the holistic radical

September 29, 2008

Stop this Bailout! Kick out Palin! Stop Raping Homeowners!

A trifecta of non-conservative reporting in today’s NY Daily News. Man, when your own party is saying your veep candidate should step down, you know you have a problem in making choices.

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Calls rise among Republicans for Sarah

Palin to step down from GOP ticket

BY THOMAS M. DeFRANK and DAVID SALTONSTALL
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITERS

Sunday, September 28th 2008, 9:53 AM

Sarah Palin faces the biggest test of her month-old candidacy with this Thursday’s vice presidential debate, but many Republicans are already convinced the Alaska governor is not ready for prime time – and may never be.

“It was fun while it lasted,” conservative National Review columnist Kathleen Parker regretfully concluded last week. “But circumstances have changed since Palin was introduced as just a hockey mom with lipstick.”

Those “circumstances,” Parker and others are now saying, include not just the Wall Street meltdown – a crisis that seems to cry out for seasoned leadership – but also Palin’s choppy, tenuous, even unintelligible answers to the few questions she has fielded on her own.

Palin’s interview last week with CBS’ Katie Couric is Exhibit A – a frightening glimpse, say fans and critics alike, into what happens when Palin is allowed to speak without a script.

“It’s very important when you consider even national-security issues with Russia,” she told Couric in explaining why being able to see Russia from Alaska should count as foreign policy experience on her résumé. “It is from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right next to, they are right next to our state.”

On the Wall Street meltdown and polls showing Republican nominee John McCain slipping, she added, “What I think Americans at the end of the day are going to be able to go back and look at track records and see who’s more apt to be talking about solutions and wishing for and hoping for solutions for some opportunity to change, and who’s actually done it.”

It made some GOP veterans yearn for Dan Quayle.

“You needed the Jaws of Life to pry a coherent sentence out,” moaned one Republican operative.

Palin’s uneven answers may help to explain why her handlers have let her grant only a handful of media interviews so far.

It may also explain why her poll numbers have started to slip, as in a Fox News poll last week that showed her favorable ratings dipping to 47% from 54%.

Republican guru Ed Rollins believes Team McCain did Palin a disservice by keeping her so walled off from the press.

Palin was thrust straight into the big leagues with ABC’s Charlie Gibson and Couric (and a softball toss with conservative Fox News host Sean Hannity).

“They put her in storage,” said Rollins, “and it broke her confidence.”

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/2008/09/27/2008-09-27_calls_rise_among_republicans_for_sarah_p.html?print=1&page=all

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Right-wingers are scapegoating hardworking American families

Saturday, September 27th 2008, 8:06 PM

http://assets.nydailynews.com/img/2008/09/28/alg_gygi-drawing.jpgDarren Gygi

Conservative activists are busy concocting an utterly revisionist history of how America got into the current economic crisis.

Predictably, the talking points issued by right-wing bloggers, talk-show hosts and columnists lay blame on their favorite targets: Democrats, liberals, big government, neighborhood organizations – and above all, those irresponsible poor people who kept foolishly trying to snag a bit of the American Dream by becoming homeowners.

The starting point of the attacks  is the 1977 Community Reinvestment Act, a splendid and important piece of legislation requiring federally insured banks and thrifts to negotiate with local communities about providing financial services fairly throughout their entire service area.

Back when I worked as an activist in central Brooklyn, it was CRA that required bankers to bargain with churches, block associations and other groups about keeping branches open, depositing bank funds in community credit unions, donating bank furniture to neighborhood groups and so on.

I spent so much time arranging reinvestment deals that the state Banking Department – under Republican Gov. George Pataki – offered me a job monitoring bank compliance with the law. (I declined.)

The law was – and remains – an important corrective to decades of red-lining, in which banks would take in millions in savings and bank deposits in low-income areas but refuse to lend any of it to even the most creditworthy families and businesses in those neighborhoods.

It isn’t a mandate with hard-and-fast penalties and loads of onerous regulations. Banks are only required to try to serve all parts of their business area – and the penalty for noncompliance is maybe getting denied permission to merge or expand operations in the future, an exceedingly rare occurrence.

Nor has the law ever been exclusively about extending mortgage loans: Banks can also open branches in underserved areas, offer low-cost checking accounts, sponsor financial seminars and make donations to community organizations.

In other words, CRA represents America at her best: a good-faith attempt to get big, self-interested institutions to expand opportunities to hardworking people who would otherwise be left on the outside looking in.

But you’d never know that from listening to the right-wing echo chamber, which would rather add insult to economically injured families. Typical of the tone is an error-filled video diatribe prominently posted on the Drudge Report Web site.

“Deregulation did not cause this. A bad government regulation caused this that made Main Street banks become predatory lenders to fulfill a government mandate to offer souped-up, shell game ‘affordable mortgages,'” the video says. “Bad social engineering caused this.”

Repeating a lie won’t make it true. For starters, CRA only applies to federally insured depository banks – not the investment banks, loan syndicators, mortgage brokers and other Wall Street players that fueled the subprime crisis. According to congressional testimony this year by Michael Barr, a law professor at the University of Michigan, 80% of subprime loans were made by those market players.

And nationwide, the number of agreements created between banks and community groups from 1977 to 1991 was only $8.8billion, a pittance compared with the hundreds of billions in shaky subprime loans now featured in the headlines.

Did some low-income Americans agree to risky loans that they knew full well they couldn’t pay? You bet. Did others try to game the system? Sure. But those were the exceptions, not the rule.

The Community Reinvestment Act was an opportunity-expanding watershed – in exactly the right way. It stands in a line with the 1932 Home Loan Bank Act, created at the height of the Great Depression, and the 1968 Fair Housing Act that outlaws racial discrimination in housing.

And guess what? Anti-government conservatives opposed each one of those landmark reforms, too.

This isn’t about policy. What we’re really seeing is a cramped, callous view of society in which the poor and the striving middle class are entitled to nothing in the way of help from the rest of us – not capital, not laws, not political activism, not even sympathy.

All those things are reserved for the Wall Street types, whose well-being and year-end bonuses, we are told, are now the nation’s highest priority.

There is plenty of blame to go around in this economic swamp. But the fiction being peddled by ideologues only helps the real crooks slip away.

elouis@nydailynews.com

http://www.nydailynews.com/opinions/2008/09/27/2008-09-27_rightwingers_are_scapegoating_hardworkin.html?print=1&page=all

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A whole lotta nothing: McCain, Obama offer not even two cents worth of wisdom on bailout

Saturday, September 27th 2008, 3:59 PM

John McCain delivered platitudes about forcing accountability ...Richards/Getty

John McCain delivered platitudes about forcing accountability …

... and Barack Obama spoke in generalities about protecting taxpayers. But neither offered any clear analysis or insight on the bailout.Dunand/Getty

… and Barack Obama spoke in generalities about protecting taxpayers. But neither offered any clear analysis or insight on the bailout.

For those who like boxing metaphors to score debates, here’s the most frightening one to come out of Friday night’s fight: Neither Barack Obama nor John McCain laid a glove on the financial meltdown.

That both men are trying, Muhammad Ali style, to dance like a butterfly around the crisis reveals neither has come to grips with the severity and its implications for the next President. After they delivered their platitudes about protecting taxpayers (Obama) and forcing accountability (McCain), their wells ran dry of ideas.

With the daily headlines filled with warnings of another Great Depression, we really do have something to fear: that our next President isn’t up to the job.

Obama and McCain railed vaguely against outdated regulations, but the same might be said of their campaigns. The world one of them will inherit has changed since they started running nearly two years ago, only they don’t seem to get it. Maybe the next bank failure will wake them up.

Then again, maybe not. The collapse of Washington Mutual happened hours before their first debate, yet it rated nary a word. It was the largest bank failure in American history. Ho-hum.

The disconnect is startling. Neither candidate would commit to voting for or against the proposed $700 billion bailout that could be finalized today. Nor could they talk about it with any plain-English detail. Do they even understand it?

McCain, who correctly said Wednesday the bailout discussions were more important than the debate, changed his mind Friday and never explained why. Perhaps the complexity of the issue and the lack of a risk-free political path convinced him the debate was actually safer turf than taking a stance on the largest government intervention ever.

Polls show that only about one-third of Americans support the bailout, yet the men vying to be responsible for it ducked the chance to explain to a huge TV audience why it is good or bad and what might happen next. They stuck to the tired refrain that the plan is more about saving Main Street than Wall Street, a Madison Avenue slogan as bloodless as it is outdated.

Moderator Jim Lehrer‘s prodding to detail how the crisis would reshape their economic plans was fruitless. Asked what they would cut in response to the new realities, the candidates fell back on promises crafted in the relatively flush times of last year.

They have their talking points and they’re sticking to them, facts be damned.

In biographical terms, Obama and McCain are unconventional candidates. But with a few exceptions – Internet fund-raising and made-for-YouTube ads – they are running utterly conventional campaigns.

They promise to be different, but I’m increasingly getting the creepy feeling that more of the same is what we’re in for, no matter who wins. The national landscape has changed in the blink of an eye, but the candidates are on autopilot.

We’re also getting a good lesson about why no senator since JFK has been elected President. The stereotype about Washington being the problem has more than a kernel of truth. Insiders navigate arcane procedures, busily scoring inside-baseball points while giving lip service to the global forces scaring the bejesus out of 300 million Americans.

It’s telling that Obama and McCain both deferred to congressional leaders of their parties during the summit with President Bush on Thursday. Instead of seizing the chance to set the agenda, they handed the baton to the people who either created or ignored the crisis while it was happening.

Come to think of it, that description also fits the two men who want to be President.

mgoodwin@nydailynews.com

http://www.nydailynews.com/opinions/2008/09/27/2008-09-27_a_whole_lotta_nothing_mccain_obama_offer.html?print=1&page=all

September 11, 2008

Blue or Red, The Betrayal is the Same: Seven Years Later

Today, the world gives its condolences.

The idea of nineteen frustrated men hijacking planes and steering them with such precision into three of their four desired targets (T1, T2 and the Pentagon, but not the White House) is a fairy tale. Many independent and alternative media sources (media not bought wholesale and controlled by its corporate sponsors and thus with no allegiances to any particular company or reason to censor any unpleasant truths) provide ample reason to believe the version of events as we’ve been told is a not-so-carefully woven story gathering strength not through force of fact (for the script is not based on fact) but through sheer repetition and inflicting of looped traumatic imagery, combined with jingoism reducing the geopolitical complexities of the day.

Can your information source explain why:

· NORAD (the North American Air Defense system) was “stood down,” that is, told not to intercept the hijacked planes, thereby averting the crash into the towers?

· Why Towers 1 & 2 (first reported in the media as “exploding,” then reported in the media as “collapsing”) went down, considering that they were designed to precisely stand up to planes and hurricane winds, and considering that no solid-steel construction building in history has ever collapsed due to fire before or after that day? Fire alone could not have reached a high enough temperature to melt enough of the steel in the towers, because there was not a constant oxygen supply to literally fuel the fire. What about the telltale “squibs” caught on video coming out of the buildings as they were going down, signs that a controlled demolition was bringing the buildings down neatly into their footprints in a matter of seconds? What about the evidence of thermite? What about reports from people who worked in the buildings noting strange people coming and going the weeks before the “attacks,” strange power outages and turnings off of the camera and alarm systems while “construction” and “upgrades” were happening on short or no notice?

· Why were massive “put options” placed on United and American airlines? Why were these very visible transactions not noticed or investigated by the SEC?

· Why tapes from the Pentagon attack were immediately seized and not shown to the public except for a few frames years later? Why is there not a plane-shaped hole in the side of the Pentagon? Why was there so little debris, and why was it disturbed, carried away by hand by staffers? Why did the plane just happen to make a quite complicated turn to make the hit away from the side where key staff like Rumsfeld were, but “coincidentally” on the side of the structure being diligently renovated for reinforced strength? Could hijackers fresh out of Florida flight school have been capable of such a maneuver?

· Can anyone relying on conventional media alone explain why Building 7, a building never hit by a plane and several hundred yards from the Twin Towers, crumbled to the ground after 5 pm that day after burning on only a few floors for a few hours? This steel-constructed building held the IRS, the Secret Service, the SEC, the Office of Emergency Management, and other offices. Why did it have to go down, or, in the words of new leaseholder Larry Silverstein, why was it “pulled”? Why is there massive media silence about Building 7?

· The EPA, then headed by Christine Todd Whitman, said the air was safe to breathe in Lower Manhattan, just so the markets could be re-opened quickly?

· Why weren’t the firefighter’s radios working? Why did there have to be so many needless deaths?

· Why was this day interpreted as an act of war requiring us to militarize immediately, but a commission investigating the attacks could not be called for over 400 days?

· Why was evidence from the scene of the crime (and sacred ground) immediately hauled away to Fresh Kills and to China? Tampering with evidence is a Federal Offence. Why the rush to clear the scene so quickly?

These are just a few of the questions the conventional media is not interested in probing, let along attempting to answer. The conventional media, consolidating and seeking more consolidation all the time. The conventional media, where NBC is owned by defense contractor giant GE. The conventional media, which seeks to commercialize and censor the Internet in the United States, to limit communication on web pages, forums, and blogs like these.

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to 9/11. No one individual has all the answers. When someone says the day was the result of an “inside job,” what they are trying to bring to light is the fact that the events of the day were not just a number of coincidental, horrifying, isolated incidents that can be avoided in the future through increased militarism and attention to “security.” What such a person is saying is that you need to see that the mainstream media has motives to deliberately distort and hide information from you, information that may have influenced how you voted in 2004 or how you will vote this November. The media is relying on a failure of memory on the part of the American people in order to control them. This complacency is also accomplished through our utterly bankrupt educational system that is only good at medicating children and administering them biased, meaningless, high-stakes tests with no relation whatsoever to skills or real learning. Honesty, integrity, and critical thinking are no longer revered in American life. We must use this day to insist on getting the answers the media and corporate interests would rather have us forget about. We must be brave enough to show the powers that be that some of us will not be bought off, that some of us not only remember, but question, and will not contain our drive for truth, not for the families of the victims, not for the families of the soldiers.

The events of 9/11, the “New Pearl Harbor” the neoconservatives were waiting for the implement their global agenda of warmongering and domestic enslavement—have been used to justify a shocking number of assaults to our freedom: from wiretapping, to the use of torture on those deemed “enemy combatants,” to the invasion and domination of other sovereign nations. We are no longer citizens with privacy and dignity—we are conforming, scared consumers. And it is guaranteed that we will lose our quality of life in return. Ron Paul was the only presidential candidate who spoke to all of these issues—including taking down the Federal Reserve, strengthening our currency, and running the wasteful and brutal system of taxation out of town. Predictably, Ron Paul was, on the whole, shut out of the mainstream media, despite an impressive number of supporters and financing from those supporters (and not major corporations). What his candidacy proves is that both major parties, the Democrats and the Republicans, are unwilling to ask the tough questions about what happened on 9/11 and are further unwilling to test the waters in implementing real, groundshaking, immediate change—because both sides are beholden to special interests. Blue or red, the betrayal is the same.

Even supposing this fairy tale is true, the myth of 19 (some of which were reported alive and well after the event by the BBC and others), that “they hate us for our freedom,” what “they” (the perpetually mysterious, exoticized, xenophobic, racist, polarizing “they”) actually hate us for is our stupidity, our wastefulness, our inability to see that our consumption of resources is putting the globe in peril but not before reducing two thirds’ of the world’s population to a slave-like existence, permitting deprivation and cruelty in the 21st century. If there is a “they,” their only fault is that they don’t see that it is not most Americans perpetrating that waste—not the ten million unemployed and not the likely fifty million without health insurance who barely have enough resources to move out of their ghetto or trailer park, let alone go to college or get anything other than a minimum-wage job (usually at Wal-Mart, at that). These aren’t the people influencing global policy. They are searching for dignity as well, and they are getting constantly beaten down by high costs and health problems brought on by processed food (often the only food they can afford, filled with aspartame and MSG) and a contaminated environment. They are not the ones deepening the debt and struggle of others; they are mired in the struggle. However, there is a cold elite in this country that not only is removed from this struggle—they are actively involved in wiping out and taxing to death anyone who cannot make six figures or a high five figures (I will be lucky to be entering the low five figures this year). These people, through the media, aim to tighten the screws on the poor and lower middle class, and they have succeeded—the gap between the rich and the poor in the United States, the “Leader of the Free World,” has never been higher in its two hundred-plus year history. If this is “Leadership,” don’t show me what falling behind looks like—I don’t think I can take it.

True patriots should remember this day and demand a true investigation, an independent, thorough and nonpartisan effort at decoding what truly happened before and during September 11, 2001.

That would be a far better use of our resources than bailing out the usurious financial sector or the irresponsible automotive industry; better than subsidizing companies that pollute the planet and aim to poison and reduce the food supply with genetically-modified crops; better than throwing money at the landlords who own this country while millions are on the brink of homelessness; better than screwing over our brave injured veterans while awarding never-ending contracts to Blackwater and KBR and Lockheed while civilians die in a country that we shouldn’t be in to begin with. A real and honest investigation would ultimately result in an end to all this madness, and it is for that reason alone that it is not being convened: it would be too much of a threat to the rampant exploitation and inequality that has become the status quo of American life.

Today, the world gives its condolences, but the grief will never end until we stop permitting war as a way of generating profit for a select few while the rest of us suffer. The grief will never end while we allow mass deceit to go on unpunished. The grief will never end until we demand our leaders stand up to their corporate puppetmasters and work for the people who elected them. The grief will never end until we become our own leaders and reassess what true security, freedom, and prosperity is. So long as poverty has been allowed to exist unchecked in America, there has never been freedom. As the number of poor will explode in America due to the neoconservative’s policies, the poor must find their voice—and really stand up and be counted. Trickle-down economics doesn’t work. Incarcerating one quarter of our adult population doesn’t work (though the FEMA “concentration” camps exist, waiting for the next disaster).

The grief will never end: where there is an injustice anywhere, there is injustice everywhere.

But where there is money, some people are just not interested in ending the injustice.

