Saturday, November 10, 2007

7 Countries Considering Abandoning the US Dollar (and what it means)

By Jessica Hupp

It’s no secret that the dollar is on a downward spiral. Its value is dropping, and the Fed isn’t doing a whole lot to change that. As a result, a number of countries are considering a shift away from the dollar to preserve their assets. These are seven of the countries currently considering a move from the dollar, and how they’ll have an effect on its value and the US economy.

  1. Saudi Arabia: The Telegraph reports that for the first time, Saudi Arabia has refused to cut interest rates along with the US Federal Reserve. This is seen as a signal that a break from the dollar currency peg is imminent. The kingdom is taking “appropriate measures” to protect itself from letting the dollar cause problems for their own economy. They’re concerned about the threat of inflation and don’t want to deal with “recessionary conditions” in the US. Hans Redeker of BNP Paribas believes this creates a “very dangerous situation for the dollar,” as Saudi Arabia alone has management of $800 billion. Experts fear that a break from the dollar in Saudi Arabia could set off a “stampede” from the dollar in the Middle East, a region that manages $3,500 billion.
  2. South Korea: In 2005, Korea announced its intention to shift its investments to currencies of countries other than the US. Although they’re simply making plans to diversify for the future, that doesn’t mean a large dollar drop isn’t in the works. There are whispers that the Bank of Korea is planning on selling $1 billion US bonds in the near future, after a $100 million sale this past August.
  3. China: After already dropping the dollar peg in 2005, China has more trouble up its sleeve. Currently, China is threatening a “nuclear option” of huge dollar liquidation in response to possible trade sanctions intended to force a yuan revaluation. Although China “doesn’t want any undesirable phenomenon in the global financial order,” their large sum of US dollars does serve as a “bargaining chip.” As we’ve noted in the past, China has the power to take the wind out of the dollar.
  4. Venezuela: Venezuela holds little loyalty to the dollar. In fact, they’ve shown overt disapproval, choosing to establish barter deals for oil. These barter deals, established under Hugo Chavez, allow Venezuela to trade oil with 12 Latin American countries and Cuba without using the dollar, shorting the US its usual subsidy. Chavez is not shy about this decision, and has publicly encouraged others to adopt similar arrangements. In 2000, Chavez recommended to OPEC that they “take advantage of high-tech electronic barter and bi-lateral exchanges of its oil with its developing country customers,” or in other words, stop using the dollar, or even the euro, for oil transactions. In September, Chavez instructed Venezuela’s state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela SA to change its dollar investments to euros and other currencies in order to mitigate risk.
  5. Sudan: Sudan is, once again, planning to convert its dollar holdings to the euro and other currencies. Additionally, they’ve recommended to commercial banks, government departments, and private businesses to do the same. In 1997, the Central Bank of Sudan made a similar recommendation in reaction to US sactions from former President Clinton, but the implementation failed. This time around, 31 Sudanese companies have become subject to sanctions, preventing them from doing trade or financial transactions with the US. Officially, the sanctions are reported to have little effect, but there are indications that the economy is suffering due to these restrictions. A decision to move Sudan away from the dollar is intended to allow the country to work around these sanctions as well as any implemented in the future. However, a Khartoum committee recently concluded that proposals for a reduced dependence on the dollar are “not feasible.” Regardless, it is clear that Sudan’s intent is to attempt a break from the dollar in the future.
  6. Iran: Iran is perhaps the most likely candidate for an imminent abandonment of the dollar. Recently, Iran requested that its shipments to Japan be traded for yen instead of dollars. Further, Iran has plans in the works to create an open commodity exchange called the Iran Oil Bourse. This exchange would make it possible to trade oil and gas in non-dollar currencies, the euro in particular. Athough the oil bourse has missed at least three of its announced opening dates, it serves to make clear Iran’s intentions for the dollar. As of October 2007, Iran receives non-dollar currencies for 85% of its oil exports, and has plans to move the remaining 15% to currencies like the United Arab Emirates dirham.
  7. Russia: Iran is not alone in its desire to establish an alternative to trading oil and other commodities in dollars. In 2006, Russian President Vladmir Putin expressed interest in establishing a Russian stock exchange which would allow “oil, gas, and other goods to be paid for in Roubles.” Russia’s intentions are no secret–in the past, they’ve made it clear that they’re wary of holding too many dollar reserves. In 2004, Russian central bank First Deputy Chairmain Alexei Ulyukayev remarked, “Most of our reserves are in dollars, and that’s a cause for concern.” He went on to explain that, after considering the dollar’s rate against the euro, Russia is “discussing the possibility of changing the reserve structure.” Then in 2005, Russia put an end to its dollar peg, opting instead to move towards a euro alignment. They’ve discussed pricing oil in euros, a move that could provide a large shift away from the dollar and towards the euro, as Russia is the world’s second-largest oil exporter.

What does this all mean?

Countries are growing weary of losing money on the falling dollar. Many of them want to protect their financial interests, and a number of them want to end the US oversight that comes with using the dollar. Although it’s not clear how many of these countries will actually follow through on an abandonment of the dollar, it is clear that its status as a world currency is in trouble.

Obviously, an abandonment of the dollar is bad news for the currency. Simply put, as demand lessens, its value drops. Additionally, the revenue generated from the use of the dollar will be sorely missed if it’s lost. The dollar’s status as a cheaply-produced US export is a vital part of our economy. Losing this status could rock the financial lives of both Americans and the worldwide economy.

 
~ Link ~
 
 

Is it in us?

Chemical Contamination in Our Bodies

Toxic chemicals from everyday products contaminate the bodies of every person in this country. Shower curtains, water bottles, baby bottles, toys, shampoo, cosmetics, couch cushions, computers, and hundreds of other common products that ordinary people use every day contain toxic chemical ingredients that leach out of the products and into our bodies.

Thirty-five Americans from seven states participated in a national biomonitoringproject in the spring of 2007. This is the broadest non-governmental project of its kind to measure toxic chemicals in the bodies of average Americans.

Each participant was tested for contamination by twenty toxic chemicals from three chemical families: phthalates (THA-lates), bisphenol A, and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs).

The project found toxic chemicals in every person tested.

  • All 35 participants had at least 7 of the 20 chemicals in their bodies.
  • All 33 participants who contributed urine samples had phthalates in their bodies.
  • All 33 participants who contributed urine samples had bisphenol A in their urine.
  • All 35 participants had six types of PBDEs in their bodies, and all but one had decaBDE.

“I expected that because I’m a vegetarian and have a healthy lifestyle that the levels in my body would be lower. Now that I see my results, I’m wondering if the water bottle on my bike, or other things I thought were safe, are actually causing harm.”

-Reverend Jim Antal, Age 57, Massachusetts

Human and animal studies link the three families of chemicals detected in this project to birth defects, asthma, cancer, learning disabilities, and other health impacts. For some toxic chemicals, the levels found in people are near or above levels linked to health impacts in laboratory animals. Consider that scientists estimate that 95% of Americans are contaminated with bisphenol A at levels thought to cause harm in laboratory animals.

The participants experienced a range of feelings and emotions after learning their bodies were contaminated with toxic chemicals including shock, anger and passion to act for change. Here’s just a sampling of participant reactions:

“While it is disturbing to know the level of these unwanted chemicals in my body, I believe it is important to have this information and use it to demand change.”

