the holistic radical

March 26, 2008

Soy: Not a Health Food

 there’s no getting around it: you need to incorporate more whole, organic, unprocessed foods. the fewer hands it touches, the better.

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Soy Industry Promotes Health Myths to Sell More Soy Products, Says Author

Tuesday, March 25, 2008 by: David Gutierrez | Key concepts: cancer, soy industry and breast cancer Want stories like this e-mailed to you? Click here for free email alerts

(NaturalNews) Author Kaayla T. Daniel is challenging what she calls the myth that soy prevents breast cancer. “The truth is that soy protein contains dangerous levels of plant estrogens. Although not identical to human estrogens, these have been proven to increase breast cell proliferation, a widely accepted marker of breast cancer risk.” said Daniel, author of “The Whole Soy Story: The Dark Side of America’s Favorite Health Food.”

“The soy industry consistently plays down the evidence that soy can promote breast cancer,” Daniel said. “It is even using Breast Cancer Awareness Month as an excuse to push its products on unsuspecting women.”

Daniel disputes the idea that soy is responsible for lower breast cancer rates among those who consume traditional Asian diets. She cites a recent study in the journal “Cancer Causes and Control,” which found that Asians who ate more soy did not have lower cancer rates than Asians who ate less.

“The soy industry … heavily promotes the myth that Asians have lower rates of breast cancer because of soy consumption,” Daniel said. “In fact, Asians eat soy in very small quantities, as a condiment in the diet and not as a staple food. What’s more, they eat old-fashioned, whole soybean products such as miso, tempeh, natto and tofu, not the new heavily processed products marketed by the soy industry such as soy milk, veggie burgers and ‘energy bars.'”

Government officials in Israel and France have concluded that high soy consumption may indeed pose a breast cancer risk. Israeli Health Ministry guidelines recommend that women “exercise caution” in soy consumption, and the French Food Agency has decided to require soy products to contain warning labels.

“The risks are well established,” Daniel said. “Soy is clearly not the answer for breast cancer prevention. The evidence is mounting that soy may even be part of the problem.”

http://www.naturalnews.com/022882.html

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 15, 2008

Why We Can’t Impeach Bush and Cheney

They didn’t have a sex scandal.

Lying about weapons of mass destruction, wiretapping citizens, and torturing–waterboarding–detainees is not enough.

We need to find that they hired a prostitute–that’ll get them out of office.

We must pray for our moral development.

Vote Ron Paul–the candidate who can’t be bought.

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.

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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.

March 11, 2008

Is it the 21st century yet, or are we back in the times of petty bread & cricuses?

Filed under: criminalization of citizens — Tags: , , , , , — sesame seed @ 6:53 pm

Look, Spitzer isn’t perfect. Prostitution should be legalized anyway–as long as it’s a consensual, non-abusive transaction. It should be legalized because enforcement around prostitution is selective and often biased. Laws that are biased are unjust. Spitzer maybe didn’t cover his tracks, but were these WIRETAPS legal? That’s the question that’s getting very little media play, and it should worry all of us. Illegally procured evidence isn’t admissible, is it now? Or shall we just install the new camera-boxes in our new glass houses to make things easier on Big Bother?

see article & comments on alternet: http://www.alternet.org/rights/79297/

You know what should be illegal? Capitalism–exploiting another person to maximize your profit.

Selling tainted food should be a high crime and misdemeanor.

Approving chemicals for people to use as “Artificial sweeteners”  when they are deadly should be illegal. Millions have suffered numerous synergistic health effects from aspartame, sucralose, etc.

Downing two towers in 2001 to start a profiteering war should be illegal.

Intimidating small farmers and trying to genetically modify all food and cause food shortages should be illegal.

Prostitution is a venal sin compared to those. A trifle. These women weren’t living in FEMA trailers.

February 24, 2008

Dr. Blaylock Blows the Lid off Vaccine Cover-Ups–Vaccine Truth Now!

From Dr. Mercola’s archives, reprinted here in one handy (long) page.  URL follows report.

Mercury is a neurotoxin. Get it and preservatives and aluminum out of vaccines NOW.

———

The Truth Behind the Vaccine Coverup

 

[ Page 1, Page 2, Page 3, Page 4, Page 5, Page 6, Page 7, Page 8, Page 9, Page 10 ] References

Next >>

Dr. Mercola’s Comment:

I find it almost incomprehensible that thimerosal, the well-documented, toxic mercury-containing preservative, is still in many vaccines, years after federal agencies have mandated that it be removed from vaccines. Most people, physicians included, don’t understand that thimerosal is still used in most vaccines and is likely one of the major contributing factors to vaccine toxicity.

Mercury is a potent neurotoxin. Injecting it into a child, whose nervous system is rapidly developing, could have terrible consequences. So, before you decide to vaccinate your children, do them a favor and look into the many risks and side effects associated with common childhood vaccines. Doing so could mean the difference between life and death.

When my colleague and regular columnist, Dr. Russell Blaylock, forwarded me his latest manuscript, I was shocked and dismayed to read his review of a secret 2000 meeting between CDC officials and scientists about the use of thimerosal. I believe you will be too which is why I posted his entire manuscript and it will be posted over the upcoming issues. So please be sure and read the entire fascinating story.


By Russell L. Blaylock, M.D.

I was asked to write a paper on some of the newer mechanisms of vaccine damage to the nervous system, but, in the interim, I came across an incredible document that should blow the lid off the coverup being engineered by the pharmaceutical companies in conjunction with powerful governmental agencies.

It all started when a friend of mine sent me a copy of a letter from Congressman David Weldon (R-Fla.), M.D. to the director of the CDC, Dr Julie L. Gerberding, in which he alludes to a study by a Dr. Thomas Verstraeten, then representing the CDC, on the connection between infant exposure to thimerosal-containing vaccines and neurodevelopmental injury.

In this shocking letter, Weldon refers to Dr. Verstraeten’s study which looked at the data from the Vaccine Safety Datalink and found a significant correlation between thimerosal exposure via vaccines and several neurodevelopmental disorders including tics, speech and language delays and possibly to ADD.

Weldon questioned the CDC director as to why, following this meeting, Dr. Verstraeten published his results, almost four years later, in the journal Pediatrics to show just the opposite. That is, there was no correlation to any neurodevelopmental problems related to thimerosal exposure in infants. In his letter, Weldon refers to a report of the minutes of this meeting held in Georgia, which exposes some incredible statements by the “experts” making up this study group.

The group’s purpose was to evaluate and discuss Dr. Verstraeten’s results and data and make recommendation that would eventually lead to possible alterations in the existing vaccine policy.

Pulling Teeth

I contacted Weldon’s legislative assistant and he kindly sent me a complete copy of this report. Now, as usual in these cases, the government did not give up this report willingly. It required a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit to pry it loose. Having read the report twice and carefully analyzing it, I can see why they did not want any outsiders to look at it. It is a bombshell, as you shall see.

In this analysis, I will not only describe and discuss this report, but also will frequently quote their words directly and supply the exact page number so others can see for themselves.

The official title of the meeting was the “Scientific Review of Vaccine Safety Datalink Information.” This conference, held on June 7-8, 2000 at the Simpsonwood Retreat Center, Norcross, Ga., assembled 51 scientists and physicians of which five represented vaccine manufacturers (Smith Kline Beecham, Merck, Wyeth, North American Vaccine and Aventis Pasteur).

During this conference, these scientists focused on the study of the Datalink material, whose main author was Dr. Thomas Verstraesten who identified himself as working at the National Immunization Program of the CDC.

(It was discovered by Congressman Weldon that Dr. Verstraeten left the CDC shortly after this conference to work for GlaxoSmithKline in Belgium which manufacturers vaccines, a recurring pattern that has been given the name a “revolving door.” It is also interesting to note that GlaxoSmithKline was involved in several lawsuits over complications secondary to their vaccines.)

To start off the meeting Dr. Roger Bernier, Associate Director for Science in the National Immunization Program (CDC), related some pertinent history. He stated that congressional action in 1977 required that the FDA review mercury being used in drugs and biologics (vaccines). In meeting this order, the FDA called for information from the manufacturers of vaccines and drugs. He notes that a group of European regulators and manufacturers met on April 1999 and noted the situation but made no recommendations of changes.

In other words, it was all for show.

The Lid Blown Off

At this point, Dr. Bernier made an incredible statement (page 12). He said, “In the United States, there was a growing recognition that cumulative exposure may exceed some of the guidelines.” By guidelines, he is referring to those for mercury exposure safety levels set by several regulatory agencies. The three guidelines were set by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), FDA and EPA. The most consistently violated safety guideline was that set by EPA. He further explains that he is referring to children being exposed to thimerosal in vaccines.

Based on this realization that they were violating safety guidelines he says, this then “resulted in a joint statement of the Public Health Service (PHS) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) in July of last year (1999), which stated that as a long term goal, it was desirable to remove mercury from vaccines because it was a potentially preventable source of exposure.” (Page 12)

As an aside, one has to wonder, where was the Public Health Service and American Academy of Pediatrics during all the years of mercury use in vaccines and why didn’t they know that:

  • They were exceeding regulatory safety levels.

  • Why weren’t they aware of the extensive literature showing deleterious effects on the developing nervous system of babies?

As we shall see even these “experts” seem to be cloudy on the mercury literature.

An Earlier Meeting

Dr. Bernier notes that in August 1999, a public workshop was held in Bethesda, Md., at the Lister Auditorium by the National Vaccine Advisory Group and the Interagency Working Group on Vaccines to consider thimerosal risk in vaccine use. And based on what was discussed in that conference, thimerosal was removed from the hepatitis B vaccine (HepB).

It is interesting to note that the media took very little interest in what was learned at that meeting and it may have been a secret meeting as well. As we shall see, there is a reason why they struggle to keep the contents of all these meetings secret from the public.

Bernier then notes, on page 13, that in October 1999, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) “looked this situation over again and did not express a preference for any of the vaccines that were thimerosal free.” In this discussion, he further notes the ACIP concluded that the thimerosal-containing vaccines could be used but the “long-term goal is to try to remove thimerosal as soon as possible.”

Now, we need to stop and think about what has transpired here. We have an important group here — the ACIP — that essentially plays a role in vaccine policy that affects tens of millions of children every year. And, we have evidence from the thimerosal meeting in 1999 that the potential for serious injury to the infant’s brain is so serious that a recommendation for removal becomes policy.

In addition, they are all fully aware that tiny babies are receiving mercury doses that exceed even EPA safety limits, yet all they can say is that we must “try to remove thimerosal as soon as possible?” Do they not worry about the tens of millions of babies that will continue receiving thimerosal-containing vaccines until they can get around to stopping the use of thimerosal?

The Obvious Solution

It should also be noted that it is a misnomer to say “removal of thimerosal” since they are not removing anything. They just plan to stop adding it to future vaccines once they use up existing stocks, which entails millions of doses. And, incredibly, the government allows them to do it.

Even more incredibly, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Practice similarly endorse this insane policy. In fact, they specifically state that children should continue to receive the thimerosal-containing vaccines until new thimerosal-free vaccines can be manufactured at the will of the manufacturers. Are they afraid that there will be a sudden diphtheria epidemic in America or tetanus epidemic?

The most obvious solution was to use only single-dose vials, which requires no preservative. So why don’t they use them?

Oh, they exclaim, it would add to the cost of the vaccine. Of course, we are only talking about a few dollars per vaccine at most, certainly worth the health of your child’s brain and future. They could use some of the hundreds of millions of dollars they waste on vaccine promotion every year to cover these costs for the poor. Then, that would cut into some “fat cat’s” budget and we can’t have that.

It was disclosed that thimerosal was in all influenza vaccines, DPT (and most DtaP) vaccines and all HepB vaccines.

As they begin to concentrate on the problem at hand we first begin to learn that the greatest problem with the meeting is that, they know virtually nothing about what they are doing. On page 15, for example, they admit that there is very little pharmacokinetic data on ethylmercury, the form of mercury in thimerosal. In fact, they say there is no data on excretion and the data on toxicity is sparse. Yet it is recognized to cause hypersensitivity, neurological problems and even death, and it is known to easily pass the blood-brain and placental barriers.

No Research?

Therefore, what they are admitting is that we have a form of mercury that has been used in vaccines since the 1930s and no one has bothered to study its effects on biological systems, especially the brain of infants. Their defense throughout this conference is “We just don’t know the effects of ethylmercury.” As a solution, they resort to studies on methylmercury, because there are thousands of studies on this form of mercury. The major source of this form is seafood consumption.

It takes them a while to get the two forms of mercury straight, since for several pages of the report they say methylmercury is in thimerosal rather than ethylmercury. They can be forgiven for this. On page 16, Dr. Johnson, an immunologist and pediatrician at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and the National Jewish Center for Immunology and Respiratory Medicine, notes that he would like to see the incorporation of wide margins of safety, that is 3 to 10-fold margins of safety to “account for data uncertainties.”

What he means: There are so many things we do not know about this toxin that we had better use very wide margins of safety. For most substances, the FDA uses a 100-fold margin of safety.

The reason for this, which they do not mention, is that in a society of hundreds of millions of people, there are groups of people who are much more sensitive to the toxin than others. For instance:

  1. The elderly

  2. Chronically ill

  3. Nutritionally deficient

  4. Small babies

  5. Premature babies

  6. People on certain medications

  7. Inborn defects in detoxification

In fact, in this study they excluded premature babies and low birth weight babies from the main study, some of which had the highest mercury levels, because they would be hard to study and because they had the most developmental problems related to the mercury.

Who Are You?