The time is now. We can let politics and the struggle for power distract us from the real problems facing the country and globe—food shortages, housing inequities, poverty, a looming water crisis, natural disasters, crumbling infrastructure—or we can act now to work on these urgent challenges. These are tasks that will require the foresight, cooperation, resourcefulness, and determination long absent from the public stage. They will require austerity and discipline, but most of all they require an angry populace that will insist on accountability and be vigilant in pursuing it. This is what it means when people say, “Democracy is not a spectator sport.” Anything else promotes the perpetuation of the plutocracy we currently have. The events of September 11, 2001 have been interpreted as the end of the “American Empire.” Besides the fact that a true democracy should not be interested in starting or maintaining empires, it must be said that the events of September 11, 2001 actually represented the failure of our Democratic system—which must be addressed with unfashionable attention to bona fide campaign finance reform, an end to racist gerrymandering (redistricting), term limits for all offices, stopping the practice of requiring identification to vote and other ways of preventing people from registering to vote, and an immediate end to the use of electronic voting machines, particularly those that would not permit a “paper trail” or written record of ballots cast. Until these very reasonable standards are met by a sincere democracy interested in counting the votes of all people, any election will be a complete farce.

Two films I hope to watch in the near future and will recommend to everyone are “Able Danger” and “Fabled Enemies.” “Able Danger” will discuss the program of that name that was one of the many “war games” being tested on that fateful day—but there are indications that the program is more sinister than a simple drill. Uncovering “Able Danger” should bring us right to the top of the military-industrial hierarchy that may have orchestrated most, if not all, of the attacks. “Fabled Enemies” is an Alex Jones production also probing who the real perpetrators are, and it promises to be a comprehensive investigation of some of the major players here and abroad.

It’s not enough to say “never forget” or “never again.”

We must begin to say, “never let them get away with it.”

September 1, 2008

The Politically Incorrect thing to say

Filed under: elections, national policy, politics — Tags: , , , , , , , — sesame seed @ 2:23 pm

In this “politically correct” age, we’re supposed to look beyond things, superficial things, like race and gender, and judge people by their merit. People even thinking of voting for McCain because Palin is part of the picture aren’t just politically incorrect, they’re showing a complete failure of imagination. Folks, Alaska is not the nation, and she isn’t experienced. (She also has poor taste in jewelry—come on, you want a VP who wears hoops? Not to be blunt, but is it Pennsylvania Avenue or South Philly? I know our culture is getting completely crass & trashed—before the fall of Rome, absurd decadence to the lowet-common-denominator—but there’s one thing to have a puppet government and other for them to cut their “populist” facade and be in appearance as elitist as they are in actuality.) Ovaries or testes, both parties show the same kind of betrayal—selling this country out to multinational corporations and big bankers while taking the carpet out from under the middle class and instituting fascist police-state surveillance and military mechanisms in order to get away with their injustice. These big bankers love neve-ending wars that drain infrastructure and resources so we are perpetual slaves to their money, their policies, their visions of the future. Those are the facts of the matter.

July 19, 2008

Mike Ruppert: “Truth and Lies of 9/11”–Must See

Some time ago I watched Mike Ruppert make a lecture on “The Truth and Lies of 9/11…” search Google Video, see if the censors took it down. Here are some stills…as well as some stills of a few of the more interesting/ insightful comments from viewers.

July 7, 2008

Enough is Enough is Enough is Enough!

Eight million people can watch the same TV show at night, but they can’t march in their town, hold up signs, or even write to their Senators? Democracy is not a spectator sport–get informed, be angry! This is why the economy is down–because we want everything to come to us in our isolated homes, because everyone only looks after themselves, because people with plenty of money have to have 2 or 3 jobs and houses while some people do not even have 1 job or 1 house. See outside yourselves, people!

Tell your Senators to stop letting the telecom companies off the hook! Stop this insanity and invasion of privacy–before you lose it all!

Surveillance has never brought heightened security. Community–not paranoia–brings prosperity. We are faring poorly economically because we are losing our freedoms: the freedom to think, speak, assemble, and travel.

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https://secure.aclu.org/site/Advocacy?page=SplashPage&pagename=homepage&id=987

No Compromise on Liberty

The legislative battle over gutting the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act will resume in the Senate in Washington on July 8.

Without a dramatic turnaround, it appears we will lose this important fight in the Senate over the gutting of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

While we greatly appreciate the valiant efforts of senators like Feingold and Dodd to improve the legislation these efforts should not and will not provide political cover for any senator that says ‘yes’ to any final bill with warrantless wiretapping or immunity for telecommunications companies that broke the law.

Although we will urge senators to vote for amendments to improve the bill, the bottom line for the ACLU is that no president should have the power to monitor the phones and emails of Americans without a warrant, and telecommunications companies should not be let off the hook. No president should have the power to pardon companies that broke the law. Tell your senators the bottom line: no immunity, no warrantless spying.

April 9, 2008

What is the Significance of the National Debt?

It’s a good indicator of how we ruined a once solid economy.

http://www.naturalnews.com/022931.html

Comments by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger

As we wind our way towards an election between the professional liars that have been put forward as candidates for U.S. President, it seems to be a great time to remind us all about the issue being routinely ignored by virtually everyone (except Ron Paul, of course, who was never really embraced by the “please lie to me” mainstream public). To what issue am I referring? The national debt, of course.

As you can see in this bumper sticker, the way to annoy a liberal is to “get a job,” as the pop culture bumper sticker says. To annoy a conservative, all you have to do is “defend the Constitution.” But how do you annoy everybody? That’s simple: Explain the national debt.

Americans don’t want to hear about the national debt. It’s like a family living paycheck to paycheck, maxed out on their credit cards, trying to pretend the collection notices are all being lost in the mail. They don’t want to admit they have no ability to actually pay off the debt they’ve incurred by pursuing a flamboyoant lifestyle, blowing wads of cash on high-priced wines, luxury vehicles, and an occassional line of coke — they desperately want to imagine they can keep living on money that appears from nowhere, regardless of how much they owe to everybody else and the fact that their incomes don’t even come close to matching their expenditures.

Too bad every household in America doesn’t have its own Federal Reserve, huh? If it did, we could all just print money to pay off our debt, save our skins, and ignore the fundamentals of economics. But even in Washington today (and New York), the Federal Reserve is too busy bailing out greedy, criminally-operated banks to turn much attention to the much larger issue of the United States’ national debt. Apparently, saving the banks is more important than anything else, and the Fed is now committed to destroying the U.S. dollar through runaway hyperinflation in order to prevent a few rich bankers from facing the consequences of their outrageous sub-prime lending sprees.

America runs its finances like a crack addict

But let’s get back to the national debt for a moment. The United States government is broke. The only reason it’s been able to operate for this long is because other nations and foreign central banks have been foolish enough to keep lending the U.S. government more money. It’s like giving cash to a crack addict and hoping he will somehow seek out a drug rehab center on his own.

This is the person who never gets a job, never makes an honest living, but yet somehow manages to hit up everybody else for cash. You know how it works: “I need to buy a car to get a job,” they say. And then when you pony up the cash for their car, they get drunk and wreck the car, and they never try very hard to get a job in the first place. They keep spending and spending, tossing money down the drain on blows of crack, meth, heroin or booze. They promise to go into rehab someday, if you’ll only help them through “the next month” with a little more cash. This is the life of a drug addict. (Do you know one? Everybody does, it seems…)

America is that drug addict. It borrows cash from the central banks around the world, blowing it all on Medicare prescription benefits signed into law by Bush (money for drugs, see?). It spends trillions on military campaigns that accomplish nothing positive, yet enrage the global community and recruit lifelong enemies of this nation. Notice how the price of oil has more than tripled since the war with Iraq started? It’s so bad now that truck drivers are going on strike over the price of diesel.

America spends money not merely like a drunken sailor, but like a crack-addicted sailor with a wheelbarrel piled high with one-hundred dollar bills, locked in a room full of Gov. Spitzer’s favorite hookers and a suitcase spilling over with blow.

Don’t dare explain the national debt to anyone

But try to explain the simple workings of finance, debt and economics to the uninformed, and you’ll be accused of being a doomsayer, a pessimist, or — the worst insult in today’s fear-based society — unpatriotic! How dare you point out the economic truths that will soon bring this country’s federal government to its knees! Such blatant truths shall not be tolerated… especially not in a country whose entire financial system is based on a cascade of fictional financial instruments propped up by nothing more than wishful thinking and Enron-style accounting fraud.

Let me translate all this for you in serious terms: The United States is already broke. The Federal Reserve is destroying the currency. The U.S. dollar will soon be virtually worthless. There is no saving the dollar, and there’s no saving the savings of any U.S. citizen foolish enough to be holding dollars when the music stops. The Federal Reserve has already decided to do anything in its power to save the rich bankers; even if it means destroying the value of all the dollars held by hard-working Americans. The day will come, folks, when your savings accounts will all be “recalibrated” and you’ll be given ten cents on the dollar while the Fed slinks away with 90% of your savings, using it to bail out overpaid bank owners.

And the federal government? Under a long string of presidential crooks — Democratic and Republican alike — it has decided to pursue a dangerous experiment called, “What happens if we never pay our debtors while running up more debt?” That experiment, not surprisingly, will end in the financial demise of this nation. (But there’s good news: A new, better system may emerge from the dust of the greenback… keep reading…)

You can’t defy the laws of gravity… nor economics

These aren’t careless predictions, by the way. These are simple observations the follow the fundamentals. Why are the nations of the world fleeing the U.S. Treasury debt auctions? Why are dollars increasingly worthless everywhere except in the United States itself? The answer is because the Fed is hyperinflating the currency to save the banks, even while the government is snorting yet more crack and spending unprecedented levels of increasingly-worthless dollars on drugs and war (or, as they call it, “medication and defense”).

Hence the bumper sticker: Annoy everyone. Explain the national debt. People don’t want to hear this. They’d rather imagine none of these problems exist; that debt doesn’t matter; that unlimited dollars can be created out of nothing with zero impact on peoples’ savings; that the U.S. government is wise enough to avert financial disaster. These are the hopes of the deluded. These are precisely the ramblings of Enron’s accountants before the crash, or dot-com stock pushers before that crash. They’re the slobbering blatherings of all the people who said housing prices will never fall, and therefore everyone will get rich off the never-ending housing price booms!

Being right does not make you popular

I’ve spend many years pointing out the idiocies of the deluded. I publicly predicted the dot-com crash and began warning people to get out of the market in 1998 – 2001. (This is a matter of public record, not some wishful hindsight.) I also publicly predicted the collapse of the housing market right here on this website, beginning nearly two years ago. And now, those predictions that once seemed “radical” are the Wall Street Journal’s front page news. What am I predicting now? Like I said, it’s not a prediction, it’s just an observation.

It’s like observing gravity. If you toss something into the air, you can be confident it’s going to come falling back to the ground. You don’t have to “predict” gravity; it’s a law of the universe. It works by itself, like clockwork, regardless of what you want it do to (I’m ignoring near-light speed travel, relativity, quantum physics, and all that fun stuff for the purposes of this metaphor, by the way, for those readers who are physicists). Likewise, when you see a nation throw its dollars into the air, spending its way to oblivion, ignoring its debt and ramping up its spending to even higher levels, it doesn’t take much of a prediction to know that it’s all going to fall back to the ground in a grand economic collapse.

So I’m not even calling the coming collapse of the U.S. government a “prediction.” It’s just common sense. It’s as obvious as gravity. If you don’t believe me, do the math. There is no mathematical solution to the current financial crisis facing not merely the banks and the currency, but the federal government itself. The only unknown factor is WHEN things will happen. Can the Fed help the economy limp along in a state of near-collapse for another year? Perhaps. Five years? Maybe. Ten years? I doubt it.

Now for the good news: The good news is that the U.S. federal government will eventually go bankrupt. Yes, that’s the good news! Because after the financial chaos passes (which will not be fun, believe me), we have a chance to create a new society, a new currency and a new, honest system of government that actually represents the People for a change. The current cabal of corruption and criminal behavior that sits in Washington and pretends to protect the interests of the voters is about to find itself on the receiving end of an angry mob. The 200+ year experiment called The United States of America is in its final chapter. But out of its failure, we can learn important lessons. We can learn things that will help us create a better future society. Lessons like:

• Never let a private company (the Federal Reserve) control the money supply.

• Never let “representative” legislators vote in your place. Insist on a DIRECT Democracy in the next society. (We don’t need Senators and Congresspeople, folks. The whole concept is long since outdated, and most Senators and Congresspeople are crooks.)

• Never let a government abandon the gold standard for its currency. If you do, that government will inevitably hyperinflate the currency and leave the people broke.

• Never let corporations run the government. If you do, your government will become a branch of the corporations, and the regulators (like the FDA, USDA, etc.) will become agents of corporate-sponsored terrorism that abandon all ethics and destroy the health and safety of the People.

• Never allow the centralization of power in one branch of government. For example, do not allow the creation of Executive Orders we’ve seen signed by the President.

• Never allow one man (the President) to commit acts of war. Didn’t we learn this after Vietnam?

• Never allow people from industry to take jobs in the government where they become biased, pro-corporate pushers of everything from pharmaceuticals to beef.

• Never allow politicians to censor scientists.

• Never allow the population to be dumbed-down through sub-standard public schools that only raise a generation of obedient workers, not skeptical thinkers.

• Never allow the media to control the population through advertiser-supported propaganda and violent programming.

• Never allow politicians to destroy citizens’ rights. When they attempt to do so, march on your capitol (in a non-violent way, of course). Arrest the politicians. Prosecute them for crimes against the People.

• Never allow corporate lobbyists to have access to lawmakers. If you do, you’ll end up with a corrupt government that only protects corporations, not the People.

• Never allow your government to operate in secret, with secret prisons, secret wiretapping laws and secret war “evidence” that is never made public. Secrecy breeds corruption. Honest societies do not need to conduct their judicial processes in secret.

• Never allow corporations to play God with the food supply by genetically modifying the crops.

• Never allow corporations to be granted intellectual property ownership over seeds, genes, animals and medicines. If you do, you will one day wake up impoverished, “homeless on the continent your fathers conquered,” to quote Jefferson.

• Never allow banks to operate on a fractional reserve system of loans and money creation that’s just begging for a series of cascading failures.

… I could go on, but you get the point. We have learned some very tough lessons over the last 200+ years, and once this present government collapses, it is crucial that we apply those lessons in creating a new system that abandons tyranny and embraces genuine freedom. We will have this opportunity soon. Many Americans will lose their life savings on the journey towards this new opportunity, but if we maintain our collective vision of a brighter future society, I believe we can create something much better out of the ashes of this failed experiment called the United States of America.

Please note: In no way do I support violence of any kind in creating a new society in the aftermath of this current one. I only support collaboration, openness, freedom and great respect for all living creatures as well as our sacred planet Earth. I believe the passing of this failed government is a blessing, not a curse, and I believe the collapse of the U.S. dollar will ultimately help awaken many to the tough but rewarding decisions that will face us all in the very near future. We must consciously decide to take back our freedoms, our rights and our futures from a system of corporate and government control that has destroyed our planet, exploited our people, and stolen our savings. But if can make the rights decisions based on creating a more promising future for our children, then the rewards will be unimaginable.

We the People hold the power to create a new society based on the freedoms and promises once held sacred in this land. Be ready to play your role, a constructive role, in the aftermath of this current society. And do not be surprised when gravity kicks in and this entire fictional government charade comes crashing down along with the fractional reserve banking system, the criminal Federal Reserve, the war-mongering politicians and the endless, endless debt. There is no way out now other than collapse and rebirth.

I can’t say when it will come, or exactly how it will play out. I only urge us all to remain positive, informed and constructive. The coming chaos will be painful in the short term, but out of the ashes of a failed society, we can work together to rebuilt a new one based on real freedom, honest money, sensible medicine and limited government.

Excellent Piece on Food Imperialism

If you don’t think food production can be political, read this piece.

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The new rules of imperialism: Economic warfare, consumer products and disease exports

Tuesday, May 29, 2007 by: Mike Adams | Key concepts: America, consumer products and intellectual property

History tells us that imperialist nations quite predictably invade weaker nations on a regular basis… especially when those weaker nations happen to be standing on valuable natural resources like oil or uranium. Thanks to this desire for strategic control over territories, the twentieth century was the bloodiest in human history, with more people being lost to war, greed and conquest than during any single century in recorded history (including the centuries spanning Greek and Roman civilizations).

War remains as supported as ever today, and in fact, many nations actually thirst for war. Just look at the pro-war coverage on Fox News and the unending war games being played on computers and game consoles by young men who find entertainment in war. (In fact, the U.S. Army is actually recruiting young men now through a free, downloadable video game that teaches young boys how to pick up a rifle and kill people with it.)

Why some nations create war

The people of some nations actually create war (or support it) in their quest to express a sense of nationalistic heroism. Failing nations need heroes, and when those heroes are no longer found in the realms of science, art, politics or global achievement, they will be fabricated from the false victories of war.

The tearful American mom whose son dies in Iraq is, indeed, suffering a tremendous personal loss, but her loss is a necessary part of feeding the population’s desire to proclaim there are heroes among them. Through the sacrificing of young men who are killed in Iraq, the people of America can find common connection, righteousness, and purpose where none existed before. War gives meaning to empty lives, and it delivers a masochistic form of entertainment to those who are too young, too old or too wealthy to participate. This is precisely why, throughout human history, the leaders of failing nations have habitually turned to military imperialism as a method to distract the people from far more serious problems at home. When the sons of a nation are returning home in body bags, nobody pays much attention to failures in education or the economy.

This is not to say that there are not some instances in which going to war has genuine justification. When a nation is threatened by an invading force, for example, going to war to defend your own land against invading aggressors is not only necessary, it is also truly heroic. Defending your own land is courageous; invading your neighbor’s land is cowardly. (Some people claim, by the way, that the only way to protect America’s land is to invade other countries first. This concept, called “preemptive war” is based on mass distortions used to falsely justify actions of war.)