— Elaine Nekritz, age 49, Illinois

“I feel lucky that I was able to participate in an important project like this. Most kids my age don’t get to do something that could help so many people.”

— Bryan Brown, age 12 (the youngest participant), Michigan

“The project created a new perspective for me regarding the need for action—if not by the federal government, then by the state.”

— David Koon, age 60, New York

“As a health professional and a legislator, this is empowering information for me and I hope it galvanizes change.”

— Toni N. Harp, age 60, Connecticut

“What other contaminants might be in our systems that we don’t know about?”

— Diane Benson, age 52, Alaska

 

We Can Fix Our Broken Chemical Safety System

Our nation’s chemical safety system has failed. Three-quarters of the 80,000 chemicals in commerce today have not been tested for safety.We know next to nothing about how the interactions of multiple chemicals may affect our health. Manufacturers of products containing known toxics are not even required to list those contents on the label.

The problem is a Jurassic-era law regulating space-age chemicals. The federal Toxic Substances Control Act was enacted in 1976 and has not been updated to reflect recent research, including evidence that even tiny doses of toxic chemicals may cause harm. U.S. standards are so weak that even well-known toxic hazards, like asbestos and lead, are not banned from commerce.

“With rising numbers of children with developmental and neurological problems, we simply shouldn’t continue to allow chemicals that are toxic to the brain to be used in products.”

-Shelley Madore, age 45, Minnesota

 

Common Sense Solutions

No one can shop, eat or exercise his or her way to a body free from toxic chemicals. We shouldn’t be exposed to unnecessary, dangerous chemicals as we go about our daily routines. We can improve our health and the health of our communities by adopting these common sense policies, which are already advancing at the state and federal levels:

  • Phase-out the most harmful chemicals and switch to safer alternatives;
  • Require that all chemicals are screened for safety and that toxicity data and product ingredients be made publicly available;
  • Promote the development of safer alternatives and environmentally friendly “green” technologies;
  • Protect workers and communities where toxic chemicals are produced, used, and disposed.

Americans need a new, comprehensive federal policy to raise the standards governing chemical use in society. Some states are taking the lead to create new solutions that could be applied nationally. To learn more about what is happening in your state or in Congress, visit www.IsItInUs.org.

First Espresso Book Machine Installed and Demonstrated

"...An ATM for books that prints and binds any title on the spot within minutes from a digital file.

New York, NY (PRWEB) June 21, 2007 -- The first Espresso Book Machine™ (“the EBM”) was installed and demonstrated today at the New York Public Library’s Science, Industry, and Business Library (SIBL). The patented automatic book making machine will revolutionize publishing by printing and delivering physical books within minutes. The EBM is a product of On Demand Books, LLC (“ODB” - www.ondemandbooks.com), the company founded by legendary publishing executive Jason Epstein and business partner Dane Neller, who joined SIBL’s Kristin McDonough for a private event there to speak about the EBM’s potential impact on the future of reading and publishing.

[ ... ]

The EBM, now available for sale to libraries and retailers, can potentially allow readers anywhere to obtain within minutes, almost any book title in any language, whether or not the book is in print. The EBM’s proprietary software transmits a digital file to the book machine, which automatically prints, binds, and trims the reader’s selection within minutes as a single, library-quality, paperback book, indistinguishable from the factory-made title.

Unlike existing print on demand technology, EBM’s are fully integrated, automatic machines that require minimal human intervention. They do not require a factory setting and are small enough to fit in a retail store or small library room. While traditional factory based print on demand machines usually cost over $1,000,000 per unit, the EBM is priced to be affordable for retailers and libraries.

[ ... ]

Additional EBM’s will be installed this fall at the New Orleans Public Library, the University of Alberta (Canada) campus bookstore, the Northshire Bookstore in Manchester, Vermont, and at the Open Content Alliance in San Francisco. Beta versions of the EBM are already in operation at the World Bank Infoshop in Washington, DC and the Bibliotheca Alexandrina (The Library of Alexandria, Egypt). National book retailers and hotel chains are among the companies in talks with ODB about ordering EBM’s in quantity..."

Tibetan musician shares spiritual teachings

Lying in a hospital bed in India last winter after a deadly car crash, Tibetan composer Nawang Khechog requested a pillow and began to chant.

Hollywood actor Richard Gere, his friend, had paid for a private medical flight to bring the injured former monk to New Delhi after a truck crashed into Khechog's taxi in eastern India, killing the Grammy-nominated composer's niece and injuring his son.

"The hospital would not give me any painkiller," said Khechog, who suffered a brain injury. "I put the pillow behind me, and I sat up straight. I start to meditate."

Khechog, 53, who is scheduled to perform a concert tonight at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in Lenox, said he summoned the healing power of Tibetan medicine.

"You take all suffering of sentient beings upon yourself," he said in his first US interview since the Feb. 17 accident. "You visualize that and then you give out all suffering. I became like someone else. No pain. Just sitting there very quiet and still."

Khechog has fully recovered and returned to teaching workshops on nurturing compassion and kindness. His teachings, combined with his music for meditation, are based on bedrocks of Tibetan Buddhism, though Khechog said his teachings are not religious.

"It's a spiritual teaching, a universal tool," he said. "Anybody can utilize it."

This weekend he is holding a three-day course titled "Awakening Kindness to Create a Culture of Love" at Kripalu with author Sharon Salzberg, cofounder of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre.

According to Salzberg and Khechog, compassion and kindness are deceptively simple concepts, yet essential to achieve peace and happiness.

"Love and compassion is the ultimate answer to violence, war, and hatred, whether on an individual level, or community level, or international level," said Khechog, whose family escaped into the mountains when China invaded Tibet in 1959.

Khechog said that humans use only 5 to 10 percent of their ability to experience love and compassion.

"I feel we really should invest money to research is there any tool or way to make people more loving and compassionate," he said.

Khechog teaches his students through a combination of meditation, walking, and circle dance.

"You don't have to be Buddhist, or Christian or Muslim or Hindu or anything," he said. "It is a human value. You can utilize these tools to become more loving toward yourself and others."

Human kindness is like butter in whole milk, he said. "In the milk, there is a butter. But we need to churn it to manifest the butter. In the same way in our heart and mind there is love and compassion. We need to churn it."

Khechog firmly believes that kindness is contagious, spreading from individuals to their families, from families to communities, and eventually from nation to nation.

In September, the world watched the Burmese military brutalizing hundreds of Buddhist monks engaged in peaceful protest. In October, Chinese police beat Tibetan monks as they whitewashed a monastery in honor of the Dalai Lama. International focus on those events and on the plight of Tibetans will eventually bring change, Khechog said.

"There will be a time, not too long, that something good is coming in Burma," said Khechog, who was a monk for 11 years. "The awareness of what's happening there is really growing more."

He lived in the Himalayas for several years studying under Gen Yeshe Topden, a hermit who also has taught Gere. It was Gere who encouraged Khechog to move to America. Khechog now lives in Boulder, Colo., with his second wife, Tsering Khechog, 72.

Nawang Khechog's music, which was used in the soundtrack for the movie "Seven Years in Tibet" starring Brad Pitt, reportedly comforts prodemocracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who remains under house arrest in Rangoon 17 years after Burma's military junta prevented her from taking her post as elected prime minister.

