Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A Rising Epidemic Underrecognized and Underaddressed

Autoimmune diseases are the eighth leading cause of death among women, shortening the average patient's lifespan by fifteen years. Not surprisingly, the economic burden is staggering: autoimmune diseases represent a yearly health-care burden of more than $120 billion, compared to the yearly health-care burden of $70 billion for direct medical costs for cancer.

To underscore these numbers, consider: while 2.2 million women are living with breast cancer and 7.2 million women have coronary disease, an estimated 9.8 million women are afflicted with one of the seven more common autoimmune diseases: lupus, scleroderma, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease, Sjögren's, and type 1 diabetes. All of these can lead to potentially fatal complications.

[ ... ]

Even as autoimmune diseases remain underrecognized and underaddressed, the number of patients afflicted with these illnesses has been steadily growing. Yet few of today's practicing physicians are aware of the escalating tsunami of epidemiological evidence that now concerns top scientists at every major research institute around the world: evidence that autoimmune diseases such as lupus, MS, scleroderma, and many others are on the rise and have been for the past four decades in industrialized countries around the world.

Mayo Clinic researchers report that the incidence of lupus has nearly tripled in the United States over the past four decades. Their findings are all the more alarming when you consider that their research has been conducted among a primarily white population at a time when many researchers believe lupus rates are rising most significantly among African Americans.

Over the past fifty years multiple sclerosis rates have tripled in Finland. Rates have likewise been rising in Scotland, England, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Sweden, where the number of people with MS has been rising at nearly 3 percent a year. Multiple sclerosis rates in Norway have risen 30 percent since 1963, echoing trends in Germany, Italy, and Greece, where MS rates have doubled over the past thirty to forty years.

Torture Bracelet To Control Dissenting Americans?

Homeland Security, weapons company express desire to use "Security Bracelet" in law enforcement, crowd control
The Department of Homeland Security is pursuing the introduction of a device known as the Security Bracelet, a wearable tag that would allow authorities to inflict pain compliance on suspects from a distance, while also recommending law enforcement applications and potential use in "crowd control situations".

Introduced ostensibly to combat airline terrorism, a creepy promo video courtesy of the patent holders Lamperd FTS exploits shocking 9/11 imagery to push the torture device as a solution to countering potential hijackers by inflicting "Electro-Muscular Disruption" and presumably giving the rest of the passengers a debilitating shock at the same time.

Watch the clip.


Military veterans to deliver citizen arrest warrants for Bush and Cheney

18 March, 2008

Backed by family members and supporters all across the nation, U.S. military veterans will serve citizen arrest warrants for George Bush and Dick Cheney tomorrow in Washington, D.C.

The warrants are "for multiple violations of the Constitution and international war crimes," according to a statement issued by Veterans for Peace, a national organization of men and women who served in wars and military conflicts beginning with the Spanish Civil War in 1936 through the present war in Iraq.

"It has long been apparent that our Constitution is under attack and has been deliberately and relentlessly undermined by domestic enemies -- indeed, by our highest government officials -- who took the same oath we did and have violated it by waging a war of aggression and committing war crimes in Iraq," according to Veterans for Peace president, Elliott Adams in explaining the warrants.

The warrants will be delivered to the National Archives which houses the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.

The patriots will also retake their military oath, which includes the words: "I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic."...

A call to activists to get serious

From Attention Activists: It's Time to Grow Up! :

The Vietnam conflict was ended by those who organized sit-ins and takeovers not vigils. The Johnson presidency was brought down by those who shut down schools and colleges all over the nation, not by those who lit candles in quiet little ceremonies.

Does the name Gandhi mean anything to you? He defeated an empire, peaceably and permanently when he organized acts of civil disobedience that sparked similar action by millions of Indian activists. Are there any people in history who ever have affected change via a vigil of any sort?

Can you imagine what would have happened if the Founding Fathers had decided to hold a vigil rather than declare their independence from the tyranny of their British rulers? If you truly want change you have to understand that any significant change to the status quo in the US today requires both hard work and risk taking. It requires unity. It requires the participation of masses of people who are informed enough to understand the threats to their lives and their freedoms that are posed by those who would profess to lead them!

