picked up by Mike Malloy
Benazir Bhutto clearly mentions "the man who murdered Osama Bin Laden."
Sunday, December 30, 2007
picked up by Mike Malloy
30 Dec 2007
By Tamara Traubmann
" ... The place where the crowd of 250 women gathered was the same place where Women in Black always hold their Friday demonstrations: Paris Square in Jerusalem. As always, they were carrying signs against the occupation.
"The peace movements have succeeded. We have thousands of demonstration hours," Hanna Safran boasted. "We have all been very creative. We've marched naked, we went down to the Territories. Our message has been accepted, but it hasn't put an end to the occupation and the wrongdoings that go along with it. In fact, things only got worse."
The movement was born in late 1987, weeks after the outbreak of the first intifada, which turned the attention of most Israelis to the very fact that the Palestinians were living under occupation. The first demonstrators, Safran among them, gathered at Paris Square, not far from the prime minister's official residence. They stood in silence, carrying signs the shape of a stop sign, reading: "Stop the occupation."
Within several months, other women joined the protest, demonstrating at junctions outside towns and cities. The members of Women in Black represent the full spectrum of the Israeli Left, from Labor to the anti-Zionists.
Two of the most frequently asked questions Women in Black have had to answer over the years were why women, and why black. They say the absence of men in their ranks is meant to allow women to make their voice heard in a militaristic society.
[ ... ]
In Israel, Women in Black has failed to bring about the end of occupation. But the movement has become a role model for other countries, where certain sectors of the population have to endure humiliation, oppression and racism.
At present, Women in Black organizations exist in over 40 countries, the Israeli members say. In India they are protesting religious discrimination. In the former Yugoslavia, various splinter states saw the formation of Women in Black protesting the war. In Germany they address fascism, nuclear weapons, and the Israeli occupation, too. ..."
Full Report: The 2007 International Privacy Ranking
Text below from: Executive Summary
17 Dec 2007
This annual report by the Electronic Privacy Information Center and Privacy International reviews the state of privacy in more than 75 countries around the world. It outlines legal protections for privacy, and summarizes important issues and events relating to privacy and surveillance. Each country report covers the constitutional, legal and regulatory framework protecting privacy and the surveillance of communications by law enforcement, new landmark court cases, most noteworthy advocacy work of non-governmental organizations and human rights groups, various new developments, and major news stories related to privacy.
This year marked the proliferation of new technologies and surveillance applications in both the public and private sectors. However, increased use of technology was balanced by more regulatory activity and greater international norm-setting. Many countries have established data protection laws and oversight bodies. Courts, particularly the European Court of Human Rights, have issued several significant privacy rights decisions, and issued unprecedented penalties for privacy violations. As the use of surveillance technologies continues to expand, so too does the public debate and the development of new forms of oversight and accountability.
This summary sets out the broad themes uncovered in the 2006 edition of the Privacy and Human Rights report.
1. Expansion of Identification Technologies
Advanced identification schemes are being used for an unprecedented number of purposes, both in the public and private spheres. Real-time biometric identification using wireless handheld scanners is now being deployed. The amount of biometric and other information stored on identification cards is increasing to include iris scans, fingerprints, health information, and information of dependents. Several government identification card systems are now offering a “junior” version of the cards for children. Although many identification cards are currently voluntary, limited access to government services makes the cards de facto mandatory in many cases.
RFID-enabled license plates are now being used to track the movement of vehicles. Face recognition is being employed to monitor crowds at sporting events. New workplace surveillance systems include GPS tracking of company vehicles, voice verification technologies, and biometric building access. The private sector is also implementing biometric identification for entry into leisure facilities and clubs, while governments are expanding smart cards uses to library access, banking, and e-health. In the criminal justice sector, DNA databases continue to expand, providing both new forms of forensic analysis and new privacy challenges.
2. Divergent Approaches to Privacy
During the past year, the increased flow of personal information across national borders brought divergence in international approaches to data protection and privacy to the forefront of political debate, particularly between the United States and Europe. The transfer of passenger name record information from the European Union to the United States Department of Homeland Security highlighted critical aspects of data protection, including purpose specification, independent oversight, length of retention periods, and the effectiveness of redress procedures.
Differences between national data protection regimes was again fiercely debated in the context of transfers of financial information from the SWIFT banking consortium in Europe to US law enforcement agencies. Several countries’ data protection offices launched investigations into the transfer. Another transborder data transfer agreement has been negotiated, but questions about the adequacy of the privacy safeguards remain.
3. Data Retention
The transition from analog media to digital media has created new opportunities to record and store personal information in both the public and private sectors. Law enforcement agencies believe that retaining data on the users of the Internet and telecommunications services may help uncover patterns of criminal activity. Many of the obligations to store this data fall on Internet Service Providers and telephone companies. At the same time, Internet search companies and advertising firms are keeping personal information on users to create profiles and develop highly targeted advertising. Opposition to both forms of data retention appears to be growing. Organized protests in Europe against the implementation of the Directive on Data Retention continue. Meanwhile, consumer organizations in the United States, Europe, and Canada have initiated investigations of Google, the Internet search giant, concerning the retention and profiling of data on Internet users’ private activities.
4. Civil liberties groups and NGOs' successful opposition to privacy intrusions
Civil liberties groups and NGOs have continued to mount successful campaigns against privacy-invading schemes. Protests against the national identification system “Juki Net” continued in Japan. In Germany, thousands of protesters have voiced opposition to the EU Data Retention Directive. NGO groups successfully narrowed the scope of surveillance and identifications schemes by incorporating purpose limitations, data destruction requirements, limiting the use of personal identification numbers, and meaningful oversight and penalty provisions into draft legislation. In the United States, public protest appears to have derailed the plan for a national ID card.
NGOs brought public attention to many privacy risks inherent in emerging technologies and surveillance programs that has resulted in changes to government and corporate approaches to privacy protection. The Big Brother Awards continue to capture public attention. Since 1998, over forty ceremonies have been held in sixteen countries and have given out hundreds of awards to some of the most powerful government agencies, individuals and corporations in those countries. Privacy International also played a leading role in the effort to uncover the SWIFT record transfer program.
5. Actions of international governmental organizations
International bodies such as APEC have also had significant impact on the development of data protection regimes, as is the case with recent proposed amendments to Australia’s privacy legislation. International initiatives to combat spam, such as the StopSpam Alliance, have resulted in several new national anti-spam laws.
The European Court of Human Rights has played an increasingly important role in the interpretation of privacy rights protected by Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The Court established a right to privacy in several cases during the past year, in such matters as identity documents, communications surveillance, and workplace privacy.