On page 16, Dr. Johnson makes an incredible statement, one that defines the problem we have in this country with the promoters of these vaccines. “As an aside, we found a cultural difference between vaccinologist and environmental health people in that many of us in the vaccine arena have never thought about uncertainty factors before. We tend to be relatively concrete in our thinking.”

Then he says, “One of the big cultural events in that meeting — was when Dr. Clarkson repetitively pointed out to us that we just didn’t get it about uncertainty, and he was actually quite right.”

This is an incredible admission. First, what is a vaccinologist? Do you go to school to learn to be one? How many years of residency training are required to be a vaccinologist? Are there board exams?

It’s a stupid term used to describe people who are obsessed with vaccines, not that they actually study the effects of the vaccines, as we shall see throughout this meeting.

Most important is the admission by Dr. Johnson that he and his fellow “vaccinologists” are so blinded by their obsession with forcing vaccines on society that they never even considered that there might be factors involved that could greatly affect human health, the so-called “uncertainties.”

Further, he and his fellow “vaccinologists” like to think in concrete terms. That is, they are very narrow in their thinking and wear blinders that prevent them from seeing the numerous problems occurring with large numbers of vaccination in infants and children. Their goal in life is to vaccinate as many people as possible with an ever-growing number of vaccines.

On page 17, his “concrete thinking” once again takes over. He refers to the Bethesda meeting on thimerosal safety issues and says, “There was no evidence of a problem, only a theoretical concern that young infants’ developing brains were being exposed to an organomercurial.” Of course, as I shall point out later, it is a lot more than a “theoretical concern.”

He then continues by saying, “We agree that while there was no evidence of a problem the increasing number of vaccine injections given to infants was increasing the theoretical mercury exposure risk.”

The Ultimate Irony

It’s hard to conceive of a true scientist not seeing the incredible irony of these statements.

Medical literature is abound with studies on the deleterious effects of mercury on numerous enzymes, mitochondrial energy production, synaptic function, dendritic retraction, neurotubule dissolution and excitotoxicity. Yet, he sees only a “theoretical risk” associated with an ever increasing addition of thimerosal-containing vaccines.

It is also important to note that these geniuses never even saw a problem in the first place. It was pressure from outside scientists, parents of affected children and groups representing them that pointed out the problem. They were, in essence, reacting to pressure from outside the “vaccinologist club” and not discovering internally that a problem “might” exist.

In fact, if these outside groups had not become involved, these “vaccinologists” would have continued to add more and more mercury-containing vaccines to the list of required vaccines. Only when the problem became so obvious — that is of epidemic proportion (close to that now) and the legal profession became involved — would they have even noticed there was a problem. This is a recurring theme in the government’s regulatory agencies, as witnessed with fluoride, aspartame, MSG, dioxin and pesticides issues.

It is also interesting that Dr. Johnson did admit that the greatest risk was among low birth weight infants and premature infants. Now why would that be if there existed such a large margin of safety with mercury used in vaccines? Could just a few pounds of body weight make such a dramatic difference?

In fact, it does but it also means that normal birth weight children, especially those near the low range of normal birth weight, are also in greater danger. It also would mean that children receiving doses of mercury higher than the 72 ug in this study would be at high risk as well because their dose, based on body weight, would be comparable to that of the low birth weight child receiving the lower dose.

This was never even considered by these “vaccinologist experts” who decide policy for your children.

Now this next statement should shock everyone, but especially the poor who in any way think that these “vaccinologists” experts have their best interest in mind. Dr. Johnson says on page 17, “We agree that it would be desirable to remove mercury from U.S. licensed vaccines, but we did not agree that this was a universal recommendation that we would make because of the issue concerning preservatives for delivering vaccines to other countries, particularly developing countries, in the absence of hard data that implied that there was, in fact, a problem.”

So, here you have it. The data is convincing enough that the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Practice, as well as the regulatory agencies and the CDC along with these organization all recommend its removal as quickly as possible because of concerns of adverse effects of mercury on brain development, but not for the children in the developing countries

The Real Purpose of Child Health Programs

I thought the whole idea of child health programs in the United States directed toward the developing world was to give poor children a better chance in an increasingly competitive world. The policy being advocated would increase the neurodevelopmental problems seen in poor children (also in this country) of developing countries, impairing their ability to learn and develop competitive minds.

Remember, there was a representative of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. John Clements, serving on this panel of “experts.” He never challenged this statement made by Dr. Johnson.

It also needs to be appreciated that children in developing countries are at a much greater risk of complications from vaccinations and from mercury toxicity than children in developed countries. This is because of poor nutrition, concomitant parasitic and bacterial infections and a high incidence of low birth weight in these children.

We are now witnessing a disaster in African countries caused by the use of older live virus polio vaccines that has now produced an epidemic of vaccine-related polio. That is, polio caused by the vaccine itself. In fact, in some African countries, polio was not seen until the vaccine was introduced.

How does the WHO and the “vaccinologist experts” from this country now justify a continued polio vaccination program with this dangerous vaccine? Now that they have created the epidemic of polio, they cannot stop the program.

In a recent article, it was pointed out that this is the most deranged reasoning, since more vaccines will mean more vaccine-related cases of polio. But then, “vaccinologists” have difficulty with these “uncertainties.” (Jacob JT. A developing country perspective on vaccine-associated paralytic poliomyelitis. Bulletin WHO 2004; 82: 53-58. See commentary by D.M. Salisbury at the end of the article.)

Then he again emphasizes the philosophy that the health of children is secondary to “the program” when he says, “We saw some compelling data that delaying the birth dose of HepB vaccine would lead to significant disease burden as a consequence of missed opportunity to immunize.” This implies our children would be endangered from the risk of hepatitis B should the vaccine program stop vaccinating newborns with the HepB vaccine.

In fact, this statement is not based on any risk to U.S. children at all and he makes that plain when he states, “that the potential impact on countries that have 10 percent to 15 percent newborn hepatitis B exposure risk was very distressing to consider.” (page 18)

Scare Tactics

In other words, the risk is not to normal U.S. children but to children in developing countries. In fact, hepatitis B is not a risk until the teenage years and after in this country. The only at-risk group among children is with children born to drug using parents, mothers infected with hepatitis B or HIV infected parents. The reason for vaccinating the newborns is to capture them before they can escape the “vaccinologist’s” vaccine program.

This is a tactic often used to scare mothers into having their children vaccinated. For example, they say that if children are not vaccinated against measles millions of children could die during a measles epidemic.

They know this is nonsense. What they are using is examples taken from developing countries with poor nutrition and immune function in which such epidemic death can occur. In the United States, we would not see this because of better nutrition, health facilities and sanitation. In fact, most deaths seen when measles outbreaks occur in the United States happen in these situations:

  • Vaccination was contraindicated.

  • The vaccine did not work.

  • With children who have chronic, immune-suppressing diseases.

In fact, in most studies, these children catching the measles or other childhood diseases have been either fully immunized or partially immunized. The big secret among “vaccinologists” is that anywhere from 20 to 50 percent of children are not resistant to the diseases for which they have been immunized.

Also on page 18, Dr. Johnson tells the committee that it was Dr. Walt Orenstein who “asked the most provocative question which introduced a great deal of discussion. That was, should we try to seek neurodevelopmental outcomes for children exposed to varying doses of mercury by utilizing the Vaccine Safety Datalink data from one or more sites.” (page 18).

I take from this no one had ever even thought of looking at the data that had just been sitting there all these years unreviewed. Children could have been dropping like flies or suffering from terrible neurodevelopmental defects caused by the vaccine program and no one in the government would have known. In fact, that is exactly what the data suggested was happening, at least in regard to neurodevelopmental delays.

We should also appreciate the government sponsored two conferences on the possible role of metals, aluminum and mercury being used in vaccines without any change in vaccine policy occurring after the meetings. These meetings were held a year before this meeting and before any examination of the data which was being held tightly by the CDC, which was denied to other independent, highly qualified researchers. (I will talk more about what was discussed in the aluminum conference later.)

The Aluminum Deception

It is very important and is only briefly referred to in this conference for a very good reason. If the public knew what was discussed at the aluminum meeting, no one would ever get a vaccination using the presently manufactured types of vaccines again.

Despite what was discussed in the aluminum meeting and the scientific literature on the neurotoxicity of aluminum, Dr. Johnson makes the following remark: “Aluminum salts have a very wide margin of safety. Aluminum and mercury are often simultaneously administered to infants, both at the same site and at different sites.” Also on page 20, he states, “However, we also learned that there is absolutely no data, including animal data, about the potential for synergy, additively or antagonism, all of which can occur in binary metal mixtures … ”

It is important here to appreciate a frequently used deception by those who are trying to defend an indefensible practice. They use the very same language just quoted. That is, that there is no data to show, etc. They intend it to convey the idea that the issue has been looked at and studied thoroughly and no toxicity was found. In truth, it means that no one has looked at this possibility and there have been no studies that would give us an answer one way or the other.

In fact, we know that aluminum is a significant neurotoxin and that it shares many common mechanisms with mercury as a neurotoxin. For example:

  • They are both toxic to neuronal neurotubules.

  • Interfere with antioxidant enzymes.

  • Poison DNA repair enzymes.

  • Interfere with mitochondrial energy production.

  • Block the glutamate reuptake proteins (GLT-1 and GLAST).

  • Bind to DNA.

  • Interfere with neuronal membrane function.

Toxins that share toxic mechanisms are almost always additive and frequently synergistic in their toxicity. So, Dr. Johnson’s statement is sheer nonsense.

A significant number of studies have shown that both of these metals play a significant role in all of the neurodegenerative disorders. It is also important to remember, both of these metals accumulate in the brain and spinal cord. This makes them accumulative toxins and therefore much more dangerous than rapidly excreted toxins.

To jump ahead, on page 23 Dr, Tom Sinks, Associate Director for Science at the National Center for Environmental Health at the CDC and the Acting Division Director for Division of Birth Defects, Developmental Disabilities and Health, asks, “I wonder is there a particular health outcome that is related to aluminum salts that may have anything that we are looking at today?”

See No Evil, Speak No Evil

Dr. Martin Meyers, Acting Director of the National Vaccine Program Office, answers, ” No, I don’t believe there are any particular health concerns that was raised.” This is after an aluminum conference held the previous year that did indeed find significant health concerns and an extensive scientific literature showing aluminum to be of great concern.

On page 24, Dr. William Weil, a pediatrician representing the Committee on Environmental Health of the American Academy of Pediatrics, brings some sense to the discussion by reminding them that, “There are just a host of neurodevelopmental data that would suggest that we’ve got a serious problem. The earlier we go, the more serious the problem.” Here he means the further back you go during the child’s brain development, the more likely the damage to the infant.

I must give him credit. At least, he briefly recognized that a significant amount of brain development does take place later. He also reminds his colleagues that aluminum produced severe dementia and death in dialysis cases. He concludes by saying, ” To think there isn’t some possible problem here is unreal.” (page 25).

Not to let it end there, Dr. Meyers adds, ” We held the aluminum meeting in conjunction with the metal ions in biology and medicine meeting. We were quick to point out that in the absence of data we didn’t know about additive or inhibitory activities.”

Once again, we see the “no data” ploy. There is abundant data on the deleterious effects of aluminum on the brain, a significant portion of which came out in that very meeting.

Dr. Johnson also quotes Dr. Thomas Clarkson, who identifies himself as associated with the mercury program at the University of Rochester, as saying that delaying the HepB vaccine for 6 months or so would not affect the mercury burden. (page 20) He makes the correct conclusion when he says, ” I would have thought that the difference was in the timing. That is you are protecting the first six months of the developing central nervous system.”

Hallelujah, for a brief moment I thought that they had stumbled on one of the most basic concepts in neurotoxicology. Then, Dr. Meyers dashed my hopes by saying that single, separated doses would not affect blood levels at all.

Shedding Some Light

At this juncture, we need a little enlightenment.

It is important to appreciate that mercury is a fat soluble metal. That is, it is stored in the body’s fat. The brain contains 60 percent fat and therefore is a common site for mercury storage. Now, they establish in this discussion that about half of methylmercury is excreted over several months when ingested. A recent study found that ethylmercury has a half-life of seven days.

Even so, a significant proportion of the mercury will enter the brain (it has been shown to easily pass through the blood-brain barrier) where it is stored in the phospholipids (fats). With each new dose — remember these children are receiving as many as 22 doses of these vaccines — another increment is added to the brain storage depot. This is why we call mercury an accumulative poison.

They never once, not once, mention this vital fact throughout the entire conference. Not once. Moreover, they do so for a good reason. It gives the unwary, those not trained in neuroscience, assurance that all that matters here is blood levels.

In fact, on page 163, Dr. Robert Brent, a developmental biologist and pediatrician at the Thomas Jefferson University and Dupont Hospital for Children, says that we don’t have data showing accumulation and “that with the multiple exposures you get an increasing level, and we don’t know whether that is true or not.” He redeems himself somewhat by pointing out that some of the damage is irreversible and with each dose more irreversible damage occurs and, in that way, it is accumulative.

On page 21, Dr. Thomas Clarkson makes the incredible statement implying that he knows of no studies that show exposure to mercury after birth or at six months would have deleterious effects. Dr. Isabelle Rapin, a neurologist for children at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, follows up by saying that “I am not an expert on mercury in infancy” but she knows it can affect the nerves (peripheral nervous system).

So, here is one of our experts admitting that she knows little about the effects of mercury on the infant. My question: Why is she here?

Dr. Rapin is a neurologist for children at Albert Einstein College of Medicine who stated that she has a keen interest in developmental disorders, in particular those involving language and autism, yet she knows little about the effects on mercury on the infant brain.

