All posts by Sonya Sandage

Sonya Sandage is a financial industry professional, and has worked for the nation's largest banks and investment wirehouses for 12 years as Private Wealth Manager. Originally from Florida, and a graduate of UF, she now resides in Washington, DC. Her goal is to get more Americans interested and engaged in their nation's governance.

“Dear Subscriber, You Are Registered As a Participant in a Mass Disturbance”

Kiev, Ukraine has exploded with protests that are unlike anything seen before.  Citizens are protesting what they consider tyranny on the part of the government, including new laws heavily restricting protests.

Protestors received a text message from the government that is perfectly frightening.

“Dear subscriber, you are registered as a participant in a mass disturbance.”


Thousands of phone subscribers got that text as a new law banning public demonstration went into effect.  The protestors are fighting the new laws that block public assembly and protests.

The text message was unsigned, and local Kiev phone companies denied sending it.  The text echoed a new law that bans participation in protests that are deemed violent.  Some predict that the text feat was pulled off using geo-tracking capability on the phones of the protestors assembled in downtown Kiev.  International media that was on the scene also received the text, so the geo-tracking is likely the method that was used by the sender.

This is not the first time this has happened.  A text blast was sent to protestors in Egypt during Mubarak’s presidency in 2011, appealing to “honest and loyal men to confront the traitors and criminals and protect our people and honor.”

As of now, Kiev cell phone companies are denying involvement and pointing to hackers.

The government has not released an official statement on their involvement or lack thereof.  Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, blamed the European Union and United States politicians for encouraging the fighting of the last week.

Gates Foundation Annual Letter Focuses on Vaccines, Population Reduction

The 2014 Gates Foundation letter was just released and its theme is “3 Myths that Block Progress For the Poor.”  The letter to Foundation partners focuses on the advances made in eradicating disease in the third world.  “By any measure, the world is better than it ever has been.  People are living longer, healthier lives.  Many nations that were aid recipients are now self-sufficient.  You might think that such striking progress would be widely celebrated, but in fact, Melinda and I are struck by how many people think the world is getting worse.  The belief that the world can’t solve extreme poverty and disease isn’t just mistaken.  It’s harmful.”  Bill Gates sat down with the media to educate on his goals for reducing disease, poverty, and stabilizing the world population.

Gates outlines the challenges his foundation faces: malaria in Africa, disease in Pakistan and India.  Gates predicts that within 20 years, with the help of science and foreign aid, malaria will be mostly eradicated worldwide.  He also aims to eradicate GI and respiratory deaths that are easily treated with medicine and clean water.

Gates says the biggest problem with getting rich donors to contribute to the cause is their false belief that aid will lead to problems of overpopulation in the third world.  He says, “I don’t think people like to say out loud that we want to let these kids die because there are too many of them.  But by not choosing to get into health in the early days of our Foundation, I was also a victim of the myth of overpopulation.  There is phenomenally good news here.  The world’s population will peak.  Now we do have population growth in areas we don’t want it, like Yemen, Pakistan, and parts of Africa, where we don’t have the resources to really help those people.  So we need to get serious about figuring out how to make sure there is relative health and satisfaction in those places.”

The phenomenon Gates and others in health organizations have noted is that as populations get richer, and healthier, birth rates naturally decline, and the world population will level off naturally.

Gates predicts the world population will level off at 10 to 11 Billion.  He says the focus now is improving food production and controlling climate change.  He says the focus now is repairing social injustice and equity worldwide.

34 Nuclear Missile Officers Fired in Test Cheating Scandal

Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana is undergoing a scandal right now with their nuclear program.  34 of their nuclear officers have been implicated in a scandal involving cheating on their competency tests.

Air Force top leaders stated Wednesday that the Air Force Office of Special Investigations found a nuclear missile officer with the 341st Missile Wing allegedly

texted the answers for a “monthly missile launch officer test” to 16 other missile officers.  17 other officers admitted to knowing of the cheating, said Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh and Air Force Secretary Lee James at a Pentagon briefing.  The investigation originally started as a narcotics possession investigation, but the missile test answers were found being texted to colleagues.

Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh said, “ This is not about the compromise of nuclear weapons, it’s about the compromise of some of our airmen.”  The investigation included 34 of the 190 missile officers at the Malmstrom Air Force base.  The test that was being cheated on was the August/September test, and all the nuclear officers on staff will be retested by close of business Thursday.

The 34 officers will be stripped of the certification and security clearances for cheating on their monthly nuclear proficiency test.  All officers involved in the narcotic scandal and test cheating scandal are low-ranking officers, 2nd lieutenants through captain.

Owners of Private Christian Charter School Flee Town with $200k Taxpayer Dollars

In Milwaukee, Lifeskills Academy was a private K-8 school that joined the state voucher program five years ago.  Over the years, Lifeskills Academy has received $5 Million in taxpayer funded public payments.

Last year, only one student scored “proficient” in reading, according to state records.  Records show the school had only 66 students last year.

