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Thomas Paine

To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead.

Monday, November 30, 2009

30 Nov - Quick Selected Essays

Dial M for Morons
(Thousands of abuse reports to a DCF hot line go unheeded every month because of a new screening process intended to keep the strained system functioning.)
Among the screened-out allegations: reports of kidnapping, rape, aggravated child abuse, medical neglect, malnutrition, kids roaming the streets unsupervised and domestic violence that threatens to harm the children.

Financial Crisis in Dubai: Towards a Nightmare Scenario? 
Recently by Mike Whitney: When the Dollar Rallies, the Market Will Crash
Arnab Das of RGE Monitor sums it up like this: "We’re bound to see a rise in risk aversion. The Dubai situation signifies that although the major central banks around the world have stabilized the financial system, they can’t make all the excesses simply disappear. We still have to work out those balance sheet stresses. The recovery is proceeding, but significant challenges still lie ahead.” (Bloomberg News)
Second, when these incidents take place, there's likely to be considerable collateral damage from the unregulated insurance policies (credit default swaps) which underwrite the bonds. These CDS derivatives are not sold on a public exchange so no one knows who holds them, in what amount, or whether the issuer has sufficient capital reserves to pay off claims. We should expect a repeat of AIG over and over again (although smaller) until the system is either regulated or CDs are banned. The bottom line, is that the current financial architecture is not designed to work; it is designed to make a handful of speculators very rich.

Underwater mortgage? Walk away, law school prof says 

Wisconsin’s war against agriculture: Fines, imprisonment and property seizure
“The first thing they did when they got the authority to write rules … was to grant themselves the authority to conduct warrantless searches. Wisconsin is in the process of coercing farmers and backyard producers … into NAIS, and the accompanying Premises ID program, by threatening to withhold any of the licenses they control.” Paul Griepentrog
Q: Does the Animal Health Protection Act of 2003 actually authorize the Animal Identification System or Premises ID?

A: There is nothing in that bill giving them authority to create or establish the National Animal Identification System (NAIS).

Q: Do citizens have the right to demand a full disclosure of the exact laws and basis under which USDA and Wisconsin have charged them? Is there any defense against these attacks?

A: There seems to be none. In the cooperative agreement it states all applicable federal laws shall apply. There are certain major State and Federal Constitutional issues that these laws are in conflict with.
Q: Who exactly is asking for this information?

A: The Department of Agriculture, State of Wisconsin administered by Assistant State Veterinarian, Dr. Paul McGraw; both knowing this has nothing to do with livestock or food safety. This comes from The World Trade Organization and their trade program OIE. http://www.oie.int/eng/en_index.htm World Organization Animal Health.

Q: Who is storing the information?

A: Wisconsin Department of Agriculture and then to Wisconsin Livestock Identification Consortium with (WLIC) as final repository in Canada. The WLIC is comprised of various agriculture groups, breed associations and companies selling RFID tags.

Rep. Obey & Sen. Kohl helped to get WLIC started and moved the data base to Canada. The head of WLIC initially was Gary Tauchen who is now a Wisconsin representative and sitting on the house AG committee.Paul Griepentrog shows that, in the end, what was billed and sold to Wisconsin farmers and herders as a strictly “voluntary” system turns out to be a mandatory system operated much like a police state enforcement policy. There can be no doubt, especially in light of the hyped up investigation and enforcement policies that this law in Wisconsin is less about disease and more about property seizure and forfeiture.

Wisconsin is the blueprint for the remaining states: what happens there is going to happen to all independent ranchers, farmers and producers across the country if any of these fake food safety bills, or National Animal Identification System (NAIS) is passed into law.

The war against our children
The statistics are undeniable. Americans are the least healthy people among the world’s developed nations.
But one of the root cause is something the corporate giants and their friends in the news media and government have done a first class job of keeping out of public consciousness…until now.

The school lunch scam

Corporate pigs at the trough

Good Farming Was More Advanced a Hundred Years Ago 

Codex and ‘the Face of Controlled Opposition’ 
We Become Silent: The Last Days of Health Freedom (29 mins, 2005), a film by Kevin P. Miller, narrated by Judi Dench (pictured left), covering Codex Alimentarius, which seeks to criminalize nutrients and dietary supplements.