South Korean filmmakers recently finished filming Khechog's performances and workshops in India, San Francisco, and Paris for a documentary about his life slated to air next year in the United States via satellite.

Khechog said he experienced one of the most moving experiences of his life last month when he played his flute for Congress and President Bush as they gave the United States Congressional Gold Medal to the Dalai Lama.

"They did not say anything bad to China . . . but they all said, 'Look, this man of universal peace, he's not asking for Tibetan independence. He's asking for autonomy, so Tibet can preserve its religious tradition and culture.' It was so powerful to see the center of that power in that rotunda, everyone speaking with one voice," he said.

~ Link ~

Poll: Bullsh*t Is Most Important Issue For 2008 Voters

Humor from The Onion:


Poll: Bullshit Is Most Important Issue For 2008 Voters

"No standing in lines, no hassle with crowds, just a first class experience"

Rapture Rescue 911
Disaster Response for the Chosen
By Naomi Klein

I used to worry that the United States was in the grip of extremists who sincerely believed that the Apocalypse was coming and that they and their friends would be airlifted to heavenly safety. I have since reconsidered. The country is indeed in the grip of extremists who are determined to act out the biblical climax-the saving of the chosen and the burning of the masses - but without any divine intervention. Heaven can wait. Thanks to the booming business of privatized disaster services, we're getting the Rapture right here on earth.

Just look at what is happening in Southern California. Even as wildfires devoured whole swaths of the region, some homes in the heart of the inferno were left intact, as if saved by a higher power. But it wasn't the hand of God; in several cases it was the handiwork of Firebreak Spray Systems. Firebreak is a special service offered to customers of insurance giant American International Group (AIG) - but only if they happen to live in the wealthiest ZIP codes in the country. Members of the company's Private Client Group pay an average of $19,000 to have their homes sprayed with fire retardant. During the wildfires, the "mobile units" - racing around in red firetrucks - even extinguished fires for their clients.

One customer described a scene of modern-day Revelation. "Just picture it. Here you are in that raging wildfire. Smoke everywhere. Flames everywhere. Plumes of smoke coming up over the hills," he told the Los Angeles Times. "Here's a couple guys showing up in what looks like a firetruck who are experts trained in fighting wildfire and they're there specifically to protect your home."

And your home alone. "There were a few instances," one of the private firefighters told Bloomberg News, "where we were spraying and the neighbor's house went up like a candle." With public fire departments cut to the bone, gone are the days of Rapid Response, when everyone was entitled to equal protection. Now, increasingly intense natural disasters will be met with the new model: Rapture Response.

During last year's hurricane season, Florida homeowners were offered similarly high-priced salvation by HelpJet, a travel agency launched with promises to turn "a hurricane evacuation into a jet-setter vacation." For an annual fee, a company concierge takes care of everything: transport to the air terminal, luxurious travel, bookings at five-star resorts. Most of all, HelpJet is an escape hatch from the kind of government failure on display during Katrina. "No standing in lines, no hassle with crowds, just a first class experience."

HelpJet is about to get some serious competition from some much larger players. In northern Michigan, during the same week that the California fires raged, the rural community of Pellston was in the grip of an intense public debate. The village is about to become the headquarters for the first fully privatized national disaster response center. The plan is the brainchild of Sovereign Deed, a little-known start-up with links to the mercenary firm Triple Canopy. Like HelpJet, Sovereign Deed works on a "country-club type membership fee," according to the company's vice president, retired Brig. Gen. Richard Mills. In exchange for a one-time fee of $50,000 followed by annual dues of $15,000, members receive "comprehensive catastrophe response services" should their city be hit by a manmade disaster that can "cause severe threats to public health and/or well-being" (read: a terrorist attack), a disease outbreak or a natural disaster. Basic membership includes access to medicine, water and food, while those who pay for "premium tiered services" will be eligible for VIP rescue missions.

Like so many private disaster companies, Sovereign Deed is selling escape from climate change and the failed state - by touting the security clearance and connections its executives amassed while working for that same state. So Mills, speaking recently in Pellston, explained, "The reality of FEMA is that it has no infrastructure, and a lot of our National Guard is elsewhere." Sovereign Deed, on the other hand, claims to have "direct access and special arrangements with several national and international information centers. These proprietary arrangements allow our Emergency Operations Center to...give our Members that critical head start in times of crisis." In this secular version of the Rapture, God's hand is unnecessary. Not when you have retired ex-CIA agents and ex-Special Forces lifting the chosen to safety - no need to pray, just pay. And who needs a celestial New Jerusalem when you can have Pellston, with its flexible local politicians and its surprisingly modern regional airport?

Sovereign Deed could soon find itself competing with Blackwater USA, whose CEO, Erik Prince, wrote recently of his plans to offer "full spectrum" services, including humanitarian aid in disasters. When fires broke out in San Diego County, near the proposed site of the controversial Blackwater West base, the company immediately seized the opportunity to make its case. Blackwater could have been the "tactical operation center for East County fires," said company vice president Brian Bonfiglio. "Can you imagine how much of a benefit it would be if we were operational now?" To show off its capacity, Blackwater has been distributing badly needed food and blankets to people of Potrero, California. "This is something we've always done," Bonfiglio said. "This is what we do." Actually, what Blackwater does, as Iraqis have painfully learned, is not protect entire communities or countries but "protect the principal" - the principal being whoever has paid Blackwater for its guns and gear.

The same pay-to-be-saved logic governs this entire new sector of country club disaster management. There is, of course, another principle that could guide our collective responses in a disaster-prone world: the simple conviction that every life is of equal value.

For anyone out there who still believes in that wild idea, the time has urgently arrived to protect the principle.
(c) 2007 Naomi Klein is the author of,
"The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism."

http://www.issuesandalibis.org/

GE organisms and safety - Who do you trust?

'Genetically Engineered Organisms, Are They Safe?'

Leading experts representing both sides of the issue shed light on the controversy

By Léo Azambuja

The presence of Genetically Engineered (GE) crops on Molokai has been a controversial topic for some time. Earlier this year Monsanto, the leading GE company worldwide, expanded its operations on Molokai to include 1,650 acres, raising concerns amongst those who believe GE farming might irreversibly affect the environment. But there are also those who believe GE crops are beneficial and do not pose environmental or health threats.

The Molokai Dispatch has engaged leading scientists and professionals in health and agricultural fields to weigh in on the GE farming issues which could affect Molokai. To be fair, a set of six questions was sent to opposite sides of the opinion field. Here, we present the first two sets of questions, and their respective answers. In the next issue, the Dispatch will publish the remaining three sets of questions.

Challenging the benefits of GE crops are: Bill Freese, a Science Policy Analyst at the Center for Food Service in Washington D.C.; and Dr. Lorrin Pang, who works for the Hawaii State Department of Health as a Maui District officer.

Representing the defense of GE crops are: Harold Keyser, PhD, a Maui County Administrator for the College of Tropical Agriculture & Human Resources at the University of Hawaii; and Sally Irwin, a PhD in genetics, who is an associate professor at Maui Community College.

Please be aware that the professionals participating in this forum do not, in any way, represent the views of their respective employers or subordinates.

 

Is there available scientific evidence suggesting or proving that GE farming could adversely affect the surrounding environment?

