Train-Spotting, Clevetown, Circa 1960
2 days ago
In 1999, the National Institute on Drug Abuse commissioned a major study on medical marijuana conducted by the venerable Institute of Medicine, which included an examination of marijuana's potential to lead to other drug use. In simple terms, the researchers explained why the gateway theory was unfounded:There's more, a couple of pages, but the point is pretty clear: "If you want to prevent alcoholism, you must stop feeding milk to babies."Patterns in progression of drug use from adolescence to adulthood are strikingly regular. Because it is the most widely used illicit drug, marijuana is predictably the first illicit drug most people encounter. Not surprisingly, most users of other illicit drugs have used marijuana first. In fact, most drug users begin with alcohol and nicotine before marijuana -- usually before they are of legal age.In 2006, the University of Pittsburgh released a more thorough study in which researchers spent 12 years tracking a group of subjects from adolescence into adulthood and documented the initiation and progression of their drug use. The researchers found that the gateway theory was not only wrong, but also harmful to properly understanding and addressing drug abuse:
There is no conclusive evidence that the drug effects of marijuana are causally linked to the subsequent abuse of other illicit drugs.This evidence supports what’s known as the common liability model, an emerging theory that states the likelihood that someone will transition to the use of illegal drugs is determined not by the preceding use of a particular drug but instead by the user’s individual tendencies and environmental circumstances.Of course, the simplest refutation of the gateway theory is the basic fact that most marijuana users just don't use other drugs. As the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reports:More than 100 million Americans have tried marijuana; 14.4 million Americans are estimated to be "past-month" users. Yet there are only an estimated 2,075,000 "past-month" users of cocaine and 153,000 "past-month" users of heroin. [DrugWarFacts] (Emphases supplied. W)Clearly, people who use marijuana overwhelmingly do not move on to other drug use. That's why the number of people who use marijuana will always be more than 10 times greater than the number of people who use cocaine, heroin, etc. The fact that marijuana users rarely become involved in other drug use is right here in front of us.
I don't know at this point whether Judge Sonia Sotomayor is a good choice for Supreme Court Justice or a bad one.She's not particularly Green, not notably pro-gay rights, says she's a proponent of 'stare decisis' (but so did that drooling shitmonkey, Roberts, at his confirmation hearings);, not appreciably different, that is, from the run of SCROTUS appointees over the past 30 years. Which is why I believe the Pukes are, in fact, camouflaging their pleasant surprise that Obama named her.
She certainly is a lousy judge for writers and other creative people, having ruled (and been overruled by an appellate court and then, when that reversal was upheld, by the U.S. Supreme Court in a case called New York Times Inc. v. Tasini) that the Times and periodical publishers could reprint, without any additional compensation, any freelance works they contracted on the basis that they had a general copyright on each entire issue they publish.
And she appears to have rarely met an insurance company that she didn't feel was more deserving of court succor than any insured person suing an insurer. In a report in the Philadelphia Inquirer, reporter Joseph N. DiStefano quotes an insurance attorney named Randy Maniloff as saying that in cases involving insurance companies and insurance policyholders "It's insurers by a landslide."
Such a pro-corporate position would put her in league with the Roberts/Alito/Scalia/Thomas wing of the court, and would be consistent with her pro-corporate stance vis-à-vis writers and artists and copyright law. (In fairness, Sotomayor did rule against an insurance firm and in favor of a policyholder's family in 2005.)
This Is Liberty?So the ACLU bravely took the bit in their teeth and launched a request that in view of the clearly discriminatory and partisan nature of the exclusion, that IRS look into into the tax-exempt status of said fundie madrassa with an eye to ending it.
Campus Democrats are punished for supporting Democrats.
YOU CAN be a Democrat at Liberty University as long as you don't support Barack Obama. Or Virginia Rep. Tom Perriello. Or any other candidate who so much as hints at supporting abortion rights or same-sex marriage. That, at least, seems to be the message Liberty University sent when it withdrew its recognition of the campus Democratic group as an official club. The students' offense was not that they spoke out in favor of abortion or gay marriage but that they supported candidates who do. Liberty is a vibrant, diverse school of 11,500 residential students; it's too bad its administrators appear to have so little tolerance for political diversity.
