Monthly Archives: September 2009

I Get a Warm Welcome Homeland Security.

I get a warm welcome Homeland Security.

I just returned from a week in Mexico on Sept. 18, 2009. My flight landed in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas and I headed to Customs/Immigration. My wife was first through the check-in. Her passport was scanned without incident; then it was my turn.

I handed my passport to the officer. She scanned it and right way it appeared that there was something not quite right. I remembered when I came through the airport at the beginning of my trip that the officer had problems scanning my passport and had to enter the numbers in manually. I thought it was because the passport is fairly worn, but the agent acted like it was odd that it would not scan. So, I thought the difficulty on the way back was no different. However, this agent exhibited an expression that was more telling then I would know. She picked up a telephone and briefly spoke with someone while I stood there. It was then that she said that I would have to go with her. She did not elaborate any further.

We were escorted a short-distance to a waiting room where behind glass a number of officers were visible. There were monitors and other equipment in their area. In the waiting room was a man who appeared of middle-eastern descent. He told me his name, but I can’t recall what it was. He said it is common for him to be detained, since he was from Jordan. It happens all the time, he said. While inside the waiting room the officer who escorted had disappeared into the inner office area. There was another officer sitting outside the door. We waited for some time, realizing that there was less than an hour before our next flight left for St. Louis. My wife went to the window to see what the hold-up was. She is told that there is a ‚“problem with my name‚, and they had to get things straightened out. My wife told them that we had a flight to catch and they told her that it ‚“was not about you‚ (my wife), and that it was to do with me.

We watched the officers congregating behind the glass. The officer who escorted us back was discussing something with them and they were looking at some information on a computer monitor. Watching the expressions on their faces, it appeared to me that this was not something out of the ordinary. Some of the agents looked puzzled and curious. The man from Jordan left at some point and other officers came from the back office and left through the door. My wife and I waited, somewhat impatiently.

Eventually, an agent came out to meet me who identified himself as agent Brock. He explained that there may have been some mix-up with my name, or another individual named Mark McCoy, and they needed to find out if I was that Mark McCoy, whoever that Mark McCoy was. He said they would try to get us to our flight, but they had to speak with me to find out information that may be associated with the possible mix-up of Mark McCoys. We were escorted down to the baggage claim where we picked up our bags and then to another area where they could be examined.

On the way down the escalator we discussed some things. Agent Brock said he did not know exactly why they needed to interview me. He believed it may be due to some mix up. He asked if we had brought any contraband into the country. I admitted that the only thing I brought back were two apples, but those were apples that we had purchased at home and took to Mexico for eating on the flight and that we brought them back for the same reason. They were not apples from Mexico. Agent Brock said that should not be a problem. On the way down the escalator I made a remark about the detainment being a result of something I had written or said. Agent Brock asked why I would think that and I replied that I am politically outspoken and may have made someone mad.

We picked up our bags at the baggage claim and then proceeded to an area for them to be examined. At that point, agent Brock and another agent named Murdock assisted in examining all or our bags. The apples were discovered and confiscated, as agent Murdock explained they were not permitted back into the country after being in Mexico even though they were purchased in America. In all, my backpack, camera bag, and suitcase were examined and my wife’s two bags were examined. The net result was two apples.

Appearing satisfied with the search, agents Brock and Murdock left for some time, leaving my wife and I at the examination station. Upon returning, agent Brock asked me to accompany him to another room for further discussion.

I was led into a smaller, more private room, that appeared to be specifically for interviews. I did not notice any microphones or cameras. In the room were agent Brock and another agent whom I don’t recall getting a name from, but who was younger and was not there for the whole time. Eventually, it would be agent Brock and Murdock who were present for the bulk of the interview.

The interview consisted of agent Brock making notes on a blank sheet of 8.5×11 paper. He had my immigration form in front of him. He began by going down the form, verifying the information I had submitted, such as my name, address, etc. He made a comment or question about my being a United States citizen. I said I prefer the word, ‚“American‚, and he too said that he was an American. Other questions were such as where I worked, if I had ever been arrested, if I had my own business‚¦.etc. Agent Brock asked me about my comment coming down the escalator where I may be detained for something I had said and he wanted me to elaborate. I explained that I had ran for Governor of Illinois and mayor of Collinsville, and in doing so I took the opportunity to rail against the system and those in power; making possible enemies in the process. That comment led to more questions, such as how much money did I raise in my bid for governor, what party I ran under, as well as for mayor of Collinsville.