This is a MUST READ about Afghanistan by Grantcart 
( That's the actual header - and yes, I recommend it too )

Simply because the original reason for going to Afghanistan has been eliminated does not mean that no other reason now exists.
( In a store it's called "Bait and Switch" : in politics and war it's 'foreign policy' )

Do you think you really know what is happening in Afghanistan? 
The big lie of Afghanistan

My country hasn't been liberated: it's still under the warlords' control, and Nato occupation only reinforces their power

Malalai Joya
The Guardian, Saturday 25 July 2009

You must understand that the government headed by Hamid Karzai is full of warlords and extremists who are brothers in creed of the Taliban. Many of these men committed terrible crimes against the Afghan people during the civil war of the 1990s.

For expressing my views I have been expelled from my seat in parliament, and I have survived numerous assassination attempts. The fact that I was kicked out of office while brutal warlords enjoyed immunity from prosecution for their crimes should tell you all you need to know about the "democracy" backed by Nato troops.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

29 Nov - Reactions to Corporate Protection Rackets

UbuKubuntu - is Gnome 3 off track?
posted by address-withheld@my.opera.com.invalid (Dr. John v. Kampen) at - 12 hours ago
*Having worked on the first Mac OS* the phenomenon of the computer 'desktop'-travesty has always accompanied me. My involvement goes back nearly 27 years. To be frank: visually hardly anything has fundame..

Limbaugh Commits Prosecutable Treason.
posted by Len Hart at The Existentialist Cowboy - 1 day ago
by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy Rush Limbaugh has urged that a military coup overthrow the current government in Washington. That is a prosecutable crime called 'seditious treason' and there is pro...

Making your own LiveCD on Linux 
*Live-CD's are boot CD's with a twist:* they comprise a host of programs and even offer you to go on-line and surf the web. When you would like to test a Linux distro just download its *.iso*, burn it on ...

Iran restructuring its naval forces 
Iran has reorganized its naval forces to give operational control of the strategic Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz to the naval component of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the paramilitary organization that is playing an increasingly central role not only in Iran's military but also its political and economic life.

Politically favored over Iran's traditional navy, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy, or IRGCN as it is known, "has capitalized on this status to acquire advanced weaponry and better platforms to develop additional capabilities," according to the study by the U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence titled "Iran's Naval Forces: From Guerilla [sic] Warfare to a Modern Naval Strategy," Fall 2009. The study was disclosed last week by Steven Aftergood on his Secrecy News Web site. Faced with threats of military attacks on its nuclear facilities, Iranian leaders have threatened to cut off almost 30 percent of the world's oil supply by closing or controlling the narrow Strait of Hormuz, according to the Naval Intelligence study.

"Ingressing or egressing warships must pass through mineable waters within the range of a variety of weapons including coastal defense cruise missiles, significantly increasing the ships' vulnerability,"

Iran announces plans for 10 new uranium enrichment plants 
Iran's government will build 10 new sites to enrich uranium, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Sunday, a dramatic expansion of the country's nuclear program and one that is bound to fuel fears that it is attempting to produce a nuclear weapon.

Ahmadinejad told state news agency IRNA that construction of at least five nuclear facilities was to begin within two months.

The announcement comes just days after a censure of Iran by the International Atomic Energy Organization (IAEA) over the Islamic republic's refusal to stop enriching uranium, a key demand of Western powers. The 35-member board of the agency also criticized Iran's construction of a second enrichment plant in Qom, southwest of Tehran.

Iran has insisted that its nuclear program is designed for energy production and denies it is seeking to build a nuclear bomb. Ahmadinejad said Sunday that his country's need for energy would grow dramatically over the next 15 years.

"We annually must produce between 250 to 300 tons of nuclear fuel," he said.

If completed, the proposed expansion of Iran's nuclear program would give it vastly more nuclear fuel. According to a November report by the Vienna-based IAEA, Iran currently has 8,745 centrifuges to enrich uranium, but less than half of them are operational.