The university recognized the club in October with the understanding that members wouldn't support gay marriage or abortion. "In fact," said Mathew D. Staver, dean of the university's school of law, "they did not live up to their statements." Mr. Staver acknowledged to us that club members never vocalized support for abortion or gay rights. Rather, he said, they were "advocating positions for individual candidates that clearly promoted abortion." Mr. Staver emphasized that campus Democrats won't face sanctions and will still be able to meet on campus; they just won't be able to use the university's name or receive school funds....
One measure would create a loyalty oath, while another would punish any “call to negate Israel’s existence as a Jewish and democratic state” with a year in jail.Of course, Israel must completely secure Palestine. It has been clear for some time that the "State" of Israel has territorial ambitions between the Jordan and the Sea. Each successive step isolating, marginalizing and alienating Israeli Arab citizens is another step, too, toward the ethnic cleansing of Arabs from Palestine. So there can be NO independent Palestinian State.Haaretz:
The Knesset plenum gave initial approval on Wednesday to a bill that would make it a crime to publicly deny Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state, punishable by a sentence of up to a year in prison.
The measure was the latest of several introduced in the past week by right-wing lawmakers and denounced by critics as an assault on free speech, particularly for Israeli Arab citizens, most of whom are of Palestinian origin.
It would outlaw the publication of any "call to negate Israel's existence as a Jewish and democratic state, where the content of such publication would have a reasonable possibility of causing an act of hatred, disdain or disloyalty" to Israel...
MK Haim Oron (Meretz) attacked the proposal, saying “this insane government, what exactly are you doing? Creating a thought police? Have you run off the rails?”...
Oron said that even though he disagrees with those who do not support Israel’s identity as a Jewish, democratic state, there is no reason to make it a criminal issue.
Civil rights activists have cautioned that this and other legislation threatens to curb the rights of Arab citizens. Its approval on a preliminary reading showed how Israeli support for laws seen as targetting Israeli Arabs has grown since a right-wing government was sworn in after a February election.
Another bill introduced by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beitenu Party this week would require Israeli citizens to take a loyalty oath to the Jewish state before they could be issued a national identity card.
The cabinet was scheduled to debate the loyalty oath measure at a session next week.
When you wanna diss that fat fucker, Rush? Call him:I like the first one better because it alludes to the pilonidal cysts in his rectum that--along with his father the publisher and his uncle the judge--rescued Rusty, after he'd flunked out of South-Southwest Missouri State College in late '67, from being drafted, going to boot-camp, and becoming a man--where that is understood to mean looking at yourself, naked, weak, and afraid, and growing... According to his section 8 papers, he literally grew a mad hair up his ass, and it has never come out. All this is way past twitter range, unless you broke it up...
Limbah, the Butt?
Jabba, the Rush?
Each is entirely the consonant allusion. C.f. Darth Cheney.
Only ridicule 'works.'
And hurling offal.
No culture, no society, or nation which subordinates the health of its citizens to the wealth of its elites is entitled to regard itself or be elsewhere regarded as being in a state of "civilization."
From my mother's sleep I fell into the State,
And I hunched in its belly till my wet fur froze.
Six miles from earth, loosed from its dream of life,
I woke to black flak and the nightmare fighters.
When I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose.
Nor dread nor hope attend
A dying animal;
A man awaits his end
Dreading and hoping all;
Many times he died,
Many times rose again.
A great man in his pride
Confronting murderous men
Casts derision upon
Supersession of breath;
He knows death to the bone
Man has created death.
Now, God be thanked Who has matched us with His hour,
And caught our youth, and wakened us from sleeping,
With hand made sure, clear eye, and sharpened power,
To turn, as swimmers into cleanness leaping,
Glad from a world grown old and cold and weary,
Leave the sick hearts that honour could not move,
And half-men, and their dirty songs and dreary,
And all the little emptiness of love!
Oh! we, who have known shame, we have found release there,
Where there's no ill, no grief, but sleep has mending,
Naught broken save this body, lost but breath;
Nothing to shake the laughing heart's long peace there
But only agony, and that has ending;
And the worst friend and enemy is but Death.
Had he and I but met
By some old ancient inn,
We should have set us down to wet
Right many a nipperkin!
But ranged as infantry,
And staring face to face,
I shot at him as he at me,
And killed him in his place.
