Government Suppression

It would be great if the government always had our best interested at heart, but they don't. Unfortunately at times the government sees something perfectly legal as a problem, and having no legal recourse to stop it, they move to suppress it. This has happened with energy breakthroughs, health breakthroughs, and news that the government for one reason or another does not want to get out. Here are highlighted a few of the ways that our government has suppressed information, and why. The most important thing to remember is that not everything the government says is true, and not everything the government claims is false is false. These pages will get you in the right direction in terms of understanding how our current government works, and the steps which can be taken to rise above the suppression of ideas and information. The truth will set us free.

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FDA: Suppression of Federal Employees

The Food and Drug Administration was recently discovered monitoring 5 of their own scientists’ every communication and keystroke on government computers at work and at home. The FDA claims it was looking into supposedly leaked sensitive information, but the 80,000 snooped and saved e-mails reveal that the FDA “tracked their keystrokes, intercepted their personal e-mails, copied the documents on their personal thumb drives and even followed their messages line by line as they were being drafted”. The 5 scientists were being tracked as suspected whistle blowers who would expose FDA corruption to congress. (Full Article Here).

The scientists had claimed for years that the reviews done by the FDA of medical imaging devices ignored the fact that the devices exposed patients to dangerous amounts of radiation.

"A confidential government review in May by the Office of Special Counsel, which deals with the grievances of government workers, found that the scientists’ medical claims were valid enough to warrant a full investigation into what it termed “a substantial and specific danger to public safety.”"

Last September after 4 of the scientists being tracked were let go and the information surfaced that at least a few dozen of their e-mails had been intercepted, they filed a lawsuit against the FDA.

"While federal agencies have broad discretion to monitor their employees’ computer use, the F.D.A. program may have crossed legal lines by grabbing and analyzing confidential information that is specifically protected under the law, including attorney-client communications, whistle-blower complaints to Congress and workplace grievances filed with the government."

Seeing as the scientists were fired, it would appear that action was taken against them without regard to legitimate concerns, rather because their whistle blowing efforts to inform the public about being exposed to dangerous FDA approved radiation. At least some senior FDA officials knew of the surveillance program, but it is unclear who authorized it or if it continues. The scientists’ lawyer said he is looking into it, especially since in addition to the 4 scientists that were fired, 2 scientists still employed by the FDA are suing.

Politicians of both main parties have expressed major concerns over the surveillance, especially since their own staff were some of those who’s e-mails were intercepted. They agree that this was an effort to suppress whistle blowing and that it is very important to maintain transparency in federal organizations as well as protect those who raise legitimate concerns about internal processes of agencies who have a responsibility to taxpayers and the American people in general. The FDA even sought out other government agencies in an effort to charge the scientists for leaking the information, but those agencies told the FDA that it is not illegal to leak possible public health risks to the media. That is when the FDA began their monitoring program, undeterred.

One thing that the computer spy program revealed to FDA officials was:

"...that a few of the scientists under surveillance were drafting a complaint in 2010 that they planned to take to the Office of Special Counsel. A short time later, before the complaint was filed, Dr. Smith and another complaining scientist were let go and a third was suspended.

In another case, the intercepted e-mails indicated that Paul T. Hardy, another of the dissident employees, had reapplied for an F.D.A. job “and is being considered for a position.” (He did not get it.)

F.D.A. officials were eager to track future media stories too. When they learned from Mr. Hardy’s e-mails that he was considering talking to PBS’s “Frontline” for a documentary, they ordered a search for anything else on the same topic."

The database of information collected on the scientists was found online by one of the fired scientists doing a google search to see if there would be negative publicity about him. He was concerned this would have a negative effect on later job applications, but instead found that the FDA had leaked far more sensitive information and much more of it than had ever been released by the scientists. Pure and simple the FDA was suppressing the fact that it approved a medical imaging device which exposed patients to dangerous amounts of radiation.

This is not the first time, nor the most serious suppression carried out by the FDA. Throughout the 90′s the FDA sued Dr. Burzynski several times, losing all but one case. Dr. Burzynski had found a drug that was extremely effective in combating cancer, but the FDA claimed he had violated interstate commerce laws. Dr. Burzynski’s patients protested against the FDA and testified before congress to get the FDA to stop harassing their doctor, who had cured many patients of the most serious types of cancer. To read the full story, click here.

EPA Suppression of Property Rights

I used to drink delicious well water, now I can taste it tastes like chlorine. No one got sick from the un-chlorinated water, but an Environmental Protection Agency regulation said it needed to be chlorinated. This is one regulation I’ve seen personally annoy me.

Another was when the EPA shut down an ice cream stand in Chelmsford Ma. It opened a week later and nothing ever came of the reason for the shut down; un-permitted modifications on a property barn. This means a government bureaucracy arbitrarily shut down a small business without reason. The business was allowed to open again a week later, again arbitrarily as no new permit had been acquired, nor further modifications made to the barn. This happened on mother’s day weekend, to a seasonal business.  Is this the type of power we want to give to unelected government agencies?

It’s not about access to ice cream, and it is not about my water not tasting fresh. This is about government having control over our private lives. It’s easy to write this off as another minor instance of government overstepping its bounds, but it won’t be little things for long.

One couple was told by the EPA that land they had bought and began building on had been a wetland, and it was the couple’s responsibility to return the land to its previous state. No due process, no warrant, and the couple claimed no wetland had ever existed on their property. The EPA said that they could appeal the order, AFTER they complied with it. This means they would have to spend thousands of dollars they may or may not have, to make their land un-buildable. This would have meant more money down the drain because of an EPA order, and a lost investment on land that they cannot use. And, for every day that they did not comply with the order, a fine would be imposed. The couple sued and the case went to the supreme court.