The United States and its allies, under an IAEA-backed plan, had recently sought to reduce Iran's nuclear stockpile by proposing that the Islamic republic ship most of its enriched uranium abroad to be fashioned into fuel for a research reactor. Iran has rejected a central element of the proposal.

( "One that is bound to provide ammunition for fueling fears" : it is a U.S. media rag, after all. )

Aust. Foreign Minister Can't Handle The Truth 
Recently a piece in the Fairfax media told of the "huge shock" the Israeli Government establishment is feeling as a result of the findings of the Goldstone report into war crimes during the Gaza conflict at the start of this year.

For the Israeli Government, one of the most shocking aspects of that report is the way it lays out detailed evidence contradicting the Israeli narrative of how that eruption of violence was triggered, in the context of the wider Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

That evidence itself is not news to anyone who has followed the events closely. What Israel and its allies find disturbing is the reality of high-level rejection of their justifications for that attack.
Another canard refuted by the Goldstone report is that Hamas committed war crimes by using civilians as human shields.
Stephen Zunes, a Professor from the University of San Francisco and a seasoned observer of the conflict, called the 4 November raid "a huge provocation", and one that "was actually intended to get Hamas to break off the ceasefire".

The case against military tribunals
It's a violation of the Constitution to use the panels without a declaration of war -- and just calling it a 'war' on terror doesn't count.
The casual use of the word "war" has lead to a mentality among the public and even in the government that the rules of war could apply to those held at Guantanamo. But the rules of war apply only to those involved in a lawfully declared war, and not to something that the government merely calls a war. Only Congress can declare war -- and thus trigger the panoply of the government's military powers that come with that declaration. Among those powers is the ability to use military tribunals to try those who have caused us harm by violating the rules of war.The 5th Amendment to the Constitution, which requires due process, includes the essential component of a jury trial. And the 6th Amendment requires that when the government pursues any person in court, it must do so in the venue where the person is alleged to have caused harm.

Numerous Supreme Court cases have ruled that any person in conflict with the government can invoke due process -- be that person a citizen or an immigrant, someone born here, legally here, illegally here or whose suspect behavior did not even occur here.
Andrew P. Napolitano, a former judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey, is the senior judicial analyst at the Fox News Channel

Living Up to Our Constitution — Part III   
Hat tip  Suzie-Q 
For years, business interests, operating through the Chamber of Commerce and other “law reform” outfits, have mounted a public relations campaign against the civil justice system. Their tale is that discovery costs, juries, and punitive damage awards are all out of control, allowing unscrupulous plaintiffs’ lawyers to hold corporations hostage and extort massive settlements in a litigation lottery that frustrates public policy. Their goal is to make corporate defendants seem the victims, justifying mandatory binding arbitration (often with systematically biased arbitrators), caps on damages, restrictive readings of statutes of limitations, and heightened pleading standards.
We live in a world where corporations are allowed (ahem) free speech rights in the form of large campaign contributions and soft money advertising campaigns, even if the views expressed are directly contrary to the views of their shareholders. Sen. Whitehouse rightly points out that the only branch of government where an ordinary citizen has any hope of making their plea in front of a decision maker who is not bought and paid for with campaign contributions, is before the jury box.

Corporations would be only too happy with a world in which their every contact with government officials – Presidents, governors, federal and state senators and representatives – every contact is with individuals and institutions who have been rendered supple to their interests by the emollient effect of corporate contributions. Against this lubriciously accommodating world stand the hard square corners of the jury box, filled with ordinary Americans, whose views you tamper with only at your legal peril, and before whom the mightiest corporation stands equal with its most humble and voiceless victim; where each party has equal opportunity to put its case to a group of our peers; where the status quo can be disrupted; where the comfortable can be afflicted and the afflicted find some comfort, all under the shelter of the law.

We stand up for the Constitution when we stand up for our courts.