The school closed unannounced on December 12th.  Due to the school closing mid-year, the state is not eligible to recoup this year’s money, which amounts to $202,278.  For school year 2012-2013, voucher payments totaling $633,248 were made, according to Wisconsin Department of Education (DPI).

All Saints Catholic Church owns the building at 3434 N. 38th St, and rented it out to Lifeskills Academy.  “They moved out, as people say, in the dead of night,” Father Carl Diederichs of All Saints said.

The money came out of the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program.  Voucher programs and private schools are widely lauded by those who champion the free-market and argue against regulations.  Charter schools have proved problematic on many different levels, and there is a vigorous argument that charter schools do not solve the overall education problem in America.  The school’s rise and fall illustrate how unstable operations and oversight are in charter programs.  It also illustrates how government subsidies are a magnet for unscrupulous business people.document


DPI began corresponding with the school in early December after DPI received many emails from someone named Dominic Robinson, who claimed they worked for the school.  Right after, Dominic Robinson denied any knowledge of the emails to DPI.  School owner Taron Monroe then confessed she sent the messages on behalf of Robinson, and that Robinson was not aware of the emails.  While DPI tried to figure out how to respond to the school, Taron Monroe decided to close the school.

DPI knew at that point to cease making payments on behalf of students.  The annual per-pupil payment is $6,442 and DPI makes the students payments split up over four yearly installments.  Lifeskills had already gotten its first two annual payments for the school year.  Whatever monies left over, if any, the owners took with them to Florida, where they fled to a life they had set up behind the scenes.

The owners of the school, Taron & Rodney Monroe, have been tracked down to Daytona, FL.  The home they owned in West Bend had a foreclosure action filed against it in early 2013.  Records show the Monroe’s now live in a gated community and started a new private Christian school in Daytona Beach this year.


While Likeskills Academy in Milwaukee was failing, the Monroe’s were telling Florida friends that they were successful in getting government grants for religious schools in Florida.

The home’s ownership shifted in 2011 from “Lifestyle Ministries” (the religious group run by the Monroe’s), to Taron Monroe’s personal name, according to real estate records.  The foreclosure motion was filed in early 2013.  The house was sold in a Sheriff’s sale in November, just weeks before the Monroe’s left and closed Lifeskills Academy.

“I haven’t seen them since before Thanksgiving,” said Bill Vigue, a pastor with a Christian radio show.  He attended church with the Monroe’s in Florida.

DPI records show the school was nearly kicked out of the voucher program two years ago, because Taron & Rodney were listed as school administrators but they don’t have the required Bachelor’s Degree.

A spokesman for DPI said their authority is limited in what they can do to voucher schools, which are all private, and almost all religious schools.  The law is limited and DPI cannot close a private school due to low academic performance.  DPI also cannot do anything to a private school due to the owner’s personal financial status.

U. N. Climate Report Leaked to Press Paints Bleak Picture

The report leaked to some major press outlets came out just a few days ago, and says because nations have imperiled their populations with inaction, that the future may look very different as humans adapt to climate change. The report came from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which is a United Nations panel of experts. The IPCC panel won a Nobel Peace Prize in 2007.

U.N. IPPC panel says 15 years of failure to implement recommendations has made the problems almost impossible to solve with current technologies.

“A delay would most likely force future generations to develop the ability to suck greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere and store them underground to preserve the livability of the planet,” the report findings state. One point is that the technologies don’t exist, and no one is sure if they will ever exist. The report says the technologies would be vastly expensive compared to taking some steps now.

Recommendations include a shift to clean energy and a move away from fossil fuels such as coal. The report says the façade of a move to clean energy exists in the use of solar power and wind power, but booming nations like China are exploding in their use of coal. The report also said the use of nuclear energy, which is considered low-carbon energy, is actually on the decline in the total power use worldwide.

If nations continue to have high emissions into 2030, it may be impossible to keep greenhouse gas emissions under 500 parts per million. The levels tested worldwide are already 400 part per million and predicted to reach 500ppm by 2040 or 2050. The report says if action is not taken now, future generations will have to develop technologies to pull greenhouse gases out of the air. Bioenergy crops that use up carbon dioxide, burn the fuel, and inject the emissions into underground formations could be part of the solution. The problem with that solution is that it will compete with food production, which is already strained at the current world population.

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) “Why should taxpayers subsidize starvation wages?”

During a Congressional panel discussion on Thursday, Indpendent Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont blasted the Walton family for what he sees as their tax-subsidized fortune.  He contends that they maintain their status as some of the wealthiest people in the world by paying poverty wages to their 1.4 Million US employees.  He states the taxpayers are left paying for the rest for the workers and their families with taxpayer subsidized Medicaid, food stamps, housing, and other government benefits.

Sanders was calling into question whether its morally or ethically right for a massively wealthy and profitable company to have such high rates of full times employees on government assistance.  He says the discussion about income inequality inside the Beltway are divorced from reality, and that the lobbyists and representatives for these large corporations are getting rich off fighting for corporations that hoard the earnings of the labor for just the executives and board of directors, as well as shareholders.  Sanders said in the 1950’s the average working class wage was (today’s equivalent of) $37/hour.

