly to ensure that they all get their “fair share” of the loot from Western taxpayers and businesses. The coalition to create the proposed UN tax regime includes more than 130 national governments and dictatorships involved in the G77, which recently demanded a “New World Order to Live Well,” along with various shadowy front groups funded by the European Union and globalist billionaires such as Bill Gates. Key elements of the plot were unsuccesful, this time, but the global-tax agenda and those pushing it are not going away any time soon — and they did manage to create “Tax Inspectors Without Borders.”
The radical proposal to further empower the UN on tax issues faced some resistance at a recent UN summit in Ethiopia aimed at extracting trillions of dollars each year from humanity to shower on dictators, global governance, and “sustainable development” schemes. However, opponents of creating the UN tax agency were hardly arguing from a principled position. Instead, they were arguing in favor of further empowering other globalist outfits, such as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), to impose the global tax regime on humanity. That is already underway, and the differences are largely irrelevant.
But while the proposal for a full-fledged UN tax agency was defeated at the summit, global taxation apparatchiks did make some major progress moving the agenda forward. Among other schemes, delegates at the UN Financing for Development Conference in Addis Ababa last week approved a motion to have a UN Committee of Experts on International Tax Matters meet twice a year. Also unveiled at the summit by governments and globalists were “two parallel tax initiatives,” dubbed Tax Inspectors Without Borders (TIWB) and the Addis Ababa Tax Initiative. Both have major implications.
The TIWB scheme is a partnership between the UN Development Program (UNDP) and the OECD, essentially a cartel of bloated high-tax governments that aims to hike and harmonize taxes worldwide while terrorizing nations with more competitive tax systems into submission. Under the new program, announced last week in Ethiopia, Western governments will send swarms of tax “experts” to Third World regimes to help them extract more wealth more efficiently from their subjects to finance “sustainable development” and other oppression.
The UN even produced a tax-funded propaganda video on TIWB touting the supposed wonders of high taxes and Big Government — as if taxation and welfare spending, rather than free markets, relieved poverty. “Many developing countries [Third World governments] are successfully mobilizing more domestic [tax] resources for sustainable development, but progress varies,” the narrator in the video states as nice music plays in the background. “Developing countries [governments and dictators ruling over nations impoverished by their rulers] still collect far less in tax revenues than wealthier countries.”
So, to help Third World dictators and regimes further empower themselves, Western tax experts will be deployed to help confiscate more wealth from those who produce it, the video explains. The propaganda film also pretends that it is totally normal and desirable for Third World governments and dictators to control everything from the healthcare to the education of those they misrule — despite the mountains of evidence showing that markets and entrepreneurs, not programs run by governments and tyrants, are the best way to create wealth and combat poverty.
The other global tax scheme announced at the summit, dubbed the Addis Ababa Tax Initiative, also involves creating a more robust architecture for Third World rulers to extract wealth domestically. Dozens of governments and globalist organizations are participating in the scheme, including the Obama administration, the EU, along with various brutal dictatorships. “This Initiative is a Partnership in capacity building in the field of domestic revenue mobilization/taxation, in which each country takes its responsibilities, cooperates and supports each other,” declares the scheme’s “declaration.”
In other words, the Obama IRS — infamous for unlawfully persecuting political opponents of the administration and trying to cover it up by destroying the documentation and lying to Congress — will help the tax agencies of Third World dictators become more modern and efficient. One of the beneficiaries of the program will be the ruthless regime in Addis Ababa, where the scheme was unveiled, famous for persecuting journalists, murdering dissidents, kicking peasants off their land, and other state terror. The Ethiopian regime also hosts the Communist Chinese-built headquarters of the African Union, another collection of mostly brutal dictators, war lords, and terror regimes currently led by the genocidal Marxist dictator of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe.
So, while the UN and the vast majority of its member regimes failed in their goal to set up a UN tax agency, they made great progress in advancing the global tax regime. Meanwhile, the functions that the proposed UN agency would have served — creating global tax rules, smashing tax competition, and siphoning more wealth from people’s pockets to squander on “sustainability” schemes — are already well underway. As The New American has been reporting for years, much of that is being done by the OECD, which continues to plot its global taxation regime from the shadows.