Our government is no longer a government of our by the people. Both major political parties are fronts for people behind the scenes who are orchestrating the end of the republic and the establishment of autocratic rule. They are putting into place what can best be described as control mechanisms. The apparatus already is in place whereby all power, wealth, health and freedom is in the hands of the few people at the top; the rest of us be dammed. This is not a theory...just pay is public...for all to see...but you have to look in order to see it!

Iraq is not worst case in global stability, prosperity ranking

The United Kingdom has been ranked as one of the most stable and prosperous countries in the world, beating the United States, France and even Switzerland in a global assessment of every nation's achievements and standards.

A one-year investigation and analysis of 235 countries and dependent territories has put the UK joint seventh in the premier league of nations. The top ten comprise also the Vatican, Sweden, Luxembourg, Monaco, Gibraltar, San Marino, Liechtenstein, the Netherlands and the Irish Republic.

The US lies 22nd and Switzerland, normally associated with wealth and untouchable stability, is rated 17th, losing points in the assessment of its social achievements.

The bottom ten, surprisingly, do not include Iraq. They are listed as Gaza and the West Bank, Somalia, Sudan, Afghanistan, Ivory Coast, Haiti, Zimbabwe, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic.

[ ... ]

The global check on every country recognised as an individual state or territory by the United Nations was carried out by Jane's Information Group and is published today.

[ ... ]

He explained that Iraq had managed to escape the ignominy of being in the bottom ten because, despite "extremely high levels of violence", it had a "relatively stable Government" that controlled a significant area of the country and had good economic prospects. "Unlike Afghanistan, where – despite the presence of more than 40,000 foreign troops – the Government exercises poor control over large parts of the country and where 50 per cent of the economy is dependent on the opium trade," he said.

~ more... ~


Top Ranking CIA Operatives Admit Al-qaeda Is a Complete Fabrication

BBC's killer documentary called "The Power of Nightmares". Top CIA officials openly admit, Al-qaeda is a total and complete fabrication, never having existed at any time. The Bush administration needed a reason that complied with the Laws so they could go after "the bad guy of their choice" namely laws that had been set in place to protect us from mobs and "criminal organizations" such as the Mafia. They paid Jamal al Fadl, hundreds of thousands of dollars to back the U.S. Government's story of Al-qaeda, a "group" or criminal organization they could "legally" go after. This video documentary is off the hook…
~ video and links to Parts I and II ~

The Economics of Terrorism

" ... The fastest growing economy in the world is the new economy of terror; a sophisticated international economic system that avoids what we think is normal economics. Al Qaeda and most other terrorist groups have developed their own system. Much of which is barrowed from ancient times where the Moslems fervently avoided banks and the Qur'an forbids usury/interest. They teach from child hood in Islamic schools (madrasa's) that the Templars, not the Rothschilds founded the first international banking system around 1100 A.D. in Jerusalem. The Templars were a non-Islamic religious order dedicated to serving the church during the Crusades. They quickly became the world's greatest international banking empire. By 1190 A.D., The Templars had murdered, pillaged and raped the Islamic people. They were allowed to keep the spoils captured from the Muslims. The Templars grew into full-service bankers and that model laid the foundation for the current banking system used today. The Muslims were locked out of that system and had to start their own secret financial and economic system. Hawala was born. Terrorist organizations get much of their cash by what is known as Hawala – an informal Islamic banking and brokering world system. This terrorist trust advances money among members on a simple hand shake, chits, credits and encrypted passwords.
It is believed that the US has intensified its war on terrorism on the financial front, targeting this ancient, informal system of money transfers that officials believe funneled millions of dollars to Osama Bin Laden's al-Qaeda network. And is still being used today.
Hawala, has been used for hundreds of years to move money across distances and around legal and financial barriers in South Asia and the Middle East.
Arab traders used it on the Silk Road to avoid being robbed, and now millions of Pakistanis, Indians and others working abroad use the hawala system to send money home to their families.
Billions of dollars flow through this informal and anonymous system, and officials believe that al-Qaeda is using the system to move money to its operatives around the world.

Hawala works as well in remote regions as it does from the back of a jewelry store in LA's jewelry district or in Gallup New Mexico and now with a special thanks to the internet millions of additional dollars move daily. US investigators would do well to research the old ways of the Muslims and culture and learn how they do business and how it is most unlike our systems of the west. In fact they do things almost in the opposite way of the west. In fact a good start would be to learn their language. Particularly damning for intelligence agencies after 9/11 were reports that only a handful of agents throughout CIA spoke fluent Arabic or Pharsi. Though never confirmed officially, sources familiar with the situation in 2001 say that outside the eavesdropping analysts at the National Security Agency, less than a dozen CIA field agents could speak the language spoken by the groups that were the consensus favorites to mount attacks on America.