He said today the average wage is $8.80, with the net result of exploding rates of poverty and workers needing help just to pay their bills and raise their children.

Sanders said there are more people living in poverty today than in the history of the US.  This is likely due to big boxes stores and mega-corporations running the small mom & pops stores out of business, the ones that populated every neighborhood into the 1970’s, where wealth stayed in the town.  Now with mega-corporations, the labor is extracted from a town the benefits don’t go right back reinvested into the neighborhood, they get moved out to the shareholders that are in other parts of the country, or other parts of the world.  Sanders nearly edges into the idea that shareholders at the mega-corporations that exploit workers are similar to a modernized slave owner.  The shareholder and executives of the corporation own the labor whereas the laborer just barely subsists for their 40 hours per week.

Sanders goes on to say between 2009 and 2012, 95% of all new income generated went to the 1%.  He also says the top 1% owns 38% of the nation’s wealth.

The bottom 60% of people own 2.3% of the entire nation’s wealth.  He asks the panel if this makes moral or economic sense.  He asks is it okay that one family (The Waltons) own more wealth than the bottom 40% of the American people.  He also says the Walton family is the wealthiest family in America, and yet they are the biggest recipient of welfare in the US due to the taxpayer covering the gap on their employees needs.   The Walton’s are reportedly worth $100 Billion.  They are the largest employer in America.

Senator Sanders posted his panel discussion to YouTube.  There is much more in the less than 7 minute clip, check it out here and tell us what you think and feel about the issue.


Hollywood’s Weinstein: NRA “gonna wish they weren’t alive after I’m done with them.”

Hollywood is noted for its Democrat base, with such power and money behind it that Hollywood helped launch Barack Obama into the presidency by most accounts. Now, Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein wants to take that firepower and make a liberal film that will make the National Rifle Association “wish they weren’t alive after I’m done with them.”

Mega producer Harvey Weinstein is known for Miramax pictures. He was interviewed on the Howard Stern radio show when he said this. He went on to say, “I don’t think we need guns in this country and I hate it, and I think that the NRA is a disaster area.”

Ironically during the interview on Howard Stern, Weinstein and Stern were discussing their shared history and the impact the Holocaust had on the Jewish people. He spoke in favor of guns on this topic, but didn’t seem to connect the issue of then and now. He said, “When you’re marching a half a million people into Auschwitz, I’d find a gun if that was happening to my people.”

Weinstein is the co-founder of Miramax Films and is from New York. He’s famous for producing award winning films such as “Shakespeare in Love”, “Pulp Fiction”, and “The English Patient.” He’s known for activism in the areas of poverty, AIDS, juvenile diabetes, and MS.


Reports came out from U.S. prosecutors that an engineer for a major U.S. defense contractor tried to smuggle thousands of secret documents and blueprints on F-35 stealth fighters to Iran.

Dual Iranian-American citizen, Mozaffar Khazaee, was arrested during travel last week. He was intercepted at a layover in Germany, on his way to his final destination in his home country of Iran.

Court documents say engineer Khazaee worked at several different defense contractors. Court documents say the most recent employer was based in Connecticut that built F-22 Raptor’s F-119 engines.

Khazaee had shipped 44 boxes labeled “Household Goods” that were filled with thousands of pages in dozens of binders related to the JSF [F-35 Joint Strike Fighter] program.

A court affidavit shows Khazaee has traveled to Iran five times in the last seven years. The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program is the most expensive defense program in history, and is estimated to cost $400 billion.

At this time Khazaee is accused of interstate transport of stolen property of the value of $5,000 or more. If convicted he could pay a fine or up to 10 years in prison.

Lobbyist group seeks to OUTLAW GMO labeling

National lobbying firm “GMA” (Grocery Manufacturers Association) represents Fortune 100 food companies like Kraft, General Mills, Monsanto, PepsiCo, and Kellogg’s. Back in October, they were highlighted for donating $5 Million to defeat a law that would label genetically engineered foods in the state of Washington. The donation, along with their previous donations, brings their total to $7.2 Million. The funds went to the “NO to 522” Campaign. The Grocery Manufacturers Association was the largest donor to the “NO to 522” Campaign.


In the state of Washington, the battle over GMO labeling heated up to the point of lawsuits. A local non-profit called “Moms for Labeling” filed a lawsuit against the “NO on 522” campaign in September, accusing its main donor, the GMA lobbyists, of laundering donation money from its members to conceal where the money came from. “Moms for Labeling” is accusing the “NO on 522” Campaign of concealing the identity of its donors.

Grocery Manufacturers Association is doing what thousands of lobbying firms that cover K St. and downtown DC.

Now that the Grocery Manufacturers Association got negative attention via a lawsuit for violation of the Public Disclosure Act by laundering their “NO on 522” donations through shell organizations with pleasant names such as “Teachers against 522,” they have moved on to new strategies.

The GMA is pushing legislation through the federal government to outlaw GMO labeling laws enacted on the state level. The GMA is also seeking to have the FDA declare GMO foods as “natural” to allow food companies to put the label “All Natural” on genetically engineered corn, wheat, soy, dairy, and other food products.

