Thursday, November 26, 2009
...The idea that Bush Junior was an anomaly is an illusion that's dying a hard death. Of course, much more than the accepted worldview about George W. Bush is at issue. Indeed, it isn't really about W at all, who is about as relevant as yesterday morning's New York Times.
No, the real reason progressives cling to the falsehood that Bush was the problem is because they don't want to face the fact that Obama isn't the solution.
On the Charlie Rose Show recently, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, in his usual half-an-insight-wrapped-in-a-falsehood way, intoned as much. You know that when the “War of Choice” in Iraq man pontificates that the problem isn't American leadership but American citizenry, denial is running out of running room.
Friedman said, “Maybe, as good as Obama is, he can't trump the system.” Waking up is hard to do. Given that Rose and Friedman are the system, there's plenty of irony to go around.
[ ... ]
I still feel that the hinge of history could have squeaked a different way, but both Russians and Americans fell short. As we all know, American capitalism proclaimed a glorious victory over godless communism. Problem was, we had become the godless ones, in a true sense, and so it was a quick and globalizing downhill slide under Bill and Hillary to George and Laura.
The question now is: What is Obama? Sad to say, he's an empty promise, a hyped hope. The proud proclaimer of “I got game” has become the graying thin man of 'it's still the same.'
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Merck's Vioxx scandal widens: Drug maker knew Vioxx was deadly for years before risk was made public (opinion)
(NaturalNews) The Vioxx scandal widened this week as new research published in the Archives of Internal Medicine reveals that Vioxx maker Merck held data for three years that proved Vioxx caused an alarming increase in the risk of heart attacks and strokes. And yet Merck chose not to release that data. In fact, it took three more years of patients dying from heart attacks before Vioxx was pulled off the market, and even then, Merck insisted the drug was not dangerous.
This new study was based on a meta-analysis of several unpublished studies that Merck obviously didn't want to see published in medical journals. Drug companies routinely engage in this subterfuge: They cherry-pick which studies they want published while burying the rest. They also choose which studies to forward to the FDA, all while claiming the whole charade is based on "evidence-based medicine."
It is, sort of. If you add the word "selective" in front of the phrase, making it: "Selective evidence-based medicine."
So how were the authors of this new study able to find these unpublished studies that Merck would much prefer remained hidden? They were disclosed in court proceedings against Merck. So many people were harmed by Vioxx, you see, that some of them decided to sue. And in that legal process, many "secret" studies were revealed. Some smart-minded researchers decided to analyze the data in those studies and that's what reveals Merck knew Vioxx raised the risk of heart-related side effects by 35 percent and yet did nothing to warn the public about those risks.
In essence, these documents prove that Merck knowingly and maliciously allowed a deadly drug to continue to be sold to patients for years. It's a clear case of profits before patients from a drug company mired in one scandal after another. (Merck is also the maker of Gardasil, the cervical cancer vaccine.)
In its defense, Merck says its own scientists couldn't find any link between Vioxx and heart attack deaths. Understandably, it's difficult to find anything when your profits depend on not finding it.
The Merck conspiracy
Now that this data is public, it reveals that Merck's executives and / or employees were engaged in a conspiracy to withhold important drug safety data from the public and the FDA. The aim of this conspiracy was simple: To maximize profits through the sale of a product they knew was killing people.
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A leading Chinese historian and a veteran of the committee that advises on official Chinese history textbooks has broken step with the official Chinese line on historical sovereignty over Tibet and said that to claim that the ancient Buddhist kingdom "has always been a part of China" would be a "defiance of history".
In an article in the China Review magazine, Professor Ge Jianxiong, 62, director of the Institute of Chinese Historical Geography and the Research Centre for Historical Geographic Studies at Fudan University in Shanghai, states that while considering how big China was during the Tang Dynasty (7th to 10th century), "we cannot include the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, which was ruled by Tubo/Tufan..."