I want to add that the interview exhibited no discernible structure or objective. It was more conversational than anything. My arrest record and current issues with Fairview Heights were discussed. He commented that the only times I had ever been arrested were while in Fairview Heights and asked if I had a problem with Fairview Heights. I replied that I can’t have a problem with Fairview Heights, since it is a political entity, but it was with two men acting as officers with whom I have the problem. I told him that one of the charges consisted of my not having a driver’s license. He asked if I did have a driver’s license; to which I replied no. I said I had no identification, per se, other than my passport needed to enter the country.

There were other questions which were curious. I was asked if I heard of or listened to Alex Jones, if I liked Alan Keyes, and if I heard of Democracy Now (www.democracynow.org), and had I read a book by Amy Goodman. I replied that I don’t listen to Alex Jones, liked Alan Keyes, and used to listen to Democracy Now. I took the opportunity to bring up my philosophical and political beliefs. I can’t remember if agent Murdock compared me with Alex Jones, but I would differ on that perception. He did mention Martin Luther King, Jr. and Gandhi, both of whom I hold in high esteem. I also mentioned Henry David Thoreau as being the progenitor of civil disobedience, and that such an approach is my philosophy. Agent Murdock did mention that Dr. King paid the ultimate price for his beliefs. I commented that I don’t believe myself to be so important or significant that I would be killed for my beliefs because the majority of people do not identify with such beliefs and therefore my threat to the status quo is negligible, although, I would not fear facing such a consequence for my beliefs since they are non-violent, and well-reasoned.

I was also asked about my feelings on the Federal Reserve, an un-Constitutional, unaccountable private banking cartel; as well as on taxation. I informed them that I marched on Washington over taxation and that the government exceeds its constitutional taxation powers and wastes the taxpayers money on foreign aid and other wasteful endeavors.

Finally, the interview ended and I was led back out to where my wife was sitting and the agents went to check on the status of my delay. They were waiting for a phone call from someone in Washington, D.C. to clear me through. We chatted with agent Murdock for a while until agent Brock came back to meet us with his supervisor, I believe, who was later identified as supervisor Jack Cannon.

We were escorted to the American Airlines counter where we were given new tickets for a flight, which resulted in about a three hour delay in total, including having to wait for the next flight.

So, what happened, why did it happen, and what does it mean?

I was detained. I was detained against my will. I would have preferred not, but I understand the reason for it happening. Immigration is actually one of the few constitutionally authorized functions of government. However, I depart from that concept on this point; an individual born on this land has an unfettered right to exit and re-enter his home land without interference. I told the agents that I was a believer in no borders. Political borders hinder the progress of mankind. They are a means for control and hindering the freedom of people who would evolve societally if left to their own devices. But, the world being what it is at this time, if we desire an agency to keep undesirables out and limit immigration, there has to be a procedure in place for differentiating between the two. As a result, we have to submit to a level of inconvenience in being surveyed in order to determine who belongs and who do not.

I was interviewed. I was not interrogated. I was not fingerprinted. I was not personally searched. I was not cuffed or shackled. I was not touched in any way against my will. I was not photographed, unless if possibly by surreptitious means. The experience was not contentious, adversarial, antagonistic, or unpleasant. Most of the questions involve information readily available through public information. I was not asked for an SSN or other number. It seemed more like there being some hold or other flag on my name or passport that made someone somewhere uneasy or curious; possibly after having read some of my writings posted on the internet or elsewhere, and my being an unknown quantity, they wanted to possibly assess just what the ‚“man‚ was like and what threat, if any, I may pose. To be honest, after all my challenging to government to engage me; and all of the silence and avoidance resulting therefrom, I finally had the attention of agents of that government with whom to engage in civil discourse and discussion. Even the agents said that they were not sure as to the purpose for my detention, and that they were merely following standard interview procedures. I believe they were just killing time, having me within reach just in case, and discerning any possible threat or illegal purpose. Whoever was pulling the strings was not in Dallas-Fort Worth, but in Washington and the agents was somewhat in the dark regarding the purpose for my detention.

Why did this happen? I don’t know. I can speculate, but I was hoping for the agents to broach the subject. I was never directly approached about anything in particular. The speculation from the agents encompassed everything from an identity mix-up to ‚“I don’t know‚. I believe that something attributed to me caught the attention in Washington and they needed to put a ‚“person‚ to the words. They wanted to know if I was possibly violent, treasonous, dangerous, belligerent, uncooperative‚¦.etc. Depending on the circumstances, I could be uncooperative and belligerent, if that be how I am approached. These men were respectful and reasonable. Even I do not accept the ‚“I am just doing my job‚ excuse for injustices being perpetrated; men can exercise reason and discretion in achieving a peaceful and lawful objective without infringing on the life and property of others. I saw no reason to be anything other than what I always aspire to be, viz, a peaceable and reasonable man who longs for the evolution of mankind in transcending war, divisiveness, mistrust, violence, and suffering.