Harold Keyser, Ph.D.:

The short answer is clearly no. In fact, just the opposite has been found. Large scale scientific studies with different biotech crops have shown that their use can significantly reduce the amount of pesticide that farmers use compared to non-biotech crops; well documented in the scientific literature are reports showing 40% reduction over 3 years in the United Kingdom, reduction of 46 million pounds in the US in a single year, and 80% less pesticide use on rice over a two year period in China.

Improved soil conservation is another environmental benefit from the adoption of biotech crops. Grower surveys and expert polls strongly indicate that the adoption of herbicide-resistant crops correlated positively with increase in no-till acreage since 1996, the year when herbicide-resistant crops were first planted on a commercial scale.

No-till and minimum tillage practices enhance soil quality through reduction in loss of soil organic matter, reduced loss of CO2 (a greenhouse gas), reduced soil erosion, and increased water infiltration. In 2006, 16 million acres of corn, and 33 million acres of soybean in the US (representing 20% and 44%, respectively, of the total crop) were planted by no-till.

There is a belief among some opponents of genetic engineering that the new biotech crops might cross-pollinate with related (genetically compatible) weeds, possibly resulting in “superweeds” that become more difficult to control. One concern is that pollen transfer from glyphosate-resistant crops to related weeds can confer resistance to glyphosate. While the chance of this happening, though extremely small, is not inconceivable, there are other classes of herbicides which could be used to control such a plant.

In Hawaii, the main biotech crops are papaya and corn. Neither has led to development of “superweeds;” indeed, the nearest relative for corn to successfully transfer pollen to is in Mexico.

In assessing the evidence on risks versus benefits to the environment of GE farming, the benefits are clear and the risks, so far, remain theoretical.

Dr. Lorrin Pang:

We do know of contamination and recall of our food supply (for example Starlink corn) with GE products not intended for human consumption. Last year US commercial rice (long grain) was found to be contaminated with unapproved experimental GE rice, which was planted under “restricted” conditions from 1998-2001, resulting in a massive, expensive recall and ongoing litigation.

There are laboratory studies which show that the GE mutations can be transferred from GE plants to soil microbes. We are learning that microbes (especially viruses) are especially efficient at transferring genes (including GE mutations) among the different species of plants that it infects.

Finally, there are reports of “superweeds” which cannot be killed by use of Roundup and require more potent, toxic herbicides. In the field of medicine we see that germs become resistant when antibiotics are overused and abused. The same is true in the field of insects and insecticides. It surely occurs for plants and herbicides. But the difference with GE Round-Up Ready plants is that they are given the mutations to resist Round-Up. Do superweeds make resistance on their own do they simply “steal” the protective gene from the GE crops?

In medicine we have seen how easy it is to spread and share genes. As we observe the occurrence of “theoretically impossible events”, we should be humbled by how little we know or can predict with our current level of genomic knowledge in a single organism, let alone in ecology.

Bill Freese:

Four of every 5 acres of GE crops worldwide are herbicide-tolerant, which allows farmers to indiscriminately spray a chemical weedkiller “over-the-top” of the crop to kill nearby weeds. The vast majority are Monsanto’s Roundup Ready varieties, resistant to Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide (aka glyphosate).

Herbicide-tolerant crops encourage large-scale, chemical-intensive farming. Glyphosate use has climbed ten-fold since the first Roundup Ready crop was introduced in 1995. USDA data show increased use of other nasty weedkillers, too, like atrazine and 2,4-D (a component of the infamous Agent Orange).

Increased chemical use has fostered an epidemic of herbicide-resistant weeds, just as overuse of antibiotics spawns resistant bacteria. Resistant horseweed infests over 1.5 million acres in Tennessee, and resistant pigweed in Georgia survives 12 times the normal dose of glyphosate. Many farmers now plow to remove resistant weeds, increasing soil erosion.

GE crops also reduce biodiversity. A 2003 study by the British government found lower populations of bees and butterflies in test plots of GE beets and canola. Commercial-scale plantings would threaten the survival of birds by reducing the weed seeds they feed on. Roundup is toxic to some amphibians, and may be implicated in declining frog populations. Recent research shows that the toxin produced in GE corn may harm aquatic food webs.

 

Is GE produce required to carry identifying labels? Is there any scientific evidence suggesting or proving that GE produce could adversely affect humans? What is your stance on the current level of government regulation of the GE industry?

Dr. Lorrin Pang:

The FDA once ruled that no studies are needed because the GE foods are “equivalent” to non-GE foods. This is an opinion and not data based.

The FDA opinion goes against that of the National Academy of Science (NAS) which provides a graph showing that GE foods have a higher risk of unintended health effects. There is a caveat by the NAS that unintended health effects are not necessarily “bad” – but if I was in the best of health I would not want to risk new unintended effects

Sometimes the FDA gives a “grandfather clause” that GE foods have been used for decades and so they probably are safe. Long term exposures to new products require long term studies for chronic toxicities – to include cancer. Think of the decades it took us to figure out smoking caused cancers.

Finally, like products which MIGHT have long term, cumulative, irreversible health effects (say cancer) we especially need to follow the precautionary principle. This principle requires that commercial products have their risks studied prior to marketing. Risks do not have to be zero but must be known and the public informed as part of labeling. If the risks are truly zero (as verified under large, long term, post marketing studies) I would like to see the data and then MIGHT consider removing labeling and warnings.

Sally V. Irwin Ph.D.:

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has a labeling policy that requires biotech foods to be labeled if the product is significantly changed nutritionally or uses material from a potential allergen. In other words, if a biotech product is nutritionally the same as a non-biotech product, there is no requirement for labels. The American Medical Association Council on Scientific Affairs supported this policy.

However, if a biotech food product introduces a protein from a source that commonly poses an allergy risk, then it must be labeled under the current FDA labeling policy. Today, the majority of biotech products in the marketplace are not labeled as such since they are nutritionally equivalent and are not derived from known allergens.

What many people don’t understand is that all the food we eat are constantly changing genetically, sometimes intentionally by breeding and selection techniques, chemical or irradiation treatments to cause mutagenesis, spontaneously through mutation or insertion of genes from other organisms (i.e. viruses), or through bioengineering techniques. The only food that is being tested and regulated for ill effects due to genetic changes is the bioengineered food.

To date there has not been one documented case where a bioengineered food has caused a health problem in humans.

Scientists around the world have reached a remarkable degree of agreement that biotech-derived foods are safe to eat. In fact, some international food safety organizations have concluded that because of the strict regulatory oversight of biotech foods, they are probably even safer than conventional plants and foods

Bill Freese:

The health risks of genetic engineering arise from the new compound(s) intentionally introduced into the crop, and the unpredictable effects of genetic engineering itself.

GE corn with “built-in” insecticides was grown on 45 million acres this year in the U.S., and poses the risk of food allergies.

One such GE corn variety approved only for animal feed use massively contaminated the food supply in 2000, resulting in recall of over 300 food products and hundreds of reported allergic reactions, some of them life-threatening.

A British study found that the herbicide-resistance gene in GE soybeans transferred to gut bacteria in people who ate GE soy products, showing that the same could happen with antibiotic resistance genes.