Regulation is costly and sometimes ineffective, so citizens always have the option of simply being educated on what’s available at the grocery store, and making informed decisions that go beyond a cursory glance at a food label. However, many households have one or two working parents. Non-profits representing parents argue that they don’t have time to always 100% research these issues, and they should be provided with a fair disclosure on a food label so they know what they’re buying.

Many of the non-profits that are fighting Monsanto and GMO giants are related to progressive movements. Progressive and liberal movements tend to want tighter regulations on businesses that they feel prey on the citizenry. However many Libertarians, who are small-government proponents, appear to sympathize with progressives and liberals on the GMO disclosure issue, even though more government regulations is anti-Libertarian. No matter the political leanings, many in the US have taken issue with Monsanto and other food corporations impact on farmers, their evasiveness with consumers, and their refusal to acknowledge lab results showing GMO’s have harmful health effects. GMO’s have been, and will continue to be, a hot button issue across political spectrums.


More sources:

Fox’s Brit Hume Blames “Feminized Atmosphere” for Christie Scandal

On Fox News Sunday panel, news analyst Brit Hume shocked the female panel by blaming the current “feminized atmosphere” for making Gov. Christie look like a bully.

The Sunday panel was gathered on Fox News show “Media Buzz” to discuss Gov. Christie’s Bridgegate scandal, which involved Christie recklessly shutting down one of the busiest bridges in the world to hurt a political opponent. Bridgegate has made waves throughout the country because Christie had aspirations for the 2016 Republican ticket for President.

On Sunday, “Media Buzz” host Howard Kurtz asked the panel if the “bully image” now attributed to Christie was hurting him.

“I have to say that in this sort of feminized atmosphere in which we exist today, guys who are masculine and muscular like that in their private conduct, and are kind of old-fashioned tough guys, run some risks,” Hume stated.

Fox news panelist and contributor Lauren Ashburn interjected, “Feminized!”

“Atmosphere,” Hume restated. “By which, I mean, that men today have learned the lesson the hard way that if you act like kind of an old-fashioned guy’s guy, you’re in constant danger of slipping out and saying something that’s going to get you in trouble, and make you look like a sexist, or make you look like you seem thuggish or whatever. That’s the atmosphere in which we operate.”

“The guy (Gov. Christie) is very much an old-fashioned masculine, muscular guy,” Hume added. “And there are political risk associated with that. Maybe it shouldn’t be, but that’s how it is.”


Vivane Reding, Vice President of the European Commission and the longest serving Brussels commissioner is ringing out a call across Europe for a “True political union” to be put on the agenda for EU elections this spring.

The campaign for the EU (European Union) to become a “United States of Europe” will be the “best weapon against the Euro-skeptics.”


“We need to build a United States of Europe with the Commission as government and two chambers – the European Parliament and a “Senate” of Member States,” says Ms. Reding. Many in the EU and similar institutions share her vision. The vision would transform the EU into a “superstate” and would relegate individual national governments and parliments to a minor role. Ms. Reding’s vision holds the European Commission supreme over governments, and individual sovereignty would be a thing of the past.

UKIP, the United Kingdom Independence Party, a “tea-party” like political group in England, has gained tremendous steam in the last two years as Brits bristle at waves of third world immigrants pouring into their country. Nigel Farage is their now famous leader. He issued a statement from UKIP saying that Ms. Reding has revealed the true choice for British voters to make at their polling stations.

“For people in power in Brussels, that is the only choice they offer, no reform, just a “United States of Europe.” On May 22, the British people must ask themselves if they want this, and vote accordingly,” said UKIP leader Nigel Farage. “I am sure people will say No to this centralist fanaticism.”

Ms. Reding’s vision illustrates the growing gulf between the commitment to an “ever closer union” in Europe; and Britain which is pushing to reduce the EU’s powers. An EU official said, “we assume Britain is leaving the EU, so we don’t even bother thinking about British sensitivities at the moment.”

“This debate is moving into the decision phase. In a little more than four month’s time, citizens across Europe will be able to choose the Europe they want to live in,” said Ms. Reding. “There is a lot at stake. The outcome of these elections will shape Europe for years to come. That is why voting is so crucial,” Ms. Reding continued.

The European Commission President, Jose Manuel Barroso, said that the EU would use the memory of the troubles of WWI to warn against the yearning for Euro-skepticism, far-Right movements, and populist anti-Euro movements. He said leaning towards these separatists movements could lead to war in Europe again.
“No other political construction to date has proven to be a better way of organizing life to lessen the barbarity in this world.”

British papers are reacting severely today against Ms. Reding’s federalist leanings. They say she has ambitions to be the President of the European Commission and she simply sees herself as the head of this new union.

The Eurozone financial crisis, along with Europe’s immigrant woes, are causing nations to question how they benefit from a more tightly knit Europe.



On Sunday evening, January 5th, at 10pm, a story was released in New York Times DealBook in their Legal/Regulatory section.