What does this mean? Someone is listening, or has listened. I may be dismissed as inconsequential. I hope to be dismissed as being non-violent, and not-consenting to the authority of government over my person. I can do without it just fine. Will I be detained again? I can’t say. Agent Brock said he will write a report that will hopefully resolve any uncertainty and avoid this from happening again. I can say that had it not been for my wife being with me I may have taken a different tact. I did not want to elaborate too much on some things so as to continue the interview to the point of delaying her from getting home. I actually told her that if I were to be detained for a time that she should continue home and make appropriate contacts. Is that to say I would have been less than civil? No. I would have taken the opportunity to go further into depth on my history with challenging government, removing my consent from same, tendering my Declaration and many other things. I would have taken the opportunity to talk them to deaf. I finally had a ‚“captive‚ audience who dared ask, ‚“Who are you?‚

At the conclusion, we shook each other’s hands. I commented on their professionalism and civility. I harbor no malevolence or discontent as a result of the experience. Have my opinions about government changed? No. I did not deal with government. I dealt with men. Even though I believe the office they occupy to be subordinate to that of a man, I was not assaulted with the persona of the official, but engaged by men acting in that capacity. Maybe they were very well trained and shrewd in furthering an ulterior agenda by appearing respectful and civil. My responses were genuine, honest, non-violent, and lawful. I kept telling my wife she had nothing to fear for I had committed no crime. If my experience was a sum of government agents seeking to know the truth about me then I have no issue with their tactics. We will see what happens next time, but for the time-being, I have to give credit to these men for treating me the way they did.

I do plan on following up with a comment card and filing a DHS TRIP inquiry. I will update this mailing list with the ensuing results, if any. There were other things said that essentially reiterate much of what I usually espouse and many of you would rather not hear again, so I will dispense with the redundancy. Hopefully, I will be left alone or they will want to know more. Either way, I win.

PS.
Upon checking my Google Analytics after returning home I find that Homeland Security visited my website on Sept. 18 and 19.

 

UPDATE

On April 5, 2011, I received a response to my Freedom of Information Act request for documents related to my detainment at Dallas-Fort Worth Airport by TSA. They failed to find any documents responsive to my request. This is their response.

FOIA response from TSA

On April 7, 2011 I wrote an appeal to the FOIA response. That appeal is here.

TSA FOIA Appeal

I get a warm welcome Home….land Security.

I get a warm welcome Home….land Security.

I just returned from a week in Mexico on Sept. 18, 2009. My flight landed in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas and I headed to Customs/Immigration. My wife was first through the check-in. Her passport was scanned without incident; then it was my turn.

I handed my passport to the officer. She scanned it and right way it appeared that there was something not quite right. I remembered when I came through the airport at the beginning of my trip that the officer had problems scanning my passport and had to enter the numbers in manually. I thought it was because the passport is fairly worn, but the agent acted like it was odd that it would not scan. So, I thought the difficulty on the way back was no different. However, this agent exhibited an expression that was more telling then I would know. She picked up a telephone and briefly spoke with someone while I stood there. It was then that she said that I would have to go with her. She did not elaborate any further.

We were escorted a short-distance to a waiting room where behind glass a number of officers were visible. There were monitors and other equipment in their area. In the waiting room was a man who appeared of middle-eastern descent. He told me his name, but I can’t recall what it was. He said it is common for him to be detained, since he was from Jordan. It happens all the time, he said. While inside the waiting room the officer who escorted had disappeared into the inner office area. There was another officer sitting outside the door. We waited for some time, realizing that there was less than an hour before our next flight left for St. Louis. My wife went to the window to see what the hold-up was. She is told that there is a “problem with my name”, and they had to get things straightened out. My wife told them that we had a flight to catch and they told her that it “was not about you” (my wife), and that it was to do with me.

We watched the officers congregating behind the glass. The officer who escorted us back was discussing something with them and they were looking at some information on a computer monitor. Watching the expressions on their faces, it appeared to me that this was not something out of the ordinary. Some of the agents looked puzzled and curious. The man from Jordan left at some point and other officers came from the back office and left through the door. My wife and I waited, somewhat impatiently.