I shot him dead because--
Because he was my foe,
Just so: my foe of course he was;
That's clear enough; although
He thought he'd 'list, perhaps,
Off-hand like--just as I--
Was out of work--had sold his traps--
No other reason why.
Yes; quaint and curious war is!
You shoot a fellow down
You'd treat, if met where any bar is,
Or help to half a crown.
O guns, fall silent till the dead men hear
Above their heads the legions pressing on:
(These fought their fight in time of bitter fear,
And died not knowing how the day had gone.)
O flashing muzzles, pause, and let them see
The coming dawn that streaks the sky afar;
Then let your mighty chorus witness be
To them, and Caesar, that we still make war.
Tell them, O guns, that we have heard their call,
That we have sworn, and will not turn aside,
That we will onward till we win or fall,
That we will keep the faith for which they died.
Bid them be patient, and some day, anon,
They shall feel earth enwrapt in silence deep;
Shall greet, in wonderment, the quiet dawn,
And in content may turn them to their sleep.
He's five foot-two, and he's six feet-four,
He fights with missiles and with spears.
He's all of thirty-one, and he's only seventeen,
Been a soldier for a thousand years.
He'a a Catholic, a Hindu, an Atheist, a Jain,
A Buddhist and a Baptist and a Jew.
And he knows he shouldn't kill,
And he knows he always will,
Kill you for me my friend and me for you.
And he's fighting for Canada,
He's fighting for France,
He's fighting for the USA,
And he's fighting for the Russians,
And he's fighting for Japan,
And he thinks we'll put an end to war this way.
And he's fighting for Democracy,
He's fighting for the Reds,
He says it's for the peace of all.
He's the one who must decide,
Who's to live and who's to die,
And he never sees the writing on the wall.
But without him,
How would Hitler have condemned him at Dachau?
Without him Caesar would have stood alone,
He's the one who gives his body
As a weapon of the war,
And without him all this killing can't go on.
He's the Universal Soldier and he really is to blame,
His orders come from far away no more,
They come from here and there and you and me,
And brothers can't you see,
This is not the way we put the end to war.
Torture? Listening to Brittney Spears, or eating egg-plant, THAT is torture. If somebody tells me "water-boarding" is torture, and they've done it? I BELIEVE them!!!
Congress is broken. The framers of the Constitution, building on nearly six centuries of parliamentary experience, situated Congress at the heart of the American constitutional system. Representative government was believed to be the purest, and yet workable, means of self-government. For the past twenty-five years, however, Congress has made a joke of that system, as it has trivialized and mocked any meaningful representation in the sense that the makers of the Constitution framed it.Congress, hopelessly ion the thrall of the most powerful, richest CorpoRat interest on the planet, CANNOT act in the interest of the "people" without aggravating the owners and donors who keep the parties in power.
That sense was best captured by Edmund Burke (1729-1797), the great English parliamentarian and statesman, whose work became the lodestar for the rising intellectual conservative movement fifty years ago. Burke was a contemporary of the founding fathers and a keen observer of the American scene. Today, however, he is not in fashion; in particular, when neo-conservatives and neo-liberals alike celebrate the historical expansion and maintenance of the American empire, they ignore Burke’s warning that “great empires and small minds go ill together.”
Burke had much to say about the role of peoples’ representatives. He acknowledged that representatives owed the “strictest union . . . and the most unreserved communication” to their constituents, yet he insisted that representatives possess “independent judgment and enlightened conscience.” A representative must strike a delicate balance, offering constituents “his judgment,” said Burke, while bearing in mind that “he betrays, instead of serving [them], if he sacrifices it to [their] opinion.” Burke recognized it is easy to “run into the perilous extremes of servile compliance or wild popularity.” Instead, the interest of the whole community must be pursued, not some local, individual interest, or a “momentary enthusiasm.”
In The Federalist No. 10, James Madison saw the danger of representatives pandering to “factions,” or groups “actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest adverse to . . . the permanent and aggregate interest of the community.” Burke and Madison alike would be appalled by Congress’s ready acquiescence to executive power.