In America today, the thirst for war remains as strong as ever. But the real war being waged on the world right now by America is not merely found in the limited military action in the Middle East. That’s only the blunt instrument of this war. The real American invasion is happening through foods, medicines, personal care products, international banking and intellectual property law. Through the proliferation of fast food restaurants, pharmaceutical companies, chemically-contaminated consumer products and similar items invented in America, the world is being bombarded by systems of food, medicine and distorted intellectual property claims that are producing far more casualties than any bombs-and-bullets war.

How to control a nation

In World War II, the Germans attempted to steal natural resources from neighboring nations by forcefully occupying and controlling the targeted territories. Today, war is far more sophisticated: America steals national resources by patenting seeds, genes, medicines and ideas, then applying economic and political pressure against targeted nations to forcefully take a cut of their productivity through the application of intellectual property law. Only Thailand has offered any sort of resistance in an attempt to protect its people from the predatory, monopolistic drug pricing of Big Pharma, for example, but most countries just go right along and pay tribute to the western world through outrageous patent royalties on medicines that should belong to the people.

If that’s not enough to dominate the targeted nation’s economy, America sends in the World Bank. The World Bank makes predatory loans to desperate nations, knowing full well they cannot pay them back. It then uses the leverage of debt to invade those nations with western financial institutions. Those banks and lending institutions subsequently turn around and engage in predatory financial practices that soak the people of the target nation, skimming off productivity and exporting it back to the West where rich white men cash in billions without a single honest day’s work.

The World Trade Organization, for its part, makes sure that targeted nations comply with imperialistic western trade practices. The huge push of Big Tobacco into Asia, for example, is the result of support by “world trade” proponents who threatened to impose trade sanctions against Asian nations if they tried to ban cigarette advertising. Today, more than a third of Chinese men are addicted to cigarettes, generating billions in annual profits for Big Tobacco companies who are right now producing more Chinese casualties than any war in China’s long history.

Western medicine is also invading the continents around the world, bringing its expensive, heartless and corporate-controlled system of medicine to nations who were actually far healthier, happier and more financially solvent before America showed up with all its patented chemicals. Chinese medicine, for example, is routinely discredited in China by arrogant Chinese doctors who went to med school in America then returned home to betray their own fellow citizens. Drug companies see China’s one billion people as nothing more than revenue-generating patients, and convincing all those people to take more medicines will require a well-planned, well-funded economic and philosophical assault on Chinese medicine. Essentially, Big Pharma must find a way to disconnect the Chinese from their heritage, turning them all into depressed, diseased “white” consumers whose medical mythology worships the falsehoods of western reductionism.

Consequences of the great American invasion

All around the world, America is invading nations through its foods, medicines, consumer products, dangerous economic practices, synthetic chemicals and intellectual property. And everywhere that American products are adopted, widespread disease and death soon follows.

Small island nations in the South Pacific, for example, had never heard of diabetes, heart disease or depression just two generations ago. But then American-made processed food products invaded their islands, edging out traditional foods like raw coconut, fresh fish, seaweed and taro. Today, South Pacific populations are suffering from widespread diabetes, depression, heart disease, learning disabilities, asthma and much more — all thanks to the “invasion” of American foods, medicines and products.

America is the world’s largest exporter of disease. Through our popular soda products, cigarettes, fast food chains and manufactured foods, we have caused more death and disease around the world than any nation in human history (including Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot). And it all remains perfectly legal. Our chemical companies even manufacture and export pesticide chemicals that have been banned in the United States. Poor agricultural nations openly use those deadly pesticides on their crops, then ship the produce back to the U.S. where consumers buy it at grocery stores. It’s all perfectly legal and, in fact, encouraged by U.S. political leaders.

Resistance is futile

It’s actually more than legal: It’s required! Any nation that says “no” to western products and intellectual property is immediately branded an enemy of world trade and is targeted for legal action by the WTO. Even creating pro-consumer safety standards such as banning aspartame, sodium nitrite or hydrogenated oils can be deemed a violation of international trade agreements. Product sales, you see, are the No. 1 priority, even when nations are being decimated by the products manufactured and exported by American companies.

Poor nations with undereducated populations suffer enormously under western economic imperialism. It’s easy to sell Pepsi, cigarettes and lotto tickets to people in a country like Panama, for example, where the education level remains low and people are easily tricked into thinking that western products will make them happier. Pepsi, in fact, is the dominant consumer product throughout most of Central and South America. You can hardly travel anywhere south of the U.S. / Mexico border without being inundated with Pepsi propaganda. The Pepsi logo is more prominent than images of the Virgin Mary or the Pope, even though many South and Central American populations are Catholic. (It’s quite clear what they actually worship!)

These international product invasions are important to the bottom line of U.S. corporations, of course, who are expanding their propaganda campaigns to non-U.S. countries following the wising up of American consumers. Only uneducated, ignorant consumers drink soft drink products in America these days. It’s the same crowd that buys lotto tickets, smokes cigarettes, watches TV infomercials and lives on frozen dinners. Smart consumers in America switched to healthier drinks long ago. That’s why soda sales continue to fall each year, and that’s why U.S. soda corporations have to increasingly crank up their marketing machines in countries that haven’t yet caught on to the toxicity of aspartame or the links between diabetes and high-fructose corn syrup.

The west is conquering the world

There’s no more need to drop tanks, soldiers and bombs on nations in order to conquer them. Countries can be controlled through economics, intellectual property law, banking and finance systems. Consumers can be controlled through advertising, publicity and corporate-fabricated fake news.

The corporations, as always, rake in the profits while the consumers pay the price all over the world. They eat their American hamburgers, drink their American sodas, take their American medicines and think they’re cool, sophisticated consumers even while their internal organs are beginning to fail from all the toxic chemicals. Soon, they will suffer from American diseases: Cancer, diabetes, depression, osteoporosis, heart disease, obesity and violent, psychotic behavior. In fact, we’re already seeing it: Countries like Thailand and Japan are witnessing unprecedented obesity for the first time in history, and diseases like diabetes and depression are only a few years away from becoming pandemic throughout Asia. This is almost entirely from their adoption of western diets and medical practices.

Those nations that continue to worship western culture are engaged in a dangerous game of paying homage to precisely the wrong group. Worshipping American foods, products and medicines will only destroy the health and happiness of any nation, and mimicking American financial markets will only spell economic suicide in the long run. There is nothing good that can come of debt spending, intentional disease proliferation (through ignoring disease prevention programs), widespread chemical contamination and corporate dominance over the people and the government. These are the things that will come to destroy the world’s nations, probably starting with America.

The last days of America as we know it

The era of American dominance in the world is nearly over. It will likely be replaced by an era of Chinese dominance, in which western medicine, western science, western debt spending and western culture will ultimately be rejected by most world nations.

It’s time for Americans to face up to the reality of the country they’re living in. Take the issue of health care as a rather important example. Did you know that you can get better health care in Cuba than America? Did you know that the life expectancy of a Cuban citizen is the same as an American citizen, and yet Americans spend hundreds of times more money per capita on disease care and sickness care than Cubans? American medicine is an utter failure, and it’s destroying the economic viability of the entire country. Businesses are going bankrupt or moving offshore because of health care costs, and even those that can afford to operate on U.S. soil are faced with the reality that it’s almost impossible to hire employees who can actually think these days thanks to the widespread use of brain-damaging prescription drugs. Success stories like Google are increasingly rare.

I remember living in Taiwan in the 1990’s, and I paid something like $4 / month for health insurance coverage. A visit to the doctor cost me $2 out of pocket. Every person in Taiwan who has a job gets automatic health insurance coverage, and the nation has prospered economically over the last four decades in a way that the U.S. simply cannot match. The Taiwan people are innovative, resourceful and hard working. Of course, they’re also hopelessly corrupt when it comes to politics, but that seems to be a universal law: Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

America’s reputation is in shambles

If you travel the world these days and ask about America, you might be surprised at the negative answers you’ll hear. This is not obvious to people living in America because, of course, they only have access to the controlled, pro-America news sources that dominate mainstream thinking. But the world opinion of America has already suffered a severe setback under the leaderhip of President Bush, and in time, the world will reject American intellectual property, the American medicine scam and the harmful effects of American foods and beverages.

History will reveal America to be a nation that burned itself out on drugs, debt spending and junk foods, destroying the health its own people until its population could hardly even reproduce without medical intervention. Lacking any useful ideas, steeped in the defense of the status quo and abandoning the true needs of its own people, American political leaders have set our nation on a destructive course that may prove impossible to reverse. And they seem to want to destroy as many other nations as possible along the way — as long as it generates more profits for U.S. corporations in the short term. “Poison the world and reap the profits!”

The future belongs to smart nations

Any nation that wishes to protect itself from the same fate America is headed towards would be wise to reject American foods, medicines, beverages, consumer products, intellectual property laws and financial practices.

The nations that survive and prosper over the next hundred years will be:

• Those nations that save money and invest in their future (rather then spending it on war or underfunded entitlement program).

• Those nations that reject western foods and pass laws to protect their populations from dangerous chemicals in foods, beverages and consumer products.

• Those nations that reject American intellectual property guidelines and ban corporations or private individuals from “owning” patents on medicines, seeds and genes.

• Those nations that invest in education, energy efficiency and environmental cleanup in order to create a better future for their children.

• Those nations that invest now in energy independence, teaching their people to use less energy while switching to vehicles that can run on electricity (which can be produced domestically in any country).

• Those nations that reject elite-controlled banking and money systems and restore the power of the currency to the people, where open trade can happen with zero inflation, creating enormous abundance for the people.

No nation will likely fully embrace all these points, but those that manage to fulfill at least some of them will do far better than those who don’t. What’s certain is that those nations attempting to mimic the culture of America will suffer the same fate as America — a fate that will soon be obvious to even the most insistent deniers who claim that environmental pollution, endless debt spending and the mass contamination of food and medicines with deadly synthetic chemicals are somehow sustainable practices. The end result of all this is not in question by any serious thinker: Widespread bankruptcy, disease pandemics, environmental collapse and a bursting of the food production bubble.

Papua New Guinea may ultimatey emerge as one of the few successful, sustainable nations in the world. If you’re not sure why, I urge you to read Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond, and then study the history of human civilization from a geographic viewpoint. You will see that the only nations with any sort of future are those that protect and nurture the health of their people and their environment, taking a long-term perspective rather than short-term economic gain. America has no long-term vision other than controlling world oil resources. America has no investment whatsoever in the health of its people and virtually no effort to protect its environment. America is fixated on short-term thinking and stop-gap measures, ignoring the greater concerns of education, renewable energy, individual health and individual liberty. And finally, America is a bankrupt nation by any honest accounting method, and it is only by the grace of debt holders of Asia that America can continue to sell debt at all.

No wise nation will follow America into this quagmire (and why should they, when they have their own quagmires to explore?).

The good news in all this, by the way, is that you don’t have to follow the fate of your nation. By protecting your own health, saving your own wealth and investing in the future of yourself and your children (through education, fertile land, etc.), you can avoid the worst of what’s coming and actually thrive during difficult times. That’s why taking charge of your own life right now is more important than ever. Be independent from the mainstream. Learn how to protect your own health and reject medical propaganda. Understand the basic laws of economics and how debt is manufactured and sold. (A good book on that is called the Concise Guide to Economics and it’s available free at http://www.conciseguidetoeconomics.com ). Teach yourself the basic principles of sustainable living, green living and “hippie wisdom.” These are the things that will get you through the tough times ahead.

In terms of financial news, be sure to read the Daily Reckoning (www.DailyReckoning.com) if you want to hear the truth about world financial news. Also check out the book Empire of Debt, which earns my top recommendation for the best book available on the coming financial collapse of America.

I haven’t even mentioned peak oil yet, by the way. Ever wonder what happens when the oil runs out? Check out this page on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peak_oil

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About the author: Mike Adams is a holistic nutritionist with a passion for teaching people how to improve their health He has authored more than 1,500 articles and dozens of reports, guides and interviews on natural health topics, reaching millions of readers with information that is saving lives and improving personal health around the world. Adams is a trusted, independent journalist who receives no money or promotional fees whatsoever to write about other companies’ products. In 2007, Adams launched EcoLEDs, a manufacturer of mercury-free, energy-efficient LED lighting products that save electricity and help prevent global warming. He’s also a noted technology pioneer and founded a software company in 1993 that developed the HTML email newsletter software currently powering the NaturalNews subscriptions. Adams volunteers his time to serve as the executive director of the Consumer Wellness Center, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, and regularly pursues cycling, nature photography, Capoeira and Pilates.

http://www.naturalnews.com/021873.html

Shocker: Endless, Unjust Wars Lead to Economic Crisis

Vote Ron Paul or we’ll be in Iraq forever and watch our dollar go down with it.

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USA in Iraq: Recession in the Crosshairs
By Jean-Louis Denier
Marianne2

Sunday 30 March 2008

The exorbitant cost of the war in Iraq risks plunging the United States a little further into a recession catastrophic for it … and the rest of the world!

If one effects a comparative analysis with other conflicts, one realizes that the binomial, quagmire/occupation of a large territory is not economically neutral. The longer this kind of war lasts, the more it costs; the more it costs over a long period, the more it disturbs and distorts the economic machine, notably by the inflation and monetary depreciation it generates. The consequences of Operation Iraqi Freedom on the American economy seem, in appearance at present, to limit themselves to the sole question of the United States’ federal deficit, since the increase in military expenses, including those related to Iraq (total US federal budget for 2009: $3,100 billion, with a 7.5 percent increase in the Pentagon’s budget, which represents $515 billion, in addition to which a special supplement of $70 billion is reserved for Iraq and Afghanistan) has consequences.

The effects of this headlong rush:

  • A $410 billion deficit for the 2008 fiscal year (2.9 percent of American GNP) and another deficit of $407 billion for 2009 which the new administration will inherit next January. You will note that these sums are twice the size of the $162 billion deficit recorded for fiscal 2007 and approach the record $413 billion deficit recorded in 2004.
  • Dark dealings in the federal budget, such as the 22 percent reduction (to $2 billion only) in the amount available to help poor families pay their heating cost, or the 34 percent reduction in investments accorded Amtrak, the national passenger railway company.

But one should not trust appearances, for the deficit in American public finances interacts with the global economy as a whole. Since the American taxpayer does not have enough money to pay all the expenses of his federal government, that government turns abroad to borrow money and bring capital back to the USA. In this way, the savings of foreign countries are solicited – notably through the purchase of American Treasury bonds or other dollar-denominated assets – to cover purely American expenses. No comment up to there. Except that the foreign countries exporting capital to the USA are primarily Asian – with China in the lead – which countries profit from the financial flows created to align their currencies to the dollar – to undervalue it even – and thus put their own international trade competitiveness on steroids through that exchange rate chicanery. Moreover, overindebted and consequently overexposed vis-à-vis their creditors, the Americans are happy to reimburse them with worthless currency and consequently … to depress the dollar exchange rate – by reducing US interest rates – notably vis-à-vis other currencies, including the euro, but also against the British pound sterling.

And the Rest of the World in All This?

This vicious spiral (deficit plus dollar fall plus undervaluation of other currencies, like the Chinese yuan and the Japanese yen) has been ongoing for several years, but is especially dangerous:

  • For the USA’s creditors: The dollar’s nosedive entails the progressive devaluation of assets denominated in that currency; those who hold those assets find themselves less rich now than they were the day they bought them for more.
  • For the USA itself: How long will the USA’s creditors trust the USA and continue to cover its unbridled spending if the federal government seems too exposed through its abysmal debts? Moreover, the rise in foreign capital equates to increased dependence, even submission to foreign financial power. Finally, if $1,300 billion of subprimes generate $1,000 billion to $2,000 billion of losses and suffice to plummet global exchanges, what will happen when the markets realize that the war in Iraq could cost between $1,000 billion and $3,000 billion in the middle of a complete American economic recession, consequently with fewer fiscal revenues for the US federal government, consequently with more deficits?
  • For the Europeans, including the French: The depreciation of the dollar will never stop, since it results from a deliberate American strategy of lightening the federal government debt burden, a strategy that condemns the euro to an unremitting rise and European products to no longer being produced or even conceived in the euro zone, transforming said zone into an economic and social desert over the long term. More than ever, Europeans could hear: “The dollar is our currency; it’s your problem.”

Conclusion:

The Vietnam War, through its length and its cost, provoked the abandonment of the gold standard for the dollar, as well as strong American inflation, provoking a temporary crisis in the exercise of American hegemony over the world. The war in Iraq is taking the same path, with two exceptions, only worse: it combines with a mixed (American household and the federal government itself) overindebtedness and recession in the American economy against the background of a rampant global banking and financial crisis.

Consequently, all the ingredients for a crash followed by a wide-ranging and long-lasting depression (like the one of the 1930s) are potentially brought together. And this time the revision of American hegemony will not be temporary only. Will Osama bin Laden have won not only “his” war, but the war?


Translation: Truthout French language editor Leslie Thatcher.

http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/040108G.shtml

Shocker: Doctors Think Nationalized Health Care Is a Good Idea

For one, it lets them do their job without being concerned about being paid (“reimbursed”) by a heartless corporation only concerned with profit. But hey, maybe someday we’ll join other industrialized nations who believe in treating their citizens like human beings.

Why do you think Big Media isn’t reporting this?

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Doctors Support Universal Health Care: Survey
By Maggie Fox
Reuters

Monday 31 March 2008

Washington – More than half of U.S. doctors now favor switching to a national health care plan and fewer than a third oppose the idea, according to a survey published on Monday.

The survey suggests that opinions have changed substantially since the last survey in 2002 and as the country debates serious changes to the health care system.

Of more than 2,000 doctors surveyed, 59 percent said they support legislation to establish a national health insurance program, while 32 percent said they opposed it, researchers reported in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.

The 2002 survey found that 49 percent of physicians supported national health insurance and 40 percent opposed it.

“Many claim to speak for physicians and represent their views. We asked doctors directly and found that, contrary to conventional wisdom, most doctors support national health insurance,” said Dr. Aaron Carroll of the Indiana University School of Medicine, who led the study.

“As doctors, we find that our patients suffer because of increasing deductibles, co-payments, and restrictions on patient care,” said Dr. Ronald Ackermann, who worked on the study with Carroll. “More and more, physicians are turning to national health insurance as a solution to this problem.”