Tubo/Tufan, notes Ge, "was a sovereignty independent of the Tang Dynasty. At least it was not administered by the Tang Dynasty." If it were not, he argues, there would have been no need for the Tang emperor of the day to offer Princess Wen Cheng in a "marriage of state" to the Tibetan king, Songtsen Gampo.
"It would be a defiance of history," asserts Ge, "to claim that Tibet has always been a part of China since the Tang Dynasty; the fact that the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau subsequently became a part of the Chinese dynasties does not substantiate such a claim."
Ge's article is an exploration of a larger theme of Chinese identity in history -- and precisely when it evolved. And his comments on Tibet conform to scholarly accounts that acknowledge that the takeover of Tibet during the Qing Dynasty (17th to early 20th century) was the starting point for"Chinese sovereignty" over the region.
Yet, Ge's comments are controversial insofar as they deviate from the official Communist Party line that Tibet has always been an inalienable part of China; in the past China has regarded as any weakening of that theory as "anti-national" and "split-ist". It will be interesting to see how the authorities respond to Ge's scholarly article.
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Translation by Julie Webb Pullman
La Brigada de Observación de la Red contra la Represión y por la Solidaridad (The Observation Brigade of the Network against Repression and for Solidarity) formed by different groups and organizations reaffirm their support and sympathy for the dignified struggle of fellow adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle and the Other Campaign for the defense of Earth and the Territory of their peoples.
In our journey we find that there is a common and recurrent logic that stains with violence the ejidos of Mitzitón, Jotolá and San Sebastian Bachajon:
- Constant pressure from state police and the paramilitary groups Army of God and Organization for the Defense of Indigenous Rights (OPDIC), in the form of harassment, physical and psychological aggression and threats of arrest, death and rape against the inhabitants of these communities.
- Impunity on the part of the three levels of government (state, municipal and federal), which enables the continuation of violence and the sheltering of the perpetrators.
- Dispossession and eviction from their land and territory, in violation of the autonomy and self determination of indigenous peoples based on laws and treaties recognized in our country (such as section 169 of the ILO Convention).
In the Tzotzil community of ejidatarios Mitzitón, Other Campaign adherents have declared resistance against the proposed passage of the San Cristobal-Palenque highway through its territory, affecting 40 hectares of forest (including fir and oak forests), 10 acres of farmland, and 2 wells.
Within the community a religious group called Church of Eagle Wings has appeared, which is clearly linked to another paramilitary group Army of God. This group has declared itself in favor of the passage of the motorway through Mitzitón, leading to confrontation with the majority of the ejidatarios, who have rejected the predatory highway project because it will only benefit the capitalists and the government.
The fighting escalated on 21 July 2009 when the ejido assembly decided to send a commission to review land that had been designated as common land, which it knew had been invaded by Carmen Díaz, leader of the Church of Eagle Wings, and by members of the paramilitary group Army of God.
On the way to the site, the commission was surprised by paramilitaries on board a pickup truck who drove into the community members in a criminal attack, killing one and injuring four more: Aurelio Díaz Hernández died from being run over, and Javier Gómez Herédia suffered a broken left leg and right leg injuries that have kept him incapacitated for 4 Months. Fernando Herédia y José Herédia Jiménez were beaten by Army of God members, resulting in bruising.
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'Moves To Stop Global Warming Are Devastating Tribal People', Says New Report
Measures to stop global warming risk being as harmful to tribal peoples as climate change itself, according to a new report from tribal rights organisation Survival International.
The report, 'The most inconvenient truth of all: climate change and indigenous people', sets out four key 'mitigation measures' that threaten tribal people:
1. Biofuels: promoted as an alernative, 'green' source of energy to fossil fuels, much of the land allocated to grow them is the ancestral land of tribal people. If biofuels expansion continues as planned, millions of indigenous people worldwide stand to lose their land and livelihoods.
2. Hydro-electric power: A new boom in dam construction in the name of combating climate change is driving thousands of tribal people from their homes.