New agents are hard to find, but Congress and the American public are tired of hearing it.

According to the US government Saudi businessmen pay Al-Qaeda millions in protection money often using some form of Hawala. Al- Qaeda fighters generate cash by protecting drug lords and drug shipments. They have run scams on the Internet designed to swindle Americans (see insert or side bar) and Israelis into false, get rich quick schemes and credit card fraud. Drug money is an important source of capital for the terrorist these funds are also hard to trace. Terrorist finance the cultivation of poppies for harvesting and the manufacture of high grade Heroin and opium. This is then transported by everyone from fishermen to cab drivers and sold on the open world markets. Authorities believe top terrorist operatives work in the Honey trade they control the honey retailers throughout the Arab, Pakistan and Afghan world. Their products also reach other markets globally. I know before the advent of the Federal Reserve and now sustained by terror groups, their sponsors, terror states, many so called charities, drug trafficking and various and sundry legitimate and not legitimate businesses, corporations and other affiliates around the world is becoming known as the Terrorist Economy.

Over the last decade the new economy of terror has merged with the international illegal drug and criminal economy and together they generate a yearly turnover of $1.5 trillion (£0.89 trillion) equivalent to 5% of world GDP. This elusive economic system is the structure that supports and nurtures global terror. ... "

Leahy, Specter Want Investigation Into Passport Privacy Breach

The Democratic chairman and top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee don't want to wait around for an internal State Department investigation into why contractors poked around in the passport files of the three presidential candidates.

Sens. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) and Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), in a letter today to Attorney General Michael Mukasey, say they want Justice to open a criminal investigation into whether federal privacy laws were violated and whether there are extra measures that should be taken to prevent contractors from accessing such high profile passport files. The passport files of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and John McCain were all viewed by State Department contractors, but the department has not identified the contractors.

A Utopian Detour

Great post from the Paths Through Utopia blog [thanks go to the Diggers350 list] :
" ... I’m always fascinated by what I call people’s road to Damascus moments. The events that transform and radicalise people, the little slices of time which hurl us from one world into another, from one way of thinking into ways of thinking we never thought possible. Whenever I meet new people I will try to find a way of asking how they became politicised. So I ask Carlos. He described a hot humid summer’s night staying awake till dawn reading an anarchist text that his sister had leant him. “It was as if I had been hit by lightning and given the word of god” he says “except of course there was no God” he laughs “ or masters, only an understanding of the potentiality of human beings to run their own life. It seemed so beautifully obvious.”

Writing during the Spanish civil war, Sylvia Townsend Warner said of Anarchism that “the world was not yet worthy of it, but that it ought to be the politics of heaven.” The sense that we are not worthy, strikes me as a deeply distopian notion, related to the age old belief that sees humanity as an immutable mass of miserable beings. This vision of fallen humanity remains one of the greatest obstructions to the envisioning of a transformed world, time for a little textual detour.

[ ... ]

When eighteenth-century radicals such as William Godwin’s ideas of human benevolence and unlimited progress began to be popularised in the late 18th century Britain, the philosophers of doom responded. Reverend Thomas Malthus’ quasi-scientific account of the struggle for existence in a world where the earth’s resources would always be fought over by ever expanding populations, was written as a direct repost to Goodwin. For Malthus, Godwin’s belief that benevolence was the moving principle in society was “little better than a dream, a beautiful phantom of the imagination, ” poverty and misery were not social ills but part of natural law, humans would always compete in a world of limited resources.

[ ... ]

The Spanish Civil war was one of the worlds most remarkable social revolutions, millions of people lived and worked collectively without hierarchy, whole towns and cities were run with popular assemblies and yet whilst it was happening the mainstream press showed a blind eye to the success story and reported on what they understood better, war and conflict. In 1937, when George Orwell , returned from the front impressed by the achievements of the anarchists, and published his Homage to Catalonia, it only sold 300 copies, the rest were remaindered to an anarchist bookshop.

[ ... ]

We are driving across Andalusia, its hard to imagine that during the civil war there were entire communities in this region that abolished money, collectivised land and developed barter systems. All we seem to experience are endless identical grids of olive plantations, grey green dots on a backdrop of dry white earth, a monotonous industrial monoculture that continues for hours on end.