The GE Flavr-Savr tomato caused gastric lesions in rats – findings that were dismissed, but never adequately explained, by the FDA. Hungarian scientist Arpad Pusztai found hyperplastic intestinal cell growth in rats fed GE potatoes. A short 90-day feeding study with a Monsanto GE corn variety found signs of liver and kidney damage.

U.S. government “regulation” of genetically engineered (GE) crops and foods is largely a sham exercise to reassure the American public rather than ensure that GE crops are safe for human health and the environment.

Experimental GE crops grown in field trials have contaminated the commercial food supply numerous times under the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture’s watch. Evidence that insecticide-producing corn may cause food allergies, liver or kidney damage has been ignored by the Environmental Protection Agency, while the Food and Drug Administration lets biotech companies determine whether their GE crops are safe.

Biotechnology companies – particularly Monsanto – “wrote the book” on the rules that govern them during the first Bush Administration.

FDA scientists opposed this policy of “self-policing,” and instead recommended mandatory toxicology studies, tests for genotoxic effects, and even “limited studies in humans” for new GE crops. They emphasized that genetic engineering could cause hazardous unintended effects not found with traditional breeding. These scientific concerns were overruled by administrative superiors at the FDA and White House, resulting in today’s “voluntary consultation process,” which rests on the fiction that GE crops are “substantially equivalent” to traditionally-bred crops.

Under voluntary consultation, biotech companies, not FDA, are responsible for the safety of GE crops. Companies decide which tests to perform, how to conduct them, which data to share or not share with FDA, and even whether to consult with FDA at all.

Independent experts, including the National Academy of Sciences, have repeatedly criticized government regulation and biotech company health and safety testing as grossly inadequate.

Harold Keyser, Ph.D.:

The U.S. government has a coordinated, risk-based system to ensure new biotechnology products are safe for the environment and human and animal health.

Established in 1986, the Coordinated Framework for Regulation of Biotechnology describes the federal system for evaluating products developed using modern biotechnology. The Coordinated Framework is based upon health and safety laws developed to address specific products and is carried out by the USDA, EPA and FDA prior to commercial release for genetically modified (GM) crops. These pre-market tests have consistently found that the new proteins in GM crops show no similarity to known toxins or allergens; they are present in very low levels; they are easily and rapidly digested by humans and animals; and they have shown no harmful effects to animals when fed at very high levels. As a result, the food and feed products from GM crops have a perfect safety record with not one verified incident of harm after growing and consuming them on a large scale for over a decade.

In 2004, the National Academy of Sciences’ comprehensive report on this issue stated the following: “To date, no adverse health effects attributed to genetic engineering have been documented in the human population.” Similar conclusions have been reached by the American Medical Association, World Health Organization, and the American Dietetic Association.

The USDA is responsible for ensuring compliance with regulations of biotech crops. Depending on the type of crop being tested, a site may be inspected by USDA up to seven times to ensure that the requirements are carefully followed. In Hawaii during 2004, they conducted 79 inspections of permitted field tests and 148 inspections of field tests approved through the notification process.

Detractors who say this industry is not sufficiently regulated have not done their homework.

9 Nov 2007

http://www.themolokaidispatch.com/node/1289

(Mr. KUCINICH asked and was given permission to address the House for 1 minute and to revise and extend his remarks.)

Finally!

From the Congressional Record:

IMPEACH VICE PRESIDENT CHENEY -- (House of Representatives - November 07,
2007)

[Page: H13216] GPO's PDF

(Mr. KUCINICH asked and was given permission to address the House for 1
minute and to revise and extend his remarks.)
Mr. KUCINICH. Mr. Speaker, yesterday I brought articles of impeachment
before this House. The articles have been referred to the Judiciary
Committee, and the people of the United States now have a chance to become
engaged in a broad discussion about the importance of this action.

People ask, why now? Well, recently, the administration asked for
millions of dollars to be included in the defense budget to retrofit Stealth
B-2 bombers with 30,000-pound bombs that can be used to bomb nuclear
research labs in Iran at Natans and Bushir. Think of the humanitarian and
ecological disaster that would come from that kind of a bombing.

This administration, which took license to go to war based on lies, must
be held accountable. And the Vice President must be held accountable for his
role in bringing about the war against Iraq and in trying to beat the drums
for a war against Iran.

As has been pointed out here, we have so many needs here at home. We have
people who are losing their homes, losing their pensions, losing their jobs,
losing their health care, and we must bring discipline in this House to hold
this administration accountable unto the law, so we can begin to focus on a
domestic agenda and stop waging aggressive war.

Impeach the Vice President .

'Group's suit alleges toxin in iPhones'

COMPLAINT SAYS LAW REQUIRES WARNING LABEL OR REMOVAL

An Oakland environmental group, alleging that the popular iPhone contains a
reproductive toxin that violates California law, filed a complaint Monday
against Apple.
The Center for Environmental Health filed its complaint under the state's
Proposition 65 law, which stipulates that products that expose the public to
chemicals that are reproductive toxins or carcinogens must carry a warning
label or be taken off the market. The agency based its claim on a Greenpeace
report, which discovered phthalates, a group of chemicals that can cause
birth defects, in the vinyl plastic earphone wiring.

"We want the company to take the toxic chemicals out of the product and make
it safer," said the center's spokesman, Charles Margulis.

Apple has 60 days to respond. A spokesman for the company was not available
late Monday.

Phthalates is banned in toys in San Francisco and the European Union.

"This isn't a toy. But the overall exposure of the public in general is a
problem, especially for children," said Rick Hind, legislative director for
Greenpeace's toxics campaign. "It's a reproductive hazard. It could be a
kidney hazard."

The complaint comes at a time Apple has begun working closely with
environmental groups. Last spring, Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs unveiled
new environmental policies. In response, Trillium Asset Management withdrew
an environmental-policy resolution that shareholders were to vote on at the
Cupertino company's annual meeting in May.

"Apple has been paying attention to its environmental profile in the past
few years," said Bill Walker, a vice president of the Environmental Working
Group in Oakland. "But it's still under fire for a lot of things. You can't
replace batteries in iPods, so all those iPods are being thrown away."

Ted Smith, executive director of the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition, said
the new complaint underscored the difficulties facing consumer tech
companies, which rely on complex supply chains.

"It's an extraordinary challenge to manage the thousands of suppliers and
potentially millions of chemicals involved in the products," he said.
"Twenty years ago, most of the brand-name computer and electronics companies
manufactured their own products. They knew what was in their products
because they controlled the entire supply chain. Now virtually all of that
is being outsourced to contractors and subcontractors."


SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT (publ. 10/17/07)
An article about phthalates and Apple's iPod incorrectly reported the title
of Ted Smith. He is chairman of the Computer TakeBack Campaign.

By John Boudreau
Mercury News
16 Oct 2007

http://www.mercurynews.com/business/ci_7191038?nclick_check=1

Chomsky was right on the money...

...when he pinpointed in 'Power and Terror' a direct correlation between the amount of US 'aid' provided to foreign regimes and the level of repression and authoritarianism on the part of the recipients.

U.S. Aid to Musharraf is Largely Untraceable Cash Transfers

After Pervez Musharraf declared martial law this weekend, Condoleezza Rice vowed to review U.S. assistance to Pakistan, one of the largest foreign recipients of American aid. Musharraf, of course, has been a crucial American ally since the start of the Afghanistan war in 2001, and the U.S. has rewarded him ever since with over $10 billion in civilian and (mostly) military largesse. But, perhaps unsure whether Musharraf's days might in fact be numbered, Rice contended that the explosion of money to Islamabad over the past seven years was "not to Musharraf, but to a Pakistan you could argue was making significant strides on a number of fronts."