3. Forest conservation: Kenya's Ogiek hunter-gatherers are being forced from the forests they have lived in for hundreds of years to 'reverse the ravages' of global warming.
4. Carbon offsetting: Tribal peoples' forests now have a monetary value in the booming 'carbon credits' market. Indigenous people say this will lead to forced evictions and the 'theft of our land'.
The report calls for tribal people to be fully involved in decisions that affect them, and for their land ownership rights to be upheld.
Survival Director Stephen Corry said today, 'This report highlights 'the most inconvenient truth of all' – that the world's tribal people, who have done the least to cause climate change and are most affected by it, are now having their rights violated and land devastated in the name of attempts to stop it. Hiding behind the global push to prevent climate change, governments and companies are mounting a massive land grab. As usual, where money and vast profits are at stake, the world's indigenous people are being shamefully swept aside.'
~ Source: Scoop ~
Doctor-drugmaker ties: Psychiatrist Dr. Michael Reinstein received nearly $500,000 from antipsychotic drug's manufacturer
Executives inside pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca faced a high-stakes dilemma.
On one hand, Chicago psychiatrist Dr. Michael Reinstein was bringing the company a small fortune in sales and was conducting research that made one of its most promising drugs look spectacular.
On the other, some worried that his research findings might be too good to be true.
As Reinstein grew irritated with what he perceived as the company's slights, a top executive outlined the scenario in an e-mail to colleagues.
"If he is in fact worth half a billion dollars to (AstraZeneca)," the company's U.S. sales chief wrote in 2001, "we need to put him in a different category." To avoid scaring Reinstein away, he said, the firm should answer "his every query and satisfy any of his quirky behaviors."
Putting aside its concerns, AstraZeneca would continue its relationship with Reinstein, paying him $490,000 over a decade to travel the nation promoting its best-selling antipsychotic drug, Seroquel. In return, Reinstein provided the company a vast customer base: thousands of mentally ill residents in Chicago-area nursing homes.
During that period, Reinstein also faced accusations that he overmedicated and neglected patients who took a variety of drugs. But his research and promotional work went on, including studies and presentations examining many of the antipsychotics he prescribed on his daily rounds.
The AstraZeneca payments, filed as exhibits in a federal lawsuit, highlight the extent to which a leading drug company helped sustain one of the busiest psychiatrists working in local nursing facilities.
In an interview and in response to written questions, Reinstein said industry payments he has received for speeches and other engagements have had no bearing on his research results or patient care. He said he does not "accept any money from corporations to study their medications. This eliminates any possible conflicts of interest."
But he does receive money from the Uptown Research Institute, a for-profit business that conducts industry- and government-funded studies on psychotropic drugs to help mentally ill patients.
Reinstein's office in Uptown is adjacent to the research institute, which is owned by John Sonnenberg, a clinical psychologist who describes Reinstein as "a mentor of mine" and "brilliant."
Sonnenberg said drugmakers and others pay his institute to do research, and the group, in turn, pays Reinstein a consulting fee of "under $2,000 a month" and has for many years. A decade ago, Sonnenberg said, Reinstein was an active researcher for the institute but since then has served only as an adviser.
"My research organization is separate from him, financially and organizationally," Sonnenberg said.
While payments from drugmakers to researchers are legal, critics have long argued that they should be publicly disclosed. Legislation to make Illinois one of a handful of states to require disclosure died in Springfield this year but is included in the U.S. House and Senate versions of health care reform proposals.
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Since the 1997 international accord to fight global warming, climate change has worsened and accelerated — beyond some of the grimmest of warnings made back then.
As the world has talked for a dozen years about what to do next, new ship passages opened through the once frozen summer sea ice of the Arctic. In Greenland and Antarctica, ice sheets have lost trillions of tons of ice. Mountain glaciers in Europe, South America, Asia and Africa are shrinking faster than before.
And it's not just the frozen parts of the world that have felt the heat in the dozen years leading up to next month's climate summit in Copenhagen:
_The world's oceans have risen by about an inch and a half.