Patchwork

The United States has no single organized health care system. Instead it relies on a patchwork of insurance provided by the federal and state governments to the elderly, poor, disabled and to some children, along with private insurance and employer-sponsored plans.

Many other countries have national plans, including Britain, France and Canada, and several studies have shown the United States spends more per capita on health care, without achieving better results for patients.

An estimated 47 million people have no insurance coverage at all, meaning they must pay out of their pockets for health care or skip it.

Contenders in the election for president in November all have proposed various changes, but none of the major party candidates has called for a fully national health plan.

Insurance companies, retailers and other employers have joined forces with unions and other interest groups to propose their own plans.

“Across the board, more physicians feel that our fragmented and for-profit insurance system is obstructing good patient care, and a majority now support national insurance as the remedy,” Ackermann said in a statement.

The Indiana survey found that 83 percent of psychiatrists, 69 percent of emergency medicine specialists, 65 percent of pediatricians, 64 percent of internists, 60 percent of family physicians and 55 percent of general surgeons favor a national health insurance plan.

The researchers said they believe the survey was representative of the 800,000 U.S. medical doctors.


Reporting by Maggie Fox; editing by Will Dunham and Xavier Briand.

http://www.truthout.org/issues_06/040108HA.shtml

April 8, 2008

The greatest country in the world has 28 million on food stamps–but, hey, no recession here–just business as usual

The number of people on food stamps does not reflect the number of people who are malnourished because they do not qualify for food stamps–i.e., unsteady addresses, lack of documents, etc. Food is a human right. This is civilization?

USA 2008: The Great Depression
By David Usborne
The Independent UK

Tuesday 01 April 2008

Food stamps are the symbol of poverty in the US. In the era of the credit crunch, a record 28 million Americans are now relying on them to survive – a sure sign the world’s richest country faces economic crisis.

New York – We knew things were bad on Wall Street, but on Main Street it may be worse. Startling official statistics show that as a new economic recession stalks the United States, a record number of Americans will shortly be depending on food stamps just to feed themselves and their families.

Dismal projections by the Congressional Budget Office in Washington suggest that in the fiscal year starting in October, 28 million people in the US will be using government food stamps to buy essential groceries, the highest level since the food assistance programme was introduced in the 1960s.

The increase – from 26.5 million in 2007 – is due partly to recent efforts to increase public awareness of the programme and also a switch from paper coupons to electronic debit cards. But above all it is the pressures being exerted on ordinary Americans by an economy that is suddenly beset by troubles. Housing foreclosures, accelerating jobs losses and fast-rising prices all add to the squeeze.

Emblematic of the downturn until now has been the parades of houses seized in foreclosure all across the country, and myriad families separated from their homes. But now the crisis is starting to hit the country in its gut. Getting food on the table is a challenge many Americans are finding harder to meet. As a barometer of the country’s economic health, food stamp usage may not be perfect, but can certainly tell a story.

Michigan has been in its own mini-recession for years as its collapsing industrial base, particularly in the car industry, has cast more and more out of work. Now, one in eight residents of the state is on food stamps, double the level in 2000. “We have seen a dramatic increase in recent years, but we have also seen it climbing more in recent months,” Maureen Sorbet, a spokeswoman for Michigan’s programme, said. “It’s been increasing steadily. Without the programme, some families and kids would be going without.”

But the trend is not restricted to the rust-belt regions. Forty states are reporting increases in applications for the stamps, actually electronic cards that are filled automatically once a month by the government and are swiped by shoppers at the till, in the 12 months from December 2006. At least six states, including Florida, Arizona and Maryland, have had a 10 percent increase in the past year.

In Rhode Island, the segment of the population on food stamps has risen by 18 percent in two years. The food programme started 40 years ago when hunger was still a daily fact of life for many Americans. The recent switch from paper coupons to the plastic card system has helped remove some of the stigma associated with the food stamp programme. The card can be swiped as easily as a bank debit card. To qualify for the cards, Americans do not have to be exactly on the breadline. The programme is available to people whose earnings are just above the official poverty line. For Hubert Liepnieks, the card is a lifeline he could never afford to lose. Just out of prison, he sleeps in overnight shelters in Manhattan and uses the card at a Morgan Williams supermarket on East 23rd Street. Yesterday, he and his fiancée, Christine Schultz, who is in a wheelchair, shared one banana and a cup of coffee bought with the 82 cents left on it.

“They should be refilling it in the next three or four days,” Liepnieks says. At times, he admits, he and friends bargain with owners of the smaller grocery shops to trade the value of their cards for cash, although it is illegal. “It can be done. I get $7 back on $10.”

Richard Enright, the manager at this Morgan Williams, says the numbers of customers on food stamps has been steady but he expects that to rise soon. “In this location, it’s still mostly old people and people who have retired from city jobs on stamps,” he says. Food stamp money was designed to supplement what people could buy rather than covering all the costs of a family’s groceries. But the problem now, Mr Enright says, is that soaring prices are squeezing the value of the benefits.

“Last St Patrick’s Day, we were selling Irish soda bread for $1.99. This year it was $2.99. Prices are just spiralling up, because of the cost of gas trucking the food into the city and because of commodity prices. People complain, but I tell them it’s not my fault everything is more expensive.”

The US Department of Agriculture says the cost of feeding a low-income family of four has risen 6 percent in 12 months. “The amount of food stamps per household hasn’t gone up with the food costs,” says Dayna Ballantyne, who runs a food bank in Des Moines, Iowa. “Our clients are finding they aren’t able to purchase food like they used to.”

And the next monthly job numbers, to be released this Friday, are likely to show 50,000 more jobs were lost nationwide in March, and the unemployment rate is up to perhaps 5 percent.

——-

http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/040108T.shtml

Pesticides and Parkinson’s: If the Western Way of Life is So Great, Why Is It Killing Us?

When is the system going to change, when are we going to stop needless suffering?

When consumers, through their actions, tell the market how to act. Don’t wait for the government–where’s, say, the FDA on this? Buy organic!

_____________

Study Links Parkinson’s Disease to Long-Term Pesticide Exposure
By Alok Jha
The Guardian UK

Friday 28 March 2008

Scientists have found further evidence of a link between Parkinson’s disease and long-term exposure to pesticides.

A study of more than 300 people with the neurological disease – which can affect movements such as walking, talking and writing – found that sufferers were more than twice as likely to report heavy exposure to pesticides over their lifetime as family members without the disease.

Previous studies have pointed to a possible link between pesticide exposure and Parkinson’s and public authorities are trying to work out whether these risks should be classed as significant. A £906,000 project to study the links launched in 2006 by the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, for example, is due to report this summer.

Variations in several genes have been identified that contribute to the disease, but these defects are rare and only account for a small proportion of the incidence of the disease, which afflicts around 120,000 people in the UK. The majority of cases are thought to be a result of an interaction between genes and the environment.

Lifetime Exposure

The new research, led by American scientists, looked at the lifetime pesticide exposure of 319 Parkinson’s patients and more than 200 of their relatives without the disease. The results, published today in the journal BMC Neurology, showed that people with Parkinson’s were 1.6 times as likely to report an exposure to pesticides in their lifetimes compared with the controls.

In addition, people with the Parkinson’s were 2.4 times as likely as people without the disease to report heavy exposure to pesticides, classed as more than 215 days over a lifetime.

The strongest associations were between people with Parkinson’s who had been exposed to herbicide and insecticide chemicals such as organochlorides and organophosphates. No links were found between Parkinson’s disease and drinking well-water or living or working on a farm, two commonly used proxies for pesticide exposures.

“In this dataset, these tended to be people who used a lot of pesticides in their homes and in their hobbies,” said William Scott of the University of Miami, who took part in the study. “There were not many people who routinely used pesticides for their occupation.”

Though the evidence is growing, the researchers said that there was not enough biological evidence yet to conclude that Parkinson’s was definitely caused by pesticide exposure. The biological mechanism linking the two is still unknown. The researchers added that future genetic studies of Parkinson’s could consider the influence of pesticides, because exposure to these chemicals may trigger the disease in genetically predisposed people.

Key Role

Kieran Breen, director of research at the Parkinson’s Disease Society (PDS), said: “The association between pesticides and Parkinson’s has been recognised for some time, and this study supports this link and strengthens the fact that pesticides play a key role.”

The PDS has carried out a survey of more than 10,000 people with Parkinson’s and preliminary results show that 9% had long-term pesticide or herbicide exposure, which is defined as exposure for more than a year.

“Of the 3,000 carers surveyed, most of whom were family members, less than 2% had had similar exposure,” said Breen. “This demonstrates that pesticides may be contributing to nerve cell death in some people with Parkinson’s, but is unlikely to be the only cause.”

Symptoms of the disease first tend to appear when a patient is older than 50, and can include tremors and muscle rigidity. The Parkinson’s Disease Society estimates that around 10,000 new diagnoses of the disease are made every year in the UK.

http://www.truthout.org/issues_06/033108HA.shtml

April 2, 2008

When Labor Is Pushed to Its Limit, What Does it Mean for All of Us?

Will we ever have a living wage in America? When will we learn that social safety nets are not handouts but SOCIAL JUSTICE allowing everyone to have a better quality of life?

———-

AlterNet

Fair Labor Standards Under Attack

By Eric Schlosser, The Nation
Posted on March 24, 2008, Printed on April 2, 2008
http://www.alternet.org/story/80471/

“The proposal is unworkable, un-American, impractical and dangerous to our institutions,” said Representative Wade Kitchens, a Democrat from Arkansas, during the Congressional debate over the Fair Labor Standards Act. What were these radical ideas, guaranteed by the last great piece of New Deal legislation, that in Kitchens’s view threatened the future of the Republic? A minimum wage, limits on overtime and a prohibition of child labor. In submitting the act to Congress on May 24, 1937, President Franklin Roosevelt succinctly explained its basic goal: “a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.”

It’s good to keep in mind some of the labor conditions in the United States before passage of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Workers were often forced to work ten to twelve hours a day, six days a week. They earned as little as twelve cents an hour. They were sometimes paid in scrip, redeemable at a company store, instead of money. A survey of American children conducted by the Labor Department found that one-quarter worked for sixty or more hours a week. The median wage for children was $4 a week. All of this was justified in the name of “freedom,” as business groups championed the liberty of contracts and the liberty of employers to hire, fire and set wages without any restrictions. The Supreme Court had consistently upheld that notion of freedom, overturning a federal child labor law in 1922 and a local minimum wage law the following year.

The Court abruptly switched course in March 1937–amid Roosevelt’s effort to pack it with sympathetic Justices–and affirmed the right of Washington State to require minimum wages for women and minors. Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes argued that “the denial of a living wage” not only harmed workers but placed an unfair burden upon society. “What these workers lose in wages the taxpayers are called upon to pay,” Hughes noted in his majority opinion. “The community is not bound to provide what is in effect a subsidy for unconscionable employers.”

Two months later Roosevelt sent the Fair Labor Standards Act to Congress, launching one of the most bitter legislative battles of the New Deal. Despite overwhelming popular support, Southern Democrats joined forces with Republicans to oppose the act, forming a coalition that would thwart future New Deal legislation. Their spirited defense of low wages and the liberty of employers delayed passage of the bill for more than a year. The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, signed by Roosevelt that June, was a watered-down version of the original. It provided exemptions for agriculture and other industries, as well as a minimum wage of just 25 cents an hour. Nonetheless, it established fundamental economic rights for American workers.

Seventy years later, the Fair Labor Standards Act is still under attack. “A higher minimum wage equals less economic freedom,” a Heritage Foundation essay claimed last year. Although the rhetoric is more subdued, the underlying attitude has changed little since Representative Kitchens railed against the bill. The minimum wage doesn’t eliminate poverty; it creates poverty, we are told. When do-gooders demand a higher wage, poor workers lose their jobs. Countless studies are cited as proof. Yet the period of America’s greatest economic growth coincided with its highest minimum wage rates. In 1956 the minimum wage in today’s dollars was about $7.93 an hour. Adjusted for inflation, the minimum wage reached its peak in 1968, at about $9.91 an hour. During the decades that followed, its real value declined by almost 50 percent. That enormous pay cut for the nation’s poorest workers benefited some industries enormously–supplying cheap labor to fast food restaurants, retail stores and farms–while imposing enormous costs on society. When the federal minimum wage hits $7.25 in July 2009, it will still not reach the level considered adequate by President Dwight Eisenhower.

The high-minded arguments against the minimum wage, for the most part, are merely justifications for higher corporate profits. Since passing a minimum wage law in 1998, Britain has enjoyed some of the fastest economic growth rates and lowest unemployment rates in the European Union. The British minimum wage is now equivalent to more than $11 an hour. “No business which depends…on paying less than living wages to its workers has any right to continue in this country,” President Roosevelt once declared. “By living wages I mean more than a bare subsistence level–I mean the wages of a decent living.” Those words are as true today as when they were first spoken. I hope our next President will not only agree with Roosevelt on this subject but will have the courage and compassion to do something about it.

Eric Schlosser is the author of ‘Fast Food Nation’ and ‘Reefer Madness.’

© 2008 The Nation All rights reserved.
View this story online at: http://www.alternet.org/story/80471/

March 20, 2008

Are US Taxes Legal?

Ron Paul is the only candidate standing up to this. Watch “America: Freedom to Fascism.” Go to restoretherepublic.com. Learn about the Federal Reserve and how our tax dollars are feeding the bankers.

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http://www.naturalnews.com/z022856.html

NaturalNews.com printable article

Originally published March 18 2008

Americans Question the Legality of the Income Tax

by Barbara L. Minton (see all articles by this author)

(NaturalNews) There’s nothing that gets me all tingly like the coming of spring. It’s always been my favorite time of the year. Just one problem stands between me and total rapture – the need to complete a tax return and file it along with the money I always owe. This year the filing of the tax return feels particularly odious, because this year is when I began to find out that there is no law that actually requires me to file a return, and no law that actually requires me to pay tax on what I earn.

It all began when I saw the feature film/documentary, America: Freedom to Fascism directed by six time academy award nominee Aaron Russo, a self-described freedom fighter. The troublesome central point of this film is that Americans are not required by law to pay a federal income tax. It is overwhelming to think that such a fraud as this could have been perpetuated on the American people for so long. In the film, Russo expresses this feeling to IRS employees and simply asks them to cite where it says an unapportioned income tax is required of all of us. And incredibly, they can’t.

One telling segment involves Sheldon Cohen, former IRS commissioner, who goes so far as to reject Supreme Court rulings and the Constitution as benchmarks over what is legal with regard to taxation. The film also includes interviews with members of the Tax Honesty Movement as well as former IRS agents who concur that there is no law on the books that requires any US citizen to send the government part of his hard earned paycheck. Russo also highlights court cases where those accused of tax evasion have won their cases precisely because the prosecution could not provide evidence of a legal federal income tax law.

The film hammers you again and again with endless examples of people who figured out what was up and have not paid taxes for years. By the time it’s over, you feel like a big fool who has thrown money away year after year for nothing.

Since feeling foolish doesn’t do much for my ego, I got online to see for myself that there really is a law the says I have to pay income tax. Here’s what I found.

The Case of Joe Banister

On June 23, 2005, a federal jury found former IRS Criminal Division Special Agent and CPA Joseph Banister not guilty of all counts of criminal tax fraud and conspiracy related to actions he took on behalf of a California business owner who had openly defied the IRS over several years by discontinuing withholding of income and employment taxes from the paychecks of his employees.

The Department of Justice was unable to present any evidence that Banister had either acted in a conspiracy or had acted unlawfully when he advised Thompson that based on findings from his legal research, he had no obligation to withhold taxes from his employees. The Justice Department also concluded that when Banister filed corrected tax returns for Thompson claiming that Thompson’s taxable income was zero, rather than the $42,251 he had claimed on his first filing, he was operating within the framework of the law.

Banister, who was forced to resign from the IRS in 1999 after questioning IRS officials about their legal authority, gave Thompson’s employees a presentation in 2000 detaining his investigative research of US tax law. Findings were that not only did the IRS lack any authority to impose income taxes on workers, but there was no legal requirement for the business to withhold any taxes from the employee’s paychecks.

Banister is reportedly part of a nationwide effort seeking to force the US government to respond to a series of detailed legal Petitions for Redress of Grievances directly challenging the authority of the IRS. The We The People Foundation has initiated a landmark lawsuit with 2000 plaintiffs against the government because it has refused to answer the Petitions. This Right-To-Petition lawsuit, of which Banister is a plaintiff, is the first time in the history of the US that the courts have been asked to define the meaning of the final ten words of the First Amendment.

Conclusions of the We The People Foundation

The website of the We The People Foundation begins with the premise that there is no law that requires most citizens to file and pay federal income taxes. They summarize the key steps of their argument:

There is a federal law that imposes a requirement upon some citizens and foreigners to file and pay an income tax. The question is, to what proportion of citizens does the requirement apply? We The People answers that question with an examination of statutes and regulations, despite the lack of direction supplied by the IRS.

They conclude that “no tax liability applies to the vast majority of citizens, who have been misled into believing they must file and pay income taxes noted in section 61, the section that calls for determination of “gross income”. Instead, tax liability applies to US citizens only insofar as they have foreign earned income. This tax liability also applies to aliens and foreign companies doing business in the US. In fact, the Secretary of the Treasury acknowledged that Form 255 was the form most frequently required to be filed by citizens, and only if they had foreign income.

They elaborate, “We can see that the government, by means of such a circuitous and disconnected trail of rules and regulations, has made it extremely difficult for most ordinary people to figure out that they are not liable for the income tax. We can see that the government is duping most people into voluntarily filing returns, assessing themselves, waiving their 5th amendment rights, and erroneously paying an income tax for which they are not liable.” They note that statutes and regulations for other taxes are clearly stated, without ambiguity, concluding that “This trickery and deception serves a function of avoiding violations of the Constitution which would be more transparent otherwise.”

Additionally, they conclude that “employers are being duped into submitting false information about most employees, withholding their money, making it appear they are liable, and thereby putting them on the defensive, since they must then dispute that their wages are taxable.”

Finally, a look at the laws regarding liability for the Social Security tax reveals that they are derived from the International Labor Agreement of the 1930s and do not apply to most US citizens, but to aliens and to some citizens based on foreign income or income from US overseas possessions.