It was quickly picked up by Agence France-Presse Monday morning.

J.P. Morgan is the bank that Mr. Madoff used during his decades long ponzi scheme. Wall Street Journal reported on Friday, December 6th, 2013 that J.P. Morgan was in mediation with the U.S. Attorney Office of Preet Bharara in Manhattan regarding their negligence over warnings about Mr. Madoff.

Apparently there were problems for over 15 years with what Federal prosecutors called the “703 account” at JP Morgan Chase & Co. Money was transferred back and forth for no reason. The account owner was recording double-digit returns on investments. JP Morgan itself was worried enough about possible fraud that they withdrew their own investments from the account owner. The account owner was Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities.

Madoff banked at JP Morgan through what court papers referred to as the “703 account.” In 2008, JP Morgan’s London desk circulated a memo describing JP Morgan’s inability to validate his trading activity or custody of assets, and his “odd choice” of a one-man accounting firm. In late October 2008, JP Morgan did file a Suspicious Activity Report with British officials. JP Morgan withdrew $300 Million of its own money from Madoff feeder funds.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s office wanted an answer as to why J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. did not file any SAR (Suspicious Activity Report) during their two-decade long business relationship. J.P. Morgan was negotiating a fine and deferred prosecution per the Dec. 6th report. Sunday night’s report came out with the fine amount: $2.6 Billion.
This fine will mean the bank avoids litigation. At the time of the collapse of the Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities ponzi scheme, the firm claimed it has $65 Billion in client assets under management, whereas it only had $300 Million. J.P. Morgan is the biggest bank in the US by assets.

J.P. Morgan did raise concerns with UK regulators more than a month before Mr. Madoff’s arrest in December 2008. In a document filed with Britain’s Serious Organized Crime Agency, JP Morgan raised several concerns about Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities, such as returns that appeared “too good to be true.” As to why nothing else was reported during their two-decade business relationship, that is what U.S. Attorney Bharara is investigating. The FBI is also investigating the bank for any larger patterns of failures in controls. JP Morgan has said it did not know about the fraud. SAR (Suspicious Activity Reports) are required by law from banks when they detect suspicious transactions, or signs of violation of federal law.

“Despite all these alarm bells, JP Morgan never closed, nor seriously questioned Madoff’s Ponzi-enabling 703 account,” U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said. “On the other hand, when it came to its own money, JP Morgan knew to connect the dots and take action to protect itself against risk.”

The Wall Street Journal is reporting the bulk of the $2.6 Billion payout is going to Madoff victims. Reports are conflicting, and ABC News reports $1.7 Billion will settle criminal charges for JP Morgan turning a blind eye to the Madoff fraud; $543 Million will settle civil claims by victims; $350 Million will go towards a civil penalty for what the Treasury Dept. called “critical and widespread deficiencies” in its AML (Anti-Money Laundering) programs.

The bank failed to carry out its legal obligations to guard against money laundering while Madoff “built his massive house of cards,” George Venizelos, head of FBI’s New York office, said at a news conference.

The Madoff probe is just part of a series of legal troubles for the megabank, which has agreed in the past months to pay nearly $20 Billion to settle various lawsuits and probes.
The bank reports that their employees acted in good faith on the relationship with Madoff Securities. The authorities involved have declined to comment on the JP Morgan fine. In 2009, Mr. Madoff was ordered to serve 150 years in prison. The appointed liquidator of Madoff’s business, Irving Picard, originally began litigation against JP Morgan in the amount of $20 Billion, but a Federal judge and then an Appeals court rejected Picard’s action, on the argument that only the cheated investors can launch litigation themselves. The procedural issue is now before the Supreme Court.

JP Morgan was also recently under scrutiny for its practice in China of hiring children of the ruling elite to gain entrance in to China’s banking market.

Prosecutors called the $2.6 Billion fine the largest forfeiture ever by a U.S. bank and the largest DoJ penalty for a Bank Secrecy Act violation.

Opting Out of Your State’s Vaccine Database

The Washington Post just printed an article “2013 is the year that proved your paranoid friend right.”  Mostly the article discussed the Snowden and NSA stories, and tech privacy issues.

A concerned mom and blogger recently wrote an article echoing that sentiment, but added in a personal point of view regarding a explosive issue of vaccines and their possible link to autism.

There are myriad “mom” blogs all over the internet that focus on their child’s growth and development.  The “Adventures in Autism” blog did an entry saying that with government overreach at all-time highs, the start of 2014 is a great time to opt out of your state’s vaccine database.

As for whether or not individuals believe there is a link between vaccines and injury, there have been court cases where children with autism were awarded millions in damages.

Ben himself also did a great “Truth in Media” episode on the vaccine courts.

However getting back to the blogger “Adventures in Autism”, she states that Pharma/Vaccine lobbyist Paul Offit is sure to ramp up a 2014 campaign for vaccines in only a matter of weeks.  She is concerned that Offit is recommending parents be required to complete an education program before having the right to opt their children out of vaccines.  She alleges that he and his employers, the pharmaceutical industry, helped push California legislation AB2109, requiring parents to complete an education program if they want to be allowed to opt out of vaccinations.