_Droughts and wildfires have turned more severe worldwide, from the U.S. West to Australia to the Sahel desert of North Africa.
_Species now in trouble because of changing climate include, not just the lumbering polar bear which has become a symbol of global warming, but also fragile butterflies, colorful frogs and entire stands of North American pine forests.
_Temperatures over the past 12 years are 0.4 of a degree warmer than the dozen years leading up to 1997.
Even the gloomiest climate models back in the 1990s didn't forecast results quite this bad so fast.
"The latest science is telling us we are in more trouble than we thought," said Janos Pasztor, climate adviser to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
And here's why: Since an agreement to reduce greenhouse gas pollution was signed in Kyoto, Japan, in December 1997, the level of carbon dioxide in the air has increased 6.5 percent. Officials from across the world will convene in Copenhagen next month to seek a follow-up pact, one that President Barack Obama says "has immediate operational effect ... an important step forward in the effort to rally the world around a solution."
The last effort didn't quite get the anticipated results.
From 1997 to 2008, world carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels have increased 31 percent...
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By Al Giordano, narconews
The Gaceta Oficial, (“Official Gazette”) of the Honduras coup regime is now freshly printed and has three new decrees and two orders restricting freedom of the press, the right to bear arms and officially strips Catholic Father Andres Tamayo of his Honduran citizenship, ordering him expelled from the country (the good Padre left for El Salvador last week).
Here are a few of the regime's greatest hits from this week's barrage of repressive decrees which are expressly part of what the coup leaders call an "election" coming up on Sunday:
“Due to growing internal threats,” the Armed Forces will be deployed, in support of the National Police, to guard polling places, the custody and transport of ballots (before and after they are utilized by voters), and 5,000 members of the military reserve were deputized beginning on November 13.
This decree declares a “State of Emergency” nationwide, and places the regime's “Secretary of State” inside the military command to oversee all activities related to the November 29 “elections.” This decree pretty much erases the previous order that the quasi-independent Supreme Electoral Tribunal would exclusively be in command of the Armed Forces in the month prior to the “election.” In other words, not even the window dressing added to give the vote a gloss of pseudo-independence could be tolerated by regime leader Roberto Micheletti, who has now placed a member of his Simian Council at that helm.
The November 29 “elections are under threat by groups that try to block their development with threats of all kinds, creating fear and disorder in the general population.” Therefore, says the decree, a nationwide ban on bearing all types of firearms went into effect on Monday, November 23, “until ordered otherwise.” (Memo to self: Make sure to write the National Rifle Association about Senator Jim DeMint's efforts in Honduras.)
Order number 2169-2009 of the Secretary of Government and Justice
“The conduct of Mr. José Andrés Tamayo Cortez is incongruent with constituional precepts and secondary laws of the Honduran State… that justify his characterization as UNWORTHY to have Honduran nationality and is ordered to be expelled to his country of origin.”
Executive Order 124-2009 authorizes the coup regime's media regulating organization CONATEL to close any media at will.
Dear Mr. Micheletti, members of his Simian Council, and all who back his anti-democracy coup: Have fun with your mock “elections” on Sunday. The only thing more interesting than the week to come – and there still may be some big surprises about to unfold from the ground level – is going to be the week afterward, as you enter your next squalid series of tantrums upon the realization that not even your own populace believes that your “election” was legitimate or worthy of respect. Your game of electoral make-believe will resolve nothing.
By Yoel Marcus, Ha'aretz
The first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, is the one who said Israel should be a light unto the nations. The great powers, who didn't lift a finger to destroy the death camps during World War II, were not only sympathetic to Israel's establishment, but admired its valor in repulsing the Arab states' onslaught.