Eventually, an agent came out to meet me who identified himself as agent Brock. He explained that there may have been some mix-up with my name, or another individual named Mark McCoy, and they needed to find out if I was that Mark McCoy, whoever that Mark McCoy was. He said they would try to get us to our flight, but they had to speak with me to find out information that may be associated with the possible mix-up of Mark McCoys. We were escorted down to the baggage claim where we picked up our bags and then to another area where they could be examined.

On the way down the escalator we discussed some things. Agent Brock said he did not know exactly why they needed to interview me. He believed it may be due to some mix up. He asked if we had brought any contraband into the country. I admitted that the only thing I brought back were two apples, but those were apples that we had purchased at home and took to Mexico for eating on the flight and that we brought them back for the same reason. They were not apples from Mexico. Agent Brock said that should not be a problem. On the way down the escalator I made a remark about the detainment being a result of something I had written or said. Agent Brock asked why I would think that and I replied that I am politically outspoken and may have made someone mad.

We picked up our bags at the baggage claim and then proceeded to an area for them to be examined. At that point, agent Brock and another agent named Murdock assisted in examining all or our bags. The apples were discovered and confiscated, as agent Murdock explained they were not permitted back into the country after being in Mexico even though they were purchased in America. In all, my backpack, camera bag, and suitcase were examined and my wife’s two bags were examined. The net result was two apples.

Appearing satisfied with the search, agents Brock and Murdock left for some time, leaving my wife and I at the examination station. Upon returning, agent Brock asked me to accompany him to another room for further discussion.

I was led into a smaller, more private room, that appeared to be specifically for interviews. I did not notice any microphones or cameras. In the room were agent Brock and another agent whom I don’t recall getting a name from, but who was younger and was not there for the whole time. Eventually, it would be agent Brock and Murdock who were present for the bulk of the interview.

The interview consisted of agent Brock making notes on a blank sheet of 8.5×11 paper. He had my immigration form in front of him. He began by going down the form, verifying the information I had submitted, such as my name, address, etc. He made a comment or question about my being a United States citizen. I said I prefer the word, “American”, and he too said that he was an American. Other questions were such as where I worked, if I had ever been arrested, if I had my own business….etc. Agent Brock asked me about my comment coming down the escalator where I may be detained for something I had said and he wanted me to elaborate. I explained that I had ran for Governor of Illinois and mayor of Collinsville, and in doing so I took the opportunity to rail against the system and those in power; making possible enemies in the process. That comment led to more questions, such as how much money did I raise in my bid for governor, what party I ran under, as well as for mayor of Collinsville.

I want to add that the interview exhibited no discernible structure or objective. It was more conversational than anything. My arrest record and current issues with Fairview Heights were discussed. He commented that the only times I had ever been arrested were while in Fairview Heights and asked if I had a problem with Fairview Heights. I replied that I can’t have a problem with Fairview Heights, since it is a political entity, but it was with two men acting as officers with whom I have the problem. I told him that one of the charges consisted of my not having a driver’s license. He asked if I did have a driver’s license; to which I replied no. I said I had no identification, per se, other than my passport needed to enter the country.

There were other questions which were curious. I was asked if I heard of or listened to Alex Jones, if I liked Alan Keyes, and if I heard of Democracy Now (www.democracynow.org), and had I read a book by Amy Goodman. I replied that I don’t listen to Alex Jones, liked Alan Keyes, and used to listen to Democracy Now. I took the opportunity to bring up my philosophical and political beliefs. I can’t remember if agent Murdock compared me with Alex Jones, but I would differ on that perception. He did mention Martin Luther King, Jr. and Gandhi, both of whom I hold in high esteem. I also mentioned Henry David Thoreau as being the progenitor of civil disobedience, and that such an approach is my philosophy. Agent Murdock did mention that Dr. King paid the ultimate price for his beliefs. I commented that I don’t believe myself to be so important or significant that I would be killed for my beliefs because the majority of people do not identify with such beliefs and therefore my threat to the status quo is negligible, although, I would not fear facing such a consequence for my beliefs since they are non-violent, and well-reasoned.

I was also asked about my feelings on the Federal Reserve, an un-Constitutional, unaccountable private banking cartel; as well as on taxation. I informed them that I marched on Washington over taxation and that the government exceeds its constitutional taxation powers and wastes the taxpayers money on foreign aid and other wasteful endeavors.

Finally, the interview ended and I was led back out to where my wife was sitting and the agents went to check on the status of my delay. They were waiting for a phone call from someone in Washington, D.C. to clear me through. We chatted with agent Murdock for a while until agent Brock came back to meet us with his supervisor, I believe, who was later identified as supervisor Jack Cannon.

We were escorted to the American Airlines counter where we were given new tickets for a flight, which resulted in about a three hour delay in total, including having to wait for the next flight.