From crushing the final vestiges of financial privacy rights to concocting new and improved ways to fleece businesses and individuals at the international level, OECD bureaucrats, who do not pay tax on their bloated tax-funded salaries, have been very busy. Most recently, the Paris-based cartel of bloated governments unveiled its plotting on so-called Base Erosion and Profit Shifting, or BEPS. The goal is to extract even more wealth from businesses (and ultimately consumers, investors, and workers) by writing global tax rules taking aim at legal strategies used by companies to lighten slightly the crushing tax burdens imposed by Big Government.
Also underway at the OECD is a plan, modeled on Obama’s draconian and wildly unconstitutional FATCA regime, to automatically gather and share people’s most private financial information with governments and dictators worldwide. A dizzying array of schemes pushed by OECD and other globalist outfits is similarly aiming to harmonize tax regimes around the world in preparation, ultimately, for a global tax paid directly to self-styled international authorities.” The UN and its minions have been working fiendishly — and out in the open — to start implementing direct taxes for many years. But first, the groundwork must be laid.
Aside from Third World dictators, one of the primary forces pushing to empower a UN tax agency was the European Network on Debt and Development (Eurodad). Despite being falsely painted as a so-called (non-governmental) civil society group, most of the outfit’s funding comes from European taxpayers through the EU, with most of the rest coming from billionaire globalists. “Eurodad is funded by its [largely tax-funded] members (about one third of its budget), by the European Commission, and by private foundations such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation,” the outfit admits on its website.
In countless misleading propaganda articles published by the establishment media, spokespeople for the group made their case for creating a full-fledged UN tax agency to oversee a global taxation regime. “Our global tax decision-making system is anything but democratic, excluding more than half of the world’s nations,” Eurodad’s Tove Maria Ryding was quoted as saying, without explaining how empowering the UN dictators club — think Kim Jong Un, Robert Mugabe, Raul Castro, Omar Bashir, and more — would make anything more democratic. “This is not only unfair, it’s also one of the key reasons why multinational corporations can keep dodging taxes.”
It was not immediately clear which companies she believed were “dodging taxes,” or whether she was referring to legal strategies to minimize the tax burden or actual tax evasion. However, conflating the two has become popular among tax-funded global-tax advocates and Big Government mongers. Various UN agencies and bureaucrats have thrown out wild estimates claiming that Third World regimes are losing up to $100 billion in tax revenues every year due to profit shifting and other legal tax avoidance plans. The implication, of course, is that the capital would be better in the hands of oppressive Third World regimes that have impoverished and often slaughtered the people they rule, rather than in the hands of the businesses that produce goods and services — and provide jobs — for those same people.
With strong support from the Obama administration, UN leadership, the EU, Communist China, and globalist forces worldwide, the scheme to create a UN tax agency — and ultimately a UN tax paid directly to the UN — is not going away. But if freedom, national sovereignty, and prosperity are going to survive into the future, humanity must become educated on the threat so it can be effectively resisted. The UN is dangerous and out-of-control already. Now imagine what it could do with its own independent revenue streams.
The New American
by Alex Newman
The Orwellian cities of the future being designed and imposed right this instant all over the world — so-called “Smart Cities” — will be watching you. In fact, they already are watching you. And unless humanity takes action soon to rein in its would-be omniscient rulers, the technological dystopia being erected all around you will ensure that governments and dictators know virtually everything about everyone — perhaps more than individuals know even about themselves. The plot to create the total surveillance state under the guise of making cities “smart” will cost taxpayers trillions of dollars, too. But the price tag in terms of lost privacy and liberty will be far higher.
As the concept of “smart” cities continues to evolve with technology, countless definitions and terms to describe the scheming have been proposed. Discussing a planned “smart” city in South Korea, Frederic Ojardias, Ph.D., at Seoul National University’s Graduate School of International Studies said the concept is simple. “The city is filled with sensors and cameras at every corner (monitoring temperature, traffic, electricity) that are all interconnected and linked to a central ‘brain’ that computes all this information in real time in order to optimize the management of the city, minute by minute,” he said to describe the vision.
According to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, “smart cities” bring together technology, government, and society to enable a smart economy, smart environment, smart living, smart governance, and more. There are also a number of technologies associated with smart cities. Among them: “Intelligent lighting; Smart building controls; Wireless charging for automobiles; Facial recognition; Wind turbines; Intelligent Buildings; A connected self-aware environment;” and much more.
And that is just the beginning, with tech giants coming up with new technology every day that could be used to improve lives — or destroy liberty and privacy. Already, the former head of the NSA and CIA has been boasting that “we kill people based on metadata.” With “smart” cities providing unfathomable amounts of data to authorities, Americans can expect the lawlessness to continue accelerating if nothing changes.