Renowned foreign journalists came here and wrote glowing reports about this war of David against Goliath, about the young immigrants who were taken from the boat straight to the battlefield, about the Jewish volunteers who arrived to help establish this state that was fighting for its life. They also described the hatred of the Arabs, who in their stupidity refused to reach peace agreements with Israel. Because of this, the Rhodes armistice agreements awarded Israel far more territory than the UN did in its resolution of November 29, 1947.
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Of greatest concern is what is happening on American campuses, which are slowly becoming pro-Palestinian and anti-Israeli. That is dangerous because this is where America's future leaders are bred. But our opponents are not motivated by anti-Semitism, as our political hacks like to claim. If patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel, then anti-Semitism is the last refuge of the occupier.
Control over the territories is also taking a heavy toll on Israelis' conduct. On one hand, there is the increasingly brutal treatment of the Palestinians; on the other, there are growing doubts among our soldiers about whether to carry out missions to evacuate settlers. Today, no one is interested in how we became embroiled in the 1967 war, how we survived the Yom Kippur War by the skin of our teeth or how, despite peace with Egypt and Jordan, Palestinian terror continued, producing intifada after intifada.
From a light unto the nations, Israel has become a maligned and ostracized nation. The UN Security Council doesn't condemn Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for announcing his intention to destroy Israel, but Israel, which has been fighting for its life for six decades, has become the most denounced and criticized country on the face of the globe.
Ever since Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, officers in the Israel Defense Forces have been at risk every time they land in an international airport.
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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today marked the 10th anniversary of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women by launching a Network of Men Leaders, a major new initiative bringing together current and former politicians, activists, religious and community figures to combat the global pandemic.
“These men will add their voices to the growing global chorus for action,” he said, noting that 70 per cent of women experience in their lifetime some form of physical or sexual violence from men, the majority from husbands, intimate partners or someone they know.
“As I launch this Network, I call on men and boys everywhere to join us. Break the silence. When you witness violence against women and girls, do not sit back. Act. Advocate. Unite to change the practices and attitudes that incite, perpetrate and condone this violence. Violence against women and girls will not be eradicated until all of us – men and boys – refuse to tolerate it.”
Each member of the Network, part of the “UNiTE to End Violence against Women” campaign that Mr. Ban launched last year, will work to support the longstanding efforts of women and civil society organizations worldwide to end violence, undertaking actions from raising public awareness to advocating for adequate laws.
“We must demand accountability for the violations, and take concrete steps to end impunity,” Mr. Ban said in a separate message marking the Day. “We must listen to and support the survivors.”
He cited positive actions that men are already taking, such as judges whose decisions have paved the way for fighting abuse in the workplace, networks of men who counsel male perpetrators of violence, and national leaders who have publicly committed to leading the movement of men to break the silence.
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This syringe is an older model aimed at tagging animals with a much larger chip than shown above. The very small chips now commercially available are small enough to be hidden inside a syringe (numerous reports are coming in stating that the "swine flu" vaccine has to be injected using special syringes). A syringe could be loaded with such a chip without anyone being able to see it with thei bare eyes, even if they searched for it, since it is so small. One would need to search the needle and the container of the syringe using a microscope to be able to find it.
In the human body, we have received reports that the chip are able to function using the electricity within the body and the body's own electro magnetic field. If the syringe used is listed next to the person who received the shot in a database, the tagging would be successful and the individual would now be a subject of an incredible and unprecedented invasion of privacy.
If the shot is not entered into a data base together with the receiver, there are many other possible ways to connect the chip to the host. We have heard suggestions that when using an ATM machine, it could detect the chip and connect it to the card user when standing in front of the machine. Several similar scenarios are also possible.
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Pennsylvania nuclear plant workers exposed to radiation
November 25, 2009 (NewYorkInjuryNews.com - Injury News, Personal Injury Accidents)
Legal news for Pennsylvania Personal Injury attorneys–Nuclear Regulatory Commission probes nuclear plant workers at Three Mile Island exposed to radioactive dust.