And Then There’s Irwin Schiff

Irwin Schiff is billed as the nation’s leading authority on income tax and how the government illegally collects it. He is the motivating factor of the Tax Honest Movement, and claims to have written more books on the subject than any other American. His most recent book The Federal Mafia promises to show you how you can immediately stop having income taxes taken from your pay, get back every dime you paid in income taxes this year, stop IRS agents from seizing your property because they have no power to do so, and break “offer and compromise” agreements you might have made with the IRS, since these agreements were entered into on the basis of fraud and intimidation.

Among the arguments raised by Schiff are: (1) that no statutory deficiency in Federal income tax can exist until an assessment has been made (2) that no tax assessment can be made unless a tax return has been voluntarily filed (3) that the IRS, in enforcing the income tax seeks to impose a tax not authorized by the taxing clauses of the US Constitution (4) that the US has no jurisdiction, and (5) that the US Tax Court is not a court.

Another argument made by Schiff is that on the Form 1040, you should report ‘zero’ income regardless of how much you received in: wages, commissions, interest, alimony, capital gains or from operating a business. For tax purposes, ‘income’ only means corporate ‘profit’. Therefore, no individual receives anything that is reportable as ‘income’. This argument has been rejected by the lower courts, as well as the US court of appeals.

What Schiff is seeking to accomplish will not be accomplished easily. In the 1970’s, Schiff made an appearance on The Tomorrow Show where he argued his views on federal income tax. This appearance was followed six days later by his being charged for willful failure to file tax returns, for which he was convicted. During the 1980’s and 90’s additional convictions were obtained and upheld, proving that what Schiff is seeking to do will not be done easily.

In February, 2006, at the age of 78 years, Schiff was sentenced to 12 years, 7 months in prison and was ordered to pay over $4.2 million in restitution to the IRS. He was also sentenced to an additional 12 months for contempt of court.

About the author

Barbara is a school psychologist, a published author in the area of personal finance, a breast cancer survivor using “alternative” treatments, a born existentialist, and a student of nature and all things natural.
 

March 19, 2008

Outrage of the Day: Protest the MOTHERS Act

If you need an explanation of why antidepressants aren’t good for fetuses (let alone adults and teens), I don’t know what to say. Read the article, sign the petition, contact your representatives. Psychotropic drugs–> mind control. Herbs, diet, and exercise–> things Big Pharma can’t profit from. We must be the change! Social change can come from good health and good nutrition. Don’t make yourself a hostage to Big Pharma!

NaturalNews.com printable article

Originally published March 6 2008

MOTHERS Act Seeks to Drug Expectant Mothers with Antidepressants to “Treat” Postpartum Depression

by Mike Adams

(NaturalNews) A new law being considered in the U.S. Congress would attempt to prevent postpartum depression in new moms by drugging them with SSRI antidepressant drugs while they’re still pregnant. This legislation is being aggressively pushed by pro-pharma front groups in an effort to expand the customer base for SSRI drugs by targeting pregnant women as new “customers” for the chemicals. It’s an example of the latest insanity from Big Pharma, whose drugs are already killing over 100,000 Americans each year while inciting violence and suicides in teens. Every single shooting massacre we’ve seen in the last ten years has been carried out by a person taking SSRI antidepressant drugs. The mainstream media pays no attention to this link, and the FDA ignores the reports in order to keep these drugs on the market.

SSRI drugs have never been approved for use on newborns, yet this new MOTHERS Act will effectively drug unborn babies and newborns with drugs like Prozac. This will certainly have an impact on their developing brains, and the bulk of the research available today shows that the impact will be negative. Will these children be more prone to violent thoughts and behavior? Will they contemplate suicide at younger ages? And what will be the impact of the drugs on the mother?

For one mother who was drugged with antidepressants — Amy Philo — the drugs caused her to experience thoughts of violence against her own newborn babies. After taking antidepressants prescribed by her doctor, she had visions of killing them (and herself). Upon returning to her doctor, Amy was told to increase the dosage! Eventually, Amy realized the drugs were wrecking her own brain chemistry, and she stopped taking the pills entirely, causing the thoughts of violence and suicide to subside.

Now, Amy is leading a campaign to stop the MOTHERS Act. She’s posted a heart-wrenching 5-minute video on YouTube that tells her story (with pictures of her babies, too!):
http://youtube.com/watch?v=LQW23XCmOCw

A local news station also covered her story, and that report can be viewed here:
http://youtube.com/watch?v=W4B8I_8wz6I

An article explaining more about the effort to stop the MOTHERS Act is found here:
http://birthfriend.wordpress.com/2008/0…

As you’ll learn from these videos and articles, the real purpose of the MOTHERS Act is to drug the mothers. Thus, it should really be called the Drug the MOTHERS Act! It’s being pushed by drug companies, of course, and backed by psychiatrists and corrupt government officials who have close ties to the pharmaceutical industry. The whole point of this act is not to protect mothers from depression, but to recruit mothers as patients and, by doing so, also expose newborns to psychiatric drugs that will destroy their normal brain function and turn them into lifelong customers requiring ongoing chemical treatment.

We must stop the MOTHERS Act. It is a dangerous law created for marketing purposes, not medical purposes. Treating pregnant women with antidepressant drugs (and thereby exposing their unborn babies to those drugs) is one of the most outrageous pro-pharma ideas to come along in many years. It’s not enough to drug the teenagers and children with these dangerous pharmaceuticals, now Big Pharma wants to start drugging children before they’re even born!

If this law is passed and implemented, I fear for the future of our babies. Imbalanced by these dangerous pharmaceuticals, mothers are likely to commit acts of extreme violence against their children. Then they will be thrown into the prison system, of course, where they will be drugged with yet more psychiatric drugs (generating yet more profits for Big Pharma). Their children, meanwhile, will be taken away by Child Protective Services and treated with psychiatric drugs under the care of a “psychiatric doctors” who, of course, will poison that child’s brain with a never-ending regimen of Big Pharma’s chemicals. Do you see the scam here? By “screening” pregnant women for depression, they can create TWO new patients for psychiatric drugs, even though a family is destroyed in the process.

This is precisely the aim of Big Pharma: Sell more drugs, create more markets, and earn more profits regardless of the cost in human suffering. Big Pharma has zero concern for families and zero compassion for human beings. It only seeks to poison the minds of the people through television advertising and psychiatric drugs, all while maximizing its own profits.

What you can do to stop the MOTHERS Act

We must work together to stop this dangerous act that would recruit mothers to be treated with dangerous psychiatric drugs (while exposing their unborn babies to those same drugs).

Sign the petition:
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/stop-t…

Also, see Unite For Life at:
http://uniteforlife.org/MOTHERSact.htm#…

By the way, this is not an article about pro-life vs. pro-choice on the issue of unborn babies, and I use the term “unborn babies” in a purely humanitarian sense, because a child that’s in the womb and about to be born is clearly an “unborn baby” whose health must be protected. I am opposed to the drugging of mothers during any trimester. Pharmaceuticals simply do not belong in expectant mothers. Those pharmaceuticals pass straight through to the blood of the fetus. Regardless of whether you’re pro-life or pro-choice on the issue of abortion, I hope you agree that pregnant women should not be drugged with antidepressants!

Press release from UNITE / CHAADA

UNITE / CHAADA / ICFDA / COPES Foundation Objection to the Proposed MOTHERS Act – Bill before Senate Puts Young Children and Mothers in Serious Danger

To the HELP Committee of the United States Senate:

For years, the March of Dimes has warned not to use meds while pregnant. Why now encourage mothers to take drugs?

Please register this extreme objection to the proposed MOTHERS Act (S. 1375) which is now before you in committee. It is my earnest hope that you will immediately defeat this bill in committee. The bill has been brought to you under the guise of ensuring safety or support for new mothers; however, nothing could be further from the truth.

The bill was originally proposed in response to the death by suicide of Melanie Stokes, a pharmaceutical rep. who took her own life by leaping from a balcony several stories off of the ground. Contrary to popular understanding it was not post-partum depression that killed Melanie, but the numerous antidepressant drugs she was taking, which the FDA confirmed double the suicide risk.

Nobody is suggesting that new moms do not ever experience mood swings, depression, or even psychotic episodes. The more important issue is what the effect of this bill will be and why nobody is addressing potential methods of prevention. Everyone knows how many young moms experience gestational diabetes, but who is addressing the even higher rate of gestational hypoglycemia, which often initially manifests as depression? This is a physical condition that is treated with diet and is exacerbated by antidepressants (which list hypoglycemia as a side effect).

To simply screen women for post-partum mood disorders and ensure that they get “treatment,” we would be setting families up for the expectation of tragedy and increasing the chances of that actually happening when we refer them to medical “professionals” who are oblivious to the negative mind-altering effects of psychiatric drugs. A popular opinion among medical caregivers these days is that “post-partum mood disorders” must be a sign of an underlying biochemical imbalance and would be corrected with drugs.

Current drugs used on post-partum women include SSRIs, atypical antidepressants, and even antipsychotic drugs. These pose a significant risk to the immediate safety and health of women as well as their children and families. SSRIs carry a black box warning for suicide and the most popular one, Effexor (the same medication Andrea Yates was taking when she drowned her 5 children), has the words “homicidal ideation” listed as a side effect. Nearly every recent case of infanticide which has made news can be clearly linked back to a psychiatric drug. These drugs endanger babies and mothers.

Additionally, the drugs can be extremely addictive and also pose a risk to nurslings or babies exposed in subsequent pregnancies. Some babies have died from SIDS linked to exposure from pregnancy or nursing; others have experienced coma, seizures, GI bleeding, heart defects, lung problems, and many babies died before reaching full term or soon after birth.

The bill does not address the fact that studies show that biological agents (antidepressants for example) cited in the bill and already prescribed to pregnant women can cause congenital heart birth defects where children have had to undergo open-heart surgeries to correct this. Also, some babies are being born with organs outside their bodies, requiring immediate surgery.

In closing I want to re-emphasize the total lack of any real answer to post-partum depression posed by this bill. If we can prevent post-partum depression or support moms through it, or offer proven SAFE and EFFECTIVE natural alternatives to dangerous drugs, then we should. However we should never, ever become party to a pharmaceutical campaign to push drugs on the public. We will set ourselves up for disaster if we allow an invasion into the privacy of every family in the country and suggest to our most vulnerable citizens that they might be mentally ill.

We must do everything in our power to protect innocent children, and giving their mothers addictive drugs which pose a significant risk of causing suicide and violence does not protect anyone. It does cause the child to become addicted while still in the womb and sets up drug dependence which can be lifelong.

We still have no idea what effect most drugs have on developing brains. It might take decades for the impact on the developing brain to become apparent.

For information on the research pertaining to the risks of antidepressants and other treatments for new moms and their babies, details about the Melanie Stokes case (or you can read the letter by Dr. Ann Blake Tracy at http://uniteforlife.org/MOTHERSact.htm#…), as well as information on prevention strategies and safe, effective treatments for post-partum mood disorders, please contact us.

Sincerely,

Amy Philo
Founder, www.uniteforlife.org
Co-Founder, www.chaada.org

Camille Milke
Founder, www.copesfoundation.com
New Mexico State Director of the ICFDA http://www.drugawareness.org/home.html
Mother of a victim of psychiatric drug-induced suicide and grandmother to a now motherless child

Dr. Ann Blake Tracy
Executive Director of the ICFDA
http://www.drugawareness.org/home.html
Author of Prozac: Pancaea or Pandora? Our Serotonin Nightmare

March 12, 2008

Genetically Modified Foods and Crops–Good for Monsanto, Bad for the Entire World

It really is that dramatic. Corporate accountability NOW!

GM foods, untested and likely harmful, brought to you by the same lovely people who put hormones in your milk and brought you deadly aspartame.

Food ain’t what it used to be. Go organic and preserve your health, save the environment, and support SMALL, independent farmers–not BIG agribusiness:

Get educated. Spread the word. Change your community. Support small farmers and eat organic. Eat more unprocessed foods. GM foods aren’t labelled, but f it has something you can’t pronounce or if it’s something you have to look up in an encyclopedia, it doesn’t belong in YOUR body. Your health is more important than Monsanto’s bottom line. Mass consumer boycotting CAN make a difference.

—-

from news with views:

 

AN FDA-CREATED HEALTH CRISIS CIRCLES THE GLOBE
PART 1 of 2

 

 

 

By Jeffrey Smith
October 21, 2007
NewsWithViews.com

Government officials around the globe have been coerced, infiltrated, and paid off by the agricultural biotech giants. In Indonesia, Monsanto gave bribes and questionable payments to at least 140 officials, attempting to get their genetically modified (GM) cotton approved.[1] In India, one official tampered with the report on Bt cotton to increase the yield figures to favor Monsanto.[2] In Mexico, a senior government official allegedly threatened a University of California professor, implying “We know where your children go to school,” trying to get him not to publish incriminating evidence that would delay GM approvals.[3] While most industry manipulation and political collusion is more subtle, none was more significant than that found at the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The FDA’s “non-regulation” of GM foods

Genetically modified crops are the result of a technology developed in the 1970s that allow genes from one species to be forced into the DNA of unrelated species. The inserted genes produce proteins that confer traits in the new plant, such as herbicide tolerance or pesticide production. The process of creating the GM crop can produce all sorts of side effects, and the plants contain proteins that have never before been in the food supply. In the US, new types of food substances are normally classified as food additives, which must undergo extensive testing, including long-term animal feeding studies.[4] If approved, the label of food products containing the additive must list it as an ingredient.

There is an exception, however, for substances that are deemed “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS). GRAS status allows a product to be commercialized without any additional testing. According to US law, to be considered GRAS the substance must be the subject of a substantial amount of peer-reviewed published studies (or equivalent) and there must be overwhelming consensus among the scientific community that the product is safe. GM foods had neither. Nonetheless, in a precedent-setting move that some experts contend was illegal, in 1992 the FDA declared that GM crops are GRAS as long as their producers say they are. Thus, the FDA does not require any safety evaluations or labels whatsoever. A company can even introduce a GM food to the market without telling the agency.

Such a lenient approach to GM crops was largely the result of Monsanto’s legendary influence over the US government. According to the New York Times, “What Monsanto wished for from Washington, Monsanto and, by extension, the biotechnology industry got. . . . When the company abruptly decided that it needed to throw off the regulations and speed its foods to market, the White House quickly ushered through an unusually generous policy of self-policing.” According to Dr. Henry Miller, who had a leading role in biotechnology issues at the FDA from 1979 to 1994, “In this area, the U.S. government agencies have done exactly what big agribusiness has asked them to do and told them to do.”

Following Monsanto’s lead, in 1992 the Council on Competitiveness chaired by Vice President Dan Quayle identified GM crops as an industry that could increase US exports. On May 26, Quayle announced “reforms” to “speed up and simplify the process of bringing” GM products to market without “being hampered by unnecessary regulation.”[5] Three days later, the FDA policy on non-regulation was unveiled.

The person who oversaw its development was the FDA’s Deputy Commissioner for Policy, Michael Taylor, whose position had been created especially for him in 1991. Prior to that, Taylor was an outside attorney for both Monsanto and the Food Biotechnology Council. After working at the FDA, he became Monsanto’s vice president.

Covering up health dangers

The policy he oversaw needed to create the impression that unintended effects from GM crops were not an issue. Otherwise their GRAS status would be undermined. But internal memos made public from a lawsuit showed that the overwhelming consensus among the agency scientists was that GM crops can have unpredictable, hard-to-detect side effects. Various departments and experts spelled these out in detail, listing allergies, toxins, nutritional effects, and new diseases as potential problems. They had urged superiors to require long-term safety studies.[6] In spite of the warnings, according to public interest attorney Steven Druker who studied the FDA’s internal files, “References to the unintended negative effects of bioengineering were progressively deleted from drafts of the policy statement (over the protests of agency scientists).”[7]

FDA microbiologist Louis Pribyl wrote about the policy, “What has happened to the scientific elements of this document? Without a sound scientific base to rest on, this becomes a broad, general, ‘What do I have to do to avoid trouble’-type document. . . . It will look like and probably be just a political document. . . . It reads very pro-industry, especially in the area of unintended effects.”[8]

The FDA scientists’ concerns were not only ignored, their very existence was denied. Consider the private memo summarizing opinions at the FDA, which stated, “The processes of genetic engineering and traditional breeding are different and according to the technical experts in the agency, they lead to different risks.”[9] Contrast that with the official policy statement: “The agency is not aware of any information showing that foods derived by these new methods differ from other foods in any meaningful or uniform way.”[10] On the basis of this manufactured and false notion of no meaningful differences, the FDA does not require GM food safety testing.