6. New Data Protection Laws
Around the world, new laws have been enacted and many bills are pending to protect individuals' right to privacy and data protection. Notably, the Dubai International Financial Centre adopted its Data Protection Law 2007, which follows the EU data protection model. Dubai, Israel and Estonia all established new data protection offices, and an amendment to Armenia's Constitution further strengthened the right to privacy in that country. Many countries that are contemplating regulation in the field of privacy are located in Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America.
7. Developments in Open Government
This year, most of the developments in open government concerned new laws or regulations. Switzerland, Bulgaria, India, Taiwan and Germany all adopted new federal open government laws. All but three European Union countries now have data protection laws. New Zealand adopted a new public records law, and Jordan and Russia have pending open government legislation that has passed at least the first reading required for adoption.
By Debra Watson
29 Dec 2007
The number of people hungry and homeless in US cities rose dramatically again in 2007, according to the annual report on hunger and homelessness from the US Conference of Mayors. The 23-city Hunger and Homelessness Survey was released in late December.
Requests for emergency food increased in four of every five cities. Among 15 cities with quantifying data, the median increase in requests for food was 10 percent and in some cities it was much higher. Detroit and some other cities reported seeing more working poor among those seeking food.
In Detroit, emergency food requests shot up 35 percent over the 12-month period ending in October. Officials there noted that “due to a lack of resources, emergency food assistance facilities have had to reduce the number of days and/or hours of operation.”
Thirteen of 19 survey cities reported they could not meet the demand for emergency food. Los Angeles was one of the major cities reporting difficulties in serving the growing need.
An official in LA said: “Emergency food assistance facilities have to turn away people. According to the LA Regional Foodbank, over 30 percent of their food pantries have had to turn clients away and pantries that don’t turn clients away are providing less food.
“In 2002, a food pantry would provide an average of eight to ten different USDA commodities per distribution. This holiday season, food pantries are providing three USDA commodities. Food pantries are tasked to serve more clients with the same amount of resources they had six years ago. Twenty-one percent of overall demand for emergency food assistance goes unmet.”
Across all cities, an average of 15 percent of families with children looking for emergency food must be turned away. Nine in 10 of the cities sampled for details on the urban hunger crisis say they expect increases in food requests next year.
City officials said specific factors exacerbating hunger over the past year were the foreclosure crisis, the high prices of food and gasoline, and the lack of affordable housing. Decreased social benefits such as public assistance and the eroding value of food stamps were also listed as particularly acute problems. Lack of donated food and commodities and insufficient funding were listed as the most important reason for turning away the hungry.
Economic issues such as unemployment and poverty along with high housing and medical costs were most cited by responding cities as the major causes of chronic hunger. Substance abuse and mental illness were the least cited.
In 20 of the cities included in the survey, 193,183 people had stays in emergency shelters and/or transitional housing in the past year. The average duration was six months for families and five months for individuals, down from eight months last year.
The mayors’ survey statistics capture unduplicated stays in city temporary housing facilities, meaning if shelter was provided, a stay lasting weeks or months would be counted as just one unduplicated stay.
The survey found that nearly one in four unduplicated shelter stays were by members of family groups. The ratio of family members to singles was found to be roughly equal in homeless counts compiled elsewhere that document sheltered homeless on any given individual night.
In general, cities reported actual increases in households with children in their transitional or emergency housing over the past year. Nine in 10 cities said that more permanent housing was needed to mediate the problem of homelessness.
Thousands of beds to house the homeless were added in the surveyed cities, yet half the cities reported they turn people away some or all of the time. In Phoenix, 7,000 to 10,000 are homeless on any given night and 3,000 cannot be sheltered due to lack of beds.
Individual city profiles come from the broad range of US cities that participate in the report. They have widely different average per capita incomes and are located in various parts of the country. For example, Santa Monica, California, a city of 83,000 with a per capita income of $58,000, reports 728 singles and 142 households with children were sheltered homeless in 2007. In contrast, Philadelphia, with a population of 1.4 million and a poverty rate of 23 percent, reports 8,103 individuals and 5,300 households with children in this category.
These profiles show only those individuals that find shelter. Miami, a city of 360,000, reported only 735 families and 365 individuals were in sheltered housing for some duration during the past year. Des Moines, a city half the size of Miami but in a much colder climate, reported 3,632 families and 2,436 individuals were sheltered homeless in 2007.
Twenty-three cities whose mayors are members of the US Conference of Mayors Task force on Hunger and Homelessness contributed in some form to the report for the year ending October 30.
The City Profiles section of the survey includes various reports of band-aid programs undertaken by city administrations that admittedly fall far short of need. More importantly, taken together, these local reports detailing city-by-city conditions are more valuable in providing some insight into the problems of hunger and homelessness that is largely absent from political discourse in the US. The statistics on hunger and homelessness are far more current when compared to official government reports that rely on much older data.
A section in the report entitled “Limitations of this Study” points to efforts under way this year or planned for the future to gather more precise data. This is apparently in response to right-wing critics who have impugned the value of the report in previous years, claiming it was not a representative sample and overstated the extent of poverty. This response by the study’s authors ignores the real reason for these critics’ discomfort—the desire to limit any light being shed on the twin scourges of hunger and homelessness characteristic of the social landscape of US cities.
The study was first conceived by Democratic mayors as urban populations were hit by federal budget cuts under the Republican administration of Ronald Reagan in the early 1980s. The year-to-year comparison chart at the end of the report has been a veritable misery index, right through the Clinton and the Bush years, showing double-digit increases almost every year in requests for emergency food and shelter. Yet for reasons not stated, the appendix with the 16-year historical chart comparing year-to-year survey results is omitted this year.
Another glaring omission shows one way the report underestimates of the seriousness of the social crisis in America. New Orleans is not included in the survey, and data from that city has been left out of the report since Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005.
" ... for 21 consecutive years, the U.S. mayors' conference takes place in December and they evaluate hunger and homelessness in the United States. Much to my surprise, I assume, they have uncovered yet another upward trend in homelessness and hunger.
At their press conference, spokesmen indicated that:
"During the last year, members of households with children made up 23 percent of persons using emergency shelter and transitional housing programs in survey cities, while single individuals made up 76 percent. Only 1 percent of persons in these programs were unaccompanied youth.
"Although 87 percent of our nation's wealth is generated in our nation's cities, hunger and homelessness persists in most of our country's cities and urban centers," said Conference President Trenton, N.J. Mayor Douglas Palmer.