Congress has been a spectator to President George W. Bush’s Iraq war and to the shameful use of “enhanced interrogation” and other forms of torture which were widely documented during Bush’s presidency. Congressional Democrats roundly criticized the Bush administration for maintaining the prison facilities at Guantanamo. Although Bush’s successor now has made pointed efforts to remove and reject such polices, Congress is once again derelict, as it refuses to take any responsibility for cleaning up after the Bush crew.
That's How It Goes, Everybody KnowsBanfield's sentiment reminded me of Darwin's musing on a similar matter, quoted in the epigraph of Gould's The Mismeasure of Man: "If the misery of the poor be caused not by laws of nature but by our institutions, (then) great is our sin."
By: Bernard Chazelle
Everybody knows. By now everybody knows we're slaughtering women and children in Afghanistan. We even worry about it. No, not worry in the sense, "OMG we're slaughtering women and children! How evil can we be?" Worry in the sense "How can we win that thing if we piss off the natives?" The Times explainsthe trade-off between the short-term gain of eliminating enemy fighters and the larger danger of alienating the general population.
That's Jack the Ripper wondering if bumping off all those prostitutes might not end up hurting his popularity in London. Note how the Times's quote strips our "knowledge" of the slaughter of all morality. It's a chess game, really, with its "gains" and "dangers." In a poignant op-ed today, the Irish writer John Banville wonders what it means "to know."If children were sent to orphanages, industrial schools and reformatories, it must be because they were destined for it, and must belong there. What happened to them within those unscalable walls was no concern of ours. We knew, and did not know. That is our shame today.The rationalization is the same. The shame is not. In fact a whole academic field was created for the specific purpose of "deshaming" our imperial conquests. It's called "International Relations." Read Banville's piece. (For the writing alone, and for the rest, it's worth it.)
That's Jack the Ripper wondering if bumping off all those prostitutes might not end up hurting his popularity in London.I'd kill for an analogy like that...
Glenn Beck: You could call him a douchebag, I guess. But I can't imagine any woman would want him anywhere NEAR her nether parts...
"Limbaugh hasn't had a natural erection since the Nixon Administration; think he's compensating for something? Now, I wouldn't pick on him for any of this stuff, not his blubbiness, not his man-boobs, not his inability to have a natural erection—none of that stuff—to me, off limits until! until! Mr. Limbaugh, you turn that sort of gun on somebody else—once you start doing that, you're fair game, fat boy. Absolutely, you jiggly pile of mess. You're just fair game, and you're going to get it, too."Hell, Rush hasn't SEEN his dick since he was 10. There's also plenty of material in Rush-bo's trips to the Dominican where he's alleged to favor dark, young, native beach-boys.
Bribes, kickbacks, concealing gang rapes, and engaging in human trafficking are among the crimes listed in a new class action lawsuit.Not to mention the electrocution of no fewer than 5 USer troops in faultily-wired shower facilities in Iraq and elsewhere, where it is alleged that over SEVENTY THOUSAND (that's "7," followed by four zeroes: 70,000) buildings were equipped with faulty wiring systems.
The complaint identified some of Halliburton's and KBR's known "misdeeds" in Iraq, including providing troops with untreated, untested water from the Euphrates and delivering ice to troops in a truck that showed signs of its former use as storage for corpses. The complaint concluded, "The myriad crimes and wrongdoings discussed above simply could not have happened if Defendants were doing their jobs. As officers and directors of the Companies, the Defendants were required to ensure that the Companies' internal controls were in place, functioning properly, and sufficiently strong to prevent it from committing wrongful or illegal acts."YNews reports today that
The U.S. Army paid "tens of millions of dollars in bonuses" to KBR despite the fact that the contractor's work put U.S. soldiers at risk, Reuters reported. The Houston-based company, which was part of Halliburton Co. until two years ago, was hired to install electrical work at facilities where U.S. soldiers operate in Iraq. An Army-approved inspector who viewed the company's work said 90 percent of the wiring was done incorrectly and an estimated 70,000 buildings were not up to code. At least three service members have been electrocuted while showering at U.S. facilities in Iraq. Others have been injured or killed in electrical incidents. KBR denies responsibility for the deaths.As long as the Constitution is interpreted to grant corporations the same rights as are enjoyed by "natural" persons, and as long as "natural" people are still subjected to capital punishment in any venue or jurisdiction in the Country, then there should be provisions to "execute" corpoRat enterprises which kill people. End them. Terminate them with extreme prejudice (and the executives responsible). Then cut them up into little pieces.