Very Little Knowledge

This conference is concerned with the effects of mercury in the form of thimerosal on infant brain development, yet throughout this conference, our experts, especially the “vaccinologists” seem to know little about mercury except that limited literature shows no toxic effects except at very high levels.

None of the well-known experts were invited, such as Dr. Ascher from Bowman Grey School of Medicine or Dr. Haley Boyd, who has done extensive work on the toxic effects of low concentrations on the CNS. They were not invited because they would be harmful to the true objective of this meeting, and that was to exonerate mercury in vaccines.

Several times throughout this conference, Dr. Brent reminded everyone that the most sensitive period for the developing brain is during the early stages of pregnancy. In fact, he pinpoints the 8-18th weeks as the period of neuromaturation.

In fact, the most rapid period of brain maturation, synaptic development and brain pathway development is during the last three months of pregnancy continuing until two years after birth. This is often referred to as the “brain growth spurt.” This is also not mentioned once in this conference, again because if mothers knew that their child’s brain was busy developing for up to two years after birth, they would be less likely to accept this safety of mercury nonsense these “vaccinologists” proclaim.

The brain develops over 100 trillion synaptic connections and tens of trillions of dendritic connections during this highly sensitive period. Both dendrites and synapses are very sensitive, even to very low doses of mercury and other toxins. It has also been shown that subtoxic doses of mercury can block the glutamate transport proteins that play such a vital role in protecting the brain against excitotoxicity.

Compelling studies indicate that damage to this protective system plays a major role in most of the neurodegenerative diseases and abnormal brain development as well.

Recent studies have shown that glutamate accumulates in the brains of autistic children, yet these experts seem to be unconcerned about a substance (mercury) that is very powerful in triggering brain excitotoxicity.

It is also interesting to see how many times Dr. Brent emphasizes that we do not know the threshold for mercury toxicity for the developing brain. Again, that is not true: We do know, and the Journal of Neurotoxicology states, that anything above 10ug is neurotoxic. The WHO, in fact, states that there is no safe level of mercury.

Concrete Thinking

On page 164, Dr. Robert Davis, associate professor of pediatrics and epidemiology at the University of Washington, makes a very important observation. He points out, in a population like the United States, you have individuals with varying levels of mercury from other causes (diet, living near coal burning facilities, etc.). By vaccinating everyone, you raise those with the highest levels even higher and bring those with median levels into a category of higher levels.

The “vaccinologists” with their problem of “concrete thinking” cannot seem to appreciate the fact that not everyone is the same. That is, they fail to see these “uncertainties.”

To further emphasize this point lets take a farming family who lives within three miles of a coal-burning electrical plant. Since they also live near the ocean, they eat seafood daily. The fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides used on their crops contain appreciable levels of mercury.

The coal-burning electrical plant emits high levels of mercury in the air the family breathes daily and the seafood they consume has levels of mercury higher than EPA safety standards.

This means any babies born to these people will have very high mercury levels.

Once born, they are given numerous vaccines containing even more mercury, thereby adding significantly to their already high mercury burden. Are these “vaccinologists” trying to convince us these children don’t matter and they are to be sacrificed at the altar of the “vaccine policy?”

Recent studies by neurotoxicologists have observed that as our ability to detect subtle toxic effects improves, especially on behavior and other neurological functions, we lower the level of acceptable exposure. In fact, Dr, Sinks brings up that exact point, using lead as an example. He notes that, as our neurobehavioral testing improved, we lowered the acceptable dose considerably and continues to do so.

Dr. Johnson had the audacity to add, “The smarter we get, the lower the threshold.” Yet, neither he, nor the other participants seem to be getting any smarter concerning this issue.

Dr. Robert Chen, chief of Vaccine Safety and Development at the National Immunization Program at the CDC, then reveals why they refuse to act on this issue. “The issue is that it is impossible, unethical to leave kids unimmunized, so you will never, ever resolve that issue. So then we have to refer back from that.” (page 169) In essence, immunization of the kids takes precedence over safety concerns with the vaccines themselves.

Genetic Susceptibility

If the problem of vaccine toxicity cannot be solved, he seems to be saying, then we must accept that some kids will be harmed by the vaccines.

Dr. Brent makes the statement that he knows of no known genetic susceptibility data on mercury and, therefore, assumes there is a fixed threshold of toxicity. That is, that everyone is susceptible to the same dose of mercury and there are no genetically hypersensitive groups of people.

In fact, a recent study found just such a genetic susceptibility in mice. In this study, they found mice susceptible to autoimmunity developed neurotoxic effects to their hippocampus, including excitotoxicity, not seen in other strains of mice. They even hypothesize that the same may be true in humans, since familial autoimmunity increases the likelihood of autism in offspring. (Hornig M, Chian D, Lipkin WI. Neurotoxic effects of postnatal thimerosal are mouse strain dependent. Mol Psychiatry 2004; (in press).

For the next quotation, you need a little discussion to be able to appreciate the meaning. They are discussing the fact that, in Dr. Verstraeten’s study, frightening correlations were found between the higher doses of thimerosal and problems with neurodevelopment, including ADD and autism.

The problem with the study was that there were so few children who had received no thimerosal-containing vaccines, a true control group could not be used. Instead, they had to use children getting 12.5ug of mercury as the control and some even wanted to use the control dose as 37.5ug. So the controls had mercury levels that could indeed cause neurodevelopmental problems.

Even with this basic flaw, a strong positive correlation was found between the dose of mercury given and these neurodevelopmental problems.

It was proposed that they compare a group of children receiving non-thimerosal vaccines to those who had. In fact, we later learn they had a large group of children who could have been used as a thimerosal-free control. It seems that for two years before this conference, the Bethesda Naval Hospital had been using only thimerosal-free vaccines to immunize the children. They knew this and I would assume someone would have told Dr. Verstraeten of this important fact before he did his study.

So, now to the quote. Dr. Braun responds to the idea of starting a new study using such thimerosal-free controls by saying, “Sure we will have the answer in five years. The question is what can we do now with the data we have?” (page 170)

The Big Coverup

Well, we have the answer to that: They simply covered this study up, declared that thimerosal is of no concern and continued the unaltered policy. That is, they can suggest the pharmaceutical manufacturers of vaccines remove the thimerosal but not making it mandatory or examining the vaccine to make sure they have removed it.

Let’s take a small peak at just how much we can trust the pharmaceutical manufacturers to do the right thing. Several reports of major violations of vaccine manufacturing policy that have been cited by the regulatory agencies have surfaced. This includes obtaining plasma donations without taking adequate histories on donors as to disease exposures and previous health problems, poor record keeping on these donors, improper procedures and improper handing of specimens.

That these are not minor violations is emphasized by the discovery that a woman with variant mad cow disease was allowed to give plasma to be used in vaccines in England. In fact, it was learned only after the contaminated plasma was pooled and used to make millions of doses of vaccines that her disease was discovered. British health officials told the millions of vaccinated not to worry, since they have no idea if it will really spread the disease.

Contamination of vaccines is a major concern in this country as well, as these regulatory violations make plain. It is also important to note that no fines were given, just warnings.

Conclusions By The Study Group

At the end of the conference, a poll was taken asking two questions. One was do you think that there is sufficient data to make a causal connection between the use of thimerosal-containing vaccines and neurodevelopmental delays? Second, do you think further study is called for based on this study?

First, let’s see some of the comments on the question of doing further studies. Dr. Paul Stehr-Green, associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Washington School of Public Health and Community Medicine, who voted yes, gave as his reason, “The implications are so profound these should be examined further.” (page 180) Meanwhile, Dr. Brent interjects his concern that the lawyers will get hold of this information and begin filing lawsuits. He says, “They want business and this could potentially be a lot of business.” (Page 191)

Dr. Loren Koller, pathologist and immunotoxicologist at the College of Veterinary Medicine, Oregon State University, is to be congratulated in that he recognized that more is involved in the vaccine effects than just ethylmercury. (page 192).

He mentions aluminum and even the viral agents being used as other possibilities. This is especially important in the face of Dr. RK Gherardi’s identification of macrophagic myofascitis, a condition causing profound weakness and multiple neurological syndromes, one of which closely resembled multiple sclerosis. Both human studies and animal studies have shown a strong causal relationship to the aluminum hydroxide or aluminum phosphate used as a vaccine adjuvants.

More than 200 cases have been identified in European countries and the United States and macrophagic myofascitis has been described as an “emerging condition.”

Here are some of the neurological problems seen with the use of aluminum hydroxide and aluminum phosphate in vaccines. In two children (ages 3 and 5), doctors at the All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Fla., described chronic intestinal pseudo-obstruction, urinary retention and other findings indicative of a generalized loss of autonomic nervous system function (diffuse dysautonomia).

The 3-year-old had developmental delay and hypotonia (loss of muscle tone). A biopsy of the children’s vaccine injection site disclosed elevated aluminum levels.

In a study of some 92 patients suffering from this emerging syndrome, eight developed a full-blown demyelinating CNS disorder (multiple sclerosis). (Authier FJ, Cherin P, et al. Central nervous system disease in patients with macrophagic myofasciitis. Brain 2001; 124: 974-983.) This included sensory and motor symptoms, visual loss, bladder dysfunction, cerebellar signs (loss of balance and coordination),cognitive (thinking) and behavioral disorders.

Dr. Gherardi, the French physician who first described the condition in 1998, has collected more than 200 proven cases. One-third of these develop an autoimmune disease, such as multiple sclerosis. Of critical importance is his finding that, even in the absence of obvious autoimmune disease, there is evidence of chronic immune stimulation caused by the injected aluminum, known to be a very powerful immune adjuvant.

The reason this is so important is that there is overwhelming evidence that chronic immune activation in the brain (activation of microglial cells in the brain) is a major cause of damage in numerous degenerative brain disorders, from multiple sclerosis to the classic neurodegenerative diseases (Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s and ALS).

In fact, I have presented evidence that chronic immune activation of CNS microglia is a major cause of autism, attention deficit disorder and Gulf War Syndrome.

Dr. Gherardi emphasizes that once the aluminum is injected into the muscle, the immune activation persists for years. In addition, we must consider the effect of the aluminum that travels to the brain itself. Numerous studies have shown harmful effects when aluminum accumulates in the brain.

A growing amount of evidence points to high brain aluminum levels as a major contributor to Alzheimer’s disease and possibly Parkinson’s disease and ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). This may also explain the tenfold increase in Alzheimer’s disease in those receiving the flu vaccine five years in a row (Dr. Hugh Fudenberg, in press, Journal of Clinical Investigation).

It is also interesting to note that a recent study found that aluminum phosphate produced three times the blood level of aluminum, as did aluminum hydroxide. (Flarend RE, hem SL, et al. In vivo absorption of aluminum-containing vaccine adjuvants using 26 Al. Vaccine 1997; 15: 1314-1318.)

Of course, in this conference, our illustrious experts tell us that there is “No data showing an additive or synergistic effect between mercury and aluminum.”

Dr. Rapin expressed her concern over public opinion when this information eventually gets out. She says (page 197), they are going to be captured by the public and we had better make sure that “a) We council them carefully and b) that we pursue this because of the very important public health and public implications of the data.” “The stakes are very high … ,” Dr. Johnson adds.

From this how can one conclude anything other than the fact that at least these scientists were extremely concerned by what was discovered by this study examining the vaccine safety datalink material? They were obviously terrified the information would leak out to the public. Stamped in bold letters at the top of each page of the study were the words “DO NOT COPY OR RELEASE” and “CONFIDENTIAL.”

This is not the wording one would expect on a clinical study of vaccine safety. Instead, you would expect it on top-secret NSA or CIA files. Why was this information being secreted?

Vaccine Confidential

The answer is obvious: It might endanger the vaccine program and indict the federal regulatory agencies for ignoring this danger for so many years. Our society is littered with millions of children who have been harmed in one degree or another by this vaccine policy. In addition, let us not forget the millions of parents who have had to watch helplessly as their children have been destroyed by this devastating vaccine program.

Dr. Bernier, on page 198, says, “The negative findings need to be pinned down and published.” Why was he so insistent that the “negative findings” be published? Because he said, “Other less responsible parties will treat this as a signal.” By that he means, a signal of a problem with thimerosal-containing vaccines.

From this, I assume he wants a paper that says only that nothing was found by the study. As we shall see, he gets his wish.

In addition, on page 198, Dr. Rapin notes that a study in California found a 300 percent increase in autism following the introduction of certain vaccines. She quickly attributes this to better physician recognition. Two things are critical to note at this point.

  1. Dr. Rapin makes this assertion or better physician recognition without any data at all, just her wishful thinking. If someone pointing out the dangers of vaccines were to do that, she would scream “junk science.”
  2. Dr. Weil, on page 207, attacks this reasoning when he says, “The number of dose-related relationships are linear and statistically significant. You can play with this all you want. They are linear. They are statistically significant.” In other words, how can you argue with results that show a strong dose/response relationship between the dose of mercury and neurodevelopmental outcomes? The higher the mercury levels in the children, the greater the number of neurological problems.

He continues by saying that the increase in neurobehavioral problems is probably real. He tells them that he works in a school system with special education programs and “I have to say the number of kids getting help in special education is growing nationally and state by state at a rate not seen before. So there is some kind of increase. We can argue about what it is due to.” (page 207)

The “Eureka” Moment

Dr. Johnson seems to be impressed by the findings as well. He says on page 199, “This association leads me to favor a recommendation that infants up to two-years-old not be immunized with thimerosal containing vaccines if suitable alternative preparations are available.”

Incredibly, he quickly adds, “I do not believe the diagnosis justified compensation in the Vaccine Compensation Program at this point.” It is interesting to note that one of our experts in attendance is Dr. Vito Caserta, the Chief Officer for the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program.