"Under the law, violations of the Clean Water Act can result in fines of up to $37,500 per day, plus as much as an additional $37,500 per day for violating the EPA compliance order.

The EPA issues nearly 3,000 compliance orders a year that require accused violators of environmental laws to stop alleged harmful actions and repair any damage that was caused.

The couple sued the EPA in 2007, and finally in March of 2012 the supreme court ruled that people have a right to a hearing BEFORE they must comply with the EPA order.

The justices overturned a U.S. appeals court ruling that a compliance order was not subject to judicial review until later when the EPA has brought an enforcement action and seeks to have a judge rule in its favor". (Full Article).

A victory for the couple? Hardly, they are no better off than they were in 2007, construction on the home had been halted, and other costs related to owning land—like property taxes—still needed to be paid.

A bill introduced with bipartisan support in the House, and a similar bill in the Senate seeks to limit the regulatory power of the EPA because of the EPA’s new regulations regarding ditches and gullies on private property as navigable waterways. The agency again uses the Clean Water Act to claim this power, but what is really at stake is private property rights.

"These temporary water sources are often created by rain or snowmelt, and would make it harder for private property owners to build in their own backyards, grow crops, raise livestock and conduct other activities on their own land, lawmakers say." (Full Article).

What we risk by empowering the EPA is an environmental Gestapo who operates outside the rule of law, with little oversight by the courts or elected politicians. By broadening the definition of what they are allowed to regulate, they will be able to pick a piece of land, and find something to regulate, instead of seeing a problem and then trying to fix it.

Are you skeptical that the EPA has this “I am above the law” mentality? Consider the comments made by EPA Region VI Administrator Al Armendariz:

“I was in a meeting once and I gave an analogy to my staff about my philosophy of enforcement, and I think it was probably a little crude and maybe not appropriate for the meeting, but I’ll go ahead and tell you what I said:

“It was kind of like how the Romans used to, you know, conquer villages in the Mediterranean.  They’d go in to a little Turkish town somewhere, they’d find the first five guys they saw and they’d crucify them.

“Then, you know, that town was really easy to manage for the next few years.”

“It’s a deterrent factor,” Armendariz said, explaining that the EPA is following the Romans’ philosophy for subjugating conquered villages. (Full Article).

Government agencies should not be in the practice of encouraging or discouraging particular industries that are otherwise lawful. But the EPA has a big list of industries that it wants to influence or get rid of.

An EPA regulation banned over the counter asthma inhalers because of the apparent negative impact on the environment. Now people need to spend more money for prescription treatment for asthma. Obviously it would be nearly impossible to prove whether this ban had any positive effect on the environment, and whether it was worth the cost to people with asthma.(Article) 

The House also recently had to pass a farm bill to prevent the EPA from regulating farm dust. The EPA had mentioned the possibility of piling on regulations for small farms to insure dust does not travel from one farm to another. This would have detrimental effects on small and organic farms who cannot comply with the costly regulation, while larger corporate farms would be able to grow even larger as a comparatively small percentage of revenue would go toward complying with the regulations.(Article).

There are many more instances of the EPA’s heavy handedness, it appears to be common practice for them.

Voter Suppression

If you can’t win, cheat. All across central Florida just two weeks before the 2012 presidential election, voters were receiving official looking letters which question their citizenship and claim the recipient is ineligible to vote.

"According to the Republican Party of Florida, Chairman Lenny Curry received one of the fake letters on Tuesday.

“This type of activity is not only disgusting, it is criminal, and must be prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” Curry said in a release.  “I call on Florida Democrats to join me in condemning this false letter writing campaign that appears to target likely voters in Florida, and help RPOF get the word out about this false campaign."” Full Article.

Although the article claims there is no clear trend in who is receiving the letters, the only victims mentioned are Republicans. The FBI and state officials are investigating the bogus letters, and county election officials are trying to get word out to anyone who may have recieved one of the phony letters.

In a separate incident a sitting member of Congress was involved in a voting fraud sting, caught on video by Project Veritas. Eleven term Democratic Representative from Virginia, Jim Moran is the centerpiece of the scandal; his son Pat Moran who was also the campaign’s Field Director was caught on video explaining how to forge utility bills in order to pose as a voter who is registered, but unlikely to vote.

Pat Moran is shown on video discussing the new voter id laws, and the difference between laws and enforcement. All someone needs to pose as a voter, he says, is a bill or statement with the voter’s address, “But, they can fake a utility bill with ease, you know?”. To Moran’s credit he does go on to encourage the under cover reporter to put his effort into actually getting people out to vote, instead of forging the identity of 100 voters who have not participated in recent elections.

But Pat Moran then goes on to say that in order to pull off what the reporter is talking about, he would need more than just the name and address of the voters, he would need to forge the proper documents because of the new id laws. Luckily though, the polling stations have someone in place who will advocate for the person trying to vote fraudulently. Moran mentions that polling locations will often have an OFA lawyer, Obama For America, that would be willing to argue to allow a person to vote with only the forged utility bill. “But it’s got to look good” Moran says.

As the undercover reporter continues his conversation with Pat Moran, Pat tells the reporter that he is “Hardcore” and says “I’m impressed man”. He then instructs the reporter to first call these people up, just to be sure they are not planning on voting. Moran says it would be smart to call them first, posing as a pollster, to ask if they plan on voting. This conversation happens as Moran leads the reporter to the joint Arlington County headquarters for Rep. Jim Moran, Former Governor and Senate candidate Tim Kaine, and President Barack Obama.

After the video came out, Pat Moran resigned as the Field Director for his fathers' campaign.

To Bow Before Me!