Friday, January 4, 2008

US: No need for UN probe into Bhutto slaying

by Olivier Knox
2 Jan 2008
 
" ... WASHINGTON (AFP) - The United States on Wednesday brushed aside calls for a UN investigation into the slaying of Pakistan opposition leader Benazir Bhutto, saying Britain's Scotland Yard now leads the probe and will get "the answers" Pakistan's people deserve.
"Scotland Yard being in the lead of this investigation is appropriate and necessary and we don't see a need for an investigation beyond that at this time," White House spokeswoman Dana Perino told reporters.
"What's most important is that they proceed quickly and in a transparent and comprehensive way, so that the people of Pakistan can get the answers they deserve," the spokeswoman said.
Perino also cautiously welcomed Pakistan setting February 18 as the date for parliamentary elections, which had previously been scheduled for January 8 but put off after Bhutto's assassination in a gun and suicide bomb attack last Thursday.
"The important thing is that they have a date certain for the elections," Perino said shortly before Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf gave a major televised speech to defend the postponement and unveil the British role. ... "
 
 

"In just the last six months, about 800,000 homeowners have entered foreclosure"


MORTGAGES OF MASS DESTRUCTION

FORECLOSURE CRISIS IS FAR FROM BEING FIXED

TOO MANY FAMILIES in this country have been celebrating the holiday season under a shadow of dread -the prospect of losing their homes.

The national mortgage meltdown, fueled by an explosion of risky subprime mortgages, is in full swing. In just the last six months, about 800,000 homeowners have entered foreclosure.

That's right: 800,000 people who have or are about to lose their homes, with millions more estimated over the next few years as adjustable-rate mortgages continue to reset to much higher, unaffordable levels.

That number is hard to comprehend.

Maybe that explains why President Bush, Congress and the Fed have yet to react with the proper degree of urgency. Maybe they are still trying to grasp what those numbers mean.

Although they have taken action recently to help some homeowners from losing their homes, that action will have about as much impact as washing the windows would keep a house from falling down.

~ full article ~

 

Expert: Crime of torture could only have been ordered by the prez

" ... Constitutional expert Jonathan Turley told Keith Olbermann that as many as six criminal offenses could be involved in the 9/11 Commission charge alone, including obstruction of Congress, obstruction of justice, perjury, and conspiracy.

However, Turley emphasized that the real crime under investigation is not merely obstruction, but the actual torture documented by the tapes. "It is still, even after the last seven year, a crime to torture suspects," Turley commented.

Turley suggested that under those circumstances, the failure to appoint a special prosecutor was a serious problem, because "the investigation will essentially be the Justice Department investigating itself. ... Picking some guy in Connecticut or Cincinnati or Delaware or any other state doesn't make any difference. His boss is Michael Mukasey. And Michael Mukasey's boss is the president of the United States. If torture occurred, he was the guy who ordered it."

Turley suggested that there is a reluctance throughout official Washington, not "just Republicans," to pry into an underlying crime which is potentially far more serious than the burglary which was the start of Watergate. When Olberman asked if the investigation "could still lead to criminal culpability for the president," Turley replied, "Most certainly it can. That original crime could only have been ordered by the president and it leads directly to his office." ... "

~ Read more... ~

 

Scientist who claimed GM crops could solve Third World hunger admits he got it wrong

By SEAN POULTER
18 Dec 2007

A claim that GM technology is helping deliver higher crop yields in Africa was wrong, the Government's chief scientist has been forced to admit
.
Professor Sir David King recently caused uproar with his assertion that GM crops could help feed the hungry of the Third World.
He called on the Government to campaign for the adoption of GM technology and said the Daily Mail's campaigning stance against it was holding up progress.
Yesterday however he was accused of "letting off blasts of hot and sometimes rancid air" after it emerged his latest GM crop claims were wildly innaccurate.
Dr Richard Horton, the editor of medical journal The Lancet said Sir David took his faith in science into "the realms of totalitarian paranoia". ~ Read on... ~
 

Is the universe's life shortened by human observers?

" ... Like the decay of a radioactive atom, such shifts in energy state happen at random and it is possible that this could trigger a new big bang. The good news is that theory suggests that the universe should remain in its current state.

But the bad is that quantum theory says that whenever we observe or measure something, we can select out a specific quantum state from what otherwise would have been a multitude of states, each of which could have been selected out with varying probabilities.