At this point, Dr. Johnson tells the group about his concerns for his own grandchild. On page 200, he says, “Forgive this personal comment, but I got called out at 8:00 for an emergency call and my daughter-in-law delivered a son by c-section. Our first male in the line of the next generation and I do not want that grandson to get a Thimerosal containing vaccine until we know better what is going on. It will probably take a long time. In the meantime, and I know there are probably implications for this internationally, but in the meanwhile I think I want that grandson to only be given Thimerosal-free vaccines.”

So, we have a scientist sitting on this panel who will eventually make policy concerning all of the children in this country, as well as other countries, who is terrified about his new grandson getting a thimerosal-containing vaccine, but is not concerned enough about your children to speak out and try to stop this insanity. He allows a cover up to take place after this meeting adjourns and remains silent.

It is also interesting to note, although he feels the answers will be a long time coming, in the meantime, his grandson will be protected.

Nevertheless, the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Family Practice, AMA, CDC and every other organization will endorse these vaccines and proclaim them to be safe as spring water, but Dr. Johnson and some of the others will keep their silence.

A False Alarm

It is only during the last day of the conference that we learn that most of the objections concerning the positive relationship between thimerosal-containing vaccines and ADD and ADHA were bogus. For example, Dr. Rapin, on page 200, notes that all children in the study were below age 6 and ADD and ADHD are very difficult to diagnose in pre-schoolers. She also notes that some children were followed for only a short period.

In fact, the average age for diagnosis of ADHD was 4 years and 1 month, Dr. Stein adds, and a very difficult diagnosis to make because guidelines published by the American Academy of Pediatrics limit diagnoses to 6 to 12-year-olds.

Of course, Dr. Stein was implying that too many were diagnosed as ADHD. Yet, a recent study found that the famous Denmark study that led to the announcement by the Institute of Medicine that there was no relationship between autism and the MMR vaccine, used the same tactic. They cut off the age of follow-up at age 6. It is known that many cases appear after this age group, especially with ADD and ADHD. In fact, most learning problems appear as the child is called on to handle more involved intellectual material.

Therefore, the chances are they failed to diagnose a number of cases by stopping the study too early.

Several of the participants tried to imply autism was a genetic disorder and therefore could have nothing to do with vaccines. Dr. Weil put that to rest with this comment, “We don’t see that kind of genetic change in 30 years.” In other words, how can we suddenly see a 300 percent increase in a genetically related disorder over such a short period?

It is also known that there are two forms of autism, one that is apparent at birth and one that develops later in childhood. The former has not changed in incidence since statistics have been kept. The other is epidemic.

The Fish Connection

One interesting exchange ends up being their justification for the view that vaccines containing thimerosal pose no danger to children. It involves two studies in children born to mothers who consumed large amounts of mercury-contaminated fish. One study reported in the journal Neurotoxicology, examined children living in the Republic of Seychelles. In this study, they examined the effect of prenatal exposure to mercury through the mother’s consumption of fish high in methylmercury,

A battery of developmental milestone tests were done and no adverse effects were reported in the study reported by Dr. Clarkson and co-workers, the very same person in this conference. He never mentions, however, that a follow-up study of these same children did find a positive correlation between methylmercury exposure and poor performance on a memory test.

In a subsequent study of children living on the Faroe Islands exposed to methylmercury, researchers did find impairments of neurodevelopment. This experiment was done by Japanese scientists.

Throughout the remainder of this discussion, Dr. Clarkson and others refer to these two studies. When they are reminded that the Faroe study did find neurological injury to the children, they counter by saying that this was prenatal exposure to mercury and not after birth as would be seen with vaccination. The idea being that, prenatally, the brain is undergoing neural formation and development, making it more vulnerable. As I have mentioned, this rapid brain growth and development continues for two years after birth. Even at age 6, the brain is only 80 percent formed.

Limited To The Basics

Dr. Clarkson keeps referring to the Seychelles study, which demonstrated that children reached normal neurodevelopmental milestones as shown by a number of tests. Dr Weil points out, on page 216, that this tells us little about these children’s future brain function.

He says, “I have taken a lot of histories of kids who are in trouble in school. The history is that developmental milestones were normal or advanced and they can’t read at second grade, they can’t write at third grade, they can’t do math in the fourth grade and it has no relationship as far as I can tell to the history we get of the developmental milestones. So I think this is a very crude measure of neurodevelopment.”

Simply, both of these studies tell us nothing about the actual development of these children’s brain function except that they reached the most basic of milestones.

Put another way, your child may be able to stack blocks, recognize shapes and have basic language skills but, later in life, they could be significantly impaired when it came to higher math, more advanced language skills (comprehension) and the ability to compete in a very competitive intellectual environment, like college or advanced schooling. Their future would be limited to the more mundane and intellectually limited jobs.

Post-natal brain development — from birth to age 6 or 7 — involves the fine tuning of synaptic connections, dendritic development and pathway refinement, all of which prepare the brain for more complex thinking. These brain elements are very sensitive to toxins and excessive immune stimulation during this period.

This is never mentioned in this conference.

In addition, it must be remembered that the children in these two studies were exposed only to methylmercury and not the combined neurotoxic effect of mercury, aluminum and excessive and chronic activation of the brain’s immune system (microgia).

This is what makes it so incredible, that several of these “vaccinologists” and so-called experts would express doubt about the “biological plausibility” of thimerosal or any vaccine component causing neurodevelopmental problems. The medical literature is exploding with such studies. The biological plausibility is very powerful.

The Devastating Effects of Mercury

For example, mercury, even in low concentrations, is known to impair energy production by mitochondrial enzymes. The brain has one of the highest metabolic rates of any organ and impairment of its energy supply, especially during development, can have devastating consequences. In addition, mercury, even in lower concentrations, is known to damage DNA and impair DNA repair enzymes, which again, plays a vital role in brain development.

Mercury is known to impair neurotubule stability, even in very low concentrations. Neurotubules are absolutely essential to normal brain cell function. Mercury activates microglial cells, which increases excitotoxicity and brain free radical production as well as lipid peroxidation, central mechanisms in brain injury.

In addition, even in doses below that which can cause obvious cell injury, mercury impairs the glutamate transport system, which in turn triggers excitotoxicity, a central mechanism in autism and other neurological disorders. Ironically, aluminum also paralyzes this system.

On page 228, we see another admission that the government has had no interest in demonstrating the safety of thimerosal-containing vaccines despite more than 2,000 articles showing harmful effects of mercury. Here we see a reference to the fact that the FDA “has a wonderful facility in Arkansas with hundreds of thousands of animals” available for any study needed to supply these answers on safety.

The big question to be asked: Why has the government ignored the need for research to answer these questions concerning thimerosal safety? You will recall, in the beginning, the participants of this conference complained that there were just so few studies or no studies concerning this “problem.”

Junk Scientists

Again, on page 229, Dr. Brent rails about the lawsuit problem. He tells the others he has been involved in three lawsuits related to vaccine injuries leading to birth defects and concluded, “If you want to see junk science, look at those cases … .” He then complains about the type of scientists testifying in these cases. He adds, “But the fact is those scientists are out there in the United States.” In essence, he labels anyone who opposes the “official policy” on vaccines as a junk scientist.

We have seen previously in the discussion just who the “junk scientists” really are.

Knowing what they have found can cause them a great deal of problems he adds, “The medical/legal findings in this study, causal or not, are horrendous … . If an allegation was made that a child’s neurobehavioral findings were caused by thimerosal-containing vaccines, you could readily find a junk scientist who will support the claim with ‘a reasonable degree of certainty’.”

On page 229, Dr. Brent then admits they are in a bad position because they have no data for their defense. Now, who really are the junk scientists?

  • Are “real scientists” ones who have no data, just wishful thinking and a “feeling” that everything will be all right?
  • Are “real scientists” the ones who omit recognized experts on the problem in question during a conference because it might endanger the “program”?
  • Or are they the ones who make statements that they don’t want their grandsons to get thimerosal-containing vaccines until the problem is worked out, but then tell millions of parents that the vaccines are perfectly safe for their children and grandchildren?

Dr. Meyers, on page 231, put it this way: “My own concern, and a couple of you said it, there is an association between vaccines and outcomes that worries both parents and pediatricians.” He cites other possible connections to vaccine-related neurobehavioral and neurodevelopmental problems including the number of vaccines being given, the types of antigens being used and other vaccine additives.

Dr. Caserta tells the group he attended the aluminum conference the previous years and learned that often metals could act differently in biological systems than as an ion. This is interesting in the face of the finding that fluoride when combined to aluminum forms a compound that can destroy numerous hippocampal neurons at a concentration of 0.5 ppm in drinking water. It seems that aluminum readily combines with fluoride to form this toxic compound.

With more than 60 percent of communities having fluoridated, drinking water, this becomes a major concern.

It has also been learned that fluroaluminum compounds mimic the phosphate compound and can activate G-proteins. G-proteins play a major role in numerous biological systems, including endocrine, neurotransmitters and as cellular second messengers. Some of the glutamate receptors are operated by a G-protein mechanism.

Can You Keep a Secret?

Over the next 10-15 pages, they discuss how to control this information so that it will not get out and, if it does, how to control the damage. On page 248, Dr. Clements has this to say:

“But there is now the point at which the research results have to be handled, and even if this committee decides that there is no association and that information gets out, the work has been done and through the freedom of information that will be taken by others and will be used in other ways beyond the control of this group. And I am very concerned about that as I suspect that it is already too late to do anything regardless of any professional body and what they say.”

In other words, he wants this information kept not only from the public but also from other scientists and pediatricians until they can be properly counseled. In the next statement, Dr. Clements spills the beans as to why he is determined that no outsider get hold of this damaging information.

“My mandate as I sit here in this group is to make sure at the end of the day that 100,000,000 are immunized with DTP, Hepatitis B and if possible Hib, this year, next year and for many years to come, and that will have to be with thimerosal-containing vaccines unless a miracle occurs and an alternative is found quickly and is tried and found to be safe.”

This is one of the most shocking statements I have ever heard. In essence, he is saying, “I don’t care if the vaccines are found to be harmful and destroying the development of children’s brains, these vaccines will be given now and forever.” His only concern by his own admission is to protect the vaccine program even if it is not safe. Dr. Brent refers to this as an “eloquent statement.”

On page 253, we again see these scientists have a double standard when it comes to their children and grandchildren. Dr. Rapin raises the point about a loss of an IQ point caused by thimerosal exposure. She asks, “Can we measure the IQ that accurately, that this one little point is relevant?” Then she answers her own question by saying, “Even in my grandchildren, one IQ point I am going to fight about.” Yet, they are saying in unison, in essence — “To Hell With Your Children!” — to the rest of America.

It is also interesting they bring up the history of lead as a neurobehavioral toxin. Dr. Weil noted that neurotoxicologists and regulatory agencies have lowered the acceptable level from 10 to 5 ug. In fact, some feel that even lower levels are neurotoxic to the developing brain. Before toxicologists began to look at lead as a brain toxin in children, most “experts” assumed it was not toxic, even at very high levels. Again, it shows that “experts” can be wrong and it is the public who pays the price.

Highly Protected Information

Dr. Chen, on page 256, expresses his concern about this information reaching the public. He remarks, “We have been privileged so far that given the sensitivity of information, we have been able to manage to keep it out of, lets say, less responsible hands … “. Dr. Bernier agrees and notes, “This information has been held fairly tightly.” Later, he calls it “embargoed information” and “very highly protected information.”

That they knew the implications of what they had discovered was illustrated by Dr. Chen’s statement on page 258. He says, “I think overall there was this aura that we were engaged in something as important as anything else we have ever done. So I think that this was another element to this that made this a special meeting.”

You may remember, Dr. Weil emphasized the data analysis left no doubt that there was a strong correlation between neurodevelopmental problems and exposure to thimerosal-containing vaccines. So if they understood the importance of this finding and this was the most important thing they have ever dealt with, why was this being kept from the public?

In fact, it gets even worse.

Just so you will not doubt my statement that this audience of experts was not objective, I give you the words of Dr. Walter Orenstein, director of the National Immunization Program at the CDC, on page 259. He tells the group, “I have seen him [Verstraeten] in audience after audience deal with exceedingly skeptical individuals … .”

Does that sound like objective scientists who wanted to look at the data with a clear mind or were they scientists who were convinced before the meeting was held that there was no danger to children from thimerosal or any other vaccine component?

In one of his closing remarks, Dr. Bernier (page 257) says, “The other thing I was struck by was the science,” meaning the science expressed by the attendees of the meeting. Then Dr, Orenstein adds, “I would also like to thank Roger Bernier who pulled off this meeting in rather short notice.” Here is a meeting that has been called one of the most important they have ever dealt with and we learn that it was pulled off on short notice. In addition, we were told that the results of this meeting would lead to an eventual vaccine policy.

He then has the nerve to add, “In a sense this meeting addresses some of the concerns we had last summer when we were trying to make policy in the absence of a careful scientific review. I think this time we have gotten it straight.”

Well, I hate to be the one to break the news, but they didn’t get it straight.

There was little or no science in this meeting. Rather it was composed of a lot of haggling and nitpicking over epidemiological methodology and statistical minutia in an effort to discredit the data without success. In fact, the so-called mercury experts admitted they had to do some quick homework to refresh their memories and learn something about the subject.