So, what happened, why did it happen, and what does it mean?

I was detained. I was detained against my will. I would have preferred not, but I understand the reason for it happening. Immigration is actually one of the few constitutionally authorized functions of government. However, I depart from that concept on this point; an individual born on this land has an unfettered right to exit and re-enter his home land without interference. I told the agents that I was a believer in no borders. Political borders hinder the progress of mankind. They are a means for control and hindering the freedom of people who would evolve societally if left to their own devices. But, the world being what it is at this time, if we desire an agency to keep undesirables out and limit immigration, there has to be a procedure in place for differentiating between the two. As a result, we have to submit to a level of inconvenience in being surveyed in order to determine who belongs and who do not.

I was interviewed. I was not interrogated. I was not fingerprinted. I was not personally searched. I was not cuffed or shackled. I was not touched in any way against my will. I was not photographed, unless if possibly by surreptitious means. The experience was not contentious, adversarial, antagonistic, or unpleasant. Most of the questions involve information readily available through public information. I was not asked for an SSN or other number. It seemed more like there being some hold or other flag on my name or passport that made someone somewhere uneasy or curious; possibly after having read some of my writings posted on the internet or elsewhere, and my being an unknown quantity, they wanted to possibly assess just what the “man” was like and what threat, if any, I may pose. To be honest, after all my challenging to government to engage me; and all of the silence and avoidance resulting therefrom, I finally had the attention of agents of that government with whom to engage in civil discourse and discussion. Even the agents said that they were not sure as to the purpose for my detention, and that they were merely following standard interview procedures. I believe they were just killing time, having me within reach just in case, and discerning any possible threat or illegal purpose. Whoever was pulling the strings was not in Dallas-Fort Worth, but in Washington and the agents was somewhat in the dark regarding the purpose for my detention.

Why did this happen? I don’t know. I can speculate, but I was hoping for the agents to broach the subject. I was never directly approached about anything in particular. The speculation from the agents encompassed everything from an identity mix-up to “I don’t know”. I believe that something attributed to me caught the attention in Washington and they needed to put a “person” to the words. They wanted to know if I was possibly violent, treasonous, dangerous, belligerent, uncooperative….etc. Depending on the circumstances, I could be uncooperative and belligerent, if that be how I am approached. These men were respectful and reasonable. Even I do not accept the “I am just doing my job” excuse for injustices being perpetrated; men can exercise reason and discretion in achieving a peaceful and lawful objective without infringing on the life and property of others. I saw no reason to be anything other than what I always aspire to be, viz, a peaceable and reasonable man who longs for the evolution of mankind in transcending war, divisiveness, mistrust, violence, and suffering.

What does this mean? Someone is listening, or has listened. I may be dismissed as inconsequential. I hope to be dismissed as being non-violent, and not-consenting to the authority of government over my person. I can do without it just fine. Will I be detained again? I can’t say. Agent Brock said he will write a report that will hopefully resolve any uncertainty and avoid this from happening again. I can say that had it not been for my wife being with me I may have taken a different tact. I did not want to elaborate too much on some things so as to continue the interview to the point of delaying her from getting home. I actually told her that if I were to be detained for a time that she should continue home and make appropriate contacts. Is that to say I would have been less than civil? No. I would have taken the opportunity to go further into depth on my history with challenging government, removing my consent from same, tendering my Declaration and many other things. I would have taken the opportunity to talk them to deaf. I finally had a “captive” audience who dared ask, “Who are you?”

At the conclusion, we shook each other’s hands. I commented on their professionalism and civility. I harbor no malevolence or discontent as a result of the experience. Have my opinions about government changed? No. I did not deal with government. I dealt with men. Even though I believe the office they occupy to be subordinate to that of a man, I was not assaulted with the persona of the official, but engaged by men acting in that capacity. Maybe they were very well trained and shrewd in furthering an ulterior agenda by appearing respectful and civil. My responses were genuine, honest, non-violent, and lawful. I kept telling my wife she had nothing to fear for I had committed no crime. If my experience was a sum of government agents seeking to know the truth about me then I have no issue with their tactics. We will see what happens next time, but for the time-being, I have to give credit to these men for treating me the way they did.

I do plan on following up with a comment card and filing a DHS TRIP inquiry. I will update this mailing list with the ensuing results, if any. There were other things said that essentially reiterate much of what I usually espouse and many of you would rather not hear again, so I will dispense with the redundancy. Hopefully, I will be left alone or they will want to know more. Either way, I win.