Of course, “smart” technology is already ubiquitous, from so-called “smart” phones that double as portable espionage devices to “smart” meters used (when they are not exploding at least) to spy on people’s water and electricity use. Smart TVs now spy on their users, too. Schools are doing it as well. According to news reports, in London, data gathered from cameras is cross-referenced with government lists of people who have paid their driving fees, allowing violators to be identified and punished. Authorities in Amsterdam, Barcelona, Stockholm, and other cities are also openly and purposely trying to become “smart.” In South Korea and the United Arab Emirates, fully “smart” cities are being designed and built from the ground up.
With facial-recognition software now extremely advanced, and billions of people around the world posting their data and pictures online through social-networking services, hand-held “smart” technology has already created potentially totalitarian tools far beyond anything George Orwell could have imagined in his worst nightmares. Even years ago, U.S. cities were exposed rolling out so-called “Intellistreets” streetlights that double as Big Brother espionage tools to listen in on conversations. Entire smart cities are the next logical step, and the establishment is going all out to promote them as it works to abolish cash and shift everything online at the same time.
During a recent visit to India, for example, Obama pledged some $4 billion in U.S. taxpayer “investments and loans” to help Indian authorities build infrastructure, including $2 billion for the government there to create “smart cities.” Speaking to a large crowd, Obama said America was committed to the “smart cities” concept, linked to United Nations “sustainability” programs such as Agenda 21, and would help the Indian government pay to build them. To start with, 100 Indian cities are going to be made “smart.”
“We are ready to join you in building new infrastructure … roads and airports, the ports and bullet trains to propel India into the future,” Obama told Indians, without offering any hints on where the debt-riddled federal government would get the funds to propel India into the future or why U.S. taxpayers should fund it. “We are ready to help design smart cities.” Critics lambasted the scheme from all angles, pointing out that the U.S. government is already drowning in debt and that the whole “sustainability” theme behind the radical “smart cities” agenda represents a major threat to liberty, markets, and more.
Around the same time, arch sustainability profiteer (and self-styled inventor of the Internet) Al Gore joined with former Mexican President Felipe Calderón at the World Economic Forum to demand that all cities worldwide be made “smart.” For a mere $90 trillion (as a starting point), the two globalist crusaders against carbon dioxide explained, every city in the world could be made much denser — a so-called “smart city” in which citizens would be packed in like sardines, and hence, easier to control.
Under the Gore-Calderón vision, personal transportation such as cars would be phased out as the “smart cities” of the future force everyone to either walk or rely on government-run transportation to get around. Ironically, perhaps, more than 1,700 private jets descended on Davos for the confab so its occupants could plot new ways to reduce the CO2 emissions of the unwashed masses as they are corralled into their “smart” cities (often at gunpoint). Of course, the plan to pack humans into tiny cities is not new, and has been advancing under UN “Agenda 21” and other schemes for more than two decades. And the UN has been promoting “smart” cities since at least 2009, when UN chief Ban Ki Moon called for “better, more equitable urban planning” and “new ideas from smart cities around the world” to guide “sustainable urbanization.”
Alleged benefits of the interconnected ecosystem of data-gathering technology, such as better traffic management, catching criminals, and a smaller “carbon footprint” for city residents, are being shouted from the rooftops by those seeking to push the agenda — governments, profiteers, futurists, and others. Businesses, too, will be able to harness the gargantuan amounts of data being produced to target individual consumers. The darker side of the shift toward intelligence-gathering everything, everywhere, however, has been largely buried from public discourse — not to mention the dangers of combining all of the information with emerging “artificial intelligence” technologies.
In a recent puff piece promoting the potential benefits of “smart cities” in the Wall Street Journal, CEO Mike Weston with the “data-science” consulting firm Profusion offered some terrifying insight into the awesome powers that will be available to the rulers of these future Orwellian cities. “In a fully ‘smart’ city, every movement an individual makes can be tracked,” Weston observed, noting that governments and municipalities from Boston to Beijing were pledging billions of tax dollars to the plot. “The data will reveal where she works, how she commutes, her shopping habits, places she visits and her proximity to other people.”