Spain was the only country in the modern era where Anarchism developed into a large enough social movement that had the power to threaten the state and successfully manage huge areas of a country, during the 1936-39 civil war. Spanish Anarchism was rooted in popular peasant culture, a precapitalist collective village tradition. To many in the close knit rural communities and newer urban neighbourhoods Anarchist values were as much a way of life as a theoretical position. This long history of Self governing communes with their own laws and charters, created a fertile soil for the anarchist politics of the late 19th century. Pretty much every revolutionary Spanish political movement in the the sixty years previous to civil war was ostensibly anarchist in spirit if not in name.

[ ... ]

Marinaleda is clearly not anarchist, on paper it is more of a mini libertarian communist state with aspects of ecological thinking. On the surface it feels very similar to Murray Bookchin’s theories of Municipal Libertarianism, the practice of building revolutionary direct democratic institutions in ones own neighbourhoods. It will be interesting to see if Bookchin’s theory has become reality here. What ever the case is, Marinaleda’s history, which began just after the death of Franco and the transition to democracy, reads like a fairy tale.

Andalusia was suffering chronic unemployment , in Marinaleda’s case it was over 75%. The majority of the land was owned by a tiny elite of aristocratic landlords who farmed olives and cotton using huge agro industrial machines. The villagers eacked out a living as precarious agricultural day labourers, not knowing whether they would have work from one day to the other. Jobs like olive picking only lasted three months in the year. People lived in squalid cramped conditions, sometimes three separate families sharing the same house. Life was hard and many emigrated to the cities or abroad, villages across the region died.

In Marinaleda though they decided to do something about it. The party in power in the local council together with a radical agricultural union, the SOC decided to fight for their own land. In 1979 they started the struggled and took direct action to reclaim the local Count’s land. This included 700 people going on hunger strike for 13 days, trapping the Spanish president in a local village, 25 days of government building occupation in Seville, sabotaging the Counts farm machinery and most importantly occupying his land. After twelve long years a final push involved a non stop occupation of his fields for 90 days and nights. The Count gave up and sold the land to the Andulucian government. Not wanting to accept that it had been won through struggle, they invented a kind of legal song and dance which ended with 1200 hectares being given to Marinaleda. Many of the local land owners followed suit, frightened that their land was going to be subject to the same treatment, they sold it cheaply to Marinaleda council.

The mayor later described to us how one of the most beautiful moments of his life was the day when they were given the keys to the Counts Finca and let themselves in to the majestic farmhouse, which now boasts a huge mural on its façade saying LAND and UTOPIA. With their own land they were autonomous from the count, could create jobs and start to run their own lives. ... "


'An unparalleled opportunity, the company says, to "Know thyself" '

In January, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, movers and shakers lined up to spit into test tubes -- the first step to having snippets of their DNA analyzed by 23andMe, a personalized gene-testing company that for $999 promises to help people "search and explore their genomes."

Those wanting an even more complete analysis of their biological inheritance can turn to Knome, a Cambridge, Mass., company that, for $350,000, will spell out all 3 billion letters of their DNA code -- an unparalleled opportunity, the company says, to "Know thyself."

For singles on tighter budgets and with narrower interests, there is, which says that its $995 genetic test will help clients find DNA-compatible mates who will smell sexier to them, have more orgasms and produce healthier children.

This is the world of direct-to-consumer genetic testing, a peculiar mix of modern science, old-fashioned narcissism and innovative entrepreneurialism, all made possible by the government-sponsored Human Genome Project.

More than 20 companies today offer "personalized genomics" tests that promise to help clients discern from their DNA what diseases they are likely to get, whether they are shy or adventurous, even their propensity to become addicted to drugs. A growing number bypass doctors and deal directly with consumers.

"I would want to be very careful about what kind of data I made accessible to U.S. law enforcement"

...Eighteen months ago, Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ont., had an outdated computer system that was crashing daily and in desperate need of an overhaul. A new installation would have cost more than $1-million and taken months to implement. Google's service, however, took just 30 days to set up, didn't cost the university a penny and gave nearly 8,000 students and faculty leading-edge software, said Michael Pawlowski, Lakehead's vice-president of administration and finance.