"QUESTION: If the United States -- if the United States thinks that these people should be held, why shouldn’t they be held in the United States? Why shouldn’t the U.S. take those risks, the attendant risk of holding them, since it’s the one that says they should be held?Perhaps he's hoping that a Cat. 6 hurricane will sweep them all into the sea?
REID: I think there’s a general feeling, as I’ve already said, that the American people, and certainly the Senate, overwhelmingly doesn’t want terrorists to be released in the United States. And I think we’re going to stick with that.
QUESTION: What about in imprisoned in the United States?
REID: If you’re...
REID: If people are -- if terrorists are released in the United States, part of what we don’t want is them be put in prisons in the United States. We don’t want them around the United States."
The First Thing We Do, Let's Kill All the Search EnginesThere is, of course, one other thing they could do: Stop wasting bandwidth by ceasing to put their crapulent shit up on the web. Ya think?
05/19/2009 by Jim Naureckas
Corporate media's arguments against Google are getting stranger and stranger. While previously the Washington Post had accused the search engine of "vacuum[ing] up their content without paying a dime," now the Post has media lawyers Bruce Sanford and Bruce Brown (5/16/09) charging that search engines "crawl the Web and ingest everything in their path."
Can anything be done to stop these terrifying monsters? Yes, the two Bruces say--you could change the law to require search engines to "obtain copyright permissions in order to copy and index websites." Given that the point of this would be to force search engines to "negotiate with copyright holders over the value of their content"--that is, with millions of copyright holders located all over the world--this would likely eliminate all problems associated with search engines...by eliminating search engines. Then I'm sure we'd have a golden age of journalism once again. (Emphasis supplied)
Barack Obama is the perfect front man for the continuation of Empire -- for more murder, more slaughter, more brutality and, yes, more torture.The previous entry in Silber's (unfortunately often) sporadic blog focuses on the story revealing how Boy Scout "Explorer" troops are "training" in Southern California (and presumably elsewhere the threat is as palpable) to capture and control "illegal immigrants...terrorists...and drug-dealers."
But now, there are very few people to oppose him. Thus, the Empire will continue on its bloody, murderous course, knowing full well that most of the opposition it might have encountered has voluntarily, and very often enthusiastically, joined the ranks of collaborators.
When you make excuses for evil of this kind, and when you attempt to "justify" or "explain" it, you make yourself evil. You are a knowing accomplice to slaughter and brutality. Those who decline to pass the necessary judgments about Obama will expend great effort to avoid this conclusion. But some of us see the truth, and we will be sure to remind such people of their own evil and complicity....
'll add this post to my growing list of entries concerning the superlative, life-enhancing lessons taught to America's children by our compassionate, nurturing culture. Here are some earlier essays in the series:Silber is probably the most trenchant, most voluble, most unforgiving critic of the USer political betrayal of USer principles writing today. Check him out (though if you think I'm objectionable, you won't get two sentences into Silber's work...)
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
News Flash: Taliban Waterboards Captured U.S. Soldiers--Claims "Not Torture"
According to reports out of Kabul, the Taliban announced that they have waterboarded three U.S. soldiers taken prisoner. The Taliban commander asserted that waterboarding is not torture and does not violate the Geneva Convention or U.S. law. He assured everyone that a medical officer monitored all waterboarding sessions to insure that no permanent damage was done to the soldiers. In addition, he said they were careful to follow the directions on waterboarding in a SERE training manual they found posted on the internet.
In support of his assertion that waterboarding is not torture, the Taliban commander cited legal analysis produced by the Office of Legal Counsel of the U.S. Department of Justice. He pointed out that the authors of this legal analysis are a respected federal judge on the second highest court in America and a professor at a top American law school. The Taliban commander also referred to the careful legal analysis of a Distinguished Professor of Law who concluded that waterboarding is not torture because U.S. trainers did it to their own troops "hundreds and hundreds of times."
One of these species is critically endangered. The dead one, the argali, or Marco Polo's Sheep. You may take the trophy sun-glasses at your leisure. To avoid spoiling your "head", aim just between the horns.
Endangered Species Day: RostersSee the (cheapy) slide presentation, here.