In fact, however, a considerable amount of the money the U.S. gives to Pakistan is administered not through U.S. agencies or joint U.S.-Pakistani programs. Instead, the U.S. gives Musharraf's government about $200 million annually and his military $100 million monthly in the form of direct cash transfers. Once that money leaves the U.S. Treasury, Musharraf can do with it whatever he wants. He needs only promise in a secret annual meeting that he'll use it to invest in the Pakistani people. And whatever happens as the result of Rice's review, few Pakistan watchers expect the cash transfers to end.

About $10.58 billion has gone to Pakistan since 9/11. That puts Pakistan in an elite category of U.S. foreign-aid recipients: only Israel, Egypt and Jordan get more or comparable U.S. funding. (That's only in the unclassified budget: the covert-operations budget surely includes millions more, according to knowledgeable observers.) While Israel and Egypt get more money, Pakistan and Jordan are the only countries that get U.S. cash from four major funding streams: development assistance, security assistance, "budget support" and Coalition Support Funds. Pakistan, however, gets most of its U.S. assistance from Coalition Support Funds and from budget support. And it's those two funding streams that have minimal accountability at best.

The "budget support" package is the lion's share of U.S. economic assistance to Pakistan -- and it's not spent in conjunction with any U.S. agency. "It's a cash transfer," says Lisa Curtis, a South Asia analyst at the Heritage Foundation who used to work on the South Asia desk at the State Department and for Sen. Richard Lugar (R-ID). "That goes directly to the Pakistani treasury." It totalled around $200 million each year until earlier this year, when Rep. John Tierney (D-MA) plucked $75 million of out of it and put it in an education fund for USAID to administer. In theory, budget support is supposed to free up the treasuries of the four countries that receive it for investing in their national infrastructure. But in practice, recipients can do with it whatever they like. "The notion is it gives them greater flexibility on how to use the money," explains Craig Cohen, vice president of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. "The trade-off is accountability."

In Pakistan's case, the only oversight is an annual agreement, known as the Shared Objectives statement, whereby top State Department and Treasury Department officials receive from Musharraf deputies -- usually Prime Minister Shawkat Aziz -- an explanation of how Musharraf intends to spend the money. The agreement is reached entirely in secret. "A good question is what are the objectives we're basing this budget support on," Cohen says.

Accountability also suffers in the Coalition Support Funds. According to Rick Barton of CSIS, who spearheaded perhaps the most comprehensive report on the murky world of U.S.-Pakistan ties, Pakistan has gotten over $6 billion in Coalition Support Funds since 9/11, with disbursements rising to total about $100 million a month. This, too, is a direct cash transfer. "The Coalition Support funding is basically a sort of a handshake deal between militaries," Barton says. "We don’t have good sense where it goes. ... we don't ask a lot of questions, and we don't have a lot of record-keeping. "

Only about ten percent of the $10.58 billion since 9/11 has gone toward development aid and humanitarian assistance, according to the CSIS report -- even after Pakistan suffered a devastating earthquake in October 2005. "Close to 90 percent goes to the military-led government," Barton says. "Some of it is directly into the military, and the other pieces go into the Musharraf government."

In Pakistan, the military runs not just the government, but major sections of the economy as well. Joshua Hammer recently reported for The Atlantic that the Pakistani military owns large stakes in the country's "banks, cable-TV companies, insurance agencies, sugar refineries, private security firms, schools, airlines, cargo services, and textile factories." Mainlining largely untraceable money into the Pakistani treasury helps this system perpetuate itself -- even as widespread public discontent, from both moderates and radicals, boils over. It also sends the signal that the U.S. prefers to have relations with Pervez Musharraf rather than the Pakistani people.

"The whole orientation of policy and assistance provided since 9/11 is that he's the indispensable leader," says Cohen. "And the money runs through the central government and that leader."

By Spencer Ackerman
7 Nov 2007
 
From: TPM Muckraker
 
Via: Citizens For Legitimate Government

the trouble with war economies is that they require killing

An 'historical' article from the NYTimes highlighting the problem from the contractors' point of view. Of course it would now appear the problem has been solved as they have been busy plunging the planet into darkness:
 
4 October, 1992
 

Arms Makers' Latest Tune: 'Over There, Over There'

Hurt by dwindling Pentagon orders, United States military contractors are relying more heavily than ever on foreign sales.

The value of agreements to sell arms to foreign countries has nearly quadrupled in five years to $24.1 billion already this year, from $6.5 billion in all of 1987, according to the Pentagon. Foreign orders should account for at least 25 percent of American arms production in the next few years, up from about 15 percent now, industry officials say.

To some extent, the overseas orders this year are wrapped up in Presidential politics: Most sales of American-made arms must be approved by Washington, and the President's authorization of such sales can translate into votes in communities where factory jobs were saved. In the last month, President Bush rejected protests from Israel and its supporters by approving the sale of 72 McDonnell-Douglas F-15 fighters to Saudi Arabia, saving some 7,000 aerospace jobs in St. Louis. He also reversed a 10-year-old limit on sales of advanced weaponry to Taiwan by clearing the sale of 150 General Dynamics F-16 fighters, saving 3,000 jobs in Fort Worth.

Gov. Bill Clinton, the Democratic Presidential nominee, also supported the Saudi and Taiwan sales, largely because of the economic benefits.

Industry officials say that with no rebound in sight for shrinking American military budgets, overseas orders will help pick up the slack for companies converting to commercial work or repositioning themselves in the leaner military arena. They also argue that the increased volume that results from sales to foreign customers allows weapons makers to charge the Pentagon less for each unit.

But arms-control groups and several members of Congress decry this trend, contending that arms proliferation, particularly in the Middle East, will escalate political tensions. There has recently been a stampede of Western arms merchants seeking to sate the growing appetite of Persian Gulf countries for arms.

A study issued last week by the Congressional Budget Office argued that limiting arms sales to the Middle East might permit reductions in American military spending. The office reasoned that if Middle East countries were less armed, the United States would not have to involve as many Americans in a Middle East war. "It is shortsighted to stimulate the arms race for the purpose of redressing economic problems in the United States," said Representative Dante B. Fascell, a Florida Democrat who heads the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

But Jeffrey E. Garten, an investment banker and author of "A Cold Peace: America, Japan, Germany and the Struggle for Supremacy," thinks that "we're unlikely to sacrifice economic interests to take the moral high ground on curbing arms sales."

Why military contractors are looking overseas comes down to simple math:

* Saudi Arabia will buy seven times as many General Dynamics M1-A2 battle tanks as the United States Army in the next five years. The United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Sweden are also shopping for tanks.

* After 1993, McDonnell-Douglas will sell two of its top three combat aircraft -- the F-15 and the AV-8B Harrier -- only to foreign customers, as United States Air Force and Navy orders wind down. Foreign orders to the McDonnell-Douglas Corporation's aircraft division will probably rise to about 33 percent of sales in the next few years from 20 percent now, said George Hibbard, director of international business development.