To further justify their lack of oversight, they claimed that GM crops were “substantially equivalent” to their natural counterparts. But this concept does not hold up to scrutiny. The Royal Society of Canada described substantial equivalence as “scientifically unjustifiable and inconsistent with precautionary regulation of the technology.” In sharp contrast to the FDA’s position, the Royal Society of Canada said that “the default prediction” for GM crops would include “a range of collateral changes in expression of other genes, changes in the pattern of proteins produced and/or changes in metabolic activities.”[11]

Fake safety assessments

Biotech companies do participate in a voluntary consultation process with the FDA, but it is derided by critics as a meaningless exercise. Companies can submit whatever information they choose, and the FDA does not conduct or commission any studies of their own. Former EPA scientist Doug Gurian-Sherman, who analyzed FDA review records obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, states flatly, “It is clear that FDA’s current voluntary notification process (even if made mandatory) is not up to the task of ensuring the safety of future GE [genetically engineered] crops.” He says, “The FDA consultation process does not allow the agency to require submission of data, misses obvious errors in company-submitted data summaries, provides insufficient testing guidance, and does not require sufficiently detailed data to enable the FDA to assure that GE crops are safe to eat.”[12] Similarly, a Friends of the Earth review of company and FDA documents concluded:

If industry chooses to submit faulty, unpublishable studies, it does so without consequence. If it should respond to an agency request with deficient data, it does so without reprimand or follow-up. . . . If a company finds it disadvantageous to characterize its product, then its properties remain uncertain or unknown. If a corporation chooses to ignore scientifically sound testing standards . . . then faulty tests are conducted instead, and the results are considered legitimate. In the area of genetically engineered food regulation, the ‘competent’ agencies rarely if ever (know how to) conduct independent research to verify or supplement industry findings.”[13]

At the end of the consultation, the FDA doesn’t actually approve the crops. Rather, they issue a letter including a statement such as the following:

Based on the safety and nutritional assessment you have conducted, it is our understanding that Monsanto has concluded that corn products derived from this new variety are not materially different in composition, safety, and other relevant parameters from corn currently on the market, and that the genetically modified corn does not raise issues that would require premarket review or approval by FDA. . . . As you are aware, it is Monsanto’s responsibility to ensure that foods marketed by the firm are safe, wholesome and in compliance with all applicable legal and regulatory requirements.”[14]

The National Academy of Sciences and even the pro-GM Royal Society of London[15] describe the US system as inadequate and flawed. The editor of the prestigious journal Lancet said, “It is astounding that the US Food and Drug Administration has not changed their stance on genetically modified food adopted in 1992. . . . The policy is that genetically modified crops will receive the same consideration for potential health risks as any other new crop plant. This stance is taken despite good reasons to believe that specific risks may exist. . . . Governments should never have allowed these products into the food chain without insisting on rigorous testing for effects on health.”[16]

Promoting and regulating don’t mix

The FDA and other regulatory agencies are officially charged with both regulating biotech products and promoting them—a clear conflict. Suzanne Wuerthele, a US EPA toxicologist, says, “This technology is being promoted, in the face of concerns by respectable scientists and in the face of data to the contrary, by the very agencies which are supposed to be protecting human health and the environment. The bottom line in my view is that we are confronted with the most powerful technology the world has ever known, and it is being rapidly deployed with almost no thought whatsoever to its consequences.”

Canadian regulators are similarly conflicted. The Royal Society of Canada reported that, “In meetings with senior managers from the various Canadian regulatory departments . . . their responses uniformly stressed the importance of maintaining a favorable climate for the biotechnology industry to develop new products and submit them for approval on the Canadian market. . . . The conflict of interest involved in both promoting and regulating an industry or technology . . . is also a factor in the issue of maintaining the transparency, and therefore the scientific integrity, of the regulatory process. In effect, the public interest in a regulatory system that is ‘science based’—that meets scientific standards of objectivity, a major aspect of which is full openness to scientific peer review—is significantly compromised when that openness is negotiated away by regulators in exchange for cordial and supportive relationships with the industries being regulated.”[17]

The conflict of interest among scientists at the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) GMO Panel is quite explicit. According to Friends of the Earth, “One member has direct financial links with the biotech industry and others have indirect links, such as close involvement with major conferences organized by the biotech industry. Two members have even appeared in promotional videos produced by the biotech industry. . . . Several members of the Panel, including the chair Professor Kuiper, have been involved with the EU-funded ENTRANSFOOD project. The aim of this project was to agree [to] safety assessment, risk management and risk communication procedures that would ‘facilitate market introduction of GMOs in Europe, and therefore bring the European industry in a competitive position.’ Professor Kuiper, who coordinated the ENTRANSFOOD project, sat on a working group that also included staff from Monsanto, Bayer CropScience and Syngenta.” The report concludes that EFSA is “being used to create a false impression of scientific agreement when the real situation is one of intense and continuing debate and uncertainty.”[18] This parallels the deceptive façade at the FDA.

 

The pro-GM European Commission repeats the same ruse. According to leaked documents obtained by Friends of the Earth, while they privately appreciate “the uncertainties and gaps in knowledge that exist in relation to the safety of GM crops . . . the Commission normally keeps this uncertainty concealed from the public whilst presenting its decisions about the safety of GM crops and foods as being certain and scientifically based.” Further, in private “they frequently criticize the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and its assessments of the safety of GM foods and crops, even though the Commission relies on these evaluations to make recommendations to member states. . . [and] to justify its decisions to approve new GM foods.”[19] For example, the Commission privately condemned the submission information for one crop as “mixed, scarce, delivered consecutively all over years, and not convincing.” They said there is “No sufficient experimental evidence to assess the safety.”[20]

AN FDA-CREATED HEALTH CRISIS CIRCLES THE GLOBE
PART 2 of 2

 

 

 

By Jeffrey Smith
October 21, 2007
NewsWithViews.com

Evaluations miss most health problems

Although the body of safety studies on GM foods is quite small, it has verified the concerns expressed by FDA scientists and others.

  • The gene inserted into plant DNA may produce a protein that is inherently unhealthy.

  • The inserted gene has been found to transfer into human gut bacteria and may even end up in human cellular DNA, where it might produce its protein over the long-term.

  • Toxic substances in GM animal feed might bioaccumulate into milk and meat products.

  • Farmer and medical reports link GM feed to thousands of sick, sterile, and dead animals.

But there is not a single government safety assessment program in the world that is competent to even identify most of these potential health problems, let alone protect its citizens from the effects.[21]

A review of approved GM crops in Canada by professor E. Ann Clark, for example, reveals that 70% (28 of 40) “of the currently available GM crops . . . have not been subjected to any actual lab or animal toxicity testing, either as refined oils for direct human consumption or indirectly as feedstuffs for livestock. The same finding pertains to all three GM tomato Decisions, the only GM flax, and to five GM corn crops.” In the remaining 30% (12) of the other crops tested, animals were not fed the whole GM feed. They were given just the isolated GM protein that the plant was engineered to produce. But even this protein was not extracted from the actual GM plant. Rather, it was manufactured in genetically engineered bacteria. This method of testing would never identify problems associated with collateral damage to GM plant DNA, unpredicted changes in the GM protein, transfer of genes to bacteria or human cells, excessive herbicide residues, or accumulation of toxins in the food chain, among others. Clark asks, “Where are the trials showing lack of harm to fed livestock, or that meat and milk from livestock fed on GM feedstuffs are safe?”[22]

Epidemiologist and GM safety expert Judy Carman shows that assessments by Food Safety Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) similarly overlook serious potential problems, including cancer, birth defects, or long-term effects of nutritional deficiencies.[23]

A review of twelve reports covering twenty-eight GM crops – four soy, three corn, ten potatoes, eight canola, one sugar beet and two cotton – revealed no feeding trials on people. In addition, one of the GM corn varieties had gone untested on animals. Some seventeen foods involved testing with only a single oral gavage (a type of forced-feeding), with observation for seven to fourteen days, and only of the substance that had been genetically engineered to appear [the GM protein], not the whole food. Such testing assumes that the only new substance that will appear in the food is the one genetically engineered to appear, that the GM plant-produced substance will act in the same manner as the tested substance that was obtained from another source [GM bacteria], and that the substance will create disease within a few days. All are untested hypotheses and make a mockery of GM proponents’ claims that the risk assessment of GM foods is based on sound science. Furthermore, where the whole food was given to animals to eat, sample sizes were often very low – for example, five to six cows per group for Roundup Ready soy – and they were fed for only four weeks.”[24]

Hidden information, lack of standards, and breaking laws

Companies claim that their submissions to government regulators are “confidential business information” so they are kept secret. Some industry studies that have been forced into the public domain through Freedom of Information requests or lawsuits have been appalling in design and execution. This is due in part to the lack of meaningful and consistent standards required for assessments. Gurian-Sherman says of the FDA’s voluntary consultation, “Some submissions are hundreds of pages long while others are only 10 or 20.”[25] A Friends of the Earth report on US regulation and corporate testing practices states, “Without standardization, companies can and do design test procedures to get the results they want.” [26]Regulators also reference international standards as it suits them. According to the Centre for Integrated Research in Biosafety, for example, FSANZ “relaxed adherence to international standards for safety testing when that better suited the Applicant’s submitted work, and imposed international standards whenever that was a lower standard than we recommended.”[27]

Regulators also break laws. The declaration of GRAS status by the FDA deviated from the Food and Cosmetic Act and years of legal precedent. In Europe, the law requires that when EFSA and member states have different opinions, they “are obliged to co-operate with a view to either resolving the divergence or preparing a joint document clarifying the contentious scientific issues and identifying the relevant uncertainties in the data.”[28] According to FOE, in the case of all GM crop reviews, none of these legal obligations were followed.[29]

Humans as guinea pigs

Since GM foods are not properly tested before they enter the market, consumers are the guinea pigs. But this doesn’t even qualify as an experiment. There are no controls and no monitoring. Without post-marketing surveillance, the chances of tracing health problems to GM food are low. The incidence of a disease would have to increase dramatically before it was noticed, meaning that millions may have to get sick before a change is investigated. Tracking the impact of GM foods is even more difficult in North America, where the foods are not labeled. Regulators at Health Canada announced in 2002 that they would monitor Canadians for health problems from eating GM foods. A spokesperson said, “I think it’s just prudent and what the public expects, that we will keep a careful eye on the health of Canadians.” But according to CBC TV news, Health Canada “abandoned that research less than a year later saying it was ‘too difficult to put an effective surveillance system in place.’” The news anchor added, “So at this point, there is little research into the health effects of genetically modified food. So will we ever know for sure if it’s safe?”[30]

Not with the biotech companies in charge. Consider the following statement in a report submitted to county officials in California by pro-GM members of a task force. “[It is] generally agreed that long-term monitoring of the human health risks of GM food through epidemiological studies is not necessary because there is no scientific evidence suggesting any long-term harm from these foods.”[31] Note the circular logic: Because no long-term epidemiological studies are in place, we have no evidence showing long-term harm. And since we don’t have any evidence of long-term harm, we don’t need studies to look for it.

What are these people thinking? Insight into the pro-GM mindset was provided by Dan Glickman, the US Secretary of Agriculture under President Clinton.

What I saw generically on the pro-biotech side was the attitude that the technology was good, and that it was almost immoral to say that it wasn’t good, because it was going to solve the problems of the human race and feed the hungry and clothe the naked. . . . And there was a lot of money that had been invested in this, and if you’re against it, you’re Luddites, you’re stupid. That, frankly, was the side our government was on. Without thinking, we had basically taken this issue as a trade issue and they, whoever ‘they’ were, wanted to keep our product out of their market. And they were foolish, or stupid, and didn’t have an effective regulatory system. There was rhetoric like that even here in this department. You felt like you were almost an alien, disloyal, by trying to present an open-minded view on some of the issues being raised. So I pretty much spouted the rhetoric that everybody else around here spouted; it was written into my speeches.”[32]

Fortunately, not everyone feels that questioning GM foods is disloyal. On the contrary, millions of people around the world are unwilling to participate in this uncontrolled experiment. They refuse to eat GM foods. Manufacturers in Europe and Japan have committed to avoid using GM ingredients. And the US natural foods industry, not waiting for the government to test or label GMOs, is now engaged in removing all remaining GM ingredients from their sector using a third party verification system. The Campaign for Healthier Eating in America will circulate non-GMO shopping guides in stores nationwide so that consumers have clear, healthy non-GMO choices. With no governmental regulation of biotech corporations, it is left to consumers to protect themselves.

To learn how to opt-out of the eating GMOs and to find non-GM alternative brands, click here.

New Book Genetic Roulette Documents Serious Health Dangers

The sourcebook for the Campaign is the newly released Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods. With input from more than 30 scientists over two years, it presents 65 health risks of GM foods and why current safety assessments are not competent to protect us from most of them. The book documents lab animals with damage to virtually every system and organ studied; thousands of sick, sterile, or dead livestock; and people around the world who have traced toxic or allergic reactions to eating GM products, breathing GM pollen, or touching GM crops at harvest. It also exposes many incorrect assumptions that were used to support GM approvals. Organizations worldwide are presenting the book to policy makers as evidence that GM foods are unsafe and need to be removed immediately.

But we don’t need to wait for governments to step in. We can make healthier choices for ourselves, our families, and our schools now, and together we can inspire the tipping point for healthier, non-GM eating in America. We believe that this can be achieved within the next 24 months.

The GM crops sold in the US include soy (including soy lecithin used in chocolate and thousands of other products as an emulsifier), corn (including high fructose corn syrup), cottonseed and canola (both used in vegetable oil), Hawaiian papaya, and a small amount of zucchini and crook-neck squash. There is also alfalfa for cattle (the sale of which was halted by a federal judge on March 13, 2007), GM additives such as aspartame, and milk from cows treated with GM bovine growth hormone.

There is not yet any GM popcorn, white corn or blue corn. And the industry is threatening to introduce GM sugar from sugar beets next year. To learn more, for online shopping guides and to find out how to get involved, click here.

The Institute for Responsible Technology’s plans to achieve the tipping point on GMOs through consumer education has inspired the Mercola.com Foundation to match donations and membership fees to the Institute at this time. Please help end the genetic engineering of our food supply by contributing to the implementation of this important project. Click here.

 

Footnotes:

1,Monsanto Bribery Charges in Indonesia by DoJ and USSEC,” Third World Network, Malaysia, Jan 27, 2005,
2,Greenpeace exposes Government-Monsanto nexus to cheat Indian farmers: calls on GEAC to revoke BT cotton permission,” Press release, March 3, 2005,
3, Jeffrey M. Smith, Seeds of Deception, (Iowa: Yes! Books, 2003), 224.
4, See Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA)
5, Dan Quayle, “Speech in the Indian Treaty Room of the Old Executive Office Building,” May 26, 1992
6, See Smith, Seeds of Deception; and for copies of FDA memos, see The Alliance for Bio-Integrity,
7, Steven M. Druker, “How the US Food and Drug Administration approved genetically engineered foods despite the deaths one had caused and the warnings of its own scientists about their unique risks,” Alliance for Bio-Integrity.
8, Louis J. Pribyl, “Biotechnology Draft Document, 2/27/92,” March 6, 1992
9, Linda Kahl, Memo to James Maryanski about Federal Register Document “Statement of Policy: Foods from Genetically Modified Plants,” Alliance for Bio-Integrity(January 8, 1992)
10, “Statement of Policy: Foods Derived from New Plant Varieties,” Federal Register 57, no. 104 (May 29, 1992): 22991.
11, “Elements of Precaution: Recommendations for the Regulation of Food Biotechnology in Canada; An Expert Panel Report on the Future of Food Biotechnology prepared by The Royal Society of Canada at the request of Health Canada Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Environment Canada” The Royal Society of Canada, January 2001.
12, Doug Gurian-Sherman, “Holes in the Biotech Safety Net, FDA Policy Does Not Assure the Safety of Genetically Engineered Foods,” Center for Science in the Public Interest,
13, Bill Freese, “The StarLink Affair, Submission by Friends of the Earth to the FIFRA Scientific Advisory Panel considering Assessment of Additional Scientific Information Concerning StarLink Corn,” July 17-19, 2001.
14, FDA Letter, Letter from Alan M. Rulis, Office of Premarket Approval, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, FDA to Dr. Kent Croon, Regulatory Affairs Manager, Monsanto Company, Sept 25, 1996. See Letter for BNF No. 34
15, See for example, “Good Enough To Eat?” New Scientist (February 9, 2002), 7
16, “Health risks of genetically modified foods,” editorial, Lancet, 29 May 1999
17, “Elements of Precaution,” The Royal Society of Canada, January 2001.
18, Friends of the Earth Europe, “Throwing Caution to the Wind: A review of the European Food Safety Authority and its work on genetically modified foods and crops,” November 2004
19, Friends of the Earth Europe and Greenpeace, “Hidden Uncertainties What the European Commission doesn’t want us to know about the risks of GMOs,” April 2006
20, European Communities submission to World Trade Organization dispute panel, 28 January 2005
21, Jeffrey M. Smith, Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods, Yes! Books, Fairfield, IA USA 2007
22, E. Ann Clark, “Food Safety of GM Crops in Canada: toxicity and allergenicity,” GE Alert, 2000
23, FLRAG of the PHAA of behalf of the PHAA, “Comments to ANZFA about Applications A372, A375, A378 and A379.”
24, Judy Carman, “Is GM Food Safe to Eat?” in R. Hindmarsh, G. Lawrence, eds., Recoding Nature Critical Perspectives on Genetic Engineering (Sydney: UNSW Press, 2004): 82-93.
25, Doug Gurian-Sherman, “Holes in the Biotech Safety Net, FDA Policy Does Not Assure the Safety of Genetically Engineered Foods,” Center for Science in the Public Interest
26, William Freese, “Genetically Engineered Crop Health Impacts Evaluation: A Critique of U.S. Regulation of Genetically Engineered Crops and Corporate Testing Practices, with a Case Study of Bt Corn,” Friends of the Earth U.S
27, M. Cretenet, J. Goven, J. A. Heinemann, B. Moore, and C. Rodriguez-Beltran, “Submission on the DAR for Application A549 Food Derived from High-Lysine Corn LY038: to permit the use in food of high-lysine corn, 2006
28, EU Regulation 178/2002 (Article 30)
29, Friends of the Earth Europe, “Throwing Caution to the Wind: A review of the European Food Safety Authority and its work on genetically modified foods and crops,” November 2004
30, “Genetically modified foods, who knows how safe they are?” CBC News and Current Affairs, September 25, 2006
31, Mike Zelina, et al., The Health Effects of Genetically Engineered Crops on San Luis Obispo County,” A Citizen Response to the SLO Health Commission GMO Task Force Report, 2006
32, Bill Lambrecht, Dinner at the New Gene Café, St. Martin’s Press, September 2001, pg 139

© 2007 Jeffrey M. Smith- All Rights Reserved

 

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related information to convince you of how bad GMs are–labelling is required in Europe, but not the US (where 50% of corn TODAY is GM–wonder why? it’s an uncontrolled social experiment and it’s an effort by companies making GM foods to protect themselves by preventing liabilities to be traced back to them.)

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http://www.responsibletechnology.org/GMFree/AboutGMFoods/GMFoodsAtAGlance/index.cfm

Genetically Modified Ingredients Overview

Here is a summary of what crops, foods and food ingredients have been genetically modified as of July, 2007:

Currently Commercialized GM Crops in the U.S.:
(Number in parentheses represents the estimated percent that is genetically modified.)