By Chris Clarke | Posted on May 15, 2009
Because it’s important to name names, to honor as best we can the species brought to the brink due to our actions, here are partial lists — courtesy the US Fish and Wildlife Service — of the plants and animals listed as endangered or threatened under the US Endangered Species Act. Note that these are incomplete lists: the IUCN’s Red List is of necessity more exhaustive, and not all endangered species are known. But it’s a sampling. Each species deserves protection.
The list of plants is here, and the list of animals here.
A note on terminology in the lists: Some species are listed despite being relatively abundant, because they are substantially similar to taxa that are endangered or threatened. This is done to forestall potential enforcement problems so that law enforcement need not carry advanced equipment in the field to distinguish among parts of similar species.
Nearly 100 companies and the federal government are linked to 40 percent of the total sites represented above. One out of two Americans live within 10 miles of a Superfund site.
YOU HAVE BEEN SUCCESSFULLY, IRREMEDIABLY, AND IRREDEEMABLY PROPAGANDIZED, BEYOTCH!!!Unfortunately, it's too late to change their minds...Yeah, that's you and me, covered in--DYING IN--the shit that leaked out...
Power ProblemThe financial press, according to Starkman, want's to blame its readers for being insufficiently attentive. But of course, absent facts, the reader is likely going to be unable to make reasoned judgments, about anything.
The business press did everything but take on the institutions that brought down the financial system
These are grim times for the nation’s financial media. Not only must they witness the unraveling of their own business, they must at the same time fend off charges that they failed to cover adequately their central beat—finance—during the years prior to an implosion that is forcing millions of low-income strivers into undeserved poverty and the entire world into an economic winter. The quotes above give a fair summary of the institutional response of the mainstream business press to the charge that it slept on the job while lenders and Wall Street ran amok. And while the record will show this response is not entirely wrong, one can see how casual business-press readers might have a problem with the idea that final responsibility for failing to stop escalating dangers in the financial system has somehow shifted to them.
Dang, Margaret, we blew it again.
It is understandable that the business press would want to defend its record. But it is equally understandable, I hope, that some readers might want to see some support for these claims. You know the old journalism saying, “If your mother says she loves you,” etc.
For if the institutional response is correct, and all was done that could be done, then journalism has even bigger problems than Google and Craigslist. (Emphasis supplied. W.) In the best case, if this response is to be believed, the financial press faces the problem of irrelevance—all that newsprint and coated paper, those millions of words, the bar graphs, stipple portraits, glossy photos of white guys, the printing presses, delivery trucks, and Yale degrees, is worth about as much as a New Century share.
Lippmann (Walter. W), I think, would understand the problem. Without facts, the public is powerless. With them, well, it can lick Countrywide and Goldman Sachs put together. In his book, Liberty and the News, Lippmann wrote: “Everywhere today men are conscious that somehow they must deal with questions more intricate than any church or school had prepared them to understand. Increasingly, they know they cannot understand them if facts are not quickly and steadily available.” Without them, he says, there can be no liberty.
He was talking about a crude and corrupt press that manipulated public opinion around World War I. We’re dealing with a financial press that is neither of those things, but is nonetheless a battered and buffeted institution that in the last decade saw its fortunes and status plummet as the institutions it covered ruled the earth and bent the government. The press, I believe, began to suffer from a form of Stockholm Syndrome. Now, it is in the awkward position of telling its readers they were insufficiently attentive to what it wrote.
Seems to me that most of the "business press" is/was so much in the "pocket"/thrall of the people and institutions they were supposed to "cover," and that mere stenography and/or "home-town boosterism" had/has become so common-place that the "press" didn't (want to) recognize there was a problem. The 'financial press' regarded itself very much as though they were cheerleaders for the business they were covering (and getting rich off of).This is especially unlikely since the people whom the 'ethical' financial journalist should be covering and criticizing are employed by the people whom they are alleged to be 'covering.' We then recall Upton Sinclair's distant admonition: "It is difficult for a man to see that which his job depends on his being blind to..."
The TV 'journalists' especially, it seems to me, were as/more interested in getting the next hot stock tip from their inside sources than they were in seeing there were dead/rotting 'trees' in that forest they were supposed to be investigating for the benefit /information of their readers/viewers.