Conclusions

This top secret meeting was held to discuss a study done by Dr. Thomas Verstraeten and his co-workers using Vaccine Safety Datalink data as a project collaboration between the CDC’s National Immunization Program (NIP) and four HMOs. The study examined the records of 110,000 children. Within the limits of the data, they did a very thorough study and found the following:

  • Exposure to thimerosal-containing vaccines at one month was associated significantly with the misery and unhappiness disorder that was dose-related. That is, the higher the child’s exposure to thimerosal the higher the incidence of the disorder. This disorder is characterized by a baby that cries uncontrollably and is fretful more so than is seen in normal babies.
  • Found a nearly significant increased risk of ADD with 12.5ug exposure at one month.
  • With exposure at 3 months, they found an increasing risk of neurodevelopmental disorder with increasing exposure to thimerosal. This was statistically significant. This included speech disorders.

It is important to remember that the control group was not children without thimerosal exposure, but rather those at 12.5ug exposure. This means that there is a significant likelihood that even more neurodevelopmental problems would have been seen had they used a real control population. No one disagreed that these findings were significant and troubling.

Yet when the final study was published in the journal Pediatrics, Dr. Verstraeten and co-workers reported no consistent associations were found between thimerosal-containing vaccine exposure and neurodevelopmental problems. In addition, he listed himself as an employee of the CDC, not disclosing the fact that at the time the article was accepted, he worked for GlaxoSmithKline, a vaccine manufacturing company.

So how did they do this bit of prestidigitation? They simply added another HMO to the data, the Harvard Pilgrimage. Rep. Weldon noted in his letter to the CDC director that this HMO had been in receivership by the state of Massachusetts because its records were in shambles. Yet, this study was able to make the embarrassing data from his previous study disappear.

Attempts by Weldon to force the CDC to release the data to an independent researcher, Dr. Mark Geier, a researcher with impeccable credentials and widely published in peer-reviewed journals, have failed repeatedly.

It is obvious that a massive cover-up is in progress, as we have seen with so many other scandals:

  • Fluoride

  • Food-based excitotoxins

  • Pesticides

  • Aluminum

I would caution those critical of the present vaccine policy not to put all their eggs in one basket, that is, with thimerosal as being the main culprit. There is no question that it plays a major role, but there are other factors that are also critical, including aluminum, fluoroaluminum complexes and chronic immune activation of brain microglia.

In fact, excessive, chronic microglial activation can explain many of the effects of excessive vaccine exposure as I point out in two recently published articles. One property of both aluminum and mercury is microglial activation. With chronic microglial activation, large concentrations of excitotoxins are released as well as neurotoxic cytokines. These have been shown to destroy synaptic connections, dendrites and cause abnormal pathway development in the developing brain as well as adult brain.

In essence, too many vaccines are being given to children during the brain’s most rapid growth period. Known toxic metals are beings used in the vaccines that interfere with brain metabolism, antioxidant enzymes, damage DNA and DNA repair enzymes and trigger excitotoxicity.

Removing the mercury will help but will not solve the problem because overactivation of the brain’s immune system will cause varying degrees of neurological damage to the highly-vulnerable developing brain.

References for “The Truth Behind the Vaccine Coverup

  1. Lorscheider,FL; Vimy,MJ; Pendergrass,JC; Haley,BE. Mercury vapor exposure inhibits tubulin binding to GTP in rat brain: A molecular lesion also present in human Alzheimer brain From: FASEB J. 9(4): A-3845. FASEB Annual Meeting, Atlanta, Georgia, 10 March 1995.
  2. Grandjean P, Budtz-Jorgensen E, White RF, Jorgensen PJ, Weihe P, Debes F, Keiding N Methylmercury exposure biomarkers as indicators of neurotoxicity in children aged 7 years. From: Am J Epidemiol 1999 Aug 1;150(3):301-5
  3. Albers JW, Kallenbach LR, Fine LJ, Langolf GD, Wolfe RA, Donofrio PD, Alessi AG, Stolp-Smith KA, Bromberg MB Neurological abnormalities associated with remote occupational elemental mercury exposure. Ann Neurol 1988 Nov;24(5):651-9
  4. Aschner M, Lorscheider FL, Cowan KS, Conklin DR, Vimy MJ, Lash LH Metallothionein induction in fetal rat brain and neonatal primary astrocyte cultures by in utero exposure to elemental mercury vapor (Hg0). From: Brain Res 1997 Dec 5;778(1):222-32
  5. Soederstroem S, Fredriksson A, Dencker L & Ebendal T The effect of mercury vapour on cholinergic neurons in the fetal brain: studies on the expression of nerve growth factor and its low- and high-affinity receptors. Developmental Brain Research 85(1):96-108 (1995)
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  17. Desi I, Nagymajtenyi L, Schulz H Effect of subchronic mercury exposure on electrocorticogram of rats. Neurotoxicology 1996 Fall-Winter;17(3-4):719-23
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  19. Hua MS, Huang CC, Yang YJ Chronic elemental mercury intoxication: neuropsychological follow-up case study. Brain Inj 1996 May;10(5):377-84
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  21. Hock C, Drasch G, Golombowski S, Muller-Spahn F, Willershausen-Zonnchen B, Schwarz P, Hock U, Growdon JH, Nitsch RM Increased blood mercury levels in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. J Neural Transm 1998;105(1):59-68
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  24. Wenstrup D, Ehmann WD, Markesbery WR Trace element imbalances in isolated subcellular fractions of Alzheimer’s disease brains. Brain Res 1990 Nov 12;533(1):125-31
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  27. Pendergrass JC, Haley BE, Vimy MJ, Winfield SA, Lorscheider FL Mercury vapor inhalation inhibits binding of GTP to tubulin in rat brain: similarity to a molecular lesion in Alzheimer diseased brain. Neurotoxicology 1997;18(2):315-24
  28. Opitz H, Schweinsberg F, Grossmann T, Wendt-Gallitelli MF, Meyermann R Demonstration of mercury in the human brain and other organs 17 years after metallic mercury exposure. Clin Neuropathol 1996 May-Jun;15(3):139-44
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  30. el-Fawal HA, Gong Z, Little AR, Evans HL Exposure to methylmercury results in serum autoantibodies to neurotypic and gliotypic proteins.Neurotoxicology 1996 Summer;17(2):531-9
  31. Faustman EM, Ponce RA, Ou YC, Mendoza MA, Lewandowski T, Kavanagh T. Investigations of methylmercury-induced alterations in neurogenesis. Environ Health Perspect. 2002 Oct;110 Suppl 5:859-64.
  32. Reading R. Thimerosal and the occurrence of autism: negative ecological evidence from Danish population-based data. Child Care Health Dev. 2004 Jan;30(1):90-1.
  33. Qvarnstrom J, Lambertsson L, Havarinasab S, Hultman P, Frech W. Determination of methylmercury, ethylmercury, and inorganic mercury in mouse tissues, following administration of thimerosal, by species-specific isotope dilution GC-inductively coupled plasma-MS. Anal Chem. 2003 Aug 15;75(16):4120-4.
  34. Shanker G, Syversen T, Aschner M. Astrocyte-mediated methylmercury neurotoxicity. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2003 Oct;95(1):1-10.
  35. Zheng W, Aschner M, Ghersi-Egea JF. Brain barrier systems: a new frontier in metal neurotoxicological research. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2003 Oct 1;192(1):1-11.
  36. Kawase T, Ishikawa I, Orikasa M, Suzuki A. An assessment of the impact of thimerosal on childhood neurodevelopmental disorders. Geier DA, Geier MR. J Biochem (Tokyo). 1989 Jul; 106(1): 8-10. Aluminum enhances the stimulatory effect of NaF on prostaglandin E2 synthesis in a clonal osteoblast-like cell line, MOB 3-4, in vitro. Pediatr Rehabil. 2003 Apr-Jun;6(2):97-102.
  37. Geier MR, Geier DA. Thimerosal in childhood vaccines, neurodevelopmental disorders, and heart disease in the United States. J Amer Physc Surg 8: 6-11, 2003.
  38. Allen JW, Shanker G, Tan KH, Aschner M. The consequences of methylmercury exposure on interactive functions between astrocytes and neurons. Neurotoxicology 23: 755-759, 2002.
  39. Hansen JC, Reske-Nielsen E, et al. Distribution of dietary mercury in a dog. Quantitation and localization of total mercury in organs and central nervous system. Sci Total Environ 78: 23-43, 1989.
  40. Zanoli P, Cannazza G, Baraldi M. Prenatal exposure to methyl mercury in rats: focus on changes in kyrenine pathway. Brain Res Bull 55: 235-238, 2001.
  41. Olivieri G, Brack C, et al. Mercury induces cell cytotoxicity and oxidative stress and increases beta-amyloid secretion and tau phosphorylation in SHY5Y neuroblastoma cells. J Neurochem 74: 231-236, 2000.
  42. Juarez BI, Mattinez M, et al. Methylmercury increases glutamate extracellular levels in frontal cortex of awake rats. Neurotoxicology and Teratology 24: 767-771, 2002.
  43. Geier DA, Geier MR. An assessment of the impact of thimerosal on childhood neurodevelopmental disorders. Pediatric Rehabil 6: 97-102, 2003.
  44. Geier DA, Geier MR. A comparative evaluation of the effects of MMR immunization and mercury doses from thimerosal-containing childhood vaccines on the population prevalence of autism. Med Sci Monit 10: P133-139, 2004. Baskin DS, Ngo H, Didenko VV. Thimerosal indices DNA breaks, caspase-3 activation, membrane damage, and cell death in cultured human neurons and fibroblast. Toxicol Sci 74: 361-368, 2003.
  45. Pichichero ME, et al. Mercury concentrations and metabolism in infants receiving vaccines containing thimerosal: a descriptive study. Lancet 360: 1737-1741, 2002.
  46. Murata K, Dakeishi M. Impact of prenatal methylmercury exposure on child neurodevelopment in the Faroe Islands. Nippon Eiseigaku Zasshi 57: 564-570, 2002.
  47. Davidson PW, Myers GJ, et al (Clarkson TW-member of panel) Effects of prenatal and postnatal exposure from fish consumption on neurodevelopment: outcomes at 66 months of age in the Seychelles Child Development Study. JAMA 280: 701-707, 1998.
  48. Palumbo DR, Cox C, et al. (ClarksonTW) Association between prenatal exposure to methylmercury and cognitive functioning in Seychellois children: a reanalysis of the McCarthy Scales of Children’s Ability from the main cohort study. Environ Res 84: 81-88, 2000.
  49. Hornig M, Chian D, Lipkin WI. Neurotoxic effects of postnatal thimerosal are mouse strain dependent. Mol Psychiatry (In press)
  50. Ueha-Ishibashi T, et al. Property of thimerosal-induced decrease in cellular content of gluatathione in rat thymocytes: a flow cytometric study with 5-chloromethylfluorescein. Toxicol in Vitro 18: 563-569, 2004.
  51. Ueha-Ishibaschi T, et al. Effect of thimerosal, a preservative in vaccines, on intracellular Ca+2 concentration of ra cerebellar neurons. Toxicology 195: 77-84, 2004.
  52. Havarinasab S, Lambertsson L, et al. Dose-response study of thimerosal-induced murine systemic autoimmunity. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol 194: 169-179, 2004.
  53. Verstraeten T, Davis RL, DeStefano F, et al. Safety of thimerosal-containing vaccines: a two-phase study of computerized health maintenance organization databases. Pediatrics 112: 1039-1048, 2003. (This is the published study that was discussed in the conference. Here the damaging data is erased and the public is told the thimerosal-containing vaccines are perfectly safe. In this paper Dr. Verstraeten identified himself as working for the CDC, but in fact he is working for GlaxoSmithKline. The editors of the journal Pediatrics should have been willing to disclose this information once it was brought to their attention but they would not.)