The great trade collapse: Causes, Consequences and Prospects 
E-Book PDF 4.48MB   :  Individual papers linked at above URL
Richard Baldwin
Professor of International Economics, Graduate Institute, Geneva; CEPR Policy Director, and VoxEU.org Editor-in-Chief

Frank Schaeffer's 'Narrative' of the Loons: Our Own Far Right vs. the Islamic Extremists 
( Satire : Mocking an open set of lunatics to present another  mocked viewpoint : also based on zealotism
British Svengali behind 'Clash of Civilizations'
 Osama and Orientalism : where Islamophobes meet al-Qaeda
 From Skokie to Um-el-Fahm
Why 'Islamophobia' is on the rise )

The pharmaceutical industry toasts to your ill health 
Your good health translates into zero profit for the pharmaceutical industry. General well-being of the public and cures for disease would mean the collapse of the pharmaceutical industry since they must have illness to have demand for their drugs, in order to exist. This is the truth that drives political corruption, mandating of vaccines, control over the healthcare industry, and efforts to destroy natural health companies and practititioners.

Obamanomics: Here Come the Food Shortages 
Commodities aren’t something the average American understands, let alone associates with wealth. But it is commodities, the tack and trade of big agribusiness and big Government, that are the backbone of the economy. And what is happening there is beyond alarming. There’s a food shortage coming to America.

The price of beef, pork, and chicken is plummetting. The price of non-organic milk, otherwise known as liquid chemical sludge, is plummeting as well. That’s good for consumers, right? Wrong. The price is falling because family farmers and those with any sense at all are dumping their livestock as fast as they can. Why? Because the same speculators that caused the current economic catastrophe have fled Wall Street for the CBOT, investing heavily in grain, oil, copper, and other natural resources that are traded in Chicago. As a result, the price of grain is skyrocketing. Smart producers know they won’t be able to feed their animals if this keeps up, so they’re liquidating now. This is a great time to stock up on meat. And if you don’t do it now, within a year, you won’t be able to.
It’s not just the price of meat and milk that will skyrocket, so will the price of cereal, infant formula, bread, pasta, and everything else. Not only will the price soar, in the very near future there will be a shortage of the foods we are used to getting for next to nothing. Ask yourself this, when speculators were playing with the oil market, what happened? Oil is a commoditiy, traded in the exact same manner, by the exact same people who are now speculating in food futures. This is the exact same pattern that caused Stalin’s regime to seize Russia’s farms in the early twentieth century. This is the same pattern that caused the Great Depression. Here we go again.

The Genetic Engineering of Food and the Failure of Science 
 By Don Lotter, PhD

A major conflict over this issue has developed. On one side are scientists, universities and corporations who have invested nearly 25 years and tens of billions of dollars in the genetic engineering of crop plants. On the other side is a flood of evidence that the process of food plant transgenics (genetic engineering) is deeply and fatally flawed and has been resting on a theoretical foundation that has crumbled away as the science of genetics reinvents itself.

From the beginning, the entire crop transgenics enterprise has been based on the now-discredited “one-gene one-protein” theory that one gene leads to the production of one protein. The fatal blow to this one-gene one-protein model came in 2003 with the shocking results of the Human Genome Project which showed that humans have vastly fewer genes than previously believed.

As a result of this, the project scientists now report that the genomes of higher organisms (including plants) are not what scientists had believed them to be, and that “genes appear to operate in a complex network, and interact and overlap with one another and with other components in ways not yet fully understood.” They conclude that these findings challenge scientists “to rethink some long-held views about what genes are and what they do.”
To quote renowned cellular biologist Barry Commoner, commenting on the results of the Human Genome Project: “The fact that one gene can give rise to multiple proteins … destroys the theoretical foundation of a multibillion dollar industry, the genetic engineering of food crops.”

It is quite stunning to read scientific reports, mostly from Europe, that are uncovering the serious genetic and protein integrity problems arising from crop transgenics. It challenges the imagination as to how this technology and its products could possibly have gained regulatory approval and continued scientific acceptance in the US. These flaws fall into three main categories:
The production of unknown or defective proteins;
The transfer of transgenes to bacteria and viruses within the food consumer’s intestine; and
Ecological issues.
In the late 1990s, one of Europe’s top genetic engineers, Dr. Árpád Pusztai, found that the process of genetic engineering of the potato caused test rats to develop potentially precancerous cell growth in the digestive tract; inhibited development of the brain, liver, and testicles; caused partial atrophy of the liver; enlarged pancreas and intestines; and immune system damage.