While Weston focuses largely on the profit opportunities surrounding all of that data for marketers, and ethical concerns for businesses, the same data will also enable authorities to compile unimaginably detailed profiles of every single individual. “By analyzing this information using data-science techniques, a company could learn not only the day-to-day routine of an individual but also his preferences, behavior and emotional state,” the CEO explained. “Private companies could know more about people than they know about themselves.” And, of course, so could governments, hacker spies working for the regime in Beijing, and even private-sector criminals with access to the surveillance data.
Weston claims that a smart city “doesn’t have to be as Orwellian as it sounds.” That is true. But considering governments’ track records on snooping — think NSA, KGB, Stasi, and so on — the likelihood of smart cities not ending up as Orwellian as they sound is probably slim to none. With the added “smartness” of emerging technologies, and with some two thirds of humanity expected to live in cities within a few decades, the possibilities for controlling and oppressing mankind in previously unimaginable ways are almost endless. Rulers will soon, if they do not already, be able to know more about the individuals they rule than those individuals know themselves.
Of course, technology, in and of itself, is not the problem or the threat. Instead, the threat comes from totalitarian-minded governments, globalists, politicians, dictators, and bureaucrats anxious to further oppress the public and further empower themselves. From the UN and the World Bank to the Obama administration and the European Union super-state, the establishment is planning to bring “smartness” to a city near you in the near future. Based on their track record so far, however, it should be beyond clear that the “smart” cities are a dumb and dangerous idea — especially if you value liberty and privacy.
Alex Newman, a foreign correspondent for The New American, is currently based in Europe. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
by Mac Slavo
Creative Commons Photo Credit: KamrenB Photography
Thank your lucky stars that the former Supreme Allied Commander For Europe and one-time U.S. Presidential candidate Wesley Clark never made it to the highest office in the land. Because if he had, there is a distinct possibility that he would have used our military to take the so-called domestic war on terror to a level not seen since World War II.
Clark shows his true colors and justifies why Americans should be rounded up and interned if they disagree with government policies. As you watch the following video keep in mind that there are thousands of people just like him, many with dreams of one day becoming powerful politicians and high level government bureaucrats.
In World War II, if someone supported Nazi Germany at the expense of the United States we didn’t say that was freedom of speech, we put them in a camp. They were prisoners of war.
So, if these people are radicalized, and they don’t support the United States, and they’re disloyal to the United States as a matter of principle, fine that’s their right. It’s our right and our obligation to segregate them from the normal community for the duration of the conflict.
I think we’re going to have to increasingly get tough on this.
Kurt Nimmo of Infowars notes that the difference between World War II and now is that we actually declared war against a uniformed enemy, whereas in the war on terror the government arbitrarily picks and chooses who to classify as a potential threat to the United States:
Clark is in essence advocating a life sentence for people who have not committed a crime but merely engaged in speech — often reprehensible, yet constitutionally protected — the government considers radical and in opposition to its foreign policy.
Within the context of this interview Clark is talking specifically about Islamic religious extremism. But it is important to keep in mind that terrorism in America has been redefined to mean whatever people like Wesley Clark think it should mean.
No matter what topic the training session concerns, every DHS sponsored course I have attended over the past few years never fails to branch off into warnings about potential domestic terrorists in the community. While this may sound like a valid officer and community safety issue, you may be disturbed to learn how our Federal government describes a typical domestic terrorist.
Scores of seemingly innocuous activities are now red flags for the federal government. If you home school your child, discuss big government policies in a negative light, or simply declare the U.S. Constitution as the law of the land, you are a threat.
A federal prosecutor who recently prosecuted a man for selling gold and silver coins as an alternative to the U.S. dollar said the man was engaging in a conspiracy against the United States and treated the case as domestic terrorism.
Congressman Rand Paul has previously warned that even people who store food in their closets or keep extra ammunition are now suspected of terrorism.
Given the broad definitions purposely included within laws such as The Patriot Act millions of Americans could be identified as threats to national security and subsequently imprisoned without cause should people like Wesley Clark have their way.
And perhaps that is exactly where all of this is going.
As we’ve noted previously, the Jade Helm 15 military exercises taking place over the next couple of months across the United States include training for the rounding up of dissidents and subversives. There is a significant amount of evidence and insider information indicative of a scenario that includes Gestapo-style tactics like secret arrests, interrogations and detentions. In fact, a Texas Ranger recently dropped a bombshell and said that train cars with shackles were part of this summer’s military training.
Obviously, this training isn’t designed for foreign threats in rural areas of the middle east.
Perhaps Wesley Clark is already privy to the plan and it is now being seeded into the minds of millions of sheeple who will be convinced of the need to round up dissident Americans should the right crisis strike.