I was in the news biz once, and I remember when "covering" a beat meant reporting things that were inconvenient for the people one was covering. It'd be nice if that ethos were somehow to be recovered, but I am not optimistic .
I’ve posted several items over the past month on how Congressman John Murtha & friends have been supporting a controversial biodefense facility that would develop and manufacture “vaccines and other medical countermeasures.” When I first started looking into the project, I called all the key players — Murtha; the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), which donates heavily to the congressman; a lobby shop and private investment firm, both in which Murtha’s good friend Jim Ervin has a stake — but none of them provided much information.Well, it all for a good cause, and it keeps Murtha's political toadies and liskcpittles off the streets, so that's something, I guess...
Ervin failed to return phone calls, a lobbyist at his firm said the proposal was “in its infancy” and had little more to add, and the congressman’s office deferred questions to UPMC. The latter did reply to some questions, after several weeks, but was relatively tight-lipped. The spokesman there also said the program was only in its earliest stages, and said no decision had been made about where the facility would be built. I had been told by sources that it would be located in Murtha’s district.
But it turns out the facility is further along than any of these people cared to admit. And now another key player has been identified, new Democratic Senator Arlen Specter:UPMC wants to build a $830 million vaccine manufacturing facility, of which about $580 million would come from the Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Defense, which Specter said April 16 that he would help try to secure.Not only is there a budget for the project, which was also denied by the people I spoke with, but there’s a proposed location as well. The story says the facility would be built in western Pennsylvania, a stretch of territory that includes(WAIT FOR IT...W Murtha’s district.
Rush Limbaugh Comes Right Out and Says ItDamned as much for a goat as for a ram! Obama's in the position I predicted early on last year: Whether or not he wants it, as an avatar for the aspirations and grievances of the 'minority' whose racial identity he shares, Obama would be seen and portrayed by his detractors--60 million of them voted against him--as being the 'tool' of the marginalized folks with whose interests his skin color and associated "morphological" characteristics associates him whether he likes it or not. On evidence, he seemingly does NOT like it; he ran AWAY from blackness and racialism, as much as out-right rejecting any but an anonymous, generic sympathy for the plight of blacks, or his ability/desire to asist them in Office.
05/13/2009 by Jim Naureckas
Political Animal's Steve Benen (5/12/09) notes a recent Rush Limbaugh broadcast (5/11/09) that makes the racist subtext of the right's critique of Barack Obama virtually explicit:The [economic] deterioration reflects lower tax revenues and higher costs for bank failures, unemployment benefits and food stamps. But in the Oval Office of the White House none of this is a problem. This is the objective. The objective is unemployment. The objective is more food stamp benefits. The objective is more unemployment benefits. The objective is an expanding welfare state. And the objective is to take the nation's wealth and return to it to the nation's, quote, "rightful owners." Think reparations. Think forced reparations here if you want to understand what actually is going on.So Limbaugh thinks Obama is intentionally creating unemployment in order to boost food stamps, unemployment and welfare as a form of "forced reparations"; he's wrecking the economy, in other words, in order to benefit black people. If Limbaugh is the voice of opposition to Obama, no wonder that opposition is so concentrated in the states of the old Confederacy.
Nancy Pelosi is no Dick Cheney, nor a George W. Bush. She was neither the author of a systematic policy of torture nor has she been, like Cheney and most top Republicans in Congress, an enduring apologist for its practice. It is a nonsensical distraction to place her failure to speak out courageously as a critic of the Bush policies on the same level as those who engineered one of the most shameful debacles in U.S. history.Good questions, nest paw? If the bosses who ordered the crimes are immune, how can anyone, in any conscience, punish the enlisted folks, the grunts who were just following orders in a battle zone, for following orders from the consequences of which the Brass Hats--including Pelosi, Bush, Reid, Cheney, Frist, DeLay and others--were immune? If the grunts are in jail, why are their leaders not in the dock?
But what she, and anyone else who went along with this evil, as lackadaisically as she now claims, should be confronted with are the serious implications of their passive acquiescence. Why did she not speak up, or if it were a matter of a lack of reliable information, demand an accounting from the executive branch, as befits a leader of the loyal opposition in Congress?
If the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, and later House Democratic leader, lacked the authority to publicly question a policy of torture, then how can we condemn, indeed imprison, ordinary soldiers who thought it their duty to follow orders?