PS.
Upon checking my Google Analytics after returning home I find that Homeland Security visited my website on Sept. 18 and 19.

Obama Regulation Czar Advocated Removing People's Organs Without Explicit Consent

(CNS News)


Cass Sunstein, President Barack Obama’s nominee to head the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), has advocated a policy under which the government would ‚“presume‚ someone has consented to having his or her organs removed for transplantation into someone else when they die unless that person has explicitly indicated that his or her organs should not be taken.

Under such a policy, hospitals would harvest organs from people who never gave permission for this to be done.

Outlined in the 2008 book ‚“Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness,‚ Sunstein and co-author Richard H. Thaler argued that the main reason that more people do not donate their organs is because they are required to choose donation.

Sunstein and Thaler pointed out that doctors often must ask the deceased’s family members whether or not their dead relative would have wanted to donate his organs. These family members usually err on the side of caution and refuse to donate their loved one’s organs.

‚“The major obstacle to increasing [organ] donations is the need to get the consent of surviving family members,‚ said Sunstein and Thaler.

This problem could be remedied if governments changed the laws for organ donation, they said. Currently, unless a patient has explicitly chosen to be an organ donor, either on his driver’s license or with a donor card, the doctors assume that the person did not want to donate and therefore do not harvest his organs. Thaler and Sunstein called this ‚“explicit consent.‚

They argued that this could be remedied if government turned the law around and assumed that, unless people explicitly choose not to, then they want to donate their organs ‚”œ a doctrine they call ‚“presumed consent.‚

‚“Presumed consent preserves freedom of choice, but it is different from explicit consent because it shifts the default rule. Under this policy, all citizens would be presumed to be consenting donors, but they would have the opportunity to register their unwillingness to donate,‚ they explained.

The difference between explicit and presumed consent is that under presumed consent, many more people ‚“choose‚ to be organ donors. Sunstein and Thaler noted that in a 2003 study only 42 percent of people actively chose to be organ donors, while only 18 percent actively opted out when their consent was presumed.

In cases where the deceased’s wishes are unclear, Sunstein and Thaler argued that a ‚“presumed consent‚ system would make it easier for doctors to convince families to donate their loved one’s organs.

Citing a 2006 study, Thaler and Sunstein wrote: ‚“The next of kin can be approached quite differently when the decedent’s silence is presumed to indicate a decision to donate rather than when it is presumed to indicate a decision not to donate. This shift may make it easier for the family to accept organ donation.‚

The problem of the deceased’s family is only one issue, Sunstein and Thaler said, admitting that turning the idea of choice on its head will invariably run into major political problems, but these are problems they say the government can solve through a system of ‚“mandated choice.‚

‚“Another [problem] is that it is a hard sell politically,‚ wrote Sunstein and Thaler. ‚“More than a few people object to the idea of ‚presuming’ anything when it comes to such a sensitive matter. For these reasons we think that the best choice architecture for organ donations is mandated choice.‚

Mandated choice is a process where government forces you to make a decision ‚”œ in this case, whether to opt out of being an organ donor to get something you need, such as a driver’s license.

‚“With mandated choice, renewal of your driver’s license would be accompanied by a requirement that you check a box stating your organ donation preferences,‚ the authors stated. ‚“Your application would not be accepted unless you had checked one of the boxes.‚

To ensure that people’s decisions align with the government policy of more organ donors, Sunstein and Thaler counseled that governments should follow the state of Illinois’ example and try to influence people by making organ donation seem popular.

‚“First, the state stresses the importance of the overall problem (97,000 people [in Illinois] on the waiting list and then brings the problem home, literally (4,700 in Illinois),‚ they wrote.

‚“Second, social norms are directly brought into play in a way that build on the power of social influences [peer pressure]: ‚87 percent of adults in Illinois feel that registering as an organ donor is the right thing to do’ and ’60 percent of adults in Illinois are registered,’‚ they added.

Sunstein and Thaler reminded policymakers that people will generally do what they think others are doing and what they believe others think is right. These presumptions, which almost everyone has, act as powerful factors as policymakers seek to design choices.

‚“Recall that people like to do what most people think is right to do; recall too that people like to do what most people actually do,‚ they wrote. ‚“The state is enlisting existing norms in the direction of lifestyle choices.‚

Thaler and Sunstein believed that this and other policies are necessary because people don’t really make the best decisions.

‚“The false assumption is that almost all people, almost all of the time, make choices that are in their best interest or at the very least are better than the choices that would be made [for them] by someone else,‚ they said.

This means that government ‚“incentives and nudges‚ should replace ‚“requirements and bans,‚ they argued.