Soy (89%)
Cotton (83%)
Canola (75%)
Corn (61%)
Hawaiian papaya (more than 50%)
Alfalfa, zucchini and yellow squash (small amount)
Tobacco (Quest® brand)

Other Sources of GMOs:

  • Dairy products from cows injected with rbGH.

  • Food additives, enzymes, flavorings, and processing agents, including the sweetener aspartame (NutraSweet®) and rennet used to make hard cheeses

  • Meat, eggs, and dairy products from animals that have eaten GM feed

  • Honey and bee pollen that may have GM sources of pollen

  • Contamination or pollination caused by GM seeds or pollen

Some of the Ingredients That May Be Genetically Modified:

Vegetable oil, vegetable fat and margarines (made with soy, corn, cottonseed, and/or canola)

Ingredients derived from soybeans: Soy flour, soy protein, soy isolates, soy isoflavones, soy lecithin, vegetable proteins, textured vegetable protein (TVP), tofu, tamari, tempeh, and soy protein supplements.

Ingredients derived from corn: Corn flour, corn gluten, corn masa, corn starch, corn syrup, cornmeal, and High-Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS).

Some Food Additives May Also Be Derived From GM Sources:

The list may change as we encounter new information: ascorbic acid/ascorbate (Vitamin C), cellulose, citric acid, cobalamin (vitamin B12), cyclodextrin, cystein, dextrin, dextrose, diacetyl, fructose (especially crystalline fructose), glucose, glutamate, glutamic acid, gluten, glycerides (mono- and diglycerides), glycerol, glycerol, glycerine, glycine, hemicellulose, , hydrogenated starch hydrolates, hydrolyzed vegetable protein or starch, inositol, invert sugar or inverse syrup, (also may be listed as inversol or colorose), lactic acid, lactoflavin, lecithin, leucine, lysine, maltose, maltitol, maltodextrin, mannitol, methylcellulose, milo starch, modified food starch, monooleate, mono- and diglycerides, monosodium glutamate (MSG), oleic acid, phenylalanine, phytic acid, riboflavin (Vitamin B2) sorbitol, stearic acid, threonine, tocopherol (Vitamin E), trehalose, xanthan gum, and zein.

Some of the Foods That May Contain GM Ingredients:

Infant formula
Salad dressing
Bread
Cereal
Hamburgers and hotdogs
Margarine
Mayonnaise
Crackers
Cookies
Chocolate
Candy
Fried food
Chips
Veggie burgers
Meat substitutes
Ice cream
Frozen yogurt
Tofu
Tamari
Soy sauce
Soy cheese
Tomato sauce
Protein powder
Baking powder (sometimes contains corn starch)
Powdered/Confectioner’s sugar (often contains corn starch)
Confectioner’s glaze
Alcohol
Vanilla
Powdered sugar
Peanut butter
Enriched flour
Vanilla extract (sometimes contains corn syrup)
Pasta
Malt
White vinegar

Non-Food Items That May Contain GM Ingredients:

Cosmetics
Soaps
Detergents
Shampoo
Bubble bath

Sources for “Genetically Modified Ingredients Overview:

Natural Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), Agricultural Statistics Board, US Department of Agriculture: Acreage. Available at: http://www.thecampaign.org/Acre-06-30-2006.pdf (2006)

Cornell Cooperative Extension, GEO-PIE (Genetically Engineered Organisms Public Issues Education) Project. http://www.geo-pie.cornell.edu/crops/ingredients.html

Ruth Winter , A Consumer’s Dictionary of Food Additives: Descriptions in plain English of more than 12,000 ingredients both harmful and desirable found in foods, 6th ed. (New York: Three Rivers Press, 2004).

Robert S. Igoe , The Dictionary of Food Ingredients, 2nd ed. (New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1989).

Research Triangle Institute, “Economic Characterization of the Dietary Supplement Industry” March 1999. Available at: http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~acrobat/ds-econ.pdf

Codex General Standard for Food Additives (GSFA) Online Database of the World Health Organization(WHO) Food and Agriculture Organization(FAO) of the United Nations and the reports of the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA). Available at: http://www.codexalimentarius.net/gsfaonline/additives/index.html

The University of Maryland Medical Center database of supplements by name: http://www.umm.edu/altmed/ConsLookups/Supplements.html

Archives of the Agricultural Research Service of the USDA: http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/AR/archive/

Reports of the European Commission Scientific Committee for Food: http://ec.europa.eu/food/fs/sc/scf/reports_en.html

U.S. National Institute of Health (NIH) PubMed Central (PMC): http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/

Also consulted the following industry sites:

http://www.corn.org/web/bioprod.htm
http://www.confectionerynews.com/news/ng.asp?n=70687-danisco-xylitol-sugar
http://www.grainprocessing.com/food/malinfo.html
http://www.cargillfoods.com/pdfs/sweeteners.pdf/ca198.pdf

 

NAU: The Truth is Hitting Critical Mass–Vote for a Candidate who will OPPOSE IT!

Ron Paul–the only candidate taking a stand on the looming North American Union (NAU). Learn more.

________

NaturalNews.com printable article

Originally published February 25 2008

The North American Union – You Could Be Voting Your Rights Away

by Barbara L. Minton (see all articles by this author)

(NaturalNews) One issue that is conspicuously absent from the rhetoric of the presidential candidates is the North American Union (NAU). The questions of immigration and border security are frequently raised and the candidates claim to realize the need for a clear immigration policy and effort to secure the borders of the United States. Yet when you begin to understand the purposes of the North American Union and the agenda of its proponents, you will understand why this will never happen. And you may also begin to see that you are being manipulated by the major candidates.

The NAU, a goal of the Council on Foreign Relations, follows a plan laid out by Robert Pastor. It is currently promoted by the Bush administration to expand the size and scope of NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement). Its goal is to effectively create a North American trading block by erasing the borders between the U.S., Mexico and Canada resulting in free, unimpeded movement of people and goods across those borders. It is also a political union that would integrate the governments of the three countries. And clearly it is an economic union with the intention of equalizing the wages and standard of living of all but the ruling elitists.

Sounds a lot like the European Union, doesn’t it? There are even plans for a common currency called the amero. But there is one glaring difference. The people of the United States have never been asked if they want to become integrated with Mexico and Canada, two countries of enormously different laws, culture, economic systems, standards of living, and acceptance of the role of government.

The European Union followed years of open debate at all levels, intense coverage of the ramifications and implications in major media, and a vote of the people.

History and Origins of NAU

President Bush signed the Declaration of Quebec City in April, 2001, making a “commitment to hemispheric integration”. After Hugo Chavez of Venezuela voiced opposition, these plans were scaled back to include only North America.

The Independent Task Force on North America, a project organized by the Council on Foreign Relations and co-chaired by Robert Pastor, was launched in October, 2004. This group published two documents: Trinational Call for a North American Economic and Security Community by 2010 (March, 2005), and its final report Building a North American Community (May, 2005). This Task Force had as its central recommendation the establishment by 2010 of a North American economic and security community. The boundaries of this community would be defined by a common external tariff and outer security perimeter. Also called for is the replacing of all three branches of the US government with a North American version effectively ending U.S. representative government.

In March 2005, at their summit meeting in Waco, Texas; Bush, President Fox of Mexico and Prime Minister Martin of Canada issued a joint statement announcing the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP). The creation of this agreement was never submitted to Congress for discussion or decision. The U.S. Department of Commerce merely created a new division implementing working groups to advance a North American Union agenda. This agenda included movement of goods, finances, e-commerce, environment, business facilitation, food and agriculture, and health. The result is an action agreement to be implemented immediately and directly by regulations, without any envisioned Congressional debate or oversight.

In September 2006, Rep. Virgil Goode (Va), Rep. Ron Paul (Tx), Rep. Walter Jones (NC), and Rep. Tom Tancredo (Co) introduced House Concurrent Resolution 487, expressing concerns about the NAU. Resolution was passed by the House of Representatives with the Senate concurring that the U.S. should not enter into a North American Union with Mexico and Canada; the U.S. should not engage in the construction of the NAFTA Superhighway System, and the President should indicate strong opposition to these or any other proposals that threaten the sovereignty of the U.S.

In October 2006, Congressman Paul formally denounced the formation of the SPP and the plans for the North American Union and the SPP as “an unholy alliance of foreign consortiums and officials from several governments”. Paul says that the real issue raised by the SPP is nation sovereignty. “Once again, decisions that affect millions of Americans are not being made by those Americans themselves, or even by their elected representatives in Congress. Instead, a handful of elites use their government connections to bypass national legislatures and ignore our Constitution – which expressly grants Congress the sole authority to regulate international trade.” In this speech Paul predicts that the NAU will become a sleeper issue for the 2008 election, stating that “any movement toward a NAU diminishes the ability of average Americans to influence the laws under which they must live.”

A report authored by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIC) was presented to all three governments in September 2007. CSIC is a political influence group of internationalists who have crafted many of the government policies of the past several years. At the core of the report is its plan for America’s future, North American “economic integration” and “labor mobility”. The plan for government integration is also revealed as the report states: “to remain competitive in the global economy, policymakers must devise forward-looking, collaborative policies that integrate governments”. Also called for is the adoption of “unified North American regulatory standards”.

Features of NAU:

The Trans-Texas Corridor and the NAFTA Superhighway

The NAFTA Superhighway and its entry point at the trans-Texas corridor were first proposed in 2002. It consists of a 1,200 foot wide highway that also carries utilities such as electricity, petroleum and water as well as railway tracks and fiber-optic cables. When completed, the new road will allow containers from the Far East to enter the U.S. through the Mexican port of Lazaro Cardenas, bypassing the Longshoreman’s Union. With Mexican drivers and without the involvement of the teamsters union, the Mexican trucks will drive straight into the heart of the US, crossing the border in fast lanes, and checked only by a new electronic system. The first customs stop will be the new Smart Port complex in Kansas City. From there the trucks may disperse into the U.S. or continue northward into Canada, again crossing the border with only an electronic checkpoint.

Millions of acres of land for the completion of this highway will be taken under the new laws of eminent domain.

A government pilot program has allowed Mexican trucking companies to make deliveries anywhere in the U.S. since April 2007, even before the completion of the superhighway. There is no limit on the number of trucks the 100 companies in the pilot program can operate. Eventually all Mexican trucking companies are to be granted the same access. These Mexican drivers are paid substantially less that their U.S. counterparts, their operations are not regulated, and they are driving on U.S. taxpayer subsidized roads.

The Amero

This is the name of what may be the North American Union’s counterpart to the euro. It was first proposed by Canadian economist Herbert G. Grubel in his book The Case for the Amero published in 1999, the same year the euro became currency. Robert Pastor supported Grubel’s idea in his book Toward A North American Community published in 2001. If implemented, the Amero’s debut may come later in the progression of the NAU, with exchange rates that depend on market forces at the time, after the economies of the three countries have been integrated and homogenized.

The North American Plan for Avian and Pandemic Influenza

Finalized and released at the September 2007 summit of the SPP, this plan calls for a “comprehensive coordinated North American approach during outbreaks of influenza.” It gives authority to international officials “beyond the health sector to include a coordinated approach to critical infrastructure protection,” including “border and transportation issues”.

It sets up a “senior level Coordinating Body to facilitate the effective planning and preparedness within North America for a possible outbreak of avian and/or human influenza pandemic under the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP).” The SPP is to act as “decision-makers.” “The chair of the SPP Coordinating Body will rotate between each national authority on a yearly basis” resulting in foreign decision making for Americans in two out of every three years.

The plan suggests that these powers will include “the use of antivirals and vaccines… social distancing measures, including school closures and the prohibition of community gatherings, isolation and quarantine.”

Council on Foreign Relations

Since its inception in 1921, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) has attracted men and women of power and influence. Its stated intentions are to bring about the surrender of the sovereignty of the national independence of the United States. The ultimate, declared aim of the CFR is to create a one-world government, and to make the U.S. a part of it. The stated intentions of the CFR are clearly treasonous to the U.S. Constitution.

The influence of the CFR is wide. Not only does it have members in the U.S. government, but its influence has also spread to other vital areas of American life. Members have run, or are running, NBC and CBS, the New York Times, and The Washington Post, and many other important newspapers. The leaders of Time, Newsweek, Fortune, Business Week, and numerous other publications are CFR members.

The organization’s members also dominate the political world. U.S. presidents since Franklin Roosevelt have been CFR members with the exception of Ronald Reagan. The organization’s members also dominate
the academic world, top corporations, unions and military. They are on the board of directors of the Federal Reserve.

Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John Edwards, Mitt Romney, John McCain, and Rudy Guiliani are all either members of the CFR or have close ties with it. Mike Huckabee is reportedly not a member, but following his interaction with the group in September, he has become a favored candidate in the eyes of the media. Republican Ron Paul is the only remaining significant candidate who does not have ties with the CFR. He has has voiced opposition to the NAU for several years.

Where Do You Stand on This Issue?

There is an ideological battle being waged between the forces supporting globalism and the forces supporting national sovereignty. If you plan to participate in the 2008 presidential election, you will need to answer these questions for yourself: Do you believe in the timelessness of the Constitution, or do you believe that the Constitution has served its usefulness and it’s time for another model for government? Are you in favor of international government and more regulation by the United Nations, or do you favor continuation of the institutions that have served the U.S. in the past? Do you want big government with its attendant costs and regulations, or do you favor small government that allows for self direction?

About the author

Barbara Minton is a school psychologist by trade, a published author in the area of personal finance, a breast cancer survivor using “alternative” treatments, a born existentialist, and a student of nature and all things natural.

http://www.naturalnews.com/z022707.html

How do you spell “Recession”? D-I-S-C-O-N-T-E-N-T

and P-O-V-E-R-T-Y.

from truthout.

http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/013108B.shtml

America’s Middle Classes Are No Longer Coping
By Robert Reich
The Financial Times

Tuesday 29 January 2008

It is an election year and the US economy is in peril of falling into recession or worse. Not surprisingly, Washington is abuzz with plans to prevent it. President George W. Bush has proposed a $150bn stimulus package and all the main presidential candidates are offering similar measures, including middle-class tax cuts and increased spending on infrastructure.

Ben Bernanke and the Federal Reserve have reduced interest rates another three-quarters of a point. But none of these fixes will help much because they do not deal with the underlying anxieties now gripping American voters. The problem lies deeper than the current slowdown and transcends the business cycle.

The fact is, middle-class families have exhausted the coping mechanisms they have used for more than three decades to get by on median wages that are barely higher than they were in 1970, adjusted for inflation. Male wages today are in fact lower than they were then: the income of a young man in his 30s is now 12 per cent below that of a man his age three decades ago. Yet for years now, America’s middle class has lived beyond its pay cheque. Middle-class lifestyles have flourished even though median wages have barely budged. That is ending and Americans are beginning to feel the consequences.

The first coping mechanism was moving more women into paid work. The percentage of American working mothers with school-age children has almost doubled since 1970 – from 38 per cent to close to 70 per cent. Some parents are now even doing 24-hour shifts, one on child duty while the other works. These families are known as Dins: double income, no sex.

But we reached the limit to how many mothers could maintain paying jobs. What to do? We turned to a second coping mechanism. When families could not paddle any harder, they started paddling longer. The typical American now works two weeks more each year than 30 years ago. Compared with any other advanced nation we are veritable workaholics, putting in 350 more hours a year than the average European, more even than the notoriously industrious Japanese.

But there is also a limit to how long we can work. As the tide of economic necessity continued to rise, we turned to the third coping mechanism. We began to borrow, big time. With housing prices rising briskly through the 1990s and even faster between 2002 and 2006, we turned our homes into piggy banks through home equity loans. Americans got nearly $250bn worth of home equity every quarter in second mortgages and refinancings. That is nearly 10 per cent of disposable income. With credit cards raining down like manna, we bought plasma television sets, new appliances, vacations.

With dollars artificially high because foreigners continued to hold them even as the nation sank deeper into debt, we summoned inexpensive goods and services from the rest of the world.

But this final coping mechanism can no longer keep us going, either. The era of easy money is over. With the bursting of the housing bubble, home equity is drying up. As Moody’s reported recently, defaults on home equity loans have surged to the highest level this decade. Car and credit card debt is next. Personal bankruptcies rose 48 per cent in first half of 2007, probably even more in the second half, which means a wave of defaults on consumer loans. Meanwhile, as foreigners begin shifting out of dollars, we will no longer have access to cheap foreign goods and services.

In short, the anxiety gripping the middle class is not simply a product of the current economic slowdown. The underlying problem began around 1970. Any presidential candidate seeking to address it will have to think bigger than bailing out lenders and borrowers, or stimulating the economy with tax cuts and spending increases.

Most Americans are still not prospering in the high-technology, global economy that emerged three decades ago. Almost all the benefits of economic growth since then have gone to a small number of people at the very top.

The candidate who acknowledges this and comes up with ways not just to stimulate the economy but also to boost wages – through, say, a more progressive tax, stronger unions and, over the longer term, better schools for children from lower-income families and better access to higher education – will have a good chance of winning over America’s large, and increasingly anxious, voters.

———

The writer is professor of public policy at the University of California at Berkeley. He is former US secretary of labour and author of Supercapitalism


    Go to Original

Pro-Business Bias Survives Economic Bust
By Max J. Castro
Progresso Weekly

31 January to 05 February 2008 Issue

Boasting about the strength of the economy has been a staple of Bush administration propaganda for a long time. In fact, while the rate of economic growth and the level of unemployment have been pretty good for the last few years, throughout the Bush era the economy has been “strong and getting stronger” only for those at the very top of the income distribution.

It is a trend that began long before George W. Bush became president but which has been aggravated by his policies. Since 1973 and especially in the last ten years, those in the top one-tenth of one percent of income earners have done spectacularly well. Those in the top one percent of the income ladder have done very well, and those merely in the top ten percent have made much less impressive but real gains in income. In contrast, and in spite of vast economic growth, between 1973 and 2005 everybody else, the remaining 90 percent of the population, experienced a significant drop in real income!

The current administration’s policies of giving huge tax breaks to the very rich, restricting government spending on middle class and low income programs, and giving business a free hand in every sphere have been a major factor in bringing about the obscene levels of inequality in existence today. But these policies have done more than just deepen inequality. By undermining regulation and oversight, these policies have led to many corrupt and irresponsible business practices, with results such as the Enron scandal and the current sub-prime lending crisis.