This goes way beyond garnering profits for agriculture conglomerates such as Monsanto. It is about disrupting the natural order of life -- whether plant or animal. And, for those orchestrating this havoc, it is about control. As Henry Kissinger once said matter-of-factly, "If you control the oil you control the country; if you control food, you control the population." Kissinger has long been obsessed with two things -- depopulating the world and establishing a New World Order.Here's Sheila's whole piece, which is long and thoughtful and well worth your attention.
What better way to control the food than to ban seed saving -- what better weapon is there to use against starving populations than food? The answer is laid out in detail in F. William Engdahl's November 2007 critical book about genetic manipulation, "Seeds of Destruction." Engdahl is no conspiracy theorist. He is a leading researcher as well as an economist and an associate and regular contributor for the Centre for Research on Globalization.
In his extensive three-part review of "Seeds," investigative journalist Stephen Lendman reveals "... the diabolical story of how Washington and four Anglo-American agribusiness giants plan world domination by patenting life forms to gain worldwide control of our food supply and why that prospect is chilling."
Lendman reminds us that Kissinger has been both at the forefront and behind the scenes since the 1960s when, as Engdahl wrote, "the Rockefellers were at the power center of the US establishment (and) Secretary of State Henry Kissinger (was) their hand-picked protege." Kissinger was there as Nixon's Secretary of State in 1973 when the food crisis hit and, as Engdahl said, he decided US agricultural policy was "too important to be left in the hands of the Agricultural Department so he took control of it himself." Even back then, Kissinger's goal was to go global and seize control of the agricultural food market. Kissinger's "food diplomacy" was to use food to "reward friends and punish enemies."
Lendman writes, "Food is power. When used to cull the population, it's a weapon of mass destruction." He says "One way or another, the Rockefeller Foundation aims to reduce population through human reproduction by spreading GMO seeds." And the "world's number one" in patenting seeds is Monsanto. He explains...Like it or not, they're advancing their agenda, and a 2004 Rockefeller Foundation report shows it. GM crop production achieved nine consecutive double digit year increases since 1996. More than eight million farmers in 17 countries now plant them, over 90% in developing nations. Far and away, the US is the world's leader "with aggressive Government promotion, absence of labeling, and the domination of US farm production." Here, "genetically engineered crops (have) essentially taken over the American food chain." In 2004, over 85% of soybeans were genetically modified, 45% of corn, and since animal feed is mainly from these crops "the entire meat production of the nation (and exports) has been fed on genetically modified animal feed." What animals eat, so do humans.
According to Engdahl, agribusiness giants, aided by the Rockefeller Foundation, the US government and the World Trade Organization (WTO) are progressing relentlessly toward the second pillar of Kissinger's end game -- controlling food to control (and expunge) populations of lesser nations. In December 2007, Engdahl sounded the alarm about yet another seed venture (adventure?), "Doomsday Seed Vault in the Arctic," a steel-reinforced concrete seed bank built deep inside a mountain on the remote Norwegian island of Spitsbergen. This "program" is funded by the Rockefellers, by such seed giants as Syngenta and Monsanto -- and by Microsoft founder Bill Gates, who knows a bit about monopoly.
We desperately need a new way of thinking, a new mind-set. The thinking that got us into this bind will not get us out. When Elizabeth Kolbert, a writer for the New Yorker, asked energy guru Amory Lovins about thinking outside the box, Lovins responded: "There is no box."Not even Brown, however dire his forecasts, approves the plans for the mega-ag (Monsanto/ConAgra/ADM) plans for colonizing the world with frankenseed and frankenfood.
There is no box. That is the mind-set we need if civilization is to survive.
It's not news that Lester Brown is warning about our unsustainable approach to feeding the planet. But it is news that Scientific American has run a major article by him on how "The biggest threat to global stability is the potential for food crises in poor countries to cause government collapse."
Brown's "Key Concepts":* Food scarcity and the resulting higher food prices are pushing poor countries into chaos.
* Such "failed states" can export disease, terrorism, illicit drugs, weapons and refugees.
* Water shortages, soil losses and rising temperatures from global warming are placing severe limits on food production.
* Without massive and rapid intervention to address these three environmental factors, the author argues, a series of government collapses could threaten the world order.
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