Interestingly enough this announcement came the very same week that the United Nations is sounding a bell, globally. Jacques Diouf, head of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, said there is a "very serious risk that fewer people will be able to get food," as prices soar and supplies dwindle.
"World wheat stores declined 11 percent this year, to the lowest level since 1980. That corresponds to 12 weeks of the world's total consumption--much less than the average of 18 weeks consumption in storage during the period 2000-2005. There are only 8 weeks of corn left, down from 11 weeks in the earlier period. ... "
~ Read more... ~
Bhutto assassination could have far-reaching implications for global
30 Dec 2007
Members of the Bhutto family, just like members of the American Kennedy
family and Indian Gandhi family, have a tendency to die in unusual
circumstances. On Thursday it was Benazir Bhutto, who joined her father (who
was executed) and her brothers (who were murdered) following an
assassination coupled with a suicide bombing.
However, Bhutto's assassination, unlike the killing of the Kennedy brothers
and the Gandhi mother and son, constitutes a much greater threat to the
stability of her country and of the entire region. Following the
assassination, Bhutto supporters stormed the streets and blamed emissaries
on behalf of Pakistani leader Pervez Musharraf for the murder.
There is no doubt that Musharraf had something to gain from the demise of
Bhutto, who attempted to stablize the coalition against him (along with
religious parties and with her former nemesis Nawaz Sharef.) However, until
we find out who was responsible for the murder (a difficult task considering
the fact that the assassin apparently made sure to blow himself up in order
to prevent identification,) we cannot rule out other elements as well.
The first such element is the military, which regardless of Musharraf (who
recently stepped down as the army's commander in chief, at least officially)
had reason to fear Bhutto's intentions to undermine it, if and when she
would take power.
The second element is the mighty Pakistani secret service, the ISI. The
service indeed supported Bhutto to some extent during her second term in
office, but it maintained an independent policy and was in the list of
organizations whose power would have been curbed had Bhutto been elected.
The third element is al-Qaeda and groups associated with it, which view the
very possibility of a woman heading a Muslim state as intolerable sacrilege.
In addition, the liberal agenda and pluralism espoused by Bhutto were not to
their liking. In more practical terms, Osama Bin Laden and his close
associates need the ISI's support in order to maintain quiet in the
Waziristan region, where they are staying apparently. Their fear that Bhutto
may wish to boost military activity against them may have led to the
On brink of civil war
Whoever the assassin may have been, there is no question this was a colossal
security failure. Bhutto was already a target for assassination immediately
upon her arrival to Pakistan. It is clear that in the wake of such attempt,
security around her should have been at its peak. According to one report,
she was the one who asked to open the armored vehicle she was traveling in,
so that she can come into close contact with her supporters.
The assassination is akin to pouring more oil on the fire of instability in
the country, which has been on the brink of civil war for about six months
now. The collapse of the Pakistani regime could have far-reaching
implications, and not only for Pakistanis. The great fear is that such
collapse could help radical religious movements ascend to power.
Pakistan is known as a country that exported dangerous nuclear know-how to
anyone who wanted it. If Iran is indeed closer to a bomb today than ever
before, this should be credited to the efforts of Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan, the
father of the Pakistani bomb. Dr. Khan could not have acted without
authorities knowing about it.
The toppling of the Pakistani regime, or a new division of power, may
constitute a direct threat to regional and world peace. The threat is not
only one of nuclear assistance to radical elements, but rather, the loss of
one of the most important elements standing by the West in its war against
by Nick Pisa
" ... The Pope has ordered his bishops to set up exorcism squads to tackle the rise of Satanism.
Vatican chiefs are concerned at what they see as an increased interest in the occult.
They have introduced courses for priests to combat what they call the most extreme form of "Godlessness."
Each bishop is to be told to have in his diocese a number of priests trained to fight demonic possession.
The initiative was revealed by 82-year-old Father Gabriele Amorth, the Vatican "exorcistinchief," to the online Catholic news service Petrus.
"Thanks be to God, we have a Pope who has decided to fight the Devil head-on," he said.
"Too many bishops are not taking this seriously and are not delegating their priests in the fight against the Devil. You have to hunt high and low for a properly trained exorcist.
"Thankfully, Benedict XVI believes in the existence and danger of evil - going back to the time he was in charge of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith." The CDF is the oldest Vatican department and was headed by Benedict from 1982, when he was Cardinal Ratzinger, until he became Pope in 2005.
Father Amorth said that during his time at the department Benedict had not lost the chance to warn humanity of the risk from the Devil.
He said the Pope wants to restore a prayer seen as protection against evil that was traditionally recited at the end of Catholic Masses. The prayer, to St Michael the Archangel, was dropped in the 1960s by Pope John XXIII.
"The prayer is useful not only for priests but also for lay people in helping to fight demons," he said.
Father Paolo Scarafoni, who lectures on the Vatican's exorcism course, said interest in Satanism and the occult has grown as people lost faith with the church.
He added: "People suffer and think that turning to the Devil can help solve their problems. We are being bombarded by requests for exorcisms."
The Vatican is particularly concerned that young people are being exposed to the influence of Satanic sects through rock music and the Internet.
In theory, under the Catholic Church's Canon Law 1172, all priests can perform exorcisms. But in reality only a select few are assigned the task.
Under the law, practitioners must have "piety, knowledge, prudence, and integrity of life."
The rite of exorcism involves a series of gestures and prayers to invoke the power of God and stop the "demon" influencing its victim. ... "
Those are the people who do complicated things.
they'll grab us by the thousands
and put us to work.
World's going to hell, with all these
villages and trails.
Wild duck flocks aren't
what they used to be.
Aurochs grow rare.
Fetch me my feathers and amber
A small cricket
on the typescript page of
"Kyoto born in spring song"
in time with The Well-Tempered Clavier.
I quit typing and watch him through a glass.
How well articulated! How neat!
Nobody understands the ANIMAL KINGDOM.
When creeks are full
The poems flow
When creeks are down
We heap stones.
Whalen was born in 1923 in Portland, Ore., and raised in the Dalles, a small town in the Columbia River Gorge. After serving in the Air Force during World War II, he went to Reed College on the GI Bill. There, he lived off campus with poets Gary Snyder and Lew Welch and met William Carlos Williams when he came to visit the school.
Whalen was a few years older than his roommates. To Snyder, he was erudite. "Philip seemed to have read everything important in the English language, including a lot of basic Buddhist texts," Snyder writes in a foreword to "The Collected Poems." In October 1955, Whalen and Snyder joined Michael McClure, Philip Lamantia and Allen Ginsberg to read their poems at San Francisco's Six Gallery. This was the night that Ginsberg debuted his epochal poem "Howl" and helped usher in the Beat Generation.