LondonderryTownship,PA(NewYorkInjuryNews.com) – The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NCR) www.ncr.gov investigates Exelon Nuclear Company's nuclear plant, Three Mile Island (TMI), where at least 12 workers were exposed to radiation dust Saturday afternoon, November 21, 2009, according to WGAL.
Saturday afternoon, a few workers were cutting through one their stream generators pipes so that the generator could be removed through a large opening to be placed in the reactor building. The company was replacing the old generators with two new 510 ton generators. While the workers were cutting the pipes, radioactive dust was released. The dust was discovered through a shutdown reactor, reported a TMI spokesman.
A reported 150 workers were in the building at the time of the leak. At the time the radioactive dust entered the air; fans turned on and blew it around inside the building. Sources reported that there was not a threat to the public, and there was no emergency declared. One worker was reportedly found to have been exposed to enough radiation as an X-ray.
NRC authorities and the Department of Environmental Protection (EPA) www.epa.gov continued to investigate to determine that the leak had stayed inside the building and had not entered into the public.
NRC monitors Pa. Three Mile Isl after contamination
NEW YORK, Nov 24 (Reuters) - The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said late Monday it continued to monitor Exelon Corp's actions in response to a radiation contamination incident at the 786-megawatt Three Mile Island 1 nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania on Nov. 21.
The event involved minor contamination of about 20 workers during activities inside the plant's containment building. The levels of contamination were low and did not pose a health or safety concern.
No radioactivity left the site and there was no threat to public health and safety, the NRC said in a release.
The plant was shut for a refueling and maintenance outage at the time of the contamination event.
NRC Resident Inspectors assigned to the plant went to the site over the weekend to review Exelon's response, as did two radiation safety specialists.
With the assistance of these specialists, the Resident Inspectors were continuing to evaluate the company's efforts to identify the source of the contamination and efforts to prevent a recurrence.
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From DC Indymedia
This weekend was a truly inspirational and powerful gathering made possible only by the collective work of thousands of activists like you.
Photo by Linda Panetta.
Yesterday morning, we came together at the gates of Ft. Benning to solemnly remember those killed by the graduates of the SOA. Four carried their witness across military lines and were arrested on the base: Nancy Gwin of Syracuse, NY; Ken Hayes of Austin, TX; Fr. Louis Vitale of Oakland, CA; and Michael Walli of Washington, DC.
Michael is refusing to post bail, and will remain in custody at least until the trial in January 2010. Nancy, Ken and Louis have been released and will soon be headed back to their communities to spread the truth about the SOA/WHINSEC. You can join them! Keep your eyes out for further updates with messages about their journeys.
Following the procession, several hundred activists risked arrest, marching into the street beyond the confines of the protest to carry their message of resistance and people power even further. Puppetistas carrying large puppets of the six Jesuit martyrs alongside Cakalak Thunder and other drumming groups led a march together beyond police barricades to lift of the spirit of life so as to better remember the work and ideas of those who we have lost. Resistencia, Presente!
Breathtakingly innovative contemporary dance.
Sacred Monsters by Sylvie Guillem, Akram Khan, Lim Hwai Min
A nickname used in 19th century France for big stars of the theatre, "Sacred Monsters" is now first and foremost a meeting and exchange of two such 'stars' of the present day dance world.
Sylvie Guillem -- the Paris-born prima ballerina of our times. Celebrated for her stunning six o'clock leg-lifts, Sylvie amazes with immense strength and lyricism in her contemporary work.
Akram Khan -- London's hottest choreographer today. Steeped in classical Indian kathak and western contemporary dance, Akram dazzles with astonishing speed, precision and power.
Exploring the boundaries between two great classical dance forms of ballet and kathak with a live music ensemble featuring virtuoso cellist Philip Sheppard, Sylvie and Akram search and enter a tender dialogue in a union of rare honesty. When opposites do attract, sparks fly!
Lin Hwai-min, eminent artistic director of Taiwan's Cloud Gate Theatre, adds a sublime touch as guest choreographer of Sylvie's exquisite solo.
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