“Offit suggests one way to raise vaccination rates is to make it harder for people not to get themselves or their children vaccinated.  This could mean, for example, attending education classes that teach the public what the safety profiles of different vaccines are, before they are allowed to opt out of vaccination.  He says, “You have to convince people that a choice not to get a vaccine is not a risk-free choice; it’s just a choice to take a different risk.”

The blog goes on to list laws and regulations pertaining to CDC and State vaccination databases, including records on all citizens.  She shows how you can attempt to get removed from the database.  She then points out that the new ACA/Obamacare law allows for oversight of vaccination programs including home health visits.

What do you and your family think of State Vaccine Databases?  What do you and your family think of the new Obamacare/ACA laws allowing for home health visits?

The opinion of the blog “Adventures in Autism” is that author’s opinion, and as with many of our news stories, is not advocating on a story just by reporting it.

Western Sovereign Debt Exceeds 200 Year High

Harvard/IMF White Paper: Western Sovereign Debt exceeds 200 year high; Warns of “Savings Tax” & mass write-offs

European reports came out on January 2nd that a new IMF white paper includes some strong words about the financial status of the West.

The IMF working paper states that debt burdens in developed nations have become extreme by any historical measure and will require a wave of austerity.  The austerity will consist of either negotiated 1930’s style write-offs, or the toolkit available to the IMF that includes blanket taxes and bail-in of retirement accounts.

As I wrote in my October 24th article “IMF Floats Idea to Levy 10% Tax on European Assets

there are implications for the US financial system as well.  The US is now five years into a historical Quantitative Easing program, as we reported here:

“The sheer magnitude of the problem suggests that restructuring will be needed, for example, in the periphery of Europe, far beyond anything discussed in public to this point,” said the paper, by Harvard professors Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff


“Military-style” Attack on Power Station Escalated to FBI

On April 16th, CBS San Jose local news stations reported that acts of “sabotage” occurred, with assailants cutting fiber optic cables, disabling 911 service, and shooting at a PG&E substation. Santa Clara Sheriff Laurie Smith said the assailant(s) appeared to have the goal of “shutting down the system.” The assailant(s) fired more than 100 rounds from high-powered rifles at the transformers.

The attack happened around 1:30am in the area of Metcalf Road and Monterey Highway, southeast of San Jose city limits. Near Coyote Ranch Road, close by, bundled fiber optic cords were cut. South Bay customers lost landline and cell phone service. 911 call systems in the area were also knocked out. Gunfire was reported. The assailants breached the security fence and damaged thirteen transformers. Hazardous materials had also spilled, damaging transformers as well.


San Jose resident Leilani Zamora had no internet service, or home phone service. Her cell phone did not work. When she tried to make a call, she was met with the message, “Mobile network not available.”

“Freaks me out. It’s something that I would think that people would have access to,” Zamora said. “Then what happens in case of emergency? There’s nobody there to respond. That’s terrifying to not be able to reach your family or 911.”

On April 18th, AT&T offered a $250,000 reward for information leading to arrest and conviction of the assailant(s). The press release included a statement that due to the 911 terrorist attacks, networks such as these were declared “National Critical Infrastructures” and tampering carried a stiffened penalty.

Now 8 months later, the case has been taken out of the hands of local law enforcement and is under investigation by the FBI.

“Initially the attack was treated as vandalism and handled by local law enforcement,” said an FBI representative. “Investigators have reason to believe the timing of the attacks and the target selection indicate a higher level of planning and sophistication. FBI has noted the attack happened the day after the Boston Marathon bombing. At this time the FBI states they are following up on leads, and it may be an isolated incident. An official said the incident “did not involve a cyber attack,” but the severity of it requires a more thorough investigation, including forensic examination of the surveillance tapes.

“These were not amateurs taking potshots,” Mark Johnson, a former PG&E executive said at a press conference on grid security in November. “My personal view is that this was a dress rehearsal.”

Lawmakers and power executives came together for Grid-EX II drills on November 13th. The drills were designed to discover weaknesses and brainstorm solutions to protect the nations power grids.

Viral Video: Best cop ever with Open Carry citizens!

YouTube channel “MarkedGuardian” features over 216 videos seeking to educate citizens on Open Carry rights. “Warren” runs the channel and has done many Open Carry filmed episodes, seeking out “professional, respectful, and constitutional officers” in his state of Oregon. Warren wants to make sure “we can keep our rights here, pure and simple.”

In a viral video with over 3 million views, Warren and two other gentlemen open carry in Albany, OR, which is about 70 miles south of Portland, OR. Warren and his two friends record their interaction with Albany Police Officer Jim Estes. Officer Estes starts by asking the men for ID. The men explain they don’t have ID on them, because legally they aren’t required to have ID on them.

The officer explains he is there to make contact due to calls from local citizens, and understand the purpose behind Warren’s open carry. He says if Warren lets him inspect the gun to see if it’s loaded, he will let them see his “even cooler” AR-15 in his squad car.