Joanne Kyger was born in 1934 in Vallejo, Calif. After graduating from UC Santa Barbara, she arrived in San Francisco in 1957 during the "Howl" censorship trial. She got a job at Brentano's bookstore on Union Square and absorbed the informal teachings of San Francisco poet luminaries Robert Duncan and Jack Spicer.
San Francisco was the poetry capital of the world in 1957, and Kyger stumbled into all sorts of lineages, from pacifists who had been incarcerated in the Pacific Northwest during the war to students to the freshly shuttered Black Mountain College in North Carolina, as well as every kind of anarchist and Beat. In the late 1950s, Kyger became one of a handful of persons gathered around a Japanese Zen Buddhist missionary named Shunryu Suzuki. They practiced meditation in an old wooden building in Japantown that would become the San Francisco Zen Center.
In 1958, Kyger met Snyder, who introduced her to Whalen. At the time, she saw herself as "a practicing poet, learning. Philip was sure of his work." She admits to having been a little overwhelmed by the unfurled rhetoric of Duncan and Spicer; but with Whalen, "I read it and I could understand every word!" Two years later, she and Snyder traveled to Kyoto where they were hurriedly married at the insistence of their patron, the formidable Ruth Fuller Sasaki. Snyder threw himself into Buddhist practice while Kyger struggled with daily life. By 1963, she and Snyder were meeting up with Ginsberg and his companion, Peter Orlovsky, in India. For Snyder and Ginsberg, the trip heralded their emergence as culture heroes to the proto-hippies, but for Kyger, it signaled a different kind of turning point.
At the beginning of 1964, Kyger returned to San Francisco by herself, "a bit wiser and a bit more disciplined," her marriage to Snyder at an end. The only person to meet her was Whalen. There was a synergy between them, a sympathy; when Whalen published "You Didn't Even Try" (1967), the first of his two novels, his heroine, a petulant but beautiful woman with a keen mind, resembled Kyger.
In 1971, Kyger moved to Bolinas, in Marin County, where she has lived ever since. Whalen, on the other hand, trundled from house to house for years. A lifelong bachelor who hated living alone, he exuded a certain neediness. He loved books; he loved classical music. He wanted to be fed. Kyger says that Whalen "liked being in the middle of a domesticity so that he could report on it. He liked to write long letters filled with the news of what everybody was up to."
Eventually, at the invitation of Suzuki's successor Roshi Dick Baker, Whalen moved into the San Francisco Zen Center, where, in 1973, he was ordained a priest. He would later become the abbot of the Hartford Street Zen Center in the Castro district where he lived until shortly before his death in 2002. Whalen essentially stopped writing 15 years before he died, macular degeneration having reduced his eyesight to little slits of light. Not so for Kyger, who, even as "About Now" is being published, is writing some of the funniest, most elegant, beautiful and political poems of her life.
You can see where Whalen is going from the very earliest work in "The Collected Poems." Though it's only 16 lines long, "A Country Without Ruins" -- written at the end of 1949 or the beginning of 1950 -- contains bits of overheard conversation, ancient Greek and even sound effects ("Crash! Rattle! Whoops!"), all triggered by a homespun and typically cranky image of "his kids / raising hell in the grape arbor / throwing all they don't eat." A decade later, when publisher Dave Haselwood needed a press release for Whalen's "Memoirs of an Interglacial Age," the poet explained his aesthetics this way: "This poetry is a picture or graph of a mind moving, which is a world body being here and now which is history . . . and you."
In "The Preface," which opens his 1965 collection "Every Day," Whalen goes deeper, noting that for the reader, a poem is "a continuous fabric (nerve movie?) -- 'continuous' within a certain time-limit, say a few hours of total attention and pleasure: to move smoothly past the reader's eyes, across his brain: the moving sheet has shaped holes in it which trip the synapse finger-levers of reader's brain causing great sections of his nervous system -- distant galaxies hitherto unsuspected (now added to International Galactic Catalogue) -- to LIGHT UP, bring out new masses, maps old happy memory." Or, as Whalen would later shrug, "I'm trying to wreck your mind is all."
Whalen and Kyger reflect Charles Olson's approach to poetry. According to Kyger, Olson's essay on projective verse -- which includes the dictums "FORM IS NEVER MORE THAN AN EXTENSION OF CONTENT" and "ONE PERCEPTION MUST IMMEDIATELY LEAD TO A FURTHER PERCEPTION" -- "was like a bible for me." Like Whalen, she is a poet of the moment, writing about the briefest conceivable transit between reception and perception, the instant when thoughts appear and disappear like clouds in a blue sky.
Both poets are adept at plucking words and phrases from the sensual continuum, relying on the way these words are printed to function as a kind of musical score -- what Olson in "Projective Verse" called "FIELD COMPOSITION." Both write poems that function as meditations on meditation, moving from detail to interesting detail in the world. Both tend to date their poems to show you how they slice the data, to locate the work at a particular intersection of time and space. And both work in notebooks, or daybooks. ... "
JACK KEROUAC: So Dean and I raced on to the East Coast. At one point we drove a 1947 Cadillac limousine across the state of Nebraska 110 miles an hour, beating hot-shot passenger trains and steel-wheel freights in one nervous, shuddering snap up of the gas. We told stories and zoomed East. There were hobos by the tracks, wino bottles, the moon shining on wood fires. There were white-faced cows out in the plains, dim as nuns. There was dawn, Iowa, Mississippi River at Davenport, Chicago by nightfall. “Ho, man,” said Dean to me as we stood in front of a bar on North Clark Street on a hot summer night, “Dig these old Chinamen that cut by Chicago. What a weird town! And what women in that window up there, just looking down, you know, and they’re standing there in the window, those big wide eyes waiting. Sal, we’ve gotta go and never stop going ’til we get there.” I said, “Where we going, Dean?”
City Lights might be best known as the publisher of Allen Ginsberg’s landmark poem “Howl.” It revolutionized American poetry and American consciousness, but it also led to Ferlinghetti and his publishing partner being arrested and put on trial for obscenity.
Lawrence Ferlinghetti is a poet himself, and his 1958 collection, A Coney Island of the Mind, has sold over a million copies. And he’s a former Poet Laureate of San Francisco. At the age of eighty-eight, Lawrence Ferlinghetti is still going strong. He continues to write poetry and run City Lights.
I met up with him recently in San Francisco. He gave me a brief tour of his bookstore, City Lights.