Neither Sunstein nor Thaler currently are commenting on their book, a spokesman for the publisher, Penguin Group, told CNSNews.com.

In a question-and-answer section on the Amazon.com Web site, Thaler and Sunstein answered a few questions about their book.

When asked what the title ‚“Nudge‚ means and why people need to be nudged, the authors stated: ‚“By a nudge we mean anything that influences our choices. A school cafeteria might try to nudge kids toward good diets by putting the healthiest foods at front.

‚“We think that it’s time for institutions, including government, to become much more user-friendly by enlisting the science of choice to make life easier for people and by gently nudging them in directions that will make their lives better,‚ they wrote.

‚“‚¦The human brain is amazing, but it evolved for specific purposes, such as avoiding predators and finding food,‚ said Thaler and Sunstein. ‚“Those purposes do not include choosing good credit card plans, reducing harmful pollution, avoiding fatty foods, and planning for a decade or so from now. Fortunately, a few nudges can help a lot. ‚¦‚

Obama Regulation Czar Advocated Removing People’s Organs Without Explicit Consent

(CNS News)


Cass Sunstein, President Barack Obama’s nominee to head the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), has advocated a policy under which the government would “presume” someone has consented to having his or her organs removed for transplantation into someone else when they die unless that person has explicitly indicated that his or her organs should not be taken.

Under such a policy, hospitals would harvest organs from people who never gave permission for this to be done.

Outlined in the 2008 book “Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness,” Sunstein and co-author Richard H. Thaler argued that the main reason that more people do not donate their organs is because they are required to choose donation.

Sunstein and Thaler pointed out that doctors often must ask the deceased’s family members whether or not their dead relative would have wanted to donate his organs. These family members usually err on the side of caution and refuse to donate their loved one’s organs.

“The major obstacle to increasing [organ] donations is the need to get the consent of surviving family members,” said Sunstein and Thaler.

This problem could be remedied if governments changed the laws for organ donation, they said. Currently, unless a patient has explicitly chosen to be an organ donor, either on his driver’s license or with a donor card, the doctors assume that the person did not want to donate and therefore do not harvest his organs. Thaler and Sunstein called this “explicit consent.”

They argued that this could be remedied if government turned the law around and assumed that, unless people explicitly choose not to, then they want to donate their organs – a doctrine they call “presumed consent.”

“Presumed consent preserves freedom of choice, but it is different from explicit consent because it shifts the default rule. Under this policy, all citizens would be presumed to be consenting donors, but they would have the opportunity to register their unwillingness to donate,” they explained.

The difference between explicit and presumed consent is that under presumed consent, many more people “choose” to be organ donors. Sunstein and Thaler noted that in a 2003 study only 42 percent of people actively chose to be organ donors, while only 18 percent actively opted out when their consent was presumed.

In cases where the deceased’s wishes are unclear, Sunstein and Thaler argued that a “presumed consent” system would make it easier for doctors to convince families to donate their loved one’s organs.

Citing a 2006 study, Thaler and Sunstein wrote: “The next of kin can be approached quite differently when the decedent’s silence is presumed to indicate a decision to donate rather than when it is presumed to indicate a decision not to donate. This shift may make it easier for the family to accept organ donation.”

The problem of the deceased’s family is only one issue, Sunstein and Thaler said, admitting that turning the idea of choice on its head will invariably run into major political problems, but these are problems they say the government can solve through a system of “mandated choice.”

“Another [problem] is that it is a hard sell politically,” wrote Sunstein and Thaler. “More than a few people object to the idea of ‘presuming’ anything when it comes to such a sensitive matter. For these reasons we think that the best choice architecture for organ donations is mandated choice.”

Mandated choice is a process where government forces you to make a decision – in this case, whether to opt out of being an organ donor to get something you need, such as a driver’s license.

“With mandated choice, renewal of your driver’s license would be accompanied by a requirement that you check a box stating your organ donation preferences,” the authors stated. “Your application would not be accepted unless you had checked one of the boxes.”

To ensure that people’s decisions align with the government policy of more organ donors, Sunstein and Thaler counseled that governments should follow the state of Illinois’ example and try to influence people by making organ donation seem popular.

“First, the state stresses the importance of the overall problem (97,000 people [in Illinois] on the waiting list and then brings the problem home, literally (4,700 in Illinois),” they wrote.

“Second, social norms are directly brought into play in a way that build on the power of social influences [peer pressure]: ‘87 percent of adults in Illinois feel that registering as an organ donor is the right thing to do’ and ’60 percent of adults in Illinois are registered,’” they added.