Officer Estes says, “I’m all for your rights. I like guns. I encourage everybody to have guns. I think if everybody had ’em it would be a better world.”

The officer explains he needs to do his job and make sure everything is okay, before any type of incident happens. He does ask for their ID and the gentlemen refuse. Watch the video and see what happens!

The comments on the viral video are highly varied, from major criticism of Warren for open carrying, to criticism for pushing back on the officer’s requests, to praise for the officer. What do you think of Officer Estes? What do you think of Warren’s comments that “we’re treated like slaves” at 6:43 into the video?

Officer Estes did a great job being professional, respectful, and constitutional. Not every open carry scenario is so positive.

Johnny Depp uploads his brain in new film “Transcendence”


Just two days ago, film director Wally Pfister (best known for being a protégé of Christopher Nolan on the “Dark Knight” franchise, and winning an Academy Award with Nolan for “Inception”) has released trailers for his new sci-fi film “Transcendence.” This is the directorial debut of the longtime Nolan cinematographer.

Johnny Depp is getting his brain uploaded!

Johnny Depp Transcendence

In the film, Depp plays Dr. Will Caster, a renowned AI (artificial intelligence) researcher, with work focused on creating a sentient machine. His work as a scientist is centered on the “Singularity,” the point at which artificial intelligence overtakes human intelligence and the two merge. (Trivia: In a “TIME” story featuring Google’s Ray Kurzweil, he predicts the Singularity will be reached by 2045.) Depp’s character faces off against anti-technology “extremists” who are seeking to stop his experiments, even as his colleagues question whether the experiments should continue. The climax of the film seems to be when an incident causes Dr. Will Caster to upload his “consciousness” into the mainframe after the “extremists” attack his work.

Check out the trailer:

“For 130,000 years, our capacity for reason has remained unchanged. The combined intellect of the neuroscientists, engineers, and mathematicians pales in comparison to even the most basic A.I. Once online, a sentient machine will quickly overcome the limits of biology,” Depp says in a voiceover. “In a short time, its analytical power will be greater than the collective intelligence of every person born in the history of the world. Some scientists refer to this as the singularity. I call it transcendence.”

The film also stars Morgan Freeman, Cillian Murphy, Kate Mara, Rebecca Hall, Paul Bettany. Clifton Collins Jr., and Cole Hauser. Screenplay written by Jack Paglen, produced by Christopher Nolan

director Wally Pfister

Director Pfister said in an interview with EW,” It’s a timely subject as we find we have to update software on our cell phones before we can even make a call.”

The Facebook fan-page says: “The story will feature real future predictions, about the Technological Singularity, AI, Nanotech, and Transhumanism. The Facebook page links to a site that features predictions by Ray Kurzweil, Hugo de Garis, and Jason Silva.

Here’s one more trailer, due out April 25th. What do you think about the film and subject?



Reports came out yesterday in the UK covering Google’s newest release of their “Transparency Report.”  Turkey has been known for it’s total lack of press freedom, and now reports show the U.S. is approaching the same leagues as Turkey.

The report was presented on the blog of Susan Infantino, the Legal Director of Google.  She and her legal team launched the annual Transparency Report three years ago, in hopes it would “shine light on the scale and scope of government requests for censorship and data around the globe.”

From January to June 2013, the search giant received 3,846 government requests to remove content from its search services, which represents a 68% increase over the second half of 2012.

Google’s Legal Director, Susan Infantino, goes on: “Over the past four years, one worrying trend has remained consistent: governments continue to ask us to remove political content.  Judges have asked us to remove information that’s critical of them, police departments ask us to take down videos or blogs that shine a light on their conduct, and local institutions like town councils don’t want people to be able to find information about their decision-making processes.”

“These officials often cite defamation, privacy, and even copyright laws in attempts to remove political speech from our services,” says Infantino.

One example is a request from a UK law firm representing a former member of Parliament to remove a preview from Google Books that allegedly defamed the MP by suggesting he was engaged in illegal activity.  The preview was removed.

“We have removed content in response to less than one third of requests,” Infantino adds.

From January to June 2013, the following countries made the most requests to remove content:

  • Turkey (1,673 requests detailing 12,162 items)
  • United States (545 requests detailing 3,887 items)
  • Brazil (321 requests detailing 1,635 items)
  • India (163 requests detailing 714 items)
  • Russia (257 requests detailing 277 items)
  • UK (117 requests for 556 items)

NSA Spying Was Never About Terrorism, It Is About Economic Spying

The Associated Press reported on Dec. 17th that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has released an “open letter to the people of Brazil.”

Since spring, Snowden has been releasing thousands of documents on the NSA program through journalists Barton Gellman at the Washington Post, Glenn Greenwald at the Guardian, and U.S. filmmaker Laura Poitras.

In his newest letter, he made a bombshell declaration.  “These programs were never about terrorism; they’re about economic spying, social control, and diplomatic manipulation.  They’re about power.” 