Pusztai’s subsequent termination from his senior position at a UK research institute following the release of his research results is discussed in my paper along with other examples of bias against and mistreatment of scientists whose research does not support transgenics. Pusztai’s paper in The Lancet, considered the top medical journal in the world, remains a landmark in food transgenics.

Seeing the Pattern Before Copenhagen: Scientists Threatened in Four Essential Areas of Study 
Scientists (and thus science) are threatened in four central areas of human existence – agriculture, health, environment and peace. The threat comes from multinational corporations seeking absolute control over world resources and political power through national laws and international treaties based on false or incomplete science.

Industry’s dilemma is that their products are harmful and yet they need them sold. Originally, industry attempted to solve this by promoting their products as beneficial to mankind and safe. But scientific research has shown both are untrue. Efforts to silence that research proved insufficient since people were increasingly aware of the dangers and began seeing the consequences.

At this point, industries shifted to using fear of catastrophe to sell their products perhaps expecting that urgency would override the proven negative effects on mankind (such as suicides of farmers in India) and safety issues. So, for instance, “climate ready” seeds (patented GMO seeds) are now being pushed as an urgent solution to climate change.

Scientific research not only continued exposing the dangers of corporate manmade products but caused a second problem. By contrasting the natural world’s to industry’s products, scientists inadvertently created reassurance about nature’s health, abundance, and resilience (to say nothing of a growing commitment to it). That reassurance undercut industry’s necessary element of fear.

Industry has been forced to move into more totalitarian measures in collusion with government, which now simply writes laws which give it power to destroy its competitors and that mandate industry’s openly unwanted products. Meanwhile, it continues to do all it can to silence scientists who undermine industry lies and desired fear. The truth about industry’s toxic products and its competition, nature, is directly threatening to industry’s continued existence.
Genetic engineering, including its companion product, pesticides, gives insight into what scientists have faced for telling the truth. Arpad Pusztai was released from the Rowett Institute after 35 years and silenced with threats of a lawsuit. His research team was disbanded “after reporting the dangers from GMOs though his work is valued by other scientists. Ignacio Chapela was threatened and denied tenure for exposing the crossover of genes from GMO corn to normal corn. ‘I am living proof of what happens when biotech buys a university. … Corporate biotechnology is killing this university.’”

Meanwhile corporations have been judged guilty in courts for false claims about product safety. “France’s highest court has ruled that US agrochemical giant Monsanto had not told the truth about the safety of its best-selling weed-killer, Roundup. The court confirmed an earlier judgment that Monsanto had falsely advertised its herbicide as “biodegradable” and claimed it “left the soil clean”.

In the US, pesticide studies were “flawed by conflict of interest, failure to meet ethical standards established by the Declaration of Helsinki, unacceptable informed consent procedures, inadequate statistical power and inappropriate test methods and end points. All studies were funded by pesticide manufacturers, and all ethics committees responsible for approving the study protocols were part of the contract research organizations paid by the company to conduct the studies …”

Political efforts to make use the corrupt tests followed. Corruption of science is not new, nor only in the area of pesticides. Industry studies used in support of GMOs “contradict well established scientific principles. Chief among their [Pusztai and Seralini's] concerns are the ways Monsanto explains away statistically significant effects.”

Lying about food safety “science,” Clinton promoted HACCP, a program in which governments actually withdraw from inspection in favor of company-based inspection and turning US sovereignty over food safety to the corporations running the WTO. The 2009 “food safety” bills harmonize agribusiness practices to implement corporate global governance. “Food safety” is a “con job.” The “festering fraud” behind “food safety” reform gives yet more evidence of the distortion of science used to further corporate interests.

Media promotes fear of food shortages and corporate GMOs as the solution, without reporting studies that show organic farming can well feed people, and with no harm to their rights or the environment.

Upshot: Human access to food is at stake. Local food is safe food and outside the corporate food system, providing industry no profit, so corporations must get rid of local farmers and other independent sources of food, and eliminate access to all unpatented, uncontrolled food, seeds, animals, nutrients.