* More than 20 percent of Raytheon's sales this year are expected to come from Patriot missiles, mainly to countries like Saudi Arabia, Turkey, South Korea and Israel.

"In the short run, exports are going to be imperative to keep defense lines open and keep a warm industrial base in place," said Joel L. Johnson, international vice president of the Aerospace Industries Association in Washington. Mr. Johnson said that as Pentagon orders wane, American contractors will have to be more sensitive to foreign customers' needs, "even at the design phase and when putting together contractor teams."

Foreign sales stave off work-force cuts in the short run, but some economists argue that companies may use overseas orders as a crutch, to avoid the painful conversion to commercial production.

American companies cite strong demand not only in the Middle East but also in Southeast Asia, including Taiwan and Singapore,as United States military forces reduce their presence in East Asia. International competition in the global arms bazaar is already heating up among Washington's historical allies, including France, Britain and Germany, as well as Russia and China. For example, the Saudis were weighing British-made Tornado aircraft before Washington approved the F-15 sale. The American M1-A2 and the British-made Challenger are vying for a Kuwait order of about 250 battle tanks.

Industry officials say that international sales will help domestic production by keeping down unit costs for Pentagon purchases. For example, Mr. Hibbard said that the 325 F/A-18's that McDonnell-Douglas is selling over the next several years to foreign customers, including Finland and Switzerland, shaved $2 million off the cost of each of the 871 F/A-18's the United States Navy has bought for $24 million each.

As overseas orders become more important to military contractors, the Government has been under increasing pressure to facilitate such sales. Even before the Bush Administration exercised what critics call a jets-for-votes strategy, it was for the first time paying for United States warplanes and other arms to be flown to the big air shows in Singapore and Paris. The Europeans have done this for years to help their industries.

In addition, the Administration recently announced that it would end its policy of charging a fee on sales abroad of military equipment or commercial derivatives that were developed with Government research money. It also agreed to seek to repeal legislation that requires such fees on sales of major military equipment by the United States Government to other nations.

There is also greater support in the Administration for an industry-backed proposal under which the Government would guarantee private credits for foreign purchases of American military products.

"We've had more of a proactive and cooperative role from our Government than in past," said Toby G. Warson, chief executive of Alliant Techsystems Inc., a large munitions supplier based in Edina, Minn.

Companies are not relying solely on Goverment help. They are also experimenting with new strategies. Raytheon last year opened offices in Dubai and Jidda, Saudi Arabia.

Other companies that had not been big players overseas are jumping in. Martin Marietta, which assembles missiles and launchers for the Patriot missile and builds the Lantirn night-navigation and target system for F-15's and F-16's, expects foreign orders to climb to about 20 percent of total sales by 1994 from 5 percent in 1989.

Meanwhile, the politics of lobbying for foreign sales is shifting. In the F-15 sales, McDonnell-Douglas mustered a coalition of industry chief executives as well as labor union leaders to lobby the White House.

"The big difference is that manufacturers have tried to translate the impact sales are having on their bottom lines into domestic political leverage," said one Defense Department official involved with arms sales. "They've done it more effectively in the last two years than ever before."

~ source ~

Dolphins rescue surfer from shark

A pod of bottlenose dolphins helped protect the severely injured boarder
By Mike Celizic
TODAYShow.com contributor
Nov. 8, 2007

Surfer Todd Endris needed a miracle. The shark — a monster great white that came out of nowhere — had hit him three times, peeling the skin off his back and mauling his right leg to the bone.

That’s when a pod of bottlenose dolphins intervened, forming a protective ring around Endris, allowing him to get to shore, where quick first aid provided by a friend saved his life.

“Truly a miracle,” Endris told TODAY’s Natalie Morales on Thursday.

The attack occurred on Tuesday, Aug. 28, just before 11 a.m. at Marina State Park off Monterey, Calif., where the 24-year-old owner of Monterey Aquarium Services had gone with friends for a day of the sport they love. Nearly four months later, Endris, who is still undergoing physical therapy to repair muscle damage suffered during the attack, is back in the water and on his board in the same spot where he almost lost his life.

“[It] came out of nowhere. There’s no warning at all.

Maybe I saw him a quarter second before it hit me. But no warning. It was just a giant shark,” Endris said. “It just shows you what a perfect predator they really are.”

The shark, estimated at 12 to 15 feet long, hit him first as Endris was sitting on his surfboard, but couldn’t get its monster jaws around both surfer and surfboard. “The second time, he came down and clamped on my torso — sandwiched my board and my torso in his mouth,” Endris said.

That attack shredded his back, literally peeling the skin back, he said, “like a banana peel.” But because Endris’ stomach was pressed to the surfboard, his intestines and internal organs were protected.

The third time, the shark tried to swallow Endris’ right leg, and he said that was actually a good thing, because the shark’s grip anchored him while he kicked the beast in the head and snout with his left leg until it let go.

The dolphins, which had been cavorting in the surf all along, showed up then. They circled him, keeping the shark at bay, and enabled Endris to get back on his board and catch a wave to the shore.

Our finned friends
No one knows why dolphins protect humans, but stories of the marine mammals rescuing humans go back to ancient Greece, according to the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society.

A year ago in New Zealand, the group reports, four lifeguards were saved from sharks in the same way Endris was — by dolphins forming a protective ring.

Though horribly wounded, Endris said he didn’t think he was going to die. “Actually, it never crossed my mind,” he told Morales.

It did, though, cross the minds of others on the beach, including some lifeguards who told his friend, Brian Simpson, that Endris wasn’t going to make it.

Simpson is an X-ray technician in a hospital trauma center, and he’d seen badly injured people before. He had seen Endris coming in and knew he was hurt.

“I was expecting him to have leg injuries,” he told Morales. “It was a lot worse than I was expecting.”

Blood was pumping out of the leg, which had been bitten to the bone, and Endris, who lost half his blood, was ashen white. To stop the blood loss, Simpson used his surf leash as a tourniquet, which probably saved his life.

“Thanks to this guy,” Endris said, referring to Simpson, who sat next to him in the TODAY studio, “once I got to the beach, he was calming me down and keeping me from losing more blood by telling me to slow my breathing and really just be calm. They wouldn’t let me look at my wounds at all, which really helped.

A medivac helicopter took him to a hospital, where a surgeon had to first figure out what went where before putting him back together.

“It was like putting together a jigsaw puzzle,” Endris said.

Six weeks later, he was well enough to go surfing again, and the place he went was back to Marina State Park. It wasn’t easy to go back in the water.

“You really have to face your fears,” he told Morales. “I’m a surfer at heart, and that’s not something I can give up real easily. It was hard. But it was something you have to do.”

The shark went on its way, protected inside the waters of the park, which is a marine wildlife refuge. Endris wouldn’t want it any other way.

“I wouldn’t want to go after the shark anyway,” he said. “We’re in his realm, not the other way around.”

 

the global clampdown

 
Pre-emptive arrests the global norm as Pakistan becomes world blueprint
 
The term pre-emptive arrest is a new term for law enforcement which  had rarely if ever been heard of before. It  means arresting a person who has not committed a crime, but that might commit a crime.

The arrest and incarceration of citizens who have not committed a crime in a free society is suppose to be illegal and unconstitutional. But a new strategy which is just beginning to appear world wide is apparently taken from a page out of the Bush Administration's new strategy toward suspected terrorists, except now it is being applied to civilians on peaceful demonstrations, protests and now even gatherings.