U.S.-based Google spotlighted the university as one of the first to adopt its software model of the future, and today Mr. Pawlowski boasts the move was the right thing for Lakehead, saving it hundreds of thousands of dollars in annual operating costs. But he notes one trade-off: The faculty was told not to transmit any private data over the system, including student marks.

The U.S. Patriot Act, passed in the weeks after the September, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States, gives authorities the means to secretly view personal data held by U.S. organizations. It is at odds with Canada's privacy laws, which require organizations to protect private information and inform individuals when their data has been shared.

At Lakehead, the deal with Google sparked a backlash. "The [university] did this on the cheap. By getting this free from Google, they gave away our rights," said Tom Puk, past president of Lakehead's faculty association, which filed a grievance against Lakehead administration that's still in arbitration.

Professors say the Google deal broke terms of their collective agreement that guarantees members the right to private communications. Mr. Puk says teachers want an in-house system that doesn't let third parties see their e-mails.

Some other organizations are banning Google's innovative tools outright to avoid the prospect of U.S. spooks combing through their data. Security experts say many firms are only just starting to realize the risks they assume by embracing Web-based collaborative tools hosted by a U.S. company, a problem even more acute in Canada where federal privacy rules are at odds with U.S. security measures.

"You have to decide which law you are going to break," said Darren Meister, associate professor of information systems at the Richard Ivey School of Business, who specializes in how technology enhances organizational effectiveness. "If I were a business manager, I would want to be very careful about what kind of data I made accessible to U.S. law enforcement."

Using their new powers under the Patriot Act, U.S. intelligence officials can scan documents, pick out certain words and create profiles of the authors - a frightening challenge to academic freedom, Mr. Puk said...

54 countries past Peak Oil production

From Global “Oil Shock” Rattles World Stock Markets :

The price of crude oil was trading near $70 a barrel as recently as last August, when the Fed suddenly jolted the markets, by lowering its discount rate to 5.75% on Aug 17th, timed to squeeze short sellers in the stock market, on options expiration day. The Fed’s abrupt shift towards easy money fueled a 1,500-point rally for the Dow Jones Industrials over the next two months to a record high of 14,100.
But the stock market’s “irrational exuberance” didn’t last long, once the unintended consequences of the Fed’s rate cuts, a - Global “Oil Shock” – began to settle in. In trying to rescue the Dow Jones Industrials from the claws of a grizzly bear market, the Fed has sacrificed the US dollar, and in turn, ignited a powerful surge in the price of crude oil to $110 /barrel. And most US recessions in the post-World War II era were preceded by sudden spikes in oil prices.
On Feb 15th, Fed chief Ben Bernanke played down the threat of spiraling energy and food prices, saying “inflation expectations remain reasonably well anchored,” then signaled another rate cut in March, as an “insurance policy to head off an economic recession.” Since then, the price of crude oil has surged $17 /barrel, and is wrecking havoc on Wall Street and other major stock markets around the globe.
[ ... ]
The “Peak Oil” theory refers to the inevitability of a peak in global oil production. Oil is a finite, non-renewable resource, and once half of the original reserves are depleted, oil production is likely to stop growing and then begin a terminal decline. Of the 65 largest oil producing countries in the world, 54 are past their “Peak Oil” production and are now in decline, including the USA, down 11% since 1971, and the UK’s North Sea down 27% since peaking in 1999.
Other big oil producers in decline include Australia, down 26% since 2001, and Norway, down 13% since 2001. The Cantarell oil field, Mexico’s largest has also peaked with its output falling to 1.7 million bpd in 2007, down from its peak output of 2.1 million bpd. Thus, global oil demand is expected to exceed supply in the second half of this year, and the oil deficit will only grow wider in 2009, unless the global economy sinks into a sharp recession.

The 9 Trillion Pound Gorilla

Today the national debt is $9.2 trillion. And hardly anyone is talking about this. We’ve had rabbinical debates about healthcare and moronic charges and counter-charges about who’s ready “on day one” to be president. But the poor bastard who walks into the Oval Office next January will confront the $9 trillion-plus pound gorilla sitting in the room.

That gorilla has become obscenely engorged because of George W. Bush and his cronies. His stupefying $3.1 trillion budget proposed for 2009, with an 8 percent increase for the Pentagon and more than $400 billion in deficit spending, got minimal coverage, unveiled as it was on the eve of Super Tuesday, when 60 percent of the network news coverage focused on the campaign.


image from

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