Aluminum References

  1. Murayama H, Shin RW, Higuchi J, Shibuya S, Muramoto T, Kitamoto T. Interactionof aluminum with PHFtau in Alzheimer’s disease neurofibrillary degeneration evidenced by desferrioxamine-assisted chelating autoclave method.Am J Pathol. 1999 Sep;155(3):877-85.
  2. Shin RW, Kruck TP, Murayama H, Kitamoto T. A novel trivalent cation chelator Feralex dissociates binding of aluminum and iron associated with hyperphosphorylated tau of Alzheimer’s disease. Brain Res. 2003 Jan 24;961(1):139-46
  3. Li W, Ma KK, Sun W, Paudel HK. Phosphorylation sensitizes microtubule-associated protein tau to Al(3+)-induced aggregation. Neurochem Res. 1998 Dec;23(12):1467-76.
  4. Singer SM, Chambers CB, Newfry GA, Norlund MA, Muma NA. Tau in aluminum-induced neurofibrillary tangles. Neurotoxicology. 1997;18(1):63-76.
  5. Toda S, Yase Y. Effect of aluminum on iron-induced lipid peroxidation and protein oxidative modification of mouse brain homogenate. Biol Trace Elem Res. 1998 Feb;61(2):207-17.
  6. Sayre LM, Perry G, Harris PL, Liu Y, Schubert KA, Smith MA. In situ oxidative catalysis by neurofibrillary tangles and senile plaques in Alzheimer’s disease: a central role for bound transition metals. J Neurochem. 2000 Jan;74(1):270-9.
  7. Xie CX, Yokel RA. Aluminum facilitation of iron-mediated lipid peroxidation is dependent on substrate, pH and aluminum and iron concentrations. Arch Biochem Biophys. 1996 Mar 15;327(2):222-6.
  8. Kawase T, Ishikawa I, Orikasa M, Suzuki A. Aluminum enhances the stimulatory effect of NaF on prostaglandin E2 synthesis in a clonal osteoblast-like cell line, MOB 3-4, in vitro. J Biochem (Tokyo). 1989 Jul; 106(1): 8-10.
  9. Jope RS. Modulation of phosphoinositide hydrolysis by NaF and aluminum in rat cortical slices. J Neurochem. 1988 Dec; 51(6): 1731-6.
  10. Blair HC, Finch JL, Avioli R, Crouch EC, Slatopolsky E, Teitelbaum SL. Micromolar aluminum levels reduce 3H-thymidine incorporation by cell line UMR 106-01. Kidney Int. 1989 May; 35(5): 1119-25.
  11. Shainkin-Kestenbaum R, Adler AJ, Berlyne GM, Caruso C. Effect of aluminium on superoxide dismutase. Clin Sci (Lond). 1989 Nov; 77(5): 463-6.
  12. Kawase T, Orikasa M, Suzuki A. Aluminofluoride- and epidermal growth factor-stimulated DNA synthesis in MOB 3-4-F2 cells. Pharmacol Toxicol. 1991 Nov; 69(5): 330-7.
  13. Gomes MG, Moreira CA, Mill JG, Massaroni L, Oliveira EM, Stefanon I, Vassallo DV. Effects of aluminum on the mechanical and electrical activity of the Langendorff-perfused rat heart. Braz J Med Biol Res. 1994 Jan; 27(1): 95-100.
  14. Jope RS. Modulation of phosphoinositide hydrolysis by NaF and aluminum in rat cortical slices. J Neurochem. 1988 Dec; 51(6): 1731-6.
  15. Husaini Y, Rai LC, Mallick N. Impact of aluminium, fluoride and fluoroaluminate complex on ATPase activity of Nostoc linckia and Chlorella vulgaris. Biometals. 1996 Jul; 9(3): 277-83.
  16. Blair HC, Finch JL, Avioli R, Crouch EC, Slatopolsky E, Teitelbaum SL. Micromolar aluminum levels reduce 3H-thymidine incorporation by cell line UMR 106-01. Kidney Int. 1989 May; 35(5): 1119-25.
  17. Lai JC, Lim L, Davison AN. Effects of Cd2+, Mn2+, and Al3+ on rat brain synaptosomal uptake of noradrenaline and serotonin. J Inorg Biochem. 1982 Nov; 17(3): 215-25.
  18. Shainkin-Kestenbaum R, Adler AJ, Berlyne GM, Caruso C. Effect of aluminium on superoxide dismutase. Clin Sci (Lond). 1989 Nov; 77(5): 463-6.
  19. Department of Health and Human Services National Vaccine Program Office Presents: Workshop on Aluminum in Vaccines. Caribe Hilton International Hotel, San Juan, Puerto Rico: Jointly sponsored by: task Force for Child Survival and Development. May 12, 200.
  20. Varner JA, Jenson KF, Harvath W, Isaacson RL. Chronic administration of aliminum-fluoride or sodium-fluoride to rats in drinking water: alterations in neuronal and cerebrovascular integrity. Brain Res 784: 284-298, 1998.
  21. Strunecka A, Pataocka J. Aluminofluoride complexes: new phosphate analogues for laboratory investigations and potential danger for living organisms. http://www.fluoridation.com/brain3.htm.
  22. Candura SM, Castildi AF, et al. Interaction of aluminum ions with phosphoinositide metabolism in rat cerebral cortical membranes. Life Sci 49: 1245-1252, 1991.
  23. Publicover SJ. Brief exposure to the G-protein activator NaF/ AlCl3 induces prolonged enhancement of synaptic transmission in area of rat hippocampal slices. Expl Brain Res 84: 680-684, 1991.
  24. Brenner A. Macrophagic myofascitiitis: a summery of Dr. Gherardi’s presentations. Vaccine 20LSupp 3): S5-6, 2002.
  25. Lacson AG, D’Cruz CA, et al. Aluminum phagocytosis in quadriceps muscle following vaccination in children: relationship to macrophagic myofasciitis. Pediatr Dev Pathol 5: 151-158, 2002.
  26. Flarend RE, Hem SL, et al. In vivo absorption of aluminum-containing vaccine adjuvants using 26 Al. Vaccine 15: 131401318, 1997.
  27. Authier FJ Cherin P, et al. Central nervous system disease in patients with macrophagic myofasciitis. Brain 124: 974-983, 2001.
  28. Gherardi RK. Lessons from macrophagic myofasciitis: towards definition of a vaccine adjuvant-related syndrome. Rev Neurol (Paris) 159: 162-164, 2003.
  29. Bergfors E, Trollfors B, Inerot A. Unexpectantly high incidence of persistent itching and delayed hypersensitivity to aluminum in children after the used of absorbed vaccines from a single manufacturer. Vaccine 22: 64-69, 2003.
  30. Deloncle R, Fauconneau B, et al. Aluminum L-glutamate complexes in rat brain cortex: in vivo prevention of aluminum deposit by magnesium D-aspartate. Brain Res 946: 247-252, 2002.
  31. Mundy WR, Freudenrich TM, Kodavanti PR. Aluminum potentates glutamate-induced calcium accumulation and iron-induced oxygen free radical formation in primary neuronal cultures. Mol Chem Neuropathol 32: 41-57, 1997.

References Concerning Lead

  1. Naatala JT, Loikkanen JJ, et al. Lead amplifies glutamate-induced oxidative stress. Free Radical Biology Medicine 19: 689-693, 1995.
  2. Morgan RE, Garavan H, et al. Early lead exposure produces lasting changes in sustained attention, response initiation, and reactivity to errors. Neurotoxicology and Teratology 23: 519-531, 2001.
  3. Needleman HL, McFarland C, et al. Bone lead levels in adjudicated delinquents: A case control study. Neurotoxicology and Teratology 24: 711-717, 2002.
  4. Dietrich KN, Ris MD, et al. Early exposure to lead and juvenile delinquency. Neurotoxicology and Teratology 23: 511-518, 2001.

My References

  1. Blaylock R. Interaction of cytokines, excitotoxins, and reactive nitrogen and oxygen species in autism spectrum disorders. J. Amer Nutr Assoc 6: 21-35, 2003.
  2. Blaylock RL. The central role of excitotoxicity in autism spectrum disorders. J Amer Nutra Assoc 6: 7-19, 2003.
  3. Blaylock RL. Chronic microglial activation and excitotoxicity secondary to excessive immune stimulation: possible factors in Gulf War Syndrome and autism. J Amer Phys Surg 9: 46-51, 2004.

http://www.mercola.com/2004/sep/22/blaylock_vaccine_coverup.htm

February 10, 2008

Live in NYC? You’re going to be a criminal

Because when wealth is hoarded by the few, the many poor are a threat.

Let’s arrest the poor rather than keep them content and able to survive.

And then let’s take their genetic information (their DNA) as soon as we arrest them, even if they are never convicted.

Ticket quotas are common knowledge. Are arrest quotas far behind. “It was only a misunderstanding, officer!”–Too bad–once your genetic information is taken away, you can’t get it back. Well, if you scrounge up some money, maybe you can get your eyeballs switched like in “Minority Report.”

And this is the man people were praying would come in like a white knight to run for president?

—–

Bloomberg Wants to Get in Your Genes
Compared to the present mayor’s contempt for civil liberties, Giuliani was a piker
by Nat Hentoff
February 5th, 2008 6:19 PM

Our humble mayor, Mike Bloomberg, has been basking in the glow of largely unmerited approval around the country, ranging from his purported resurrection of the city’s school system (many parents and students beg to differ) to his handling of the city budget, among other feats of the managerial prowess that has made him a billionaire. Encouraged by the buzz, Bloomberg has been consulting specialists in national election law even as Deputy Mayor Kevin Sheekey diligently studies the terrain for a possible Bloomberg vault to the White House.Even that inflated kingmaker, the Reverend Al Sharpton, has knighted the mayor for diminishing the “tone of ugliness”in this city.

Since Bloomberg has given his police commissioner, Ray Kelly, free rein to curtail civil liberties (and has warmly encouraged Kelly to try succeeding him at Gracie Mansion), Sharpton might have mentioned one particularly noticeable and ugly mark of the Bloomberg regime, described here by Christopher Dunn, associate legal director of the New York Civil Liberties Union: “The black community continues to bear the brunt of police stops, [and] blacks continue to be singled out for stops that don’t ever result in an arrest.”

(However, a cop would have to be a rookie policeman recently moved from Juneau, Alaska, to stop and frisk the renowned Al Sharpton.)

But now our mayor has proposed an assault on the most fundamental constitutional rights of New Yorkers—one that exceeds the contempt for the Constitution shown by any mayor in all the years I’ve been covering civil liberties in this city. Not even Rudy Giuliani thought of this one, which was reported by Jim Dwyer in the January 19 issue of The New York Times:

“This week, the mayor proposed that everyone arrested for any crime in New York City—before the case has been judged—should be required to provide a sample of DNA.” (Emphasis added.)

Under New York State law, DNA can only be collected from those convicted of felonies and certain misdemeanors. But in New York City, the mayor’s proposal would force anyone who’s merely arrested to give up a DNA sample for a data bank even before they can appear in court (as the Constitution requires).

The New York Civil Liberties Union release, “Myths and Facts About DNA Data Banks,”makes clear that each of us “has a privacy interest in the information contained in their DNA—it is information you would not want falling into the hands of employers, insurance companies, and other actors who could use it against you. . . . While a fingerprint is a two-dimensional representation of the surface of your fingers, DNA contains a tremendous amount of sensitive information about you, including your susceptibility to certain diseases, family history and ancestry.”

What Bloomberg wants to do is take away our Fifth Amendment guarantees of “due process of law”—the foundation of our system of justice—and our Fourth Amendment protections against “unreasonable searches and seizures.”Having your fundamental privacy ransacked before you ever get the chance to defend yourself against a criminal charge not only magnifies Giuliani’s reckless legacy of imperial executive power in this city, but also sharply reveals Bloomberg as a presidential aspirant who will continue the Bush-Cheney administration’s subversion of the Bill of Rights.

As of this writing, I’ve seen very little press attention given to this omen of what Bloomberg’s America would be like. Where are the outraged editorials? Where are the protests from the city’s lawyers? And will there be a response from the New York City Bar Association—the nation’s most influential, as far as civil liberties are concerned—which has condemned past “revisions”of the Constitution by the Bush-Cheney regime in the most acutely critical terms.

New York City’s criminal-justice coordinator, John Feinblatt, told Jim Dwyer that the mayor’s proposed DNA search-and-seizure policy “will prevent crime,”and that even though there’d be some resistance on the basis of privacy concerns, its adoption was “inevitable.”

Do you agree? It would be extremely interesting to find out what the current presidential candidates of both parties think of Bloomberg’s proposal. Then again, the mayor’s total disdain for due process isn’t entirely surprising in view of his enthusiastic support for his police commissioner’s actions before and during the 2004 Republican National Convention here. As I described it in an earlier column, “J. Edgar Bloomberg: COINTELPRO in NY” (April 24, 2007), teams of undercover New York City police officers were sent around the country, as well as to Canada and Europe, to infiltrate and spy on not only anti–Iraq War groups, but also such potential dangers to national security as church groups, environmental organizations, and anti-death-penalty groups.

And during the NYPD’s decidedly extra-constitutional arrests during the Republican convention, those people incarcerated (not all of them protesters) were asked by police what they thought of George W. Bush and questioned on their other political views. After forceful objections by New Yorkers—and the New York Civil Liberties Union—the cops stopped violating the First Amendment with such questions, which were obviously none of their damn business. The mayor, of course, didn’t object to the policy of asking such questions.

As a further indication of J. Edgar Bloomberg and Ray Kelly’s need for a crash course on the Constitution, the New York Law Journal reported on February 16, 2007, that U.S. District Court Judge Charles S. Haight—who has had a busy time of it trying to force the NYPD to abide by the constitutional guidelines for police surveillance—charged the department with “egregious”spying on “political activity”after the Intelligence Division videotaped a protest by (I kid you not) the Coalition for the Homeless in front of Mayor Bloomberg’s residence.

If that Putin-style police surveillance was “egregious,”what is the word for probing the most intimately personal information of New Yorkers after they are arrested—and only arrested?

With any luck, the mayor may have unintentionally performed an educational service, quickening interest in other investigative uses and abuses of DNA by the police. Next week: What the mayor obviously doesn’t know about the maze of problems in implementing his proposal. For example: Such massive expansion of DNA testing greatly increases the likelihood of error that is already inherent in the system. Or perhaps he simply doesn’t care—until, God forbid, there’s a mix-up, and a perpetrator’s DNA is mislabled as Michael Bloomberg’s.

On the January 23, 2008, Letters page, Ethan Young calls me “reactionary”for being pro-life. On the same page, Joseph Carducci provides one of the reasons I am indeed pro-life. He writes: “Yes, Barack Obama is half-black and talks about change, but he does not want to change Roe v. Wade, a ruling that eliminates more black people than any other cause of death.”

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.

    

February 4, 2008

Great post by Jon Rappoport about what this election really means

Filed under: elections, Ron Paul — Tags: , , , , , , — sesame seed @ 1:09 am

I’m really enjoying receiving Jon Rappoport’s email newsletters and I wished I’d joined earlier. Here’s a great post. He all but endorses Ron Paul, but leaves it to you to make the key inferences about what this election is really about, or should be about: getting the government out of people’s lives and wallets. I believe more in social welfare than he does, however, and I do believe there should be a nationalized health insurance (one not in the pocket of Big Pharma, to boot). There’s no reason why a social safety net (that is, an ECONOMIC safety net) has to be the same thing as state-sponsored fascism. We can have economic, communal, municipal security without imperiling our liberties. It’s called using our tax dollars to build housing and schools, not prisons, and stop paying the big bankers at the Federal Reserve to print our currency. Getting out of Iraq would also help balance the books immensely.