In this case however, it turns out that quantum mechanics implies that if an unstable system has survived for far longer than the average such system should, then the probability that it will continue to survive decreases more slowly than it otherwise would.

Thus, as a result of making cosmological observations of dark energy, we may have confirmed that we are in a state where the probability of its survival may fall exponentially. ... "

~ Read on... ~

 

honey: "nature's original antibiotic ... is making a comeback"

" ... Amid growing concern over drug-resistant superbugs and nonhealing wounds that endanger diabetes patients, nature's original antibiotic — honey — is making a comeback.

Honey dressings and gels, as well as tubes of manuka honey, have been gaining in popularity overseas, fuelled by scientific reports on their medical benefits and occasional news accounts of the dramatic recovery of a patient with a longtime wound that suddenly healed.

More than 4,000 years after Egyptians began applying honey to wounds, Derma Sciences Inc., a New Jersey company that makes medicated and other advanced wound-care products, began selling the first honey-based dressing this fall after it was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Called Medihoney, it is made from a highly absorbent seaweed-based material, saturated with manuka honey, a particularly potent type that experts say kills germs and speeds healing. Also called Leptospermum honey, manuka honey comes from hives of bees that collect nectar from manuka and jelly bushes in Australia and New Zealand.

Derma Sciences now sells two Medihoney dressings to hospitals, clinics and doctors in North and South America under a deal with supplier Comvita LP of New Zealand. Derma Sciences hopes to have its dressings in U.S. drugstores in the next six months, followed by adhesive strips.

Comvita, which controls about 75 per cent of the world's manuka honey supply, sells similar products under its own name in Australia, New Zealand and Europe, where such products have been popular for over a decade.

"The reason that Medihoney is so exciting is that antibiotics are becoming ineffective at fighting pathogens," said Derma Sciences CEO Ed Quilty. ... "

~ Full article ~

 

"We call that obstruction"

9/11 Commission: Our Investigation Was ‘Obstructed’
 
by Glenn Greenwald
2 Jan 2008
Salon.com

The bi-partisan co-chairmen of the 9/11 Commission, Tom Kean and Lee Hamilton, jointly
published an Op-Ed in today’s New York Times which contains some extremely emphatic and
serious accusations against the CIA and the White House. The essence:

     [T]he recent revelations that the C.I.A. destroyed videotaped interrogations of Qaeda
operatives leads us to conclude that the agency failed to respond to our lawful requests
for information about the 9/11 plot. Those who knew about those videotapes — and did not
tell us about them — obstructed our investigation.

More strikingly still, they explicitly include the White House at the top of their list of
guilty parties:

     There could have been absolutely no doubt in the mind of anyone at the C.I.A. — or
the White House — of the commission’s interest in any and all information related to Qaeda
detainees involved in the 9/11 plot. Yet no one in the administration ever told the
commission of the existence of videotapes of detainee interrogations.

To underscore the seriousness of their accusations, Keane and Hamilton end with this:

     What we do know is that government officials decided not to inform a lawfully
constituted body, created by Congress and the president, to investigate one the (sic)
greatest tragedies to confront this country. We call that obstruction. ...
 

'New Age COINTELPRO and the Optimism Gestapo'

by Jaye Beldo

 
 Why has there not been a mass transformation of consciousness, culminating in peace on earth, as so many promised back in the early days of the New Age movement? The answer is that there may be a metaphysical COINTELPRO at work, all under the cover of love and light.
  Most people remember COINTELPRO from the days of the Black Panthers, Yippies, and other revolutionary groups who threatened our government during the civil rights movement and the Vietnam war. Sensing that these groups might incite American citizens into radical action, the FBI sent in agents to agitate members of these various groups, often pitting them against each other through various forms of subterfuge, such as blackmail.
  It appears that the CIA, FBI, and NSA are now sending their goons into the metaphysical marketplace, making sure that people who think they are aspiring to higher and positively transformative things are, in reality, only becoming more self-indulgent, disconnected, and confused.
  The biggest influx of these agents occurred during the blossoming of the “human potential” movement in the early ‘70s, through such institutions as Esalen. Legions of people threw away their protest banners and followed their bliss during a time when directly addressing the socio-political problems of the day was imperative.
  Since then, the emphasis on personal development—and more recently, the You Create Your Own Reality movement—a significant segment of the population has been brainwashed into disdaining all socio-political issues. For what better way to disempower people than to have them focus on their personal evolution at the expense of their families, communities, and the countries they live in?
  