And be assured that, just like the German people under the Nazis, the majority will not question their patriotic duty to turn in suspected enemies of the state when told to do so.
by KURT NIMMO
Advocates life sentence for people who have not committed a crime
Retired US Army General and the former Supreme Allied Commander of Europe for NATO Wesley Clark advocates rounding up “radicalized” and “disloyal” Americans and putting them in internment camps for the “duration” of the war on terror.
“In World War II if someone supported Nazi Germany at the expense of the United States, we didn’t say that was freedom of speech, we put him in a camp, they were prisoners of war,” Clark told MSNBC.
The difference is that World War II was a war declared under Article I, Section 8, Clause II of the Constitution whereas the war on terror is undeclared and thus illegal.
Clark is in essence advocating a life sentence for people who have not committed a crime but merely engaged in speech — often reprehensible, yet constitutionally protected — the government considers radical and in opposition to its foreign policy.
The Bush administration declared the war on terror would last a generation or more. Senior officials with the Obama administration meanwhile have said — when formulating “disposition matrix” to determine how terrorism suspects will be disposed of — they had reached a “broad consensus that such operations are likely to be extended at least another decade” or more.
The Edward Snowden “leaks reveal that the war on terror at home continues to grind on, capturing in its dragnet millions of Americans and foreigners, many of them innocent of any crime. The war on terror has become institutionalized, and the domestic costs of this war continue to mount: privacy is being eroded; communications are being monitored; and dissent is being cracked down on. The primary targets of the domestic war on terror continue to be Muslims and Arabs, though it is now clear that the sweep of the domestic war has ensnared millions of other Americans. And there is no end in sight to this domestic juggernaut,” writes Alex Kane.
Clark’s remarks reveal the mindset of the upper echelon of government. Those who disagree with the government are now to be rounded up and shut up indefinitely in political internment camps.
Mass internment of official enemies on par with Nazi Germany and Stalin’s Soviet Union is now “on the table” and openly discussed as suspicious attacks and FBI orchestrated and grandstanded terror plots continue to grab headlines and build a reactionary consensus as the designed result of an incessant, decades-long propaganda campaign.
BY DOUGLAS MAIN
There is little recent or high-quality evidence that fluoridation reduces tooth decay, according to a review.
If you’re like two-thirds of Americans, fluoride is added to your tap water for the purpose of reducing cavities.
But the scientific rationale for putting it there may be outdated, and no longer as clear-cut as was once thought.
Water fluoridation, which first began in 1945 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and expanded nationwide over the years, has always been controversial.
Those opposed to the process have argued—and a growing number of studies have suggested—that the chemical may present a number of health risks, for example interfering with the endocrine system and increasing the risk of impaired brain function; two studies in the last few months, for example, have linked fluoridation to ADHD and underactive thyroid.
Others argue against water fluoridation on ethical grounds, saying the process forces people to consume a substance they may not know is there—or that they’d rather avoid.
Despite concerns about safety and ethics, many are content to continue fluoridation because of its purported benefit: that it reduces tooth decay. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Oral Health, the main government body responsible for the process, says it’s “safe and effective.”
You might think, then, that fluoridated water’s efficacy as a cavity preventer would be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. But new research suggests that assumption is dramatically misguided; while using fluoridated toothpaste has been proven to be good for oral health, consuming fluoridated water may have no positive impact.
Although you might have missed it, the federal government re-annexed Texas on Wednesday.
Jade Helm 15, a controversial set of military training exercises being conducted by the US Spec Ops Command in Texas, Utah, Nevada, California, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico kicked off this week and will last until September 15. The lead up to the drills has been a veritable media circus, thanks largely to an official US Army slide deck which contained the following rather unfortunate map in which Texas, Utah, and San Diego (which everyone knows is a traditional hotbed for Islamic insurgencies) were designated as “hostile” territories.
While it seemed clear to many observers that the use of the term “hostile” probably did not imply that the US military had abruptly decided to lump Texas in the same category as North Korea, Russia, Iran, and Syria, that message was lost in translation to many Texans and before long, rumors began to circulate in the Lone Star state that Washington was planning to institute martial law.
Efforts to diffuse the tension hit a snag when Texas governor Greg Abbott took the unusual (and, according to one Republican lawmaker, “idiotic“) step of calling upon the Texas state guard to monitor the exercises. Peak absurdity came just days later when “Texas Ranger” Chuck Norris effectively pledged to defend the state against a federal invasion and sent a thinly-veiled threat to the Spec Ops command, saying the drills came “too near to [his] ranch’s backdoor.”