PLATITUDES OF THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN

FEBRUARY 4, 2008.  Let’s run down the short list:

CHANGE.  Everyone suddenly started mouthing that one right after Obama won Iowa.

HOPE.

WASHINGTON IS BROKEN.

EXPERIENCE.

I’LL BE READY ON DAY ONE.

Since when is the federal government supposed to be in charge of hope and change?  I vaguely recall the whole idea behind the Constitution was limiting the size and influence of the government, thereby guaranteeing individual freedom.  Of course, that was probably just a dream I had.

Those who fondly remember JFK will make three basic assertions about his plans:

HE WANTED TO SHATTER THE CIA INTO A MILLION PIECES.

HE WANTED TO GET OUT OF VIETNAM.

HE WANTED TO TAKE THE POWER TO COIN MONEY AWAY FROM THE FEDERAL RESERVE AND PUT IT BACK IN THE HANDS OF CONGRESS.

Assuming JFK really wanted to accomplish these goals, it was all about shrinking the role of government.

Obama.  Hillary.  McCain.  Mitt.  When out of their mouths we get various high-flying sentiments, they are mostly talking about government taking the lead.

Why should government take the lead?

Why should people look to government to inspire them?

Might it be because people can’t inspire themselves?

In that case, the problem lies elsewhere, and the solution does, too.

It reminds me of Christmas.  The time for giving.  That’s the only day for giving?  People need redoubled shopping opportunities and more debt and a story about a child’s birth to motivate them?

People need an election to galvanize them?

Washington is not broken because the two sides of the aisle are hammering each other.  It’s not broken simply because special interests are controlling the agenda.  It’s broken because it was never meant to be this big and this much trouble.

Example: Why in the world does the FDA have the power to give approval to new medical drugs on the basis of whether they’re effective?  That’s none of their business.  The consumer can decide that on his own.  We don’t need a (corrupt) federal agency to make rulings of this kind.

Update on Hillary:  AP is reporting she suggests the possibility of garnishing the wages of people who’d refuse her universal healthcare plan once it is in effect.

How do you like them apples?

You work for a company.  Your employer is paying into the universal health plan (because he has to).  You, however, say, “No thanks, I don’t want to be insured under this plan.”  Boom.  Your wages are garnished.

It takes everyone (under the gun) to pay into the plan so “it is affordable,” according to Hillary.

Beautiful.

Yeah, It Takes a Village, but the village has to be under the control of a dictator.

JON RAPPOPORT   www.nomorefakenews.com

We need a Super Tuesday strategy–a game plan

Filed under: elections, Ron Paul — Tags: , , , , , , , , — sesame seed @ 12:55 am

OK–Listen up, New Yorkers. Clinton can’t win her home state. That would send a really bad message. She hasn’t been a great senator and, besides, we really don’t want her for President. Why don’t we want her for President? Three reasons out of many: 1) She is relying on people not to think about her policy proposals or her husband’s administration and just think of the fact that “she’s a woman” and we need a woman president–which is true, we should get a woman president soon, like in many other nations, but not one that (reason 2) continues a dynasty in the White House. I was brought up in a country where anyone could be president, there were no dynasties and no aristocracy or plutocracy where a select few took turns trading power among themselves.

Therefore, Obama needs an overwhelming show of support to beat out Clinton. A good show beating Clinton in her home state (as indicated on TV that day and with exit polls, etc.) will hopefully influence other states to push Clinton out as well, whereas a good showing by Clinton in her “home” state (uh, she ran for Senate in NY the first time saying publicly that she was not using it as a stepping-stone to presidency–how not manipulative at all) would not so tacitly endorse her to other states–it would send the message that New Yorkers think she’s done a “good job” as Senator and would make a good president, neither of which is true.

New York, Get Clinton Out of the Race!

New York, Vote Obama for the Primaries!

New York, Vote Ron Paul in the General Election!

Do not vote McCain–Giuliani endorsed McCain so he could try to get on McCain’s ticket later as his running mate. Keeping Giuliani out of the White House now means keeping McCain out. Sorry, McCain, politics is the bedfellows you keep.

My apologies to Ron Paul as well–but we need to get Clinton out on the democratic side first before we can really vote for Paul. A Clinton vs. Paul general election would be harder to fight than a Paul v. Obama election. Really, if we had more than a stupid two-party system, this “game plan” calculation wouldn’t be necessary. Ah, well, once they put in electronic voting machines everywhere, it will barely matter who anyone votes for, and campaign finance will be more of a joke than it is already. Paper ballots now! It’s a big country, yes, but do you really need to know by midnight who won? Are we in that much turmoil that power can’t transition calmly if it takes a couple of days?

I’d still love to see a Paul-Obama ticket, or a Paul-Kucinich ticket.

Suggestions for this game plan? Make a comment.

January 20, 2008

Giuliani’s Agenda–Please do not vote for this man

Filed under: elections, politics — Tags: , , , — sesame seed @ 7:22 pm

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Silver tongue may haunt Rudy Giuliani

Sunday, January 20th 2008, 4:00 AM

Rudy Giuliani made millions as a lawyer and consultant, but he pocketed far more by giving $100,000-a-pop speeches to corporate bigwigs – many who would likely hope for a friendly ear in a Giuliani White House.

The Republican presidential hopeful has released details on 126 speeches he gave in 2006 and early 2007, when he exited the lucrative speakers’ circuit and hit the campaign trail in earnest.

But an exhaustive review of public documents by the Daily News has identified a total of 280 speeches that the former mayor has given since leaving City Hall in 2002, many to powerful corporate interests who paid him handsomely – and whose lobbying of Washington will unquestionably continue no matter who wins the White House.

The groups include a drug company active in embryonic stem-cell research, as well as a hospital association working to add “flexibility” to the nation’s immigration laws – both hot-button issues within the GOP.

The list – representing an estimated $25 million in income for Giuliani between 2002 and 2007, based on his typical fees – poses an unusual source of potential conflicts.

As President, Giuliani would have oversight of contracts and policies affecting industry groups that have directly paid him big bucks in the past, experts noted.

Of the 280 speeches Giuliani is known to have made since 2002, roughly 220 were to private, business-oriented groups in the U.S. Of those groups, 44 already employ lobbyists in Washington, disclosure forms show.

“This is kind of a subtle way for corporations to spread their influence,” said Bob Edgar, a former Democratic congressman from Pennsylvania and now president of Common Cause, the national campaign finance watchdog group. “If you’ve given someone $100,000 for an hour-long speech and [you] call the White House asking for a meeting, my guess is that meeting will be held.”

The speeches are perhaps the least investigated, but not only, source of potential business conflicts in Giuliani’s past.

The former mayor remains a partner at his consulting firm, Giuliani Partners, as well as at Bracewell & Giuliani, the Texas-based law firm that has carried his name since 2003.

He has so far refused to release a complete client list from either firm. But a review of court records, business filings and other publicly available documents has turned up some 175 legal and consulting clients, many with backgrounds that seem ready-made for political attack ads.

They include Saudi Arabia’s oil ministry, owners of nuclear reactors, a pharmaceutical giant fined for fraud, a tobacco company and even an admitted cocaine smuggler who later developed a system for tracking down terrorists.

Aides to the former mayor have argued that Giuliani was simply giving speeches “to a wide range of companies that wanted to hear him speak about his own unique experiences and lessons on leadership.”

“Rudy Giuliani is his own candidate, and he will continue to run for President on the issues and ideas he believes are important to the future of this country,” said Giuliani spokeswoman Maria Comella, adding that he is not alone in the speech-making department.

Mike Huckabee, a former Baptist minister and GOP rival, collected $35,000 in speaking fees last year from drug-maker Novo Nordisk, a leading advocate for embryonic stem-cell research, Politico.com has reported.

Giuliani’s general response to his past business ties is that his firms performed good, honest work and he has stepped down from any day-to-day dealings. He has also argued that many of his law firm’s clients predated his arrival in 2003.

That’s a degree of separation, however, that does not exist for Giuliani on the speaking fees – they were paid directly to him and typically amounted to more money per speech than the average American family makes in a year.

Many of those who paid Giuliani $100,000 or more for an hour-long speech represent interests that could prove troubling to Republican voters.

He pocketed $48,000, for instance, from Novartis Pharmaceuticals, a company that has been active in embryonic stem-cell research.

He received an undisclosed sum from the American Hospital Association, which has worked to increase flexibility in immigration laws – a position not embraced by many GOP voters – to let hospitals employ more foreign-trained nurses.

In other cases, Giuliani seems to have largely adopted the policy goals of groups who swelled his bank account in the years after he left City Hall.

They include several health care companies and associations, among them Assurant Health, a leading underwriter of health insurance policies bought by individuals who paid Giuliani $40,000 for a speech in July 2006. Giuliani has made growing the individual market for insurance a centerpiece of his health care plan.

The former mayor also spoke to the American Nuclear Society (ANS), nuclear power’s main industry association. Giuliani the candidate has vowed to expand nuclear power as part of a plan to push the country toward energy independence.

Recently, the ANS lobbied Congress, the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency on issues related to disposal of high-level nuclear waste, according to lobbying disclosure reports filed with the U.S. Senate.

dsaltonstall@nydailynews.com

List from Daily News Article

Couldn’t find the associated graphic on the Daily News website, so here is a list from the callout box associated with the above article, which practically replaces the article, which itself is a little vague with the proper names.

Follow the Money

Here are Rudy Giuliani’s main sources of income in recent years, as well as some of the politically wired or controversial clients and audiences he has accepted fees from as a lawyer, consultant or speaker.

Giuliani Partners LLC: A consulting firm. Income reported by Giuliani for 2006: $4,108,328. Clients have included:

  • Seisint Inc.–Giuliani Partners hooked up with Florida-based Seisint in 2002, but the company hit the skids amid concerns that its data-tracking product violated privacy. It didn’t help when one of the company’s founders, Hank Asher, admitted to smuggling cocaine earlier in life.
  • Purdue Pharma–The maker of the painkiller OxyContin, Purdue hired Giuliani to help address growing PR and security woes after OcyContin became a popular black market drug. Purdue and three top executives ultimately pleaded guilty to marketing fraud and paid $634 million in fines.
  • Entergy Nuclear–Entergy operates Westchester County’s Indian Point nuclear power plant, which has faced growing public opposition since 9/11 over safety questions. The company also hired Giuliani to develop a security plan.
  • Qatar–Giuliani Safety & Security has provided counterterrorism advice to Qatar, an emirate on the Persian Gulf. Qatar’s Interior ministar, Sheik Abdullah bin Khalid al-Thani, is suspected by some former U.S. officials of protecting Al Qaeda suspects.

Bracewell & Giuliani

The mayor’s Texas-based law firm. Income reported by Giuliani for 2006: $1,200,901. The firm’s legal and lobbying clients have included:

  • Saudi Arabia’s oil ministry–The firm is representing Saudi Arabia’s oil ministry in a Texas lawsuit on the same side as Citgo, which is controlled by Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez–another former Bracewell client.
  • The Scooter Store–The firm lobbied the Feds on Medicare coverage of power scooters. The store later agreed to pay $4 million in fines and give up $43 million in Medicare reimbursements over Justice Department allegations the company made false advertising claims to wheelchair patients.
  • News Corp.— The firm helped Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. lobby against the Indecent and Gratuitous and Excessively Violent Programming Control Act, a bill aimed at keeping graphic sex and violence off TV.
  • UST Public Affairs Inc.–The world’s leading producer of smokeless tobacco, including marquee brands Copenhagen and Skoal. Giuliani’s firm lobbied against a bill that would prevent tobacco firms from selling products through the mail.

Speeches

Giuliani has disclosed his fees from 126 mostly corporate groups that he addressed in 2006, but he gave many more in prior years. Income reported by Giuliani for 2006: $11,390,000. Audiences over the years have included:

  • Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp. –The drug company has been active in embryonic stem-cell research, a controversial issue among evangelical voters.
  • American Hospital Association–The nation’s leading hospital advocacy group, it has lobbied Washington to increase “flexibility” in immigration laws to let hospitals employ more immigrant nurses–a hot-button topic for the GOP.
  • Assurant Health–The company is a leading underwriter of health insurance policies bought by individuals. Giuliani has made growing that market for individual health policies a centerpiece of his health care plan.
  • American Nuclear Society–The nuclear industry’s leading association, the ANS has recently lobbied Congress, DOE and EPA on issues related to disposal of high-level waste. Giuliani has vowed to exapnd nuclear power aspart of a plan to push the country toward energy independence.”

Sources: Federal Election Commission, U.S. Senate Lobbying Disclosure Database

NY Daily News, Sunday, January 20, 2008, page 22.

Kant’s Categorical Imperative Wins Out Again—If Only Our Politicians Could Recognize It

http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/011908Z.shtml

    Go to Original

    Tom Ridge: Waterboarding Is Torture
By Eileen Sullivan
The Associated Press

    Friday 18 January 2008

    Washington – The first secretary of the Homeland Security Department says waterboarding is torture.

    “There’s just no doubt in my mind – under any set of rules – waterboarding is torture,” Tom Ridge said Friday in an interview with the Associated Press. Ridge had offered the same opinion earlier in the day to members of the American Bar Association at a homeland security conference.

    “One of America’s greatest strengths is the soft power of our value system and how we treat prisoners of war, and we don’t torture,” Ridge said in the interview. Ridge was secretary of the Homeland Security Department between 2003 and 2005. “And I believe, unlike others in the administration, that waterboarding was, is – and will always be – torture. That’s a simple statement.”