This is the smoking gun to previous allegations by political pundits.  Several pundits have alleged that the program was set up to arm the largest and most powerful U.S. corporations with patent information; competitor information including materials, financials, scientific research, and market data to help them maintain or gain control over markets.

Snowden’s statement also brings into sharp question the millions of dollars, lives lost, and intrusion of programs like TSA searches, the PATRIOT Act, the Afghan & Iraq wars, drone strikes, and all other actions taken by the U.S. government to fight “terrorism.”

In Snowden’s letter he made it clear to Brazil that it was the prime target of surveillance in South America.  Brazil is part of the formidable economic coalition entitled “BRICS” for member nations: Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.

German newspaper Spiegel reported that the NSA spying includes total surveillance of international financial flows.  The program is called “FTM” for “Follow the Money.”   The program collected 180 million records in 2011 alone.  84% of the data is credit card transactions.

In a more stunning revelation, the Dec. 12 “Report and Recommendations of The President’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technology” stated the government is changing the amount in (presumably foreign) bank accounts.

Recommendations from page 221 of the report;

(1)   Governments should not use surveillance to steal industry secrets to advantage their domestic industry;

(2)   Governments should not use their offensive cyber capabilities to change the amounts held in financial accounts –or- manipulate the financial systems.

The entire report to the President is here:

A 2008 paper by Arindrajit Dube, Ethan Kaplan, and Suresh Naidu found evidence that the CIA and/or members of the Executive branch either disclosed or acted on information about top-secret authorizations of coups.  Stocks in “highly-exposed” firms rose more in the pre-coup authorization phase than they did when the coup was actually launched.  Basically they were saying the gathered intelligence is used to “front-run” markets.


Here’s how their dataset was developed:

       “We selected our sample of coups on the following basis: (1.) a CIA timeline of  events or a secondary timeline based on an original CIA document existed,

        (2.) the coup contained secret planning events including at least one covert authorization of a coup attempt by a national intelligence agency and/or head  of state, and       

        (3.) the coup authorization was against a government which nationalized  property of at least one (1) sufficiently exposed multinational firm with publicly traded shares.”

Now that Mr. Snowden has released his latest statement, the objectives of “economic spying, social control, and diplomatic manipulation” will possibly be thwarted to some degree.  Reaction from diplomatic partners is still forthcoming, as no Embassy or Ambassador has released a public statement in response to this latest Snowden revelation.

Retirement Savings Grab Could Be Couched In “Racial Equality”/”Savings Inequality” Jargon?

As we reported here at Ben Swann in mid-October, pension confiscations have occurred in Poland and Russia. Cyprus experienced bank deposit confiscations. We also discussed the possibility of bail-in’s here in the U.S. of retirement
accounts. Our article from October reviewed the IMF’s October 13th report. The report recommended European nations perform a one-time 10% tax of citizen’s assets.

In that same IMF report entitled “Fiscal Monitor–Taxing Times,” the IMF also recommends the U.S. and other wealthy nations increase their top tax bracket to 71%. The current top U.S. personal income tax bracket is 39.6% for annual income exceeding $400,001 per single filer. Very few news outlets covered the IMF report, few discussed the recommendations of a one-time 10% levy or 71% top bracket rate back in October.

On December 3rd, an Op/Ed in the Wall Street Journal expressed concern of the 71% proposed top bracket, and indicated the writer is taking implementation seriously. The author speculates that there will be wealthy citizens giving up their U.S. citizenship
to avoid the 71% top bracket, as we have witnessed in France.

Chart from Bankrate:

Taxing citizens is one way for a government to raise revenue. Another way is to force retirement assets into purchasing
government debt. Our previous article discussed that has already happened in Poland and Russia. The previous article also linked to debates of retirement bail-in’s occurring in the U.S. as well. Few media outlets will touch the issue.

A new wrinkle seems to be emerging however in the U.S. retirement bail-in discussion. Dr. Jerome Corsi, a Harvard Ph.D.
in Political Science reported three days ago that he believes the bail-in’s are coming, and they are being couched in
“racial equality”/”savings inequality” jargon. He thinks that because of a newly released study from the “National Institute on Retirement Security.”

A think-tank called “National Institute on Retirement Security” just released a report detailing racial inequality in retirement savings, with a grand solution of forcing assets into U.S. Treasuries to solve the problem. Little is known about the agenda, if any, of the “National Institute on Retirement Security,” but a brief search indicates it is a non-profit that was launched in 2007. As for where they receive their funding, that is not known. However the conclusion of their report offers the government a rationale to force retirement assets into purchasing U.S. Treasuries. That would certainly be one way for the government to raise revenue.

We will continue following this story and report developments. One issue to consider is China and Japan are two of the top purchasers of U.S. debt, and they are squabbling currently in a dispute over the Senkaku Islands. On December 12th, Dod Buzz reported that Hudson Institute senior fellow Seth Cropsey stated in a U.S. House Armed Services hearing, ” Chinese leaders are ambitious and they are moving towards great power status. The U.S. is not taking this possibility as seriously as it should.” He recommended the U.S. needs to develop a detailed war plan.