The regulatory mechanisms that emerged in the wake of the 1929 Wall Street crash and the Depression of the 1930s were not the product of a socialist conspiracy or anti-business ideology. They were lifesaving devices for the capitalist system and the American economy.

The administrations that have run the country for the last three decades seemed to have forgotten this and, in a frenzy of free market faith that has been particularly intense during Republican rule but has also been present during Democratic presidents, have poked huge holes not only in the social safety but also in the economic and financial safety net.

Now the myth of a perfectly self-regulating market has burst, starting with the housing market crisis and spreading through the economy. Many analysts are predicting a recession. The Federal Reserve Board, which usually acts with caution, was so alarmed as to carry out a record decrease in interest rates in order to boost the economy and prop up sinking stock market prices. The administration acted too, but as usual it saw the drama of millions of Americans in danger of losing their houses and their jobs as first and foremost an opportunity to further its ideological agenda in line with the interests of corporations and the very rich. The Democrats in Congress pushed a different set of policies to ward off recession, but in the end once more largely caved in to Congressional Republicans and the administration.

Democrats in Congress wanted to increase food stamps and extend unemployment benefits, measures that would have helped those hurt worst by an economic downturn but also the groups most likely to spend any additional income quickly, exactly what is needed to give the economy a quick boost.

Republicans were adamant against this approach. The GOP’s priority was to continue and expand tax cuts for business and the rich. The Republican argument is that this will stimulate the economy by encouraging investment.

Despite controlling Congress, the Democrats ultimately gave in on almost every issue except making the 2001 Bush tax cut permanent, which the Republicans dropped. The compromise that was approved by the House of Representatives and Speaker Nancy Pelosi does not include increased funds for food stamps or unemployment benefits. It does include new tax breaks for business investment. Pelosi did manage to obtain some payments for those too poor to pay taxes and to reduce tax rebates for households with higher incomes.

Despite these small Democratic wins, the irony is that a program intended to provide relief for a looming crisis caused to a significant degree by policies wildly biased in favor of business is itself rife with some of the same biases.

An economy in which income is increasingly concentrated in fewer and fewer hands and that withholds its rewards from the vast majority of the population even in the best of times is not sustainable politically, socially, economically, or morally. The lesson of the compromise economic stimulus package is that neither Republicans nor Democrats are ready to confront this reality.

GNP not an indicator of reality–more proof economics is elitist code/lingo–fight for progress

from truthout:

Our Three-Decade Recession
By Robert Costanza
The Los Angeles Times

    Monday 10 March 2008

The American quality of life has been going downhill since 1975.

    The news media and the government are fixated on the fact that the U.S. economy may be headed into a recession – defined as two or more successive quarters of declining gross domestic product. The situation is actually much worse. By some measures of economic performance, the United States has been in a recession since 1975 – a recession in quality of life, or well-being.

    How can this be? One first needs to understand what GDP measures to see why it is not an appropriate gauge of our national well-being.

    GDP measures the total market value of all goods and services produced in a country in a given period. But it includes only those goods and services traded for money. It also adds everything together, without discerning desirable, well-being-enhancing economic activity from undesirable, well-being-reducing activity. An oil spill, for example, increases GDP because someone has to clean it up, but it obviously detracts from well-being. More crime, more sickness, more war, more pollution, more fires, storms and pestilence are all potentially positives for the GDP because they can spur an increase in economic activity.

    GDP also ignores activity that may enhance well-being but is outside the market. The unpaid work of parents caring for their children at home doesn’t show up in GDP, but if they decide to work outside the home and pay for child care, GDP suddenly increases. And even though $1 in income means a lot more to the poor than to the rich, GDP takes no account of income distribution.

    In short, GDP was never intended to be a measure of citizens’ welfare – and it functions poorly as such. Yet it is used as a surrogate appraisal of national well-being in far too many circumstances.

    The shortcomings of GDP are well known, and several researchers have proposed alternatives that address them, including William Nordhaus’ and James Tobin’s Measure of Economic Welfare, developed in 1972; Herman Daly’s and John Cobb’s Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare, developed in 1989; and the Redefining Progress think tank’s more recent variation, the Genuine Progress Indicator. Although these alternatives – which, like GDP, are measured in monetary terms – are not perfect and need more research and refinement, they are much better approximations to a measure of true national well-being.

    The formula for calculating GPI, for instance, starts with personal consumption expenditures, a major component of GDP, but makes several crucial adjustments. First, it accounts for income distribution. It then adds positive contributions that GDP ignores, such as the value of household and volunteer work. Finally, it subtracts things that are well-being-reducing, such as the loss of leisure time and the costs of crime, commuting and pollution.

    While the U.S. GDP has steadily increased since 1950 (with the occasional recession), GPI peaked about 1975 and has been relatively flat or declining ever since. That’s consistent with life-satisfaction surveys, which also show flat or dropping scores over the last several decades.

    This is a very different picture of the economy from the one we normally read about, and it requires different policy responses. We are now in a period of what Daly – a former World Bank economist now at the University of Maryland – has called “uneconomic growth,” in which further growth in economic activity (that is, GDP) is actually reducing national well-being.

    How can we get out of this 33-year downturn in quality of life? Several policies have been suggested that might be thought of as a national quality-of-life stimulus package.

    To start, the U.S. needs to make national well-being – not increased GDP – its primary policy goal, funding efforts to better measure and report it. There’s already been some movement in this direction around the world. Bhutan, for example, recently made “gross national happiness” its explicit policy goal. Canada is developing an Index of Well-being, and the Australian Treasury considers increasing “real well-being,” rather than mere GDP, its primary goal.

    Once Americans’ well-being becomes the basis for measuring our success, other reforms should follow. We should tax bads (carbon emissions, depletion of natural resources) rather than goods (labor, savings, investment). We should recognize the negative effects of growing income disparities and take steps to address them.

    International trade also will have to be reformed so that environmental protection, labor rights and democratic self-determination are not subjugated to the blind pursuit of increased GDP.

    But the most important step may be the first one: Recognizing that the U.S. is mired in a 33-year-old quality-of-life recession and that our continued national focus on growing GDP is blinding us to the way out.

    ——–

    Robert Costanza is the director of the Gund Institute for Ecological Economics at the University of Vermont.

February 10, 2008

Fascismwatch: an SS? A Gestapo? A Secret Police?

When the police grow this large, anyone not in the police will become a criminal.  

WHY is this not front page news?

WHY is this being conducted through private-sector partnerships, not subject to public scrutiny?

WHY is there no outrage?

WHY is our government preparing to declare martial law? Will it happen, say, right before the election?

Write to your newspapers, people. Do not take this lying down. Then vote Ron Paul.

Oh, you think a woman will stop this? Clinton was on the board of Wal-Mart for 6 years while her husband was governor of Arkansas (discussed on Bill Moyer’s journal–I get the podcasts). Do you think she really cares about people? What has Wal-Mart done for wages, job stability, and quality of life for your community?

Support alternet:

AlterNet

FBI Deputizes Private Contractors With Extraordinary Powers, Including ‘Shoot to Kill’

By Matthew Rothschild, The Progressive
Posted on February 8, 2008, Printed on February 9, 2008
http://www.alternet.org/story/76388/

Today, more than 23,000 representatives of private industry are working quietly with the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security. The members of this rapidly growing group, called InfraGard, receive secret warnings of terrorist threats before the public does — and, at least on one occasion, before elected officials. In return, they provide information to the government, which alarms the ACLU. But there may be more to it than that. One business executive, who showed me his InfraGard card, told me they have permission to “shoot to kill” in the event of martial law. InfraGard is “a child of the FBI,” says Michael Hershman, the chairman of the advisory board of the InfraGard National Members Alliance and CEO of the Fairfax Group, an international consulting firm.

InfraGard started in Cleveland back in 1996, when the private sector there cooperated with the FBI to investigate cyber threats.

“Then the FBI cloned it,” says Phyllis Schneck, chairman of the board of directors of the InfraGard National Members Alliance, and the prime mover behind the growth of InfraGard over the last several years.

InfraGard itself is still an FBI operation, with FBI agents in each state overseeing the local InfraGard chapters. (There are now eighty-six of them.) The alliance is a nonprofit organization of private sector InfraGard members.

“We are the owners, operators, and experts of our critical infrastructure, from the CEO of a large company in agriculture or high finance to the guy who turns the valve at the water utility,” says Schneck, who by day is the vice president of research integration at Secure Computing.

“At its most basic level, InfraGard is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the private sector,” the InfraGard website states. “InfraGard chapters are geographically linked with FBI Field Office territories.”

In November 2001, InfraGard had around 1,700 members. As of late January, InfraGard had 23,682 members, according to its website, http://www.infragard.net, which adds that “350 of our nation’s Fortune 500 have a representative in InfraGard.”

To join, each person must be sponsored by “an existing InfraGard member, chapter, or partner organization.” The FBI then vets the applicant. On the application form, prospective members are asked which aspect of the critical infrastructure their organization deals with. These include: agriculture, banking and finance, the chemical industry, defense, energy, food, information and telecommunications, law enforcement, public health, and transportation.

FBI Director Robert Mueller addressed an InfraGard convention on August 9, 2005. At that time, the group had less than half as many members as it does today. “To date, there are more than 11,000 members of InfraGard,” he said. “From our perspective that amounts to 11,000 contacts . . . and 11,000 partners in our mission to protect America.” He added a little later, “Those of you in the private sector are the first line of defense.”

He urged InfraGard members to contact the FBI if they “note suspicious activity or an unusual event.” And he said they could sic the FBI on “disgruntled employees who will use knowledge gained on the job against their employers.”

In an interview with InfraGard after the conference, which is featured prominently on the InfraGard members’ website, Mueller says: “It’s a great program.”

The ACLU is not so sanguine.

“There is evidence that InfraGard may be closer to a corporate TIPS program, turning private-sector corporations — some of which may be in a position to observe the activities of millions of individual customers — into surrogate eyes and ears for the FBI,” the ACLU warned in its August 2004 report The Surveillance-Industrial Complex: How the American Government Is Conscripting Businesses and Individuals in the Construction of a Surveillance Society.

InfraGard is not readily accessible to the general public. Its communications with the FBI and Homeland Security are beyond the reach of the Freedom of Information Act under the “trade secrets” exemption, its website says. And any conversation with the public or the media is supposed to be carefully rehearsed.

“The interests of InfraGard must be protected whenever presented to non-InfraGard members,” the website states. “During interviews with members of the press, controlling the image of InfraGard being presented can be difficult. Proper preparation for the interview will minimize the risk of embarrassment. . . . The InfraGard leadership and the local FBI representative should review the submitted questions, agree on the predilection of the answers, and identify the appropriate interviewee. . . . Tailor answers to the expected audience. . . . Questions concerning sensitive information should be avoided.”

One of the advantages of InfraGard, according to its leading members, is that the FBI gives them a heads-up on a secure portal about any threatening information related to infrastructure disruption or terrorism.

The InfraGard website advertises this. In its list of benefits of joining InfraGard, it states: “Gain access to an FBI secure communication network complete with VPN encrypted website, webmail, listservs, message boards, and much more.”

InfraGard members receive “almost daily updates” on threats “emanating from both domestic sources and overseas,” Hershman says.

“We get very easy access to secure information that only goes to InfraGard members,” Schneck says. “People are happy to be in the know.”

On November 1, 2001, the FBI had information about a potential threat to the bridges of California. The alert went out to the InfraGard membership. Enron was notified, and so, too, was Barry Davis, who worked for Morgan Stanley. He notified his brother Gray, the governor of California.

“He said his brother talked to him before the FBI,” recalls Steve Maviglio, who was Davis’s press secretary at the time. “And the governor got a lot of grief for releasing the information. In his defense, he said, ‘I was on the phone with my brother, who is an investment banker. And if he knows, why shouldn’t the public know?’ ”

Maviglio still sounds perturbed about this: “You’d think an elected official would be the first to know, not the last.”

In return for being in the know, InfraGard members cooperate with the FBI and Homeland Security. “InfraGard members have contributed to about 100 FBI cases,” Schneck says. “What InfraGard brings you is reach into the regional and local communities. We are a 22,000-member vetted body of subject-matter experts that reaches across seventeen matrixes. All the different stovepipes can connect with InfraGard.”

Schneck is proud of the relationships the InfraGard Members Alliance has built with the FBI. “If you had to call 1-800-FBI, you probably wouldn’t bother,” she says. “But if you knew Joe from a local meeting you had with him over a donut, you might call them. Either to give or to get. We want everyone to have a little black book.”

This black book may come in handy in times of an emergency. “On the back of each membership card,” Schneck says, “we have all the numbers you’d need: for Homeland Security, for the FBI, for the cyber center. And by calling up as an InfraGard member, you will be listened to.” She also says that members would have an easier time obtaining a “special telecommunications card that will enable your call to go through when others will not.”

This special status concerns the ACLU.

“The FBI should not be creating a privileged class of Americans who get special treatment,” says Jay Stanley, public education director of the ACLU’s technology and liberty program. “There’s no ‘business class’ in law enforcement. If there’s information the FBI can share with 22,000 corporate bigwigs, why don’t they just share it with the public? That’s who their real ‘special relationship’ is supposed to be with. Secrecy is not a party favor to be given out to friends. . . . This bears a disturbing resemblance to the FBI’s handing out ‘goodies’ to corporations in return for folding them into its domestic surveillance machinery.”

When the government raises its alert levels, InfraGard is in the loop. For instance, in a press release on February 7, 2003, the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Attorney General announced that the national alert level was being raised from yellow to orange. They then listed “additional steps” that agencies were taking to “increase their protective measures.” One of those steps was to “provide alert information to InfraGard program.”

“They’re very much looped into our readiness capability,” says Amy Kudwa, spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security. “We provide speakers, as well as do joint presentations [with the FBI]. We also train alongside them, and they have participated in readiness exercises.”

On May 9, 2007, George Bush issued National Security Presidential Directive 51 entitled “National Continuity Policy.” In it, he instructed the Secretary of Homeland Security to coordinate with “private sector owners and operators of critical infrastructure, as appropriate, in order to provide for the delivery of essential services during an emergency.”

Asked if the InfraGard National Members Alliance was involved with these plans, Schneck said it was “not directly participating at this point.” Hershman, chairman of the group’s advisory board, however, said that it was.

InfraGard members, sometimes hundreds at a time, have been used in “national emergency preparation drills,” Schneck acknowledges.

“In case something happens, everybody is ready,” says Norm Arendt, the head of the Madison, Wisconsin, chapter of InfraGard, and the safety director for the consulting firm Short Elliott Hendrickson, Inc. “There’s been lots of discussions about what happens under an emergency.”

One business owner in the United States tells me that InfraGard members are being advised on how to prepare for a martial law situation — and what their role might be. He showed me his InfraGard card, with his name and e-mail address on the front, along with the InfraGard logo and its slogan, “Partnership for Protection.” On the back of the card were the emergency numbers that Schneck mentioned.

This business owner says he attended a small InfraGard meeting where agents of the FBI and Homeland Security discussed in astonishing detail what InfraGard members may be called upon to do.

“The meeting started off innocuously enough, with the speakers talking about corporate espionage,” he says. “From there, it just progressed. All of a sudden we were knee deep in what was expected of us when martial law is declared. We were expected to share all our resources, but in return we’d be given specific benefits.” These included, he says, the ability to travel in restricted areas and to get people out. But that’s not all.

“Then they said when — not if — martial law is declared, it was our responsibility to protect our portion of the infrastructure, and if we had to use deadly force to protect it, we couldn’t be prosecuted,” he says.

I was able to confirm that the meeting took place where he said it had, and that the FBI and Homeland Security did make presentations there. One InfraGard member who attended that meeting denies that the subject of lethal force came up. But the whistleblower is 100 percent certain of it. “I have nothing to gain by telling you this, and everything to lose,” he adds. “I’m so nervous about this, and I’m not someone who gets nervous.”

Though Schneck says that FBI and Homeland Security agents do make presentations to InfraGard, she denies that InfraGard members would have any civil patrol or law enforcement functions. “I have never heard of InfraGard members being told to use lethal force anywhere,” Schneck says.

The FBI adamantly denies it, also. “That’s ridiculous,” says Catherine Milhoan, an FBI spokesperson. “If you want to quote a businessperson saying that, knock yourself out. If that’s what you want to print, fine.”

But one other InfraGard member corroborated the whistleblower’s account, and another would not deny it.

Christine Moerke is a business continuity consultant for Alliant Energy in Madison, Wisconsin. She says she’s an InfraGard member, and she confirms that she has attended InfraGard meetings that went into the details about what kind of civil patrol function — including engaging in lethal force — that InfraGard members may be called upon to perform.

“There have been discussions like that, that I’ve heard of and participated in,” she says.

Curt Haugen is CEO of S’Curo Group, a company that does “strategic planning, business continuity planning and disaster recovery, physical and IT security, policy development, internal control, personnel selection, and travel safety,” according to its website. Haugen tells me he is a former FBI agent and that he has been an InfraGard member for many years. He is a huge booster. “It’s the only true organization where there is the public-private partnership,” he says. “It’s all who knows who. You know a face, you trust a face. That’s what makes it work.”

He says InfraGard “absolutely” does emergency preparedness exercises. When I ask about discussions the FBI and Homeland Security have had with InfraGard members about their use of lethal force, he says: “That much I cannot comment on. But as a private citizen, you have the right to use force if you feel threatened.”

“We were assured that if we were forced to kill someone to protect our infrastructure, there would be no repercussions,” the whistleblower says. “It gave me goose bumps. It chilled me to the bone.”

Matthew Rothschild is the editor of The Progressive.

© 2008 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.
View this story online at: http://www.alternet.org/story/76388/

February 7, 2008

THIS WAR MUST END

                          

http://www.afsc.org/cost/

Insanity is trying the same thing over and over again when it’s not working.

Insanity is making people in “the wealthiest country in the world” live like slaves, and squeezing them of every cent in taxes.

You have been warned about your insanity. Insanity is not being angry at injustice everywhere.

    

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