Finally (because the whole fiasco definitely needed to be sensationalized further), The Washington Post declared that the media would be given limited access (at best) to Jade Helm 15, which doesn’t seem all that surprising on its face, but which the Post noted marked a change of policy compared to another, ostensibly similar training exercise conducted on the “battlefields” of North Carolina in 2013.
So here we are, one day into the Texas invasion and the Twitter response has been nothing short of epic. Here are some highlights:
— Dayton Ward (@daytonward) July 15, 2015
— Dayton Ward (@daytonward) July 15, 2015
— Gen JC Xtian patriot (@JC_Christian) July 16, 2015
— Count Dante (@countdante67) July 16, 2015
— Wonky News Nerd (@WonkyNewsNerd) July 15, 2015
There was even a Hieronymus Bosch reference for all the art history lovers out there:
— Vladimir Menin (@Foxmcloud555) July 16, 2015
Here’s a map which shows the specific areas now under “federal control”:
And here’s an annotated version of the map shown above:
Of course not everyone is laughing. Here’s The New York Times with some on-the-ground intelligence from vigilant (and concerned) Texans:
“I’ve been looking,” said Dr. Jack Campbell, 61, who was picking up his mail at the post office.
Scott Degenaer, outside his home in Christoval, Tex. Mr. Degenaer said he understood the paranoia over Jade Helm 15 that led some residents to bury their firearms.
Dr. Campbell said that he had concerns about the exercise, and that he purchased extra ammunition for the weapons he kept in his home. “Just in case,” added Dr. Campbell, an emergency physician in San Angelo, Tex., 20 miles away. “People are just vigilant. Not vigilantes, but vigilant. They don’t want to be caught off guard.”
Another resident said a friend of his, a Vietnam veteran, started burying some of his firearms to hide them. Members of the Christoval Volunteer Fire Department, which owns the community center, signed an agreement with military officials stating — oddly to some, suspiciously to others — that the Army would pay for any damage to the building after it used it.
Sindy Miller, who runs a hair salon on Main Street, said fear of a military takeover had been the talk of Christoval.
“They’re worried that they’re going to come in and take their firearms away,” Ms. Miller said. “Martial law, basically. I try not to listen to all these conspiracy-theory-type people. All they’re worried about is their beer and their guns.”
Residents and local officials — even those who are supportive of Jade Helm — said Army organizers exacerbated the paranoia by releasing few details about the operation and by putting realistic war game activities in civilian areas, no matter how remote. Army coordinators said in statements that they had kept the state and local authorities updated and informed. Governor Abbott will receive regular updates from the Texas State Guard as the exercise proceeds, but a spokesman for him said he had no concerns about it. “The Special Operations Command has assured Texas that this exercise poses no risk to anyone, and the governor sees no reason to worry or doubt them,” said the spokesman, John Wittman.
Mr. Degenaer, a Navy veteran, said that he saw a Black Hawk helicopter flying over Christoval on Sunday and that he understood why some people would bury firearms.
“With Obama being in there,” he said, “with the way he’s already stomped all over the Constitution, pushing his presidential authority to the max, it would only be just the stroke of a pen for him to do away with that. This man is just total anti-U. S.”
Throughout the interview, Mr. Degenaer was skeptical whether the reporter and photographer who spoke with him were members of the news media and wondered if they were part of Jade Helm 15. “Spec Ops grows beards,” he said, referring to the photographer’s facial hair. “Y’all got a military ID?”
More from Texas:
— Bobby Blanchard (@bobbycblanchard) July 15, 2015
— John Boyd (@JohnnyNewsroom) July 15, 2015
And finally, a video recap courtesy of RT:
With that, you are now fully apprised of the situation in Texas. We’ll certainly monitor the ongoing drills closely, but for now, we’ll close with our comments from last week.
Whatever you choose to believe about the Jade Helm, it’s clear that the military is intent on keeping prying eyes away from the exercises. So although a “Texas takeover” and/or martial law are probably not in the cards here, the government’s response to concerned (if misinformed) citizens leaves much to be desired and we’ll leave it to readers to decide what that says about government accountability and transparency.
And to the US Spec Ops Command we say this: just because you’ve kept the media out, doesn’t mean no one is watching…