    Waterboarding is a harsh interrogation tactic that was used by CIA officers in 2002 and 2003 on three alleged al-Qaida terrorists. The tactic gives the subject the sensation of drowning.

    The CIA has not used the technique since 2003, and CIA Director Michael Hayden prohibited it in 2006, according to U.S. officials. The debate was recently revived when the CIA revealed it had destroyed videotapes showing the interrogations of two alleged terrorists, both of whom were waterboarded.

    Ridge’s comments come a week after a report that Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell said he would consider waterboarding torture if it were used against him. [NB: My emphasis.] 

    In a separate interview with The Associated Press on Thursday, the current Homeland Security secretary, Michael Chertoff, refused to say what he thinks of the interrogation technique. Chertoff, a former federal prosecutor and judge – who was also assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Criminal Division in 2002 – said the question should be asked in the context of a specific set of facts and a specific statute and should not be posed abstractly.

    “This is too important a discussion to have based on throwing one question at somebody,” Chertoff said.

    Attorney General Michael Mukasey has declined so far to rule on whether waterboarding constitutes torture. An affirmative finding by Mukasey could put at risk the CIA interrogators who were authorized by the White House in 2002 to waterboard three prisoners deemed resistant to conventional techniques.

    Ridge, homeland security adviser and then secretary from 2001 to 2005, said he was not involved in the discussions about CIA interrogation techniques. Rather, his department was a consumer of any intelligence gleaned from them.

    “I have no idea how any of the intelligence community extrapolated any information from anybody – where they got it, how they got it, and from whom they got it. But waterboarding is torture.”

    Ridge, a lawyer, wades into the waterboarding debate with both a military and civilian background. He is also a former Pennsylvania governor and congressman. He has since started his own homeland security consulting firm.

    “As a former soldier, I will tell you that we go to great pains, and a lot of men and women, who serve in the military at risk of their own lives, do everything they can to minimize civilian casualties and certainly do everything they can to respect the Geneva Convention.”

    The House and Senate intelligence committees want to prohibit the CIA from using any interrogation techniques not allowed by the military. That list includes waterboarding. If their intelligence bill containing the restriction is approved by Congress, it almost certainly will face a veto from President Bush.

  ——-

January 18, 2008

Ron Paul makes some excellent comments on the nature of freedom, leadership, and what the role of government should be–important notes for the current election

A great article by Ron Paul. Although I do not agree with everything he speaks of here–especially his invocation of Ayn Rand–at least he is discussing and questioning the serious philosophical underpinnings no other candidate seems to be addressing. No other candidate is even mentioning Orwell, despite how Orwellian our times have become–they want to put us further in the mire and take away more of our liberties, not preserve us from them.

In my opinion, government should promote economic rights, and then step out of the social/cultural/educational arena almost entirely (i.e., publicly funded schools and libraries are good, but not when moral police determine curriculums and what those institutions get to buy–which infringes on your right to do research and get information, and your freedom of speech). The government should not have anything to say about sexual acts, abortion, or anything else that does not violate someone else’s health or safety. (Yes, I know Paul is pro-life; I also know that he wouldn’t waste his political energy–or spend his “political capital”–making it a major issue to try to actively push through a law banning it. If anything, he’s the most pro-health freedom candidate out there, wanting to make it very hard for the FDA to [as it is currently trying to do] limit our access to herbs and alternative therapies not monopolized by Big Pharma and their lobbyists).

What’s impressive here is that Paul is an old-school public civil servant, not a new-school spin-dominated “pol.” He is concerned about checking the powers of government, not enlarging it, as Bush has done so egregiously (with exploding the power of the executive and with signing statements, and now with probably knowingly allowing his government to mislead the public–if not overtly lie to the public–concerning the nature of CIA torture and the existence of taped evidence thereof).  Paul is the only candidate who seems actually concerned about governance, not media damage control or PR doctoring of mass opinion, or of maintaining propaganda. For this alone, he represents true freethinking and change, and a step in the right direction, even if he does not support as much of an economic safety net as I would like. At least, unlike the other candidates–including the democrats–he doesn’t get in the quagmire of promising what he can’t deliver.

————

http://www.ronpaul2008.com/articles/161/what-does-freedom-really-mean/

Dr. Paul’s WritingsWhat Does Freedom Really Mean?

Summary:

Few Americans understand that all government action is inherently coercive. If nothing else, government action requires taxes. If taxes were freely paid, they wouldn’t be called taxes, they’d be called donations. If we intend to use the word freedom in an honest way, we should have the simple integrity to give it real meaning: Freedom is living without government coercion. So when a politician talks about freedom for this group or that, ask yourself whether he is advocating more government action or less.


“…man is not free unless government is limited. There’s a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: As government expands, liberty contracts.”
Ronald Reagan


We’ve all heard the words democracy and freedom used countless times, especially in the context of our invasion of Iraq. They are used interchangeably in modern political discourse, yet their true meanings are very different.

George Orwell wrote about “meaningless words” that are endlessly repeated in the political arena*. Words like “freedom,” “democracy,” and “justice,” Orwell explained, have been abused so long that their original meanings have been eviscerated. In Orwell’s view, political words were “Often used in a consciously dishonest way.” Without precise meanings behind words, politicians and elites can obscure reality and condition people to reflexively associate certain words with positive or negative perceptions. In other words, unpleasant facts can be hidden behind purposely meaningless language. As a result, Americans have been conditioned to accept the word “democracy” as a synonym for freedom, and thus to believe that democracy is unquestionably good.

The problem is that democracy is not freedom. Democracy is simply majoritarianism, which is inherently incompatible with real freedom. Our founding fathers clearly understood this, as evidenced not only by our republican constitutional system, but also by their writings in the Federalist Papers and elsewhere. James Madison cautioned that under a democratic government, “There is nothing to check the inducement to sacrifice the weaker party or the obnoxious individual.” John Adams argued that democracies merely grant revocable rights to citizens depending on the whims of the masses, while a republic exists to secure and protect pre-existing rights. Yet how many Americans know that the word “democracy” is found neither in the Constitution nor the Declaration of Independence, our very founding documents?

A truly democratic election in Iraq, without U.S. interference and U.S. puppet candidates, almost certainly would result in the creation of a Shiite theocracy. Shiite majority rule in Iraq might well mean the complete political, economic, and social subjugation of the minority Kurd and Sunni Arab populations. Such an outcome would be democratic, but would it be free? Would the Kurds and Sunnis consider themselves free? The administration talks about democracy in Iraq, but is it prepared to accept a democratically-elected Iraqi government no matter what its attitude toward the U.S. occupation? Hardly. For all our talk about freedom and democracy, the truth is we have no idea whether Iraqis will be free in the future. They’re certainly not free while a foreign army occupies their country. The real test is not whether Iraq adopts a democratic, pro-western government, but rather whether ordinary Iraqis can lead their personal, religious, social, and business lives without interference from government.

Simply put, freedom is the absence of government coercion. Our Founding Fathers understood this, and created the least coercive government in the history of the world. The Constitution established a very limited, decentralized government to provide national defense and little else. States, not the federal government, were charged with protecting individuals against criminal force and fraud. For the first time, a government was created solely to protect the rights, liberties, and property of its citizens. Any government coercion beyond that necessary to secure those rights was forbidden, both through the Bill of Rights and the doctrine of strictly enumerated powers. This reflected the founders’ belief that democratic government could be as tyrannical as any King.

Few Americans understand that all government action is inherently coercive. If nothing else, government action requires taxes. If taxes were freely paid, they wouldn’t be called taxes, they’d be called donations. If we intend to use the word freedom in an honest way, we should have the simple integrity to give it real meaning: Freedom is living without government coercion. So when a politician talks about freedom for this group or that, ask yourself whether he is advocating more government action or less.

The political left equates freedom with liberation from material wants, always via a large and benevolent government that exists to create equality on earth. To modern liberals, men are free only when the laws of economics and scarcity are suspended, the landlord is rebuffed, the doctor presents no bill, and groceries are given away. But philosopher Ayn Rand (and many others before her) demolished this argument by explaining how such “freedom” for some is possible only when government takes freedoms away from others. In other words, government claims on the lives and property of those who are expected to provide housing, medical care, food, etc. for others are coercive– and thus incompatible with freedom. “Liberalism,” which once stood for civil, political, and economic liberties, has become a synonym for omnipotent coercive government.

The political right equates freedom with national greatness brought about through military strength. Like the left, modern conservatives favor an all-powerful central state– but for militarism, corporatism, and faith-based welfarism. Unlike the Taft-Goldwater conservatives of yesteryear, today’s Republicans are eager to expand government spending, increase the federal police apparatus, and intervene militarily around the world. The last tenuous links between conservatives and support for smaller government have been severed. “Conservatism,” which once meant respect for tradition and distrust of active government, has transformed into big-government utopian grandiosity.

Orwell certainly was right about the use of meaningless words in politics. If we hope to remain free, we must cut through the fog and attach concrete meanings to the words politicians use to deceive us. We must reassert that America is a republic, not a democracy, and remind ourselves that the Constitution places limits on government that no majority can overrule. We must resist any use of the word “freedom” to describe state action. We must reject the current meaningless designations of “liberals” and “conservatives,” in favor of an accurate term for both: statists.

Every politician on earth claims to support freedom. The problem is so few of them understand the simple meaning of the word.

 

*Politics and the English Language, 1946.

Keywords: Civil Liberties, Constitution

Still the economy, stupid—Will this election help the middle class and the poor?

Without a stable middle class, this country has no reason to survive, and there will be mass discontent.

As this article points out, making a middle class salary no longer signifies that one can have a middle class quality of life due to inflationary pressures. In other words, a dollar worth less makes survival difficult for everyone, especially the middle class and the poor.

Maybe the dollar’s so low because we have a huge national debt and because we import almost everything, making few products here. That’s how buying American-made whenever available really does matter–it’s not jingoistic as much as it is good economic and environmental policy. When we lose our manufacturing infrastructure, all we have are desk-jockey jobs, inequitably distributed to those who have “educational,” family-based or other connections–the precise opposite of a meritocracy; instead we have a hierarchy based on appearances and credentials which are purchased more than earned. That’s why, unfortunately, an American education still means nothing.

The bubble is beginning to burst. With this election, we have out last chance to set priorities, make changes, and fix inequities. The middle class and the poor are beginning to not be so distant–and as such, they need to align politically in this election to help each other out. If they can move beyond racism and geographical and local segregation to see their common interests (and please not vote for Giuliani or Clinton, picking Obama, Paul, or Kucinich instead), real change can finally begin to happen with those numbers.

If we decide to do nothing, or keep doing what we have been doing, things will only get worse.

One problem: where is Ron Paul in this article?

newsday.com/news/opinion/ny-opwhe165539332jan16,0,7517032.story

Newsday.com

Candidates lack concrete plans to aid middle class

BY JENNIFER WHEARY AND THOMAS SHAPIRO

Jennifer Wheary is a senior fellow at New York-based public policy organization Demos, and Thomas Shapiro is director of the Institute on Assets and Social Policy at Brandeis University’s

January 16, 2008
The primary election results so far show that candidates need to work harder. The fact that the race is still open does not mean we voters can’t make up our minds. It means we are thinking very carefully about what’s best for the country and what policies will bring about true change.

Addressing economic insecurity among the middle class has been a recurring theme among the contenders and a top concern in the polls.

Candidates have played to this concern, but only superficially. Politics often turns into a game of appearances, so that it’s not about who has the solutions but who has the best sound bites.

We’ve seen a large sampling of sound bites from candidates from both parties about what it takes to strengthen the middle class. This has mostly amounted to bickering about whether tax reform or a massive mortgage bailout or better trade policy or health care reform is the magic bullet.

What we haven’t seen from anyone is a true understanding of what being middle class means, and what it should be.

Being middle class means having financial security. That security requires the education level necessary to find a good job and the ability to afford housing and essential living expenses. It requires having enough financial assets to provide a safety net for troubled times and a nest egg for the future. It means having adequate health insurance to ensure that financial stability is not eroded in the event of an unforeseen illness.

Tens of millions of American families earning a middle-class salary are unable to meet these basic conditions.

Only about one in three middle-class families has the critical mass of financial assets, higher education, affordable housing, adequate income and health insurance needed for long-term economic security. In fact, one out of four families is so weak in these areas that it is in danger of slipping out of the middle class.

The troubling signs do not stop there.

More than half of middle-class families have no net financial assets whatsoever or debt levels that exceed their assets.

More than one in five middle-class families has less than $100 left over each week after covering essential living expenses such as food, housing, clothing, transportation, health care, personal care, education, personal insurance and pensions.

More than a quarter of middle-class families match the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s definition of being housing burdened – spending more than 30 percent of their after-tax income on housing.

In nearly one in four of middle-class families, at least one member lacks health insurance of any kind.

In the age of appearances, our candidates have chosen to overlook the implications of these hard facts.

It is time to send them a clear message. The middle class does not need a Botox bolster, a series of superficial, short-term sound-bite solutions. We need a complete makeover.

This requires vision and bold new ideas, not bickering among opponents or across congressional aisles. It’s time to push past appearances and challenge our campaigners to engage in a serious national discussion about how to build a broader and more secure middle class.

This is no easy task. It requires that candidates lose the platitudes and describe concrete plans to make it easier for low- and moderate-income families to enter the middle class and for those already in the middle class to stay there.

Why should candidates go the extra mile?

When you count up those Americans who either have earnings that fall below middle-class incomes (below 200 percent of the poverty line) or have middle-class incomes but lack the basic pillars of economic stability, middle-class financial security eludes an estimated 70 million working-age households.

And that’s the kind of number that can turn the tide of an election.

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