LAWRENCE FERLINGHETTI: This is a section called “Stolen Continents.” In other words, books like Eduardo Galeano, The Open Veins of Latin America—that’s a great book—and generally the results of colonialism and imperialism.
You can see this is a huge section of muckraking, anarchism, class war, political science, sociology: people’s history.
AMY GOODMAN: Just before he took me on that tour, I sat down with Lawrence Ferlinghetti for an extended conversation. I began by asking him to read an excerpt from his new book, Poetry as Insurgent Art.
LAWRENCE FERLINGHETTI: And the book begins—this is a prose book, Poetry as Insurgent Art:
I am signaling you through the flames. The North Pole is not where it used to be. Manifest Destiny is no longer manifest. Civilization self-destructs. The goddess Nemesis is knocking at the door…
What are poets for in such an age? What is the use of poetry? If you would be a poet, create works capable of answering the challenge of Apocalyptic times, even if this means sounding apocalyptic. You have to decide if bird cries are cries of ecstasy or cries of despair, by which you will know if you are a tragic or a lyric poet. Conceive of love beyond sex. Be subversive, constantly questioning reality and the status quo. Strive to change the world in such a way that there’s no further need to be a dissident. Read between the lives, and write between the lines. Be committed to something outside yourself. Be passionate about it. But don’t destroy the world, unless you have something better to replace it.
If you would snatch fame from the flames, where is your burning bow, where are your arrows of desire, where your wit on fire?
The master class starts wars. The lower classes fight it. Governments lie. The voice of the government is often not the voice of the people.
Speak up, act out! Silence is complicity. Be the gadfly of the state and also its firefly. And if you have two loaves of bread, do as the Greeks did: sell one with the coin of the realm, and with the coin of the realm buy sunflowers.
Wake up! The world’s on fire!
Have a nice day!
This is coming out in a little smaller format than this. This is a proof copy. It’s actually going to be close to the size of Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book. ... "
The Great Human Papilloma Virus Vaccine Hoax Exposed
28 Dec 2007
For the last several years, HPV vaccines have been marketed to the public and mandated in compulsory injections for young girls in several states based on the idea that they prevent cervical cancer. Now, NewsTarget has obtained documents from the FDA and other sources (see below) which reveal that the FDA has been well aware for several years that Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) has no direct link to cervical cancer.
NewsTarget has also learned that HPV vaccines have been proven to be flatly worthless in clearing the HPV virus from women who have already been exposed to HPV (which includes most sexually active women), calling into question the scientific justification of mandatory “vaccinate everyone” policies.
Furthermore, this story reveals evidence that the vaccine currently being administered for HPV — Gardasil — may increase the risk of precancerous cervical lesions by an alarming 44.6 percent in some women. The vaccine, it turns out, may be far more dangerous to the health of women than doing nothing at all.
If true, this information reveals details of an enormous public health fraud being perpetrated on the American people, involving FDA officials, Big Pharma promoters, and even the governors of states like Texas. The health and safety of tens of millions of young girls is at stake here, and what this NewsTarget investigative report reveals is that HPV vaccinations may not only be medically useless; they may also be harmful to the health of the young girls receiving them.
This report reveals startling facts about the HPV vaccine that most people will find shocking:
• How it may actually increase the risk of precancerous lesions by 44.6 percent.
• The FDA has, for four years, known that HPV was not the cause of cervical cancer.
• Why mandatory HPV vaccination policies may cause great harm to young girls.
• Why HPV infections are self-limiting and pose no real danger in healthy women
• Little-known FDA documents that reveal astounding facts about Gardasil
• How Big Pharma promoted its Gardasil vaccine using disease mongering and fear mongering
This story begins at a company called HiFi DNA Tech, LLC (http://www.hifidna.com) a company involved in the manufacture of portable HPV testing devices based on DNA sequencing analysis. HiFi DNA Tech has been pushing to get the FDA to classify its HPV detection technology as a “Class II” virology testing device. To understand why this is a big deal, you have to understand the differences between “Class II” and “Class III” virology testing devices.
Based on FDA rules, a Class III virology testing device is one that is considered by the FDA to have “premarket approval,” meaning that it cannot yet be sold to the public. In order for such a device to be marketed to the public, it must be downgraded to Class II status, which is considered a “special controls” status. Class II devices are, “…those devices for which the general controls by themselves are insufficient to provide reasonable assurance of safety and effectiveness, but for which there is sufficient information to establish special controls to provide such assurance, including performance standards, postmarket surveillance, patient registries, development and dissemination of guidelines, recommendations, and any other appropriate actions the agency deems necessary.”
In other words, a Class II device may or may not actually be safe, but the FDA considers is safe enough to release to the public.
HiFi DNA Tech has been trying to get its HPV detection device downgraded to a Class II device based on the following arguments:
• For more than 20 years, the FDA had regulated the HPV test as a “test for cervical cancer.”
• But since at least 2003, the FDA has changed its position on the relationship between Human Papilloma Virus and cervical cancer, stating that the HPV strain is “not associated with cervical cancer.”
• Accordingly, HiFi DNA Tech is arguing that the HPV test it has developed is no longer a test for cervical cancer, but is merely a test for the presence of Human Papilloma Viruses — a shift that makes the test far more reliable in its primary purpose. In other words, the test is merely detecting the presence of a virus, not making a diagnosis of a disease (which would be a much higher standard to meet).
On October 12, 2007, HiFi DNA Tech sued the Food and Drug Administration in an attempt to force it to downgrade its HPV detection technology to Class II (see http://www.news-medical.net/?id=31180 ). Earlier in the year — on March 7, 2007, HiFi DNA Tech filed the HPV PCR test reclassification petition with the FDA. It is the information in this petition document that led us to the FDA’s knowledge that HPV is not linked to cervical cancer.
Got all that? This is a somewhat complex story to follow, so here it is again in summary:
• A company that manufacturers a DNA testing device that can detect the presence of HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) is petitioning the FDA (and suing the FDA) to get it to reclassify its medical device as a “Class II” device based on the revelation that the FDA has already adopted the position that HPV infections do not directly cause cervical cancer.
• This would mean that the FDA has been aware for years that HPV does not cause cervical cancer, which means that the FDA’s approval of the Gardasil vaccine — as well as the national push for Gardasil vaccinations — is based on a grand medical hoax that, not surprisingly, appears to be designed to exploit the fear of cancer to sell vaccines. The victims in all this, of course, are the young girls who are apparently being subjected to a medically useless (and potentially dangerous) vaccine.