Sunstein and Thaler reminded policymakers that people will generally do what they think others are doing and what they believe others think is right. These presumptions, which almost everyone has, act as powerful factors as policymakers seek to design choices.

“Recall that people like to do what most people think is right to do; recall too that people like to do what most people actually do,” they wrote. “The state is enlisting existing norms in the direction of lifestyle choices.”

Thaler and Sunstein believed that this and other policies are necessary because people don’t really make the best decisions.

“The false assumption is that almost all people, almost all of the time, make choices that are in their best interest or at the very least are better than the choices that would be made [for them] by someone else,” they said.

This means that government “incentives and nudges” should replace “requirements and bans,” they argued.

Neither Sunstein nor Thaler currently are commenting on their book, a spokesman for the publisher, Penguin Group, told CNSNews.com.

In a question-and-answer section on the Amazon.com Web site, Thaler and Sunstein answered a few questions about their book.

When asked what the title “Nudge” means and why people need to be nudged, the authors stated: “By a nudge we mean anything that influences our choices. A school cafeteria might try to nudge kids toward good diets by putting the healthiest foods at front.

“We think that it’s time for institutions, including government, to become much more user-friendly by enlisting the science of choice to make life easier for people and by gently nudging them in directions that will make their lives better,” they wrote.

“…The human brain is amazing, but it evolved for specific purposes, such as avoiding predators and finding food,” said Thaler and Sunstein. “Those purposes do not include choosing good credit card plans, reducing harmful pollution, avoiding fatty foods, and planning for a decade or so from now. Fortunately, a few nudges can help a lot. …”

Pittsburgh G20 Summit: De Facto Martial Law

by Joe Pogany


In a disturbing trend that has been emerging in the United States over the last few years, active-duty military will be on a mission in the streets of another modern American city. WPXI News is reporting that 2,000 combat-ready troops from the 2nd Brigade Combat team of the Army National Guard will be deployed in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania during the G20 Summit. The troops will be tasked with providing assistance with crowd control, traffic, defensive terrorist tactics, and equipment to sense biological and chemical weapons.

In an August 3rd broadcast on KDKA News, it was reported that Gov. Ed Rendell had promised 1,500 Pennsylvania National Guard troops who would be on-call “If necessary.” In this and other news reports, it was reported that the roughly 900-member Pittsburgh Police Force was not enough to handle the amount of protestors that are being expected, which was cited as a reason to bring in the National Guard. Pittsburgh Police Department Chief Nate Harper put out a call to other departments and major cities seeking and eventually getting roughly 3,100 out-of-town police officers for the event. So, even though the police were able to secure the needed forces, we now have a confirmed commitment of active-duty military of not 1,500 troops— but 2,000! As of now we can expect 6,000 or more “authorities” for this elitists’ confab.

There is still no word as to whether or not these National Guard troops will be armed, and if so, whether they will be armed with lethal or non-lethal weapons. From earlier reports it is known that the police force will have “Standard-issue riot gear” but it is not known if the military will be equipped in this way too. Another point that is not known at this time is what the chain of command will be. (I.e. whether the police will be directing the military or vice-versa)

Following the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s designation of the summit as a “National Security Special Event,” the U.S. Secret Service has taken charge of the event. This means that the Federal Government is directing all of the activities of the police, military, local officials, and by fiat— all of the local citizens. Amtrak has announced that they will not be making stops in Pittsburgh during the summit as well as Greyhound, who is considering temporarily moving their terminal to McKeesport. The Port Authority of Allegheny County announced that the light-rail service into the city will stop as it enters the city and admit that they still don’t know about how bus service will be affected.

KDKA News is also reporting that residents of the Downtown Pittsburgh area will need to show ID to enter their homes. The assorted apartment firms in the area are notifying their tenants that their information will be given to the city, which in-turn will put their names into a database. When the tenants who live in the “security zone” want to get home, they will need to go through a security checkpoint and show proper identification. No word on who will man these checkpoints or whether the residents will have to take their belts and shoes off.

Many groups have applied for permits with the city for protests. Many permits have been denied, and many more have not yet been answered. Of the permits that have been granted, none have actually been issued yet. The ACLU plans on suing the City of Pittsburgh if the permits are not issued by the close of the business day, Friday. All of the groups who plan on protesting can look forward to doing so in one of the two proposed “Free-speech zones.”

With active-duty military personnel being on the streets, free-speech zones, little or no public transportation and making local residents show ID to get to their homes, we will be under a de facto martial law declaration here in Pittsburgh. This summit underlines all of the things that are totally un-American and wholly totalitarian in this country today.