Monsanto Withdraws High Lysine GM Maize from Europe, Safety Concerns 

Good Farming Was More Advanced a Hundred Years Ago 
If we have to produce food for growing populations without large supplies of manufactured fertilizers, the science of a hundred years ago is going to be back in vogue. Even if we don’t run out of fertilizers, advanced manure science will be very useful for anyone wanting to avoid the high costs of commercial fertilizer. (Don’t laugh at the term, “manure science”— agricultural colleges are now conducting what they called Manure Science Review days.)

“Backward” farmers like myself may not look so backward after all in the future. Ralph Rice, who farms in northeastern Ohio, just emailed me a photo of his unbelievably lush corn, unbelievable because it is an open-pollinated variety and has no chemical fertilizers on it at all. The reason I believe Ralph’s photo is because I have similar corn and it is just beautiful.

New Report: GMOs Causing Massive Pesticide Pollution 
Two new reports this year on genetically modified foods expose Monsanto and other biotech company lies. The first by Union of Concerned Scientists, Failure to Yield, came out in February. The latest report comes from Organic Center: Impacts of Genetically Engineered Crops on Pesticide Use: The First Thirteen Years, and exposes that pesticide use has increased with GM crops.

There is one fact about genetically engineered foods that there is no debate about: no one wakes up in the morning eager to buy gene-altered food. There’s good reason for this. Genetically modified foods do nothing for the “eating public.” They provide no extra nutrition, flavor, safety or any other trait that people actually want. Instead, these food products only offer risks, which include potential toxicity, allergenecity, and lower nutritional value.

PASTEURIZATION: Pulling the Plug on Scientific Fallacies Undergirding Our Industrial Food and Drug Culture
 The terrible things happening to non-corporate farming and pure food rest, oddly enough, on liberal assumptions about science and their trust flowing from those assumptions. That trust leads not to better choices for all Americans but to mandatory regulations and to programs which have destructive consequences for farmers and food and our health.

It seems the only way to stop those destructive consequences, then, is to begin to undo the assumptions and misplaced trust in the idea that humanity can eliminate dangerous threats as well as solve large human health and food problems through the application of more and more complex “scientific” technology.

Pasteurization of milk is pointed to as a major public health success. The public appears to believe that milk itself was a problem which modern science finally “made safe.” That is an entirely false understanding of both the history and science of milk.

The actually history of pasteurization had nothing to do with making milk from normal dairy farms safe. Pasteurization was a response to the urban industrialization of milk production. That is, pasteurization was only a response a very specific milk – industrial milk.
Initially, from around 1890 to 1910, the movements for certified raw milk and pasteurization coexisted and in many ways even complemented one another. Click here.

Notice there was a two-tier milk system. Raw milk dairies only needed to be certified as clean and doctors actually treated diseases with that natural milk. But industrial milk required pasteurization of its dirty and inferior product to make it safe enough to drink, and it was not used for medical benefits.
Our public school science classes teach that Louis Pasteur invented the pasteurization of milk. That is untrue. He developed pasteurization for preserving wine and beer. He was not responsible for applying it to milk.
That was done at the end of the 1800s as a temporary solution until filthy urban dairies could find a way to produce cleaner milk. But instead of cleaning up milk production, dairies used pasteurization as a way to cover up dirty milk.
T]he truth is that there are far more risks from drinking pasteurized milk than unpasteurized milk. Raw milk naturally contains healthy bacteria that inhibit the growth of undesirable and dangerous organisms. Without these friendly bacteria, pasteurized milk is more susceptible to contamination. Click here.

 Spycraft, Guts and Talent Expose The Cove
From a high-tech, deep cover investigation emerges The Cove, a stunning documentary exposing the horrors of dolphin slaughter – for human consumption, despite extreme levels of mercury contamination. Dolphin activist Ric O’Barry and his crack team of world-class divers, ex-military, professional artisans and a former NatGeo photographer risk life, limb and freedom to film the action in a private cove in Taiji, Japan.

 Sequester Yacht.com Survivalist ad

Wallpaper Roundup: Abstract Ice and Snowy Scenes 

29 November - RSS SnapShot

RSS Feeds Update from Opit's LinkFest! at My Opera

IPS - Inter Press Services

Scoop - NZ

Independent ( London )

CASMII - Campaign against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran

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