• None of this information was apparently known during the more recent debates over the safety and efficacy of Gardasil, the HPV vaccine now in use. This means that the public debate over mandatory HPV vaccinations lacked key elements that now seem essential to reaching rational, evidence-based conclusions over the safety and efficacy of such vaccines.
Next, we reveal the FDA’s statement that HPV is “not associated with cervical cancer.”
The Reclassification Petition, dated March 7, 2007, is still posted on the FDA’s website: http://www.fda.gov/ohrms/dockets/dockets/07p0210/07p-0210-ccp0001-01-vol1.pdf
In case the FDA removes this document (as it has been known to do), we’ve posted a backup copy of the document on our own servers: http://www.NewsTarget.com/downloads/FDA-HPV.pdf
This document reveals the following text:
The FDA news release of March 31, 2003 acknowledges that “most infections (by HPV) are short-lived and not associated with cervical cancer”, in recognition of the advances in medical science and technology since 1988. In other words, since 2003 the scientific staff of the FDA no longer considers HPV infection to be a high-risk disease when writing educational materials for the general public whereas the regulatory arm of the agency is still bound by the old classification scheme that had placed HPV test as a test to stratify risk for cervical cancer in regulating the industry.
NewsTarget sought to verify the existence of the FDA news release referenced by this petition reclassification document and found that, indeed, the FDA news release exists. In fact, it’s still posted on the FDA website at http://www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/NEWS/2003/NEW00890.html
In it, the FDA says, “The HPV DNA test is not intended to substitute for regular Pap screening. Nor is it intended to screen women under 30 who have normal Pap tests. Although the rate of HPV infection in this group is high, most infections are short-lived and not associated with cervical cancer.” (Emphasis added.)
In other words, the FDA knew in 2003 that HPV infections are not associated with cervical cancer.
Furthermore, the FDA states, in the same press release, “Most women who become infected with HPV are able to eradicate the virus and suffer no apparent long-term consequences to their health.”
In other words, HPV infections do not cause cervical cancer! Remember, the entire push for mandatory HPV vaccinations of young girls across the country has been the urgent call to “save” these young girls from cervical cancer. The vaccine push has been about “savings lives.” But as these documents clearly reveal, HPV is no threat to the lives of young girls. In fact, as you will see below, HPV infections are naturally self-limiting!
HPV Infections Resolve Themselves, Without Vaccines
As the reclassification petition reveals, HPV infections are naturally self-limiting — meaning that they are controlled naturally, without requiring intervention with drugs or vaccines. It is not the HPV virus itself that causes cervical cancer but rather a persistent state of ill-health on the part of the patient that makes her vulnerable to persistent infections.
As the petition states:
“Based on new scientific information published in the past 15 years, it is now generally agreed that identifying and typing HPV infection does not bear a direct relationship to stratification of the risk for cervical cancer . Most acute infections caused by HPV are self-limiting [1, 4-7]. …Repeated sequential transient HPV infections, even when caused by “high-risk” HPVs, are characteristically not associated with high risk of developing squamous intraepithelial lesions, a precursor of cervical cancer.
A woman found to be positive for the same strain (genotype) of HPV on repeated testing is highly likely suffering from a persistent HPV infection and is considered to be at high risk of developing precancerous intraepithelial lesions in the cervix . It is the persistent infection, not the virus, that determines the cancer risk.”
The FDA agrees with this assessment of the relationship between HPV and cervical cancer, as evidenced by its 2003 news release quoted above.
Next, we reveal evidence that HPV vaccines actually cause precancerous lesions in women.
The reclassification petition cited above also reveals that Gardasil vaccines may increase the risk of developing precancerous lesions by 44.6 percent in some groups of women. This is found in a quote referencing a document mentioned in the petition, which states:
“PCR-based HPV detection device with provision for accurate HPV genotyping is more urgently needed now because vaccination with Gardasil of the women who are already sero-positive and PCR-positive for vaccine-relevant genotypes of HPV has been found to increase the risk of developing high-grade precancerous lesions by 44.6%, according to an FDA VRBPAC Background Document : Gardasil HPV Quadrivalent Vaccine. May 18, 2006 VRBPAC Meeting. www.fda.gov/ohrms/dockets/ac/06/briefing/2006-4222B3.pdf”
NewsTarget tracked down the correct URL of the document referenced above and found it in the FDA docket archives. We have placed a safe backup copy at: http://www.NewsTarget.com/downloads/FDA-Gardasil.pdf
Sure enough, this document reveals startling information about the extreme dangers apparently posed by Gardasil vaccinations. On page 13, this document states:
“Concerns Regarding Primary Endpoint Analyses among Subgroups
There were two important concerns that were identified during the course of the efficacy review of this BLA. One was the potential for Gardasil to enhance disease among a subgroup of subjects who had evidence of persistent infection with vaccine-relevant HPV types at baseline. The other concern was the observations of CIN 2/3 or worse cases due to HPV types not contained in the vaccine. These cases of disease due to other HPV types have the potential to counter the efficacy results of Gardasil for the HPV types contained in the vaccine.
1. Evaluation of the potential of Gardasil™ to enhance cervical disease in subjects who had evidence of persistent infection with vaccine-relevant HPV types prior to vaccination. The results of exploratory subgroup analyses for study 013 suggested a concern that subjects who were seropositive and PCR-positive for the vaccine-relevant HPV types had a greater number of CIN 2/3 or worse cases as demonstrated in the following table:
It appeared that subjects in this subgroup of study 013 who received Gardasil™ might have had enhanced risk factors for development of CIN 2/3 or worse compared to placebo recipients.”
Revealing the Dangers of Gardasil
This revelation should be quite shocking to anyone who has been following the debate over Gardasil and mandatory vaccinations of teenage girls. First, it reveals that Gardasil appears to increase disease by 44.6 percent in certain people — namely, those who were already carriers of the same HPV strains used in the vaccine.
In other words, it appears that if the vaccine is given to a young woman who already carries HPV in a “harmless” state, it may “activate” the infection and directly cause precancerous lesions to appear. The vaccine, in other words, may accelerate the development of precancerous lesions in women.
This is information that has simply not been made available in the debate over Gardasil vaccination policies. The pro-vaccination rhetoric has always been about “saving lives” and it carried the implied statement that Gardasil is perfectly safe for all women, posing absolutely no increased risk of cancer. What these documents reveal, however, is that Gardasil may, in fact, pose a serious increase in the risk of cervical cancer in some recipients of the vaccine.
The FDA directly admits the vaccine is utterly useless in these women, stating in the same document, “Finally, there is compelling evidence that the vaccine lacks therapeutic efficacy among women who have had prior exposure to HPV and have not cleared previous infection (PCR positive and seropositive).”