Metaphysical Double-Speak
Probably the most flagrant examples of New Age COINTELPRO are channelers who convey disturbing messages from supposedly highly evolved discarnate entities. For example, when the war in Iraq first started in 2003, a well-known channeler in Santa Fe, NM, who channels the ancient Egyptian goddess Sekhmet, allegedly claimed that the war was an “ultimate expression of [Sekhmet’s] compassion for the human race.” It would take a considerable amount of gullibility to swallow this kind of nonsense, but swallow it the New Agers did.
  With such multidimensional “logic” at hand, practically any injustice, whether torture, environmental destruction, or manipulation of the economy by global powers, can be justified as an act of compassion. This is no different from the theocratic stance of George W. Bush when he said that God told him to invade Iraq! Such metaphysical double-speak is dangerous, yet is nevertheless seeping into popular culture.
  Of course, not all channelers are working for the shadow government. Rather, we should use much discernment in regard to channeled information. If channeled information through predictions of global cataclysm, for instance, creates fear and makes us feel ungrounded, unsure, and mistrusting, then it probably is coming from a COINTELPRO source and should be taken with an immense grain of salt.
  
The Optimism Gestapo
However, perhaps the most insidious aspect of the New Age movement is what I call the Optimism Gestapo, or those who regulate and insist on positive thinking by any means necessary, where any criticism or expression of negative or painful emotions are disdained.
  I once brought up to an Ashtar Command “ascencionist” (i.e. someone who believes that extraterrestrials will come and save her), the fact that democratic senator Paul Wellstone may have been murdered in order to get republican Norm Coleman elected. Before I could elaborate, she cut me off by saying, “It was just his time.”
  She was intolerant of the fact that I dared interfere with the reality she was creating, free of conspiracy, cutthroat politicians, and skullduggery. And the more I have played devil’s advocate with New Agers, the more I have discovered that such intolerance is the norm. For there currently is a belief amongst New Agers that anything negative that one expresses will only further magnetize negativity. However, those who pursue this line of thinking just end up repressing their negative emotions, only to have them burst forth in uncontrollable ways.
  As an example, I once was in a massage therapist’s office proofreading a manuscript for him. I was reading how he had a deep respect for his Japanese ancestors who originated the massage techniques he used in his practice. The phone rang and I heard him say, “Just dial 911,” then slammed the phone down. He then turned to me and explained, “That was my wife. My kid just fell down some stairs. I can’t deal with it.”
  On the surface, the massage therapist conveyed an aura of humaneness and caring, all the while repressing his shadow side, as evidenced by his coldness towards his wife and child. Dr. Carl Jung recognized the danger of such repression and recommended confronting the nether-regions of our psyches—primarily through dream work—as a way of achieving healthy psychological equilibrium.
  Anyone seeking a supportive metaphysical community should first ask themselves if their ability to think independently is being compromised. For keeping one’s metaphysical radar functioning is most important in a world crawling with “forced cheer” gurus, COINTELPRO channelers, and self-help authors.
 

Growth of local power a bright spot in seven bleak years of Bush

American cities, counties and states have offered a crucial
counterweight to the White House on the issues that really matter

by Rebecca Solnit
San Francisco

The centre cannot hold, and that's the good news in the United States
these days. Quietly, doggedly, cities, regions, counties and states
have refused to march to the Bush administration's drum when it comes
to climate change, the environment and the war. Some of the recent
changes are so sweeping that they will probably drag the nation along
with them - notably efforts by Vermont, Massachusetts and California to
set higher vehicle emissions standards and generally treat climate
change as an environmental problem that can be addressed by regulation.
The Bush administration has notoriously dragged its feet on doing
anything about climate change, and it will now be dragged along by the
states, themselves prodded forward by citizens.

It wasn't supposed to work that way. States' rights was a rallying cry
for conservatives for much of the 20th century, first in allowing
segregation and racial discrimination across the south and then in
allowing environmental destruction around the west. Rightwingers have
usually believed in a weak federal government - except when they run
it; and that weakness, or rather the strength of the local, has been
one of the bright spots during the seven bleak years of life under Bush...
 
 

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