Nearly every country in Europe has now passed some kind of Pre-emptive Arrest law. In the UK there are several Acts which provide powers to the police to act in a pre-emptive manner.

Examples can include prolonged, incommunicado detention without judicial review; risk of subjecting to torture during the transfer, return and extradition of people between or within countries; and the adoption of security measures that restrain the rights or freedoms of citizens and breach principles of non-discrimination, freedom of movement and freedom of association.

Nations are adopting the Bush doctrine:
If someone was too perceive a possible threat from someone they should be arrested and detained even if they had done nothing wrong and there was no proof that they were going too.

The fact of the matter is that what is commonly known as the Bush Doctrine is a doctrine that has been used for thousands of years by despots and dictators all over the world. Either for more control over their population or in their conquest for more power and territory. This was in fact the same Doctrine that Hitler used when he invaded Poland. Hitler told the German people that Poland was a threat to Germany and wanted to attack them. That was the big lie Hitler told the German people to take them to war with their neighbour and the start of Hitler's grab for more countries to rule.

That was Hitlers Doctrine that is now called the Bush Doctrine. Hitler saw a threat from Poland {even} though it was only in his mind and he acted to prevent it, even though it didn't exist anywhere but in his mind. That was his reason to invade and build an Imperial Germany and the start of World War II, the same doctrine that Bush and Blair used to invade Iraq.

However, lets not stop here. This was also the Doctrine that Hitler used as his excuse to round up all Jews and put them in Detention Camps, which became Concentration Camps. He saw the Jews as a serious threat to the purity of the German Race through the marriages of those of pure German Descent and those of Jewish Blood. He also considered Gypsies, Blacks and Jews as being inferior to the German Race and treated them as such. And so from the Concentration Camps he moved the Jews to the Gas Chambers and than the Crematoriums. We all know what took place after that as it is well recorded.

Now if you don't think this can happen here your wrong. Under the Terrorism Act, Serious Organised Crimes & Police Act (SOCPA) or the Serious Crimes Act you can be arrested without a warrant and detained. Ah you say, at least you still have a right to a lawyer and a hearing before a court to argue for your release and to know what you were being charged with. But NO, now that's no longer available.

In the US, Under the Military Commissions Act or the Patriot Act you can now be labeled an enemy combatant, arrested and detained without a right to Habeas Corpus. Or what that simply means is you no longer have a right to an attorney or a hearing before a court of law.

In both countries legislators have stripped centuries old embedded principles out of the Constitutions that dated back to the Magna Carta. They have given Bush in the US and Brown in the UK the same powers that Adolph was given by his Legislatures.

Remember that if you speak out against these policies all their propagandists scream that your giving aid and comfort to the enemy. That your unpatriotic, putting the civilian populations at risk, close to committing an act of Treason or maybe even a traitor.

But this is not just confined to the US and the UK. Right across the free world, the western world, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, the whole of the European states are all adopting the same laws and policies.
In most countries in the Middle East and South East Asia, Russia, China and India pre-emptive arrest is already part of daily life.

If this was happening in one or two countries, one could consider that it was coincidence, but watching it happening across the best part of the globe one has to draw the conclusion that this is a conspiracy, and a concerted effort to undermine freedom and impose dictatorial authoritarian governments.


One other thing to notice which goes hand in hand with pre-emptive arrest laws. Those who participate in legitimate protest are no longer being referred to as lawful opposition, you will see it always changes to the term 'political dissidents', which in effect places a criminal perception to something which should be lawful.

Don't for one minute believe that the imposition of martial law and the suspension of the constitution, the round up of lawyers and judges as we have seen in Pakistan can never happen here, because the laws to allow it are already in place.
What we have seen in Pakistan over this past week is sure to follow in the most 'liberal' of free nations very soon. Pakistan has set the global ball in motion.

One day very soon, we will all wake up to opposition politicians and lawyers being arrested, their constitutional and legislative 'reform' work having been done, judges who will not comply with new martial laws arrested and removed from office, and academics who have been behind much of the indoctrination and think tanks, policy units and charities will all be rounded up. Their work is now nearly finished, and once civil liberties are suspended they become the threat rather than the helpers.

Bloggers such as myself and many other Libertarian voices will be silenced and disappeared, the internet will no longer chatter with words of opposition, because across the new Europe, there can be no opposition, no dissent, no disobedience.

You have until the day the Lisbon Treaty is signed. The final constitutional and legal hurdle to the Empire of Europe.

It is not clear to what extent Orwell believed his work was prophetic.

His character O'Brien described his view of the future of the world:

"There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment of the process of life. All competing pleasures will be destroyed. But always — do not forget this, Winston — always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face …for ever." (Part III, chapter III)
Do you see NuLabour, corruption and power, the Health & Safety Stasi, smoking ban, alcohol limits, fox hunting, driving, Christmas being banned, thousands of other stupid bans, and diversity training in this description.?

This is in stark contrast to Orwell's own forecast in the essay England Your England, as seen in The Lion and The Unicorn (1941):

"The intellectuals who hope to see it Russianised or Germanised will be disappointed. The gentleness, the hypocrisy, the thoughtlessness, the reverence for law and the hatred of uniforms will remain, along with the suet puddings and the misty skies. It needs some very great disaster, such as prolonged subjugation by a foreign enemy, to destroy a national culture. The Stock Exchange will be pulled down, the horse plough will give way to the tractor, the country houses will be turned into children's holiday camps, the Eton and Harrow match will be forgotten, but England will still be England, an everlasting animal stretching into the future and the past, and, like all living things, having the power to change out of recognition and yet remain the same."
The EU had planned for this, and have over the past 30 years systematically destroyed England, its steel and coal industries, its manufacturing, its farming, its fishing, no English Assembly with England divided into Regions, reducing the UK Parliament into a talking shop with nothing to do but pass European laws.

However, the geopolitical climate of Nineteen Eighty-Four is strikingly similar to Orwell's summary of the ideas of James Burnham, in the essay 'James Burnham and the Managerial Revolution' (1946).

"These people will eliminate the old capitalist class, crush the working class, and so organize society that all power and economic privilege remain in their own hands. Private property rights will be abolished, but common ownership will not be established. The new ‘managerial’ societies will not consist of a patchwork of small, independent states, but of great super-states grouped round the main industrial centres in Europe, Asia, and America. These super-states will fight among themselves for possession of the remaining un-captured portions of the earth, but will probably be unable to conquer one another completely. Internally, each society will be hierarchical, with an aristocracy of talent at the top and a mass of semi-slaves at the bottom."
Think NuLab, Quango's, HIPs, Common Purpose, Northern Rock, Iraq, and the continual requests for an extension to pre-charge detention, already the longest period in the 'free world'..


There are many theories floating through the Media and blogs at the moment, some are suggesting New World Order, some Eurabia, others suggest global Catholicism under the Pope, even a resurgence of Communism, but one thing that is common to all of the theories is that we are heading into a world of Authoritarianism.

As a Libertarian I find this totally abhorrent, and will fight it with every fibre of my being.
I will fight for and protect My Life, My Family, My Home, My Village, My Country.


Whoever you are, wherever you may be, and which ever God you choose to follow, may he be with you when this evil transition begins.
 
~ link ~
 

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