What this essentially means is that the “safe” administering of the Gardasil vaccine requires that it be administered only to virgins (because virtually all women who are sexually active carry HPV strains). That, of course, would require the direct questioning of the sexual habits of all young girls before administering the vaccine.
Is this what the Governor of Texas really had in mind when he mandated such vaccinations for all young girls in Texas? … a male doctor with a vaccination needle in his hand and a thirteen-year-old girl sitting in a private clinic room behind closed doors, with the male doctor asking her, “Have you ever had sex?”
Clearly, this kind of patient questioning crosses all kinds of ethical barriers when such vaccinations are made mandatory (as they have been made in Texas). It puts the State in the positioning of ascertaining the sexual habits of very young teenage girls and then potentially causing them harm. It’s not hard to suppose that most sexually active teenage girls would claim to still be virgins (especially if their parents were present), creating a situation where vaccines would be routinely administered to precisely the HPV carrier subgroups for which it has been demonstrated to greatly increase the risk of precancerous lesions.
In other words, under a mandatory Gardasil vaccination scenario like what exists in Texas today, a sexually-active young teenage girl has to make a tough choice:
1) She can lie to her doctor, claim to be a virgin, receive the vaccine and thereby potentially increase her risk of cervical cancer.
2) She can tell her doctor she’s sexually active, thereby surrendering her privacy and possibly subjecting herself to various consequences from her sexual status being learned by her parents or guardians. (One would hope, of course, that such sexual habits were not secrets, but alas, we live in the real world where many teenage girls do indeed have sex at a very early age…)
Furthermore, the young girl is unlikely to be given accurate information about the health risks associated with the vaccine, since virtually all health authorities are heavily involved in promoting pro-vaccination propaganda, routinely ignoring scientific evidence that might give reasonable people pause.
Naturally, the better scenario here is that the young girl is not sexually active to begin with, but in a society where 8th and 9th graders are already routinely engaged in sexual activities — almost always unbeknownst to their parents — it seems naive to expect that such girls would suddenly honor pledges of celibacy in order to protect themselves from possible future dangers posed by a present-day vaccine (especially when doctors blindly claim the vaccine is harmless).
There are also serious questions about the safety of the vaccine for non-sexually-active young women. Yet even if the vaccine poses no increased risk of cervical cancer for non-sexually-active young girls, there’s still the more serious question of: Does the vaccine work? Does it really prevent cervical cancer in the first place? And that question has already been clearly answered by the FDA’s own admission that HPV infections are not the cause of cervical cancer in the first place.
When considering the safety and effectiveness of Gardasil vaccinations on young teens, there are essentially four quadrants to consider, as shown in the table below:
|Quadrant I: Non-Sexually Active |
No Gardasil Vaccine
|Quadrant II: Non-Sexually Active|
Receives Gardasil Vaccine
|Quadrant III: Sexually Active |
No Gardasil Vaccine
|Quadrant IV: Sexually Active|
Receives Gardasil Vaccine
Based on what we’ve learned from the FDA’s own documents, here are the likely outcomes of each of the four quadrants:
Quadrant I: Non-Sexually Active, No Gardasil Vaccine
Outcome: No risk of cervical cancer.
Quadrant II: Non-Sexually Active, Receives Gardasil Vaccine
Outcome: No medical benefit from vaccine.
Quadrant III: Sexually Active, No Gardasil Vaccine
Outcome: HPV presence is self-limiting and does not lead to cervical cancer.
Quadrant IV: Sexually Active, Receives Gardasil Vaccine
Outcome: 44.6% Increased risk of precancerous lesions. No reduction in cancer risk.
In other words, Gardasil adds no benefits to any quadrant! There is no subgroup that actually benefits from a Gardasil vaccination. But there is at least one quadrant in which Gardasil achieves an increased risk of disease. Put another way, Gardasil helps no one, but it harms some.
This is hardly a position from which to mandate the vaccine for everyone, especially since the vaccine has been widely prescribed as “completely safe” for everyone. It is widely claimed by medical authorities that the vaccine has no downside: No health risks, no increased risk of disease and no potential to cause harm in women. Clearly, these assumptions have no basis in scientific fact.
Keep in mind, too, that Merck, the manufacturer of Gardasil, has publicly suggested that young boys should receive Gardasil vaccinations! Why? Because they might engage in oral sex with girls who carry the virus. Therefore, the story goes, young boys should be vaccinated against this virus that they claim causes cervical cancer! (Never mind the fact that boys don’t have a cervix…) There is no end, it seems, to the pseudoscientific nonsense that will be spouted in an effort to sell more Garsasil vaccines to people who don’t need them.
To further investigate this conclusion, NewsTarget took a closer look at research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (August, 2007), entitled, “Effect of Human Papillomavirus 16/18 L1 Viruslike Particle Vaccine Among Young Women With Preexisting Infection”
This research sought to determine the usefulness of the HPV vaccine among women who already carry HPV (which includes virtually all women who are sexually active, regardless of their age).
This document can currently be found at a University of Louisville document archive reprinted from JAMA. Click here to read the PDF yourself.
Just in case that copy disappears, we’ve also hosted the PDF here: http://www.newstarget.com/downloads/HPV-Vaccine-Effects.pdf
This document reveals startling information about the ineffectiveness of the Gardasil vaccine. It reveals that the HPV vaccine often caused an increase in the presence of HPV strains while utterly failing to clear the viruses in most women.
These shocking results caused the study authors to publish this sobering conclusion, printed in JAMA:
“No significant evidence of a vaccine therapeutic effect was observed in analyses restricted to women who received all doses of vaccine or those with evidence of single HPV infections at entry (Table2). We observed no evidence of vaccine effects when we stratified the analysis on selected study entry characteristics reflective of [various parameters] (TABLE3). Similarly, no evidence of vaccine effects was observed in analyses stratified by other study entry parameters thought to potentially influence clearance rates and efficacy of the vaccine, including time since sexual initiation, oral contraceptive use, cigarette smoking, and concomitant infection with C trachomatis or N gonorrhoeae (Table 3).”
In other words, the authors found no evidence that the vaccine worked at all. This observation led the authors to offer this damning conclusion that appears to render Gardasil nothing more than a grand medical hoax:
“… rates of viral clearance over a 12-month period are not influenced by vaccination.”
The study goes on to state words that should cause every doctor, Governor and health authority across the United States (and around the world) to rethink Gardasil vaccination policies:
“…given that viral clearance rates did not differ by treatment group and that persistent viral infection is the best established predictor of risk of progression, it is unlikely that vaccination could have a significant beneficial impact on rate of lesion progression.1,17
Results from our community-based study provide strong evidence that there is little, if any, therapeutic benefit from the vaccine in the population we studied. Furthermore, we see no reason to believe that there is therapeutic benefit of the vaccine elsewhere because the biological effect of vaccination among already infected women is not expected to vary by population.
In other words, the vaccines didn’t work on the population studied, and there is no reason to believe that those same vaccines would magically work on other populations, since the biology of women and HPV is so similar across various populations.
It is difficult to take an honest look at this scientific evidence and the statements made by the FDA and not come to the conclusion that mandatory Gardasil vaccination policies being pushed across U.S. states right now are based on something other than science.
There are many theories exploring the motivation for such vaccination policies. Possible theories include:
Financial benefit: Big Pharma is pushing mandatory Gardasil vaccination policies so that it can profit from selling more vaccines to the states. This idea is at least partially supported by the fact that the first state Governor to mandate such vaccines (Texas Gov. Rick Perry) had undisclosed ties to Big Pharma. (A top official in Perry’s administration worked directly for Merck, the manufacturer of Gardasil.)
Conspiracy to poison the people: This theory, which may stretch the bounds of belief in some readers, proposes that such mandatory vaccines are put in place in order to create future disease by poisoning the people with dangerous chemicals and DNA fragments that are knowingly added to vaccines. The poisoning of the people, it is said, will pay off in future profits for Big Pharma when those people develop other serious diseases requiring “treatment” with medications. Many people who support this theory currently believe, for example, that AIDS was engineered by human scientists and then administered to the gay population in New York in the late 1980’s through vaccines.
Control the sheeple: This theory supposes that the main purpose of mandatory vaccines is to train the American public to get used to submitting to compulsory medicines. Once a certain segment of the population is targeted and effectively injected with mandatory medicines, these policies can be extended to other groups and, eventually, can encompass the entire population.
The first theory — Financial Benefit — is the simplest and easiest theory to believe. It requires nothing more than simple greed on the part of Big Pharma, along with the usual level of corruption at the FDA. NewsTarget believes this is the most likely explanation for events surrounding Gardasil vaccination policies, but we do not rule out other possible explanations, either.
Profits at Any Cost
What’s clear in all this is that mandatory HPV vaccination programs are not based on anything resembling good science. They seem to be based on a carefully planted meme — an idea that, coincidentally, spreads from one person’s mind to the next much like a virus, gaining momentum as the mainstream media (MSM), health authorities, FDA and drug company reps repeat the meme on a regular basis. And what is that meme? That HPV causes cervical cancer, and, therefore, HPV vaccinations could halt cervical cancer and save lives.
This meme appears to have no real scientific basis. It is more of an urban legend than anything resembling scientific fact. Furthermore, it appears to have been conjured by those in a position to financially benefit from the adoption of that meme (the drug companies who manufacture, sell, and profit from the sale of HPV vaccines). In this case, that drug company is Merck, a powerful corporation with a dubious history rife with charges of price fixing, large-scale tax avoidance (it set up offshore accounts to avoid billions in U.S. taxes), widespread biopiracy, conspiring with the FDA to discredit its critics, burying negative evidence about its drugs (see the history of Vioxx at www.NewsTarget.com/vioxx.html ) and numerous other actions that many consider to be criminal in nature.
There is no question that Merck has the lack of ethics, the willingness and the means to commit medical fraud on an unprecedented scale. Based on the information revealed in this report, the mandatory vaccination of young girls with Gardasil appears to be the boldest medical hoax yet perpetrated by the company. You can read the true history about Merck and its crimes at: http://www.newstarget.com/Merck.html
NewsTarget believes Merck is currently engaged in a massive medical fraud, and that it has influenced, corrupted or otherwise recruited FDA officials and state health authorities in a grand scheme to sell vaccines that are at best medically worthless, and at worst medically dangerous. Halting cervical cancer seems to have nothing to do with the marketing and prescribing of Gardasil. The entire campaign push for mandatory HPV vaccinations seems to be based entirely in the realm of sales and marketing.
The “marketing” of HPV vaccines involves classic disease mongering — spreading fear about a disease as a way of corralling patients into begging for the “solution” that just happens to be readily available from the same pharmaceutical company that promoted the disease in the first place. The hype over cervical cancer and Gardasil seems to be nothing more than a classic case of fear-based marketing designed to create such consumer fear over cervical cancer that a massive public outcry would result in legislation mandating the vaccines.
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HiFi DNA Tech files lawsuit against FDA
Reclassification Petition - Human Papillomavirus (HPV) DNA Nested Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) Detection Device (K063649 )
FDA Approves Expanded Use of HPV Test
VRBPAC Background Document, Gardasil™ HPV Quadrivalent Vaccine, May 18, 2006 VRBPAC Meeting
Effect of Human Papillomavirus 16/18 L1 Viruslike Particle Vaccine Among Young Women With Preexisting Infection
Journal of the American Medical Association, August, 2007
A group has put action against him and Cheney on the town agenda in Brattleboro.
By Dave Gram
A group in Brattleboro is petitioning to put an item on a town-meeting agenda in March that would make Bush and Vice President Cheney subject to arrest and indictment if they visit the southeastern Vermont community.
"This petition is as radical as the Declaration of Independence, and it draws on that tradition in claiming a universal jurisdiction when governments fail to do what they're supposed to do," said Kurt Daims, 54, a retired machinist leading the drive.
As president, Bush has visited every state but Vermont.
The town meeting, an annual exercise in which residents gather to vote on everything from fire department budgets to municipal policy, requires about 1,000 signatures to put a binding item on the agenda.
The measure asks: "Shall the Selectboard instruct the Town Attorney to draft indictments against President Bush and Vice President Cheney for crimes against our Constitution, and publish said indictment for consideration by other municipalities?"
The White House did not immediately respond to requests yesterday for comment.
Support for the idea is far from universal, even in Vermont, where the state Senate voted this year to support impeaching Bush. Antiwar rallies are regular occurrences here, and "Impeach Bush" bumper stickers are common.
"I would not be supportive of it," said Stephen Steidle, a member of the town's selectboard, which oversees its government. The selectboard, he said, "needs to focus on the town and the things that need to be done here."
Daims has been circulating documents that say the community acquires a "universal jurisdiction" to take such steps "when governments breach their highest duties."
Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell, a Democrat whose office has repeatedly sued the Bush administration over environmental issues, called the move "of very dubious legality."
"At first blush," he said, "if this passed, they'd have really uphill sledding trying to have it be legal and enforceable."
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